Technology

Green Building October 9th Luncheon: Energiesprong in the US – Deep energy retrofit for multi-family housing

The Dutch EnergieSprong program retrofits existing multi-family housing stock to Net-Zero energy quickly and cost-effectively. The state of New York (through RetrofitNY), and the Department of Energy (through the REALIZE project) have funded several programs to transfer the EnergieSprong approach to the US. Staengl Engineering is working on a project in New York and with the REALIZE project to help implement a similar process for US multi-family buildings. This talk with describe EnergieSprong and report on efforts to implement the approach in the US.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the Dutch EnergieSprong approach and its Net Zero energy results.
  2. Identify the differences in the US climate and market that affect implementation of the EnergieSprong approach.
  3. Understand project implementation and net zero energy goals for a project in Troy, NY
  4. Understand the transformations that the market will need to go through to realize the net zero energy results provided through the EnergieSprong approach in the United States

Presenter:

Galen Staengl has 20 years of experience designing cutting-edge energy-efficient mechanical systems for green building projects and industrial facilities. Throughout his career, Galen has worked to bring energy-efficient and sustainable principles into his designs for award-winning schools, institutional buildings, multi-family residential projects, and office buildings. As President of Staengl Engineering, Galen has provided design and energy analysis for buildings certified as LEED Platinum and Gold, Passive House, Net Zero energy, Net Positive energy, and Living Building Challenge.

As a leader in low-energy building system design, Galen regularly presents and moderates at national and regional green building conferences. He is also involved in advancing the technical and regulatory aspects of green building design in the U.S.; he is currently a member of the national Technical Committee of Passive House Institute U.S..

Fee: $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Lunch will be served, Register Here

Our meeting space is generously donated by the City of Charlottesville.

DATE AND TIME
Tue, Oct 9, 2018: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT
LOCATION
City Space, 100 5th Street NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
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Green Building August 14th Luncheon: Frederick County Middle School – A Model of Energy Efficiency

The goal for this new middle school was to create a progressive campus for an expected enrollment of 900 students in Frederick County’s under-served rural community. This student- and community-centric prototype was designed to be a model of energy and water efficiency and to incorporate the building’s sustainable infrastructure into the curriculum.

The school exceeded its energy-efficiency goals in its first year of operation: energy consumption was just 26.9 kBtu/sf—39% of comparable secondary schools and below its target of 30 kBtu/sf/year. This number is projected to drop over time with operational fine-tuning. Additionally, the school operates independently of fossil fuels and is a net zero water facility. Energy-saving highlights include an on-site water generation and treatment system, a hybrid geothermal HVAC system, and exclusive use of LED lighting.

Speaker:

Peter Mackey is an accomplished senior mechanical engineer and project manager who has led some of 2RW’s largest MEP/FP design projects. He is a dedicated client advocate who has exceptional attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to quality and ac

countability. Peter has 14 years of industry experience, 12 of which has been with 2RW where he designs and manages new construction and renovation projects for K-12 schools, higher education and research facilities, municipal facilities, mixed-use and multi-family developments, healthcare, and more. Peter has played a key role in numerous LEED-certified and Net Zero-ready projects and presents continuing education courses for USGBC and AIA accreditation.

Fee: $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Lunch will be served

Our meeting space is generously donated by the City of Charlottesville.

DATE AND TIME
Tue, Aug 14, 2018: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT
LOCATION
City Space, 100 5th Street NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Categories: Announcements, Design, Education, Energy Efficiency, Resilience, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Building December 12th Luncheon: Unstoppable: The Transition to Renewable Energy

Today, building owners and designers are looking to minimize the energy and carbon footprint of new and existing buildings. LEED V4 and the Architecture 2030 Challenge are pushing the industry beyond energy efficiency features into on-site renewable energy generation. Join Taylor Brown and Devin Welch from Sun Tribe Solar, a Charlottesville-based solar energy company, as they discuss renewable trends and design best practices. Come learn more about solar photovoltaics, battery storage options, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) from leaders in the field.

Taylor Brown co-founded Sun Tribe Solar to increase solar PV’s market share on the east coast and is now operating as the Technical Director. Before launching Sun Tribe, Brown worked for Siemens Energy North America. For the first five years with Siemens, Brown was a field project manager performing modernizations and upgrades on steam turbine generators ranging from 150 MW to 920 MW throughout the United States. Brown holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Devin Welch, co-founder, is also responsible for market strategy at Sun Tribe Solar. Passionate about sustainability, Welch has spent his career championing free market principles as a means to achieve positive change across a broad range of environmental issues, with a focus on finding and capitalizing upon the critical intersections of sustainable best practices and corporate self-interest. At Sun Tribe, Welch continues his work on market transformation by engaging with individuals, businesses, and governments to reimagine the way energy is produced while realizing tangible benefits for all stakeholders. As a member of the leadership team, he has helped Sun Tribe to become one of the fastest growing solar companies in Virginia. Welch is a published author and holds a B.S. in Management from Virginia Tech.

