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Innovations in Multifamily Plumbing

In early October, I attended the 10th Annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas. A repeated theme was “saving water saves energy and vice versa.” Multifamily buildings are a prime example, as domestic hot water (DHW) is a dominant energy use in multifamily. Reducing DHW use and delivering it more efficiently are worthy project goals. Here are some exciting new developments in this arena:

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Exciting Building Products From Passive House Conference

In late September I gave a presentation at the 12th Annual North American Passive House Conference, organized by PHIUS, describing how heat pump water heaters can be used for combined space heating and water heating. When strolling the vendors' floor between presentations, I was pleasantly surprised to see an increase in the quality of Passive building products.

Musings on the Solar Eclipse, One Month Later

I was lucky to be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming—virtually smack-dab on the "blue line" in the narrow path of totality—for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years on August 21. There was so much hype leading up to this event, and it was completely justified! For an unforgettable moment in the midst of our vast universe, in a special spot dynamically shifting east along with the movement of our planetary objects, our sun and moon literally aligned and our little spot of Earth was transformed: the sky darkened, the horizon turned orange, stars appeared, and the air felt freezing.

Pumping up your savings while reducing impact

Thanks to a recent presentation by Pierre Delforge from the Natural Resources Defense Council (select sides below), the case for deploying heat pump water heaters to replace both electric and natural gas models is becoming more clear for many.

Pierre began by showing that as our electricity gets cleaner, the natural gas we burn is making up a larger portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Two thirds of Bay area household CO2 emissions now come from burning natural gas.

Two Reminders of Why I Do What I Do

I recently went to two events, a LEED for Homes Rater Training in Chicago and a Passive House California conference in Palo Alto. These separate events reinforced two things that I had lost focus of in the day-to-day business of being an energy and sustainability consultant. The first is that California is so far ahead of the pack when it comes to sustainable building. So much of what people in other parts of the country struggle with is already codified in California.

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Building Carbon Zero California: Friday, November 13 in Palo Alto

Building Carbon Zero Palo Alto
  • Friday, November 13, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Lucie Stern Community Center, Palo Alto, California

Beyond Efficiency will be presenting Case Study: 412 Olive Avenue Office, One Year Later. Come learn about the project's challenges, successes and performance results!

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Consultant to Consultant: Six Essential Lessons from the Trenches

Beyond Efficiency will be presenting at two upcoming Passive House conferences and we hope to see you in California, Maine, or both:

9th Annual North American Passive House Conference

September 11-14, 2014
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Presenter: Katy Hollbacher, P.E.

Energy Modeling for Architects: Friday, May 23

What your energy consultant should know and isn’t teaching you.

*Presentation posted- see below*
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