Guest Blogs

Urban Rustic: Let the Framing Begin

Posted on July 17, 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; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

An Award-Winning Efficiency Program in Colorado

Posted on July 13, 2017 by Laurie Guevara-Stone

Like other forward-thinking cities, Fort Collins — a city of 167,500 located in northern Colorado — had a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. However, following a Rocky Mountain Institute e–Lab design charretteMeeting at the beginning of an integrative design process that sets the stage for cooperation and collaboration among all participants, including the design team, engineers, contractors, clients, and any others involved in the project. Early involvement of the entire project team is fundamental to the successful use of a systems approach to green building. , the city decided to see if it could push that goal up by 20 years.

Could a Trade Dispute With China End the U.S. Solar Boom?

Posted on July 11, 2017 by Marc Gunther

Cheap Chinese solar cells have powered a boom in the U.S. solar industry. They have helped drive down the cost of making electricity from sunlight by about 70% since 2010, leading to double-digit growth rates in rooftop and utility-scale installations, according to the industry. Last year, for the first time, solar added more generating capacity to the electricity grid than any other fuel, including natural gas. That’s welcome news to those who worry about climate change.

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.

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