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Green Building Solutions: What's Working?

Green Building Solutions
Reported by
Chris Williams and Don Monroe

Posted June 15, 2010


This year, the New York Academy of Sciences presents a four-part series looking at the state of the art in green building technology and design. Focusing on case studies that represent key innovations, the series will explore new technologies and examine the lessons that have been learned through their implementation.

The first event in the series looked at the convergence of sensing devices and high-powered data analysis tools, which offer ways not only to identify faults within lighting, energy, and cooling systems, but also to optimize the structure's overall performance over the life of the building. Speakers discussed opportunities made possible by high-performance stream computing, machine learning, and model-based tools, as well as characteristics of the building industry that need to be considered to bring automation into building operations more widely.

The second event addressed how innovative design can significantly reduce energy consumption in buildings. The upgrade of an existing warehouse as a refrigerated storage facility in New York and the design-and-build of a university classroom, office, and conference center in California posed vastly different challenges. But both projects showed that commercially available technology can have a big impact on energy usage.

The third event of the series looked at the performance of green buildings after construction is completed and the building is occupied. Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) has been evolving as a science in Europe, and is gaining traction in the U.S. Different levels of POE seek to understand post-occupancy building performance, including energy performance and other aspects of occupant satisfaction. This event highlighted the progress made in establishing POE criteria in Germany, and showed performance data from several buildings in New York City.

This eBriefing will be updated over the course of the year with reports and multimedia on issues including renewable energy generation, water efficiency and reuse, waste reduction and the use of environmentally responsible materials. Sign up for our eBriefing alerts to be notified about updates, and watch our Environmental Sciences & Sustainability topic page for announcements of upcoming events.

Use the tabs above to find meeting reports and multimedia from this series.

Multimedia is now available from:

Kurt Roth (Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems)
Jane Snowdon (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center)
Gregory Provan (University College Cork)
Stephen Samouhos (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Lorey Flick (ADS Engineers)
Strachan Forgan (Sasaki Associates)
Stephan Plesser (Technical University of Braunschweig)
Brian Schwagerl (Hearst Corporation)


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Web Sites

6th International Conference on Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings
The 6th International Conference on Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings was held in April 2010 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Autodesk Revit Architecture
The Revit suite of architectural software used by the team designing the Gallagher Center at the University of California at Davis.

Foster and Partners — Hearst Tower
The architectural firm's description of the Hearst Tower.

Hearst Corporation — Hearst Tower
Hearst's description of the Hearst Tower.

High Performance Buildings Magazine
The Winter 2009 issue includes a commentator on evaluating performance by moderator Adam Hinge and speaker Don Winston.

Visit IBM's Web site for more information about InfoSphere Streams and Deep Thunder.

Institute of Building Services and Energy Design at the Technical University of Braunschweig
The IGS – Institute for Building Services and Energy Design at the Technical University of Braunschweig handles the entire spectrum of energy and climatic design in buildings.

Integrated Environmental Solutions
Integrated Environmental Solutions provides software for analyzing building performance.

International Conference on Building Performance
The International Conference on Building Performance will be held in September in Berlin.

ITOBO (Information and Communication Technology for Sustainable and Optimised Building Operation)
A European academic/industry collaboration to develop holistic approaches to network enabled building management systems.

Krygiel E, Nies B, McDowell S. 2008. Green BIM: Successful Sustainable Design with Building Information Modeling. Sybex, Hoboken, NJ.

Mady AE, Boubekeur M, Provan G. 2009. Towards integrated hybrid modelling and simulation platform for building automation systems: first models for a simple HVAC system. Proc. 9th Information Technology and Telecommunication Conference: 191-199. (PDF, 1.5 MB)

A zero-net energy city under development in the United Arab Emirates.

NYSERDA New Construction Program
The New Construction Program of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers incentives for investments in sustainability.

Smart 2020
This study by the Climate Group and McKinsey & Company analyzes the effects of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector on the world's climate. It identifies areas such as smart building design and use, smart logistics, smart electricity grids, and smart industrial motor systems as places where ICT could be particularly effective.

Solar Decathlon
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, 20 college and university teams competed on the Mall in Washington, DC to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house.

Utilities Consumption Dashboard
The dashboard of the facilities group at the University of California Davis lets them monitor energy use in their buildings and compare it to historical trends.

Journal Articles

Schröder F, Greller M, Hundt V, et al., 2009. Universal energy ratings for Germany (Part 1): Differentiated rating distributions according to energy source and energy efficiency standard. Bauphysik 31: 393-402. (in German)

Plesser S Dipl., Fisch MN. 2008. Evaluation of energy concepts for office buildings: results and conclusions for energy efficiency and indoor climate. Bauphysik 30: 389-392. (in German)


Lorey Flick, HBDP, LEED AP

ADS Engineers

Lorey Flick has over six years experience in the design of mechanical systems, energy modeling analysis, LEED documentation, and building commissioning. Flick has completed HVAC systems for high-rise residential buildings and various commercial and institutional spaces, energy analysis and cost benefit analysis for new and existing buildings of all types, and has led many design teams in the LEED and commissioning process resulting in over a dozen successful LEED projects. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University, is a licensed professional engineer in the state of New York, and is currently the director of Sustainable Services at ADS Engineers, a full MEP service consulting firm in New York City.

