Green Building News

Sand for Construction Is Vanishing

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Scott Gibson

If someone were to compile a list of things we're not likely to run out of, ever, wouldn't sand be at or near the top? That's a logical assumption, but it turns out that we're using sand for construction at such a blinding rate that it's in short supply in some areas, and mining what's left is taking its toll on the environment.

Maine Gets Another Passive House Multifamily Project

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Scott Gibson

On November 21, three days before Thanksgiving, developers plan to complete Bayside Anchor, a mixed-use apartment building in Portland, Maine, built to meet 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. + 2015 standard on what amounts to a shoestring budget.

Factories Gear Up for Passive House Building

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Factories designed to turn out prefabricated components for 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. buildings are up and running on both sides of North America.

In Pemberton, British Columbia, a company called BC Passive House operates the BC Passive House Factory, a 16,146-square-foot production facility that makes panelized parts for Passive House buildings as well as panels for timber-frame buildings.

Vancouver-based Hemsworth Architecture, which designed the building, says it is the first of its kind in North America.

Coal Production Hits 35-Year Low

Posted on June 14, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Bankruptcies, a move toward cheap natural gas, and increased pressure from renewable energy all are eating into the production of coal, bringing it to a level not seen in the last 35 years.

U.S. Will Get Its First Passive House Church

Posted on June 13, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Seventh-day Adventists in Kinderhook, New York, have moved into their new church, likely to become the first church in the U.S. to be certified by 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.

Saving Water Saves Energy, Too

Posted on June 10, 2016 by Scott Gibson

An emergency water conservation campaign in California to cut consumption by 25% also saved enough electricity over a nine-month period to power 135,000 homes for a year, according to an analysis from the University of California-Davis.

Forecasts See $1-Per-Watt Solar Ahead

Posted on June 9, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The cost of to install a utility-scale 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.) system will reach a key milestone set by the Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) by 2020 and fall to below $1 per watt, GTM Research says in a new forecast.

Will Taxpayers Get Stuck With Coal’s Cleanup Tab?

Posted on June 8, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Regulators in Appalachia are worried that coal companies forced into bankruptcy won't have enough money to pay for reclaiming stripped mountain tops and polluted rivers, leaving taxpayers to pick up at least some of the tab.

According to an article in The New York Times, cleanup costs could amount to $1 billion. While the industry says that its cleanup plans are financially sound, states such as West Virginia aren't so sure.

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