The World Cup of Renewable Energy

Thursday, July 3, 2014 13:28
Posted in category Solar Installer Articles


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or in a room without tv access (like me), you’ve probably seen one, or several world cup games in recent days. FIFA has been everywhere lately, and not just for soccer (..or football). One hot button topic surrounding the 2014 World Cup games are the measures that planners and developers have gone through to reduce the environmental impact of the games. Of the 12 stadiums being used for the games, 10 have applied for LEED certification, a recognition that indicates a high level of sustainable awareness. While the ultimate goal of the organizers is to have some sort of green energy integrated in all of the stadiums, as of now only four of the stadiums utilize solar energy in their design. To put numbers into perspective, the installation at Estadio Mineirão produces enough energy to power about 1,200 households, while the Solar PV system at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha will generate enough energy to supply almost 2,000 households per day which is a great step towards creating a more sustainable society.

Brazil has very obviously dedicated much thought and planning to their renewable energy projects, but what about some of the other countries participating in the World Cup?

Lets pretend for a moment that the World Cup is a competition over sustainability bragging rights and not soccer. Based on figures from Renewables 2014 Global Status Report and teams competing in this years World Cup, I made my bracket for the first ever (imaginary) Renewable Energy World Cup.


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The LEED AP Certification

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:07
Posted in category Uncategorized

We recently described what the LEED Green Associate certification was and how valuable and important it was, as an entry gate on your way to get LEED certified. Indeed, this certification is just the first one of a long list, and gives the opportunity to obtain one of the several LEED Accredited Professional certification or LEED AP. So what is exactly this certification and why is it important? Read the rest of this entry »

Why Green Roofs are Good for Buildings, the Environment, and People

Thursday, January 9, 2014 13:14
Posted in category Uncategorized

Community Green RoofA green roof is an addition to a roof, which can help make a building more sustainable, while delivering benefits to both humans and ecosystems.

The structure of a green roof includes waterproofing, root barrier and drainage systems, filter cloth, and a growing medium for plants.

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What is LEED Green Associate?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:48
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

Before going into detail about the LEED Green Associate accreditation, let us quickly remind you, as we already went through it in previous articles, what LEED is. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification, providing guidelines on the development of sustainable buildings. There are several ways for an individual to be certified and recognized as a LEED expert and the LEED Green Associate accreditation is the first step, the one that will open you the door. Read the rest of this entry »

LEED certification and Hospitals

Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:30
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

Hospitals in the U.S are known to be among the largest consumers of energy. They are open 24 hours, have hundreds of people living and circulating in the buildings everyday and in addition to the usual systems that AC, Heating or Ventilation, they require high energy consumption machinery such as Refrigeration, Sterilization or Medical devices to run all day. Hospitals come third, only after food service and food sales, in terms of consumption of energy. But the energy consumption is not the only problem Hospitals currently face, water consummation and waste management are issues that Healthcare facilities must consider and resolve. Such high consumptions could persuade some of these hospitals to take actions and lean toward the LEED certification model.

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Are Buyers Willing to Pay for Green

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 17:55
Posted in category Uncategorized

Environmentalists, policymakers, building professionals, big businesses are united in acceptance of green buildings. Green = Good! But what about the group that matters most, the buyers?

What the picture is of

Are buyers on board with green building benefits?

The introduction of rating systems that certify the green features and energy efficiency of buildings has helped to grow the public awareness of the benefits of green building.

Surveys indicate that today, the public is generally aware of green buildings and associates them with features such as:

  • Lower operating costs and utility bills due to higher energy and water efficiency.
  • Higher quality construction, since green rating systems often go beyond building codes.
  • More comfortable and stable indoor temperatures.
  • Healthier indoor air quality.

In the words of Ara Hovnanian, CEO and president of Hovnanian Enterprises, one of the nation’s biggest home builders, all things being equal, consumers would choose green.

However, things are not equal. To build green, developers have to invest more upfront. It is true that the cost of green construction has been going down: the premium today is 7%, as compared to 10% in 2008 and 11% in 2006.

Still, the builders will be willing to incur the additional expense only if they believe that the buyers are willing to pay extra for lower electricity bills and better indoor environment.

Are buyers willing to go the extra dollar for green?

How much more?

The data used to gauge buyers’ price sensitivity can come from industry surveys, regional research and even anecdotal information from real estate agents. One of the primary resources of information about buyers’ preferences is the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which regularly surveys builders and home buyers to get feedback on buyers’ demands.

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Building Green with Wood

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 11:19
Posted in category Uncategorized

Wood as a Design Choice

Man-made materials – glass, steel and concrete – carry the day in modern building design.  Architects are fascinated by the possibilities offered by these material, we can build what was never possible before: structures of fantastical shapes, great heights, colossal spans.  And in all the excitement, we let fall by the wayside one of the most ancient, tried-and-true materials of them all, the one Mother Nature created for us. Wood.


