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New report explores path to net zero

BY CSA STAFF

Baltimore HVAC components and controls manufacturer Danfoss released a research report on Wednesday summarizing how construction professionals view high-performance buildings with regard to energy efficiency, economics and the environment.

The report, Construction Team Perspectives on High-Performance Buildings, was conducted following a Danfoss symposium on net-zero buildings. For the purposes of the study, high-performance buildings were cast as being 30% to 50% more efficient than ASHRAE 90.1, the International Energy Conservation Code, or the California Title 24 energy code.

“We interviewed more than 50 building owners, architects, engineers, contractors and manufacturers in an effort to identify the key benefits and challenges of designing, constructing and operating high-performance buildings,” said Robert Wilkins, president of Danfoss North America. “The HVAC professionals surveyed indicated strong support for the movement toward high-performance buildings and were quick to identify the benefits that the movement provides.”

Benefits included long-term cost savings, reduced energy consumption, healthier and more comfortable work environments, smaller carbon footprints and decreased greenhouse gas emissions, said Wilkins.

The study also revealed that first-cost issues continue to drive investment decisions, impeding progress toward a nation of high-performance buildings.

“The problem is, too few are willing or in a financial position that allows them to spend additional money to gain the longer-term savings of energy efficiency,” said Wilkins. “So, at today’s relatively low electric rates, our challenge is one of providing higher efficiency at reduced cost.”

To stimulate the development of high-performance buildings, approximately 95% of respondents recommended further educating all professionals involved in building development on how and why high-performance buildings make good business sense.

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Sears store takes second place in EPA contest

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings announced that the Sears store in Glen Burnie, Md., won second place in the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first-ever National Building Competition. The competition challenged teams from fourteen buildings across the country to measure their energy use and work off the waste with help from the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

According to Sears Holdings, the Glen Burnie store achieved 31.7% reduction in energy use, $45,612 savings on its energy bills and reduced its carbon footprint by more than 272 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

“We are extremely proud of the Glen Burnie team, but this is just one example of our many sustainability initiatives,” said Bruce Johnson, interim president and CEO.  He added, “Sears Holdings is committed to continuing to explore new ways to conserve natural resources and reduce waste while also saving money.  We are proud of the strides we’re making and our efforts toward becoming a green company.”

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Survey: DROID, iPad among hot holiday gadgets

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES According to a new PriceGrabber survey the Motorola DROID smartphone, Apple iPad and Xbox 360 will be among the most sought-after gadgets this holiday season.

“Shoppers have become very smart over the past few years, forcing intense rivalry among popular manufacturers. This year, we expect to see an uptick in product wars and especially fierce competition around new product releases in the categories of mobile phones, tablets, DSLR cameras and 3-D televisions,” stated Laura Conrad, president of PriceGrabber. “We expect all of the products on the PriceGrabber top products list to succeed in winning the consumer dollar during the 2010 holiday shopping season.”

Other hot gadgets for 2010, according to PriceGrabber include the Canon EOS Rebel DSLR camera, the Samsung 55-inch 3-D LED television and the Apple TV.

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