Friday, April 25, 2014

Recent articles and research

Last meeting I mentioned a couple of recent areas of research and articles. See below for links.

Interlocking CLT
The University of Utah's Integrated Technology in Architecture Center is studying various CLT configurations that minimize the use of adhesives and make use of beetle kill pine.

"Slab Happy"
A look at concrete slab insulation from the insulation perspective.
Also see the Building Science site for other articles on thermal bridging and other construction issues. This article covers the thermal bridges on the Aqua Tower in Chicago:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Last-minute announcement for Cascadia GBC event on LCA

Tonight, April 23, at 6pm, the Cascadia GBC Seattle LEED Users Group (SLUG) is hosting a discussion on the MR credits in LEED v4, with a focus on the life cycle assessment (LCA) requirements.

More information at:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April Committee Meeting and March Minutes

The minutes for last month's meeting are here. Thanks to Rachel for enlightening the committee on the 2012 state and city energy code provisions.

Our upcoming meeting is this Wednesday at Coughlin Porter Lundeen at noon. Note that they have moved to the 9th floor of the Norton Building at Second and Columbia.   We will continue discussion of the provisions in the 2012 energy code that will impact structural design. We will also recap the CarbonCure concrete presentation.

Friday, April 11, 2014

USGBC Partners with UL to Improve MR Transparency

US Green Building Council, creator of LEED rating system, issued a press release to talk about teaming up with another big player:

USGBC and UL Environment Announce Exclusive Strategic Partnership on Building Materials & Products Transparency

The first initiative of the partnership is the creation of a joint Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). EPDs are a standardized way of quantifying the environmental impact of a product or system. The joint USGBC-UL EPDs are a solution to increase transparency in building materials and products that are being used in our buildings, homes, schools, hospitals and other structures.

Here's an article that summarizes some of the reasoning. Apparently this came to the ire of some other companies involved in creating Life Cycle Assessments and EPDs, maybe because they see UL as a competitor, or because they have already spent time and resources working to existing standards.

From the article:
there are multiple LCA software tools, which all use the chosen data differently. This can lead to sometimes-disparate results: in a recent analysis of biomass emissions, for example, UL found a 30% difference in outputs between two different software programs. “Those inconsistencies have to be known, and they have to be fixed,” he said.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Recent sustainability news

Here are a few articles and announcements that have been shared at recent meetings.

MIT wants A/E teams to submit the embodied carbon of their projects to a public database:

Even though the showing has past, the movie sounds interesting if you can find it.
The Greenest Building explores the myth that a “green building” is a new building and demonstrates how renovation and adaptive reuse of existing structures fully achieves the sustainability movement’s “triple bottom line” - economic, social, and ecological balance.
A summary of the Timber Tower Research Project by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill:

A series of articles on current green practice in the Pacific Northwest:

Sustainable Structures Symposium. A conference at Portland State University April 17-18, 2014

Two projects by KPFF feature cross-laminated timber roofs:

Right-sizing under-slab insulation.  Cheaper, less-stiff insulation can carry the load.

A summary of LEED v4 items that are relevant to structural engineers:

Local LMN sustainability architect, Kjell Anderson, just published a book: "Design Energy Simulation for Architects."  This interview discusses case study experiences: