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California Building Code Title 24 Will Revolutionize Efficiency Financing for Buildings

California Building Code Title 24 Will Revolutionize  Efficiency Financing for Buildings | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
If successful, Title 24 will open the door to increased amounts of energy efficiency financing, expanded sources of capital and lower financing costs.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>California’s Title 24

Title 24 is California’s body of state building codes. These codes have been revised to move the building industry toward comprehensive building solutions with a goal of achieving Zero Net Energy (ZNE) residential and commercial buildings. In a ZNE building, the annual building’s energy consumption is equal to the building’s onsite renewable energy generation. California has set a goal for all new residential construction to be ZNE by 2020 and for all new commercial construction to be ZNE by 2030. Additionally, the repurposing and remodeling of existing buildings that are of a size-threshold defined by Title 24 will also have to comply with Title 24 revised codes.

Financing a “smart” Zero Net Energy building

The challenge of financing any energy efficiency or renewable energy project is in providing assurances to the source of capital that the project will actually generate sufficient cost savings to cover financing costs plus repayment of invested capital. The number one challenge for winning energy efficiency investments is the uncertainty in documenting bill savings results. Too often, the cost savings generated by an investment in energy efficiency is lost in higher electric bills as new loads are added and utilities raise rates.

Information technologies that monitor, control and financially operate a building through links to real time prices of grid-supplied electricity are the foundation for enabling Title 24 project financing. Smart ZNE buildings will operate to optimize the economics between reducing building demand, reducing energy consumption, on-site generation, use of on-site energy storage and purchases of grid electricity.

What will further enable the financing of ZNE buildings is the ability of enabling information technologies to “look forward” in time to proactively shape a building’s operation and grid purchases to financially support the building’s project financing. The technologies that can achieve these results have already been invented. What California is pursuing through its Title 24 code revisions is a massive economies of scale push for these technologies to drive their costs down and increase their ability to be financed.

The sales pie just got bigger…a lot bigger

Beginning in 2014, Title 24 will blow the sales doors open for smart building technologies, energy efficiency technologies, onsite energy storage and renewable energy technologies. Title 24 will create a new competitive landscape for architects, general contractors, sub-contractors and vendors based upon their ability to offer price competitive services and products that comply with Title 24 codes. The construction industry’s sales path for energy efficiency projects will no longer be anchored by utility incentives that support targeted energy efficiency upgrades like re-lamping a building with more efficient lights. The new sales path will be based upon cost-effectively delivering code compliance to achieve financeable building performance. New competitive advantages will be won by contractors and architects that offer building performance assurances to building owners and financing sources.<

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Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering
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School to Combine Solar PV Modules with Battery Storage in Belgian Pilot Project

School to Combine Solar PV Modules with Battery Storage in Belgian Pilot Project | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

"Such an energy storage and distribution system can offer a great value, certainly for schools", says Bert Dekeyzer of npo iD, the organization behind the ‘School of the Future’.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>'"During weekends a school consumes almost no electricity. The energy produced by the solar panels is stored in the batteries. On Monday morning there is a peak consumption: then all the computers and machines are turned on, which requires quite a lot of electricity. If the solar panels supply too little at that time, the batteries can provide the remaining energy. Moreover, a study showed that the energy consumption of a school does not stop after four o'clock in the afternoon. Schools are increasingly used in the evening for sports activities and evening classes. Also in this situation, the batteries can play their part." 

 

PV, storage combination offers a solution for a possible power shortage

In addition to an optimal and economic usage of solar power, the system can provide a solution for a possible power shortage in Belgium. Because of problems with the Belgian nuclear power plants, various municipalities could get disconnected from the electricity grid. In case of a power disruption, a traditional solar installation does not work anymore. The inverter of a traditional system switches off automatically because of a power failure. The owners of solar modules also have no electricity at that time, and in addition they suffer losses of the power output and any feed-in tariffs from their solar panels during the outage.

The storage system provides a solution. Such an installation combines solar modules with battery storage and intelligent software: if the grid fails, the system provides uninterrupted power for the user from the solar modules and/or batteries. [...]"<

 

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Net-zero Energy for Buildings - ASHRAE Engineering Design and Construction

Net-zero Energy for Buildings - ASHRAE Engineering Design and Construction | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

Integration: Net-zero energy design

ASHRAE has a goal: net-zero energy for all new buildings by 2030. What do engineers need to know to achieve this goal on their projects?

Duane Tilden's insight:

>"As net-zero energy and low-energy design projects become more prevalent, engineers must be prepared to collaborate with all members of a project team including architects, energy specialists, lighting designers, builders, and owners in order to accomplish net-zero energy goals with little to no cost premium. Is this possible today or will it take another 10 or more years to get there?

There are many examples of completed projects demonstrating that not only is this possible, but it has been done in all regions of the country using readily available building products and common construction methods. So what’s the secret? It’s all about the design.

