Green Building News

To Prove a Point, Melt Some Ice

Posted on September 28, 2017 by Scott Gibson

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. advocates in the Pacific Northwest have organized an unusual public demonstration aimed at proving just how much energy can be saved with superinsulation and airtight design, a contest not unlike a county fair come-on where visitors are asked to guess how many pebbles will fit into a one-gallon jar.

Only in this case it's how much of an original ton of ice will be left after sitting inside an unrefrigerated building in the middle of summer for several weeks.

Solar Ruling Prompts Industry Jitters

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The news was not entirely unexpected, but last week's ruling that U.S. solar manufacturers have been harmed by cheap imports has opened the door to new tariffs and prompted warnings that job losses and higher prices will follow.

Worrisome Chemicals Lurk Even In Green Buildings

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Researchers studying a low-income housing development in Boston have discovered that green certification is no guarantee that a home will be free of chemical contaminants.

Tariff Threat Strangling Solar Market

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Just six months ago there were plenty of inexpensive solar panels to be had, but solar developers now report a dwindling supply and higher prices as the market reacts to the possibility of new U.S. tariffs on imported 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.) modules.

Squeezing Power from Moving Water

Posted on September 15, 2017 by Scott Gibson

An Oregon startup has developed a system for converting the energy of water moving through large, underground lines into electricity and says the technology eventually may be used on a residential scale.

InPipe Energy's system takes the place of conventional flow-control valves that are currently used by water agencies to regulate flow and water pressure. Gregg Semler, the company's president and CEO, says the InPipe system uses a combination of software and hardware components to make electricity as it restricts water flow.

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.

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