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 community solar market barely existed just a few years ago, but now the concept that allows even renters to invest in their own photovoltaic (PV) panels is going gangbusters in a number of states.

Conventional crystalline solar panels on a farm in Pottsgrove, Pa. Credit Tom Gibson.

Around the country, solar photovoltaic installations are sprouting on residences and commercial buildings. If Doug Neidich has his way, we’ll see many more of these, but of a different variety.

Green building trends have affected nearly every sector of the construction and renovation market, and schools and universities are part of it.

Imagine an energy source buried thousands of feet below us that can best be accessed by sending highly pressurized fluid to open fissures in underground rock.

More on Green Building

Greener Than Thou

When the economics of residential solar panels are up for discussion, the phrase “grid parity”—meaning the point at which solar-generated electricity is as cheap as the energy the local utility supplies—can quickly dampen enthusiasm.

Roller Coaster Blues

One of the biggest challenges transmission-network operators face in integrating large-scale solar and wind farms into their operations is the variability of these natural resources.

Assessing Use and Sustainability

The second step in the energy services project delivery process is normally thought to be an energy audit; it is the cornerstone of energy service. While it is a key component, an energy audit is only one form of assessment.

Molten Batteries Could Charge up Renewables

Renewable power has the potential to transform our energy consumption, but like most innovations, it has a downside. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a renewable-powered society is the intermittent nature of its generation.

Investments in North American Wind Energy to Total $145 Billion Through 2017

Although the North American wind energy industry lags in certain areas behind Europe and Asia, falling costs and larger, more efficient turbines are giving rise to a sense of cautious optimism.

HEM and Haw

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the average energy use per home per year costs $2,000. With 110 million homes in the country, that’s a large sum of money. It is one reason why the relatively new home energy management (HEM) market is beginning to mature.

Understanding Building Operations

The last energy services column (January 2012) introduced an 11-step energy services project delivery process. Electrical contractors can follow the process systematically, thereby developing a comprehensive program to help their customers identify and achieve energy and sustainability goals.