Net-zero energy defined

The term “net-zero energy” is abundantly used, but a single universally accepted definition does not exist. In general terms, a net-zero energy building (NZEB) has greatly reduced energy needs achieved through design and energy efficiency, with the balance of energy supplied by renewable energy. In an effort to clarify the issue, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a paper in June 2006 titled “Zero Energy Buildings: A Critical Look at the Definition,” in which it defined the following four types of NZEBs:

Net Zero Site Energy: A site NZEB produces at least as much renewable energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the site.Net Zero Source Energy: A source NZEB produces (or purchases) at least as much renewable energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the source. Source energy refers to the primary energy used to extract, process, generate, and deliver the energy to the site. To calculate a building’s total source energy, imported and exported energy is multiplied by the appropriate site-to-source conversion multipliers based on the utility’s source energy type.Net Zero Energy Costs: In a cost NZEB, the amount of money the utility pays the building owner for the renewable energy the building exports to the grid is at least equal to the amount the owner pays the utility for the energy services and energy used over the year.Net Zero Energy Emissions: A net-zero emissions building produces (or purchases) enough emissions-free renewable energy to offset emissions from all energy used in the building annually. Carbon, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides are common emissions that zero-energy buildings offset. To calculate a building’s total emissions, imported and exported energy is multiplied by the appropriate emission multipliers based on the utility’s emissions and on-site generation emissions (if there are any).

A subsequent paper was published by NREL in June 2010 titled “Net-Zero Energy Buildings: A Classification System Based on Renewable Energy Supply Options,” where four classifications of NZEBs were defined:

NZEB:A: Building generates and uses energy through a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy (RE) collected within the building footprint.NZEB:B: Building generates and uses energy through a combination of energy efficiency, RE generated within the footprint, and RE generated within the site.NZEB:C: Building generates and uses energy through a combination of energy efficiency, RE generated within the footprint, RE generated within the site, and off-site renewable resources that are brought on site to produce energy.NZEB:D: Building uses the energy strategies described for NZEB:A, NZEB:B, and/or NZEB:C buildings, and also purchases certified off-site RE such as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from certified sources.

 

In the ASHRAE Vision 2020 report, net-zero site energy is the building type chosen through an agreement of understanding between ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). [...]

Integrated building design

Integrated building design is a process that promotes holistic collaboration of a project team during all phases of the project delivery and discourages the traditional sequential philosophy. According to ASHRAE, the purpose of the integrated design process is to use a collaborative team effort to prepare design and construction documents that result in an optimized project system solution that is responsive to the objectives defined for the project. NZEB must be designed collaboratively using a “whole systems” approach recognizing that the building and its systems are interdependent. As such, the integrated building design process has proven to be effective for net-zero energy projects.

[...]

Commissioning is an important part of every project, and for NZEB projects the commissioning authority should be a member of the design team and involved throughout the design process. [...]"<

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Buildings are biggest source of GHG's in Vancouver & City recommends Energy Retrofits

Buildings are biggest source of GHG's in Vancouver & City recommends Energy Retrofits | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

Buildings spew more than half of all Vancouver’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions every year and detached houses are the biggest culprit [...] That fact is key to a staff recommendation that council adopt an energy retrofit strategy for existing buildings to drastically cut GHG emissions.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>"About 40,000 of Vancouver’s 77,000 detached homes were built before 1960. The report said most older homes could improve their energy efficiency with weather sealing, wall and attic insulation, furnace/boiler/hot water heater replacements and replacing old windows with new energy-efficient glazing.

About 55 per cent of GHG emissions in Vancouver come from buildings and of those detached homes create 31 per cent of building emissions, the report said.

That compares with industry’s 20-per-cent share and 18 per cent from multi-unit residential buildings.

The city’s Greenest City Action Plan has targeted a 20-per-cent reduction in GHG emissions from Vancouver buildings by 2020, which would eliminate 160,000 tonnes of emissions annually — the equivalent of taking 40,000 cars off the road.

The report recommends the city partner with BC Hydro and/or FortisBC to study the effectiveness of using thermal imaging to identify poorly insulated homes.

[...]

... common energy-efficient building practices today include using vinyl or wood window frames instead of aluminum, along with the use of heat pumps, solar panels and drainwater recovery systems.

But Kerchum noted it can cost nothing to improve a home’s energy efficiency.

[...]

A recent Vancouver city initiative to improve energy efficiency in Vancouver homes — the Home Energy Loan Program — had a very low participation rate among homeowners.

The program called for homeowners to have an energy audit by a federally licensed auditor, who would recommend the best ways to reduce a home’s carbon footprint."<

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Underground vs. Overhead: Power Line Installation-Cost Comparison and Mitigation

Underground vs. Overhead: Power Line Installation-Cost Comparison and Mitigation | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

Best of 2013 - Article BY FRANK ALONSO AND CAROLYN A. E.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>Hurricane Sandy left many electric utility executives, their customers, local and state government leaders and regulators contemplating placing overhead power lines underground. This desire surges into prominence whenever natural disasters cause destruction on the overhead distribution and transmission networks across the country. In the past, the largest obstacle to placing overhead power lines underground has been the higher cost of installation and maintenance for underground lines.  [...]


