What is a Zero Energy Building?

Most buildings today use a lot of energy — to keep the lights on, cool the air, heat water, and power personal devices. Even installing solar systems will not significantly counter the heavy energy load.

There are, however, some buildings that strike a balance; or even tip the scales the other way! These are called zero energy buildings.

Recycling your home: Can structural wood be reused for the same purpose?

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

You may recycle in your home, but did you know the building itself can be recycled?

A group of researchers at Michigan State University studying the science of domicology—the term they use to describe the policies, practices and consequences of abandoned structures—are examining how wood from abandoned buildings can be reused.

Shading and Lighting Retrofits Slash Energy Use in New York “Living Lab” Office Demonstration

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

By using advanced lighting and automated shades, scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that occupants on one floor of a high-rise office building in New York City were able to reduce lighting energy usage by nearly 80 percent in some areas.

The dramatic results emerged at a “living laboratory” set up to test four sets of technologies on one 40,000 square-foot floor of a building.

Can sustainable stadiums be a better deal for cities and environment?

Read the full story in Curbed.

Stadiums, specifically when it comes to funding and construction, can often be bad deals for cities. Manystudies and reports have argued that publicly subsidizing new and expanded stadiums often isn’t a good deal for the public.

In Washington, D.C., a new project suggests there many be other, more sustainable ways to help finance new stadiums that offer additional benefits beyond a new place to play.

Intern gets his hands dirty building Peoria rain garden

Read the full story from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

As a new intern with Illinois Water Resources Center, I attended a workshop last month with about 30 people from organizations including Peoria Public Works DepartmentPeoria Innovation Team, and Illinois Master Gardener and Master Naturalists at the Peoria Public Works building to learn the fundamentals of rain garden design.

‘Expert in a suitcase’ cuts power bills 10% in small commercial buildings

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The knowledge and expertise of a seasoned energy efficiency professional has been packed into a high-tech suitcase.

The Sensor Suitcase is a portable case that contains easy-to-use sensors and other equipment that make it possible for anyone to identify energy-saving opportunities in small commercial buildings. The automated and reusable system combines hardware and software in one package so its users can identify cost-effective measures that save small commercial buildings about 10 percent on their energy bills.

Jointly developed by two Department of Energy labs, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Sensor Suitcase has been licensed by two companies that plan to provide products or services based on the technology. The licensees are GreenPath Energy Solutions and Cultural Quotient.

Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency?

Read the full story at e360.

Analysts call it the “energy performance gap” — the difference between promised energy savings in green buildings and the actual savings delivered. The problem, researchers say, is inept modeling systems that fail to capture how buildings really work.