Eco-Friendly Smart Homes Are Good For The Environment

Each single day, individuals from all walks of life begin enjoying the various benefits a wise home provides. Money savings and convenience the list, however, clever house owners may also feel good their house makes Mother Earth grin.

If you have always wondered what makes a wise house"smart" and the way the intelligent house supports an environmentally aware lifestyle you have come to the ideal location.

As Lockdowns End, How Will Kitchens Change?

Months of lockdown laid bare the flaws in many a kitchen’s design and functionality. Will tedium, time wasting and poor appliance performance lead to upgrades or avoidance?

Americans have a complex relationship with cooking. About half say they enjoy it. Others have re-discovered it as a way to reduce anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

COGNITION Hot Take: Safe Homes for All?

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the Grenfell fire in London, which set ablaze a 23-story apartment building, killing 72 people. Since then, awareness about the dangers of flammable cladding has increased and more durable options, like fiber cement, stone, and steel have experienced an uptick.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, the Internet has been buzzing with conversation this month about the Grenfell fire. Frustrated consumers and building professionals alike are lamenting that flammable cladding is still being used on both existing and new buildings, despite the fact that we have ample access to durable, cost-effective options.

Where Are We Now?

It seems that many States are taking one step forward, two steps back, as the number of Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations explodes in what top US health official Dr. Fauci deems a ‘disturbing surge’. How is this seemingly endless uncertainty impacting the consumer psyche?

The era of COVID: confusing, challenging, complicated.

It’s hard to know what to do and how to think during these strange times. Many people are grappling with difficult questions about how to safely reenter society and resume their lives without putting themselves, their families, and their coworkers at risk.

HOPE for HOMES Act of 2020 Gets Bipartisan Support.

Act aims to stimulate the residential energy-efficiency industry with immediate and long-term initiatives​.

The Building Performance Association actively supports the HOPE for HOMES Act of 2020, which includes immediate relief and long-term support for the residential energy-efficiency contractor industry negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic-Proof Products for a Healthy Home

Few products can reduce pandemic risks at home better than self-sanitizing toilets, HVAC and touch-free appliances. Here are nine standouts available today.

Enter Your Project in the Net Zero Inventory

Team Zero is embarking on their 5th annual Zero Energy Residential Buildings Inventory in the US and Canada and they need your help in making the inventory as comprehensive as possible. 

The process is now easier and faster than ever before. Enter information about your project on the secure Team Zero Inventory Database. 

Building Code Changes: Florida, Delaware, New Jersey

Here are some notable building code changes happening around the country. 

Florida

In mid-January, the mayor of Miami signed an agreement that sets the city on a path to be carbon neutral by 2050. Referred to as the Miami Forever Climate Ready Strategy, it outlines various actions the city can take, from transitioning its vehicle fleet from gas-powered city cars to electric vehicles, installing more solar panels and increasing energy efficiency in city buildings.

COGNITION Hot Take: Kitchen Redesigns on the Rise

Cooking from home has become the new normal.  As the economy reopens, consumers are investing in kitchen redesigns.   

According to COGNITION Smart Data, many Americans indicate that they will continue cooking at home more frequently than they did before the pandemic, even after the crisis comes to an end.

Is the Housing Market on the Rebound, and Who’s Actually Buying?

Many economists forecast that the housing sector will lead us out of the downturn. But with consumer confidence still deflated, which consumer segments are really driving the uptick in home sales and what are they looking for?

It certainly looks as if the housing market is rallying.  According to a report issued by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department, single-family permits increased by nearly 12% in May and total housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units. 

Omaha Makes Big Code Update

Omaha, Neb., finally updates from the 2006 IRC.  

The city adopted an updated version of their codes, including the IRC. They had previously been on the 2006 IRC. Now, they are almost up to the 2018 IRC. One notable difference is that service water heating only needs to comply with the 2003 IECC. (No, that year is not a typo.) It should be noted that single-family dwellings, duplexes and townhomes with a window-to-wall ratio greater than 15% fall under the purview of the Nebraska state energy code.

Are You Dreaming About Your First Home?

Our expert insider guide will show you how to escape apartment living forever, and live at or below your current budget.

Reserve your copy here:

In June, as many as 50 percent of renters couldn't pay their rent. Renting makes you vulnerable when the world is topsy turvy. You're stir crazy, anxious and at the whim of your landlord. But you have options. Record low interest rates and unemployment have opened a brief "buyer's market" window.

