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.
Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off

Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off

Solar Decathlon 2015, a design and build competition involving university teams from around the globe, kicked off today with keynote speaker US Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz. The Decathlon asks teams to design and build homes powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in, which are judged in several competitions. The homes are on display throughout the competition so spectators can tour them. “These inspiring collegiate teams show the world how energy-efficient building design…

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First Passive House School In Maine Is Also Net Zero Energy

The Friends School of Portland in Maine is the first Passive House school building in the state, and only the third in the country. The neighboring OceanView Retirement Community is donating solar panels for the school to use, making the facility net zero energy (NZE). “One of our core values is stewardship and we certainly apply that to our environment,” said Jenny Rowe, Head of School at the Friends School of Portland. “This new facility not only provides a symbol…

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90% of US Homes Are Under Insulated, Study Says

Boosting Insulation Could Cut Energy Costs, Reduce CO2 Emissions and Increase Comfort Based on new research, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) estimates that roughly 90 percent of existing US single family homes are under insulated, wasting energy and money, and decreasing comfort for homeowners. “If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than…

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NexPower’s Building Integrated Photovoltaic Film Goes Anywhere

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) have been around for a few years now. They have graced concrete, storefront systems, glass, and many other materials. The goal of these products is to integrate the photovoltaic system into building materials that are already used in the structure, reducing the weight of the system, providing more design flexibility, and making them aesthetically pleasing. NexPower’s solar glass, which is a form of BIPV, has recently been installed at the Building Research Establishment in Watford in…

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Solar lamp design winner

Solar Lamp Design Winner Will Be Distributed Throughout Africa To Dispel Darkness

The winning design for a solar lamp, shown above, will be distributed to off-grid communities in Africa to help people living there dispel the darkness without the use of carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns. About 14,500 lamps, powered by the sun, will be distributed throughout Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Zambia. The Natural Light contest, sponsored by skylight manufacturer VELUX and Little Sun, which is a social business and a global project founded by internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, asked teams to…

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Team Orange County's entry into Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County Focuses On SoCal Issues In Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County’s entry into this year’s Solar Decathlon addresses some of the issues found in the Southern California home market, including the use of solar energy and landscaping without water. Casa del Sol, as their entry is called, is inspired by the resilient and diurnal characteristics of the California poppy. It is designed with appropriate shading and natural ventilation to allow it to open and close in tune to the path of the sun. Strategically positioned windows automatically open…

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Smartflower supplies solar power

Solar Power Takes The Form Of A Sunflower

smartflower POP+ enables anyone to start their own personal energy revolution. The integrated power storage unit makes this all-in-one solar power system – the only one of its kind in the world – up to 100% independent of the grid day and night. How does smartflower work? With the first rays of the sun, smartflower deploys its circular 18 m2 solar module panels and produces electricity. Both the design and the efficiency are inspired by the sunflower – with two movable…

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Yale Team's entry into this year's Solar Decathlon - Y House

First Yale Team Ever Provides Efficient Design for Solar Decathlon 2015

For the first time, Yale is participating in this year’s Solar Decathlon. The design focuses on the use of modules, with all of the unit’s plumbing, ventilation, and electrical components being housed in just one section of the house. “Our team has been really looking at how we can embed sustainability into the house itself,” said Kate McMillan, a senior architecture student from Houston. The team, composed entirely of students, has been working on the project for two years. “We’ve…

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DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

New York City Team DURA Designs Stackable Post-Disaster Home for Solar Decathlon 2015

One of the teams in this year’s Solar Decathlon, is from New York City’s College of Technology. This team focused on the issue of providing disaster housing that can be easily transported and stacked, if needed, to provide a high density of housing in a small footprint. Team DURA (Diverse, Urban, Resilient, Adaptable) created a stackable design to provide relief after catastrophic storms that can also be used for mobile and low-income housing in urban areas. “A lot of our…

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2005 Solar Decathalon entry from NYIT

