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BuildingEnergy Opens in Boston on March 7

The conference draws high-performance building professionals from around the region

Posted on Mar 1 2017 by Scott Gibson

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's BuildingEnergy Boston program gets underway on Tuesday, March 7, with a variety of pre-conference workshops before the conference and trade show formally open the following day.

NESEANorth East Sustainable Energy Association. A regional membership organization promoting sustainable energy solutions. NESEA is committed to advancing three core elements: sustainable solutions, proven results and cutting-edge development in the field. States included in this region stretch from Maine to Maryland. www.nesea.org bills the conference and trade show, which take place at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, as the leading event for the region's sustainable building professionals. The conference is expected to draw more than 2,500 people over its three-day run.

Attendees will be able to attend workshops on a long list of sustainable-building topics — from energy modeling and energy-efficient hot water systems to high-performance windows and high-performance schools.

Craig Jones, a research officer at the University of Bath in the U.K., delivers the opening address on Wednesday morning. His topic is "Beyond Energy: The Concealed Environmental Impact of Buildings and Residents." Jones will be joined by a long list of experts who will speak at other workshops on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

In addition, there are a number of community events planned during the conference — a breakfast for lifetime NESEA members, for example, plus a book release party hosted by regional 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. organizations, a "lunch and learn" session on the German building perspective.

A full list of events and workshop schedule, plus registration information, is posted at the BuildingEnergy Boston website.

Fine Homebuilding magazine will have a booth (Booth 346) at the trade show on Wednesday and Thursday. Martin Holladay, senior editor at FHB and Green Building Advisor, will be on hand to sign copies of his new book, Musings of an Energy Nerd, on both days between 12:20 and 1:20 p.m.


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Mar 2, 2017 7:44 AM ET

how to think about natural gas
by Paul Eldrenkamp

I think I can put in a plug for the opening plenary on Thursday morning without being too shameless, since although I helped put the plenary together, I'm not actually on the panel that's presenting.

The plenary is titled "Methane Leaks, Public Policy, the Future of the Natural Gas Grid -- and the Implications for Your Projects." It was inspired by an episode on WGBH-FM’s “Living on Earth” radio show I heard almost a year ago on the environmental implications of gas leaks and the policy and regulatory challenges in plugging those leaks. I was curious to learn more about the science, to understand what I as a practitioner who aspires to create environmentally sustainable projects could do to help manage the problem, and finally to hear how I could be a more effective citizen/advocate regarding the issue. So, working with Audrey Schulman of Cambridge HEAT, we were able to assemble a panel of experts (Pat Parenteau of Vermont Law School, who was interviewed on that "Living on Earth" episode, Nathan Phillips from Boston University, and Marc Rosenbaum of South Mountain) on the topic to provide exactly the sort of informed, forward-looking conversation that I was hoping for on a controversial topic of real importance.

This is the sort of educational opportunity that the Building Energy conference excels at, one that helps me to deal not only with current challenges in my work but also helps me to anticipate and prepare for the next challenges -- and thus stand a better chance of keeping some daylight between me and my competition.


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