Codes Refresher Seminar Highlighted Key Changes New ADA, Title 24 & Lighting Regulations Affect Building Operations Keeping updated on the many code regulations and changes affecting building operations is a challenge. To help BOMA members handle this daunting task, the BOMA OEB Codes and Standards Committee holds an annual Codes Refresher Seminar. In the recent seminar, some of the topics covered were ADA issues; Title 24, part 6 Energy Code; and BOMA’s involvement with ICC’s Codes Development Process. Highlights of the program are detailed below. ADA Update and BOMA’s Efforts For alterations, structural repairs or additions to existing buildings, the ADA 2018 valuation threshold is $161,298, after which buildings must be brought to 100% ADA compliance. This threshold will again be modified in 2019. BOMA’s Government Affairs committee gave an update about its efforts to promote H.R. 620 during the 2018 Winter Business Meeting & National Issues Conference. The law will help curb drive-by lawsuits by imposing a “Notice and Cure” period before a civil lawsuit in case of an ADA violation. “Notice and Cure” will allow 60 days for a building owner to give a written description of improvements that will remove the barrier to entry and an additional 60 days for an owner to remove the barrier. Title 24 Code Brings Changes to Mechanical & Lighting Title 24, Part 6 is targeting zero net energy goals since the 2013 update, and 2019 is expected to bring even bigger changes to mechanical and lighting. In 2019 code changes for mechanical will require more efficiency increases, Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) for equipment, Demand Controlled Ventilation (DCV) (120.1(c)), occupant sensing zone controls (120.2(e)3) and insulation for refrigerant lines. Lighting power changes are being lowered from 2016 levels, beginning in 2019. These changes apply to manual controls (accessible switches, controls located in the same room), multi-level (all dimming controls), shut-off (zoning, countdown times in closets and data centers, and more), occupancy sensors, daylight requirements and DR requirements. ICC Code Change Proposal Process The ICC (International Code Council) cycle is three years for code modifications. The ICC Board of Directors work closely with Code Action Committees and create opportunities for participation in the code development process. The board looks at enhancing technical requirements; pursue opportunities to improve and enhance particular technical aspects of the codes; and address complex technical issues, new technology and building science. The first round of hearings consists of the appointed ICC Board of Directors, plus representatives from multiple interests, including regulators. Any time code changes are submitted, an agenda is posted for a code action hearing. After the hearing, there is a public comment period, results are posted and eventually a new edition is published. The process starts with Code Development Committee deliberations, and the committee votes on each code change proposal. BOMA International is a founding strategic partner of ICC and lends its resources to code adoptions. BOMA has representation in the 15-member Code Development Committee. The final code development process involves voting on the approval of changes, suggesting modifications, or disapproving the code change proposal. Final voting is only by government officials.Read More
San Francisco Architect’s Visual Diary – Oregon Preservation of Landscape is an ideal that any conscientious design or planning professional pursues. We all appreciate the virtues of being surrounded by nature and the value of non-imposing built – environment, that…Read More
Net Zero Energy at an Urban Scale – Masdar I’ve had the distinct pleasure of visiting Qatar and the UAE, twice in the past year and was pleasantly surprised by the research and development being done to create accessible and livable Urban districts like Msheireb in Doha and Masdar City. This is far from the perception of a land with no fresh water where golf courses, lush green lawns and fountains are rampant. A new City is being developed (20 minutes from Abu Dhabi) to eventually house 90,000 people and technology is being used in a radically different way to achieve Carbon neutrality at an urban scale. Masdar City is also a great example of preservation of landscape, resources and is the largest lab for experiments in renewable energy. The City welcomes clean energy companies and others to come and form partnerships for performance based testing of their technologies and products. This is a City of the Future, a “Green, carbon neutral City” that follows the 10 principles of “One Planet Living” as developed by IRENA to promote sustainabe practices. The City once completed will be completely fossil fuel free with zero waste and zero carbon emissions. The initial one million square feet will be completed this year and will house 40,000 people along with the Research Institute. Phase B will have 800 students at the Research Institute from 300 and more focus on developing Masdar as a Commercial Sector. Masdar will eventually have 500 apartments, hotels, hospitals, a data center and the Research Institute will also expand. Masdar city has the first university completely dedicated to research on environmental sustainability. The institute provides theory that is developed and tested in the field with pilot projects to optimize engineering and find the optimal solution that can be commercialized at a large scale. Purpose of the research is to meet supply with demand, produce energy in a sustainable way and continual research helps to produce more energy and better the systems. Research is also being done to encourage locally sourced materials, reuse and divert building waste (there’s a recycling center within the site, which has facilitated 95% diversion from landfills in the past 4 years of construction). Buildings as designed use a lot of Passive techniques in order to minimize most of the cooling energy demands. The buildings