Dow Building Solutions Celebrates 75th Anniversary of STYROFOAM Brand XPS Insulation

Dow Building Solutions (DBS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co., is celebrating the 75th anniversary of STYROFOAM Brand XPS Insulation, which has continued to facilitate sustainability, innovation and community success in the building and construction industry since its discovery in 1941. Dow marked the anniversary while attending the 2016 NAHB International Builders’ Show, a large annual light construction show that brings together the industry’s important global manufacturers and suppliers.

Builders today face a bewildering number of products and technologies promising better building performance. Dow’s portfolio-based approach offers solutions for the entire building envelope, offering energy efficiency that can stand the test of time. STYROFOAM has a long and rich heritage as a sustainable building product, insulating to meeting core thermal, moisture, air and vapor performance requirements through its rigid foam board technology. Over its lifetime, STYROFOAM can help save more than 30 times the energy embodied in it.

STYROFOAM has been part of Dow’s commitment to sustainable chemistry innovations for the last 75 years and will expand this legacy well into the future through continual optimization of building energy efficiency and performance. Dow has been a proud national insulation partner of Habitat for Humanity, with STYROFOAM donations leading Dow’s pledge to the address the need of affordable housing around the globe. More than 2,500 Habitat for Humanity builds in 2015 used Dow products to help homeowners reduce their home’s overall natural gas and electricity usage.

“New possibilities for resilient, energy-efficient and well-designed homes and buildings are being realized in neighborhoods and communities around the world thanks to imagination, science and engineering,” says Tim Lacey, global business director for Dow Building Solutions. “We are proud to offer 75 years of product innovation that addresses the need for long-term value as a sustainable building solution and look forward to improving, innovating and perfecting building envelope science well into the future.”

Daylighting Can Create Significant Energy Savings and Human Benefits

Daylighting is the practice of placing skylights or windows on a building so during the day, natural light provides effective internal lighting. This strategy allows natural sunlight to illuminate the interior space of a building without the need to rely exclusively on electrical lighting during the day. Electrical lighting can account for as much as 40 percent of power consumption in many commercial buildings, meaning reducing such loads can significantly lower energy usage. One means to lowering energy use is to install prismatic skylights and light tubes to increase natural daylighting. Although there are many myths surrounding skylights, evidence shows they not only improve energy efficiency, they also provide multiple benefits to people living and working within daylit facilities.

Prismatic skylights have a thermal break with flashing details around the curb. If water gets in the skylight, it is diverted around the skylight and not through the roof as a leak.

Prismatic skylights have a thermal break with flashing details around the curb. If water gets in the skylight, it is diverted around the skylight and not through the roof as a leak.

Skylight Types

There are a number of different skylight categories on the market today, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Prismatic skylights are the most widely used because they allow for the most diffused and evenly distributed light. Other, non-diffused skylights can create hotspots within the building and tend to have poor U-values with high solar-heat-gain coefficients that decrease the thermal efficiency of the skylight. Skylight spacing should be 1 1/2 times the distance from the floor to the underside of the roof. (To learn more, read “Modular Skylight Systems: Best Practices for Designing Skylights with Suspended Ceilings”.

The materials used for skylights also vary. Polycarbonates have the best impact resistance and are the most hurricane and burglar proof. Some acrylic diffusers can yellow with age. Lastly, glass skylights are commonly used in residential applications and large, custom jobs that vary widely depending upon the customer’s specifications.

Different skylight manufacturers offer various alternative designs to achieve improved daylighting. One such alternate design is a tubular skylight or “light pipe”. Tubular designs are great for drop ceilings, because the tube reflects light down through a diffuser at the bottom of the fixture and ends up looking just like a normal lighting fixture on the interior of the building.

Saving Money

Although skylights can be installed at any time on a flat or steep-slope roof, significant savings can be realized when you install skylights during reroofing. The cost of installation decreases because manpower is already onsite, safety is in place, and there is significant reduction in overall time and labor leading to more cost-efficiency. With larger skylights, installations can be spread out over the roof and, ultimately, that saves money, as well.

