Green building

Webinar/Workshop: Buildings of the Future: NYC Workshop

Mon, May 4, 2015 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM CDT
Register at

We have invited over a dozen of thought leaders in academia and industry to explore our future buildings through a series of moderated conversations led by our host universities. The panel discussions will focus on the interactions of city, buildings, environment, and occupants.

Panelists hope to answer the question of “What can a standard American building be in a high-density urban environment in 100 years from a city to personal scale.” The dialogue will examine the energy, resource, and information flows of today and tomorrow; how technologies have been and will be influencing city life; how a connected built environment can help us adapt to changes; and prepare for unanticipated events.

More details about each session can be found here:

8:30–9:00 Welcome and Introduction

9:00–9:30 Buildings of the Future: Seeing Beyond this Century
Nora Wang, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Pat Phelan, Department of Energy

9:30–11:00 Cities of the Future: Intelligence and Resilience
Jorge Gonzalez, The City College of New York

Panelists: Alex Washburn, Stevens Institute of Technology
Mark Arend, City University of New York
Stuart Gaffin, Columbia University

11:00–12:30 Urban Data for Future Cities
Masoud Ghandehari, New York University

Panelists: Tom Butcher, Brookhaven National Labs
David Gifford, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Constantine Kontakosta, NYU
Michael Harrington, Con Edison
Mark De Yoanna, National Grid

12:30–1:00 Break for Lunch

1:00–2:30 Occupants of the Future: Wellness and Performance
Edward Bogucz and Chetna Chianese, Syracuse Center of Excellence

Panelists: Michael Speaks, Syracuse University
Vivian Loftness, Carnegie Mellon University
Joseph Allen, Harvard University

2:30–4:00 Smart Buildings and Smart Controls
Bill Worek, Stony Brook University

Panelists: Mike Schell, AirTest
Marc Thuillard, Belimo-US
Larry Weber, Honeywell

4:00–4:30 Summary

Energy Department Announces Winners of 2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

The Energy Department announced winners of its second annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition engaging university students to design zero energy-ready homes. A zero energy-ready home is a high-performance home that is so energy efficient it can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption with renewable energy. This significantly reduces a home’s annual electricity costs while improving comfort, health, safety, and durability.

The awards recognize students who excel at integrating solid building science principles into designs for zero energy-ready homes including creative solutions to real-world problems. Criteria for recognition included adherence to the Department’s Zero Energy Ready Home program criteria, clear project plans, and overall competency in applying best practices from the Department’s Building America program. Top priorities for each entry are geared toward developing cost-effective, market-ready, zero energy-ready homes.

The competition is intended to inspire next-generation architects, engineers, and construction managers to apply the latest building science innovations in new and existing buildings. A major goal of the competition as it grows in popularity is to advance building science curriculum in university programs across the country. Competing undergraduate students, graduate students, and university faculty are at the forefront of a leadership movement to design truly sustainable homes.

This year’s competition featured 33 teams from 27 universities. Over the last several months, students were tasked with redesigning an existing floor plan or creating a new house design to meet the competition’s cost-effective, high-performance home energy requirements. The final portion of the competition concluded at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, April 18-19, as the students presented their innovative designs to a panel of national experts. These experts included leading high-performance home builders, building science professionals, building product manufacturer technical experts, and national laboratory research scientists.

Eighteen awards were given in five categories:

Grand Winner

  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grand Winner Finalists

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign–Team Illinois, Champaign, Illinois

Analysis Excellence

  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Ryerson University–Team DAS Haus, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Design Excellence

  • Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas
  • Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science–Team Provenance Lane,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science–Team Øzone,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • University of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Systems Integration Excellence

  • Illinois State University–Team Redbird Red, Normal, Illinois
  • Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science–Team Øzone,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

The Department also announced it will hold the 2016 Race to Zero Student Design Competition next April at NREL. View the list of winners or visit the program website to learn more about the competition.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works with private industry, universities, and national laboratories to accelerate the development and facilitate deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Visit the Building Technologies Office website to learn more about broader efforts to help new and existing homes across the United States achieve cost-effective, energy-saving solutions.

No Building Left Behind: The Clean Power Plan and Multifamily Energy Efficiency

Read the full post from ACEEE.

States will soon begin developing compliance plans to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets required by EPA’s upcoming Clean Power Plan (CPP). As they contemplate different strategies, states should consider the important role that increasing the energy efficiency of multifamily buildings could play in cutting emissions and supporting local economies. Multifamily housing has been underserved by energy efficiency programs in most states, leaving great potential to reduce carbon emissions while also improving affordability of rental housing.

Webinar: Resolving Codes and Standards Issues to Energy Innovations

Wed, May 20, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT
Register at

The Building America Program is hosting a no-cost, webinar on identifying and overcoming code and standards barriers to Building America innovations. This webinar will provide an overview of how Building America has impacted codes and standards over the past fifteen years and potential impacts in the future. Learn about new content on the Building America Solution Center that will help builders meet code requirements and will help code officials apply codes to new and emerging innovations.

State ban on environmentally friendly construction wins final passage

Read the full story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Georgia-owned buildings would be effectively banned from using environmentally friendly construction standards known as LEED certification, under a measure given final passage Friday by the Senate.

House Bill 255 now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. The bill essentially writes into law an executive order Deal signed in 2012 to do the same thing.



This cement alternative absorbs CO2 like a sponge

Read the full story from PBS.

Cement has been called the foundation of modern civilization, the stuff of highways, bridges, sidewalks and buildings of all sizes. But its production comes with a huge carbon footprint. Environmental chemist David Stone was seeking a way to keep iron from rusting when he stumbled upon a possible substitute that requires significantly less energy. Special correspondent Kathleen McCleery reports.

What if companies and their buildings actually enhanced ecosystems?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

What if building codes actually required new projects to enhance a certain number of ecosystem services — such as sequestering carbon, building topsoil, enhancing pollination, increasing biodiversity or purifying water and air?

Is it possible that a city could be functionally indistinguishable from the wild landscape around it? And what if companies ultimately built factories that truly enhanced ecosystem services?

These were the big questions that biologist and biomimicry expert Janine Benyus posed during her keynote presentation at the recent International Living Future Institute’s 2015 unConference in Seattle.