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.

Pausing Pandora

What a cruel and unusual year it has been. Rather than trying to make sense of 2020, can we extract meaningful lessons and look ahead to 2021 with a shared vision and greater sense of compassion?

Without doubt, 2020 will go down as one of the most traumatic years in recent history. Assaulted by pandemic, fire, flood, social unrest, and unruly politics, our nation has showed how divided and divisive it can be.

COGNITION Hot Take: Engaging Today’s Homebuyers

Millennials and older Gen-Zers have become the housing industry’s top influencers. What do they want, and what’s the best way to engage them?

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, more than 50 percent of today’s home buyers are under the age of 36 with a median income of just under $90,000. These buyers are largely college-educated, dual-income couples.

More Contractors Turn to Insulated Concrete Forms As they ‘Power Through’ Pandemic Obstacles

ICF makers such as Amvic Building Systems have hit a new stride, as building pros weary of lumber volatility.

If you’ve priced out dimensional lumber lately, you know that prices have soared over recent months, in part due to coronavirus disruption, in part due to the outgoing U.S. administration’s costly trade tariffs with Canada.

5 Sustainable Building Manufacturers

Looking for inspiration? Explore the sustainability efforts of these companies that are leading the building construction industry.

COGNITION Hot Take: Remodeling Trend on the Rise

As people are spending more time in their homes, they’re investing in a wide spectrum of upgrades to enhance comfort, functionality, efficiency, and wellbeing. We’re tracking one trend that recently started surging: ergonomics.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, DIY projects have soared by 75 percent since the onset of the pandemic, even with concerns about spending.

The Responsibility and Opportunity of Clean Air

COVID has unveiled the ugly reality that viruses and other contaminants are transferrable by air, bringing the concept of healthy homes to the forefront of our national dialogue. As consumer awareness increases, the definition of healthy homes is expanding into something entirely new. What are the implications for homeowners, building professionals, and manufacturers?

As I wrote last week, COVID has expedited the adoption of a wide spectrum of enabling technologies that are increasing efficiencies in most sectors of our economy.

Cavitymate System Insulates and Seals Brick Exteriors Simultaneously

Combining expanding sealant with specially formulated rigid foam from DuPont solves several building challenges at once.

When installed with spray foam to seal gaps, DuPont's Styrofoam Cavitymate XPS Ultra panels, meet ASHRAE 90.1-2010 prescriptive requirements for continuous insulation and air barrier. Their sizing (15 3/4  inches wide) means they fit between wall ties in block-backed walls. This pairing of rigid foam with spray foam products has a formal name: Ultra Air Barrier Wall System. Although designed as a commercial product, the system offers the same durability and performance advantages for residential homes built with brick, stone or other masonry facades.

Codes Around the U.S.: Delaware, Vermont, D.C.

Here’s a roundup of building code passage around the nation.

Delaware adopted the 2018 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 2016 (Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings). There was only one amendment approved: a certified DET verifier is required to conduct testing.

Every Facet of HVAC Manufacturer Greens Up

With most early goals met, this heating and cooling industry giant makes even bigger commitments for 2030.

Now, it’s time for round two.

In 2013, the phrase “climate change” was finally being recognized as a legitimate, global term related to the environment. The Paris Agreement, which called for participating companies to voluntary reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next three decades, was getting started.

Green Windows and Doors From a Sustainable Manufacturer

For this Eco-Leader residential door and window maker, green is good—very good.

YKK AP America manufactures commercial facade systems, and residential doors and windows, and considers the environment in everything it does. The environmental pledge which governs the company’s practices states, “It is recognized today as being a most important duty for all humankind that we preserve the abundantly endowed global environment and that we transfer it to the next generation in a sound condition.”

Vantage: COVID-Accelerated Technology Adoption Enhances Efficiencies

The coronavirus has irreparably changed our economy, enhancing digitization, expediting the adoption of a wide spectrum of technologies, and creating new efficiencies. What does this mean for the building industry?

According to a recent survey conducted by McKinsey, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digitization and enabling technologies by up to seven years in the U.S. market (and 10+ years in Asia.)

COGNITION Hot Take: P is the New V

It has been said that ‘V’ has been the missing link in the HVAC equation, but no longer—since the onset of the pandemic, consumer interest in ventilation solutions has exploded, and the definition of proper ventilation has expanded.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, there has been an astonishing surge in consumer interest in healthy homes, indoor air quality, and ventilation solutions this year, with much of the online conversation focused on keeping spaces safe and protected from COVID.