Whenever a major weather-related catastrophe occurs or land is being developed, the question of placing overhead power lines underground surges. The answer to the proverbial question, "Why can't overhead power lines be placed underground?" is, "They can be, but it's expensive."

Higher initial construction costs. According to the May 2011 paper "Underground Electric Transmission Lines" published by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, "The estimated cost for constructing underground transmission lines ranges from 4 to 14 times more expensive than overhead lines of the same voltage and same distance. A typical new 69 kV overhead single-circuit transmission line costs approximately $285,000 per mile as opposed to $1.5 million per mile for a new 69 kV underground line (without the terminals). A new 138 kV overhead line costs approximately $390,000 per mile as opposed to $2 million per mile for underground (without the terminals)."

These costs show a potential initial construction cost differential of more than five times for underground lines as opposed to overhead lines for construction in Wisconsin. Costs vary in other regions, but the relative difference between overhead and underground installation costs is similar from state to state.

[...]

Maintenance costs. The present worth of the maintenance costs associated with underground lines is difficult to assess. Many variables are involved, and many assumptions are required to arrive at what would be a guess at best. Predicting the performance of an underground line is difficult, yet the maintenance costs associated with an underground line are significant and one of the major impediments to the more extensive use of underground construction. Major factors that impact the maintenance costs for underground transmission lines include:

Cable repairs. Underground lines are better protected against weather and other conditions that can impact overhead lines, but they are susceptible to insulation deterioration because of the loading cycles the lines undergo during their lifetimes. As time passes, the cables' insulation weakens, which increases the potential for a line fault. [...]

Line outage durations. The durations of underground line outages vary widely depending on the operating voltage, site conditions, failure, material availability and experience of repair personnel. The typical repair duration of cross-linked polyethelene (XLPE), a solid dielectric type of underground cable, ranges from five to nine days. Outages are longer for lines that use other nonsolid dielectric underground cables such as high-pressure, gas-filled (HPGF) pipe-type cable, high-pressure, fluid-filled (HPFF) pipe-type cable, and self-contained, fluid-filled (SCFF)-type cable. In comparison, a fault or break in an overhead conductor usually can be located almost immediately and repaired within hours or a day or two at most.<


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US GSA Recognizes two 3rd-party Green Building Certification Systems

US GSA Recognizes two 3rd-party Green Building Certification Systems | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
LEED and Green Globes approved as third party certification programs for federal facilities.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>In its recommendation to DOE, GSA recommended the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes 2010 and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2009 as the third party certification systems that the federal government can use to gauge performance in its construction and renovation projects. Other certification systems were not selected because they did not align with the government’s requirements. Additionally, under this recommendation, GSA will conduct more regular reviews in order to keep up with the latest green building tools that the market has to offer.

 

Third party certification systems like LEED and Green Globes help in measuring reduction targets for water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions against industry standards. Agencies can use one of the two certification systems that best meet their building portfolios, which range from office buildings, to laboratories, to hospitals, to airplane hangars.

 

Federal construction and modernization projects must adhere to the government’s own green building requirements by law and executive orders. No one certification system meets all of the federal government’s green building requirements. Green building certification systems are just one tool that GSA uses to cut costs and meet sustainability and economic performance goals.<

 

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Obtaining Retrofit Project Financing with Building Performance Energy Cost Modeling

Obtaining Retrofit Project Financing with Building Performance Energy Cost Modeling | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
Deploying private capital for energy efficiency retrofits "could" be transformational, "but" investors lack the confidence in energy savings estimates against which lenders would underwrite loans. How do we boost that confidence?
Duane Tilden's insight:

>[...]Those seeking capital for energy project investments need to do a better job presenting risk information to decision makers. Simple payback, return on investment, or even life-cycle-cost models do not provide sufficient information on risks and rewards. Investors cannot properly assess cash flow forecasts without a discussion of risks and risk mitigation.

 

For example, imagine two five-year streams of cash flow, one that generates a 15 percent return and one that generates a seven percent return. Which is better? The answer depends on the level of risk in achieving the forecasted benefits. If the seven percent return is based on seasoned existing cash flows it might be highly preferable to a 15 percent return predicated on executing construction, lease-up, and other risks.

 

The initial estimated energy cost savings is a critical value for investors considering energy projects. The risk side of this economic opportunity is that a building will fail to live up to performance expectations and the anticipated cost savings are not achieved.

[...] This causes the financial analyst to increase the required rate of return or to de-rate the savings before applying the financial model. This practice undermines the viability of energy projects.

 

Yet recent efforts have highlighted attempts to address these confidence deficiencies. The Environmental Defense Fund—through its Investor Confidence Project—is working with engineers, financial firms, insurers, regulators and utilities to unlock the flow of private capital into building efficiency investments. They are developing protocols so that energy and cost savings from retrofit projects can be predicted more accurately and realized more consistently. [...]

 

The modeler utilizes building simulation software to project energy use and costs. By evaluating and comparing performance, the modeler determines the benefits of building siting, space layout, passive design elements, and energy-efficient components. The modeler also identifies occupant comfort issues. Building energy modeling (BEM) is often applied in the design and retrofit of buildings to evaluate proposed and alternate integrated-design solutions that satisfy project performance targets. To support investors, information must be provided that describes the risk associated with cost savings estimates and indirect benefits of improvements so their value beyond costs can be considered.

