Before you think further about solar panels you might look into this incredible resource…

Green Architecture

GREEN ARCHITECTURE

Sustainable architecture refers to buildings designed to limit humanity’s impact on the environment. An eco-friendly approach to modern-day building encompasses every aspect of the planning and construction process, including the choice of building materials; the design and implementation of heating, cooling, plumbing, waste, and ventilation systems; and the integration of the built environment into the natural landscape.

Many of the practices and principles used in sustainable architecture are rooted in ancient building techniques, that were transformed with the rise of modern materials and mass production in the industrial age. The modern consciousness about the need for sustainable architecture can be traced back over 50 years to the anniversary of the first Earth Day, the international environmental movement, and the ensuing legislation that it sparked across the globe.

But the world is now in the midst of a climate change emergency, and many of the environmental laws that were passed in the last 50 years have been rolled back making it even more imperative for designers, architects, builders, and consumers to demand better building practices to help combat the damage caused by one of the most polluting industries on the planet. In the United States, for example, buildings account for 39 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

It is equally incumbent upon municipalities to strengthen their building codes to require more net-zero buildings, both residential and commercial.  As more and more municipalities shift to electricity from fossil fuels to energize their buildings, it will become critical to expand the availability of renewable energy to pump into that electricity.

CURRENT NEWS

HOAs are blocking solar panels and native lawns. Here’s how to fight back

By Michael J. Coren 04/02/24
Joseph Schiarizzi started his rebellion by planting heirloom tomatoes. With the pandemic raging in spring 2021, his front yard, in a picturesque community just outside D.C., transformed from a sparse lawn to an explosion of…
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Green mortgages set to take off as US makes homes fit for future

By Carey L. Biron 04/02/24
Jules Fishelman had ambitious plans to green up his century-old home in Burlington, Vermont, but the cost and logistics felt overwhelming. "I've had in mind dozens of things I really wanted to do to make…
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A blizzard put a hyper-efficient home to the test. It passed.

By YCC Team 04/02/24
When the power goes out on a cold winter night, some people head to a hotel. Others huddle around a fireplace bundled up in hats and blankets. But after a blizzard knocked out the power…
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The Gas Industry Gutted Green Building Codes. Now, Republicans Want To Go Further.

By Alexander C. Kaufman 03/28/24
A week ago, fossil fuel companies pulled off an 11th-hour win in their fight to keep climate-friendly measures out of the next national homebuilding guidelines, successfully lobbying the private entity that writes the country’s model…
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Gas Industry Blocks Building Codes Meant To Make Going Electric Cheaper

By Alexander C. Kaufman 03/21/24
The natural gas industry pulled off an 11th-hour victory in its campaign to strip climate-friendly rules out of the latest update to the homebuilding guidelines used in most of the United States.
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A Growth Spurt in Green Architecture

By Stephen Wallis 03/06/24
In the lineup of climate villains, architecture towers above many. The building and construction industries account for some 37 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Three of the…
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Gas Industry Loses Bid To Block Green Building Codes

By Alexander C. Kaufman 03/05/24
The natural gas industry lost its initial bid to strip key climate-friendly measures out of national homebuilding guidelines, HuffPost has learned. The rules in the model building code will require new homes to come equipped…
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Low-income communities will soon get $7 billion for local solar

By Alison F. Takemura 02/29/24
Per a new analysis of 35 proposed state programs, the historic climate-law funding would benefit more than 700,000 low-income households. Here’s how.
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New Sustainable Florida Homes Survived Hurricane–as Nearby Homes Were Devastated–and Never Lost Power

By Andy Corbley 02/22/24
These cute little Florida townhomes are tougher than they look. While they may be as green as a budding daffodil, they have a backbone like reinforced concrete.
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Texan builds stunning ‘passive house’ that uses 75% less electricity than most homes: ‘The best way to build’

By Laurelle Stelle 02/08/24
Passive houses are made to be as airtight and insulated as possible. This helps lock in the comfortable temperature inside, protecting residents from both heat and cold, while dramatically lowering the need for heating and…
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Building in paradise

02/05/24
An open house facing the beautiful Caribbean landscape. A house where the concept of inside-outside is constantly being questioned. A garden that penetrates, that climbs. The greenish blue waters of the Caribbean Sea merge with…
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How to convert your home into a small power plant, and make your money back doing it

By Alexa Coultoff 01/30/24
Mathew Tuttelman decided he was never going to pay a utility bill again — no gas, oil, or outside electricity to heat, cool, or power his 3,500-square-foot home. He was going to build a net-zero…
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KEY RESOURCES

