What Green Means to TxAIRE
The Texas Allergy, Indoor Environment, and Energy (TxAIRE) Institute
A primary objective of TxAIRE is the development and accelerated introduction of emerging technologies into the "green" building marketplace.
At TxAIRE we focus upon three of the most important aspects of "green buildings." The first is the energy efficiency of the mechanical (heating, cooling, lighting, water, and electrical) systems within a building. The second is indoor environment quality as it relates to thermal comfort and indoor air quality (IAQ). The third factor is the economic affordability of building green as it relates to return on investment. In the high-performance building marketplace, these three performance metrics are closely inter-related.
What is unique about the TxAIRE approach is that our programs emphasize economic affordability. Technically, energy efficiency and environmental quality are easily achievable. The research community is full of "high-tech" houses that demonstrate these virtuals. The real challenge is making these buildings cost (and look) the same as the houses being purchased by the average buyer.
Today’s high-tech buildings are designed based upon three key principles – minimization of energy requirements of the basic building design; maximized efficiency of the energy consuming systems; and thus the ability to supply the necessary energy needed using renewable sources. These principles are described in far more detail elsewhere in this website (see TxAIRE Homes®).
Properly done, homes can be 50% to 70% more energy efficient, healthy and affordable today. When a building reaches these higher levels of efficiency, then the addition of photovoltaics can easily make such buildings "net zero" energy structures. The TxAIRE Homes section of this website discusses in detail how TxAIRE is demonstrating these principles using high-tech products from across Texas.
Revolutionary Change in an Evolutionary Way
The mission of TxAIRE demands that we do more than just develop technology. Not until technology is turned into a successful product does it have economic benefit. Therefore technological feasibility is necessary, but not sufficient to the success of TxAIRE. That is why TxAIRE projects undergo both a rigorous technology assessment and a market assessment before we invest resources. By so doing, we believe that TxAIRE serves as a catalyst and facilitator for accelerating the pace at which we can develop, demonstrate and commercialize "green" building technologies to move Texas (and the nation) down the road towards "net-zero energy, healthy homes".