Snap - August/September 2011 - (Page 11)
“Silicon from one ton of sand used in PV solar power modules produces as much electricity as 500,000 tons of burning coal.”
— r i c h a r d v o r e i s , ceo , co n s u lt i n g co l l a b o r at i v e
Survival rate for people who have fires in their homes with smoke detectors present.
source: nfpa, u.s. fire administration
by chris sullivan
New Ways to Think Eco
architects need little encouragement
to embrace sustainability principles, yet traditional and unsustainable models of building still predominate across the nation. So it is welcome news when breakthroughs in systems and materials emerge to accelerate the advance of green building. In Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh-based Green Building Alliance recently celebrated its fifth annual Products Innovation Grants. Thar Geothermal, partnering with Carnegie Mellon University, earned $100,000 to develop its new CO2 geothermal heat pump for commercial use. A second top recipient, Energy Wall, will use its cash prize to beta-test a passive heat- and moisture-transfer membrane for ventilation air recovery, working with Pennsylvania State University. A smaller grant went to Drexel University with Penn State and EcoBuilt Efficient Buildings, who will develop a daylight-matching LED luminaire, a concrete mix with recycled gypsum, and a structural, insulating masonry block made with postindustrial bio-fibers. Outside the Keystone State, further significant advances have emerged, especially in the area of transparent photovoltaic (PV) materials. Research from MIT has produced a solar cell prototype composed of organic molecules that harness the infrared spectrum for power generation, leaving other light to pass through.
The Cambridge-based team believes its solar cell could generate power at 12%, comparable to current silicon PV types, within a decade. In France, a different transparent product from the company WYSIPS — an acronym for “What You See Is Photovoltaic Surface” — is based on lenticular optics, which can reveal different images depending on the observer’s position. The WYSIPS transparent PV could be applied to building exteriors as well as car windows and laptop and mobile phone screens. Another French innovation for facade design unrelated to PV comes from Clapiersbased Innobat. The company has developed a pultruded square tubular profile for window frames composed of 65% flax fibers held together with thermoset resins. The bio-based product — stronger than PVC and wood, with better thermal performance than aluminum — earned an Innovation Award at the JEC Composites Show in Paris earlier this year.
10 years later
Already 68 stories tall as of this writing, WTC Tower 1 (still referred to as the “Freedom Tower” by many New Yorkers) is covered in many places with its glass facade. The 9/11 attacks have altered the glazing industry’s approach to safety and security issues.
Stronger Glass, Safer Buildings
as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 draws near, the building construction industry is still grappling with its aftermath, especially in the development of glazing systems that withstand tampering and impact. According to Solutia, Inc., 9/11 refocused the industry to view building occupants as potential blast survivors. “The biggest issue for us is the rise in demand for products that reduce the risk of glassshard penetration in the event of blast or impact,” says Julie Schimmelpenningh, Solutia’s global architectural applications manager. Glazing firms are seeking more robust formulas for existing systems — better heat-treating or tweaks to interlayers, for example. Recent testing has shown that polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and stiffer ionoplast films are ideal solutions for high-risk locations. “Both interlayers are effective in reducing flying glass fragments,” says Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist with DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions. At the same time, many high-security havens are also getting greener: Saflex, a Solutia business unit that develops PVB laminates, partnered with Swiss photovoltaics company Oerlikon Solar to create ultrathin (0.51mm) solar encapsulant film for BIPV applications, which boasts good window durability, blast resistance, and ballistic ratings.
see-through: MIT’s organic, transparent PV.
photo credits: photo by geoffrey supran (left); david woo (right)
New Ways to Document Eco
the american institute of
Architects (AIA), an organization with a reputation for throwing its weight behind sustainable building efforts, recently announced its latest contribution: AIA Document D503-2011, entitled Guide for Sustainable Projects, Including Agreement Amendments and Supplementary Conditions. The Guide’s purpose, according to AIA, is to “assist users of AIA Contract Documents in understanding contractual considerations unique to sustainable design and construction projects,” while also providing model language for amendments and supplements to those documents. Commenting on the process (continued on page 12)
number of drywall complaints received by the consumer product safety commission as of september 2010 florida louisiana virginia mississippi alabama other 51 21 19 58 249 1103
source: consumer product safety commission
sweets.com | august/september 2011 | snap | 11
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Snap - August/September 2011
Snap - August/September 2011
Case Study: Education
Green Product Roundup
Walls & Wallcoverings
ENR Cost Reports
Regional Focus: Southeast
Live & Learn: Ceu Courses
Trade Show News
Partners in Design
Snap - August/September 2011