Green is Good
The green building movement proves its upward trend not only as a responsible answer to sustainable building, but also as an incentive for innovation.
Ten years ago, the term “green” was considered a precious ambition with high hopes of changing the way builders looked at approaching construction. In short, the building community-along with opinions of some of the trade media-didn’t look at the movement as anything more than a fad. Collectively, those that doubted its thesis-that building more responsibly with “alternative” construction methods-couldn’t have been more wrong. The introduction of association and trade groups such as the USGBC and trade events like Greenbuild have not only proved doubters wrong but have challenged builders to find a more responsible solution with building materials and building philosophies.
The 2012 National Model Building Energy Code will require increased energy efficient standards for newly constructed homes and businesses by 30 percent. The need for better energy standards will move the country forward environmentally and responsibly.
This article features some of the newest green building products in the wall and ceiling community. It is a natural evolution of our industry that we follow the trends and this is a good thing: it benefits in how we build houses and businesses, and it encourages a more sustainable building paradigm.
Green EIFSAccording to the folks at Parex USA, its product line has always been focused on seeking environmentally sound solutions. Its Dry-Tex product is a dry acrylic-based finish designed to provide equal quality in handling, application and flexibility as standard wet acrylic finishes but in a dry form. This technology provides many environmental advantages, including recyclable packaging, VOC-free raw materials and a lower energy cost to ship. Its green attributes include:
Less packaging; less impact on landfills-Dry-Tex is packaged in paper bags (vs. traditional plastic pails) which can be recycled and will easily and quickly biodegrade therefore, reducing the impact on landfills.
Less VOCs; less air contamination-as a dry product, the product is VOC free. It does not require the raw materials containing VOCs found in traditional acrylic finishes.
Less weight; less fuel-the weight of Dry-Tex has been reduced by 40 percent, which means it requires less fuel/energy to transport.
Regionally available-Dry-Tex is available in numerous markets across the United States.
When asked about the importance of the green building movement, the company answers in the positive.
“It is an excellent question, of course it is important,” says Parex’s Jim Whitfield, FCSI, CCPR, LEED AP. “How can we continue to ignore the wasting of our natural resources? Waste of any kind needs to be addressed and must be reduced in the construction industry. The USGBC web site states that 40 percent of the primary energy is used in buildings. That is substantial. Green building practices whether LEED or just a well specified green project, have potential to reduce the energy demand by 24 to 50 percent.”
Whitfield says that one of the biggest challenges for EIFS and stucco applicators on LEED or “green” projects is understanding the submittal paperwork and requirements-reporting distance from manufacturing to the job site, VOC content of the materials and recycled content of products. As a manufacturer of EIFS and stucco products, their job, he says, is a responsibility to teach and assist in the submittals. The company has automated the submittal process for LEED or green projects on its web site. It also has an expert technical team available to help with LEED submittals.
“The green movement is here,” says Whitfield. “The green movement on construction sites offers environmental, human health and most important, economic benefits. Building manufacturers are continually developing and formulating new products to support green building initiatives. These types of innovations are becoming more commonplace.”
Cavity Wall SolutionAtlanta-based Sto Corp. is marketing its StoEnergy Guard as a product that reduces energy use in hot and cold climates and is comprised of Class A building materials tested for low flame spread and smoke development. Designed to protect the entire building, it offers improved air quality and thermal comfort as well as resistance to mold and mildew. Its StoGuard component provides a continuous, fluid-applied air barrier membrane that bonds directly to sheathing to resist air and water penetration as well as a waterproof moisture barrier that protects against the damaging effects of incidental water damage.
The Sto DrainScreen mat facilitates moisture escape between the protected substrate and cladding by allowing water that reaches the back of the cladding to drain to the outside and speeds the drying of moisture-laden air. It incorporates approved continuous insulation that enhances energy efficiency and eliminates thermal bridging while significantly improving the effective R value of the wall assembly. StoEnergy Guard uses proven components and is compliant with numerous codes and standards including the International Building Code 2012, IECC 2012, IGCC 2012, NBC 2010, ASHRAE 90.1 and ASHRAE 189.1 as well as state and local codes.
