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Guest Post: DOE Backs Down on Higher Furnace Efficiency Standards; Air Conditioning Standards also Being Challenged

In late 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced increases in the minimum efficiency standards of residential furnaces and air conditioners. In the 30 northern states, the minimum efficiency rating of new furnaces was to be raised to 90 percent from its current level of 80 percent, starting May 31st, 2013. In the 20 southern states, the minimum efficiency of air conditioners is set to be raised from 13 SEER to 14 SEER starting January 1st, 2015 (SEER is the estimated BTU’s of cooling provided by each watt-hour of electricity, so a 14 SEER unit will use about 7 percent less energy than a 13 SEER system). These changes were expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 113 to 143 million tons, and to reduce residential energy consumption by one-fifth.

May 5th

NRG Solar Cuts Ribbon on Alpine Solar Generating Facility

The 66 megawatt (AC) Alpine solar photovoltaic facility, which started commercial operations earlier this year, is currently the largest fully operational solar plant in California. The cost-competitive, renewable power generated by the facility is being sold to PG&E under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

May 4th

Green Building Materials Will Reach $254 Billion in Annual Market Value by 2020

Future market growth for green buildings and the commensurate use of green materials will be driven by a combination of policies and regulations that prioritize energy efficiency and green design, the expansion of voluntary certification programs for green buildings, cost reductions for green materials, consumer demand, and growing evidence that green buildings confer quantifiable market advantages.

May 3rd

Top US Cities with the Most ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings in 2012

An ENERGY STAR certified building meets strict energy performance standards set by EPA and uses less energy, is less expensive to operate, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its peers. Which US cities perform best in terms of number of certified buildings and annual cost savings? Top 25 US Cities Los Angeles maintains top […]

May 2nd

Masdar Launches Africa’s Largest Solar PV Plant

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, today launched an US$31.99 million utility-scale, 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant is located in the capital city of Nouakchott and is the largest solar PV plant in Africa. The new facility accounts for 10 percent of Mauritania’s energy capacity and will displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

April 19th

Guest Post: Sustainable Landscaping for LEED at Rio Salado College Downtown Green Learning Campus

The College’s goal of the 2 1/2 acre downtown location was to revitalize the existing campus with multifaceted LEED-certified buildings with sustainability focused education for both high school and adult learners. The first phase of development was to implement a two-story Adult Learning Center (15,000 S.F.) that offer a full array in-person adult basic education non-credit classes. It also provides regional support services for the College’s online students, such as testing, academic advising and tutoring services. The site improvements included learning gardens; shaded outdoor lounge area; pervious paved pathways; monuments/wayfinding; covered parking; student drop-off; and ornamental steel perimeter fencing and gates.

April 18th

Understanding the Benefits of LED Lights for Industrial Needs

This guest article from UK-based Catherine Dickinson explores the evolution of the LED light and its emerging place in the industrial sector. The initial price point for LED bulbs is considerably more expensive, however, when analyzing the lifecycle picture, the energy savings and projected lifespan are rather convincing.

April 17th

Seattle School Certified as World’s Fourth Living Building; First on West Coast

A program of the International Living Future Institute, the Living Building Challenge (LBC) is widely considered the world’s most rigorous building performance standard. A Living Building generates all of its own energy through clean, renewable resources; captures and treats its own water; incorporates only non-toxic, appropriately sourced materials; and operates efficiently and for maximum beauty. A building must perform as designed for one full year of occupancy and pass a third-party audit before receiving certification as “Living.”

April 16th

Parking Structures Should Target LEED Models

Despite the growth of public transportation and other transportation alternatives, parking locations remain necessary in much of the nation. Even though parking consultants and design teams have been using sustainable practices for parking structures in recent years, many do not calculate energy use as part of their standard methodology. Unknown to most, a garage typically […]

April 15th

Schilling Green II Certified LEED-CS Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council

Schilling Green II, a Class A office building located at 225 Schilling Circle in Hunt Valley, has been certified LEED-CS Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – a testament to the building’s resource conservation, energy efficiency and optimal indoor air-quality. This designation means a workplace that is healthier for the environment. According to a mounting body of research, it also means a workplace that is healthier for employees and a company’s bottom line.

April 10th

Bonded Logic & The Home Depot: Green Ways To Insulate Homes and Absorb Sound

UltraTouch Denim Insulation offers ultimate thermal performance and creates a 30 to 50 percent increase in a room’s acoustical performance. The insulation does not contain formaldehyde or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). It is easy to use: a portion of the batts in each package contain perforations similar to paper towels that allow consumers to tear the insulation with their hands to get the size they need.

April 9th

Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Construction

There are tons of ways buildings are going green these days and there are new methods being seen every day. The best part about this is that not only are they great for the environment, but they’re sustainable and they’re just as good as traditional methods.

April 8th

Non-toxic Lithium-Ion Battery Packs Revolutionizing Power Tools

While the green aspects of power tools was not a driving factor in the decisions for most of us in the past, more power and less weight would be the priority, it is one of those topics that has become much more important in recent years and is important enough for our customers to ask about. While using Lithium-Ion battery packs instead of nickel cadmium may not solve the problems of the planet, it won’t hurt it.

March 27th

Is Houston Solar Ready?

“Is Houston Solar Ready?” is a four-page collaborative review that presents a review of the technological implementations in Houston homes, schools and commercial buildings. It also presents case studies and a record of the successes the community has had and challenges facing the use of solar energy along the Texas Gulf Coast.

March 16th