Program Operator Consortium Welcomes Two New Affiliate Members

The green building industry’s consortium of program operators has announced the addition of two new affiliate members: NRMCA (National Ready Mixed Concrete Association), a concrete advocate organization, and Sustainable Solutions Corp., an environmental consulting firm.
 
The Program Operator Consortium launched last year to provide standardized, and more useful environmental-product transparency solutions and to reduce complexity in the marketplace. The consortium serves as a resource and advocate for creating product category rules (PCRs), reviewing life cycle assessment reports (LCA), and verifying and publishing environmental product declarations (EPDs).
 
“As one of the leading EPD operators in the construction materials industry, we must consider opportunities to deliver value to our membership,” states James Bogdan, senior director of sustainability initiatives with NRMCA. “Joining the POC allows our industry access to a network of practitioners and experts, and insight to evolving environmental disclosure reporting.”
 
“Sustainable Solutions Corp. is excited to join the Program Operator Consortium as an affiliate member because of our commitment to product transparency and to help ensure the production of transparency documents,” says Tad Radzinski, president of Sustainable Solutions Corp. “We bring to the consortium our years of experience completing LCAs and EPDs, a team of certified LCA practitioners, and our objective of using LCA data to drive sustainability, product innovation and continuous improvement.”
 
These two affiliate members join thinkstep, a software, data and environmental consulting services company, which was the consortium’s first affiliate member. Regular members of the Consortium include: ASTM International, CSA Group, ICC-Evaluation Service, NSF Sustainability, SCS Global Services, and Sustainable Minds.
 
The Affiliate Member Program was created for industry associations, government agencies, standards developers, consultants, and data providers to have access to expertise from a like-minded community. The free program also provides education, discounted rates, and a seat at the table to contribute to creating uniformity across environmental reporting formats, data requirements, and communication.
 
Each consortium member is represented in the group’s Technical Advisory Board. These LCA experts oversee the implementation of the consortium’s North American two-part PCR framework, which consortium members have aligned to use and maintain over the past year. Today, PCRs created by any member will produce standardized environmental declarations, helping both manufacturers as well as decision-makers who specify green building materials and products. The first catalog of North American PCRs and an aggregated catalog of EPDs from members’ programs are available at here.
 
The consortium holds both in-person meetings and webinars with global manufacturers, LCA providers, and industry trade associations. Those interested in joining or learning more about the consortium are encouraged to contact info@programoperators.org.

ATAS International Hosts Architects During Anniversary Conference

ATAS International hosted members of the Society of American Registered Architects during their 60th anniversary conference in Arizona.  Over 35 SARA members attended an educational presentation and toured ATAS’ manufacturing facility in Mesa, earning learning units for both activities.  David Srokose, architectural business development manager at ATAS, presented on sustainable building envelopes, and Dick Bus, president of ATAS, led the plant tour, which was followed by lunch for the guests.
 
During the educational presentation, attendees learned how metal cladding on roofs and walls can contribute to green building objectives, and how metal walls can use sunlight to provide a building with solar air heating.  Cool roof technologies, including UV reflective pigments and above sheathing ventilation, were discussed, as well as how metal roofing can provide a solar ready platform for photovoltaic systems.
 
Dick Bus states, “We were pleased to welcome the SARA members to our Mesa, Ariz., facility while they were in the area for their annual conference.  The plant tour allowed our guests to view the equipment and processes used to fabricate metal components for the building envelope.  All attendees were invited to visit our Allentown, Pa., headquarters, if they are ever in the area.”

Firm Leaders Reinvest and Expand Businesses as Profitability Increases

U.S. architecture firms have experienced a near complete recovery from the Great Recession, which has allowed firm leaders to reinvest profits back into their businesses. These findings, along with an in depth look at topics such as firm billings, staffing, and international work, are covered in the “The Business of Architecture: 2016 Firm Survey Report”.  The report offers metrics that provide insights into how architecture firms are operating and is available for purchase here.

“More than at any point in recent memory, there has been rise in the amount of renovation projects that architects have led compared to new construction activity over the past decade plus,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “A lot this has to do with green building incentives towards renovations, improved construction methods and products that increase the longevity of buildings, and a slower growing population that reduces the need for new construction.”

