Green Building Guides Released

News Item 1: DOE Releases Building Best Practices Handbook for Marine Climates

On Dec. 6, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Building America program announced the release of a guide that provides useful tips builders and homebuyers can take to increase efficiency in the marine climate zone.

The marine climate zone is a region that includes a narrow band along the West Coast from the Canadian border south to the boundary between Ventura and Los Angeles counties in California. The publication, Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving New Home Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability in the Marine Climate, specifically outlines steps builders can take to reach 30 percent energy savings in space heating and cooling, and water heating by implementing the Building America process (savings based on the 1993 Model Energy Code standards).

"The Department of Energy's Marine Climate booklet provides builders with a full spectrum of knowledge to help increase energy efficiency and save costs while also taking into account the climate's unique challenges and opportunities," DOE Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner said. "While the Energy Department is eager to see the booklet's building tips implemented, we continue to research and improve the latest innovations to provide a balance of energy efficiency, cost and comfort."

The publication also contains chapters for every member of the builder's team, including supervisors, architects, designers, site developers, marketers, managers and homeowners. Many of the building tips and information are illustrated with real-life case studies of builders who design and construct energy-efficient homes in the marine climate zone.

The guide is the fifth volume in DOE's series of regional best practices handbooks for builders. The document can be downloaded for free from the Building America Web site: http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/building_america.

The Building America program is comprised of public/private partnerships that conduct systems research to improve overall housing performance, increase housing durability and comfort, reduce energy use and increase energy security for America's homeowners, with a goal of achieving net zero-energy homes by 2020. This series of handbooks was developed with the help of Building America contributors, including DOE's Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories; a number of energy consortia; and stakeholders and universities nationwide.

News Item 2: New Guide To Help Mechanical Engineers Advance Green Concepts In Building Design Projects

On Nov. 29, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE) released a guide that can help teach designers how to participate effectively on design teams charged with producing green buildings.

"This is a design guide for mechanical engineers who are interested in advancing integrated, high performance/green concepts and applications on building design projects," said Malcolm Lewis, Ph.D., a member of ASHRAE's technical committee on building environmental impacts and sustainability, which wrote the book. "The guidance will help building professionals analyze system design options and point them in the right direction for deeper analysis."

The ASHRAE GreenGuide: The Design, Construction and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, an update to a 2003 version of the publication, contains a new chapter outlining guidance on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) Rating System developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The chapter discusses ways in which LEED credits affect engineers and how they can best respond to the opportunities presented by the use of LEED on projects.

"The GreenGuide will assist the design and development team in striving for a level of accountability as to the effectiveness of their efforts to produce a building that is truly green," Lewis said.

The book also contains a new chapter on how heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems interact with the local environment and methods for mitigating or reducing that impact.

"There are some areas that are either not intuitively obvious as being potential impacts of HVAC systems or are items that some may not consider to be truly sustainable issues," Lewis notes.

The ASHRAE GreenGuide also contains more than 40 GreenTips, which are sidebars containing information on techniques, processes, measures or systems. The tips contain a list of other sources for reference. To read the GreenTips, visit http://www.engineeringforsustainability.org.

The cost of the ASHRAE GreenGuide is $79.95 ($62.95, ASHRAE members). For more information, contact ASHRAE at http://www.ashrae.org.

This article originally appeared in the 12/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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