Friday, March 29, 2013

Vancouver: A Leader in Green Construction

Vancouver Convention Centre. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Green construction has well established its roots in Canada, especially in cities like Vancouver. This particular city has become a focal point and a golden standard for environmental sustainability, thanks to a wealth of green construction projects that abound in the area.

The list of green construction projects in Vancouver is quite extensive—thanks to the support of major construction firms, the government, and the local residents. 

One of them is the Millennium Water Olympic Village, which was one of the main sporting areas in the 2010 Olympics and a true engineering vision completed on a contaminated industrial site. Thanks to the five architectural firms and over 40 engineering companies, a common vision of advanced community development was developed on 130,000 square metres. It has addressed several environmental issues, including climate change and energy management.

The University of British Columbia Sustainable Buildings are another prime example of how green buildings can help further the noble cause of education. There are over 400 institutional and residential buildings in the university, which makes them easily one of the largest contributors per environmental footprint. UBC has turned what could otherwise be environmental chaos into sustainability by pioneering green building practices as early as the 90’s. With its Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, UBC has managed to define green communities and green buildings in the university setting. In fact, it is one of the models followed by universities across Canada.

A third example is the Vancouver Convention Centre, with the largest green roof in Canada. How it managed to bring together several green building elements together in the country’s largest green facility in the country is truly a wonder. 

A large number of organizations, including the Vancouver Regional Construction Association support sustainable construction. 

The amazing aforementioned developments in green construction within Vancouver show that environmental sustainability is not an effort by only a few construction firms. In order to gain momentum on sustainable construction, everyone must join in on the cause and form a united front—that includes us, Norsteel.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Steel Garages and their Benefits

Using steel buildings for your garage has become very common these days.  They serve multiple uses, not only can they be used for your cars, but they can also be used for your storing needs.  They are not only used for storing cars, but also tractors or even air planes.  As you can see steel garages can serve a wide variety of purposes and are also very cost effective which makes them perfect for requirements.   They can be built easily, and in a matter of 5 weeks.  They can be altered at any given time especially if in the future you decide you’d like to expand your garage or even change the layout.  This can be done very easily.  Most of the steel building kits do include manuals so that the building can be erected by you or your team.  A professional isn’t necessarily required.  This is why most owners do save money on labour costs.  

Building a Steel Garage Building provides wonderful benefits. Steel building garages and or storage garages are very usable and are easily maintained. The most important benefits of steel buildings are mentioned below.  The great thing about these buildings is that they are 100 recyclable.  They are created from the best-recycled and recyclable material available.  Basically, this means that old steel can be used again in a newer building.  Any recycled building can and will be recycled and reused.  Steel garages also do not create any waste.  Traditional buildings do create a lot of waste which goes into our landfills and cannot be reused.  Wood is harsh on our trees and can not be reused. Steel buildings are also not as expensive as most traditional buildings are.  This is because labour and materials costs are reduced.  There is a lot of competitors between the steel buildings markets so they are always trying to offer you the lowest and best price that’s right for you.  Steel buildings are easy to put up, require no professionals which allow you to save on labour costs and are very easy to put up.  They can be erected in as little as 5 weeks!  With construction time reduced, this makes steel buildings very popular in the construction industry.  Steel buildings can also create looks that are modern, traditional and even artistic which is very appealing to the market. There are a variety of colours and designs and the possibilities are endless.  You can create your steel building to look a certain way and to suit your taste.

As you can see steel building garages carry many wonderful benefits that are very appealing to any building owner’s needs.  This makes the steel building process easy, quick and fun. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Green Buildings Drive Business and Generate Profit

We all know that green buildings are nice. Its concrete benefits to its occupants have been proven. Generally, people who stay in green buildings are more productive, and satisfied than in other buildings. But is it profitable as well?

A recent study answers in the positive. The study was a joint effort between United Technologies, maker of Carrier air-conditioners and Otis Elevators, entitled “World Green Building Trends.”
Back in 2008, respondents said that the main motivator behind their green building project is the fact that “it’s the right thing”. This is no longer the primary moving factor in 2012, where the reason is business: respondents state that client and market demand are the main reasons for the popularity of green buildings. In other words, profit.

