Topic: Design & Construction

A square-shaped smart thermostat depicting a home’s indoor temperature.

BECC Webinar Recap: ‘Equitable Digitalization of Residential Energy Technologies’

The use of residential smart technology has led to new energy efficiency investments, but important questions remain regarding who benefits from home energy digitalization and how to ensure it is equitable. Empowering and engaging with people, particularly the most vulnerable, is key to better understanding and utilizing these technologies.

Historic brick and stone building at corner of Washington and Ninth St. in Old Oakland.

An Architectural Blast into the Past 

Oakland has one of the most interesting architectural legacies in the Bay Area: Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, and Victorian buildings are scattered throughout the city, and famous architects such as Julia Morgan and Frederick Law Olmstead have left their imprint on the urban landscape. Even though new developments have put this history in danger, a local group in Old Oakland is making sure it is preserved.

Illustrated cross section of home demonstrating home efficiency.

Decarbonizing My Home 

What’s it like to electrify in the Bay Area? EcoBlock’s Sandy Robertson reveals the advantages (and potential drawbacks) of living in a decarbonized home.

Hand sketching architectural rendering in graphite.

Designing for Net-Zero: How Architecture Influences Energy Demand

Visions of a sustainable future often center around high-tech solutions that cut energy use for heating, cooling, lighting, and other home services. However, a building’s design can have as much or more impact on its emissions and energy use than the appliances it contains. Learn more about how architectural design can influence a building’s efficiency.

Hand holding up a Kill-A-Watt device.

Me and My Kill-A-Watt

Many household appliances use power even when they’re not turned on. Every year, this can add up to a lot of energy. Fortunately, devices like the Kill-A-Watt offer a way to identify these sneaky energy burglars. Read on as EcoBlock Project Manager Dr. Therese Peffer shares her own experiences with the Kill-A-Watt and what she discovered about her home power use.

Person kneeling to install fiberglass installation.

The Value of “R”: Insulating for Comfort and Efficiency

Adding insulation and air sealing in an older home can be a relatively cost effective way to increase energy efficiency, increase comfort, lower costs, and reduce heat-related illness. However, millions of homes in California remain uninsulated. Read on to learn how insulation retrofits can cut costs and carbon while enhancing home comfort.

Man and two boys looking at heat pump.

Peak Performance: Enhancing Household Health and Comfort

Home performance describes how the different systems in a home work together to create comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient indoor environments. This building science-based approach evaluates different factors such as air flow, moisture/humidity, and thermal protection to improve occupant comfort, energy savings, and indoor air quality (IAQ).

Aerial view of residential rooftops with solar panels

Residential Microgrid Equipment: An Infographic

Microgrids are an intriguing way to create a cleaner, more energy secure future, but their complexity goes beyond solar panels. In fact, connecting a home to a microgrid requires several key pieces of equipment. Check out this infographic to learn more!

a suburban neighborhood view from the sky

Event Recap: ‘Getting to Zero: Trends in the Built Environment’

The Oakland EcoBlock team recently participated in a panel discussion at the 2022 Diversity in Tech Symposium. EcoBlock’s Eunice Chung provides a recap of the discussion, which considered decarbonization in the built environment through the lenses of business, policy, and research.