Green Building News

Green Building News July 2008

July 14, 2008

Carpet and Rug Institute Earns ANSI Certification For Green Carpet Testing Programs

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has announced its accreditation within the soft floor covering sector as a certification body for indoor air quality by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), the premier source for international standardization and conformity assessment.

CRI’s Green Label and Green Label Plus programs, which test for and certify low emissions from carpet, carpet cushion and adhesive, comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Guide 65, General requirements for bodies operating product certification programs.

"CRI is proud to have the first and only ANSI-certified green carpet program in the United States," said CRI President Werner Braun. "We set the standard with the Green Label program, and now we are raising the bar with this prestigious ANSI certification that recognizes best practices for indoor air quality testing and certification."

"Today, indoor air quality is an important environmental consideration, especially since we spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors," Braun added.

CRI began the ANSI certification process in June 2006, which involved audits of the green carpet programs by Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, an ANSI team and CRI’s third party indoor laboratory, Air Quality Science of Atlanta. According to ANSI, a certification body is an impartial third party that tests and evaluates a product to determine its compliance with relevant standards.

In 1992, CRI launched the Green Label program to test carpet, cushions and adhesives for low-emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The program was enhanced and named Green Label Plus in 2002 when California’s Indoor Air Quality Program and the Sustainable Building Task Force approved Green Label Plus certification in lieu of Section 01350, the low-emitting materials criteria for the Collaborative for High Performance School testing protocols (CHPS). Green Label Plus meets and even exceeds Section 01350 in several respects, including testing annually for specific chemicals, testing for six additional chemicals, maintaining a chain of custody process and performing an annual audit of the testing laboratory.

New Insulation System Aimed at Renovation / DIY Markets

Quad-Lock Building Systems, Ltd. is pleased to announce the launch of a new insulation system aimed at the renovation market. The R-ETRO System is a fast, flexible, non-invasive form of insulation that will add an R-value of R-18 to existing wall surfaces. The system easily adapts to the shape of an existing building and around protrusions and openings. It can be attached to any wall structure: wood, concrete, steel, brick or masonry block.
As energy costs continue to rise, owners are considering the benefits of adding insulation to their buildings as a way to comply with new code regulations, or simply to lower their heating and/or cooling costs. When done in conjunction with other scheduled maintenance or rehabilitation, insulation is a cost-effective way to improve the building envelope performance in terms of conductive heat loss or gain and air infiltration or exfiltration. In the case of un-insulated basements, the addition of insulation makes basement space more useable and comfortable. 
The R-ETRO System offers building owners a simple yet effective way to attach the market’s best performing insulation product, expanded polystyrene, to an existing building and then serves as a fastening point for finish materials. Using the R-ETRO System is faster than adding framing and then filling the frame with batt insulation. And, the system is non-invasive, meaning occupants can continue to inhabit the space while the system is being added to the building.
The R-ETRO System provides a climate barrier for existing buildings. For colder climates the system can be used to keep heat in, for warmer climates the system can be installed to keep heat out. “Adding new insulation can bring dramatic energy savings to buildings” states Hubert Max Kustermann, CEO of Quad-Lock Building Systems. “A typical wood-framed structure has an R-value of R-5 to R-13, adding the R-ETRO System will increase the R-value to R-23 or more. In the case of a brick or masonry block building where the R-value is R-2 to R-5, the R-ETRO System will elevate the R-value to R-20 or more. And, the building owner can install this system himself.”


Governor Lingle Signs Bill to Increase Solar Energy

Governor Linda Lingle has signed into law a bill to increase the use of one of Hawai‘i’s most abundant renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on imported oil. With the Governor’s signature, Hawai‘i becomes the first state in the nation to require the installation of solar water heating systems on new single-family homes.

“This solar power legislation is another important step in our long-term plan for energy independence in Hawai‘i,” said Governor Lingle. “In addition to solar, it is critical that we continue to develop innovative energy solutions that capitalize on our natural renewable resource advantages in order to achieve our goal of having 70 percent clean energy in Hawai‘i by 2030.”

