Green Building News

Workshops Set to Spur High-Performance Windows

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The North American 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. Network (NAPHN) has announced three workshops in September aimed at helping manufacturers increase the development and production of climate-specific windows suitable for Passivhaus construction.

Workshops will take place in Madison, Wisconsin, on September 22; in Toronto on September 28; and in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 30.

Cost of Installed Solar Continues to Fall

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The median installed cost of small 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.) systems continues its downward march, with 2014 showing the fifth consecutive year of significant price reductions, according to an annual report from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Finding the Small House Sweet Spot

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Scott Gibson

Judging by the constant stream of visitors to their fledgling housing development in Bridgton, Maine, developers Justin McIver and Mark Lopez think they've found just the right mix of energy efficiency, price, and amenities for older buyers.

Yet the first thing prospective buyers are likely to notice about these houses is their size. Unless buyers are just moving out of a New York City studio, these places will probably have a lot less square footage than what they're used to. Houses in the first "pod" of 10 units come in two sizes, 610 and 640 square feet.

A Green Guide for Native Americans

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Scott Gibson

Representatives of tribal nations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have produced a guide designed to help tribal nations recreate the sustainable building practices that once were a hallmark of tribal housing.

Green Building Council Names Home of the Year

Posted on August 25, 2015 by Scott Gibson

The U.S. Green Building Council has selected a 3,400-square-foot house in Kailua, Hawaii, as its outstanding single-family LEED home of the year.

The LEED Gold house is the first in the state to be certified under the latest version of the LEED for HomesLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. program, and one of the earliest certified houses in the country, according to its builder, Mokulua High Performance Builder. It's also one of the first in the state to be certified under Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. version 3, Mokulua founder Michael Fairall said.

A New Course Offering from Marc Rosenbaum

Posted on August 24, 2015 by GBA Team

Energy expert and engineer Marc Rosenbaum will begin teaching a 10-week online course on deep energy retrofits on September 14, 2015.

According to the online course description, “It's a course for professionals who are serious about transformative energy upgrades in residential and commercial buildings. As a capstone project, you will generate a deep energy retrofit (DER) strategy for a building of your choice with the help of Marc and your classmates."

Among the topics that Rosenbaum will cover:

    Here Are the Basics on Passivhaus

    Posted on August 24, 2015 by Scott Gibson

    The North American Passive House Network has published an e-book explaining the basics of Passivhaus and net-zero-energy construction techniques. It's a free download.

    Net Zero Energy Buildings: Passive House + Renewables makes the case that with very low air infiltration rates and lots of insulation, Passivhaus buildings are natural candidates for net-zero-energy operation with the incorporation of some renewable energy.

    Oregon House Wins DOE Award

    Posted on August 21, 2015 by Scott Gibson

    A Passivhaus-certified residence in North Plains, Oregon, has won a 2015 Housing Innovation Award from the Department of Energy.

    The Pumpkin Ridge 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., designed by Scott Edwards Architecture and built by Hammer & Hand, is one of a number of preliminary winners that are now in the running for top prizes to be announced in October at the EEBA Excellence in Building Conference & Expo in Denver.

    Google Launches a Solar Estimator

    Posted on August 20, 2015 by Scott Gibson

    A pilot program just launched by Google gives homeowners in a few U.S. cities an estimate of how of their rooftops could be used for 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. panels, and how much money they could save annually by installing them.

    For now, Project Sunroof is available only for some addresses in and around three cities: San Francisco, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; and Boston, Massachusetts. Plug in an address, and (if the address is listed in the database) up pops an analysis based on weather patterns and 3D modeling of the roof and nearby trees.

    Tiny House Jamboree Draws 40,000

    Posted on August 19, 2015 by Scott Gibson

    Nearly 40,000 people turned up for the first ever Tiny House Jamboree earlier this month in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a taste of what it would be like to live in a house with a footprint no bigger than 400 square feet.

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