Green Building

 

A blooming industry, green building is rising with greater public demand, legislative focus, and code and standard mandates. With programs like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) becoming more popular, contractors are finding new building processes and technologies to be more efficient and environmentally minded. The below articles dive into alternative energies, energy efficiency, the smart grid, and more and include editorial from our annual special issue on the subject.

The upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21 will reduce solar-power production all over the nation, but especially in California, which relies heavily on solar energy. It has six times more solar power capacity than any other state, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Despite the benefits of energy efficiency, upfront costs remain a hurdle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognizes this challenge, especially in areas where homeowners may not have many financing options.

In April, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of its fourth annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition that engages college students to design net-zero-energy-ready homes.

In the age of digital technology, breakthroughs create demand for even more innovation. In the case of residential solar power, customers now need a way to safely and efficiently store the power generated from the panels on their roof.

More on Green Building

 
The Bullitt Center’s 575 rooftop solar panels and solar canopies produce 230,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
Buildings as Power Plants

Today, some buildings can produce more energy than they use. Spurred by successful net-zero energy projects (also called zero-net), net-positive endeavors demonstrate the possibilities and potential in building design.


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Macy’s distribution facility in Minooka, Ill.
Wrapped Up: Hardt Electric

Thanks to increasing adoption of renewable energy, declining market costs of many renewable technologies, and the availability of financial incentives that help subsidize the cost of installation, the photovoltaic (PV) panel market has grown dramatically over the past several years.


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Taking Notes: Documenting Green Projects

Filling out paperwork and documenting your company’s work may be one of the more mundane project tasks, but when green building certification is involved, that documentation serves several important purposes.


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PNNL researcher Srinivas Katipamula examining a control box for a commercial building's heating and cooling system. Credit: Andrea Starr / PNNL
Fully Using Commercial Building Controls Cuts Energy Use 29 Percent

Expensive startup costs are often cited as a reason building owners and operators don’t install energy saving technology, like building controls and automation, although in general they eventually pay for themselves.


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New Federal Legislation Aims To Increase Clean-Energy Jobs


While the Trump administration shows a preference for fossil fuel industries, some lawmakers believe the federal government should lead the way toward renewables and efficiency.


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Bringing New Power: Utility-Scale Solar PV Systems


When it comes to generation and transmission system management, utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays are often spoken of as a problem rather than as a solution. However, today’s sophisticated inverters and plant controls are helping to turn around this negative reputation.


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Report: Solar Power Hits Milestone of $1 Per Watt, Continued Upward Trend Forecast

The support for alternative energies, and solar power in particular, remains strong. Renewable power technologies continue to achieve new efficiencies and to become more feasible.


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