NIBS Announces 2017 Beyond Green High-Performance Building and Community Awards

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by Brianna Crandall

The National Institute of Building Sciences recognized the winners of the 2017 Beyond Green High-Performance Building and Community Awards on January 10 during Building Innovation 2018: The National Institute of Building Sciences Sixth Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, DC.

Innovations for High-Performance Buildings and Communities

The Honor Award, First Place in the Innovations for High-Performance Buildings and Communities category, went to MFree-SCCF from Permasteelisa North America. The MFree-SCCF is designed to capture the benefits of a double-skin façade and integrated shading device without the potential maintenance costs and space requirements of a double-skin façade.

According to juror Bill Updike, principal with Integral Group, if effectively deployed, the MFree-SCCF system “can help realize energy performance goals while limiting long-term maintenance costs and the loss of rentable space.”

The system reportedly offers many of the benefits of a double-skin façade: a shading device protected in a cavity, which modulates solar heat gain and is controlled by the building management system. However, unlike most double façades, it is a unitized system that is completely assembled in a factory with high quality control.

There is no catwalk required for maintenance access, and the useable floor area is thereby increased (the depth of the cavity is not larger than the framing depth needed for structural wind loads). Maintenance costs are also reduced with just two surfaces to clean — the same as a conventional single-skin façade — instead of four. Installation of façade panels can be carried out in a single operation instead of installing each skin plus the catwalk individually. This reduces cost and accelerates construction speed.

“We have designed the pressure system that allows us to fine-tune the pressure that goes into the cavity,” noted Alberto Franceschet, executive vice president, Business Development and Sales at Permasteelisa North America.

High-Performance Initiatives

The Honor Award, First Place in the High-Performance Initiatives category, went to the Make the Switch at Phipps! Green Power Drive of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden. The initiative was born out of a desire to respond to results from a 2016 survey that found nearly nine out of ten of its guests consider climate change a threat now or in the future. Pennsylvania allows its residents to choose renewable energy; they just need the information, assistance and motivation to do it, noted Phipps. The Make the Switch at Phipps! Green Power Drive allows guests to switch their home electricity to 100% green power right on the spot and receive a free Phipps membership.

Juror Justin J. Zeulner, executive director and co-founder of the Green Sports Alliance, pointed out, “By demonstrating the impact energy choices have on the region and then giving visitors a clear means to do something about it, Phipps has created a powerful initiative worthy of recognition.”

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