Sell now. Build later.

A perfect storm of pandemic anxiety, nomadic obstacles and new family members could (still) spur a surge of online home buying among millennials.

With home model tours and walkthroughs now off limits, it’s not surprising that more people are shopping online for new digs. What may surprise you, however, is that millennials, who have been slower to embrace home ownership than their parents, may have turned a corner. They’re ready to buy a home now, and many of them don’t care if they have to do the whole thing online, without ever stepping foot in a physical building.

Free Webinar: Mass Timber is Here!  Catch the Trends.

As mass timber construction continues to expand across the country, there are still challenges when it comes to building and specifying with mass timber.

Join Green Builder Media and Neal Clemens and Matthew Winston on Hilti North America for a discussion around the rise of mass timber, how firestopping plays a role, and what it means for the future of building construction.

Thursday, June 18, 2020
2:00 Eastern

Pandemic Water Use Rises Sharply

Data collected from residential Phyn Plus leak detection systems reveal as much about state-of-mind as behavior.

Water is an incredibly important natural resource in our daily lives. From making our first cup of coffee in the morning to washing our clothes, cooking our dinner, and then brushing our teeth before we go to sleep, we all use water throughout the day without even thinking about it. Taking a close look at our water consumption and habits during this pandemic, and the changes that have come as a result, offers a unique and detailed picture of our lives under quarantine.

From Chaos Comes Opportunity

There is nothing good about a global pandemic, economic meltdown, social unrest, or climate change—especially when they’re all happening at the same time.  Will the pressure cooker created by these events bring out the best or the worst in us?

Heartbreaking.  Devastating.  Uncharted.  These words could describe any one of the catastrophic events that are unfolding before us.

IAPMO Seeks Canadian Reps for Committee

IAPMO Seeks Canadian Representation on the Plumbing Standards Committee for Development of U.S. and Canadian National Standards

IAPMO seeks Canadian representation on the Plumbing Standards Committee (PSC). Canadian regulators and other professionals with technical background in plumbing and mechanical systems, such as jurisdictional authorities, laboratory, and educational facility representatives, are invited to participate. Meetings are held in English and via teleconference, with occasional face-to-face meetings.

Comments Sought to Support Net Metering

June 15 deadline to support renewable rights and net metering. 

In mid-April, The New England Ratepayers Association filed a petition with FERC to move wholesale energy sales from customer-generated sources into federal jurisdiction. Furthermore, NERA wants rates for such sales to be priced in accordance with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) or the Federal Power Act. In essence, they are taking umbrage with full net metering.

Special Report: Net Zero is Here.  Are you Ready?

The shift to Net Zero Energy is transforming the built environment and placing new demands on professionals, manufacturers, utilities, city planners, local governments, and homeowners alike.  Are you prepared to ride the net zero wave? 

After decades of being considered a fringe goal and showcased in the media as maverick, Net Zero Energy (NZE) has earned its rightful place in the mainstream. 

Survey: Rental Delinquincies Likely Far Worse Than Reported

Most reporting so far has come from the 25 percent of properties at the high end, not the real economy.

Since coronavirus changed our world, I’ve struggled to reconcile a few contradictory statistics:

Review: Solving Multiple Indoor Air Problems with a Panasonic ERV

Hands-on install of FV-10VE1 provides instant solution to high CO2 and particulate levels.

I'VE WRITTEN RECENTLY about the importance of combining filtration and air diffusion when trying to limit the indoor spread of viral particles. But indoor air pollution comes in many forms: smoke, dander, cooking fumes, bathroom odors. Chances are that if you an excess of any type of pollutant, your home is not adequately ventilated. It’s that simple.

Free Webinar: Net Zero in Action

Net Zero is one of the fastest growing areas of the building sector. Join Green Builder Media on Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 2:00 Eastern for a free webinar with Bruce Sullivan, Technical Director, Zero Energy Project and David Green, author of Zero Carbon Home

Brilliant Adds Garage Door Control to Genie Smart Home Package

Brilliant, a leading smart home control and lighting company, and Genie, the well known brand of smart garage door openers, have just announced a new integration. Genie's full line of Wi-Fi enabled garage door openers, powered by Aladdin Connect® can now be controlled from Brilliant's in-wall touchscreen control panels and mobile app.

