The current economic slowdown has brought all facets of the building industry to a virtual standstill, as falling consumer spending and home values force businesses and homeowners to curtail all but the most essential construction and repairs.
According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, a major international industry research firm, renewable energy is gaining ground in North America as global in-ground fossil fuel reserves continue to dwindle and oil prices fluctuate.
Most facilities have a hidden source of cash within their walls. People working in the energy-reduction field know that usually at least a 10 percent savings in energy can be achieved with a payback measured in less than two years, and often right in next month’s utility bill.
In the drive for energy-efficient buildings, perfection is net-zero energy. Such tightly constructed buildings also produce their own energy, ultimately offsetting the energy they expend. Some produce more than they use and can sell the excess back to the utility.
According to the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA), green building, also known as sustainable or high-performance building, is the practice of creating structure and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life cycle.
Building information modeling (BIM) provides object-based parametric modeling and can take an object, along with all of the data describing its components, and place it in a computer model that is a virtual description, rather than a simple geometric description, of the object.
When inspecting a small office facility for a customer, I was surprised that he had a fuel cell system for his main power source that was backed up by an optional standby generator system. In other words, the complex did not depend on utility power.
Forget solar, wind and biomass. According to many experts, the way to save the planet, create green jobs, and sever the country’s ties to foreign oil is not through groundbreaking, innovative use of renewable power. They say it has nothing to do with generating any power at all.
In recent years, ballast manufacturers have begun marketing a premium fluorescent ballast called a “high-efficiency ballast” for operation of 4-foot T8 lamps. A high-efficiency ballast provides the same level of light output as a standard electronic ballast but does it with 2-–5 fewer watts.
Energy-efficiency programs in the United States could realistically reduce the rate of growth for electricity consumption by 22 percent over the next two decades if key barriers can be addressed, according to an analysis titled “Assessment of Achievable Savings Potential From Energy Efficiency and D
According to the Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Star program, there are approximately 657,000 retail buildings in the United States—representing about 13.5 percent of all U.S. commercial space—and consuming approximately $21 billion worth of energy annually.
President Barack Obama has made it clear that he will invest heavily in the renewable and clean-energy sectors to help launch a national economic recovery. According to a study released just before the election, at least one region of the country is ready for the challenge.