Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blacksburg Motor Co. Tour

Today I was able to attend a site tour of the Blacksburg Motor Company, a former car dealership and filling station in downtown Blacksburg, Virginia that has just undergone a complete renovation and earned a Platinum certification under the LEED rating system administered by the United States Green Building Council. Design for the facility was undertaken by Spectrum design in Roanoke and construction by Breakell Incorporated, with project financing coming from the Town of Blacksburg. The project presented a unique opportunity for the three stakeholders to collaborate on a project, and the Town of Blacksburg was particularly supportive of the effort to bring a marquee green project into its building portfolio. As a former heavy brownfield site, the Blacksburg Motor Company renovation posed unique challenges that pressed the creative potential of the project team. Following are some photos snapped during the tour and accompanying explanation of particularly interesting features of the project.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monitoring Energy Production and Consumption

As holistic building design advances and greater emphasis is placed on energy efficiency, new technologies are being developed to assist in whole-building energy monitoring.These programs enable a facilitie's owner to effectively sub-meter each energy-consuming device in a building and even control these devices from the network. One such software application is Tridum by Niagra Framework. According to the manufacturer, it is a "is a software platform that integrates diverse systems and devices regardless of manufacturer, or communication protocol into a unified platform that can be easily managed and controlled in real time over the Internet using a standard web browser. By integrating today's diverse building systems such as environmental controls, security, lighting, energy, video, fire and life safety, Niagara is creating better buildings---ones that are smarter, use less energy, are more efficient, have lower operating costs, are safer and contribute to a sustainable environment." That's a lot of applications!