Newsworthy ...

June 5, 2006
Top 10 green projects of 2006 announced. West Coast building codes are on shaky ground. Energy resources are now on the Web. And more.

Who’s Who in the Buildings Market 2006

Buildings magazine’s annual “Who’s Who in the Buildings Market” solicitation is now under way. The report, which will be published in the September 2006 issue of Buildings, highlights industry leaders in the commercial and institutional buildings market in five categories:

  • Building Ownership and Development - firms that develop, own, and manage a real estate portfolio.
  • Building Management - firms that provide third-party management of real estate owned by other companies.
  • Corporate Real Estate - facilities departments responsible for the management of company-owned and leased buildings.
  • Institutional Ownership - facilities/physical departments responsible for healthcare and educational real estate.
  • Government Agencies - facilities departments in local, county, state, and federal government agencies.

The Who’s Who features two parts: One is a census including companies/organizations and their portfolios’ square-footage information. Additional data, including the number of buildings and projects (both expected and under way) in these portfolios, is also featured, as is spending for capital and operational expenditures. Responses to the annual Who’s Who questionnaire are combined with information provided in public reports to create the census.

The other part of the Who’s Who (the “A List”) highlights 25 organizations whose processes, philosophies, and projects make them stand out. Companies and organizations demonstrating unique initiatives and visionary thinking are featured.

Should your organization be considered for this year’s report, including its prestigious “A List”? Visit ( for more information. Print and return the questionnaire to Buildings by July 10, 2006. To receive this form by mail or fax, call New Products Editor Anne Goedken at (319) 364-6167, ext. 5084.

TIAX Report Offers Energy Solutions

A new report concludes that controls and diagnostics could reduce national commercial building energy consumption by approximately 40 percent. Cambridge, MA-based TIAX LLC, a collaborative product and technology development firm, was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Washington, D.C., to create “The Energy Impact of Commercial Building Controls and Performance Diagnostics: Market Characterization, Energy Impact of Building Faults, and Energy Savings Potential.”

TIAX found more than 100 faults in HVAC, lighting, and water-heating systems within commercial buildings, and evaluated the national energy impact of these faults. TIAX then evaluated 10 building controls (which reduce energy consumption by improving the effectiveness and intelligence of building systems) and diagnostics systems (which save energy by identifying energy-wasting faults). It concluded that applying a combination of sophisticated controls and diagnostics to the entire commercial building stock could reduce HVAC and lighting energy consumption by approximately 40 percent nationally. To address the financial barrier of implementing such measures, TIAX recommends the development of rigorous and credible cost-benefit analyses, and targeted market promotion and transformation activities.

West Coast Building Codes on Shaky Ground

New earthquake models show that the seismic waves of an earthquake may be at least 25-percent less intense than previously thought, reports The Mercury News in San Jose, CA. This new discovery could have a direct impact on building codes in California and the Pacific Northwest.

The U.S. Geological Survey is currently holding workshops to discuss the new models and will meet with engineers in November to confer about any building-code changes. Should the findings hold true, billions of dollars in retrofit projects to keep buildings standing in an earthquake may no longer be needed. Many scientists and engineers are hesitant to relax building codes despite the new information, choosing to err on the side of building safety.

Marriott Plans Historic Remodel

As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, The Dearborn Inn, a Marriott hotel in Dearborn, MI, will undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation. Beginning in January 2007, the historic hotel will update the furnishings, carpet, draperies, wallcoverings, and baths in all of its guestrooms. The biggest challenge of the remodel will be to preserve its historic character. Henry Ford founded The Dearborn Inn, one of the world’s first airport hotels, in 1931, commissioning architect Albert Kahn to implement his love for Georgian architecture into the design. The remodel will include traditional décor, art, and accessories to pay tribute to this rich history.

Rensselaer Receives Grant to Harness the Sun’s Power

Troy, NY-based Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has received a $300,000, 3-year grant from The National Science Foundation (NSF), located in Arlington, VA, to further develop an “intelligent” heating and cooling system. Three years ago, Rensselaer developed the patented Active Building Envelope (ABE). It collects and converts sunlight into electricity using a photovoltaic (PV) system, and then delivers the energy to a series of thermoelectric (TE) heat pumps that are integrated into the building envelope (walls, windows, and roofs). The sun's energy can be used to make the space warmer or cooler. When sunlight is lacking, an energy-storage mechanism collects extra energy.

Implementation of the original ABE system can be costly and impractical. Solar panels must be placed on the outside walls or roof of a building; because TE heat pumps must be placed inside a building’s envelope, the system can only be used in new construction. Developer Steven Van Dessel, assistant professor of architecture, is leading a team of fellow Rensselaer researchers to investigate the potential of ABE systems operating on the micrometer scale. Using thin-film PV and TE materials would create a very fine, transparent material to serve as a thermal coating system on various surfaces of new and existing buildings. Scientists hope that this technology could someday make air-conditioning and heating equipment obsolete.

Orange County Facility Utilizes Acoustic Design

The Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA, will debut its new Cesar Pelli-designed Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall this September. Russell Johnson, chairman and principal consultant at New York City-based Artec, provided design and planning services for both the 2,000-seat Concert Hall and the new 500-seat Samueli Theatre. The limestone, steel, and glass Concert Hall features a dramatic serpentine glass façade measuring 300-feet wide and 87-feet tall. Soft-white limestone finishes the remaining three sides of the structure. Johnson’s acoustic design also includes three silver-leafed canopies that form a shimmering ceiling over the performers and can be adjusted to suit performance needs.

