Green Building News

Denver’s Green Roof Ordinance Kicks In

Posted on January 5, 2018 by Scott Gibson

A citizen-sponsored ordinance requiring rooftop vegetation on large, newly constructed buildings in Denver took effect with the start of the new year, but a city task force already is in the works and is likely to make some changes in the months ahead.

Canada Sees Rise in Passivhaus Multifamilies

Posted on January 3, 2018 by Scott Gibson

Reduced energy demands coupled with a national effort to reduce carbon emissions are making affordable housing projects built to the 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. standard more attractive in Canada.

Karen's Place, a 42-unit project in Ottawa, became the country's first Passivhaus apartment building when it was completed last year, according to an article posted by CBC News. A handful of additional projects are now in the planning stage.

North Carolina Reverses Building Code Changes

Posted on December 29, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Last June, the North Carolina agency responsible for making changes in state building codes voted in tougher energy efficiency standards for new residential construction. By December, on the urging of the North Carolina Homebuilders Association, the Building Code Council had reversed course, voting 15-1 to junk some of the changes because they would be too costly.

EPA Ordered to Speed Up New Lead Rule

Posted on December 28, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A federal appeals court has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up the development of new rules on lead found in paint and dust in light of an "obvious need" to protect the health of children.

Tax Overhaul Keeps Breaks for Wind and Solar

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The tax overhaul passed this week by Congress leaves tax breaks for solar and utility-scale wind projects in place, but does not restore tax credits for ground-source heat pumps and small wind turbines as those two "orphan technologies" had hoped.

Martin Holladay Named GBA Editor

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Martin Holladay, Green Building Advisor's senior editor and one of the website's original developers, is now its editor.

The announcement came from Rob Yagid, the editorial director at Fine Homebuilding magazine, who oversees the website for its Newtown, Conn., corporate parent, The Taunton Press.

Cool Roofs Cut Urban Water Consumption

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that the widespread use of reflective roofing has the potential to save cities millions of gallons of water while also lowering ambient air temperatures.

Outdoor water consumption would drop by as much as 9% with the widespread use of cool roofs, according to climate simulations for 18 counties in California. If all of the buildings in Los Angeles County had reflective roofs, water savings would equal 83 million gallons per day in reduced demand for landscape watering.

Tax Bill Would Deal a Blow to Renewables

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Republican tax bills now in the hands of congressional negotiators would weaken a variety of federal incentives for renewable energy, but a lot is riding on a final version of the bill the GOP hopes to pass by the end of the year.

South Australia Plugs in World’s Largest Battery

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The world's largest lithium ion battery is up and running in South Australia where officials hope it will help reduce power shortages during blistering summer weather that lies ahead.

The state government announced last week that the football-field-sized battery has been installed at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, where it will store energy generated at an adjacent wind farm. According to a statement from South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill, the battery is "history in the making" and will ensure that the state has backup power to get it through the summer.

Chinese Decree Alters Recycling Picture

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Recycling plastic, paper, and metal is fundamental to a sustainable lifestyle, and for years China has given U.S. consumers a helping hand by accepting millions of tons of waste plastic every year. That practice is about to end.

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