Using IMPs Reduce Labor Costs for this Big 10 Team’s Iconic Building
The vision of the architects was for the Jones-Hill House to be an iconic building that made a statement for the Division 1 and Big 10 football team. They also wanted the building to stay true to the historic nature of the original Cole Field House from which it was built.
The IMP Pavilion, sponsored by the Metal Construction Association’s Insulated Metal (IMP) Alliance, comprises leading companies that are focused on growing and increasing the use of IMPs in the construction marketplace. At METALCON, you can meet these seven major brands that produce 85% to 90% of all IMPs shipped in the U.S. and Canada, all in one location (Booth 949)!
Transparency is a common theme in design and construction these days, and product disclosure is quickly becoming a key issue for the building materials industry. Increasingly, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are being required by designers and specifiers, and the findings of these reports are playing a more prominent role in how materials are chosen for projects.
Speaking primarily to material manufacturers and building designers, Hoff noted that the concept of product disclosure is moving very rapidly into the construction marketplace and is being driven by several market forces, including the green-building press, green data aggregators, and by leading architecture-engineering firms that are participating in a disclosure campaign.
Product disclosure continues to emerge in building standards and codes as well, including LEED, ASHRAE 189.1, and the International Green Construction Code. “Although the concept of disclosure is relatively new, material disclosure has or will be adopted in every major green building standard and code, and it is being introduced at almost at an unprecedented pace,” he said. Hoff explained that EPDs help disclose well known environmental impacts (i.e., global warming and ozone depletion) using established metrics and standardized processes. “It’s a very quantifiable process based on good science,” he said. He further emphasized that EPDs use a well vetted, standardized format based on global ISO consensus standards and a scientific approach over the entire product life cycle. They also provide quantitative measures of key environmental impacts.
“Of course these benefits come at a certain price,” he said. “In fact, price itself is a primary limitation of EPDs today. In my consulting practice, I’ve been involved in the development of several Life Cycle Assessments and EPDs. The order of magnitude for a typical roofing material could easily be in the six figures by the time all is said and done.” He further noted that EPDs
pose difficulties in integrating products with varying service lives.
fail to address energy efficiency contributions. “When you’re looking at the environment impacts of thermal insulation or a cool roofing membrane, you [may] not be looking at environment contributions of those products, which could offset many of those impacts.”
fail to address health impacts. “EPDs today primarily address measurements of environment burden, but they do not specifically and are currently not designed to address the potential for health and safety burdens of materials.”
There are also challenges with limited underlying data, which may lead different practitioners to obtain different results.
Hoff encourages material suppliers to consider jointly developing generic EPDs for key industry product segments. “I think there’s a real value in that,” he said. “First, you’ll learn a lot more about the process yourself and, secondly, you’ll be able to provide much broader information that can be very helpful in the marketplace.” Then, he said, get the information to data integrators, but first make sure you are using the best information available.
Overall, “increased product transparency is good because it provides a better understanding of ingredients and supply chain impacts and a strong incentive for continuous improvement,” Hoff said. But, he adds, comparisons among products will remain difficult and unpredictable. Risks include overlooking important factors and trade-offs, and arbitrarily excluding excellent products and suppliers.
Hoff’s comments on Health Product Declarations will be featured in an upcoming blog. For questions on EPDs, contact Dr. Hoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you design a Chicago cultural destination that will carry out the mission of the building owner, the Poetry Foundation, to celebrate the best poetry and put it before the largest possible audience?
Certainly, it’s no easy task. But renowned architect John Ronan of John Ronan Architects, Chicago, chose to wrap much of the new Poetry Foundation Building in a black zinc perforated screenwall, fabricated by VMZinc and installed by Tuschall Engineering Co., Inc., so that, when viewed from the front, the metal building becomes transparent and invites those on the street into an open-air garden to hear poetry and enjoy a place of quiet contemplation.
The garden is an urban sanctuary of sorts—a space that, according to Ronan, “mediates between the street and the building, blurring the hard distinctions between public and private.”
Ronan said the design of the building and the use of materials, such as perforated zinc wall panels, are intended to mirror the way in which people read poetry. “Just as good poetry doesn’t always divulge all of its meanings on the first reading, the new building will engage the public’s curiosity and unfold in states,” said Ronan.
Opened in June 2011, the Poetry Foundation’s new 22,000-sq.-ft., LEED-Silver home is one of only a few public spaces in the country built exclusively for the advancement of poetry.