If you are in the midst of a major office remodel, refurbishing your existing furniture might be easier than you think — and save you money. A quick stop by the Davies Office exhibit (#2837) included a radical transformation of outdated office furniture into a modern, colorful workspace. With a 40-year track record, Davies Office continues to help companies significantly reduce their environmental impact. For example, a recent project for Computer Science Corporation in Falls Church, Va., resulted in initial savings of $250,000 in warehousing cost, 346,822 pounds of waste material diverted from landfills and 1,005,784 pounds of raw material conserved. If you’re at the Greenbuild Expo, it’s definitely worth a stop by!
According to the New York City Department of Transportation, the main reason people do not ride a bike to work is lack of secure, long-term parking. As a result, companies such as Bike Lid (booth #4240) are bringing new products into the marketplace to help change this perception.
Bike Lid offers a unique alternative for bike storage — a durable “clam shell” design with industrial spring-loaded hinges. Its easy for bikers to use and even more easy to maintain since the lids are resistant to graffiti, scratches, rust and dents. An added benefit? Their sleek design can offers revenue potential, with plenty of surface real estate for sponsors and advertisers.
Though CertainTeed’s involvement at the GridSTAR Experience, I was able to see first-hand the benefits of modular construction, thanks to Simplex Homes of Scranton, Pa. who constructed two buildings at the site. The benefits of building in a climate-controlled environment include less waste, improved air quality and increased efficiency due to less on-site disturbances. However, a visit to the Modular Building Institute (booth #T5) expanded my knowledge of this increasingly popular construction technique. First of all, according to the institute, modular construction projects can be completed 30-50 percent sooner than traditional construction — a key advantage for an industry heavily focused on deadlines. Also, from a life cycle perspective, modular buildings are truly sustainable, since buildings can be disassembled and the modules can be relocated or refurbished for new use, which reduces the need for raw materials.
Are you currently using modular construction techniques? If so, tell us about your experience.
This week, I’m in downtown Philadelphia for Greenbuild 2013, which attracts more than 30,000 building and design professionals from around the world. The event also serves as the platform for the official launch of the U.S. Green Building Council’s new LEED®v4 standard, which calls for further environmental transparency in the built environment. While much of the buzz around LEEDv4 is within the green building community, I believe that the average consumer will benefit greatly from these new standards. Why? Because increased transparency translates into a more empowered consumer base.
Take the food industry as an example. For the most part, today’s consumers are label readers and are increasingly conscious of what is deemed healthy and what is not. They are demanding more disclosure of food ingredients such as trans fat. They are thinking twice about eating foods that are impossible to pronounce. They are the reason that most super markets have growing in-store real estate dedicated to organic foods.
How can we harness this energy and apply it to the physical environment where we live, work and play? I believe that Health Product Declarations (HPDs), which play a key role in LEEDv4, are a great start. HPDs comprehensively report information about the health impacts of each ingredient used to manufacture a building product. With this, architects, designers and contractors — as well as end users and consumers— will be equipped with valuable information about their surroundings.
At the Green Builder Center exhibit (#2311), the concept of resilient design was top of mind. A recently published white paper by Jason Kliwinski, LEED Fellow, sheds important light on how “resiliency” plays a role in sustainable design. Specifically, Kliwinski says that to achieve resilient design, you must:
Plan ahead and expect the worst essentially. Thinking about how you will heat and cool your building without grid power, integrating storm water management strategies on your property and in your community to handle storm surges and to protect your property and lives, considering alternative means of transportation if you have to navigate closed or damaged roads or channel get fuel…
Are these considerations already apart of your planning process? If not, check out the full white paper at www.greenlivingandbuildingcenter.com.
The International Builders’ Show was once again a hotbed of building industry activity and thought-provoking discussion. Here are a few memorable tidbits and revelations to recap the day:
Weather-related events are driving heightened awareness of home performance. The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy continues to influence new building codes and product innovations. Case in point — there’s a new publication, Storm & Security Protection, dedicated specifically to these issues.
Convenience, functionality and performance are deeply intertwined. For example, centrally located laundry rooms might make household chores less tedious, but can generate extra noise — compromising the overall enjoyment and comfort in living spaces. As a result, products such as SilentFXTM noise-reducing gypsum board, which are commonly used in home theaters, are being installed in new areas of a home.
Certain building-related tools are facing extinction, maybe. Ok, this might be a stretch, however, the team at Professional Remodeler introduced us to a new iPad app that can calculate the dimensions of a room sans measuring tape.
Saint-Gobain, CertainTeed and the Youthbuild Philadelphia Charter School took center stage at Greenbuild 2012 to share their experience in preparing young adults for a career in the building industry, while transforming a long vacant structure into a sustainable home. This public-private partnership provides a useful framework that can easily be leveraged by other communities, offering a win, win, win scenario.
First of all, the partnership provides young adults with valuable hands-on training that will prepare them for a career in the construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growing demand for construction-related skilled workers, which means these students are especially well positioned for future success.
The CertainTeed building scientists who provided on-site training walked away with new ideas on how to design and install products — which was fueled by the fresh insight the students brought to the project.
From the community’s perspective, the project is helping to expand the availability of affordable, green housing.
What do you think is the most critical factor in ensuring a healthy, sustainable built environment?
Companies that are developing and manufacturing products for green construction need to fully embrace environmental transparency and provide quality, accurate information to end users. This is the foundation for continuous improvement and innovation in product design that will help us collectively protect and preserve the environment.
What is your business doing to support this goal?
Most recently, we created the “Recycled Truth” website in reaction to the U.S. Green Building Council’s ruling that calls for more stringent parameters for calculating the recycled content of products. In essence, the ruling requires manufacturers to report recycled content on a by product, by plant basis versus a combined national average. At CertainTeed, we’ve always embraced plant-specific analyses and developed the site to help share our experience with other manufacturers, architects, builders, etc.
With over 1,000 exhibits, the Greenbuild 2012 Expo hall can be a navigational challenge — there are so many interesting things to see and experience. Through the “60-second “stopby” segment, we’re sharing a few things that caught our attention.
The eye-catching, somewhat mesmerizing, imagery is what initially drew me in to the Sky Factory exhibit at Greenbuild. Based on the concept of biophilic engagement, the company manufacturers skylights and windows that bring the realistic illusion of nature into interior spaces. Used primarily in healthcare settings, Sky Factory’s products align closely with evidence-based design, which continues to garner significant attention from the green building industry.