New and Notable

November 08, 2006
November/December 2006
A version of this article appears in the November/December 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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USGBC Addresses Climate Change

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) will address climate change in cities through energy efficiency and green building strategies, which will result in the reduction of carbon emissions. This action is part of an agreement with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), which is focusing on improving green purchasing power; mobilizing and deploying technical expertise; and implementing common measurement tools in the areas of buildings, power, water, and transportation.

As a partner with CCI, USGBC will provide assistance and expertise in green building and work with leading green building experts worldwide to increase green building. 

Other partners in the Clinton Climate Initiative include the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Alliance to Save Energy, and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Green building is a local activity that delivers global solutions, says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and  founding chair of USGBC. Our partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative is an unprecedented opportunity to work collaboratively with the World Green Building Council and share what weve learned with other communities around the world.

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Green Buildings on Exhibit

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., will showcase residential green building with its exhibit The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design.

This show illustrates that environmental priorities and the highest aesthetic standards are fully complementary, says Donald Albrecht,  lead curator of the exhibit. Today we are seeing architects and interior designers combining new, high-tech materials and old-fashioned architectural wisdom to create houses that are glamorous, comfortable, and that sit lightly on the land.

The Green House highlights 21 homes, including a full-size recreation of California-based architect Michelle Kaufmanns Glidehouse, a modernist home that can be built for $120/ft2. One section of the exhibit is devoted to five green principles: wisely using the land; working with the sun; creating high-performance and energy-efficient houses; improving indoor air quality; and wisely using the earths material resources.

The Materials Resource Room will help visitors understand how to select environmentally friendly materials and structural systems. The room presents 60 different green materials, from carpets to countertops, from concrete to metal, and from wood to paint.

The exhibit runs through August 2007.  During this time,  the museum will present lectures, construction watch tours, films, and a major scholarly symposium. After the exhibit closes,  it will go on tour.  Potential venues include museums in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

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CFL Lessons

DOE has released Compact Fluorescent Lighting in America: Lessons Learned on the Way to Market. The report, which was prepared by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), analyzes the market introduction of  CFLs in the United States.  It is based on an extensive review of CFL literature, interviews with CFL manufacturers regarding their experiences, and PNNLs own experience with DOEs CFL market introduction programs.

The report presents key findings on  market structure and conditions, consumer wariness, product performance and reliability, utility giveaway programs, retail promotion, and other marketing and consumer education efforts.  These findings provide valuable lessons for government, industry, and energy efficiency organizations. The report emphasizes ways that lessons learned from introducing CFLs to the marketplace can be applied to the market introduction of other new lighting technologies, such as solid-state lighting.
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Americans Want Solar

According to a new Roper survey commissioned by Sharp Electronics Corporation, eight out of ten Americans believe that home builders should offer solar power as an option for all new home construction.

The survey asked 1,004 adults how they perceived solar power. Results showed that 75% of those surveyed felt that solar energy should be used to help solve  energy problems and reduce household expenses. The survey also showed that 64% of participants were willing to pay a premium for homes with solar systems, and half of those surveyed would spend up to 10% more for a solar-equipped house.

Survey participants were most interested in solar power because  they believed it could reduce their  monthly utility bills. However, they were also interested in using solar to decrease  U.S. dependence on oil.

Solar has been popular for a long time in areas like California and Arizona. Now were seeing that the rest of the country is ready to embrace solar energy, and consumers want the option of having solar power in their new home, says Ron Kenedi, vice president of the Solar Energy Solutions Group at Sharp Electronics.

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Tracking Renewable Energy

A $2.2 million contract approved in August by the California legislature will track renewable energy certificates in the western United States and Canada. The program will be overseen by the California Energy Commission; it supports the energy-tracking goals of the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS).  The program will help California to meet its renewable portfolio standards goal of 20% renewables by 2010.

In July, APX, Incorporated, was selected as the system development and technical operations contractor for WREGIS. APX will modify an existing renewable energy registry and tracking system and ensure that the operating environment is secure and stable.

This is a major step to reliably track renewable energy in the West, says Energy Commissioner John Geesman.

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