Inside a Green Office Building

February 22nd, 2011 | Posted by tjones in Environment | Fuel Efficiency | Green Building | Sustainability

courtesy national renewable energy laboratory

One of the most energy-efficient buildings in the United States, the Research Support Facility, is located in Golden, Colorado.  The building — green by any standard — is one of the first commerical buildings in the U.S. to attempt accomplishing a complete energy neutrality, meaning that the building produces as much energy as it consumes, or zero net energy consumption.

This is no minor accomplishment, and as the New York Times reports, involves a total rethinking of how an office building works.  From the sub-basement to the parking lot, each feature of the building was considered to reduce its energy consumption, maximize efficiency, and inculcate an attitude of energy conservation in the employees working in the building.

Commerical buildings account for nearly 18% of energy consumption in the U.S., so creating a successful energy-neutral office building could have far-reaching reverberations across the country.

The building is 222,00 feet and has a huge number of energy-saving features: a photovoltaic array on the roof of the building, a window shading system to reduce cooling costs, light-bending louvers that bounce light into the office area reducing the need for artificial lighting, a sub-basement that stores radiant heat, central printing stations that reduce the amount of printing employees do, energy monitoring systems that send feedback straight to employees’ computers, windows that open and close automatically to stabilize the building’s temperature…

The number of innovations and inventive ideas in green buildings is truly staggering, and some of these basic principles can be applied even in a regular person’s home.  Below are two options to significantly reduce energy consumption in an average household.


Heating homes and heating water are two of the most energy-intensive activities that occur in a home.  So, here are some ways to help the homeowner make the most significant reduction of energy consumption:

Bonded Logic Installation

Bonded Logic Ultra Touch Insulation. We’ve written extensively in the past about insulating homes and the added benefits of fitting your home so that it retains more heat, instead of losing it.  This is better for reducing heating costs, and thus for reducing our environmental footprint – approximately 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year from residences, most of which is the consequence of home heating.  Conventional fiberglass insulation is a suspected carcinogen, so using a green product like Bonded Logic Ultratouch Recycled Cotton Insulation is a major step towards making a greener home.  For an even more efficient home, National Fiber Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation is a blow-in material that settles into the tiniest corners and cracks of walls, ceilings, and attics.

Water heaters are one of the largest consumers of energy in the average home, and swapping out an older-model water heater for a new, energy-efficient model can substantially reduce energy costs.  The GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater is an especially energy-efficient model, qualified by ENERGY STAR.  It combines heat pump technology with traditional electric elements to save the homeowner up to 62% on annual water heating expenses  — even up to $320.

For many green products, including new green building materials carried by both Ecohaus and Greendepot, visit our websites:, and

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