Walk-in baths earn Arthritis Foundation award

853.1665.l-Liberation_WalkIn_3260.214_LoResAmerican Standard’s line of walk-in baths ― designed for accessible and safe bathing for users with limited mobility ― has received the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation. This award recognizes products that make life easier for people with arthritis and other physical limitations. Products undergo a multi-step testing process conducted by an independent lab of experts in the field of universal product design and evaluation.

The Arthritis Foundation created the Ease-of-Use Commendation Program to encourage manufacturers to design user-friendly products and packaging that could be recommended to the more than 52 million Americans who are affected by some form of arthritis.

Features of American Standards walk-in baths include a low threshold door, sturdy grab bar, ergonomic seat and textured floor that come standard with each model, aimed at reducing the risk of trips, slips and falls in the bathroom. Users can choose from soaking tubs to those equipped with hydro jets to maximize comfort and massaging power, soothing arthritis-related aches and pains, while also improving circulation.

Daintree, LG reduce wireless LED lighting control overhead

p-LED-LG2Daintree Networks and LG Electronics USA recently announced that they have created a fully integrated LED lighting solution with wireless control for commercial settings. The jointly-developed system embeds wireless communication capability directly into LED drivers used in LG LED lighting fixtures, enabling seamless interaction with Daintree’s ControlScope™ networked wireless control solution. Initial LG products with wireless drivers include LED troffer fixtures and retrofit kits. The resulting joint solution is expected to yield significant savings for users, both in up-front costs and in energy efficiency following installation, benefiting also from the market-leading efficacy of LG LED troffers.

Using wireless LED drivers eliminates both the expense and installation challenges associated with using a separate wireless adapter, which was required for granular wireless control of overhead troffers in commercial and industrial buildings. Daintree estimates that, with the LG-Daintree solution, companies can expect to save up to 85 percent per fixture in equipment and labor for installing wireless communication and improve energy efficiency by up to 90 percent.

Solatube International donates daylighting to educational facilities

solatubeResearch has shown that students benefit tremendously in daylit environments. For example, a study by Heschong Mahone Group for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. tested 21,000 in three states and found those in classrooms with the most daylighting progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests in one year than those with the least. A California Energy Commission study found a 21 percent improvement in learning between those with least daylighting to those with the most.

To support increased daylight in education, Solatube International, is continuing its highly successful program to donate Solatube Daylighting Systems to qualifying schools and colleges in 2014. The program is for PreK-12 school districts and higher education institutions interested in adding daylight to their facilities, up to 10 units per organization. Nineteen of these projects were completed in 2013.

One campus that is already benefiting from Solatube’s 2014 “Operation Textbook” program is Kirkwood Community College. Students and faculty working on the SHEP (Sustainable Housing for Education Project) located at the Iowa Sustainable Village on the Kirkwood Community College campus are demonstrating the latest in sustainable design and construction. The design for the SHEP has been developed by students within the Architecture, Interior Design and Construction Management departments. These same students along with many others at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, campus have spent the fall and spring semesters building the SHEP with a completion date of May 2014.

Designers or facility managers interested in Solatube International’s “Operation Textbook” program for donated Solatube units can email commsales@solatube.com for more information.

PNNL and PPG to develop dynamically responsive IR window coating

pnnlThe Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and PPG have been awarded up to $750,000 to design a coating that can “switch” from a solar IR-reflecting state to a solar IR-transmitting state while maintaining high levels of daylight transmittance in either condition. PPG will provide an additional $78,000 in cost-sharing.

The development of such a coating would represent a major advance compared to current thermochromic window technology, which involves coatings that darken and block visible light when exposed to high volumes of IR energy, and existing electrochromic window technology, which relies on external power sources such as electricity to balance tinting and light transmittance.

The new PPG/PNNL coating technology also has the potential to be inexpensive, which will help ensure that dynamically responsive IR windows are an economical option for use in residential and commercial retrofit applications.

The two-year project is designed to develop dynamically responsive IR window coatings on a laboratory scale. If development is successful, the product could be scaled up and potentially commercialized within several years. PPG also collaborated recently with PNNL to develop and study waste-heat recovery technologies to save energy in the glass manufacturing process.

DOE awards PPG $2.1 million to help automate PV manufacturing

ppgThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded PPG Industries’ industrial coatings business $2.1 million award to help design and pilot a rapid photovoltaic (PV) module assembly process that uses automation to eliminate time and labor from the current assembly process.