SIPs for High-Performance Enclosures: Faster, Better, and Greater Value

12/21/23
We are proud to feature the Structured Insulated Panel Association, one of our valued sponsors. “We have a visibly obvious crisis in our industry—a lack of innovation in home framing,” said Sam Rashkin, author of…

5 Ways Community Solar Empowers Solar for All

07/06/23
Solar power is a long-lasting and cost-cutting renewable energy solution, but installing a home solar panel system isn’t feasible for everyone. Luckily, the benefits of solar aren’t limited to those who have panels on their…

EEBA

06/20/22
EEBA's mission is to advance the leading edge of building science knowledge and sustainable business practices in the residential construction community through education, sharing and collaboration. Together let's build healthy, electric, resilient, and decarbonized homes!

Energy Efficient Building Suppliers Make It Easy

05/16/22
Energy-efficient building is much more than a fleeting trend: Around the world, the negative effects of climate change can no longer be ignored, from rising global temperatures to poor air quality caused by pollution. According…

How solar power works

02/11/22
Solar energy is quickly becoming a more popular and affordable power source for homeowners and businesses. With residential solar energy, you can lower your carbon footprint and see substantial cost savings.

Creating safe, healthy & affordable communities through all-electric, Clean energy ​homes & buildings

02/02/22
The Building Decarbonization Coalition unites building industry stakeholders with energy providers, environmental organizations and local governments to power our nation's homes and workspaces with clean energy.

Infographic: Top 10 States for LEED in 2021

01/26/22
The ranking highlights U.S. leaders in sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings. Now in its 12th year, the annual Top 10 States for LEED list is based on the gross square footage of LEED-certified…

Beware of the Red List – Top Materials to Avoid in Your Home

01/07/22
“The Red List” might sound like something from the Cold War. But the Red List has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with chemistry. The Red List is actually a list of…

The Promise of Carbon-Neutral Steel

09/18/21
teel production accounts for around seven per cent of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions. There are two reasons for this startling fact. First, steel is made using metallurgic methods that our Iron Age forebears would find familiar;…

Buildings and Climate Change

08/20/21
Buildings Account for 39% of CO2 emissions in the United States The commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States per year, more than any other…

Facts about the Climate Emergency

08/20/21
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide an objective source of scientific information on climate change.

Sustainable Design

08/20/21
Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize…

Visualizing Our City’s Energy Use

07/22/21
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation used the City of Pittsburgh to create a model built upon the design, materials and purpose of commercial…

Achieving zero carbon through design and planning

07/09/21
A carbon neutral built environment begins with design and planning. Architecture 2030 is dedicated to empowering this sector to meet the 2030 Challenge targets and achieve a carbon neutral built environment by 2040. Architecture 2030…

The Six Disabled Veteran Housing Los Angeles, CA

06/15/21
The SIX is a 52-unit affordable housing project provides a home, support services and rehabilitation for disabled veterans. It is located in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. McArthur Park has one of the…

2020 COTE® Top Ten Awards

06/14/21
The 2020 COTE® Top Ten program highlights projects that meet the AIA Committee on the Environment's rigorous criteria for social, economic, and ecological value. The COTE® Top Ten Plus designation denotes projects with exemplary performance…

Stone Edge Farm

06/14/21
Imagine a lush, self-sustaining island that generates clean electricity, grows organic food and wine grapes, re-uses water, and creates fuel for zero emission vehicles.

Global Warming Has Concrete Problem When It Comes to CO2

05/19/21
Concrete is a major contributor to the climate crisis because its production releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and methane are the two greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming.

LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities

05/11/21
A new way forward for resilient, green, inclusive and smart cities, LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities provides cities and communities with a globally consistent way to measure and communicate performance. LEED v4.1 expands…

A Pocket Guide to All-Electric Retrofits of Single-Family Homes

02/01/21
Welcome! This booklet is intended to be a simple “how-to” guide to help homeowners, home renters, utilities and policy makers who want to replace existing gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives, many of which are…

Green Infrastructure

06/10/20
Integrated Planning for Your Community's Future

California Solar Data Current Through: Q4 2019

03/28/20
California has the largest solar market in the U.S. and has been a longtime champion of solar because of the many economic and environmental benefits it provides, including $57 billion in investment in the state.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

01/30/20
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) develops and protects the market by increasing the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs, green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education,…

