News

April 29, 2008

Global Solar Energy Selected by The Dow Chemical Company as Key Team Member in Developing Energized Building Products

Global Solar Joins Dow in Solar America Initiative to Help Deliver
Hi-tech, Thin-film BIPV Products for Building Construction, Including Flexible Solar Shingles

TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Global Solar Energy, a solar industry leader that manufactures highly-efficient thin-film solar cells for glass modules or flexible material products, today announced Dow Building Solutions, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, has invited Global Solar to participate in its U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Initiative (SAI) project to help create innovative building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products. As a part of its SAI program, Dow is creating a flexible solar roof shingle, and has made Global Solar a key team member in its development.

“We are collaborating with Global Solar Energy because throughout our search for a solar material provider, it was the only company able to supply a qualifying flexible Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) material that meets our needs and the requirements of the SAI,” said Bob Cleereman, senior director of Solar & Structural Technology with Dow Building Solutions. “CIGS has proven to be the most efficient, cost-effective thin-film technology for BIPV applications, and by teaming up with Global Solar we are working with an industry leader. Global Solar is the only company in full-scale production of CIGS cells on flexible substrates, and has achieved a record-setting average 10 percent solar cell efficiency, meeting SAI’s requirements.”

The SAI is comprised of companies, laboratories, universities and non-profit organizations. As part of the initiative, Dow is participating in the Technology Pathway Partnership, which was designed to accelerate the commercialization of U.S.-produced solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Global Solar Energy replaced Dow’s original PV material provider in this program.

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April 29, 2008

Survey Shows Majority of Landscape Architecture Firms Still Busy


Firms Moving Beyond Real Estate Development; Most Clients Interested in Sustainability

WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the continued drop in the real estate market, the majority of landscape architects remained busy in the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest Business Quarterly survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Fifty-five percent of respondents described their billable hours as average or above in Q1 2008, and 53 percent reported average or above inquiries during the same period. Additionally, 38 percent plan to hire in the Q2 2008--unchanged from the previous quarterly survey.

"While the majority of firms reported steady or increased work, the housing troubles have certainly slowed some segments of the market--especially major real estate developments," said Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASLA. "Landscape architecture firms have turned to high-end residential work, commercial development, and public sector projects to mitigate most of the slowdown from the housing market."

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April 24, 2008

New, Smart Resins Improve Indoor Air Quality

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Advanced cultures of the world benefit in so many ways. Modern, climate-controlled housing, rapid transportation and prepared foods are the way we choose to live. But there is a price. As Americans, we each contribute 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere annually. It may come as a surprise that most of that contribution comes from our houses. Heating and cooling consume 50 to 70 percent of our home energy use. How do we improve those numbers and help the environment? Better insulation can be a key ally. Properly installed, insulation reduces energy bills by 30 to 40 percent, lowers greenhouse gas emissions and preserves our resources.

Leading global specialty materials supplier Rohm and Haas (NYSE:ROH) is creating a win-win situation for those of us willing to opt for new insulation. Adding to the intrinsic environmental benefits of installing insulation, one of the company’s newer products makes insulation itself environmentally advanced through a unique technology called Aquaset™. Aquaset thermosetting resins enable insulation manufacturers to produce high-quality, cost-effective building insulation without formaldehyde, an option that wasn’t available prior to the introduction of this new technology.

For many years, formaldehyde-based resins have been a way to bind loose fiberglass fibers into cohesive insulation batts. However, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the U.S. EPA advise limiting exposure to formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen. Handling insulation with formaldehyde has long presented worker safety issues for both manufacturers and installers.

Once installed, insulation made with formaldehyde can cause indoor air quality deterioration as well, through prolonged emissions of formaldehyde gases, particularly in buildings built “tighter” with less air exchange. The U.S. EPA reports levels of indoor air pollutants at 25 to 100 times greater than levels found in outside air, leading to health problems including allergies, headache, nausea, and the like. Since we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors, many of us are affected. The problem is so significant that experts believe improving indoor air would save as much as $56 billion due to better health and increased productivity. With insulation a $7.7 billion business yearly in the United States and by 2009 expected to become a $20.75 billion market worldwide, insulation made without formaldehyde could help drastically improve indoor air quality as well as the safety and health of manufacturers, installers, office workers, homeowners, and others spending a good portion of their day indoors.

With a strong dedication to innovation and the environment, Rohm and Haas is making the impossible possible.

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April 22, 2008

Color Your Home Green This Earth Day

Adding insulation will help you stay cool, save energy and be earth-friendly

TOLEDO, Ohio, April 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With warm weather just around the corner, Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) , wants to remind homeowners this Earth Day that insulation isn't just for keeping homes warm in winter. Insulation also keeps homes cooler in summer by keeping heat outside and conditioned air inside. According to a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute, insulation is the single most cost-effective measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.(1) That gives homeowners another tool to make their homes more energy efficient and comfortable -- and the planet a little greener.

