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Archive for January, 2017

Seven need-to-know building performance strategies (USGBC Wisconsin)

Published on 3 Jan 2017 Written by Doug Pearson Posted in Industry

What goes into measuring and improving building performance? Building performance strategies can cover a wide range of topics. Each strategy is important, yet each is just one aspect of what it takes to achieve a successful project.

  • Accessibility: This should go beyond the minimum as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) to address universal design, equal access and flexibility.
  • Aesthetics: The building aesthetic needs to consider design elements that fit into the community or campus, and represent the desired architectural style.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The need to be cost-effective will suggest the building materials, but also use life-cycle costing and consider nonmonetary benefits such as aesthetic, historic preservation, safety, security, flexibility, resiliency and sustainability.
  • Functionality: Make sure to account for the needs of the owner, ensure appropriate product and systems integration and meet the performance objectives.
  • Productivity: This involves integrating technology, creating audio/visual systems, promoting health and well-being of the occupants, providing comfortable environments for the intended tasks and assuring reliable systems and spaces.
  • Safety and security: Address fire safety, indoor air quality, natural hazard mitigation and security for the occupants and assets.
  • Sustainability: Optimize energy use, conserve water, use the site’s full potential, control long-term maintenance costs and reduce the impact on the environment through environmentally friendly building materials.

Identify project goals early on, and coordinate the interdependencies of all building systems concurrently with the planning and programming phase. Following a defined building performance strategy can result in such performance changes as 25 percent less energy, 19 percent lower operating costs, 27 percent higher occupant satisfaction, and 36 percent fewer CO2 emissions.


Doug Pearson

Green infrastructure: Best practices for cities

Published on 10 Jan 2017 Written by Hannah Jane Brown Posted in Advocacy and policy

Next time you take a walk around your city, look around. Is there green infrastructure near you? If not, there might be soon! Green infrastructure is becoming a more widely adopted strategy for addressing city challenges and goals.

In addition to taking root in climate action planning, cities are weaving green infrastructure into sustainability efforts and throughout myriad other initiatives. Recent articles on city climate action planning and fostering equity highlighted trends and best practices.

Some leading U.S. cities have already taken steps to invest in green infrastructure in a way that ensures benefits across the triple bottom line:

  • Chicago, Illinois: The city’s climate action plancalls for 500 new green roofs each year, leading up to 2020, to help manage storm-water and the urban heat island. Chicago is well on its way already, with over 500, and it continues to be among the national leaders in green roof development. The city led by example, installing a green roof on its City Hall building in 2000. Since, green infrastructure has been further promoted through city ordinances and programs such as the Green Alley program, the Sustainable Development Policy and a storm-water ordinance.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: Since 2010, the city has been focused on reversing urban blight using green infrastructure and community spaces through the Vacants to Value Since the program launched, 700 new community-managed spaceshave been created from previously vacant properties. Complementary city-run initiatives, such as urban agriculture and arts programs, are expanding more equitable access to land and green spaces while harnessing the benefits of a greener city.
  • Portland, Oregon:The city’s climate action plan prioritizes urban forest development in underserved areas, helping to grow the urban canopy with a more equitable distribution. Unlike most plans, Portland’s sets a minimum canopy coverage target, which prioritizes underserved neighborhoods. Portland’s plan includes an initiative to revisit canopy targets in the future to ensure they better capture resiliency outcomes, equitable distribution, and biodiversity.

Guiding principles for cities

These and other city-led initiatives have some important similarities. A city’s green infrastructure initiative is most likely to be effective when it is:

  • Data-driven. 
  • Place-based.
  • Integrated with other initiatives.
  • Aligned with structural adjustments. 
  • When green infrastructure initiatives have these characteristics, they have the potential to create more resilient communities by strengthening climate adaptation and social equity at the same time.


Smart green homes make sustainability easy

Published on 17 Nov 2016 Written by Zach Williams, Kirei USA Posted in Community

With a larger percentage of home buyers being made up of millennials than ever before, high-tech and green homes seem to be on everyone’s list these days. “Smart” home features frequently pair well with eco-friendly and green building designs, because many smart features offer you greater control over areas of your home that consume energy.

