Top 5 Sustainability Trends for 2017

As the month of June comes to a close and we approach the middle of the year, trends start to form in terms of sustainable directives.

Sustainability Reporting website EnergyWatch (https://energywatch-inc.com/top-5-sustainability-trends-2017/) recently featured an article that talks about the importance of green buildings and the direction on where Sustainability is headed.  The site states: “Going green isn’t an option anymore, it’s a requirement. Environmentally friendly buildings are financially superior in nearly all aspects. As climate change goals become stricter and investors increase interest in green developments, sustainability initiatives are increasingly coming to focus.”

We discuss three of these green trends that the article has mentioned.

Clean Energy Corporate Support Growth

Energy saving benefits have started to attract the attention of companies because it not only encourages health benefit opportunities that has shown promise in boosting employee morale, it can also provide less energy usage, providing cost saving measures that are a welcome advantage.

Rise in Renewable Energy Investments

Renewable Energy offers benefits such as self-sufficiency, and even though it has its share of pros and cons, ultimately the concept is something being considered based on the steady growth of organizations investing on this green alternative.

Organizations considering Net Zero Energy Buildings

As discussed in previous blog posts, Net Zero Energy Buildings offer energy efficient benefits which warranted more consideration as it can significantly improve a company’s corporate footprint. More and more such buildings are being built for organizations; this is among the most important trends for 2017 that should garner more traction as more sustainability practices are being talked about.
green-building

Supporting Sustainability trends for 2017.

Aside from significant savings and reduction in energy consumption, energy efficient materials supports one very significant objective: sustainability.

As companies continue to recognize the importance of selecting the right materials in constructing buildings, so does the rate of positive impact to the environment.

Companies such as PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit www.pfbsustainability.com.

Low-carbon buildings for a greener future.

In Canada, the energy used in homes and buildings, e.g. heating, air conditioning, running appliances and office equipment accounts for nearly a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Left alone, inefficient, leaky buildings will suck energy and spew emissions for several decades.

The important role played by buildings.

According to an article from the website Policy Options (http://bit.ly/2rSbUxR) “Buildings have long lifespans — longer than those of power plants, cars and appliances. The consequences of inefficient buildings can last generations, so we have some important choices to make today about how we build and maintain them. A bold, long-term commitment to well-built, nearly-zero-energy buildings — which create almost as much energy as they consume — will generate economic, health and environmental benefits for Canadians for years to come.”

Though some steps have been made, this is not enough. The post adds: “Many home and business owners have taken simple actions to improve the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings, such as replacing weather-stripping around windows and doors, insulating roofs and walls and swapping out old boilers and furnaces. But time is not on our side.”

Big changes need to be done

Sweeping changes are needed to make high-efficiency buildings the norm rather than the niche. Low-cost, high-return opportunities are all around us, in our homes, office towers, schools, factories, hospitals and more. For policy-makers looking to cost-effectively and rapidly cut carbon pollution, building improvements are the low-hanging fruit. In fact, in the building sector, we could and should be aiming to exceed Canada’s national emissions reduction targets.

Two areas where this can be addressed: old buildings being modernized and new buildings being upgraded with energy-efficient standards.

There are two specific areas where we think the federal government, in collaboration with its subnational counterparts, could create clean economic growth by advancing the construction of healthy homes and buildings. First, drafty old buildings need to be modernized for the 21st century — the “clean growth century”. This can be done by creating a retrofit strategy that includes revising building codes to address retrofitting and encourages actions like fixing airtightness and heat loss; installing better windows, doors and insulation; and upgrading our heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Second, new buildings need to be constructed to the most energy-efficient design and construction standards.

Supporting green buildings 

The encouraging efforts brought forth by sustainable buildings provides not only the environmental benefits and long term gains for future generations, it could also help propel other organizations to pay more attention that possibly leads to positive action.

Companies such as PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

Insulspan is an excellent choice to construct energy efficient buildings because of its energy efficiency features and ability to reduce energy consumption in buildings. Insulspan’s sustainable system and its ability to withstand natural disasters better than other construction methods makes it a top option for energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com

Making a Sustainable Difference

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While sustainability in buildings has been the main topic in several previous blog posts, it’s really just one part of the whole; making a sustainable difference should encompass our overall way of living.