"Many people don't realize that the energy used in homes and buildings, much of it for heating and cooling, is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions, using 40 percent of all the energy we produce in the US. That's more than industry, more than transportation," said Gale Tedhams, director of sustainability for Owens Corning, makers of PINK fiberglass insulation. "Conservation should be thought of as your first fuel because energy you don't have to use is the cheapest energy you can buy."

Finding out if you need more insulation is easy. Look in your attic -- if you can see the wood beams of your attic floor, you likely need more. The amount of insulation needed varies depending on the region of the country you live in but, in most cases, the Department of Energy recommends attics be insulted to R-49. The R-value represents thermal resistance to heat flow, so the higher the R-value, the greater the insulation effectiveness. Attaining an R-49 value requires 15.5 inches of fiberglass blanket insulation or about 18 inches of blown insulation. To determine the amount of insulation needed to achieve recommended R-values and other helpful tips, visit http://www.insulateyouratticnow.com/.

"If we all insulated to R-49, imagine the difference we could make in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Tedhams. "An estimated 60 million American homes are under-insulated, and their owners face not only higher energy costs, they're also emitting up to one half-ton more CO2 every year(2) than their properly-insulated neighbors."

In addition to adding insulation to your attic, the following tips will help you to reduce your home's energy usage and carbon footprint.

Ventilate Your Attic

A significant part of a home's ability to stay cool happens in the attic. A properly ventilated attic gives trapped heat an escape route. It may take a combination of soffit and ridge vents to do the job but the result will improve overall home energy efficiency -- and will extend the life of your roof shingles too.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Why cool the house when nobody's home? A programmable thermostat can automatically lower or raise a home's air temperature during the day. By regulating the temperature, homeowners can save up to 10 percent on annual heating and cooling costs.

Plug the Drafts

Sealing the envelope of the home is the first line of defense against air infiltration from outdoors, so it's important to caulk and weather-strip around all seams, cracks and openings. Pay special attention to windows and electrical outlets. Unwanted air leakage alone can raise energy bills up to 10 percent.

Take a Home Energy Audit

Understanding how much energy a home uses helps homeowners determine what changes will save them the most energy and money. For an easy home energy audit, check out the Home Report Card.(R) The quiz provides tailored recommendations for improving home energy efficiency and can be found at http://www.owenscorning.com/homereportcard.

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April 22, 2008

Green Roof Market Grows by Over 30% in 2007

Baltimore, Chicago, Wilmington, Washington and Philadelphia among the leaders in this year's Top 10 List of U.S. Cities for most green roofs installed

TORONTO, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Call it a gift for the earth just in time for Earth Day. Last year, 30 percent more green roofs were installed in North America -- and that means more beautiful rooftops, cleaner air, cooler cities, reduced energy consumption, less untreated stormwater running into our rivers and streams, and more green spaces for people, plants and animals.

This good news comes from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities' 3rd Annual Green Roof Market Industry Survey of its corporate members and represents a five percent increase over last year's annual market growth rate of 25 percent. The survey is based on square footage of green roof projects installed by GRHC's corporate members in 2007.

"We're particularly thrilled to see Baltimore on our list for the first time as it is the host city of our fast-approaching annual international green roof conference starting April 30, 2008," says Steven W. Peck, founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. "We're also pleased to see Washington, D.C. on the list again as the government of the District of Columbia is this year's winner of an Awards of Excellence for Civic Leadership. Significant green roof implementation can save tens of millions of dollars from reduced energy, and greatly improve regional stormwater management and air quality."

Complete survey results, methodology and charts are available at www.greenroofs.org under "Media Resources" as well as conference details. Media passes for conference available.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities -- North America, Inc. was founded in 1999 as a small network of public and private organizations and is now a rapidly growing 501(c)(6), not-for-profit industry association for green roof experts in North America. Our mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professionalism and celebrations of excellence. Green roofs involve the use of specialized drainage systems, growing media, filter cloths, and root repellent layers that allow plants to grow on barren roof tops.

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April 21, 2008

First LEED Gold-Certified Home in Florida Combines Sustainable Resources with Smart Design

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When Darren Brinkley, owner of REAL building, created the miniature model of the concept home he wanted to build, his focus was not entirely on building a green structure.

“I wanted to build smart, not just green,” Brinkley said.

Yet, the home he created in St. Petersburg, Fla., recently received Florida’s first gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ for homes. While more than 200 projects have been certified by LEED for homes, projects like Brinkley’s demonstrate that sustainable structures can provide multiple efficiencies, increased safety, and an improved quality of life for the homeowners.

