CertainTeed Ceilings issues industry-first health product declarations

CertainTeedCertainTeed Ceilings has issued the industry’s first Health Product Declarations. The HPDs offer detailed information on the makeup of the vast majority (24) of the company’s ceiling product families and their potential health and environmental impacts, helping architects and designers make fully informed decisions when specifying products. The HPDs will also contribute to important materials and resources credits under the newest version of LEED, which places greater emphasis on product transparency.

The HPDs were issued in alliance with the HPD Collaborative, a customer-led organization committed to the continuous improvement of the building industry’s environmental and health performance, through transparency and innovation in the building product supply chain. The HPD is an open standard that establishes a common reporting language for disclosing information about the ingredients used to construct a building product and their associated health information.

The HPDs join CertainTeed’s industry-leading library of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which have been certified by UL Environment and cover fiberglass Sustainable Insulation® and over 20 ceiling product families. While HPDs evaluate the chemical and material makeup of a product, EPDs provide third-party verification of environmental life cycle data, including a product’s production process impact, usage of raw materials and recycled content, packaging, health aspects and end of life impact.

For more information on CertainTeed’s library of EPDs and HPDs, go to the CertainTeed website.

“The Benefits of Glass” highlights benefits of daylight

Guardian SunGuardThe use of glass as a building material positively impacts learning, healing, productivity and well-being, according to a white paper published by Guardian Industries and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The findings highlight the significant influence daylighting and outside views have on employees, workers, students, consumers and patients.

“The Benefits of Glass: A Literature Review on the Qualitative Benefit of Glass on Building Occupants” is a compilation of research on the occupational, physical, psychological, economic and social benefits related to daylighting and outside views, as well as other non-energy-related benefits of exterior glass.

“The Benefits of Glass” looks at evidence of improved learning and test scores, reduced hospital stays and increased patient comfort, and reduced absenteeism among the variety of positive impacts of glass on workers, patients, students and consumers. Authors Kathy Velikov, AIA, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan and Julie Janiski, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Project Leader at Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, focused on commonly cited literature to identify consistently proven research outcomes and opportunities for further analysis.

The body of literature encompasses recent research on the following topics: the image of glass used physically and symbolically; the importance of and preference for daylight and views; the attempts to quantify improvements in both human productivity and health as a result of both natural daylight and views. The majority of research investigated – peer-reviewed articles, industry-specific books, government-sponsored resource websites and a number of earlier literature reviews completed on similar topics – dates from 1999 onward and identifies both the state of current knowledge in this area, as well as gaps and opportunities for further work.

Guardian has made this literature review available on www.sunguardglass.com. Guardian SunGuard advanced architectural glass products includes low-E coatings, advanced glazings and tints for commercial applications that offer a range of visible light transmissions for improved daylighting, excellent solar control and a wide variety of colors and performance levels. SunGuard products provide innovative, leading solutions for appearance, economics and energy efficiency, and are available through an international network of Guardian certified Select Fabricators. For more information, visit www.sunguardglass.com.

Uponor Innovations looking for game-changing products, ideas

Uponor InnovationsUponor, Inc. has launched Uponor Innovations LLC — a new, wholly owned subsidiary and corporate enterprise designed to identify emerging markets and create new, game-changing products.

The new subsidiary will not only be exploring ideas that build upon Uponor’s core businesses, but other opportunities as well. Anyone with a good idea, including entrepreneurs, startups, business owners, management teams, investors and funds can submit an executive summary of their ideas via the Uponor Innovations website.

Uponor Innovations hopes to develop new markets and products by providing the resources entrepreneurs and startups need to succeed. This includes staff, funding, manufacturing, marketing, sales, technical support and a national distribution network. Uponor Innovations is not an investment portfolio enterprise, but rather its approach is to pursue involvement through existing Uponor assets and resources.

Uponor believes that building an innovative culture internally and externally is a great opportunity to build products and create new processes and technologies that not only help its customers differentiate and grow their business, but also inspire the industry with fresh, innovative and sustainable solutions, and enrich people’s way of life.

SOURCE Awards Winners Announced

Cooper LIghtingCooper Lighting has announced the winners of the 35th Annual SOURCE Awards national lighting design competition. The winners were recognized at LIGHTFAIR International 2012 in Las Vegas, NV. Five professional awards and six student awards were presented.

Top honors in the Professional Commercial Category went to Focus Lighting, Inc., New York, N.Y., and the design team of Paul Gregory, principal designer; Michael Cummings, principal lighting designer; Christine Hope, senior lighting designer; Scott Hay, lighting designer; and Dan Nichols, project manager for the lighting of The Chandelier lounge and bar located at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. In addition, Focus Lighting, Inc. was also honored with an Award of Recognition for the lighting of the Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, located in Los Angeles, Calif. The design team for that project included Paul Gregory, principal lighting designer; Juan Pablo Lira, senior lighting designer; Hilary Manners, lighting designer; and Kenneth Schutz, project manager.