The large-scale, frosted-glass panels and white limestone façade of the Samueli Theater complement the design of the surrounding complex. Walls are constructed of custom-colored, acoustically diffused masonry units. Both buildings will be a distinctive addition to Southern California’s architectural landscape.

In the April 2006 issue of Buildings, RB Rubber Products was incorrectly referred to as Rubber Products.

Grubb & Ellis Releases First Look at U.S. Industrial Market in Q1

Bob Bach, senior vice president, research & client services, Grubb & Ellis Co., Northbrook, IL, prepared the following statistics for the U.S. industrial market for the first quarter of 2006:

  • The vacancy rate continued to decline, but at a slower rate than the previous 8 quarters. It fell to 8 percent, the lowest level since the third quarter of 2001.
  • Eight markets recorded sub-5-percent vacancy rates, including the California markets of Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire, and Orange County.
  • Net absorption reached “strong demand” at 42.9 million square feet.
  • Chicago and Northern/Central New Jersey lead all markets in absorption at 4.5 and 4.2 million square feet of industrial space, respectively.
  • Space under construction rose for a ninth consecutive quarter to 109.7 million square feet.
  • Rental rates for warehouse/distribution space increased by 5.6 percent over the past year, ending the first quarter at $4.56 per square foot per year.

In its forecast, Grubb & Ellis suggests that the vacancy rate may be reaching its equilibrium. Factors such as increasing rental rates, sufficient capital for development and investment, rising global trade, outsourcing of manufacturing activity, and ongoing streamlining of corporate supply chains may encourage even more construction. However, risks such as rising interest rates, rising oil prices, and a cooling housing market threaten to depress consumer spending and the demand for distribution centers from consumer products companies.

Top 10 Green Projects of 2006

On May 3, The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, D.C., and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) honored the top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions. “The projects chosen in the Top 10 for 2006 included striking examples of integrated thinking, design excellence, strong energy performance, and mindfulness of water, site, and community matters,” says Henry Siegel, member of the COTE national advisory group.

The 2006 Top 10 Green Projects (listed in alphabetical order) include:

  • Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center in Seattle by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Seattle.
  • Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Kirkland, WA, by Mahlum Architects, Seattle.
  • Corporate Headquarters for Alberici in Overland, MO, by Mackey Mitchell Associates, St. Louis.
  • Philadelphia Forensic Science Center in Philadelphia by Croxton Collaborative Architects, New York City, and Cecil Baker Associates, Philadelphia.
  • Regional Animal Campus in Las Vegas by Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects, Henderson, NV.
  • Renovation of the Motherhouse in Monroe, MI, by Susan Maxman & Partners, Philadelphia.
  • School of Nursing & Student Community Center in Houston by BNIM Architects, Kansas City, MO, and Lake/Flato Architects, San Antonio.
  • Solar Umbrella House in Venice, CA, by Pugh + Scarpa, Santa Monica, CA.
  • Westcave Preserve Environmental Learning Center in Travis County, TX, by Jackson & McElhaney Architects, Austin, TX.
  • World Birding Center, Mission, TX, by Lake/Flato Architects, San Antonio.

Energy Business Reports Offers Biomass Report

Supplying 11 percent of the world’s energy, biomass is now the largest form of renewable energy. A new report from Anthem, AZ-based Energy Business Reports addresses the issues surrounding indirect biomass energy conversion from primary energy source to secondary fuel. It surveys available resources for indirect biomass use (crops, waste, and residue and byproducts from manufacture, agricultural, and industrial processes). The report also examines the technologies used in the conversion proc­ess, such as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), biopower, biomass heat, landfill and biogas, and liquid fuels. In examining markets and national development, the report addresses the status of biomass usage in 28 leading countries and assesses future prospects for the technologies.

To order the biomass report, directory, and database, send an e-mail to ([email protected]) or call (800) 304-0345.

“Ask the Experts” About Metal

The Metal Initiative (TMI) - a coalition of manufacturers, individuals, and associations that have come together to provide information on the features and benefits of metal in construction - is offering yet another tool to gather and disseminate useful information to decision-makers. TMI’s “Ask-the-Experts” is an online discussion forum for exchanging technical information concerning the use of metal in commercial construction, including general material and metal installation questions. This forum is hosted by some of the industry’s foremost experts in their field. To post your questions, go to TMI’s website (

Energy Resources Now on the Web

The U.S. Department of Energy has launched the Building Energy Codes Resource Center (, an online resource that links users to recent information on energy codes and energy-efficient construction techniques and technologies. Facility managers can find detailed content on commercial construction topics in a variety of formats:

  • Articles. Users can access hundreds of reports, studies, and fact sheets.
  • Graphics. The resource center provides diagrams, sectionals, and photographs.
  • Online tools. Users can link to interactive Web-based applications (such as a program that calculates the savings from installing high-efficiency rooftop air-conditioners).
  • Presentations and videos. The resource center offers presentations on topics such as sustainable lighting products and a range of training videos.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations