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Greenbuild Conference Boasts Construction Innovations

TUVsolartestingGreenbuild International Conference and Expo, to be held this week in Phoenix, will be a springboard for businesses to discuss their sustainable activities, reports Phoenix Business Journal.

Projected to draw 20,000 people and generate about $29 million for the local economy, the conference features new sustainable innovations such as Firestone Energy’s new daylighting system and TUV Rheinland’s solar thermal testing services. A new study, to be discussed at the show, indicates that corporate real estate executives are more willing to invest in environmental retrofits of owned buildings.

One technology innovation featured at the show is Firestone Energy Solutions’ SunWave Daylighting System. Designed for the commercial roofing industry, SunWave features a dome formation and a unique high-performance frame design that increases visual comfort for people inside the building while conserving energy, which translates into energy savings for building owners.

This technology will keep rooms bright enough to decrease the use of indoor electrical lighting up to 70 percent during daylight hours, according to Firestone Energy Solutions.

TUV Rheinland PTL LLC will launch a solar thermal and combined heating power systems testing and certification program at the Greenbuild conference, reports Phoenix Business Journal.

The lab, located in Tempe, Ariz., will provide inspection and certification for the manufacturing, fabrication and installation of solar thermal systems in Europe and North America, according to the article. The testing services include solar thermal, photovoltaic, concentrated solar power, compound parabolic concentrated solar and Stirling engines.

CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle will discuss the latest findings of its third annual sustainability survey at the conference. A key finding reveals that 74 percent of companies are willing to pay a premium to retrofit space that they own for sustainability criteria, and 37 percent will pay extra for leased buildings.

Corporate real estate (CRE) executives, whose companies drive demand for office space, are increasingly willing to invest in refurbishing their owned assets to meet sustainability goals, according to the results of the 2009 CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle sustainability survey.

The survey also finds that 70 percent of respondents said that sustainability is a critical business issue for CRE today, and 89 percent consider sustainability criteria in making leasing decisions, with 46 percent always considering energy labels (such as Energy Star or HPE), and 41 percent always considering green building certifications (such as LEED, BREEAM, IEMA, NABERS Energy, Green Star, GreenMark or CASBEE).

The survey also reveals that 60 percent are adopting workplace strategies to meet sustainability goals while reducing overall occupancy costs, up from 54 percent in 2008. CRE executives also continue to focus on strategies that are easy to implement and provide short-term cost savings, such as energy-efficiency programs and waste recycling, according to the report.

Even though obtaining funds to implement sustainability strategies is a difficult or an extremely difficult challenge for 67 percent of respondents, 74 percent would pay a premium (generally 1–5 percent) to retrofit owned space for sustainability criteria, up from 53 percent in 2008.

Although most executives view sustainability as a priority, only 37 percent would consider paying a premium (between 1-10 percent), and another 21 percent indicated that they would only be willing to pay a premium rent if it was offset by lower operating costs, according to the report.

In terms of metrics, companies want to see bottom-line outcomes, with energy costs ranked as the most important portfolio metric by 37 percent of respondents. However, more than 50 percent said that insufficient industry metrics, difficulty in calculating return on investment (ROI) and lack of tools for collecting necessary performance data are difficult or extremely difficult challenges, according to the report.

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