Green News — November, 2013
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The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) third-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP) data of current and future remodeling business conditions continues to show soaring growth. Quarter-over-quarter increases are evident in nearly all components measuring remodeling activity.
Entering into the holiday season, which has been a slower season in recent years, remodelers are reporting the highest overall rating on business conditions for the sixth consecutive quarter. “Pent-up demand continues to drive the current remodeling market,” says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning & Research Committee and president of O’Grady Builders, based in Drexel Hill, Pa. “The general sense is that consumers are tired of waiting and feel more secure about spending money, which is also reflected in the higher values in jobs sold.”
Visit the NARI.org site for more information
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a final negative determination in the unfair trade investigation of Hardwood and Decorative Plywood from China. The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood (CFTHP), the organization which filed the unfair trade petition in September 2012, expressed its deep disappointment over the ITC vote. Jeff Levin, counsel for CFTHP, noted that the ITC’s vote came despite the fact that all Chinese imports of the product were found to be unfairly traded in the U.S. market by substantial margins.
Mr. Levin stated: “This industry, which has seen large portions of the U.S. market for hardwood plywood captured by unfairly traded imports to the pronounced detriment of this manufacturing industry, will face the continued threat posed by Chinese imports. We do not believe that the ITC’s determination is reflective of the facts presented in this investigation -- or the realities of the marketplace.”
But, Mr. Levin noted, “As an American manufacturing industry, producers in this country will continue its fight for fair trade -- even with a demonstrably unlevel playing field.”
For more information, visit www.hardwoodplywoodfairtrade.org.
“These awards illustrate our industry’s unwavering commitment to concern for worker safety and the environment,” said VI President Dick Doyle. “Over the past 26 years this commitment has resulted in an 83 percent reduction in vinyl chloride emissions, while our industry’s PVC resin production has increased by 76 percent according to EPA figures.”
Vinyl Institute’s winner for 22 consecutive years of outstanding performance was Shintech, Inc.’s Freeport, Texas facility. Other awards went to: Oxy Vinyls, LP’s plant in Deer Park, Texas plant, for 12 consecutive years of achievement, and Oxy Vinyls, Pedricktown, New Jersey plant for 7 consecutive years of achievement; Formosa Plastics' Point Comfort, Texas plant for 5 consecutive years of achievement; Occidental Chemical’s Ingleside, Texas plant for 5 consecutive years of achievement; and Westlake Chemical’s Calvert City, Kentucky plant for 5 consecutive years of achievement.
The Engineered Wood Association (APA) has relaunched www.performancewalls.org, a free resource providing builders, architects, specifiers and code officials with tools to design and build safe, durable and code-compliant walls. The site compiles APA’s extensive library of wall-construction content, including how-to instructions, technical information, and CAD details for wood-frame construction, all in one convenient location.((Recent enhancements to the site include:
• APA Simplified Wall Bracing(: This section features the new APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method, which offers a more flexible, streamlined approach to wall bracing. The APA method expands on the simplified method included in the 2012 International Residential Code to make it applicable to a greater number of house plans. Builders can download APA System Report SR-102: APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Using Wood Structural Panel Continuous Sheathing, Form SR-102, for full instructions on how to apply the APA method, as well as a quick-reference brochure that highlights the method’s benefits and four key steps.
• Advanced Framing: (In addition to providing the benefits of using advanced framing, this section offers APA's Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400, which outlines tactics to eliminate unnecessary and redundant framing members, providing more space for cavity insulation while reducing material waste. Advanced Framing: Time to Green up Your Structure, is a one-hour recorded webinar that describes advanced framing concepts and techniques. The webinar is available to view on demand.
• CAD Details: (Twenty new Advanced Framing CAD details highlight several advanced framing techniques, including large-opening single headers, ladder junctions, and openings in non-load-bearing walls. All of the details are available to download free in several common file formats.