StoEnergy Guard is an integrated cavity wall solution that is used for protection under multiple cladding types including stone, siding, stucco and more. With StoEnergy Guard, the company leverages cavity wall design and rainscreen technology to provide energy efficiency and durability in a simple yet effective solution. StoEnergy Guard integrates a fluid applied waterproof air barrier, sheathing joint and rough opening protection, proven drainage technology and approved continuous insulation into a flexible system that can be designed to meet individual climate zone and building code requirements.
“The green building movement is very important,” says Rocio Rivera, APR, media specialist at Sto. “Lowering energy costs and our environmental footprint is becoming not just a trend, but a way of life. The good use of our natural resources in the building industry represents a new way of doing business that may just have unlimited capabilities that can help us live a better life.”
The company’s products have been used on several LEED certified projects, such as Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Force Base in Washington state. Crews used 650 gallons (50,000 square feet) of StoGuard fluid-applied air barrier for the exterior and some of the interior of the 35,000-square-foot SOF Aviation Battalion Education Center. The project exceeded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers air barrier standard requirement for air tightness, and is in the process of obtaining its LEED Silver certification.
Outside is "in"Dryvit’s Outsulation Systems are engineered, rigorously tested, code compliant exterior claddings that provide protection for the vertical wall surfaces of the building envelope. Most importantly, as the name suggests, they are highly energy efficient insulated cladding systems that place insulation on the outside of the wall where building scientists say it is most effective. Literally, the systems function as a vapor permeable blanket for the building. Ideal for both new construction and renovation, the cladding is used on all types of buildings in the non-residential and residential markets.
Outsulation provides continuous insulation for the exterior of buildings, making it a very energy efficient cladding. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Outsulation can save up to 35 percent on energy use, year after year. The cladding also has an air/water-resistive barrier and liquid flashing for openings built right into the system, eliminating air leakage and further reducing energy consumption.
The Rhode Island-based company is a member of both USGBC and ASHRAE. Both organizations recognize Outsulation as an energy-efficient system. Dryvit Outsulation helps to accumulate LEED points in various categories.
“Dryvit is committed to producing products and systems that help to conserve energy,” says Dryvit Director of Marketing Communications Barbara Catlow. “According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, buildings account for 39 percent of total energy use and 38 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions. Outsulation systems are highly energy efficient, and, when incorporated into a well designed building envelope, can contribute to reducing both energy use and subsequent GHG release of a building by up to 40 percent.”
Notable LEED certified projects using this system are Orange County Choppers headquarters in Newburgh, N.Y.; Tremco Headquarters, Beachwood, Ohio (pending Gold certification), and; Metro Career Academy, Oklahoma City (pending Gold certification).
“This country has a huge inventory of buildings leaking energy. It also has a high unemployment rate. Dryvit Outsulation offers a light weight, low cost, extremely energy-efficient cladding that is available now, with a trained labor force,” says Catlow.
Full SIPsNo strangers to being in the same sentence as “green” and “sustainable” are structural insulated panels. These products are a panelized building system composed of insulating foam sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board. SIPs can be prefabricated to the exact design of a home or commercial building using automated fabrication equipment. Installing SIPs takes a fraction of the time of conventional framing and saves energy throughout the building’s life cycle.
The green attributes of SIPs include:
- Saves energy and reduces carbon footprint.
- Generates less waste than site fabricated building systems.
- Allows for better control over indoor air quality.
- Uses fewer natural resources than wood framing.
“The resource efficiency benefits of panelized construction are recognized in both the LEED for Homes rating system and the National Green Building Standard,” says Bill Wachtler, executive director of the Structural Insulated Panel Association. “SIPs also help builders earn points for energy efficiency and indoor air quality under these rating systems and other energy efficiency standards.
“The building sector is responsible for close to 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., making green building one of the biggest opportunities to combat global climate change,” says Wachtler. “Unlike other major carbon producing industries like transportation and manufacturing, the technology to greatly reduce building carbon emissions is readily available and not significantly more expensive than current construction methods. When designed using a cost-benefit model, building owners will receive a return on their investment in green construction.”
