Eco-Friendly Palo Alto Ups the Ante

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

The city council in Palo Alto, California, has adopted new measures aimed at making the community more aggressive than the state as a whole in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting green building. Two days before this year's observance of Earth Day, councilors adopted an energy code ordinance that would make new residential and commercial projects 15 percent more efficient than current state targets, Palo Alto online reported.

Is Water Consumption a Class Issue?

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

By now, most everyone in the country has heard at least something about California's serious water shortage: the snow pack is paper thin, reservoirs are way down, and the governor has ordered a 25 percent cut in consumption.

A Second Look at a Surprising Study on Energy

Posted on April 27,2015 by StevenNadel in building codes

Steven Nadel is the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog. GBA posted a news story about the original study in January.

More Solar Ahead for Multifamily Buildings

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

Officials from California and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have outlined plans to increase spending on energy efficiency and solar energy for multifamily buildings in the state. In a news release, the White House said that a pilot program in California would tap into a type of financing called Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

California Governor Ups Renewables Commitment

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

Already committed to producing 33 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, California's governor announced a new goal of 50 percent renewable power by the year 2030. Governor Jerry Brown said during his inaugural address that the new target was "exciting" and "bold" and essential in averting potentially catastrophic climate changes, but he didn't offer any specifics on how it might be accomplished, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Study: Green Building Codes Don’t Save Energy

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in building codes

Building codes that require energy efficient features haven't done anything to lower energy consumption in California despite adding thousands of dollars to the purchase price of a new house, according to a new report. In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Arik Levinson said that energy codes enacted in California in 1978 were supposed to reduce energy consumption by 80 percent.

A New Weapon to Fight Water Waste

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

California residents alarmed about wasted water or annoyed with the cavalier attitudes of their neighbors can do more than grumble. With the right smartphone app, they can take their complaints directly to local water agencies for action. The Los Angeles Times reports that officials in several parts of the state have rolled out apps that allow smartphone owners to take pictures of practices that violate water restrictions or report leaks that officials may not know about.

California Moves to Streamline Solar Rules

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

California's state legislature has passed a measure that will simplify the permitting process for residential photovoltaic (PV) systems, which industry officials say could reduce costs to homeowners by $1,000 or more. According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, the measure requires cities and counties to adopt local ordinances that would make permitting and inspections faster.

Drought Forces Tough Choices in the West

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

In California and other parts of the West, a prolonged drought is severely taxing water supplies and prompting state and local governments to push for strict conservation. Water conservation has been a longstanding part of the green-building credo, but until fairly recently was more of an option than a necessity.

California Regulators Side With Solar

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in California

Hundreds of battery-backed PV installations that have been delayed by red tape and extra fees should be connected to the grid under a proposed decision from state regulators, Greentech Media reports.

Net-Zero For a Competitive Price

Posted on April 27,2015 by patrick_mccombe in affordable

The designers of a 1,700 square-foot net-zero-energy demonstration home in Irvine, California, claim that a similar home can be built by virtually anyone for less than $150 per sq. ft., a figure that’s price-competitive with conventional homes in this market.

The PV/Solar-Thermal Switch-up

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in California

A recent story about market forces at work in the solar-power world underscored the notion that large-scale photovoltaic systems, at least in regions where sun exposure favors their use, are dominating the renewable-energy landscape.

Affordable-Home Development Uses Net-Zero Prefabs

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in affordable housing

ZETA has put its core building strategy to work in Stockton, California, where the company used modular-construction techniques to produce 22 energy efficient single-family homes for an affordable-housing project.

Taking Aim at California’s Low-Carbon Target

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in California

If California is going to stay on schedule to meet carbon emissions goals mandated in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, energy-efficient homes will become much more common and electric power will, by 2050, become the principal energy source for the state’s residents and businesses. Those are some of the conclusions found in a study conducted by scientists from the U.S.

California’s Ongoing Weatherization Odyssey

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in California

Everybody has frustrations at work, but such frustrations are particularly acute for the employees of California’s Department of Community Services and Development (CSD), the agency that administers the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program, including weatherization activity funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

A LEED Debate in San Francisco

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in California

U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program has once again attracted a mixture of criticism and curiosity, this time in relation to a luxury condominium project planned for one of the most scenic settings on the San Francisco waterfront.

‘GreenPoint Rated’: A Green Label for California Homes

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in Build It Green

With a relatively stringent building code already in place, California seems to have a running start in cultivating homeowner interest in green building and remodeling. But it still doesn’t hurt to further highlight the merits of energy-efficient homes, tout their environmental virtues, and, when projects are complete and their green features verified, certify the results in a way that homeowners can market to future buyers.

Smart Meter Smackdown

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in Bay Area

All hail the smart meter! It can wirelessly transmit data from a customer’s home to the utility, allowing the utility to monitor usage in real time and better manage power allocations. The Department of Energy sees the smart meter as an essential component of the smart grid, and initial concerns among utility customers that the meters were inaccurately measuring usage have largely dissipated.

A NZE Home in Cupertino, CA

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in California

Update: A clarification of the modeled net energy use has been added to the text below. David Edwards, owner of Earth Bound Homes, based in Santa Clara, California, says his company has built three homes that have earned some of the highest scores ever awarded by Build It Green’s GreenPoint Rated program. He adds, however, that the attention to detail that went into one of those projects, known as the Kaneda Residence, was especially notable.

CalGreen Code Goes from Voluntary to Mandatory

Posted on April 27,2015 by Fretboard in California

Even though many builders in California have already adopted its Green Building Standards Code, its provisions officially segued from voluntary to mandatory on January 1.

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