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Green Buildings: Conserving the Human Habitat
(Released October 2006)

  by Ethan Goffman  


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  1. Building Green


    Professional Engineering, vol. 19, pp. 29, 22 Feb. 2006

    Plans are being made to establish a Green Building Council for the UK to unite the sector and create a surge in environmentally friendly development. It looks likely that the scheme will be similar to the US Green Building Council which has led to "remarkable achievements". Dr David Strong, managing director of the environment division at the Building Research Establishment (BRE), has taken up the challenge of trying to bring change to a sometimes stubborn industry. "We're trying to act as a catalyst," he says.

  2. Energy costs boost green building efforts

    Angie DeRosa and Matt Griswold.

    Plastics News (Detroit), Vol. 17, No. 47, 23 Jan. 2006, pp. 9, 12.

    Green building efforts were presented in force at the 2006 International Builders' Show by plastics manufacturers that continue to push product breadth and depth to serve the growing sector. At one booth, Dow Building Products exposed show visitors to 78DG F in Phoenix and 22DG F in Michigan. It's the insulation that matters, officials said, showcasing Dow products such as its Styrofoam Blueguard extruded foam insulation on oriented strand board, to show how it prevents moisture buildup and heat loss. "Heat rises, cold falls, you get this thing called convective looping," explained Tim Lacey, global marketing director for Dow's Building and Construction group.

  3. Applying multi-objective genetic algorithms in green building design optimization

    Weimin Wang, Radu Zmeureanu and Hugues Rivard.

    Building and Environment, Vol. 40, No. 11, Nov. 2005, pp. 1512-1525.

    Since buildings have considerable impacts on the environment, it has become necessary to pay more attention to environmental performance in building design. However, it is a difficult task to find better design alternatives satisfying several conflicting criteria, especially, economical and environmental performance. This paper presents a multi-objective optimization model that could assist designers in green building design. Variables in the model include those parameters that are usually determined at the conceptual design stage and that have critical influence on building performance. Life cycle analysis methodology is employed to evaluate design alternatives for both economical and environmental criteria. Life cycle environmental impacts are evaluated in terms of expanded cumulative exergy consumption, which is the sum of exergy consumption due to resource inputs and abatement exergy required to recover the negative impacts due to waste emissions. A multi-objective genetic algorithm is employed to find optimal solutions. A case study is presented and the effectiveness of the approach is demonstrated for identifying a number of Pareto optimal solutions for green building design.

  4. A Framework for Simulation-Based Optimization with Application to Green Building Design

    W. Wang, H. Rivard and R. Zmeureanu.

    Proceedings of the 2005 International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering; Cancun; Mexico; 12-15 July 2005. 2005; Proceedings of the 2005 International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering

    Timely engineering feedback to the architect during the design process can result in improved building performance. Architectural sketches convey the architect's initial design intentions and explorations. As such, they become the first means for communicating with the structural engineer. The goal of this research project is therefore to provide the structural engineer with the mechanisms for devising feasible structural solutions from architectural sketches thus enabling early collaboration. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the LUCID group from the University of Lige, in Belgium. The project combines the strengths of two computer-based prototypes: EsQUIsE developed by the LUCID group for capturing and interpreting freehand architectural sketches, and StAr developed by the authors for assisting engineers during conceptual structural design. Such early collaboration assistance enables the architect to assess the structural consequences of his/her designs at sketching time without interfering with creative work, and it provides an opportunity for the engineer to get involved earlier on in the building design process and voice structural concerns in a timely manner.

  5. Green Building Gains Steam in 2006


    Modern Plastics Worldwide, Vol. 82, No. 12, Dec. 2005, pp. 30/2.

    Record home heating and energy prices over the winter could reshape the building and construction market in 2006. BASF has seen exponential growth over the last three to five years for its spray-applied PUR because of the higher "R" or insulation value the foams provide. On the PUR side, the product remains mostly in the realm of higher-end custom homes, but its air infiltration barrier and higher insulation value per unit thickness could push it into further usage. For GE, which sells specialty film and sheet featuring its Lexan and Ultem materials into the building and construction market, energy efficiency initiatives point consumers towards products like its solar control IR sheets that have 25-40% energy savings over traditional glass-type materials. Moving beyond coatings for glass, the multilayer films and sheets are being formed into actual structural components.