 

The level of risk associated with the energy savings for retrofit projects can be addressed in two general ways: 1) the approach for quantifying energy savings, and 2) methods for managing risk introduced by the modeling process. [...]<

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New IECC Energy Code Includes Efficiency In Existing Buildings

New IECC Energy Code Includes Efficiency In Existing Buildings | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
Lighting controls and advanced HVAC also gain ground at 2015 IECC final action hearings.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>In the United States, buildings account for about 40% of the energy consumed and 38% of all CO2emissions, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Cost-effective measures that cut the energy used by buildings represent a critical strategy to help building owners save money and curb the impacts of climate change.

“The updates related to existing and historic buildings clarify and further extend the code’s impact on the current building stock and will mean large energy savings growing over time,” said Jim Edelson, NBI Senior Manager of Codes and Policy. “Taken together, the approved code changes represent the most significant code revisions for energy consumption of existing buildings since the 1970s,” he said.

[...]

Code officials and local government representatives approved a new chapter in the IECC that has dedicated sections for additions, alterations, and repairs based on work by an International Code Council (ICC) Code Action Committee and the Northwest Energy Codes Group, both of which included NBI participation. The sections of the new chapter clearly define the activity types and describe how the provisions of the code apply. The Northwest proposal that was also approved adds further application guidance and enhanced requirements for many of the activities that are performed on existing buildings.<

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Waste Heat Recovery using Supercritical CO2 turbines to create Electrical Power

Waste Heat Recovery using Supercritical CO2 turbines to create Electrical Power | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

Working fluids with relatively low critical temperature and pressure can be compressed directly to their supercritical pressures and heated to their supercritical state before expansion so as to obtain a better thermal match with the heat source. 

Duane Tilden's insight:

>Chen et al. [1-3] did a comparative study of the carbon dioxide supercritical power cycle and compared it with an organic Rankine cycle using R123 as the working fluid in a waste heat recovery application. It shows that a CO2 supercritical power cycle has higher system efficiency than an ORC when taking into account the behavior of the heat transfer between the heat source and the working fluid. The CO2 cycle shows no pinch limitation in the heat exchanger. Zhang et al.  [4-11] has also conducted research on the supercritical CO2 power cycle. Experiments revealed that the CO2 can be heated up to 187℃ and the power generation efficiency was 8.78% to 9.45% [7] and the COP for the overall outputs from the cycle was 0.548 and 0.406, respectively, on a typical summer and winter day in Japan [5].

    Organic fluids like isobutene, propane, propylene, difluoromethane and R-245fa [12] have also been suggested for supercritical Rankine cycle. It was found that supercritical fluids can maximize the efficiency of the system. However, detailed studies on the use of organic working fluids in supercritical Rankine cycles have not been widely published.

    There is no supercritical Rankine cycle in operation up to now. However, it is becoming a new direction due to its advantages in thermal efficiency and simplicity in configuration.<

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2015 IECC energy code raises requirements for efficiency, lighting controls, advanced HVAC in existing buildings

By Brianna Crandall, October 23, 2013—Hearings to finalize the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) wrapped up in Atlantic City recently with big wins for higher efficiency requirements in existing buildings, controls for lighting and daylighting hardware and HVAC equipment specifications, according to a news release from the New Buildings Institute (NBI), 

Duane Tilden's insight:

>The IECC is reviewed and updated every three years and serves as the model energy code for states and local jurisdictions across the country. The last version is the 2012 IECC.


In the United States, buildings account for about 40% of the energy consumed and 38% of all CO2 emissions, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Cost-effective measures that cut the energy used by buildings represent a critical strategy to help building owners save money and curb the impacts of climate change, notes NBI.

 

"The updates related to existing and historic buildings clarify and further extend the code's impact on the current building stock and will mean large energy savings growing over time," said Jim Edelson, NBI senior manager of codes and policy. "Taken together, the approved code changes represent the most significant code revisions for energy consumption of existing buildings since the 1970s."<

 

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Austerity at OSHA: Budget rolls back resources

Austerity at OSHA: Budget rolls back resources | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
While OSHA has never been the most robustly funded federal agency, its efforts and regulatory authority have helped prevent countless deaths, injuries and illnesses on the job.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>In a report released in late August by the Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch), author Nick Schwellenbach chronicled what austerity means for OSHA and the workers it protects. To first put the issue and impacts of slashed budgets in broader context, consider OSHA’s current capacity. According to the report, OSHA conducted fewer health and safety compliance inspections in 2011 than in 1981, despite the number of workplaces doubling from 4.5 million to 9 million and the number of workers growing from about 73 million to about 129 million. In that three-decade span, the ratio of OSHA inspectors to workers fell from one per 31,000 workers to one per 62,000 workers. And of course, as with most public health endeavors, cutting oversight of health and safety doesn’t save money in the long run.<

 
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Palo Alto will require electric-car charger wiring in new homes

Palo Alto will require electric-car charger wiring in new homes | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
Palo Alto is home to countless startups, including Tesla Motors, whose Model S luxury sedans can be seen throughout the neatly manicured streets of the very, very pricey town.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>With most electric-car charging today taking place in the garages of private homes, installing a home charging station can pose a hurdle to potential buyers.

