Green Building

Ice-Based Airconditioning Takes Off In California
September 26, 2007 03:02 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

SAN FRANCISCO - A company that makes an ice-based air-conditioning system is teaming up with a major public utility, PG & E, in California in a $10-million dollar project. The ice-based air conditioner uses cheaper nighttime electricity to make ice and then uses that ice for daytime cooling needs. The units cooling looks almost identical to a standard AC unit. The systems lowers peak daytime demand significantly, shifting the energy load up to 95%. The California Public Utilities Commission says permanent load shifting technologies deliver a number of benefits to both utilities and energy consumers, including added protection against shortages during heat waves and reduced reliance on the construction of new generation plants.

Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners
September 26, 2007 02:23 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Washington - Could the floral scent of your air freshener contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects? NRDC recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contained the hazardous chemicals.

In addition to phthalates, air fresheners may contain allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.

Whole Tree Architecture
September 24, 2007 11:41 AM - Elizabeth Janicek, Radish Magazine

When you hear Roald Gundersen use the words “local,” “sustainable,” “better for us and for the environment,” you probably assume that he is talking about food. But he's not -- he's talking about houses.
 
Gundersen is a “whole tree architect,” which is exactly what it sounds like. His designs incorporate the whole tree: round timbers, curves and “what a tree does so well” -- branches.
 
“Right now we have a very dysfunctional relationship with our forests,” says Gundersen, who lives and works near Stoddard, Wis. “The forests aren't winning, and humans aren't benefiting either. We need to have a mutually beneficial relationship.” His work, he says, “gives us a way to do that.”

Regulation key to greener buildings
September 24, 2007 07:39 AM - UNEP

Regulation is the most effective means to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions from buildings, a sector which accounts for some 30-40 % of global energy use.

 

Regulatory and control instruments such as building codes and appliance standards are the most effective way to increase energy efficiency, and so mitigate the industry's impact on global warming.

New Software Designs & Calculates the "Green" in Your Building
September 23, 2007 12:10 PM - Bruce Mulliken, Private Landowner Network

Santa Rosa, CA – Green Building Studio, Inc., today announced the beta availability of Green Building Studio V3.0, offering architects, owners, and building design teams the opportunity to use the new web service’s advanced capabilities firsthand. The new release updates the award-winning Green Building Studio web service with ground-breaking capabilities for assessing carbon neutrality potential, total PV & wind energy, emissions, total building energy, and water consumption for commercial and residential building design alternatives, interacting seamlessly with leading BIM design tools from Autodesk and Graphisoft.

Yes, The Internet Saves Energy
September 23, 2007 11:57 AM - Bruce Mulliken, Private Landowner Network

Recently, in this column, I said this, “I don’t think there’s been a study, and I can’t prove it, but I think the Internet is one of the greatest energy saving inventions ever created.”

Well, now there IS a study to back up my claim. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA (tm)) thinks the Internet saves energy too; and it’s substantial.

The just-released study commissioned by the CEA and conducted by TIAX LLC of Cambridge, Massachusetts, shows that using electronics to telecommute saves the equivalent of 9 to 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year – the same amount of energy used by roughly 1 million US households every year.

 

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.


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