Green Building

House prices to drop much lower: Greenspan
September 21, 2007 01:47 PM - Reuters

VIENNA (Reuters) - A big overhang of property will bring U.S. house prices down further, but it is too early to say if the economy will plunge into recession, former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan was quoted as saying on Friday.

Greenspan said in an interview with Austrian magazine Format that low interest rates in the past 15 years were to blame for the house price bubble, but that central banks were powerless when they tried to bring it under control.

"It's a difficult situation, there is an enormous overhang on the real estate market," Greenspan was quoted as saying. "Many buildings which just have been finished can't be sold ..."

Phoenix Solar Tank Does it All — Efficiently
September 20, 2007 06:34 PM - Nadav Malin, BuildingGreen

The basic Phoenix water heater from Heat Transfer Products (HTP) combines multiple features—including the integration of space and water heating—in one efficient package.

The unit’s modulating burner and condensing flue provide residential hot water with an impressive 97% thermal efficiency using natural gas or liquid propane. Auxiliary hookups for a heating coil can be used in forced-air or radiant heating systems. The new Phoenix Solar has a second heat-exchange coil inside the tank for fluid from solar thermal panels.

California Utility Donates $1.2 Million in Solar Installations to Habitat for Humanity
September 20, 2007 03:17 PM -

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas and Electric Company today announced a $1.2 million partnership with Habitat for Humanity International to install solar electric systems on every Habitat-built home throughout PG&E's northern and central California service territory in 2007. The first such partnership of its kind is part of PG&E's commitment to provide affordable, renewable energy in the communities it serves.

 

'Forest Stewardship Council' Certification Under Fire
September 20, 2007 02:12 PM -

The wood-pulp producing company Veracel has applied for FSC certification of its tree plantations in the Brazilian state of Bahia and the evaluation process is being carried out by the international certification firm SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance). Veracel, a joint venture between Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso and Norwegian-Brazilian Aracruz Cellulose exports almost all the pulp produced in Brazil to overseas markets, where it is converted into paper.


Sharing The Toy Recall Blame
September 19, 2007 04:58 PM - Paul Mayne , University of Western Ontario

Since early August, more than 20 million toys have been recalled over lead paint concerns and pieces of toys possibly being hazardous to children. Right or wrong, the "Made in China" label on toys has developed a black eye. But a research report released earlier this week reveals that placing all the blame on China's factories and workers is unfounded because more than three-quarters of toy recalls in recent years were triggered by design faults instead of manufacturing defects.  

Eco-Engineering, Learned From A Steam-Spitting Beetle
September 19, 2007 11:46 AM -

Leeds, UK - An amazing insect, which sprays its predators with toxic steam, has inspired research into a new generation of technology at the University of Leeds.

The research has resulted in the new µMist™ technology which has the potential to become the platform for the next generation of more effective and eco-friendly mist carrier systems. It has multiple potential applications – such as new nebulisers, needle-free injections, fire extinguishers and powerful fuel injection systems – all more efficient and environmentally-friendly than existing technologies.

The research funded initially by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and subsequently by Swedish Biomimetics 3000 ®, enabled the Leeds team, led by Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory Andy McIntosh to examine the mechanisms at work in the bombardier beetle.

 

Cooling From The Sun: SunChiller
September 18, 2007 02:16 PM - , BuildingGreen

The SunChiller provides air cooling as a primary output, with space and water heating also possible. The system uses vacuum-tube heat-pipe solar thermal collectors to heat water, which drives an absorption chiller to provide cooling. Water serves as the "refrigerant," avoiding the use of ozone-depleting compounds. A SunChiller can be used in a hybrid system to provide space heating and water heating in addition to absorption cooling.

New Fingerprinting Method Tracks Mercury in Environment
September 16, 2007 12:10 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—With mercury polluting our air, soil and water and becoming concentrated in fish and wildlife as it is passed up the food chain, understanding how the potent nerve toxin travels through the environment is crucial. A new method developed at the University of Michigan uses natural "fingerprints" to track mercury and the chemical transformations it undergoes. A report on the work is published today in Science Express.

First Platinum Medical Center Opens
September 14, 2007 04:00 PM - , BuildingGreen

Portland, Oregon - The Center for Health and Healing at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, is the first medical center to achieve a Platinum rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System. The 16-story, 400,000-ft2 (37,000-m2) building features a chilled beam and displacement ventilation system, a membrane bioreactor for treating sewage, rainwater harvesting, and a 6,000-ft2 (560-m2), glass-skinned Trombe wall for storing thermal energy.

Making Carpet Environmentally Friendly
September 14, 2007 03:31 PM - Tristan Roberts, BuildingGreen

Few building products are as ubiquitous as carpets and rugs, which cover 70% of U.S. floors, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, the industry’s trade association. That ubiquity has come with some notoriety, as carpet has been on the front lines of several environmental skirmishes. Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other potentially toxic components from carpets have been widely recognized as an indoor air quality problem. The estimated five billion pounds (2 billion kg) of carpet that is discarded every year in the U.S. has been targeted by government agencies and environmental groups as an unacceptably big chunk of the solid waste stream.

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