In the Professional Residential Category, top honors went to Robert Singer, president, and Jason Diaz, lighting designer of Robert Singer and Associates, Inc., Basalt, Colo. for the lighting design of a townhome located in Vail, Colo.

Two Honorable Mention awards were presented, one in the Commercial Category and one in the Residential Category. Denver-based RLN and the design team of Rachel Petro Fitzgerald, lighting designer; AnneMarie Dienstbach, project manager; Marc Herndon, lead interior designer; Sarah McGarry, interior designer; and Kristian Barowsky, technical support assistant were honored for the lighting design of the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP located in Denver, Colo. In the Residential Category, Christopher M. Thompson, principal; James L. Sultan, senior lighting designer; and Kimberly D. Taylor, lighting designer of Seattle, Wash. based Studio Lux, LLC received an Honorable Mention award for their work on the Indian Wells Residence, an 11,030 square foot home located in Indian Wells, Calif.

In the Student Category, students in the design, architectural, lighting and engineering disciplines enter conceptual lighting design installations. Six awards were given: one Winner, two Honorable Mentions and three Awards of Recognition. The team of Francis D’Andrea, Derek Sommers and Austin Weller from the University of Cincinnati picked up the winning honor for their conceptual lighting design project of an upscale health spa titled Full Disclosure. Also from University of Cincinnati, Jennifer Sullivan was awarded an Honorable Mention award for her project of a retail cosmetics store called Orchard Beauty, Orchard Road. In addition, Ali Patterson from Ball State University was honored with an Honorable Mention Sustainable Design Award for her project of a Mountain Spirit Healthcare Facility.

An Award of Recognition honor was presented to the team of Nicolas Payan, Anna Pogorelova and Lawrence Rocha-Benavides from the University of Cincinnati for their COSMOS restaurant while Melina C. B. Pereira, from the University of Cincinnati also won for her Chicago Convention Center – Fulton Square Building Renovation lighting design. Kristin Millican from Mississippi College also received an Award of Recognition for her art gallery project titled A Site Gallery.

The University of Cincinnati students were under the direction of Brian Davies, associate professor at University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Millican was under the direction of Mandy Berdami, assistant professor and program coordinator of interior design at Mississippi College and Patterson was under the direction of Thelma Lazo-Flores, PhD, assistant professor in interior design at Ball State University.

Professional winners Focus Lighting, Inc. and Robert Singer and Associates, Inc. received a $2,000 monetary award. Student winners D’Andrea, Sommers and Weller split a $1,500 award and Sullivan and Patterson were given $500 for their Honorable Mention awards. All winners were presented with a crystal trophy and offered an invitation to attend a complimentary class at the SOURCE, Cooper Lighting’s state-of-the-art education center located at the company’s headquarters in Peachtree City, Ga. The students’ instructors are also invited to attend a class. All winners received national and local publicity.

The annual competition, which focuses on furthering the understanding, knowledge and function of lighting as a primary element in design, requires the primary and predominant use of Cooper Lighting products. Cooper Lighting has held this competition since 1977.

Entries are judged on the blending of aesthetics, creative achievement, technical performance and the degree in which the lighting met the project constraints and design concept goals.

30 Building Product Manufacturers Pilot New Health Product Declaration

Thirty leading building product manufacturers have begun a two month Pilot Program to test and improve the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard, a voluntary format for disclosing product content and related health concerns that are typically not reported even when a product, or a building, is certified “green.”

The Health Product Declaration Working Group, a volunteer organization comprised of experts from the community of designers, specifiers and building owner/operators, is administering the program. The working group developed the HPD Open Standard format, which made its debut at Greenbuild 2011.

The companies participating in the Pilot Program manufacture a diverse array of building products, including structural components, finishes, and office systems. Each has agreed to complete an HPD for as many as three products, and to provide the HPD Working Group with feedback. The Working Group will evaluate and synthesize the feedback, and revise the draft HPD into a final version that will be officially ratified and made available to the public later this year.

During the Pilot Program, HPD Working Group members are providing the manufacturers with a reference guide, webinars and technical collaboration with the goal of refining the HPD Open Standard to provide information to customers that is reliable and actionable, through a process that is reasonable and fair to all manufacturers. The companies will also receive support from the Pharos Project, a project of the Healthy Building Network, which will provide automated access to its extensive chemical and materials library through its web-based Pharos System.

For more information on the HPD, the HPD Working Group and the Pilot Program, visit http://www.hpdworkinggroup.org.

Energy-efficient Pella windows and doors part of sustainable schools

Pella Impervia WindowsPella Windows and Doors will be included in new LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum schoolhouses built in Arizona in 2012, as a partner in the Green Schoolhouse Series.

