Green Building News

Green Building News February 2005

February 22 , 2005

Clinton Presidential Center Attains LEED Silver

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park has been grabbing headlines since its dedication for its architectural design, but it has another distinction. It’s the first project to achieve a LEED Silver rating in the State of Arkansas, and the first presidential library to be LEED rated. The library, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, exemplifies various sustainable design strategies. The energy efficiency and LEED consulting were provided by Steven Winter Associates, Inc.

Located on the banks of the Arkansas River in the city’s River Market District, the 32-acre presidential center has more open space than any other presidential library. The library takes the form of a glass bridge symbolizing President Clinton’s theme of “Building a Bridge to the 21st Century,” reaching out towards the river. There are a number of sustainable design features throughout the center, reflecting the Clinton administration’s commitment to the environment. For example, the welcoming exhibition hall (pictured above) has flooring made entirely of bamboo. The building is equipped with a high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, including displacement cooling, which was shown in energy simulation models to reduce the energy required to air condition a comparably sized museum building by more than 40 percent. There are no CFC-based refrigerants used in the cooling system, as well as no HCFCs and halons (which deplete the Earth’s ozone layer). There is an array of photovoltaic panels on the building’s roof that will provide 66,000 kWh of power a year. The project incorporates recycled content and locally supplied materials, along with low-VOC emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, carpets and wood materials, and a carbon dioxide monitoring system (all of which translates into better indoor air quality for visitors and staff). The building is also sustainably innovative in its use of translucent and transparent sun screens, which reduce solar heat gain by half. Concrete floor slabs employ radiant cooling, and on the roof, light-colored ballast materials are used on approximately 75 percent of the flat roof surface to help mitigate the building’s heat island effects.

Energy Value Housing Award Winners Announced

As energy costs continue to rise, consumers are looking for companies to help them find ways to reduce their energy consumption. In direct response to their customers' concerns, many home builders have taken great strides to incorporate features that make homes more energy efficient, and have less of an impact on the environment. At a dinner ceremony in conjunction with the 2005 International Builders' Show, 24 of these home builders received EnergyValue Housing Awards (EVHA).

The EVHA program honors builders who voluntarily integrate energy efficiency into the design, construction and marketing of their new homes. It also educates the home building industry and the public about successful approaches to energy-efficient construction. EVHA award categories target home builders in the affordable, custom/demonstration, factory-built, production and multifamily categories for hot, moderate, and cold climate regions.

Some of the practices and products included in this year's winners' homes are:

  • Climate-specific selection of equipment and systems
  • High R-value insulation in ceilings and walls
  • Innovative air sealing and duct practices
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Pre-construction energy analysis
  • High-efficiency heating and cooling
  • Outstanding Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores
  • Solar water heating systems

At the dinner ceremony, the 2005 EVHA Builder of the Year award will be presented to John Wesley Miller of Tucson. Miller has demonstrated his commitment to customer satisfaction by adopting exceptional standards of energy-efficient and environmentally-responsible construction. Miller, a national leader in energy conservation and green building practices, has received several other industry honors for his energy and environmentally-conscious business practices and home building techniques. He was named the City of Tucson's Most Energy Efficient Builder for 2003, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association's 2003 Builder of the Year, and the National Green Building Conference's 2002 Outstanding Green Advocate of the Year. In partnership with the NAHB Research Center and Tucson Electric Power, Miller built the Tucson Zero Energy Home, which is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year.

The 2005 EnergyValue Housing Award winners are:

Builder of the Year, Gold John Wesley Miller of John Wesley Miller Companies Tucson, AZ

  • Gold Dick Pierce of American Youth Works/Casa Verde Builders Austin, TX
  • Gold Jammie Sabin of Aspen Homes of Colorado, Inc. Loveland, CO
  • Gold Donald Ferrier of Ferrier Builders, Inc. Fort Worth, TX
  • Gold Walt Holton of Holton Homes, Inc. Nampa, ID
  • Gold Vernon McKown of Ideal Homes of Norman, LLC Norman, OK
  • Gold Justin Wilson of McStain Neighborhoods Boulder, CO
  • Gold Sandra Kitashima of Pardee Homes Los Angeles, CA
  • Gold Tony Grahame of Yavapai College Chino Valley, AZ
  • Silver Allen E. Stine of All America Homes of Gainesville, Inc. Gainesville, FL
  • Silver Jammie Sabin of Aspen Homes of Colorado, Inc. Loveland, CO
  • Silver Les Bluestone of Blue Sea Construction Company New York, NY
  • Silver Paul Konove of Carolina Country Builders Pittsboro, NC
  • Silver Vernon McKown of Ideal Homes of Norman, LLC Norman, OK
  • Silver Murray Rust of Montgomery and Rust, Inc. Allison Park, PA
  • Silver John Stewart of Premier Homes Roseville, CA
  • Silver Shirley Thielen of Wonderland Hill Development Company Boulder, CO
  • Honorable Mention Juddy Carter of Carter Construction Gainesville, FL
  • Honorable Mention David Ritchie of Chisholm Creek Development, LLC Enid, OK
  • Honorable Mention Chuck Miller of Chuck Miller Construction, Inc. Hidden Springs, ID
  • Honorable Mention Rob Howard of Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley Hickory, NC
  • Honorable Mention Don McCarthy of Neighbor for Neighbor, Inc. Tulsa, OK
  • Honorable Mention Judy Fosdick of Tierra Concrete Homes, Inc. Boone, CO

The EVHA program is managed by the NAHB Research Center, and operated in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the U.S. Department of Energy through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Tech Sets Encourage Systems Approach to Building Innovation

The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) released a batch of Tech Sets, a new resource that will provide builders and homeowners direction in selecting innovative technologies and then implementing them in a systems approach. Tech Sets are a series of innovation packages designed to encourage a systems approach to technology integration. Each Tech Set will offer a cost-effective package of technologies that work together to improve one or more of the PATH building priorities: durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, disaster resistance and safety."

