SkillsUSA sponsor donates steel framing products

sklllsusaClarkDietrich Building Systems is again sponsoring the SkillsUSA Championships, a one-day event that pits the nation’s top technical students against each other in 99 different trade, technical and leadership fields. ClarkDietrich will support the carpentry competition through a donation of its ProSTUD(R) Drywall Framing System and RedHeader RO(™) Rough Opening System.

This SkillsUSA Championships is part of the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, taking place June 23-27th in Kansas City, MO. As part of the competition, nearly 75 participants will frame walls using wood and steel studs, cut and install rafters, as well as, install fascia board, sheathing and or exterior siding and trim. Contestants will be judged on accuracy, ability to read and interpret blueprints, workmanship, safety and the proper use of tools, equipment and materials.

SkillsUSA helps establish industry standards for job skill training in the classroom and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor. The organization serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.

2014 Green Roof & Wall Industry Directory helps architects find resources

Green Roofs for Healthy CitiiesGreen Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), the non-profit membership-based industry association working to promote the green roof and wall industry in North America, has released The Green Pages: 2014 Green Roof & Wall Industry Directory. As the green roof and wall industry continues to grow, this directory will help architecture and landscape architecture firms find key players in the green roof and wall industry (manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, nurseries, etc.) as well as accredited Green Roof Professionals. It also provides design inspiration by profiling different projects all over North America.

The Green Pages will be available at GRHC’s two upcoming conferences—Grey to Green: A Conference on the Economics of Green Infrastructure, Designing for Health in Toronto, August 25-26 and CitiesAlive: Green Roof & Wall Conference, Water: The Key To Everything Green in Nashville, TN, November 12-15.

For more information about the Green Pages contact Paul Erlichman, membership coordinator, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities at perlichman@greenroofs.org or Jennifer Foden Wilson, editor of the Living Architecture Monitor magazine at jfodenwilson@greenroofs.org.

Bipartisan Energy-Efficient Cool Roof Jobs Act expected to create up to 40,000 jobs

us-senateU.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has reintroduced the “Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act,” S. 2388, which would boost job creation in the construction industry and significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the U.S., lowering energy costs and saving money. The bill would improve investment returns on building energy-efficiency improvements by shortening the tax depreciation period for the installation of new roofs on existing buildings that meet certain thermal performance and “cool roof” requirements.

S. 2388 is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Senator Cardin also filed the Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act as an amendment (S. Admt 3186) to the EXPIRE Act (S. 2260). U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 4740). The bill reduces the depreciation period for commercial roof retrofits, lowering the current 39-year depreciation period in the current tax code to a 20-year depreciation period for energy-efficient cool roof systems. To qualify, roofs must include systems with insulation that meets or exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011, a model green building standard, and have a cool roof surface in climate zones one through five.

The Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act has attracted a wide range of supporters. The bill would create nearly 40,000 new jobs among roofing contractors and manufacturers; add $1 billion of taxable annual revenue in the construction sector; make the tax code simpler and more equitable for small businesses of all types; reduce U.S. energy consumption and save small businesses millions of dollars in energy costs; and reduce carbon emissions by 800,000 metric tons – an amount equal to the emissions of 153,000 cars.

New approach to energy code compliance clears major hurdle

nibsOwners and design teams working toward high energy performance buildings have a potential new ally in the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The development committee reviewing new proposals for enhancing the IgCC voted 8-5 on May 4 to approve a proposal that would add a first-ever outcome-based compliance path in a model energy code.

The IgCC, which is updated every three years, defines the requirements that need to be met to be considered green. Local governments can then adopt the IgCC for new construction and deep renovation projects in their jurisdictional area.

Building energy codes by nature are prescriptive, but architects and engineers are finding that prescriptive requirements can limit their ability to use integrated systems and innovative technologies that are necessary to lower a building’s energy needs. The outcome-based compliance path would solve that problem, setting targets for the actual energy use of a building and determining compliance through the building’s achievement of that target once in operation. Unlike existing pathways to address energy use—prescriptive or modeled performance options—the outcome-based pathway allows the design team the greatest flexibility and relies on measured energy-use data that can help communities and building owners meet their energy and carbon emissions reduction goals.

The IgCC is developed by the International Code Council, a group of code officials and local government representatives that will meet for a final vote on the outcome-based compliance pathway and other proposals Oct. 1-5 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. However, this recent approval by the IgCC committee is extremely important because it means a much higher likelihood of ultimate adoption. With the committee’s approval, the proposal (GEW-147) needs only 50% of the voting body to approve.

Testimony submitted by an assortment of industry representatives, including the National Institute of Building Sciences, New Buildings Institute (NBI), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Grundfos, Target Corporation and the Colorado Chapter of the ICC, was enough to convince the committee to favor the proposal.

LG Electronics selected for DOE tech program

lg-electronicsHVAC manufacturer LG Electronics is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on a new program designed to accelerate adoption of cutting-edge energy-saving technologies for commercial buildings. The technology is called variable refrigerant flow (VRF), and is being used in new commercial air systems. LG’s Multi V IV system uses VRF technology and brings a new level of energy efficiency, performance and flexibility to U.S. commercial office buildings, schools, hotels and hospitals.