By leveraging relationships with skylight manufacturers and lighting controllers’ manufacturers, roofing contractors may be able to access additional skylight models, better pricing and longer-term warranties.

To maximize the benefits of a daylighting strategy, the building owner should consider combining new skylights with new interior lighting controls. Photo-sensor technology incorporated with skylights can further conserve energy by actively sensing when artificial lighting is not needed.

When you capture sunlight and brighten the inside of your building with daylighting, there are positive effects—from boosting morale and productivity to reducing energy costs.

When you capture sunlight and brighten the inside of your building with daylighting, there are positive effects—from boosting morale and productivity to reducing energy costs.

Daylighting Benefits

Environmentally, daylighting reduces the load on power plants, lowers greenhouse-gas emissions and lessens air and water pollution resulting from byproducts of electricity generation. The payback for energy savings and reduction of electricity is typically one to two years. For customers seeking to achieve LEED certification, a green-building program administered by the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council, daylighting is another green solution. Skylights can contribute to a number of LEED credits by optimizing energy performance, using recycled materials, and increasing daylight and views.

One of the most documented outcomes of increasing natural daylighting is an aesthetically pleasing environment in which to live, work and interact that improves productivity and personal satisfaction while decreasing energy costs associated with maintaining that facility. A reduction in energy costs and increase in productivity for manufacturing and office environments mean the payback period on daylighting investments can be relatively short. Schools also experience improved test scores. Hospitals see speedier recovery times and retail stores see an increase in sales all linked to increased daylighting. Daylighting can add to the value of a building, and daylit stores see an average of 5.5 percent increase in sales relative to stores without daylighting, according to “Daylight & Retail Sales”, a California Energy Commission report.

Daylighting Myths

The old-school thinking about day-lighting is that it is expensive and increases the chance of roof leaks around the skylights. Some building maintenance staff members do not want to deal with skylights. However, once a sample prismatic skylight is installed, the same maintenance staff usually becomes enthusiastic about the new lighting source. As for roof leaks, prismatic skylights have a thermal break with flashing details around the curb. If water gets in the skylight, it is diverted around the skylight and not through the roof as a leak.

Another myth is that with natural sunlight from the skylights, the building will be too hot. That’s not true because there is a reflective lens on top and an opaque lens on bottom. Light is brought in from all different angles and mitigates heat transfer into the building.

When you capture sunlight and brighten the inside of your building with daylighting, there are positive effects—from boosting morale and productivity to reducing energy costs. Once the CentiMark Corp. team installs a sample skylight on a roof, our customers typically get really excited and the interest level increases. Customers then rethink skylights and the lighting inside their buildings.

PHOTOS: Centimark Corp.

UN Climate Conference Agreement Will Impact Energy Efficiency of Buildings

The agreement from the U.N. Climate Conference will dramatically impact the energy efficiency of buildings in the U.S. becoming standard operating procedure for new construction and making deep retrofits worth the time and effort.

According to the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, there are approximately 6 million commercial buildings in the U.S., comprising 87.4 billion square feet. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average commercial building wastes 30 percent of its energy consumption at a cost of more than a trillion dollars of wasted energy.

PIMA President Jared Blum, serving also as vice chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, led a delegation of renewable and energy-efficiency business leaders to the COP21 meeting in Paris. Blum and the other leaders participated in briefing sessions given by the U.S. negotiating team, as well as in workshops as technology and policy experts.

“COP21 has indeed resulted in an unprecedented operating commitment to reduce CO2 emissions for the 196 countries attending,” says Blum. “Coupled with the recently passed Clean Power Plan here in the U.S., we expect to see building designers and scientists reevaluating how to get existing buildings to perform.”

