Author Archives: CS Editor

Building Health Initiative begins work

In December, the Building Health Forum in San Francisco gathered academics, business leaders, and design professionals to discuss the indoor environment. Photo courtesy Building Health Initiative

In December, the Building Health Forum in San Francisco gathered academics, business leaders, and design professionals to discuss the indoor environment. Photo courtesy Building Health Initiative

The Building Health Initiative held its inaugural Building Health Forum, bringing together 300 of the world’s experts and thought leaders for keynotes, educational sessions, tours and networking receptions at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) last month.

The event was organized by the Building Health Initiative, creation of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) that brings together more than 40 commercial building owners, technology giants, healthcare professionals, design/engineering firms, product manufacturers, and nonprofits—from Adobe and Google to Kaiser Permanente.

“A healthy environment can be a catalyst for innovation, productivity and the overall well-being of the people who work there,” said the initiative’s Bill Weihl, who also serves as Facebook’s infrastructure, sustainability, and efficiency director. “We have focused on collaboration and open source to drive progress in developing better infrastructure, hardware, and buildings—not just for our employees, but for all communities. This new initiative will help us continue our efforts toward building healthy environments at scale.”

The group’s efforts include:

  • requesting greater transparency from architects and manufacturers about the chemicals used in their products;
  • employing collective market influence to create demand for products that improve the health of the built environment;
  • recruiting and retaining the best workforce by providing healthy and productive workplaces; and
  • increasing awareness of healthy environments in buildings.

Partner companies participating in the Building Health Initiative have made specific pledges in a defined area where they could affect the most change, such as demanding transparency in building materials, conducting groundbreaking research, promoting health and wellness, or improving consultation and education.

“We’re building the ‘business case’ for healthy buildings,” said Brian Back, the group’s senior vice president. “This is a rare opportunity to foster widespread collective impact on an issue that resonates deeply with people. Both on Silicon Valley tech campuses and in underserved low-income communities across Northern California, our overriding purpose is to reframe green building as a health issue.”

For more information, visit build-health.org.

NIBS council recommends building industry priorities to White House

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Consultative Council has made its annual recommendations to the White House and Congress. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Bill Perry

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Consultative Council has made its annual recommendations to the White House and Congress. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Bill Perry

A National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) initiative has released its 2014 report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council,” making suggestions in three areas: buildings-related workforce, resilience and changing climate, and the need to align government and business to deliver a cost-effective, high-performance built environment.

Every year, the Consultative Council—consisting of representative organizations from across the building industry—prepares recommendations to the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress. The focus is on policies and practices that, if implemented, would help advance the industry and the nation in realizing many goals.

The report was unveiled during NIBS’ annual meeting, held as part of Building Innovation 2015 in Washington, D.C., during the first week of January. Its suggestions include:

  • all building industry sectors establish mentoring programs and all representatives should reach out to the education community and to parents, teachers, business leaders, and decision-makers to support technical/vocational curriculum meeting the needs of today’s workplace;
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and others create an ongoing program bringing together building and climate scientists to produce modeling results that support effective decision-making;
  • various federal bodies work with industry partners, including insurance companies, to develop a program supporting adoption, administration, and enforcement of building codes;
  • Congress and the White House work with NIST to reopen its plumbing research facility, identifying important water-related metrics and collecting data on water use; and
  • all levels of government agencies should incorporate requirements for information interoperability throughout the building lifecycle into their contracts (and to extent practicable, provide building-level data in an accessible format to national, regional, and local data sets).

The report also recommends the federal government work through NIBS to develop a scientific methodology for measurement, verification, and documentation of actual building performance across all high-performance building attributes. Further, it suggests all federally funded construction projects and operations contracts include clearly enumerated performance requirements, including methods for verification and procedures, in order to rectify non-achievement of performance targets.

SFI launches new standards for 2015

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has updated its standards—which pertain to forest management and wood sourcing—for the next five years. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Mike Ledray

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has updated its standards—which pertain to forest management and wood sourcing—for the next five years. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Mike Ledray

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has launched its 2015−2019 Standards and Rules in a new structure comprising three standalone standards dealing with forest management, fiber-sourcing, and chain of custody.

The group, which has more than 100 million ha (250 million acres) of forest certified to its standard, updates its requirements every five years. As part of the process, comments were received during two 60-day public comment periods, with input was gathered from 12 public workshops across the United States and Canada. Independent oversight was provided at each stage of the revision process by the SFI External Review Panel, a group of experts representing conservation, professional, academic, and public organizations operating “at arm’s length” from SFI.

“The SFI External Review Panel’s role was to ensure the standard revision process was transparent, objective, and credible. We reviewed the responses to every public comment that was submitted. This focus on transparency is a major strength of the SFI program,” said Robin Morgan, panel chair and deputy director of recreation, heritage, and volunteer resources at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service.

SFI said its new Forest Management Standard promotes sustainable forestry practices based on principles, objectives, performance measures, and indicators speaking to requirements for protecting water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species-at-risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.

SFI’s Fiber-sourcing Standard is supposed to promote responsible forestry practices for the 90 percent of the world’s forests that are not certified. These requirements include measures to broaden the conservation of biodiversity, use forestry best management practices to protect water quality, provide outreach to landowners, and utilize the services of forest management and harvesting professionals. Since it directs how SFI program participants procure fiber from non-certified land, the standard is designed to encourage responsible forestry practices.

