New Buildings Institute Blog

Zero Net Energy Buildings: The Future Is Now

Ralph DiNola's picture

A quiet revolution is unfolding across North America; a simple and captivating idea is taking hold in executive suites, board rooms, design studios, on constructions sites, among political leaders, citizens, school teachers and students alike. Zero net energy (ZNE)—ultra-efficient structures that use only as much energy as can be produced onsite through clean, renewable resources--provide a vision of our potential future…today. Read more »

Looking Back and Forward . . . to a New Year

Stacey Hobart's picture

Every so often it’s good to look back on the path you’ve been traveling to make sure you’re still headed in the right direction. So here at the end of 2013, we at NBI are reflecting on the highlights of the past 12 months. Without a doubt, zero net energy (ZNE) and realizing energy savings in existing buildings--both through improved energy codes and technical support for deep energy retrofit projects--dominated our work. Read more »

New Products Leverage LED's Unique Qualities

Barb Hamilton's picture

Recently, I had the long-awaited opportunity to see new lighting products that apply LEDs in ways that leverage their unique qualities: tiny size, strong directional nature and high efficiency potential for a new aesthetic. Read more »

Bold Action on Climate Change

Stacey Hobart's picture

Just before Halloween, some big news came out and then quickly slipped back beneath the radar. It’s easy to see why: a story of government collaboration and progress could hardly be expected to grab much attention in a news cycle still caught up in the federal shutdown and unsteady rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Read more »

Fault Detection and Diagnostics

Mark Cherniak's picture

Work initially done in California to improve economizers and support fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) on commercial rooftop HVAC units has now been applied at a national level. A recent adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires economizer FDD on all new and replacement units starting with the 2015 code revision. The measure was proposed to the IECC by NBI and our partners through active participation in the NW Energy Codes Group that includes code stakeholders from Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Read more »

A Positive Trend is Unfolding in the Building Industry

Ralph DiNola's picture

Since we gathered at the Getting to Zero National Forum with NASEO in Denver, Colo., we've been busy synthezing the outcomes of this first-of-its-kind event.  We had a sold-out crowd and received tremendous feedback on the depth and technical content of the sessions and the event overall. Read more »

Existing buildings get new emphasis and clarity in IECC and other I-Codes

Sean Denniston's picture

In seeming defiance of our own name, New Buildings Institute (NBI) has been working hard on a handful of key issues regarding existing buildings for the 2015 round of International Code Council (ICC) code development hearings. Recognizing the issues that exist in the I-Codes, especially in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), regarding historic buildings and existing buildings, NBI made these issues a priority in the 2015 code cycle. With the code hearings wrapping up last week, we thrilled to report on some big victories by large majorities in these areas. Read more »

My first 100 days (well, 114 to be exact)

Ralph DiNola's picture

Beginning with FDR, it has been a tradition for the President of the United States to plan an agenda for his (and in the future, her) first 100 days in office. When the milestone is reached, the leader takes a moment to stop and reflect on the progress made and the work that remains. Here at NBI, we took the same approach. I thought it would be fun to share the results. Read more »

Bubbles at the NBIL! Evaporative Sidecar Testing for Retrofitting Rooftop Units

Dan Harris's picture

We have seen the future and it is bubbly. This summer we’ve been busy testing the effectiveness of using an indirect evaporative air conditioner to retrofit an existing 5-ton rooftop unit (RTU) in the western Washington and Oregon climate. Testing is ongoing at the NBI Laboratory (NBIL), a 1000 square foot RTU testing facility where NBI has tested high performance RTUs and variable speed components in previous years. Read more »

California Leading by Example

Stacey Hobart's picture

More than 80 public building representatives met in Sacramento recently to kick off California’s ZNE Early Adopters Network. The meeting was the first of three planned sessions to support public sector leadership in zero-net energy (ZNE) practice, process, and planning in order to meet California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan Big Bold goals for ZNE in new residential and commercial construction by 2020 and 2030, respectively. Read more »