  6. High Performance Building Design Process Model

    C. S. Magent, D. R. Riley and M. J. Horman.

    Proceedings of the Construction Research Congress 2005: Broadening Perspectives; San Diego, California; USA; 5-7 Apr. 2005. 2005; Proceedings of the Construction Research Congress 2005: Broadening Perspectives

    High Performance "sustainable" or "green" buildings are emerging as an important market in the United States and around the world. The increased demand for high performance buildings has simultaneously created an opportunity to rethink the design process. To optimize the design process for high performance buildings, a project management environment that unites architects, engineers, and builders must be created and key design processes and competencies of design teams must be defined. This paper presents the initial results of an effort to model the process and discipline requirements for the design of high performance buildings. The Building Design Process Model for High Performance Buildings (BDPMHP) and the accompanying Cross-Functional Design Process Map for High Performance Buildings (CFDPMHP) are presented as mechanisms to assist in the transformation of traditional design processes. Background and design development models of the BDPMHP and CFDPMHP are presented and testing of the BDPMHP through case study analysis and virtual design team simulations is described. Emerging patterns and key processes on successful high-performance building projects are identified. This research benefits facility owners by identifying key attributes of a high performance design process that decrease design process waste and reduce the first-cost of high performance projects.

  7. The Relevance of Structural Engineers to Green Building Design

    M. D. Webster.

    Proceedings of the 2005 Structures Congress and the 2005 Forensic Engineering Symposium; New York, New York; USA; 20-24 Apr. 2005. 2005; Proceedings of the 2005 Structures Congress and the 2005 Forensic Engineering Symposium

    Many in the building construction industry, including architects, building owners, and even structural engineers, fail to appreciate the significant contribution the structural engineer can make to reducing the environmental impact of a building construction project. This lack of understanding is one of the chief impediments to achieving the greatest possible reduction in the environmental impact of the structural system. Structural engineers interested in sustainability must combat this ignorance by educating themselves and others so that they will be brought into the circle of sustainability decision-makers and be able to make their contribution to reducing the project's environmental impact.

  8. China's First "Green" Building


    Elevator World, Vol. 52, No. 9, Sept. 2004, pp. 40.

    The Beijing Ministry of Science and Technology's new headquarters has been designated as a "green building," the country's first. The building was designed using the U.S. Department of Energy's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)TM Green Building Rating System. Johnson Controls, Inc., based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, installed the building's automation system with Metasys(Registered)software, which controls the elevators, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, lighting and electrical systems. The floor area of the new headquarters is 19,000 square meters to include nine floors of office space. One of the energy-saving features includes fresh air and air-handling units controlled by a frequency converter providing air volume on each individual floor according to its specific needs. The fresh air can even be preheated for winter temperature adjustment. This project is considered a pilot to showcase the efficiency of energy-saving technology, an important consideration since the World Bank has estimated that nearly half of all building construction over the next two decades will be built in China.

  9. Green building goes mainstream

    R. Dooley and J. Rivera.

    Professional Builder, Vol. 69, No. 3, Mar. 2004, pp. 71-72.

    Several indicators point to 2004 as a vanguard year for the green building movement. Here's what we see that suggests that green building practices and technologies will make great strides into mainstream home building this year.

  10. Green Building Strategies, Policies and Tools the Canadian Experience

    Nils Larsson.

    International Journal for Housing and Its Applications, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2004, pp. 323-345.

    A frequent point of debate is the relationship between Green Building and Sustainable Development (SD). We take the view that SD is most applicable at the urban or societal level, since it includes issues of social equity and broad issues of economics, in addition to concerns about ecosystems and human health. It is difficult to apply these broader societal issues to buildings in a practical way and instead, many building researchers and designers find it more meaningful to develop models of building performance that is consistent with SD at the societal level. In short, Green Building helps to support a broader Sustainable Development agenda. If Sustainable Development goals are to be truly reached, we could argue that buildings should consume no energy, water or materials, and should produce no emissions, noise or waste over their lifespans. While this is an interesting concept, it is likely that we will have to work towards more modest goals during the next 20 years. Even at a more realistic level, there is global interest in improving the performance of buildings. Governments want to reduce the use of scarce resources and airborne emissions, owners want to reduce operating costs, and developers are finding that customers are demanding higher quality and performance. l Although the achievement of this goal in different countries will require varied strategies, it is certain that all will have to make substantial improvements in the methods used to design, construct and operate buildings. This will require interventions by governments, but it will also require that designers adopt a different way of working. The building industry is very different from other sectors with substantial environmental impacts. The performance of automobiles, for example, can be improved by working with relatively few manufacturers, but the construction industry consists of thousands of organization, ranging from very small to very large, and staffed by individuals whose levels of skills and training vary from very basic to quite advanced. Buildings are also long-lived compared to other products, and have to conform to local cultural and climatic conditions in addition to meeting functional requirements. All of this implies that initiatives for performance improvement must be addressed on a broad front. This paper will confine itself to the range of initiatives that look promising in the large buildings sector (excluding small houses) and within market economies. In addition, the discussion will be focused on measures that apply primarily to the design and construction stages, for both new and renovated buildings. All the approaches discussed are based on Canadian experience, but their basic strategies are of broader interest.