Top Green Projects & Products from USGBC

The USGBC recently concluded what has been identified as the “best green building conference and expo in the world.” Held in Toronto, attendees could participate in 105 educational programs, 6 summits from affordable housing to green jobs, or meet thousands of exhibitors and view their innovative products over the four day event.

ACME has selected a few of the products and projects that caught our attention and our appreciation.

BuildingGreen’s Top 10 Products for 2012

“…As we scout out new, innovative products for GreenSpec and Environmental Building News, every year we present the Top 10 Building Products as selected by our editorial team. This year we are awarding the top 10 products of 2012. That is not a typo. Though we discovered these products over the previous year, they are produced by forward-thinking manufacturers that are addressing fundamental building needs for 2012 and beyond.”

ACME Panel has a favorite:

Mitsubishi ductless heat pumps and variable-refrigerant-flow systems

Ground-source heat pumps (which use water or glycol) provide energy-efficient heating and cooling — but they require deep wells or a nearby water source, and they are expensive. Ideally, air-to-air heat pumps (also known as “split” systems) can lower the initial cost while providing similar performance, but these systems often don’t operate well at very low temperatures. The Mitsubishi ductless heat pumps are a leap forward in air-to-air efficiency, almost rivaling ground-source at a fraction of the cost. They can be used in multifamily and hotel applications, where custom setpoints and even submetering may be desirable, and they work well even at very low temperatures — a limitation on air-to-air heat pumps in the past.

Praise for SIPs

Southface Energy Institute is a nonprofit organization that for more than 30 years has promoted energy-, water-, and resource-efficient workplaces, homes, and communities throughout the Southeast.

SIPs are one of more than 100 environmental features in the Energy and Environmental Resource Center built by Southface Energy Institute in 1996. “I’d like to see SIPs used more in production building, especially when windows and doors can be pre-cut at manufacture,” says Mike Barcik, director of technical services for Southface, in an article by Natural Home & Garden.

The LEED 2011 Project of the Year

This ultra-efficient 1,500 sq. ft. GO Home, built by GO Logic in Belfast, ME, was only the 12th project in the U.S. to be certified under the rigorous Passive House energy efficiency standard. The European-inspired standard relies on a super-insulated and well-sealed building enclosure, along with passive solar design, to drastically reduce the amount of energy needed for heating or cooling. This is the second consecutive year a home built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) has received the award.

Visit the SIPA web site to learn more.

SIP-wrapped house is first Passive House in Hudson Valley, NY

The three bedroom house uses 10 percent of the energy of a standard US house. Without geothermal, wind, or solar panel systems, buildings meeting Passivhaus (in the US, Passive House) standards must be super-insulated and primarily heated by the sun and the people occupying the building.

Visit smartplanet to learn more.