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GREEN BUILDING PRINCIPLES

PSIC also distributes and holds workshops on Energy-10, a DOE-supported  computer design tool for small commercial and residential buildings.  

Developed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Energy-10 helps architects and designers assess how a building will use energy and identify which energy-efficiency strategies are the most effective.  It's at the forefront of the new generation of easy-to-use programs that help architects and engineers evaluate the details of building energy use at every step in the design process.  Contact PSIC for more information. 

Other renewable resources, such as wind and geothermal energy systems can also supply energy to buildings. It is important to do complete site and resource assessments to ensure that the system or resource you are considering can supply the necessary energy.  

Responding to President Clinton's call to unleash creative power to meet the challenge of climate change, Secretary of Energy Federico F. Peña has announced the administration's "Million Solar Roofs Initiative." The initiative calls for the Department of Energy to lead an effort to place one million solar energy systems on the roofs of buildings and homes across the U.S. by the year 2010.

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) publishes a variety of publications related to research, design, and performance of solar components and systems, and other renewable energy systems.  

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, conducts research in energy efficiency and renewable energy. NREL’s Web site includes information on research areas, program activities, publications and reference resources. 

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is the trade association for the wind energy industry. AWEA advocates the use of small- to large-scale wind energy conversion systems for stand-alone and grid-connected applications as non-polluting, renewable energy sources. Web site contains a host of useful information, including questions and answers on residential wind systems, a list of manufacturers of small wind turbines, and more.  Building Envelope 

Houses that are airtight and well-insulated consume less energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has established recommended insulation levels for different climates. For more information on the recommended insulation levels for your area, call DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) at (800) 363-3732. EREC also has many fact sheets on the entire spectrum of energy efficiency in buildings. 

The Efficient Windows Collaborative is a coalition of window, door, skylight, and component manufacturers; research organizations; federal, state, and local agencies; and others interested in expanding the market for high-efficiency fenestration products.  Its Web site offers useful information on the benefits of high-efficiency products, how to select windows, and how windows work.  There is also a useful list of resources, including software, links, and references. 

The National Fenestration Rating Council was formed to develop a voluntary, national rating systems for windows, doors, and other fenestration products. NFRC’s uniform energy performance rating and labeling system allows builders and consumers to compare the efficiency of fenestration products. NFRC Certified Products Directory contains information on the U-value of more than 20,000 certified products. The directory can be ordered for $15 (non-member price) from: NFRC, 1300 Spring Street, Suite 500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Phone: (301) 589-6372; e-mail: NFRCUSA@aol.com  

Other techniques, such as advanced sealing measures, energy trusses, and air-infiltration barriers ("housewraps"), can also help reduce energy consumption and make buildings more comfortable. 

Building Systems 

Select the most energy-efficient equipment possible. While this equipment might cost more upfront, the energy cost savings will more than offset the higher initial cost. For example, front-loading washing machines use as much as 50 percent less water and detergent as their top-loading counterparts. Compact fluorescent lamps cost more initially, but they last much longer and use considerably less electricity than incandescents. 

In commercial buildings, lighting consumes a considerable amount of energy. Switching to more energy-efficient lighting systems can reduce these costs while conserving electricity.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers several programs that aim to reduce energy consumption in buildings. The Energy Star Buildings Program is a voluntary energy-efficiency program for commercial buildings in the United States. The program focuses on profitable investment opportunities available in most buildings using proven technologies. Program participants can expect to reduce their building’s energy consumption by about 30 percent. 

EPA’s Green Lights Program is a voluntary program that provides technical assistance, resources, and tools to U.S. businesses, institutions, government agencies, and other organizations to replace inefficient lighting with new, high-efficiency lighting systems. The program has helped its participants save an average of 30 percent on lighting energy costs. 

EPA also operates the Energy Star Computers Program , through which energy-efficient computer equipment that meets certain efficiency requirements is identified with the program’s label. Materials on buying efficient computer equipment, as well as lists of equipment that qualifies for the program, are available. 

EPA’s Energy Star Residential Programs aim to promote residential energy efficiency. For example, the Energy Star New Homes program works with builders to provide new homes that are at least 30-percent more efficient than the 1992 Model Energy Code. Energy Star Programs and Products works with utility, product distribution, retail, and government procurement partners to market, sell, and purchase Energy Star products. Energy Star Financing provides long-term equipment financing and innovative mortgage options, with no additional down payment to consumers. The Energy Star Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Program helps consumers find more efficient heating and cooling equipment for their homes. 

In January 1998, EPA launched its new Energy Star TV/VCR Program to encourage manufacturers to produce TVs and VCRs that energy more efficiently than current models. Products bearing the Energy Star logo will consume up to 70 percent 
less energy, without sacrificing features, performance, or price. Lists of participating manufacturers and models are available at the program Web site. 

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) offers several publications related to energy-efficient buildings, including Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, which discusses the entire spectrum of home energy savings and residential appliances, including a list of the most energy-efficient equipment and appliances available; and Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Equipment, which offers recommendations about the types of equipment to purchase and how to best operate it for maximum energy efficiency, as well as energy-use characteristics of microcomputers and displays, printers, copiers, and fax machines. 

Links 

Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home 
A booklet produced by the U.S. Department of Energy that will help you achieve a whole-house energy efficiency plan.  Includes chapters on insulation and weatherization, heating and cooling, water heating, windows, landscaping, lighting, and appliances, as well as an appliance shopping guide, a resource list, and a list of additional resources. 

Home Energy Saver 
A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory site that provides information to help you conserve energy in your home. You can also analyze your home for energy savings with the "Energy Advisor" or access a large number of additional on-line resources on home energy conservation through the "Energy Librarian."

The Energy Foundation  
Provides more information on energy use in buildings, including energy-efficient design, lighting, appliances, equipment, and windows. 

EREC  
Provides links to several buildings-related fact sheets from EREC. Topics include natural cooling techniques, energy-efficient water heating, energy-efficient lighting, landscaping for energy efficiency, and sunspace basics. 

Written by: Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development


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