Small is Beautiful in this Contemporary Cabin from Simplex Homes

When you start to think about downsizing  you may want to consider modular construction if you are building.  At Greenbuild this year, the Green Zone exhibited a wonderful option.Simplex House

The Greenbuild Cabin, designed by Resolution:4 Architecture and built by Simplex Homes, was an excellent example of more efficient living similar to the types of residential options you would see at the Solar Decathlon.  Attendees at Greenbuild could see products at work in a modular one-room retreat that was aesthetically very pleasing.

The 806-square-foot cabin is designed to have a strong connection to the exterior, with abundant natural lighting achieved through low-e, Argonne-filled, double-pane glass. With a LEED Platinum certification as the goal, the cabin employs a number of green technologies, including rainwater collection, a greywater system, photovoltaic array, EPDM rubber membrane roofing system and a super-insulated envelope.

The cabin houses a fully functional kitchen and, through its creative use of space and natural lighting, invites residents to live large.  

SAGE Glass Saves Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center

portfolio_kimmel_n21During Greenbuild 2013, I had the opportunity to work  at the show which was a wonderful experience. One of my volunteer assignments was at the Kimmel Center which was a short distance from the convention center. Rather than walk, I decided to take a Pedi-cab which Saint-Gobain sponsored during the show days. The biker took me up the streets and people kept calling out to us about how awesome they thought the device was. We turned almost every head on the way to the Kimmel Center.

One of our Saint-Gobain company’s, SAGE, was presenting a case study for architects regarding a special renovation project at the Kimmel Center.  My job was to get everyone registered into the event. Luckily, I got invited to stay for the presentation.

 This is what I learned:

The rooftop garden at the Kimmel Center was completely unusable in the summer. The sun would bake everyone in the room if left up there for a long period of time. It was such a shame since the room has beautiful views across the entire city of Philadelphia which gives you the “on top of the world” feeling.

 The space could host beautiful weddings and parties – in fact, that was the goal of the Kimmel Center. The architects designed the building so not to obstruct any views of the city but that meant it was made completely out of glass. This made it a perfect project for SAGE’s electrochromic glass!

 Electrochromic glass is completely controllable! I watched as they changed the glass from clear to slightly tinted to completely dark. The temperature in the room dropped by 10 degrees at least, making it very comfortable in the room.  The glass can also be controlled in zones, which means that half the room can he tinted depending on the angle of the sun. It was a dramatic demonstration.

 There are many great examples of SAGE glass projects on their website.  It is well worth the visit.

An Insight from CertainTeed Green Guru Mike Bottoms

I asked CertainTeed Green Guru Mike Bottoms, Solar Sales Manager the following questiongreenbuild-nation-20x20:

If you had the ability to change one thing about the way we construct homes and buildings what would it be?

I would like to see all homes have a solar array. It would not only cut down on the stress on the  infrastructure of the grid, but would also improve the lifestyles of people by lowering utility bills and give them more independent from the utility companies. The challenge we face currently is that solar is still very connected to rebates and incentives.  As the utility rates go up and incentives go down we will reach parity at some point.  Right now we are more dependent on rebates so I would like to see those be more permanent and consistent state to state.

Greenbuild 60-Second Stopby: Rainwater Collection Systems – The Original Rainwater Pillow

DSCN2768The Original Rainwater Pillow (booth # 1121) is a large volume rainwater/storm water harvesting system designed to be stored in horizontal wasted space above grade.  They can create custom pillows up to 200,000 gallons. Systems can be developed for residential, commercial and industrial applications.  Typically the water is collected off of the roof and goes to a pre-filter which removes asphalt and other particles. Systems are available for potable and non-potable applications.

The Pillows can be stored under a deck or crawlspace in a residential setting. For commercial or industrial settings, the system can be stored in a basement or a parking garage.

The water can be used for irrigation, flushing toilets, laundry, drinking water and much more.

Well worth a Stopby!

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.

Greenbuild 2013: Ready, Set, Schedule

greenbuild-nation-20x20Throughout the year, I crisscross the country for a wide array of meetings and events, and the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is most definitely a highlight in my travels — even more so this year since it’s in my home town of Philadelphia.

The USGBC posted the full schedule for the conference, which features a healthy roster of thought-provoking, forward-thinking sessions. I know that sessions fill up fast, so I was quick to plan out my itinerary. Here’s a few sessions that caught my attention:

Philadelphia Eagles – Go Green Program Overview

Last year, I was fortunate to take part in a behind-the-scenes tour of Lincoln Financial Field and was wowed by their sustainable achievements — operating a nearly net zero waste facility and leveraging renewable energy sources. Regardless of your NFL team of choice, the story behind the facility will offer valuable insights and lessons in establishing an environmentally responsible business operation.

Biophilia: Moving from Theory to Reality

In my opinion, biophila is one of the most fascinating design trends in the green building industry. Based on the instinctive connection between humans and nature, biophila tends to excite at a philosophical level, but can be challenging to implement in the built environment. In this session, a team of esteemed architectural and building industry experts will outline specific project requirements, design guidelines and performance metrics for real-life biophilic applications.

