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COP23 Climate Talks in Bonn Next Week: What can we Expect?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Nov 2, 2017 8:22:42 AM

Next week, world leaders will gather together for the COP23—the next round of international climate talks. With every country across the globe except Syria and the U.S.A. supporting the Paris Agreement, will our nation’s delegation, with its isolationist approach, be scorned?

The COP23 summit, scheduled to be held next week in Bonn, Germany, marks the two year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. 

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Asphalt Recycling Should Get as Much Attention as Electric Cars

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Nov 2, 2017 4:28:53 AM

The methods and equipment already exist to improve asphalt recycling by up to 95 percent. It's time to include roads in the electricle vehicle discussion.

Unless you're in the road-building business, you may not have heard of Cold-In-Place asphalt recycling. But it's a term you should know. According to Healthy Building Network, Cold-in-place recycling, the rarest form of asphalt pavement recycling, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 95 percent per lane mile and save a lot of money ----  as much as 40 percent compared to conventional techniques. More common warm mix asphalt can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent compared to conventional paving, and increase proportions of RAP used. In our report, we provide sources for these figures, as well as recommendations to greatly increase the recycling of asphalt."

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Building Science: The Pathway to Resilience

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 30, 2017 2:20:06 PM

Preparing future homes to survive climate-induced shocks begins now.

Builders face tough times. Each year brings more restrictive land use, rising material costs, stricter building codes (in some areas) and the ever-looming threat of litigation. Of course, sometimes the industry backs outdated ways of building (opposition to low-flow toilets a few years ago was not a high mark). But builder groups in California were right to resist a new bill that holds them responsible for the unpaid wages of their subcontractors’ employees. We need our best and brightest focused on what really matters—building high-performance housing—not fighting legal battles.

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Puerto Rico: State of Chaos

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 26, 2017 10:17:32 AM

Five weeks after Hurricane Maria, 70% of Puerto Rico remains without power. While the recent announcement regarding the rebuilding of the Puerto Rican grid by a small company out of Whitefish, Montana may bring some short-term relief to residents, the news certainly raises many long-term questions around ongoing grid resiliency and reliability. And an even bigger question looms—who will pay?

Even before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure was precarious at best.  The entity in charge of the commonwealth’s electricity delivery, the Puerto Rico Public Power Authority (PREPA), had been suffocating under a mountain of crippling debt (in the range of $10 billion.) 

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How to Successfully Partner With a Green Subcontractor

Posted by Megan Wild, Guest Columnist

Oct 25, 2017 5:10:10 PM

Your subcontractor(s) can help you guide your project to success. Here are tips for partnering with a green subcontractor.

The construction industry is thriving today because of solid, mutually beneficial relationships. One of the main cornerstones of the construction industry is that of the contractor-subcontractor. Regardless of your size of business, more than likely you will have had to subcontract areas of your project to third parties, or you will need to do so in the future.

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Time for All Builders­—and Insurers—to Embrace a Higher Standard

Posted by Ron Jones

Oct 19, 2017 3:04:18 PM

We find ourselves in a most interesting time for homebuilders.

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Energy Data Gains Traction in Real Estate Listings

Posted by Ryan Meres, RESNET Program Director

Oct 13, 2017 10:51:42 AM

What impact will energy data for 110 million homes have on the energy efficiency industry?

For more than a decade studies have consistently shown that homebuyers want energy efficient features, but few are actually aware of the impact those features have on energy cost. The average U.S. homeowner spends more on energy than property taxes and insurance, but energy is the only one of those three common expenses not considered in the mortgage process. The recent announcement and report released by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) that real estate platforms have started including energy information in their listings is a significant step toward reducing the barrier to transparency of energy use in the home buying process. This transparency is also likely to spur energy efficiency improvements which is good news for utility efficiency programs, contractors and HERS Raters.

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EPA Moves to Repeal Clean Power Plan: How Much Will It Matter?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 12, 2017 11:28:02 AM

Earlier this week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt confirmed that he will sign a rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a signature environmental policy from the Obama administration focused on cutting U.S. carbon emissions. But given the shifting dynamics of the market, this decision might not have the intended impact.

In 2015, the EPA published a final rule to enforce the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel power plants by 32% by 2030.  The rule set targets based on each state’s unique blend of power generation, allowing states to determine how to most effectively meet the targets.

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Are Multi-family Homes the Next Green Building Boom?

Posted by Megan Wild, Guest Columnist

Oct 10, 2017 9:36:19 AM

As multi-family homes increase in popularity, here's how they will impact green building and how you can prepare.

Multi-family investment properties are increasing in popularity, and they now represent a significant proportion of existing building stock in urban areas. Therefore, multi-family properties are considered perfect opportunities to improve sustainability. Homebuilders and architects alike are capitalizing on these opportunities for more reasons aside from return on investment. Out of the single-family and multi-family homebuilders that participated in a survey conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 33 percent reported that green building accounts for over 60 percent of their total projects. Furthermore, out of the multi-family builders, almost 30 percent revealed that green building accounts for over 90 percent of their portfolio. Over the next five years, it is believed that almost half of single and multi-family builders will find that their overall activity is 60 percent green building. NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a homebuilder from Texas, stated that "These findings show green building has become an established part of the residential construction landscape." Members of the NAHB are clearly recognizing the potential market of green building, and furthermore of green building in multi-family homes. That potential is huge.

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Coming Soon: An All Electric Vehicle Future

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 5, 2017 10:11:56 AM

Countries like France, Britain, India, and China are implementing sweeping clean vehicle regulations, driving demand for electric cars and innovative mobility solutions. Automotive companies are responding with dramatic plans to shift their portfolios and phase out gas and diesel powered motors.

In July, Volvo rocked the automotive industry with the unveiling of a plan to completely phase out combustion engines, shifting fully to electric and hybrid motors by 2024.

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Traffic Jams and Sprawl Data Contradict U.S. Desire for Walkability

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 5, 2017 10:05:43 AM

Despite surveys suggesting that Americans prefer walkable neighborhoods, only 2.7 percent actually walk or bike to work.

THE INFOGRAPHIC BELOW dispels many misconceptions about the "typical" worker in the U.S. Although the percentage of people who walk or bike to work has grown slightly, by 1.4 percent, the number of drivers on the road has INCREASED by 8.6 million since 2006. It's not your imagination. Traffic IS getting worse.

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Resilient Rebuilding in Puerto Rico

Posted by Martin O'Malley, Guest Columnist

Sep 28, 2017 1:23:28 PM

Two of the largest Hurricanes in recorded history hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands within ten days of each other. The cause is undeniable. The devastation almost indescribable, and the opportunity to rebuild a green, renewable more resilient electric grid has never been called for more urgently.

Reality check.

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Is the U.S. Solar Industry About to Collapse?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Sep 28, 2017 12:11:57 PM

Last week, the International Trade Commission ruled that the importation of low-cost solar panels meaningfully harmed U.S. manufacturers. The case will now go to President Trump, who will decide whether or not to issue steep tariffs on foreign made panels—a move that would make U.S. solar panels the most expensive in the world and could effectively strangle the industry nation-wide.

Last Friday, the International Trade Commission (ITC) unanimously ruled in favor of a petition issued by U.S.-based solar panel manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld to place a $.40/watt tariff on imported crystalline silicon solar panels, with a minimum price of $.78/watt, arguing that the glut of inexpensive foreign panels materially harmed the American companies. 

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