• Whirlpool announced it will make all of its electric appliances Smart Grid–compatible by 2015.
  • According to the EPA, nearly 17% of all single-family homes built in the U.S. in 2008 earned the Energy Star label, up from 12% in 2007. Fifteen states—Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Vermont—have market share of 20% or greater.
  • The International Code Council met in late July to begin work on the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). The first draft is expected to be released for public comment in March 2010.
  • On June 1, Serious Materials’ EcoRock drywall became the first product to receive UL’s Environmental Claims Validation. Laboratory tests confirmed the manufacturer’s claims that EcoRock contains 80% recycled content, has low VOC emissions, is mercury-free, and is highly resistant to mold.
  • The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and GreenPlumbers USA have joined forces to enhance the technical content of GreenPlumbers training and accreditation.
  • According to a study by the Appalachian State University Energy Center, adding radiant barriers to home attics can result in a 23-degree F drop in the peak attic temperature, a 20% reduction in the AC unit’s runtime during the seven hours of peak attic temperatures, and a 57% efficiency improvement in the cooled air delivered through the air ducts.
  • The Single-Family Affordable Homes program (SASH) will provide qualifying low-income California homeowners with access to 1- to 3-kW photovoltaic systems to decrease electricity usage and utility bills without increasing monthly household expenses.
  • Two-thirds of consumers would be willing to pay a 10% or higher premium for a home with a number of green features, according to the EcoPulse study released by the Shelton Group. Nine percent were willing to pay 30% more.
  • The demand for composite and plastic lumber is expected to grow 9.2% each year to $5.3 billion in 2013, according to a report released by The Freedonia Group. Part of the increase is attributed to the burgeoning perception of these products as green materials, due to their longevity and the recycled content in many of the brands and/or the ability to be recycled.
  • On July 29, the Obama administration announced it will allocate $346 million in Recovery Act funds to “expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy-efficient technologies” in commercial buildings and new and existing homes. The allocation includes funding for research to study building system interaction, training and technical support for home builders, expanding Energy Star, and solid-state lighting research and development.
—Excerpted from online reports. To view full versions of these news items, plus additional daily green building coverage, visit www.ecohomemagazine.com.