 

Now Palo Alto, Calif., the city in the center of Silicon Valley, is moving to make it easier for homeowners who want to switch to an electric car.

The city council adopted a proposal that Palo Alto’s building code be changed to require that new homes come prewired for the installation of 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations.

 

The additional cost of adding such wiring to a house being built is only about $200, a fraction of the cost of retrofitting an older house with the appropriate electrical service and wiring.<


Read more at http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1087195_palo-alto-to-require-electric-car-charger-wiring-in-new-homes#trqrxpbwBEW8sKMG.99

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India's First LEED's Green Building targets "Net Zero" with High Efficiency Solar Power

India's First LEED's Green Building targets "Net Zero" with High Efficiency Solar Power | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

New Delhi, India (SPX) Sep 19, 2013 - SunPower has announced that Swadeshi Civil Infrastructure has completed the installation of a 930-kilowatt (kW) SunPower solar system on the rooftop of the Indira Paryavaran Bhavan building...

Duane Tilden's insight:

>The state-of-the art landmark will be India's first net zero energy building. Its design emphasizes conservation featuring trees to reduce adverse environmental impact, adequate natural light and shaded landscaped areas to reduce ambient temperature.

 

The building is targeted to achieve Platinum from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system, known as LEED INDIA. It also is expected to receive a five star Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment from the rating system developed by the Energy and Resource Institute and supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the nodal ministry of Indian government.<

 

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Net Energy Metering Policies Helping To Spur Solar Growth

All across the United States, rooftop solar panels are popping up on homes, businesses and schools like mushrooms in a forest, and utility-scale solar projects are bringing huge amounts of clean energy into our communities.  Why?
Duane Tilden's insight:

>Today, smart policies — likeRenewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Net Energy Metering (NEM) — are helping to fuel solar’s explosive growth. Our industry now employs 120,000 Americans at 5,600 U.S. companies. What’s more, we’re now generating enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes, including the White House!

 

Part of this amazing success story can also be attributed to the fact that the average cost of a solar system has dropped by nearly 40 percent over the past two years and by a whopping 50 percent since 2010.  As a result, American consumers, businesses and schools are flocking to rooftop solar.  According to the most recent statistics, the residential market alone grew by 48 percent in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same time period a year ago.  That’s nothing short of remarkable.

 

NEM has significantly contributed to this growth.  Simply put, NEM is a credit on your bill that represents the full value of electricity delivered.  Think of it this way: surplus energy generated by a home or business system is exported to the electricity grid, allowing a consumer’s meter to spin backwards.  This allows the homeowner or business owner to have greater control over their energy use and prices.  That’s literally the definition of “consumer choice.”<

 
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Life Cycle Cost Analysis - Making a Case for Green Building and Efficiency Retrofits

Life Cycle Cost Analysis - Making a Case for Green Building and Efficiency Retrofits | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
Steven Forrester’s small Colorado engineering firm is four years old. While he started DMA Engineering during tough economic times, he is holding his own because of clients like the city of Louisville, where his firm recently designed a solar thermal lap pool for a city recreation center.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"“When we present a design, 99% of the time, we do LCCA, “ says Forrester. “It shows we bring added value.”

In the case of the solar-heated pool, the facilities manager had to go to City Council members for approval. The LCCA demonstrated the financial incentive to do the project. Forrester uses LCCA mainly to compare different types of systems over the lifetime of the building. The price of new equipment is an easily comprehensible but incomplete cost. LCCA also accounts for future costs. LCCA adds in maintenance, energy use, tax incentives or rebates, and any salvage value. It also can cover replacement costs. For example, really good windows may last 50 or more years, so it’s not likely building owners would account for their replacement. Rooftop units, on the other hand, which are usually considered an inexpensive heating and cooling solution for commercial buildings, must be replaced much more frequently. “We typically see replacement 10-25 years,” says Forrester.

That means if design teams are thinking about the lifetime of the building, then the cost of one rooftop unit is really the cost of three, six, or nine units or more, explains Rocky Mountain Institute Analyst Roy Torbert. RMI recommends LCCA as standard practice on all new and retrofit building projects.

“Most equipment will be around for 20 years. Without doing the lifecycle analysis, you only know the initial costs rather than the full cost over the life of the building,” says Forrester. “I think it’s an invaluable part of making any decision about any piece of equipment.”

While Forrester compares the direct economic costs of alternative design solutions, some people and organizations are beginning to consider the indirect, more complex societal costs.

[...] RMI is helping GSA to use life cycle assessment to account for the environmental impact of building retrofits and operation, and will then convert the impact into a dollar value.

Life cycle assessment, or LCA, estimates the environment impact of processes and products in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, wastes, toxins, and particulate matter. GSA will wrap the hidden costs associated with this impact into the LCCA in order to provide a fuller analysis.

