NIST grants $1.5 million to develop energy-efficient buildings

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Gaithersburg, MD, has awarded a grant of $1.5 million over 3 years to the Delaware Valley Industrial Resources Center (DVIRC), Exton, PA, and the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NJMEP), Morris Plains, NJ, to encourage expanded manufacturing of energy-efficient building technologies.
The grant complements a larger U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, project announced August 24, 2010 that provides as much as $122 million to the Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, for an Energy Innovation Hub. To be located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Clean Energy campus, the Hub will focus on developing energy-efficient building designs that will save energy, cut pollution, and position the U.S. as a leader in this industry.
According to MEP, this project represents the first time that federal, state, and local public and private resources will be pooled to create a formal applied research/manufacturing cluster that spans from the lab bench, through production to implementation.
“Expanding the capabilities of U.S. manufacturers to respond to the market opportunities resulting from the development of new energy efficient building technologies is key to ensuring the linkage between R&D and commercial application,” said Roger Kilmer, director of NIST MEP.
DVIRC’s and NJMEP’s role will be to connect manufacturers, specifically small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), to the project at all levels, including R&D; design and testing of new products, materials, technologies, and systems; and, more importantly, commercializing those opportunities for business growth and job creation.
The Energy Innovation Hub will pursue a research, development and demonstration program targeting technologies for single buildings and district-wide systems. These new building systems and components will need to be manufactured, presenting a unique opportunity for businesses in the area to get in on the ground floor.
The DVIRC, in collaboration with its sister-center NJMEP, will leverage their knowledge of and relationships with region companies to identify technologies such as sensors, new building materials, and computer-simulation tools developed by the Energy Innovation Hub, and translate them into components they can license, develop and manufacture.
“Our region is home to a significant asset and essential resource to innovate new products and technologies,” says Joe Houldin, CEO of DVIRC. “SME manufacturers are true innovators and contribute substantial value to the region’s economic prosperity, and will play a vital role in taking energy research and applied technology to market.”
“We hope that this effort will be a model for public-private collaborative partnerships across the nation,” said Aimee Dobrzeniecki, deputy director of NIST MEP.—Gary L. Parr

Show your building in YouTube competition

“Building a Better Tomorrow, Today” is a new YouTube video competition created to encourage innovation and advance the green-building industry. The competition is being sponsored by YKK AP America Inc., Austell, GA. Interested participants can submit videos showcasing their ideas for how America can enhance the built environment for generations to come, whether it’s through an energy-savings, green building, or sustainability perspective. Submissions are encouraged from architects, designers, contractors, manufacturers, students, and the general public, and can consist of a new or existing idea, design, product, or project. Winners will be announced at GreenBuild in Chicago in November.
To enter, participants can post their videos, which should not exceed 120 sec., to YouTube as a video response to YKK AP’s Building a Better Tomorrow, Today video. The grand prize winner will receive $1,500 in cash as well as a $1,000 donation on their behalf to support the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Philanthropic Programs. Two runner-up projects will be awarded an Apple iPad.

A panel of experts will judge each video on the overall message and relevance to the theme, creativity, and entertainment value. Judges include Jim Fausett, a previous architecture professor at Southern Polytechnic State University; Susan Ellis Proper, director of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Atlanta Chapter; and Sydney Roberts, PhD, Southface Home Services Program Manager.
“We created this video contest to foster the sharing of ideas and innovation in sustainable, green building practices,” said Oliver Stepe, senior vice president of YKK AP America.  “We’re always thinking ahead to what’s next and how we can better serve the industry and our customers. We want to encourage others to share their vision and ideas on how America can enhance the built environment. We look forward to reviewing the submissions, and we encourage all participants to make your video fun, smart and entertaining!”
The contest opens on Wednesday, September 1 and closes at midnight Eastern Time on Friday, October 15. For complete contest requirements and instruction, visit the competition web page.—Gary L. Parr

Trane recognizes six for energy efficiency

Trane Inc., St. Paul, MN, recently presented its Trane Energy Efficiency Leader Award to six customers. The customers, located in six countries, were recognized for doing dynamic work to link the physical environment of their buildings and assets to their business outcomes. The award is presented to customers across all sectors, including healthcare, education, retail, grocery, government, industrial, and commercial real estate.
   Award recipients leverage improvements in building design, renovation, construction, and operations to achieve real business outcomes, such as lowering energy and operating costs, reducing tenant turnover, creating better learning environments, and achieving improved patient outcomes.
   Award recipients were:

