Green Home Predictions That Are Best Poised to Come True in 2014 and Beyond (guest post)

net zero energy houseToday, a guest post on the green design issues that are becoming realities from Penny Olmos, who is associated with Holloway Houston, Inc. a leading industrial lifting equipment manufacturing company.  Welcome, Penny!

The scorching heat singed us and the winter wave chilled us — more than ever before. What are we heading to? Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, tornadoes and extreme temperatures? Mother Nature is warning us in myriad ways. And the good news is that we are heeding her calls after long. Saving our natural resources and going green has found many takers. We have seen many eco-friendly homes and buildings designed and created in the last decade. Green homes are here to stay. We look at the popular green home design and construction trends in 2014 that are about to transform the landscape of green realty.

Rise of Net Zero Energy Homes

It seemed impossible until a couple of years ago but 2014 will witness a rise in net zero energy homes. These are homes with zero net energy consumption. The total amount of energy used by these buildings annually equals the amount of renewable energy created on the property. This is the greenest and the most energy efficient house you can possess. And you do not need to cut down on any of your comforts. There are heating, cooling, entertainment and utility appliances functioning in the house like they would in any other home.

The only difference is that it happens much more efficiently. Air source heat pumps are becoming the choice of heating and cooling in such green houses. Solar photovoltaic systems that are installed on the roof function to cover all energy use in the house including charging of electric cars. Zero energy homes are being sold in states with an abundance of sunlight and solar energy like Arizona, Texas and California.

Use of Micro-Windmills

Solar energy-powered homes have taken the realty market by storm, but the trend to watch out for this year will be micro-windmills. These are so small that ten of them can be accommodated on a grain of rice. But do not underestimate these tiny wonders. These micro-mills harness the air for electricity. They are very cost-effective. These nano windmills will soon power entire homes. Their developers claim these tiny wonders can be mounted on the walls of the home to harvest air motion and derive cheap and quick energy.

Smart Collection of Energy Usage Data

  nest

All those interested in having a green home need to first determine their energy consumption and where is it being used. The smart thermostat is going to be a key feature in a lot of energy-efficient green homes where owners want minimum wastage of energy.

These devices can transmit accurate live data about energy usage via your smartphone and help you monitor it as well. Thus the homeowner is equipped to configure all appliances in a way that uses minimum energy. Another reason smart thermostats will find their way into many eco-friendly homes in 2014 is the drastic drop in the price of their hardware.

Energy-Efficient Lighting and Heating

    skylight

Natural light is going to be one of the key realizations of green living in 2014. Architects, Interior designers and homeowners are putting a lot of thought into deciding the number of windows to make and their best placement, so as to allow maximum light into the house. The right windows can be an equally good source of the much-needed winter heat. Install windows with a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.55 to allow maximum heat to pass through your windows.

Another easy step towards a green home is switching from single pane windows to double or triple glazed windows. They will reduce the heat entering the building and consequently the energy consumed by the AC.

For homes where natural light availability is difficult, tubular skylights are an effective and energy-efficient source. Tubular skylights transmit sunlight into the house through roof openings. Tubular lighting also works for providing natural light to the basement and to the first floor of a two-story building. Most tubular daylight devices are equipped with optional dimmers that allow you to control the degree of light in the room. You can dim these energy-efficient lights as and when you like.

Production of energy exhaustive incandescent lights is set to drop in 2014. Developers, interior designers, and home owners are all turning to LED lighting. Investing in LED lights is not just about going green but also about saving the green in your pocket. Home design experts say that built-in LED ceiling lighting can illuminate the whole room. You can say goodbye to those energy consuming bulky ceiling lights and lamps.

Changes in water heating standards, made in the year 2014, will make them even more efficient. Jeff Wilson, HGTV host and author of The Greened House Effect, says that replacement of “incandescent light bulbs and reform in water heating measures alone will save billions of dollars and enormous amount of pollution.”

Radiant Barrier Roof Panels

If there are ways to reduce heating costs, those that cut cooling costs cannot be far behind. Radiant barrier roof panels are extremely energy-efficient. This type of solar board roof sheathing can reduce your air-conditioning requirements by half a ton. There are many radiant barrier roof panel installation systems in the market that eliminate the need for felt paper, making the building process even more environment-friendly.

These roof panels are an attractive option for both the builders and the homeowners. Builders save money on the HVAC equipment and homeowners save on energy costs.

Conclusion

There will be more green homes in USA than ever before as more people take an interest in healthy living and proper utilization and conservation of all available resources. Thinking of going green? Include energy efficient and water saving devices in your homes. Make use of solar and wind energy, bring down your bills, and prevent environmental pollution and degradation.

 Thanks Penny for your thoughts.  Another option, particularly for commercial ventures, is a green roof system such as those provided by XeroFlor America (headquartered in Durham) which uses pre-vegetated mats.  (disclosure:  XeroFlor America is a friend of the Firm.)

Your turn.  What green design do you like? Have you considered?  Share in the comment section or drop me an email.

Photo credits: Net Zero Energy House * Nest Image* Skylight

 

RDU Terminal 1: Going Green

Last week, I had the fortune to join the Triangle USGBC for its “Talk & Walk” about the RDU Terminal 1 renovation project and its sustainable features.  For those who haven’t had the chance, I recommend you check out the new terminal specifics the next time you find yourself jet-setting in or out of Raleigh on Southwest airlines.