Lighting manufacturer Hubbell Lighting has developed a program specifically directed at helping commercial buildings upgrade their lighting by switching to LED lighting. The initiative, called creatchange®, helps building owners upgrade to new lighting technologies, resulting in up to a 3% increase in net operating income while at the same time improving the property value and attractiveness for tenants. Plus, the Cash Flow Positive program provides full project financing that can result in an immediate positive cash flow.
Commercial buildings represent over 80 billion square feet of space in the United States and consume 36% of all electricity. With studies showing over 36% of energy usage being wasted and lighting representing up to 30% of a typical building’s energy usage, an energy efficient lighting retrofit can represent one of the best ways for a building owner or manager to reduce costs. A well executed lighting retrofit that reduces energy usage by 60%
To learn more about Hubbell Lighting’s createchange® program for commercial buildings, visit www.hubbelllighting.com/solutions/retrofit/applications/.
Tarkett is now expanding the program by adding consolidators to the process. With trucks routinely delivering Tarkett product to distributors, the company realized those trucks could also transport materials slated for recycling on their return trip. Erv Parent and NRF Distributors, Inc. become the first distributors to take advantage of this new distribution/consolidation model.
The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. has earned USDA Biobased Certification for its traditional casein-based milk paint. The USDA Certified Biobased Product Label verifies that the paint’s renewable biobased ingredients meet or exceed USDA standards. Biobased products are materials composed of agricultural, forestry, or marine materials. Old Fashioned Milk Paint and the company's newest formula, SafePaint for walls, are made from natural materials including milk protein (casein), crushed limestone, clay and earth pigments.(( “We are pleased to take part in the USDA’s Biobased Labeling program and hope it will further set our natural paint apart from the many chemically produced paints currently on the market” said Anne Thibeau, the company’s president. (
• "Reaching Maximum Daylight and Ventilation," presented by Karen Davis of Milgard Windows and Doors
Green Roof System Installed on the Empire State Building
“Xero Flor is a well-engineered system with the strength and durability required for the challenging conditions on the Empire State Building,” said Rainer Gerbatsch, RRC, LEED AP, president, Commercial Roofing Solutions, Inc., Clifton, N.J., roofing and waterproofing consultant for the project. “Xero Flor has a long-standing record of reliability, and we have had success with the system in other projects, most notably on the Javits Convention Center.”
The average cost residential solar panels continues to fall, thanks to a mix of federal solar tax credits, state subsidies, manufacturer rebates and solar installation loans have helped drive record sales and consumption of solar power.
The average installed price of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems fell between 6-14% in 2012 depending on regional U.S. pricing, according to Tracking the Sun VI, a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As hard costs decreased, consumer use of solar has increased; solar energy consumption in the first four months of 2013 is a third higher than the same period in 2012.
The Rocky Mountain Institute has released a report that examines how to substantially reduce solar photovoltaic (PV) “soft” costs over the next eight years. The report, Non-Hardware “Soft” Cost-Reduction Roadmap for Residential and Small Commercial Solar Photovoltaics, 2013-2020, charts a pathway to achieve Department of Energy SunShot target costs of $0.65/W for residential systems and $0.44/W for commercial systems by 2020.
Soft costs account for more than 50 percent of total installed residential costs and over 40 percent of commercial costs. The report details the actions required to reduce these costs by 2020 across four key areas: customer acquisition; permitting, inspection, and interconnection; installation labor and financing. The report identified residential installation labor as facing the most uncertain near-term path toward roadmap targets.
“Even in light of drastic solar panel cost reductions over the past four decades, rooftop solar systems in the U.S. still are not economically competitive for the vast majority of commercial and residential customers,” said Jon Creyts, program director at Rocky Mountain Institute. “Soft cost reductions represent a major challenge and opportunity for stimulating SunShot-level PV deployment in the United States.”
Visit www.rmi.org for more information.
