Green Building News

Maine Firm Offers Net-Zero In-Law Flat

Posted on February 27, 2018 by Scott Gibson

Maine-based BrightBuilt Home is betting that changing demographic patterns will mean increased demand for small, energy-efficient dwellings that can be ready in less time than conventional site-built houses.

The In-Law Flat & Guesthouse is the 11th design in a series of high-performance BrightBuilt houses. Kaplan Thompson Architects spun off the company as a separate entity in 2013. Since then, BrightBuilt has built or designed 67 houses.

Maine Is Now a Battleground For Wind Development

Posted on February 22, 2018 by Scott Gibson

A long-simmering feud between the state's Republican governor and advocates for wind energy has landed in court.

Maine has more wind capacity than the rest of New England combined — 378 wind turbines with a capacity of 901 megawatts — but development of additional wind farms in lightly populated parts of the state has now become a political and legal football.

In Puerto Rico, Off-Grid Energy Is Looking More Appealing

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Scott Gibson

The slow pace of restoring electricity to residents of Puerto Rico is making off-grid solar-plus-storage an appealing alternative.

Utility Proposes New Approach for Off-Peak Rates

Posted on February 15, 2018 by Scott Gibson

Xcel's proposal is an attempt to find out whether a time-of-day rate structure will be any more successful when customers are automatically enrolled rather than simply invited to participate.

According to a report posted at the Energy News Network, the utility had limited success when it offered a time-of-day rate plan for customers in Colorado.

Mass Timber Tower Planned in Newark

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Scott Gibson

Mass timber construction seems to be picking up steam. Developers have announced plans for an 11-story mass timber building in Newark, New Jersey, that would house 500,000 square feet of office space and be nearly twice as big as similar timber structures in Chicago and Minneapolis.

Cost of Renewable Energy Continues to Fall

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Scott Gibson

In an energy auction in Mexico last fall, the Italian energy conglomerate ENEL was reported to have submitted the lowest ever bid for supplying solar electricity — just $17.70 per megawatt hour, or 1.77 cents per kilowatt hour. It turns out the bid actually was for wind-generated power, not solar, but the initial reporting error didn't change the underlying fact: the cost of both wind and solar electricity is sinking fast.

White House Takes Aim at Renewable Energy Research

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Scott Gibson

A White House budget plan for fiscal 2019 would shrink spending for the Department of Energy's renewable energy and energy efficiency programs by more than 70%, The Washington Post reports.

A Small Town Confronts a Tough Reality: Housing Costs Too Much

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Scott Gibson

Despite its close proximity to New York City, Columbia County has managed to hang on to its rural character and agrarian economy. More than 100,000 acres remain open fields and farmland, tended by farmers, foresters, carpenters, and a variety of other tradespeople. The Hudson Valley setting seems idyllic, but there's a catch: the people who help keep farming alive can't afford to live here.

The median price of a home in one community, Ancram, is $289,000. Entry-level wages for many rural workers are less than $30,000 a year, not enough to carry the ongoing costs of owning a home.

World’s Tightest House Is On the Market

Posted on January 31, 2018 by Scott Gibson

The house in Dillingham, Alaska, that was crowned the tightest residential building in the world is for sale.

Tom Marsik and his wife Kristin Donaldson, who completed the two-bedroom house in 2012, are moving so Marsik can take a new job as director of research at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, 500 miles to the north. They're offering the house for $299,000.

Resilient Design is a Money-Maker

Posted on January 26, 2018 by Scott Gibson

A new report from the National Institute of Building Sciences says that federal hazard mitigation grants that make buildings more resistant to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires will save the country $6 for every $1 that's invested.

Further, designing new buildings so that they exceed requirements of 2015 codes developed by the International Code Council can save $4 for every $1 that's spent, the report said.

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