Green Features Work Together for Greater Good

The intelligence of Brinkley’s design literally begins from the ground up. The original walls and terrazzo floor of a 744-square-foot home that previously stood on his building site now serve as the walls and floor of an oversized two-car garage. To minimize the risk of flooding, the new 2,000-square-foot four-bedroom, three-bathroom home rests on top of the garage.

Although fiber cement was originally considered for the home’s exterior, Brinkley selected insulated vinyl siding and vinyl soffit after weighing the benefits of both options. Working with C.W. “Cookie” Brinkman and ASI Building products, the builder identified various benefits in the vinyl product that could affect the home’s sustainability in the present and future.

“The Alcoa Home Exteriors Structure® EPS insulated siding we used has a wind load of up to 190 mph wind speeds and stands up well in a storm, which is important in our region,” Brinkley said. “Different aspects of vinyl siding’s weight and transport makes its carbon footprint a lot lower. Also, it is low maintenance – you can hose this down and don’t have to paint it every few years like you would other products.”

The insulated vinyl siding contributed to the LEED points the project earned for construction materials, due to its transportation efficiencies, the lack of on-site finishing, such as painting or staining, and its insulation properties, which contribute to the home’s energy efficiency.

Brinkley also appreciates the long life of the insulated vinyl siding, which is backed by a lifetime warranty, and its potential for recycling.

The home’s exterior also includes a 1,000-gallon rainwater cistern used to irrigate the landscaping, and a backyard pond, fed by dehydrator runoff, that attracts birds and wildlife. An outdoor living space overlooking the backyard features soy foam between the soffit and roof. Brinkley says the design keeps the outdoor space cool and useable even in the hottest Florida months due to heat absorption by the foam.

Adding Style to Simplicity

The simple box design of Brinkley’s home contributes to its sustainability by promoting good airflow and efficient use of space. To add character and visual interest to the design, architectural features were added that would require minimal maintenance. For example, the arched ceiling over the back porch features low-maintenance Mastic/Alcoa Home Exteriors vinyl soffit that provides the clean, classic look of bead soffit for an impressive visual affect.

Additional green features incorporated in the home’s interior include bamboo flooring, low- or no-VOC paints and finishes, and a geothermal heating and air conditioning system. The efficiency created by the home’s innovative design virtually eliminated the need for solar panels. Even without relying on solar energy, Brinkley anticipates the monthly utility bill will be around $75.

While Brinkley is excited about the current interest and enthusiasm for sustainable building, he also recognizes a need for more information sharing and consumer education.

“Education needs to happen,” Brinkley said. “We need to create a better understanding of what makes a structure sustainable. Homeowners and builders need to know the right questions to ask and how to identify solutions to create more efficient and intelligently designed homes.”

Learn more about REAL building and Structure EPS at www.realbuilding.com and www.mastic.com.

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April 18, 2008

Eagle Roofing Products Receives Energy Star Approval For Cool Roof Tile

Certification Underscores Manufacturer’s Commitment to Producing Energy-Efficient “Green” Products

RIALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A leader in the industry in manufacturing energy-efficient, “green” roof tile solutions, Eagle Roofing Products, a division of Burlingame Industries, today announced its Cool Roof Tile line has earned “Energy Star” approval. Eagle’s Cool Roof Tile line was selected based on the product’s ability to reflect sunlight and therefore heat from the roof, helping to prevent heat transfer into the home, resulting in up to a 30 percent savings in energy bills.

“Eagle’s Cool Roof Tile line was designed to contribute to the creation of an energy efficient home or commercial building,” said Jay Banister, Eagle Roofing Products’ National Green Program Manager. “The result means less work for the air conditioner, less expenditure of energy and ultimately lower electrical bills for the owner.”

The Cool Roof Tile is designed to reflect sunlight and heat away from the roof surface making the product eligible for Energy Star approval, a series of energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy. Eagle’s Cool Roof Tile offering is part of the company’s “Eagle Green” initiative, which includes the Eagle Solar Roof, Energy Saving Roof and an environmentally friendly manufacturing process.

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April 17, 2008

'Green' Homeowners Turn to 'Green' Metal Roofing

BELFAIR, Wash., April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The EPA reports that $40 billion is spent annually in the United States to cool buildings. This accounts for one-sixth of all electricity generated in a year. These staggering statistics, coupled with the rising cost of heating and cooling homes, have homeowners looking for ways to save the earth and save money on energy costs.

