Month: December 2008

U.S. Architects Report Increased Adoption of Green Building

Autodesk, Inc. and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have announced the results of the 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index, an annual survey that measures how AIA members are practicing sustainable…

Autodesk, Inc. and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have announced the results of the 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index, an annual survey that measures how AIA members are practicing sustainable design, as well as their opinions about the green building movement.

Green Business

This year’s index shows an increase in the implementation of sustainable design practices from architects and building owners. In addition, it shows that architects’ clients have experienced a doubling in the market demand for green buildings over the past year as well as positive shifts in architects’ attitudes toward their ability to impact climate change.

A major finding of the 2008 Green Index was that 42% of architects report clients asking for green building elements on a majority of their projects, with 47% of clients actually implementing green building elements on their projects, an increase of 15% from 2007. Client demand remains the leading driver for green building, with 66% of surveyed architects citing client demand as the primary influence on their practice of green building. Architects believe that the primary reasons their clients are asking for green buildings are reduced operating costs (60%), marketing (52%) and market demand (21%, up from 10% in the 2007 survey).

In response to the rising client demand for green buildings, architects are increasing their use of certain sustainable design practices. According to the survey, 34% of architects are now implementing green or vegetated roof coverings on more than half of their new projects, compared with 7% of architects in 2007. Also, 39% are using renewable, on-site energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, low-impact hydro, biomass or bio-gas on over half of new building designs, compared with just 6% last year. Architects indicated a significant increase in their use of design software over the past year to help predict and evaluate HVAC operating costs (39%, up from 31% in 2007), conduct energy modeling and baseline analysis (33%, up from 29% in 2007) and evaluate and explore alternative building materials (35%, up from 20 percent in 2007).

Positive Attitudes about Sustainable Practice

The 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index found that 89% of architects believe sustainable design should be practiced whenever possible, up three percentage points from 2007. Over seven in 10 architects (71% compared with 67% in 2007) agree that when thinking about architecture and the environment, they feel the profession is headed in the right direction. Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated that their organization is starting to implement standard operating procedures to inform clients about green building, up from 49 percent in 2007.

U.S. Architects Aligned with European and Asian Peers in Green Design

Over the past year, Autodesk also conducted similar green index surveys of architects in Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom, in partnership with organizations including the Japan Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects. When asked why their clients were interested in green building, architects in all countries agreed that it was due to the desire for reduced operating costs. AIA members lead their global counterparts in the belief that architects should practice sustainable design whenever possible, with 89% of architects in the United States agreeing, followed by 88% in the United Kingdom, 73% in Italy and 59% in Japan. However, the reasons architects are building green vary across countries. In the United States green building designs are driven by client demand (66%), whereas in the United Kingdom and Japan the primary factors are regulatory requirements (75% and 64% respectively) and in Italy, rising energy costs (70%).

Our Take at LightNOW

Sustainable building practices have taken root and are slowly entering the mainstream of construction. Part of the reason is that greener, better-performing buildings often present only a modest premium on the total cost of construction, while adding to building value and posing lower life-cycle costs. Green is simply good business here.

What will be particularly interesting is the 2009 survey results, which we should see at the end of the year. Will green practices continue to grow in a down construction market in which nonresidential construction is expected to take a major loss of more than 10%? The answer will be highly revealing. If green construction practices hold their ground in a downward market, it will confirm that sustainable design is not a passing fad.

Click here to see the full Autodesk/AIA Green Index report, available at the Autodesk website.

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Free PIER Technical Briefs Available for Download

Interested in new lighting technologies? PIER has published three briefs about emerging technologies that are available for free download. Note: All files download as PDF files. Savings Persist with Monitoring-Based…

Interested in new lighting technologies? PIER has published three briefs about emerging technologies that are available for free download. Note: All files download as PDF files.

