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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In Search of High Performance Buildings


Do you have a commercial building that might be a good candidate for ‘high performance’? The picture at the right is the Real Goods high performance building in Hopland, CA. The U.S.Department of Energy is looking for commercial developments in the design phase that might qualify as High Performance Buildings demonstration projects. Steven Winter Associates (SWA) is under contract with the DOE to identify and consult to commercial building project teams. Potential clients must be interested in incorporating high-performance practices including energy and water conservation, resource-efficient materials, indoor air quality, recycled waste programs, state-of-the- art HVAC systems, fuel cells, photovoltaics, or low-impact landscaping. SWA is consulting on three projects in different parts of the country: a public library in Chicago that is building a green roof, recycled building materials, and extensive daylighting; a prototype office building for a major developer in Boston that will have reusable/recyclable interior materials and finishes, and advanced mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems with raised floor distribution; and a mixed use commercial/residential building on a site in Arizona that may incorporate PV panels, solar water heating, water harvesting, and a water-source heat pump system. Contact Mike Crosbie, SWA:[sorry this link is no longer available]

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Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center, Portland, OR.


Since 1991, Ecotrust has supported the growth of regional businesses that integrate conservation and economic development. Now, the organization is redeveloping an historic warehouse in Portland into a green retail and office complex. It will serve as “a marketplace for the ideas, goods, and services of the emerging conservation economy.” The 80,000 square foot Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center is named for the philanthropist and Ecotrust board member whose $2.5 million gift enabled the building’s purchase. A $2 million low-interest loan from the Ford Foundation is helping to finance the $12 million project. Space will be leased to companies and organizations that focus on conservation. 80 percent of the space is leased; opening ceremonies are planned for this summer. Patagonia, a leading sustainable business, will be the retail anchor. The building will house Ecotrust’s headquarters, the Wild Salmon Center, ShoreBank Pacific, the Certified Forest Products Council and Progressive Investment Management. The Natural Capital Center is in Portland’s emerging Pearl District, an area targeted for dense redevelopment as part of a regional smart growth strategy. It will be home to 15,000 new residents. The Portland Streetcar, which starts operating this summer, will stop directly in front of the building.The building is […]

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