Green Building News

Early Bird Rates Still Apply For Allison Bailes’ Course

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Fans of Allison Bailes' blogs who act soon can enroll in his upcoming interactive online course for only $895.

Solar Industry Sees Potential PV Panel Shortage

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The global photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (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.) panel industry is facing the first shortage of panels in eight years as installations continue to pick up, according to a report in BusinessWeek.

The article said the industry could install as much as 52 gigawatts of solar panels this year and another 61 gigawatts next year. That would be more than seven times the capacity of the PV equipment installed just five years ago, and substantially above the 40 gigawatts installed last year.

Passive House Network Incorporates

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Members of the North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) announced they have incorporated as the organization evolves from a small, informal network to a more established group.

In a press release, NAPHN said the incorporators and officers are representatives of four regional Passivhaus advocaty groups — New York Passive House, Passive House California, passivhausMAINE, and the Canadian Passive House Institute.

Utah Utility Seeks Fee for Net-Metered Customers

Posted on August 20, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Net-metered residential solar customers of Rocky Mountain Power in Utah would see a new $4.65 monthly "facilities charge" on their bills under a plan now before state utility regulators.

Like other electric utilities around the country, Rocky Mountain Power argues that it faces fixed costs for maintaining the grid regardless of how much electricity it sells. Customers who have photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (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.) arrays on their roofs, it says, avoid paying their full share.

New Window Certified by Both Passivhaus Groups

Posted on August 19, 2014 by Scott Gibson

A high-performance window from Colorado-based Zola Windows is the first to be certified by both the Passivhaus Institut in Germany and 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., according to Energy Design Update.

The Zola No Compromise window is available with both three- and four-pane glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. and R-values up to 15. Fixed windows can be ordered in sizes up to 10 feet high and 8 feet wide; tilt-and-turn windows come in sizes up to 5 feet wide and 9 feet high.

Behavioral Programs Help Reduce Energy Use

Posted on August 18, 2014 by Scott Gibson

A recent report on the experience of four Minnesota electric co-ops suggests that utilities equipping their customers with smart meters plus software allowing them to gather detailed information about their energy use can see a reduction in the demand for electricity.

Shipping Containers Turned Into Apartments

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Scott Gibson

By the first week of September, tenants should be moving into an unusual Washington, D.C., apartment house known as SeaUA with no way of knowing whether their bedrooms and kitchens once were used to ferry bales of alfalfa to China or haul running shoes from Thailand to Los Angeles.

The novel housing project has a conventionally built lower level while its upper three floors are made of 18 repurposed shipping containers, each 8 feet wide, 40 feet long and 9 1/2 feet high.

Architect Travis Price calls the project the "ultimate ecological dream."

Habitat Chapter Sees an Energy-Efficient Future

Posted on August 8, 2014 by Scott Gibson

An upstate New York Habitat for Humanity chapter was already committed to energy-efficient design when it began mulling over the possibility of a project built to the 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. standard — maybe not right away, mind you, but some time in the future. Then executive director Brenda Adams ran into a celebrated architect who had just wrapped up his first Passivhaus project. "What are you waiting for?" he asked her.

Rival Passive House Groups Fail in Trademark Attempts

Posted on August 1, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The U.S. Trademark Office has dismissed an attempt by the founder of Germany's Passivhaus Institut to trademark the term "Certified 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.."

The decision settles a legal dispute between Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), an Illinois-based organization, and Dr. Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany.

The two organizations were once closely aligned, but ties were severed in what became a messy public falling out in 2011.

Free Podcasts on Building Topics

Posted on July 31, 2014 by Scott Gibson

When Corbett Lunsford got out of the music business and took up building diagnostics and consulting, he learned that old hands in the industry weren't always interested in sharing their trade secrets. They were, in fact, "a little bit cranky" when Lunsford came calling.

So the Chicago-based Lunsford vowed that when he became more established, he'd share what he knew with anyone who was interested — for free.

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