Green Building

An insulation trifecta
March 18, 2014 07:31 AM - Chris Miller , Sierra Club Green Home

A savvy do-it-yourselfer can come up with a dozen unconventional uses for insulation (spray foam as packing material, anyone?), which makes it tricky to find basic information online when you're just dipping your toes in to the DIY pool. Here is an introduction to the three basic types of insulation and their most common uses: blown-in, spray foam and batt/blanket insulation.

Rooftop considerations amidst climate change
March 13, 2014 11:54 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As the realities of climate change set in, so too are realizations that building technologies impact both internal and external environments. The percentage increase of asphalt and blacktopped roofs create urban heat islands. Resultantly cities have become earth's newest desserts exhibiting high temperatures and arid conditions with little vegetation. Urban expansion as a stand-alone factor (omitting greenhouse gas-induced climate change considerations) is expected to raise temperatures by roughly six degrees. Because of this, scientists are now exploring new technologies to cope with the new reality.

Big Ben May Get a Solar Face Lift
March 13, 2014 08:04 AM - Sara Lozanova, Triple Pundit

In an effort by the U.K. Parliament to reach the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission by 34 percent by 2020, the House of Commons is now looking to the parliamentary estate and considering installing solar panels on the face of Big Ben in London. Parliamentary passholders were submitting ideas for reducing carbon emissions and boosting energy efficiency on the estate, when the solar idea was suggested.

Sustainable urban lawns
March 12, 2014 01:16 PM - robin Blackstone, ENN

Concern for the homogenization of America's urban landscape prompted a recent research study into the care and maintenance of residential landscapes. The study demonstrated fewer similarities than expected but the concern, according to researchers is that "Lawns not only cover a larger extent [of land] than any other irrigated 'crop' in the U.S., but are expected to expand in coming decades. The researchers go on to point out that the potential homogenization of residential lawn care has emerged as a major concern for carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and water flows."

Stonehenge, acoustically speaking
March 10, 2014 04:46 PM - University of Bristol newsroom

Why did the builders of Stonehenge choose to transport giant bluestones hundreds of kilometers from Wales to Salisbury Plain? Dr. George Nash from Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is involved in research, which is taking a novel approach to solving the mystery.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Trash talk: Ocean Dumping
March 10, 2014 11:01 AM - McKaylee Reavis, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA

Remember the excitement that filled your body when your parents told you the family was going to go to the beach? Remember the excitement slowly leaving your body when you witnessed the trash that covered the beach for miles? Ocean dumping has become a major problem for marine life and the people who enjoy its many benefits. Many marine animals have suffered from the trash in the water and people have suffered from the sight of trash filling the ocean and cluttering the beaches ruining their supposed beautiful day. Industries, cities, and militaries have been dumping their waste into the ocean for years now. One solution to prevent this problem is to impose stricter restrictions on ocean dumping that range from pedestrian waste to toxic nuclear hazard.

DOE Sets New Commercial Refrigeration Energy Efficiency Standards
March 7, 2014 08:01 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Following through on President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, the Department of Energy (DOE) on Feb. 28 issued new energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment. Over the ensuing 30 years, it's projected that the new standards will reduce carbon pollution by 142 million tons — the equivalent of that produced by generating electricity for 14.3 million U.S. homes — while also saving businesses as much as $11.7 billion on energy bills.

How much water do YOU use each day?
March 6, 2014 09:22 AM - Indiana University Newsroom, Indiana University Bloomington

Many Americans are confused about the best ways to conserve water and have a slippery grasp on how much water different activities use, according to a national online survey conducted by Indiana University Assistant Professor, Shahzeen Attari. Experts say the best strategy for conserving water is to focus on efficiency improvements such as replacing toilets and retrofitting washing machines. However, the largest group of the participants, nearly 43 percent, cited taking shorter showers, which does save water but may not be the most effective action. Very few participants cited replacing toilets or flushing less, even though toilets use the most volume of water daily.

2013 Marks Record Year for Solar Power in US
March 6, 2014 08:07 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

A new report shows that 2013 was another banner, record-setting year for solar energy in the U.S., with 4,751 megawatts (MW) of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed—a year-over-year increase of 41 percent—with another 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) coming online. A record 2,106 MW of solar power capacity was installed in the fourth quarter alone, amounting to 44 percent of the annual total. That bests the old quarterly record by 60 percent.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: The faults of fracking
March 3, 2014 11:41 AM - Reid Short, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA

Hydraulic Fracturing is a process that sends pressurized liquid down to a target depth to fracture rock and draws out liquids, such as natural gas. This process is used to retrieve the gas from rock formations beneath the earth that were previously thought to be unsuitable for gas production (Helman) (Rao). Fracking is now being implemented all over the world. Many countries have turned to this method of extracting gas to lower fuel costs and balance their trade deficits, but these countries, including the United States, are allowing fracking to cause major damage to the environment. The water pollution, and air pollution that are caused by fracking, and the law exemptions it has, are inexcusable because of the damage and danger they cause to the environment.

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