Strachan Forgan, RIBA, LEED AP BD+C

Sasaki Associates
e-mail | web site

As director of digital design at Sasaki Associates, Strachan's responsibility is to seek efficient technological tools and streamlined delivery processes that allow an elevated quality of design and sustainability. Working daily designing and implementing real projects ensures solutions grounded in reality. Strachan is a vocal proponent, and an early adopter, of emerging technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM). Strachan spoke on the topics of BIM and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) at the 2009 American Institute of Architects (AIA) national convention; he has presented to the USGBC Sacramento Chapter and has participated in several industry panel discussions and user groups.

Stefan Plesser, Dipl.–Ing.

Technical University of Braunschweig

Architect Stefan Plesser is currently the head of the Energy Efficient Non-Residential Buildings Group in the Institute for Energy Design and Building Services (IGS) at Technical University, Braunschweig. This group is now heading a new national R&D program on Commissioning, Measurement, and Verification of the German Ministry of Economics and Technology called EnBop. Other R&D projects Mr. Plesser has worked on at IGS include the "Energy-Navigator," a software platform for commissioning and quality management, the "New House of the Region of Hannover" demonstration building, and "EVA – Evaluation of Energy Concepts for Office Buildings". His recent conference involvement includes service as the associate director of the International Conference for Enhanced Buildings Operations (2008), and as the Scientific Coordinator for the International Conference on Building Performance, Ministry of Economics and Technology (September 2010). Mr. Plesser holds a Diplom-Ingenieur (Masters) of Architecture from the Technical University, Braunschweig.

Gregory Provan
Gregory Provan, PhD

University College Cork, Ireland
e-mail | web site | publications

Gregory Provan is a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Cork, Ireland; he joined UCC in 2004 as the Head of Department. Prior to that, he was a technical manager at Rockwell Scientific Company and on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a DPhil in mathematics from Oxford University, an MSc from Stanford University, and a BSE from Princeton University. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of control, model-based diagnosis, analysis of complex systems, probabilistic networks and stochastic algorithms, and bioinformatics. He leads the work in the design of system level models/system-level control, diagnostics and middleware specifications in the ITOBO project (Information and Communication Technology for Sustainable and Optimised Building Operation).

Stephen Samouhos
Stephen Samouhos

MIT Building Technology Laboratory
e-mail | web site

Stephen Samouhos is a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at MIT completing the last year of his doctoral studies at the MIT Building Technology Laboratory. His thesis, "Intelligent Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency," is focused on the convergence of complex systems analysis, data acquisition, and information presentation to enable scalable and measurable building energy efficiency. Samouhos's PhD thesis is supported by the Hertz Fellowship Organization, but is fundamentally enabled by growing up in his family's mechanical contracting company. Prior to his doctoral studies, Samouhos received a BS (2004) and MS (2007) at MIT, both in mechanical engineering and with a focus on thermal fluids engineering across various applications.

Brian Schwagerl

Hearst Corporation
e-mail | web site

Brian Schwagerl has global responsibility for leasing and managing Hearst Corporation's portfolio of properties as vice president of corporate real estate and facilities planning.

Schwagerl was named "Corporate Real Estate Executive of the Year" by the National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives (NACORE) and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York. He is a former editorial board member of the Journal of Corporate Real Estate and former New York Board member of CORENET Global. Schwagerl has also lectured at Columbia and New York University and has been recognized as the "Top Rated Faculty Member" of the Institute for Corporate Real Estate.

He is a recipient of the Innovation Award given by the New York Energy Consumers Council and received the Enlightened Leadership Award from the International Furnishings and Design Association. He has also been widely recognized for his achievements in technological integration, food service operations, construction and facilities management.

Schwagerl received his JD from St. John's University School of Law, a bachelor's from the State University of New York at Albany and a diploma in real estate finance from New York University.

Jane L. Snowdon
Jane L. Snowdon, PhD

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
e-mail | web site

Jane Snowdon is a senior manager and research staff member in the Industry Solutions and Emerging Business Department at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. She develops strategies and drives research efforts worldwide to create innovative solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses in areas such as intelligent buildings, collaboration, security, remote systems management, and cloud computing. In 2008, she co-led the IBM Corporate Strategy sponsored study on Industry Impacts of Climate Change. She is an active contributor to the IBM Corporate Strategy Intelligent Building Study and co-leader for the Strategic Initiatives portion of the IBM Corporate Strategy Smart Cities Study. She is a member of the National Institute of Standards' (NIST) Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap Building to Grid (B2G) Domain Expert Working Group (DEWG), the OASIS Energy Interoperation Technical Charter on OpenADR (Open Automated Demand Response), and the OASIS Blue Steering Committee. She is a thought leader and contributor to IBM's Global Technology Outlook and Global Innovation Outlook.

