An Insight from Our Green Guru Lucas Hamilton

greenbuild-nation-20x20I asked Lucas Hamilton, Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed the following question: 

If you could change one thing about the way we construct homes and buildings, what would it be?

It would be the fact that our financial model or the way we value properties today does not reward long term sustainable construction practices.  Lenders are not considering the life cycle of the building in their lending decisions.  Providing for upfront costs for measures that could make the building more efficient over a lifetime are not taken into consideration.

We need to create financial models for borrowing and building that are based upon a life cycle assessment  that truly rewards the  permanent installation of energy saving and sustainable materials and systems.

The Road to Greenbuild Ends at The Pennsylvania Convention Center

CT13021_GreenbuildLogoWelcome to Philadelphia!  I can say that because CertainTeed and our parent company Saint-Gobain’s North American headquarters are here. Everyone is very excited for this year’s show.

The portfolio of brands, including CertainTeed, can be found under the umbrella of our parent company Saint-Gobain North America (booth numbers 1411 and 1511).  Our products and brands work to create “Life’s Material Difference,” which means that no matter where or how you touch our products, they have a real and lasting impact on quality of life.

The Saint-Gobain North America family of brands at Greenbuild this year includes: CertainTeed, SAGE, ADFORS, and two products from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics – GreenGlue™ and Thermalbond®.

Take advantage of our new Education Lab located along aisle 400. We are offering industry-leading courses open to anyone attending Greenbuild:

  • Solar Photovoltaic: Architectural Considerations – Wednesday Nov 20, 2-2:45 PM
  • Atypical Methods for Achieving Reverberation Time for LEED v4 Acoustic Performance – Wednesday, Nov 20 3:30-4:15 PM
  • Transparency Publications Summary: LCA, EPD and HPD -Thursday Nov 21, 9:15-10:00 AM
  • Designing High-Performance Schools: Impact of Novel Building Materials on Classroom Acoustics and Indoor Air Quality at Slatington Elementary – Thursday Nov 21 12:45 – 1:30 PM
  • Dynamic Air Barriers & Moisture Management: An integrated systems approach – Thursday Nov 21, 3:30-4:30 PM

There are still seats available. It is best to pre-register to guarantee your seat.

Not attending Greenbuild?  We will be blogging from the show. Check back for updates.

If you are at the show, please stop by and see us at  Booths 1411 and 1511.

Building Knowledge Experts at AIA2013 – Expertise that Inspires

AIA2013CertainTeed Technical Marketing Manager for Ceilings Bob Marshall conducted a session at AIA2013 on Ceilings in the Health Care Segment.  During the presentation while Bob was discussing the noise levels in hospitals and how it impacts healing, the question was raised:

“Why do we accept higher noise levels in hospitals if we know that it impacts the patients’ ability to heal?”

Two things work in our favor. Acoustical standards and guidelines are well documented and hospital administrators are getting validation regarding just how much acoustics matter and they are starting to make better choices when upgrading their facilities. We have to keep in mind that hospitals are very competitive but we are starting to see changes that have positive effects on patients and recovery. Rooms are painted in pastels now with artwork on the wall so administrators are starting to make the environment more pleasant for the patients.  At some point, they will have to address the noise levels as they relate to healing to continue to remain competitive. There is research that will speak to just about every architectural decision from an interior perspective. We are just validating and giving them the tools to go ahead and sell the acoustical benefits for making these changes.

If you have a question or comment, we would love to hear from you. Although AIA 2013 is over, we know these questions will continue to be raised.

Building Knowledge AIA 2013 — Expertise that Inspires

GreniteSamples_StackedFullFollowing the CEU Course at AIA 2013 on “Sustainable Surface Materials: The Value of Engineered Stone” presenter Diana Ohl from Saint-Gobain Grenite was asked:

“What are the primary reasons for choosing engineered stone?”

A sustainable engineered stone product has up to 80 percent recycled material.  The measure of hardness is a 7.5, which is the highest in the marketplace. The product has almost a zero maintenance factor which can be critical in buildings that sustain heavy wear and tear, such as dormitories, retail establishments and restuarants. Also, when looking at the return on investment – if you are replacing countertops frequently because of damage – the manufacturer guarantee of Grenite is 15 years.

 If you’ve worked with engineered stone on a project, we’d like to hear about your experience. Comments are welcomed below or stop by booth #2108 at the AIA expo to chat with Diana and our team of Building Knowledge experts.

Building Knowledge at AIA 2013 — Expertise that Inspires

LucasAIA13Upon completion of a CEU Course at AIA 2013 on “The Future of Building Materials and Their Impact on How We Build”, Building Scientist Lucas Hamilton was asked the following question:

“What does air tightness have to do with air quality? How does the tightness influence the air inside?  It doesn’t make any sense?”