Natural MaterialsFrom luxurious polished (Venetian stucco) and textured plaster wall finishes, high performance architectural coatings and stone-effect cast products to stunning seamless wall systems, Armourcoat is a global provider in decorative surface finishes.
The Britain-based company’s product lines are made from natural minerals, predominately pre-consumer recycled marble. “This can account for up to 60 percent of the recipe, as for example in Duturo,” says the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Daniel Nevitt, who runs the company’s Las Vegas office. “Our Sculptural range includes up to 30 percent post-consumer recycled glass. Most Armourcoat products are low or zero VOC. ArmourColor coatings additionally have hygiene properties to prevent the build-up of mold, mildew and bacteria.”
“The green building movement is critical to global sustainable development, ensuring best practice process and consideration for the broader impact of our actions over the long term,” says Nevitt. “Armourcoat is committed to reducing its environmental impact. We recognize our obligation to manufacture green products. From our initial research and development, and ongoing enhancements, we consider the conservation of natural resources, reduction of our impact through a product’s lifecycle and the respect of our wider environment.”
Mineral Fiber Ceiling PanelsCertainTeed Ceiling’s Fine Fissured High NRC mineral fiber ceiling panels are a low-emitting product with no added formaldehyde, high sound absorption, recycled content (74 percent total, 4 percent post-consumer, 70 percent pre-consumer) and light reflectance.
Fine Fissured High NRC is one of a handful of products within the CertainTeed Ceilings product family that can be recycled as part of the company’s Recycling Program. In addition, an Environmental Product Declaration has been developed and published by The Green Standard, a third party organization which uses independent verification of sustainability claims in accordance with ISO 14025. This includes evaluating critical environmental issues such as production process impact, usage of raw materials and recycled content, packaging, health aspects and end of life impact, enabling architects and designers to make the most informed decisions when selecting ceiling products.
The FFH NRC is a commercial mineral fiber ceiling lay-in panel featuring high sound absorption and a 100 percent non-directional fissure pattern with a choice of reveal or trim edging. The panel resists sagging, includes a Bioshield treatment for added mold and mildew protection and has a Class A flame spread classification.
When asked if the company views green building movement as important, the company says a strong “yes.”
“In fact, due to the increase in green building, CertainTeed has enhanced emphasis on corporate responsibility and being a good steward,” says BethAnn Jordan, communications manager with CertainTeed Ceilings. “In monitoring the trend towards sustainability, CertainTeed has been even more motivated to establish programs and procedures to develop eco-friendly products and to reduce the company’s environmental footprint. This includes sharing relevant data and transparent sustainable information with customers. It also makes economic sense to reuse materials if possible to increase or maintain quality standards and keep production costs down.”
Environmentally Steel Panel SystemThe FRO MAR Structural Steel Panel System, from Super Stud Building Products, is an environmentally friendly product that is manufactured using steel that contains a high percentage of recycled content. In fact, as much as 89 percent depending on where the material is sourced.
In today’s world, the need to conserve our natural resources for future generations is critical. The steel panel system addresses many of these issues with regard to LEED certification being mandated in most states.
A steel structural panel system for load-bearing residential and mid-rise commercial construction, it offers a very cost-effective solution for curtainwall and spandrel panel applications. The system’s interlocking steel structural panel is a solution for long-term, sustainable and affordable construction in areas prone to seismic activity, hurricanes and tornadoes.
The system has achieved the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance (NOA #08-1219.02) approval rating for sustained 150-mph, category 5 construction. Manufactured from structural grade, mill-prime, hot-dipped galvanized steel sheets, FRO MAR is available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses for a multitude of design applications.
“Conserving our natural resources is critical for long-term sustainability,” says Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Super Stud Curt Kinney. “The new green building codes, which will become more broadly adopted starting in 2012, will further recognize and enhance steel’s contribution to sustainable construction, and we fully support that agenda.”