Design teams can use LCCA to show the tradeoffs between cost and another factor that is important to the client, such as carbon. Since President Obama has ordered all new federal buildings to be net zero by 2030, many energy service companies working on federal projects will be closely examining these kinds of tradeoffs. "<

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Canadian green building market shows strong growth into future reported by CaGBC

The Canadian green building market has grown in the last few years and is expected to continue its strong growth in years to come, according to a recent report released by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC).
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"The report projects the figure to grow in upcoming years and a shift to happen as firms ramp up their green projects to more than 60 per cent. The main factors triggering the green trend include companies wanting to do ‘the right thing’ when it comes to social and environmental responsibility.

“Doing the right thing was very important to a lot of the respondents, which surprised me...obviously the Canadian industry has a lot social consciousness” added Mueller.

Companies are also experiencing significant cost savings through various efficiencies.

Eighty two per cent of building owners and developers report decreases in energy consumption compared to similar buildings and 68 per cent of owners/developers report decreases in water consumption.

In Canada, businesses reduced their operating costs by 17 per cent through green buildings in 2014, ahead of the global average of 15 per cent in 2012.

[...]

 

The top sectors currently with green projects expected to be certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) are, new institutional construction, new commercial construction, new low-rise residential, new mid and high-rise residential, and existing buildings/retrofit.

“In the public sector, the institutional sector, there’s a very strong commitment to build buildings to the LEED standard,” Mueller added. “Our focus is very much on building the LEED standard.”

Green Building is also beginning to build a strong business case for itself, according to the report.

Thirty seven per cent of owners project a spike in occupancy rates, 32 per cent expect improved tenant retention, 26 per cent expect improved lease rates and 13 per cent forecast a higher return on investment.

The median payback period for investment on a new green building is eight years, according to the report.

According to Mueller, owners and developers who are repeat green builders usually maintain a positive experience, but it’s the first timers that need to be shown the right steps in pursuing green building.

“If you’re an owner doing it for the first time, you have to be diligent, you have to be prudent to select the right consultants,” he said. “You have to do your due diligence and we certainly will be at the council to help first-time users to apply the LEED program and to make sure they have a positive experience.”<

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Affordable Housing Designed for Net Zero

Lexington Farms, a single family affordable housing development in Illinois, looks to be LEED Platinum and net zero via clean energy on each house.
Duane Tilden's insight:

"The model under which these modular homes are made available to residents is rather unique. They were built for those making less than $41,000 a year, and were reportedly provided to these people in a rent to own situation at a set monthly lease cost of $590. Each 1,425 square foot, three bedroom dwelling is green down to its core via an array of eco technologies. Owners apparently had to be provided with a special manual to educate them about the various green technologies they are living with.

So what exactly is under the hood of each green home in Lexington Farms? According toUrban Green Energy, the impressive list includes one of the firm’s 1,000 watt eddyGT vertical axis wind turbines; 7,200 watt photovoltaic solar roof panels; Energy Starappliances; U35-rated, argon gas filled windows; R-21 wall and R-49 attic insulation; low-flow water fixtures and WaterSense toilets; sustainable landscaping with efficient irrigation systems; recycled construction materials; low VOC paints and energy efficient, fluorescent light fixtures.

At the time of construction is was said the IHDA invested more than $2.5 million into the project, providing federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to finance it. The federal tax credits, noted the IHDA, “were a result of a special allocation for counties hit by severe flooding [and] generated an additional $6.7 million in private equity for the development.”

Overall, these green homes aimed for net zero energy usage via the renewable energy features. An additional $260,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity further supported the development."

 

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California Building Code Title 24 Will Revolutionize Efficiency Financing for Buildings

California Building Code Title 24 Will Revolutionize  Efficiency Financing for Buildings | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
If successful, Title 24 will open the door to increased amounts of energy efficiency financing, expanded sources of capital and lower financing costs.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>California’s Title 24

Title 24 is California’s body of state building codes. These codes have been revised to move the building industry toward comprehensive building solutions with a goal of achieving Zero Net Energy (ZNE) residential and commercial buildings. In a ZNE building, the annual building’s energy consumption is equal to the building’s onsite renewable energy generation. California has set a goal for all new residential construction to be ZNE by 2020 and for all new commercial construction to be ZNE by 2030. Additionally, the repurposing and remodeling of existing buildings that are of a size-threshold defined by Title 24 will also have to comply with Title 24 revised codes.

Financing a “smart” Zero Net Energy building

The challenge of financing any energy efficiency or renewable energy project is in providing assurances to the source of capital that the project will actually generate sufficient cost savings to cover financing costs plus repayment of invested capital. The number one challenge for winning energy efficiency investments is the uncertainty in documenting bill savings results. Too often, the cost savings generated by an investment in energy efficiency is lost in higher electric bills as new loads are added and utilities raise rates.

Information technologies that monitor, control and financially operate a building through links to real time prices of grid-supplied electricity are the foundation for enabling Title 24 project financing. Smart ZNE buildings will operate to optimize the economics between reducing building demand, reducing energy consumption, on-site generation, use of on-site energy storage and purchases of grid electricity.

