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Archive for September, 2017

Tall wood buildings for high-performance

In this series, speakers from USGBC Northern California’s GreenerBuilder conference, held July 13, 2017, at the Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro, share insights from their sessions. Interested in supporting GreenerBuilder 2018 as an event sponsor or exhibitor? Please contact Brenden McEneaney.

Building with mass timber is relatively new to the United States, and particularly in Northern California; the session served as an introduction to the material and basics of construction, set the context for the role of mass timber in sustainable design and high-performance buildings and presented lessons learned from an experienced developer.

The Basics

The term “mass timber construction” or “tall wood construction” is different from the light-wood frame, stick-frame or even heavy timber post-and-beam structures. Mass timber usually refers to timber products engineered for loads similar in strength to structural materials like concrete and steel. Fire and structural engineering methods for these materials have been well developed around the world in the last 20 years, and we are realizing the many benefits mass timber that allows us to build tall, with a lighter, natural, low-carbon and high-quality material.

There are several products in the mass timber family. Nail-laminated timber (NLT), glued-laminated timber (GLT), and cross-laminated timber (CLT) are some of the most common. Each product is engineered to provide strength in different ways, and the way we use them varies accordingly. CLT is particularly versatile, and it presents strong opportunities for Northern California.

Why wood?

Building with wood is an opportunity to realize complementary performance benefits contributing to environmental, social and economic goals at all scales.

The use of mass timber helps with our shift to renewable resources, necessary as part of large-scale climate adaptation and mitigation. Mass timber supports very efficient and high-performing envelopes, and the precision manufacturing process creates extremely airtight buildings that can support good passive strategies for high-quality and comfortable operation.

Economic benefits include off-site fabrication, making construction schedules shorter and limiting financing time. Wood is a lighter material compared to concrete, allowing for a reduction in the size of footings and an associated reduction in costs. In addition, mass timber often means smaller crews and simpler tools.

Aesthetically, the natural qualities of wood lead to increased occupant satisfaction. Humans are attracted to natural shapes, forms, and textures, and wood is widely understood as a material that contributes to our sense of well-being in spaces and that can be a very healthy alternative to other finishes as an exposed surface on the interior.

Finally, mass timber is being used around the world to contribute to local and global climate action goals. It has a place in policy at all scales of governance as many jurisdictions recognize wood as an integral part of a low-carbon development, tying it directly to economic development, research initiatives, and emissions goals. Local expertise with the material is growing, and many resources exist to support developers, designers and construction professionals.

Lessons from experience

The benefits of building with CLT in the United States is demonstrated by Lend Lease’s Redstone Arsenal hotel project in Huntsville, Alabama. Completed 37 percent faster than traditional steel frame construction, and first-cost neutral, this example was a success that is being replicated in support of positively disrupting traditional construction methods. Analysis indicates that this approach could be optimal in the current residential, hospitality and office market sectors for mid-rise buildings of between six and 12 stories.

Challenges in the industry include a limited supply of CLT within North America, limited industry experience, lack of testing data and explicit support in building codes. Although it is currently possible to overcome regulatory barriers, early adopters like Lend Lease are supporting fire, blast and seismic testing to demonstrate acceptable performance parameters to regulators and authorities. Moreover, new U.S suppliers of CLT are becoming available, and other mass timber products can be accessed through numerous suppliers across the country.

To accelerate adoption, emphasis on demonstrating that this approach is effective for mass market development is most important.

WaterSmart

USGBC has partnered with the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition (WSI) to accelerate sustainable solutions for the water and building industries. This collaboration has made possible a two-part education series hosted at WSI and the WaterBuild Summit at Greenbuild Boston.

The sessions, “Towards Net Zero Water in LEED: A Forum on Whole Project Water Use,” explore LEED v4’s newest pathway for teams to demonstrate reductions in water consumption, the pilot credit Whole Project Water Use Reduction.

Depending on the building type and use, LEED may not previously have addressed all water use within a project boundary. This pilot credit rewards projects that take a holistic approach to water management and reduce total potable water consumption within a project boundary.

Participants at the session will hear from USGBC staff and LEED project teams how the whole-building water balance methodology provides projects with diverse water needs a practical solution for achieving LEED points in the Water Efficiency credit category and how it aligns with the LEED v4 rating system’s focus on performance.

Part I at WaterSmart

Part I of the series, hosted at WSI, will introduce the whole project methodology and project types using the pilot credit. The WSI session will not require a conference registration and will be held Wed., October 4 at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center.

