Consumers & Professionals Continue to Embrace Green Builds, Despite Economic Conditions

Importance of Green Building Materials Expected to Continue to Grow

Austin, TX (PRWEB) January 27, 2012

Environmental concerns prove to be an important component for new build or remodel projects for both consumers and businesses according to a recent customer survey conducted by Krantz Select Woods, a leading on-line wood purveyor headquartered in Austin Texas. Krantz announced today that they have released the findings of their Green Survey, conducted in November, 2011. The informal survey included both consumers and professionals, and sought to gauge consumer and commercial use of and attitudes about green building materials.

The survey findings indicate that regardless of the current tough economic conditions, both consumers and professionals continue to seek environmentally responsible materials for their building and design choices. 72% of consumer survey respondents said that green building materials are more important than five years ago, while 57% of building professionals responded that green building materials are more important than five years ago.

Survey results also show that while the recession has not lowered the importance of green builds and remodels, it has slowed. About one third of consumer respondents and half of professional respondents have put at least one green building project on hold due to the economy.

“Our findings confirm what we’ve been seeing in our day to day business and dealings with customers,” said Jimmy Krantz, owner of Krantz Select Woods. “Regardless of economic conditions, green building materials are in high demand not only due to their environmental benefits but also because of their beauty and exceptional quality.”

The Krantz survey indeed revealed that environmental impact is not the only important factor when choosing a green product. While 39% of total respondents listed environmental factors as key in selecting green building materials, 31% of total respondents listed aesthetics as key in selecting green building materials and 30% listed cost savings (rebates) as key in selecting green building materials.

Green and sustainable building professionals, such as Krantz Select Woods are optimistic about the continued trend towards sustainable building practices. Survey responses illustrate that confidence, with interest in sustainable building materials and practices is expected to grow in the near future. Approximately 60% of consumer respondents and 57% of professional respondents anticipate an increase in the importance of green building/sustainable materials in the next five years for their building/construction needs.

Survey Detail:

1. Consumers and businesses consider green building materials as an important component of their new build or remodel projects:

 

  • 69% of consumers said that using green building products is somewhat important to them, but not a top/determining factor; 18 % responded it is an extremely important decision factor.
  • Professionals responses echoed those of consumers, with 68% of building professionals saying that using green building products is somewhat important to them, but not a top/determining factor; ; 18 % responded that it is an extremely important decision factor.

 

2. The importance of using building materials among consumers and professionals continues to grow.

 

  • According to 72% of consumer respondents, green building materials are more important than five years ago; 28% of consumer respondents said that green building materials were of the same importance as five years ago.
  • 57% of building professionals responded that green building materials are more important than five years ago; 29% of professional respondents said that green building materials were of the same importance to them as five years ago and 14% said green building materials were of less importance than five years ago.

 

3. Green building products and materials are expected to to grow in importance for both building professionals and consumers.

 

  • Approximately 60% of consumer respondents anticipate an increase in the importance of green building/sustainable materials in the next five years.
  • 57% of building professionals anticipate an increase in the importance of green building/sustainable materials in the next five years.

 

4. While the current recession has not lowered the importance of green building products/materials, it has somewhat slowed the pace of new green building projects or initiatives, particularly commercial projects.

 

  • Approximately 32% of consumer respondents have put at least one green project/initiative on hold due to current economic conditions
  • Half of building professionals surveyed have put at least one green project/initiative on hold due to current economic conditions

 

5. Environmental impact is only one of several factors influencing the selection of prioritization of green/sustainable building materials:

 

  • 39% of total respondents listed environmental factors as key in selecting green building materials
  • 31% of total respondents listed aesthetics/design as key in selecting green building materials
  • 30% of total respondents listed rebates/cost savings as key in selecting green building materials

 

Survey Methodology
Krantz Select Woods informally surveyed approximately 3,300 consumers and building professionals via email during the month of November, 2011. Participants were randomly selected from the Krantz customer and contact database. Approximately 60% of respondents self-identified as consumers, while 29% self-identified as business professionals or architects.

About Krantz Recovered Woods
Krantz Recovered Woods (parent company: Krantz Select Woods) is one of the country’s leaders in recovered woods. Recovered woods are a smart way to recycle resources and slow the depletion of today’s forest by reducing new tree harvesting. No new trees are cut in order to recover these woods. In fact, reclaimed woods often save wood otherwise destined for the landfills. It saves resources by preserving existing forests and habitats and avoids filling up landfills with old building materials. In addition, most Krantz Recovered Woods lumber is sourced within 500 miles to keep transportation emissions to a minimum, which is yet another green benefit of recovered wood. Owner Jimmy Krantz estimates that the company has saved roughly 1000+ trees to date, which in turn has prevented about 2 million pounds (1000 tons) from going to the landfill.

