Test drive the Ithaca Green Building Policy

The Ithaca Green Building Policy (IGBP) is being codified and will be a standard building practice in 2019 in both the city and town of Ithaca.

When asked to design to a particular standard, it’s expected that building professionals will react with a bit of resistance and uncertainty. Building owners and developers likely have concerns about the potential time and cost associated with building to new standards. Architects and engineers will need to study the new building code and will also need to educate local clients about the different “paths” they can choose under the new policy.

To gain a better understanding of the policy, we decided to take a close look at a couple of projects we completed in the past two years and see how they would measure up under the IGBP. The exercise gave us the opportunity to review the standards, understand the differences in the residential and commercial point system, and document some questions that we reviewed with Ian Shapiro (Taitem founder and co-creator of the IGBP).

Here’s a list of what we used as a reference:

The Ithaca Green Building Policy Guide and Final Report. In particular, section 2.14 “Pulling it all together: Recommendations.”

Comcheck. We reviewed two commercial projects and found the majority of information we needed to complete the “Easy Path” right in this report. 

GoogleMaps.

Project drawings and history. These were brief recollections shared verbally by the project manager.

We also created a few building calculation templates that we bounced back and forth among team members at Taitem and STREAM Collaborative. It was an exercise that didn’t take much time and helped us answer some questions about compliance. Here’s what we found:

 

 

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Go with the flow: Water efficiency requirements in NYS

In 2017, New York State (rather quietly) adopted the EPA’s high-efficiency “Water Sense” requirements for residential faucets, toilets, and shower heads. Note the water use numbers in this screenshot of section 2.39 from the NYS Building and Standards and Codes Supplement.

The gallons per flush (GPF) for toilets was previously 1.6 GPF and is now 1.3 GPF. Showers heads were previously limited to a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) and are now 2 GPM.

Many building professionals are not yet aware of these new standards. Continuous code development is essential and we can all take responsibility for sharing the news on improving standards.

Let’s spread the word. And for building professionals who want to improve efficiency even further, we might consider going with California’s flow requirements: 1.28 GPF for water closets, 1.8 GPM for showers and 1.2 GPM for faucets.

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Taitem presenting at NYSERDA Multifamily Summit Oct 21-23 in Syracuse

Learn the latest on energy efficiency for the NY multifamily sector. This annual conference is the place to update your knowledge of new technologies, design approaches, energy codes and guidelines, and financing options. Taitem founder Ian Shapiro will speak on developments in standalone heat pump hot water heaters in apartment buildings. Betsy Jenkins Parrington, Senior Energy Engineer, and Tim Allen, Senior Energy Analyst, will share results of a pilot program that is testing a new way to meter fuel oil in multifamily buildings. Senior energy analyst Evan Hallas will present and lead a discussion on small packaged heat pumps. Network with the Taitem team and other industry thought leaders and doers.  Register Here.

Domestic Hot Water Distribution: Two Approaches

In multifamily buildings, domestic hot water can represent as much as 50% of the fossil fuel load and therefore must be addressed as we move towards higher and higher performing buildings. But upgrading domestic hot water equipment to more efficient technology can be challenging. Two DHW experts will explore different approaches. Karla Butterfield of Steven Winter Associates Inc. will discuss central distribution systems using case studies which demonstrate new requirements, solutions and measurement of performance.  Ian Shapiro of Taitem Engineering will discuss air source heat pump hot water heaters, including both energy benefits and factors to consider for implementation in a multifamily building.

In-line flow meter
In-line flow meter

Piloting Ultrasonic Technology
to Meter Fuel Oil
Ultrasonic tank level meters are promising to revolutionize the metering of oil in multifamily buildings.  Taitem’s Tim Allen and Betsy Parrington will describe a NYSERDA pilot program testing the accuracy and usefulness of these new meters.  The 5-year pilot is approximately half way to completion, and the presentation will include preliminary results, lessons learned so far, and a comparison of ultrasonic meters and in-line flow meters.

Small Packaged Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a key strategy for eliminating fossil fuel use, but split system heat pumps are costly.  Multifamily per-room heat loss is becoming so small, whether through deep energy retrofits or high-performance new construction, that a small packaged heat pump might really be JUST what’s needed for widespread adoption. Evan Hallas will lead this lively discussion based on Taitem’s recent study of existing and emerging technology that’s shrinking heat pump size and cost to fit growing market demand.

Learn skills, gain expertise and make connections at this NYSERDA event

  • Hear about new and innovative net-zero and passive house design strategies
  • Acquire deeper understanding about changes in the energy code and federal guidelines for new construction
  • Expand knowledge on integrating renewable technologies in multifamily building upgrades
  • Meet energy financial and planning experts
  • Learn about new technologies for multifamily contractors

To register: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/ny/2018-Multifamily-Summit

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