Tag Archives: Energy

The 2030 Challenge Ratchets Up

Green Building

The 2030 Challenge Ratchets Up

Originally published on February 6, 2015 by BNP Media through the Walls & Ceilings Blog. In the new year, project teams committed to the 2030 Challenge are being asked to kick their performance goals up a notch. As of January 1, 2015, the energy performance target for new buildings, including major renovations, has increased from 60% below the regional average to 70% below the regional average. For project teams looking to possibly commit to 2030 Challenge for the first time,….

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The Truth About Spray-Foam

Green Building

The Truth About Spray-Foam

Originally published on January 26, 2015 by BNP Media through the Walls & Ceilings Blog. Spray-foam has a reputation of providing superior insulating qualities compared to fiberglass batt, mineral wool, cellulose, and other insulation alternatives. The truth is that spray-foam does not necessarily perform better than other types of insulation when it comes to conductive heat transfer. Think about the insulation products you’ve seen at your local home-improvement store. Remember that big number on the label that started with an….

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Every Energy Model Is Wrong – And Here Is Why They Are Indispensable

Green Building

Every Energy Model Is Wrong – And Here Is Why They Are Indispensable

LEED has taken some heat for buildings that do not perform as they were modeled, yet energy modeling is an essential tool for any high-performance building project. Originally published in the August 2014 issue of Environmental Design + Construction (EDC) magazine. Recently, LEED has come under fire for accounts of certified buildings not performing as well as their energy models predicted. Frequently mentioned amongst the antagonistic “gotcha” coverage is an out-of-context 2007 quote by the USGBC Research Committee acknowledging: “Buildings….

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Community Connection

Green Building

Community Connection

Photograph property of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects Case Study: Lincoln Heritage Public Library Chrisney Branch Originally published in the Summer 2014 issue of High Performance Buildings (HPB) magazine, a publication of ASHRAE. By Daniel J. Overbey, AIA; and William M. Brown, AIA For the people of Chrisney, Ind., opportunity for social and economic investment has not been knocking. This community of fewer than 500 has been in a gradual economic decline over the past several decades. Having already lost….

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Using Renewable Energy in LEED v4

Green Building

Using Renewable Energy in LEED v4

Energy efficiency is the starting point for any high-performance building. After reducing overall energy needs through building-related energy conservation measures, the next step is to invest in passive systems and high-efficiency HVAC systems. Smart controls can help a building operate even more efficiently. But in the end, there will always be a need to purchase or create energy for the building. On-site generation of renewable energy or the purchase of green power allows buildings to source the remaining energy needs without….

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Efficiency: Toward Net-Zero Energy (VoiceThread Presentation)

Green Building

Efficiency: Toward Net-Zero Energy (VoiceThread Presentation)

  Four years ago, I co-authored a white paper with my colleague Nick Worden at Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf (BDMD) Architects and William Brown, currently the Director of Sustainability at Indiana University. The white paper was published at 2010 International High Performance Buildings Conference at Purdue University and it presented a full-year of energy consumption and on-site renewable energy production data for the Chrisney Library (a branch of the Lincoln Heritage Public Library), verifying the project as the first non-residential net-zero (site) energy facility in Indiana….

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Technically, Heat Does Not Rise

Green Building

Technically, Heat Does Not Rise

© Kumiko Murakami Campos   Heat rises. The adage is one of the cornerstones of passive environmental systems in buildings. The typical anecdote is the hot-air balloon. By using a burner to thrust heated air into the (typically) nylon envelope, the balloon fills with less buoyant gas that lifts the it and its passenger(s) into the air. But what if I told you that this oversimplified statement actually misrepresents the characteristics of heat? The truth is – technically, heat does not rise…..

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Passive Agressive

Green Building

Passive Agressive

It’s been 40 years since the 1973 Oil Crisis thrust the United States to the forefront of passive solar heating. But have technologically advanced building systems rendered passive strategies obsolete? Originally published in the August 2013 issue of Environmental Design + Construction (EDC) magazine. LEED v4 for Homes contains a three-point credit for optimizing a building’s orientation for passive solar heating. Details of the credit are specific to managing the amount, shading and orientation of south-facing glass. These are sound….

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There is No Such Thing as a National Building Energy Code

Green Building

There is No Such Thing as a National Building Energy Code

This summer, the U.S. Senate will continue to advance the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013. Introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D–NH) and Rob Portman (R–Ohio), this important piece of legislature will, among many other items, promote model building codes and standards while kick-starting private sector investment in commercial, industrial, and municipal building energy performance. Certain forthcoming amendments notwithstanding, the Shaheen-Portman bill is largely supported by the high-performance building community. However, it stops short of mandating a national energy….

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What’s the Difference Between Insulation and Thermal Mass?

Green Building

What’s the Difference Between Insulation and Thermal Mass?

I just wrapped up an amazing first session of online instruction for a building envelope course at The Boston Architectural College’s Sustainable Design Institute. It was a very rewarding experience as I had the pleasure of interacting with a deeply knowledgeable international group of students at an advanced level on a very complicated topic. Among other observations, over the course of the session it became clear to me that there is a prevalent misunderstanding about the fundamental differences between “insulation” and “thermally massive”….

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