Blum participated in the COP 21 in a number of different ways:

  • Provided the opening statement, the Intervention, at the Plenary Technical Working Group for Governmental Delegates.
  • Held meetings with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and a U.S. Senate delegation offering business input to the conference leaders.
  • Participated in a panel discussion with representatives of the wind industry and other efficiency advocates.

“Of real difference this year is the shift in the attitude of the business community towards this effort. The prices of solar- and wind-energy technologies have fallen dramatically, energy storage R&D is making significant progress, and energy-efficiency practices and policies have definitively demonstrated that economic growth can be separated from energy use,” adds Blum. “I believe that realization was one of the reasons this conference was a success.”

Congress Votes to Extend Energy-efficiency Tax Deduction for Two Years

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) issued the following statement on Congress’s two-year extension of the 179D tax deduction, which provides up to $1.80 per square foot for the design of energy-efficient buildings. Please attribute the statement to AIA President Russell Davidson, FAIA:

“As architects, we’d have preferred a longer-term extension. With this deduction expiring each year, it has been difficult for us to plan our finances, which in turn has limited the effectiveness of this key incentive for designing energy-efficient buildings.

“Nonetheless, we are pleased members of Congress have voted to extend this tax provision through 2016 as part of the comprehensive budget bill. In addition to providing a benefit to commercial building owners, the 179D deduction encourages federal, state and local government building owners, like public schools or state universities, to build energy-efficient buildings by offering a tax deduction to the designer of these buildings.

“By allowing government entities to transfer the tax deduction to designers of buildings that surpass industry efficiency standards, our profession is able to put in the extra time and effort needed to design the best buildings for our neighborhoods and communities, while government entities can better manage their bottom lines.

“Our 87,000 members strongly support this deduction as one way to encourage the design and construction of buildings that are energy efficient—and save taxpayer dollars in the process. We’d like to see it made permanent.”

ROXUL Introduces Its Energy Design Center

Insulation manufacturer ROXUL Inc. has introduced its Energy Design Center (EDC) on its website. The EDC will serve as a one-stop hub for building industry professionals to access a wealth of resources, high-quality tools, training and tailored advisory services to unlock the energy savings potential of their buildings. Relevant to the North American market, the Energy Design Center is supported by a panel of international building science and energy-efficiency experts from industry and educational institutions.

In addition to providing direct and customized support to commercial building professionals, the Energy Design Center will provide comprehensive access to the latest third-party building science research, presentations, multi-media, case studies, product and service solutions, specification and application guides, technical and data sheets, industry news, events and more.

“The ROXUL EDC was created in direct consultation with architects, designers and specifiers to meet their real-world needs in an environment of ever-increasing energy targets, tighter building codes and legislation,” says Rockford Boyer, B. Arch. Sc., BSSO, North American manager, Energy Design Center, ROXUL Inc. “It is specifically aimed at helping them achieve the highest energy efficiency requirements without sacrificing other design and performance priorities, all while taking into account sustainability, durability and resiliency. The ROXUL EDC is rooted in science and innovation.”

ROXUL EDC services and resources are offered at no cost and focus on five core competencies:

  • Building Science Expertise: Building enclosure analysis, detailing and material specifications.
  • WUFI Modeling: 1-D transient hygrothermal analysis, heat, air and moisture analysis, roofing heat transfer models (climate-driven R-value).
  • Thermal Bridging: THERM models (2-D) / HEAT 3 Models (3-D), overall U-value analysis, insulation detailing analysis.
  • R-value Calculations: Code and standards compliance, overall effective R-value calculations, dew point analysis.
  • Full Building Modeling: DesignBuilder and IES-VE energy modeling, included HVAC and electricity (default) and building envelope sensitivity analysis.

Plans are in place for the EDC to support a fully integrated education center, offering American Institute of Architects (AIA) accredited training courses that qualify for continuing education credits.

