Green Building News

Tackling the Skilled Labor Shortage

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Fine Homebuilding magazine has launched an effort to help reverse a decline in skilled labor, a trend that is threatening the construction industry and making it harder for homeowners to find qualified contractors.

An Aging Solar Star Eases into Retirement

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Scott Gibson

It looks like a cross between a classic roadside diner and an Airstream travel trailer, but in its day the Michigan Solar House Project was nothing if not cutting edge.

MiSo, as it's called, was created by students at the University of Michigan and one of 18 entries in the 2005 Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Like other entries in the biennial contest, the house was the result of intense effort by student designers and their faculty advisers, to say nothing of generous corporate donors.

Dutch Firm Creates a House of Cardboard

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Dutch entrepreneurs have discovered you can do more with corrugated cardboard than make boxes.

A Dutch firm called Fiction Factory has developed a modular building system based on segments of glued-up cardboard. Developers say the Wikkelhouse has a number of environmental advantages over conventional structures.

New York Will Swap Nuclear Plant for More Renewables

Posted on January 16, 2017 by Scott Gibson

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced plans for the early closure of the Indian Point nuclear power station, which currently accounts for about 10% of the state's total power generation, and is betting the energy gap can be filled with a greater reliance on wind and hydro power.

ThinkProgress reports the two operational reactors at the power station, located about 30 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, are scheduled to go offline in 2020 and 2021, more than 10 years ahead of schedule.

Builder Invents Clip for Installing Foam

Posted on January 13, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Paul Fabis, a New Hampshire builder, has been installing rigid foam insulation in roof and floor assemblies for years. But he found the process painfully slow, which drove up both labor and workers comp costs for his small business.

Building a Better Low-Cost Rental

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Jason Morosko is the lead engineer for UltimateAir, a manufacturer of whole-house ventilation equipment, and the only Certified 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. Consultant in Athens, Ohio. Morosko built a Passive House duplex for his own family a few years ago, regularly consults with builders, and rarely skips the annual conferences of the Passive House Institute U.S.

China Tops LEED List Outside U.S.

Posted on January 6, 2017 by Scott Gibson

China now has more space certified under the LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. green building program than any other country outside the U.S. and has moved to the top of the global rankings compiled each year by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Nevada Reverses Unpopular Net-Metering Rule

Posted on January 4, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Nevada's utility regulators have taken another swing at net-metering rules for residential solar customers, reversing an earlier decision and restoring more attractive rates to those in the northern part of the state.

In a draft order approved late last month, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada voted unanimously to restore retail net-metering reimbursements for new solar customers in NV Energy's Sierra Pacific Power Company service area, up to a cap of 6 megawatts.

Registration Opens for BuildingEnergy Conference

Posted on December 30, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Registration has opened for the 2017 BuildingEnergy conference in Boston, a major regional gathering and trade show for industry professionals interested in high-performance building and renewable energy. The conference is sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEANorth East Sustainable Energy Association. A regional membership organization promoting sustainable energy solutions. NESEA is committed to advancing three core elements: sustainable solutions, proven results and cutting-edge development in the field. States included in this region stretch from Maine to Maryland.

Pre-conference workshops take place on Tuesday, March 7, with sessions on energy modeling, net-zero construction, efficient hot-water systems, product selection for high-performance building, and life-cycle analysis for building components.

Vermont Utility Vies for Off-Grid Business

Posted on December 29, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Green Mountain Power says it is pleasantly surprised at the early interest in a new pilot program designed for customers who want the energy independence that comes with their own off-grid 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.) and battery storage systems without the maintenance headaches or upfront costs.

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