When the building envelope was leaky, we had three to four times the volume of the building being changed every hour by fresh air from outside — uncontrolled in the building envelope. Now, with tighter buildings we don’t allow that.  So, you have lost all the fresh air you had coming through the walls. That’s why it is so important. That is the influence today.

If you’re at AIA, stop by booth #2108 to continue the discussion with Lucas and our team of Building Knowledge experts. Also, feel free to add your thoughts below — comments and questions are always welcome!

AIA Convention Takes on the Mile-High City

AIA2013Welcome to Denver! The 2013 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention is ready to go.  Each year exhibitors look for ways to entice attendees to their booth.  This year, the Saint-Gobain family of businesses – led by CertainTeed — is taking a new approach by bringing technical and building knowledge, and solution-based insights such as indoor environmental quality, acoustics and moisture management to our booth that can have a positive impact on the design of buildings in general.

Over the past year, we have offered accredited building science courses via webinar and our online continuing education platform to builders, designers and architects.  This practice is helping to shape sustainable building.  This year we are bringing some of these courses to the AIA Convention through our Learning Lounge.  To complement this effort, the Saint-Gobain booth (2108) is staffed with technical experts across our companies who can offer building knowledge and systems expertise unequaled in the industry.

You can still talk about products, but our Building Knowledge Bar with our experts can take the conversations to a new level. You can also tweet us questions @certainteed and we can hook you up with the right expert to answer your question.

Although our courses are sold-out, we will be blogging and tweeting questions and observations that are raised in the sessions that could apply to a problem or issue you are facing. Just follow #AIA2013.

We hope to see you over the next few days at booth 2108 to share what new innovations are taking place within the Saint-Gobain family of businesses and to be your premier resource for building knowledge.

GREEN BUILDING GURU: Lucas Hamilton, CertainTeed Building Science

Lucas Hamilton

What do you think is the most critical factor in ensuring a healthy, sustainable built environment?

In order to achieve and maintain a healthy, sustainable built environment we need to educate the end users of these buildings.  The people who use the buildings need to be a partner in the process and be educated because they figure strongly in the success of the sustainability of the building. Only if the end users understand that their behaviors contribute to the success or failure of highly efficient systems can we ensure a healthy, sustainable built environment. There isn’t a life cycle without that three-quarter part of it – the people using and maintaining it. The Living Building Challenge is doing it right because they include an education component to the process.

What is your business doing to support this goal?

What we are doing is to educate, educate, educate – through training, webinars, and providing information to all audiences. We need to help end users understand that they are a critical part of the process. 

GREEN BUILDING GURU: Steve Jette, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics

 Greenbuild 2012 is the perfect venue to capture interesting perspectives on sustainability. We’re highlighting a few noteworthy individuals through our “Green Building Guru” column

What do you think is the most critical factor in ensuring a healthy, sustainable built environment?

The most important thing we can do to ensure a healthy, sustainable built environment is to be more efficient in the manufacture of products to lower the embodied energy in our products.  As we manufacture, we need to save on energy and water so that there is less embodied energy in products when they go to market, when they get assembled or when they get fabricated. We are components of end structures so we need to do our part to ensure the sustainability of the end project.

 What is your business doing to support this goal?

To accomplish this, we have conducted an industry first Life Cycle Assessment on our ThermalBond® foam tape.  This is a cradle-to-grave assessment that measures the environmental impacts of manufacturing and the benefits of using our product. For our customers to be efficient they need their components to be efficient and that is what we have to done – quantified our processes with the LCA.

Greenbuild 60-Second Stopby: Kohler

Kohler unveiled a somewhat surprising new look at their Greenbuild 2012 exhibit. A far cry from their typical pristine white, appearance, the company took a rustic approach in showcasing their kitchen and bath products. Using a structure comprised of reclaimed wood, their entire booth was transported in one compact semi-trailer. After the show, the wood will be donated and repurposed. All in all, an interesting, environmentally responsible approach.

In the Green Zone: Modular Construction  

Once again, sustainable modular construction is being featured in the GreenZone area at Greenbuild 2012. For anyone who missed it last year, the GreenZone, which is spearheaded by Building Design + Construction and Professional Builder magazines, made its debut in Toronto with a prototype for a medical facility. This year in San Francisco, there are two structures available for tour: a net-zero, LEED-designed home and an innovative green classroom designed to meet rigorous indoor air quality requirements. Both prototypes mark the convergence of an outstanding project team, including Bogue Trondowski Architects, Method Homes, Portland State University, Blazer Industries, Pacific Construction Services and Oregon Solutions. (And, yes, we’re very proud to have two CertainTeed products — AirRenew Indoor Air Quality Gypsum Board and Sustainable Insulation — included as well!)   If you are at the show, be certain to stop by the GreenZone located just outside of the North Hall.