Podcast Illustrates How Building Codes Can Help Communities Prepare for Emergencies

Governments struggle to prepare for hazards and other disaster events. Building codes can be an important line of defense.

What factors can help mitigate the negative effects of a natural disaster or other emergency situation? What planning tools or programs can be used to lessen the impact? How do building codes and other emergency management strategies position communities to be as prepared as possible for disasters?

Panel System Offers Labor-Friendly Upgrade for Residential Exteriors

Maine-based Hunter Panels says the current building frenzy has fueled their rapid move into the high-performance housing market.

In what might be called a perfect storm for certain building materials, insulating panels have made major gains in recent years, even in the traditionally conservative and slow-to-change construction industry.

According to MacGregor Pierce, product manager with Hunter’s XCI panels division, the industry has reached a tipping point with regard to insulating panels.

Building Product Manufacturer Moves Towards 100% Renewables

As this Eco-Leader demonstrates: When it comes to encouraging net-zero status with customers’ homes, it never hurts to start with your own.

Uponor, which manufactures plumbing and radiant heating systems and tools, recently took a big step when its Lakeville, Minn., distribution center became 100 percent wind-powered last spring. Since 2017, the company has been increasingly buying blocks of wind-produced renewable energy from local utilities.

COGNITION Hot Take: Homeowners Brave the Elements

As the weather turns colder, nature lovers and entertainers are undeterred, as indicated by the spike in outdoor heating and firepit purchases.

Homeowners are bundling up, choosing to socialize safely outside rather than moving inside and risking infection, especially with the holidays on the horizon.

Transformation of Work

With another wave of coronavirus engulfing the country, companies are further delaying workers’ return to the office. The forced uptick in remote working is having unforeseen social, economic, and political impacts.

When COVID-19 shuttered the U.S. economy in March, companies in all sectors of the economy instructed their employees to work from home, thinking that it would be a short hiatus.

Prevent Stagnant Water in Home Plumbing Systems

A new Water Demand Calculator predicts the peak indoor water demand of a residential plumbing system. Use it to avoid overbuilt pipe systems that could result in aging water and pathogen growth.

Modern high-efficiency plumbing fixtures are in widespread use across the country, but the water supply systems of most buildings are still being designed based on the water demand of the plumbing fixtures of the 1930s. Things have changed a bit since then.

A Radical Rethink on Home Energy Storage

An innovative approach to home solar storage is just one example of this company’s groundbreaking steps forward in sustainability.

It was only a decade ago when Christoph Ostermann and Torsten Stiefenhofer introduced a radical product that addressed a simple question: Why shouldn’t a homeowner’s solar power stay with their home instead of sending it back to the grid?

Three Myths About All-Electric Appliances

Here are three of the most prevalent misconceptions about electric appliances debunked.

We all know it’s there, and we all know that no one wants to talk about it. The all-electric “elephant” in the room (or more specifically, the home). We are about to rip off the band-aid and address the belief that it costs more to have all-electric home appliances than gas or duel-fuel appliances.

All-Renewable Energy Is an “Everyday” Affair

This company believes that with each net-zero project achieved, the United States gets that much closer to decarbonization and a fully electrified society.

For Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), developing effective solutions for high-performing net-zero buildings and homes is job one. It results in tangible outcomes such as: 

  • A home that offsets a family’s energy usage and feeds the electric grid.
  • A passive house multi-use commercial building that uses water-based technology for heating and cooling.
  • An office space in Minnesota that doesn’t require cost-heavy and energy-intensive auxiliary heat to keep employees warm through frigid winters. 

COGNITION Hot Take: Home Buying? It’s for the Girls.

Millennials and Gen Zs have become the biggest influencers in the home buying market. While the majority of home buyers in this audience segment are dual-income couples, women drive the bus when it comes to decision making.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, millennials are flooding the housing market, buying homes (new and existing), and remodeling at unprecedented rates.

Across-the-Board Environmental Commitment

This Eco-Leaders winner believes that net zero begins with bold environmental goals as well as teaching the public about the merits of going green.

Embracing a net zero imperative future beyond efficient products, LG Electronics USA is taking its environmental commitment to the next level, setting its sights on achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. It plans to do so through a variety of strategic initiatives such as:

Solar Technology Leader Walks the Walk

This 2020 Eco-Leaders winner understands that honestly representing a green energy product means keeping your own act clean.

The world often assumes that solar panel manufacturers, by definition, have sustainable practices. However, just because a manufacturer produces a clean product such as solar pv does not necessarily mean that its manufacturing process and overall operation are always resource-conscious.

