28

Apr

NGBS and The Value of a 3rd Party Certification 

Written By: Athena Seay

 

What is NGBS?  

The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is the only green building rating system for homes and apartments approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as an American National Standard. The NGBS provides a blueprint for builders to follow for the design and construction of new and renovated single-family homes and multifamily apartment buildings.  – ngbs.com, “the-ngbs-green-promise,” 2021

Choosing NGBS is beneficial to both the builder and the resident:

Affordability improves ROI ⁠- Builders invest a relatively small amount in the NGBS Green program upfront, so their return on investment is the savings from costly building issues post-construction. Not only does the certification provide value for the quality assurance it provides, but the certification also establishes an unequaled market distinction in a very competitive housing market. Further, there are financial incentives for the builder/developer and homeowners, depending on the type of building certification and its location.

Improved Air Quality leads to healthier living space⁠ – NGBS homes are designed and constructed with systems and products that produce fewer pollutants and maintains proper ventilation. This improves indoor air quality and provides health benefits and ensures improved resident comfort.

Encourages sustainable land development⁠ NGBS provides a menu of land development practices for planners, landscape architects, engineers, and developers to plan the living environment for residents and reduce the project’s environmental impacts.

 

Why choose a 3rd party verifier?

Third-party verified equals credibilityNGBS Green Verifiers serve as independent, in-field representatives of Home Innovation Labs NGBS Green certification program. Verifiers work with builder/developer/remodeler/architect clients to guide them through the certification process and perform rough and final inspections of the projects seeking certification. To become accredited by Home Innovation Labs a list of prerequisites and vigorous exams is required. 

Consumer Confidence In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a revised “Green Guides” designed to help marketers ensure that the product claims they make to consumers about environmental attributes are truthful and non-deceptive.  Overwhelmingly, consumers are looking for a certification to help them make their purchasing decisions. According to the National Home Builders Association, buyers are generally willing to spend more on green certifications as well, including more than $2,000 upfront for a home certified to an above-code standard for health and wellness — features that have become increasingly important in the wake of COVID-19.  

 

Performance Point is Your 3rd Party Certifier!

Performance point has multiple NGBS Verifiers, including Master Verifiers.  Last year we completed close to 40 projects and currently, we have 116 active jobs. Our director of multifamily and commercial services, Steve Armstrong, has over 30 years of professional experience in the field of energy analysis and environmental science.  He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in hydrogeology, geology, and geochemistry and has worked for the Department of Energy in addition to a myriad of state, local, federal governments and universities.  With this level of experience, Steve is one of our master-level verifiers and has earned this accreditation.

When John Buono, one of our green verifiers was asked about his job….

“It all started whilst in my sophomore year in high school; I took a class called AP environmental science (APES). I have always enjoyed the outdoors; even as a little kid I never wanted to be cooped up indoors, so I always had a slight appreciation for being outside. As I got older and started learning about what we’re doing to our home as humans, I didn’t want to be part of the problem, I wanted to be a part of the solution…and that is where APES came in. Once I took a look at the big picture, I knew where I had to be. After that, I got into SUNY-ESF and my life began as a true environmentalist!  I focused on renewable energy sources and sustainable construction because I knew that a large portion of our energy consumption was in the buildings we used on a daily basis, and I devoted my time and education learning how to make them more efficient to use and live in since they are such a large part of our everyday lives.”

Special credit to, http://www.homeinnovation.com/green

 

Want to learn more about verifying your next building project? Contact us today!

Look for our next blog in this series….”What is this HERS thing and how does it help the environment?”

704.563.1030

Info@ThePerformancePoint.com

 

22

Apr

Our Perspective On The Environment….and How We Make A Difference (a 4 part series)

Written By: Athena Seay

This is an all-encompassing subject.  Everyone’s view of the environment, how we treat it, live in it, and work in it differs widely.  We all have an opinion, from the quality of the air we breathe to the temperature changes, to the resources we use, to the animals that inhabit our earth.   Though, here in the building industry, I believe we can all agree that a healthier relationship between nature and human society benefits us all.

