Category Archives: Green Building

Morrissey Engineering takes diligent approach to “being green”

By Kevin Warneke, Omaha World-Herald

Morrissey Engineering takes sustainability seriously, said founding principal George
Morrissey . . .  “When we decided to build new in 2008, we knew that sustainability had to be featured throughout the building,” Morrissey said. The return on that investment came when the company earned platinum, or top, certification for its environmental performance from the U.S. Green Building Council. Read the entire article here.

See Also: 

Jared Friesen, Renewable Energy Specialist and Electrical Project Manager at Morrissey Engineering, is a Nebraskans for Solar board member and the organization’s immediate past president.

She’s building what’s believed to be Nebraska’s 1st earthship, a unique style of home that ‘attracts a certain type of person’

By Chris Peters, Omaha World-Herald

“The whole idea is you’re off-grid, you’re completely sustainable, you have your own water, you grow your own food,” said Cathy Krueger, the owner. “It attracts a certain type of person.”

The earthship concept was created in the 1970s by architect Mike Reynolds in New Mexico. “Gunsmoke” actor Dennis Weaver, a noted environmentalist, built one in the ’80s.
Click here to read more.

Photo: Cathy Krueger’s earthship home is believed to be the first in Nebraska. Earthships rely on the sun and cool air from the ground to maintain temperaratures around 70 degrees. They also collect rainwater and generate energy with solar panels.  Credit:  Brendan Sullivan / The World-Herald

Puerto Rico’s Devastated Electric Grid Could Be a Big Opportunity for Renewable Energy

By Justin Worland, Time Magazine

Authorities acknowledge they need months before power returns to some regions. Still, energy experts say the rebuilding effort offers a unique opportunity to outfit the island with the electric grid of the future: a state-of-the-art system built from scratch using renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which would be cheaper to operate and would respond better to the next hurricane. The reimagined grid would rely on the concept of a microgrid, which are localized electric grids that allow communities to keep power even if centralized power plants are not functioning. Click here to read more.

Photo: A woman looks out from her damaged house in San Isidro, Puerto Rico on Sept. 28, 2017. Andres Kudacki for Time Magazine


Photo: A sonnen community in Germany with solar + storage..

The Home of the Future . . . Today: The Zero Energy Ready Home – YouTube Video

In 2016, the Zero Energy Ready Home team launched a new consumer video, “The Home of the Future…Today.”  Now live on the Tour of Zero home page and also available on YouTube, the short video helps consumers learn why leading experts would choose a Zero Energy Ready Home for themselves based on seven essential systems.

The Tour of Zero, the virtual showcase for the best of Zero Energy Ready Homes, features over 120 home profiles from builders across the country.   Visitors are able to tour certified homes in every major U.S. climate zone and can view images of the home’s exterior, interior and technical solutions (in that order).

The power of solar energy

Written by Fremont Tribune Staff

After survey results indicated that a large portion of Fremont residents are interested in solar energy, the Fremont Department of Utilities is moving forward with planning a community solar farm in Fremont. More than 70 percent of Fremont’s residential population responded through an August, 2016, survey saying that they were interested in getting power from a community solar farm. The first step in the process will be to present information about community solar at the Fremont Home and Builders Show held Friday through Sunday at Christensen Field Community Center. Read the entire article here.

Photo: Central City, Nebraska. What a community solar farm might look like in Fremont.


32nd Annual Fremont Home and Builders Show to open this weekend, by Chris Zavadil, Fremont Tribune. Free admission to the public! 

The show, sponsored by the Construction Employers Association of Fremont, will open at the Christensen Field Community Center from 6-9 p.m. Friday, and continue from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday.  All 93 vendor booths, as usual, have been sold, Event Coordinator Ron Spahni said. Read more.

Photo by Chris Bristol / Fremont Tribune

The dawn of architectural solar

By David Beckham, Director of Building-Integrated Photovoltaics at Walters & Wolf. Published by GreenBiz News.

Since the beginning of the modern architectural era, humankind has dreamed of self-sustaining buildings that generate their own power. Futurists of the early 20th century looked ahead to the days when the sun would power our homes and commercial buildings and we would be transported to and from our workplaces in flying cars. Unlike the overly ambitious estimates concerning personal air transportation, today the concept of a solar-powered building is neither remote nor unachievable. Continue reading.

Photo: Walters & Wolf fully-engineered Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) façade powered by Solaria.

Sandhills Publishing in Lincoln Announces Construction Of LEED Gold “Cyber Center”

Sandhills PublishingNews Release Excerpt
Sandhills will soon break ground on a new facility on its 68-acre global headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. The announcement comes on the heels of a recently constructed IT facility, completed in October. The new 42,000-square-foot building, called the Cyber Center, will house 240 employee workstations, a reception area and café space, as well as classrooms and other training facilities. The new addition is part of a larger trend of sustainable, companywide growth for Sandhills . . . Constructed largely of recycled and reclaimed materials, the facility will be gold certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program ( The design incorporates state-of-the-art technologies that increase water and energy efficiencies through the use of solar panels, light harvesting sensors, and motion sensors that control plumbing and electricity. The new facility will also feature one of the most advanced heating and cooling system designs in the world: a closed-loop, geothermal well field confirmed by the EPA to operate at greater efficiency than oil furnaces, gas furnaces, and air source heat pumps.

Read the entire News Release here.

Solar Energy Making Ultra-Green Homes of the Future a Modern Day Reality

Zero-net energy Greenbuild Unity Home featuring fully-integrated SunPower home solar solution. Photo Credit: SunPower

Zero-net energy Greenbuild Unity Home featuring fully-integrated SunPower home solar solution. Photo Credit: SunPower

SAN JOSE, CALIF. / PR Newswire – Energy-efficient homes of the future have arrived and are growing in popularity. According to a report by McGraw Hill Construction, nearly one-third of new single-family homes in the U.S. will be green by 2016. They are energy and natural resource efficient, designed to reduce overall impact on human health and the environment. An increased number of consumers are going a step further and striving for net-zero energy homes that use renewable energy solutions, such as solar power systems, to offset all or most of their energy consumption. Across the country, the number of net-zero energy residential and commercial buildings doubled between 2012 and 2014 as cited by the New Buildings Institute.

Experts predict the trend will continue.

Continue reading.

In Wisconsin: Tim O’Brien now builds all homes with solar ready features

By Erica Breunlin, Biz

At Tim O’Brien Homes Inc.’s corporate office, located in Pewaukee, about 35 percent of the building’s energy consumption is offset by 50 solar panels atop the building, according to Tim O’Brien, president of the company.

Tim O’Brien Homes, which operates in both metro Milwaukee and Madison, aims to give owners of its new homes an opportunity to achieve the same kind of energy efficiency. At the beginning of September, the semi-custom, single-family homebuilder announced that in coordination with Pewaukee-based SunVest Solar, Inc., it will ensure each one of its newly constructed homes is solar ready.

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Upcoming ENERGY STAR Webinar: Zero Energy Ready Home Program
October 29, 1 to 2 p.m.