Throughout the year, EPA works proactively with professionals employed in the home and building renovation and repair trades to encourage their compliance with federal laws and regulations designed to prevent exposures to lead caused by renovation, repair and painting activities. EPA similarly strives to educate homeowners and consumers who do their own renovation, repair and painting, to follow lead safe work practices.
Information about EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Program is available online: http://www2.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program
New Website for Hardwood Specifiers
A new website has been launched to assist those using or specifying hardwood products, www.HardwoodDistributors.org. Specifically designed for woodworkers, architects, designers and hobbyists, this site provides a great deal of information on over 70 hardwood species.
The site allows users to compare working properties of multiple species at one time, as well as allowing woods to be sorted by their wood tone. For example, if you are designing a contemporary space and require a dark wood, you can simply sort for all of the available woods that fall into that category.
In addition to having wood grain photos and in-depth working properties for 26 Domestic woods and 45 Imported woods, there's also an Inspirations Gallery with photos of hardwood furniture, flooring, kitchens and woodwork. The site offers information on selecting the type of hardwood for a project, species specific information, finding a hardwood supplier, installation of hardwoods, repairing installation problems related to hardwood products, and finishing hardwoods.
The Hardwood Distributor’s Association represents some of the largest and best-known suppliers of hardwood lumber, hardwood plywood, hardwood moulding and hardwood architectural millwork.
More Than One BILLION Tons of Steel Recycled
More than one billion tons of steel have been recycled by the North American steel industry since 1988, according to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a division of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). SRI marks its 25th anniversary this year with this milestone achievement and the release of the 2012 steel recycling rates.
For 2012, the overall recycling rate for steel was 88 percent, with nearly 84 million tons of steel recycled. “The steel industry’s internationally-recognized energy efficiency, coupled with the recycling rate that is the highest of any material, proves our commitment to sustainability and resource conservation,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “For 25 years, steel’s recycling successes have been spearheaded by the SRI and we look forward
CABA launches Home & Building Automation Marketplace
The Continental Automated Buildings Association has introduced a new online tool for the home and building automation industry. In collaboration with MultiView, Inc., a Web publishing company, CABA has launched the Home and Building Automation Marketplace, an industry-driven search engine that features the sector's best suppliers and vendors. To receive a complimentary listing go to: http://homeandbuildingautomationmarketplace.com
Two New Wood Environmental Product Declarations
The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of two new environmental product declarations (EPDs) for laminated veneer lumber and wood I-joists. This brings the available EPD total for North American wood products to six. The previous four (released in May) include softwood lumber, softwood plywood, oriented strand board, and glued laminated timber.
EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories and an independent certifier of products and their sustainable attributes.
Based on international standards (ISO 14025 and ISO 21930), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as use of resources, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.
“With the U.S. Green Building Council membership’s recent approval of LEED v4 and its point recognition for disclosure and optimization of building product life-cycle impacts, the value of these six industry-wide EPDs in green building rating systems has taken a significant step forward,” said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski.
For more information and to download currently available EPDs and Transparency Briefs for wood products, visit http://www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.html.
Certainteed EPD for Sustainable Insulation
CertainTeed has become one of the first insulation manufacturers to provide third-party verification of its product's environmental performance by issuing its first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Sustainable Insulation®.
To create the EPD, UL Environment evaluated life cycle assessment data for CertainTeed’s fiber glass Sustainable Insulation on critical environmental impacts, such as raw material extraction and use, production processes, packaging, logistics, through end-of-life – providing independent verification of the data in accordance with ISO 14025. The new EPD joins CertainTeed's library of EPDs for acoustical ceiling solutions, which includes data on more than 21 of the company's ceiling product families.
"By issuing an EPD for Sustainable Insulation, we are providing transparent, reliable environmental information on the product's performance so our customers can be confident in its true environmental performance from cradle to grave," said Drew Brandt, vice president of marketing and R&D for CertainTeed's Insulation Group. "The EPD positions CertainTeed as a leading manufacturer that is prepared for the release of LEED v4, as new credits are available for published life cycle data."
