Electrifying News!

Electrifying News!

I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about electrifying — that is, building an all-electric new home or eliminating natural gas and propane appliances in their existing homes. That’s something I plan to do myself any day now! Meanwhile, for those building new or buying new appliances, I encourage choosing electric options. In case Read More »

‘Zero Progress’ in California

‘Zero Progress’ in California

Ha! Got you, didn’t I?! The real story is about the progress we’re making toward zero carbon. A couple of recent milestones are adoption by the California Energy Commission (CEC) of the State’s building energy standards, Title 24-2019, effective January 1, 2020, and CA Senate passage of SB 1477 (Stern, Low-Emissions Buildings Market Development); the bill is now Read More »

ZNE guidance for CA architects (& others!)

ZNE guidance for CA architects (& others!)

The American Institute of Architects California Council recently published the Zero Net Energy Primer. I had the privilege of developing the Primer for them under a contract with PG&E. The Primer (if I do say so myself) is a handsome, concise, and accessible guide — a mere 24 pages, including lots of pictures of ZNE homes of all flavors Read More »

Obsessed with roofs

Obsessed with roofs

A recent email thread involving a group working on a video about ZNE design prompted me to raise one of my favorite subjects. Say I, “Will you talk about the critical importance of roof design?” Queried Steve Mann in reply, “Do you have something more specific in mind?” I’m so glad he asked! It gave me an opportunity Read More »

A Tirade on Energy Models (or, It’s All Relative!)

A Tirade on Energy Models (or, It’s All Relative!)

Lots of people complain about energy models — specifically, how they don’t accurately predict how much energy the occupants of a home (or building) will actually use. This complaint misses the point. The REAL problem with energy models is that there is widespread confusion about what they can/should be expected to do. Predicting actual energy use Read More »

Oregon Goes to Zero! All new residential construction to be ZNE-ready by 2023

Congratulations to our friends at the Zero Energy Project — they have just announced that today the governor of Oregon signed an executive order that they have been lobbying for. It includes changes in building codes requiring that all new residential construction be zero net energy-ready by 2023, including solar-ready features, electric vehicle chargers, and Read More »

Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH PV on your roof?

Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH PV on your roof?

My view: NO. The State of California, however, has another view, revealed through planned changes to our venerable energy code, Title 24 Part 6. Around a decade ago the State set “big, bold” goals for all new homes to be ZNE by 2020 (also, for all new commercial buildings to be ZNE by 2030). However, Read More »