Using the DOE TPEx program, product evaluators and purchasers can access a centralized, web-based portal for finding and sharing energy performance data for commercial building technologies such as VRF systems. This will allow them to quickly and easily identify best-in-class technologies and data for assessing their energy saving impact on a building.

Technology evaluators can leverage the raw data contained in the Technology Performance Exchange to greatly reduce the time required to evaluate technology performance and improve the quality of their assessments. Energy-saving products will thus be able to penetrate the marketplace more quickly than ever before.

LG has chosen to start work on the TPEx project by providing DOE the performance attributes of its VRF systems. With the TPEx, builders can better assess LG’s product performance, conduct financial analyses with greater confidence, and compete more effectively for limited organizational capital resources by presenting robust energy savings and payback analysis’ for approval, McNamara explained.

Meeting demand for energy-saving HVAC technology

The fourth generation in LG’s popular Multi V series uses industry-leading VRF technology that delivers significant benefits versus traditional HVAC systems, enabling improved energy efficiency by allowing occupants to choose whether to cool or heat only the zones in use. LG Multi V IV systems, whether Heat Recovery or Heat Pump systems, build on the success of the LG Multi V III, as LG’s flagship commercial HVAC system in the United States, where demand for high-performance, energy-saving HVAC technology continues to grow.

Among its many benefits, the LG Multi V IV offers users a more compact footprint and is lighter in weight than other models currently on the market. Equally significant, the new Multi V IV model allows for a wider heating and cooling operating range than its competitors and a wider range than thought possible.

LG VRF systems are engineered to significantly reduce the costs often associated with traditional HVAC products. Typical systems include large duct work, distribution fans, water pumps, water piping, cooling towers and complex controls. The LG VRF system eliminates these huge initial costs and lowers lifecycle costs. Multi V IV effectively eliminates efficiency losses experienced by current HVAC systems and provides more sustainable energy benefits. Multi V IV will help building designers achieve as many as 16 LEED* points.

Key VRF differentiators for builders and architects

The LG Multi V IV delivers a number of key differentiators to architects, commercial contractors and building owners, including:

  • Enhanced Energy Efficiency – New compressor design and optimized heat exchanger contribute to enhanced AHRI certified efficiency of up to 28.2 IEER.
  • AHRI 1230 Certification – Multi V IV is performance-certified. This ensures building owners receive verified ratings which comply with national energy codes.
  • LG Inverter Scroll – A high side shell innovation offers a more compact size for the same capacity output with greater reliability in cold climates.
  • Low Ambient Heating – Heating operating range down to -25F which provides greater comfort and saves on installation and operating costs for additional systems.
  • HiPORTM – High Pressure Oil Return removes efficiency losses and Smart Oil return eliminates timed oil recovery cycles.
  • Greater Elevation Difference – Owners can reach extra zones with an enhanced reach of 131 feet indoor unit to indoor unit and 360 feet elevation between outdoor and indoor units. This allows for more effective piping on one system and saves on installation.
  • Compact and Lighter – More indoor zones, less outdoor space. When space or access is at a premium, this equates to significant cost advantages for the owner on large projects.

LG Multi V IV systems are available now in the United States. Additional information about these current systems can be found online at www.LG-VRF.com.

Construction employment up in 40 states and DC

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction firms added jobs in 40 states and the District of Columbia over the past 12 months and in 30 states and D.C. between April and May, according to an analysis today by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.  Association officials said the employment gains help, but that construction employment remains below peak levels in every state and the District of Columbia, except North Dakota.

Nevada led all states in percentage gains in construction employment (12.5 percent, 7,000 jobs) between May 2013 and May 2014.  Other states adding a high percentage of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included Florida (9.8 percent, 35,300 jobs), Minnesota (9.7 percent, 9,700 jobs) and Kansas (8.9 percent, 5,000 jobs).  California added the most new construction jobs for the year (37,700 jobs, 5.9 percent), followed by Florida, Texas (26,500 jobs, 4.3 percent) and New York (12,000 jobs, 3.7 percent).

Ten states shed construction jobs during the past twelve months, with West Virginia losing the highest percentage, (-6.8 percent, -2,200 jobs).  Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs include New Jersey (-6.2 percent, -8,500 jobs), Montana (-5.7 percent, -1,400 jobs) and New Mexico (-5.0 percent, -2,100 jobs).  New Jersey lost the most construction jobs between May 2013 and May 2014, followed by Arizona (-4,100 jobs, -3.3 percent), Virginia (-2,800 jobs, -1.6 percent) and West Virginia.

Minnesota (3,800 jobs, 3.6 percent) added the most jobs between April and May, followed by New York (3,000 jobs, 0.9 percent), Colorado (2,800 jobs, 2.1 percent) and Pennsylvania (2,200 jobs, 0.9 percent).  Wyoming (4.1 percent, 900 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by Minnesota, Vermont (3.6 percent, 500 jobs) and Kansas (3.2 percent, 1,900 jobs).

