During Greenbuild in Toronto, CertainTeed Corporation introduced a new solar photovoltaic system called the Apollo Solar Roofing System. Apollo skips the rack and mount for a seamless profile that integrates with standard roof shingles. Each 12-pound module has 14 high-efficiency, polycrystalline silicon solar cells that soak up the sun and convert it to energy to power the underlying home.
The value proposition of solar energy is driving great opportunities for homeowners looking to invest in sustainable power production. In fact, the average installed cost of a solar PV system completed in 2010 fell by 17% from the prior year, and the cost has also dropped an additional 11% so far in 2011, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In an article that’s sure to raise the hackles of the Passive House crowd, Joseph Lstiburek, a principal of Building Science Corporation, says the Passivhaus airtightness requirement – 0.6 ach @ 50 Pa — “doesn’t seem to be based on anything that makes any sense.“ He suggests the following: “if you get below 3 ach @ 50 Pa the comfort problems go away, things become predictable, and you save energy. Add the controlled ventilation piece and the combustion safety piece and nobody dies and nobody gets sick and life is good.“ In other words, remove large holes in the building envelope, install a controlled ventilation system, and use sealed combustion or power vented appliances.
The Wall Street Journal discusses some of the latest green building practices that help homeowners save energy. The four the author focuses on are blown fiberglass insulation (expensive yet cheaper than spray foam), heat pump water heaters (pricey systems that use heat from the air), electronic monitors (gadgets to cut unneeded energy usage), and concrete countertops (an affordable local surface option). Read the article:
Project Frog, a start-up that designs and builds prefabricated sustainable buildings, recently announced a $22 million investment round led by GE, signaling the multinational company is bullish on not just environmental responsibility but innovative construction methods, too. As part of the relationship, GE will complete a Project Frog building at GE’s Crotonville Learning Center in Ossining, New York by the end of 2011.