Taking place October 4–6, the 10th annual WSI will feature more than 100 professional sessions, an expo hall showcasing water-efficient products and services and technical tours to venues illustrating Southern Nevada’s commitment to water efficiency.

Part II at WaterBuild

Part II of the series, hosted at the WaterBuild Summit at Greenbuild on November 7, will feature case studies presented by sustainability practitioners working in hospital, retail and data center projects. Attendees will learn the value of-of whole-building water balance modeling as a design and operations tool and have the opportunity to discuss water efficiency technologies and strategies that can be implemented at the building scale.

The summit will explore ways in which the green building industry can spur more meaningful transformation in important areas of water quality, access, efficiency, resilience, and abundance. It will focus on innovative infrastructure solutions that equip communities to resiliently respond to environmental challenges and stresses.

USGBC stands with Houston

Mahesh Ramanujam shares thoughts on USGBC’s support of Houston.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Texas—especially our USGBC staff, volunteers, their families and our members.

As a community of staff, volunteers and members all across the globe, we are all impacted as an organization when something as devastating as Hurricane Harvey takes place. The images of the storm and those affected by it remind us all how vulnerable we are when a natural disaster of this magnitude strikes. Please keep those in the greater Houston region in your thoughts and prayers as they work to repair and reclaim their homes, offices, schools, places of worship, and other critical buildings.

Sadly, Hurricane Harvey once again reminds us our work on resilient cities is at a critical juncture and represents an unprecedented opportunity to scale our work, spread our mission, and provide replicable models of resiliency that can be used in the United States and across the globe.

The road to complete recovery in the greater Houston region will be long, and please know that I am committed to doing everything we can as an organization to support that.

We are all in!

USGBC Announces LEED Homes Award Winners

Annual recognition highlights projects, developers, and builders leading the residential market in sustainable development

Washington, D.C.—(Sept. 12, 2017)—Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the recipients of its annual LEED Homes Awards, which recognizes projects, architects, developers and homebuilders who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation in the residential green building marketplace.

The LEED Homes Award recipients include multi-family, single-family and affordable housing projects and companies that are trailblazers in the residential sector and have prioritized incorporating sustainability within their projects in 2016.

“Homes provide more than just shelter. As demonstrated by the slate of LEED Homes award recipients, LEED homes improve the health and well-being of the occupants while saving energy, environmental resources, and money,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president, and CEO, USGBC. “This year we praise the innovative and integrative LEED Homes’ honorees for advancing the residential green building movement.”

The awards also recognize the “LEED Homes Power Builders,” which USGBC developed to honor an elite group of developers and builders that have exhibited an outstanding commitment to LEED and the green building movement within the residential sector. In order to be considered as a LEED Homes Power Builder, developers and builders must have LEED-certified 90 percent of their homes/unit count built in 2016. Homes at any LEED certification level—Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum—are eligible for consideration.

LEED Homes Award Recipients:

Project of the Year: Hassalo on Eighth, Portland, Ore.

Developed by American Assets Trust, designed by GBD Architects and constructed by Turner Construction, Hassalo on Eighth is a LEED Platinum mixed-use, dense development that creates a vibrant, 24-hour neighborhood for people to live, work and play. With more than a million square feet of new construction spread across three buildings, this project covers apartments, parking, an outdoor urban plaza and North America’s largest bike hub with space for 900 bicycles. Site-specific strategies include rainwater harvesting and treatment; on-site wastewater treatment and re-use with infiltration; district energy; natural daylighting and access to public transportation.

Outstanding Single-Family Project: Right-Sized Passive Home, Oak Park, Ill.

Designed by Tom Bassett-Dilley Architect, constructed by Evolutionary Home Builders and verified by Eco Achievers, the Right Sized Passive Home is a LEED Platinum home. Nontoxic, no-added formaldehyde, water-borne finishes, and materials were selected carefully for this project helping it become sustainable. This home also has its own energy monitoring system so the owners and designers can track energy use compared to modeled predictions.

Outstanding Single Family Developer: (Tie) John Marshall Custom Homes, Davidson, N.C.and Koral and Gobuty Development Co, LLC., Bradenton, Fla.

