As green technology becomes more prominent, the construction industry may see a further shift in that direction to accommodate increasing demand. This isn’t merely the case with private homes. Green technology is also being adopted in the commercial sector, and as we’ve seen recently, college campuses.

The Stevens Institute of Technology, www.stevens.edu, Hoboken, N.J., has announced it will donate a student-designed net-zero energy “smart house” to California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), www.csusm.edu, San Marcos, Calif., for use as a veteran’s center. The building will support and serve the nearly 900 CSUSM students who identify as veterans, service members, or military dependants.

The building was designed by 60 interdisciplinary students from Stevens for the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s 2013 Solar Decathlon Competition. The biannual competition features 20 university teams from around the world competing to design energy-efficient solar homes. It culminates Oct. 3-13, as the homes are displayed to the public. Once the competition is finished, the team from Stevens will donate its building, dubbed “Ecohabit,” to CSUSM.

The technologies incorporated into the new veteran’s center will include solar shingles, a rainwater harvesting system, as well as an energy-and-water-saving system for heating, cooling, and plumbing. The building will also have a central control program which collects and analyzes sensor data from each system in order to maximize efficiency.

“We felt strongly about

[the building’s] potential as a place for returning veterans or military personnel …,” says Mark Pollack, industry assistant professor at Stevens, faculty project manager for Ecohabit, and a veteran of the U.S. armed forces himself. “When we found out CSUSM was in need of a new space for its veteran students, we felt it was a perfect fit.”
But the veterans as CSUSM are hardly the only ones benefitting from green technology.

Wilshire Homes, www.wilshire-homes.com, San Antonio, Texas, is partnering with SolarCity, www.solarcity.com, San Mateo, Calif., to offer solar panels on its new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified homes in Woodshire Village, located in downtown Boerne, Texas. This will allow homebuyers an easy way to switch to a clean energy alternative before they move in.

Buyers can choose between a two, four, or six kilowatt solar technology system. This technology can reportedly save homeowners between $300 and $945 per year. SolarCity also offers realtime monitoring and a personalized web portal, which allows electricity production and consumption statistics to be viewed electronically.

Ken Gezella, division sales manager for Wilshire Homes, says the company’s collaboration with SolarCity “dovetails nicely with our goal to build a home that leaves a minimal footprint on the environment.”

As time passes, more and more everyday citizens seem to be working to leave cleaner, greener lives. As such, it could certainly behoove the construction industry to incorporate cleaner, greener business practices.