Lloyd Alter on some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in green building

Once again, some thought provoking writing from longtime sustainable architect and Treehugger columnist Lloyd Alter: The best way to have our buildings use less energy is to insulate them really well. But for a long time, I have also been writing about the problems of insulating with plastic foam, even writing that Polystyrene insulation doesn’t … Continue reading Lloyd Alter on some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in green building

Google bets on massive heat pump system in pursuit of LEED Platinum at new campus

Adele Peters, writing for Fast Company: At a construction site on Google’s new Bay View campus–a few miles from its headquarters in Mountain View, on NASA-owned land near the San Francisco Bay–cranes lift tubing high in the air and drop it into holes that descend 80 feet into the ground. It’s a step that will … Continue reading Google bets on massive heat pump system in pursuit of LEED Platinum at new campus

Proof of Concept: Ultra-thin, insulated concrete roof with embedded PV

Once again, the incredibly brilliant minds at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich) have announced innovative processes and materials for a better built environment. Phys.org has the story: Researchers from ETH Zurich have built a prototype of an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof using innovative digital design and fabrication methods. The tested novel formwork system will be … Continue reading Proof of Concept: Ultra-thin, insulated concrete roof with embedded PV

The 2 questions every builder needs to be asking to drive real innovation

Lloyd Alter, writing for Treehugger: According to Jacob Atalla of KB Home, “The best way to predict the future is to make it.” So he and others in the building industry often build model concept homes to test out ideas. Michele Lerner of the Washington Post talks to a few people in the industry to … Continue reading The 2 questions every builder needs to be asking to drive real innovation

New concrete product claims to be more earthquake resistant AND more sustainable

Concrete is a really amazing building product that provides strength and protection, particularly when reinforced with steel, or when combined with various admixtures. Unfortunately, concrete is extremely costly to produce in terms of its environmental impact. By some accounts, concrete production results in the release of a ton of carbon, for every ton of concrete. … Continue reading New concrete product claims to be more earthquake resistant AND more sustainable

Net-Positive Earth Moving Equipment?

Massive earth moving equipment ranks among some of the heaviest and most costly machinery in the world, outside of experimental particle physics, of course… Not surprisingly, the mostly diesel-powered mammoth vehicles typically employed for major infrastructure projects require a great deal of that diesel fuel to get the job done. Considering that in many such … Continue reading Net-Positive Earth Moving Equipment?

California: It ain’t easy being a green builder (but there are some real opportunities)

San Diego’s Building Industry Association played host to an outstanding and dynamic presentation earlier this morning on the topic of energy and the 2016 California building codes that went into effect at the beginning of this year.

The panelists included a great mix of building professionals and thought leaders that don’t merely speculate on the impact of green building — they live it:

Continue reading “California: It ain’t easy being a green builder (but there are some real opportunities)”

Salt and antifreeze may be key to longer term solar energy storage at massive scale

Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen reports: Alphabet Inc.’s secretive X skunk works has another idea that could save the world. This one, code named Malta, involves vats of salt and antifreeze. The research lab, which hatched Google’s driverless car almost a decade ago, is developing a system for storing renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted. It can be located … Continue reading Salt and antifreeze may be key to longer term solar energy storage at massive scale

Without constant monitoring, solar PV efficiency remains limited

Solar panels leveraging photovoltaic (PV) technology to convert sunlight into electricity are notoriously inefficient. According to research by the International Energy Agency, one way to improve PV efficiency is through the implementation of Statistical Performance Monitoring combined with some advanced machine-learning. In their report, the researchers identified 4 different methodologies for improving solar panel efficiency, … Continue reading Without constant monitoring, solar PV efficiency remains limited