Savings Persist with Monitoring-Based Commissioning (TB-39) shows how monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx), a program approach that combines permanent building-energy-system monitoring with standard retrocommissioning practices, can provide substantial, persistent energy savings. A pilot program conducted at 25 California university campuses demonstrated that MBCx has the ability to:

* Reduce peak-period electricity use and total annual energy use;
* Trend and benchmark building-performance data continuously;
* Catch problems with control systems that are normally hard to detect; and
* Identify cost-effective retrofit opportunities.

MBCx can be used in commercial and institutional buildings with energy information or energy-management systems that are capable of trending building energy use.

pierbrief

Daylight Harvesting Made Simple (TB-36): Daylight harvesting systems, which automatically adjust lights in response to the amount of daylight in a space, can provide significant energy and demand savings. However, these systems are usually expensive to install, commission, and maintain and may not perform as well as expected.

This brief explains how researchers at the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California at Davis developed a new approach called the Simplified Daylight Harvesting system that is easy to install and provides automatic and continuous calibration. The system uses photosensor readings to set lights to on, off, or intermediate levels and gives users the ability to adjust settings. The fixtures can be cost-effectively used in daylit spaces in commercial buildings to produce energy-cost savings and reductions in peak demand charges.

LED Hybrid Porch Light Cuts Energy, Maintenance Costs (TB-37) addresses the problem of wasted energy in keeping outdoor areas, such as porches and walkways, illuminated all night long. A new hybrid lighting design features a low-wattage, high-brightness LED integrated with an occupancy sensor that turns on a CFL or incandescent lamp only when motion is detected—enough to light a path or allow a person to unlock a front door. After a few minutes, the occupancy sensor turns off the CFL or incandescent, while the LED array continues to run. The hybrid porch fixture enhances security while saving energy. The fixture is well-suited for entry and walkway lighting at office buildings, hospitals, apartment complexes, residential housing, universities, hotels and motels.

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GE Suspends Work on the HEI Lamp

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 regulates the efficiency of general-service 40-100W incandescent and halogen screw-in lamps starting in 2012. With only a few exceptions among energy-saving screw-in…

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 regulates the efficiency of general-service 40-100W incandescent and halogen screw-in lamps starting in 2012. With only a few exceptions among energy-saving screw-in halogen lamps, today’s incandescent lamps do not comply and will therefore be eliminated.

Light Bulb Crash

The good news for incandescent fans (and those who simply want choice in residential sockets, or use dimmers) is that the law does not present an outright ban on incandescent lamps but instead approximately doubles the efficacy of today’s lamps. After the passage of the Act, GE announced that it intended to launch a compliant high-efficiency incandescent (HEI) lamp by 2010.

The bad news is that GE has suspended work on the lamp. The company issued a brief statement:

“GE Consumer & Industrial and GE Global Research have suspended the development of the [HEI lamp] to place a greater focus and investment on what we believe will be the ultimate in energy-efficient lighting—light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).”

While there may still be some options for consumers interested in retaining incandescent lighting, generally demand is expected to shift to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which have been rapidly gaining share of market against incandescents in recent years.

Right behind the CFL, however, is LED and OLED lighting:

“Research and development of these technologies is moving at an impressive pace and will be ready for general lighting in the near future,” said GE. “LEDs and OLEDs used in general lighting are now poised to surpass the projected efficiency levels of HEI along with other energy-efficient technologies like fluorescent, and have the additional benefits of long life and durability.”

Philips Lighting similarly recently indicated that it would not be investing in R&D for CFLs but instead focusing on LED lighting. Kaj den Daas, chairman and CEO of Philips Lighting, said it’s not spending any money on CFL R&D but is instead focusing most of its R&D budget–5.2% of the company’s global lighting revenue–on research into LED light sources.

Omnidirectional LED lamps bombed in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) product testing over the past 2+ years and are therefore not yet considered ready for prime time as a replacement against workhorses such as 60W incandescent A-lamps. To speed things along, DOE created a $10 million L Prize offered to whomever can produce a high-performing LED replacement lamp for 60W incandescents, and is expected to release final ENERGY STAR criteria for LED replacement lamps in summer 2009.

DOE is optimistic, expecting a replacement lamp to be developed in the next 1-3 years.

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