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Understanding Environmental Product Declarations

This is an excerpt of an environmental product declaration (EPD) transparency brief for sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), filed with EPD program operator Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Environment. Image courtesy SPFA

by Paul Bertram, FCSI, CDT, LEED AP, GGP

Buildings designed with energy efficiency in mind are becoming the norm. In fact, according to a 2013 McGraw-Hill study, “firms are shifting their business toward green building, with 51 percent of respondents planning more than 60 percent of their work to be green by 2015.” As a result, design/construction professionals are constantly seeking methods to verify the ‘greenness’ of buildings.

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Solar Power: Focusing on Quality and Long-term Reliability

When specifying photovoltaic (PV) assemblies, it is important to know the modules and cells themselves offer long-term quality. The photo above shows ‘snail trail’ formation resistance of different cell/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/backsheet combinations. All images courtesy Motech Industries

by Sam Tsou

For construction specifiers making client recommendations when moving to a renewable energy system, photovoltaic (PV) solar power can be a daunting challenge. This is especially the case when one only considers the impressions of earlier years that do not reflect today’s economic picture. Current U.S. government statistics aggressively support the reality commercial and residential installations are proving to be a valuable approach—with a return on investment (ROI) that means the client payoff is becoming shorter and shorter.

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Designing Smarter Urban Buildings

Building management devices are becoming increasingly digital—from sign-in at security to the destination-control feature of elevators. Images courtesy KONE

by Robert Moler

Well-designed and properly managed public spaces—such as high-rises, airports, shopping malls or hospitals—can enable social interaction and promote a better lifestyle. Already, half the world’s population lives in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that five billion people will be living in cities by 2030—up from 3.6 billion in 2010. This means the need for well-managed ‘flow’ will only increase.

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Five Considerations for Specifying LEDs

Selecting fixtures with a high color rendering index (CRI) ensured the best quality of light for Tampa General Medical Center’s patients, nurses, and staff. Photos courtesy Acuity Brands

by Mark Hand

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are becoming increasingly popular due to the ever-present emphasis on reducing project costs. With numbers of LED installations rising, it is imperative that architects, engineers, and specifiers are able to evaluate the benefits of LED technology.

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TPO on Top: Why the Roofing Material Continues to Shine

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a relatively new material, but makes up one of the fastest-growing sectors of the commercial roofing industry.  All images courtesy Firestone Building Products

by Mike Mendoza

As building codes and environmental trends continue to evolve, so too does the diversity of roofing material options. These factors, along with others, make construction specifiers’ roofing installation and selection prowess of utmost importance. Among the available choices is thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

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Electro-luminescent Egress Path Lighting

Electro-luminescence (EL) indicates an electric-powered, uninterrupted light source that increases visibility to locate exit doors. Photo courtesy Egress Marking Systems

by Betsy Boesel Sagges

Electro-luminescence (EL) indicates an electric-powered, uninterrupted light source that increases visibility to locate exit doors. EL systems are mounted in flexible tube and channel housing to fully integrate into an interior design esthetic. Connected directly to an electrical panel or sub-panel, EL lighting can be tested and measured any time of day or night by the flip of an override switch.

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