Green building practices promote construction of buildings that are healthier for the occupants and healthier for the environment. The metal roofing industry's products are already environmentally friendly as most metal roofs contain more than 25 percent recycled content. This level of recycled content allows metal roofing to be included on listings of 'green' and recycled content products. In addition, metal roofing is 100 percent recyclable. Traditional roofing products, such as asphalt, contribute 13 billion pounds of waste to U.S. landfills annually. Many metal roofs can be installed over an existing roof, without tear-off and disposal.

A cool roof is often described as one that has a high solar reflectance and a high thermal emittance. The emittance of a material refers to its ability to release absorbed heat. A roof is 'cool' if its surface temperature is lower, and as a result, the cooling load in the building is reduced. Solar reflectance is the most important characteristic of a roof product in terms of yielding the highest energy savings during warmer months. The higher the solar reflective value the more efficient the product is in reflecting sunlight and heat away from the building and reducing roof temperature.
A study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that the installation of highly reflective metal roofing coatings can save homeowners up to forty percent in summer cooling costs. Special pigments for metal roofing coatings have been developed and tested that increase the solar reflectivity of the metal roof. The vent technology creates an insulation barrier that aids heating during the winter months

The Metal Roofing Alliance is a not-for-profit organization formed to educate consumers on these and other benefits of metal roofing. Visit www.metalroofing.com to learn more about metal roofing and to find a metal roofing contractor in your area.

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April 16, 2008

Real Wood Floors: Wood Floors Over Radiant Heat Reduce Carbon Footprint

ST. LOUIS, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking for ways to heat your home more efficiently while reducing your carbon footprint? Look no further than your floors.

Radiant heat is one of the latest green building trends that has gained popularity with eco-conscious consumers. Radiant heat offers an alternative to traditional forced air heating because the heating source is installed under flooring and transfers heat directly from the floor to the individual, which is a more-efficient means of maintaining a comfortable room temperature. It also reduces heat loss when doors are opened and cold air enters the room.

Eco-conscious consumers can reduce their carbon footprint even further by installing radiant heat under wood floors. Because wood floors are sustainable and renewable, they increase radiant heat's benefits. Generally speaking, engineered flooring works well with radiant heat since its cross-ply construction makes it very dimensionally stable and less prone to moisture or heat fluctuations. Wood species that work well with radiant heat include American cherry, American walnut and teak. Darker woods will show gaps and cracks less than lighter woods, but other species that work well include antique heart pine, ash, bamboo, Brazilian walnut, bubinga, Douglas fir, iroko, kempas, padauk, purpleheart, red oak, Santos mahogany, and sapele. Quatersawn and riftsawn woods also work well because their expansion moves up and down rather than side to side, which provides additional stability. Smaller width boards generally will perform better too, since wider planks are more prone to moisture and heat fluctuations.

Want to know more about the eco-benefits of wood floors? Visit the National Wood Flooring Association's web site at http://www.nwfa.org/, and click on the "What's New" link.

The NWFA is a not-for-profit trade organization of more than 4,200 wood flooring professionals working worldwide to educate consumers, architects, designers, and builders in the uses and benefits of wood flooring. The NWFA can be contacted at 111 Chesterfield Industrial Blvd., Chesterfield, MO 63005, or at 800-422-4556 (USA), 800-848-8824 (Canada), or 636-519-9663 (international).

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April 15, 2008

Carpet One Floor & Home Invites Community Members to Volunteer and Take the Pledge to Make the Environment Cleaner, Healthier, and More Beautiful

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Carpet One Floor & Home stores throughout North America are hosting events on National Green Select Day, Saturday, April 19th to make their environments cleaner, healthier, and more beautiful. The goal of National Green Select Day is to create opportunities for community members to work together to make a significant positive impact on the environment.

"We define going green as communities coming together to make environmentally responsible decisions," says Eric Demaree, Carpet One Floor & Home President. "And we invite community members to join our Carpet One Floor & Home stores in making our world an even better place to live. We know if we work together, we can make a difference."

All volunteers who take the National Green Select Day pledge to help their community will receive a National Green Select Day pin, pledge card, and tee shirt.

Visit http://www.nationalgreenselectday.com/ to view the list of participating Carpet One Floor & Home stores. To learn more about individual Carpet One Floor & Home events that are taking shape across North America, visit http://www.ngsd.blogspot.com/.

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April 14, 2008

New Website Heats Up Debate on Water Heaters: Is Tank or Tankless Better?

MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to tankless water heaters, it's the questions that are endless. A new website launching today is the first to provide straight talk on tankless vs. tank water heaters, aimed at helping design and construction professionals advise their customers which system is best for different circumstances.

SmarterHotWater.com is a product of Rheem Water Heating, the only U.S. manufacturer of both tank and tankless water heaters, as well as a provider of solar systems.

