Green Building News

Some Malibu Parents Are Alarmed by PCBs in Schools

Posted on April 8, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Concerns over health risks posed by window caulk tainted with PCBs are prompting some parents in Malibu, California, to take their children out of school despite the insistence by school authorities the classrooms are safe.

Major U.S. Builder Tests Net-Zero Market

Posted on April 7, 2016 by Scott Gibson

One of the country’s biggest residential developers is dipping its toes into the high-performance housing market with a prototype net-zero-energy house in California.

SunEdison Nears Bankruptcy

Posted on April 6, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Renewable energy developer SunEdison appears likely to seek protection from creditors by filing for bankruptcy in the near future, a published report says.

Greentech Media reports that the company's "epic collapse" doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who has been following developments, but adds "the actuality of the human and financial scale of this implosion is breathtaking."

Solar Potential Is Far Greater Than Earlier Estimates

Posted on April 5, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Electricity generated on the rooftops of buildings in the U.S. has the potential to hit 39% of current electricity sales, nearly double the amount that was estimated in 2008.

In a report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said that the "technical potential" of equipping all suitable rooftops was 1,118 gigawatts of capacity and 1,432 terawatt hours of electricity annually. That's compared with 664 GW and 800 TWh in an analysis eight years ago.

An Alternative to Wood Window Bucks

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Scott Gibson

A Pennsylvania company has developed an alternative to wood window bucks, claiming the coated polystyrene bucks offer better thermal insulation, a more effective water and air seal, and better long-term performance.

Window and door bucks are used when exterior insulation, such as rigid foam, or a rainscreenConstruction detail appropriate for all but the driest climates to prevent moisture entry and to extend the life of siding and sheathing materials; most commonly produced by installing thin strapping to hold the siding away from the sheathing by a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch. is installed over sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. on exterior walls. A buck (more properly called a Rough Opening Extension Support Element, or ROESE) ensures the window or door will be aligned correctly with the insulation or rainscreen.

OSHA Announces New Silica Rules

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The Department of Labor has released long-awaited revisions to rules on worker exposure to silica dust, cutting permissible exposure for millions of workers and setting new requirements for employers.

Utility Will Test the Effectiveness of Smart Meters

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Scott Gibson

Wi-fi connected smart meters let utilities track how much electricity customers are using in real time, triggering warnings to cut back when demands on the grid are too high. Now, a Chicago utility has agreed to study whether the meters are effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In a deal involving the Environmental Defense Fund, Commonwealth Edison, and the Illinois Citizens Utility Board, ComEd has agreed to test whether customers who have smart members use less electricity than customers who don't have them.

N.J. Amusement Park Plans Sprawling Solar Project

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Scott Gibson

A year of protests by local residents and environmentalists wasn't enough to deter the Jackson, New Jersey, planning board from granting permission to the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park to install a field of solar panels — a project that will require loggers to fell 15,000 trees on the property.

Hammer & Hand Updates Its Best Practices Manual

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Scott Gibson

A Pacific Northwest building company specializing in high-performance designs has released the second edition of its Best Practices Manual, updating techniques covered in the first manual and adding new material on a variety of topics.

Like the first manual, Hammer & Hand's second edition is offered as a free download on its website under a Creative Commons license.

Passivhaus Institut Launches Online Training

Posted on March 25, 2016 by Scott Gibson

The Passivhaus Institut (PHI), headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, announced an online training program that could be the starting point for those who want to become designers and consultants.

The video modules are available in English. They are designed as an introduction for beginners in Passivhaus design and as preparatory material for courses leading to certification as a 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. designer or consultant, PHI said in its March 23 press release.

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