Local

A Day of Passivhaus Immersion in New York City

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in 2012 Passive House Symposium

Although the idea does have a certain appeal, for most of us it would be impractical to tour all of the approximately 40 completed or in-progress Passivhaus projects in New York. But a one-day symposium focused on a selection of these projects would be easily manageable and, it turns out, is already on the calendar.

Aiming for Passivhaus in Boston

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Boston

It might have left a few people feeling especially uneasy about climate change, but the Northeast’s strangely dry, mild winter did at least allow construction to continue at a relatively brisk pace on Powahouse, a three-unit condominium going up on a corner lot in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.

10 Projects, Each Presented in 10 Minutes and 10 Slides

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in 10x10x10 Green Building Slam

There is something to be said for playing fast, if not loose, with the facts when it comes to presenting the essentials of a building project. Or at least that’s the driving concept behind the 10x10x10 Green Building Slam, scheduled for Wednesday at the Magic Lantern Theatre in Spokane, Washington.

Energy Positive in Oregon’s Painted Hills

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in EnergyValue Housing Award

There isn’t much tree cover at the site where the Department of the Interior built a 1,002-sq.-ft ranger cabin for the National Park Service’s Painted Hills unit, which presides over part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in north central Oregon. But the sun exposure in this spectacular and remote location is being played to advantage with a 5.6-kW photovoltaic system that, combined with a well insulated and relatively airtight shell, helped earn the gird-connected house a HERS Index rating of -46. (The targets were -15 with the PV system, +44 without.)

Passive House in the Woods Goes Energy-Positive

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Hudson

As the clock wound down on 2011, marking a full year of monitoring for Passive House in the Woods, in frosty Hudson, Wisconsin, it became clear that the building’s design, construction, and renewable-energy systems had combined to deliver net-zero-energy performance, and then some.

Teaching Deep Green by Building It

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Construction Education

The project is being called Canada’s Greenest Home, which sets the bar pretty high, but the Endeavour Centre, a nonprofit building school in Peterborough, Ontario, decided the time is right. Endeavour encourages its students to engage their minds and “get their hands dirty” on ambitious projects, including this 2,000-sq.-ft. two-story home, which is designed for an infill lot in Peterborough and will be the focus of the school’s five-month Sustainable New Construction certificate program.

Local Food and Resilience

Posted on March 06,2015 by AlexWilson in food

In this final installment of my ten-part series on resilient design, I'm taking a look at where our food comes from and how we can achieve more resilient food systems. The average salad in the U.S. is transported roughly 1,400 miles from farm to table, and here in the Northeast, we get most of our fresh food from more than 3,000 miles away. Even in Iowa, where 95% of the land area is in agricultural production, one is hard-pressed to buy locally grown produce.

Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge Announces Winners

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge

Four of the 11 entries in the 2010-2011 Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge found their way to the winners’ circle, each taking a different path to exemplary energy efficiency performance.

Onion Flats’ Big Multifamily Passivhaus Plan

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Local

Philadelphia-based developer Onion Flats has been mentioned in GBA at least twice before in connection with TED, a 1,130-sq.-ft.

Trekhaus: A Passivhaus Duplex in Oregon

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in British Columbia

Updated to reflect the installation plans for the photovoltaic systems. Work is very nearly completed on TrekHaus, a duplex built to the Passivhaus standard in southeast Portland, Oregon. At some point this spring, if all goes according to schedule, the west unit will be equipped with a 4.14 kW roof-mounted photovoltaic system and monitored for performance for a while before a similar system is added to the east unit. Once the renewable-energy systems are in place, the building is expected to operate at net zero energy with three people in each unit.

Turning Objections to a Green Project Into an Opportunity

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in energy efficient homes

The McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity, in Oregon, had guided its proposed 35-unit affordable-housing development through a design process that strongly emphasizes energy conservation and makes efficient use of the subdivision’s 3.47 acres. The energy efficiency, affordability, and layout of the community have won praise from most people who have studied the project. Including those who oppose it.

Going for Net Zero Energy in Seattle

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Local

Eric Thomas and his wife, Alexandra Salmon, have bought into the energy efficiency ethos in a serious but not, in turns out, extremely expensive way.

Affordable-Home Development Uses Net-Zero Prefabs

Posted on March 06,2015 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.

Cornell-Technion Green Campus Gets NYC Nod

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in Applied Sciences NYC

By late October 2011, a number of big-name universities, including Cornell, New York University, Stanford, and Columbia, were competing vigorously for approval to develop a major technology campus in New York City. The city’s selection process is still underway, but on December 19 word spread that Cornell, which partnered with Technion–Israel Institute of Technology on its development proposal, had been selected to build New York’s principal tech campus, the lead facility in what local officials call the Applied Sciences NYC initiative.

Striving for Passivhaus Affordability

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in airtightness

For builder Christian Corson, low numbers are good numbers. His current project, a 1,600-sq.-ft. two-bedroom Passivhaus in Knox, Maine, has been testing well and not costing much.

A ‘Kit-Home’ Approach to Passivhaus

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in kit home

Sonya Newenhouse’s home — a 968-sq.-ft. three-bedroom in Viroqua, Wisconsin, that she shares with her sister, Astrid, and their roommate, Bjorn — is a source of both comfort and marketing potential. Comfort because the house, which was certified to the Passivhaus standard in early November, is handling the onset of winter without a hitch. Marketing potential because the house also is the model for what Newenhouse is pitching as a “kit home” package of plans, materials, and consulting services that will help her clients build homes of like size and performance.

Researching Energy Retrofits in the Northwest

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in energy retrofits

In its newly inaugurated Lab Homes project, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has tried to make it easy to accurately measure the effects of energy efficiency retrofits. Rather than relying on modeling data based on imaginary reference homes of comparable size, Lab Homes focuses on the performance of two factory-built 1,500-sq.-ft. doublewide homes set up side by side on the PNNL campus in Richland, Washington. Both homes have been tested for airtightness, duct leakage, and, using infrared imaging, thermal performance to make sure they are as close to identical as possible.

Taking Aim at California’s Low-Carbon Target

Posted on March 06,2015 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.

Bringing Passivhaus to Harlem

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in green renovation

There are many remodeling and restoration opportunities in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, and so it seems fitting that it is the setting for one of Manhattan’s first Passivhaus projects. Underway since spring of this year, the restoration of a burnt-out Harlem brownstone, led by Brooklyn-based designer and builder Eco Brooklyn, combines the company’s preference for using reclaimed materials and its ambition to complete the project to the Passivhaus performance standard.

Hard Data on Urban Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Posted on March 06,2015 by Fretboard in energy efficiency research

New York City is home to plenty of high-density, high-tech residential buildings, including 8 Spruce Street, the spectacular stainless-steel-clad apartment tower in lower Manhattan that was designed by Frank Gehry. The city also is a wonderland of aged apartment buildings. Although these buildings lend the neighborhoods a certain Old New York dignity, they also operate with Old New York inefficiency.

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