Making the green grade

The sustainability message is filtering through the industry, but what can you use to achieve a LEED rating? CW profiles a number of leading products that can help your building.
Making the green grade
Insulating slabs from FOAMGLAS.
By Stuart Matthews
Sat 28 Aug 2010 04:00 AM

The sustainability message is filtering through the industry, but what can you use to achieve a LEED rating? CW profiles a number of leading products that can help your building.

This year has seen many examples of companies looking to construct more sustainable buildings, both to cut costs and make use of natural resources to benefit the environment.

At the centre of this has been the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the industry-wide green building certification system. Though it is by no means the only system of accreditation in the GCC, it is, without debate, somewhat applicabile in the current climate, and perhaps the most well-known.

LEED was developed by the US Green Buildings Council to better define ‘green buildings', provide a measurement of energy and waste efficiency and to recognise industry efforts to be sustainable. It works on a points-based system, so that developers and contractors can adjust their design, building processes and material to earn points in different categories, gaining accreditation as per three standards: silver, gold and platinum.

But what can you actually use in your buildings to earn accreditation? CW has brought together a number of products for the building and interior.

The products:

Company: TRANE
Product: EarthWise

EarthWise HVAC Systems look to boost efficiency and reduce costs with a low flow, low temperature, high efficiency design that uses smaller pipes and pumps and thus, fewer natural resources and less energy for water circulation.

The colder water makes colder air, which is distributed throughout zones in smaller ducts, using less energy for fan circulation and less material for the ductwork. Supplying less airflow at colder temperatures permits quieter operation and reduces relative humidity in the building, improving indoor air quality.

The approach reduces the environmental impact of the systems inside and out. Further, the system requires less space, which leaves more for the architect to design and the owner to rent or sell. Needing less energy, it also makes less noise - not a bad attribute.

Its potential contribution to LEED is extensive, including credits for not requiring potable water or irrigation (WE Credit 1.2); between 1-19 points for energy saving (EA Credit 1); 2 points for green power (EA Credit 6), and up to 7 points for On-Site Renewable Energy (EA Credit 2).

HVAC controls system
Company: Johnson Controls
Product: Metasys System

Johnson Controls' Metasys systems is what the company calls its ‘core product offering', based on using technology to monitor a building's energy and utility-use and hence, have a clearer idea of how the two can be reduced.

Buddy Watters, general manager in the controls division in Jeddah, says that the product acts as an information platform, bringing together the diverse strands of information to create a holistic view. "So it's not just for the air conditioning but all other forms of information, for lighting, the IT network, security system," he says.

"This central system takes information from the different areas and presents it in a way that is readable and useable. Information doesn't help unless it can be read and understood and you can use it. Really that's the core offering - it's an integration platform that can take all information from subsystems and format a different type of report that can help you understand how a building is functioning."

This kind of visibility helps towards three areas of LEED accreditation, he adds. "Firstly, if you look at water efficiency, it has an ability to monitor water use and validate the reduction in water use.

"Second, there are three LEED credits for energy and atmosphere that are prerequisites for any building that wants a LEED rating. Monitoring this without Metasys is impossible. You can also monitor the energy performance baseline and a baseline for energy reduction.

"Thirdly, there is the indoor environmental quality, which is about 15-16 points. The prerequisite is a minimum of indoor air quality, where you have to monitor the levels of CO2 in the building and also the amount of outside air let in for the right level of air freshness."

He says the system can also provide transparency to understand the optimum operational level of each piece of equipment, which can help cut down on maintenance costs. "The longer the equipment runs outside its optimum range then the more energy it is consuming."

Interior Insulation
Product: Cellular glass thermal insulation

FOAMGLAS has become one of the market leaders for thermal insulation and its main cellular glass product has a number of properties that can boost a building's LEED status. For a start, its vapour-tight and waterproof slabs are made from 66% recycled glass. The resulting insulating material is non-combustible and durable against weight, high humidity and vapour pressure. The toughness is vital to preventing unwanted heat transmission. Further, the right temperatures mean the amount of time needed to use air-conditioning is shorter - helping the long term of the building life. The company is a corporate member of the Emirates Green Buildings Council, and its product has been approved by an array of international bodies, including LEED itself, AlpEnergie and Eurospecifier.

Exterior Insulation
Company: BASF
Product: EIFS

BASF Construction Chemicals has one of the broadest portfolios of raw materials, formulations and systems for sustainable construction. Its insulation materials (EIFS) reduce green-house gas emissions in the construction sector by reducing the energy demand of buildings, and include repair mortars, sealants and coatings that can extend the service-life of buildings. The low-VOC (volatile organic compound) dispersions reduce indoor emissions in buildings; whilst the cement and concrete additives make construction faster and more efficient, and allow the re-use of industrial by-products in concrete.

There are three systems available: Seneflex Classic PB, a primary barrier and moisture control comprised of adhesive, EPS Insulation Board, Reinforced Base Coat and an acrylic polymer finish for use in high and low-rise buildings and retrofit construction; Seneflex Secondary Weather Barrier Design, which has an additional barrier; and Seneflex Channelled Adhesive Design, specially made as a rain screen.

