Posts tagged ‘Green Building’

October 26, 2016, 9:00 am

Greenbuild 2016

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At Mitsubishi Electric, we take pride in creating sustainable cooling and heating technology. Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to share our newest innovations at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Greenbuild is the largest conference and expo dedicated to green building and sustainable design. It attracts industry leaders and experts from all over the globe. In addition to a diverse crowd, Greenbuild is known for its attractions. This year included a film festival, yoga session and Women in Green Power Breakfast. The buzz was so contagious that #Greenbuild16 became a trending topic on Twitter.

Although this year’s Greenbuild has come and gone, its impact will continue in Los Angeles with the Legacy Project. For this year’s Legacy Project, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles Chapter helped launch an Eco-Tech Maker Space for the Los Angeles Unified School District. This project offers “S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curricula, hands-on learning and environmental stewardship emanating from the reuse of discarded, safe manufacturing materials.”

From beginning to end, Greenbuild always brings the energy that inspires us to engage and create technologies for this industry. We look forward to participating in next year’s conference in Boston.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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July 5, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile: The Willow School

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“How do you make a building like a tree?” That was the question Mark Biedron, co-founder, The Willow School (Willow), Gladstone, New Jersey, was trying to answer when he, his wife Gretchen and the team at Willow embarked on the Living Building Challenge (LBC). LBC is a standard requiring buildings to be 100 percent electric – often functioning at net-zero or net-positive energy usage. This was the goal for Willow’s new 20,000-square-foot Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center – and it was our very own VRF technology that helped achieve that goal.

Since a tree would use only sunlight, Willow produced energy with photovoltaic panels. That energy then fueled the school’s mechanical systems, like our VRF technology and Lossnay Energy Recovery Ventilators. The VRF units keep the school comfortable for little energy, while the Lossnay ERVs enable this new building to recover energy from exhaust air and simultaneously cool or heat outside ventilation air as it enters the building.

The result is a hugely efficient energy operation – a reflection of the school’s commitment to sustainability, and of the smart products and project design. “Every load was tracked and analyzed. Every amp and watt was accounted for. Nothing was missed,” said Vin Farese, Loring Consulting Engineers, Princeton, New Jersey. The success is evident: The school building performs more than 700 percent more efficiently than conventional educational facilities. Biedron is very proud of that fact: “It’s really the responsibility of the educational community to teach children how the planet works, why that’s important and how to use energy efficiently.”

To learn more about the efficiency at Willow – including how our customer service helped Willow meet certain LBC codes – check out the case study.

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June 6, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Dodge City Schools

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“I can hear my teacher now.” That was one student’s reaction in Dodge City, Kansas, after the school district began renovating each of its 10 schools’ HVAC systems. When it paired our Water-source Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) with geothermal technology in two of its buildings, that same wonderful thing happened – suddenly, students could hear their teachers. Additionally, the district saw reduced utility bills, green certification and satisfied teachers.

Each summer now, the district focuses efforts on one renovation. Our water-source VRF technology entered the scene during the second summer as part of improving conditions in the 35,000-square-foot Central Elementary School (Central) – a two-story brick facility built in 1927. Water-source VRF paired with geothermal technology replaced outdated, inefficient HVAC systems. VRF brought efficiency, true zoning and excellent control to that pairing.

The following summer, Wilroads Elementary School (Wilroads) – a 19,000-square-foot building from the 1950s – was renovated by pairing our water-source VRF systems with geothermal technology. Drew Rose, electrical engineer, Integrated Consulting Engineers, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, has served as the project manager and designer for the ongoing Dodge City Schools projects. Rose said of the Wilroads installation that “everyone’s been satisfied since, and the teachers were really excited to get something that works without being loud.”

Both Central and Wilroads also earned ENERGY STAR® certification; Central even got a score of 91! “When you think about how it was built in 1927, well, we think that’s pretty impressive,” said William Hammond, the district’s executive director of business operations.

The Dodge City Unified School District’s energy manager, Morris Reeves, spoke of the decision to use VRF: “We work every day to conserve energy. Energy conserved is more money for the classroom – that’s what we’re all about.” Hammond added: “I like being green to save energy and resources, and being green to save money. I try to find projects that do both.” By pairing our water-source VRF systems with geothermal technology, the school district was able to do both. This pairing even earned the district a claim of $215,000 in grants and rebates. And now, nearly 7,000 students can hear their teachers.

