Green Building, Renewable Energy … New Resources

Interface building
Atlanta-based Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates received the American Institute of Architects’ highest honor – the 2002 AIA Architecture Firm Award given to firms for consistently producing distinguished architecture. An important aspect of TVS’ designs are sustainability, which is especially prominent in the firm’s recent work for Interface (see photo) and Georgia Tech. TVS Sustainable Design services emphasize the economic as well as the environmental advantages of LEED certification and other forms of sustainable design.

The Florida Solar Energy Center is the first U.S. laboratory accredited to test and certify the power rating of solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) modules to international standards. The certification process allows for accurate performance comparisons between PV systems from different manufacturers. All solar water collectors and systems sold or manufactured in Florida must be certified by the FSEC.

The Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT) has published a report, “Breaking Down Barriers: Challenges and Solutions to Code Approval of Green Building,” about the effect of building codes on green building practices. The conclusions are no surprise: building codes can be a barrier to the use of green building practices. The authors analyzes why code officials reject certain practices and how to overcome them. The survey explores the effects of perceived barriers: 65% of code users say they chose not not to include a green alternative because they expected it would be rejected. While you’re at the website, see the “Checklist for Gaining Approval for Alternative Designs, Materials and Methods of Construction.”

The Boston Architectural Center is offering a Certificate in Sustainable Design under its continuing education program. Students must complete five required courses and one elective.

FROM Environmental Building News, a Content Partner

DOE released the first of seven volumes on Design Guidelines for Energy Efficient Schools, to help schools save millions of dollars through increased energy efficiency. DOE estimates that 25 percent of the annual $6 billion energy bill spent by elementary schools could be saved. U.S. school districts are expected to spend $79 billion on renovation or new school buildings over the next three years. Numerous studies also point to the benefits of natural sunlight on learning. The design guidelines are a product of EnergySmart Schools, part of DOE’s Rebuild America Program. [sorry this link is no longer available]

A new Greenpeace report, “Losing the Clean Energy Race: How the U.S. Can Retake the Lead and Solve Global Warming” shows the high cost U.S. businesses and workers are paying for the lack of strategic long-term government policies to promote renewable energy. While the U.S. government showers subsidies and tax breaks on polluting industries, Europe and Japan are building an energy economy based on renewable sources.

Solar, for example, from 1992-2000 grew at 43 percent a year in Japan, at 46% a year in Germany … and at 16 percent a year in the U.S. By the end of 2001, global wind capacity provided electricity for 10 million households and could generate 10 percent of the world’s electricity and create more than 1.7 million jobs by 2020. The U.S. share of global wind power has gone from 77percent in 1990 to 18 percent.

On the other hand, U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s new report shows how states around the U.S. are “Generating Solutions: How States Are Putting Renewable Energy Into Action.”

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change Web site has a new searchable database of 21 case studies on 14 state and local programs that have produced quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. You can submit programs and comments at the website. [sorry this link is no longer available]The site also includes a “Policy Makers Guide” with a special section on energy. The Guide lists companies that have undertaken a variety of activities to reduce emissions associated with energy supply. [sorry this link is no longer available]

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