This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Underwriting the Future
An atmosphere of selective thrift in Washington has thrown the green building gauntlet back to the private sector. The largest energy chunk of President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget goes to a nuclear renaissance that’s unlikely to survive the Fukushima blow back. The budget does offers meager green building R&D incentives, with a half-hearted benchmark for commercial buildings to achieve a 20% energy reduction by 2020. Any major transition to a more sustainable building sector, in other words, will have to come from industry, with little direct help from Uncle Sam.

Of course, many large, multinational U.S. firms receive significant tax breaks— which are in themselves a kind of socialized subsidy. Redirecting that controversial profit back into R&D may be the last hope for the U.S. to keep pace with green building advances in the rest of the world. For example, the New York Times reports that General Electric saved billions on U.S. taxes this year thanks in part to its off-shore operations. CEO Jeffrey Immelt told Bloomberg News that GE will increase R&D by 18% in this year, putting more than $20 billion into research through 2012. That research will include work on wind turbines, biofuels, and other green building-related technology.



Builders would have an easier time designing net-zero homes if they didn’t need windows. Compared to well-insulated walls, windows can act like thermal holes. But no one wants to live in a cave—so high-quality glazing is a key component in the zero-net-energy building.

Milgard Windows & Doors offers packages that boost performance nearly 50% above the company’s standard ENERGY STAR-rated windows. Milgard’s 3D and 3D Max energy packages improve the frame, product design, and glazing unit with technologies that include SunCoatMAX low-E glass, argon gas, and EdgeGard spacers. A triple glaze option also is available.

Taken together, these features reflect heat and UV rays, and reduce heat loss and condensation problems. When designed for a northern climate, for instance, the Tuscany vinyl window features a U-value of .30 and a SHGC of .25.

Milgard incorporates efficient practices to build its windows. The factory extrudes or pultrudes its own vinyl and fiberglass, and reuses virtually all vinyl waste.

“Our fiberglass pultrusion process facility has even earned ISO 14001 certification, a standard which manages and improves performance in areas such as lower energy usage, waste reduction, and increased recycling,” says Erik Ashcraft, a Milgard spokesperson.


The importance of air sealing can’t be over-estimated in a net-zero home. In modern construction, the first line of defense is house wrap.

The right house wrap is crucial. Wind blowing at 8 mph can penetrate cracks and seams in an outside wall, reducing the performance of insulation by up to 30%.

DuPont Tyvek has been around so long that it’s often confused as a generic name for house wrap. But the company is quick to point out special distinctions with its HomeWrap technology. This product uses extremely fine, high-density polyethylene fibers that are fused together to form a strong, uniform web.

The result is a tough material that keeps out rain and wind, but allow indoor water vapor to escape. In contrast, DuPont says, perforated wraps and low-perm film wraps score lower in air penetration and breathability performance. DuPont cites tests showing Tyvek HomeWrap with air penetration resistance of .004 cfm/ft2 @1.57 psf, compared to between .1 and .9 for some perforated house wraps.

DuPont’s advancements in house wrap have spawned a suite of products that bear the Tyvek name, including StuccoWrap, for water management behind a stucco facade; Drain-Wrap, to control water behind wood, fiber cement and foam board; and ThermaWrap, a low-emissivity, metalized surface that can add up to R-2 to a wall.

The growth of Tyvek reflects DuPont’s goals to double investment in environmental R&D programs by 2015. It also aims to grow annual revenues by at least $2 billion by then, from products that are energy efficient and/or cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76