What will further enable the financing of ZNE buildings is the ability of enabling information technologies to “look forward” in time to proactively shape a building’s operation and grid purchases to financially support the building’s project financing. The technologies that can achieve these results have already been invented. What California is pursuing through its Title 24 code revisions is a massive economies of scale push for these technologies to drive their costs down and increase their ability to be financed.

The sales pie just got bigger…a lot bigger

Beginning in 2014, Title 24 will blow the sales doors open for smart building technologies, energy efficiency technologies, onsite energy storage and renewable energy technologies. Title 24 will create a new competitive landscape for architects, general contractors, sub-contractors and vendors based upon their ability to offer price competitive services and products that comply with Title 24 codes. The construction industry’s sales path for energy efficiency projects will no longer be anchored by utility incentives that support targeted energy efficiency upgrades like re-lamping a building with more efficient lights. The new sales path will be based upon cost-effectively delivering code compliance to achieve financeable building performance. New competitive advantages will be won by contractors and architects that offer building performance assurances to building owners and financing sources.<

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GBI's Green Globes Recognized by Portland's GSA as Equivalent to LEED for Green Building

GBI's Green Globes Recognized by Portland's GSA as Equivalent to LEED for Green Building | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwired - Oct 29, 2013) - The Green Building Initiative (GBI) applauds the General Services Administration on its recognition of Green Globes® alongside the U.S.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>GBI's growth in the market is due to its commitment to the practicality of its tools for use by building owners, designers, and facility managers as well as its commitment to open, consensus-based review of its technical criteria. In 2010, GBI was recognized for developing Green Globes for New Construction as the first ever American National Standard for a commercial building rating system. As it continues to improve its rating systems based on changes in the market, GBI remains committed to using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved consensus procedures.


"GBI is the only commercial building rating system developer to vet its technical criteria through the ANSI process," stated GBI Chairman Tonjes. "This helps to ensure that GBI's rating systems provide the opportunity to evaluate the widest range of buildings using an open, science-based approach to building performance."

 

ANSI/GBI 01-2010, also known as Green Globes for New Construction, is due for revision before the end of 2015 based on ANSI periodic maintenance requirements. According to Tonjes, GBI's ANSI-based rating system review process will begin before the end of this year with the filing of required documents followed by reformation of the technical review committee.

 

GBI's tools have a significant focus on both the reduction and efficient use of energy and water in buildings. These, along with other criteria, help reduce building operating costs and their overall impact on the environment.

 

"Since 2005, the Green Globes product line has evolved to include several updated and expanded tools," stated Erin Shaffer, vice president of federal outreach at GBI.<

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NEEA introduce heat pump water heaters to the Northwest with training & incentives

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- NEEA and partners successfully introduce heat pump water heaters to the Northwest. Technology promises to save enough energy to power all the homes in Seattle and Boise each year.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>Water heating accounts for 15 to 20 percent of electric energy use in homes with electric water heating. Compared to traditional electric water heaters, heat pump water heaters can save homeowners up to 50 percent on energy costs while still delivering the same amount of hot water. Heat pump water heater technology works like a refrigerator, but in reverse – using fans and an evaporator to pull warmth from the surrounding air and transfer it to water in the storage tank.

"The work we accomplished in collaboration with our utility, manufacturer and retail partners in 2012 and 2013 sets the stage for new innovations, new features and improved product designs that will help transform the market," said Jill Reynolds, heat pump water heater initiative manager, NEEA. "Part of developing new technologies is testing product quality. Together with our partners we tested heat pump water heaters in the field and launched a regional marketing promotion across the Northwest. We see huge potential regional energy savings from this technology."

Fifty-five percent of Northwest homes have electric water heaters. If all of those homes used heat pump water heaters specifically designed for the Northern climate, the region could save nearly 500 average megawatts (aMW) by 2025, the equivalent to powering all the homes in Seattle and Boise combined each year.<

 

see here for rebates:  http://www.oregon.gov/energy/RESIDENTIAL/docs/2013RETCRates.pdf

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Supercritical CO2 turbine for Power Production & Waste Heat Energy Recovery

Supercritical CO2 turbine for Power Production & Waste Heat Energy Recovery | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
A former scientist at Sandia National Lab is bringing the technology to market
Duane Tilden's insight:

>Because of its physical properties as a liquid, it has become a target fluid of opportunity to run turbines and thus make electricity. Steven Wright, Ph.D., who recently retired from Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), has set up a consulting company called Critical Energy LLC to bring this technology to a commercial level. 

The objective of using supercritical CO2 (S-CO2) in a Brayton-Cycle turbine is to make it much more efficient in the transfer of heat. Wright points out that a steam turbine is about 33% efficient, but that an S-CO2 turbine could be as high as 48% efficient, a significant increase. 

A closed loop supercritical CO2 system has the density of a liquid, but many of the properties of a gas. A turbine running on it, “is basically a jet engine running on a hot liquid,” says Wright. 