AIA: The 2030 Commitment

12/20/19
The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can…

Zero Net Energy Buildings with Zero Net Added Cost

10/22/19
Would you consider making your next home or building project a zero energy project? If the net added cost to you was also zero, would you be more interested? Most people would. It’s possible to…

Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design

12/19/19
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is changing the way we think about how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated. Leaders around the world have made LEED the most widely…

MORE NEWS

Life Elevated: Architects Adapt Design to FEMA Regulations

By Michelle Trauring   09/28/22  
Line, space, texture, value, color, shape and form. These building blocks of architectural design are critical to the flow, balance and harmony of any given home — seven guiding principles for architects to consider and…
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California Moves to Ban Natural Gas Furnaces and Heaters by 2030

Angel Adegbesan   09/23/22  
California is committing to a plan that will make it the first US state to phase out gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters in homes, a move environmentalists are betting will provide a template for other…
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How an effort to reduce fossil fuel use led to another environmental problem: light pollution

By Sumeet Kulkarni   09/20/22  
In 2014, Los Angeles cut its annual carbon emissions by 43% and saved $9 million in energy costs by replacing the bulbs in more than half of the city’s street lamps with light-emitting diodes. That…
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World’s Greenest Senior Living Community Opens in Seattle

By Lloyd Alter   08/31/22  
It is a sad fact of architecture that buildings rarely look as good in reality as they do in the renderings. The Aegis Living Lake Union assisted living community in Seattle flouts this convention; it…
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High-tech wooden cities could fight fire, climate change, study says

By Saul Elbein   08/30/22  
Future cities composed of fire-resistant, high-tech wooden buildings could help counter the climate impacts of the coming urbanization boom, a new paper suggests. The study in Nature Communications builds on a growing architectural and engineering…
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Finally, a heat-pump water heater that plugs into a standard outlet

By Jeff St. John   08/29/22  
Last month’s launch of Rheem’s ProTerra 120-volt heat pump water heater might not seem like a big step forward in the fight against climate change. In terms of home electrification accessories, it’s not as sexy…
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The Fuzzy Math of Net-Zero Is Under Attack

By Lloyd Alter   08/26/22  
The concept of net-zero has troubled us at Treehugger for some time. We first discussed it in terms of architecture and building, where, according to the International Living Future Institute's definition, "One hundred percent of…
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Greens ask EPA to ban new natural gas heating

By Rachel Frazin   08/23/22  
Environmental advocates are asking the Biden administration for a federal ban on new natural gas-powered heating appliances in homes and commercial buildings. In a petition submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday, 26…
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Master of all trades: retrofit firm tackles climate and cost of living crises

By Alex King   08/18/22  
Like many others, Orianne Landers left school feeling it had failed to prepare her for the challenges of life. “I did OK at GCSE and A-level. But the subjects I took aren’t much help to…
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The Greenest Building Is Flexible, Adaptable, and Universal

By Lloyd Alter   08/17/22  
British architect Robert Adam's article in Building Design has a brilliant title: "The Elefante in the Room." It is a reference to the famous statement by American architect Carl Elefante back in 2007: “The greenest…
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Green-ifying your home is about to get lots cheaper

By Alex Fitzpatrick   08/11/22  
Homeowners interested in adding rooftop solar panels, installing heat pumps and otherwise green-ifying their houses have plenty to like in the big climate, health and tax package likely to pass Congress in the coming days.…
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Chicago’s city-owned buildings will shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025

By Matt Hickman   08/10/22  
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this week that her administration’s plan to purchase clean, renewable energy for all city-owned facilities and operations by 2025 will move ahead following the finalization of a $422 million contract…
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The search for an AC that doesn’t destroy the planet

By Rebecca Heilweil   08/10/22  
Amid a growing number of heat waves, air conditioners have become a lifeline. Because these appliances are critical to keeping people cool — and protecting them from dangerously hot weather — the International Energy Agency…
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Geothermal heating and cooling: Renewable energy’s hidden gem

By Philip Warburg   08/04/22  
Often described as a giant tower of Jenga blocks, Boston University’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences shows no outward signs of leading the race to sustainable energy design. No rooftop wind turbines grace its…
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Cement

By Sebastian Reiter   08/01/22  
Cement production is one of the highest-emitting industrial sectors, responsible for about 6 to 7 percent of global CO₂ emissions. About 40 percent of the emissions come from the fossil-fuel combustion used to power the…
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Buildings

By Brodie Boland and Others   08/01/22  
Construction is directly or indirectly responsible for almost 40 percent of global CO₂ emissions from fuel combustion and 25 percent of GHG emissions as a whole. These figures include materials such as cement and steel.¹…
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Steel

By Steven Vercammen   08/01/22  
Steel companies quick to decarbonize their operations may be better placed to capture new market opportunities in the long term.
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Inside Clean Energy: What’s Hotter than Solar Panels? Solar Windows.

