Green Building News

TV Energy Labels May Be Misleading

Posted on September 23, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Recently manufactured televisions could be using twice as much electricity as shown on government-required EnergyGuide labels as makers exploit a weakness in the Department of Energy's test procedures, the Natural Resource Defense Council says.

Nevada Solar Customers Win a Round

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Homeowners in Nevada with 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 got some welcome news last week in the form of a unanimous decision by utility regulators allowing them to keep full retail net-metering reimbursements for the next 20 years.

Georgia City Bucks Wood High-Rise Trend

Posted on September 16, 2016 by Scott Gibson

For some builders and architects, wood is the building material of the future, with lower costs and less embodied energyEnergy that goes into making a product; includes energy required for growth, extraction, and transportation of the raw material as well as manufacture, packaging, and transportation of the finished product. Embodied energy is often used to measure ecological cost. than concrete and steel and suitable even for structures many stories tall. But in Sandy Springs, Georgia, a city of about 100,000 north of Atlanta, wood has been deemed unsuitable for anything taller than three stories and larger than 100,000 square feet.

GE Will Drop Heat-Pump Water Heaters

Posted on September 14, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Improved energy efficiency, utility incentives, and a federal tax credit aren't going to be enough to save GE's GeoSpring heat-pump water heaterAn appliance that uses an air-source heat pump to heat domestic hot water. Most heat-pump water heaters include an insulated tank equipped with an electric resistance element to provide backup heat whenever hot water demand exceeds the capacity of the heat pump. Since heat-pump water heaters extract heat from the air, they lower the temperature and humidity of the room in which they are installed. .

According to published reports, GE Appliances will stop manufacturing the water heaters at the end of the year because of low sales, just four years after the energy-efficient appliances were introduced.

Apartment Owner Makes Unusually Big Push for Solar

Posted on September 8, 2016 by Scott Gibson

At Home Apartments is betting that the timing is right for a major investment in 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 for buildings it owns in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. A 148-kilowatt PV array was recently installed at one of those buildings, the CityVue Apartments in Eagan.

Lawmakers Try to Prop Up the Sagging Biomass Industry

Posted on September 6, 2016 by Scott Gibson

A handful of lawmakers in Congress have been pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to treat biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. power plants as if they were no more damaging to the environment than wind or solar even though burning wood to make electricity can produce more carbon dioxide than burning coal.

Passive House Building in the Digital Age

Posted on August 31, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The first components for prefabricated 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. homes are now rolling out the door of a small factory in Searsmont, Maine, where house building is sailing into the digital age.

RPA-Ecocor, the joint venture between Ecocor’s Christian Corson and architect Richard Pedranti, launched in June 2016 with 11 model home designs. It’s now producing wall sections for a Passive House that will be erected in the Albany, New York, area later this year.

SolarCity is Getting Into the Roofing Shingle Business

Posted on August 29, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Earlier this summer, Dow Chemical abandoned its building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) roofing shingle business after a run of less than five years. SolarCity, the country's biggest solar installer, is betting that corner of the market still holds untapped potential.

In a conference call with financial analysts earlier this month, SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk disclosed that when the company's huge new manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York, opens next year, the factory will produce BIPV shingles as well as conventional photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Couple Sacrifices Electricity in Smart Meter Dispute

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Assya and Mario Pascalev could easily have afforded the $14 month fee their local electric utility wanted in return for opting out of a smart meter installation at their Bethesda, Maryland, home. But the couple, both philosophy PhDs, have gone on a temporary protest and are sweating their way through the hottest time of the year without air conditioning or lights.

Green Seal Publishes a New Insulation Standard

Posted on August 22, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Green SealIndependent, nonprofit organization that certifies a variety of products as environmentally responsible based on established criteria. Certified products include coffee filters, air chillers, paints and coatings, papers and newsprint, various cleaning products and services, windows and doors, and lodging properties. Inc., a nonprofit certifier of green building products, has published a green standard for insulation, giving builders and homeowners the most comprehensive guide to date for choosing products with the lowest potential to damage human health and the environment.

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