Nineteen states lost construction jobs for the month, with Florida (-6,100 jobs, -1.5 percent) losing the most.  Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Arizona (-4,400 jobs, -3.6 percent), Ohio (-3,600 jobs, -1.9 percent) and Missouri (-3,500 jobs, -3.2 percent).  Arizona experienced the highest monthly percentage decline, followed by Missouri, New Hampshire (-2.7 percent, -600 jobs) and West Virginia (-2.4 percent, -800 jobs).

Association officials emphasized that Washington officials could bring additional security to construction employment levels by passing new legislation to finance highway and transit construction.  By passing a new surface transportation bill that includes the kind of revenue being proposed by Senators Corker and Murphy, a lot of stability would be added to what has been a very uneven construction recovery.

View the state employment data by rank and by state.

Paper connects green infrastructure, health and resiliency

Green Roofs for Healthy CitiiesGreen Roofs for Healthy Cities has published a research paper, “Exploring Connections Between Green Infrastructure & Healthy & Resilient Communities” that discusses the connections between green infrastructure, health and community resiliency. The paper reviews a growing body of literature which illustrates that how we design buildings and communities has profound consequences for our health and happiness.

The paper is part of Grey to Green, A Conference on the Economics of Green Infrastructure – Designing for Health on August 25th-26th, 2014 in Toronto. The Conference will discuss design and policy practices, and will include more than 75 leading thinkers and doers at the intersection of health and living green infrastructure. The multi-disciplinary program will cover project case studies, useful design and analytical tools, and cutting edge research.

Code change will reduce hot water waste, save Americans time and money

iapmoPlumbing inspectors, manufacturers, engineers, contractors, labor representatives and other industry technical experts voted overwhelmingly recently to make a change to plumbing codes that will ensure hot water pipes in new homes and commercial buildings are insulated. Overall, insulation of hot water pipes will shorten the amount of time spent waiting for hot water at showers and faucets, and cut hot water waste by 15 to 30 percent.

The vote took place during the review of proposed changes to the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Uniform Plumbing Code. The proposal was championed by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The change stipulates that hot water pipes be insulated for all homes and commercial buildings built after 2015. Since more than a quarter of all hot water draws occur within an hour of each other, insulation can help water sitting in pipes retain its heat long enough for the next use.

A recent modeling study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that more than 10 percent of all the hot water drawn for showering in a typical single-family home is not hot enough to use. Americans take more than 200 million showers a day. Using EPA estimates of the amount of water drawn while showering, about 280 million gallons of hot water is being discarded without use every day nationwide – an amount equal to all the water sold on an average day last year by the Las Vegas Valley Water District. This is water that has been heated by a water heater, drawn into a hot water pipe, and then left cooling down in the pipe to a point where it is not hot enough to use the next time hot water is needed. Too often, these hot water pipes are uninsulated, making the cool-down more rapid and more complete.

By incorporating this proposal into the next edition of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ model plumbing code, officials bring this change to communities in Nevada, California, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota and jurisdictions around the country that use IAPMO’s Uniform Plumbing Code as the model for their own local codes.

Firestone Names 2014 Partner in Quality Award Winners

East Richland Elementary School, Olney, IL  Contractor:  Industrial Contracting  System:  CladGard SA, UC-14Firestone Building Products recently recognized 189 firms across the United States, Canada and Mexico with its 2014 Partner in Quality Award. The annual award honors an elite group of Firestone Building Products Red Shield(tm) Licensed Roofing Contractors for a high level of craftsmanship and the skillset required for superior roofing installations.

Firestone Building Products Red Shield Licensed Roofing Contractors are required to complete extensive product installation training. As a testament to their expertise, projects are backed by the Firestone Building Products Red Shield(tm) Warranty. Depending on the commercial roofing system, terms of the warranty can range from five years to 30 years.

To qualify, winners had to:

  • Install four warranted Firestone Building Products roofs in each of the past five years.
  • Maintain at least 1 million square feet of Firestone Building Products roofs under warranty.
  • Achieve an annual Quality Incidence Rating (QIR) of 1.5 or less (QIR measures each contractor’s performance based on warranty repair incidences per million square feet under warranty).

As part of the program, winners can participate in the Firestone Building Products Community Service Program which makes them eligible for a $1,000 annual credit to donate labor and materials for community roofing projects.

Visit the Firestone Building Products website for a complete listing of Partner in Quality Award Winners.

Green roof industry grows by 10% in 2013

Green Roofs for Healthy CitiiesGreen Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), the green roof and wall industry association announces a 10 percent growth rate for green roofs in 2013 in its Annual Green Roof Industry Survey.

The Washington DC Metropolitan Region saw the installation of 2,164,926 square feet of green roofs in 2013. Washington has adopted public policies and programs that support green roof investment, including rebates of $7-$15 per square foot per green roof installed and credits that reduce stormwater fees. Public investment in green roofs yields multiple public cost saving benefits.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) mission is to develop the green roof and wall industry across North America. Visit their website for more information about the 2013 Annual Green Roof Industry Survey.