  • Ivory Properties Group and GH Consultants Sdn. Bhd., Penang, Malaysia, for development of the Penang Times Square shopping mall. The mall was initially designed to include a conventional air conditioning system. Ivory Properties Group, with support and advice from GH Consultants Sdn. Bhd., instead opted for a more energy efficient Trane chilled-water system. The system is expected to achieve 0.63 kW/ton system efficiency on an annual basis and will be 30% more efficient than conventional chiller plants found in typical commercial buildings in Malaysia.
  • Macalester College, a private college in St. Paul, MN, with 163 full-time faculty and nearly 2,000 students, was recognized for a campus-wide dedication to efficiency and sustainability. This effort led to significant energy saving upgrades on campus. Upgrades included a chilled-water system plant, an Eco House (on-campus green living experience), and the construction of LEED Platinum-certified Markim Hall. Markim Hall, which opened in July 2009, is a $7.5 million, 17,000-sq.-ft. facility housing the college’s Institute for Global Citizenship. The building is the first higher education facility in Minnesota, and one of the first nationwide, to receive the highest level of LEED certification. Energy simulation models predict that Markim Hall will use nearly 80% less energy than a standard building in an equivalent climate.
  • Monterrey Tec is a private, independent educational institution with more than 8,500 teachers serving more than 90,000 students at the high school, undergraduate, and post-graduate levels at its 31 campuses in Mexico. Based in Monterrey, Mexico, the school is recognized for recent infrastructure improvements that significantly reduce annual energy consumption. As a result of the upgrades, the university has created a more comfortable teaching and learning environment while also reducing energy consumption by 13% to 15% year.
  • The P.P. Porty Lotnicze Terminal at Warsaw Chopin Airport, Warsaw, Poland, serves nearly half of the passenger air traffic in Poland. The P.P. Porty Lotnicze Terminal features high-performance infrastructure systems that make the state-of-the-art terminal operationally and energy efficient, while at the same time providing visitors and workers with a comfortable environment. It is estimated that during the first 10 years of operation the infrastructure systems will save enough energy to power a city of 11,000 people for one year.
  • Tishman Speyer received an award for development of the Castelo Branco Office Park in São Paulo, Brazil. Because of the investments in efficiency, the 1.1 million-sq.-ft. site provides the same quality and technology of premium areas of the state capital, but at less cost. The office park encompasses a 27-acre site that includes six towers, a horizontal corporate space for parking and services, and state-of-the-art buildings using the latest technologies in climate-control solutions.
  • Transitions Optical, Galway, Ireland, the optical industry’s top photo-chromic lens manufacturer, recently completed upgrades to its plant that are generating €144,000 in annual energy savings and reduced the energy required to produce each lens by 50%. Automation has saved Transitions Optical €432,000 over the past three years, saving enough electricity to run the plant for three additional days every month.

   This group of recipients makes a total of 25 Trane customers who have received the Trane Energy Efficiency Leader Award in the past year.—Gary L. Parr

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

Schott shows off its glass

At the AIA Nat’l Convention, held June 10 to 12 in Miami, Schott North America Inc., Elmsford, NY, introduced RestrictView, a glass product designed for buildings in which privacy is a priority. The security glass is designed to prevent viewing through two pieces of glass but permit viewing through one piece. In other words, a viewer can see an object or person in a room when looking through one pane of RestrictView, but cannot see through the RestrictView glass on the other side of the room.
   For example, in a hospital, patients can see nurses or attendants in the corridor through windows in their rooms, and the nurses can see the patients. Patients, however, cannot see across the corridor into the room of another patient. In a courtyard application, people can see into the courtyard, but cannot see through to viewers on the other side. Adjoining treatment rooms or conference rooms are only viewable from corridors.
   RestrictView glass is a laminate and can be manufactured in a variety of formats, including approved attack-specification formats for psychiatric hospitals and prisons. A 3/16-in.-thick laminate consists of:

  • 4 mm Schott Amiran anti-reflective glass
  • 0.76 mm polyurethane with an RV interlayer
  • 4 mm of Amiran anti-reflective glass

   The glass weighs 4.68 lb./ft2 and is available with maximum dimensions of 44 x 44 in. The glass is designed for hospital, hotel, commercial, or security applications.
   At the show, Schott also announced that its fire-rated Pyran glass-ceramic glass recently received “Cradle-to-Cradle” certification. According to the company, “‘Cradle to Cradle’ certifies that Pyran is produced in an environmentally preferable way and qualifies it as the only environmentally friendly, fire-rated glass-ceramic on the market. It will be the only fire-rated glass option to help architects and designers qualify for LEED certification.”—Gary L. Parr

