Category Archives: Energy

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Facebook Game Power House Saves Energy and Money

Facebook game Power House saves energy

The Facebook game Power House may finally make all those hours spent mindlessly playing games online pay off!  The object of the game is to guide a family of four through daily activities using as little energy as possible.  It is addicting and challenging, and teaches players how to save energy in real life. The…

Soccer Field Lights Powered By Players’ Energy

Foot powered soccer field

In a Brazilian neighborhood plagued by blackouts, panels under the turf of a neighborhood soccer field, fueled by players running over them, provide electricity to light the field and the surrounding homes.  A typical soccer player can run up to seven miles during a football game.  Most of the players in this neighborhood are local…

Your Solar Panels Are Facing the Wrong Way

Conventional wisdom says that panels should be installed facing south to get the most solar exposure (in the northern hemisphere). South-facing panels create the most power in the morning and mid-day, but peak demand for electricity typically occurs in the late afternoon. Because of that, a number of solar experts have begun to say that…

Japan Pushes for Net Zero Standard on New Buildings

Japan Net Zero Building

With the rapid pace of advancement from energy efficient smart homes, to passive homes, to energy plus homes, the architecture and construction industries are leading the way in terms of building a sustainable future. Japan, however, is hoping to ensure that sustainable design doesn’t become a passing fad by pushing for all public buildings to…

Passive House Recognizes Net Zero, Plus Homes

passive house - energy plus home

Passive House is an international building standard developed by the Passive House Institute (PHI), which is located in Darmstadt, Germany.  Building to the Passive House Standard recognizes buildings which have been optimized through passive measures and components such as insulation, air-tightness, heat recovery, solar heat gains, solar shading and incidental internal heat gains.  Buildings which…

John Perlin Solar Energy History Series: Part III

I am pleased  to post this third in a series of SOLAR ENERGY  history articles from John Perlin, based on his ground breaking book, Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy. Perlin discusses the major breakthroughs in solar energy throughout the millennia — here the solar heat trap. Third Major Breakthrough – Glass as a Solar Heat Trap Vitruvius,…

Amazon Heats Building With Data Center Waste Heat

Old tech- in the form of hydronic heating– meets new in nearby data centers, creating ‘green heating’ in Amazon’s latest new buildings in Seattle, WA. The offices and work areas of the new Amazon buildings will be heated by utilizing the waste heat of a nearby data center, and Amazon’s not stopping there. Heat from the…

NREL Power Lunch Lecture Series Features John Perlin

For those individuals able to attend, I highly recommend this NREL Power Lunch lecture, featuring John Perlin, author of  “Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy.” October 1 lecture  by John Perlin, author, lecturer, consultant — solar energy & forest preservation John Perlin will present a lecture on his new book, Let It…

What is LEED? – Energy and Atmosphere

This is the fifth post in a series on the LEED green building rating system. The first post provided an Introduction to LEED, the second looked at the Sustainable Sites credit category, the third at the Location and Transportation credits, and the fourth at Water Efficiency. Energy and Atmosphere Improving energy efficiency is one of…

John Perlin Series: Five Major Breakthroughs in Solar Energy – Part II

Second Major Breakthrough – Solar Architecture and Solar Cities The second major breakthrough in solar occurred when the Chinese began to apply their knowledge of the changing position of the sun during the year, as discussed in the first installment to this series, to consciously build with the sun in mind for warmth in winter…

Norway “Plus House” Makes More Energy Than it Uses

The Research Center on Zero Emissions Buildings (ZEB) in Trondheim, Norway has a new facility to showcase its work. Designed by architectural firm Snohetta, the ZEB Pilot House takes the “plus house” design theme further than any other existing building, producing twice the energy it consumes. The angle of the roof was carefully calculated to capture…

Lowe’s Smart Home Survey – Results

Smart home systems

A new smart home study released by Lowe’s found that while Rosie the Robot is the futuristic feature consumers would want most from “The Jetsons,” more than 70 percent of smart phone users in America just wish they could control something in their home from their mobile device without getting out of bed. Lowe’s 2014 Smart Home…

Does Passive House Design Work In Extreme Heat?

Passive House in Qatar

A home in Barwar City, Qatar is set to be the guinea pig to answer whether Passive House design will work in the desert.  Passive House (or Passivhaus in German) design relies on the mass of a building and super insulation to naturally heat and cool a building, limiting the need for heat and air…

Treehouse in Memorial City, Both are More than a Name Suggests

As cities re-develop and re-define themselves in new urban and sustainable ways, mixed-used mini-cities are becoming popular oasises in the midst of traditional metropolitan areas. In Houston, Texas, one of such, ‘city-with-in-a-city’ exists and is called Memorial City. It is 7.6 million SF of a place that intertwines the living, shopping, working and play parts…

Composite Material Reduces Cost of Solar Panels

Yingli Solar

Yingli Green Energy, the largest vertically integrated photovoltaic module manufacturer in the world, known as “Yingli Solar,” announced that they have successfully completed trial production of monocrystalline ingots for solar panels using new material technology. Instead of using traditional graphite crucibles when pulling monocrystalline ingots, Yingli experimented with crucibles made from a carbon-carbon (C-C) composite…

Thermal Bridging Guide Provides Energy Efficiency Solutions

Building Envelope Thermal Analysis Guide

Morrison Hershfield announced last week that the book Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide – Analysis, Applications, and Insights is now public and can be downloaded. The guide aims to overcome obstacles confronting the industry with respect to mitigating thermal bridging to reduce energy consumption in buildings. According to the guide, “thermal bridging is caused by highly conductive…

Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles Now Available in Delaware & Hawaii

We are happy to report the Dow line of solar shingles is now available in two more states. Dow Solar announced today that the availability of DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles, an award-winning residential solar roofing system, is expanding to Delaware and Hawaii. Delaware and Hawaii are among the smaller states in the nation, both in…

Building Energy Management Systems Save Energy and Money

Building energy management system

“A Building Energy Management System (BEMS) is an integrated system of software, hardware and services that controls energy use through information and communication technology,” according to The Energy Collective.  “Used primarily in commercial buildings, BEMS technology works by monitoring, automating, and controlling building systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, thermostats, and lighting to increase…