Green Building News

A House to Last for 500 Years

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Scott Gibson

An Yale-educated architect credited with helping launch the design/build movement 50 years ago is at work on a mostly concrete house with a flexible interior floor plan and an all-but-bulletproof exterior that shouldn't need any maintenance for as long as five centuries.

Design-Build Firm Seeks Toehold in Insulation Market

Posted on September 8, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A Maine-based design-buildCompany that handles house design and construction. Since both services are provided by the same firm, integrated design can often be more easily achieved. firm best known for its super-efficient 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. buildings has taken on a new partner with a background in materials science and set up a new firm specifically to develop low-density fiberboard insulation for the U.S. market.

GO Lab, created earlier this year by GO Logic, is hoping to have fiberboard insulation in production in the next 24 months, giving builders here access to a type of insulation common in Europe but currently not manufactured anywhere in the U.S.

Government Halts Study on Coal Mining Risks

Posted on September 7, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A study of the impacts on human health of removing whole mountaintops for the underlying coal has been stopped by the Interior Department so the agency can conduct a budgetary review.

Heavy Timber Assemblies Earn Fire Rating

Posted on August 30, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Full-scale fire tests on glulam beams and columns have given three off-the-shelf structural connectors a minimum one-hour fire rating, opening new opportunities for mass-timber construction in buildings below 85 feet high.

Developers Discover That People Like to Walk

Posted on August 28, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A national poll two years ago among 3,000 adults showed that home buyers favor developments that make it easy to walk to stores, restaurants, and other community gathering spots. Residential developers have apparently taken note.

Los Angeles Lightens Streets in Bid to Stay Cool

Posted on August 24, 2017 by Scott Gibson

In an experimental program launched earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles has been applying a reflective coating to some of its streets in an attempt to lower asphalt temperatures and keep the city cooler.

City street crews first applied a product called CoolSeal in May, and were to duplicate the experiment in other parts of the city later in the summer. Officials hope that the coating will help offset higher average temperatures caused by climate change and the heat-island effect.

Dutch Utility Reinvents Its Mission

Posted on August 23, 2017 by Scott Gibson

After concluding that selling electricity as a commodity is no guarantee of business success, a Dutch utility has developed a variety of services to attract new customers and guarantee its survival in an era increasingly dependent on renewable energy.

What began as a bungled attempt to introduce energy monitors to a few Dutch households has since blossomed into a suite of new programs: charging electric vehicles, repairing solar panels, and tapping into energy stored on the home batteries of its solar customers. Along the way, Eneco has turned its energy monitor into a big success story.

Eclipse Will Provide Training for Grid Operators

Posted on August 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Monday's solar eclipse will be a field day for the country's astronomy buffs as the moon completely blocks the sun in a swath stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. For utility grid operators, the event will be much more than a good show — it will be a chance to see how well they're prepared for power fluctuations in a solar energy future.

The eclipse starts just after 9:00 a.m. in Oregon, according to a NASA website devoted to the event, with the sun completely obscured during a roughly 2-minute window beginning at about 10:20 a.m.

A New Online HVAC Calculator Is Available

Posted on August 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A software company specializing in products for builders has released an online program that performs three important calculations used in the design of HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. systems: Manual J, Manual D, and Manual S calculations.

Hearings Open on Solar Panel Trade Case

Posted on August 16, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The U.S. International Trade Commission opened hearings in Washington on Tuesday that could result in higher prices for imported solar technology and, according to a solar trade association, cost 88,000 Americans their jobs.

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