PPG will use the funding, delivered through the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, to develop liquid encapsulants that will enable PV modules to be manufactured without the need for capital-intensive laminators. PPG will match each dollar committed by the DOE, resulting in a total public-private investment of approximately $4.3 million in the project.

PPG is partnering with Flextronics International, Inc., a leading global solar module manufacturer, to design and test a pilot line at Flextronics’ Milpitas, Calif., facility that will produce 60- and 72-cell modules. PPG and Flextronics expect to increase module throughput by a factor of four at half the capital expense of the existing process.

The SunShot Initiative, which is funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), seeks to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. The PPG award is part of a $13 million investment in five projects to strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of efficient, affordable PV and concentrating solar power technologies.

Collaboration key to vacuum-insulated curtainwall construction

In an effort to provide better-performing building envelopes, a collaborative effort has led to the first successful testing of a vacuum-insulated high-performance thermal curtainwall system. Working closely with Dow Corning Corporation and Guardian Industries Corp., BISEM-USA recently completed independent testing of the BISEM Vacuum Wall system.

This is the first structurally glazed unitized curtainwall in North America using vacuum insulation technology to undergo industry-recognized and accepted independent performance testing for air and water resistance, and structural, seismic and thermal performance. The system was tested in accordance with AAMA 501, as published by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). Completion of the commercial testing provides the proof necessary to ensure that architects can specify this solution with confidence.

The collaboration began when Dow Corning Sales Representative Chris Combs introduced the new Dow Corning Architectural Insulation Module – featuring Dow Corning Vacuum Insulation Panel (VIP) technology – to Bagatelos, an accomplished curtainwall assembler and integrator and longtime user of Dow Corning brand products. Bagatelos immediately saw the potential.

With the Dow Corning insulation technology selected for the wall spandrel, Bagatelos looked to Guardian Industries for suitable complementary vision glass options. Guardian Industries – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of float, coated and fabricated glass for the commercial, residential and automotive markets – developed a prototype for the system that combined its vacuum-insulated glass product with SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 Low-E glass coating to meet the challenging requirements of commercial high-performance wall installations. While the vacuum-insulated glass product is currently under development, Guardian has plans to commercialize it in the future.

With the latest technologies from Dow Corning and Guardian, BISEM developed the new curtainwall with a system approach, providing outstanding thermal performance and also meeting industry established performance criteria for air and water resistance, and structural and seismic performance.

The BISEM Vacuum Wall system brings together the Dow Corning and Guardian products, along with frame, gasketing and thermal break. It features removable rigid components with good thermal properties. The test chamber walls also utilized Dow Corning DefendAir 200 liquid-applied silicone air and weather barrier on wall substrates, along with the Dow Corning Silicone Transition System to ensure a weathertight transition between the curtainwall and the surrounding chamber wall substrates, allowing the test specimen to be readily isolated.

BISEM contracted with an independent testing facility, Architectural Testing, Inc., to conduct performance testing on the BISEM Vacuum Wall system mockup. Actual structural tests and validated thermal modeling confirmed that the curtainwall would remain in place on the building for both specifically prescribed and overload conditions, without over deflecting, while also providing a complete envelope that defends against air and water infiltration and can meet stringent thermal performance goals.

According to Chris Dolan, director of commercial glass marketing for Guardian Industries, collaboratively designing and testing with technologies backed by proven, warranted performance led to a fully integrated solution. Successful completion of this high-performance curtainwall is a testament to the potential for energy-efficient façades and glass systems – and the potential of collaborative projects.

Generate BIM files for any glass configuration

ppgPPG Industries is trying to make designing with glass easier for architects. It has created a new library of building information and modeling (BIM) files and enhanced PPG Glass eVIEW, its suite of Web-based design tools to allow architects and designers to generate custom BIM files for any conceivable PPG glass configuration.

The BIM library, which is hosted on third-party specification sites such sweets.com and Autodesk Seek, contains downloadable REVIT(R) architectural files with colors and specification data for more than 170 commonly specified PPG glass configurations.

Architects and specifiers can use the files to configure customized monolithic or multi-pane insulating glass units (IGUs) combining PPG clear and tinted glasses with SOLARBAN(R) solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glasses; SUNGATE(R) passive low-e glasses; or STARPHIRE(R) ultra-clear glass.

