Archive for 'Discussions'
Posted on 25. Apr, 2013 by Mark English, AIA.
All of us at Mark English architects, and most of the rest of our colleagues, are involved in thinking about and implementing Green Building practices. Last year the Greenbuild Expo arrived in San Francisco, and several of our employees attended. One of them is Benjamin Todt, a German architectural intern. Germany is a leading proponent of Green design, and leads much of the world in Passivehaus design, net-zero design, solar and wind alternative energy sources. I thought it would be interesting to see the Expo through Ben’s eyes. The following are his observations:
Posted on 22. Apr, 2013 by Mark English, AIA.
A Sustainable Home is a Safer Home
Occasionally at Green Compliance Plus, we host guest articles from members of our community. Here is one perspective from the Insurance Industry.
People who are building or already own sustainable homes understand that their homes will use less energy and water. What they might not realize is that their homes also are much safer than conventionally built homes. Or that the enhanced safety features can result in less risk for home insurers and better rates for coverage.
That’s true whether the houses are certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, ENERGY STAR for New Homes, Enterprise Green Communities or another authority. Here are some of the features of green homes that make them sustainable and how they reduce risk [...]
Posted on 19. Dec, 2011 by Rebecca Firestone.
This news flash about a seemingly obscure topic is of immediate importance to all our architect Title 24 clients -and it’s good news for a change. The Quality of Insulation Installation credit is a HERS test that can help design projects to achieve Title 24 energy compliance, and we’ve had a couple of nasty surprises with it in the past.
Apparently, up until around yesterday, the California Energy Commission did not officially recognize the QII test as valid for open-cell spray foam. Our insulation expert James Morshead of SDI Insulation actually sent me an urgent email yesterday with the news, saying:
Posted on 21. Oct, 2011 by Rebecca Firestone.
Just last month, we interviewed the landscape architecture firm Arterra LLP on our sister blog, The Architect’s Take. Kate Stickley and Vera Gates were so much fun that I thought I’d ask them about Living Roofs – not exactly energy compliance, but a “green building” topic nonetheless. Turns out they’ve done several, and as landscape architects, they bring an artistry and a focus on creating a meaningful sense of place… it’s not just a functional piece of “turf” for a corporate building, where no one ever actually goes up there to enjoy it.
Posted on 05. Jul, 2011 by Rebecca Firestone.
Every so often at the AIA-San Francisco Small Firms group, we debate amongst ourselves whether getting our residential projects LEED certified is worth the effort. For most of us, with one-off custom residential new homes or remodels, the answer is no – too cumbersome and expensive. If someone is just looking for “green certification” for a California home project, the GreenPoint Rated system from BuildItGreen is a lot more flexible and user-friendly. However, there are a few architects who’ve really made a big push towards LEED certification on some of their homes. So, what are they getting out of it? How do you decide whether to go for GreenPoints or LEED, and what needs to happen with LEED for the process to go smoothly?
(Home shown above is designed by Sparano + Moody Architecture, and has earned LEED Silver certification. But LEED homes don’t all have to be in the wilderness, either.)
Posted on 21. Feb, 2011 by Rebecca Firestone.
Everything you think you know about insulation is wrong. That’s in a nutshell what I got from talking with James Morshead of SDI Insulation, Inc. in Burlingame, CA. SDI is a full-service green insulation contractor offering “sustainable” versions of several common insulation types, including blown-in, spray foam, and fiberglass batts. I wanted to know about high-performing insulation products that would fit into small building cavities, because that’s often something we have to recommend for Title 24 performance modeling. But it’s one thing to say that a project has to fit R38 worth of insulation into a 4-inch roof space, and it’s quite another to find an affordable product that’ll actually do it – and where using that product’s self-reported rating is also acceptable for demonstrating Title 24 compliance.
Posted on 09. Jan, 2011 by Rebecca Firestone.
About a year ago, we published an article about an exceptional Title 24 project – an astonishing 50% over compliance – and now we present an interview with the homeowner who commissioned the design. The single-family home, designed by Klopf Architecture, is currently under construction by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders (As an aside, we’ve done design interviews with both Klopf and Mat-Pel on our sister blog, The Architect’s Take.)
Many residential architects would like to design homes as energy-efficient as this one, but without client buy-in, it’s usually not possible to go beyond a certain point. Over and over, we have heard that client commitment to sustainable principles is THE key to building green! So, here we have a green homeowner and design client who’s willing to discuss – anonymously – why he’s doing as much as he is, and why it’s worth doing.
Posted on 21. Oct, 2010 by Rebecca Firestone.
We are pleased to announce that Mark English, AIA, principal of Mark English Architects, has earned credentials as a Certified Energy Plans Examiner. This program is administered by the California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC) to provide an objective demonstration of a person’s technical expertise and application skills for the California Title 24 Energy Standards.
Why is this exciting, you ask? Well, you don’t need CEPE credentials to prepare Title 24 compliance reports, but some incentive programs such as the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) from the California Solar Initiative require that the Title 24 report be prepared and signed by a CEPE in order to be considered eligible. To achieve this certification requires a class and a 2-hour exam, administered by CABEC.
Posted on 09. Sep, 2010 by Rebecca Firestone.
Of all the green building guides for homeowners out there, here is one that should be on everyone’s shelf – owners, architects, builders alike. It’s called “Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet” by Ann V. Edminster, a Bay Area local. Everything I’ve been struggling so hard to explain to our Title 24 clients, even in a limited way, is presented in this book with clarity and accuracy, in a very readable and lively prose style. It’s backed by both the latest research and by personal experience and observation.