To read more about Dodge City Schools, check out the case study.

February 25, 2016, 9:00 am

Net-Zero and the New Normal

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In an editorial regarding Net-Zero enthusiasm, architect Ned Cramer questioned, “Why isn’t net-zero as familiar in our technology-worshipping culture as the iPhone? Why don’t we talk about it with as much awe as the Tesla Model S?” These innovations are not only popular – they are part of our culture.

So then why doesn’t net-zero building feel like a fundamental part of our culture, especially when so much of the success with net-zero projects comes from a thoughtful and simple redesign of something we already use? We know to anticipate the newest iteration of our favorite electronics each year, but green technologies are constantly innovating and updating as well. Windows, for example, can be angled to either contain or release heat. This simple rethinking of traditional windows can naturally regulate the temperature of a home, which in turn saves on energy and associated costs. On bigger projects, energy recovery technology can even utilize heat that would otherwise be dispelled, creating a source of comfort.

Building professionals have the capacity to imagine these intuitive, efficient designs and now have the tools to make these projects not only a reality, but a modern inevitability. As the newest smartphones draw crowds for a new product release, so too should each green milestone be celebrated.

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Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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February 19, 2016, 9:00 am

The Need to Go Green in a Costly Housing Market

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With the 2016 Primary Season in full swing, Joel Kotkin of The Daily Beast wrote Monday morning that the cost of housing has gone largely unmentioned among policy issues. Citing a study from Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy, Kotkin argues that, “In 2015, the rise in housing costs essentially swallowed savings gains made elsewhere, notably, savings on the cost of energy.” In November of last year, Nielsen identified sustainability1 as a “shopping priority” for millennials, even to the point that they would pay extra for that sustainability. For presidential hopefuls, recognizing the impact of environmental demands on the needs of our country’s next generation of homeowners is a must, but acting on that information takes time.

What we in the industry can do is much more immediate and impactful. We wrote last week of the practicality of carbon-neutrality, but beyond that our ductless systems were among the first of their kind in the United States and have always worked toward energy efficiency. By minimizing the size of our units without sacrificing output, and by making personalized control more readily available, our systems can help reduce energy consumption. This curbs energy costs and makes our products ideal for the millennial consumer, while also easily adapting to future economic and environmental trends.

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January 13, 2016, 9:00 am

Waste Water Technology Opens New Avenues of Energy Recovery

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Water-source Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems are one of the most energy-efficient ways to cool and heat a building.  Water sourcing helps maintain a consistent temperature without having to constantly monitor and maintain air temperature, and VRF’s small piping makes installation and renovation simple. However, water-based systems can be a challenging application in areas like California, where water conservation is a daily concern.

In the District of Columbia, D.C. Water has developed technology to convert waste water into energy by converting solid byproducts into usable energy, while also funneling steam back into the energy recovery process. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “D.C. Water’s Blue Plains facility is converting waste to clean water and a nutrient-rich soil byproduct, producing energy and helping to put the district on the path towards a zero waste future.”

We’re excited to watch this technology spread across the country. Applying it in water-conscious areas makes water source VRF a more viable option. As we all look for ways to operate more efficiently and thoughtfully, this is potentially very good news.

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December 29, 2015, 10:12 am

Work Smarter With Green Technology

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Last week we wrote about the financial benefits of using automation systems to modify green buildings; now here’s one more reason to consider updating your office space. According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is a clear relationship between air quality and cognition. This relationship makes intuitive sense, but its impact is more severe than you may expect. Professionals who work in green buildings showed “cognitive scores” as high as 101 percent better than those in traditional office buildings, and the “using information” score was nearly 300 percent better for workers in green settings.

These results seem to demonize conventional buildings as being poor working environments. The good news is that the industry has a big opportunity here, and some professionals are already embracing this challenge. Building Construction + Design recently identified a trend in the green building industry: Many older buildings are being retrofitted with green technology rather than being replaced with entirely new buildings. Ultimately this will save money and improve air quality for employees – perhaps exponentially. That’s a big opportunity for a big, important change.

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com and is licensed by CC BY 3.0. Graphic was also designed by Freepik

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August 20, 2015, 3:48 pm

Never Leave ‘Home’ Without ‘Ready’

Last month, we shared how green rating systems stack up. Now, we are focusing on just one of those ratings – Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH).

