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.

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.

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.

Energy-saving practices, such as rooftop solar panels and increased efficiency through smart lighting and home automation, are becoming mainstays of new construction, spurred on by recent legislation in cities like San Francisco.

Atlanta is the most recent U.S. city to make a green commitment. According to the Sierra Club, 27 cities are pledging to use 100 percent renewable energy by various deadlines. In the past year, more than a dozen joined. The Sierra Club keeps a record on its “Ready for 100” website.

More on Green Building

 
Direct to Connect

Buildings that can make their own energy have long been a goal for environmentally motivated architects and engineers, but the means for doing so have mostly been limited to bulky solar panels and wind turbines high enough to raise the ire of almost any community’s zoning board.


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Online Tool Tracks Solar Installations

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched a Web site, “The Open PV Project,” that will serve as an online tool for the photovoltaic (PV) market.


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Boost in Popularity

The North American market for ballasts is already recovering from the sluggish economic conditions of 2009, according to Randy Dollar, vice president, systems market development for Universal Lighting Technologies, Nashville, Tenn.


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Poll: 75 Percent of Americans Approve of Solar-Energy Development on Public Lands

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released new national polling data showing that 75 percent of those surveyed support the development of solar-energy plants on public lands not set aside for national parks or nature preserves. Gotham Research Group conducted the poll.


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Vermont's Sanders Introduces Major Solar-Energy Initiative

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., chairman of the Senate’s green jobs subcommittee, introduced legislation with nine cosponsors to encourage the installation of 10 million solar-power systems on the rooftops of homes and businesses over the next decade.


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Proposed Grid to Make Offshore Wind Power More Reliable

The energy needs of the world could potentially be met by converting wind energy to electricity by means of wind turbines. While offshore wind power resources are abundant, wind turbines are currently unable to provide steady power due to natural fluctuations in wind direction and strength.


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Report: Solar Could Meet 10 Percent of U.S. Energy Needs

Environment America, a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, released a report, “Building a Solar Future: Repowering America’s Homes, Businesses and Industry with Solar Energy,” which outlines the road to meet 10 percent of the United States’ energy needs by 2030.


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