Green Building News

Biofuel Helps Heat a Maine College

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Bates College was among the U.S. colleges and universities signing a pledge 10 years ago to become carbon neutral by 2020, in part by switching from fossil fuels to biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. to heat the 1 million square feet of space on its Lewiston, Maine, campus. Then something better came along — a Canadian biofuel made from waste wood that's both cheaper and environmentally cleaner than the natural gas it had been burning, and without many of the logistical headaches that went with biomass.

New Cellulose Manufacturer Set for a 2018 Launch

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Builders in the Northeast who have missed the friendly voice of Bill Hulstrunk and cellulose from National Fiber, the Massachusetts-based firm he worked for, can look forward to the launch of a new company and a fresh source of cellulose by next year.

Hulstrunk, the technical director at the now-shuttered National Fiber plant in Belchertown, Massachusetts, has joined a new company called UltraCell, which is building a pilot plant in Buffalo, New York, and hopes to open a larger plant and begin selling the insulation in 2018.

Bradford White Buys GeoSpring Rights and Equipment

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Bradford White will pick up where GE Appliances left off as it buys the production equipment GE used to make the GeoSpring heat-pump water heaterAn appliance that uses an air-source heat pump to heat domestic hot water. Most heat-pump water heaters include an insulated tank equipped with an electric resistance element to provide backup heat whenever hot water demand exceeds the capacity of the heat pump. Since heat-pump water heaters extract heat from the air, they lower the temperature and humidity of the room in which they are installed. and moves it to its own facilities in Michigan.

Citing low sales, GE Appliances stopped general production of the GeoSpring last month. The company has been selling the water heaters to Bradford White, which rebadged them as AeroTherm water heaters. The deal allows Bradford White to continue making and selling the appliances without interruption.

Terms were not announced.

California Gets New Water Conservation Rules

Posted on February 17, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A state law that became effective at the beginning of the year requires that all plumbing fixtures in houses built before 1994 meet water conservation standards, theoretically pushing many thousands of residents to upgrade toilets, showerheads, and faucets.

Solar Jobs Are Booming

Posted on February 16, 2017 by Scott Gibson

More than 260,000 workers in the U.S. have found employment in the solar industry, with 51,000 jobs added to the workforce in 2016 alone, according to a new report from the non-profit Solar Foundation.

Among the highlights:

  • Of all the jobs created in the U.S. last year, 2% of them were in the solar industry.
  • Solar jobs have grown at a 20% or more clip every year for the past four years and have almost tripled since the first census report was completed in 2010.

Next Generation Spray Foams Trickle into the Market

Posted on February 9, 2017 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED on Feb. 9, 2017

Reformulated versions of spray polyurethane foam with only a tiny fraction of the global warming potential of their predecessors are getting easier to find.

Texas-based Demilec, a manufacturer with distribution in both the U.S. and Canada, is among those offering a medium-density closed-cell spray foam made with a hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agent, the next generation of chemistry for the industry. Similar products are here or on the way.

Walmart Fined in Greenwashing Case

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The case against the country's biggest retailer involved labels on plastic products that erroneously claimed the products were biodegradable or compostable, according to an article posted by Plastic News.

Solar Panels Near Break-Even Point

Posted on February 2, 2017 by Scott Gibson

More efficient manufacturing processes have steadily reduced the amount of energy required to make 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.) modules, cutting the amount of time it takes for a panel to produce as much energy as was used to manufacture it to two years or less, a new study concludes.

Boston Mulls a New Template for Urban Housing

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A Boston startup is proposing a new housing model designed to solve a fundamental problem with urban apartments — they're too big.

The company, Livelight, and architect Tamara Roy developed a model for very small modular apartments that can be racked in steel-framed exoskeletons on small infill lots, expanding housing opportunities for one- and two-person urban households. The project also had the backing of the Boston Society of Architects.

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.

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