For energy modeling, the files can be individually imported into modeled buildings using Revit file parameters such as ultraviolet (UV) light transmittance, visible light transmittance (VLT), solar heat gain coefficients (SHGCs) and U-values. PPG glass configurations also can be modeled with other building materials and components to forecast the complete aesthetic and functional characteristics of buildings using three-dimensional (3-D) modeling and two-dimensional (2-D) drafting tools.

For more information, visit the PPG Ideascapes website or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Receives Recycling Award at Greenbuild 2013

TarkettThe Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, one of the largest and most comprehensive pediatric hospitals and research institutes in the United States, was recently presented with Tarkett’s ReStart Award for returning a total of 53,170 pounds of flooring for recycling. The award was given during a reception in the company’s booth at the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia.

Tarkett’s annual ReStart Award honors the architect, designer, building owner, contractor/installer, and/or distributor whose project has successfully diverted the largest quantity of flooring from landfills using Tarkett’s ReStart Recycling and Reclamation Program. Projects are tracked through the ReStart process and are the method used for determining winners. To celebrate the success of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital project and efforts of the participants, Tarkett invited representatives from the hospital, architecture firm, installer and distributor to attend Greenbuild and provided airfare, lodging, ground transportation and dinner for each attendee.

Tarkett formally presented the award during a special reception on Wednesday, November 20 in front of invited guests and media. The award itself, designed by Nicole McGee, owner of Plenty Underfoot in Cleveland, Ohio, was made using Tarkett’s Johnsonite flooring scrap.

CertainTeed leads gypsum board industry in environmental claim validations

CertainTeedCertainTeed is the first manufacturer to complete the UL Environmental Claim Validation (ECV) process for its full line of gypsum products. Specifically, UL Environment provided third-party verification for environmental claims including Recycled Content, Regional Materials and Mold Resistance. Additionally, the company secured Permanent Formaldehyde Absorption Capacity validation for its industry-only AirRenew®, which features VOC-scavenging technology that helps improve indoor air quality. The independent, third-party validation process involved rigorous audits conducted at 13 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada.

CertainTeed gypsum building materials are now listed in applicable categories on UL Environment’s Sustainable Products Database. The online tool allows users to identify sustainable products by product category, company name, product name or evaluation type. The validation process has been completed at all of CertainTeed Gypsum’s manufacturing facilities.

Roof board’s greater flexural strength and pull-through resistance improves job site efficiency

georgia-paciific-gypsumGeorgia-Pacific Gypsum’s recently enhanced DensDeck Prime Roof Board has demonstrated – in third-party tests-significant attributes that boost job site efficiency. DensDeck Prime 1/4-in. fiberglass mat gypsum cover boards demonstrated 2.5 times greater flexural strength, per ASTM C473 test methodology, compared to competitive 1/4-in. gypsum fiber boards. The tests were conducted by PRI, Construction Materials Technologies, earlier this year.

For contractors using DensDeck Prime, the advantage of flexural strength (the ability of a material to withstand bending loads) is that it boosts efficiency on the job site. Additionally, 1/4-in. DensDeck Prime roof board demonstrate 22% more pull-through resistance than 1/4-in. gypsum fiber boards in the fastener system* tested, and are included in more roofing assemblies with RoofNav approvals for wind uplift performance as a cover board than competitive gypsum fiberboard.

Specific attributes include ease in handling, easy scoring and snapping with no special tools required, which means less breakage and waste — all of which can lead to significant time and potential money savings.

The overall durability and performance of DensDeck Prime-demonstrated in its fire resistance, strength, pull-through resistance, dimensional stability and mold resistance– provides a number of other advantages for contractors. For instance, in adhered, single-ply membrane testing, enhanced DensDeck Prime demonstrated an average of 24 percent better bond strength than the original product, when using solvent-based adhesives. (The average is based on 60 sq. ft./gal. coverage rates.) With adhesives applied more smoothly and consistently, contractors gain potential cost savings on the amount of adhesive used and the labor needed to apply it. Also, the mat edge wrap is on the underside of the board, allowing for smoother application of adhesive and a more aesthetically appealing appearance once the membrane is laid down.

Even more important to roofing contractors is that DensDeck Prime is the first and only fiberglass-mat gypsum roof board with a 90-day parapet warranty for exposure. The parapet application can be left uncovered, while the horizontal application of product is being completed.

For more information about the family of DensDeck roof boards, please visit the GP DensDeck website.