BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management



A new polymer-based solar-thermal device is the first to generate power from both heat and visible sunlight, which could have significant cost reduction applications for both homes and facilities.


The EPA has updated rules that will make it easier for manufacturers to sell fuel conversion systems.  These conversion systems typically allow vehicles to run with alternative fuels, allowing energy security, fuel cost, and emissions needs to be dealt with sustainably with an eco-friendly focus.


‘Oak Flame 2011’ is an upcoming unusual fire safety experiment that will be conducted by researchers and students from Virginia Tech and Virginia Western Community College.


U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” challenge, designed to give start-up companies the opportunity to utilize and license revolutionary technology developed by national laboratories for $1000.

BUILDINGS is excited to be rolling out a new online exclusive – Ask BUILDINGS, where industry experts,  professionals, and anyone else can submit questions and queries to the BUILDINGS editorial staff! 

Global clean energy finance and investment grew 30% in 2010 to $243 billion, according to new research by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


The EPA has released an updated web data and mapping tool to assist the public.  The tool is designed to help with water quality comparisons as well as identify facilities that are violating the Clean Water Act.


A two-year energy audit of Hamilton schools (Canada) has identified energy conservation methods that could reduce energy costs by approximately $2.4 million annually.  This audit, conducted by faculty and students at McMaster University, could benefit and apply to other schools and facilities.


Scientists in Brazil have developed a way to use fibers from pineapples, bananas, and other plants in a new generation of automotive plastics that are stronger, lighter, and more “green” than plastics now in use.  The technology was described at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

  ASHRAE is studying the impact of non-western fashions, such as burqas or saris, and the effect on thermal comfort levels.
A Binghamton University computer scientist has received a National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program grant for $448,641 for development of green programming that could affect everything from smartphones to facility data centers.

University of Minnesota researchers have discovered a crucial key to unlocking the possibility of renewable petroleum fuels using bacteria, sunlight, and dioxide.


ASHRAE has published a new guideline to facilitate improved indoor environments by considering interactions of air quality, thermal conditions, lighting, and acoustics.


The Metal Building Manufacturers Association has announced a new fire wall listing.  The intent of the test program was to develop a fire resistance-rated, non-load bearing metal building wall assembly.


The EPA has determined through utilization of the RadNet system that no levels of concerning radiation have been detected on U.S. soil.


The Oahu Wind Integration Study has come up with some exciting numbers regarding wind and solar energy for Hawaii. 

Combined with Oahu wind farms and solar energy, the Interisland Wind project to bring 400 megawatts of wind power from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu could supply more than 25% of Oahu’s energy demands.


Solar greenhouses have played a role in China’s agricultural scene for some time, but new innovations are taking them to the next level in addressing the global energy crisis and climate change.

A recently published report based on 20 years of systematic studies from the College of Agronomy and Biotechnology at China Agricultural University proposes that solar greenhouses can greatly improve current sustainability initiatives and goals worldwide.


The EPA has responded to a court deadline, and proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic, and other toxic air pollution from power plants.  

 The NASA Sustainability Base, scheduled to occupy in April/May of 2011, is an interesting examination of sustainability.  Designed to produce more energy than it uses, the NASA Sustainability Base meets LEED Platinum guidelines, integrates the latest NASA technology, and focuses on air quality, natural lighting, intelligent controls, and flexible building controls.

The EPA has released a list featuring the U.S. metropolitan areas with the greatest number of energy-efficient buildings that earned ENERGY STAR certification in 2010.

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