In the meantime, visitors to the ROXUL EDC can find advanced learnings on commercial building construction and building science topics, such as climate-driven R-value, continuous insulation, hybrid roofing systems, the implications of temperature-dependent thermal conductivity for exterior walls and insulated sheathing, draining balance testing and wall comparison, deflection testing of exterior wall attachments, hygrothermal simulations and analysis of solar-driven inward water vapor, the implications of temperature-dependent thermal conductivity for commercial roofing systems, the impact and benefits of membrane colour and roofing strategy on the performance of conventional roofing assemblies, and much more.

Roof Hatch Is Designed to Provide Energy Efficiency

The Bilco Co. has introduced a thermally broken roof hatch.

The Bilco Co. has introduced a thermally broken roof hatch.

The Bilco Co. has introduces a thermally broken roof hatch, an addition to its line of commercial specialty access products. This new product features a thermally broken frame and cover design to minimize heat transfer and the effects of condensation and to provide energy efficiency.

As a basic premise to energy loss, heat by nature wants to flow to a cooler space. During summer months, heat from the extremely hot roof exterior wants to radiate through the roof hatch into the cooler building interior. While standard roof-hatch insulation helps to reduce this heat gain, the metal construction of the roof hatch itself facilitates this temperature transfer, which can lead to increased utility costs and condensation issues on the underside of the roof hatch. In winter or colder months, this same energy transfer principle results in heat loss from inside the building and increased energy expenses, as well.

Bilco¹s new thermally broken roof hatch is designed with an element of low conductivity integrated between interior and exterior surfaces of the cover and frame to reduce temperature transfer. As an added benefit, these same thermally broken components dampen vibration for improved acoustic performance against outside noise. The product also features 3 square feet of polyisocyanurate insulation with an R-value of 18 in both the cover and curb for superior energy performance and a special cover gasket to minimize air leakage.

Thermally broken roof hatches are constructed of aluminum to attain high levels in recycled content and solar reflective index. The product will be offered in a number of standard single-leaf sizes and custom sizes can be specified. As with all Bilco’s roof hatches, the product features counter-balanced lift assistance for easy one-hand operation, an automatic hold-open arm, a heavy-duty slam latch with interior and exterior padlock hasps, and the innovative Bil-Clip flashing system for quick and easy installation on single-ply roofs.

A New Report Finds Sustainable Roofs Deliver Millions in Benefits to ‘Roof Aware’ Cities

“Roof Awareness” has come a long way during the years. It used to be that people only thought about their roofs when something went wrong. Building owners then started realizing that making smart choices about the roof could save money on energy costs. Roofs are now seen as essential platforms for cities to meet energy-efficiency and renewable-energy goals, to improve the health and quality of residents’ lives, and to achieve social equity. A new effort to better quantify those benefits and costs shows cities with good roof awareness are reaping millions in economic benefits.

TABLE 1: Summary of cost-benefit analysis results (NOTE: There is no internal rate of return, simply payback, or benefit-to-cost ratio for rooftop PV because we all rooftop PV systems are financed with a PPA [so there is no upfront cost to DGS]).

TABLE 1: Summary of cost-benefit analysis results (NOTE: There is no internal rate of return, simply payback, or benefit-to-cost ratio for rooftop PV because we all rooftop PV systems are financed with a PPA [so there is no upfront cost to DGS]).

With that change in role comes new challenges for evaluating what type of roof makes sense for building owners and cities alike. There are well-developed building models and field studies that give us great insight into how sustainable roofing—that is, reflective, vegetated or solar roofs—saves energy and energy costs. But there is not a single tool that could evaluate all the benefits that accrue from good roofing choices beyond energy savings, such as better health, enhanced air quality, greater stormwater management and improved social conditions. Until now, that is.

A recently released report—the “Affordable Housing Smart Roof Report”—from Washington, D.C.-based Capital E, a firm dedicated to accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, now allows city officials and owners of affordable housing developments to see and calculate the full lifetime costs and benefits of roof decisions. “This is the first model that helps the user puta dollar value on the various benefits of sustainable roofing options. We see this as a great tool for contractors looking to quantify the full benefits of sustainable roofing for their potential clients. It will also help city officials to enact policies that recognize the value of smarter roofing that may not be directly visible on the building owner’s books,” says Keith Glassbrook, a Capital E senior analyst and one of the lead developers of the new model.

