Posts tagged ‘LEED’

August 13, 2014, 11:44 am

USGBC Expands Online Data Visualization Resource

August 13_USGBC International Market Briefs Image
Back in April, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the launch of its U.S. online data visualization resource – a comprehensive, easy-to-understand platform that provides extensive information on the green building marketplace by state.

On July 9, based on the success of the U.S. platform, the USGBC announced the release of an international version of the online resource. The new edition not only allows users to access aggregated LEED® green building project information for the U.S., but provides facts and figures for more than 150 countries with LEED projects underway.

The international market briefs include such details as:

  • LEED projects by owner sector.

  • Number of LEED-registered and –certified projects.

  • In-market LEED credentialed professionals and USGBC members.

  • Rating system and space type for all countries with building projects participating in the LEED green building rating system.

The expanded resource comes as a response to the global surge of LEED projects in recent years. Gross commercial square footage certified outside the U.S. by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) rose from 156 million to 176 million square feet from 2012 to 2013, while more than 648 million square feet of commercial space is LEED certified outside the U.S. today, according to the USGBC.

As a long-time member of the USGBC, we’re excited to see such a valuable resource expanded to the international level. Click here to view the USGBC press release.

August 5, 2014, 3:09 pm

USGBC Report Confirms Green Market is Growing

LEED infographic

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its 2014 LEED® in Motion: Residential report, the latest installment of its LEED in Motion series. The 36-page report includes facts and figures that prove the residential green market and LEED are gaining ground in the industry.

Readers will find:

  • Statistics on the size and growth of the green residential market.
  • Successful strategies and outcomes of high-achieving LEED for Homes projects.
  • Valuable resources like LEED Dynamic Plaque®, which shows how the performance of your LEED for Homes-certified construction matches up with other certified residential constructions in the area and nationwide.

We’ve compiled what we think are the key findings in the infographic above. To download the free LEED in Motion: Residential report, click here.

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July 25, 2014, 11:09 am

Chicagoland: Come See Us in the 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour!

The Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is hosting its second annual GreenBuilt Home Tour this Saturday and Sunday, July 26 – 27, 2014. The tour features 18 homes across Illinois and is meant to serve as a showcase of green building and design ideas. We’ve signed on as a sponsor of the event, and you can find our products in two homes near the Chicago area.

The event helps raise public awareness about healthy and sustainable building practices in real-world applications. Homeowners looking to renovate an existing home or build a new home can connect with the area’s most accomplished green-building pros to get ideas and ask questions.

The two homes featuring our products are:

SmartHaus in Northbrook, Illinois, is a LEED® Platinum Home that incorporates passive and active solar technologies, a high-performance building envelope and our ductless systems. The homeowners particularly enjoy their ductless system’s filtration features. Check out what they had to say on Chicago’s WGNtv this week.

SmartHaus, Northbrook, Illinois, Photo from

SmartHaus, Northbrook, Illinois, Photo from

Uber Haus in Geneva, Illinois, is designed to meet some of the most rigorous residential green building standards in the world: Passive House, Living Building Challenge and LEEDv4 Platinum. The project is still under construction, but architect and builder duo Tom Basset-Dilley Architect and Evolutionary Home Builders have teamed up before with great results. For proof, check out the Lema Passive House in Chicago, where the two designed and built Chicago’s first Certified Passive House.

Uber Haus, Geneva, Illinois, Rendering from

Uber Haus, Geneva, Illinois, Rendering from

Tickets can be purchased on the GreenBuilt Home Tour website. An all-access pass for unlimited visits both days is $25.00. Single home passes are $10.00, with all proceeds going to support USGBC-Illinois Chapter initiatives. We hope to see you there!

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May 21, 2014, 1:01 pm

Real-Time Green Building Data Now Available – An Industry First

May 21_USGBC Launches Green Building Data Resource
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is one step closer to achieving its goal of market transformation by making “the choice to build green buildings…even simpler,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, the USGBC’s chief operating officer.

USGBC launched a new online data visualization resource on April 23, which offers a comprehensive but easy-to-understand look at the green building marketplace in any U.S. state at any given time. With this new resource, building professionals now have unprecedented access to a wealth of real-time LEED® data and information, including:

  • Number of LEED-registered and –certified projects

  • Gross square footage of LEED-registered and –certified space

  • Number of LEED-credentialed professionals

  • Number of USGBC members

  • Project Profile Scorecard

No other organization provides insight to this level of data and information, according to Ramanujam. The USGBC believes the transparency of information will equip green building advocates – both building professionals and enthusiastic consumers alike – with the right tools to continue driving the sustainable building movement into the mainstream.

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating has been a proud member of USGBC since 2007.

For more information, click here for the press release from the USGBC. To see the presence LEED and green building has in your state, visit

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May 1, 2014, 11:20 am

Project Profile: King County Housing Authority

The King County Housing Authority (KCHA) has provided affordable housing services in the Seattle area since 1939. KCHA decided to consolidate its multiple offices and departments under one roof in 2011.

