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Building Controls: The Next Code Compliance Opportunity

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Building system controls that automate the use of HVAC, lighting and ventilation systems in commercial buildings continue to become more sophisticated, and the model energy code is keeping pace with these changes. In fact, since 2004, a third of all changes to the model energy code for commercial buildings are related to building system controls. Given this pace of change, it is reasonable to wonder if building professionals are able to ensure that energy systems are designed, installed and configured properly. A recent study conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) sought to answer that exact question. The study, Implementation of Energy Code Controls Requirements in New Commercial Buildings, surveyed highly…

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This Home is a Total Zero (Good!)

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There are many paths to building a highly energy efficient new home, including Passivehaus, Living Building Challenge and the soon-to-be-released ASHRAE 90.2 standard. Policies designed to save energy are also driving up demand for efficient housing. California, for example, will soon require that all new homes be zero net energy. Given increasing interest for such innovative homes, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which people across the country are able to just pick their favorite energy efficient home from a subdivision full of zero net energy (ZNE) homes. Enter Pulte, the third largest home builder in the country, and their prototype zero net energy home. Their ZNE prototype is part of the ZNE Production Builder Demonstration…

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Michigan’s IRP Assessment Kicks Off this Week

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The MPSC’s IRP Authority One big story coming out of the Michigan energy package enacted this past December is the significant authority given to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on a number of critically important facets of energy policy analysis, administration and implementation. The MPSC’s new IRP process (PA 341 Section 6t) is one of numerous changes to Michigan’s energy administration and planning framework enacted at the end of 2016. The IRP will serve as the utilities’ short-, medium- and long-range supply-side and demand-side energy capacity planning process. This planning process will work alongside the annual energy waste reduction requirements to bolster the state’s energy savings and economic impacts. The…

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