Energy Efficiency

OVERVIEW

Our buildings consume more energy than industry or transportation, and we haven’t done a great job of reducing that consumption. We can do better by:

  • monitoring energy use

  • improving building commissioning

  • applying insights from building science

  • selecting innovative HVAC and building envelope technology

  • using natural ventilation and daylighting to provide low-cost alternatives to standard systems

As great as all these ideas are, they won’t be nearly as effective if we don’t engage occupants about energy use as well. Our articles look at all these strategies and more.

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  • The Combined Effectiveness of Prefab, Wood, and Passive House

    News Analysis

    Recent projects have combined modular prefabrication, wood construction, and Passive House design to address sustainability goals.

  • Commercial Kitchens: Cooking Up Green Opportunities

    Feature Article

    Commercial kitchens run energy- and water-intensive equipment for long hours, sometimes even when not in use. While the challenges of saving water and energy in commercial kitchens are daunting, they're not insurmountable. Careful equipment selection and a commitment to conscientious kitchen practices can dramatically cut down on waste-and utility bills.

  • Energy Dashboards: Using Real-Time Feedback to Influence Behavior

    Feature Article

    Real-time feedback on energy use can change occupant behavior and save energy. Several products now on the market provide this feedback in varying degrees of complexity.

  • Counting Carbon: Understanding Carbon Footprints of Buildings

    Feature Article

    Everyone seems to be talking about measuring carbon footprints and designing carbon-neutral buildings, but these terms mean different things to different people. Some focus just on operating energy, while others also look at transportation, materials, and other building-related emissions. As with so many things, the results depend on what you count and how you count it.

  • The Challenge of Existing Homes: Retrofitting for Dramatic Energy Savings

    Feature Article

    Greenhouse gas emissions associated with residential energy use account for a fifth of all emissions in the U.S. Retrofitting existing houses to achieve a two- to three-fold reduction in energy use is necessary if we are to achieve the emissions reductions scientists say are required for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Here's a look at how it can be done.

  • Piping in Perspective: Selecting Pipe for Plumbing in Buildings

    Feature Article

    Potable water supply piping and drain-waste-vent piping represent a significant fraction of a building's materials. Choosing the greenest pipe for both applications, particularly deciding between metal pipe and plastic alternatives, requires evaluating a variety of environmental and human health impacts as well as durability and performance issues.

  • In the Pipeline: District Energy and Green Building

    Feature Article

    Very common in northern Europe, district energy systems use a network of buried, insulated pipes to distribute centrally produced steam, hot water, or chilled water to heat or cool multiple buildings. These systems can make use of waste heat from power generation (combined heat and power) or renewable fuel sources to help reduce the environmental impacts of buildings and communities.

  • The Evolution of Exit Signs (and Why the Latest is a Bad Idea)

    Feature Article

    Searching for reliable, energy-efficient exit signs, EBN's Alex Wilson explains why photoluminescent exit signs, one of the newest "energy-saving" devices, are one of the worst from a total-energy-use standpoint. The article reviews current technology, including LED and electroluminescent exit signs, and offers recommendations.

  • Greening Your Electricity

    Feature Article

    Many businesses and homeowners are choosing to buy green power, including renewable energy credits (RECs). This article examines the environmental benefits of green power, including on-site renewables, what REC buyers should know about their purchases, and investing in energy conservation.

  • Measurement and Verification: Monitoring Building Systems for Optimal Performance

    Feature Article

    Tracking the performance of a building's mechanical and electrical systems is essential for energy savings that persist over time. In this article, EBN explores measurement and verification and explains why demand for these systems is growing. We also explain the LEED® Rating System's evolving treatment of M&V.