Sticks and Stones

In a most ironic twist, it seems that the recent explosion in the price of softwood lumber may be the factor that, once and for all, moves the U.S. housing industry into the 21st Century. 

The ridiculously outdated practice of stick framing the vast majority of new homes in this country could finally be on the verge of circling the drain to oblivion, where it would join the horse and buggy, along with the phone booth.

The Heat Pump Imperative

The concept of an all-electric home has never made more sense.

In the built environment, improvements in technology now demarcate a clear path toward decarbonization. The timing is urgent. We are, quite literally, experiencing a perfect storm of human-fueled weather pattern disruption, from the inferno of Western wildfires to a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season.

COGNITION Hot Take: Looming Air Conditioning Crisis?

The irony of cooling a warming planet: Existing air conditioning solutions will continue to turn up the heat unless conventional technology is disrupted and replaced.

According to the International Energy Agency, if the globe continues on its current warming trajectory, the global population will require 6 billion air conditioning units—triple the current number—by 2050 to keep indoor temperatures comfortable.

One Company; Three Ways to Net Zero

Training and education are setting the tone for this company’s sustainability efforts.

There’s no one way to go net zero—which is why Rheem Manufacturing is using three of them. The heating and cooling product manufacturer, under its “Greater Degree of Good” mantra, plans to meet 2025 sustainability goals through innovation, efficiency, and leadership.

Net-Zero Everywhere

Panasonic’s goal by 2050 is to create more energy than it uses. Projects on three continents showcase how it will get this done.

Call it “net-zero by the numbers.” For Panasonic, operating in a sustainable fashion means more than just implementing policy. It also means showing the world what happened when you did.

In the past three years, the electronics maker has made its home appliance recycling site, Panasonic ECO Technology Center (PETEC), and its battery manufacturing site, Panasonic Energy Belgium (PECBE), carbon emissions-neutral. Three more factories making up Panasonic do Brazil (PANABRAS) recently became the first on the American continent to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas status.

ICC Learn Live Digital Event to Be Held in November

In a week-long digital event, the International Code Council will deliver educational offerings on building safety topics.

ICC Learn Live will be held November 9-13. Educational sessions will offer continuing education units (CEUs). The virtual event will address the most pressing priorities for building safety, including:

Righting Systemic Wrongs in the Construction Industry

The construction industry’s battle against racial inequity must start from within.

We are living among what is considered to be one of the largest civil rights movements in history. People throughout the country have participated in protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. And as the issue of racial injustice has gained the much-needed traction and worldwide attention like never before, we have to be solution-oriented. 

Wealthy Suburbs Produce 15 Times More Emissions Than Their Neighbors

Large homes account for 25 percent more GHGs than those in modest neighborhoods, but they’re just part of the problem.

The homes and lifestyles of the wealthy represent a major contribution to global warming, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The report notes that affluent suburbs produce up to 15 times the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as nearby, poorer districts. It also says larger homes are responsible for nearly 25 percent more GHGs through lighting, heating, and cooling than smaller ones.

Home Building Market Reaches New Heights

The housing market is proving to be a bright spot in the economy—at least for now. Existing and new home sales are strong, inventory is limited, prices are stable, and mortgage rates remain low.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, the housing market is experiencing unprecedented growth rates, even in these uncertain times.

COGNITION Hot Take: Home Prices Mirror Pattern Before 2006 Housing Bubble Burst

Is the housing market going to burst?

EEBA High Performance Home Summit Discount Available

Educational summit runs September 29 through October 9.

EEBA is offering a membership package that gives you 50 percent off your membership and attendance to the upcoming HighPerformance Summit. The discount code is SAVE50.

Contest Launches: Explain RESNET Standards In a Video to Win

This video contest will result in a collection of resources that can be used by the building industry.

RESNET’s second annual Video Competition is accepting video entrants until October 31. 

Heat Waves Turn Deadly, Will Become Even Deadlier

The pattern of record-setting temperatures will worsen in coming months and years.

Nationwide, heat caused at least 10,000 deaths from 1999 to 2016–more than hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods in most years, according to research by the Columbia Journalism Investigations and the Center for Public Integrity. And although the heatwaves are likely to continue courtesy of global warming, the lead agency for dealing with the problem is getting increasingly less support from the White House.

Wind Energy Demand Reaches New Record

The nation’s wind capacity can now supply electricity to 5 million homes per year.

Wind power’s growing popularity and innovations in energy technology have led to a record number of annual procurements in 2019. Commercial and industrial companies are buying almost 4,500 megawatt (MW) of U.S. wind capacity—enough to generate electricity for 5 million homes annually. Total corporate agreements are approaching 17,000, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

3 Reasons Not to Use Plastic Instead of Housewrap

Decades of research on how buildings function explain why synthetic housewrap long ago replaced polyethylene as a building material.