Krantz Recovered Woods is regularly selected for green projects by designers and builders who want to make an environmentally responsible choice, recent LEED Certified projects include:

 

  • HomeAway Corporation offices, Austin, TX LEED Certified
  • Advisory Board Company, Headquarter Offices, Austin TX LEED Certified
  • Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Ft. Worth TX LEED Certified

 

New Building Material to Improve Concrete Infrastructure

By Joel Scanlon

Construction projects rely on conventional concretes that are made up of water, cement, and gravel. These concretes are spread over reinforcing steel bars that will be set in a course of time.

his process has been employed for constructing bridges, walls, buildings, tunnels, roads and railroad tracks. Brühwiler concrete is widely used to restore the damaged civil structures.

Another concrete called Ultra-High Performance Fiber Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) is a novel formulation manufactured by mixing an accurate amount of short, thin metal fibers to the powdery components. As a result, an improved building material is obtained; removal of gravel increases the concentration, making the formulation impermeable to water and gases. This is demonstrated to be an extremely durable building material.

Corrosion is the major problem faced by most building structures. The density and impermeability of the Ultra-High Performance Fiber-Reinforced Concrete that has been formulated in Professor Brühwiler’s laboratory, is a potential material capable of providing a tight seal to the structure’s interior. The accelerated hardening property of this innovative material is effectively used for steep slopes, roads and other constructions related to transportation renovation. Using fewer raw materials make the structure lighter without compromising its performance.

EPFL civil engineers have been developing the approach of high performance fiber reinforced concrete, and its application in various construction procedures. The civil specialists of EPFL are experts in using fiber-reinforced concrete to improve and renovate the existing civil structures. The new concept of UHPFRC, its environmental and economic benefits, has motivated the engineers for more innovative opportunities.

Source: http://www.epfl.ch/

Posted 20th January 2012

Phase change materials result in cost savings

January 18, 2012  By: Korky Koroluk Construction Corner

A building material that absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night promises to save building owners a bundle of cash when it's time to pay the monthly electricity bill.

They’re called phase-change materials, or PCMs, and scientists have been experimenting with them for decades. Although there have been some efforts to introduce them to construction markets in North America and Europe, they remain largely unknown or ignored.

Now though, PCMs are getting a place in the spotlight.

A new building for the molecular engineering department of the University of Washington, in Seattle, has PCMs encapsulated in its wall and ceiling panels.

The expectation is that cooling costs will be as much as 98 per cent lower than one would expect for a 77,000-square-foot building.

The most common PCM is probably ice.

Drop a couple of cubes in your drink and they cool it by slowly absorbing heat, as they melt.

It’s such an obvious property that one might wonder why it’s important.

But what about other PCMs?

Those used in the Seattle building take the form of a gel derived from vegetable oils and the phase change occurs, not at the freezing point of water, but at room temperature.

It remains a gel when the air in the building is cool, but gradually absorbs heat and liquefies as the building’s heat load increases during the day.

The result is an indoor environment, in which the temperature fluctuations are small, just as they are in buildings with a significant solar mass.

The PCM panels, called BioCPM, were supplied by Phase Change Energy Solutions, of North Carolina, and the company’s founder, Peter Horwath.

He said the idea is the same as using thick concrete walls. His panels are 1.25 centimetres thick but, he said, “act like the thermal mass of 25 centimetres of concrete.”

The PCMs are set during manufacture to maintain a temperature of about 23 C.

As the building’s heat load increases during the day, the PCMs gradually melt, storing heat and cooling the building’s interior. Then, at night, as the heat load diminishes, the PCMs change back to gel.

In Seattle’s climate, the overnight cooling will be accomplished by having automatic windows open to flood the interior with cool night air.

In other climates, the air conditioning can be run at night, when power rates are low, to cool the indoor air enough to trigger the phase change back to a gel.

The same PCMs used in Seattle are also being introduced into the roofing market, as interest in the concept grows.

Scientists have been experimenting with other PCMs, as well. There is a system that uses tiny capsules of paraffin waxes embedded in drywall.

There have been lab experiments trying to use the phase-change properties of beeswax to store solar energy.

A British firm, Star Refrigeration, is experimenting with carbon dioxide, which changes phase (from gas to solid) at extremely low temperatures.

The building on the University of Washington campus is almost finished, with occupancy expected within weeks. It’s a 77,000-square-foot structure costing $77.7 million and is the first of two phases.

Since it will house the molecular engineering department, it’s nice to see that the building will not be only a working building, but a demonstration project as well.

Buildings are energy hogs. In the United States, it’s estimated that buildings consume more than 70 per cent of the electricity generated in the country.

