Posts tagged ‘Green’

November 8, 2017, 9:00 am

Greenbuild 2017 is Here! Visit Mitsubishi Electric in Booth 838

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This week, the Mitsubishi Electric team is in Boston for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference that brings together industry leaders, experts and professionals that specialize in sustainable building.

This year will include more participants than usual as Greenbuild and the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX) are co-locating at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Between the two shows, 25,000 people are anticipated to attend, with over 800 exhibitors.

Net zero building technology is expected to be one of the most popular topics at the conference. Parts of the exhibit hall will use onsite power generated by the Greenbuild Net Zero Zone and Microgrid Showcase. This showcase provides a unique opportunity to highlight sustainable technologies and products designed for the net zero building market, which is predicted to grow into a multi-billion-dollar market in the next few years.

If you are at the show, stop by booth #838 to learn about energy-efficient HVAC innovations from Mitsubishi Electric. We are proud to offer both residential and commercial products that minimize energy consumption while giving our customers maximum comfort and control over their environment.

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August 9, 2017, 9:00 am

The Trend Toward Green

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Every year, it seems, there’s a new green rating program for homes. A long but still incomplete list includes: DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, EarthCraft, ENERGY STAR®, GreenStar, HERS®, LEED® for Homes, Living Building Challenge™, National Green Building Standard™ and Passive House. In short, builders and homeowners are going green.

Recent studies corroborate this trend. In 2016, McGraw Hill surveyed 116 builders regarding their green building practices. Over a third of those builders completed green projects, which accounted for more than 60 percent of their business. By 2018, the percentage of green projects completed by those builders is expected to rise to 90 percent. Over the same period, just 16 percent of builders are expected not to embrace green building.

The U.S. Green Building Council has attempted to understand why builders and homeowners have sustainability in mind. The top reasons driving this upswing in green building include strong market demand, homeowner cost savings, health, building codes and property values. There doesn’t appear to be one single reason the market is going green, but there is a theme among the reasons: to build and live sustainably.

It helps that green building goes hand-in-hand with advancing technology and decreasing footprints. We’re in an era of high expectations when it comes to convenience, which ultimately means that technology – and often-smart technology – must be integrated throughout a space. It’s also an era of smaller houses as homeowners look to control costs, locate themselves more centrally and live meaningfully. The result is that builders are tasked with providing homes that meet all of the market’s previous demands, but that are also contemporary when it comes to technology and footprint.

Fortunately, builders have tools at their disposal to solve this challenge. Manufacturers are offering mobile apps, products and even entire mechanical systems that help builders create homes they can stand by, and homes people want.

If you want to read more about the continual rise in sustainable building and living, check out our Builder newsletter here.

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July 12, 2017, 9:00 am

VRF Eligible for Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Rebates

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As part of their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state, Massachusetts expanded its Clean Heating and Cooling rebate program to include VRF products in all building applications. Many of our VRF systems qualify as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) five-year, $30 million investment in clean heating technology.

A few of our VRF systems were added to the list of rebate-eligible products because of their esteemed reputation for efficiency. According to MassCEC Program Manager Josh Kessler, heating accounts for around 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. He said, “VRF is a high-performing technology. “There have been a lot of advances in recent years and we want to increase awareness of what the technology looks like.”

The rebates cover the incremental costs associated with upgrading to VRF from a traditional system or incorporating VRF in new building projects. A MassCEC qualified, pre-approved VRF project can earn a rebate between $800 per ton and $2,000 per ton up to $250,000 depending on the project type, the system’s heating capacity and the product’s heat recovery capability.

We will continue to work with MassCEC to provide world-class clean heating technology to residents and business owners throughout the state. Eric Dubin, Senior Director of Utilities and Performance Construction, Mitsubishi Electric, said, “Clean heat is one of the few places where reducing our carbon footprint can also save people a lot of money.”

For more information on this program, check out the MassCEC website here.

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May 10, 2017, 9:00 am

In Our Ever-changing World of Design, What’s Next?

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We have all seen how buildings change with the times. When there are more cars, more parking garages are created. As people move back into cities, mixed-use developments soar. As a new building material or mechanical system becomes popular, the industry quickly adopts it. The perennial question, then, is: What’s next?

In 2017, a recognizable answer is 3D-printed buildings. We’ve previously discussed how the industry has been excited about buildings that can be created at any time in any place. Another increasingly recognizable idea we’ve covered is green retrofitting – the practice of renovating old properties to be green instead of tearing them down and building new.

From here, it seems the industry is becoming more playful and resourceful. Dutch company Wikkelhouse makes fully functional homes out of 24 layers of cardboard wrapped around a mold. The houses are designed to last at least 50 years and are fully customizable.

