In the News

Construction Corner: The push for net-zero by 2050

McDonald's Corp. is examining the technical and financial feasibility of building net-zero energy restaurants. Rocky Mountain Industry along with Fisher-Nickel Inc., a kitchen-equipment technology consultant, and the New Buildings Institute completed a study. The study modeled energy use for new, stand-alone restaurants in several cities and found that improving energy performance could achieve energy savings of 60 per cent. They could get down to net-zero energy with photo voltaic arrays installed over roofs and parking lots. When you run a fast-food restaurant, you quickly learn that the real energy hogs are the air conditioning and kitchen equipment. Those items are usually looked at in isolation, but, the New Buildings Institute says there must be a new approach to design, a whole-building approach in which everything is considered as part of the greater whole. Reported Korky Koroluk in the Construction Corner. Read more »

Majority of 2015 ZNE Verified Buildings are LEED Projects

NBI released their second annual list of buildings in the U.S. and Canada with verified zero net energy use (ZNE). The Green Building Information Gateway reported that the list is growing and of the 39 verified energy-neutral-verified buildings, 20 of them have certified to LEED’s top levels of green building achievement. (2/9/2015) Read article

Getting to Zero National Forum kicks off with Architecture 2030’s Ed Mazria sharing vision for zero energy buildings

The 2015 Getting to Zero National Forum officially opened in Washington, D.C with keynote speaker Ed Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, calling for building and energy industry professionals to make zero energy buildings a broad-scale reality in the next few decades, reported RealEstateRama. “Worldwide, between now and 2030, there will be growth of 900 billion square feet in new and renovated building construction. That represents 60% of today’s built environment or equivalent to building New York City every 35 days,” explained Mazria during his address underscoring why immediate action is urgently needed. (2/3/2015) Read article

McDonald’s Study Explores Idea of a Net Zero Energy Quick Service Restaurant

A study prepared by Rocky Mountain Institute, Fisher Nickel, Inc. and New Buildings Institute examines the technical and financial feasibility of achieving new net zero energy restaurants in three cities: Chicago, Orlando, and Washington, DC. RealEstateRama reported that through a recently completed study, McDonald’s Corporation seeks to better understand the feasiblity of developing a net zero energy quick service restaurant. The study’s findings, including research, technical analyses, and detailed recommendations, form a roadmap for McDonald’s to pursue future net zero energy restaurants, as well as select energy efficiency solutions for existing restaurants. (1/30/2015) Read more

Colorado buildings rank high in new energy-use database

The Denver Business Journal reported that Colorado is third among states with the most buildings that are either "net zero" in terms of energy use or are exceptionally energy efficient. This is according to a new database compiled by NBI that tracks commercial energy use. The Getting to Zero Database launched last week and features more than 280 buildings from across the country. Visit database

IgCC Opens Compliance Pathway Based on Actual Energy Use

An outcome-based approach assures that buildings actually achieve energy targets, while relieving technical pressures on code departments, reported Environmental Business News. The 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will have a compliance option based on an outcome-based approach, officials announced recently. Jim Edelson, director of codes and policy, is quoted in the article, “The adoption of the outcome-based pathway presents a sea change in the way building codes can be met. Cities can now effectively drive better policies in their building sector, design teams gain flexibility to innovate, and building code officials have a streamlined process for validating that a building is operating to code.”(1/4/2015) Read article

Getting to Zero Buildings Database Launches

If you've been wondering where the greenest buildings are - including net-zero energy - take a look at New Building Institute's Getting to Zero Buildings Database, reported SustainableBusiness.com. So far, the database includes 280 buildings in the US and Canada (and select projects elsewhere), in all climate zones and sizes, mostly office buildings (134) and schools (69), but also other types like wineries, nursing homes and courthouses. 37 are net-zero, all of which have at least a year's worth of performance data. There are also some notable community solutions, such as the Greensburg, Kansas Sustainable Master Plan. (12/11/2014) Read article

Provisions adopted into the 2015 IgCC can assist progressive communities meet energy goals

Cities and states looking at energy efficient buildings to help meet energy goals are getting a boost from the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), reported RealEstateRama. Four critical proposals that will drive significant improvements in building energy performance were approved when final voting on the model energy code closed. New Buildings Institute (NBI) joined with an assortment of industry representatives to educate the industry, which helped convince the IgCC committee and ICC membership to favor the proposal. (12/2/2014) Read article

Absolute Zero: U.S. is Closer to Building Zero-Net Energy Communities

From high-rises to subdivisions, the U.S. is getting closer to building sustainable and resilient zero-net energy communities. Doing more with less — it’s an axiom the public sector has heard for years. Usually such a call to action is based on rising demand and limited budget. But it also describes what is achievable when communities take committed action to reduce energy consumption. Serious efforts to reduce energy use is leading to the ultimate doing-more-with-less goal — achieving zero-net energy (ZNE) communities. This vision encompasses homes and commercial buildings that use on-site systems and renewable sources to generate at least as much energy as they consume. Government Technology magazine reported in this article that references NBI's work. (11/12/2014) Read article

Energy efficiency and solar: Beer and wine or gin & tonic?

Traditionally, energy efficiency and solar have been thought of like beer and wine – two great options that belong in separate glasses. More recently, however, they have become like gin and tonic – two great options that are best together. What has changed and why? This blog from Peregrine Energy Group explains with references to New Buildings Institute’s work. (10/22/2014) Read blog

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