Green Building News

Reviving Old Masonry Buildings

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Scott Gibson

A New York City firm that specializes in materials for high-performance buildings has published an online book that explains how historic masonry buildings can be retrofitted using the products that the company sells.

High Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits is the work of 475 High Performance Building Supply, the Brooklyn-based company. Along with a number of CAD drawings, the book is available as a free download.

The Case for West-Facing Solar Panels

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Most rooftop 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.) panels face south because the owners of the panels want to generate the most electricity possible. But a recent report says that shifting more PV panels to the west would produce electricity at a time when the electricity is much more useful to utilities, reducing the need for utilities to buy costly power to meet peak loads.

British Columbia Updates Its Energy Code

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Scott Gibson

British Columbia is preparing to usher in a new building code that will set higher standards for energy efficiency and ventilation.

According to an article posted at the Journal of Commerce, the amendments to the province's building code will establish minimum insulation requirements, plus performance standards for heating and cooling systems, hot water appliances, and doors, windows, and skylights.

Tiny Houses to the Rescue

Posted on December 11, 2014 by Scott Gibson

A New Jersey state senator has proposed a $5 million "Tiny Home Pilot Program" to create clusters of houses, each no larger than 300 square feet, to provide more housing for the state's poor.

The website reported the proposal from Senator Raymond Lesniak, a Union Democrat, would fund the program for three years.

Passivhaus Hits a Big Milestone

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Scott Gibson

At least symbolically, it was a refurbished Craftsman bungalow in Santa Cruz, California, that helped nudge the total of certified floor area meeting the Passivhaus standard beyond the 1 million square meter mark, the German-based Passivhaus Institut said.

Curbside Recycling for Polystyrene Foam

Posted on December 8, 2014 by Scott Gibson

In a first for the province of Nova Scotia, a waste recycling agency has launched a curbside recycling program for expanded polystyrene (EPSExpanded polystyrene. Type of rigid foam insulation that, unlike extruded polystyrene (XPS), does not contain ozone-depleting HCFCs. EPS frequently has a high recycled content. Its vapor permeability is higher and its R-value lower than XPS insulation. EPS insulation is classified by type: Type I is lowest in density and strength and Type X is highest.) foam, turning waste foam into blocks of condensed material that can be sold to manufacturers and turned into new products.

Two years in the making, the program got off the ground in mid-November, according to an article in the The Kings County Advertiser and Register.

Reinventing a Passive Solar Design

Posted on December 5, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Albuquerque, New Mexico, was an incubator for alternative building technologies when Jon Davis graduated from the University of New Mexico in the early 1970s and started building passive solar adobe houses.

Although not an architect, Davis had studied the principles of passive solar design in school, and after graduation embraced superinsulated buildings and, eventually, structural insulated panels (SIPs).

Florida Rolls Back Efficiency Goals

Posted on December 4, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Florida's Public Service Commission has voted to trim energy efficiency goals sharply and to end solar equipment rebates by the end of next year.

According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, the panel voted 3 to 2 late last month in support of the proposals from the state's big utilities, which also had the support of the commission's staff.

Most Home Buyers Would Pay Extra for Efficiency

Posted on December 2, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The number of new home buyers who would be influenced by energy or water efficiency has been stable over the last few years, at 80 percent or better, but a new finding shows many of them would actually be willing to pay more for the house providing they could enjoy lower energy costs.

That's the conclusion of the annual "Energy Pulse" study from Builder Online, which published the results late last month.

The Economic Plus of Energy Conservation

Posted on November 28, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The cost of programs designed to save energy works out to 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour, less than half of what power from a conventional coal-burning plant costs, according to an analysis from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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