Tag Archives: building energy

Home Heating 101: An Overview of Available Options

Home heating systems are designed to increase the temperature inside a house by tapping thermal energy from a fuel source, then transferring it to living spaces. There are several types of systems used to provide heat in residential homes, and each broad type has more specific variations. Some HVAC systems share components with the home’s cooling equipment, some work independently, and some provide both heating and cooling. Continue reading

Glass Blocks Could Soon See Buildings Generating Their Own Power

Buildings could soon be able to convert the sun’s energy into electricity without relying solely upon solar panels, thanks to innovative new technology. University of Exeter, England, researchers have been developing a pioneering new technology that could accelerate the widespread introduction of net-zero energy buildings through the latest innovation in Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). Their innovative glass block, which can be incorporated into the fabric of a building, is designed to collect solar energy and convert it to electricity. Continue reading

A Guide to Gypsum Wallboard

Drywall is a construction material used to create walls and ceilings. It’s also used to create many design features, including eaves, arches and other architectural specialties. It’s quick and easy to install, incredibly durable, and requires only simple repairs when damaged. In the commercial building world, drywall is used to wrap columns to conceal steel beams and is an easy and inexpensive way to top off masonry walls above ceilings. Drywall is also used to add fire resistance at walls and ceilings, containing the spread of fire so people can evacuate safely during an emergency. Continue reading

What Is Sustainable Architecture?

Sustainable architecture is a general term that refers to buildings that are 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. This includes 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. Continue reading

Casas Em Movimento Solar Homes

Casas Em Movimento, a project from a Portuguese firm, means Moving Houses. The idea behind the project is to turn a house into an architectural sunflower that rotates in order to maximize the amount of solar energy it receives. This technology was developed at the University of Porto, Faculty of Architecture. Continue reading

City of Santa Cruz Enacts Prohibition of Natural Gas

cities prohibiting natural gasThe city council in Santa Cruz voted unanimously on March 24 to prohibit gas hookups in most new buildings, bringing the total number of California building gas bans and electrification codes to thirty.

The ordinance, which aims to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, stresses Santa Cruz’s vulnerability to both sea-level rise and wildfires. Santa Cruz’s reach code incorporates parts of gas ban reach codes previously implemented in places like Berkeley and San Jose. Continue reading

Natural Building Ventilation

Historically, all buildings were ventilated naturally. In modern buildings, many of the opportunities for natural ventilation have been compromised by placement of interior partition walls and reliance on mechanical systems. With an increased awareness of the cost and environmental impacts of energy use, natural ventilation has become an increasingly attractive method for reducing energy use and cost and for providing acceptable indoor environmental quality and maintaining a healthy, comfortable, and productive indoor climate rather than the more prevailing approach of using mechanical ventilation. Continue reading

Solar Shading Devices: What You Need to Know

When the ambient temperature within a building is within or above the comfort zone, any additional heating of the interior due to solar gain will result in discomfort. Architects therefor design solar shading devices to prevent this. However, at cool times of the year, it is generally desirable to allow solar radiation to pass directly into the room to provide a useful heating effect. This response – between blocking excess gain in summer vs optimizing gain in winter- can be provided either by the shading device being moveable, or by it being geometrically selective. Continue reading

It’s Official: All New California Homes Must Incorporate Solar

Solar panels will be a required feature on new houses in California, after the state’s Building Standards Commission gave final approval to a housing rule that’s the first of its kind in the United States. Set to take effect in 2020, the new standard includes an exemption for houses that are often shaded from the sun. It also includes incentives for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home’s electrical system, to store the sun’s energy. Continue reading

CA’s Updated Building Energy Coming in 2020

Every three years the California Energy Commission updates the state’s building code to make improvements to the energy performance of new buildings. Starting January 1, 2020, California’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards will take effect. Any building permitted after the new year will need to comply with these new standards. Continue reading