There has been a push to make buildings lighter, making them quicker and cheaper to build.

The trade-off, though, is indoor temperatures that fluctuate more, which means higher heating and cooling costs. PCMs seem to offer one way to deal with that trade-off.


Recovery in the Concrete, Gypsum, and Plaster Products

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recovery in the Concrete, Gypsum, and Plaster Products Market to Follow Revival of the Construction Industry, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

 GIA announces the release of a comprehensive global outlook on Concrete, Gypsum, and Plaster Products Industry. Demand for construction materials is expected to return to the pre-recessionary levels in the near future driven by the revival in construction activity and infrastructure developments in emerging countries. In addition, the wave of consolidation and vertical integration, which was subdued due to economic slowdown, is expected to reemerge as companies battle to achieve leading position in key markets.

- The global building materials market is volatile and is driven by trends established by the construction sector. The industry witnessed a huge decline during recession as the construction sector reeled under the woes of housing slump and depressed infrastructure spending. The decline in construction industry was further worsened due to the increase in raw material and energy prices. However, with gradual resumption of healthy market conditions, the concrete, gypsum, and plaster products industry is witnessing a revival in demand as new house constructions, building projects, public works projects in industrialized and emerging nations resume activity. At present, the preference for concrete is relatively high owing to its better carbon foot print, recyclable nature, durability, lower maintenance and energy efficiency. Gypsum-based plasterboard (wallboard) is gaining importance in construction markets, where sophistication and technical complexity of structures prevails.

 

The ready-mix concrete industry is most likely to display considerable improvement in the near term with the real estate industry depicting signs of recovery. With the transformation of the emerging markets into developed markets the consumption of plasterboard in these markets is expected to grow at a high rate in the long run. Global demand for the concrete additives market, in the near future, is likely to be driven by the growing use of fiber and chemical additives in concrete construction activities, in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. The concrete additives market is expected to witness strong growth in the water reducers segment, particularly the high-performance superplasticizers, which are used to impart strength to concrete structures, and enhance ease of pouring concrete to form various structures.

 

The research report titled "Concrete, Gypsum, and Plaster Products: A Global Outlook" announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a collection of statistical anecdotes, market briefs, and concise summaries of research findings. The report offer an aerial view of the global concrete, gypsum, and plaster industry, identifies major short to medium term market challenges, and growth drivers. The report also recapitulates recent noteworthy mergers, acquisitions, and other strategic developments. Regional markets briefly abstracted include the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The United Kingdom, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, and Iran among others. Also included is an indexed, easy-to-refer, fact-finder directory listing the addresses, and contact details of companies worldwide.

 

For more details about this comprehensive industry report, please visit -
www.strategyr.com/Concrete_Gypsum_and_Plaster_Products_Industry_Market_Report.asp

 

About Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA) is a reputed publisher of off-the-shelf market research. Founded in 1987, the company is globally recognized as one of the world's largest market research publishers. The company employs over 800 people worldwide and publishes more than 1200 full-scale research reports each year. Additionally, the company also offers thousands of smaller research products including company reports, market trend reports, and industry reports encompassing all major industries worldwide.

 

Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Telephone 408-528-9966
Fax 408-528-9977
Email press(at)StrategyR(dot)com
Web Site www.StrategyR.com/

 






Housing Recovery Buoys Furniture, Wood Imports

Furniture Imports Rise With Home Sales Bill Esler | 01/06/2012 5:28:00 AM

 

NEWARK, NJ - Furniture imported via ocean shipping rose sharply in November, as did lumber - which jumped 515 percent -  both driven by a recovering housing market, says an analyst who tracks containerized freight shipments.

While furniture imports rose 7 percent, demand for local lumber was a key factor in the surprising November increase of 515 percent in imports from Canada.

Overall, U.S. containerized import volume in November rose 5 percent year-over-year to 1,488,665 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, a measure of shipping volume, says Mario Moreno, an economist for The Journal of Commerce.For the year imports are up 3 percent.

Moreno says increases in home sales were buoyed by the housing market, leading to the 7 percent November growth in shipments of furniture, a top import commodity, to 144,823 TEUs -almost 10 percent of shipping imports during the month.

"A healthy housing market is key to the revival of U.S. containerized imports," Moreno said noting that cooking and heat appliances, lamps and parts, and kitchenware imports also rose. Growth in those commodities contributed to the increase in imports from China - up 4.1 percent year over year to 706,399 TEUs - the country's first rise in eight months.

"The question is, are we seeing a self-sustained recovery in home sales?" Moreno said. "This will depend very much on how many jobs the economy can generate every month. Over the last 12 months through November, the economy generated an average of 132,000 jobs per month. We are not there yet, but getting closer."


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