Terminal 1 has been in operation since 1981, with the last upgrade in 1991.  The 2010 opening of the new Terminal 2 had, until now, cemented Terminal 1′s status as the airport’s ugly duckling- complete with the long, featureless metal addition abandoned to times past.

outside RDU Terminal 1

While the $68 million Terminal 1 renovation cannot compete with the Terminal 2 $580 million budget, it nevertheless is an entirely re-imagined space.  Better traffic flow (yes, you can now find where to go through security!), increased daylighting, a new canopy system, and commercial curb canopy (see photo) all complete the new architectural image.

Clark Nexsen principals Irvin Pearce and Doug Brinkley explained the renovation, which included energy saving escalators- the first escalator system in North Carolina that slows down during non-use.  Other sustainable features include LEED complaint flooring, 86% structural building re-use (slabs on grade, composite decks, and structural roof deck), and 28% reuse of exterior walls.

Other highlights of the construction include:

  • An insulated translucent exterior wall panel (Kalwall) to address both security concerns and reduce electrical lighting loads
  • A requirement that lease tenants comply with LEED requirements on the upfit of tenant space, as part of an Innovative Design LEED credit
  • Use of  a 2″ metal panel with reticulating foam seals as a rain screen to produce a well insulated building

Another nice touch– the art above the baggage claim area.  Entitled “Highwire Travelers”, artist Gordon Huether‘s sculpture consists of 7 figures suspended above the terminal floor, some balancing luggage on long poles.  (see photos)pointing travelers

balancing luggageThe project is awaiting LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.

 

Have you seen the “new” Terminal 1?  What are your thoughts and impressions?

 

 

 

Photos by Melissa Brumback. 

Creative Commons License

 

Modernist Houses Galore! [visual candy for architects]

candyDo you like modern architecture?  Is Frank Lloyd Wright someone you wish you could have met?

If so, then you’ll want to check out the new “Masters Gallery” of the North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) group.  With changes and additions announced this week, it’s Gallery is America’s largest open digital archive of Modernist houses, as well as the internationally known Modernist architects who designed them.

Currently, the Gallery showcases over 30 architects with extensive house histories and over 10,000 photos.  The Gallery is extensive and searchable and includes, among many other notables, Frank Gehry and, of course, Frank Lloyd Wright.

To view the NCMH Masters Gallery, go to http://www.ncmodernist.org/ and click on “Masters Gallery” under the Archives listing.   Be careful, though, because NCMH founder and director George Smart, you can spend many addictive hours looking around.  Hey, at least this addiction doesn’t require a trip to the gym afterwords!

 Photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

5 Impressive Construction Projects in North Carolina

What are your top construction building projects in North Carolina?  Do you have a “short list”?  Author Ralitsa Golemanova of JW Surety Bonds does, and she has the reasoning behind them. Ralista’s Top 5, which all “present a different facet of exceptional modern design and construction” are presented below. 

Her list, in no particular order, includes:

art museum1.  The North Carolina Museum of Art’s West Building Expansion

The 127,000 square-feet West Building Expansion of the North Carolina Museum of Arts won the 2011 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award for Architecture.   The Building is largely made of aluminum panels. One of its specificities is that it does not have any windows. Instead, visibility is ensured through 360 skylights that allow delicate natural light to enter the inner galleries.

2.  The Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte

The skyscraper is 871 feet tall and was completed in 1992, is allegedly the tallest building between Atlanta and Philadelphia, and can be seen from 35 miles away.

3.  The Bell Tower Development project at UNC-Chapel Hill

The huge $175 million Bell Tower Development includes a 710 car parking deck, a 25 thousand-ton chilled water plant, a new Genome Science Laboratory Building which will provide approximately 210,000 square feet of  modern classrooms, laboratories and offices including nine wet labs, four bioinformatics labs, a 250 seat lecture hall, a 450 seat lecture hall, an 80 seat classroom, and four 30 seat seminar rooms.

4.  The Biomanufacturing Research Institute & Technology Enterprise (BRITE) at NC Central

The BRITE construction was a $17.8 million endeavor, which is spread out over 59,900 square feet and complements the existing science buildings.  The project includes a four-story 65,000 square foot building to provide hands-on learning experiences for biotechnology students.

Hunt library5.  The James B. Hunt, Jr. Library at NC State

Priced at $93.75 million, the 221,122 square feet library  is designed with maximized light and views of nature in mind.  With its LEED Silver certification, it provides natural heating and cooling, as well as usage of rainwater with the help of green roofs and rain gardens.

What about you?  Do you have a list of favorites??  Share in the comment section of the blog.

—————————————

Photos of Art Museum and Hunt Library both courtesty of Wikipedia via cc.

How is that possible? State Law variations can snag you! (law note)

Today I’m guest posting over on Construction Law Musings.  My post, entitled “You Mean They Can Do That?” discusses the fact that there are different legal hurdles that can present challenges to your Architecture or Engineering Firm when you venture across state lines.

skatesAs I state in the post, just as licensing issues and building codes differ, so too do the laws.  Your best defense?  A good offense. Get help specifically tailored to the new state up front so you won’t get pinched later on.   In other words, don’t be a cheapskate!

Read the full post here.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?  Share in the comments below.

Photo (c) Jan Andersen

 

Copyright © All Rights Reserved · Green Hope Theme by Sivan & schiy · Proudly powered by WordPress