The first Tech Set, "Resource Efficient Plumbing for New Construction and Additions," shows how to decrease the cost of construction and maintenance by promoting effective systems integration of the water distribution and used water (greywater) recycling network. This Tech Set for new construction incorporates five key components: home run plumbing, low-flow fixtures, air admittance vents, a tankless water heater, and piping for a greywater reuse system.

Tech Sets can be found at the PATH Web site.

NAHB Releases Green Building Guidelines

The National Association of Home Builders unveiled new voluntary guidelines to help mainstream home builders incorporate environmental practices into every phase of the home building process, while putting a priority on housing affordability. The Model Green Home Building Guidelines are intended to help all builders, not just niche builders, construct more energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive new homes in different price ranges and climate conditions.

Although homes built today are far more energy-efficient than those built during the 1970s, NAHB believes that green building has primarily been the province of high-end, niche builders who cater to a wealthy clientele. NAHB undertook the guidelines project a year ago at the urging of members who need research and education on building resource-efficient homes that are both affordable and customized to local conditions.

The guidelines offer voluntary, builder- and market-driven green solutions for:

  • Lot design and preparation
  • Resource, energy and water efficiency
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Operation, maintenance and home owner operation
  • Global impact
  • Site planning and land development

Developed for single-family homes, the guidelines also are applicable for multifamily and custom homes as well as remodeling projects for existing homes. In addition, local home builders associations can use the guidelines as a blueprint to create their own custom, voluntary green building programs, which would provide criteria, research, education and promotion to home builders in local markets.

The guidelines were developed under contract by the NAHB Research Center in a consensus process involving more than 60 stakeholders from the green building industry, including architects, manufacturers, home builders, environmentalists, government agencies, suppliers and trade associations. The Green Building Initiative, a not-for-profit education initiative, is providing market research and promotional support for green building programs.

Yellowstone National Park Receives LEED Certification on Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) Homes

Nestled in Yellowstone National Park, Xanterra Parks & Resorts completed two single-family homes for use by park employees. The homes achieved LEED certification in December and will serve as the model for other green, energy-efficient construction developments within Yellowstone and other national parks.

One important feature of the homes was insulating concrete form (ICF) construction using the Quad-Lock Building System. It's the first Quad-Lock project to achieve LEED certification, and the first LEED certification for the Park Service in Montana.

More than 20 percent of the certification points -- under Materials & Resources and Energy & Atmosphere -- used in the LEED application process were the direct result of using Quad-Lock materials.

"Without the energy-saving qualities of Quad-Lock walls, there's absolutely no way we could have submitted these homes for LEED certification," said Jim Hanna, Director of Environmental Affairs for Xanterra Parks & Resorts. "By choosing Quad-Lock ICF walls in the construction of our new housing, Xanterra was able to triple our homes' R-values over standard construction materials, an important accomplishment in the heat-sapping winters in Yellowstone. The Quad-Lock ICF walls are excellent heat sinks that augment the effectiveness of the houses' passive solar design, maintaining a comfortable living environment year-round and minimizing the number of days we have to heat the buildings."

Recommended Appliance Standards Aim to Slay "Energy Vampires"

From light bulbs to ice-makers to "energy vampires," new state-level appliance energy efficiency standards could save consumers and businesses billions of dollars, improve electric system reliability, cut pollution, and ease pressure on high energy prices, according to Leading the Way: Continued Opportunities for New State Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards, a report released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP).

"Advances in technology keep on yielding new opportunities to cut energy waste," said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE and lead author of the report. "Standards that improve the energy efficiency of consumer products and commercial equipment are a cornerstone of a balanced energy policy, for a state or for the nation."

California, Connecticut, and Maryland each put in place new efficiency standards in 2004. Legislation pending in New Jersey is expected to be made final this month and another half-dozen states are likely to advance similar legislation in 2005.

"The states are leading the way," said Andrew deLaski, Executive Director of ASAP and co-author of the report. "With consumers and businesses getting hammered by high energy prices, persistent worries about energy security, and the memory of the Northeast blackout still fresh, state policy-makers are looking to energy efficiency. It's the cheapest, fastest, and safest way to meet our energy needs."

Products for which the authors recommend state efficiency standards include: external power supplies for electronics (a.k.a., "energy vampires"); commercial refrigerators; ice-makers; certain residential and commercial lighting products; commercial clothes washers; natural gas unit heaters; exit signs; traffic lights; swimming pool pumps; and electric distribution transformers. The authors also recommend that states set standards for home furnaces and boilers because the federal government has failed to keep national standards up-to-date.

"We're recommending the 'low-hanging' fruit," said Nadel. "In nearly every case, products meeting these standards pay back the added cost to make them more efficient in one to three years."

According to deLaski, standards are a "proven successful" way to curtail energy waste. States first set appliance and equipment efficiency standards in the 1970s and 1980s, leading eventually to federal standards for more than two dozen products. Based on U.S. Department of Energy data, these already existing standards will cut U.S. electricity use by nearly 8% by 2020. The new report provides details on each of the new, additional products for which state standards make sense.

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