The Alhambra is on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The Alhambra is on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Put down the shopping list. Stop trimming the tree. Forget about what you want tell the boss at the holiday party. You have to start working on your “Why I Want To Go To Spain” essay. Seriously. Tile of Spain is taking three architects and/or designers on a  free trip to Spain.
   The “Reign in Spain” tour starts in Madrid and moves on to Granada, home to the world-famous Alhambra Palace. Then you will travel to Valencia (birthplace of paella) for Cevisama 2010, the big ceramic tile trade show.
   Here’s the deal: You must be an accredited architect or interior designer with current affiliation with AIA, ASID and/or IIDA and living in the United States. You must be available to travel from Feb. 5-13, 2010. Finally, you are expected to participate in all activities of the junket. Tile of Spain says, “there will be free time for exploring the cities on your own but most activities, meals and excursions are planned beforehand and are required.”
   What’s next? Download and complete the application form at http://www.spaintiles.info/eng/index.asp then  return the application by deadline of Dec. 23, 2009. Good luck. —Jim Carper

Fair focused on wood use in commercial buildings

To the casual observer, wood is rarely included in the materials list for commercial buildings. But that’s not necessarily the case. Learn more at the Wood Solutions Fair, organized by the people at WoodWorks for Non-residential Construction, Tacoma, WA.
   The fair will be held Oct. 29 at the Univ. of Illinois-Chicago Forum, Chicago. It is a free, multi-faceted, day-long educational event on the use of wood in commercial buildings. It combines topical seminars with relevant trade booths to deliver a comprehensive educational experience for architects, engineers, builders, building designers, and specifiers. WoodWorks is an approved AIA provider and attendees qualify for six HSW credits.
   For more information, visit www.woodworks.org.—Gary L. Parr

Learn green construction in Eng. Soc. of Detroit courses

Need to learn more about green building construction? Maybe a trip to Detroit is in order? In Aug. and Sept. the Engineering Society of Detroit is offering two new classes on sustainable construction. The classes will focus on how to design or redesign buildings so they are more energy efficient and structurally relevant. “Introduction to Sustainable Construction” will be held on Aug. 12 and 13 and Sept. 9 and 10. An HVAC and Integrated Design course will be offered Aug. 20 and Sept. 17. Both will be held at the Engineering Society of Detroit’s newly-constructed, energy-efficient headquarters in Southfield, MI.
   “We’ve been getting more and more into green construction,” said Ron Smith, director of education and community outreach for the Engineering Society of Detroit. “We’re in a great position to bring this education to our engineers.”
   The courses will cover the history and background of the green building movement, the impact of green/sustainable building practices on traditional construction and design, and the certification process for LEED accreditation.
   For information, call 248-353-0735.—Gary L. Parr

Tweeting from Energy Summit 09

Tweeting from Energy Summit 09 today. Follow us at cbpmag to get energy tidbits.–Gary L. Parr

Energy forum shows how far we’ve come

I’ve just returned from our nation’s capital, where the U.S. Energy Assoc. held its annual Energy Efficiency Forum, co-sponsored by Johnson Controls. It’s the 20th anniversary of the event and there was a gala Hall of Fame induction last evening. But the highlight of my trip was sitting at the National Press Club listening to the sheer collection of brainpower and vision displayed among the speakers today. Highlights: Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, former head of Turner Construction and a real leader who is pushing the real estate and construction communities in Dallas to go green, but fast. Then there was Anthony Malkin, head of the firm that owns the Empire State Building. Malkin talked about the once-in-a-lifetime confluence of companies and groups that came together to take on the challenge of giving the ESB an energy efficiency makeover of historic proportions. More about what these visionaries have in store for the built environment–and a lot more about the future of energy/utilities in the U.S. If you use electricity or natural gas, you need to watch our blog and check out Building Power within our pages.  The accelerator is being pushed to the floorboard—Melissa Larson

Hanwha “exhibits green” by donating booth samples

There will be increasing pressure on exhibitors at this year’s Greenbuild show (Nov. 11 to 13, Phoenix) to demonstrate “green” practices/construction with their exhibits. At the 2008 show, we had a few examples of what this approach would look like with some minimalist and virtual booths. It’ll be interesting to see what emerges this year as exhibitors test the waters.
   A practice we’ll likely see with some frequency is the donating of products to local charities/organizations to eliminate the cost and environmental impact of shipping products back to a storage facility. This practice, no doubt, also generates some kind of a tax benefit.
   Surface manufacturer Hanwha L&C USA, Atlanta, recently took this approach by donating products it exhibited at the Kitchen and Bath Industry show, held recently in Atlanta. The company’s products were donated to the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Restore for resale to the public. The proceeds will used to benefit the organization’s mission to build affordable homes for working families. Donated items, valued at more than $8,000, included 2,400 sq. ft. of Miraton tile flooring; a 100% acrylic, solid-surface Hanex kitchen/bath vanity; and HanStone Ruscello fine quartz slabs.
   I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open in November so I can report about other things exhibitors do to demonstrate their “greenness.”—Gary L. Parr

Lightfair 2009: A busier second day

The rain stopped and the number of attendees seemed to increase measurably. I have to say that I don’t recall a Lightfair that was so “full” of new products and technology advances, virtually all of it involving LEDs. With all of these companies working so hard to bring products to market, the end-user cost has to become more affordable, soon.
   Two of several things that stood out in this year’s show:

  • The Emerge Alliance, San Ramon, CA, An open industry association of several companies focused on “promoting the rapid adoption of safe, low-voltage DC power distribution and use in commercial building interiors.” In other words, it’s a group of companies that is working to put together an open-source system/technology that uses the metal skeleton of drop ceilings to deliver safe, low-voltage DC power in commercial buildings. To tap into this power, several light fixtures and other devices are being developed that mount on the ceiling “rails” and deliver light, sound, and whatever else they come up with. Commercial Building Products/Building Power will be doing much more about this alliance in the near future.
  • The Greengate and Ilumin lighting control and energy monitoring systems from Cooper Controls, Peachtree City, GA, look to be impressive products that will help just about any commercial building monitor, control, and reduce energy used by  light fixtures. While both products are impressive and appear to be easy to set up and use, what puts them over the top is the new Venergy user interface. Venergy is a Web-based program that provides “real-time power-metering information, captured directly by the lighting control system.” Venergy will be available in the third quarter of 2009.

Watch the pages of Commercial Building Products, Building Power, and this blog in the coming days/weeks to learn more about these and other energy-saving products introduced at Lightfair.

The week in New York wasn’t all work. The best meal, and a standout one at that, was at the West Bank Cafe, 407 W. 42nd St., 212-695-6909, within easy walking distance of the Javits Center. The pan-seared scallops and raspberry sorbet were outstanding.—Gary L. Parr