Author Archives: CS Editor

Clarification Regarding Anodizing

In the May 2014 issue of The Construction Specifier, Ben Mitchell, CSI, wrote a piece, “VOCs… and Beyond: Powder and Liquid Coatings Reviewed.” We recently received a letter from Roger Thomas and Rand A. Baldwin, respectively, the chair and president of the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC).

Mr. Mitchell did a decent job comparing powder and liquid coatings, but he gave an unfair and false impression of anodizing.

He writes, “aluminum hydroxide sludge and water must be properly disposed of to avoid contaminating the environment.” We agree with this statement—any sludge should be properly disposed. However, Mr. Mitchell uses a footnote to characterize aluminum hydroxide as a hazardous waste under CFR 40 Section 261.31, F019. This is incorrect. The table in the referenced regulation provides a list of hazardous wastes from non-specific sources. The description of F019 is “Wastewater treatment sludges from the chemical conversion coating of aluminum[.]”

For the adherence of paint, either applied as a wet or powder coating, a conversion coating must be applied to the aluminum. Sulfuric acid anodizing is not a conversion coating. In fact, such a coating would inhibit the anodizing process. Aluminum also is mentioned in the discussion of F019 as a specific exemption in aluminum can washing. Therefore, sulfuric acid anodizing is not a listed hazardous waste under the definition of F019.

Perhaps Mr. Mitchell confused F019 with F006, where “sulfuric acid anodizing of aluminum” is found in the text. F006 is defined as “Wastewater treatment sludges from electroplating operations except from the following process: (1) Sulfuric acid anodizing of aluminum…” Therefore, aluminum hydroxide sludge is not a listed F006 waste.

The only other way aluminum hydroxide sludge would be a hazardous waste is if analytical analysis demonstrated it failed one of the tests required by 40 CFR 261.20. To be in compliance with 40 CFR 262.11, which requires all waste streams to have a determination of whether the waste is hazardous, members of Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC) have had independent laboratories analyze aluminum hydroxide sludge. Aluminum hydroxide sludge is not ignitable, reactive, or corrosive as defined in 40 CFR 261.21 through 261.23. Additionally, aluminum hydroxide sludge does not fail any of the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure tests specified in 40 CFR 262.34. Therefore, aluminum hydroxide sludge is not a characteristically hazardous waste.

It should also be pointed out aluminum hydroxide sludge has beneficial uses. Members of AAC sell aluminum hydroxide to companies that recycle this non-hazardous byproduct of the sulfuric acid anodizing of aluminum process. Other members dispose of aluminum hydroxide sludge in landfills that cannot receive hazardous waste, where it is considered an excellent daily cover for other wastes.

We would appreciate your printing this correction to Mr. Mitchell’s comments.

Mr. Mitchell acknowledged the AAC members were correct, and apologized for his error.

Steel joist awards open for entrants

Last year, Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects took a Steel Joist Institute (SJI) for its design work on the Olivet Nazarene University New Student Life and Recreation Center in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient fitness complex houses the school’s athletic programs and includes a four-story rock climbing wall, multiple pools, an arena and fitness area. Photo courtesy Steel Joist Institute

Last year, Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects took a Steel Joist Institute (SJI) award for its design work on the Olivet Nazarene University New Student Life and Recreation Center in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient fitness complex houses the school’s athletic programs and includes a four-story rock climbing wall, multiple pools, an arena and fitness area. Photo courtesy Steel Joist Institute

The Steel Joist Institute (SJI) is accepting entries for its annual design awards, with the winning companies awarded a $2000 scholarship to their chosen school for engineering or architectural students.

The awards will be presented in three categories:
● industrial (i.e. manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and warehouses);
● non-industrial (i.e. office buildings, schools, and churches); and
● unique applications.

Nominations must be submitted by Friday, October 24, and projects must be located in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with steel joists (and/or associated girders) manufactured by an active SJI member. Eligible projects include new buildings and major retrofit or expansion projects constructed within the last three years.

Companies may submit more than one project, but each will be judged separately based on flexibility, speed of construction, value, and aesthetic considerations. Visit the SJI site for more information.

Low-vision design guidelines up for review

The Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) is seeking input on the newest draft of its guidelines for the visual built environment. Image courtesy Low Vision Design Committee

The Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) is seeking input on the newest draft of its guidelines for the visual built environment. Image courtesy Low Vision Design Committee

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) has released a new draft of Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment for public review until November 10.