John Marshall Custom Homes continue to be a leader in sustainable building. Last year the firm developed a “pocket neighborhood” of 15 homes in Davidson, N.C. Currently, 12 of these homes have achieved LEED Silver certification while the remaining are waiting for certification and construction completion. The walkability of this community is one of its biggest attractions as it sits within a five-minute walk of the elementary school, park, shops and public library.

Koral and Gobuty Development Co, LLC are the developers of Mirabella, an innovatively designed, eco-conscious neighborhood of 160 paired villas created for active adults (55+). As of today, 72 Mirabella homes have achieved LEED Platinum certification – 100% of the community’s building stock. Mirabella currently has an additional 37 homes under construction and 51 lots remaining, with plans to have those 88 properties also earn the same level of LEED certification.

Outstanding Multi-Family Project: Arete, Kirkland, Wash.

Built by Natural & Built Environments and developed by Sustainable Kirkland, LLC, five buildings make up the Arete community that earned LEED Platinum status last year. This is the first micro-apartment project in the city of Kirkland and consists of living, working and art-centered spaces. Energy performance is one of the greatest successes for this community as some buildings surpass 40 percent savings over the LEED baseline. Additional energy features include solar hot water providing 40 percent of annual demand, triple pane windows, blown-in-blanket insulation, advanced air sealing, 100 percent LED lighting, efficient central ventilation, and 96 percent efficient boilers with radiant in-floor heat.

Outstanding Multi-Family Developer: AMLI Residential – Dallas, Texas, Austin, Texas, Sunrise, Fla., Chicago, Ill.

Since 2006 all of AMLI Residential’s new construction buildings have been built at the minimum to LEED Silver standards. In 2016 AMLI’s portfolio grew to contain 25 LEED certified projects, which represents more than one-third of the developer’s properties. AMLI created a habitat for native pollinators and utilized LEED as an opportunity to create regenerative landscaping. AMLI has several other projects currently targeting LEED and wishes to grow their portfolio past 50 percent LEED certified in the coming years.

Outstanding Affordable ProjectProspect Plaza Site One, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Developed by Oceanhill LLC and built by Blue Sea Development, Prospect Plaza Site One is the first site to be completed in a three-block project that will provide 394 units of modern, human-scaled, affordable housing. Site One is LEED Platinum certified and consists of 110 units of sustainable, energy efficient, healthy housing in four attached townhouse style buildings and a mid-rise elevator building. Prospect Plaza received the first national affordable housing Active Design Verified certification from The Partnership for a Healthier America and is the subject of a Mt. Sinai School of Medicine clinical study on long-term health benefits of living in a green building.

Outstanding Affordable Developer Builder / Developer: Habitat for Humanity, Kent County, Mich.

In 2016 Kent County’s Habitat for Humanity chapter built 15 homes earning LEED certification—10 receiving Gold and five Silver. To date, Habitat Kent has built 158 LEED-certified homes. On average, Habitat Kent’s LEED certified homes save homeowner’s $67.12 per month over an average Michigan home. Habitat Kent also partners with Grand Rapids Public School and Grand Rapids Community College to provide professional green construction experience to the next generation workforce.

LEED Homes Power Builders (*Represents a company that also won a LEED Homes Award):

  • AMLI Residential*
  • Blue Sea Development Company, LLC*
  • Frankel Building Group
  • Forest City
  • Gerding Edlen
  • Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte
  • Habitat for Humanity of Kent County*
  • Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse
  • Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Jamboree Housing Corporation
  • John Marshall Custom Homes*
  • Koral and Gobuty Development Co, LLC*
  • Metro West Housing Solutions
  • MHI-Austin
  • MHI – McGuyer Home Builders- DFW
  • Msheireb Properties
  • National Church Residences
  • Natural & Built Environments, LLC*
  • ROEM Builders
  • Sotramont
  • The Dinerstein Companies
  • The Hudson Companies
  • Uptown Rentals
  • Urban Development Partners

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the world’s most widely used rating system for green buildings. The LEED for Homes rating system was created in 2008 as a way for single-family homes and multi-family buildings to achieve LEED certification. LEED for Homes projects undergoes a technically rigorous process to become certified, including multiple on-site inspections and diagnostic tests. Quality control and quality assurance are built into the process so that builders, architects, and homeowners can rest assured they get what they paid for and specified. More than 1.2 million residential units are currently participating in LEED. USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study found that the residential green construction market is expected to grow from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018, representing a year-over-year growth of 24.5 percent.

To learn more about LEED for Homes, visit https://www.usgbc.org/guide/homes.

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.