Green building

Smart Homes Make For Angry Roommates

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If you’ve ever come home to a roommate’s dread passive-aggressive note tacked to the refrigerator door, you might not want to move into a smart home. Researchers have discovered that the smarter your home, the angrier roommates get at one another for wasting utilities.

According to research conducted by academics at the University of Nottingham, smart meters that allow housemates to track energy usage and how much it is costing the household in detail end up causing more fights than they resolve.

Promoting the Use of Green Roofs on Street – Level Surfaces to Improve Public Awareness about Stormwater Management in Boston

Download the document.

Stormwater runoff is a problem in the City of Boston due to the urbanization of the area. The goal of our project was to determine the technical and financial feasibility of installing green roofs on street-level surfaces in the City of Boston with the purpose of raising public awareness and encouraging a change in the public’s behavior with respect to stormwater runoff. We conducted interviews with representatives from similar projects in other cities and performed an observational study to determine the possibility of installing green roofs on bus stops for the purpose of raising public awareness. Our research led to a set of recommendations involving the technical, financial, informational, and visual aspects for the design of street-level green roofs on bus stops.

Are energy-efficient workplaces healthier? Just Google it

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

When people talk about the business case for energy-efficient buildings achieved through comprehensive measures like deep energy retrofits, what usually comes to mind first is lower energy bills. However, an increasing number of organizations are recognizing the value beyond energy cost savings that energy-efficient buildings provide.

This deep dive into 10 years of LEED unearths surprises

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The U.S. Green Building Council and Ember Strategies recently released the results of a deep dive study into the design energy efficiency of a decade of LEED buildings (PDF). Ten years of LEED data shows the evolution of the best in the architecture, engineering and construction industry — and a few industry quirks — as they strive for more efficient building designs.

Buildings are certified at varying levels in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard — from basic Certified to Silver, Gold, and Platinum — based on the number of points they earn across the categories of green building, such as energy, water, indoor environment, location and materials. Having a LEED certification is one way commercial real estate owners prove their building is one of the best in the world as they work to attract tenants. This study looked at the New Construction rating system for building design and construction and specifically certain energy efficiency related credits.

Before digging in to the data, it is important to understand that a LEED rating system is born, grows and eventually dies and is replaced by a new rating system. This is unlike a building code or standard. The LEED rating system is tweaked in each version to raise the bar for achievement, of course, but also to try to fix credits that just aren’t working. If no one achieves a credit, there is no environmental benefit to having it. USGBC uses feedback from the market to improve the rating system over time.

The study was released at the ACEEE’s 2014 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, the biennial gathering of building efficiency nerds in Pacific Grove, Calif.

Small Towns Achieve Big Savings with Lighting Upgrades

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

Dozens of small communities throughout Kansas and Missouri are saving big money and energy as a result of several high-impact lighting projects. Over the past three years, more than 5,700 energy-efficient lights were installed in communities with populations of less than 35,000 people. The new streetlights are expected to save 25 cities and towns a combined $25 million in energy costs and slash carbon emissions by more than 380 million metric tons, equivalent to removing 80 million cars off the road in one year. The upgrades were part of Smart Lights for Smart Cities, an energy efficiency initiative managed by the Mid-America Regional Council, a metropolitan planning organization serving the Kansas City area. The new lights—featuring induction and LED technologies—are brighter, more energy efficient, and easier to maintain than the mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium streetlights they replaced.