What Will 2020 Bring?

It’s hard to believe but we’ve reached the end of 2019. It’s been an incredible year filled with some great accomplishments and exciting potential.
What Will 2020 Bring?
We started the year off recognizing Mandalay Homes as they offered rooftop solar as a standard product on their homes and Health E Community Enterprises’ Zero Energy Ready Home communities. We also took a look at a Utah-based project where Sonnen EcoLinx batteries will be used to manage peak energy use and provide emergency power. Material advancements were also in the news throughout the year. We took a look at key solar developments like floating PV, molecular solar thermal liquid, and a water flow glazing technology that captures solar radiation for heating, preheating, domestic hot water, and the storage or expenditure of excess energy. In addition to these materials, keep an eye on other products like translucent wood, self-healing concrete, and 3D printed houses that will continue to advance and make news in 2020. Data and AI will also contribute to advancements in the construction industry. It’s clear data is already important in determining optimal design for the... read more
 

Energy Efficient Buildings of the Future

A team in Bulgaria recently opened a project to exhibit and test water flow glazing technology.
Energy Efficient Buildings of the Future
A demonstration project in Sofia, Bulgaria, is showcasing a water flow glazing (WFG) technology that utilizes water as a transparent insulator. Referred to as InDeWaG (Industrial Development of Water Flow Glazing Systems) and developed in Madrid, the project will demonstrate and test the efficiency of the system and its ability to maximize solar in varying temperatures during both winter and summer, as well as in very different climates. [Photo courtesy InDeWaG] The project consists of a pavilion with three walls with panes that use the WFG. The remaining wall and the floors are insulated to help achieve nearly zero energy building standards (in accordance with Bulgarian legislation). As explained in a Bulgarian article: “Each pane has a continuous flow of distilled water and glycol. Inside each window, there is a constant flow of 70 litres of distilled water and 30 litres of ethylene glycol, which serves as antifreeze. Each transparent panel acts as an individual solar... read more
 

Water Water Everywhere

71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. That’s a lot of water.
Water Water Everywhere
Floating houses are not a new concept and can be found all over the world. Growing up surrounded by water I knew a family (of SIX!) that lived in a houseboat. It was normal. We have them all over Lake Union in Seattle. But what I haven’t seen a lot of in the U.S. is floating PV (FPV). In 2008 an FPV array was installed in Napa but as of 2017, the U.S. only had seven “operational” floating solar arrays. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory believes there are “more than 24,000 human-made bodies of water throughout the country with the potential of generating 10% of the nation’s electricity using FPV.” Other reports state that the demand for this product will grow steadily by an average of 22 percent from now through 2024. By the end of this year (2019) there will be about 340 floating solar installations completed globally in 35 countries (mostly in Asia). The market is primarily driven by countries with “high land costs, limited land availability, or ambitious renewable... read more
 

Improving Air Sealing Efficiency in Off-site Construction

Government funding and collaboration will help to improve energy efficiency in off-site construction.
Improving Air Sealing Efficiency in Off-site Construction
Earlier this year, AeroBarrier headed out to North Carolina to begin a pilot program at Volumetric Building Companies’ factory located in Hamlet. As part of a 3-year project headed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the pilot project is focused on both advancing energy efficiency in permanent modular construction, as well as discovering pathways for faster, more advanced manufacturing capabilities. AeroBarrier was applied to a sample group of modular units to create initial baseline data. This particular pilot project aims to prove the advanced air sealing techniques can be completed inside the factory both quickly and efficiently, and without substantial leakage losses during shipping and placement of the units on-site. Once the units are installed on-site, the boxes will be re-tested to verify how the in-factory air sealing held up during transportation and setting on-site. The units were tested before and after the application of the AeroBarrier product... read more
 

What Are You Thankful For?

It’s the week for giving thanks and there’s a lot to be grateful for at EEBA!
What Are You Thankful For?
2019 has been an incredibly successful year that has brought many new partners to EEBA, as well as new board members, and a bigger and better High Performance Home Summit where we had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with some of the most passionate and driven people in the industry. We’ve seen new opportunities presented through our strengthened partnerships with RESNET, The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, Professional Builder and Green Builder Media. We also continue our commitment to helping attract youth to the industry with our NextGen Scholarship Initiative. We are also excited for a new national partnership program that offers both inclusivity and exclusivity - all while lowering the cost across the board and delivering more value and benefits to all of our partners. And then there’s all that anticipation surrounding the idea of having a new CEO! EEBA staff, Nancy Bakeman and Cristen Burrell, are thankful for the incredible brain power and entertainment... read more
 