"Being water-heater agnostic makes Rheem a credible resource to help professionals sort out the claims and counterclaims about tank and tankless water heaters," said Bob Hitchner, Director of Rheem Tankless Sales, based in Montgomery. "We designed SmarterHotWater.com so professionals could feel confident in their ability to recommend the best solution based on performance, project budget and long-term operating costs."

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April 11, 2008

Autodesk Honors Architectus With Revit BIM Experience Award for Sustainable Design Process and Multi-Team Collaboration

Architectural Firm Uses Autodesk BIM Solutions to Support Advanced Workflows for Sharing Building Information and Energy Analysis

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., April 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) today announced that Architectus, an award-winning Australian architectural firm with an international practice, has been selected to receive a Revit BIM Experience Award for its successful use of the Revit platform for sustainable design and its exemplary use of building information modeling (BIM) as a process for inter-discipline collaboration and coordination. The Revit BIM Experience Award is presented to commercial firms, educational institutions and individuals for innovation and excellence in implementing the Autodesk Revit platform (which includes Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP software applications) for use on one or more projects. AEC Systems, a Sydney-based reseller, introduced Architectus to BIM and the Revit platform, and provided training and implementation services.

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April 10, 2008

June Dwell on Design Conference to Offer Diverse Design Conversations

Dwell Magazine Editors to Moderate 2 days, 13 Panels and over 50 Speakers

LOS ANGELES, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The third annual Dwell on Design Conference + Exhibition, debuting in Los Angeles, June 5-8, 2008 will constitute the largest design show in the West. With over 50 speakers, the conference will offer the most diverse subject matter related to modern design ever presented live in Los Angeles.

Exclusively moderated by Dwell editors, the 13 panels will feature a roster of incredibly talented and diverse people ranging from legislators to practitioners to activists will be discussing everything from urban gardening, to a mandated LEED program for Los Angeles, to why there are so few developers who love good design. The conference follows two parallel tracks but participants are encouraged to partake in all discussions.

The conference opens with conversation specifically devoted to the future of Los Angeles, with panels including LA Grows Up: Dealing With Density and Los Angeles LEEDs the Way?, which explores what a mandated LEED program means for the city.

A highly anticipated panel moderated by Dwell Senior Editor Amber Bravo will explore Immortality Through Product. A focus will be on the process of bringing products to market and the way in which design skills may be wrapped into a product that reaches a broader audience than a designer might access through design as a service. Panelists include Don Chadwick, Founder/Principal Chadwick Studio; Willard Ford, Partner, Ford Brady and Francisco "Cisco" Pinedo, CEO and Founder, Cisco Brothers.

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April 09, 2008

DuPont and TERI Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Green Building Design in India

DuPont Building Innovations' Products Help Protect and Preserve Buildings

NEW DELHI, India, April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DuPont (NYSE:DD) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the cause of green building design and certification in India.

The agreement was signed by Balvinder Kalsi, president of DuPont India, and Dr. R. K. Pachauri, director general, TERI, with Thomas F. Schuler, DuPont Building Innovations vice president and general manager, in attendance. The signing ceremony was held during the Talking Tomorrow Lecture Series organized by TERI-BCSD (Business Council for Sustainable Development) India, an industry group with 76 corporate members that engage with TERI on sustainable development, environmental management and corporate responsibility.

"DuPont, like TERI, is committed to sustainable buildings. This agreement will further strengthen our long-standing working relationship," Schuler said. "We will continue to use science and innovation to deliver advanced products to the global marketplace, enabling architects and designers to build sustainable, cost- and energy-efficient buildings with solutions such as Tyvek(R) building wraps, vapor breathable radiant barriers and insulated panels for exterior cladding."

"Buildings are responsible for at least 40 percent of energy use in most countries and are major contributors to global emissions," said Mili Majumdar, head of TERI's Green Building project (GRIHA). "Energy efficiency in buildings is very crucial in India since the construction sector is growing at a very fast pace. TERI has been at the forefront of spreading knowledge on energy efficiency and this MoU will help increase awareness and information on products for efficient buildings."

TERI and DuPont also agreed on the need to have vapor breathability for a sound building envelope in the hot or mixed climate zones in India, where using vapor barriers could lead to moisture problems. Subject to approval by the Technical Advisory Committee set up by the Government of India, TERI agreed to recognize the effective design and use of air and water barriers in the building envelope, under the GRIHA rating system for Green Buildings.

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April 09, 2008

Earth Day, Every Day: 'Dirt Man' Digs Building Safer, Sustainable Homes

JACKSON, Wyo., April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Building green may be all the rage, but for Tom Ward you might say the challenge is building brown -- and literally, from the ground up. The architect-inventor holds the patent to EarthWall, a seismically-stable rammed earth construction process for sustainable building. The main component of EarthWall? It's clean, natural and available in abundance: plain old dirt.

