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2016 Energy Efficiency Standards to Create $75 Billion in Savings

Posted by Lauren Urbanek, NRDC

Jan 17, 2017 11:56:02 AM

It was a big year for appliance and equipment energy efficiency standards, with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) releasing 11 new or updated standards in 2016, ranging from battery chargers and pool pumps to ceiling fans and portable air conditioners. Together, these new standards will save consumers nearly $75 billion on their utility bills and avoid the need to generate 1.4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity over the next 30 years of shipments—more than all of the electricity used in U.S. homes in a year.

In addition, these standards will avoid nearly 800 million metric tons of climate-warming carbon pollution emissions. That’s equivalent to the amount of carbon emitted in a year from 233 coal-fired power plants.

DOE has been setting energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment since 1987, when President Reagan signed the bipartisan enabling legislation into law. Every standard released in 2016 was the culmination of a multi-year process run by the Energy Department, which took into account comments and feedback from industry, energy efficiency supporters, national labs, and the general public. Standards tend to be performance-based, which means manufacturers have complete leeway to design their product any way they want, as long as it meets the specified target for its energy use. Manufacturers are able to innovate in ways that are best for their businesses and best for consumers.

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Installing Recessed LED downlighting

Posted by Arturs Smits, Guest Columnist

Jan 11, 2017 11:37:37 AM

Home lighting design isn’t only to help you decide on what lighting will look good in your home. Good home lighting will also guarantee that you have functional and efficient lighting. And one of the best lighting type, that will ensure that you have bright as well as money-friendly lighting, is LED downlights, because they offer a rare mix of aestheticism, minimalism and simplicity, without being very expensive.

What is recessed lighting?

Recessed lighting is a type of light fixture that is installed into some kind of surface, for example ceilings or a wall, instead of mounted onto the surface like regular lighting fixtures. They are highly effective, practical and elegant lighting solution, that can be used both as ambient and as accent lighting.

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Saving Energy at Home with Smart Thermostats

Posted by Sarah Szczypinski

Dec 26, 2016 1:46:45 PM

Reduce your heating and cooling costs, as well as your overall energy use, by investing in smart thermostat technology.

In the wintertime especially, space heating and cooling takes a major bite from monthly energy bills.

To cut back on energy-related expenditures and improve your home's energy efficiency, you can make the choice to invest in “smart” thermostat technology. New wifi-enabled thermostats are able push for more consistent savings than old-fashioned programmable models, as they learn your temperature preferences and cut out any unnecessary waste.

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EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 8, 2016 11:04:37 AM

Agency answers call to move forward on chemical reform, naming asbestos among first to undergo risk evaluation.

The EPA announced the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace.” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

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The Value of Insulated Garage Doors

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 1, 2016 10:39:03 AM

With impending winter weather upon us, homeowners need to ensure their homes stand up to the test to keep them warm. A simple, cost effective way they can revamp their homes for energy savings and retaining heat is polyurethane insulation in garage and entryway doors.

The attached infographic shares insight on how polyurethane insulation can help

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Breathe Easy: How to Tackle Indoor Air Quality Issues

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

Nov 30, 2016 7:29:49 PM

Some homeowners wonder if their homes could be making them sick. Is the air in their homes unhealthy? Could it be contributing to family illnesses?

In fact, indoor air quality ranks as one of the top five environmental health risks. Indoor air is commonly more polluted than outdoor air. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor levels of pollutants are commonly at least two to five times higher than outdoor levels.

As homes become tighter, allowing less air infiltration, indoor air quality issues can occur. If not enough fresh air is entering the home, concentrations of numerous pollutants can reach unhealthy levels.

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Climate Control and Your Year-Round Solar Greenhouse

Posted by Lindsey Schiller, Guest Columnist

Nov 29, 2016 9:51:08 AM

The Pros and Cons of various climate control method in passive solar greenhouses.

STANDARD GREENHOUSES require excessive heating and cooling to grow year-round in most climates, making it hard to grow fresh, local food in the off-season. The Year-Round Solar Greenhouse is a gardener’s guide to designing and building an energy-efficient greenhouse that is abundant, sustainable and self-sufficient. The first step in this process is creating an insulated energy-efficient structure, based on the principles of passive solar.

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Design Basics for Growing Year-Round in a Solar Greenhouse

Posted by Lindsey Schiller, Guest Columnist

Nov 8, 2016 12:16:12 PM

Grow a variety of crops year-round in cold climates of North America without breaking the bank.

It’s a little-known fact: most year-round greenhouses are energy guzzlers. To grow a variety of crops year-round in cold climates of North America, a standard greenhouse requires large amounts of heating. Commercial greenhouses in North America can be incredibly energy-intensive, costing about 10 times as much to heat and cool as a standard home in areas like Colorado.

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Make Your Windows Visible to Birds, And Do Something Real for Wildlife

Posted by Jennifer Howard, American Bird Conservatory

Sep 28, 2016 7:59:39 PM

Window collisions kill millions of birds each year. Here are five ways to make your windows visible to winged creatures in subtle, yet important ways.

Migratory birds are on the move, winging their way from nesting and breeding grounds in North America to winter habitat in Central and South America and the Caribbean. It’s a spectacular journey—but it’s one that many of them will never finish.

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Upcycle Your Rug

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Sep 27, 2016 9:16:40 PM

By Upcycling, or Creative reuse, is the process of taking materials or products that are no longer wanted or needed and through creativity, transforming them into works of art, items of home decoration, or something else useful. It's seen a resurgence in recent years, with repurposing becoming more popular as we become more aware of the limit of our resources and the impact we have on the earth as a species.

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