Senergy EIFS can contribute to LEED points in the following categories: Energy & Atmosphere - "Credit 1: Optimise energy performance" (19 points); Materials & Resources - "Credit 1.1: Building Re-use" (3 points), "Credit 2: Construction Waste Management" (2 points), "Credit 4.1 & 4.2: Recycled Content" (2 points), "Credit 5.1 & 5.2: Regional Material" (2 points); Indoor Environmental Quality - "Credit 7.1: Thermal Comfort" (1 point). This is a total of 29 points.
Company: Mapei
Product: Keraflex

Keraflex is one of the top cement-based adhesives widely used in the UAE in ceramic tile and stone material applications. The product aims for good adhesion strength with no slippage, and compared to typical adhesives available in in the market, it has an eight-hour pot life with an open time of more than 30 minutes. Keraflex complies with the LEED standards, and is also rated as EC1R under the GEV EMICODE classification of emissions-controlled products, as it produces very low volatile organic compound (VOC) emission. As a cement-based material, each 25kg bag of the adhesive yields 20% to 25% more coverage compared to other products in the market, reducing storage and transportation cost, simplifying site handling and minimizing cement carbon footprint. Keraflex can also realise a 20 to 25% reduction in CO2 emissions, considering that around one ton of cement produced generates one ton of CO2. In addition, more than 90% of the raw materials are produced locally.

Available in gray or white, it is classified as a C2TE adhesive under the latest ISO 13007 Standards for Adhesives and Grouts since it requires only the addition of water and no other extra polymer modification - resulting in less transportation, storage and waste disposal issues.

Company: Emirates Glass
Product: EmiCool range

Think GCC urban development and you think of sky-high glass buildings, and the material's aesthetic properties. Emirates Glass' EmiCool range has come from research around repelling much of the sun's heat, thus reducing your bill for interior cooling. After cutting the glass to size and applying heat strengthening, the company applies what it calls Solar Control and Low Emissivity coatings through Magnetic Vacuum Sputtering Deposition process. The result is finished glass of a choice of 11 colour tints and transmissions with corresponding reflective and insulating properties. Light transmission can ranging from 3% to 40% for Solar Control glass and 20% to 73% for Low Emissivity coating. The company provides solar control products under brand name EmiCool® in single glass form with required heat treatment (Emituf®), or else in an annealed form (on clear substrate only) or in insulated glazed (Emitherm®) unit form, at the option of the buyer.

EmiCool Classic is sputter-coated high performance glass which can be incorporated in double-glass units for vision glazing. EmiCoolSun NN Series is a four-strong range of Low Emission coatings which appear silver on clear glass. It is purely for insulation purposes, and so cannot be single glaze. EmiCool Super E2 is the latest range. It has a light transmission of 49% and has a solar factor of 30.

Company: Unibeton
Product: Unibeton Green Concrete

Unibeton Green Concrete is specially formulated to protect the environment by minimising the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

The manufacture of cement releases about 70gms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every tonne of cement that is produced. Unibeton has developed a series of concrete mixes that only release 27% of the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared with traditional concrete.

New generations of concrete currently under research will release only 7% of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Actually, the carbon dioxide produced during the manufacture of ready-mixed concrete is very small compared with that from the manufacture of cement.

The concretes, apart from being environmentally friendly, have similar properties in terms of strength, finish and durability as traditional concrete. They are mixed in one of Unibeton's many t=batching plants and transported to site in readymix trucks with capacities upto 12 metres3. From these, the concrete is normally transferred to its placing position using a concrete pump, where the concrete is pumped along 125mm diameter tubes at a rate of about 30m3/hr.

The company has one of the largest continuous pour of self-compacting green concrete and has also pumped concrete almost 400m up high rise buildings. This is using  specially formulated concrete, developed specifically for the purpose. Unibeton also specialises in green concretes for certain types of architectural finishes which require attention to the overall appearance.

Company: Fagerhult
Product: Concert LED lighting products

In the past, LEDs offered higher luminaries lumens per watt than comparable fluorescent solutions, but were too expensive compared with traditional products. Only two years ago the relatively high cost per kilolumen of light output has been reduced to a point that now makes LEDs financially viable. As development continues, this cost will continue to reduce.

A typical retail application lit using Concert LED downlighters would usually be a combination of Compact Fluorescent downlighters, CDM accent spotlights and Tungsten Halogen accent downlighters. This would consume nearly 600W of electricity. By replacing these with the equivalent Concert luminaries, the energy consumption is reduced to 350W. It is virtually maintenance free too, compared with traditional solutions that would require lamps to be replaced.

From a lighting quality point of view the Concert range brings warm colour temperature, excellent modelling characteristics and enhanced colour rendering to create a more comfortable environment. In a recent project, namely Aldar Properties' headquarters, the company used the new LED product Concert 500 for the toilets and reduced energy use and maintenance consumption by more than 20% just on those areas. "We have achieved the same amount of savings in the open office areas with a 60x60 product."

Recently, the company received client feedback on their quarterly electricity bill for 2009. "It has been proved that we stand by our word and the proposals we have made have been achieved. The energy bills have been reduced by 54% and the staff and children are happy and motivated in their environment," the company said.

The cost-benefit dynamic is also starting to shift, the company adds. "All the different sectors keep in mind and try to follow the green design standards. Utilising the correct products with the latest design technology might cost a bit more initially, but the positive outcomes show within the first few years."

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