Meanwhile, architects like Italy’s Stefano Boeri are designing “vertical forests.” These tall buildings feature ample trees and bushes; they’re planted on every floor, on all sides of the building. The idea is to improve air quality and tackle urban sprawl.

Here in the U.S., we’re also seeing a trend toward doing more with less. New York City recently received its first micro-unit apartment building, with units as small as 260 square feet. Washington, D.C., recently got its first pod hotel. The spaces are designed to be minimalist, but still livable and satisfying.

From an HVAC perspective, we’re curious about it all. Smaller spaces need smaller, more flexible HVAC solutions. Green buildings need super-efficient mechanical systems. Even cardboard homes need cooling and heating! We’re excited to think about how our zoned and VRF technologies can be applied to even the most creative projects. Because it seems that no matter what comes next, Mitsubishi Electric has an HVAC solution.

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April 19, 2017, 9:00 am

The Green Retrofit Takeover

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It’s no secret that we’ve seen an increased demand for commercial buildings that are environmentally conscious and able to conserve energy. Building owners and managers have quickly learned that going green can attract more, higher-paying tenants. A majority of this demand is being met by high-performance buildings, but there are not enough new construction projects to satisfy the market. To fully meet these demands, the industry has turned to green retrofits.

The green retrofitting trend is good news for the industry. The National Institute of Building Sciences recently found that retrofitting an existing building can oftentimes be more cost effective than building a new green facility. There’s also been talk about the long-term benefits of green retrofitting. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “Owners of green buildings reported that their return on investment improved by 19.2% on average for existing building green projects” compared to just “9.9% on average for new projects.” Other benefits include reduced operating costs and environmental impact, and an increased market value. Green retrofitted buildings also tend to have a longer lifespan and contribute to a comfortable environment for tenants – especially since tenants now want features such as rooftop gardens and use of recycled material for interior finishes and furnishings.

Green retrofitting can also play an important role in facilities where the occupant experience is paramount. These renovated buildings feature improved indoor air quality and upgraded accessibility and security. The USGBC reported the following about how retrofitting can improve tenant health: “Building retrofits which improved the indoor environment of a building resulted in reductions of: communicable respiratory diseases of 9-20%; allergies and asthma of 18-25%; and non-specific health and discomfort effects of 20-50%.”

It’s an exciting time to become involved in green retrofit projects. From now until 2023, the USGBC predicts that commercial building owners and managers will invest an estimated $960 billion globally on green retrofitting. At Mitsubishi Electric, we have welcomed green retrofitting with open arms and our products are a strong fit for this application. For example, our efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology helped Stack House Apartments renovate their facility to be a showcase of sustainability. And, like Stack House Apartments, we look forward to a greener future.

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February 21, 2017, 9:00 am

The Trend Toward Socially Conscious Multifamily Facilities

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The multifamily sector is seeing an amenities arms race. Residents want more and more, and the desired amenities now branch beyond obvious offerings like concierge services and rooftop terraces. Many new amenities are designed to draw in socially conscious tenants.

Building Design + Construction magazine recently named some popular new amenities. Among them were bike storage and car-sharing services – amenities that help tenants live a more socially responsible lifestyle. Likewise when it comes to new technology, tenants want amenities that help them (and the broader community) live sustainably, like advanced controls for HVAC and lighting systems.

Some tenants are socially conscious enough that they’re taking it a step further and signing so-called “green leases.” Green Building & Design magazine notes that in Boston’s Allston Green District, residents must sign a Green Declaration. In doing so, they commit to activities like minimizing energy and water usage, recycling and using public transit – the idea being that not only must the building be green, but so must its tenants. That might sound like a tall order, but finding tenants was no problem for this neighborhood: every unit was preleased before the building was completed.

Of course, not all tenants are ready for a green lease. Some just want to live in a building with green practices – particularly recycling. A recent National Multifamily Housing Council survey found that 80 percent of tenants consider recycling a “top lease decision factor,” and are willing to pay more in rent for that amenity.

This trend toward social consciousness may seem intimidating, but facility managers can rest assured that even small steps can make a difference. For example, a simple recycling program can help attract the new – and large – generation of socially conscious tenants. And those facility managers who can push broader green programs – they’ll be in good company!

Want to read more industry news? Click here to see our archive of newsletters written for architects, engineers, facility managers and builders. You’ll also have a chance to subscribe to one or more newsletters.

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January 4, 2017, 9:00 am

Will Homebuyers Pay for Efficiency?

Yes.

To this point, the latest McGraw-Hill Construction report on new and remodeled green homes found that energy-efficient appliances are some of the first things homebuyers look for in a new house — second only to having enough square footage to live comfortably. This was true for both millennials and baby boomers — two generations poised to purchase homes in great numbers.