AIA supports Mayors support of IGCC

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, applauded the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ endorsement (click here and view p. 89 of the pdf) of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), a comprehensive set of requirements intended to reduce the negative impact of buildings on the natural environment, while maintaining safety standards and increasing long-term peak performance.
   According to the AIA statement, “The Mayors’ Conference endorsement today of the IGCC at its annual meeting is a major expression of support from an organization outside of the building and construction industry. Such resolutions document support for a policy and represent ways for mayors to learn about and support policies nationally that they are free to adopt in their communities.”
   “The IGCC needs the backing of leadership within local jurisdictions if it is to have any impact on the carbon footprint of the nation’s building sector, which accounts for almost 40% of America’s energy consumption and 72% of its electricity use,” said George H. Miller, FAIA, president of the AIA. “This resolution, by America’s mayors, is a huge step in that direction.”
   The Mayors Conference resolution calls on local governments “wishing to take a more holistic approach to incorporating energy efficiency, sustainable community planning, and healthy and safe building practices into the codes to adopt the IGCC and consider its Standard 189.1 compliance path as base code in their jurisdiction.”
   According to the AIA, “The IGCC is a document that can be readily used by design professionals, builders, and others in the industry. It was created with the intent to be administered by code officials and adopted by governmental units at any level as a tool to establish a green ‘floor’ above which voluntary rating systems can continue to drive the cutting edge of sustainable and safe design.”
   The IGCC was developed by the International Code Council (ICC), Washington, in association with cooperating sponsors ASTM International (ASTM), West Conshohocken, PA, and the AIA. Other organizations have joined the effort, including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Washington, producers of the LEED green building rating systems; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Atlanta; responsible for developing the Standard 189.1; and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), New York.
   Version 1.0 of the IGCC was publicly released, in Washington, on March 15, 2010. Comments received and testimony presented at the August 14-to-22 hearings in Chicago will be the basis for Public Version 2.0 of the IGCC, scheduled for release in November 2010.—Gary L. Parr

Tool predicts building energy use

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, announced a tool that predicts a project’s energy use and project modeling. “This tool is a valuable resource for architecture firms and will be used on their entire portfolio, not just for projects seeking green building certification,” said AIA president, George H. Miller, FAIA. “The tool was specifically developed to be simple to use and to be used by firms of all sizes on a variety of building types, large and small.”
   The tool is available by participating in the AIA’s voluntary 2030 Commitment Program. The program asks architecture firms, and other entities in the built environment, to pledge to develop multi-year action plans and implement steps that will advance the AIA’s goal of producing carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030.
   The Excel-based reporting tool requires the user to enter project use type, gross square footage (GSF), and predicted energy use intensity, in addition to answering some basic yes/no questions such as, Is project Interior only? Is the project modeled?. Based on that information, for modeled projects, the tool will automatically calculate the national average site energy usage index (EUI) for that project type and the project’s percentage reduction from the national average EUI toward meeting the firm’s 2030 goal for the current year (currently 60%). For non-modeled projects, users enter the design standard or code and the sheet will calculate the project’s contribution toward the firm’s 2030 commitment.
   The Excel tool will generate three easy-to-decipher graphs that aggregate the individually listed active projects within the spreadsheet. These three graphs will constitute the report that firms will forward to the AIA under the 2030 Commitment Program. The three charts will show a snapshot of the firm portfolio including the percentage of GSF:

  • of active projects meeting the current reduction goal
  • being modeled
  • for which the firm will gather actual energy performance.

   Firms are asked to track all active design projects for the reporting year, not just those that are seeking green-building certification. Reports developed with the tool are meant to provide a year-to-year summary of a firm’s work. Firms of all sizes and building type expertise will use the same tool and report in the same manner.
   The tool can be used for any type of building project and was developed through a collaboration between members of the AIA Committee on the Environment, AIA Large Firm Roundtable, AIA Chicago Chapter Working Group, and individuals from AIA member firms.—Gary L. Parr

GE, Lithonia Lighting want better school lighting

GE Lighting, Cleveland and Lithonia Lighting, Atlanta, have combined efforts to help schools improve their classroom lighting quality and cut energy costs by as much as 50%. The information-delivery vehicle for this new effort is a website at
   According to the press release: “Better quality, more controllable and efficient lighting is an investment that ought to be on the radar screens of school districts across the U.S. this year. Superintendents, business managers, and school boards can take a meaningful step toward extraordinary, lasting lighting energy savings—and improved, more flexible learning environments—by visiting”

GE and Lithonia's website is a new resource aimed at helping schools improve lighting and cut energy costs.

