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ICC and ASABE Announce New Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler Standard

Posted by ICC

Nov 4, 2014 11:42:47 AM

The International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) announce the release of a new ANSI consensus standard to classify sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, set uniform testing procedures, and establish minimum design and performance requirements for commercial and residential landscape irrigation components.

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Green Building Code Basics: Preservation of Natural Resources

Posted by ICC

Oct 28, 2014 3:15:26 PM

An excerpt from ICC's Green Building Code Basics: Green, Based on on the 2012 International Green Construction Code®

Prior to any construction activity on site, an assessment should be completed that evaluates the natural resources on the site, and any measures taken to protect those resources, such as trees, natural vegetation, waterways, and species habitat. It is important to establish designated access roads from the public way to the building site, along with an area for storing building materials on site during the construction process, and to mark locations of future underground utility locations. These limitations should be noted on the building site plan and posted on the construction site so  personnel are aware of the limitations.

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Frontlines of Climate Change: Mass Extinction

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 22, 2014 3:50:10 PM

To quote American nature writer Kenneth Brower, “A living planet is a rare thing, perhaps the rarest thing in the universe, and a very tenuous experiment at best.” A living planet is comprised of complex ecosystems that nourish myriad species, each one interdependent, relying on the others to play their role to such perfection that only exists in nature.

When ecosystems fall out of balance, chaos ensues. The cycle of life is interrupted, and species perish. Without sustainable natural systems, there is no provision for communities, no sustenance for societies, no nourishment for economies.

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Horton Hears a Gurgling Sound

Posted by Matt Power

Oct 8, 2014 3:37:00 PM

AS I BEGAN WRITING this month’s chapter on water conservation, I wondered if I’d have much to say. In the world of green building, things seem to be moving in the right direction. Toilets, faucets, dishwashers, clothes washers—virtually every point-of-use gadget now uses a fraction of the water it did in years past. Even irrigation, the elephant in the front yard (and the farmer’s field) is finally getting the attention it deserves. Drip systems, rain sensors and other technologies have begun to whittle away at that oft-ignored source of water waste.
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Double Zero: Net Zero Energy with an Eye Toward Water Conservation

Posted by Hilary Daninhirsch

Sep 26, 2014 12:24:00 PM

KB HOME RECENTLY constructed a home in Lancaster, California (in Los Angeles County), which earned the company RESNET’s award for Lowest HERS Index Score for a Production Builder. Dubbed the Double ZeroHouse 2.0, it’s not only net-zero energy, it also requires no freshwater for irrigation. Even without the SunPower solar PV system, this home achieves an impressive HERS score of 42.

Jacob Atalla, vice president of Sustainability, says that KB Home was the first homebuilder to sign up with RESNET as a RESNET Energy Smart Builder. The company has its own Energy Performance Guide, incorporating HERS principles, which allows homeowners to calculate the dollars they can expect to spend and save.

Atalla reported that KB Home obtained a HERS rating for all 7,000 of their new homes in 2013, and achieved its goal of increasing their energy efficiency by 3 percent. The average HERS score for homes built in 2013 was 65.

“On average, homeowners currently save $1,000 per year on energy bills compared to a typical resale home,” he says. “It’s a big value, and customers are looking for it.”

In fact, the HERS Index score is being added to many MLS listings; a home that has a very good (low) score gains an advantage over one that doesn’t, even if the homes share many other characteristics.

KB Home builds in communities across the country, from California to Florida to Maryland. The company chose to build the Double ZeroHouse 2.0 in Lancaster because the city strongly supports renewable energy. The high desert, drought-prone location also allowed KB Home to showcase their water conservation mechanism -  a new graywater recycling system from Nexus eWater. The system can treat up to 40,000 gallons of water a year for use as landscaping irrigation.

“We also used brand new technology—new to us—that contributed to lowering the HERS score in that house,” says Atalla. The Power-Pipe by RenewABILITY is a wastewater heat recovery device that takes wastewater from the shower drains, extracts the heat, then uses it to heat the new freshwater going into the tankless water heater. Atalla estimates the Power-Pipe saves approximately 10 percent of the energy spent on water heating.

As with all of their homes, KB Home focused on the building’s envelope and mechanics. The team insulated the attic at the roof deck, upgraded insulation in the walls, tightened air sealing of the house, upgraded windows to argon-filled units and installed a tankless water heater. Another “extra” was a smart garage with an electric vehicle charging station.

Atalla says that RESNET-certified HERS raters are usually on site twice—once during the framing and installation of insulation and then again at the end of construction. But because they were aiming for “double zero,” the rater partnered with KB Home early in the design process, helping to identify elements that could make the home more efficient and meet the net-zero-energy target, and visited the site more frequently, as well.


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