Green Building News

U.S. Cities Are Fighting the Heat-Island Effect

Posted on June 23, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The dark, heat-absorbing and impermeable surfaces common to big cities cause a variety of health and environmental problems, including elevated temperatures, lower air quality, and difficulty in managing storm water runoff. The heat island effect, as this phenomenon is called, is part of urban living, but a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that some American cities are rolling out a variety of tactics to fight it.

Passive House Conference Lists Speakers

Posted on June 20, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Influential building scientist William Rose will deliver the keynote address at the Ninth Annual North American 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. Conference in San Francisco on Sept. 12, according to the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS).

Backers of New Carbon Rule See Many Benefits

Posted on June 19, 2014 by Scott Gibson

New carbon pollution limits for existing power plants announced by the Environmental Protection Agency have lobbyists warning of economic disaster, but a five-year-old alliance of nine Eastern states has already shown it could provide a major environmental and economic boost.

Wind Turbines Reach Energy Payback Quickly

Posted on June 18, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Researchers studying the environmental life cycle of 2-megawatt wind turbines found they recoup the energy required to manufacture and install them, and begin making a net energy contribution, in a matter of months.

Writing in The International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, two authors from Oregon State University said there are virtually no carbon emissions associated with the energy that turbines produce. But there are environmental costs associated with manufacturing and installing the devices, as well as dealing with them at the end of their expected 20-year life span.

Utility Seeks Fee for Rooftop Solar in Utah

Posted on June 16, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Rocky Mountain Power is seeking permission from regulators to tack on an extra $4.25 a month to the power bills of Utah customers with 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.) systems.

Heat Pumps Get a Leg Up in Vermont

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Scott Gibson

More Vermonters will be installing high-efficiency heat pumps in their homes thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Peter Shumlin on June 11.

The legislation allows Efficiency Vermont, an agency that collects money from utility ratepayers to fund programs that lower energy consumption, to use some of its $40 million annual budget to subsidize the purchase of high-efficiency heat pumps.

More Builders Going Green

Posted on June 12, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Increased buyer interest in green building is helping to make it a more important part of the housing market, according to a new study by McGraw Hill Construction.

The percentage of builders of single-family homes who said that more than 90% of their projects are green grew from 12% in a 2011 study to 19% this year, and is projected to rise to 38% by 2018. The percentage of builders who said that less than 16% of their projects were green shrank proportionally, from 63% in 2011 to 38% in the most recent study. That number should fall to 16% by 2018.

Ohio Suspends Its Renewable Energy Targets

Posted on June 11, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Ohio lawmakers have passed legislation that puts on hold requirements that utilities gradually increase the amount of renewable sources in their energy mix. The measure, which the governor is likely to sign, gives a study commission two years to look into the issue.

Backers of the bill objected to renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to purchase 25% of their power from renewable sources (including nuclear) sources by 2025.

New York State Promotes High-Performance Houses

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Scott Gibson

Builders in New York State are now eligible for incentive grants of as much as $8,000 for building net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. houses, according to an announcement by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

South Carolina Lawmakers Pass Solar Bill

Posted on June 9, 2014 by Scott Gibson

The South Carolina General Assembly has passed legislation that permits homeowners to lease 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.) equipment from third-party installers, loosening what PVSolarReport has called some of the most restrictive PV laws in the country.

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