KCHA purchased a 36,000-square-foot, 1980s retail/warehouse space with the goal to renovate it to meet operational needs. They wanted the building to be extremely energy efficient and the work needed to be completed within the confines of a tight budget. Ecotope, Inc., a local engineering firm, specified our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning system for the job.

With the help of our VRF zoning system and advanced controls capabilities, KCHA achieved an annual Energy Use Index (EUI) of 26 KBtu/sf/yr in its first year – 70 percent less than the national annual EUI average for office buildings. The building also received an ENERGY STAR® rating of 97, and won second place in ASHRAE’s 2014 Technology Award for Systems Innovation.

“Working with an extremely tight budget, it was a colossal challenge to forge a high-performance building out of an old, worn out retail space,” said Greg Belding, principal at LEED®-accredited Rice Fergus Miller Architects, who designed the space. “We could not have achieved an energy-saving design without the ingenious VRF [zoning] engineering from Mitsubishi Electric. A conventional VAV forced air system would never have worked.”

To learn more about King County Housing Authority’s renovation, click here to read the complete case study.

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April 3, 2014, 10:12 am

Top 10 States for LEED®

April 3_Top 10 States for LEED Image 2
Every year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recognizes the states that are leading the nation in green building with its ranking of the Top 10 States for LEED®. The list ranks the states based on the per-capita square footage of LEED-certified commercial and institutional projects to provide a fair comparison between the amount of green building space in each state and their relative populations.

Here are the Top 10 states that USGBC says are driving the movement towards healthier, more sustainable environment:

  1. Illinois
  2. Maryland
  3. Virginia
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New York, California (tie)
  6. Oregon
  7. North Carolina
  8. Colorado
  9. Hawaii
  10. Minnesota

To learn more about LEED’s newest rating system, LEED v4 – the new requirements and what you can expect when it takes effect June 1 – read the full Green Building Report from Building Operating Management.

March 26, 2014, 4:06 pm

Interview with an Engineer: Vic Amoroso

March 26_Muscatine County Courthouse ImageWater in the basement, leaky pipes and loud units were some of the more obvious signs that the 30-year-old cooling and heating system in the historic Muscatine County Courthouse needed to be replaced. The nagging effects of the outdated system and the design challenges presented by the 105-year-old building coupled with the county’s goal to decrease energy usage led to the installation of our VRF zoning system. In addition to providing optimal air quality and energy savings, our system contributed to the building becoming one of only a handful of courthouses in the U.S. to earn ENERGY STAR® certification.

We sat down with Vic Amoroso, founder and principal of A & J Associates, to discuss why our VRF zoning system was the ideal choice for the job.

ME: What factors in any given situation lead you to specify VRF zoning systems? Are there typical situations where VRF is the right solution?

Vic Amoroso (VA): Yes. Because VRF systems heat and cool via a change of state, from liquid to gas and back again, you transfer more BTUs per pound of fluid — very much like a steam system. One result is that VRF systems don’t require as much ductwork as air transport systems. That means VRF systems are friendly to projects where space is limited — such as historic rehabilitation projects in buildings that didn’t originally have air conditioning.

The other big advantage with VRF is that it provides better individual control at a lower cost. A central air system would use central terminal air boxes and tie them to variable flow diffusers to get individual zone control. That costs more than VRF but doesn’t allow the level of control you get with VRF. Another alternative would be individual heat pumps or fan coil units in rooms. But that’s more expensive than VRF because of the larger components. In buildings with limited space — typical in older buildings — VRF has the lowest first cost because it requires about 20 percent less ductwork than air transport systems.

Another HVAC system that’s competitive with VRF cost and energy-wise is radiant heating and cooling. However we don’t usually use radiant heating and cooling because it requires drop ceilings and “clouds” that are not historically appropriate in older buildings.

ME: Does Mitsubishi Electric’s CITY MULTI VRF zoning system have advantages over other VRF systems?

VA: Yes. First, Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF system is the only two-pipe simultaneous cooling and heating VRF system available. So it costs about 10 to 30 percent less than comparable VRF systems. Second, Mitsubishi does a better job of interfacing with a geothermal system. Third, Mitsubishi’s outside air-cooled units can handle lower temperatures better than other VRF systems. So in most comparisons, Mitsubishi’s VRF system gets the job.

To read the full interview, check out the article in our Fall 2013 Engineer newsletter. For more information on this installation, click here for the Muscatine County Courthouse Case Study. To subscribe to our newsletters, click here.

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March 20, 2014, 2:02 pm

Why Architects Should Care About Energy Efficiency Rebates and Incentives

March 20_Architects-Energy Efficiency Rebates Incentives ImageThe green building movement is no longer an emerging trend – it is here to stay. In fact, residential, commercial and institutional green construction is expected to double by 2016. Yet, architects still have difficulty convincing building owners and homeowners that going green doesn’t always have to come at a hefty price.

