Green Tools Online

Some useful links….

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Just recently it was approved a green building standard sponsored by ASHRAE, USGBC, IESNA, minimum standard for high performance green building called Standard 189, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The scope of the new standard applies to

  • new buildings and their systems
  • new portions of buildings and their systems
  • new systems and equipment in existing buildings

The standard will address the areas of site sustainability, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and a building’s impact on the atmosphere and natural resources.

The standard will not apply to:

  • single family houses
  • multi-family less than 3 stories
  • mobile homes
  • manufactured houses
  • buildings that use none of electricity, fossil fuel or water.

According to an estimate by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Standard 189.1 could lead to site energy savings between 10 and 34 percent over Standard 90.1-2007.” (source :

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Honolulu passes Green legislation

Starting in May 2010, all new projects on Honolulu will be required to comply with a new Energy Conservation Code.

The new code will allow for more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings. It will require the use of improved windows and roof efficiencies for homes built in warmer climates that lower energy costs during cooling periods. Also, homes are required to have higher efficient light bulbs in at least 50 percent of permanent lighting fixtures Commercial buildings are required to installed more efficient air conditioning systems in to reducing energy costs.

(Image source:Clipart)

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Can Renewable Energy become a dominant energy production source?

Last year the government passed new legislation regarding renewable energy. Renewable energy sources as defined by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is energy generated by:

  • conventional hydroelectric power
  • geothermal
  • solar/photovoltaics
  • wind
  • biomass

The legislation includes the following specific energy-related initiatives (source: :

  • Limit or cap the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted from facilities that generate electricity and from other industrial activities over the 2012–2050 period.
  • Provide energy tax credits or energy rebates to certain low-income families to offset the impact of higher energy-related prices from cap and trade programs
  • Require certain retail electricity suppliers to satisfy a minimum percentage of their electricity sales with electricity generated by facilities that use qualifying renewable fuels or energy sources
  • Establish the Carbon Storage Research Corporation to support research and development of technologies related to carbon capture and sequestration
  • Establish a Clean Energy Deployment Administration within the Department of Energy (DOE), which would be authorized to provide direct loans, loan guarantees, and letters of credit for clean energy projects
  • Authorize appropriations for various programs under EPA, DOE and other agencies.

On a recent article in Scientific American, renewable energy may become the dominant fuel source and the only fuel source needed to supply the world energy needs and the conversion could occur as early as 2030.

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The Greening of the Code

Credit Code Green CommunityLast January 12, 2010 the state of California adopted a green building code called California Green Building Standard Code CALGREEN. CALGREEN is the first mandatory code in the US and requires that new buildings be designed more efficient and green. The code  will help California reduce its greenhouse emissions and to achieve the production of 33 percent of renewable energy by 2020.

The code addresses different areas of sustainability, such as water use reduction, diversion of construction waste from landfills and the use of low VOC materials. This topics are also addressed by the USGBC’s LEED rating systems, so it would be interesting to see similar requirements in both the code and LEED’s credits.

CALGREEN also will require separate water meters for non-residential buildings for indoor and outdoor water use. This is a great advance in code’s requirements. Throughout the last year, people have been concerned about energy, how to try to get off the coal energy production, but there is really little concern about water. And water is a precious resource that eventually could lead to secondary problems among nations. We need to preserve water, reuse it, and avoid polluting it.

This link lead to the draft document containing the code.

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Interesting Facts about wood & construction in US

Why do we built with wood?
The facts:
  • US got a lot of wood
  • 5% of earth’s forest is in US, 10% in Canada
  • is fast to work
  • US has a lot of experience using it
  • Over 90% of US homes are built with wood
  • Since 1940 the number of houses in US has more than triplet, from 37.5 million to 128 million
  • The number of single-family detached houses over the last 70 years has gone from 23 million to 77 million
  • Over the last 40 years the size of a home has gone from 1,500 SF to 2,500 SF
  • A contemporary 2,000 SF wood framed single family house uses about 16,000 board feet of framing and about 11,000 SF of other wood materials.
  • The land area of US is nearly 2.3 billion acres. Before, in 1620 over a billion of those 2.3 billion acres were forest. Today is around 750 million acres of forest.
  • Most of the loss happened between 1850 and 1910.
  • Despite the continually increasing use of wood, the US forest’ tree density has increased in the past 50 years. Net forest growth is 3%, while harvesting is 2%
  • 40% of US forest are owned by the government, but over 11 million private owners have the rest 60%. In contrast CANADA government owns 94% of forest.
  • In addition to making oxygen, trees stores carbon. US forest remove over 1.5 trillion pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere annually, offsetting more than 10% of US emissions.

Interesting facts about wood and its relation to construction! and how good would it be that the US could require all private and federal/state owners of those forest to harvest in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Forest Stewardship Council FSC .

Founded in 1993 as a response to concerns about global deforestation, the Forest Stewardship Council is a global, independent, non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of the world’s forests, nationally represented in more than 50 countries worldwide. To this end, it administers a certification program to wood producers around the world, awarding its certification to producers of varying sizes, with different kinds of ownership, that manage diverse types of forests. To qualify, a forestry operation must meet the FSC Principles and Criteria, which describe how a forest must be managed to meet diverse ecological, cultural, socioeconomic, and spiritual needs of current and future generations, including managerial, social, and environmental requirements.” credit from

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Google Earth Maps now tracks CO2 emissions!

Google Earth and a team of U.S. researchers have created an interactive map showing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by county and state and by sectors such as automotive, power plants, industrial, residential, and aviation.

To see the map go to

Source: Yale Environment 360

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