Key highlights:

  • Net billings at architecture firms were $28.5 billion at the peak of the market in 2008 and had nearly recovered to $28.4 billion by 2015.
  • Percentage of firms reporting a financial loss declined sharply in recent years from more than 20 percent in 2011 to fewer than 10 percent by 2015.
  • Growing profitability has allowed firms to increase their marketing activities and expand into new geographical areas and building types to diversify their design portfolios.
  • Renovations made up a large portion of design work with 45 percent of building design billings coming from work on existing facilities, including 30 percent from additions to buildings, and the remaining from historic preservation projects.
  • Billings in the residential sector topped $7 billion, more than 30 percent over 2013 levels.
  • Modest gains in diversity of profession with women now comprising 31 percent of architecture staff (up from 28 percent in 2013) and minorities making up 21 percent of staff (up from 20 percent in 2013).
  • Use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software has become standard at larger firms with 96 percent of firms with 50 or more employees report using it for billable work (compared to 72 percent of mid-sized firms and 28 percent of small firms).
  • Newer technologies including 3D printing and 4D/5D modeling are reported being used at only 11 percent and 8 percent of firms respectively.
  • Energy modeling currently has a low adoption rate with 13 percent of firms using it for billable work, although this share jumps to 59 percent for large firms.

“From a practice standpoint, digital modeling is firmly entrenched in the early phase of design work and expanding into subsequent phases, with the potential for more involvement for architects through the construction and facility management processes,” said AIA senior director of research, Michele Russo. “In the coming years we expect firms will be adding technological dimensions to their design work through more utilization of cloud computing, 3D printing and the use of virtual reality software. This should help further efficiencies, minimize waste and project delivery delays, and lead to increased bottom line outcomes for their clients.”

Green Building Consortium Welcomes New Members

The green building industry’s consortium of program operators announced at Greenbuild the addition of two new members and an enhanced technical advisory board. CSA Group is now a member, while thinkstep is the group’s affiliate member.
 
This marks the first anniversary of the Program Operator Consortium, which launched last year to provide environmental-product transparency solutions and to reduce complexity in the marketplace. The consortium serves as a resource and advocate for creating product category rules (PCRs), reviewing life cycle assessment reports (LCA), and verifying and publishing environmental product declarations (EPDs).
 
CSA Group, a Canadian standards development organization, joins existing members of the consortium: ASTM International, ICC-Evaluation Service, NSF Sustainability, SCS Global Services and Sustainable Minds. “CSA Group is pleased to be joining the Program Operator Consortium and working together to ensure EPDs and PCRs are developed in a consistent fashion, following ISO standards and industry best practice, in order to showcase a product’s environmental impact,” said Michael Leering, the organization’s director of sustainability.
 
The first affiliate member of the consortium is thinkstep, a software, data, and environmental-consulting services company that works with 40 percent of the Fortune 500. “Standardizing the PCR and EPD creation process will contribute to lowering costs and increasing the use of products that reduce environmental impact,” said Nuno da Silva, thinkstep’s director of product sustainability. “We’re delighted to contribute to this effort.”
 
The Affiliate Member Program was created for industry associations, government agencies, standards developers, consultants, and data providers to have access to expertise from a like-minded community.  The program also provides education, discounted rates, and the ability to contribute to creating uniformity across environmental reporting formats, data requirements, and communication.
 
Each consortium member is represented in the group’s Technical Advisory Board:

These LCA experts oversee the implementation of the consortium’s North American two-part PCR framework, which consortium members have aligned to use and maintain over the past year. PCRs created by any member will produce standardized environmental declarations, helping both manufacturers as well as decision-makers who specify green building materials and products. A catalog of North American PCRs and an aggregated catalog of EPDs from members’ programs are available at www.programoperators.org.
 
The consortium holds both in-person meetings and webinars with global manufacturers, LCA providers, and industry trade associations. Those interested in joining or learning more about the consortium are encouraged to contact info@programoperators.org.

Kemper System Is Developing Product Declarations to Meet LEED Requirements

To satisfy new LEED certification requirements for green building construction, Kemper System America Inc. is developing both Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs) for liquid-applied roofing and waterproofing products.

The latest version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, LEED v4, includes two new transparency elements for Building Product Disclosure and Optimization which can contribute up to four points towards a certification:

  • “Environmental Product Declarations” credits require the use of materials that meet EPD or similar disclosure criteria.
  • “Health Product Declarations” accrue “Material Ingredients Credits” for products that use designated methods to disclose composition to at least 0.1 percent.

To help customers obtain these new LEED certification points, Kemper System is planning to develop EPDs for products beginning in 2017 and issue upon completion; and to issue HPDs for all relevant products by the end of 2017.

Since the LEED rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1994, it has become a standard in green building certification, and it has adapted to meet the demands of building owners and regulators for transparency and sustainability.

McElroy Metal Announces Website Relaunch

McElroy Metal, a metal roof and wall systems manufacturer serving the construction industry, announces its website relaunch at www.McElroyMetal.com.

McElroy Metal has dedicated sections of the new site to the specific markets it serves: residential, architectural/commercial, post frame, retrofit/recover, green building/solar and insulated metal panels. The site also contains animations highlighting installation sequences and a color visualizer enabling visitors to view their personal homes or businesses with McElroy Metal products and colors. The McElroy University portion of the site has been expanded to feature information on Hands-On Installation Classes, Substrate and Coating Facts, Finish and Substrate Warranty Education and Educational Videos.

