Green Building News

South Australia Plugs in World’s Largest Battery

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The world's largest lithium ion battery is up and running in South Australia where officials hope it will help reduce power shortages during blistering summer weather that lies ahead.

The state government announced last week that the football-field-sized battery has been installed at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, where it will store energy generated at an adjacent wind farm. According to a statement from South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill, the battery is "history in the making" and will ensure that the state has backup power to get it through the summer.

Chinese Decree Alters Recycling Picture

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Recycling plastic, paper, and metal is fundamental to a sustainable lifestyle, and for years China has given U.S. consumers a helping hand by accepting millions of tons of waste plastic every year. That practice is about to end.

A New Multifamily Will Put Passive House Performance to the Test

Posted on December 1, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A planned multifamily project in Minneapolis will give designers a chance to see just how much of a difference Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. construction makes when it comes to energy consumption, if not tenant comfort.

Developer Plans a ‘Sustainable City’ Near Boston

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A massive real estate development project called Union Point is taking shape on 1,400 acres of land about 12 miles south of Boston on what was once the South Weymouth Naval Air Station. Developers say that the community will become a living laboratory for "smart city technologies and sustainability solutions."

Are Higher Construction Costs Looming for Canadians?

Posted on November 24, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Tougher efficiency requirements could add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of building a new house in Canada, business and government officials said.

World’s Biggest Passivhaus Building Opens

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The tallest and largest PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. structure in the world, the 26-story House at Cornell Tech in New York City, has won certification from Germany's Passivhaus Institut after completion earlier this year and is now home to hundreds of university students and faculty.

Vermont Sets New Noise Rules for Wind Turbines

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The adoption of new rules limiting noise from wind turbines was intended to meet the requirements of legislation passed last year, but neither side seems especially happy with the outcome.

Wind advocates think the new regulations are too strict and complained they will make it tough for Vermont to meet a goal of getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, The Associated Press reported. Opponents said turbines will still be too noisy.

Lobbyists Battle Over Lucrative Water Pipe Contracts

Posted on November 13, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Replacing aging water lines will cost U.S. utilities $300 billion over the next decade, according to one industry report, and the prospect of big pay days ahead for pipe and hardware manufacturers has touched off a lobbying battle between the plastics and iron industries.

Denver Voters Approve Green Roof Initiative

Posted on November 9, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Neither the city's mayor nor the Chamber of Commerce liked the idea, but Denver voters on Tuesday approved a measure that will require developers of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to include rooftop gardens in their plans.

The Denver Green RoofRoof system in which living plants are maintained in a growing medium using a membrane and drainage system. Green roofs can reduce storm-water runoff, moderate temperatures in and around the building (by providing insulation and reducing heat island effect), as well as provide a habitat for wildlife and recreational space for humans. When properly constructed, green roofs can increase roof durability because the roof assembly’s air and water barriers are buffered from temperature fluctuations and UV exposure. Initiative, appearing on the ballot as Initiated Ordinance 300, passed by a narrow margin in early returns — a little more than 4,000 votes or 4 percentage points — but the gap appeared to be holding. Backers of the grassroots effort to get the measure before voters said it looked as though they would eke out a win.

Renewable Energy Squabble Goes to Court

Posted on November 6, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A disagreement over prospects for an electric grid powered completely by renewable energy has morphed into a high-stakes legal dispute pitting a Stanford University professor against his critics.

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