The article in the latest issue of our Architect newsletter makes the case as to how architects can take advantage of financial incentives to offset the initial costs of green building. Here are a few tips from the article:

  • Offsetting Costs with Financial Incentives. Architects should know about and be able to take advantage of available tax incentives, rebates, grants and loans in life-cycle analyses. This will allow architects to clearly demonstrate the money saving possibilities to clients and focus on long-term energy saving benefits – both of which can make a difference in the bottom line.
  • Knowing the Options. There are more than 1,450 incentive programs available for both residential and commercial construction. DSIRE (the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) is a comprehensive database that will help identify the right option for each project.
  • Understanding the Incentive Landscape. Be aware of any financial incentives that are available through federal, state and local governments as well as local or regional utility companies. Knowing the details of each can help optimize the project’s energy efficiency improvements while keeping the upfront costs as low as possible.
  • Sharing the Wealth. Knowing your options is one thing, but sharing it with clients is a whole different ball game. As Kurt Haapala, AIA, principal of Mahlum Architects, Seattle, says “It’s not complex math. If you can paint a picture of environmental and financial benefits, you get over that first cost hump easier.”

To learn more about the fundamentals of energy rebates and incentives, read the full article in the Fall 2013 issue of our Architect newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletters, click here.

March 5, 2014, 9:57 am

Project Profile: Turner Construction Company New Headquarters

When Turner Construction Company, one of the largest general builders in the United States, wanted to move its headquarters to a downtown Columbus location, it selected an early 20th century 30,000-square-foot factory space. Turner wanted to keep the historic elements of the space intact and set their sights on LEED®-Silver for the adaptive reuse project.

The original building was constructed before air conditioning was invented and there was no room for a typical mechanical room. The Turner team selected our VRF zoning system because its compact compressors and system components required less piping and used minimal space when compared to other HVAC options. Turner employees were impressed with the system. “They were surprised that someone could stand a few feet beneath an indoor unit and not hear it operating,” said Frank Hartley, project manager, Columbus-based Dynamix Engineering Ltd., who specified the system for this project.

“The selection of this VRF zoning system made me a believer,” stated Scott Blair, Turner’s mechanical estimator. Our system helped Turner exceed its LEED expectations with the project earning Gold certification. “At Turner, we are recognized for our pioneering work in the green building movement. The thing that makes me happy is we proved that it is possible to bring century-old spaces up to 21st-century standards. This state-of-the-art VRF technology is ideal for an office environment,” said Blair.

To view the case study, click here.

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March 4, 2014, 4:49 pm

Interview with an Architect: Patrick Shay

Georgia Power was looking for a new building after deciding to consolidate its Coastal Regional operations, and wanted one that would stand as a corporate icon for green building and sustainability. The company found 28 Abercorn Street in Savannah, Ga., a two-story, 11,400-square-foot concrete structure built in 1920 as a car showroom, and purchased the building for $2.6 million in November 2009. In 2011, after two years of renovation, Georgia Power achieved their goal when their new facility became the first in Savannah to earn LEED® Platinum certification. We sat down with one of the team’s architects, Patrick Shay, senior principal of Savannah, Ga.-based Gunn Meyerhoff Shay Architects, to discuss how our VRF zoning systems helped Georgia Power bring their vision to life.

March 4_Interview with an Architect-Patrick Shay ImageME: Describe some challenges that you’ve faced that Mitsubishi Electric products helped solve.

Patrick Shay (PS): Humidity control is an issue in our climate. If we use Mitsubishi Electric for the VRF system, we can put in a relatively small outside air system and use that to force tempered outside air into corridors and such. That unit can be controlled by occupancy and CO2 sensors to not pull too much air in, so that you don’t pay a premium to treat more air than needed. The units that are cranking all the time are only dealing with temperature.

Because we’re along the Southeast coast, we are encountering more and more violent storms. That means more power outages. Mitsubishi Electric technology is very dependable, and when it comes time to conserve energy, you can turn these systems back on sooner. Say the whole building gets shut off because the grid goes down. Some of the buildings we do are life-safety critical: You have to ration power. An energy-efficient system allows us to put those [HVAC] components on the transfer switch from grid power for people trying to recover the building. It’s really bad if the IT department can’t come back because the air conditioning can’t come back up. So, one of the non-obvious benefits of an energy-efficient system is that it’s easier to recover from power outages.

Have you gotten any feedback from clients on the Mitsubishi Electric systems that you’ve installed?

PS: The Georgia Power project that got LEED platinum happened because the area CEO and the people in the offices had the courage to let us do everything. Now, they repeatedly say they absolutely love being in their offices. That becomes part of their overall job satisfaction. People have been conditioned to think that if you go LEED on a project, you have to give up something. What they get in return is to be much more comfortable. We have never had anyone come back and say they miss all that dusty ductwork.

And from time to time, a CFO calls to say, “Wow, you said the HVAC would be 30 percent more energy-efficient. It’s even better than that.” Those companies can reduce their budgets for heating and cooling.

For more information, read the complete interview in the Fall 2013 issue of our Architect Newsletter and click here for the Georgia Power Case Study. To subscribe to our newsletters, click here.

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