New Buildings Institute Blog

Gen 2030: Working for the Next Generation

Cathy Higgins's picture

In the first quarter of 2012 NBI staff welcomed three new babies – all boys.  The obvious puns followed: New Boys Institute, New Babies Inevitable. Late last year the connection of these new lives joining us in 2012 occurred to me – particularly in light of the fact that my only child, a daughter, had turned 18 and left for university.  These new babies will turn 18 in 2030 – the target year for efforts and initiatives toward a reduction in carbon and an improvement in the course toward damaging climate change. Read more »

ULI/Greenprint Partnership Brings Key Players (and Dialogue) to the Table

“33% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the built environment.” That’s just one of the statements that regularly headlines the home page of the Greenprint Foundation. Read more »

The Best (Re)Invesment: Big Payoffs with Green Retrofits

It takes money to make money. The expression certainly applies to green retrofits: throw some cash at upgrading your 20+ year-old HVAC system and you’re likely to see the reduction in utility bills pay for the first costs and more before too long. You might call it an investment. Read more »

Solutions for the Plug Load Challenge

Often it’s not how we design buildings that impacts actual energy performance but what we, the occupants, do in those buildings that counts. It’s becoming increasingly clear that occupancy factors, such as behavior, have a significant impact on a building’s energy savings potential. One of these occupancy or “behavioral” factors is plug loads: the amount of energy used by devices that are plugged into wall outlets. Plug loads are one of the largest and fastest growing electric end-uses in commercial buildings in the United States. Read more »

Energy Efficiency in 2012: Forecast Is Mostly Sunny

Looking forward into 2012, I see more reasons for optimism than pessimism. Many states and utilities are committed to ramping up their energy efficiency programs this year and even more are considering similar steps. For example, Massachusetts electric utility programs are targeting 2.4% savings this year as part of a ramp-up rate originally established a few years ago. Many other states also have ramp-ups planned, although not as aggressive as Massachusetts. Read more »

The 12 Themes of Retrofit

Cathy Higgins's picture

In these final days of 2011, a report of our September Summit on Deep Energy Retrofits (DERs) is on my holiday list of things to wrap into a colorful package with ribbons of logic and bows that compel change. The very name ‘Retrofit’ denotes change – change for the better through improvements, upgrades and modifications.  This season of appreciation for what is, and hope for what may be, is a natural time to think about the efforts and inspirations needed to change building’s energy use. Read more »

NIBS Releases Data Needs Report

Increasingly over the last several years, members of the building industry have expressed the need for both broader and more targeted benchmark data on high-performance buildings.  The Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) has long served as the major source of information on the energy use of the nation’s existing building stock. Its suspension last spring posed obvious challenges for data users in the building industry who gathered at a July hearing to discuss solutions. Read more »

Stretch codes at work in Massachusetts

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that more than 100 municipalities have adopted the state’s stretch code designed to reduce energy use by 30 percent and cut carbon emissions by 40 percent. This milestone comes just two and half years after the first-of-its-kind stretch code was introduced and just weeks after Massachusetts was ranked first in the nation for its energy efficiency policies and programs by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Read more »

Proving Performance in the IgCC

Dave Hewitt's picture

Will the IgCC allow for higher innovation in building design? An outcome-based compliance path would pave the way for use of advanced strategies. Local code officials will once again find themselves at the nexus of something historic when they come together in Phoenix this week to consider and vote on the first-ever model green code, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Read more »

Tackling 71.6 Billion Square Feet

NBI recently hosted the 2011 Deep Savings in Existing Buildings Summit, gathering more than 80 innovative thinkers on energy savings and the built environment. Held in Boulder, Colorado, the three-day event was organized as part of NBI’s ongoing work to facilitate wide adoption of deep energy savings across existing U.S. commercial building stock—roughly 71.6 billion square feet of space.

The Work Read more »