Finally, the 2015−2019 Chain of Custody Standard tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing, and recycled content through production and manufacturing to the end product. Organizations can use physical separation, average percentage, or volume credit methods to track and communicate their chain of custody claims.

For more information, visit www.sfiprogram.org/sfi-standard-2015-2019.

Concrete pavement awards announced

Gwinner Municipal Airport is one of North Dakota’s largest general aviation airports. Before its reconstruction, the runway and apron asphalt pavement were in poor condition, the lights were old, the north runway end had approach surface penetrations, and only one fuel type was offered for sale to the public aviators. The successful rejuvenation project was honored by the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) with an award. Photos courtesy ACPA

Gwinner Municipal Airport is one of North Dakota’s largest general aviation airports. Before its reconstruction, the runway and apron asphalt pavement were in poor condition, the lights were old, the north runway end had approach surface penetrations, and only one fuel type was offered for sale to the public aviators. The successful rejuvenation project was honored by the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) with an award. Photos courtesy ACPA

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) has named the recipients of its 25th annual awards program, recognizing high-quality workmanship in diverse North American projects completed in 2013.

Airports
For the “Reliever & General Aviation Airports” category, Gold went to the team behind the reconstruction of Gwinner Municipal Airport/Roger Melroe Field in North Dakota, including contractor Northern Improvement and Interstate Engineering. In the “Commercial & Military Airports” division, top prize was claimed by P454 Beaufort U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) hangar apron addition in South Carolina. The project, owned by Naval Facilities Engineering Command−U.S. Navy Southeast, was completed by McCarthy Improvement Company and URS Group. Finally, “Concrete Pavement Restoration−Airport” was won by the City and County of Denver’s Department of Aviation, along with Interstate Highway Construction Inc., for the annual airfield pavement rehabilitation at Denver International.

Roads
Under “Concrete Pavement Restoration−Roadway,” ACPA rewarded a dowel bar retrofit in Box Edler County, Utah, performed by Multiple Concrete Enterprises for the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), Region 1. The nod in “Industrial Paving” went to the aforementioned McCarthy, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)−Savannah, for the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) tank trail and tactical equipment maintenance facility at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

In the “Overlays” categories, US-75’s concrete resurfacing near Sabetha, Kansas by Koss Construction Company won for highways, while the Carroll Street concrete overlay project (Macomb, Illinois) by Laverdiere Construction and Maurer-Stutz was cited for streets and roads.

“Municipal Streets & Roads” was claimed by Emery Sapp & Sons and GBA for the 79th Street reconstruction in Lenexa, Kansas for a project smaller than 25,080 m2 (30,000 sy), while the larger-sized project sub-category went to a Main Street project in Little Chute, Wisconsin, performed by Vinton Construction, Mead & Hunt, and McMahon Group.

Cedar Valley Corporation and the Iowa DOT took two prizes—”County Roads” for Woodbury County (Iowa)-D-51 Port Neal and “State Roads” for Highway 63 in Black Hawk County.

Winner of an ACPA award, this Box Edler County project was the largest dowel bar retrofit work was Utah’s largest ever. The state uses an A-plus-B bidding concept, which not only requires a contractor to be the low bidder on contract items, but to also design a project schedule that results in the shortest amount of construction time. Multiple Concrete Enterprises completed the work in 111 days, though the Department of Transportation (DOT) allowed for 180.

Winner of an ACPA award, this Box Edler County project was the largest dowel bar retrofit work was Utah’s largest ever. The state uses an A-plus-B bidding concept, which not only requires a contractor to be the low bidder on contract items, but to also design a project schedule that results in the shortest amount of construction time. Multiple Concrete Enterprises completed the work in 111 days, though the Department of Transportation (DOT) allowed for 180.

Other ACPA Gold-winners included:

  • “Urban Arterials & Collectors:” Flintlock Road overpass of I-35 in Liberty, Missouri (Ideker Inc. and HNTB Corp.);
  • “Roller-compacted Concrete−Industrial:” Norfolk Southern Railway Co.’s Charlotte, North Carolina, regional intermodal facility (A.G. Peltz Group, Patrick Engineering, and Milord Co.);
  • “Divided Highways−Rural:” I-70 reconstruction in Sherman County, Kansas (Koss Construction Company and Burns & McDonnell); and
  • “Divided Highways−Urban:” Western Wake Freeway in Wake County, North Carolina (Archer Western Contractors and Michael Baker).

For more information on the winners, visit www.acpa.org/Excellence14.

Roof coatings associations merge

Highly reflective roof restoration systems provide durability and energy savings. Two industry groups related to these coatings have merged. Photo courtesy Tremco

Highly reflective roof restoration systems provide durability and energy savings. Two industry groups related to these coatings have merged. Photo courtesy Tremco

The Reflective Roof Coatings Institute (RRCI) has merged with the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), with the new amalgamated group keeping the latter name and logo.

The move is intended to result in a stronger, more unified voice for federal and state advocacy initiatives, better communications and marketing, and member benefits for those in the roof coatings realm.

RCMA has made numerous changes to its committee and task force structure, including adding an RCMA Reflective Roof Coatings Institute. Through the development of technical bulletins, case studies, white papers, and research, this new initiative is intended to allow the association to be a technical and educational resource. A strong emphasis will be placed on outreach to the end-user of coatings products.

The association will hold its annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana next month in conjunction with the International Roofing Expo. For more information on its activities, programs, and initiatives, visit www.roofcoatings.org.