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Focus - The beneficial green

image Lyle Coston, Vice President of Waterproofing & Caulking, Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, Houston, TX

HOUSTON - Lyle Coston has over 20 years experience in sealants and waterproofing. He holds a BBA in Business Management from the University of Phoenix Houston. He has been part of the Chamberlin family for 18 years and is well versed in green building and sustainability.





What are the benefits of green building?
    The benefits of green building are that it provides the owner with a long-term investment that will pay for itself over the life of the building. The more energy efficient a building is will help with the energy costs, which will pay for those upgrades (or code requirements) during construction, like continuous insulation and air barriers.
What are the economic benefits of green or sustainable building and development?

    There are many architects that now have enough historical data on green buildings that can prove lower energy costs when owners select options that create a more energy efficient building.  Building Enclosure Energy modeling has come a long way with the technological advances that can help show owners the cost impact during construction and benefits over time.
What are the major changes in your industry relating to green building?
    Major changes related to Division 7 are continuous insulation code requirements. Thermal bridging of metal components like steel studs, Z-furring, metal screws and even flashings have shown with 3-D imaging that the R-Value mentioned on an insulation doesn’t mean that wall will have R-19.  The thermal bridging reduces that R-Value significantly so the need for continuous insulation to create a thermal break is needed to get that R-Value back up. 
What is the most significant challenge your industry faces relating to green building?
     Design and consistency in the way these projects are being built.  We are seeing a significant change in air and  vapor barriers as well as insulation.  These changes are causing confusion in the architectural and contracting community because not all of these systems have been tested together.  They are tested in standalone conditions and pass most ASTMs that are listed, but the entire system is rarely put together to test it as a whole system. 
Are green buildings more expensive to construct? Why?
     Green buildings are more expensive to construct because of the requirements to achieve certain LEED Certification levels. The cost impact is due to material selection and design that may otherwise not be required if it was not a green building. Studies have shown that the initial cost is a few percentage points more but when you roll in the cost of that building after five  years, the payback may show you that the building will actually cost less.  
What are the cost increases relating to green building?
     Testing, continuous insulation, R-Value requirements, whole building envelope testing, and material selection are just a few of the increases but the savings again are on the backside. We have seen buildings that have not followed any guidelines and they are losing either heat or AC at a very rapid pace that could have easily offset those initial costs had they commissioned the air and vapor barrier installation. Images can now show owners where they are losing the AC or heat very easily which are sometimes surprising to see. 
What is on the horizon for your industry?
     More green roofs and amenity decks, continuous insulation and roof assemblies that are reflective with higher R-Value requirements where it is a minimum not an average.
Have their been any significant code or regulation changes regarding green building?
     Yes, there have been code changes but it becomes a political nightmare within each city or county on who is adopting those codes and then hiring the personnel in the permitting office to enforce or implement the changes through plan review and permitting.
How are buildings certified as green in the U.S.?
     USGBC is the standard when it comes to LEED Certification. The United States Green Building Council was started in 1993 during a founding meeting at the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Continuous collaboration and education with industry experts have helped to push this certification as a standard in LEED certification.  

    Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing is full-service roofing and waterproofing company with offices in Texas & Oklahoma. -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net