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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  • Energy-Efficient Multifamily Housing

    Feature Article

    Now you can get LEED, Energy Star, and other labels for designing or retrofitting high-performance multifamily buildings.

  • Measuring Energy Use in Buildings: Do Our Metrics Really Add Up?

    Feature Article

    How much energy our buildings use matters a great deal, but figuring out how to measure that use and compare it from building to building is tricky. Here's a guide to key metrics and how to use them.

  • Retrocommissioning: Big Savings for Big Buildings

    Feature Article

    Retrocommissioning or RCx can be a valuable tool for commercial building owners. RCx addresses the same scope as new building commissioning but is performed on existing buildings. RCx can improve building performance, save energy and money-especially for large buildings.

  • 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.

  • From Norway, A New Standard for Energy-Positive Design

    News Brief

    Powerhouse is a new standard for energy-positive buildings that generate more energy than used for construction, operation, and demolition.

  • 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.