TABLE 2: Present value summary of costs and benefits for the three technologies on all low-slope DGS roofs (NOTE: All PV is financed with a PPA so there is no upfront cost to DGS; results may not sum due to rounding).

TABLE 2: Present value summary of costs and benefits for the three technologies on all low-slope DGS roofs (NOTE: All PV is financed with a PPA so there is no upfront cost to DGS; results may not sum due to rounding).

Building the Tool

Rather than reinventing the wheel, Capital E identified existing tools, models and methods from the huge base of existing science for each item in its cost-benefit analysis. The model integrates these individual, detailed components into a form that is accessible and easy to use for non-scientists and that provides straightforward results in dollars per square foot.

The model is an extension of an analysis undertaken for the Washington, D.C., Department of General Services (DGS) as part of its Smart Roofs Initiative. The initiative is designed to help Washington achieve its aspirations to become the greenest, healthiest, most equitable city in the U.S. by using the roofs of city-owned buildings more thoughtfully. DGS owns and controls more than 400 buildings in Washington, including office buildings, schools and hospitals. The city is using this portfolio (28 million square feet of buildings with approximately $62 million in annual energy expenditures) to drive deep improvements in energy efficiency and achieve other objectives.

Like a growing number of cities, Washington, D.C., is committed to using its roofs to deploy photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, cool roofs to reflect sunlight and reduce unwanted heat gain in summer, and green roofs to cut stormwater runoff that results in water pollution and requires construction of expensive water-treatment plants and other grey infrastructure. Tommy Wells, a former councilmember and current director of the District Department of the Environment, summarized the reasons in the Smart Roof cost-benefit report’s press release: “Past research shows that ‘smart’ roof strategies that reduce extreme temperatures in buildings can literally save lives. This new report provides additional justification for cool, green, and solar roofing solutions by showing that they also make compelling financial sense as we work to make D.C. a healthier and more sustainable city.”

Washington has been among the most advanced cities in the nation in deploying sustainable roof technologies. But because there was no established methodology for quantifying the full cost and benefits—including health benefits—for any of these technologies, Washington to date had not been able to quantify the full costs and benefits of these roof choices or compare the merits of each to make informed decisions about which technologies to deploy and at what scale. The analysis undertaken by Capital E to remedy this issue concluded that DGS’ Smart Roofs program can deliver between $47 and $335 million in benefits to the city over 40 years, depending on the roof technology chosen.

More Analysis

A parallel analysis was funded by the New York-based JPB Foundation, which seeks to enhance the quality of life in the U.S. by creating opportunities for those in poverty, promoting pioneering medical research, and enriching and sustaining the environment. JPB Foundation launched its analysis based on the success of this initial analysis by DGS. This time, the model was adapted to evaluate actual affordable-housing buildings in Baltimore; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C. The sample buildings, which were part of the National Housing Trust, Washington, or Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners Inc.’s portfolios, included steep- and low-slope roofs, high- and low-rise structures, as well as some attached row houses. The project team for this study included the National Housing Trust; Washington-based American Institute of Architects; Washington-based Global Cool Cities Alliance; Enterprise Community Partners; and U.S. Green Building Council, Washington. In each city and building type evaluated, the model found sustainable roofs would generate more benefits than they cost (first cost and maintenance) and would, in some cases, have an immediate payback.

The results were variable by building and city but they confirmed that sustainable roofing was the superior economic choice compared to traditional dark roofs in the cities studied.

The JPB Foundation analysis shows there is no one-size-fits-all solution to maximize value with sustainable roofing. For example, green roofs made the most sense in Washington, D.C., because of the city’s stormwater rules. On the building in Baltimore, cool roofs were the best choice. The results were variable by building and city but they confirmed that sustainable roofing was the superior economic choice compared to traditional dark roofs in the cities studied.