Offset Embodied Carbon With Solar Panels

Getting to zero carbon requires lowering the embodied carbon in a building as far as possible and then offsetting that carbon with renewable energy, a process we discuss in detail in a previous post. If you have calculated and reduced the embodied carbon in your building plan, the final step is to calculate and then install sufficient solar panels to offset the building’s embodied carbon. Using the data from your embodied carbon life cycle assessment (LCA), you can determine how many solar panels will be needed to produce all the electricity needed by the home or building and to compensate for the embodied carbon of the building materials and construction. Installing the calculated excess solar capacity will allow you to export sufficient renewable energy to result in zero net carbon emissions for the project. Remember to include the carbon footprint of the solar panels in the LCA. If installing the full amount of solar panels on site is not feasible, off-site solar or carbon credits can fill the gap.

Invest in Knowledge

The world is changing.  It’s a perfect time to invest in data and insights that will help you optimize your company’s positioning in light of the new demands that shifting consumer expectations will place on the building industry.  Enter COGNITION Smart Data subscription packages stage left.

By now, you’ve probably heard of COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence and data services. 

COGNITION Hot Take: Consumers Want Net Zero Homes

Now more than ever, consumers are demanding net zero homes.  In fact, the number of net zero residential structures in the U.S. and Canada is growing on average 50-60% annually, with over 22,000 single family and multifamily projects in design, construction, or operation.

It is projected that the global market for net zero energy structures will explode to $78.8 billion by 2025 due to innovations high-performance products, renewable energy, and automation technologies, and corresponding advancements in codes and policy.  Adoption of net zero is mushrooming throughout the globe irrespective of location, climate, and political jurisdiction.

Post-Frame Net Zero House Has Proven Popular Among Would-Be Buyers

With a metal roof, solar array and extreme energy efficiency this home continues to turn heads.

On a mission to construct a long-lasting, low-maintenance Net Zero post-frame home, Corbin Borkholder was careful about the products he selected, including a specific McElroy Metal roofing profile to host the solar laminate panels.

Immediately Improve Your Indoor Air Quality in the Face of COVID-19

Improving health, safety, and indoor air quality in our homes and buildings has become an indispensable obligation during pandemic times.

We all find ourselves navigating a new “normal” as we move from working outside of our homes in all aspects of our lives, to living and working inside our homes and apartments.

This indoor environment leads to questions such as:

  • What should builders be doing to keep their homes as safe as possible?
  • What should homeowners be considering to make their homes as clean and safe as possible?

We are taking the opportunity to review these questions and give you a few actionable steps to implement which can improve your indoor air quality immediately. These steps will hopefully be in addition to all the steps that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is already recommending to address concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. I imagine that many of those are now thoroughly ingrained in all of our brains. Ideally, this will expand on the now needed knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and physics going on in all of our buildings.

Follow the Light

It is said that it is darkest just before dawn. The path to the future is illuminated, we just need to know where to look.

Lately I have been hearing a lot of speculation around how things will shape up when we turn the corner on the current crisis and move on to the next version of whatever life and business are going to look like.  The most optimistic among us suggest that we’ll grasp the lessons we’ve learned and take a step up to a more responsible, more balanced approach in our work and in our daily activities, that we’ll find something worthwhile to hold onto and carry forward.

COVID, Climate, and the Clean Economy

I hope everyone is doing as well as they can in these hard times. Like all of you, I’ve spent the last 7 weeks at home with family, trying to stay safe…and so far we have. With so much thinking time, I’ve been trying to figure out What it All Means. Not sure it’s possible yet since the world looks so different every week or two. But as a writer, I have to try to make some sense of it. So I took a shot at writing down some reflections in the first few days of the lock down on march 16th (when there were only 86 deaths in the United States vs. the 64,000 as I write this now).

Reopening? Here's a Quick Fire Safety Checklist

As businesses prepare to re-open, new NFPA checklist helps building owners and facility managers ensure fire and life safety for all occupants

As the federal government and many states begin allowing businesses to reopen, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a checklist to help building owners and facility managers prepare, ensuring that fire protection and life safety systems in commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings are properly checked and functioning.

Stay-At-Home Basement Transformation

ARCHDALE, N.C. – Space. We often feel we need more of it in our homes. Especially now, since we’re spending more time quarantined in our houses as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Free Ebook: Strides in Fire Safety for Mass Wood Timber Buildings

Tall Mass Wood Timber buildings have captured the design imagination of North America. As these buildings are poised to go taller, leading firestop company Hilti North America has stepped in with innovative fire safety.