Why do homebuyers look for energy-efficient appliances? To save on monthly costs and anything related to maintenance. It’s common knowledge that HVAC systems account for a significant portion of monthly energy costs, so many homebuyers think of these systems first. In the latest study by the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers were asked to rank which features are most important to them in their new house. Respondents said HVAC systems were the number one essential feature when it comes to environment.

It’s no surprise the appetite for energy-efficient appliances and the concern over HVAC energy costs has resulted in strong and ever-increasing consumer demand for energy-efficient HVAC. Countless studies and surveys are concluding this very same thing — some looking at demand, others at supply. One example is Navigant Research’s recent report showing that annual revenue from energy-efficient HVAC systems will almost double in the next 15 years, growing to $33.2 billion by 2020.

For builders, the focus on energy-efficient appliances — and energy-efficient HVAC in particular — is an incredible opportunity. If homebuyers are looking for appliances from trusted, well-known brands, builders can feature these products. If buyers are searching out green-certified homes, builders can embark on green projects. This seems to be a time of “if you build it, they will come.” And, even more so, “if you build it energy-efficient, they will buy.”

If you want to learn more about why homebuyers want efficient products in their homes, check out our Builder newsletter.

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December 13, 2016, 9:00 am

Green Retrofitting: The Future of the Past

As a society, we are increasingly demanding sustainability in all facets of life. The effect on the building industry has been staggering. Owners and managers of commercial buildings have quickly learned that going green can save on operating costs and can attract more, higher-paying tenants. As the U.S. Green Building Council recently learned, the result has been a dramatic increase in demand for green facilities.

Some of that demand is being met by new, high-performance buildings. To fully meet the mandate, however, the industry will need to take on a significant number of green commercial retrofit projects. The good news: The U.S. Energy Information Agency’s recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey found that about half of America’s commercial buildings were built before 1980 – creating a wealth of buildings just waiting to get the green treatment.

The scope of each commercial retrofit will include meeting tenant requirements for features like rooftop gardens, recycling and composting programs, and green transportation options. The list of mechanical systems that engineers will be asked to update isn’t unexpected. It includes:

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For all of these systems, the question will be what technology or product can help a project meet its client’s needs and budget, as well as today’s building codes. A frequent answer:  super-efficient, state-of-the-art technologies – the same ones that were once considered “alternative.”

If you want to learn more about green retrofits, check out our Engineer newsletter.

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August 16, 2016, 9:00 am

Addressing the Growing Trend of Greenwashing

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First came the trend of going green – a good thing. Now the trend is greenwashing – not a good thing.

A company or organization greenwashes by marketing itself as green but not offering products or services that are actually green. A realtor might list a house as being “green,” for example, when none of its components were designed or installed to minimize environmental impact. Or a hotel might claim to have green practices because it washes occupants’ sheets every third day instead of every day, but its lighting, HVAC, kitchens and vehicles are all voracious energy-consumers.

The result is that consumers are now being told to be suspicious of the word “green.” A recent Washington Post article made this very suggestion, telling buyers to “be wary of houses that are marketed as energy-efficient.” There is unfortunately truth to this statement. Some organizations unfairly claim that their products are green or contribute to a greener overall building. The risk is that the field may get tainted for the rest of us; consumers may come to think of green as a gimmick – something they’ve been duped by in the past.

As is so often the case, the best thing we can do is educate. HVAC contractors sitting across the table from homeowners can discuss the importance of energy efficiency in having a green home, pointing toward our zoning systems’ industry-leading efficiencies and how they tie into a host of green technologies like solar panels. Architects meeting with clients interested in green certification can discuss how our VRF systems’ efficiencies consistently help projects earn 28 points across two LEED® categories (Energy and Atmosphere and Indoor Environment) – advancing the project further down the track toward certification. Professionals can also talk with clients about green raters, ENERGY STAR® certification and countless other resources.

As members of the building industry, we need to do our part in educating potential clients so they know what to look for when searching for “green.”

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July 13, 2016, 9:00 am

Clean Energy Jobs on the Rise

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You can expect energy consumption to come up a lot in conversation this summer; there’s just a lot of activity surrounding energy and related topics, like job creation. Partly this is due to the current election cycle, and partly because new incentives and tighter energy codes are being introduced federally and statewide to promote green building and technology.

For many people, this new focus on energy is great news. Bloomberg reports that all over the world, more cost-effective green technologies and increasingly prevalent green policies have led to a five-percent growth in green jobs over the last year – from 7.7 million jobs in 2014 to 8.1 million in 2015. This increase includes openings in biofuels as well as solar power, while oil and gas producers have seen declines since the middle of 2014.

Here at Mitsubishi Electric, we are proud to be involved in a number of projects that promote green building, and to create technologies that make lofty energy goals achievable. Some recent success stories include Concord Riverwalk (residentially) and The Willow School (commercially), though many more examples exist.

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