The foxes are writing building codes for henhouses

Lloyd Alterlloydalter October 28, 2019 A secret deal lets the homebuilders dominate the committees that write the building codes for housing. Building Codes have been around since the time of Hammurabi and Deuteronomy, and have always been contentious, but became particularly so when they moved from being just about not killing people, about safety standards, to having other goals, like …

ZNE from scratch? Renovation or demolition? The question gets tougher every day

Lloyd AlterlloydalterOctober 28, 2019, Treehugger Sometimes we have to decide between “neighborhood character” or carbon emissions and density. A new Passive House in Vancouver is a good example. For years, this TreeHugger has been a proponent of preservation and renovation rather than demolition and replacement. But over the years I have renovated my own house twice, added a bit of …

Designing a Climate-Positive Future with Zero-Energy Districts

September 23, 2019  |  By Victor Olgyay RMI The environmental impact of buildings is clear. Over the last 30 years the green building industry has emerged in full regalia, with products, rating systems, building science, and architectural élan. Our design and technology have jumped from making buildings perform “better than code” to “zero-energy” or even “net-positive-energy” construction. Today’s high-performance buildings have a …

Electricity is set to become a cheaper energy carrier than combustible fuels

Dr Gunnar Luderer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who said the role of electrification in the future is underestimated. “Electricity is set to become a cheaper energy carrier than combustible fuels,” he noted. His team’s analysis has found that under 1.5C-consistent pathways, renewable power will be cheaper than energy from oil and gas from 2030, and they set out to find to …

The air conditioning trap

Excerpt from The Guardian, Aug 29, 2019 by Stephen Buranyi air conditioners are almost uniquely power-hungry appliances: a small unit cooling a single room, on average, consumes more power than running four fridges, while a central unit cooling an average house uses more power than 15. “Last year in Beijing, during a heatwave, 50% of the power capacity was going …

Chicago implements energy rating system for buildings + affordable, ZNE Habitat homes in Colorado

Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive, Aug. 26, 2019 Chicago launched its Energy Rating System to rate and make public the energy efficiency of large buildings (50,000 square feet or larger), including about 3,400 buildings across the city.  The buildings will be provided with placards illustrating their energy performance on a zero to four-star scale, which they are required to display on-site and report …

Six Reasons Why Berkeley’s Ban on New Natural Gas Is a Great Idea

by Gideon Weissman, Monday, August 19, 2019 Natural GasElectrificationGlobal WarmingFrackingClean Energy Last month the city of Berkeley, California, banned natural gas infrastructure from new buildings.[1] The most obvious reason for the ordinance is enough to justify it on its own: Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and burning it contributes to global warming. But by getting off gas, Berkeley is doing a whole …

Innovations To Combat Hot Cities With Natural Air-Conditioning

Aug 26, 2019 Natalie Parletta, Forbes, Science, Sustainable solutions and innovation With temperatures soaring around the globe, people who live in urban jungles – thick with concrete rather than trees – are feeling the heat even more. Climate Central warns that the compounded impact of climate change on cities is set to seriously jeopardise people’s health and put pressure on energy resources …

We can’t afford not to decarbonize. Invest 1% of world GDP, the total value of all goods and services in the world = about $85 trillion per year in 2019. 1% of that is $850 billion/yr

From Dr. Scott Denning, Colorado State University, Aug 2019 Economists estimate the total cost of decarbonizing the world economy to be about 1% of global GDP. Academic economists estimate the total cost of saving our descendants from millennia of hellish struggle at 1% of GDP (plus or minus 1% — could actually cost anywhere from nothing to 2%). And yes …

The Case for Switching From Natural Gas Hookups to Heat Pumps

7/19 GTM: Geothermal heat pumps are a no-brainer given their efficiency and environmental advantages, argue investor Jigar Shah and Kathy Hannun of Dandelion Energy. The Natural Resources Defense Council claims that installing heat pumps instead of natural-gas lines would save homeowners $1,500 right away, and hundreds of more dollars each year after that in operating costs. Homeowners would also enjoy the benefit …