GBRI Courses Assist Building Professionals Earn USGBC LEED Credential

The new LEED v4 Exam Preparation Package from education leaders GBRI (Green Building Research Institute) is an innovative way for green building professionals, architects and engineers to earn their LEED credential, signifying their in-depth knowledge of the LEED rating system, building codes and standards. The GBRI approach to LEED education allows green building professionals to earn their USGBC LEED Credential quickly and easily: using the live online, in-person and online on-demand learning modules, professionals can achieve their LEED credential in as little as four weeks. “Having worked in the field ourselves for decades, we get it. It’s no easy task to make time for exam preparation: professionals today need the online, on-demand and in-person flexibility that our courses offer,” commented Kayla Gerstenberg, director of education.

There is no pre-requisite necessary to take the LEED exam; the all-inclusive LEED v4 Exam Preparation Package includes everything professionals need to study for and pass the exam successfully. The package includes a study guide, online learning modules, and comprehensive practice exams with over 500 test questions (and explanations for each question). Offered online, online on-demand, and in-person, the course caters to many different learning styles and time schedules. Materials such as MP3 audio files, flash cards designed for studying on-the-go and memory charts are made available to aid the learning process. As GBRI boasts a large network of highly qualified instructors, courses are offered at locations throughout the United States and the world – from Vermont to Dubai.

Professionals can select from numerous specialties within the LEED credential: LEED Green Associate (GA), LEED AP Building Design + Construction (BD + C) and LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (O+M). Courses start at $199, and once signed up, students gain instant access so they can begin working toward their LEED credential immediately. To register or access more information about the online and on-demand online package, click here.

Green-building Consortium Addresses Product Transparency, LCAs, EPDs and Effective PCRs

A first-of-its-kind consortium in the green-building industry convened 15 manufacturers and industry representatives from around the world to hear their needs for enhancing product transparency and stewardship through effective product category rules (PCRs), life cycle assessment reports (LCAs), environmental product declarations (EPDs), and next-generation product transparency solutions, including Sustainable Minds Transparency Reports.

The manufacturer’s roundtable was held in conjunction with an ASTM International conference attended by top technical experts in sustainability, building performance and several other industries.

“What we heard today was that as the demand for environmental stewardship across the green building industry increases, the need for consistent, standardized and scalable solutions grows in tandem,” says Tim Brooke, vice president, ASTM International. “That’s exactly what our four organizations are aiming to address as we communicate and deliver the value of voluntary product stewardship.”

In addition to ASTM, the Program Operator Consortium includes NSF International, ICC Evaluation Service and Sustainable Minds. The group launched in 2015 to serve as an expert resource and advocate for creating PCRs, for reviewing LCAs, and for verifying and publishing environmental declarations.

During the roundtable, the consortium announced that its four members have aligned how they develop PCRs and declarations, giving greater flexibility and visibility for manufacturers and decision-makers who are tasked with finding, comparing, and selecting products for projects.

RCMA Updates Reflective Roof Coatings and LEED White Paper

The Washington, D.C.-based Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association has updated its reflective roof coatings and LEED white paper, originally issued by the Reflective Roof Coatings Institute (RRCI) in 2012. (RCMA and RRCI announced their merger in early 2015.)

The white paper explores the role of reflective roof coatings in the Washington-based U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Version 4 green-building program with emphasis on new building structure, existing building operation and maintenance, and LEED v4 prerequisites and credit requirements.

The white paper intends to provide understanding for stakeholders about the cost-effective contributions of roof coatings and the environmentally sound new building and renovation projects that use LEED v4. The white paper also serves as a resource, which outlines the benefits that reflective roof coatings provide to buildings, businesses and the environment. The findings in the LEED white paper apply to any reflective roof coatings that are LEED-compliant.

Bob Kobet of The Kobet Collaborative, Pittsburgh, is the author of the LEED white paper updates, as well as RRCI’s original white paper. Members of the RCMA Reflective Roof Coatings Institute, RCMA Technical Affairs Committee, and RCMA Codes and Standards Task Force collaborated on the project to update and revise the white paper to incorporate LEED’s new version.

The COP21 agreement presents a major opportunity for architects around the globe to provide leadership in designing buildings and communities that help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Its call for capacity building for adaptation and mitigation of climate change represents exactly what the architecture profession excels at providing,” says Russell Davidson, FAIA, AIA president, as the COP21 meeting of the United Nations Climate Change conference concluded.

The new “Reflective Roof Coatings and LEED v4” white paper is published online on RCMA’s website.

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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