Guest Blogs

How to Make Hydropower More Environmentally Friendly

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Anonymous

By MATT WEISER

Humanity got its first large-scale electricity thanks to hydropower. On August 26, 1895, water flowing over Niagara Falls was diverted to spin two generators, producing electricity to manufacture aluminum and carborundum. Since then, millions of dams have been built worldwide, transforming the energy of moving water into the energy of moving electrons. When we need it, the water spins magnets past a coil of copper wire to give us heat, light, and entertainment.

Wolfe Island Passive: Ready for Roofing

Posted on January 19, 2017 by David Murakami Wood

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first 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. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, Wolfe Island Passive House. For a list of earlier posts in this series, see the sidebar below.

New Energy-Saving Standards from Barack Obama

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Andrew deLaski

On December 28, 2016, the Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) issued five new efficiency standards, culminating a decade of energy efficiency progress that began under President George W. Bush. The new standards, the last of many developed during the Obama administration, will save consumers money, help meet the nation’s energy needs, and reduce environmentally harmful emissions, including greenhouse gases.

Ontario Imposes Tougher Ventilation Requirements

Posted on January 11, 2017 by Greg Labbe

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will increase the energy performance of homes by 15% starting in 2017. The changes are required under the province's updated building code known as SB-12. The two biggest changes are complementary: All new homes must have heat-recovery on their ventilation systems while incentives will be put in place for making buildings more airtight as verified by air leakage testing.

Accounting for Renewable Electricity Savings

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Anonymous

By ROBIN ROY

How much does it matter if energy efficiency programs like Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. or appliance energy standards save electricity generated by renewable resources like wind and solar, rather than from fossil fuel power plants? Certainly from the perspective of reducing carbon pollution, there’s a strong case that saving renewable electricity is not as valuable as saving energy generated from burning fossil fuels.

As the role of renewable electricity in the nation’s electricity supply grows, this question will become increasingly important to think through.

Toronto Passive: Designing a High-Performance Home

Posted on January 9, 2017 by Lyndon Than

Editor's Note: Lyndon Than is a professional engineer and 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 who took a year off from work to design and build a home with his wife Phi in North York, a district of Toronto, Ontario. This is the first in a series of posts about the project, beginning with the start of construction in early 2012. Than describes the process in his blog, Passive House Toronto.

Setting the PACE for Consumer Protection

Posted on January 5, 2017 by Kelly Vaughn

Residential PACE (property assessed clean energy), an innovative solution for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, is being 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. by a set of industry mavens seeking to realize the promise of this public–private partnership. Specifically, industry stakeholders have come together to create a set of consumer protection standards that ensure that homeowners reap the full benefits of PACE while safeguarding against predatory behavior in this nascent market.

Can We Rely on DIY Air Pollution Sensors?

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Anonymous

By RICHARD PELTIER

Until recently, measuring air pollution was a task that could be performed only by trained scientists using very sophisticated — and very expensive — equipment. That has changed with the rapid growth of small, inexpensive sensors that can be assembled by almost anyone. But an important question remains: Do these instruments measure what users think they are measuring?

Wolfe Island Passive: Adding the Insulation

Posted on December 29, 2016 by David Murakami Wood

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first 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. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, Wolfe Island Passive House. For a list of earlier posts in this series, see the sidebar below.

On-Site Storage Is the Great Equalizer

Posted on December 28, 2016 by Bruce Sullivan

We are now in a world where decentralized electricity production, such as rooftop solar, is more viable than ever for the public and more threatening than ever to utilities. The public is more willing to adopt in-home renewables thanks to reliable technology, solid performance, declining costs, and the growing availability of loans.

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