Friday, November 29, 2013

Greenbuild 2013: A Milestone for Green Construction

Last November, Greenbuild, easily the largest green building conference in the world, not only brought together the most important politicians, proponents, and luminaries in green construction, but also brought to the fore pressing issues in sustainability. The conference is an enlightening exposition that will let you know more or less where the industry is heading.

There are three important lessons to be learned in Greenbuild 2013:

1.    Health and education are two important principles that go hand in hand.
The agenda of the conference showed the regard for both education and health, with several sessions dedicated to health education. USGBC and the UL Environment partnership also announced in the expo that they will be putting up a Center for Green Building and Human Health. LEED v4 stepped by introducing the Materials and Resources (MR) section, while manufacturers have also started labelling their products in conformity with the upcoming MR requirements. The private sector, in full recognition of the connection between health and green construction, has given a $3 million grant to USGBC for research on healthy building materials.

2.    What matters are the outcomes.

Strategies are important, but outcomes are ultimately what matter. In the previous LEED standards, certified projects put a premium on strategies and energy models. There is more focus on outcomes in LEED v4, especially with the new LEED Dynamic Plaque, a web-based performance dashboard that continually monitors the waste, transportation, energy, and “human experience” of the LEED building real-time. This means that the rating of a building will be constantly re-scored depending on its daily performance.
3.    Scalability and going local are important.

Scalability is also a pressing concern in the summit, as the challenge to handle a system with a growing number of global design problems became clear. One of the discoveries of the summit was the 2030 Palette, which helps in building an increasing number of sustainable and low-carbon environments worldwide by giving design professionals the tools they need to take action in an accessible manner.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Here is some green Friday humour for you, courtesy of Interior Design Chat. Make sure to check out there blog!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Confined space is an old workplace hazard that could benefit from a fresh look.

Here is a link to a video from Canada's Occupational Health & Safety magazine, OHS. This site is a great resource for those in the construction industry. Check out this link, some educational articles and more on their website.

Watch Video - Confined space is an old workplace hazard that could benefit from a fresh look.

What resources do you turn to for construction and safety news, updates and tips?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Greening Your Pre-Fab Home

You've constructed your green pre-fab home, now what? 

Stainless steel. Energy-efficient windows. Hardwood flooring. These are the materials that houses in today’s day and age are made of.  Improved energy efficiency has become the new trend in the construction industry, owing to a newfound mindset of homeowners—that of practicality. 

This mindset was not present before the recession, and is more likely caused by several supervening events: the rise of energy costs and the affordability of energy-efficient solutions, among others. Norsteel, for one, believes in making green construction available and accessible for all, and offers a variety of options for homeowners, regardless of the budget.

According to McGraw-Hill Construction, the demand for green construction will only rise further, considering that in 2011 alone, 17% of the overall residential construction market comprised were green homes. In 2016, the rate is expected to reach as high as 29% to 33%. Whereas people before had to be convinced of the merits of green construction, today, they will willingly seek green solutions, knowing exactly what they have in mind.

Until now, however, there’s a certain confusion as to the different certification programs available.

The Different Certification Programs

You might have noticed those Energy Star blue stickers on your appliances. These qualify under the Energy Stay program, which is easily one of the largest green programs available.

Another one is the Challenge Home by the Department of Energy,. The ICC-700 National Green Building Standard, on the other hand, is administered by the National Association of Homebuilders. LEED, perhaps, is one of the most popular, with its LEED for Homes certifications.

Many home buyers find themselves obtaining certifications from different progams, without even knowing if the added cost is worth the rating.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Green Construction Technologies

In the previous blog post, we’ve talked about some green construction technologies that earn our praise and support. Here we continue the discussion on a growing area in the construction industry that could well define its direction in the next few years or so. We in Norsteel are happy to play an essential role not only with our range of products and services, but also by generating buzz for some of the world’s breakthroughs in green construction.

5. Geothermal Heating
The race for renewable sources of energy has never been this tight. As the world runs out of fossil fuel, there is a need to explore alternative sources of energy that can sustain domestic needs. Wind and solar power are thus far the best choices, and don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re no good on a rainy day. Pipes that are laid underneath the ground will not be affected by freezing temperatures, and an antifreeze mixture can be pumped through it to make sure that it can collect thermal energy.

6. Solar Energy
There are two types of solar energy for your home: passive and active solar energy. Active solar energy is probably what you associate with solar power the most: massive solar panels and huge equipment that harvest energy. Passive solar design refers to an interior design that will facilitate solar power for your home. For instance, the windows must be strategically placed so the sun’s rays can pass through. Dark walls will also help in retaining the heat inside the home and regulate the warmth of the interior. 

7. Smart appliances
If any of your appliances need replacing, you better choose smart appliances. These appliances are equipped with truly amazing technology, like smart meters that provide real-time data on power use and energy data. There’s even a smart refrigerator that you can program to tell you when refrigerated food is about to go bad. It doesn’t get better than that. 

8.  A zero energy home
Considered as the prize of green technology, a zero energy building or a zero net energy building is able to successfully operate without a normal electric grid, relying on renewable energy resources like solar or wind power. And the best place to start? A prefab building that caters to your needs