Category Archives: Energy

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“Super Windows” For The Empire State Building

As part of a massive greening of the Empire State Building a new Heat Mirror® film technology by Southwall is being used to dramatically boost the energy-efficiency of the landmark building’s more than 6,500 hundred windows. The insulating film will be combined with an insulating gas to create “super windows” that reduce heating and cooling…

David Brower Center – Green to the bones

Even in a Greencentric city like Berkeley, locals and Bay Area visitors would be Green with envy when they see the just opened David Brower Center. It feels healthy just to walk through the Green down-to-the-bones building which combines advanced technology along with simple recycled materials. When entering for their housewarming party we had a…

Live Simply and Decrease Your Carbon Footprint with a Tiny House

“Tiny houses” are starting to enter mainstream consciousness, due in large part to new companies dedicated to manufacturing and promoting tiny homes. And for good reason, too: one of the most effective ways to decrease your ecological footprint is to buy a tiny house. For obvious reasons, a tiny house requires little energy to build, and…

First Time in the USA, A Quiet Rooftop SWIFT Wind Turbine For Homes & Businesses

Cascade Engineering has just launched its SWIFT Wind Turbine in the United States and Canada. Quieter than a whisper, SWIFT provides businesses and homeowners in windy environments an effective solution to lower energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.

How to Stop Your Fireplace from Being an Energy Eater

Editor’s Note: This post was provided by one of our paid sponsors, Chimneyballoon. Stop heat and AC from escaping through your fireplace or woodburner chimney with a Chimney Balloon fireplace plug draft stopper. On a cold winter evening, who of us is not tempted to go to the living room, stoke up a fire in…

New Options for Home Wind Power

Utility-scale windpower is an important and growing part of the US energy portfolio. Farms ranging in size from dozens to hundreds of turbines can produce in excess of 60 megawatts of power. Plans for gigawatts of wind power are being proposed all over the globe, and new wind farms are regularly being proposed that outstrip…

Energy Efficiency at -30 Degrees Fahrenheit

Across the arctic and subarctic, many native tribes still occupy their traditional lands — but most do so in decidedly non-traditional ways. Western products of every description have been adopted by northern peoples, but one of the products that is least suited to the northern climate has also become one of the most widespread: wood…

The Costs of Not Building Green

Despite the narrowing gap in cost between green building and traditional “to-code” building, most builders and home buyers still perceive the green option to be significantly more expensive.  The reality is that due to increased builder education and an influx of affordable green building products, a building can be built green within the same budget…

GreenBuildingTalk: Save Money on Your Heating and Cooling Bill with Geothermal

Editor’s note: While we’ve discussed home geothermal systems a number of times around the Green Options Media network (see the list at the bottom), we’re glad to bring you today’s post from GreenBuildingTalk on the subject. They not only provide an overview of the technology, but point you to some cutting-edge models of geothermal heat…

Low Impact Living: Green Your Kitchen

Editor’s note: Thinking about a kitchen remodel? This week, Low Impact Living takes a look at every element of kitchen use, and how you can both make the space more efficient, more livable, and more earth-friendly. This post was originally published on September 7, 2007. You may not know it, but your kitchen is one…

Aerogel Insulation Advances

Aerogel is almost a product out of science fiction. Nicknamed “frozen smoke,” aerogel is extremely lightweight material, with a density only 3 times that of air. Only a small fraction of a volume of aerogel is the material itself. Most of the volume is filled with air. This makes aerogel an excellent insulator. (Aerogel provides…

Super-Insulating Vacuum Glass

In terms of energy efficiency, windows are one of the biggest contributors to heat loss from buildings. However, a new window technology being developed by Guardian Industries could allow for windows that can provide insulation values comparable to a standard insulated 2×4 stud wall, with a new double-pane glass and a vacuum between the panes….

Five Home Winterizing Myths

It is time to start thinking about getting our homes ready for winter. Maintenance and repair work done while the weather is still mild will pay off not just in the coming cold weather, but with year round benefits. Here are five common issues to think about when considering your winterization projects, and how to avoid making some common mistakes while improving your house.

Window film insulates windows. False.

A window film serves as a draft barrier to stop air leaks, rather than effective insulation. The plastic film itself will contribute very little. Having another air layer is more helpful, and keeping moisture sealed out can help reduce frost forming on old windows. But if you have big windows that are losing lots of heat, a quilted curtain can be more helpful. Windows are big thermal holes in your walls, and even very efficient windows lose heat much faster than the walls that support them. A window film adds only a slight increase, but it can be effective for stopping drafts.

Greener Driving with Roundabouts

Last week, I attended a driving event at the GM Proving Ground in Milford MI. Driving through the campus, there were several places where roads converged at roundabouts (sometimes also known as rotaries) rather than intersections with stop signs. (I’ll have more to say about the content of that event later.) But even before I arrived, I had gone through a couple more roundabouts on the roads in Milford, MI, where GM’s Proving Ground is located. That started me thinking about roundabouts, and how they are greener than standard intersections.

A modern roundabout … is a circle “designed for very low traffic speeds, about 15 mph.” Entrances and exits are curved so that motorists must travel slowly — far different from the rotaries of decades ago, which typically allowed drivers to enter at 35 mph or faster. The Institute says a modern roundabout typically needs to be about 100 feet across so that it can be properly designed to slow the entering traffic. (New Urban News)

Because the traffic only needs to slow down rather than stopping, all the cars traveling through a roundabout avoid the stop-and-go of a stop sign or a red light. Collectively, this adds up to thousands of gallons of fuel saved for each intersection. Avoiding a full stop also allows each driver to get through the intersection faster, which helps make overall travel times shorter.

Better Daylighting

<p><img src="/files/images/sol.jpg" border="0" alt="Advanced Glazings, Ltd." width="279" height="186" /><strong>solera : </strong>Image Credit: Advanced Glazings, Ltd.Lighting for buildings is a major part of their energy use. Increasingly, green building design is recognizing the importance of providing natural daylight as a means of lighting the building and reducing energy use. Not only does natural daylight reduce the building's energy use, but it also increases comfort for the people in the building. The LEED system includes credit for providing at least 75% of the spaces in the building with natural lighting and views, and the credit is increased if 90% of the spaces are naturally lit.<br /><br />Windows are good for providing views to the exterior. Skylights can be used to bring in more daylight, but they are not without issues. The problem with skylights is that they tend to create glare. The high contrast between areas where the daylight is streaming through the windows and other parts of the space that are not directly lit is visually (and sometimes even literally) uncomfortable. There's either too much light or too little. Diffuse light is more even and comfortable, and avoids areas of deep shadow and sharp glare. This is why so many older buildings had north oriented skylights or clerestory windows (or south-oriented in the southern hemisphere), and why those spaces were so well thought of as artists' spaces and galleries. The <a href="http://www.advancedglazings.com/ldp/index.php">light quality is much better</a> when it is from an indirect source.<br /><br />Most diffuser options do little to spread the light around. Typical etched or frosted glass has little effect. The light patterns are a little bit softer edged from frosted glass than they are from clear glass, but when it is directly lit, it is little better than clear glass. Advanced Glazings, Ltd. offers much better performance for incorporating daylighting into buildings with a line of insulated glazing called <a href="http://www.advancedglazings.com/index.html">Solera</a>. Architects have known of <a href="http://www.kalwall.com/windows.htm">Kalwall</a>, another company that has been making translucent panels for many years. Kalwall is a panel of polyester and fiberglass that offers translucency and some insulation.</p>