The profit-making opportunities are manifold. 76% of the respondents state that having a green building lowers expenses and operating costs. 38% said that a green building results in a higher market value and quality assurance. 36% undertake green buildings for future-proofing.
The profit is not limited to green building owners alone. It has also resulted in more work demand for the construction labor sector. Even construction product manufacturers have delved into the business of setting up contracts that will promote green benefits. 

The study further showed that businesses across industries are moving towards green buildings. Around 51% of the respondents have green building projects in the pipeline, while 60% will undertake more projects by 2015. This is a huge improvement: in a previous study, only 28% said that they will have more green building projects put up by 2013, and only 13% said they plan on putting up green buildings by 2008. 

This is yet another positive proof that green buildings are the future of the industry. Now with its profit-generating feature, building owners have yet another compelling reason to retrofit or put up a green building. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reflective Insulation Products That Will Keep Your Metal Building Cool

Do you want to keep your metal building cool without increasing energy costs? Over the years, more and more companies have been seeking the solution to keeping the metal building cool while still keeping energy costs low. The solution that they have come up with is called reflective insulation products. Since they have been discovered, they have become very popular among many companies and are used almost everywhere. This product is keeping buildings cool while keeping costs down.The way it works is by reducing the transfer of heat across a building’s air spaces. It is manufactured with highly reflective surfaces. 95-97 percent of the radiant heat that strikes the surface is reflected, and only 3 to 5 percent of the heat is emitted through the insulation. 
The types of heat transfers are conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction is the transfer of heat between two contacting surfaces. An example would be a steel pot being warmed on an electric range. Convection is the transfer of heat by the flow of air or fluid. An example would be a room warmed by the hot air from the vent of a central heating unit. Radiation is the transfer of heat by infrared radiation across an air space. An example would be the dashboard of a closed car heated by sunlight.   
The major benefits of reflective insulation are that in hot summers, heat that is radiated through the roof will keep temperatures inside the metal building much cooler. And in winter, the heat that is reflected off the insulation’s shiny surface will go back into the building so this way heat will stay in the building. In order to maximize performance of the reflective insulation, it must be properly installed with an air space that faces one foil side of the product. Aside from the popular benefits of this product, it also has many other wonderful features such as: it is easy to install, which results in low labor cost. It is light weight and can be cut to fit any metal building.

It can be installed over other insulation to increase insulation or to improve building’s appearance. The reflective surface can reduce interior lighting requirement by 35 percent which will reduce energy costs. Also, low moisture transfer will improve the overall thermal performance of the metal building. If this is the solution you have been waiting for and you like to reduce energy bills, consider this to suit your metal building and have your energy costs lowered.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Look at Our most Sustainable Material - Steel

Over the years, steel has becomea very popular material in the construction industry and is now expanding all over the world.  The reason for this is because steel is a sustainable material.  What does sustainability mean? For many people it means maintenance of responsibility which is also to be eco friendly and look forward to positive changes of our environment.   Many companies say they are “green” however, the North American Steel Industry has said to invested billions of dollars in coming up with new products and technologies in order to demonstrate to the public of their progress in becoming green.  There has been positive outcomes to their progress such as reductions in energy consumption, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, a reduce life cycle impact as well as impact and increased volumes of steel scrap being recycled. These are just some examples that will help our economy become better.  Trying to promote awareness will help other construction industries see the light and hopefully do the same.  The problem is that not many people know how to be more energy efficient, but The North American steel industry is working on products that will help with greener construction as well as simple ways to reduce carbon and greener gases. 
The progress of The North American’s commitment to sustainable products has made steel the leading material in construction industry as the most recycled material.  Yearly, more than 80 million tons of steel is recycled.  The company is trying to push awareness of recycling by promoting programs that will hopefully grow and benefit the entire life cycle.  Since 1990, the production of thin-slab, flat-rolled, electric arc furnaces, and other advances in steelmaking processes have been reduced by 27 percent and C02 emissions by 33 percent per ton of steel shipped. Some other statistics are that Steel has lower energy use and CO2 emissions per ton than aluminum, and magnesium among others. Reductions in energy use and CO2 emissions are rapidly reaching the limits.  In order to continue energy efficiency, new steelmaking processes are in the works.  This will allow for the use of greener fuels and carbon capture technologies.

