Green Building

New Green Building Websites


Achieving a green building demands a holistic approach, far beyond a little recycled plastic decking here, a few solar panels there, and a coat of low-VOC paint, says Steven Winters Associates, organizers of a new web site, the Whole Building Design Guide. Its producers hope to educate designers in environmentally sound design and simplify access to criteria and standards. www.wbdg.orgAnother site, Roadmaps to Energy Efficiency, is a step-by-step guide to retrofitting commercial properties to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. There are three ways (RoadMaps) to do it: do it yourself, hire an energy consultant firm, or work with an energy service company. Case studies and calculators demonstrate the benefits that have been achieved in buildings throughout the country.

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Build It Green – Resources

DOE Unveils EnergyPlusThe Department of Energy (DOE) has improved on its widely used DOE-2 software with its new release, EnergyPlus. The computer program allows architects, engineers, building owners and managers to dramatically lower energy use in buildings while optimizing building performance. The earlier version saved a total of $20 billion, according to DOE.EnergyPlus improves the simulation of whole building approaches in design, planning and construction. Like DOE-2, users can calculate the impact of different heating, cooling and ventilating equipment, and various types of lighting and windows to maximize building energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Now, users can also simulate the effect of window blinds, electrochromic window glazings and complex daylighting systems. Some of the buildings that have benefited from the program are the Pentagon, Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Francisco Airport, Intel and American Express corporate headquarters, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in Wisconsin. Download EnergyPlus: [sorry this link is no longer available]After you’ve used EnergyPlus to optimize energy performance, you can turn to Atlantic Energy System’s Clean Power Estimator to do the same for solar systems.Enter your zip code and get an estimate of the net annual cost of a PV system (residential or commercial) in your location. The […]

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Bits and Bytes

Ford Motor Company is the first company to offer employees a SRI option in their 401k plan, the Domini Social Equity Fund. Ford’s 401k plan is the ninth largest defined contribution plan in the U.S.It’s rare for a national poll to find that Americans rank the environment as a higher priority than economic development, but that is what a recent Los Angeles Times poll concluded – 50 percent versus 36 percent. Respondents to the nationwide survey indicated that withdrawing from the Kyoto treaty was a mistake for President Bush and that pollution is getting worse. By a margin of 2-1, respondents believe that government oversight on businesses is necessary when it comes to environmental protection. If the law passes, the UK will be the first country to introduce a voluntary trading system of municipal waste landfill permits. The government expects it to reduce the cost of complying with the EU 1999 landfill directive. [sorry this link is no longer available]The newest division in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is the NJ Green Homes office. Its mission is “to fundamentally improve the environmental performance, energy efficiency, quality, and affordability of housing in NJ.” It will use advocacy, education and […]

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Green Building Special Spotlight: Government Programs

Maryland Smart Growth ProgramSince 1997, Governor Glendening has spearheaded the nation’s most comprehensive smart growth program in the state of Maryland. The award-winning “Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Program” provides incentives to attract commercial and residential growth in communities with existing infrastructure and away from undeveloped areas. [sorry this link is no longer available]In March, the governor announced that Baltimore’s largest office building – a $75 million complex called Montgomery Park – will be a green renovation of a vacant 1.3 million square foot building. The Maryland Department of the Environment will occupy 262,000 square feet of floor space. The building’s energy efficiency features such as extensive daylighting, and insulating glass and sensors, will reduce energy costs from the $2 per square foot of a typical comparable building to about 98 cents a square foot annually. Recycled materials will be used throughout the building in partitions, ceiling tiles and carpet. Collected rainwater will be used to flush toilets. Contractors expect to salvage about 75 percent of the demolition debris. Also in March, Governor Glendening signed an executive order that creates a commission to recommend criteria for a comprehensive energy conservation strategy, green buildings and for the purchase of renewable energy. […]

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