The new study focuses on European innovations that American building professionals can use to design and develop high-performance green buildings at little or no added cost. “A number of European countries have had years of experience creating energy-efficient structures,” explained Yudelson, the lead author of the study. “The idea was to discover which concepts, technologies, products, and systems might be potentially applicable for use in North America.”
The research study, entitled “European Green Building Technologies,” consisted of a high-level study of European innovations, followed by in-depth research, and finally site visits to selected projects and interviews with European green building experts. The interviews were held in the spring and summer of 2008.
Yudelson’s team concluded that several widely used technologies should be considered for use in projects in North America. The featured solutions included radiant heating and cooling systems incorporating either panels and beams or slabs, and what are referred to as active façades - exterior walls in which the optical or thermal properties change dynamically in response to local climate, occupants’ preferences, ambient lighting, or utility demand-response programs.
According to the study, however, each of these technologies also pose design and construction challenges. Each requires not only proper design, but also needs to be carefully selected based on the project type, cost considerations, and the environmental conditions in which they will be used. In many cases, the European systems used familiar components and climate-control mechanisms, but did so in different ways. Taken as a whole, the report says the innovations provide useful conceptual insights and a source of practical ideas for green building projects in North America.
“We believe that architects, mechanical engineers, and contractors have much to learn from the European experience,” said Yudelson, “and we’re pleased that this new study provides easy access to that knowledge.”
To download a copy of the study, go to www.greenbuildconsult.com/pdfs/mcerf.pdf.
Yudelson Associates is a sustainability planning and green building consulting firm. Its founder, Jerry Yudelson, is one of the nation’s leading experts on green building and green development. He is the author of eight green building books and a frequent speaker at industry and professional conferences. For more information, visit www.greenbuildconsult.com.