Archive for 'Interviews'

GREENBUILD 2012 San Francisco: A personal take.

GREENBUILD 2012 San Francisco: A personal take.

Posted on 25. Apr, 2013 by .

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All of us at Mark English architects, and most of the rest of our colleagues, are involved in thinking about and implementing Green Building practices. Last year the Greenbuild Expo arrived in San Francisco, and several of our employees attended. One of them is Benjamin Todt, a German architectural intern.  Germany is a leading proponent of Green design, and […]

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Interview with a Green Homeowner

Interview with a Green Homeowner

Posted on 09. Jan, 2011 by .

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About a year ago, we published an article about an exceptional Title 24 project – an astonishing 50% over compliance – and now we present an interview with the homeowner who commissioned the design. The single-family home, designed by Klopf Architecture, is currently under construction by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders (As an aside, we’ve done design interviews with both Klopf and Mat-Pel on our sister blog, The Architect’s Take.)

Many residential architects would like to design homes as energy-efficient as this one, but without client buy-in, it’s usually not possible to go beyond a certain point. Over and over, we have heard that client commitment to sustainable principles is THE key to building green! So, here we have a green homeowner and design client who’s willing to discuss – anonymously – why he’s doing as much as he is, and why it’s worth doing.

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HERS Inspections and Title 24 Compliance

HERS Inspections and Title 24 Compliance

Posted on 12. May, 2010 by .

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A few months ago we published an interview with a GreenPoint Rater to de-mystify the GreenPoints system that was suddenly taking California building departments by storm. Like LEED and several of the current rebate programs, GreenPoints has tie-ins to Title 24’s energy compliance scoring, and so we’ve had to help our clients to interface with this new standard.

There’s another standard that’s been around for a long time – the Home Energy Rating System, or HERS. For the first time, we are having to tell our clients that they will have to do at least one HERS verification in order to meet the new 2008 standards of California’s Title 24 energy code. Suddenly, everyone had questions. What in the heck do HERS raters actually do, and what does it cost? Is this going to be a huge headache or a minor annoyance? What benefit is there to HERS testing apart from compliance? What does a person have to do to become certified as a HERS rater?

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Interview with GreenPoint Rater John Eckstein

Interview with GreenPoint Rater John Eckstein

Posted on 23. Sep, 2009 by .

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A few months ago, we had the pleasure of working with a GreenPoint rater on one of our recent Title 24 consulting projects. John Eckstein is a building professional with expertise in both home energy performance, and indoor air quality, particularly mold investigation. Since GreenPoint rating is still relatively new, we asked him what is involved in working with, or becoming, a GreenPoint rater.

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Passivhaus, Passive Houses, and Your Carbon Footprint

Passivhaus, Passive Houses, and Your Carbon Footprint

Posted on 27. Aug, 2009 by .

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The Passive House Institute in Germany  has improved upon American ideas from the 1970s and re-branded it as PASSIVHAUS. Superinsulated homes have been built in many locations in the U.S. over the last 30 years, as covered by many articles on the ASHRAE web site.

Passive houses use significantly less energy than do existing or new conventional residences. In fact, they use so little heating energy that a conventional heating and cooling system is mostly unnecessary. The house stays warm by recycling heat that is already being generated by internal sources – lighting fixtures, stoves, toasters, dryers.

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Home Systems Integration Offers Visibility and Control Over Energy Use

Home Systems Integration Offers Visibility and Control Over Energy Use

Posted on 24. Jul, 2009 by .

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Jay Bakaler was very severe with me. “Don’t call it home automation!” he said. “Home automation got a bad name in the 80s and 90s, and now when people hear that word, they all run for the hills. What we do is systems integration, also called whole-house control systems. It’s more about choosing the right standalone systems and carefully and thoughtfully putting them together.”

[Update: Bakaler, who was working with Ultimate Control at the time that this article was written, has since left to found his own company, Metro Eighteen.] […]

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Net Zero Homes in Northern California

Net Zero Homes in Northern California

Posted on 20. Jul, 2009 by .

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Net zero energy buildings produce more energy than they consume, and while they can function autonomously from the grid, they aren’t necessarily disconnected from it – they can use the connection to sell excess energy back to the utility companies. Sounds too good to be true? Can you really get paid to solarize your home? Well, David Knight from the Monterey Energy Group just might be able to help you get there. His take as an experienced engineer on which of these technologies really makes sense should carry a lot of weight with both designers and their clients.

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Klopf Architecture Reflects an Eichler Sensibility in New Energy-Efficient Home

Klopf Architecture Reflects an Eichler Sensibility in New Energy-Efficient Home

Posted on 09. Jul, 2009 by .

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When I first ran the numbers on the new Title 24 project from Klopf Architecture, the numbers were so high – 50% over compliance – that I immediately assumed that I had made a mistake somewhere in the calculations. After an internal review, however, we realized that it really was one of the most efficient projects we had ever taken through the energy compliance process. How did they do it?
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Can Energy-Efficient Lighting Be Beautiful?

Can Energy-Efficient Lighting Be Beautiful?

Posted on 22. Jun, 2009 by .

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Office workers and high school students from 30 years ago remember the terrible lighting from that era – the greenish, corpselike complexions, the blurred vision, the flicker-induced migraines, the depression, even the supposed vitamin deficiencies from the limited spectrum of those old fluorescent tubes. Nothing says “factory farming” quite like that old whitish glare. And the buzzing noise they made… the list of physiological, psychological, and aesthetic impacts goes on and on.

Now, there are all kinds of “full-spectrum” lights out there, low-voltage halogens, and newer generations of fluorescents like the compact bulbs, that look a lot better and definitely save over incandescents. But qualitatively, which ones are really competitive for high-end residential design when appearance and aesthetics are paramount? We asked Ed Cansino, a lighting designer with over 25 years of experience, and here is what he said.

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