Category Archives: Green Building

LEED 2009 vs LEED v4 Credit Comparison Flowcharts

LEED 2009 vs LEED v4 Credit Comparison Flowcharts

When the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo convenes in San Francisco later this month, much of the focus of the educational sessions will be on the concepts and strategies embodied by the upcoming LEED v4. While there has certainly not been a shortage of outstanding LEED-related resources, technical revisions, exaggerated speculations, gross misconceptions, and mainstream media hoopla deployed in recent months, I have found it difficult to locate a distilled, clarified explanation of how the current version of of the rating system – LEED 2009 –….

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AIA Releases Energy Modeling Primer for Architects

AIA Releases Energy Modeling Primer for Architects

Cover image from An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process © 2012 The American Institute of Architects Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released its long-awaited primer for architectural professionals interested in integrating energy modeling into the design process. The publication, titled An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process, is a comprehensive 86-page document that defines the fundamentals of energy modeling, outlines the current state of various performance and analysis tools, and….

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Using Plants to Naturally Improve Indoor Environmental Quality

Using Plants to Naturally Improve Indoor Environmental Quality

Indoor environmental quality is typically the beginning and end of any holistic discussion about “green” building interiors. Human health is paramount and, generally speaking, both designers and clients understand that many building materials off-gas toxic compounds. Indeed, that “new building” smell we’ve all become conditioned to associate with a fresh, new facility is actually your body’s sensory response to the intake of toxic microscopic particulates. Common toxins found in building interiors include: Trichloroethylene – typically found in varnishes, paints, and….

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Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass? (EDC Magazine Edition)

Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass? (EDC Magazine Edition)

A classic example of a roofpond application, the Atascadero House (Atascadero, Calif.) was designed with the assistance of Harold R. Hay and built in 1973. Photo credit: John Reynolds. Thermal mass is an essential component for any passive solar heating or cooling strategy. It’s useful because it absorbs solar energy and provides inertia against interior temperature fluctuations despite diurnal temperature cycles. Design teams can introduce thermal mass into projects in a number of ways. Baked clay, adobe and various types….

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Megawatt, Gigawatt, Watt is What?

Megawatt, Gigawatt, Watt is What?

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Baraboo, WI The LEED Platinum facility features a 39.6 kilowatt (kW) solar electric (photovoltaic) system on its roof, the second largest in Wisconsin. Image property of Daniel Overbey There have been a flurry of headlines lately announcing large-scale renewable energy plans. Here are just a few of the recent news clips: Fast-Track Solar Development Zones Identified: The U.S. Department of the Interior has published a “Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement,” which, among other items,….

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‘Hypermiling’ for Housing

‘Hypermiling’ for Housing

‘Hypermiling’ for Housing: How home energy monitors will liberate an energy-conscious consumer base. By Daniel Overbey A 1996 Civic DX Sedan is not usually considered to be a preeminent fuel-efficient vehicle. Try telling that to Darin Cosgrove of Brockville, Ontario. He’s the cofounder of an online forum, EcoModer.com, chalk full of stories where consumers have taken vehicles like the Civic DX Sedan and increased their fuel efficiency by more than 100 percent over the EPA’s “combined” fuel economy rating. Cosgrove himself….

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Putting the 2012 Indianapolis Heatwaves and Drought into Perspective

Putting the 2012 Indianapolis Heatwaves and Drought into Perspective

Photograph by Ewan Bellamy. Some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license. You heard about it all over the streets of Indianapolis during the Super Bowl festivities. It was unseasonably warm in the Circle City. Patrons swarmed the Super Bowl Village along Georgia Street – some wearing little more than a heavy sweatshirt. As the host city, Indianapolis was bracing itself to deal with several feet of snow and here we were – experiencing the kind of weather Dallas was hoping for….

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The Invention of the Roofpond System

The Invention of the Roofpond System

The roofpond system has always been a dark horse of sorts in the realm of passive solar heating and cooling. Most literature on passive systems will pay lip service to roofponds, but few give credence to the system’s immense potential as exemplified by various case studies with well-documented performance. The reason that the roofpond is often overlooked is two-fold. First, the system has always had a difficult time  “fitting in” with any one category of environmental control systems. It can be used….

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Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass

Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass

What if I told you that I knew about a building product that: Has three times the thermal storage capacity of concrete. Has only half the weight of brick. Is completely non-toxic. Is completely transparent. Is inherently fire-resistant. Is abundantly available in the U.S. at virtually zero cost (at least for the time being). That’s right. I’m talking about water. The nectar of life. Throughout the history of passive solar heating, there are many accounts of innovative thinkers using water as a thermal….

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When Does the 2010 Indiana Energy Conservation Code Not Apply?

When Does the 2010 Indiana Energy Conservation Code Not Apply?

It has been just over two years since Indiana adopted its new energy code, the 2010 Indiana Energy Conservation Code (IECC). During that time, a lot of rumors, inaccuracies, and confusion have emerged regarding the application of the code. The following is an attempt to clarify the issue using primary source materials. . In a nutshell: The 2012 IECC is mandatory statewide for Class 1 structures (commercial buildings and residential buildings with three or more dwelling units). For a definition of….

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