The North American Industry is committed to documenting the Life Cycle Impact and sustainable advantages of steel in order to find ways to be more energy efficient as well as come up with more products that will help in the process.  Although most companies are doing their best to promote a much greener environment, they say it sometimes isn’t green enough.  This is why the steel industry will continue to do the research to become beyond green.  One thing they will keep on doing is promote green living through recycling and innovative thinking in order to keep steel industries on top and this will be a major benefit to us all.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In Shanghai, a Chinese man named Jin Liang who like most people watches his utility bills constantly in order to save money had faced a problem.  Due to the very humid and hot weather, he was forced to turn his air conditioner on to keep cool. However, the major issue was, he wasn’t sure if he should keep his air conditioner off to save energy and money or keep it on in order to stay cool and comfortable.  Later, Jin decided to move into a new apartment where his energy dilemma had disappeared.  His new apartment featured a new material that allowed him to turn off the air conditioner and still keep cool.  The apartment has thermal insulation which can help keep the apartment cool for hours after being turned off.  This way, you wouldn’t have to keep the air conditioner on constantly through out the day.  Jim’s energy bill had been cut by one-third, making him very happy with his new product.  

Just like Jin, there are many other people in China suffering from the same issue. Buildings in China will consume more energy than its largest industries such as iron, cement and steel.  Unfortunately for China, this issue will only get worse.  Two billion square meters of new buildings each year will be added there.  Generally, less than 80 percent of energy is being used by Chinese families which are less than what North Americans use. It’s being reported that Chinese are getting wealthier and are upgrading their homes with electric appliances to save energy.  Unfortunately though, if by 2020, Chinese do not improve there energy efficiency in buildings than the energy consumption will be one-fifth of the worlds total coal consumption.

The scary thing is that not only is this effecting China’s energy future but it affects Mother Nature as well.  The policymakers in China are advising the real estate workers to comply with energy codes.  Currently, they are trying to enforce greener materials in buildings but nobody really knows if things will get better here.  Each year, Beijing is sending delegations to every urban corner for random checks and aiming the corrupted officials and contractors.

In 2010, 95 percent of constructed buildings are energy efficient. This had been reported by Beijing, however they still have concerns as some of China’s energy efficiency regulators tend to ignore a segment that is home to half of the Chinese population.  The good news is that Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are becoming technically prepared for the future.  The next thing they will work on is to issue a policy that will be tough enough to pressure the building owners to comply with these energy codes in order to save energy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Home Improvement Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Building

Do you want to make your building more eco-friendly? While renovating every now and then is a good idea for a fresh look, you will also be adding value to your home/building. See below for tips on renovating your home to make it more environmentally friendly.

The first thing we look at is roofing. The best way to make this environmentally friendly is to add solar panels. Basically solar panels are put on your roof in the sun and will collect power without adding any fuel or replacing work out parts. These panels are very popular, modern, green, and used almost everywhere. You might also want to change your roof colour, research indicates that roof colour and the type of material used can help to lower attic temperatures. If you decide to re-roof, consider lighter tiles such as white over the standard shingle roofs and this will reduce heat gain to your attic.  Another great idea is to replace all light bulbs in your building with compact fluorescent ones. Energy-smart bulbs use 70-75% less energy than the incandescent kind and last up to ten times longer! This is just a simple tip but can save you $59 dollars on energy costs over the life of the bulb, which can be anywhere from five to seven years. Also, installing motion detectors outside your home rather than leaving outdoor lighting on all night which will only waste energy, money and disturb wildlife.

One of the most important tips here is do not waste water. Always check for leaky faucets and get them fixed if you notice a leak as soon as possible. When doing laundry, try to use cold water as much as you can. Also set a good example for your children by teaching them to turn off water while they brush their teeth. Installing low flow showerheads will cut down on water usage and save energy costs. When heating and cooling your home, invest in a high-efficiency HVAC system that is Energy Star certified and install it in your home. This will reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted and will shave your utility bill. Look for a product with a higher SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio). This means that the product meets strict government criteria necessary to be deemed “energy efficient.” The standard is 13 SEER, but many heating and air conditioning products have a rating as high as 18 SEER. Also, cleaning out your air conditioner filters and replacing them regularly will help to reduce costs. If you are not in your home, adjust the thermostat to accommodate the changing temperatures outside.

