Snapshot Column Archives
Language Matters, Or What Should I Do With My Banana Peel?
Jun. 1, 2013
Getting Serious About Daylighting
Apr. 1, 2013
From Evolution to Revolution: Enabling Clean Energy at the Edge of the Electric Grid
Thomas Bourgeois & William Pentland
Feb. 14, 2013
Obama's First-Term Eco-Legacy and the Road Ahead
John Tepper Marlin
Nov. 26, 2012
Deficit Could Be X-Factor for Carbon Tax
Oct. 10, 2012
Are Building Owners Leaving Money on the Energy Efficiency Table?
Elizabeth Brooke Stein
Aug. 1, 2012
Realizing the Behavioral Wedge — Getting Tenants Involved in Saving Energy
Mirele B. Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Jun. 4, 2012
Commercial PACE Financing: An Innovative Way To Scale Up The Building Retrofit Market In NYC
J. Cullen Howe
Apr. 2, 2012
From MUSH To The City of Tomorrow: Taking District Energy To Urban Neighborhoods
Feb. 2, 2012
Inconvenient No Longer
John Tepper Marlin
Jan. 3, 2012
The Sad Story Of The National Infrastructure Bank
Dec. 1, 2011
Faster, Stronger, Smarter: The Smart Grid's Informational Efficiency
Sep. 19, 2011
Over Our Heads: What Will Design Students Need To Know About The Revolution In Sustainable Roof Design?
Aug. 1, 2011
New York City's Benchmarking Law: Does It Go Far Enough and Is It Fair To Building Owners?
Jun. 15, 2011
Climate Change In The Supreme Court: Will Winners Be Losers?
Apr. 1, 2011
Historic Preservation & Passive House Working Together In NYC
Ken Levenson, A.I.A.
Feb. 1, 2011
2011 Green Priorities for Albany
Dec. 15, 2010
C40: Hammer In Hong Kong
Stephen A. Hammer, Ph. D
Nov. 8, 2010
Disclosure: A Powerful Motivational Tool
Oct. 1, 2010
Finding the Proof of Energy Retrofits
Aug. 2, 2010
Green Buildings & Perverse Incentives
Albert F. Appleton
Jun. 1, 2010
The Switch: A Green Reporter's New Beat
Apr. 1, 2010
Hiding In Plain Sight
Mar. 2, 2010
Smart Building Technolgy: Not Smart Enough
Jan. 1, 2010
Advancing Energy Efficiency in Russia
Nov. 3, 2009
Blue/Green — Making It Work Takes Work
Aug. 31, 2009
Transparency & Innovation: Open Data For Green Building
Jul. 1, 2009
Climate Change & Environmental Impact Statements
Michael B. Gerrard
Jun. 1, 2009
Another Berkeley FIRST
Mayor Tom Bates
Mar. 1, 2009
New Space, New Faces
John Tepper Marlin
Feb. 2, 2009
Taming the Concrete Dragon?
Stephen Hammer & Elizabeth Balkan
Dec. 1, 2008
Caroline G. Harris
Oct. 1, 2008
International Influences on City Sustainability Plans
Aug. 1, 2008
Growing Green Collar Jobs in NYC
Jul. 2, 2008
USGBC to Accredit Green-Building Certifiers
John Tepper Marlin
Jun. 5, 2008
Energy Efficiency in NYC: The Problem of Split Incentives
Apr. 7, 2008
Feb. 1, 2008
The Status of LEED in NYC, Positive Lessons
John Tepper Marlin
Dec. 3, 2007
The Healthy School and The Sustainable City
Oct. 1, 2007
The Green Manufacturing Scene
Jul. 31, 2007
Energy and Environmental Reality Check
May. 30, 2007
Plant-Based Heat for Your Home
John S. Nettleton
Apr. 16, 2007
The Color of Money
Mar. 1, 2007
Saving Energy In Existing Residential Buildings
Richard Leigh, P.E. & Eduardo Guerra
Jan. 4, 2007
Birth of 21st Century Construction in Harlem
The Full Spectrum Team
Nov. 1, 2006
To Move Mountains, Fix Markets
Sep. 27, 2006
Make Room for Green Work
Aug. 29, 2006
What is DG and Why Should We Care?
Jun. 30, 2006
Beyond Pilot Projects
City of New York DDC
May. 24, 2006
Jan. 2, 2006
Energy Efficiency: Markets or Mandates?
September 01, 2014
By: Pat Sapinsley
Implementation of Energy Efficiency* in the US Building Sector
The implementation of energy efficiency savings in the US has been more difficult than its advocates might have hoped. Americans are relying on a patchwork system to achieve energy savings. That patchwork is derived from local, state and federal government regulations and from market forces. On the local front, there are as many as five actors: local governments, local utilities, local energy service providers, local financing programs and a panoply of local building codes. At the national level, the federal government uses frequently changing tax code provisions and various user standards. Market forces include confusing utility pricing regimes, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and a variety of financing mechanisms. The result is that there is enormous confusion in the marketplace about how and where to stimulate more widespread adoption of energy efficiency. Other countries have eliminated such confusion by relying more heavily on unified regulation, with far better results.