Dust OffNational Gypsum’s ProForm XP All Purpose Ready Mix Joint Compound with Dust-Tech is GreenGuard Children and Schools Certified, has low VOC (less than 2 grams/liter), 60 percent less airborne dust particles and also boasts mold resistance among it’s green attributes.
The product is an all-purpose vinyl based joint compound formulated to reduce airborne dust while sanding and save time with quick and easy clean-up. With Dust-Tech, the joint compound reduces airborne dust by 60 percent reducing its impact on IAQ.
“The green building movement has raised awareness among builders, owners and architects to design, build and maintain buildings that offer greater energy efficiency, cleaner and safer dwellings and responsible sourcing of materials and construction practices,” says Mundise Mortimer, manager of technical marketing with National Gypsum. “This has positive impacts in local communities and throughout the building and construction industry.”
“As the standards and measures associated with sustainable design continue to evolve, so too will building products and processes,” says Mortimer. “National Gypsum is committed to being part of that evolution and will continue to develop new products that positively contribute to indoor air quality, durability, fire safety, acoustics, energy efficiency and other environmental efforts. In addition, we look forward to continuing to work with the building community to find new ways our products can work in wall and ceiling assemblies to achieve broader sustainability goals.”
Of WaterQuality System’s PermaCrete is a sustainable product in its ingredients, uses and finished applications. All its products are either waterbased or waterborne; all are environmentally safe and friendly to use; and all are sustainably manufactured with renewable resources. Longevity, low-cost, low-maintenance without harsh chemicals and easy surface repair are inherent features in the product installations. This is desirable by those seeking LEED certification on projects because they can contribute up to at least eight different LEED points, most of which are eligible for exemplary performance points, the company says.
A PermaCrete surface is a three-part, acrylic polymer cementitious resurfacing system of more than 6,000 PSI compressive strength that provides an architectural, load-bearing surface. It’s sealed and non-porous; resists chemicals and withstands freeze-thaw cycles as well as intense heat and ultraviolet sun rays. It can be applied over such existing surfaces as concrete, aggregate, masonry, steel and foam, and can also be used for decorative applications. PermaCrete surfaces can also be maintained with common household detergents. PermaCrete surfaces exceed FTC slip-resistant surface requirements by 50 percent.
“The need for green and sustainable buildings can be debated, argued and dredged up numerous times,” says George Henderson, CEO and president of Quality Systems. “The facts can be created, construed and confirmed. The green building movement still remains an important opportunity for society to look at the long term impact of its actions. We spend a great deal of time in created and built environments. If we can improve the ecological bottom line, while still creating a better environment for the citizens using the building, and disturb less natural resources, why not? Should we argue about the small impact one building will have? Yes, because it has a lot of impact to those financing the project and the end users that will experience the environment everyday.”
Calculate Ceiling RecyclingAs of last year, Armstrong Ceilings has now diverted more than 100 million square feet of old acoustical ceiling tiles from landfills. The Ceiling Recycling Program, which began in 1999, enables building owners to ship mineral fiber and fiberglass ceilings from renovation projects to an Armstrong ceiling plant as an alternative to landfill disposal.
Under the program, the manufacturer pays the freight costs for shipping the old ceilings, which it uses as raw materials in the manufacture of new ceilings. A new program called Ceiling-2-Ceiling offers ceiling tiles made from the reclaimed material.
Armstrong, working in conjunction with its customers, has recycled more than 50,000 tons of discarded ceiling tiles. This represents more than 14,000 dumpsters full of construction waste that would have normally been taken to landfills.
To demonstrate the difference recycling ceiling tiles can make, Armstrong has created an interactive Environmental Impact Calculator on its Web site. By entering the number of square feet of ceilings to be recycled, visitors are able to view the impact they will have on the environment. To access the calculator, visit armstrong.com/impactcalculator.
“The Ceiling Recycling Program is designed to help our customers reduce their impact on the environment by redirecting used ceiling tiles from landfills back to Armstrong, thereby creating a closed loop manufacturing process and offering a valuable end to what typically would have been discarded,” says Armstrong’s Vice President of Marketing for Commercial Ceilings Joann Davis Brayman.