Buildings Are an Ideal but Overlooked Climate Solution Emma Stewart, Graham Pugh and Matt Jordan – November 04, 2019, Print In her speech before the United Nations in September 2019, Greta Thunberg called out the assembled world leaders for their stubborn adherence to the status quo in the face of an escalating climate crisis. “How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just business as …

Cost, comfort emphasized as building electrification takes off in Colorado

Allen Best, Nov 2019 Boulder, Colorado. A Boulder campaign is making a pitch to residents that they can save money and breathe easier by switching from gas.  Comfort, not climate, is the central message of a campaign in Colorado to persuade homeowners to switch from natural gas to electricity for heating and other indoor purposes. The joint program sponsored by …

Innovation Opportunities in Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings

November 19, 2019  |  By Sneha Ayyagari and Matt Jungclaus, RMI What if buildings could communicate with the electric grid to save money and reduce their environmental impacts? Buildings drive up to 80 percent of the peak demand on the grid, and peak demand drives grid investments in generation, transmission, and distribution assets, so there is a huge opportunity to balance building …

The Kendeda Building is “the greenest in the Southeast”

Lloyd Alterl loydalterNovember 25, 2019 Leed is for wimps; the Living Building Challenge really pushes the building envelope. The Greenbuild conference is built around the LEED certification developed by the US Green Building Council, but LEED is for wimps compared to the Living Building Challenge (LBC). A tour of Kendeda Building on Georgia Institute of Technology campus is a great …

Why is architecture and building so different in Europe?

Mike Eliason, an American architect working in Germany, explains. Lloyd Alter November 20, 2019 Mike Eliason is an architect from Seattle who is known to TreeHugger for his strong opinions and his praise of dumb boxes. He has a story to tell about the difference between construction in Germany and the USA and posted a tweet; I took him up on his …

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 …