Sustainability

West Chester University

 

Architecture

According to the Department of Energy, buildings account for 74% of US electricity consumption and 39% of CO2 emissions. Therefore, commercial and residential buildings have a greater impact on climate change than either transportation or industry; and the pursuit of innovative solutions in buildings and planning are a high impact areas of sustainability efforts.

New ideas need to be integrated into everyday living. One area with the greatest potential for positive change is housing. We need to go beyond better insulation and turning down the thermostat. Both of these are good ideas but better use of materials and better archetectural designs can lead to dramatically reduced energy usage.

There's lots of green building information at GreenBuilding.com

Passive House

The passive house is a paradigm changing idea.In a passive house, insulation and advanced doors and windows are used to encase the house in an airtight shell. The passive house is warmed not only by the sun, but also by "waste" heat from appliances and even from occupants' bodies. Just as importantly, the house is not sealed, which leads to stagnant air and mold growth. Instead passive houses harness central ventilation system that effeciently exchanges heat between the warm interior air on its way out and cold air coming in.

This may sound exotic and expensive but in Germany, where the concept was pioneered, passive houses cost only about 5 to 7% more to build than conventional houses

Find out more at the Passive House Institute US.

Energy Audits

The Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) is a non-profit corporation, founded in 1984, whose mission is to help people conserve energy and to promote a sustainable and socially equitable energy future for all in the Philadelphia region.