UCLA’s free Energy Atlas uncovers L.A. buildings’ role in greenhouse gas emissions

Read the full story from UCLA.

UCLA researchers launched their new L.A. Energy Atlas today, a free searchable database that combines never-before-released data from energy utilities with public records to reveal previously undetectable patterns about how people, buildings and cities use energy.

Researchers from the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA have assembled information in a database that allows users to sort it by household income; building age, size or use; city or neighborhood; energy use per square foot; energy use per capita; and other metrics.

Students study compost as alternate fertilizer for campus recreation fields

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

A grassroots composting effort from NC State students and staff is strengthening literal grass roots on the university’s recreation fields at Centennial Campus.

In fall 2014, University Recreation and Grounds Management partnered to study the viability of using compost instead of traditional fertilizer to maintain the health of grass on the university’s recreation fields. With the help of students Morgan Malone and Lindsay Edwards, two recreational fields on Centennial Campus were included in a study that compared the soil health of a field receiving compost versus a field receiving traditional fertilizer.

After students conducted initial soil and compaction tests, the field receiving the compost was aerated and topdressed with a quarter inch of compost, which was blended into the turf with a drag mat. The students later conducted follow up testing to monitor turf and soil health over time.

DOE Releases Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings, Campuses, and Communities

Read the full story from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has reached a significant milestone in bringing the building community together by releasing a common definition for a zero energy building, or what is also referred to as a “net zero energy” or “zero net energy” building.

After leading an extensive stakeholder engagement process over the past year and a half, the Energy Department released its findings in the recently published A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings, which states that a Zero Energy Building is “an energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy.” This definition also applies to campuses, portfolios, and communities. In addition to providing clarity across the industry, this new DOE publication provides important guidelines for measurement and implementation, specifically explaining how to utilize this definition for building projects.

Historic Building Performs Equal to or Better Than New Buildings

Read the full post at RMI Outlet.

The Byron Rogers building, located in downtown Denver and owned by the U.S. General Services Administration, is a model of how deep energy retrofits can create more efficient, financially valuable, and more productive workspaces.

Green roofs are no easy feat, but the list of viable plants is growing

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

A green roof supports a sophisticated system of growing beds for tough plants, not to be confused with a rooftop garden of pots and containers. The green roof has been popular in environmentally minded European countries for decades but has taken hold in the United States only in the past 15 years or so, especially in cities. Urban areas need green roofs the most and, happily, also have the abundance of flat roofs to accommodate them.

The typical black-membrane urban roof cooks in the sun, reaching 120 degrees or more. Rain, when it comes, flows directly off the roof and contributes to the considerable environmental harm of storm water runoff. The green roof, by contrast, cools the roof and the building beneath it (reducing energy costs) and traps and filters rainwater. It costs more to build than a conventional roof but lasts much longer, because it isn’t corroded so much by the elements. That plants endure these conditions makes them greater heroes in my book, but given the extremes of a roof environment — thin soil, wind, drought, high heat in summer and frigid conditions in winter — the number of suitable plants is a fraction of what you might grow on the ground.

Webinar: Seize the Day – Using Building Milestones as Energy Efficiency Opportunities

Tue, Oct 6, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4186036848941266689

Attend this webinar to learn more about transforming building milestones such as purchase, sale, tenant transitions, etc. into energy efficiency opportunities. Presenters from Better Buildings participants University of Virginia, the City of Hillsboro, Oregon, and Arby’s Restaurant Group share their strategies for taking advantage of these milestones to get more from their buildings.

Lifecyle Building Challenge

Lifecycle building is designing buildings to facilitate disassembly and material reuse to minimize waste, energy consumption, and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Objectives of Lifecycle Building

  • Create designs that facilitate local building materials reuse
  • Consider the full lifecycle of buildings and materials—from resource extraction through occupancy and, finally, deconstruction and reuse
  • Focus on quality and creativity of designs and concepts
  • Develop strategies that maximize materials recovery
  • Reduce the overall embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions of building materials through reuse
  • Decrease environmental and economic costs
  • Address real-world issues

This site includes publications and case studies related to lifecycle building, as well as links to green building ratings systems.