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Green Building Brief: Seattle Benchmarking, Kone Elevators, Retrofit Rules

Seattle is moving into the next stage of its Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program, launched in May. The city has sent letters to 8,000 owners of nonresidential buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. and multifamily buildings with five or more units, notifying them that they will need to benchmark and report their energy performance by April 1, 2012.

The program already covers 800 nonresidential buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. The city is partnering with utilities to provide owners with the necessary energy use data.

Kone has been awarded an order to supply 21 elevators and eight escalators at the Long Beach Court Building in Long Beach, Calif. The order includes Kone Monospace and EcoSystem MR elevators, which are run by the energy-efficient KONE EcoDisc. This component consumes about 50 percent less energy than conventional traction machines and up to 70 percent less than traditional hydraulic elevators, the company says.

The EPA has released protocols to guide the home energy industry in reducing the health risks of energy upgrades and retrofits.

The Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades are first-of-their-kind guidelines that address critical indoor air quality risks, the EPA said. They describe a step-by-step process for conducting assessments to evaluate indoor air conditions and the potential for risks that may arise during residential energy upgrades.

The protocols include recommended minimum specifications and best practices to maintain or improve indoor air quality, and serve as a companion document to the Department of Energy’s guidelines for home energy professionals.

Finally, KB Home is making solar power systems a standard feature of homes at 28 communities in Southern California. The company launched its solar initiative in March, when it began including 1.4 kWp SunPower systems with homes in 10 communities.

Based on consumer interest, KB says, it has now increased the capacity of the systems included as standard. The smallest is now 1.8 kWp, and over half of the 28 participating communities include a 2.25 kWp or 3.15 kWp system as standard.

Picture credit: James Arnott

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