Walking through a historic section of Portland, Maine, this week, I noticed this grand old house, wrapped in polyethylene (sheet plastic). Why, I wondered, would anyone in the 21st Century still use this product in this way?

The Secrets of an Indomitable Soul

2020 has been a grueling year, indeed.  Is it an anomaly or a glimpse into the future, and how can we proficiently navigate the turbulence? 

A global pandemic. Record-breaking wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, and heat waves. Mind-boggling swings in financial markets and unemployment rates.  Communities on edge. Vast populations of people and animals displaced. Are the locusts next?

COGNITION Hot Take: Smart Home Essentials

For better and worse, our lives have moved online during the pandemic. Some of these changes are likely to stay. What will this mean to the built environment?

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence and data services, the coronavirus has shifted consumer demands with respect to smart home technologies.

Vancouver, B.C., Tries Zero Emissions Space and Water Heating

Vancouver’s city council approved recommended amendments/updates to building bylaws titled “Climate Emergency Requirements for New Housing 3-Storeys and Under.”

The multi-faceted intent of this recent amendment is to:

  • Decrease carbon pollution and increase the energy efficiency requirements for residential buildings 3 storeys and under, including townhomes, to take effect January 1, 2022.
  • Move closer into alignment with the BC Energy Step Code for residential buildings 4-6 storeys, to take effect January 1, 2021.
  • Set a 2-ton carbon pollution cap (down from 3 tons) for new single-family and duplex dwellings sized 325 m2 or more, to take effect January 1, 2021.
  • Close a loophole in the current lighting alterations provisions, which took effect July 1, 2020.

How would they accomplish these requirements?

Building Code Changes Around the Nation

Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., enact new codes.

Here are some code changes that address energy and water use: 

Summit County, Colo.

The County, as well as the towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, and Dillon adopted the Summit County Sustainable Building Code. This means that all new residential construction must comply with the DoE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program. This program applies to R-2 and R-3 occupancies as well as R- 4 occupancies of 4 stories or less. 

Existing Home Makeover: Energy Loss Through Glass

The second in a series of building science articles on how to improve the performance of the 90 percent of existing buildings built before energy-efficiency strategies took root.

As home builders, we get the opportunity to “build it right” the first time, but many of us own older homes—or have friends and family with older homes. Here are some thoughts on how we can employ cost-effective and impactful enhancements to our current homes to make a difference. 

COGNITION Hot Take: Hot Markets for Millennial Home Buyers

Millennials and older Gen-Zers have become the housing industry’s top influencers.  They’re moving to lower-priced markets where they can get more bang for their buck and room to move.  Where are they buying?

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, Millennials and Gen-Zers have seized the leadership position in the housing sector.  

Easy Steps to Healthy Home

What can homes do for us beyond providing shelter, and how can they help keep us healthy and safe?

Now more than ever, homeowners are searching for successful strategies to improve the health of their homes in an effort to protect their families. 

A Guide to Energy-Efficient Multi-Story Buildings

A lot goes into ensuring that a multi-story residential building is energy efficient, as this case study demonstrates.

When people are dissatisfied with the thermal environment, their productivity, capacity of concentration, well-being, and health can be negatively affected. Thus, ensuring thermal comfort for any new building design project through its HVAC system, as well as positioning of windows, doors, stairs, and other components, is paramount.

The Tie In Between Radiant Floors and Indoor Environmental Quality

Indoor air quality is top of mind for consumers. This webinar details how to provide perfect air, along with comfort and energy efficiency.

On September 22 at 2:00 pm Eastern, join Steve Swanson, the national trainer with Uponor North America, for a webinar that shows how radiant flooring and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) go hand in hand. 

ICC Offers Advice on Remote Virtual Inspections

Remote inspections are necessary as coronavirus stymies physical walkthroughs.

If you are responsible for inspections, get a copy of ICC’s new “Recommended Practices for Remote Virtual Inspections.” This guideline can help you conduct effective and consistent remote virtual inspections.

Ebook: Make Every House a Smart Home

Brilliant’s smart home system is helping builders and developers make high-tech a standard option for all new homes.

Simple wins the day. Brilliant is a touchscreen control panel with built-in Alexa voice control that makes it easy for everyone (family, friends, guests) to control popular smart home products and experiences: lighting, cameras, locks, garages, music, climate, intercom, scenes, and more.

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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