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IDL - Bozeman eNEWS - April 2013 - Vol. 6 No. 4

Entries in sustainability (2)


Rehau Eco Smart House Construction Completed in Bozeman

The Rehau Eco Smart House is a project sponsored by Rehau, an international manufacturer of polymer based innovations and systems.  The Creative Research Lab (CRLab) of Montana State University in Bozeman assisted in the design and is monitoring the house, utilizing the lab supervisor and several students from the university to gather comparative research data from the experimental house.  The project uses numerous sustainable systems and materials throughout the house, aiming to compare these different options and use the comparisons to expand the knowledge base of the industry regarding environmental and human sustainability.  In addition to sustainable mechanical systems and products, the house incorporates the concept of human sustainability with elements such as telemedicine and advancements in human comfort and accessibility. 

Technologies throughout the residential construction include geothermal ground loop heat exchange, ground-air heat exchange, solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, vinyl window and door design, hybrid curtain wall, radiant heating and cooling, and tambour cabinetry for accessibility.  Sunlight responsive thermo-chromic glazing was also installed, having innovative technology to automatically tint the window glazing when in the path of direct sunlight, but adjusting to no tint and allowing full daylight to be brought in on cloudy or overcast days.  A thermal storage heat sink was also installed, capturing heat throughout the year and storing it under the patio in the ground to then use for winter heating and snow and ice melting.  The construction of the residence utilized insulating concrete forms (ICFs) on the first floor and structural insulated panels (SIPs) on the second floor and roof.  Together, these systems create a tight building with limited air leaks, providing better occupant air condition and less heat transfer through materials.  Multi-generational living was also a primary design consideration to accommodate three generations in one house.  To achieve this, the team designed an elevator, no door thresholds, smooth flooring materials, and telemedicine communication technology throughout the house so that accessibility was not an issue for the family.  

For more information about the various technologies mentioned or any other information regarding the Rehau Eco Smart House, click here.


USGBC releases LEED V3

The USGBC has recently released the newest version of LEED (v3, 2009).  As of June 27, all new projects will need to register with version 3.  Version 3 boasts several advancements, including harmonization, credit weightings, and regionalization, as well as an updated LEED-online.

"The LEED Green Building Rating Systems are voluntary, consensus-based, and market-driven.  Based on existing and proven technology, they evaluate environmental performance from a whole building perspective over a building’s life cycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a green building in design, construction, and operation," (USGBC, LEED 2009).  LEED was first introduced in 1998, with three new versions having been introduced between then and now.  LEED 2009 has taken the highlights of the previous versions, as well as incorporated some major modifications that will make it a more user friendly resource to better serve building professionals.

Harmonization:  In the latest version of LEED, credits and prerequisites from all commercial and institutional rating systems have been consolidated and aligned based on their most effective common denominators, so credits and prerequisites are now consistent across all 2009 LEED rating systems. 

Credit weightings:  In LEED 2009, a specific amount of points has been allocated to each credit, weighted based on their ability to impact different environmental and human concerns.  More points will be awarded for design strategies based on 13 environmental impact categories.  LEED 2009 uses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's TRACI environmental impact categories as the basis for weighting each credit.  It also takes into consideration the National Institute of Science and Technology's (NIST's) weighting system, developed to compare environmental impact categories and weight them against each other.  All LEED rating systems now have 100 possible points, with 10 possible bonus points. 

The LEED 2009 credit weighting process involves three steps.  First, a reference building is used to determine the environmental impacts in 13 categories associated with a typical building pursuing LEED certification.  Next, the relative importance of building impacts in each category are set to reflect values based on the NIST weighting system.  Finally, data that quantifies the building impact on environmental and human health is used to assign points to each individual credit. 

Regionalization:  The new version of LEED also awards points based on regionally specific environmental issues.  For a projects specific location, up to 4 points are available if they address that region's specific environmental issues. 

LEED-online:  The updated LEED-online in version three is now a faster and more user friendly resource.  The improved design has a more intuitive interface, greater help capabilities, and allows for better communication between project teams and certifying boards.

Visit the USGBC website for more information about the newest version of LEED.