Green Building News

In Nevada, Calls for a Smart Meter Probe

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has opened an investigation into the safety of smart meters after fire chiefs in two cities, Reno and Sparks, connected them to nine fires in their communities, The Reno Gazette-Journal said in a story posted on October 16.

NV Energy has installed smart meters on more than 1 million homes in Nevada since 2011, with a total of 70 of the devices reported as "consumed," meaning the meter housings were either burned or breached.

Solar Energy Costs Fall in 2013

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Prices 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. (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 fell by between 12% and 19% last year, and should drop another 3% to 12% this year, a joint report from two national laboratories says.

The trend toward lower prices is keeping the country on track to meeting the targets of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot initiative, the report said, which forecasts a price reduction of 75% in the cost of solar-generated electricity between 2010 and 2020, to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Hammer & Hand Shares Its Construction Guide

Posted on October 22, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Hammer & Hand, a well-known construction company in the Pacific Northwest, has posted its Best Practices Manual online.

Used by Hammer & Hand carpenters in the field, the guide includes 180 step-by-step illustrations on dealing with a range of details, including crawl spaces, rainscreens, window installation, and wall penetrations.

Report Says Walmart Owners Undercut Solar Growth

Posted on October 21, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The family that owns Walmart, the country's biggest retailer, has spent millions of dollars to slow the growth of residential 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 while making public claims about its commitment to sustainability, a non-profit research organization said in a report published this month.

In San Francisco, a Solar Array on Every Roof

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors says that he will propose a resolution requiring all new buildings in the city, both residential and commercial, to include rooftop 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.) arrays where feasible, SFGate.com reports.

Repeal of Green Standards Upheld in New Mexico

Posted on October 17, 2014 by Scott Gibson

A New Mexico court of appeals has backed the administration of Republican Governor Susana Martinez in its repeal of energy efficiency standards that had been implemented by her predecessor, a Democrat.

According to a short article from the Associated Press on October 1, the court upheld a decision by the state's Construction Industries Commission to revise state building codes.

This New Door Design Solves an Old Problem

Posted on October 16, 2014 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED

An interior door developed by students at the University of British Columbia provides a pathway for air between adjacent rooms, reducing pressure imbalances that can degrade the efficiency of forced-air heating and cooling systems.

The VanAir ventilated door allows the passage of air, but it also includes sound-dampening features that solve a problem common to houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems: how to equalize air pressure between rooms without sacrificing privacy.

Prefabricated Foam Forms for Slab Foundations

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Borrowing an idea from Swedish builders, a New Jersey company has begun marketing prefabricated foam forms that make it possible for two workers to install a frost-protected shallow foundation in a single day with little or no digging.

A Tale of Two Houses

Posted on October 14, 2014 by Scott Gibson

As difficult as it is to meet the requirements for Passivhaus certification, builders and designers have a great deal of leeway in how they approach it. There are just a few big hurdles to clear, including limits on how much energy the building can use and how airtight the building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. must be.

Exactly how a builder accomplishes this is not spelled out. As long as the building meets the standard, it can win certification, either from 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. (PHIUS) or its European counterpart, the Passivhaus Institut (PHI).

A New Weapon to Fight Water Waste

Posted on October 9, 2014 by Scott Gibson

California residents alarmed about wasted water or annoyed with the cavalier attitudes of their neighbors can do more than grumble. With the right smartphone app, they can take their complaints directly to local water agencies for action.

The Los Angeles Times reports that officials in several parts of the state have rolled out apps that allow smartphone owners to take pictures of practices that violate water restrictions or report leaks that officials may not know about.

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