When:
December 12, noon to 1:00pm (lunch provided)

Register for Lunch Here!

Where: 
City Space
100 5th Street, NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA

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Green Building November Luncheon: Graywater Treatment and Planning

Water issues such as drought, infrastructure failure, and restrictions on use are things we have all gotten used to hearing but often don’t consider further. The truth is that globally our thirst for water is increasing at an alarming rate with no end in sight. The reality is that only 2.5% of the earth’s water is freshwater and half of that is tied up in glaciers and ice caps. Water reuse is a viable solution to the water issues facing us all. Understanding how to apply basic principles of water reuse planning and system application will ensure we have enough water for generations.

Speaker: Benjamin Sojka, Vice President of Design, Rainwater Management Solutions

Pre-approved for 1.0 GBCI and 1.0 AIA CE

When:
November 14, noon to 1:00pm (lunch provided)

Register for Lunch Here!

Where: 
City Space
100 5th Street, NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA

Categories: Announcements, Design, Preservation, Technology | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Building October 10th Luncheon: Advanced Energy Design Guide: Net Zero Energy

The march of technology has brought buildings that generate just as much power as they annually consume (Net Zero Energy) really close to the mainstream. A team of professionals are developing a roadmap for builders, owners, and designers to make it easier to take the leap to Zero.

Steve Davis is a nationally recognized leader in sustainable design and construction with over twenty years’ experience designing award-winning projects for residential, commercial, government, and institutional clients.

Steve has long been deeply involved in advancing the building community’s understanding of stewardship, conservation, health, and wellness. For his efforts, he was awarded the distinction of LEED Fellow, by the Unites States Green Building Council in 2015. Recently, he has been active working with doctors and public health researchers to integrate evidence-based health strategies into the built environment.

DATE AND TIME

Tue, October 10th, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

LOCATION

City Space, 100 5th Street NE

Fee: Free for members, $10 nonmembers: Register Here

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Decentralized Drinking Water Purification Systems

What if all the water you used in your house was purified on site and you used it again? It is actually not all that different than a well and septic system, but it is a closed loop system relying on technology instead of an open one relying on the surrounding environment. In the wake of these rapid fire extreme weather events, perhaps it is time to start thinking about more resilient, decentralized systems for providing something as vital to survival as water.

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The Cloud Shower: Disruptive Shower Technology?

There are two types of technology change: Incremental and Disruptive. As a designer, disruptive is way more fun.

Incremental: How do we get more with less? For showers, building codes limit their consumption to 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) while green building rating systems are pushing manufacturers to get more with less; down to 1.5 gpm. The problem is that at a certain point there is a physical limit to the incremental change and efficiency gains will level off. My gut says that for shower heads this point is somewhere around 1.2 gpm. Any 50% reduction is something to be proud of, but it has taken a long time.

Disruptive: What if we ask a different question altogether: “Is there a better way to take a shower?” A couple startups are trying to answer this question with what they call a cloud shower. Previously only available as a luxury shower add-on, the technology is similar to a type of commercial humidifier. They claim that their technology not only uses 75% less water, but also provides a much more luxurious showering experience: providing more even coverage and rinsing more effectively. We now have a sudden 75% drop in water consumption, which also results in a major drop in the amount of water that needs to be heated, which in turn saves a lot of money. All this by simply swapping out a shower head! Brilliant!

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Futuristic Food Recycling

A really ladqvmwe8qzpicyuwgjlaerge portion of human’s waste stream is totally compostable, but a lot of us still don’t compost it for a variety of reasons and it ends up in a landfill. Zera Food Recycler is a futuristic solution (sadly, not quite a Mr. Fusion) that automatically processes food scraps into plant food in 24 hours. Unfortunately it is expensive right now and involves replaceable filters, but it is just the first step in a bringing another tool to reduce landfill waste online. It is great to see inventors asking the right questions. Can technology ultimately save us?

 

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North Country Natural Swimming Pool Project

Natural swimming pools are somewhat of a magical unicorn in the United States. Luckily that is beginning to change as people begin to re-evaluate the chemical processes that we have become accustomed to.

Here is upworthy’s article on this great swimming pool project that is challenging the industrial swimming pool.

nat pool

I wonder how this is the first of its kind, and it seems like there are very few professionals who understand this type of plant based system. If you’re wondering what to study in college, it is plant based alternatives to industrial processes and mechanical systems (yes, conventional swimming pools are an industrial process).