Solar Breakthrough in Sweden

Researchers in Sweden create a liquid molecule with potential to release on-demand heat.
Solar Breakthrough in Sweden
A research team at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have identified a way to harness energy from the sun and store it (potentially for decades), releasing the energy as on-demand heat. The molecular solar thermal liquid is made of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen and has the ability to collect solar energy and hold it until a catalyst triggers its release as heat. The Swedish team is currently focused on the heating benefits, although one of the big, unanswered questions that remains is whether or not the system can additionally produce electricity. Kasper Moth-Poulsen, lead researcher and a professor in the university’s department of chemistry and chemical engineering also believes the storage unit they’ve created for the technology has the “stability to outlast the 5-to 10-year life span of typical lithium-ion batteries on the market today.” One of many research groups looking to molecular thermal solar systems to provide solutions for climate change, the... read more
 

Around the Globe

See what’s happening around the world surrounding energy efficiency.
Around the Globe
Ithaca, New York The Solar Home Factory, based in Geneva, New York is on a mission to build zero-energy homes. The company is birthed out of the desire to find solutions for heating issues in their region and to move people towards air pumps. What they found, however, is that most homes weren’t efficient enough for them so they continued using natural gas, coal or wood pellets. The Solar Home Factory utilizes SIPs and combines modular techniques with net-zero energy homes. In a previous development, homeowners were paying around 20 cents per day in heating costs (before solar credits). They are currently working on 43-unit single family home project in Ithaca, New York. Melbourne, Australia $784,000 was recently funded to a real estate group, Mirvac, to test a “net zero energy” housing project in a Melbourne suburb. The 49-townhome planned community will demonstrate the feasibility of achieving net-zero energy homes at scale and show homeowners how they can greatly... read more
 

NAHB’s Sustainability & Green Building Scholarship

The National Association of Home Builders is offering a qualified applicant a scholarship to the International Builders’ Show next year.
NAHB’s Sustainability & Green Building Scholarship
Are you a student in a two-year or four-year university/college, vocational, apprenticeship, or other training program? Are you a recent graduate within the past 2 years? Or maybe you’re a young professional looking for a career shift? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be eligible to apply for the NAHB’s Sustainability and Green IBS Scholarship and attend the International Builders’ Show for free. The Sustainability and Green IBS Scholarship provides an opportunity for students and recent graduates to be introduced to the world of high performance homes and helps them make the connections to jumpstart their career. The Scholarship recipient will receive airfare (up to $600), hotel accommodations (four nights), and a full registration to the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 21-23, 2020. They’ll be able to walk the show floor and take in all the latest products, and will also have access to networking events and a variety of educational... read more
 

Tech Companies Continue Investments in Renewable Energy

The trend of large technology companies investing in renewables continues as Google makes a $2bn investment.
Tech Companies Continue Investments in Renewable Energy
Most of us can agree that technology has the potential to create both positive change as well as negative fallout. We take the good with the bad. One thing is undeniable though...the influence tech companies hold provides them the ability to create massive waves of change. And this is a good thing where clean energy is concerned. As reported earlier this year, Facebook has pledged to power its operations using 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020 and is currently building one of the largest solar farms in the United States. And just last month, Google committed to the biggest renewable energy deal in corporate history with a $2 billion wind and solar investment. In 2017 and 2018 they matched 100% of their electricity use with renewable sources and expect to do the same in 2019. While almost half of their renewable energy investments were made in Europe, the remaining investments were spread out through the United States - new solar farms will be built in Texas and North... read more
 

Last Chance to Submit Your Project for Best Green Home and Sustainability Awards

There’s less than one week left to submit your entry for Green Builder’s Green Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards
Last Chance to Submit Your Project for Best Green Home and Sustainability Awards
Green Builder Media is on the hunt for the best green homes that include sustainable features, innovative design, and whole home performance. Categories for the Green Home of the Year Awards are: General, Mainstream Green, Alternative Building Technology, Off-site Construction, Small Footprint Living, and Sustainable Community. 2019 projects were located all around the country - the Pacific Northwest, New York, Colorado, Hawaii, and Texas. This will also be the second year of their Sustainability Awards offering recognition for Green Innovation of the Year, Best Municipal Program, and Sustainability Superhero - last year, Nathan Good of Nathan Good Architects in Salem, Oregon, was awarded this recognition. Winners will receive coverage in the January/February 2020 issue of Green Builder magazine. A qualified panel of builders and design professionals will review entries and winners will be notified in December. Entries must be received no later than October 11, 2019 at... read more