In this article we cover some of the ways where making a difference in sustainability can be achieved:

In The Home

Pollution prevention, also known as P2, happens when people change their plans, practices and habits in order to reduce the generation of pollution and waste at the source, instead of trying to clean it up after the fact. Pollution prevention also includes activities that protect natural resources (i.e. trees, water) through conservation or more efficient use of resources.

The key to environmental sustainability is thinking globally and acting locally. Pollution prevention (P2) is about making smart choices — both in what we buy and in how we use products. It involves looking at the causes of waste and pollution and figuring out how to prevent them.

There is a lot that you can do in your home that will save energy and water and reduce the amount of waste created, while at the same time saving your family money. Even though you may not know it, you are probably already implementing P2 around your home. Here are some activities you, your friends, and family may already be doing or can do in the future to prevent pollution. Protecting the environment and practicing P2 is something that the whole family can do!

Save Water

Water is such an essential part of our lives, that we often times take it for granted. Here are some tips to consider on water conservation:

  • Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth. Do not let it run continuously.
  • Have a short shower instead of a bath. It uses less water. When bathing, be sure not to overfill the tub.
  • When washing or shaving, partially fill the sink basin and use that water rather than running the tap continuously.
  • Ensure that you turn the taps off tightly to avoid dripping.
  • Do not let the water run continuously. Wash dishes or clean fruit and vegetables in a partially filled sink, then rinse them quickly under the tap.
  • Instead of letting the tap run until the water gets cold, keep a jug of drinking water in the refrigerator.
  • Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher or washing machine.
  • If you can adjust the water level on your washing machine, ensure that you use only as much water as is necessary.
  • Promptly repair leaks in and around taps and faucets.
  • Place a plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet tank to reduce water use in the toilet.
  • Install water-flow-reducing attachments to faucets and showerheads to reduce water use.
  • Repair leaks in toilet tanks promptly. You can check for leaks from the toilet tank into the bowl quite easily. Put a small amount of food colouring into the toilet tank. If the coloured water appears in the toilet bowl without flushing, you should repair the leak.

Save Energy

Just like water, energy is another precious resource that we should conserve. Some energy-efficient tips to take note of:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  • Use the energy saver option or shortest cycle necessary on appliances.
  • If possible, line-dry your clothes outside in the summer.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient, longer-lasting fluorescent bulbs.
  • For small meals, try using the microwave instead of heating up the oven.
  • Turn the temperature on your water heater down. Most homes do not need extremely hot water.
  • Ensure that windows and door frames are sealed properly to avoid heat or cool air from escaping.

Reduce Waste

Some waste reduction measures to use for sustainability:

  • Ensure that your household is implementing a recycling program.
  • Find further uses for things instead of just discarding them. Be creative!
  • Glass jars and plastic containers can be used to store bulk food and odds and ends.
  • Re-use plastic grocery bags the next time you go shopping instead of bringing new ones home, or use them as garbage bags. Better yet, buy or make cloth shopping bags that can be used time and time again
  • Cardboard boxes and paper bags can be used to store things or when packing items for your next move.
  • Re-use items. Save items that you will use again, such as wrapping paper, gift boxes and bags, string, rubber bands, and twist ties.
  • Instead of discarding old or malfunctioning items, have them refurbished or repaired.
  • Many household items, such as clothing, toys, and furniture, can be donated to social service or religious groups.
  • Books and magazines can be donated to hospitals, senior citizens’ residences, and schools.
  • Many schools and day-care centres are always looking for items that can be used for arts and crafts projects. Give them a quick call to see if they need anything in particular.
  • Create and maintain your own compost pile, if feasible. This will produce your own fertilizer and reduce the amount of garbage from your home.

Be Consumer Wise

Being a smart consumer is important because it not only aids sustainable goals but also saves you money and is pro-health. Some ideas on being a smart buyer:

  • Buy in bulk to reduce waste.
  • Purchase products and services from companies that are environmentally conscious.
  • Purchase products that have been recycled or are recyclable. Keep your eyes open for reusable, recyclable or returnable packages.
  • Use safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals. For example, use insecticidal soaps instead of chemical sprays to get rid of insects on your plants at home.
  • Use less toxic cleaners, waxes, glues and adhesives, paints, paint removers, stains, etc.
  • Look for driveway sealers that contain low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This will minimize contributions to the formation of smog.

Making a Sustainable Difference

Companies such as PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com

How to be a Leader in Sustainability

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Industry and community leadership

Being a leader in sustainability involves setting an example and becoming committed to  corporate values and accountable to the practices of an organization.