are closer together and replicate the vernacular layout of an old Arab town seen in the souq Architecture in Bahrain or Qatar and the Deira neighborhood of Dubai. Old Arab cities had narrow, walkable streets, where buildings shaded each other. Masdar has a North-East orientation to reduce exposure to Sun and achieve maximum shade. The closer layout along with the roof top PV panels create shade. The city has been oriented to capture prevailing winds for a cooling effect, a fact very evident when you walk in the city, which is 50 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of Abu Dhabi. Overall layout optimizes ventilation and building mass along with roof slope encourages air flow. Public parks and connecting water features also evaporate and cool surrounding areas. Norman Foster has designed the first round of buildings which utilize terracotta as the material, double glazed glass and thick insulation. Teflon pillows with compressed air are used for insulation and buildings’ energy demand is managed with occupancy sensors that are completely monitored and metered to reduce energy consumption by 50%. The buildings are also equipped with C02 sensors. The city has been carefully planned to reduce energy consumption and emissions through design, reuse and excess consumer and construction waste is of course, recycled. Wood pallets are used as mulch for landscape and recycled aggregate is used as a sub base for roads. All metal used in construction has 85% recycled content and scrap is taken off site for recycling; plastics are also recycled to make furniture. A Smart grid monitors appliances for consumption that results in 56% less energy and 80% less water than comparable buildings. The town center has a 147 feet high wind tower which is designed after the traditional wind towers of vernacular architecture. The tower has louvers on top that open in the direction of the wind and pass it down to be cooled by water misting before being released out. 100% of electricity is produced on site, solar, geothermal and waste is used to generate energy. Clean energy is being created with several PV systems including a 10 megawatt photovoltaic panels’ system, installed over 54 acres to generate 17,000 megawatt hours/year (the system can support a large community or a small city). The plant was used to convey power to Abu Dhabi, when the buildings were under construction and excess is still sent to Abu Dhabi’s national grid. 10 megawatts of energy is delivered to the buildings from this system, which use about 2-3 megawatt with 1 megawatt coming from the roof top PV panels.There is also a 100 megawatt system being developed in the desert which will be connected back to the grid. As an experiment an optical tower plant has also been designed that concentrates sunlight toward mirror arrays that focus and reflect light to the top of the tower. This light is beamed up to secondary mirrors and then beamed down again where the collector is positioned, a process that concentrates the rays like a magnifying glass and produces superheated water to drive a powerful steam turbine, resulting in higher efficiency with greater temperatures. Masdar is designed as pedestrian only with the largest zero-emission transportation system. PRTs (Personal Rapid Transportation) are driverless electric vehicles that reduce carbon emissions. Electricity is driven from the Photovoltaic systems instead of fossil fuels. These are charged when parked and can run on normal roads without the need for special infrastructure. The PRTs are managed and kept on track, with a predetermined speed, route and are guided by GPS. Magnets are set in the ground that pull the vehicle back in alignment and the vehicle also has a touch screen inside that allows the passenger to choose a destination (needless to say that I let the PRT determine the destination). These are an ultimate in clean public transportation. The city is cooler because there are no hydrocarbons from cars and the entire town has pedestrian only, visually and thermally comfortable streets. Long term plans include ground level light rail system and a subterranean metro high speed train. As an architect the one disappointing element was seeing Le Corbusier’s famous sporadic window placement from chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, blatantly copied on the ground floor in the buildings (see below). This feature is famously attributed to Corbusier, who implemented small openings on the façade of his iconic building to amplify the light within the chapel. Foster’s office could’ve done better, some of the non-linear historical precedents from local vernacular architecture and culture are more admirable than this. . . . Masdar is set to be a sustainable city with no skyscrapers or wide highways but instead, will boast well preserved landscape with low-rise buildings, shady streets and everything within walkable distance. The City as a “living lab” is a very successful example of the highest quality of life with lowest environmental impact.Read More
California Building Code Changes: What You Need to Know BOMA OEB held a recent seminar to alert members to key code changes. The new California Building Code went into effect on January 1, 2017. Any building renovation or tenant improvement project will have to follow 2016 Codes, including CalGreen and Title 24 Part 6 Energy Code. Some other changes are below: 1) Smoke Control is now required in atriums in Group 1-2 occupancies. The same is also required for Group 1-1 Occupancies, Condition 2 (Residential Care Facilities serving more than 16 people). 2) Percentage of construction waste recycling has been increased to 65%, consistent with CalGreen. 3) Small food processing establishments and commercial kitchens, traditionally considered an F1 occupancy (moderate hazard occupancy) are now considered a B Occupancy (Business Group). 4) Some of the changes to Chapter 11 (accessibility requirements) of the building code have been made to bring the code into alignment with the 2010 Americans with Disability Act.