Sustainable Insulation includes both pre- and post-consumer recycled glass and a sustainable, plant-based binder that contains no added formaldehyde, acrylics, dyes, or unnecessary fire retardants and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified for low chemical emissions. Rigorous monitoring and energy management at the plants has reduced the amount of energy needed to manufacture the product, and Sustainable Insulation's highly compressed packaging allows CertainTeed to transport more products on one truck from strategically located distribution centers, minimizing transportation impacts.
Sustainable Insulation can reduce energy costs throughout the life of a structure with no additional energy or maintenance. It is available in a variety of R-values ranging from R-11 to R-38 and is designed for use in standard wood stud and steel-frame wall and ceiling assemblies. Sustainable Insulation resists moisture absorption and won't settle or lose its R-value over time. Kraft-faced batts and rolls also act as a vapor retarder to help prevent condensation and mold growth in the wall cavity.
For more information and to view the full EPD, visit www.certainteed.com/InsulationEPD.
In addition, U.S. and Canadian producers used more than 474 million pounds of recycled blast furnace slag in the production of thermal and acoustical insulation. Since the Industry's recycling program began in 1992, NAIMA members' plants have diverted over 43.8 billion pounds of recycled materials from the waste stream. "NAIMA members are committed to promoting sustainability by using recycled materials to produce energy-saving insulation products that improve a building's energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact," said Kate Offringa, President and CEO of NAIMA. "Fiber glass, rock wool and slag wool insulation are some of the best choices available for residential and commercial building."
While recycled content is just one indicator of a product's environmental impact, the survey results illustrate the significant impact that an industry can affect through the conscientious use of materials. For more information about the environmental benefits of fiberglass, rock wool and slag wool, visit www.naima.org or www.insulationinstitute.org today.
Dept of Energy's Free Electricity Storage Handbook
The Electricity Storage Handbook is a how-to guide for utility and rural cooperative engineers, planners, and decision makers to plan and implement energy storage projects. The Handbook also serves as an information resource for investors and venture capitalists, providing the latest developments in technologies and tools to guide their evaluations of energy storage opportunities. It includes a comprehensive database of the cost of current storage systems in a wide variety of electric utility and customer services, along with interconnection schematics. A list of significant past and present energy storage projects is provided for a practical perspective.
The Handbook is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute in collaboration with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
New WaterSense Specification for Commercial Kitchens
The U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program has released a final specification for water- and energy-efficient commercial pre-rinse spray valves, the first commercial kitchen product eligible to earn the WaterSense label. Pre-rinse spray valves – used in commercial food service establishments to remove food waste from dishes prior to dishwashing – can account for nearly one-third of the water used in the typical commercial kitchen. By utilizing a WaterSense modommercial kitchen could save more than 7,000 gallons of water annually and the amount of energy needed to power its convection oven for more than three weeks.
Free IAQ Guide from ASHRAE
To promote improved indoor air quality (IAQ) in buildings, ASHRAE is offering a free guide for achieving enhanced IAQ. The Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning provides strategies to achieve good IAQ using proven technologies and without significantly increasing costs.
First published in 2009, the guide is the result of collaboration between ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, the Building Owners & Managers Association International, the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, and the U.S. Green Building Council… with funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The guide can be downloaded for free at www.ashrae.org/FreeIAQGuidance.
The free download is being offered in support of the presidential theme of 2013-14 ASHRAE President William P. “Bill” Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, ASME Fellow. His theme, “Shaping the Next,” focuses, in part, on making buildings safe, healthy, productive, comfortable environments in harmony with nature.
“As we move forward in shaping the next generation of buildings and systems, good indoor air quality must be a central focus of our efforts,” Bahnfleth said. “The health and comfort of buildings occupants is too important to leave IAQ as an after-thought in design, construction and operation. By making this publication available to the industry, we are providing guidance to help ensure the use of best practices for good IAQ, allowing all of us to enjoy the benefits of a better indoor environment cost-effectively.”
