Archive for the 'Norsteel Buildings News' Category

4 Influential Technologies in Green Construction

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Norsteel Roof.

This year is clearly the best time to seriously consider green construction for your home. With tax breaks, lowered electricity costs, and an overall better indoor quality, there is every reason to favour of green construction. But the question is: how should you start? Here are four of the most important technologies in green construction today.

Cool roofs

Cool roofs serve the purpose of reflecting the sun’s rays and prevent them from reaching inside the building. In addition, it prevents the cool or warm air from inside the building from escaping through the roof. The reflecting surface of the cool roof (like the shell of a Norsteel Building) can cut down the intensity of the temperature from the outside by as much as 50 degrees.

But more importantly, cool roofs can save heating and cooling costs

Storm Water Management

Another innovation in green construction, storm water management directs water runoff into a plants and soil that would not only absorb but also purify the storm water.

Solar Power

Gone are the days when huge solar panels are required to generate this nonrenewable source of energy. Today, there are passive solar power sources that are capable of generating solar energy by strategically placing the solar home design in the windows. With this, solar energy is absorbed into the house to warm the home.

An active solar source, on the other hand, absorbs the sun’s radiation and transform it for electricity consumption or to warm water/air.

Smart Appliances

Appliances have never been smarter—you can save a lot of energy with electricity-saving refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers that are capable of delivering real-time data on power use. This function allows the appliance to adjust and optimize its operations to utilize as little electricity as possible.

Some even have computer systems integrated in them—an LG refrigerator, for instance, is capable of making an inventory of the refrigerated food to take note of expiration dates. With features like this, you can maximize the space inside the refrigerator and ultimately save on electricity costs.

Zero Energy Home

Without a doubt, the zero energy home is the ideal in green construction. The essence of net zero homes is its self-sustaining capability; it has renewable energy sources built into it, allowing the house to power itself.

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Canada Builds One of the World’s Largest Radio Telescopes

Satellite. Image Source: Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

Satellite. Image Source: Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

Canada is making construction headlines as it prepares to build one of the largest radio telescopes in the world, and the largest in the country. The telescope will span full-sized NHL hockey rinks.

The radio telescope is known as the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity-Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is the first telescope of its kind to be built in Canada in 30 years and will stand in Penticton, BC, in the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO). This is, according to astrophysicist Gary Hinshaw, the best location for this project.

The experiment will cost $11 million, but according to lead investigator Kris Sigurdson, this is a small price to pay for understanding why the universe is expanding. With the radio telescope, scientists hope to make a three-dimensional picture of the universe.

The telescope will have a 100 meter by 100 meter collecting area with 2,560 low-noise receivers. Within five years, twenty five percent (25%) of the universe will be mapped by the telescope in a complex process that starts with the collection of the signals and its digital sampling at a rate of one billion times per second.

The expansion of the universe at a rapid rate has been noted in the 1920s by astronomer Edwin Hubble back in the 1920s. Until now, no scientific research had backed these claims. The goal of the telescope is to find out what is responsible for this accelerated expansion of the universe.

Funding for the project will come from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and will gather scientists from McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia.

With the radio telescope project, once again, Canada proves itself as a world-class leader in construction.

 

Military Buildings Benefit from Green Construction

The Pentagon. Image Credit: David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL via Wikipedia.

The Pentagon. Image Credit: David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL via Wikipedia.

The US Department of Defense has released an independent study on the energy efficiency and green standards for military construction, and highlighted that LEED certified high performing play a crucial role in strengthening national security.

Since using LEED, taxpayer money required to fund projects has been reduced because of lower operational costs, including reduced water and energy bills. The mechanisms and standards of LEED has allowed for water to be saved, waste to be reduced, and environmental well-being to be improved.

The mandate for green construction in government buildings, including military buildings, is pursuant to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires federal agencies to be certified under a green building certification system, such as LEED.

In 2010, the Department of Defense required that all major repair and renovation projects and newly constructed buildings to be LEED-certified. In 2012, the DOD submitted a report to the Congress detailing the energy-efficiency standards and sustainability standards for major renovation and military construction, including a cost-benefit analysis and return on investment by using a green building certification system.

The report highlighted an investment approach, where the green innovations will prolong the lifetime of the DOD’s construction. This approach will also take into account factors in type of building, geographic conditions, water utilities, and energy prices.

With the new Pentagon installations, not only are energy efficiency and water conservation the immediate effects, but also the overall improvement of the morale of the building occupants—the military personnel.

The categorically positive results of the study just show how pressing and relevant green construction is both in the public and private sector. Even in matters concerning national security, the benefits of a green building are apparent.

4 Reasons Why 2013 is the Best Year for You to Construct a Green Building

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Insulation inside a Norsteel building. Image Credit: Norsteel.

If you have not yet joined the rest of the world in putting up a green building, you can make that big step this year. There are four reasons why you should finally shift to erecting a green building this year:

1. The extra costs are worth it.
Sure, the construction phase of a green building might cost a little more than a site-built building. But in the long run, the operational and maintenance costs of a green building are significantly less than a regular building. Since a green building consumes less energy when heating and cooling, you do not have to worry as much about electricity expenses. Also, a green building requires less repair and servicing expenses.

2. You can green your existing building.
You do not have to go as far as bring down your entire building just to have a green building. Greening existing buildings has never been easier. In fact, LEED created a new category for it: the LEED for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance (LEED O+M). This is also the fastest growing category in the LEED Rating System.