Watching the six o'clock news one evening in 1999, Ward recognized an opportunity to save lives. During coverage of the aftermath of an earthquake in Turkey, the Wyoming architect noticed that some of the homes -- those built from the region's indigenous rammed earth technique -- sustained less damage than the structures built with more modern methods. Ward wondered how the ages-old technique might be made more stable -- eventually developing an innovative method of stabilizing the earthen walls with reinforced steel rods in a "rational structural post tensioning system" -- that effectively creates earthquake resistance in rammed earth structures.

A principal in Ward + Blake Architects, the Jackson, Wyoming architect pursued the idea and his brainstorm held up in tests performed by the University of Wyoming's Civil Engineering Department as the first seismically stable rammed earth wall. In 2006, he received a patent on the eco-friendly building system that could help people in Third World countries construct earthquake-resistant homes. His innovative new-yet-old building technology -- with the potential for worldwide application -- won Ward + Blake a Newton Foundation research grant.

"Fifty percent of the world's population lives in earthen houses, many of them in seismically active parts of the world," says Ward. "This strong, low-tech method could allow for the rebuilding of structures in areas ravaged by earthquakes -- or even for replacing existing structures to prevent future damage-without resorting to expensive, culturally foreign building systems."

"The aspect that is most exciting to me," Ward adds, "is the potential for the worldwide application of EarthWall. Perhaps if the process is one day adopted in Third World countries, it will save not only homes from collapsing -- but lives as well."

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April 08, 2008

World’s First Integrated Wind Turbines Inaugurated in Bahrain

Bahrain World Trade Center Leads the Way in Environmental Architecture

MANAMA, Bahrain--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC) made history today as its pioneering wind turbines turned together for the first time. The three 29m-diameter turbine blades on Bahrain’s iconic landmark are the world’s first to be integrated into a commercial development, and are forecast to provide the equivalent of 11-15% of the power for the two towers when fully operational.

The successful installation of the turbines involved collaboration between Atkins Architects and Engineers and Norwin turbine specialists, who were in Bahrain for the inaugural turning and presentation to media.

Mr. Ole Sangill, Managing Partner of turbine specialists Norwin who have been involved with the project from conception, was present throughout the installation process and at the inauguration, and commented: “This was of course a first for Norwin as it was for the real estate world, and we truly have pushed the boundaries of environmental architecture with this project. It is a testament to Bahrain that private developers are investing in sustainability and pioneering design, which is certainly the future of architecture as it shapes the planet in years to come.”

Speaking at the event, Mr. Simha LytheRao Atkins Project Manager explained that the use of established technologies, including type-tested turbines with minimal modifications ensured that the additional cost incurred by incorporating turbines into the project was reduced to around 3.5% of the overall project value, making it not only an environmentally responsible but also a financially viable venture. He also explained how the elliptical shaped towers act as aerofoils, funneling and accelerating the wind velocity between them, and exploiting the unobstructed prevailing onshore breeze from the adjacent Gulf coast to provide a renewable source of energy for the building.

The incorporation of large-scale turbines onto a building is a world first. During the proceeding months the turbines will therefore undergo detailed analysis and optimization by Norwin to determine their actual electricity generation potential. The turbines are expected to operate approximately 50% of the time.

The project has also been the recipient of international acclaim for its commitment to sustainable development, being awarded LEAF Awards 2006 for ‘Best Use of Technology within a Large Scheme’ and recently the Arab Construction World ‘Sustainable Design Award’. These accolades recognise the achievements of developments whose raison d'être is environmental protection and improvement, and provide public recognition for the individuals and companies who have attained the highest standards within the design and construction industry.

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April 07, 2008

LISC Announces Release of the Green Rehab Guide for Multifamily Properties

New publication provides guidelines to help affordable housing developers make projects green and energy efficient

NEW YORK, April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the national force behind community revitalization, today announced the release of Green Rehabilitation of Multifamily Rental Properties: A Resource Guide, the first publication of its kind to assist affordable housing developers in greening their existing properties.

The Green Guide for Rehab, a joint project of Bay Area LISC and Build it Green, a California based non-profit organization promoting healthy and energy efficient housing, was developed to help affordable housing owners and their consultants integrate green building and energy efficiency into the upgrades of their multifamily properties. The Green Guide for Rehab explains the technologies and shows the opportunities for existing properties to 'go green.' The guide is designed to be used in tandem with an energy audit, building walkthrough, or site assessment that occurs at the outset of any rehabilitation project.

Green building techniques have typically been applied to new construction projects. But the potential for creating green, healthy environments in existing low-income housing across the country is significant.

"The Green Guide for Rehab will provide invaluable assistance to affordable housing providers as they embark on the green rehab process," said Madeline Fraser Cook, director of LISC's new Green Development Center.

