Green Building News

Students Get an Inside Look at Passivhaus

Posted on September 2, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Students enrolled in an unusual collaborative program at Western Technical College can expect a lot more than classroom lectures and an occasional pop quiz as they study high-performance residential construction. Working alongside design and construction professionals, they're learning about the special challenges of PassivhausA 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. construction by helping to build Passivhaus houses.

Solar Gets A Big Boost in Hawaii

Posted on September 1, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) has announced a plan to triple the number of solar electric panels in the state by 2030 and take a variety of other steps that would lower power bills for state residents by 20%.

Utility Dive reported the move would increase the proportion of renewable energy from its current level of 18% to 65%, the highest in the United States.

Marc Rosenbaum Offers a Free Online Lecture

Posted on August 29, 2014 by GBA Team

Heat loss from basements and slabs to the ground is complicated. If you're interested in learning more on the topic, you might want to take advantage of a free lecture being offered by energy expert Marc Rosenbaum.

At 1:00 p.m. on Thursday September 4, 2014, Rosenbaum will offer a free online lecture on heat loss to the ground. The presentation is intended for architects, builders, and others who want to have a better idea about how buildings interact thermally with the ground and how to calculate heat loss to the ground.

Bank Predicts Shift in European Power Picture

Posted on August 29, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The world's largest bank is advising investors and clients that innovations 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.) technology and rapidly falling costs for batteries and PV equipment will eventually make large, centralized power generating stations in Europe obsolete.

UBS bank, based in Zurich, earlier this month produced a lengthy briefing paper that predicts that an investment in a combined electric vehicle / PV installation / battery system would pay for itself in as little as 6 to 8 years by 2020, without any subsidies.

PV Cost Reaches Grid Parity in 11 States

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Scott Gibson

For people in 11 states and the District of Columbia, electricity produced by 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 costs no more than electricity purchased from a local utility, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Mike Jacobs, the UCS's senior energy analyst, writes in a blog posted August 20, that more than half the states in the country could reach what's called "grid parity" by 2017.

New Effort Will Streamline Green Building Standards

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Five of the country's most influential developers of construction industry standards have announced a joint effort to create a single green standard that would be more coherent and cohesive than the jumble of overlapping green building standards and regulations that currently exist.

An ‘Almost Passivhaus’ Project That Bloggers Love to Hate

Posted on August 26, 2014 by Scott Gibson

A tired old townhouse in Long Island City, New York, that became an environmental showcase has tongues wagging in the neighborhood, not necessarily because of its PassivhausA 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. efficiencies but because of its unusual exterior design.

Its owner, architect Thomas Paino, calls it the Climate Change Row House. Its detractors, including a blogger at the website Curbed, think it's the ugliest house in Queens.

Early Bird Rates Still Apply For Allison Bailes’ Course

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Fans of Allison Bailes' blogs who act soon can enroll in his upcoming interactive online course for only $895.

Solar Industry Sees Potential PV Panel Shortage

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The global 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.) panel industry is facing the first shortage of panels in eight years as installations continue to pick up, according to a report in BusinessWeek.

The article said the industry could install as much as 52 gigawatts of solar panels this year and another 61 gigawatts next year. That would be more than seven times the capacity of the PV equipment installed just five years ago, and substantially above the 40 gigawatts installed last year.

Passive House Network Incorporates

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Members of the North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) announced they have incorporated as the organization evolves from a small, informal network to a more established group.

In a press release, NAPHN said the incorporators and officers are representatives of four regional Passivhaus advocaty groups — New York Passive House, Passive House California, passivhausMAINE, and the Canadian Passive House Institute.

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