Green Building

Curbing Key Chemicals Could Beat Kyoto Climate Goals
September 13, 2007 08:36 PM - Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - Curbs on chemicals that damage the ozone layer could have a side-effect of reducing far more greenhouse gases than the main U.N. plan for confronting climate change, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Thursday. About 191 governments will meet in Montreal from September 17 to 21 to seek ways to speed up freezing on production and phasing out ozone-depleting HCFC gases, widely used in fridges and air conditioners, that also trap heat in the atmosphere. "If governments accept accelerated action on HCFCs, we can look forward to not only a faster recovery of the ozone layer, but a further important contribution to the climate change challenge," Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, said in a statement.

House of Representatives Plans To Go Carbon Neutral
September 11, 2007 12:29 PM - Courtesy of, BuildingGreen

WASHINGTON - A new report details plans to move the U.S. House of Representatives to carbon-neutral operation by the end of 2008, to reduce energy consumption in House facilities by 50% from 2006 levels by 2017, and to “make House operations a model of sustainability.” The initiative, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D—CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D—MD), calls for the House to achieve carbon neutrality by purchasing electricity from renewable sources, purchasing carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange, and switching the fuel for the Capitol power plant from coal to natural gas.

Light-Emitting Diodes: Chasing White Light
September 11, 2007 12:16 PM - Courtesy of, BuildingGreen

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use semi-conducting materials to turn electricity into light; electrons jump from one material to another, emitting photons as they travel. Different semiconductor materials create different colors of light: most white LEDs use indium gallium nitride (InGaN), which actually emits blue light. The blue light excites a phosphor coating on the lens of the diode, creating a yellow light that mixes with the blue and makes it look white to the human eye. Manufacturers also use closely placed red, green, and blue LEDs to deliver white light.

Libya Creates World's Largest Sustainable Development
September 10, 2007 11:06 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Libya - Libya today announced the creation of an unprecedented sustainable development on its beautiful northern Mediterranean coast. The massive project includes a world class sustainable resort and spa, extensive wind and solar on the coast and desert area, growth of biofuel crops, closed loop water systems, sustainable transportation, housing, and the creation of a huge national ecological parkland that includes protection of the Mediterranean ocean and incorporates Tripoli and other cities. The 5,500 square kilometer development, called Green Mountain, covers an area that is home to diverse animal and plant species and historic and archaeologically rich sites.

So Cal's First LEED Certified All-Solar Multi-Family Community.
September 8, 2007 09:01 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

ORANGE, Calif. - Orange County's first all-green new-home community, opened its sustainable model homes to the public this weekend. It's also trendy Orange County's first LEED Certified residential community, and its first all-solar multi-family community. The community is called "Deopt Walk". Models range from 1,277- to 2,010-square-feet, and start in the $600,000 dollar range.

New Product: Fencing Made From Ag Fiber And Recycled Plastic
September 8, 2007 06:46 PM - Mark Piepkorn, BuildingGreen

Torrington, Wyoming - Heartland BioComposites, of Torrington, Wyoming, has commercialized a new breed of composite wood using annually renewable wheat straw rather than wood flour, and has introduced its first product, a privacy fence. The company purchases regional wheat straw and compounds it with post-consumer high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The raw materials, which include 50—60% straw, 35—45% plastic, and less than 5% proprietary additives (described by the company as “non-hazardous and organic”), are mixed, heated, extruded, and cut to length.

Philips Introduces Lower Mercury Fluorescent Lamps
September 8, 2007 06:35 PM - , BuildingGreen

Philips Lighting Company has announced a new line of T-8 fluorescent lamps using the company’s Alto II technology to replace its ten-year-old Alto technology.

Long Island Town Requires LEED Certification
September 8, 2007 06:30 PM - , BuildingGreen

Babylon, NY - Developers and builders in Babylon, New York, are preparing to register their buildings for LEED certification to comply with a 2006 local law that goes into effect in December 2007. The law requires all new commercial buildings larger than 4,000 ft2 (400 m2) to achieve at least a LEED Certified rating.

FEMA Investigates Emergency Housing Air Quality
September 7, 2007 04:20 PM - Jessica Boehland , BuildingGreen

Washington - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced in August 2007 that it had suspended the installation, sale, transfer, and donation of emergency-housing trailers until concerns over high levels of formaldehyde can be investigated. A common ingredient in pressed-wood products, including particleboard, formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rashes; headaches; nosebleeds; and severe allergic reactions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers formaldehyde a probable human carcinogen, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer calls it a known human carcinogen.

Seattle Grocery Store Earns LEED Gold
September 7, 2007 04:11 PM - , BuildingGreen

Redmond Washington - The Redmond, Washington, branch of Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets became the first grocery store to achieve a Gold certification in any of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating systems. The store, certified under LEED for Commercial Interiors, features 28 skylights that bring daylight into the store and reduce general lighting electricity use to an anticipated 0.21 watts/ft2 (2.25 W/m2), an 86% reduction compared with a base case building in minimal compliance with Washington State code requirements; electricity use for accent lighting is expected to be 37% lower than code.

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