Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.

LEED Homes Award Winners for 2015 Announced

USGBC announced the recipients of its annual LEED Homes Awards, which recognize projects, architects, developers and homebuilders who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation in the residential green building marketplace. “Homes represent a critical piece of the buildings industry and our daily life,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “We applaud these amazing honorees for their significant contribution to greening the residential sector by implementing strategies that positively impact the environment and enhance the health and well-being of…

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Solar Air Conditioning System Uses Heat To Cool Spaces

CSIRO’s solar air conditioning system now sits on top of a major shopping center in Australia, and it is saving energy by using heat from the sun to cool the air in the center. The system uses concentrating solar thermal technology to produce heat energy used to power the air conditioning system. It is a “closed-loop” air conditioner, meaning it heats and cools air within the building without introducing any external air into the system, with a pair of “desiccant” (drying)…

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Urban Green Space Helps Fight Crime

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a green space! The new way to fight crime in cities may soon look like your neighborhood park. Recent research shows that the more urban green space in an area, the less crime. The city of Youngstown, Ohio did a study looking at three potential treatments for vacant lots: contracted (the city hired a contractor to mow the lots and erect fences), locally-driven (the city gave residents money to develop the lots as…

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Top 10 Green Projects 2016

AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its list of the top 10 green projects for 2016. Biosciences Research Building, Galway Ireland The design of the BRB embraces the moderate climate of Ireland. By locating low-load spaces along the perimeter of the building, the project is able to take advantage of natural ventilation as the sole conditioning strategy for the majority of the year and is supplemented less than 10% of the year with radiant heating. Due to this…

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Car Free Building In Austin Will Have No Parking

Developers in Austin, TX are looking to build a 30-story mixed-use building in the heart of busy downtown without adding any additional parking. The building, called The Avenue, will not contain a parking garage or any other on-site parking, and is being billed as the first “truly car-free luxury development in downtown Austin.” Residents and visitors to the building’s shops and offices will be asked to use alternative transportation, or park somewhere else, when using the building’s facilities. “This is the…

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SolSmart Helps Communities Reduce Solar Energy Costs

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and The Solar Foundation (TSF) recently announced the launch of the SolSmart designation program, a program to help communities advertise their solar energy-friendliness. SolSmart will also provide cities and counties with no-cost technical assistance to help them streamline and reduce solar energy costs in their area. SolSmart Advisors, fully-funded temporary staff that will be embedded in up to 40 communities to help them achieve designation, will provide no-cost technical assistance to assist in cutting the red tape…

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Masdar City Sets The Bar For Sustainable Urban Development

Masdar City, near Abu Dhabi, has set its sights on being the most sustainable city on the planet, and it is well on the way to meeting that goal. Development started in 2008 and is expected to continue for at least the next five years, with 40,000 people expected to live within its boundaries, and another 50,000 commuting to work there. “Masdar City is a template for sustainable urban development, and its evolution is taking place in partnership with a…

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Fair Energy Initiative Tackles High Energy Costs

The Fair Energy Initiative, launched by the US Consumer Coalition (USCC), seeks to become a powerful voice for all Americans faced with a complex and changing energy industry. USCC will be engaging in a dialogue across the country with State and Federal officials, the media, energy experts and consumers to ensure energy industry practices are fair, protect choice and lower costs. “In any family or business budget, the cost of energy is a major expense that continues to rise,” said Brian…

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2016 Green Schools Awards Winners Announced

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network (GSNN), announced the 2016 Best of Green Schools award recipients earlier this year. The awards recognize 11 individuals, institutions, projects and events representing the best environmental efforts in schools across the country and highlight the national leaders and innovators in school sustainability for the year. “This year’s honorees are making huge strides in their schools and communities,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for…

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Hobbit House Micro-Community Growing In Washington

Inspired by the earth-sheltered tiny homes, often called Hobbit Houses, created by Simon Dale and others, designer, dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe is building a micro-community of three houses in Chelan, Washington. The first Hobbit Home is complete, and Wolfe hopes to have the other two done by the middle of 2016. Wolfe’s Hobbit House is located on a 5.5 acre plot, and built into the mountainside so completely that it could be easy to miss on first…

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IKEA boast largest retail solar array in Nevada

Largest Retail Solar Array in Nevada Belongs to IKEA

The new solar array recently installed on the roof of the soon-to-be-open IKEA store in Las Vegas is the largest retail solar array in Nevada. The store is set to open May 18, 2016. The store’s 240,504 square foot solar power system is a 1.14 MW system, built with 3,620 panels, and will produce approximately 1,750,000 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 1,207 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 254…

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Winner of the tiny house competition

Chicago Tiny House Design Competition Winners

The winners of the Chicago AIA’s tiny house design competition were announced recently. Launched in November 2015, the competition solicited entries to address young adult homelessness in Chicago as part of the Tiny Homes Summit. The winning entry, “A House for Living In,” is composed of 11 336-square-foot units and one interior community space gathered around a central courtyard. The project costs an estimated $73 per square foot, which is substantially less expensive than typical affordable housing, which is in the…

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A Shipping Container Home With Solar Power: The Jagpod

This post, written by Jake Richardson, recently appeared on our sister site, Cleantechnica. The founder of Jaguar Containers, William Coit, has created shipping container homes with solar power systems and is currently running an Indiegogo campaign. Mr. Coit answered some questions about his shipping container homes for Cleantechnica. How many square feet of living space does a Jagpod have? The 20 ft. unit has 144 square feet and the 40 ft. unit has 300 square feet of living space. The 20-foot…

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Health and Well-Being Now Part of Real Estate Assessments

As interest in health and well-being in buildings grows, the industry has recognized the need for practical tools for systematic assessment, objective scoring and peer benchmarking of health and well-being. GRESB, the global standard for environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessment of real estate portfolios and infrastructure assets, today announced the launch of the GRESB Health and Well-being Module. The new module evaluates and benchmarks actions by property companies and funds to promote the health and well-being of employees and their strategy to…

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Reversible Concrete Allows for Easy Removal

Yes, you read the title correctly – reversible concrete! It seems like an oxymoron – concrete is known for its stability and strength, and its permanence. Well, not anymore! Last October at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Self-Assembly Lab at MIT and Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zurich showed off a process that might finally one-up concrete, using only a 3-D printing extruder, rocks, string, and smart design. The short, unscientific version is that the rocks are bound together by the…

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Scientists Developing Paint-On Coating For Energy Efficient Windows

US Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists are developing a new paint-on coating that will help building owners improve the energy efficiency of their windows, without the need for trained installers. “Instead of hiring expensive contractors, a homeowner could go to the local hardware store, buy the coating, and paint it on as a DIY retrofit—that’s the vision,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Raymond Weitekamp. “The coating will selectively reflect the infrared solar energy back to…

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New Water Heater Tech Saves Energy and Money

A recent study shows that the humble water heater has the potential to save its owners, and the environment, significant energy and money. With two new technological upgrades, smart and heat pump water heaters, homeowners can expect to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30-50 percent. “Smart” water heaters are hooked up to the electrical grid and have the capability to turn on the heater when the draw on the grid is lowest, saving costs by using electricity during non-peak hours. They…

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Nano Membrane Toilet Turns Waste Into Clean Power

In the news of the weird in green technology, this product has to be out there! Cranfield University in the UK has developed a toilet, called the nano membrane toilet, that produces clean energy and clean water as by-products of human waste. Here is how Gizmodo describes the “waste processing:” The toilet’s magic happens when you close the lid. The bottom of the bowl uses a rotation mechanism to sweep the waste into a sedimentation chamber, which helps block any…

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