Green Building News

Solar Access on the Florida Ballot

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Solar advocates in Florida say that they have proof that electric utilities are attempting to trick voters into supporting a ballot initiative that appears to broaden their access to solar energy but in fact will do just the opposite.

NESEA Will Hold a Conference in New York City

Posted on October 25, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEANorth East Sustainable Energy Association. A regional membership organization promoting sustainable energy solutions. NESEA is committed to advancing three core elements: sustainable solutions, proven results and cutting-edge development in the field. States included in this region stretch from Maine to Maryland. will hold a one-day conference in New York City on November 3, 2016. Called BuildingEnergy NYC, the conference will focus in part on efforts by the city of New York to reduce the carbon footprint of the city's buildings.

Speakers will include Lois Arena of Steven Winter Associates, Floris Keverling Buisman of 475 High Performance Building Supply, and Steven Strong of Solar Design Associates.

What the Pact on HFCs Will Mean for Builders

Posted on October 25, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The agreement earlier this month among 170 countries to phase in strict limits on the use of a common type of refrigerant will mean changes to many products used by residential builders, including foam insulation and heating and cooling equipment, but consumers probably won't be seeing wholesale changes for a number of years.

The accord reached in Kigali, Rwanda, commits the countries to a gradual phase-down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of chemical used as refrigerants and as blowing agents in foam insulation, beginning in 2019.

Bill Proposes New Incentives for Electric Vehicles

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Scott Gibson

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is proposing federal legislation that would benefit commuters who drive their electric vehicles to work by as much as $250 a month.

The new benefit would be on top of existing state or federal incentives for those who buy the cars — as much as $7,500 in federal tax credits and up to $5,000 for California purchasers, according to Brown, an Ohio Democrat, also would like to see financial rewards for companies that install charging stations at workplaces.

The Rise and Fall of a Miracle Wood

Posted on October 17, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Each year, specialty publisher BuildingGreen selects 10 of its favorite green products, the ones with the potential to “transform the industry” by conserving energy or water, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or otherwise shepherding the building world toward a better future.

New Oil Discoveries Add to Glut

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Scott Gibson

New discoveries in Alaska and Texas have added billions of barrels of oil to claimed reserves, increasing odds that oil prices will remain low well into the future.

The New York Times reported that the finds come at a time of a global oil glut that has kept prices at roughly $50 a barrel even as environmentalists look for ways to keep fossil fuels in the ground and avoid continued increases in atmospheric CO2.

A House for Really Cold Winters

Posted on October 11, 2016 by Scott Gibson

It’s hard enough to design a house for Minnesota, say, or Maine, where a family can stay comfortable all winter without spending a small fortune on heat. Imagine the same challenge in a region where winters are much longer and much colder, and building materials not nearly as easy to come by.

Passive House Symposium in Boston

Posted on October 10, 2016 by Scott Gibson

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. Massachusetts will host a day-long symposium at District Hall on October 15 to explore Passive House and high-performance building issues in the region.

The keynote address will be given by Ken Levenson, co-founder of 475 High Performance Building Supply and president of New York Passive House. He'll be discussing the New York Passive House market and how adoption of the building standard can be expanded across the Northeast.

Are Printed Houses In Our Future?

Posted on October 7, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The building measures only 86 square feet, barely big enough for a sofa, but DUS Architects is betting it represents a method of building that is cheaper, faster and less wasteful than conventional construction.

The Urban Cabin was made from a linseed-oil based "bio-plastic" with a 3-D printer and installed as an "urban retreat" with its own tiny park and outdoor bathtub in a former industrial part of Amsterdam.

This Tiny House Is Cheap

Posted on October 4, 2016 by Scott Gibson

A Czech Republic firm that sells plans for a line of tiny houses has developed a prefabricated model that can be assembled in three hours and will cost no more than $3,000 when it hits the U.S.

The house, called "France," consists of 21 insulated panels that a team of three can put together with lengths of threaded rod in an afternoon. The red, white and blue house, all 74 square feet of it, is divided into three rooms — a sleeping area, a multipurpose living area in the center, and a cooking zone — but it doesn't come with any plumbing or wiring.

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