Green Building News

Saudi Arabia Embraces Solar Energy

Posted on July 3, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The production of solar electricity is about to get a big boost in a country sitting on some of the richest oil reserves on the planet.

According to an article in The Atlantic, the Saudi Arabian government is set to get into the photovoltaics (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) business in a big way by beginning construction of solar projects around the country and by opening a commercial-scale PV module factory of its own.

Device Simplifies Building Rehabs

Posted on July 2, 2015 by Scott Gibson

A device worn like a backpack automatically records room dimensions, the location of HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. equipment, and electrical sources as it's carried through a building by a technician, greatly simplifying planning for energy upgrades, the website VPA reports.

The Rapid Building Energy Modeler, or RAPMOD, was created by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its partners and is being developed by Baumann Consulting.

Government Estimates on Renewables Are Way Off

Posted on July 1, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The U.S. government agency responsible for forecasting trends in energy supplies and consumption has "consistently and significantly" underestimated the growth of renewable energy and developed a track record of providing flawed reports to policymakers and planners, a report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute says.

A Novel Way to Store Energy

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Scott Gibson

A Massachusetts-based start-up has leased an abandoned natural gas well in Texas and raised $1 million in seed money to test an experimental way of storing energy that ultimately could help businesses avoid burdensome demand charges for electricity.

A New Version of WUFI is Available

Posted on June 29, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The company that develops WUFI energy modeling software has released an update, WUFI Passive 3.0, as well as a version without all the bells and whistles that can be downloaded for free.

WUFI Passive incorporates the new climate-specific standards of the 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. Institute U.S. (PHIUS). It also includes updated inputs for lighting and plug load calculations, advanced geometry import options and calculations for appliance exhaust air, according to an announcement from the developer, Fraunhofer IBP.

A California Builder Makes Artificial Turf Standard

Posted on June 26, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The continuing drought in California is convincing builders to modify what they offer prospective homebuyers in the way of landscaping.

In Fresno, Granville Homes has been making synthetic turf standard in all front yards since May. That costs the builder six times as much as genuine turf but it looks a lot more appealing than grass turned brown by a lack of rain and lower groundwater supplies. Homebuyers can still get real grass as an option.

Blows Against Two Carbon Reduction Strategies

Posted on June 25, 2015 by Scott Gibson

Two important underpinnings of government efforts to reduce carbon emissions and head off climate change aren't looking like such good bets after all.

Recycled PVC Raises Health Concerns

Posted on June 24, 2015 by Scott Gibson

Some new vinylCommon term for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In chemistry, vinyl refers to a carbon-and-hydrogen group (H2C=CH–) that attaches to another functional group, such as chlorine (vinyl chloride) or acetate (vinyl acetate). flooring tiles contain levels of lead and other contaminants that are far above recommended safety levels because the contents of recycled plastics used to manufacture them aren't carefully controlled or monitored, according to a study by the Healthy Building Network.

In Colorado, Even the Rain Is Spoken For

Posted on June 23, 2015 by Scott Gibson

Residents in California and other Western states are being encouraged to capture rainfall and use it to water their gardens, relieving municipal supplies and wells from some of the pressure being felt as the region continues to suffer a crippling drought.

When the city of Los Angeles offered 1,000 rain barrels to residents last November, they disappeared in no time.

New Life for Old Electric Vehicle Batteries

Posted on June 22, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The batteries that power electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt still have as much as 80 percent of their storage capacity when they're replaced, and figuring out what to do with them has been a headache for manufacturers.

These used batteries are no longer strong enough to run a vehicle, but unlike the cars themselves, they are difficult to take apart and recycle. Now both Nissan and General Motors have come up with a solution that not only solves, or at least delays, the recycling issue but offers businesses a way of reducing their power bills.

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