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SCIPs + Green Sandwich Technologies

[Runtime = 28:46 min.]  You probably heard about Green Sandwich Technologies (GST) earlier this year when William (Bill) McDonough, FAIA, announced that he’d be on the company’s advisory board.  Structural Concrete Insulating Panel (SCIP) technology, also known as Welded Wire Sandwich Panel, has been mentioned in most popular magazines and has the unique achievement of meeting the Cradle to Cradle design protocol.  This video shows Green Sandwich panels in action.

GST panels have 7 main advantages:  (1) strength – wind load capacity of 200 mph+ and earthquake tolerance of 8.0+; panels resist pests, mold, and vermin; have the highest fire rating in the industry and are water resistant; (2) speed – allow buildings to be erected in 1/2 the time of conventional construction; (3) flexibility – panels can be used for residential, commercial, and industrial uses for floors, walls, roofs, ceilings, pools, and fences; (4) superior sound insulation – they transfer 66% less noise than wood and steel frame walls; (5) superior temperature performance – delivers R-40 performance, good for both hot and cold climates; homeowners can save up to 60% on home energy costs; (6) environmental friendliness – panels contain about 60% recycled/reclaimed materials by volume (40% by weight) + all waste is 100% recyclable; and (7) affordable – builders recognize value in cost savings such as 50% less construction time, 4-12% labor savings, 4-12% material savings, equipment savings, loan carrying cost savings, and energy savings up to 60%.  Click here to see a list of building applications.

Top 20 No- or Low-Cost Green Building Strategies

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One aspect of green building that gets overlooked is financial independence.  For instance, a commercial business may make an investment in solar power (provided incentives and rebates make it economically feasible) to stabilize electricity bills and hedge against future electricity cost increases.  Another example is the principle of waste reduction in green building.  Did you know that building green often costs the same or just a little bit more than standard code-built homes?  And did you know that even then, green homes will require less money going forward than standard code-built homes?  To that end, here are some affordable green building strategies (click this link to read more about each strategy):  Global Green’s 20 Affordable Green Building Strategies:

  1. Orient the Building to Maximize Natural Daylighting
  2. Place Windows to Provide Good Natural Ventilation
  3. Select a Light-colored Cool Roof
  4. Provide overhangs on South-facing Windows (be careful of your hemisphere!)
  5. Install Whole-House Fans or Ceiling Fans
  6. Eliminate Air Conditioning
  7. Provide Combined-Hydronic Heating
  8. Install Fluorescent Lights with Electronic Ballasts
  9. Install High R-value Insulation
  10. Select Energy Star Appliances
  11. Design Water-efficient Landscapes
  12. Install Water-efficient Toilets + Fixtures
  13. Use Permeable Paving Materials
  14. Use 30-50% Flyash in Concrete
  15. Use Engineered Wood for Headers, Joists, and Sheathing
  16. Use Recycled-content Insulation, Drywall, and Carpet
  17. Use Low- or No-VOC Paint
  18. Use Formaldehyde-free or Fully Sealed Materials for Cabinets + Counters
  19. Vent Rangehood to the Outside
  20. Install Carbon Monoxide Detector

[Key: Energy, Water, Materials, Indoor Air Quality]  Now, some of these may only work for new construction or for renovation, etc., but this is a good starting point for going green, in an affordable way.  Keep in mind the geographic constraints–this isn’t an exhaustive list for every location in the world.  Different locations present unique circumstances and opportunities can vary greatly.  Via Global Green.

S2: Charlotte's Green Wachovia Tower by TVS Architects

Wachovia_tower_2_1 Here on Jetson Green, there’s a tradition where I focus on a green skyscraper of notable interest.  This weekly column is called Skyscraper Sunday (click to see archives).  Last week, TVS Architects unveiled the design of what will be Charlotte’s second tallest building, the Wachovia Tower.  It will be 48 stories, 800 feet tall, and have 1.5 million square feet of space, and Wachovia will eat up about half of the building in what seems to be long-term lease commitment.  The word is, owners of the building will be seeking USGBC certification (not sure what level) and will include features such as recycled rainwater and a greenroof, obviously among many other green features.  While there’s not much information on the project just yet, news reports suggest that the price tag will be about $880 million (seem a little high?).  Via Hugg + Forex.

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

LEED-H New Urban Home by David Baker + Partners at Blue Star Corner

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I hate to post this on Saturday, because I’m afraid it won’t get a large readership, but I wanted to talk about David Baker + Partners‘ (DBP) new design for a development called Blue Star Corner.  The design is called the New Urban Home.  The New Urban Home philosophy blends loft and condominium attitudes, with a modern feel that tends to build up–not out.  This philosophy was brought to the Blue Star Corner development to create a sustainable (LEED for Homes), modern, urban design for the historic Park Avenue District in the Bay Area.  All the appliances will be Energy Star, all the plumbing will be water efficient, and the site is located near mass transit.  Blue Star Corner is planned for completion in mid-2007. 