The measure, SB644 SD3 HD3 CD1, prohibits the issuing of building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters starting January 1, 2010. Exceptions will be allowed in cases where homes are built in locations with low rates of sunshine such as forested areas, where the life cycle analysis of the solar system proves to be cost-prohibitive, or if the dwelling uses a substitute renewable energy source.

The bill, which becomes Act 204, would also allow homebuilders to use gas-demand-water heaters, which use a small tank to heat up water quickly when the faucet is turned on, if the home includes another gas appliance.

Under the measure, the Public Utilities Commission is tasked with setting standards for the water heaters, and the counties would establish implementation procedures.

There are certain provisions and language in the bill that are of concern, including eliminating the existing 35 percent tax credit for solar water installations for residential developers of single-family residences starting January 1, 2009.

The bill also appears to eliminate the tax credit for owners of existing residential single-family homes after January 1, 2010. While this may not have been the intent of the bill, the language implies that existing homeowners would have had to seek a building permit to install a solar water heater prior to January 1, 2010 to claim the tax credit.

The bill also clouds whether existing single-family residences can obtain a 20 percent wind-power tax credit and a 35 percent photovoltaic tax credit for new single-family structures built in 2009 and for existing single-family residences after January 1, 2010.

The Lingle-Aiona Administration will introduce legislation in the next legislative session to clarify this language and ensure the tax credits for solar water, wind and photovoltaic systems for new single-family homes built in 2009 continue as well as ensuring access to this important tax credit for existing residences after January 1, 2010.


SBIC Announces its 2008 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards Program

The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) is now accepting applications from both the public and private sector for the 2008 Beyond Green High-Performance Building Awards. The Awards recognize the initiatives that shape, inform and catalyze the market for high-performance buildings, as well as the real-world application of high-performance design and construction practices. All application materials are available on the Council's Website. The application deadline for the 2008 Awards program is October 15, 2008. An independent, impartial jury of industry leaders will select the winning entries.

The 2008 Beyond Green Awards program is a key part of SBIC's commitment to the design, construction and maintenance of high-performance buildings. Awards will be given in two categories: High-Performance Buildings (Category A) and High-Performance Initiatives (Category B). Applicants are challenged to demonstrate the successful application of the whole building approach and to show how they maintained the proper balance of the eight design objectives (accessible, aesthetic, cost-effective, functional, historic, productive, safe/secure and sustainable) that make up a high-performance building. High-Performance Buildings entries may be commercial, government, institutional, residential and school buildings. High-Performance Initiatives may be policy programs, educational initiatives, consumer awareness efforts, research product development and new construction processes.

Award winners will be invited to present their projects in Washington D.C. in January of 2009, in conjunction with an awards reception. Additional recognition will include regional and national media exposure, an announcement on SBIC's Website and in its newsletter, a handsome plaque and inclusion in future SBIC educational programs. Winning entries will also be published on the Whole Building Design Guide, which is maintained by the National Institute of Building Sciences. The Whole Building Design Guide receives over 250,000 visitors and delivers more than 1.7 million downloads per month.


Oikos Library

Check out these new additions to our Library:

Ducts Increase Air Leakage and Energy Use

Maintaining Household Moisture Balance

Recessed Lights Require Extra Attention

Take the Pinch Out of Attic Insulation

SolWest Renewable Energy Fair - July 25-28

Held in John Day, Oregon, this three-day event offers activities for all ages and knowledge levels. Participants from around the western region and beyond come to join the SolWest community and learn about energy efficiency, solar and wind energy, alternatively fueled vehicles and more. More information.


SolFest 2008 - August 16-17

The twelve annual two-day celebration of renewable energy and sustainable living held in Hopland, California. Speakers, workshops, music and more. More information

ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - August 17-22

This year's conference takes place in Pacific Grove, California. A diverse group of energy efficiency professionals from around the world will gather to discuss the technological basis for, and practical implementation of, reducing energy use in buildings. Presentations and discussions will relate to the theme, "Scaling Up: Building Tomorrow's Solutions." More information.

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