Green Building News

Green Building News May 1, 2010

AIA Names Top Ten Green Projects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2010 National Convention and Design Exposition in Miami.

The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program, now in its 14th year, celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials and design that improves indoor air quality.

The 2010 COTE Top Ten Green Projects jury includes: Peter Busby, Assoc. AIA, Int'l. Assoc. AIA, Busby Perkins & Will; Robert Harris, FAIA, Lake Flato Architects; Denis Hayes, The Bullitt Foundation; Lisa Heschong, Heschong Mahone Group, Inc.; Alison G. Kwok, AIA, University of Oregon; Elizabeth I. Ogbu, Assoc. AIA, Public Architecture.

The Top Ten are shown below with links to a detailed description on the AIA Web site.

<Matarozzi/Pelsinger Building>355 11th Street – Matarozzi/Pelsinger Building, San Francisco Aidlin Darling Design
LEED-NC Gold adaptive reuse of a Historic (and previously derelict) turn-of the-century industrial building. Because the project site is on the National Register of Historic Places, the San Francisco Planning Department mandated that the project’s new siding be an “in-kind” replacement of the original (unsalvageable) corrugated metal siding and that the overall window area be consistent between old and new. The design team successfully championed a strategy of introducing subtle perforations into the new zinc cladding to allow light and air into the occupied spaces beyond, maintaining the stoic character of the original building without the visual introduction of new fenestration.
<Watsonville Water Resources Center>City of Watsonville Water Resources Center, Watsonville, Calif. WRNS Studio
A functional, educational and visual extension of the water recycling plant it supports. The new 16,000 square foot building consolidates three different city and county water departments into a workspace that allows for thoughtful and continuous collaboration on issues of water management, conservation and quality in the Pajaro Valley. The facility includes administrative offices, a water quality lab, educational space and a design that puts the story of water in California on display. The building, its systems and its landscape will serve to educate the public through exhibition and guided tours.
<KAUST>KAUST, Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia HOK
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a new international, graduate-level research university established to drive innovation in science and technology and to support world-class research in areas such as energy and the environment. KAUST's new campus is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's first LEED certified project and the world's largest LEED Platinum project. By integrating sustainable measures into the site planning, the community, the building design and the campus operations, the university is demonstrating new ways to build in the region and promoting responsible stewardship of the environment.
<Kroon Hall>Kroon Hall - Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Hopkins Architects and Centerbrook Architects & Planners
Replacing a brownfield site, Kroon Hall was charged with being a net zero energy building. The architects and the University wanted Kroon Hall to set a new standard for schools around the country. It had to function not simply as a sustainable overlay that offset unsustainable practices in people’s everyday lives but as something that inspired and encouraged people to alter their lives and become more sustainable citizens. This was accomplished through a mix of active and passive design measures and visible, invisible and interactive building features.
<Manassas Park Elementary School>Manassas Park Elementary School + Pre-K, Manassas Park, Va. VMDO Architects, P.C.
Fundamentally designed around the premise that people, especially children, cannot be expected to preserve or protect something they do not understand. As such, the school is conceived throughout as a teaching tool that shepherds children along a path of environmental stewardship. Inside and out, sustainable design is integrated with the elementary curriculum. Design decisions were made with the expressed goal of showcasing as many teachable moments as possible. Interior extended learning spaces offer dramatic and surprisingly intimate views of the neighboring mixed oak forest, while elementary classrooms face shady moss and fern-covered learning courtyards featuring “fallen” trees and other particularities of an eastern deciduous forest floor.
<Manitoba Hydro Place>Manitoba Hydro Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects and Smith Carter Architects and Engineers
Designed utilizing a formal integrated design process to achieve daunting goals of energy efficiency, healthy workplace environment, urban revitalization, sustainability and architectural excellence. A model for bioclimatic design in an extreme climate that fluctuates 70°C annually, the ‘Capital A’ form is site specific to harness the maximum amount of passive solar and wind energies and to provide 100 percent fresh air, 24/7. At 88 kwh/m2/annually, from a demand side, it is the most energy efficient large office tower in North America, with a 66 percent improvement over the standard. While targeting LEED Platinum certification, Manitoba Hydro Place has, more importantly, achieved its ultimate goal of a superior indoor environment for the health and well-being of its employees.
<Michael J. Homer Science & Student Life Center> Michael J. Homer Science & Student Life Center, Atherton, Calif. Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
The 44,109 square foot building incorporates an unusual hybrid program of eight sophisticated science classrooms, a 700-seat auditorium, a 350-seat dining hall with full commercial kitchen, and administrative offices in spaces that inspire scientific inquiry, foster a strong learning community and promote environmental stewardship. The Homer Center supports Sacred Heart Schools’ educational mission, inspiring respect for creation and teaching eco-literacy by offering a variety of integrated educational environments that connect students and faculty to the natural world around them on a daily basis. The design encourages scientific inquiry, linking the school’s science curriculum to building functions throughout the seasons – how it breathes, resists gravity, conserves precious resources and generates energy.
<Omega Center for Sustainable Living>Omega Center for Sustainable Living, Rhinebeck, N.Y. BNIM Architects
The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is a very purposeful building and site, designed to clean water, return the clean water to the local systems, and educate users about the process. Eco-Machine™ technologies were selected to clean the water utilizing natural systems including the earth, plants and sunlight. The entire building and water process utilize site harvested renewable energy achieving a net zero energy system. This required the facility to be free of waste (volume, material, energy), organized and carefully tuned to harvest solar energy for passive heating and lighting, utilizing the entire mass for thermal comfort. The resultant design’s simplicity and elegance fit its noble purpose.
<Special No. 9 House>Special No. 9 House, New Orleans, La. KieranTimberlake
The Special No. 9 House was designed for the Make It Right Foundation to provide storm-resistant, affordable, and sustainable housing options for the residents of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward displaced by Hurricane Katrina. To support Make It Right’s goal of building 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, this single-family home is poised for mass production, anticipating a shift from on-site to off-site fabrication as more homes are scheduled for construction. Key goals were to create safe, healthy and dignified housing to residents in a flood-prone area, and to empower residents to return to improved living conditions that take advantage of New Orleans’ climate and express its deep cultural heritage.
<Twelve|West>Twelve|West, Portland, Ore. Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP
Rising 23 stories above the intersection of Twelfth and Washington streets in Southwest Portland, Twelve|West is a mixed-use building designed with sustainability and ongoing learning as integral goals. Twelve|West was designed to achieve the highest levels of urban sustainability, and is expected to earn a Platinum rating under LEED NC overall and LEED CI for the office floors. An emphasis was put on selecting low-impact materials, including salvage, reclaimed and FSC-certified wood. Much of the concrete building structure is exposed on the interior minimizing the use of finish material and providing ample thermal mass. Energy use reduction was a primary driver of the design. Simulations predict energy savings of 45 percent over a baseline code building.