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Bamboo Deck String Lights

Humans are predictable creatures. For some reason we feel more comfortable in places that are the right proportions and scale for the activity that occurs there. If you have found this post, then you are probably looking to make your deck more intimate, romantic, or inviting for reading, dining or talking. Lighting has long been used to “enclose” outdoor rooms to make the great outdoors feel more comfortable, and string lights have become a very inexpensive and effective way to do this.

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Bamboo Uprights

In order to get the deck lighting high enough to create a “roof” over a deck, the lighting needs to be 8 to 10 feet above the floor. Most decks have railing between 3 and 4 feet tall, so extra height will be needed to make the desired effect work. Bamboo is a very strong, extremely fast-growing grass that can grow in a large variety of climates, so it is a low-impact and in a lot of cases free choice for making the uprights (ie posts) that will hold the lights up. Above and beyond being very strong, renewable, and cheap, bamboo’s characteristic shape offers a few extra features that can reduce the amount of mechanical fasteners that you need to use.

Sourcing and Preparing the Bamboo

Do not plant your own Bamboo: the plant is not native in most locations and will quickly take over your yard and spread to your neighbors’. Look around where you live for a bamboo patch, chances are that the people whose property it is on will be more than happy to let you have a few twigs. If you are a bit shy, some garden centers may have it in stock.

Look for pieces that are between 10 and 14 feet tall, so that when the small top branches are cut, you will be left with a roughly 8 to 10 feet pole between ½” to 1” in diameter. On a deck, the number of uprights will either be the number of deck railing posts or every 6 to 8 feet. Cut the bamboo down close to the ground, then trim off all of the branches. When trimming the branches, leave ½” to 1” of the base of the branch attached to the pole, these branches sticking out just a little bit are how the string lights will be attached.

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Attaching the Bamboo Uprights to the deck

The way that the bamboo uprights are attached to the deck will vary based on the deck construction but the concept is the same for all decks. The pole needs two points of attachment to the deck to make it stable and sturdy. Special brackets (think tiki torches) are available for just this task, but they will probably cost more than the string lights themselves. If you do go this route make sure that they are made to withstand the outdoors or they will break or rust all over the place.

In my case the deck railing overhangs the railing posts by an inch, so a simple bracket would not work anyway. two 3” long pieces of notched 2” x 2” treated lumber per bamboo upright did the trick nicely. Drill a hole to allow for a zip tie to grab the bamboo and use two exterior deck screws to attach the pieces of lumber to the outside of the railing post. Attaching the bamboo is as easy as tightening the zip ties because the natural bulge every 8 to 12 inches along the bamboo upright will act as a positive stop and keep the upright from slipping downward with gravity.

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Choosing String Lights

There is now a huge variety of string lights available. When using bamboo uprights, the huge commercial bulbs with thick cords will look too large, so pick ones that have thinner cords and smaller bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are a waste of energy so luckily LED technology has come a long way in the past few years.

The first thing to consider is how bright do you want the lights to be. There are really only two choices: mood lighting and illumination. If you are just looking to make the deck a more inviting place, then mood lighting is all that you need, and if you only need mood lighting, then solar powered string lights are a great way to go. They always turn on at dusk, don’t require any outdoor electrical plugs, don’t cost anything to operate, plus they still allow for stargazing and watching fireflies. Outdoor lamps can be used to supplement the lighting in the areas and times that it is needed.

lights

If you must have more light, then you need to look into plug-in LED string lights. When looking for LED string lights, look for reviews online to make sure that they do not strobe; cheaper sets often flicker at 60 hz, which can drive your eyes insane and will completely ruin the effect of calm. Make sure they are rated for continuous outdoor use.

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The second thing to consider is the color of the light from the bulbs. LEDs are available in any color imaginable, so if you really want purple lights, go for it. I personally like the warm white type of lights (2700K) which produce a glow similar to incandescent bulbs.

Attaching the String Lights to the Bamboo Uprights

This is by far the easiest part of the process. Be gentle when hanging the string lights, especially with the solar powered ones. Pick a height on the bamboo uprights that looks right (start with 8 feet if you can’t decide), and wrap the string lights one turn around each bamboo upright above the closest branch to the desired height, then push the loop down to the branch and notice that the bamboo branch provides a stop so that the lights can’t slide down the upright.

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If you want your string lights to hover above the deck and attach the your house you have to get a little creative. Is it best not to drill any more holes in your house than there already are, and coincidentally most houses have attachments on the side like gutters or radon pipes that can be used to attach the lights to. Pay attention to any sharp objects that could cut the light string so use things like spring links (carabiners) to make the attachment to the house less straining.

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I hope that this has given you some more ideas about how to create an outdoor room that invites you to enjoy the outdoors.

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