   The site provides a spectrum of information about how schools can improve lighting energy efficiency. It features a lighting audit request form tied to the introduction of energy-efficient Class Pack Lighting Systems from GE Lighting and Lithonia Lighting. By installing Class Pack Lighting Systems, schools can reduce annual lighting-related energy costs as much as 50%.
   “We want to help school districts across the country understand the significant opportunity that today’s energy-efficient lighting systems can provide,” said Jason Raak, a marketing manager with GE’s lighting business. “Recent new product advancements make current high-performance lighting far superior to systems installed just five years ago, and payback periods are shorter than ever.”
   Qualified school representatives can use to request a school or district-wide energy audit (restrictions apply). Visitors to the site will see a host of supporting statistics and details on how school executives can reduce the cost to renovate facilities by using NEMA premium ballasts and CEE qualified HPT8 lamps which, in many regions, can defray initial costs through utility rebate eligibility.
   The Class Pack Lighting Systems combine high-light-output, full-spectrum fluorescent lighting with a ballast system that delivers customized lighting levels on a two-lamp platform. With fewer, longer-life components, it minimizes maintenance and lamp replacement costs. It’s designed for fast, easy installation after school is out for the day or during summer renovations.
   “We think provides school districts with many of the resources needed to make smart financial decisions about lighting and energy savings,” said Monik Mehra, director of marketing, Lithonia Lighting. “It’s a vital tool at a time when school districts have to do more with less, while striving to improve the quality of their students’ learning experience.”—Gary L. Parr

Sto, Ardex join forces

Sto Corp., Atlanta, manufacturer of cladding, coating, and restoration systems, recently reached agreement with specialty construction materials manufacturer Ardex Engineered Cements, Aliquippa, PA, to expand concrete restoration and repair systems in the U.S.
   Ardex develops and manufactures specialty construction materials for substrate preparation, floor leveling, concrete repair, and  natural-stone, ceramic tile, and other surface material repair. They also provide training and support services.
   The agreement allows both companies to expand their building- and concrete-restoration market by offering combined product sourcing while potentially expanding warranty terms, giving customers a one-stop shop for building-retrofit projects.
“Ardex is a strong and independent, family-owned business which pursues its interests globally and acts in line with the market and the needs and wants of its customers,” said Larry Kushner, Sto’s vice president of sales.—Gary L. Parr

Commercial carpet fiber combines renewable & recycled content

Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon, with TruBlend fiber technology, is the first carpet fiber to combine recycled and renewable content. in a single fiber offering

INVISTA, Kennesaw, GA,  announced, today, a new carpet fiber innovation. Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon, with TruBlend fiber technology, is said to be the first carpet fiber to combine recycled and renewable content in a single fiber offering. This fiber combines as much as 25% pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content with as much as 5% bio-based content derived from castor beans, a high-yield and renewable resource.
   “Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon with TruBlend fiber technology delivers a balance of recycled and renewable ingredients for today while anticipating innovative blends for tomorrow,” said Diane O’Sullivan, global marketing director of INVISTA’s commercial flooring segment.  “The TruBlend fiber technology product line allows us to introduce new blends over time as technology changes and new innovations and resources are available.  This is another step toward introducing products that strive to change the conversation from one focused just on single-product ingredients to one that includes a balance of resources and understanding the cycle of our products.”
   InterfaceFLOR, LaGrange, GA, will showcase new products that feature TruBlend fiber technology at the NeoCon show, June 14 to 16, Chicago. Due to its unique composition, the fiber is the only commercial solution-dyed nylon carpet fiber that can contribute to both the Rapidly Renewable and the Recycle Content Credits for LEED projects. It can contribute to LEED MR Credits 4.1 and 4.2, MR Credit 6, and may contribute to an Innovation in Design Credit.
   TruBlend fiber technology is currently available in seven colors of Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon: Granite, Fawn, Mushroom, Antique Olive, Gingerbread, Glacier, and Graphite.  All Antron Lumena nylon colors are held to the same high end-use performance standards and are tested in heat-set form for stain resistance, bleed resistance, color fastness to light and atmospheric contaminants, household bleach resistance, and resistance to crocking.—Gary L. Parr