Guest Blogs

Efficiency Standards: A Few Steps Forward, A Few Steps Back

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Lauren Urbanek

First, some good news: After a lengthy and illegal delay, the Trump Administration finally announced that new bipartisan energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans, which will save consumers up to $12 billion over the next 30 years, will become effective on September 30. The Natural Resources Defense Council, joined by consumer advocates, other energy efficiency advocates, 10 states and the City of New York, had filed a lawsuit challenging this delay on March 31.

Which Utilities Sponsor the Best Energy Efficiency Programs?

Posted on July 5, 2017 by Anonymous

By GRACE RELF

This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog.

Flatrock Passive: A Final Design and Energy Modeling

Posted on July 4, 2017 by David Goodyear

Editor's Note: This is the second installment in a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland. The home will be the first in the province to be built to the 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. standard. The first installment of the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. You can find Goodyear's complete blog here.

Solar Thermal is NOT Dead

Posted on July 3, 2017 by ROBERT STARR

An article written by Martin Holladay, “Solar Thermal is Dead,” was published by GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com on March 23, 2012, and another article titled “Solar Thermal is Really, Really Dead” followed it on December 26, 2014. The premise of these articles is that solar thermal is dead because “It’s now cheaper to use a 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. system to heat domestic hot water.” These two articles have been very widely circulated and remain very much with us today. As one example, I recently Googled “solar domestic water heater” and these articles came up #2.

Unlocking the High Value of Clean Energy in Low-Income Communities

Posted on June 29, 2017 by David Labrador

Many of the 135 stakeholders of RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (e–Lab) who gathered for the first e–Lab Summit at the end of 2016 are involved with Leap, an ongoing RMI initiative dedicated to empowering and improving the lives of low-income communities and households in a clean energy future.

Urban Rustic: Details for an Insulated Foundation

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Eric Whetzel

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Companies Should Take Charge of the Potential Toxins in Common Products

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Anonymous

By DANA CORDELL, DENA FAM, and NICK FLORIN

Editor's note: The authors are Australian.

Deep Sea Mining Could Spur Mass Solar Energy

Posted on June 20, 2017 by Anonymous

By JON MAJOR

Scientists have just discovered massive amounts of a rare metal called tellurium, a key element in cutting-edge solar technology. As a solar expert who specializes in exactly this, I should be delighted. But here’s the catch: the deposit is found at the bottom of the sea, in an undisturbed part of the ocean.

Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency?

Posted on June 19, 2017 by Richard Conniff

Not long ago in the southwest of England, a local community set out to replace a 1960s-vintage school with a new building using triple-pane windows and superinsulated walls to achieve the highest possible energy efficiency. The new school proudly opened on the same site as the old one, with the same number of students, and the same head person — and was soon burning more energy in a month than the old building had in a year.

Solar and Hot Water at the Airport House

Posted on June 13, 2017 by Reid Baldwin

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of guest blogs by Reid Baldwin about the construction of his house in Linden, Michigan. For a list of previous blog posts on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com by Reid Baldwin, see the “Related Articles” sidebar below. You can read his entire blog here.

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