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January 12th, 2012

GreenSpec® Category Highlight

Rainwater Harvesting Systems and Components

Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and using rainwater, most commonly from roofs. Use of collected rainwater can provide building owners with high-quality soft water for irrigation and potable uses, reduce pressure on water-treatment plants, and reduce stormwater runoff and flooding. To use as potable water, filtration and purification are necessary.

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Past GreenSpec Insights Issues

Green or Greenwash? The Quiz

“Green” Bamboo Flooring: What Matters Most?

High Performance Windows

Choosing Insulation: Deal-Breakers

What Type of Insulation Should You Use? Part 1: The Basics

Alternative Energy Sources: Savior or Downfall?

Surprising new solar tech for cold climates

LEDs? Incandescents? Who's Using What

How to improve the windows you already have

See more past issues


Welcome to GreenSpec Insights, an independent resource for architects, green consultants, and building product specifiers. Each week, we aim to bring you not only unbiased new product reviews, but also insights into what's really important for environmental performance in specific product categories. We hope you find it useful -- send your suggestions and other comments to

Building-Integrated PV: New Opportunities for a Bright Future

Brent Ehrlich
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BIPV has yet to reach its full potential in the U.S., but a couple companies are giving it a shot.

Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)--photovoltaic (PV) modules integrated into functional building elements, such as roofs, glazings, and building façades--are fairly common in Europe and Asia. Yet finding commercial BIPV façade products in the U.S. is nearly impossible. Why is that?

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Choosing the Right Solar PV Panel for the Job

Brent Ehrlich
Like Building-Integrated PV: New Opportunities on Facebook

Manufacturers have made incremental increases in PV efficiency over the years but the basic technology found in today's modules hasn't changed much.

Brick Wall

In the early 1990's power from the grid was dirt cheap and PV modules were expensive and used primarily off-grid. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns over fossil fuel use, geopolitical instability, and increased rebates and other incentives have helped increased demand for PV worldwide. Now most PV is tied to the grid and it's become almost mainstream, especially in Europe. The PV technologies supplying this power--crystalline and thin-film--are now more efficient and more sophisticated, but the basic technology hasn't changed much.

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