New Buildings Institute Blog

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 »

Sources of Inspiration in the Search for Deep Energy Savings

It’s been said that the greenest building is the one already standing.  There’s a lot of truth in that when you consider the embodied energy of building materials and, with luck, a cultivated sense of place.  At least in the case of historic structures, there may be inherent, environmentally sensitive attributes—and that says nothing of the quality and provenance of historic materials. While many existing buildings may not perform at the level we’d like to see in terms of energy efficiency, many have the potential to do so. Read more »

Selling the Savings: Deep Energy Retrofits

Despite growing awareness of the need to become radically more energy efficient, the small to mid-sized commercial real estate market has been slow to implement energy efficiency retrofits. This sector represents a majority of the existing commercial building stock and a huge potential for meeting climate and energy policy goals, utility efficiency targets and real estate objectives. Read more »

Next Step After CBECS: Defining the Path Forward

As reported in our June 14 post, the 2011 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) was suspended following Congressionally-mandated budget cuts to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). CBECS has been the nation's only source of statistical data on energy use and related characteristics of commercial buildings, and its disruption creates a dearth of credible data on building energy use and poses serious challenges for the green building and energy sectors. With the failure of the 2007 CBECS, the latest available data is from 2003—nearly a decade old. Read more »

Barriers to Energy Efficiency Financing: The New State of Things

As the idiom says, “money talks.”  This is still true at a time when energy efficiency has been shown to have a strong, if sometimes lengthy, return on investment. Regardless, it’s no surprise that first cost financing challenges continue to be a key market barrier in the widespread implementation of energy efficiency projects. Unlike the renewable energy industry, which has been successful in communicating the value—both economically and environmentally—to elected officials and financial institutions, the energy efficiency sector has had a harder time making the case. Read more »

No more CBECS…Now what?

In April’s budget compromise, Congress cut the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) FY 2011 funding by 14 percent. That equates to a roughly $15.2 million reduction, forcing “adjustments” to many of EIA’s energy data, analysis and forecasting programs. Programs that guide an energy market worth more than $1 trillion. Read more »

A Pathway for Outcome-Based Codes

In April, over 60 experts in energy code development and high performance commercial building met in Washington D.C. to discuss the future of outcome-based energy codes, a relatively new concept focusing on how buildings actually perform from an energy perspective, rather than on the feature sets of installed equipment and components. Outcome-based codes and accompanying policies would establish an energy performance target for each building and measure its performance after occupancy to assure expectations are being met.

The meeting gathered design and construction professionals, utility representatives, energy efficiency and green building advocates, policymakers and regulatory agencies to begin the process of answering these questions and developing strategies for overcoming the challenges to developing outcome-based energy codes and policies.  A detailed pathway document is currently under development; initial key takeaways from the meeting include: Read more »

A Chance Encounter with the Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code

Mark Lyles's picture

On a recent trip to visit friends in rural Western Massachusetts, I stumbled upon an indication of the great effort and success NBI’s code team has had working with that State.  Posted in the front window of the local health food store under the tag line of “Becoming a Green Community” the flyer read: “STRETCH ENERGY CODE – Educational Forum.”
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NBI’s Technical Director Honored with BetterBricks Award

Mark Lyles's picture

Mark Frankel, Technical Director at New Buildings Institute (NBI), was recognized for “Outstanding Industry Contribution” during the BetterBricks Awards breakfast on Friday, February 11th in Portland, Oregon. A licensed architect and experienced project manager and technical consultant, Frankel has spent his career working to improve the energy performance of buildings. Read more »