Recently, we had to opportunity to talk with Don Ferrier about the progress of a home called the Zero Energy Casita. Ferrier, president of Ferrier Custom Homes, started building earth-sheltered homes 25 years ago and has the distinct accomplishment of building the first LEED Platinum home in Texas. In this net zero energy beauty, Ferrier is building a home that generates as much energy in the course of a year as it consumes.
NanaWall Systems provides a sleek, folding, glass wall system that's seen in a lot of green homes that we mention (for example, see this Sunset Breezehouse). A homeowner may purchase a NanaWall for any number of reasons, whether to blur indoor and outdoor spaces, provide views, or draw natural light into interior spaces. Now, though, all this can be done with greater efficiency using NanaWall's new SL70 with triple glazing system.
A new company, Wattvision, is rolling out a beta version of an energy monitoring system, and it seems promising. The company is selling the Wattvision Sensor for $199 (currently only $149 with the code “wvbetablog“), which can be applied to compatible digital meters. With an online account at Wattvision and the sensor installed, you can start monitoring electricity usage online, on your phone, or through email reports.
As first reported by the New York Times recently, a new life cycle assessment of illuminants conducted by Osram, a German lighting company, provides support for the belief that LEDs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. In fact, over the entire life of the bulb, from manufacturing to recycling, incandescent bulbs use approximately five times more energy than compact fluorescents and LED lamps.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) conducted a post-occupancy study of 25 LEED commercial projects in Illinois and just published the first round of results from their research. The Regional Green Building Case Study Project is one of the first post-occupancy studies to measure energy performance, greenhouse gases emissions, water use, transportation effects, construction and occupancy costs, health benefits, and occupancy comfort on a regional scale. Although CNT found that some LEED projects perform better than others, they also determined that investing in energy efficiency pays off.
We all know there's money in energy efficiency, but sometimes, it's hard to justify the upfront costs to receive the benefits over time. When crunching the numbers, it helps to recall the Energy Pie Chart that Steven Chu posted to his Facebook recently — lighting accounts for 26% of energy use in commercial buildings! Which is why Holiday Inn will save ~$4.4 million annually as they swap out their neon and fluorescent signage for super efficient LED signage.