Miami takes the next STEP with solar training for design professionals


Florida is a state poised to have a huge impact on national building energy usage patterns in the coming years. Strong energy codes can work in tandem with renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaics (PV) to provide Floridians with efficient homes and low utility bills. Building on these advances, the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) have selected three cities in Florida as training locations as a part of our work with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative.


How these 22 cities could shape the future of solar photovoltaics


The year 2030 is a meaningful one across the world of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Architecture 2030 challenge aims to have new construction and renovations be carbon neutral by this date. Many countries have made pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on this same timeframe. And last month, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative announced their own 2030 targets: a further reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV). As a SunShot Initiative awardee, BCAP has hit the ground running to discover the best cities around the country for training design professionals on solar PV.


Timely Solar Training for Design Professionals Coming Soon


American’s demand for solar energy is spreading – and fast. Recent federal policies are making solar even more favorable. As the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy drops to a level on par with traditional energy costs and new policies help the burgeoning solar industry, the continued growth of solar energy is certain. With the increased number of solar panels on properties, buyers are asking real estate professionals tough new questions. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot program, solar training will be available to the various stakeholder groups that assist buyers, real estate professionals, appraisers, code officials, architects and engineers.


Measuring The Real Impact Of Building Design


Last month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) had its national annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia. At the convention, BCAP’s President, Maureen Guttman, along with three other architects, gave a presentation on building commissioning to make one thing clear: building commissioning is here to stay and architects have big business opportunities to help shape the future direction of commissioning. In the session, presenters provided an overview of what commissioning is and shared a few reasons why they think that architects should be leading the process. First, the commissioning industry is growing large and fast. Second, commissioning is already an accepted service provided by architects.


Taking a Closer Look at Commercial Construction Data


More regional energy efficiency organizations are examining commercial construction data to gain insights into the commercial construction trends and the economic impact of building energy code adoption and implementation on the construction trends. Raw construction data on permits can help stakeholders understand what kind of impact newer state-level energy code adoption and implementation have on the market and communities at local and state-level.


Outreach to Architects in Pennsylvania

As often the first point of contact with prospective owners of new homes and buildings, architects are a key influence in determining the level of energy efficiency that is included in new construction and major renovation projects. But architects have been largely absent from an important issue that’s left Pennsylvania unable to adopt an updated building code.


The Architect as Superhero

How can architects build a new world of sustainable communities? By taking more responsibility for model energy code adoption and implementation. At the Hanley Wood Vision 2020 Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with the 2014 Greenbuild in New Orleans, BCAP President Maureen Guttman encourages architects to let go of their old notions of responsibility and consider taking this new business opportunity to become the leaders of the collaborative process for ensuring quality design and performance.


Codes, Standards and Rating Systems


Are architects unaware of their legal obligations under licensure, or are they simply negligent? Sooner or later, someone other than a sympathetic colleague is going to ask this question. Rapid change is upon us. Increasingly, consumers of design and construction services are demanding reliable metrics for building performance. Over the next 10 to 15 years, global pressures will ratchet up the “standard of care” for building designers.


Engaging More Architects To Meet The Compliance Goal

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While many states have worked hard to adopt the 2009 or 2012 IECC, implementation and compliance are sometimes overlooked. But that is changing. National, regional, and local focus is shifting to address meeting the 90 percent compliance goal set by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Working with numerous state energy offices to investigate and assess a state’s existing energy code infrastructure, one common weakness BCAP identified was a lack of awareness, understanding, and involvement in the building energy code development process by design professionals.


Understanding (a Few) of the Challenges of Implementing the Energy Code in Existing Buildings


Addressing building energy code compliance has proven to be a difficult task; one that becomes considerably more daunting when the subject is existing buildings. In the past year, BCAP has increased its focus on examining the challenges facing the implementation of the energy code in existing commercial buildings. The countless possibilities in existing building modifications underscore the impact that they can have on building energy performance.