By Dan Gearino   07/28/22  
The tantalizing idea behind solar windows is that the vertical surfaces on the outside of just about any building could unobtrusively generate electricity.
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What a sustainable building can teach about building sustainably.

By Jeff Fraga   07/26/22  
The other day I visited a friend and client who is based in Seattle’s Bullitt Center, which is known as the greenest commercial building in the world. How green is it? Rainwater (and Seattle has…
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NSF, DOE grants fund UIC research to decarbonize cement manufacturing

07/25/22  
Chemical engineers at the University of Illinois Chicago are investigating new methods to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cement manufacturing. Cement is one of the most widely used building materials, but its production is responsible…
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Air Conditioning Will Not Save Us

By Eric Dean Wilson   07/22/22  
It keeps happening. Every summer, unprecedented heat surges through cities across the United States—in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho; in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio; and in Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey. Last week, a heat wave…
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Europe is overheating. This climate-friendly AC could help.

By Pranshu Verma   07/21/22  
The United Kingdom declared a national emergency this week during a historic heat wave that’s melted runways, snarled train travel and shattered temperature records. The devastation has been particularly acute in a country like England,…
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How can cities adapt to rising heat? Green design architects can help

By Rachel Martin   07/21/22  
As climate change makes heatwaves more common, NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Brigitte Clements, from the Architects Climate Action Network, about what cities like London can do to adapt infrastructure.
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Energy-efficient homes often sell faster and for more money

By YCC Team   07/15/22  
“Environmental awareness and climate change is impacting what buyers are looking for in a home and how they want to live. That’s clear in this research,” says Amanda Pendleton, a home trends expert at Zillow,…
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What Happens After an Energy Audit? How To Select Building Upgrades

By Michael Tobias   07/06/22  
-The optimal combination of energy conservation measures (ECM) will depend on what you want to achieve. Generally, the goal of energy retrofits is saving energy or meeting climate laws.
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How rooftop solar got big: Sunrun hits milestone of 5 gigawatts installed

By Julian Spector   06/28/22  
Sunrun never collapsed; instead, it grew steadily through the ups and downs of the industry’s famously volatile ​“solar coaster.” On Tuesday, the company announced that it has installed a total of 5 gigawatts of solar…
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Presentation on the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act: A RenewableTransition

06/18/22  
A presentation on what thermal energy networks are, and how they will transform the way we heat and cool our buildings, and why both labor unions and environmentalists unified to enable utilities to build them.
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DOE Announces $39 Million for Research and Development to Turn Buildings into Carbon Storage Structures

06/13/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $39 million in awards for 18 projects seeking to develop technologies that can transform buildings into net carbon storage structures. Led by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy…
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New climate-friendly housing development in Michigan will be all-electric

By YCC Team   06/13/22  
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a new mixed-income housing development is under construction. It’s called Veridian at County Farm, and it will be a climate-friendly community with green space, on-site food gardens, and homes that run…
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Biden to invoke Defense Production Act for clean energy

By Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman   06/06/22  
President Biden will shield solar project developers from the costs of potential trade penalties and offer new federal support for domestic panel manufacturing, the White House said Monday.
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The Economics of Electrifying Buildings

By Sherri Billimoria and Others   05/31/22  
Seventy million American homes and businesses burn natural gas, oil, or propane on-site to heat their space and water, generating 560 million tons of carbon dioxide each year—one-tenth of total US emissions. But now, we…
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Collaborating on zero energy homes could help meet utility climate goals and grow affordable housing

By Rebecca Foster   05/25/22  
Whether driven by new data on the severity of climate change, a growing ESG movement, or regulatory requirements to meet energy reduction targets, utilities nationwide are seeking proven program approaches to help them meet their…
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DOE Updates Mobile Home Efficiency Standards to Lower Household Energy Bills

05/18/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today adopted new energy standards for manufactured housing — commonly referred to as single-section and multi-section mobile homes — that will help consumers save hundreds of dollars on their…
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A Summer Home Rebuilt on the Path to Zero

