More than half of U.S. companies to spend more on energy efficiency in 2015

Schneider ElectricThree quarters of decision-makers at U.S. companies have invested in energy efficiency programs in the past 12 months, and more than half (56 percent) project their investment in energy efficiency next year will be more than last year, according to survey results released recently by Schneider Electric. This represents a 12 percent increase in energy efficiency investments and a 13 percent increase in projected investments in the past 12 months, according to a similar survey of energy leaders conducted by Schneider Electric in June 2013.

One potential driver of the increased investment is simply that a path to efficiency is now easier to measure due to a major trend emerging across the enterprise: the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). When asked about the biggest trends impacting business today, more than half (56 percent) of respondents cited this trend, with 61 percent saying that energy efficiency was its biggest benefit. Byproducts of increased efficiency, including cost reductions (48 percent) and optimized business processes (43 percent), were also reported as benefits.

However, respondents also acknowledged that this trend comes with its own set of challenges, including more complex technology management (55 percent), security (54 percent) and conflict between IT and operations staff (47 percent).

In fact, the survey confirmed modernization as another issue at the top of decision-makers’ agenda. Infrastructure upgrades followed the convergence of IT and OT with 22 percent of respondents citing it as impacting their business. 51 percent of respondents believe infrastructure modernization is an important business priority and 48 percent believe upgrading public infrastructure will make their city more attractive for business than others. Respondents said electrical systems (56 percent), traffic/transportation systems (53 percent) and telecommunications (48 percent) are the public infrastructure modernization projects that are most impactful on their business.

Efficiency initiatives (12 percent) and sustainability demands (9 percent) rounded out the list of the biggest trends. Energy efficiency initiatives were identified by respondents as the top way (59 percent) companies do more with less in today’s business environment and almost half of respondents said that sustainability initiatives improve profit margins (47 percent) and keep them competitive (49 percent).

This survey was conducted among 301 employed respondents at companies with at least $ 50 Million in revenue with a decision-making role in Facility Management, Operations Management, Technology Management, Supply Chain Management or Energy/Efficiency Management. The interviews were conducted by Redshift Research in August 2014 through an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 5.65 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

“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 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

Contest gives architects and developers a chance to win video shoot

James HardieThe new Hardie Design Contest is giving architects and project developers and  owners a chance to win a custom video shoot profiling their best commercial and multifamily projects featuring James Hardie fiber cement siding, like the Hardie® Reveal® Panel System and Artisan® Lap Siding.

The official rules are online, but here is a quick summary:

  • Architectural firms and project developers and owners can submit photos of their U.S.-based commercial or multifamily project featuring James Hardie products online between June 20 and August 20.
  • The photo contest will have two winners – one for traditional and one for modern design – with both receiving a complimentary video shoot profiling their project.
  • Winners can post their video on their firm’s website, use it in presentations, or reference it in marketing materials for business promotion and branding purposes.

The winners will be announced at the Multifamily Executive Conference in Las Vegas, Sept. 9-11, 2013.

Survey looks at restroom use

waterlessA May 2013 survey found that 54 percent of women, said they would use a men’s restroom if the private women’s restroom were occupied. Only 41 percent of men, however, would use a private women’s restroom if the situation were reversed.

These are two of the findings of a survey conducted by AlturaSolutions Communications, a Chicago-based marketing and communications firm, for Waterless Co., a leading manufacturer of no-water urinals. As of May 21, 2013, 106 people, mostly connected to the professional building and cleaning industries, answered all or most of the questions on the survey.

As to using a unisex restroom, where men and women share the same restroom, 64 percent of those polled said it was not an issue for them.

When asked what types of restrooms respondents would avoid using, they said:

  • Gas station restrooms, 34 percent
  • Train or bus station restrooms, 18 percent
  • Restrooms in sports centers/stadiums, 11 percent
  • Restrooms in retail stores, 2 percent
  • Airport restrooms, 2 percent
  • Movie theater restrooms, 0 percent

23 percent said they would not avoid any public restrooms anywhere, but more than 40 percent said they would avoid a busy restroom if possible.