The 58-page guide contains four sections - site condition and systems, building construction, mechanical systems and interior spaces - with advice on incorporating the green building principles of energy efficiency, water conservation, resource conservation, and healthy indoor environments. It also looks at the cost and cost-effectiveness of green strategies to assist affordable housing developers in making decisions about which measures to include in their rehab projects.

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April 04, 2008

DuPont Launches Test Facility for Next Generation Storm Protection

DuPont(TM) StormRoom(TM) with Kevlar(R) Withstands 250 MPH Winds, 70,000 Pounds

WILMINGTON, Del., April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DuPont (NYSE:DD) today opened its first storm shelter testing center at its Chestnut Run site here. The multi-million dollar facility will allow the company to test different materials for its DuPont(TM) StormRoom(TM) with Kevlar(R). DuPont also will use the site to develop new technologies that will further help protect people and property during dangerous storms.

Yesterday DuPont announced an agreement with national builder Epcon Communities to offer the DuPont(TM) StormRoom(TM) with Kevlar(R) to its 138 builder franchisees -- the first agreement to offer a storm shelter nationally.

DuPont estimates that 90 percent of its patent-pending storm shelters are now in use in rural and suburban communities, with 10 percent installed in cities. Initially, sales for the StormRoom(TM) with Kevlar(R) were focused on Tornado Alley, the eight states where most tornadoes strike during the year. DuPont has found, however, that many other parts of the United States, including coastal areas where hurricanes and other wind-based storms can wreak havoc, need the safety and security provided by the StormRoom(TM). DuPont has seen a 300 percent increase in sales in states outside Tornado Alley.

The DuPont(TM) StormRoom(TM), the only storm shelter with the strength of DuPont(TM) Kevlar(R), provides protection from tornadoes and hurricanes. Flying debris continues to be the No. 1 cause of injury in severe storms and can turn branches into deadly projectiles. Tornadoes can provide consistent winds up to 250 miles per hour (mph) -- much higher than some hurricanes. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), most of the country is exposed to winds that can range from 130 mph to 250 mph.

According to DuPont research, consumers are increasingly focused on home safety and the need for functionality in a storm shelter. The DuPont(TM) StormRoom(TM) allows for electricity and plumbing installation, as well as cell phone and radio reception, so its occupants can monitor news and weather information. When not in use, the StormRoom(TM) can double as an extra room, storage space or powder room, providing year-round utility.

The DuPont(TM) StormRoom(TM) with Kevlar(R) is the only shelter that can be installed in existing as well as new homes, above ground or in basements, and is completely transportable using authorized installers. It is designed to withstand the impact of a 2' x 4' timber propelled at 100 mph -- the speed at which the timber would travel in the strongest tornado, which generates wind gusts of up to 250 mph. The StormRoom(TM) also is crush-resistant and engineered to support a uniformly distributed weight of more than 70,000 pounds, the weight of a fully loaded tractor trailer. Based on DuPont comparison data, the company believes the StormRoom(TM) to be the strongest and most durable of all the storm shelters available today.

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April 02, 2008

New Owens Corning Non-Woven Glass Tissue Raises Fire Resistance and Impact Performance of Direct Pressure Laminate Flooring

Product Opens the Way for Wide Use of Direct Pressure Laminate Flooring in the Commercial Market

PARIS, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) has introduced the first non-woven glass tissue reinforcement for Direct Pressure Laminate Flooring (DPL), which raises fire resistance and impact performance to levels that meet commercial standards. While DPL has long been popular in the residential market, manufacturers will now be able to broaden their DPL product offerings to architects and specifiers for commercial applications such as hotels, restaurants, shops and stores.

Developed by Owens Corning in partnership with Hans Schmid KG, Gronau, Germany, Europe's leading independent impregnation company, and by replacing traditional resonated Kraft paper, the new DPL with resin impregnated glass tissue meets European Norm standard EN13501-1, achieving fire class B(fl). This is complemented by small ball and large ball impact testing according to EN438, which raises impact performance designation to IC3. Moreover, with the new reinforcement system it is possible for usage classification to be raised to a higher level -- from 32 to 33 -- for commercial applications.

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April 02, 2008

U.S. Green Building Council Features California Residential Building as One of the World's 'Greenest'

Ranch House at Del Sur Is the Most Highly Rated New Construction Building Profiled by the Council

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With Earth Day just weeks away, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released a profile of the Ranch House at Del Sur, featuring it as the most highly rated "green" new construction building included in its "project profiles" of exemplary green buildings. The Ranch House is the welcome and information center for the "green" 1,800-acre Del Sur residential community in San Diego, Calif., developed by Black Mountain Ranch LLC. It is the second-highest rated building of its kind in the United States and one of fewer than 30 such buildings in the world.

