Posts tagged ‘Industry News’

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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April 5, 2017, 9:00 am

Specifying With Thermal Comfort in Mind

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

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March 21, 2017, 9:00 am

How VRF Addresses Educational Facilities’ IAQ Challenges

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As VRF has continued to innovate and improve, it has evolved from being a good solution for educational facilities to the solution. Read more in our K-12 Educational Facilities White Paper.

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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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February 9, 2017, 9:00 am

Make Renovations During Occupancy a Breeze With VRF

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February 1, 2017, 9:00 am

The Smart Office Space

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January 10, 2017, 9:00 am

Designing Multifamily Buildings With VRF

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If you would like to learn more ways to maximize square footage and occupant comfort, check out our Architect newsletter and white paper.

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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 21, 2016, 9:00 am

The Rise of Remote Facility Management

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If you want to learn more about remote facility management, check out our Facility Management 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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