Take a look at some of the hottest smart and green building features available today. Here are eight of the latest features:

Programmable thermostats

Your thermostat controls the temperature of your home, telling your HVAC system when to go on and off. Older thermostats needed to be manually adjusted, however, so if you forgot to turn down the heat before you left for work, you lost both energy and money while you weren’t there.

Newer, programmable thermostats change all that. Now you can set the temperature ahead of time for the times when you aren’t home

Smart light bulbs

How often have you left a room, only to realize that you forgot to turn off the lights? Or maybe you want to adjust the lighting in the room you’re sitting in as the daylight wanes. With smart light bulbs, which are controlled from an app on your smartphone, you can get better control over your light usage. Turn off lights in rooms that people have vacated to save money and electricity, or dim the lights to change the mood without needing to get up.

Solar-reflective roofing shingles

Your roof plays a major role in how comfortable your home is year-round. Not only does it protect you from the elements, but your roof could be transferring heat into your home as well. When the sun beats down on your roof, dark-colored, traditional shingles heat up. This heat is then transferred down into your attic, which becomes super-heated in turn. Eventually, the heat makes it down into your living area, raising your energy bills. At the same time, the UV rays from the sun could also be causing your roof to deteriorate more quickly.

Solar-reflective roofing shingles prevent both of these things from happening. Instead of absorbing the heat and UV rays from the sun, they reflect them. This keeps your roof cooler, making your attic and the rest of your home cooler as well. Solar-reflective shingles may also help prevent UV-related deterioration of the shingles over time.

Monitoring systems

One of the most attractive ideas in the smart home industry is the monitoring system and the ways it can improve your home’s efficiency, energy usage and security. There are many different types of monitoring systems out there. Some use sensors to determine where you are in the home at that moment, and adjust lighting, temperature and other areas to suit.

Other monitoring systems allow you to get a peek into your home even when you’re away.

Get a smarter, greener home

Both smart home technology and green building design are on the top of many homeowners’ must-have lists these days. As companies strive to make improvements in both fields, the options keep getting better and better.

Written by Zach Williams, Kirei USA Posted in Community


Top 5 ways to create a healthy building (USGBC Northern California)

Published on 30 Nov 2016  Written by Nick Kiefer Posted in Community

There is a strong connection between the buildings where we spend the majority of our time and our personal health and wellness. There are also many aspects to a healthy building, inside and out, as well as during transition from new construction to an existing building

1) Indoor air quality

Just because indoor air quality is invisible doesn’t mean you should ignore it. The first step is to look at ventilation rates and filtration policies, which should both meet ASHRAE standards. It’s also important to evaluate the hygienic condition of the HVAC system, both in the air handling units and in the ductwork. Mold and dirt buildup are commonly found in these locations and contribute to degraded indoor air quality.

2) Active employees

Stand up! People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs. Enable people to stand up every hour, incorporate walking meetings or use standing desks. This can go a long way toward maintaining good cardiovascular health. One great option is giving employees the choice to either purchase or make a standing desk.

3) Water

It’s no secret that water is an important resource across the country. In the West, scarcity has made headlines in California, while combined sewer overflow creates an entirely different infrastructure problem on the East Coast.  Water audits can identify where your water is being used, and water testing can determine if your building’s water is safe for drinking.

4) Sustainability

Having a sustainable building goes a long way toward ensuring that the building and its occupants, are as healthy as possible. Ensuring your building’s energy and water usage are being used as efficiently as possible, while allowing occupants to enjoy thermal comfort, proper acoustics, biophilic environments, natural light and excellent water quality will enable the building to operate profitably and occupants to remain healthy and operating at peak performance.

5) Community

This one is on the property manager. But the good thing is, most are great at doing this already! Buildings like Harvest Properties 555 12th Street in Oakland, California, which holds Earth Day events and other tenant and management gatherings, foster a sense of community and encourage tenants to learn about the ways they can leverage the building’s healthy features.

If we keep educating the public, we can increase the connection between buildings and our health and wellness. Using alternative transportation, having access to healthy food options, producing renewable energy and controlling what we do in buildings is just as important to how we build and operate buildings. It’s about focusing on what’s important to do now—and what we can contribute to improve the future.

 Written by Nick Kiefer Posted in Community

LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Chemline, Inc. is a member of The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has the potential to provide LEED points.