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.

We’ve heard the wind-integration success stories from Sweden and Denmark, but we haven’t heard as much about how wind is contributing right now to U.S. electricity supplies.

Has Elon Musk discovered renewable energy’s Holy Grail? He’s already reinvented financial transactions for the Internet age with PayPal and made electric vehicles sexy with Tesla Motors.

In the energy field, who we receive our power from and what we receive may soon be our choice. In fact, some customers are already in the driver’s seat through something called ­community choice aggregation (CCA).

In February 2014, researchers at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released a report that outlines how rooftop photovoltaic (PV) arrays, combined with battery-based energy storage could lead electric-utility customers to opt out of the connected grid.

More on Green Building

 
Distributed Generation and Solar Energy

Distributed generation allows for the use of small-scale power generation technologies located nearby the load being served. It can be applied in many different forms. There are various methods by which customers can generate their own electricity, with or without the backup grid.

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By the Light of the Sun

After four hurricanes passed through Florida in 2004, leaving a tangle of downed power lines and outages, the most reliable power source proved to be solar.

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Producing Green Power

An important consideration for any “green” building is its electric power supply. Commercial buildings currently consume more than one-third of the total electric energy produced in the United States. The U.S.

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Making New Waves

A 500-kilowatt solar power system supplements 15 percent peak power to water treatment operations in northern New Jersey. A 250 kW fuel cell helps manage electricity demand and address ongoing air-quality concerns at a Southern California water reclamation plant.

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Here Comes the Sun

Solar-power cells, also known as photovoltaics (PV), are semiconductors that convert sunlight directly to direct current (DC) electric power. “The sun’s light dislodges free electrons in each cell on the solar panel and collects them on conductors to create a volt.

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The Energy Effect

I once read that Thomas Edison tried to sell houses made from preformed concrete panels without success.

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In the Spotlight

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program, lighting consumes 25 to 40 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings and is a primary source of waste heat.

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