By Frank Baker   05/16/22  
The blue cottage in a historic Chautauqua community in Lakeside, Ohio, had hosted families for nearly a century and had been the beloved summer getaway of Frank and Brenda Baker’s family for the past 15…
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Park Slope condo becomes New York City’s “largest mass-timber building”

By Ben Dreith   05/09/22  
Local studio Mesh Architectures has completed Timber House, a condominium in Brooklyn that developer The Brooklyn Home Company claims is "the largest mass timber building in New York City."
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One of the First Industrial Warehouses is Constructed with Sustainable Materials Designed to Reduce Carbon Impact

By Emily Holbrook   04/26/22  
USAA Real Estate and its development partner, Seefried Industrial Properties, are near completion of an industrial warehouse development in Dallas Fort Worth that will be among the first ever using sustainable building materials that will…
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Can Vines Speed Urban Cooling?

By Emily C. Dooley   04/21/22  
Perhaps trees aren’t the only green solution when it comes to cooling urban spaces and reducing energy costs. Honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, pink trumpet and other vines could be a fast-growing substitute in climate-smart cities of…
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Living in energy-efficient homes can improve people’s health

By YCC Team   04/21/22  
Home energy efficiency upgrades can cut carbon pollution and help people save money on utility bills But for Kevin Kennedy, director of the environmental health program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, there’s…
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Pepperell converts streetlights to LEDs with smart tech

By Meredith Gabrilska   04/12/22  
This past winter, Pepperell completed a two-year project to convert 409 streetlights from standard high pressure sodium lights to LEDs and deploy smart technology that allows the town to manage and troubleshoot each individual light…
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Meyer Memorial Trust Is Made With Mass Plywood Panels

By Lloyd Alter   03/28/22  
There are many different ways to make mass timber. Cross-laminated timber (CLT), developed in Austria in the '90s, is perhaps the most well-known. But there is a new kid on the building block: mass plywood…
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Energy Dept. pushes heat pumps to reduce greenhouse emissions

By Brenda Richardson   03/28/22  
Regular heat pumps are a much less dramatic alternative to geothermal heat pumps — you don’t need a huge yard and you don’t have to dig a huge swath in it. Whether you should get…
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Climate change is spurring a movement to build stormproof homes

By Michele Lerner   03/25/22  
When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle in October 2018, Becky Nixon’s home in Panama City was damaged by limbs falling from the old oak and pine trees that once surrounded her triple-wide trailer.
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Rooftop Gardens Can Help Alleviate Heat in Cities, Study Finds

By Cristen Hemingway Jaynes   03/24/22  
If you’ve even spent a summer in the city and been able to relate to the song of the same name then you know the feeling of wanting to escape the heat by sitting in…
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Volts podcast: Panama Bartholomy on decarbonizing America’s buildings

By David Roberts   01/28/22  
Fossil-fuel combustion in buildings — mostly natural gas for space and water heating — is responsible for around 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.[*] Getting to net-zero will require heating, cooling, and powering all…
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Gas Stoves in the US Emit Methane Equivalent to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Half a Million Cars

By Phil McKenna   01/27/22  
Natural gas stoves emit far more methane than previously thought, as well as harmful nitrogen oxides in concentrations that can quickly exceed federal safety standards, researchers at Stanford University report.
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Gas stoves in kitchens pose a risk to public health and the planet, research finds

By Maxine Joselow   01/27/22  
Gas-burning stoves in kitchens across America may pose a greater risk to the planet and public health than previously thought, new research suggests. The appliances release far more of the potent planet-warming gas methane than…
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After decades, Biden plans to make mobile homes greener, sparking a fierce debate.

By Tik Root   01/21/22  
At Factory Direct Homes here in central Vermont, Tony Flanders stepped through the front door of a gray double-wide mobile home and pointed at the living room window to his left.
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Beware of the Red List – Top Materials to Avoid in Your Home

By Gemma Alexander   01/07/22  
“The Red List” might sound like something from the Cold War. But the Red List has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with chemistry. The Red List is actually a list of…
Read more

Roofing giant takes on Tesla to make solar roof shingles more affordable

By Katie Brigham   01/04/22  
When Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Solar Roof in 2016, it was the first that many people had heard of solar shingles. But the idea of a roofing product that can both generate energy and…
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These homes are off-grid and climate resilient. They’re also built out of trash.

By Nick Aspinwall   01/04/22  
Mike Reynolds never worried too much as the world inched closer to doomsday. In the spring of 2020, motorists lined up in their cars outside grocery stores waiting for food as the coronavirus pandemic first…
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