Here at Performance Point, we maintain that humans have a responsibility to be stewards of nature.  “We care about the environment.  We want our children and grandchildren to have clean air and water in the future, says Sam Galphin owner of Performance Point.  We support energy conservation and green technologies. “ We are all in this together, we cannot operate as an independent island.  That’s why we strive to operate in a sustainable environment and assist our customers in doing the same.

Performance Point is in the process of changing over its service fleet of vehicles to have a less environmental impact.  We even have a contest amongst our field staff every quarter to see which vehicle has the most miles per gallon.  Our Prius’s win every month!  Improving our fuel efficiency helps reduce CO2 emissions.

We also aspire to use vendors who utilize recycled materials.  The local company, Recover Brands makes our work apparel out of recycled plastic bottles.  These shirts are so comfortable, we love them!   

Within the offices of Performance Point, we have gone paperless. This has helped the environment by reducing waste, and the efficiencies have been a win for us saving time, space, and money. We’ve also rewired our office space to use LED bulbs.  Again, saving us money and reducing greenhouse gas.  

Finally, 75% of our employees work remotely in markets throughout the Southeast. 

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, air pollution, and paper and plastic waste.  Performance Point considers our work team extended family so that work/life balance is of utmost importance. This results in happy customers, it’s a win-win!  

Intrigued?  Have your customers requested you “go green”?  Give us a call today!

Look for our next blog in this series, NGBS and The Value of a 3rd Party Certification, April 28, 2021.

704.563.1030

Info@ThePerformancePoint.com

 

 

13

Apr

Air by the Ton

Written By:  John Jeppesen

Every HVAC pro is familiar with air conditioning tons. But why do they measure it in tons anyway? It all started back in the days when they used ice for refrigeration, and the amount of ice needed was measured in tons. When mechanical refrigeration came around, the “ton” was firmly established as a measurement of cooling capacity, so it stuck. They just needed to figure out how much heat was extracted by a ton of ice and express that number in BTUs. BTU is short for “British Thermal Units.” One BTU is the heat generated if you light one kitchen match (the old stinky ones) and let it burn completely. This equates to the amount of energy that’s required to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1° F.

True HVAC trivia geeks will impress their colleagues with the fact that before Willis Carrier invented the modern air conditioner, people used to cool buildings in the summertime with ice harvested from rivers and lakes in the wintertime. A Green Homes America article quotes ice production figures from the 19th century Ice and Refrigeration Journal, indicating that the 1890 crop from the Hudson River was about 4 million tons. Now that would be a stinky match inferno. But we digress…

For starters, the old “rules of thumb” of how to size an HVAC system just don’t work anymore. A lot has changed over the years with major advances in construction methods, materials, and HVAC equipment. The method used now is very scientific and complicated. Computers crunch a lot of data which gives contractors a much more accurate way to provide homeowners with a comfortable and energy-efficient home.

Performance Point uses a four-step process to accomplish this: Manual J, Manual S, Manual D, and Manual T. It used to be a simple matter of calculating building load and the number of tons an HVAC system must have in a given structure. So many square feet of the building will take so many tons of HVAC. Right? Nope, not anymore.

A “Manual J” load calculation determines what size HVAC system your home needs to meet the heating and cooling load, much more precisely. It is based on the amount of heat transfer that occurs in your home…transferred from outside to the inside & vice versa. Hold on to your hats, we’re getting nerdy here! The heat transfer equation is: Q = A*U*Delta T.  And in English, that means: Heat transfer, “Q” equals the area in SF, “A” times resistance to heat transfer, or insulation, “U” times Delta T (temperature difference between one side of the insulated material and the other side). That is the essence of a Manual J, which stands for “Joule,” a unit of energy. All this science tosses the old Rules of Thumb into the archives.

It’s very complex because it takes many variables into consideration. Manual J measures how much heat travels from inside to outside and vice versa. It’s based on the insulation of the structure. That slows heat transfer down including factors like windows that allow solar radiation in. So Manual J is based on the whole thermal envelope.

