31 March 2009

Certified lumber product gains record high strength rating

LP Building Products has gained a record high strength rating for its LP SolidStart Laminated Strand Lumber product. According to an LP press release, the product has earned a 1.75E grade from APA – The Engineered Wood Association.

The engineered wood product, based on wood-strand technology, is created through a steam-injection press that cures adhesives for a strong bond and straight board with little swelling. As a result, the lumber product can be made in longer pieces than traditional lumber for faster installation and fewer callbacks, according to the company.

LP says that its environmentally efficient manufacturing process and the use of SFI-certified wood in LP SolidStart LSL gives builders points toward certification with some green building programs, including NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, Green Point Rated, Built Green Built Better and Earth Craft House. The company did not mention the more rigorous LEED certification, which generally requires a more strict certification that than afforded by the SFI program.

According to Melissa Warren, product manager for LP's Engineered Wood Product business
The strength of LP SolidStart LSL means that builders can use this one product throughout the home, including garage door headers and floor beams, to reduce build-up time as well as provide longer spans and greater design flexibility.

30 March 2009

Panasonic releases four new green vent fans

Panasonic's building products division has launched four new vent fans in its WhisperGreen line. These models are energy efficient and feature multiple speeds; one version features a motion detector so that, according to a press release, "The motion sensor activates when someone enters the room to provide maximum airflow when the bathroom is in use. When the occupant leaves the room the fan automatically returns to the pre-set low speed. This autonomous feature makes it ideal for people with disabilities and assisted living environments such as nursing homes and retirement communities."

03 March 2009

Ore. development aims at highest LEED rating

Independence Station, a 57,000-square-foot mixed use building that will include residential units and businesses in the town of Independence, Ore., is planning to use solar power, vegetable oil, and rainwater to achieve the highest LEED rating anywhere, becoming the "world's greenest building." From a press release: "The current record holder, a Canadian project, has a score of 63 out of a possible 69 points. At its completion next year, Independence Station will likely earn between 64 and 66 points."

Developers say the now-40 percent-complete project will meet this goal with several tactics:
  • a unique 120 kilowatt installation of photovoltaic panels
  • a biodiesel-fueled cogeneration and thermal storage system, including a retired tug-boat engine
  • radiant floor heating and cooling, solar water heating, an ice-based cooling storage system, and a water-based ground source heat pump
  • day lighting design and extensive use of LEDs
  • stored winter rainwater to supply 100 percent of the building’s needs for laundry, toilet flushing and irrigation of the both the green roof and planned 40-foot interior vertical “urban garden”
Evidently the problem has met with delays, but the developer claims the project is now on course to completion.

02 March 2009

Pros and cons of greener waste systems

As an alternative to traditional septic tanks, new alternative septic systems offer green advantages:
Alternative systems add a step to the filtration process with materials like sand, peat moss, sponges, or textiles; aerobic treatment units, which use compressed air to break down organic matter; and other technologies that result in cleaner discharge, or effluent, being dispersed on the drain field. The result is less pollution leaching into the groundwater.
But they can be mixed blessings.
The problem is that these new systems are often quirky, demanding frequent inspections and maintenance to avoid leaching effluence into groundwater, which is typically the source of drinking water in these rural areas.

Here's a good article that offers many more details.

New green blog

Consultant Mark Johnson is launching a new green blog this week. Green Design Guide is focused, according to a press release,
on residential design, sustainable building products, online design tools for going green and tips on how to qualify for the latest national green certification programs. The blog will cater to a variety of design professionals, from the designers of custom and spec homes to the designers of home remodeling and addition projects. Material covered will offer something for everyone.

I'll be reading more going forward. The only downside -- Mark's business is called "Markitect," a term similar to one Scott Adams is mocking this week in his Dilbert comic.