DOE Finalizes More Stringent Standards for Home Water Heaters and Other Heating Products

The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized higher energy efficiency standards for a key group of heating appliances that will together save consumers up to $10 billion and prevent up to 164 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years. These new standards - for residential water heaters, pool heaters and direct heating equipment such as gas fireplaces - will reduce air pollution, prevent the release of harmful nitrogen oxides and mercury, and avoid emissions equivalent to taking 46 million cars off the road for one year.

The standards increase the stringency of the existing minimum conservation standards for these three types of residential heating products, which account for about 18 percent of energy use in homes across the country. The standards will significantly reduce energy consumption by these products, including decreasing energy use in large electric storage water heaters by 47 percent and by more than 30 percent in large gas water heaters. The standards for water heaters will go into effect in 2015, while the standards for pool heaters and direct heating equipment – including gas-fired wall, floor and hearth heaters – will apply to products manufactured in 2013 and beyond.

Click here to see a larger version of Table 1.1.

Heating Appliane Standards

Download the full pdf.


Dow Introduces Bio-Based Plasticizers for Wire and Cable Applications

A large part of the green building practice has been to ferret out substitutes for harmful materials. Many of these traditional products were developed when health was not a goal. One of the most intractable problems has been the plastic sheathing on nonmetallic electric cable, widely known by its trade name Romex®. The long wait may be over. Dow Wire and Cable announced a couple of weeks ago that it had developed a less harmful product dubbed ECOLIBRIUM.

DOW ECOLIBRIUM™ Bio-Based Plasticizers are a new family of phthalate-free plasticizers for use in wire insulation and jacketing that are made from nearly 100% renewable feedstocks. The use of DOW ECOLIBRIUM Bio-Based Plasticizers in PVC compounds for wire applications can help cable-makers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent if used instead of traditional PVC plasticizers. The new plasticizers were developed to meet growing demand for more sustainable options in wiring applications such as personal electronics and appliance wiring, residential and commercial building wiring, communications and data cabling and automotive wiring.

DOW ECOLIBRIUM Bio-Based Plasticizers offer specific benefits in terms of processing, electrical and temperature performance and end-use for low and high temperature wiring applications in several key wire and cable market segments:

  • Personal Electronics and Appliances – Wires jacketed with material that includes DOW ECOLIBRIUM can achieve an outstanding balance of flame retardance, flexibility and heat performance. In wiring for personal electronics the use of DOW ECOLIBRIUM can deliver on global OEM requirements for heat deformation resistance, flexibility and electrical performance.
  • Building & Construction – DOW ECOLIBRIUM Bio-Based Plasticizers are phthalate-and lead-free, offering safe building wire options for end-users. By virtue of being bio-based, their production can also provide opportunities for cable-makers and building industry end-users to achieve carbon credits and, in the USA, certification by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating Systems. The new products are also effective in data communications delivery applications.
  • Automotive – Wires used for the transmission of power and data inside passenger and commercial vehicles that are jacketed with material that includes DOW ECOLIBRIUM™ Bio-based Plasticizers can provide an environmentally-friendly solution that exhibits requirements for heat resistance and ease of installation.


