Consultative Council releases recommendations to advance building industry

Natl Inst of Building ScienceThe High Performance Buildings Caucus, recognizing the unique nature of the publication, recently announced the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council 2012 Report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council.”

The Consultative Council, a representative council of the nation’s building community, prepares the report annually, as required by the Institute’s enabling legislation. This year’s report is a pathway toward high-performance buildings. It offers specific recommendations, implementable in the near term, which can serve as the basis for a national buildings policy.

Representatives David McKinley (W.Va.) and Peter Welch (Vt.), co-chairs of the High Performance Buildings Caucus, hosted the briefing on Capitol Hill May 13, 2013, as the kickoff event for High Performance Building Week.

Ron King, immediate past chair and National Insulation Association representative for the Consultative Council, moderated the event, which included presentations by Pete DeMarco, chair of the Council’s Energy and Water Efficiency Topical Committee and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ Council representative; Richard Wright, chair of the Council’s Sustainability Topical Committee and a representative of the American Society of Civil Engineers; Sara Yerkes, Consultative Council vice chair and the International Code Council’s representative; and Ryan Colker, director of the Consultative Council.

Findings & Recommendations
Key findings and recommendations from the report are as follows:

  • The building industry and policymakers should identify baseline metrics to measure the achievement of high performance and coordinate existing efforts in this area.
  • The building community must engage with climate and weather scientists to help identify the information required to adapt buildings to climate change, and to develop the practices, standards, codes and guidelines needed to implement that adaptation into the built environment.
  • All stakeholders should work to identify areas for streamlining the regulatory process and finding and applying solutions that eliminate overlap, duplication, inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the application of regulations, processes and procedures applied to the built environment.
  • The building industry and regulatory community should identify ways to improve the current process of code compliance, as well as look for alternative processes—particularly as state and local governments are faced with shrinking budgets.
  • Building owners must recognize the value of retro-commissioning and the importance of well-qualified retro-commissioning authorities.
  • Policymakers should support the building industry in quantifying the impact of retroactive application of requirements on the existing building stock.
  • Policymakers, foundations and research institutions should provide financial, political and technical support for multi-disciplinary research that supports achievement of high-performance buildings.
  • Utilities, policymakers, code developers and the industry at large should focus on developing an approach to time-dependent valuation of energy, conducting research to support guidance on proper pipe sizing to save resources and protect human health, and determining how thermal insulation on potable and other hot water delivery systems impacts both energy and water use.

The Institute’s 2012 Annual Report, which is submitted to the President of the United States, contains a summary of the Consultative Council Report.

View the briefing agenda.

Download the Consultative Council Report.

Learn more about the Consultative Council.

AIA, CSI, NIBS release new CAD Standard

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have released the newest edition of the United States National CAD Standard (NCS). NCS Version 5 is now available online.
   The NCS helps architects, constructors, and operators coordinate efforts by consistently classifying electronic design data and making information retrieval easier. It improves communication among owners and project teams, cuts or eliminates costs of developing and maintaining company-specific standards, and reduces the expense of transferring building data from design applications to facility management applications.
   NCS Version 5 is the first update to the standard in three years. Unlike previous versions, Version 5 is Web based, making it available at any time for purchase and use. The NCS website received an update as well, making it easy to log in to the new NCS online product.
   “CSI and its partners, AIA and NIBS, are pleased to introduce NCS Version 5,” said CSI Executive Director and CEO Walter Marlowe, P.E., CSI, CAE. “The refinements to the NCS, including round-the-clock online access, reflect the changing needs of the industry and how they work with design data.”
   Among a number of changes, the NCS:

  • Added new “Distributed Energy” Discipline Designators
  • Added a new Level 2 resource Discipline Designator for “Real Estate”
  • Expanded Discipline Designator for “Survey/Mapping”
  • Changed group definitions in “Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Resource, Structural, Survey / Mapping and Telecommunications Layer Lists” to allow broader use
  • Expanded file extensions (up to four characters allowed now) to respond to changes in software application file extensions.

   To learn more about the United States National CAD Standard or to order NCS Version 5, visit

Captain Code Explains National Electrical Code Changes

As part of its Smart Community campaign, Leviton has released the 2011 “Captain Code” Pocket-Guide to the NEC® Code Changes. The pocket guide features Leviton’s “Captain Code” explaining the critical changes in the 2011 NEC manual that relate to wiring devices and telecommunication systems. It distills and simplifies thousands of pages of technical compliance data into an easy-to-reference pocket-guide. Leviton hopes to put one in every electrical professional’s toolbox.

The pocket guide will be available this spring from Leviton distributors nationwide, but it is available now from Leviton’s website.

Leviton will also unveil an interactive website for online training and a series of Learning Lab training seminars that will be held at participating Leviton distributors and presented by Leviton sales professionals. Both are based on the content found in the pocket guide.

California Carpet Stewardship Bill Signed Into Law

Carpet recycling efforts took a step forward recently when California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Carpet Stewardship Bill (AB 2398). The bill, which was sponsored by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, (D-Los Angeles) rewards entrepreneurs and inventors who produce marketable products made from post-consumer carpet. This makes it different from other Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation.

The bill generates revenue through an assessment of five cents per square yard of carpet sold in California. This assessment will start on July 1, 2011 and run through January 1, 2013.

The bill requires manufacturers—either singly or as a group—to establish a carpet stewardship plan with the state. Stewardship plans will include consumer education efforts, the assessment of fees, and progress measurement and reporting.

The assigns Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), a third-party nonprofit carpet stewardship organization, to serve as the carpet stewardship organization until April 1, 2015. After that date, a carpet stewardship organization appointed by one or more manufacturers, may submit their own plan.

EPA extends Lead RRP deadline

On April 9 we reported on the upcoming April 22 deadline for getting certified under the EPA‘s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule (see that story here for lead-safe work practices. Apparently training and certification haven’t gone as efficiently as the EPA was expecting (I’m going to guess extensive red tape). To accommodate the concerns “raised by the regulated community regarding difficulties experienced in obtaining the rule-required firm certification and renovation working training,” the EPA has extended the compliance deadline.”
   To quote the memo, “Until October 1, 2010, EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the RRP Rule’s firm certification requirement.” Also, “For violations of the RRP Rule’s renovation worker certification requirement, EPA will not enforce against individual renovation workers if the person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by not later than September 30, 2010, a certified renovator class to train contractors in practices necessary for compliance with the final rules. Renovators must complete training by December 31, 2010.”
   Download the entire announcement here. Obtain information about training here.
   If you’ve been putting this off, it’s time to get cracking.—Gary L. Parr