Related Posts for Green building

The Republic | FAIRBANKS, Alaska — When the drone of a massive air compressor chugged to a halt Friday morning at a construction site near the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Jack Hebert said with a smile that it would be the last time any fossil fuel would be used there.

Hebert, the president of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, was joking — but not by much. CCHRC and UAF are joining together to build a new student housing complex with the experimental buildings that they believe will function year-round without burning any on-site oil.

Planners for the development, dubbed the Sustainable Village, unveiled designs Friday for four new buildings at the site near UAF’s lower campus. By using super-insulated buildings, solar heat systems and biomass, they hope the project will ultimately help a region struggling with high energy costs.

Planners behind the development are setting expectations high from the start. Hebert thinks the lessons learned from the Sustainable Village development could transform cold-weather home-building techniques.

“We want this to be a worldwide example of what can be done at this latitude, and I think we’ll accomplish that,” Hebert said.

The project is unusual not only for its ambitions, but for how it has developed. CCHRC sought design ideas from UAF students last fall, and the winning five-student team joined planners this winter to come up with a prototype for the development.

The more ambitious elements of the student design, such as a “living machine” that would treat wastewater with plants and micro-organisms, didn’t make it into the buildings that will go up this summer. But the basic layout for the homes — boxy designs with flat roofs, an outside deck and big, south-facing windows — was largely intact from the student blueprints.

They’ll be integrated with a heavily insulated envelope, a solar-hydronic heating system and, most likely, a pellet stove for a mid-winter boost. Two different types of foundations will be used, along with four different types of wall systems. A 14-kilowatt array of solar panels at the site was funded by a UAF sustainability grant. Read more

By Russell Stigall | Morris News Service-Alaska, Juneau Empire:  The state of Alaska has a relatively new law that requires a quarter of public buildings be 15 percent more efficient by 2020.

“Ten to 20 percent is the low hanging fruit,” Jonathan Westeinde, founder of Windmill Development Group Ltd. said. “We should look at 40 to 50 percent improvements.”

Westeinde said the state’s energy goals are a great step forward, but that larger goals could be met easily, he said. “Could we be doing more? Are we missing the opportunity to make more money?” Westeinde said.

The House Energy Committee invited Westeinde to present his “Making the Business Case for Energy Efficiency” talk at a lunch-time learning session, March 27.

Westeinde’s said his goal was to start up the greenest new development firm in Canada.

A current project of Westeinde’s is the highest LEED rated building in the world, he said. “And we’ve been about to do this while still making the same amount of money as anybody else. If anything we can make more money, if done properly.” Read more

By Leslie Guevarra of Savvy investments in energy efficiency retrofits for buildings could yield more than three times their value, mounting to about $1 trillion in energy savings in a decade, says new research from Deutsche Bank and The Rockefeller Foundation.

The study released today said that yield would be just one of the returns if $279 billion were spent for retrofits of residential, commercial and institutional buildings in the United States.

In addition to saving about 30 percent of the United States’ entire energy spend during the course of a year, completion of the energy efficiency retrofits could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 10 percent and create 3.3 million job years — which means the projects could create an estimated 3.3 million cumulative years of employment — the study said.

Researchers in the building and sustainability fields have been touting the robust returns and benefits produced by energy efficiency retrofits for several years. In 2010, a study forecast that such projects could result in savings of as much as $41 billion a year in the U.S. And market leaders in business and real estate have made a point of spotlighting their successes, one of the most prominent being the Empire State Building retrofit. The New York City icon also serves as an example of green leasing program, a further strategy to achieve energy efficiency in commercial property. Read more

By Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska:
Between the high prices of heating fuel and construction materials in the Aleutians, the cost of building a house along the Chain – and living in it – is higher than most places in the United States. But now, two groups are teaming up to find an affordable and environmentally friendly design that works for the Aleutian Islands. The Aleutian Housing Authority and the Cascadia Green Building Council have organized a global contest to develop what’s called a “living building” in Atka.

“Living buildings” go beyond most green building standards. Mark Masteller is the Alaska director of the Cascadia Green Building Council and he explains what buildings must do to qualify as “living.’

That means that the building’s environmental footprint would be minimal, and that the space would be practically self-sustaining. Masteller says that the buildings should also promote local food production.

The building that AHA and Cascadia want designed is a single-family home that would replace one of the houses in the village of Atka. If this housing project is deemed a success, AHA’s goal is to see homes like it sprout up across the Aleutians. Read more

By Daniel S. Friedman and Doris W. Koo of Crosscut: The world’s greenest, most energy-efficient office building is taking root in Seattle. And while the project will deliver a wide array of environmental benefits, it will also increase knowledge and create positive economic impacts that are equally significant for the people of Seattle and beyond.

The project matters for one more critical reason: As the climate changes we desperately need new models for development.

It is estimated that building construction and operations accounts for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 65 percent of waste and 70 percent of electrical use in the United States. Led by the Bullitt Foundation, a team of architects and builders aim to change these statistics through the design and development of the Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction.

Solar panels will generate as much energy as the building occupants use, showing that solar works, even in Seattle. Our ample supply of rain will provide as much water as occupants need, and wastewater will be treated on site to reduce downstream impacts. Large, operable triple-glazed windows will create offices where every worker can experience daylight and fresh air will circulate through the entire building. The use of toxic materials, which unfortunately are all too common, will be highly restricted in favor of locally sourced building products designed to last 250 years. Read more

Green roofs are sprouting up across the country from Chicago to New York to Washington. They offer a myriad of benefits including better indoor climate control for buildings and a more pleasant aesthetic than concrete. The Tacoma News Tribune recently wrote about one such rooftop meadow planted atop an eight-story high former parking garage in Tacoma, Washington.

Eight stories above downtown Tacoma, a meadow needs a beehive. Honeybees are working the dianthus, candytuft and evening primrose blooming in neon shades of pink, purple, and apricot high atop 1250 Pacific Ave. The bees, and a modest population of ladybugs, are the unexpected residents of the 30,000 square feet of green roof that surely is the most colorful in the state.

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