There's been a lot of talk about various green building provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454 or "ACES"), but there's one specific section of ACES that deserves more attention. Section 204 needs to be included in the green building discussion, because this is where the Building Energy Performance Labeling Program is. With this program, as we predicted with our Seven Green Trends, the federal government could lay the foundation for true and legitimate building environmental impact labels. Let's talk about this unprecedented policy, with a little background discussion.
San Antonio-based LionForce built this efficient home as a prototype for their ecoLiving System — a web-based configurator that will help homeowners design homes and build them through a national network of certified building partners. LionForce says their homes are efficient, healthy, low-maintenance, quickly constructed, and cost effective. This first prototype home, the T-2 home, has already received a 2009 Green Building Award from the City of San Antonio (in the custom home under 2,200 square feet category).
If you haven't noticed, the big news today is Microsoft Hohm, a free online beta application that's rumored to launch sometime next week. Microsoft Hohm will be a web-based service that takes information about your energy use — not just electricity — and examines it to provide recommendations to save money and energy. Here's what you can do:
Last week, Willamette Week Online published an article called "Futurehaus," which we linked to in our Saturday Week in Review. The article describes an Oregon Passive House project in the works by Root Design Build. The house is referred to as the Shift House, which, awkwardly enough, is not to be confused with the other Shift Home that we covered recently. But that's not to take anything away from it. With construction set to begin next month, upon completion in September, it'll be one of only a few certified Passive Houses in the United States.
I noticed BuildingGreen added these exterior venetian blinds to the GreenSpec Directory recently. Hella exterior blinds are distributed in the U.S. through Savannah Trims and available in slat sizes of 2", 3.1", and 4". The blinds are aluminum, have lateral tension, and can be controlled manually or electrically. They're slick looking and come in a variety of heights, widths, and colors.
At the beginning of the year, when we wrote that energy efficiency would come into greater focus, we didn't know the World Business Council for Sustainable Development ("WBCSD") was going to say "energy efficiency is fast becoming one of the defining issues of our time." But this is the message in a new report published by the WBCSD. They invested four years and $15 million in what's being called the most rigorous study on energy efficiency in buildings ever conducted. According to the report, energy use in buildings can be cut by 60% by 2050, but action is necessary soon. Let's take a closer look …