“There is a tremendous amount of scientific and industrial interest in S-CO2 for power generation. All heat sources are involved...<

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Manufacturer's Energy Efficient Heat Recovery Unit Runs High in Energy Awards

Manufacturer's Energy Efficient Heat Recovery Unit Runs High in Energy Awards | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
Vent-Axia has made the final shortlist in the prestigious Energy Awards 2013, which recognise and reward companies leading the way in reducing carbon emissions. Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Kinetic Plus E...
Duane Tilden's insight:

>Consuming as little as 20W, the Kinetic Plus E only costs around £20 a year to run, offering 94% thermal efficiency and potentially recovering 10 or 20 times more energy than it costs to operate. This offers homeowners an attractive cost saving as we enter the winter months and rising fuel costs.<

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Power Plays: Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

Power Plays:  Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it
The economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance shows that dozens of cities are boosting their local economies while dramatically reducing greenhouse gases.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>What's remarkable is that none of the examples relied on federal or state financial aid, but instead on the community's own resources.  And the communities featured in the report just scratch the surface of the many cities, counties, and municipalities that have tried and tested these options.

Eight local policies are featured in the report and the case studies of each policy show how these local tools have been leveraged for economic advantage, from more rigorous building codes to solar mandates and easier permitting to the use of a wide array of financing tools to spur renewable energy and energy efficiency.  The full list (far from exhaustive) includes:

Municipal electric utilitiesCommunity choice aggregation or "community utilities"Building energy codesBuilding energy use disclosureLocal tax authoritySolar mandates for new homesImproved solar permittingLocal energy financing

The policies aren’t tied to a political ideology, but a practical and local one.  Cities have identified where they have untapped resources and deployed them to generate jobs and keep more of their energy dollars in the economy.

The report also candidly admits that not every policy can be used everywhere.  In a brief chapter on the "Limits of Local Authority," a map illustrates how variation in state law gives some cities relative local superpowers compared to others.  Cities in states with so-called Dillon's Rule are largely confined to powers expressly granted by their state government.  Cities with home rule generally have more authority.<

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An overview of electrical technology: distribution and power transformers

An overview of electrical technology:  distribution and power transformers | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

When the transmitted power exceeds around 10 MVA, special designs are required to cope with the mechanical forces of short circuit currents, higher insulation levels and increased cooling requirements. For these ratings, liquid-filled transformers are usually used. 

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Robotic Technologies Applied to Solar Energy Market - Installation and Maintenance

Robotic Technologies Applied to Solar Energy Market - Installation and Maintenance | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

Mountain View CA (SPX) Sep 20, 2013 - ... robotic technologies deliver revolutionary installation and cleaning services at highly competitive prices ... for building and maintenance of utility-scale solar plants..

Duane Tilden's insight:

>The typical installation process for utility-scale projects is similar to that of a small-scale, 20-panel, residential installation. Despite incremental improvements to the process, a 200,000-panel installation has retained many of the characteristics of a 20-panel installation.

 

They are both labor-intensive, and require repetitive bolt-tightening and glass-hauling. While these are minor flaws in a 20-panel system, they create significant inefficiencies in 20,000- or 200,000-panel systems.

 

Alion Energy has plugged the shortcomings of the current installation methods by changing the materials and design used in the mounting structure as well as by automating the installation. By combining robotic installation technology with established construction practices, Alion Energy has built a system twice as fast and 75 percent more labor-efficient that lowers solar electricity's levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to compete with traditional energy sources.<

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Inside look at General Motors’ new hyper-green data center

Inside look at General Motors’ new hyper-green data center | Green Building Design - Architecture & Engineering | Scoop.it

WARREN, Michigan—General Motors has gone through a major transformation ... a three-year effort to reclaims its own IT after 20 years of outsourcing.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>The first physical manifestation of that transformation is here at Warren, where GM has built the first of two enterprise data centers. The $150 million Warren Enterprise Data Center will cut the company's energy consumption for its enterprise IT infrastructure by 70 percent, according to GM's CIO Randy Mott. If those numbers hold up, the center will pay for itself with that and other savings from construction within three years. [...]

 

The data center is part of a much larger "digital transformation" at the company, Mott said. GM is consolidating its IT operations from 23 data centers scattered around the globe (most of them leased) and hiring its own system engineers and developers for the first time since 1996. Within the next three to five years, GM expects to hire 8,500 new IT employees with 1,600 of them in Warren. "We're already at about the 7,000 mark for internal IT from our start point of about 1,700," Mott said. [...]

 

So far, three of the company's 23 legacy data centers have been rolled into the new Warren data center. That's eliminated a significant chunk of the company's wide-area network costs. "We have 8,000 engineers at (Vehicle Engineering Center) here," Liedel said. And those engineers are pushing around big chunks of data—the "math" for computer-aided design, computer aided manufacturing, and a wide range of high-performance computing simulations.

 

"Now with the data center on the same campus, we're not paying for the WAN bandwidth we had before," Liedel explained. "We've got dark fiber here on the campus, and the other major concentration of engineers is at Milford at the Proving Ground." Milford and Warren are connected over fiber via dens wave division multiplexing, providing 10 channels of 10-gigabit-per-second bandwidth.<

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