At PFB Corporation, supply chain links are with major corporations that support the Responsible Care® Initiative. At the interface with them, the operating practices are subject to audit by them, which helps the industry to operate safely, profitably and with care for future generations.

The company also train and expect its employees to be experts in their field. It also support numerous industry trade associations and expect employees to participate in them including Expanded Polystyrene Manufacturers Association (EPSMA), Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Construction Specifications Canada, local Home Builders Associations, local Built Green programs, regional building supply associations, regional roofing associations.

PFB Corporation is very active in the communities. To ensure the appropriate use of our products, it provide on-site technical advisory services and product knowledge training to its customers. They also provide professional instruction courses for credit with Architectural AIA, as well as ICF University and SIP School for builders, and Home Planning Seminars for consumers.

Greenguard Certification Program

As the demand for healthier, more sustainable products continues to expand, consumers and building industry professionals increasingly demand substantiation of product sustainability claims and rely on trustworthy third-party certifiers to guide purchasing and specification decisions. GREENGUARD Certification provides the market with solutions and resources to identify products with lower chemical emissions, and provides manufacturers with credible tools to legitimize and promote their sustainability efforts.

Habitat for Humanity Owen Sound

PFB Corporation participated in a Habitat for Humanity project located in Owen Sound, Ontario where twenty Grey-Bruce students helped build housing as part of a fast-tracked carpentry apprenticeship pilot program at Georgian College. 

Okanagan Home for Learning Project

PFB is proud to be a sponsor of the 2007 South Okanagan Home for Learning Project, where we supplied PlastiSpan under slab insulation and Advantage ICF System. 

The Home for Learning project provided college students the opportunity to expand their skills and their knowledge of energy efficient building systems. This home is Built Green certified and meets federal R-2000 and EnerGuide ratings. The project won several provincial Environmental Awards.

Burnside House

Michigan’s first platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award has been awarded to “Burnside’s Inn,” a home designed by Riverbend Timber Framing, in Blissfield , and built by Robert Burnside’s Fireside Home Construction company. The LEED Green Building Rating System, nationally recognized benchmark for high-performance green buildings, bases its certifications on sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. PFB believes that our Better Building Ideas products, when used in the construction of the building envelope, are an enabling technology that supports the certification of LEED designed buildings and Net Zero Energy houses.

Net Zero Energy Home

Two noteworthy research and demonstration projects in which PFB participated by providing Insulspan SIPS panels, are to the BASF NZE Demonstration House in Patterson, New Jersey and to a Habitat for Humanity research project at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The objective for a NZE house is to balance, over a year time horizon, the generation of energy by the structure with consumption of energy in the structure. The energy efficiency of PFB products makes them enabling technologies in NZE building construction.

Holmes Foundation

PFB Corporation has been actively involved with several charitable organizations. A recent partnership has formed with The Holmes Foundation. Having worked with Mike Holmes on an episode of his show, we had a chance to see firsthand how passionate he is about the industry. This was a natural fit because his concern for well-trained tradesmen supports our jobsite training initiatives. PFB donated a percentage of our sales from a local trade show to the Holmes Foundation.

Becoming a leader in sustainability

Companies such as PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com.

Greenroof Transformation

Greenroof Transformation - GeoSpec2

Plasti-Fab EPS Product Solution provides compressive resistance and quick installation

When the city-owned roof covering a portion of a local firehall and hotel began to leak, the task of repairing the 300 s.f. area began, and with it came the reimagining of the space overall.

Up to that point, the ill-defined and publicly-accessible rooftop patio was not regularly maintained. Over time, it became unkempt, was used primarily as a smoking area, and attracted too many late-night visitors. After leveling the existing structures that served as seating or planter boxes, the city elected to gate the area and turn it into an outdoor venue for hotel functions.

Repairing the space and redefining its purpose required special consideration for the materials to be used. The city engaged a local landscape design firm that contacted Plasti-Fab for a solution.

Aaron Rennie, Director of Market Development at Plasti-Fab, explained the firm specified “the project needed a fill material that could add height, be used across a wide area, have compressive resistance to withstand weight from snow, landscaping and people, while minimizing additional weight on the structure below.”

The answer was Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpec® lightweight fill material, also referred to as expanded polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam.

