CXRE » Energy

Green Starts Early in Brazoria – Part One

When the West Brazos Junior High School opened its doors in the Fall of 2006, it became the first operational public junior high school in the state to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification.  Assistant Superintendent of the Columbia Brazoria Independent School District, Martha Buckner, stated the district’s goals;  “Our goal was to demonstrate that green schools were achievable without spending extra money during the process.  The key was smarter choices, not more money.”

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Austin Energy Guidelines for On-grid Solar Power

Unlike a standalone Solar, or PV system, the guidelines for constructing a solar system that will interface with Austin Energy are much more rigorous.  Austin Energy refers to this as a “parallel” system.The following information is a small overview of Austin Energy’s interface guide.•    You are required to present technical data including layout drawings, equipment specifications, coordination data, equipment test data, synchronizing methods, operations manuals, and maintenance•    You will be responsible for installing and maintaining the interconnection equipment•    Austin Energy may request maintenance records to verify protective equipment checks.•    You must provide your own protective devices for your system.•    If Austin Energy incurs any extra costs due to the interface arrangement, they will be yours to pay.•    Any PV system designed to be interconnected can operate only after receiving written approval from Austin Energy.MountingThere are several ways to mount the panels: fixed, fixed with adjustable tilt angles, manual tracking, passive tracking, and active tracking.  All […]

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Green Isn’t Just the Building

If you’ve been researching green building, LEED®, or any other environmentally motivated subject, you will have noticed that green building isn’t just in what and how you build.  It also has a lot to do with green living.  For the average person in the US, green living means recycling your newspapers and maybe driving a little less.The fact is most people have developed specific lifestyles that revolve around their energy usage.  Many individuals don’t think about the constant stream of energy they use; it’s just what they do.  Get up; use hot water to shower.  Use an electric or gas range, or maybe a microwave to fix breakfast, and then it’s off to work.Let’s not even talk about the accidentally left on lights, the window that was left open, the iPods, cell phones, laptops, computers, TV’s and game systems.  All of which are eating slowly away at the pocketbook and environment.When this is what we’re […]

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LEED® Certification for New Construction – Energy and Atmosphere

After finding a sustainable site and calculating water efficiency, it’s time to look at energy and atmosphere.  This category provides a whopping seventeen points towards LEED® certification, the largest amount of points awarded to any particular section.Required areas for LEED® certification are fundamental commissioning, minimum energy performance and fundamental refrigerant management.Fundamental CommissioningFundamental commissioning ensures that all HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire and life safety, and building security are operating like they’re supposed to.  This involves several ongoing site observations and then system testing, among other things.Minimum Energy PerformanceHere, the purpose is to establish a minimum of energy efficiency for the building.  This can be accomplished in two ways:1.    Building the envelope and system to comply with ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2004 Sections 5 – 10 and comply with the prescriptive requirements.2.    Comply with either the local codes or the Department of EnergyAdded to this area is a mandatory requirement to provide occupancy controls for any class, meeting and/or break […]

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The Five Elements of LEED® Green Building

Several programs have a set of standard practices, but one of the most widely respected is the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Building Rating System.LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, national rating system based on consensus.  According to the U.S. Green Building Council:”LEED® is a practical rating tool for green building design and construction that provides immediate and measurable results for building owners and occupants.”Those measurable results include key benefits, such as lower utility costs, better health and productivity, long-term economic returns and lower impact on the environment.LEED® has five key elements they look at before certifying a building as up-to-standard, as a way to ensure that the above benefits (and others) continue.  Each element has in depth standards and codes, but here is a brief outline of each:1.  Sustainable Sites – The chosen site and design should incorporate a control plan for sediment and erosion.  In addition, if it’s […]

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