Organic Wastes Are Energy-Rich Resources: Towards A New Era of Productive Alchemy
June 30, 2014
By: Kendall Christiansen
Prediction: by 2020, New York City's wastewater treatment facilities could produce biogas to heat and power their own operations, power some of the agency's fleet, and provide biogas to Con Ed and National Grid pipelines. In addition to the economic benefits, less trash shipped to distant landfills and waste-to-energy facilities reduces truck miles, greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, and creates carbon-positive benefits — all of which are goals of PlaNYC/2030.
How will that prediction be achieved? It's not crystal ball-gazing to see a combination of upgraded and expanded facilities, capable of accepting new sources of materials, or "feedstock" for their anaerobic digesters, complementing the energy potential already present in the city's sewage sludge. Kathryn Garcia, the new Commissioner of Sanitation, notes that digesters love "diner food" — clean, energy-rich, and maybe a little too much fat. But what is anaerobic digestion?)
Eco Districts: Making NYC More Sustainable & Resilient, One Neighborhood at a Time
April 30, 2014
By: Llewellyn Wells
What is an Eco District? I am glad you asked.
"An Eco District is a neighborhood or district with a broad commitment to accelerate neighborhood-scale sustainability. Eco Districts commit to achieving ambitious sustainability performance goals, guiding district investments and community action, and tracking the results over time. An Eco District is a neighborhood committed to sustainability with the components of empowered people, green buildings and smart infrastructure."
But why now, and more importantly, why in New York City?
Gatekeepers: Unsung Heroes Of A Smart Economy?
March 02, 2014
By: Aleksi Neuvonen & Tuuli Kaskinen
Ever had to personally refurbish a house? Ever had to think of buying windows, replacing the old roof with a new one or changing the heating system? Have you taken energy efficiency and climate emissions into consideration when making these decisions? Anyone who has gone through all this knows the right answers and solutions can be hard to come by.
Although it is well-known that the most efficient way to cut residential carbon emissions is through thoughtful building renovations, it is far from common practice. The challenge is that these potential improvements require decisions by millions of people in homes and at workplaces — people who usually don't feel themselves very competent in the area of energy efficiency. Adequate policy measures are rare: traditional public awareness campaigns are rarely nimble and voluntary participation makes their impact is slow, but introducing ambitious building performance norms for already existing building stock often faces strong opposition.
We're Beginning To See The Light
January 27, 2014
By: Nick Lombardi
Among the groundbreaking package of laws and regulations that comprised Mayor Bloomberg's Greener, Greater Buildings plan, the Local Law 84 Benchmarking requirement (LL84) was designed to be simple and straightforward, intended to lift the veil that concealed the energy use details of New York City's commercial building stock.
Access to new information generated by benchmarking and disclosure would, it was hoped, transform real estate transactions by introducing energy considerations into the space and investment markets decision chain. Now, three years in, there seems to be some appetite to take stock and measure the true effectiveness of LL84, and to respond to some bubbling sentiment in New York City that it hasn't really "worked" as intended.
Let's start with the take-away; despite what feels like a long time since its enactment, it's still far too early to make such declarations, and the evidence we do have suggests LL84 has indeed started to have its intended impact.
Re-Sus-Citate Resilience and Sustainability for the Health of our City
December 02, 2013
By: Michele Oberholtzer
Like a somber "talking-to" from a family doctor, Superstorm Sandy forced New Yorkers to face an uncomfortable reality: the irresponsible lifestyle we have lived for so long has put us at risk, and we must take significant measures to preserve our health going forward. It will take a dual approach of both sustainability and resilience to prevent and respond to the threats of climate change. These issues are as important as they are complex, so let's borrow some familiar concepts from medicine to understand what they mean for the health of our city.
In healthcare, we recognize a need for both preventative care — avoiding problems before they arise — and curative care — anticipating problems that will come about despite our best efforts to prevent them. The health of the urban environment is no different. When it comes to climate change, sustainability means "reducing it" whereas resilience means "reducing its impacts." In one case we are trying to prevent something from happening, in the other we are trying to mitigate the negative impact when it does. While the two issues are complementary, their differences are important. "Sustainability" and "resilience" are not synonyms, but rather complementary forces, a yin and yang, which must be tackled in equal measure.
Buildings Tell The Truth
October 07, 2013
By: Chris Benedict, R.A.
Buildings always tell the truth and my passion for buildings is boundless, sometimes I feel my heart will explode as I walk through a construction site, a deep rush of joy. I started my Architecture office in 1995 never dreaming of the fulfillment I've had over a career of innovation, breakthroughs, setbacks and celebrations. Over those years my office has been responsible for leading the way in the critical area of what is now called building performance, but what I prefer to think of as an artful quest for refined elegance in the infrastructure of buildings. Always inventing, always implementing, always questioning, always learning and going where most Architecture firms fear to tread, my firm has changed the industry and taught the profession by showing what is possible.
Building Efficiency and Blower Doors: Essential Responses to Sandy
August 01, 2013
By: Ken Levenson, A.I.A.
Superstorm Sandy has produced a torrent of meetings, plans, reports, announcements and actions by city, state, federal and non-governmental organizations. Today, before their terms expire, the New York City Council and Mayor are racing to pass important legislation based on these past months of herculean effort. While the action may be understandably focused on measures directly related to storm survival of our built environment from wind and flood damage, systemic failures of water, transportation, power and other services — legislative efforts thus far have focused on the symptoms of our problems and not the root causes.