All these factors are entered into a computer program. Factors like the area of the structure and all the insulation and values of those components. It includes orientation to the sun and the internal heat sources AKA “internal loads,” such as stoves, ovens, clothing dryers, and water heaters. Even the number of people in the structure is factored in. Yes, people… because our bodies generate heat. Just think of how much warmer a crowded room feels. The Manual J factors in two people for the master bedroom and one person for each of the other bedrooms. Each person produces a sensible load and a latent load. The sensible load is their body temperature, the latent load is about moisture. Both of these different loads need to be addressed by a properly sized HVAC system. Even climate data is tossed into the mix. We get that from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, ASHRAE for short. In the winter, heat loss is based on how cold it is because heat will move closer to cold areas. They publish data every two years. Believe it or not but the world is getting warmer, increasing building loads.

Manual S is the next step after the heat transfer calculations are known. This step tells us how much heating and cooling equipment capacity is needed to keep that structure comfortable (think “S” for size). Equipment operates differently in different environments. The performance of this equipment is assessed in a lab based on 95 degrees outside temperature…but what about if you don’t live in Columbia, SC? (Columbia’s outdoor temperature goes over 95 degrees only 1% of the days of the year). That is where Manual S comes in. Manual S will correctly account for how the equipment performs over a variety of indoor and outdoor conditions so you can also buy the right size equipment for Charlotte which doesn’t go over 92 degrees but only 1% of the days of the year. As a side note, we call the temperatures that are not exceeded more than 1% of the year our design temperatures.

A little something for the true HVAC trivia geeks. Most know Charles Carrier invented modern air conditioning, but it wasn’t invented to cool a structure. It was invented to control the humidity in the pressrooms at large printing companies. Humidity was wreaking havoc because the ink smeared, and the paper wouldn’t lay flat going through the presses. So Carrier solved the humidity problem with his invention, and a wonderful byproduct of that same invention is that it also lowered the temperature. That’s really cool (pun intended)!

Performance Point provides the Manual J data as a third party to the HVAC contractor. They look at the sensible and latent loads, then source a system that satisfies those loads by the numbers. Looking at a Manual J and Manual S are two steps above a Rule of Thumb, but there’s even more.

Enter Manual D. Manual D is just as important, though many contractors stop after the J. Here is why it’s important: Manual D tells us the sizing of the ductwork (think “D” for ducts). Manual S considers the blower and the CFM it delivers but it takes for granted how that air gets to its final destination. That blower and CMF data is important to properly size the ductwork to get all that air to each room and Let’s say the air handler is at one side of the house and there’s a room 115 feet away. Manual D will tell us what size the duct needs to be to get air to that room. If it’s too small it’s going to create a lot of friction resistance which degrades the performance of the system. Static pressure and friction rate are critical factors in duct sizing. This ensures the air will properly get to all rooms.

Finally, Manual T determines the sizing and placement of the registers and returns in a room (think “T” for terminal). A lot of contractors use the Manual J at this point in time, and a lot fewer will also use the Manual D & S… A Manual T is almost never done except in high-end structures. Despite the technical challenges of completing a Manual T deciding you need to do one is a no-brainer when you realize the added value Manual T brings to the overall design.

Manual T looks at the register CFM output, and the register size, which will tell us the air velocity coming out of that register. Then we can calculate the sound that air will produce in decibels. Once we know the air velocity and the register size, we can make sure the sound is within the acceptable limits for residential construction. The Manual T will also allow us to make sure the “throw” of air is going to be optimal. The proper throw should produce enough air mixing without disturbing the occupied zone, where the people will be situated in that zone. Supply and return register placement is also critical. Improper placement can disturb room air mixing if they are too close or worse, suck up the supply air before it even gets into the room! Worst case it may freeze the coil in the air handler.

That is probably enough alphabet soup for now. If it’s not, call Rick Blair at Performance Point. He embraces the challenges and the value these 4 steps add to any HVAC design.