GSA testing 16 emerging sustainable technologies, practices

April 22, 2011

WASHINGTON - GSA announced that it will test and evaluate 16 emerging sustainable building technologies and practices in select federal facilities under its Green Proving Ground program. Testing will determine the most effective technologies that may then be replicated on a wider-scale basis throughout the GSA inventory with the goal of transforming markets for these technologies.

"GSA is leading the way in sustainable design and construction operations," GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson said. "By using our real estate portfolio as a test bed for new technologies, we can then provide further innovation in energy efficiency standards and implement best practices that will lead the market."

The technologies selected were from a pool of approximately 140 projects across GSA's national portfolio that are currently implementing innovative or underutilized sustainable building technologies. The 16 technologies and practices were selected for evaluation because they have the greatest potential to meet GSA's sustainability goals. Examples of the technologies chosen include wireless temperature sensors, electrochromic windows, high R-value windows, integrated lighting systems, thin-film photovoltaic panels, solar water heating with integrated photovoltaic panels, chilled beams, and non-chemical water treatment systems.

With support from the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, the Green Proving Ground program will perform enhanced testing, monitoring and evaluation on these selected technologies. Notable findings from all of the projects will be used to support the development of performance specifications for GSA's real estate portfolio and other federal agencies. Additionally, testing these technologies will assist industry in deploying the technology and practices studied.

For more information on the 16 technologies to be evaluated under GSA's Green Proving Ground program and on GSA's registry of sustainable building technologies, visit http://www.gsa.gov/GPG.

         
 

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Comments on: "GSA testing 16 emerging sustainable technologies, practices"

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16 new Green Technologies to be tested by GSA

GSA has always been the leader in new technologies."Going where private industry would not dare to go". They forced wonderful breakthroughs, even when some of the new technologies, at the time, were flawed; integrated ceilings,pauses in Air Conditioning throughout the day by shutting down fans for one hour to save energy,glasstube solar collectors etc. One project, that involved monitoring by the University of Michigan in the early 70's , was a splendid zero-energy new Federal Building in Saginaw, Michigan. Despite what may have failed (the building has since been demolished) , we all deserve to know the pluses and minuses as "Lessons learned". It involved solar collectors, gray water,roof gardens, permeable paving, proper east-west orientation, chilled water by absorption machines, and many other features. Eileen Duignan-Woods,PE coolit@mindspring.com

Sustainable Technologies & Practices

Modular and Prefabricated Construction methods have always been "Green" in many different ways. Materials are ordered, staged, used, and accounted for in controlled environments. In many cases, the structures are built in climate-controlled facilities, depending on the manufacturer, and weather-sealed prior to shipment to the jobsite. The levels of completion for the finishes depend on the Scope of Work and the modules can have materials shipped-loose for completion at site. Most importantly, while the Modular Building is under construction, the site work and foundations will be completed concurrently which allows for accelerated project completion times. This process helps achieve a 40% to 50% faster competion timeframe than conventional construction and leads to less time at site, faster occupancy, etc.

Whole Building versus components

GPG is a good idea, but the list of technologies stops short of the building itself. The building itself leads to the bad, old technologies. PV/Thermal is a good choice, daylighting is a good choice. integrating these into a building envelope is a good choice. The existing stock of built infrastructure make these approaches necessary. Planning and building with a multi-tasking approach will become obvious as this program proceeds. The results, while promising, will not deliver enough. Futura Solar focused on the end result from the start. While low profile commercial/industrial buildings may not serve the GSA, the USA will need to turn to this sector to acheive the necessary improvements.

Federal Government Leads the Way

I am glad to see the testing of various sustainable design strategies by a single Federal agency. This should ensure an unbiased evaluation of each.