Finally, another good tip is to install more fans in your home. Ceiling fans can help reduce your family’s dependence on air condition during the hot summer months. In winter, they push heat down from the ceiling.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Steel Buildings Popular for Churches

Steel buildings are all the rave lately because of their adaptable custom demands, easy installation and the short time it takes to put one up.  These are just some of the reasons why steel buildings are becoming popular for churches.  In the future to come, you will notice that church owners are now opting for steel buildings.  Steel buildings are also a great choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly green building. There are many green buildings on the market today and they are spoken widely for their energy efficiency and huge savings in cost!

When projects like this come up, the main thing is cost.  When planning for a church building, you want to make sure that it is in the budget.  The good thing about pre-fabricated buildings is that they happen to be flexible and unique structures that can be used for all sorts of buildings especially a church.  They are also great ideas for schools, community centers, and religious halls.  When building, you will find that steel buildings hold a major advantage when it comes to design.  They are very flexible, energy efficient, and the most important advantage is that they are very durable.  They can last up to 50 years if not longer.  Metal churches have become popular based on cost, flexibility, durability, fast erection process, pre-punched and pre-engineered steel buildings. All of these factors will greatly reduce costs making these buildings a great choice for any project! 

Another guaranteed factor of steel buildings is that they are safe.  When compared to wood, stick or brick, steel church buildings tend to be more energy efficient.  They are up to 50 percent cheaper to purchase.  The erection process tends to be cheaper due to the fact that steel is already pre-fabricated and pre-punched making the building ready to assemble right away.  Erection time is usually up to only 5 weeks.  The other great thing about steel buildings is that you can put up the building yourself.  There are pre-engineered buildings kits that you can purchase.  They are easy to put up and do not require skilled erectors to do the job.   

Some of the major benefits for church steel buildings are they take less time to put up compared to a traditional building which could take a year if not longer.  They can easily be changed such as design, or other buildings can be added to an existing building etc. The changes can also happen at any given time during the buildings life.  This is a great way to expand a church building if you needed to do so.  This is why steel building are a great choice for church buildings.  They have many benefits and advantages to cater to the buildings owners needs. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Metal Roofs

The benefits of metal roofing are becoming more and more popular and well known, specifically for their low weight, wind resistance and fire safety.  Generally, metal roofing is constructed with long lasting vertical seam m The benefits of metal roofing are becoming more and more popular and well known, specifically for their low weight, wind resistance and fire safety.  Generally, metal roofing is constructed with long lasting vertical seam metal roofs making them appropriate for commercial, industrial agricultural and residential buildings. Most of all the insulation process for metal roofing is a breeze. There are many different variations of insulation from product to product; however, insulation is very similar. It begins with a strip that is installed along the bottom eave edge of the roof which allows the first course of shingles to be actively locked into place. This will help uplift resistance as an overall roof security.  Then, an additional perimeter trim is installed on the roof before installation.  Included in the parameter trims are gable end trims, valley pans, roof to wall flashings, and even base trims around protrusions such as chimneys and skylights.

Roof panels usually can be installed in a series of modular panels that will interlock on all sides. You can find fasteners along the uphill edges of the panels which will then be concealed by successive courses of the roofing panels. It’s important to do this properly as it will help to avoid exposed fasteners, as this can obstruct the entire aesthetics of the metal roofing system. 

If you’re looking for an energy efficient option, horizontal battens can increase the energy efficiency of the roof by allowing active ventilation. Exposed fasteners are usually hidden in the butt edges of the roofing panels so when installation occurs this must be considered.  An active fastening combined with an interlocking nature creates roof systems that will pass wind uplift requirements and is met by Texas Department of Insurance and others.

Another great benefit to the metal roofing product is that it is self-cleaning and is a great choice for roofs being exposed to debris, tree leaves, pine needles, ice and snow. Some of the other roofing products also include water-carrying methods to create weathertight roofing system if water is an issue for you. Keep in mind that you need a minimum 3:12 roof pitch when considering horizontal interlocks and thick buttlines.  

Vertical seam metal roofing systems are becoming popular and with their great benefits they will be a high demand product well into the future. If you’re considering shingle, shake, slate or tile look products these are also high in demand.  Make sure you do your research and ask the manufacture to provide installation and specification details so you know exactly what is to be expected. The manufacture should also be able to provide a list of names of experienced installers who will install the roof properly and functionally.  This will ensure a successful metal roofing system.