Green Features:
The developer, Holliday Development, and DBP hope to achieve LEED for Homes certification on this project.  Here’s some of what they’re going to do:  will use recycled and non-toxic building materials, non-endangered woods, galvanized metal, bamboo flooring, and environmentally-fabricated CaesarStone quartz countertops; will try to source materials locally as much as possible (keeps money in local economy + eliminates the transportation/gas premium); open spaces will feature sustainable landscaping by Conger Moss Guillard Landscape; appliances will be energy-efficient with Duravit, Kohler, and Bosch brands; and much more. 

Other Amenities:
Bsc_rendering Units will include also Ann Sacks bathtubs, Sub-zero + Jenn-Air refrigerators, Bisazza tiles, Benjamin Moore paint, in-unit iPod docking stations, and personal garages with fold-up work stations.  This is all going in with the general setup with a master bedroom, living room, kitchen, and flex room.  To add to that, homes will be unique–they won’t all have identical features, colors, or design.  It’s important to cater to individuality. 

Extra Links:
New Urban Home at Blue Star Corner [Generalized Case Study]
David Baker + Partners Provide Design for "Green" Amsterdam-Inspired Townhouses [MHN]

BuildingGreen's 2006 Top-10 Green Building Products + GreenSpec Directory

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The fact of the matter is, if you’re going to build green buildings, you gotta have green materials.  And green building is getting easier because demand is increasing and creating innovative green products to fit all varieties of projects.  There are different angles to take with a sustainable project and it’s not all about energy efficiency.  You’ll want to look at everything.  I like to think in terms of consumption.  What are you consuming and how much of it are you consuming?  Is the building water efficient?  What does it do with waste (such as recycling)?  Does waste equal food (C2C)?  Did you have to ship it across the world to procure it?  What’s the indoor air quality of the building?  How does it look and feel?   Did you benefit the community by buying the materials, paying the laborers, or building the project? 

Greenspec_2006_cover To make life a little easier, there’s the GreenSpec Directory, which includes more than 2,100 green product listings.  It’s a veritable idea bank ($89.90).  To give you a taste of what some of the products are, BuildingGreen announced the Top-10 Green Building Products during GreenBuild in November.  Here they are.  I’ve linked to the BuildingGreen product information and used "(company)" for the corporate website link.  BuildingGreen doesn’t receive money from these companies for placing a product in the GreenSpec Directory, so the information is totally objective in that regard. 

If you have an experience with any of these products, feel free to drop a comment so all the readers can benefit.  Once you go green, you never go back!

GreenCity Lofts: A Modern Step in the Green Direction

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First off, GreenCity Lofts LLC shows us how important it is to have a sleek, professional, informative website for your properties.  In the early stages of construction, word-of-mouth increases and people start to notice what’s going on.  Slap a huge sign up (with a rendering of course) and direct people to the web for more information while the building is still being finished.  A good website that’s search engine optimized (SEO) will go a long way to promoting a new building’s features and benefits.  I’ve gleaned my information from GreenCity’s website and an article in the December/January 2007 edition of Dwell Magazine.  Designed by Architect Robert Swatt, this eco-conscious complex has 62 units in 5 buildings, with units ranging in size from 500-2100 square feet, and prices from $495,000-$1,050,000 (800 – 2100 square feet). 

Green Features:
The building exceeds California Title 24 energy requirements by 15% and is Energy Star qualified; 95% of the demolition waste from construction was recycled; the steel superstructure + interior framing contain from 25-90% post-consumer recycled content creating a durable earthquake, fire, rot, mold, pest-resistant building; cement pours contain a minimum of 25% fly ash; the roof was painted gray to absorb less heat than the darker colored varieties; water efficient technologies collect rain water runoff for landscape irrigation; hydronic radiant floor heating with a gas-fired broiler saves 20-40% of the cost of conventional systems (and you have no noise or draft as in the forced-air systems); formaldehyde-free products were used where possible; zero + low-VOC paints, stains, and varnishes were used; units contain bamboo floors with other FSC-certified wood products; and lofts contain 2-3 walls with windows for abundant natural lighting. 

These places look really good, too.  One thing to consider, is the trade off when you create places with large, open, interior spaces.  It takes more energy to heat and cool larger spaces, but this may be mitigated some by using the hydronic radiant floor heating.  At least you don’t have to walk on the cold bathroom tiles when you wake up in the morning!  Oh yeah, also, GreenCity Lofts is about a 13-minute walk from BART, on the border of Emeryville and Oakland at 1007 41st Street, at the corner of 41st Street and Adeline.  Watch the GreenCity Lofts’ video

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