The Ranch House earned the highest possible rating from the USGBC -- Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. LEED certification is the world's most widely recognized standard for sustainable, high-performance, low-energy-use buildings. With a point score of 59 out of a total 69 points possible, the 3,000-square-foot Ranch House is the first private-enterprise, new construction building to achieve Platinum rating in California, and one of only 30 such buildings in the world.

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April 01, 2008

Green with Envy: The 63rd Annual National Hardware Show® Focuses on Environment

National Hardware Show 2008

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Green design, from rugs to furnishings to accessories, is the hottest home design trend for 2008. Addressing current, environmental concerns, the National Hardware Show® is launching a new, specially designated area on the show floor that highlights the latest in green, eco-friendly and sustainable products.

Located directly adjacent to New Product World, Green Product World™, will focus on what The American Society of Interior Design recently reported is “one of the fastest growing segments of its industry.” The new attraction and focus will offer a diverse selection of environmentally safe innovations and is sponsored by EarthTronics, manufacturer of high quality lighting products that are designed to save energy.

“Since the National Hardware Show is a representation of everything relevant to home enhancement, the show will reflect the move towards more sustainable products at retail,” said Dean Russo, senior vice president for the National Hardware Show. “The brand-new Green Product World will showcase the latest in green, eco-friendly and sustainable products that consumers will be buying to protect the environment, reduce their carbon footprint and encourage responsibility for the future.”

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April 01, 2008

Renowned Architects to Present Proposals for New Museum in Vilnius

VILNIUS, Lithuania, March 31/PRNewswire/ -- Three internationally acclaimed architects, Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid and Massimiliano Fuksas will unveil their proposals for a new museum in Vilnius on April 8, 2008. A jury chaired by Thomas Krens, the Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York and panel members Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director of the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, Peter Schmal, the Director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, Mayor of the City of Vilnius Juozas Imbrasas and Gintaras Caikauskas, Vice Chairman of the Lithuanian Architects' Association will determine the winning proposal.

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April 01, 2008

Whirlpool Corporation Helps Support Habitat for Humanity's 25th Annual 'Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project' in Gulf Coast

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Whirlpool Corporation joins former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, thousands of volunteers from around the world and partner families to support Habitat for Humanity's 25th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in the Gulf Coast. The five-day event from, May 11-16, 2008 will serve to construct and rehabilitate 60 houses and frame up to 48 more in the host cities of Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula, Miss.

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April 15, 0008

Keep Children Safer With Window Safety Practices

National Window Safety Week Observed April 20-26

PELLA, Iowa, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- As outdoor temperatures rise and consumers open windows to bring in fresh air, it's time to practice window safety -- especially when children are present. Nearly 5,000 children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments each year for injuries sustained from falling out windows, according to the Safe Kids Worldwide(R) campaign. To help promote greater safety, Pella Corporation has partnered with the National Safety Council, through its Window Safety Task Force, to observe National Safety Week April 20-26.

"Familiarize yourself with the facts about window safety to help protect your loved ones," said Kathy Krafka Harkema, Pella's window safety spokesperson and a member of the Window Safety Task Force. "When it comes to safety, there's no substitute for proper adult supervision when young children are in the home -- especially around open windows or doors."

Pella offers these important tips to help enhance home safety:

1. Keep children's play away from windows, doors and balconies to help
prevent an accidental fall or injury.
2. Keep windows closed and locked when not in use. When opening windows
for ventilation, open those that a child cannot reach, like the upper
sash on a double-hung window.
3. Keep furniture like beds and dressers away from windows. Furniture
placed under a window can create an enticement to climb and the
potential to fall.
4. Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. For
greater safety, establish your family's emergency escape plan and
practice it regularly.
5. When performing repairs or cleaning, make sure windows and doors are
not jammed, painted or nailed shut, so they can open for a quick escape
in an emergency. If they don't, consider replacement, because windows
and doors can be replaced; lives can't.
6. Choosing windows that tilt in for cleaning for greater ease and
potential safety, to eliminate the need to climb an exterior ladder.
7. If you are adding window guards or window fall prevention devices,
properly install approved guards that meet American Society for Testing
and Materials (ASTM) standards, and feature a quick-release mechanism.
8. If you live in an area subject to hurricanes, consider impact-resistant
glass for windows and patio doors to help provide year-round protection
from winds, rain and flying debris.
9. Window treatments with traditional cords can contribute to childhood
injuries. For added protection, choose blinds and shades with no
room-side cords like Pella's Designer Series(R) windows and patio
doors, which feature blinds, shades or decorative panels between glass.

Additional window safety tips are available year-round at: http://www.nsc.org/aware/window/.

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