Collegiate Teams Target Net Zero At Solar Decathlon 2015

Sixteen collegiate teams from over 27 different schools will soon be vying for the ultimate in home energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon – America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy efficient, solar-powered houses – will open October 8, 2015 in Irvine, California. Teams are already working on the construction of their homes, as they have to be shipped and erected in California in just a…

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Coca Cola Saves Energy With Umisol Window Film

Umisol Infrared Blocking Filter was recently installed at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Brussels. The project is expected to create a net profit of 14 €/m²/year. Energy efficiency is central to the European strategy with the 2020 – 2030 – 2050 EU Directives for smart and sustainable growth and the progression to a resource-efficient economy. By 2050 the EU aims to significantly reduce emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990. The greatest potential for energy savings exists in buildings. The Commission’s plan regarding…

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Solar power program in California

New Partnership Helps California Businesses Get Solar Power for Less

Renew Financial, a leading clean energy finance company, and SolarCity recently announced a partnership that creates a unique financing option for small and medium-sized businesses that combines low-cost SolarCity-structured financing with Renew’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program through the CaliforniaFIRST program. CaliforniaFIRST provides affordable financing for efficiency upgrades — including drought-tolerant landscaping, energy efficiency improvements and solar energy installation — to more than 20 million Californians. Over the past year, Renew Financial has expanded the availability of CaliforniaFIRST to more…

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Rain tunnel technology provides drinking water from air

Rain Tunnel Technology Provides Drinking Water from Air

New technology from Bangalore promises clean drinking water by drawing moisture from the air. Rain Tunnel Technology, invented by Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar, Chief Scientific Officer at the De Scalene Research Organization, will soon be available for both commercial and household use. Getting water from the atmosphere is not new. It has been around for more than 500 years but has never been really successful. All the techniques used up until now were based on condensing the air to extract the…

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EnergyBar 100 Provides Long Life With Green Battery Technology

AspectSolar, an innovator in Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) solar-powered batteries, has announced an industry-leading, environmentally friendly and portable power solution for every aspect of work, play and home. With a lightweight and compact design, the EnergyBar 100 affords users twice the battery life of similar products and up to five times the duration of traditional batteries. Esmond Goei, CEO of AspectSolar stated, “Our customers are savvy users who understand what they need. The EnergyBar 100 serves their needs better in…

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Market for Green Building Materials Set to Soar Through 2019

Green building is here to stay! As if there were any doubt, a recent study by BCC Research has shown that the market for green building materials has been increasing and will continue to climb at least through 2019, when it is expected to reach $69 billion in the US alone. Currently, the US market for green building materials sits at about $43 billion. According to the report and the USGBC (US Green Building Council), as of April 2014, more than…

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Green roof maintenance

Green Roof Maintenance Is Key to Roof Integrity and Longevity

Green roofs are all the rage in urban areas around the globe. However, many don’t understand the constant need to maintain these roofs so they don’t become overgrown and potentially damage the very building they are a part of. Green roof maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult, but a plan must be developed. Many jurisdictions, such as Toronto, Canada, are now requiring a maintenance plan to be submitted when getting a permit for a green roof. In Washington, DC, rooftop…

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Solstice Refrigerant Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Global regulators are increasingly moving to phase out refrigerants that lead to global warming. On July 2, 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced landmark regulations that will phase out the use of many of the world’s most potent hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), such as R-404A, in a variety of applications. The new regulation, effective summer 2016, will require supermarkets, the largest consumers of R-404A in the US, to discontinue use of R-404A as a retrofit refrigerant. R-404A will also not…

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Passive design office

Passive Solar Design Enhances Natural Ventilation

What is passive solar design? It goes by many names, though all are similar: passive design, passive solar, passive heating, Passivhaus, and passive house. Buildings using this strategy rely on the heat of the sun to moderate the temperature indoors without the need for artificial heating and cooling. How do they do it? Thermal Mass By using large amounts of building materials that are able to store the heat from the sun during the day and release it at night,…

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