The book describes 40 strategies for achieving critical IAQ objectives related to moisture management, ventilation, filtration and air cleaning and source control. It also highlights how design and construction teams can work together to ensure good IAQ strategies are incorporated from initial design through project completion.
Target Announces LEED Certification for Additional 44 Stores
Target Corporation has announced that an additional 44 Canadian stores have been awarded Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification. This announcement means that all 68 newly launched Target locations have been awarded LEED certification - a first for any major retailer in Canada.
Target is pursuing LEED certification for all 124 stores scheduled to open in Canada this year through the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED Volume Program, which streamlines the certification process for buildings in both Canada and the U.S.
"Environmental sustainability at Target is fundamental to our business, and we have been working hard in Canada over the past few years to open our most sustainable collection of stores to date," said Derek Jenkins, senior vice president, External Relations, Target Canada. "We are confident that all 124 store locations opening this year will be awarded LEED certification, making Target a leader among Canadian mass retailers when it comes to having sustainable store buildings."
In order to obtain certification, remaining Target stores will undergo various rounds of audits throughout 2013, which must meet stringent criteria across five LEED categories including: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
NAHB Now Accepting Submissions for the 2014 NAHBGreen Awards
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is now accepting submissions for its 2014 NAHBGreen Awards. Each year, NAHB recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for excellence in residential green design and construction practices and for green building program and advocacy efforts.
The awards will be presented on Feb. 5 during an event held in conjunction with the 2014 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
“In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in green building, and the industry has responded by designing and constructing high-performance homes that reflect not only green and energy efficient principles, but also innovative design,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Each year, NAHB recognizes the very best work in this sector in its NAHBGreen Awards.”
In an effort to create a more streamlined submission process and to make it easier and quicker for applicants to apply, the applications for all Project of the Year categories have been revised this year and can be submitted online. The awards are open to both NAHB members and non-NAHB members. To be eligible for the Green Project of the Year categories, projects must have been started no earlier than January 2010 and substantially completed by December 2013.
Categories include: Project of the Year—Single Family, Project of the Year—Multifamily, Project of the Year—Remodel, Project of the Year—Green Site Development, and Advocate of the Year.
All homes and developments must be scored to either the 2008 or 2012 ICC-700 National Green Building Standard®, to ensure fair comparisons for judging purposes. This can be done by downloading the scoring spreadsheets at www.homeinnovation.com/greenscoring.
All entries must be received by Oct. 15, 2013. Application fees are $250 for Project of the Year categories and $150 for the Advocate of the Year award.
For more information, or to apply, please visit www.nahb.org/greenbuildingawards.
World Energy Council: New report highlights alarming slowdown in energy efficiency improvements
The World Energy Council (WEC) will soon release a report detailing how more still needs to be done to unlock the potential of energy efficiency to deliver energy and carbon savings.
"Over recent years there has been a general slowdown in energy efficiency improvements.
The main concern is that absolute energy demand is still growing…” stated Dr Christoph Frei, WEC Secretary General. “While the progress highlighted in this report is encouraging, it is clearly not enough. We will need to develop new policies and strategies to meet the challenge of securing tomorrow’s energy today,”
The report, “World Energy Perspectives: Energy Efficiency Policies”, reviews the latest energy intensity trends and analyses the policies in 85 countries representing more than 95% of global consumption. It finds that since 1990 energy productivity improvements have helped avoid 9.6 gigatonnes of CO2emissions.
The World Energy Council (WEC) is a UN-accredited global energy body with more than 3000 member organizations located in over 90 countries and drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy-related stakeholders. Further details at www.worldenergy.org and @WECouncil
Database of Green Building Products
Bio-Based Growth Predicted for 2012