A second phase is currently underway by JPB Foundation to extend the model to large areas of cities to capture the impact of sustainable roofs at a community scale, as well as other technologies, such as reflective pavements, and to better quantify some of the social benefits of cooler, more enjoyable surroundings.

Why My Teams Install Stone-coated Metal Roofs

Recently, a father and his adult son, both from Chatham, Ontario, Canada, contacted my company Metal Roof Outlet in Courtland, Ontario. Both needed to have roofs on their homes replaced. They chose stone-coated metal roofs. We installed the son’s roof first; then went to the father’s home. Before we began work, the dad told us, “My son had a very nice-looking home before. Now he has a castle.”

An installation team from Metal Roof Outlet, Courtland, Ontario, Canada, installs an Allmet stone-coated metal roof on a suburban Toronto home.

An installation team from Metal Roof Outlet, Courtland, Ontario, Canada, installs an Allmet stone-coated metal roof on a suburban Toronto home.


That perfectly sums up the kind of comments I hear from customers who have had our teams install stone-coated metal roofs on their homes. They like the roofs’ longevity, energy efficiency and maintenance freedom.

Above all, though, is the roofs’ “wow” factor that is apparent from the street or up close. People don’t even fully recognize it’s metal because of the roof’s stone finish. The stone coating provides a very natural look. It’s a warmer appearance that blends in with the surroundings, never looking artificial or manufactured

Customers respond well to stone-coated metal’s colors, which come in a wide variety. The stones’ colors are blended to arrive at the end shade. Customers with single-color siding typically prefer a roof of variegated colors. But if they have a busier brick exterior, they will go with a solid-color roof for contrast.

Whenever I’m working with a prospective customer, we will send out a sample to put up against the customer’s brick or siding. It’s hard to see the color in the hand. But step back a bit, and the customer can see that color.

Metal Roof Outlet, Courtland, Ontario, Canada, installs Allmet stone-coated metal roofs because of the roofs’ many benefits.

Metal Roof Outlet, Courtland, Ontario, Canada, installs Allmet stone-coated metal roofs because of the roofs’ many benefits.


The durability of the roofs is another selling point. The majority of people coming into our showroom are replacing their roofs every 12 years. They’re tired of replacing their roofs and they tell us they just want to do it once and be done with it. When you put on a stone-coated metal roof, you know it’s there for the life of the home. Over the long-term, it will be more cost-effective. Instead of replacing a typical roof three or four times over 50 years, you install this roof just once.

After the initial cost, you’ve improved the look of the home; you have increased the energy efficiency; and you’ve made sure you have very, very little maintenance. Other than removing the leaves from the valleys and gutters, there’s little else to do.

Many of the homeowners who choose a stone-coated metal roof do so because they intend to remain in their homes for decades. Thirty years ago, it was typically older couples that chose stone-coated metal roofs. These were people who’d saved the money and liked the look. Today, it’s often younger homeowners—people in their 30s and 40s—who choose stone-coated metal. They are fixing up their homes with the intention of staying in them.

When I think back, I can’t think of any one particular roofing project where stone-coated metal stood out as a real problem solver. That’s because it solves problems on every roof we do.

The BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership Installs Tornado-Resistant Daylighting Systems and Other Sustainable Materials

On the night of May 4, 2007, brothers Kelly and Mike Estes saw their BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership obliterated by an EF5 tornado nearly 2-miles wide (according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which rates the strength of tornados by the damage caused; view the scale on page 3). Astoundingly, 95 percent of their town—Greensburg, Kan.—was also destroyed that day. The tornado did much more than rip roofs off buildings and toss things around; it turned the entire community into what looked like kindling.

