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Sustainability

Principles of Sustainable Design: What are Solar Panels Made of?

Solar energy is a great way to make an eco-friendly choice, while reducing energy bills. Solar panels are popping up everywhere in both commercial and residential capacities. While solar panels are now becoming a standard in modern life, the science and technology behind solar power is still a mysterious black box to most people. Let's take a look at how solar panels work and what exactly solar panels are made of.

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Do Solar Water Heaters Work At Night?

While people regularly rely on solar energy to help provide electricity to buildings, many people forego using a solar hot water heater to provide hot water to their business. These very simple units are cost effective to install and are a great way to help reduce energy costs. The availability of hot water can become a concern, particularly on cloudy days or at night. Below, let's examine how solar hot water heaters work, and how they function in periods of minimal or no sunlight.

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Sustainable Stormwater Management in Urban Settings

Excess stormwater is a longstanding problem many urban settings encounter. Typical drainage systems can become overrun in times of heavy rain, and existing infrastructure systems are starting to reach the end of their lifespan. New, sustainable designs and implementation can not only help alleviate current stormwater management problems, but can help create a better and often cheaper solution for cities.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Renewable Energy Sources in Urban Settings

Often, urban settings do not lend themselves to renewable energy sources. Cities typically do not have sprawling land to build a solar panel array, or space to construct a 300-foot-tall wind turbine to generate alternative energy. But this is about to change. Today, with new designs and technology emerging, there are more options than once existed to include renewable energy sources in urban design. Below, let’s examine some new technologies that can bring renewable energy to the urban landscape.

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Understanding Passive Building Design

Engineers and designers focused on sustainable design are constantly looking for ways to reduce energy usage and ultimately the carbon footprint of a building. Passive building design utilizes the building's natural environment to heat and cool the building, which provides an optimum living temperature. Let's explore some components of passive building design below.

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The Best LEED Designs for Public Buildings

LEED Certification has become the gold standard in public buildings, and many states are implementing tax incentives to help promote sustainable designs. LEED certification can be applied to both new and renovated buildings. Below, we have put together a list of some of the best LEED-certified public buildings.

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The World View of Renewable Energy

Every day, more advances in renewable energy emerge, and the growing importance of renewable energy becomes evident. Throughout the world, many state and federally issued projects and challenges are underway to promote the use of renewable energy. Below, let's take a look at some recent innovations, advances, and future planned projects to take advantage of renewable energy sources worldwide.

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Reduce Energy Load on Your Building with a Green Roof

As urban areas become more populated, heat islands continue to grow, which worsens the effects of greenhouse gases and energy usage. Green roofs are great ways to combat heat islands and can be used in just about any building application. Below we will examine the various types of green roofs and learn about the benefits associated with this fully adaptable roofing option.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Title 24 Paves the Way for a Greener Future

California has recently unveiled Title 24, which is an innovated collection of building codes and standards for new construction in California. While engineers, designers, and builders alike will be focused on the regulations, Part 6 to the title has people excited. Focused on reduced energy consumption, Part 6 has the potential to transform the building landscape for the foreseeable future in California.

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Understanding Hydroelectric Power

Any opportunity to use renewable power sources is a chance to offer safe, clean, and cheap energy compared to alternative sources. Hydroelectricity is just one of many sustainable options to provide power to an entire city or just a single building. Hydroelectricity comes in many forms and has several benefits. Below, let's examine hydroelectricity in more depth.

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Sustainable Opportunities in Healthcare Buildings

Many large-scale buildings, such as healthcare facilities, consume enormous amounts of power every day. Within evert building, there are many ways to reduce energy expenditures and make the facility more sustainable.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Understanding the MN SB 2030 B3 Program

It takes a big idea to make changes in the world possible. Minnesota is happy to be at the forefront of construction with the next big idea. A new plan, called the MN Sustainable Building (SB) 2030 B3 program, is designed with the end goal of creating only net zero energy and carbon buildings in the state of Minnesota by the year 2030.

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Exploring the Field of Sustainable Electrical Engineering

Typically, the engineer focuses on creating and improving innovative or renewable energy sources for electricity. This can come in the form of new solar power techniques and design, or ways to return renewable power back to the energy grid.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Low-Voltage Systems

Low-voltage power systems are integrated power systems in buildings that can run on either AC or DC current. The ranges of a low-voltage system are anything less than 49 volts for AC and anything less than 120 volts for DC. Comparatively, a normal voltage system ranges from 50 - 1000 volts for AC and anywhere from 120 to 1500 volts for DC. Low-voltage systems are intended to run specific applications and can end up saving energy and money.

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The Role of Mechanical Engineers in Sustainable Design

Mechanical engineers can wear many hats and can have their talent and skills directed to several aspects of a building project. Looking at the bigger picture, there are many areas in sustainable design where mechanical engineers play a larger role. Below, let's take a look at three key areas where mechanical engineers are pivotal to creating a sustainable building design.

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