Capital Safety first manufacturer with ISO 17025 accreditation

Capital SafetyIn October 2012, compliance for the new ANSI standard for Qualification and Verification Testing went into effect. This umbrella standard applies to all products and industries within the ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code. ANSI Z359.7 requires all products be tested and verified by an ISO 17025 accredited lab, and the sheer volume of products to be tested has resulted in a lengthy waiting period for most manufacturers.

Capital Safety is the first fall protection manufacturer to have an ISO 17025 accredited lab on-site, allowing the company to test and recertify products more quickly than average. Customers can also easily download and print necessary Certificates of Compliance through the Capital Safety website.

Capital Safety has been accredited to ISO 17025 since June 2009. They credit their success to their investment in an on-site accredited lab and their strong support of ANSI safety standards.

Raising global living standards through safer sanitation

american-standardAmerican Standard, the leading toilet manufacturer in North America, has launched a campaign to increase awareness of safe sanitation practices to help protect the health of all people through well-engineered plumbing solutions. One of the ways they’re doing this is to make open latrines more sanitary. The use of open pit latrines in developing countries allows disease to spread through direct and indirect contact with human waste, resulting in upwards of 2,000 deaths per day, mainly among children.

American Standard engineers have invented SaTo (pronounced SAH-toh, derived from “Safe Toilet”), a cost-effective hygienic latrine pan that uses an ingeniously simple mechanical seal and water seal to reduce disease transmission by closing off pit latrines from the open air. The company will donate hundreds of thousands of these pans to Bangladesh in 2013, one for each of its top-rated Champion brand toilets sold in North America.

For more information, view the video below:

Pella Corporation earns ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year

pellaPella Corporation earned an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year 2013 award, presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) for manufacturing energy-efficient windows and educating consumers about them.

The 2013 Partner of the Year awards are given to manufacturers and retailers that successfully promote and produce ENERGY STAR-qualified products, saving consumers money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to EPA. Winners are selected from award applicants among nearly 20,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

Energy-saving facts

  • For a typical home, replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified windows can save $146 – $501 a year on energy costs, and reduce a home’s carbon footprint by 7-15 percent, according to
  • Double-pane insulating glass windows include two panes of glass with a gas-filled space between them — and can insulate over two times better than single-pane windows based on a comparison of U-Factors.
  • Benefits of double-pane insulating glass low-emissivity (Low-E) windows over single-pane windows with clear glass include: lower energy costs, improved home comfort in hot or cold weather, protection from the sun’s fading rays, and more peace and quiet by reducing outside noise.

CREST helps contractors, consultants, and building owners compare roofing systems

GAFGAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, has recently released CREST, the Cool Roof Energy and Sustainability Tool. CREST helps contractors, consultants and building owners compare the energy cost savings of different roofing systems options.

CREST makes it easy to compare roof design options, varying levels of reflectivity, and multiple thicknesses of insulation. It allows the building professional to print a customized report that includes images of the building site from publicly-available, internet-based mapping services, and searches rebates to the zip code level, including hard-to-find municipal and utility rebates, to give a truer sense of the real costs and benefits of different roofing system decisions. A proposal-quality report is generated for immediate free download.

Since peak electrical demand often occurs on the hottest days of the year, peak energy loading is very important in modeling the effectiveness of cool roofing. To ease the process of projecting peak energy loads, CREST queries both the Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL) “CoolCalc” and “CoolCalc Peak” calculators in a single step, using an easy to use app-style format.

CREST was developed in conjunction with GreenOhm, a leading technology company that maintains one of the largest datasets of energy efficiency rebates, incentives and tax credits and easily links this information to provide a complete picture to property owners.

“Enlightening Libraries” Award Winners Selected

AIASThe American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and Kawneer Company, Inc. recently announced the winners of their national student design competition, “Enlightening Libraries.” Laura Boykin, a graduate student from Clemson University, under the advisement of Ufuk Ersoy, was awarded first place and $3,000 for her design, “Mediascape: An Enlightened Library for Pendleton, SC.”

The competition, sponsored by Kawneer and administered by the AIAS, challenged students to investigate and design a public library while learning about building materials and sustainable design techniques. During the competition, participants were required to modernize a dated public library using Kawneer products.