Atriums: Challenge or Asset to High Performance?

As a building scientist, I enjoy digging in to the technical nuisances of even the most granular aspects of a structure. While daylighting, aesthetics and pathways for natural ventilation often drive the decision to incorporate atriums into building design, these spaces can also offer a passive solution for smoke control that is energy efficient and cost effective.

The Navy Yard as a Sustainable Business Campus

The Navy Yard in Philadelphia has become a hotbed of sustainable construction, research and development. Through a robust team of public and private sector entities, the campus features LEED-certified buildings, innovative stormwater management practices, and industry-leading design and research projects for smart-grid technologies. CertainTeed has been involved in the GridSTAR project, one of the components of the campus focused on net zero energy in residential construction and alternative energy training, and look forward to getting a more holistic view of the initiative.

Life Cycle Safety: How it Supports Social Equity Goals

As a building products manufacturer, “life cycle” is a part of our daily vernacular. However, the overall health of a building goes beyond its physical components and occupants. While fewer in number, employees who construct, operate, renovate, repair and eventually dismantle green buildings typically face disproportionately higher risks from building hazards. Led by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, this session will demonstrate how these risks can be proactively minimized in the design phase.

Greenbuild is shaping up to be an incredibly hectic, but invigorating week. Headed to the show? Let us know what’s on your “must see” list.

 

Greenbuild 2012 is a Wrap! Philadelphia Here we Come!

San Francisco is among the top sustainable cities in the U.S. so it was exciting to be out there for Greenbuild this year.  The expo portion of the conference was only two days this year but from the beginning of the first day the show floor was packed with attendees who were really engaged. In fact, it was the most engaged audience I have seen since the recession began.  Hopefully, that is an indicator that the building market is returning.

NOVA speed dating

NOVA speed dating

In my travels around the show, I was surprised that I really didn’t see too many new innovations. There was nothing that stood out as a bright, new product or very innovative with the exception of the Saint-Gobain NOVA Innovation Competition.  The NOVA External Venturing division of Saint-Gobain rewards start-ups offering the most innovative solutions in the field of habitat, energy and the environment.  This was the first time the competition has taken place in the U.S. Over the last several months Saint-Gobain reviewed and selected eight finalists who would come to Greenbuild for a final interview process during the show days.  From those eight, three entrepreneurs where awarded cash prizes, however, all the contestants will have the opportunity to partner with Saint-Gobain in exploring potential joint development, licensing and other collaboration.

It was amazing the buzz that was created on the show floor by the NOVA Competition.  The final eight entrepreneurs participated in what might be referred to as a “speed dating” round.  These innovators were pitching their ideas to some of the best business leaders in our industry. It was exciting during the speed dating and a large crowd gathered for the announcement of the winners.  The top winner was Heliotrope, a developer of energy-efficient electrochromic glass that that switches reversibly between three states:  solar transparent, heat blocking, and heat and light blocking or darkened.  The second place winner was PlanGrid, a complete collaborative platform for construction information and the fastest PDF viewer in the universe.  Third place went to SmarterShade, a unique approach to the emerging technology being called “smart windows.”

Greenbuild 2013 is coming to Philadelphia – CertainTeed’s neck of the woods.  But, for Philadelphia, following San Francisco is like having the Beatles as a warm-up band.  While many folks who are into urban sustainability are aware of the great progress made my our Mayor Nutter and his team, just how far and how quickly Philadelphia has transformed its sustainable future may come as a surprise to some of our visitors next year. I’m certain that none of this would be possible without the support and efforts of groups like the Delaware Valley Green Building Council who is hosting GreenBuild for 2013. There are some very exciting projects taking place in Philadelphia and we are eager to share them with the green world.

I hope to see you in Philadelphia for Greenbuild 2013!

 

 

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.

Maximize Your Mobile at Greenbuild

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend downloading the Greenbuild Mobile App, which offers a few new bells and whistles that will enhance your experience at the conference. As with many event-related mobile apps, it provides a full listing of educational sessions and exhibitors to help you navigate the conference. However, it also has additional features that piqued our interest:

From the exhibitor directory, you can create a customized list of companies and organizations you’d like to visit. The list can serve as a checklist and help you make the most of your time at the conference.

Attendees can easily engage in online conversations through integrated Twitter and Facebook feeds that are specific to Greenbuild.

The “Green Your Greenbuild” section offers tips on how to reduce the environmental impact of your visit. For example, it helped us easily connect to San Francisco’s rail system to get from the airport to the conference — which saved 20 pounds of emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Also, a new “Attendee to Attendee” section allows you to connect with others who have downloaded the app. From the online directory, you can easily search a list of attendees and send messages.

Of course, the best part of the app is that is eliminates the need for a printed directory. To learn more about the app, visit www.greenbuildexpo.org.