And yet, wood is a wondrous material.  In Europe, especially in the North rich in timber, wood has always been the main building material.  Wood architecture has created some extraordinary examples, daring in shape and size, and most importantly, durable.  There is the 120-feet high wooden Church of Transfiguration in Russia, built in the 17th century.  There is a wooden arcade in Bologna built in 13th century.  Any of the modern glass, steel and concrete buildings have yet to prove that they can match this.

It is also true, that most of the wood-based houses built today carry little resemblance to these remarkable structures.  The standard 2×4 “stick- frame” houses are considered a “budget” option and are often of poor quality.  These houses are built to last no more than 50 years, and often start sprouting problems long before then.

Still, as we become more aware of our impact on Earth, and of the necessity to behave in a more sustainable manner if we want to continue to live here and to maintain a decent standard of living, our choices change.   We start to recognize one very simple fact:  wood needs only the energy of the sun to grow and is endlessly renewable, while man-made materials are made using non-renewable fossil fuels.

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Case Study: Active House USA

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 9:43
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

Active House – the “building that gives more than it takes “

There are a few green building standards competing for the industry’s attention in the US: USGBC’s LEED, the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, the International Living Future Institute’s Living building challenge, the Passive House (aka Passivhaus).  And now, there is also the Active house.

Active Houses is energy efficient and uses only renewable resources.  The indoor climate of the Active House is designed to be comfortable and healthy, and the home itself is designed to interact positively with the local environment.


Active House is a very new concept, it was first conceived in 2011, at a conference in Brussels, although the movement itself started in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Since then, quite a few Active Houses were built in Europe.  And just this year, the first two prototype houses were built in North America, one in the US, and one in Canada.

Active House key principles are:


  • a building that is energy efficient and easy to operate
  • a building that substantially exceeds the statutory minimum in terms of energy efficiency
  • a building that exploits a variety of renewable energy sources integrated in the overall design

Environment :

  • a building that exerts the minimum impact on environmental and cultural resources
  • a building that avoids ecological damage
  • a building that is constructed of materials with focus on re-use.

What Glass Architecture Means for “Green”

Friday, May 17, 2013 11:55
Posted in category Uncategorized

Glass as a design choice

Glass Buildings

A look at today’s architecture and design magazines, or at new construction projects in NYC, confirms that the current material of choice is glass.  Floor-to-ceiling windows, 360° views, natural daylight, connecting inside to the outside are the design vocabulary du jour.  Glass, and lots of it, is intended to convey modernity, sophistication, and, increasingly, green design.

The first glass was made about 2,000 years ago.  It was used to seal off small apertures made to let in light.  However, it was not until many centuries later that the use of glass in buildings became widespread.  Still, window sizes were constrained by practical considerations: impact on the load-bearing capacity of the walls, material limitations, energy conservation requirements, expense.  In the 20th century, the development of structural steel, and later reinforced concrete, allowed to transfer bearing loads from the exterior walls to interior columns.  At the same time, glass came in increasingly bigger unbroken sheets.

The International Style in architecture, made simple glass façades and huge opens spaces synonymous with modernity.  In the late 1940s, double-pane glass with thermal insulation was created.  Windows were becoming bigger and bigger, until eventually the entire exterior skin of a building was made of glass – it was called the curtain-wall.  Lever House, built in 1952, was the first curtain-wall building in New York.  By 1970s, coated, laminated glass, and other innovative glass products were created.  Today, fully-glazed office buildings are ubiquitous, and in residential buildings, especially on the higher end, panoramic, huge, often floor-to-ceiling windows became a requisite amenity.

What is it that makes glass so appealing to architects and building owners? 

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LEED Certifications of March

Monday, April 1, 2013 17:29
Posted in category Uncategorized

The newest installment of CleanEdison’s LEED Certifications of the month series.

The month of March had a wide variety of buildings get their LEED Certification. The usual American college campuses were joined by a Holocaust museum and a university in Hong Kong.

In no particular order, here are the LEED Certifications of March 2013

Philadelphia School’s Ellen Schwartz and Jeremy Siegel Early Childhood Education Center

Philadelphia SchoolThe Center, located at 2501 South Street, was recently awarded LEED Silver Certification under the US Green Building Council’s LEED 2009 New Construction Rating System.

During construction, a commitment was made to use as much locally produced materials as possible; preferred materials had recycled content. Spray foam insulation and fiberglass batts installed in the ceiling and walls resulted in a high R-value, a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it, and reduced air leakage in and out of the building.

A radiant heat system was installed. The size and positioning of the building’s many windows ensure ample natural daylight. Interior materials meet rigorous air quality standards. The drought-resistant landscaping and hard-surfaced areas were designed to help rainwater infiltrate into the ground rather than enter the city’s storm-sewer system.

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