The Modern CFL Light Bulb Turns 25

OSRAM SYLVANIA is marking the 25th birthday of the modern compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb. Born on April 17, 1985 in Hannover, Germany, the CFL arrived a full eight inches tall, consuming 20 watts of energy. The stick-shaped CFL was the first screw-in, energy-saving replacement for a standard incandescent light bulb that featured an integrated electronic ballast.

"The CFL has only improved with age," said Alfred LaSpina, OSRAM SYLVANIA marketing manager for CFLs. "Today, the SYLVANIA Living Spaces(TM) CFL is half the size of our 1985 model, provides better light quality and lasts twice as long, while still delivering 75 percent energy savings."

While the CFL currently enjoys broad popularity in North America, it was slow to gain acceptance in the late 1980s and 1990s, when energy prices were low.

The lighting industry began tracking sales of integrated CFLs in the United States in 1997, when just 13.3 million units were sold, compared to 2.8 billion incandescent bulbs.

When energy costs began to rise in the early 2000s, so did the CFL's popularity with businesses and homeowners. Integrated CFL sales in the United States increased from 57 million bulbs in 2001 to over 273 million in 2009. In Canada, the number of CFLs sold went from just under 1 million pieces in 2001 to a high of over 46 million pieces in 2007. The 2009 SYLVANIA Socket Survey found more than 70 percent of American households now have at least one CFL.

Developing the first CFL with an integrated electronic ballast was a phenomenal experience," recalls Alfred Wacker, one of the bulb's inventors. "Being able to save up to 75 percent of the energy of a standard bulb was a revolution in lighting."

The first CFL light bulbs required heavy magnetic ballasts to operate or only worked in specialized fixtures. Engineers at the German lighting company OSRAM created the modern CFL by miniaturizing electronic ballast technology and integrating it into the light bulb itself. OSRAM produces SYLVANIA brand light bulbs in North America and introduced the modern CFL to the United States and Canada.

Dozens of types of SYLVANIA CFLs are available in North America today, with features including instant start technology, integrated dimmers, night light settings and various shapes and sizes.



The first modern compact fluorescent light bulb (left) was unveiled in 1985. The SYLVANIA Living Spaces(TM) CFL (right) was introduced in 2009. It provides better light quality and lasts twice as long as the original. (PRNewsFoto/OSRAM SYLVANIA) DANVERS, MA UNITED STATES


CertainTeed Brings New Sustainable Insulation(TM) to Market From California Manufacturing Facility

CertainTeed Corporation's fiberglass insulation manufacturing facility in Chowchilla, CA, is taking a next step in its holistic approach to sustainability with the introduction of Sustainable Insulation(TM). Designed to exceed the California Air Resource Board (CARB) indoor air quality regulations, the new fiberglass insulation product is GREENGUARD Children & Schools certified, and incorporates recycled materials, a plant-based organic binder and a low-impact manufacturing process.

The manufacturing process begins with a formula that uses organic, naturally abundant or recycled materials. In addition to sand, Sustainable Insulation consists of a recycled glass content of 35 percent and a plant-based binder. The binder is comprised of rapidly renewable organic materials and contains no phenol, formaldehyde, harsh acrylics or dye. A closed-loop water system helps maximize water usage at the plant, and rigorous monitoring and management of energy usage has reduced the amount of energy needed to manufacture the product.

When Sustainable Insulation is ready to ship, compression packaging is used to move more product in fewer loads. Strategically located distribution centers minimize transportation needs and make the product easily accessible to California's building industry.

Sustainable Insulation will initially launch in California and is being incorporated into CertainTeed's building insulation batts and rolls for both residential and commercial/institutional applications.

The AIA 2010 National Convention - June 10-12

"Design for the New Decade", held in Miami, offers an exposition, education and networking opportunities.

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The LOHAS Forum- June 23-25

Network with like-minded executives from all LOHAS market sectors at this year's annual conference in Boulder, CO. Speak directly with mainstream media who are interested in covering companies and products designed for the conscious consumer. Speak with media, listen to experts, connect with international companies, understand the latest marketing trends in the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability marketplace.

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ASHRAE 2010 Annual Conference - June 26-30

This year's American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers' conference: "Raising Efficiency to New Levels" will be held in Albuquerque, NM. The focus is on energy efficiency system design for high elevations and dry climates. Includes traditional Technical Papers, a new Conference Paper format and design applications for sustainable buildings.

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