3. There is an increasing number of new products for your green building.
Gone are the days when looking for materials for a green building that will require you to import from other countries or compete with other building owners for their limited supply. This year is marked by innovations in facility management, wireless control, building automation, and other new engineering materials that will make it virtually effortless to procure products for your green building. For example, Norsteel can help you green your building through accessories such as insulation to conserve heat.

4. Your government will most likely give you incentives.
If your government does not give you incentives for green buildings just yet, expect your lawmakers to have on their agenda. For example, under the administration of United States President re-elect Barack Obama, green buildings are given several tax incentives and credits which have encouraged building owners to make the shift. Many other countries have also followed suit.

Green Building for US Federal Construction Projects

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United States Department of the Treasury Washington, D.C. Image Credit: Florian Hirzinger via Wikipedia.

In 2009, President Obama spearheaded the movement to utilize green buildings for federal construction projects. This was a call not only to adjust to the nature’s demands but also to save energy and money. The initiative has since then inspired government agencies to take on different ways to obtain green designations, including using wind farms to generate energy, retrofitting courthouses, and using natural lighting and energy-conserving air-conditioning and heating systems.

One of the best recent examples of greening an old building is the US Treasury, which was built in 1836 and has recently been awarded the coveted LEED Gold certification after meeting several standards.

With its efforts, the US Treasury building has saved an estimated $3.5 million annually. The agency reported a 43% decrease in drinkable water use, a 7% decrease in the use of electricity, and an additional 164 work stations for more efficient use of space.

Some of the measures undertaken by the US Treasury that merited the Gold certification include:

  1. The use of natural daylight for decreased energy consumption
  2. The development of advanced heating ventilating and air conditioning systems
  3. The increase of occupant space utilization
  4. Proposing alternative means of transportation.

The federal government spends an estimated $7 billion a year on energy costs. By improving energy use and introducing energy efficiency measures, decreasing use of taxpayer money and increasing health of the workers in the building.

Currently, the General Services Administration (GSA) has a tool for identifying sustainability needs, the www.SFTool.gov, which allows the comparison of options for renovation projects. The site also allows the direct purchase of green building materials.

According to a study by the GSA of 22 green federal buildings, sustainably designed buildings outperformed commercial buildings in energy use. This definitely shows that commercial buildings have reason to ride the ‘green wave’—if only to increase their bottom line.

The Top Green Building Trends for 2013

Bullitt Center under construction. Image Credit: ecosid under CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr.

2013 is shaping to be another important and defining year for the green building industry. But how will green building expansion shape the year ahead? Jerry Yudelson, once called the godfather of green building, has a few interesting things to say about the 2013 in Sustainable Industries. Here are seven of the most interesting points:

  1. Green buildings will rebound strongly in the US. Although there had been a reduction in commercial real estate construction, there is growth in other sectors such as government construction.  According to him, LEED 2012 will pave the way for growth in Latin America, Middle East, and China.
  2. The focus of green buildings will be on greening existing buildings. The LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance is the fastest growing sector of the LEED—and it will continue to be such for 2013.
  3. There will be an increased awareness of a long recognized problem: the lack of fresh water supply. This will prompt building owners to decrease their water consumption and use onsite water technologies.
  4. Zero-net energy buildings will be a competitive advantage in the commercial and residential sectors. Currently, the largest zero-net energy building is the Bullitt Center in Seattle, which will open in 2013. Its performance will be closely monitored in the industry and will hopefully pave the way for the construction of similar establishments.
  5. The disclosure of performance to tenants and buyers will be more transparent—as people are demanding information on just how much green buildings can benefit them.
  6. Governments will continue to mandate green buildings not just for government buildings but also for private sector, providing incentives for its construction and inspired by the need to reduce carbon emission.
  7. The use of alternative energy will also be highlighted for 2013, particular solar energy. As support for wind systems by the government is waning, solar power will most likely grow and find their way into most homes.

2012: The Year of Prefab

Sky City One Skyscraper. Image Credit: Broad Sustainable Building.

Sky City One Skyscraper. Image Credit: Broad Sustainable Building.

A few years ago, the construction industry was in the brink of the global economic downturn. Many wrote off prefab as having reached the end of its turn. Fast forward to today, prefab has never been bigger and better. This year, it has achieved not a few milestones—among which is solving housing problems with its low cost housing solution and affordable high-rise apartments.  With prefab at the forefront of the construction industry, there is no mistaking it: prefab is back.

1. The world’s tallest buildings are prefab

This year saw the rise of the tallest prefab buildings. A few notable ones are the 30-story hotel completed within fifteen days and the Sky City One in China. Not only are they the tallest buildings, they are also the fastest to be built!

2. Prefab solves the problems of site and community

Without realizing it, prefab construction has also solved another problem: the lack of low cost trailer parks. Prefab is responsible for rolling out a new breed of trailer parks for a low cost and for those without a lot of resources.

3. Prefab buildings make for great green buildings

Adding to the portfolio of why prefab buildings are great include its green benefits. Unlike buildings that claim to benefit the environment, the essential features of prefab buildings are a game-changer to the green building movement.

4. Prefab buildings have never been this affordable

If you have been planning to get a prefab building for whatever reason—whether as an office space, a business enterprise, or as a housing solution—the best time to do it is now. The costs of prefab buildings are at an all-time low, and you would be crazy not to get one before the prices jack up.