Mercedes-Benz Net Zero Office Concept

Net Zero Buildings = the Future of the Commercial Market

The future of the green building market rests on net zero buildings.  These projects promise innovative new design – like that seen in this net zero building proposal for a Mercedes-Benz office building in Armenia – integrate a number of advanced “green” materials to maximize efficiency with renewable energy sources that generate as much energy as the project uses on an annual basis. In other words, it uses zero energy, “net”. Senior Vice President of Turner Group and President/CEO of…

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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, the preeminent architect of ancient Rome, saw Greek solar houses while a military engineer stationed in Greece. He reiterated what he had seen as advice…

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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 data center in the basement of the Westin Building across the street from Amazon’s proposed bio domes will be used to heat water, that will…

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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 Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy, which covers the development of all solar technologies, beginning with the ancient Chinese, Greeks and Romans who designed…

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UChicago-Argonne National Lab Team Improves Solar Cell Efficiency

Great research on solar cell efficiency improvements continues to be reported, this time from scientists in the University of Chicago’s chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory. We offer our highest praise to support the evolution of the renewable energy industry, which in turn, will boost better products for green building. New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago’s chemistry…

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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 the easiest ways to save money and improve the sustainability of a building. Therefore almost a third of the points available in LEED are found in…

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

I am pleased  to post this second in a series of solar energy  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 over the millennia. 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…

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white roof savings

White Roof Saves $2.40/Sq. Ft. Over “Dark” Roof

In a first-of-its kind study published in the Energy and Buildings Journal earlier this year, a group of researchers compared the energy costs of buildings with white roofs against both trendy “green” roofs and conventional “black” roofs. The most shocking part of the study? White roofs saved- on average!- $2.40 per square foot over conventional roofs, and even out-performed green roofs, handily. “Owners concerned with global warming should choose white roofs,” says the study, “which are three times more effective…

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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 the maximum amount of solar energy year round. Instead of relying on fans and electric sensors for ventilation, the home’s architects relied on natural breezes.…

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Smart home systems

Lowe’s Smart Home Survey – Results

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 Survey examined Americans’ attitudes and experiences with home automation, with a particular look at the most important features and top reasons for owning smart home products.…

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

I am pleased  to introduce this series of articles from John Perlin, based on his ground breaking book, “Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy.” Perlin will discuss the major breakthroughs in solar energy over the millennia.   First Major Breakthrough – Learning where the sun is throughout the year No one seems to know where the sun is these days. Ask just about anyone and they’ll say it rises in the east and sets in the west the year round.…

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Passive House in Qatar

Does Passive House Design Work In Extreme Heat?

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 conditioning.  It has proven successful in cold climates, but has not yet been tested at the other extreme. The experiment involves two similar sized houses…

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PEER certification evaluates power system performance

GBCI to Administer PEER Program for Power System Performance

The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) announced today that it will administer certification for the Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal™ (PEER) program. PEER is the nation’s first comprehensive, consumer-centric, data-driven system for evaluating power system performance and is modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program for buildings. “The PEER program provides a much more complete picture of the efficiency, quality, safety, resilience and reliability of energy generation, transmission and distribution systems than is currently available. It provides actionable…

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Farmers cook with biogas

Farmers Get Energy From Coffee Wastewater

UTZ Certified publishes the results of a four-year project on coffee wastewater treatment The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project by UTZ Certified has proven that it is possible to generate energy, tackle climate change and protect water resources by treating discharges from coffee mills. The project started in 2010 with the goal of addressing environmental and health problems caused by the wastewater produced in the coffee industry. Tailor-made coffee wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste treatment mechanisms were installed in eight…

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Water and Sunlight the Formula for Sustainable Fuel

This news on water and sunlight  from Australian National University is worth reading. An Australian National University (ANU) team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen as a fuel. “Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely,” said Dr Kastoori Hingorani, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for…

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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 of its population’s lives. Memorial City is, “A privately-held real estate investment, development and management company headquarters.” Part of that headquarters is a 14,700 SF,…

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Smart meter

Smart Meters Get Smarter With New Microcontrollers

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) announced the newest addition to its TX04 series of ARM® Cortex®-M4F core-based microcontrollers (MCUs). The TMPM411F20XBG MCU facilitates electric power calculation and communication in smart meters, as well as sensing and communications in other measurement devices. Samples are now available in the U.S. A typical smart meter comprises separate controllers for electric power calculation, data communication, and output display. By integrating multiple functionalities, the new MCU achieves independent control of the electric power calculation…

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Energy Recovery Ventilator Systems Research

An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is a type of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment that uses the energy associated with the thermally conditioned air being exhausted from a building to precondition the incoming air. ERVs, which offer many advantages for both improved indoor air quality (IAQ) and reduced energy consumption, are one of the fastest-growing segments of improved IAQ management in buildings. Click to tweet: According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from ERVs will…

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