For more than 50 years, EPS Geofoam has been used in projects involving roads, bridge approach fills, slope stabilization, embankments, foundations, and landscaping. Plasti-Fab is proud to add this project to our profile list, and contribute to a new, beautifully designed public space that offers hotel guests and event attendees stunning vistas of downtown Calgary.

Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpec blocks are designed to support heavy compressive loads, but has a density of less than 1 percent of traditional earth materials. It was ideal for this project given the uniform elevation requirements above the roof deck would level changes in the roof line and create the desired public space. Adding thousands of pounds of material to achieve that could have exceeded the capacity of the concrete roof structure beneath.

Not only did GeoSpec address the weight issue, it checked another construction box as well: speed of installation. EPS geofoam can be cut with a handsaw, and certainly a power ripsaw, thereby allowing for “field fitting,” Aaron points out. “It can be easily cut to fit in the typical areas – like corners and edges – but allows installers to easily accommodate changes in elevation.”

Plasti-Fab is proud to add this project to our profile list, and contribute to a new, beautifully designed public space that offers hotel guests and event attendees stunning vistas of downtown Calgary.

Supporting the construction of green buildings

Companies such as Plasti-Fab and PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com.


To find out more about Plasti-Fab and its products, visit http://www.plastifab.com.

Net Zero Energy Homes: Belgravia Green

Net Zero Energy Homes - Belgravia Green - Advantage ICF, PlastiSpan HD2

Along a quiet tree-lined street in Edmonton’s Belgravia neighborhood, innovative builder Effect Homes is turning heads with their cutting-edge green development. Belgravia Green consists of three side-by-side homes similar in their net zero energy ambitions but using different strategies to produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.

Builder Matt Belcher was approached by the Belgium-based Active House Alliance with an entirely new take on green building. Belcher had experience with building green homes; his credentials include being a consultant to many of the top green houses in the United States. Belcher’s consulting firm Verdatek Solutions partnered with Hibbs Homes to construct the North American prototype: Active House USA.

Reaching the energy efficiency metrics of the Active House standard demanded a robust building envelope to reduce heating and cooling loads. Belcher  and  his  team  specified  the  Insulspan®  Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System for the  walls and roof of the home. By selecting Insulspan SIPs, they greatly reduced both thermal bridging and air infiltration.

Building on the efficiency of the SIP envelope is a 98% AFUE natural gas furnace, an energy recovery ventilator, high performance windows and doors, a solar thermal system, and a 4.8kW PV array.  The home is expected to reach net zero energy use.

The Insulspan SIP System helped in providing North America’s first Active House with the energy performance and indoor air quality goals for this new and emerging standard.

Supporting the benefits of sustainability in houses

Companies such as Insulspan and PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com.

 

Insulspan® SIPs play key role in North America’s first Active House

activeHouse-insulspanSIPs.jpg
An Active House standard brings house construction with sustainability in mind. Following a holistic approach to net zero energy design, the Active House standard merges energy-efficiency with a focus on environmental impact and indoor air quality. With energy saving properties, healthier indoors  and having lots of natural light from several of its windows as a requirement, this type of residential property standard offers benefits to both its owners and the environment.

Builder Matt Belcher was approached by the Belgium-based Active House Alliance with an entirely new take on green building. Belcher had experience with building green homes; his credentials include being a consultant to many of the top green houses in the United States. Belcher’s consulting firm Verdatek Solutions partnered with Hibbs Homes to construct the North American prototype: Active House USA.

Reaching the energy efficiency metrics of the Active House standard demanded a robust building envelope to reduce heating and cooling loads. Belcher  and  his  team  specified  the  Insulspan®  Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System for the  walls and roof of the home. By selecting Insulspan SIPs, they greatly reduced both thermal bridging and air infiltration.

Building on the efficiency of the SIP envelope is a 98% AFUE natural gas furnace, an energy recovery ventilator, high performance windows and doors, a solar thermal system, and a 4.8kW PV array.  The home is expected to reach net zero energy use.

The Insulspan SIP System helped in providing North America’s first Active House with the energy performance and indoor air quality goals for this new and emerging standard.

Supporting the benefits of sustainability in houses

Companies such as Insulspan and PFB Corporation are committed to conduct operations that affect environmental and social trends and recognize the importance of being transparent with their sustainability efforts. Environmental conservation has always been their top priority as shown in their practices, products and processes, including energy efficient buildings.

To learn about PFB Corporation and their sustainability directives, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com.