Green Building News

An Unlikely Bastion of Renewable Energy

Posted on October 19, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Texas is conservative oil and gas country, but that hasn't prevented city officials in Georgetown, Texas, including its "good little Republican" mayor, from moving the city-owned electric utility to an all renewable future.

Swiss Team Wins Solar Decathlon

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A team representing four Swiss schools emerged as the overall winner in this year's Solar Decathlon in Denver, Colorado, with an entry called "NeighborHub."

The biennial competition included a total of 11 student teams this year, two of them from Europe, that have been at work for nearly two years designing and building solar-powered demonstration homes. In addition to competing for the overall winner's title, teams also were judged in 10 separate areas, such as architecture, market potential, innovation, and engineering.

Judge Tosses Lumber Complaint

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A federal judge in Illinois has dismissed a case brought against a lumber retailer by customers who claimed that labels on dimensional lumber were misleading.

Tiny Houses Hit a Neighborhood Roadblock

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A house flipper turned developer in Charlotte, North Carolina, thinks that his plan for a subdivision of tiny houses will be a boon for first-time home buyers and people hoping to downsize. However, some of his neighbors are more concerned about the potential impact on their own property values.

Interest in Green Building is On the Rise

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Scott Gibson

More U.S. builders are climbing aboard the green bandwagon.

A new survey from the National Association of Home Builders and Dodge Data & Analytics shows that interest in building both single-family and multifamily projects to green standards has climbed slightly in the last two years and is headed toward wider adoption over the next five years.

Solar Industry Offers Help in Puerto Rico

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction on Puerto Rico, many island residents are still without housing, basic services, and electricity.

To Prove a Point, Melt Some Ice

Posted on September 28, 2017 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. advocates in the Pacific Northwest have organized an unusual public demonstration aimed at proving just how much energy can be saved with superinsulation and airtight design, a contest not unlike a county fair come-on where visitors are asked to guess how many pebbles will fit into a one-gallon jar.

Only in this case it's how much of an original ton of ice will be left after sitting inside an unrefrigerated building in the middle of summer for several weeks.

Solar Ruling Prompts Industry Jitters

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The news was not entirely unexpected, but last week's ruling that U.S. solar manufacturers have been harmed by cheap imports has opened the door to new tariffs and prompted warnings that job losses and higher prices will follow.

Worrisome Chemicals Lurk Even In Green Buildings

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Researchers studying a low-income housing development in Boston have discovered that green certification is no guarantee that a home will be free of chemical contaminants.

Tariff Threat Strangling Solar Market

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Just six months ago there were plenty of inexpensive solar panels to be had, but solar developers now report a dwindling supply and higher prices as the market reacts to the possibility of new U.S. tariffs on imported 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.) modules.

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