Archives: September 2013
Our recently completed Hayden Building project is featured on ArchDaily, the world’s most popular website for broadcasting architecture! fb.me/2U0h917V4
Recently I attended a great seminar produced by energy consultant Sean Tobin, Optima Engineering, and Southern Energy Management. I’ve attempted to summarize some of what I learned below coupled with my past experiences and posts. I left an even bigger fan of solar and geothermal and with greater knowledge of the pros and cons of the many green rating systems out there. The issues are complex and the numbers vary, but these are the big ideas.
THE BUILDING ENERGY ISSUE
BUILDING ENERGY, FUEL, EMISSIONS
Worldwide buildings contribute more than 45% of all man-made CO2 (carbon) emissions which in mass has detrimental effects on the earths atmosphere ozone layer that helps protect us from the radiation of the sun (leading to global warming). The remaining carbon emissions is divided between 35% transportation (cars) and 20% manufacturing.
Buildings consume 72% of the electricity produced (from power plants) in the U.S. Manufacturing primarily consumes the remaining electricity produced.
Most energy in the U.S. is fueled with non-renewable resources (eventually we’ll use them all up). Our fuels breakdown like this: 22% Coal, 25% Natural Gas, and 38% Petroleum. The U.S. uses about 10% Nuclear energy and 6% Renewable energy (solar, wind, and hydro).
U.S. buildings consume about 13.6% of potable water annually. The average american uses about 64 gallons of water per day (check your water bill).
About 0.37% (less than half a percent) of the water on earth is available for human consumption and sanitation (90% of this is in underground aquifers). The rest: 97.5% is salt water, 1.6% is locked in glaciers, and the remaining 0.53% in plants, animals, and atmosphere water vapor.