Tag Archives: Energy

In Order to Become Leaders in Energy Modeling, Architects Need to be Building Science Experts

Green Building

In Order to Become Leaders in Energy Modeling, Architects Need to be Building Science Experts

In a marketplace increasingly attuned to high-performance strategies, design teams and clients alike are becoming ever savvier with regard to building science. Consequently, there is a growing expectation that architects exhibit the tools and technical knowledge to go beyond design rules-of-thumb and actually test conceptual notions, compare the performance design options, and refine chosen strategies. This can be accomplished through schematic-level energy modeling. This kind of energy modeling is simplified through basic forms, generalizations, and gross approximations, which makes it….

Read More

Diminishing Return on Investment for Increasing R-Values

Green Building

Diminishing Return on Investment for Increasing R-Values

More Insulation Might Not Be the Best Solution for Your Clients Have you ever looked up the minimum R-value requirements in a referenced energy code or standard for high-performance building and thought the requirements seemed a bit low? Take ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 as an example. This is the referenced energy standard for LEED-NC v2009. For a project in Indianapolis, which falls in Climate Zone 5A, a nonresidential, low-sloped roof assembly exhibiting insulation entirely above deck is only required to have….

Read More

Megawatt, Gigawatt, Watt is What?

Green Building

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,….

Read More

‘Hypermiling’ for Housing

Green Building

‘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….

Read More

Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass

Green Building

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….

Read More

When Does the 2010 Indiana Energy Conservation Code Not Apply?

Green Building

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….

Read More

Do Green Roofs Provide Insulation Value?

Green Building

Do Green Roofs Provide Insulation Value?

How much additional insulation does a green roof provide? I posed this question to two green roof experts that I am working with on an upcoming project. Their responses were consistent and somewhat surprising. The short answer: NONE. Green roofs provide innumerous benefits including shading by foliage, retarding heat transfer by advection (transfer of heat or matter by the flow of a fluid), providing thermal mass effect, prompting evapotranspiration, increasing stormwater retention, and protecting waterproof roofing assemblies. However, a green….

Read More

Putting Energy Subsidies in Context

Green Building

Putting Energy Subsidies in Context

Recently, I came across an editorial for an online magazine in which the author took umbrage with the disparity in the amount of federal subsidies provided for renewable energy compared to fossil fuels. The author cited this recent study by the Environmental Law Institute, a nonpartisan research and policy organization. The ELI study concluded that between 2002 and 2008 federal subsidies provided for renewable energy topped off at $29.0 billion; while those provided for fossil fuels amounted to $72.5 billion….

Read More

Home Energy Monitors are Worth the Investment

Green Building

Home Energy Monitors are Worth the Investment

Back in October of 2009, I blogged about a promising new partnership between Google and The Energy Detective (or TED). At last, a homeowner could monitor their house’s energy consumption in real time using a laptop or mobile phone. While it was hard to justify the $225 dollar investment to my wife, I convinced her that a TED 5000 would at least educate us about our energy use patterns, if not make us more conscientious about our personal energy consumption…..

Read More

Study: Growing Focus on Energy Efficiency in 2011

Green Building

Study: Growing Focus on Energy Efficiency in 2011

According to a new white paper published by Pike Research, energy efficiency will become a growing focus in the building design and construction industry in 2011. Despite a global recession that has correlated into a lack of new construction projects, energy efficient retrofits continued to grow this past year and a multitude of factors will continue to influence the direction of building efficiency efforts domestically and internationally. Amidst a complex mix of contributing factors, Pike Research cataloged the various influences….

Read More