On Jan. 1, a new law aimed at keeping toxins out of landfills requires that Illinois consumers recycle all electronics, including computers, monitors, cell phones, printers, TVs, PDAs, scanners and more. Electronics contain heavy metals that can pollute groundwater when leached out of landfills, and they also contain valuable products such as gold, copper [...]
The U.S. Treasury Building in Washington DC, recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building, constructed between 1836 and 1869, is considered the oldest building to receive LEED certification. The Treasury Building received its LEED Gold certification for numerous green programs and [...]
Jobs sometimes require works to be outdoors during hazardous winter conditions. Follow these guidelines for safety: Make sure snow and ice are cleared from work areas. Wear reflective clothing and eye, face and body protection. Guard against hypothermia and frostbite by wearing appropriate weather proof clothing, footwear, and gloves. If you warm up in running [...]
Through a state, city and local partnership, Millennium Reserve, a conservation initiative that will significantly increase natural green space in Chicago, will be created in the Calumet region. The Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core phase involves restoration of 15,000 acres of open space using $17.9 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to improve the [...]
As part of its LEED Automation Program, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) now offers App Lab, eight online applications developed by LEED Automation Partners and designed to use with Internet browsers, tablets, smartphones and other devices.
Each of App Lab’s apps is integrated with LEED data and provides tools that address the LEED certification process. These tools help with task management, data interchange, file upload and other uses, and can interact directly with USGBC’s LEED Online system.
According to the USGBC, the App Lab will expand innovation, communication and growth in green building practices and possibilities.
All LEED automation partners have the ability to publish new apps to USGBC’s App Lab.
The US Department of Energy recommends creating a continuous air barrier with two wall-construction techniques: Airtight Drywall Approach (ADA) and Simple Caulk and Seal (SCS). These techniques can significantly reduce air leakage to help improve a home’s energy efficiency.
ADA and SCS both create an effective airtight wall by sealing the drywall to the building structure.
The exterior sheathing can be sealed by caulking the seams of plywood or foam board insulation, using a house wrap or tape made specifically for house sheathing, and, depending on the climate, adding water vapor control.
Using the ADA, sealing is done during the entire construction process, sealing all seams, joints and spaces including holes where pipes and cables pass through, effectively stopping expensive and uncomfortable drafts.
The SCS method is employed after the drywall is finished, providing a drier work environment, which can help ensure that the sealing performs well. However, the SCS is less comprehensive than the ADA, missing some critical locations that are inaccessible after wall board is installed.
Tests indicate that both methods produce similar energy savings. Airtight homes often consume one-third less energy than similar unsealed homes.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have launched the Materials Project, a new online tool that searches material properties, enabling scientists and engineers to develop new materials.
“By accelerating the development of new materials, we can drive discoveries that not only help power clean energy, but also are used in common consumer products,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “This research tool will help the United States compete with other developers of new materials, and could potentially create new domestic industries.”
According to the DOE, discovering new materials and strengthening the properties of existing materials are key to improving just about everything humans use – from buildings and highways to modern necessities.
The Materials Project database already contains the properties of more than 15,000 inorganic compounds, and hundreds of more compounds are added every day.
Scientists are using the tool to work with companies interested in making stronger, corrosion-resistant lightweight aluminum alloys, which could make it possible to produce lighter weight vehicles and airplanes. Scientists have already applied this tool for discovery of materials used for clean energy technologies, such as lithium ion batteries, thermoelectrics, electrodes for fuel cells, and photovoltaics.
DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. More information: http://science.energy.gov.
LEED recently added a Bird Collision Deterrence credit. Each year, an estimated 1 billion birds die in the United States as a result of striking buildings, bridges, and other manmade structures. Although lights, vegetation and water play roles in these bird deaths, glass is the primary problem because birds don’t see it as solid and apparently mistake reflections as space or trees.
A number of cities are recommending “bird-safe” design and the USGBC is beginning to highlight it. Guidelines emphasize creating “visual noise,” i.e., patterns that birds can register, and glass with enhanced ultraviolet reflectivity, color, texture, or opacity.
This pilot credit is available for registered LEED projects under the Building Design and Construction and Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system types. More information: LEED Pilot Credit Library, www.usgbc.org/pilotcreditlibrary.