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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although our nation's tap water is among the best in the world, most Americans are concerned about its quality. This article explores the range of technologies to treat real and perceived water-quality problems.