Snowdon received her PhD in industrial and systems engineering and a certificate in manufacturing systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) in 2006 and the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni at Georgia Tech in 2008. She is an advisory board member for the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech and the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) Medical Division at Stony Brook University. She is a senior member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and a Member of INFORMS.

Don Winston, PE

Durst Organization
e-mail | web site

Donald J. Winston is vice president of technical services at the Durst Organization where he oversees the installation and evaluation of sustainable energy, water and indoor environmental quality for 11 million square feet of Class "A" commercial and high-end residential buildings. During his tenure at the Durst Organization, Mr. Winston has managed the conceptualization, design, installation, operation and evaluation of various energy saving technologies. Before joining the Durst Organization, Mr. Winston had more than 20 years experience in the engineering industry as an independent contractor, project manager and commissioning agent, including experience as the commissioning agent for 4 Times Square and multiple large scale installations of HVAC and MEP systems as vice president of A.D. Winston Corp. Mechanical Contractors, Facilities Resource Management Company and Donald J. Winston, PE Mechanical Solutions.

Mr. Winston holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a licensed New York State Professional Engineer. He is a member of several engineering organizations, and serves on the Editorial Advisory board of High Performing Buildings magazine, the New York City Department of Building's (DOB) Mechanical Code Committee, the DOB's Buildings Sustainability Board, the ASHRAE Building Performance Metrics Steering Committee and the ASHRAE Technical Committee (TC) 7.6 "Building Energy Performance." Mr. Winston frequently lectures on the design and implementation of high performance building systems.


Bert Gregory, FAIA

e-mail | web site

As president and CEO of Mithun, Bert Gregory has led the firm to national recognition for concept-based, environmentally intelligent design. He is renowned as an expert in the development of resource-efficient structures and communities, and serves as a national leader, speaker and advocate for sustainable building and urbanism. His perspective reaches beyond traditional architecture to merge science and design—an interdisciplinary approach that creates lasting places for people. With Mithun's offices in Seattle and San Francisco, Gregory strives to expand the reach of the firm to inspire a sustainable world through integrated design.

Recent lectures include keynotes at the 2009 Jerusalem Seminar on Architecture, Tsinghua University's School of Architecture in Beijing, and panels at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. Symposia participation includes the Johnson Foundation Environmental Forum's "Examining U.S. Freshwater Systems and Services: Infrastructure and the Built Environment," the Urban Land Institute's Innovations Workshop on "Building a Sustainable Region with Vibrant Transit Neighborhoods," and the University of Washington's "China–U.S. Professional Workshop on Regional Sustainable Development."

Books include Integrated Design – Mithun by David Macaulay and the chapter "Biophilia and Sensory Aesthetics," co-written with Judith Heerwagen, PhD, in the compendium; Biophilic Design, edited by Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, and Martin Mador. Design awards include four AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects, two ASLA national honor awards, and the AIA national honor award for regional and urban design. A founding board member of the USGBC Cascadia chapter, Gregory currently serves on the USGBC LEED® Neighborhood Development core committee as co-vice chair, the Board of the Cascade Land Conservancy and on the Clinton Climate Initiative's Climate Positive Program's Technical Resource Group.

Adam Hinge, PE

Sustainable Energy Partnerships

Adam Hinge manages Sustainable Energy Partnerships, a small consulting firm specializing in energy efficiency program and policy issues. Hinge is involved with a variety of efforts working toward improving building energy performance around the U.S. and globally. He is active in several relevant professional organizations, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Market Transformation. Hinge has degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a registered Professional Engineer in New York, and serves as an Adjunct Research Scholar for Columbia University's Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy, a policy research center that is part of School of International and Public Affairs.

Kurt Roth, PhD

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
e-mail | web site

Kurt Roth leads the Building Energy Efficiency Group at the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE). His group works to develop, demonstrate, test, evaluate, and analyze advanced energy-saving building technologies. Prior to joining Fraunhofer CSE, he was a Principal in the Mechanical Systems group of TIAX LLC, formerly Arthur D. Little's technology & innovation business.

Roth has led several studies funded by the Department of Energy to assess the energy savings and commercialization potentials of HVAC, building controls and diagnostics, toplighting, and IT technologies. In addition, he led analyses of building energy consumption, including the energy consumed by commercial and residential IT, consumer electronics, and residential and commercial miscellaneous electricity consumption. He has presented the results of these studies at several conferences and meetings and authored a chapter on "Information Technology and Energy Use" for the Encyclopedia of Energy (Academic Press). Furthermore, he has authored more than sixty "Emerging Technology" articles for the ASHRAE Journal.

Roth received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), all in mechanical engineering. He is a member of Sigma Xi, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the American Solar Energy Society.

Chris Williams

Chris Williams is Executive Web Editor at the New York Academy of Sciences.

Don Monroe

Don Monroe is a science writer based in Murray Hill, New Jersey. After getting a PhD in physics from MIT, he spent more than fifteen years doing research in physics and electronics technology at Bell Labs. He writes on physics, technology, and biology.


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