Guest Blogs

Green and Cool Roofs Provide Relief for Hot Cities

Posted on July 28, 2016 by Ashish Sharma

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and the United Nations projects that this share will rise to 70% by 2050. During the daytime, these expanding urban areas absorb more solar energy than the surrounding countryside. At night they radiate the heat back to the atmosphere. Higher temperatures in cities compared to the areas around them create what are known as urban heat islands (UHIs).

How More Transparent Electricity Pricing Can Help Increase Clean Energy

Posted on July 26, 2016 by Beia Spiller and Kristina Mohlin

The price of most goods we purchase is generally based on the costs associated with the goods' production, including the raw materials used to generate them, the labor associated with their manufacturing, and so on. However, when it comes to pricing residential electricity, many regulators choose to use a flat price per unit of electricity (kilowatt-hours, or kWh) that unfortunately fails to adequately reflect the underlying costs of generating and delivering energy to our homes.

Off-Grid in Canada: What We Did for Heat

Posted on July 25, 2016 by Craig Anderson

This is the third in a series of posts by Craig Anderson describing the off-the-grid house he built with his wife France-Pascale Ménard near Low, Québec. Craig writes about the "Seven Hills Project" in a blog called Sunshine Saved. For a list of Craig's previous posts, see the list of "Blogs by Craig Anderson" in the sidebar below. This post originally appeared in November 2015.

Fannie Mae’s Financing for Solar is a Game Changer

Posted on July 21, 2016 by Anonymous

By LAURIE GUEVARA-STONE and JAMIE JOHNSON

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae just unlocked the lowest cost of capital for new 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.) installations to date. This follows the recent decision of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to finance new solar installations within a first mortgage transaction. HUD's decision is a potential game-changer for the solar industry, with the ability to bring about the next order-of-magnitude increase in solar installations.

Medical Group Warns of Health Threats from White LED Street Lights

Posted on July 14, 2016 by Richard Stevens

The American Medical Association (AMA) has just adopted an official policy statement about street lighting: cool it and dim it.

The statement, adopted unanimously at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago on June 14, comes in response to the rise of new LEDLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. street lighting sweeping the country. An AMA committee issued guidelines on how communities can choose LED streetlights to “minimize potential harmful human health and environmental effects.”

Can the EDGE Green Building System Save the Planet?

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Stuart Kaplow

While Nepal is breathtaking, containing eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, the country is landlocked to the north by China and to the south and east by India. It's a developing country with a low-income economy, ranked among the poorest of the 187 countries in the U.N. Human Development Index.

Writing this post from Nepal, I think that it seems appropriate to discuss EDGE.

CarMic House: Improving Indoor Air Quality

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Carri Beer and Michael Hindle

Editor's note: Carri Beer and Michael Hindle are renovating a 1954 house in Catonsville, Maryland. Hindle is a Certified 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. Consultant and owner of Passive to Positive. Beer is a registered architect who has been practicing sustainable architecture for 18 years. She is an associate principal with Brennan+Company Architects. For a list of the couple's posts, see the sidebar below.

Blue Heron EcoHaus: Insulation, Air-Sealing, and a Solar Array

Posted on July 6, 2016 by Kent Earle

Editor's note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. Their previous blog on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com was called Siding and Soffits at the Blue Heron EcoHaus. The blog below was originally published in September 2015. (A complete list of Kent Earle's GBA blogs is provided in the “Related articles” sidebar below.)

Off-Grid in Canada: The Building Envelope

Posted on July 5, 2016 by Craig Anderson

This is the second in a series of posts by Craig Anderson describing the off-the-grid house he built with his wife France-Pascale Ménard near Low, Québec. The first installment was titled Building an Off-Grid Home in Canada. Craig writes about the "Seven Hills Project" in a blog called Sunshine Saved.

Are Energy-Saving Settings Bad for the Environment?

Posted on June 30, 2016 by Anonymous

By PETER FAIRLEY

Volkswagen’s deceptive engine controls, uncovered last year, gave its cars a dual personality: one for everyday operation and a secret greener one used to rank higher than warranted on vehicle emissions tests. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe are now examining whether some television manufacturers similarly misbehaved, programming their screens to detect a standard video test clip, dial down their brightness and thus cheat on energy consumption tests.

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