The guidelines contain chapters on general design principles, site and landscape design, and architecture, interior, and lighting design. It addresses planning and design of a building and facility site, including:
● features used to access the building or facility, such as walkways, pathways, stairs, and ramps;
● interior finishes and fixed/moveable furnishings; and
● use of daylighting and electrical systems.

Developed by LVDC with support from the Hulda B. and Maurice Rothschild Foundation and the James H. McClung Lighting Research Foundation, the guidelines aim to help design professionals accommodate a growing segment of the population who live with the spectrum of vision disorders contributing to low vision.

All stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the document, which can be downloaded online and then marked up with Word’s “Track Changes” function and sent to program director Stephanie Stubbs.

 

Winners announced for ASHRAE student design competition

For American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) student design competition, a team from Montana State University took first in “Integrated Sustainable Building Design.” Image courtesy ASHRAE

For American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) student design competition, a team from Montana State University took first in “Integrated Sustainable Building Design.” Image courtesy ASHRAE

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) student design competition challenged participants to envision a two-story research and design development facility. Winners were named in three categories.

First place in “HVAC Design Calculations” went to a team from the University of Central Florida (Orlando) that created a high-efficiency mechanical system with long lifecycle, and excellent indoor air quality (IAQ), while maintaining cost effectiveness. It selected variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems with simultaneous heating and cooling and dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) with energy recovery. Other equipment included air valves for lab areas and high efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filters and exhaust fans to eliminate contamination.

Top spot in “HVAC System Selection” was awarded to a team from Kansas State University (Manhattan) that selected a ground source heat pump (GSHP) system where water is pumped through vertical piping in the ground, providing a heat source and heat sink for the heat pumps. The main water loop serves the heat pumps and DOAS allowing heat transfer between spaces to maximize energy efficiency. An unusual addition to the system was incorporation of a wall of vegetation created by attaching plants that do not require soil to a mesh grid. Given the building is used for research and design, the exhaust and ventilation rates are significant and consume large amounts of energy. Ten small bio-walls are used to decrease energy consumption for the entire building by decreasing the required ventilation in the office spaces.

First place in “Integrated Sustainable Building Design” was claimed by a team from Montana State University (Bozeman). For the HVAC systems, these students implemented multiple systems with high efficiencies, using the nearby river as a heat exchanger. The main system—a VRF—is more expensive upfront, but cost-effective and energy-saving throughout the life of the building. Fresh air was pre-conditioned by a heat recovery ventilation unit that exchanges energy with exhaust air leaving the building. This recovers energy while improving air quality. Fresh air is vented directly into the fan coil units in the VRF spaces, first mixing and then distributing throughout the rooms. Fresh air for the computer server and research and design spaces is ducted into the heat pumps and blown into the rooms directly. Acoustic and filtration specifications were addressed through appropriate noise dampening and filtration products.

The projects will be shared at the 2015 ASHRAE Winter Conference, held from January 24 to 28 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

U.S. tall wood building prize up for grabs

Limnologen in Växjö, Sweden—taller wood-framed projects are appearing around the world. A new U.S. initiative is seeking nominees. Photo courtesy Midroc Property Development

Limnologen in Växjö, Sweden—taller wood-framed projects are appearing around the world. A new U.S. initiative is seeking nominees. Photo courtesy Midroc Property Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a $2 million Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, following a funding initiative announced by the Obama Administration and the U.S. forestry industry through the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) earlier this year.

Its goal is to link rural U.S. technical expertise and products with evolving domestic and international market opportunities to showcase the application and sustainability of wood-based structural building materials. The competition seeks to identify proponents with building project(s) in the concept-, schematic-, or design-development stage that can safely and successfully demonstrate wood as a viable structural material in tall buildings. Beyond the safety, environmental, and economic benefits of wood, the initiative intends to challenge developers, designers, building officials, builders, and manufacturers to further develop and refine specification and use of structural wood products to expand opportunity for new product and market development.

Creation of taller wood buildings is becoming a trend internationally. In Ontario, the building code was recently changed to permit six-storey wood-framed buildings. (For more, see a recent Construction Canada article. Other examples exist around the world, explains Marc Brinkmeyer, SLB board chair.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of buildings over seven stories constructed around the world, including the 10-story Forte building in Melbourne, Australia and the 14-story Treet building in Bergen, Norway,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from what’s been done elsewhere, and build on it here is very exciting for our industry, our employees, and communities.”

Submissions meeting the competition’s criteria will be evaluated by an expert panel of design and building professionals. For more information, visit www.tallwoodbuildingcompetition.org.