Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon is now in its last and final week of exhibition at the Orange County Great Park.

In addition to having the opportunity to view this year’s entries, visitors can take advantage of the opportunity to get educated about new products that provide water and energy savings for household use.

The Solar Decathlon 2014 will be held in Versailles, France so please take this opportunity to visit the Orange County Great Park in Irvine to see this year’s entries. Please also visit the Solar Decathlon’s official webpage: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/index.html to vote for your favorite proposal. The structure with the most votes will be awarded this year’s “People’s Choice Award.

Photos: SHADE  by Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico

Friday, August 30, 2013

CHPS Core Criteria Version 2.0

The CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) Core Criteria has been updated and is now available for public review. Core Criteria version 2.0 can be downloaded by visiting the CHPS website: http://www.chps.net/dev/Drupal/chps-national-core-criteria-public-review 

Review comments can also be submitted through the CHPS website for any of the multiple categories that the Core Criteria covers such as energy, water, site, and indoor environmental quality, just to name a few. Comments from the public can be submitted until August 30th and will be considered by the CHPS Technical Committee.

Please visit the CHPS website for more information:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon is a public event that will be held on October 3rd through the 13th at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. The event challenges 20 university teams that have been hand-picked to design, build, and operate solar powered houses that are affordable, energy efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.

It is the first year that this event has been held outside of Washington D.C. since its initiation back in 2002.

The Solar Decathlon was created with the purpose of educating students and the public about the money saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean energy products and design solutions as well as to demonstrate to the public that energy efficient design can provide comfort and affordability all at the same time.

The event is open to the public at no cost and the competition houses will be open for visitors viewing. Please refer to the links below to visit the events webpage as well as webpages of some of the competitors.


Photo Courtesy of EDC
Dale House by the students of Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI Arc)

Monday, August 5, 2013

LEED for Schools

The Lawndale Anderson Classroom Building has just received LEED Certification!

The structure is a two-story classroom building and consists of ten classrooms, administration spaces, as well as staff and student restrooms. This new building was constructed to replace portable structures and provide the campus with a permanent structure. The building achieved certification by applying sustainable measures such as incorporating native planting, water efficient fixtures, as well as using energy efficient lighting and HVAC equipment. Products with high recyclable content were also used throughout the project.

The two-story classroom is the first LEED certified building for Lawndale Elementary School District.
Congratulations to all the team!

Architect: Dougherty + Dougherty Architects LLP
Civil Engineer: Hall and Foreman
Landscape Architect: Nuvis
Structural Engineer: Saiful Boquet Structural Engineers, Inc.
M/E/P: Design West Engineering

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LEED Credits

We have learned through our experience with LEED projects, that there are several credits which present more challenges than others. Some of these challenges are due to the design restrictions that the credit implies, others have to do with the cost implications involved to achieve the point.

As we found out with one of our projects, one of the credits that presents some of these challenges is Materials and Resource Credit 7 – Certified Wood.  One of the challenges we faced was trying to find a manufacturer that could supply us with doors containing FSC 100% Pure Wood.

Due to the various components that a wood door has such as the end rail, veneer, and fiberboard we were not able to find a manufacturer that could provide all these components derived from FSC 100% Pure wood, but we were able to find several manufactures that provide doors with FSC 100% Mix wood which can also count towards achieving MR credit 7. During our research we came across several websites that provided good resources of manufactures that suffice LEED criteria.

Two of these websites are listed below, and are good go-to resources for researching materials.

Photo Courtesy of:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tubular Skylights and BIM

Tubular Skylights and BIM

One of the most basic consumers of energy within a building comes in the form of lighting.  Fortunately, during daytime hours, it is one of the systems most readily supplemented using a truly renewable and infinitely more powerful resource: light from the sun.  When designing a building, we at D+D pay close attention to the orientation of glazing within the structure's envelope.  However, sometimes the deeper recesses of a building require a different daylighting strategy when these spaces are out of the window's reach.  Tubular skylights can help bring light deep into the building's core.

Commercial tubular skylight product by Solatube,

A tubular skylight is essentially a highly reflective duct that draws light from the sun through a building's roof and into a space below.  Sun light is focused through a lens on the roof and travels down a straight or bent duct by reflecting through the tube's highly reflective walls and finally diffusing into a space via a fixture in the ceiling.

With Revit (our BIM solution), we are able to visualize clearances and clashes of the virtual building’s systems in real time before going to construction.  In the case of tubular skylights, we can visualize conflicts in the tube runs with the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems and make adjustments as necessary. This helps to reduce mistakes within the drawings and ultimately facilitates a more coordinated construction effort. By taking this approach, D+D is able to deliver a building that is kind to the environment while giving clients the confidence that our commitment to sustainability is in-line with our commitment to keeping a project on budget.

Tubular Skylight in the BIM model, Saddleback College Science Building, D+D

Written by Matt Gummow, Designer and REVIT Technician


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In Search of Eco-Friendly Cement

       According to estimates by the construction industry, cement consumption will duplicate worldwide by 2050.  This data is pushing cement producers to research and develop sustainable alternatives that reduce the environmental impact peaked in their production process. Lorenzo Zambrano, president of Cemex, one of the largest producers of cement in the world, has emphasized that:

       "There is an urgent moral and business imperative to reduce our CO2 footprint to the lowest levels that are technically and financially viable.”

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

       Through the initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, there have been advancements of a protocol that measures the CO2 levels of 900 cooking ovens where clay and limestone are treated to produce cement. The findings of this initiative will allow researchers to obtain data needed to raise concrete actions to further develop sustainable initiatives for the production of cement.
       Most cement manufacturers agree that they cannot wait for diplomatic agreements to improve their production methods that will tackle the global warming initiative.