>>Defining Zero Energy and the Pathway to Achieving It Explored at ASHRAE Conference
Source: ashrae.org
Zero energy buildings (ZEBs) eliminate the use of non-renewable energy sources by decreasing energy use and producing enough renewable energy to meet the annual energy use attributable to their buildings. While the concept of ZEBs is generally accepted in the building industry, no common definition exists. This creates a challenge in trying to incentivize such buildings and in developing common design strategies. Paul Torcellini, Ph.D., P.E., National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., will address this topic during a seminar at the ASHRAE 2015 Annual Conference, June 27-July 1, in Atlanta, Ga. The seminar, "What is a Zero Energy Building, and How Can We Get There?," is part of the Conference Technical Program, which features some 100 sessions, with more than 300 presenters and 103 paper presentations
>>New Efforts Announced to Accelerate Residential Energy Efficiency
Source: energy.gov
To improve energy efficiency in our nation's homes, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched two new residential Better Buildings Accelerators. The Home Upgrade Program Accelerator and Home Energy Information Accelerator will focus on streamlining processes for improving the energy efficiency of homes and expanding awareness of homes' energy performance. DOE is pleased to partner with state and local governments, utilities, and real estate industry groups in these market-transforming efforts. 

"By improving the efficiency of buildings across the country, Better Buildings partners are saving money by saving energy, creating more sustainable communities, and helping to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change," said Under Secretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr. "Expanding the program to include water savings and the residential sector means that American families can be a part of this successful partnership that cuts costs and pollution." 
Follow these links to see a Home Upgrade Program Accelerator Fact Sheet and a Home Energy Information Fact Sheet.
>>Connecticut Launches Nation’s First Statewide Home Energy Score Program 
Source: energy.gov
Connecticut recently launched a statewide residential energy labeling program that will make energy efficiency labels ubiquitous across the state. Using the Energy Department’s Home Energy Score, EnergizeCT’s Home Energy Solutions program will provide an energy efficiency score and recommend efficiency improvements to residents across the state. This change signals an important step to improve the nation’s housing stock and encourage energy-saving solutions.
Several other states are following Connecticut’s lead and making the Home Energy Score available on a statewide basis where the score is available at the point of sale. Besides Connecticut, the states of Colorado and Vermont are close to implementing a Home Energy Score program. Elsewhere, some cities, including Berkeley, California, are exploring its use in energy disclosure policies. The goal is to help more Americans realize potential energy savings when purchasing a new home.
>>You, Me and the QAP
Source: airbarrier.org / Mr. Peter Spafford, Quality Assurance Manager, ABAA
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) has implemented a comprehensive Quality Assurance Program (QAP) to address many of the problems that design professionals and general contractors have struggled with for many decades. Air barriers are a relatively new technology in the construction of buildings, and few people in the construction industry fully understand the concept of air barriers and exactly what role they play in the performance of the building. To access the ABAA master specifications, visit www.airbarrier.org.  Go to Supporting Documents and see Master Specifications. You can choose the type of specification that best meets your needs. The ABAA specifications include all of the QAP requirements. For assistance, email abaa@airbarrier.org or call 866-956-5888.
>>Boston, NYC, DC, San Francisco and Seattle Rank as America’s Most Energy-Efficient US Cities
Source: ACEEE.org
Mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience, and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency, according to the 2nd edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Available online at http://aceee.org/local-policy/city-scorecard, the ACEEE report finds that Boston continues to be the most energy-efficient city in the nation, receiving 82 out of a possible 100 points, an improvement of more than five points from that city’s 2013 score. Trailing Boston, the top 10 US cities for energy efficiency are: New York City (#2), Washington, DC (#3), San Francisco (#4), Seattle (#5), Chicago (#6), Minneapolis (#7), Portland (#8), Austin (#9), and Denver (#10). 
>>Work More, Refuel Less: Efficiency Opportunities for Heavy-Duty Pickups and Vans
Source: ACEEE.org / Siddiq Khan
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are now working on Phase 2 of the Fuel Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickups and Vans, a major element of the president’s climate action plan. It offers an opportunity to narrow the efficiency gap between light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles and deliver major savings at the pump to buyers of heavy-duty pickups and vans. ACEEE’s new research report Fuel Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Heavy-Duty Pickups and Vans: Phase 2 assesses the technologies available to reduce fuel consumption in these vehicles. 
>>CPI Continues Focus on SPF Stewardship: Sprayfoam Insulation Offers Energy Efficiency Advantages 
Source: americanchemistry.com
The  American Chemistry Council’s Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) sponsored an ASTM International symposium focused on standardizing methods to measure emissions from spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation. The event, known as the "Symposium on Developing Consensus Standards for Measuring Chemical Emissions from SPF Insulation," enabled regulatory agencies, SPF manufacturers and other stakeholders to engage in conversations about present and on-going development of standards for measuring emissions from SPF insulation.

For details and to see the papers presented by CPI at the event, click here.
>>2015 Polyurethanes Technical Conference, Oct. 7-9
Source: polyurethane.americanchemistry.com/
Registration is open for North America's longest-running polyurethanes conference. The 58th annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference returns to the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida, from October 5-7, 2015. 

>>Spray Polyurethane Foam: A Key Component to Any Net Zero Solution 
Source: retrofitmagazine.com / Dr. Richard Duncan, SPFA Technical Services Director
In July 2014, California initiated the revision process to the 2016 version of Title 24, California’s building energy efficiency codes, which are designed to move the state’s residential and commercial buildings toward zero net energy (ZNE). All new residential construction is to be ZNE by 2020, and all new commercial buildings are to achieve ZNE by 2030. While aggressive, these goals are achievable with the right design implementation and accessibility to proper building materials. Read more here.

>>2015 Green Building Trends
Source: homeenergy.org / Monica Gomez
For both residential and commercial structures, owners are embracing green innovations for a variety of reasons. Concern for the environment is one of them. Other motivations to use green building approaches include saving money and protecting health. That's why the biggest green trends in 2015 will be those that promise long-term savings and an improved indoor air quality. Read more here

>>Bayer MaterialScience to Be Called Covestro
Source: bayer.com
Bayer has announced that the new name of its MaterialScience business will be Covestro. It will be effective on September 1, 2015. Bayer intends to float Covestro on the stock market by mid-2016 at the latest. The plan for Bayer MaterialScience to become a separate company was announced in September 2014.

The name Covestro is made from a combination of words that reflect the identity of the new company. The letters C and O come from collaboration, while VEST signifies the company is well invested in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. The final letters, STRO, show the company is strong. It is strong in innovation, strong in the market and with a strong workforce.