The competition jury included four architectural professionals: Mark Baker, AIA, NCARB, Principal, Lantz-Boggio Architects, P.C.; E.J. Meade, AIA, Design Principal, Arch11; Andrew G. Nielsen, AIA, PE, LEED AP, Principal, AndersonMasonDale Architects; and Melanie Hennigan, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Grimm+Parker. Jurors evaluated several hundred submissions for their ingenuity and originality as well as design clarity, appropriate use of materials and the ability to create an aesthetic that complements the community and environment.

Winning submissions included:

First Place ($3000): Laura Boykin, Clemson University, “Mediascape: An Enlightened Library for Pendleton, South Carolina”
Boykin’s library design proposed a transparent, cutting-edge media center developed to embrace its role as a “repository of knowledge linking past, present and future.” Set in Pendleton, South Carolina, the new library reconfigures the existing program to a “transformative media ribbon” and a “day to night social hub” for the community. For increased efficiency and daylighting, the design incorporates Kawneer’s 1600 UT™ (Ultra Thermal) Curtain Wall System and Versoleil™ SunShades as well as AA®425 Thermal Entrances. One juror commented, “Excellent, thorough thinking of space and tectonics.”

Second Place ($1500): Nick Schwaller, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, “Enlightening Los Osos”Of “Enlightening Los Osos,” one juror said, “Good form and energy of this design. It could very well be adapted to the future.” This student selected Los Osos, California for the site of his design. The library, designed to embrace the environment and maximize views of its natural surroundings, features Kawneer’s 1600 UT™ (Ultra Thermal) Curtain Wall System as well as the AA®3350 IsoPort™ Windows, AA®250 Thermal Entrances and AA®3200 ISOWEB® Sliding Doors, amongst others.

Third Place ($750): Sam Pruitt, Clemson University, “Hyperlocal”
Situated in Pendleton, South Carolina, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, “Hyperlocal” is designed to serve the town as a library and a community center. The project capitalizes on the site’s natural assets and physical environment. Using windows, curtain wall and sunshades from Kawneer, Hyperlocal addresses the specific needs of the town by creating a light atmosphere that unites learning and community. “The design was elegantly massed and sited with a wonderful use of daylighting,” said one juror.

Honorable mentions ($500) were awarded to: Maria Mercedes Serrano Monroig, Universidad de Puerto Rico, “Carnegie Library;” Kyle Perry, Alfred State University, “The Aperture Public Library;” and Amanda Gann, University of Tennessee Knoxville, “ACTiVATED ARCHiVE.”

Winning entries can be viewed online and will be published in the Spring 2013 issue of Crit: Journal of the AIAS. In addition, they will be displayed at the 2013 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver, CO, June 20-22, 2013 and at AIAS FORUM convention in Chicago, IL, December 29, 2013-January 1, 2014.

ICC-ES certifies ABET LAMINATI exterior building panels

ABET LUMINATIICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) has recently certified that MEG exterior buidling panels, manufactured by ABET LAMINATI, meet code requirements. Building officials, architects, contractors, specifiers, designers and others utilize ICC-ES Evaluation Reports to provide a basis for using or approving MEG in construction projects.

ICC-ES President Shahin Moinian says that now ABET LAMINATI can now reference the evaluation report to ensure building officials and the building industry that the product meets I-Code requirements. ICC-ES thoroughly examined ABET LAMINATI’s product information, test reports, calculations, quality control methods and other factors to ensure the product is code-compliant. “ICC approval frees designers and builders to use ABET LAMINATI panels with confidence,” states Tony Damiano, President, ABET, Inc.

A nonprofit, limited liability company, ICC-ES is the United States’ leading evaluation service for innovative building materials, components and systems. ICC-ES Evaluation Reports (ESRs) and PMG Listings provide evidence that products and systems meet requirements of codes and technical standards. ICC-ES also issues environmental reports verifying that products meet specific sustainability targets defined by today’s codes, standards, green rating systems and ICC-ES environmental criteria. ICC-ES is a subsidiary of the International Code Council® (ICC®). For more information, please visit