Green Builder Media and Hilti North America announce the release of a downloadable ebook, “Strides In Fire Safety for Mass Wood Timber Buildings.” As Tall Mass Wood Timber (MWT) buildings get taller, municipalities, the building industry, and the public ask questions about how these buildings perform in a fire and how the building codes should be written to accommodate them.

Free Webinar: Connected Living Trends—What's in Demand?

Within the next decade, every new home will include a pre-installed smart home system with an array of smart devices and appliances. The dramatic takeover of tech in our lives has officially moved smart homes from being a nice-to-have to a must-have, just like countertops, flooring, and tile.

Consumer demand for smart home technology continues to explode, but with the variety of choices out there, how do you pick the right tech solution? This webinar cuts through all the noise in the smart home space and addresses the most important points about today's connected homes, including:

Wildfire Made Worse by Global CO2 Levels and Planetary Heating

Despite the brief respite in C02 production production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, human beings remain on a runaway path toward self-annhilation.

Net Zero Imperative

Despite the slowdown in industry, transportation, and business during the last several weeks, global carbon emissions have only decreased by approximately 5.5%, indicating the considerable impact that our built environment has on fossil fuel consumption.  Will the growing awareness about this impact drive us to net zero?

As Green Builder Media tracks conversation about Coronavirus online through COGNITION Smart Data, we’re watching a growing correlation between the virus and an increased demand for climate action. 

COGNITION Hot Take: How will the Coronavirus Change the Housing Sector?

Nearly 37% of Green Builder Media readers tell us that they believe that Health & Wellness/Indoor Air Quality will be the segment of the housing industry most impacted by the Coronavirus.

Carbon Emissions Turned Back 10 Years

Data show coronavirus countermeasures have resulted in a record drop in fossil-fuel demand and created an opening for a clean-energy transition.

The early months of 2020 have offered a glimpse of a world with less demand for fossil fuels as it tries to contain the coronavirus pandemic. It is a world in which renewable energy makes up a greater share of energy use, and carbon emissions are turned back to levels from a decade ago. Researchers at the Paris-based International Energy Agency, which last week released its Global Energy Review 2020, say any lasting effects “will be determined by the duration of lockdown measures and the recovery paths taken.”

Free Webinar: 2021 IECC: Massive Changes or Incremental Improvements?

The 2021 IECC has now been finalized. Join Green Builder Media and Jim Meyers from SWEEP on May 14 at 2:00 PM Eastern as we explore the new residential provisions in the 2021 IECC and highlight the changes in building envelope, lighting, and building science requirements, and how these changes will affect utilities, trades, home builders, code officials, and designers.

The Path Ahead

As the economy opens up, questions and concerns abound about the delicate balance between physical health and economic wellbeing.  How will the Coronavirus pandemic impact the built environment, and what steps will the industry take in response?  

I tend to err on the side of optimism, but I can’t help noticing the glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel.  Across all channels that Green Builder Media is tracking through COGNITION Smart Data, sentiment about the Coronavirus is decidedly shifting.

Environmental Insurgence

Here are three exciting technological developments coming for green builders out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Led by the green building movement, many advances and improvements are coming in the near future. These will the design and construction of homes and buildings that will significantly improve the built environment for all. Here are three technologies to consider in your green building projects.

COGNITION Hot Take: Shifting Coronavirus Sentiment

Through COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media is tracking online conversation about the Coronavirus.  We’re pleased to report that sentiment is shifting as hope overcomes fear. 

In the early days of the pandemic, sentiment was quite negative—people were worried about getting sick, dying from the virus, stopping the spread, and losing health insurance.

Toilet Paper is Not the Answer

Standing in line at the local discount store recently, I watched a woman in her late 60s struggle to pile hundreds of rolls of toilet tissue onto her shopping cart. Terrified by the coronavirus, she didn’t know what else to do.

She’s in good company. Stores around the country report running out of toilet paper, cleaners, tissues and sanitizers--almost as fast as they’re vacating their canned goods and powdered eggs.

New Bio-Bug Targets Plastic

The polyurethane-eating bacteria could offer a better way to deal with Earth's plastic overload.

Polyurethane, a key component in everything from kitchen sponges to building insulation—and one that is rarely recycled—may become less of an insurmountable pollutant, thanks to a newly discovered, hungry microbe. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ in Leipzig, Germany say a new strain of Pseudomonas bacteria can completely consume the toxic plastic within weeks, providing a way to keep tons of the troublesome compound out of landfills.

