Green Building News

Reaping the Energy Rewards of Passivhaus Design

Posted on March 23, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Beth and Ralph Peters and their four children have just passed the one-year mark in their new home on Prince Edward Island, and can report that their energy-saving efforts have more than paid off. The total heating bill for the year, all 754 kilowatt-hours worth of it, was $99.23. That's pretty good for an area that sees about 8,000 heating degree days a year.

The family used a total of 10,029 kWh of electricity — about $1,872 worth — for all purposes during their first year of occupancy.

A Cloudy Future for Coal

Posted on March 22, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The largest bank in the U.S., JP Morgan Chase, says that it will stop financing new coal-fired power generating plants in this country, putting more pressure on the industry and pointing to what one analyst calls a "downward shift that is permanent."

The New York Times reports that JP Morgan's announcement follows similar statements from the Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley that they also are backing away from coal.

Researchers Seek High-Performance Walls for Study

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Researchers are looking for builders willing to volunteer to take part in a field study that will measure moisture, temperature, and humidity inside high-performance walls in moderate and cold climates.

The Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification.), has put out a call for builders of new homes — additions and remodels aren't included in the study — who would allow wireless sensors to be installed inside wall cavities. The sensors — as many as ten in a single building — will transmit the data to a remote server.

Amazon’s Echo: Always Listening, to Everything

Posted on March 15, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The Amazon Echo is an internet-connected device introduced by the online retailer in 2014 that lets homeowners play music, call up traffic reports, and activate lighting and heat controls — all by voice command.

It turns out that the Echo, through its Alexa personal, listens not only to whoever is at home, but occasionally responds to what it hears over the radio or on TV.

Lumber Store Chain Now Offers Tiny Houses

Posted on March 11, 2016 by Scott Gibson

84 Lumber, a retailer with 250 stores in 30 states, is jumping on the tiny house bandwagon.

The Pennsylvania-based lumber chain said its "Tiny Living by 84 Lumber" line of portable houses makes the company the first major building supply retailer to offer houses under 200 square feet. They will come in four models, according to a company press release.

Learn How Solar Friendly Your State Is

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Ever wonder how solar policies in your home state compare with the rest of the country? A graphic developed by a website called Solar Power Rocks will give you the answer in just a few seconds.

The website's chart for 2016 ranks three states on the East Coast — Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — as the best places to invest in photovoltaics, according to a "1 Minute Read" at Fast Company's co.exist website.

Lab Hopes to Develop Paint-On Window Coating

Posted on March 7, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing a paint-on low-solar-gain window coating that would offer the same energy benefits as a window replacement or commercially applied film at a small fraction of the cost.

Marc Rosenbaum Will Again Offer His Online Course

Posted on March 2, 2016 by GBA Team

Once again, energy expert and engineer Marc Rosenbaum is preparing to teach a 10-week online course on how to design and build zero-net-energy homes. The course will begin on March 14, 2016.

Cost of Solar Electricity Hits a New Low

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The Palo Alto, California, city council is considering a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a developer that would let the city's municipal electric utility buy power for about 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour — the lowest known price in the U.S.

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