Rarely do communities get hit by an EF5 tornado, which can come about when air masses collide. Sometimes warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico rises above drier air from the Southwest deserts in the U.S. This can create unstable conditions resulting in thunderstorms and worse. A strong collision of air masses creates a strong storm. Additionally, wind patterns and the jet stream can magnify the storm, resulting in what people refer to as “the perfect storm”.

After being completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado, the BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership has been rebuilt in Greensburg, Kan., in a better, greener way.

After being completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado, the BTI-Greensburg John Deere Dealership has been rebuilt in Greensburg, Kan., in a better, greener way.

Despite the large-scale losses incurred by the entire town, 100 customers and friends of the Estes family showed up the morning of May 5 to help them salvage what remained of their business. Shortly after the tornado disaster, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius stated her wish that Greensburg become the “the greenest city in the state”.

As part of their commitment to their community, Kelly, Mike and their family decided to rebuild their business in a better, greener way. They wanted the new 28,000-square-foot prefabricated metal building to be the world’s greenest farm-machinery facility; attain a LEED Platinum rating from the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council; and use the least energy possible. One of the most important considerations was using building materials that could withstand future tornados.

DAYLIGHTING

To help achieve LEED Platinum and outlast any future high-velocity winds, they incorporated 12 Daylighting Systems in their retail area’s roof to showcase their merchandise; reduce lighting energy costs; and flood the area with natural light, a benefit for customers and employees.

The Daylighting Systems capture light through a dome on the roof and channel it down through a highly reflective tube. This tubing is more efficient than a traditional drywall skylight shaft, which can lose over half of the potential light. The tubing fits between rafters and installs with no structural modification. At the ceiling level, a diffuser that resembles a recessed light fixture spreads the light evenly throughout the room.

The dome is made from high-quality acrylic resin that is specifically formulated for increased impact strength, chemical- and weather-resistance, and high clarity (a polycarbonate inner dome is used for high-velocity hurricane zones). Domes are engineered to deflect midday heat and maximize low-angle light capture. The tubing is made from puncture-proof aluminum sheet coated with the highly reflective material for maximum light transfer. The units (independently tested by Architectural Testing in Fresno, Calif.) comply with various building codes including the 2009 International Building Code and 2010 Florida Building Code, including high-velocity hurricane zones.

“When our power went out one time for four hours, we were able to keep the shop open and operating due to daylight strategies, which includes the Daylighting Systems,” notes Mike Estes. “We didn’t anticipate this benefit but we’re really happy to have this bonus.”
PHOTO: SOLATUBE INTERNATIONAL INC.

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Ecotech Institute Clean Jobs Index: 1.2 Million Green Energy Jobs Posted in First Quarter

Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index reported more than one million green energy job postings across the nation in the first quarter of 2015. The Clean Jobs Index classifies clean energy jobs based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics description, which says that clean jobs are jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. The classification also includes jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

Ecotech Institute, a school dedicated solely to renewable energy and sustainability, created the Clean Jobs Index to provide objective information about renewable energy jobs and to compare states’ use and development of clean and sustainable energy.

“As more businesses look for ways to conserve energy and renewables continue to gain traction, more jobs are becoming available,” says Chris Gorrie, Ecotech Institute’s president. “States have come to see clean energy sources as an important piece of infrastructure, opening the door to great opportunities in renewable energy.”

Highlights from the Clean Jobs Index Q1 2015

    Number of U.S. Clean Jobs Postings in Q1 2015:

  • 1.2 million
    Top three states with the most clean jobs openings:

  • California – 131,215 job openings
  • Texas – 90,281 job openings
  • New York – 71,748 job openings
    States with the highest rise in clean jobs openings, compared to Q1 2014:

  • Rhode Island
  • New York
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
    States with most clean jobs per 100,000 people:

  • North Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Rhode Island
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • South Dakota

Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index is an aggregation of statistics by state. Although it may indicate a greater possibility for employment in the clean economy sector, the Clean Jobs Index in no way indicates the presence or the promise of any specific job opportunities. Data for the index is gathered regularly from independent research entities including: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council.