Energy Efficiency


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.

  • Tankless Water Heaters


    Tankless water heaters have some downsides, but mostly offer advantages over conventional storage water heaters.

  • Obama Pushes Appliance Efficiency

    News Analysis

    President Obama ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to update federal standards for several residential and commercial appliances by August 2009.

  • Panasonic Introduces Vacuum-Insulated Refrigerator

    News Analysis

  • Mazria Publishes Code Equivalents for 2030 Challenge

    News Analysis

    Architecture 2030 has published a white paper showing the amount by which buildings have to beat various codes to meet the 50% energy reductions called for by the 2030 Challenge. More than a dozen codes and standards are presented, with 20%-30% improvement required for most.

  • Comparing Fuel Costs


    One would think comparing the costs of different heating fuels would be simple, but figuring out the amount heat available in a given quantity of fuel-and the associated cost-can be tricky.

  • Get Ready for Fuel Switching


    As the cost of heating fuel rises, utilities must prepare for increased demand as homeowners switch to cheaper electric-resistance heat.

  • How the Sun's Path Can Inform Design


    Designing a building with the sun in mind can help reduce both heating and cooling loads.

  • Wal-Mart Introduces Second Generation of High-Efficiency Stores

    News Analysis

    Following a long program of testing green practices in experimental stores, Wal-Mart is now building high-efficiency stores that are expected to be 25% more energy efficient than conventional stores, but critics say that's not enough.

  • 2007 Energy Bill Promotes High-Performance Buildings

    News Analysis

    Although several important provisions were stripped from the federal energy bill, key improvements to appliance standards and building energy-efficiency standards remain.

  • Solar Reflectance Index and Cool Roofs


    Understanding reflectivity and emissivity of roofing materials is important to evaluating their effect on cooling loads and the urban heat island effect.