Free Webinar: Coronavirus and Systemic Changes in the Housing Industry

There are many unknowns swirling around the Coronavirus right now, but one thing is certain: there will be long-term, systemic changes in the housing sector that will place new demands on building professionals and manufacturers alike. 

Join Green Builder Media on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 3:00 Eastern as CEO Sara Gutterman explores shifting consumer behaviors, purchasing patterns, and sentiment; key areas where consumer expectations may be changed for good; and trends in essential areas like connected living, health & wellness, and energy.

The Accelerated Uptick in Health and Wellness

It’s not surprising that, in the age of Coronavirus, consumers are placing enhanced emphasis and priority on Health and Wellness.  With COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media is tracking trends in the Health and Wellness category, assessing how shifting consumer demands will create systemic change in the housing sector.

The Coronavirus—the first global pandemic that has ever unfolded online— has hit all-time records of online engagement and activity.  Understandably, one of the leading conversation drivers about the topic is Health and Wellness.

Federal Relief Should Support Healthier Energy Efficiency

As millions across the country shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are spending more time inside their homes. Because indoor environmental quality can significantly affect respiratory health, it is more critical than ever to promote healthier homes, especially for our most vulnerable populations. Safer materials for weatherization and energy efficiency under federal programs should be part of the solution.

The recently approved CARES Act directs much-needed funding to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help ensure access to energy, for example. LIHEAP provides assistance to over 6 million low-income families each year to cover heating and cooling costs, and also supports weatherization services such as installing insulation to increase building energy efficiency and decrease utility costs. Investments in energy efficiency can deliver these benefits and more, but not all weatherization materials are created equal.

Free Webinar: Riding Out The Storm

Resilient housing products and preparation in an age of monster storms, raging wildfires and deadly pandemics.

Award winning journalist and building science expert Matt Power explores the latest threats and solutions available that can make homes tougher, less flood-prone and more fire resistant. The goal: to reduce property damage and keep inhabitants safe—even in times of prolonged isolation—at the same time reducing energy bills and prioritizing systems needed for survival and basic comfort. Resilient homes, with cutting edge equipment, don’t have to look like apocalyptic bunkers. Whether you’re building from the ground up or retrofitting for resilience, when extreme events occur, you can be ready for (almost) anything.

COGNITION Monthly Snapshot: Indoor Air Quality—A New Urgency

As awareness of virus pathways and pollutants rises, so does interest in healthy indoor air.

This month’s market data analysis zooms in on Indoor Air Quality. A perfect storm of increased urban pollution, asthma, and more recently, anxiety about the Coronavirus, have amped up the urgency of the public’s interest in clearing the air in their homes. As affordable IAQ sensors become standard in homes, the quality of indoor air is likely to become a topic of increasing importance.

The 2021 Energy Code Is Final–and More Efficient than Ever

The final results of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the model code that establishes the minimum energy efficiency of America’s new buildings, were released this week, and it’s official: we have a new building energy code that is the most efficient one yet. This could lead to significant energy savings for consumers and the environment.

The upcoming model code covers building components like insulation, lighting, and water heating efficiency, and will represent the biggest energy efficiency gains in at least a decade for constructing or renovating homes. New commercial buildings also will be required to be more efficient. This is great news for homeowners, businesses, and the planet because more efficient new buildings cost less to operate and have a lower carbon footprint.

Return of the Garden

As people shelter in place, they’re finding solace in home remodeling projects.  Sustainable landscaping and edible gardens are on the rise, offering a welcome connection with nature and the security of self-sufficiency.     

As Spring ushers in warm weather and a bit of well-timed cheer, homeowners are rediscovering their gardens, as evidenced by market data harvested by COGNITION Smart Data (Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence and data services.)

What Is Smart Home Technology?

In the present world, there should be no denying that people will need to be environmentally friendly as a species. Going green and utilizing sustainable things is great for the environment, and it may help ensure the wellbeing of Earth. Many men and women care about the environment and would like to do their job to make matters better.

Smart houses are amazingly the latest frontier for green living. Throughout the past couple of decades, a lot of individuals have equated smart houses with technological elegance and relaxation. This is changing quickly, people begin beating the ways which you may create your smart house more sustainable.

One of the very best ways which you could accomplish so is by considering a number of the distinct smart home products which are available now. Let us take a look at a few of the ways an intelligent house can be ecofriendly.

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