What is a ZERH and why is it called that? The ZERH rating endorses the sustainability and high efficiency of a Zero Energy home and protects builders from false pretenses with the addition of ‘Ready.’ A ZERH is at least 40 to 50 percent more efficient than a traditional home but what separates it from a home with zero utility bills is a renewable energy system. It can almost offset its annual energy consumption but many factors can affect utility costs, such as homeowner habits, occupancy levels and adverse weather conditions.

Take the ZERH-certified Village Park Eco Home in Double Oak, Texas, for example, which saves almost $1,700 a year in utilities. Its efficiency earned the home the 2014 Housing Innovation Award and has garnered the attention of over 1,300 tourists. Builder Wayne Atkins said building the Village Park Eco Home was an easy decision and a step in the right direction. He intends on making it a Zero Energy Home to increase his savings even more. He shared, “solar may not be cost effective now but, in a few years it will be and we’ll be ready for it.”

Atkins isn’t the only one going to the greener side. More and more builders and homeowners are willing to put in a little now to get a lot out later. They’re willing to position themselves for better efficiency by making smarter choices for the home. Cooling and heating accounts for nearly half of a home’s energy consumption so, for those heading down the ZERH path, installing a high-performing HVAC system like ours would be a smart place to start.

August 18, 2015, 2:19 pm

Top 10 Countries for LEED® Green Building

August 18_Top 10 Countries for LEED ImageThe U.S. Green Building Council released its annual ranking of the Top 10 countries for LEED® outside of the U.S.

The countries are ranked by the gross square meters (GSM) and number of LEED projects in their respective nations. Canada takes the lead with over 26 million GSM of LEED space. Canada also boasts over 4,814 LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects.

The list also includes several developing countries, such as China and India, which are projected to be the largest contributors to climate change in the coming years. Their inclusion on the list shows the growth of green building and the importance of LEED in controlling emissions and staving off global warming.

Although the list focuses on countries outside of the U.S., the U.S. remains the largest market for sustainable building and construction.

Here are the other countries leading the world in green building:

  1. Canada
  2. China
  3. India
  4. Brazil
  5. Republic of Korea
  6. Germany
  7. Taiwan
  8. United Arab Emirates
  9. Turkey
  10. Sweden

Check out the full ranking.

June 11, 2015, 10:18 am

The Grass Is Always Greener on the Greener Side

Educational facilities across the country are going green. Recycling clubs, organic gardens, green roofs and sustainable dining programs are becoming campus staples. More and more institutions are adopting environmentally conscious practices and technologies for a simple reason: to minimize operational costs in order to maximize the educational experience.

Here are some of the ways that sustainable HVAC solutions benefit educational facilities:

  1. Cost Savings. When school is in session, cooling and heating systems provide a comfortable learning environment. When school is not in session, the systems safeguard the building from the damaging effects from extreme heat, freezing temperatures and excessive humidity. With an energy-efficient HVAC system, all of this is done at a reduced cost. When Falmouth Elementary School, Stafford, Virginia, installed our VRF zoning systems, their operating costs decreased by 40 percent and their energy costs fell by 25 percent – a savings of $70,000 per year.

  2. Utility Rebates. Many utility companies offer financial incentives for purchasing qualified energy-efficient systems. Our VRF solutions have contributed to astounding utility rebates for a number of commercial projects – Towson City Center got back $421,999; Union Mill, $164,258; 909 Kapiolani, $70,000; Residence Inn® by Marriott®, $27,000.

  3. Tax Incentives. The Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (Section 179D) is a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for companies designing or renovating energy-efficient buildings for the government. Participating schools have received free energy assessments and been able to offer designers and contractors a potential tax deduction for their sustainable design solutions.

The Hollis Montessori School, Hollis, New Hampshire, is a good model for how an educational facility can improve energy efficiency with an environmentally friendly HVAC solution and, in turn, improve its students’ educational experience. Our H2i® system creates not only a healthy environment in which the students can learn but an unparalleled academic experience. Teachers incorporate the building’s energy usage into lessons and students are encouraged to interact with the system’s monitoring equipment. As far as the savings go, Hollis Montessori School’s annual electricity bill is just $4,500 – an 85 percent energy savings, says the school’s energy consultant. The school has an even bigger achievement to tout – it’s the first independent school in the country to earn Passive House certification.

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