Three distinctive designs will replace portable classrooms or community centers in Phoenix area school districts. Construction of a 6,291 square-foot classroom and community-center building for Roadrunner Elementary School is now underway in west Phoenix. Two more Phoenix area schoolhouses are slated to break ground in 2012.

ENERGY STAR-qualified Pella Impervia fiberglass windows, donated by Pella will be featured in Green Schoolhouse Project schools. These energy-efficient windows will not crack, shrink, or warp even in extreme weather conditions, like the heat of Arizona.

In addition, EFCO aluminum storefront and door systems are to be used at the school entrances. EFCO doors are designed for use in schools and provide expansive floor-to-ceiling storefront glazing to provide dramatic entrances. EFCO entrance systems are welded to provide solid construction and low-maintenance longevity.

High school students learn about new technologies at Uponor

Uponor Tour

Wes Sisco, training manager at Uponor Academy, explains the concept of crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing to students from Sibley High School.

On Feb. 14, more than 60 pre-engineering students from Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn., visited the Uponor North American headquarters in Apple Valley, Minn., to learn about new innovations in radiant heating and cooling, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems, using crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing.

The students’ visit was in conjunction with a push to encourage more science and technology education in Minnesota schools. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who visited Uponor on Jan. 11 to promote business innovation, also spoke in an online column about the importance of technical schools and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) network in Minnesota.

“We have a long, strong history in education and training at Uponor,” says Wes Sisco, training manager at Uponor Academy. “Reaching out to students is one of our top priorities because it helps support the next generation of professionals coming into the workforce.”

The student outreach program at Uponor invites students from local high schools as well as vocational and technical schools to learn about the innovations and benefits of PEX-based radiant heating and cooling, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems. To learn how your school can get involved, contact Wes Sisco at wes.sisco@uponor.com or Steve Swanson, customer trainer, at steve.swanson@uponor.com.

Polyera solar cell technology hits 9.1% efficiency

Polyera Corporation has achieved a certified, world-record 9.1% efficient polymer/fullerene organic solar cell using its newest proprietary ActivInk® PV2000 semiconductor material. The device performance was certified by Newport Corporation’s PV Cell Lab.

The high efficiency of this material represents a substantial breakthrough in the development of organic solar cell technology for large-scale manufacturing of low-cost, lightweight, flexible, and optically semi-transparent solar modules. And because this technology uses an inverted cell architecture, solar panels are easier to manufacture and have a longer useful life.

Polyera’s active layer materials can  be deposited using a significantly broader range of film thicknesses without lowering cell efficiency, improving yields and further simplifying manufacturing. Polyera’s materials can also be processed at low enough temperatures to be compatible with a wide range of simple printing processes and common, inexpensive plastic substrates like PET or PEN.

Polyera will be launching a series of organic solar cell active-layer inks, to be commercialized under the trade name ActivInk® PV.

Tool helps architects specify glass

PPG Industries has announced that its Architectural Glass Configurator is now available as a downloadable desktop widget for Windows and Mac computers. The desktop widget is the latest in a series of mobile and Web-based tools PPG has introduced recently to make it easier for architects to research and specify products whether they are traveling, in the office or at home.

The glass configurator helps architects to identify the best architectural glass for their projects by enabling them to view and compare the aesthetics and performance data of every PPG glass product, including high-performance tinted glasses, ultra-clear STARPHIRE(R) glass, and energy-efficient passive and solar control, low-emissivity glasses such as SUNGATE(R) and SOLARBAN(R) products. The online tool has been used more than 200,000 times since it was launched in 2010, and it currently attracts more than 10,000 visitors per month.

By downloading the configurator widget directly to their computers, architects can access and compare glass products even when they don’t have Internet access. To download the widget, architects must download the YAHOO!(R) Widgets application, and then download the WinZip file for the PPG Glass Configurator Widget by clicking on “IDEASCAPES TOOLS” on the home page and then on “Glass Configurator Widget” in the list that appears.

You can  watch demonstration videos of all the online glass specification tools available from PPG on YouTube.

New Engineering Center for Mitsubishi HVAC

MitsubishiMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) has opened an industry-first Engineering Center in Duluth, GA. The Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating Engineering Center is the only dedicated facility in the U.S. geared toward developing split-ductless and variable-refrigerant-flow (VRF) technology solutions specifically for the North American market.
   “Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating’s parent corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo, realizes there is enormous potential in the North American market for products based on split-ductless and VRF technology,” said Bill Rau, senior vice president and general manager, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
   The Engineering Center houses Mitsubishi Electric application support, as well as the company industry and government relations departments. By housing these groups in a single building, Mitsubishi Electric can accelerate domestic product development.