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New School To Have The Greenest University Center For Students & Faculty In New York City

University Center rendering courtesy of The New School.

Outgrowing its facilities with increased enrollments over the last few years, The New School, a progressive university in the heart of New York City, is now at the half-way point of constructing its new University Center that will be among the greenest buildings in the city, according to its the project designer, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

James Murtha, The New School executive vice president, commented that “Urban universities face special challenges, particularly in a space-starved city like New York. To accommodate the growth of important programs within our limited footprint, we convened with students and faculty over a period of years for a design that embraces the culture of dialogue and debate that is a New School hallmark.”

The design company said the new University Center will provide students and faculty with much needed academic and social spaces within the one building. It will encompass varied facilities including an auditorium, the main university library, lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories, a distant learning center, informal study spaces, a cafeteria, retail cafes, and a 600-bed dormitory with a fitness center.

In addition, the university says that because sustainability is one of its core values, the University Center has been designed to earn a LEED Gold certification, incorporating sustainability features including a rainwater-saving green roof for which the university received a grant from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

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NYS’s Glen Falls Hospital Saving Costs With New Solar Thermal System Used In Dialysis Center

Solar thermal systems have long been popular in the residential sector, but now others such as medical institutions – with the help of state incentive programs – are also increasingly installing these systems for their energy efficiencies and cost effectiveness.

In New York, the first medical center to now take advantage such state incentives is the renal dialysis center of Glen Falls Hospital, which received $25,000 in funding from the NYSERDA’s Solar Thermal Incentive Program for the installation of its new $32,500 solar thermal system.

The solar thermal system – whose installation was completed a few weeks ago – is being used primarily to heat the water required in operating the dialysis machines.

“The solar thermal system, which preheats incoming cold water through 15 rooftop solar panels and a 375-gallon solar water tank before it goes to the boiler, is expected to reduce the center’s water heating fossil fuel consumption by 45 percent,” said Dayle Zatlin, assistant director of communications at the NYSERDA.

On many days, especially in the summer, the fossil boilers at the center will not be needed because the solar thermal system will handle all of the center’s hot water needs,” added Zatlin.

The system heats the water to anywhere between 120°F to 190°F. Then, mixing values temper it to 77°F for dialysis, and 140°F for hot water for sinks and the bathrooms.

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Iowa Governor Approves Residential Tax Credits For New Geothermal Heat Pumps and Retrofits

Iowa Governor Terry Brand has enacting a series of tax incentives for new residential geothermal heat pump installations and retrofits.

Stock photo.

For people that aren’t familiar with them, geothermal heat pumps are similar to ordinary heat pumps, but instead of using outside air, they use the earth’s natural underground systems to provide heating, air conditioning, and in most cases, hot water.

Actually, the California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center gives one of the best explanations about how these systems work, before talking more about the Iowa tax credits.

The California energy center explains that wherever you live, a few feet below the earth’s surface, the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature regardless of the outside air temperature.

The center says, “Although the temperatures vary according to latitude, at six feet underground, temperatures range from 45 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the principle behind geothermal heat pumps. In the winter, they move the heat from the earth into your house. In the summer, they pull the heat from your home and discharge it into the ground.”

The California center also says, “Studies show that approximately 70 percent of the energy used in a geothermal heat pump system is renewable energy from the ground. The earth’s constant temperature is what makes geothermal heat pumps one of the most efficient, comfortable, and quiet heating and cooling technologies available today. While they may be more costly to install initially than regular heat pumps, they can produce markedly lower energy bills - 30 percent to 40 percent lower.”

Through incentives enacted last month in Iowa, geothermal heat pumps installed on residential properties are now eligible for a state tax credit that is equal to six percent of the cost of a system, which is equal to 20 percent of the federal residential geothermal tax credit.

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Energy Efficiency Course For Owners/Operators of New York City Multifamily Buildings

It’s a little short notice, but starting this Thursday, April 26, a 10-part course on how to lower your building’s energy costs and water bills will be offered by GreenHomeNYC and the Urban Assembly for Green Careers in Manhattan.

Graphic courtesy of Solar1.org.

The classes will be held every Thursday night and can be taken individually or as a complete package, and it’s not too late to register.

Promoted at the Green Festival this past weekend, the course is ideal for building owners, managers, coop/condo member, supers, bookkeepers, comptrollers, or just anyone who wants to learn more about how multifamily buildings function, and steps they can take to reduce costs.

“Multifamily buildings in NYC use 3-6 times more energy and water per square foot than our single family counterparts, and very simple steps can help you reduce those costs.  This class is not designed to sell you products, but rather, to walk you through a sensible series of steps and make a plan to reduce your costs,” said GreenHomeNYC.

The classes are designed for attendees with introductory to mid-level knowledge of building operations. The classes will be instructed by building specialists who will teach the classes to high school students from 5-6 p.m., and then teach the classes again from 6-8 p.m. in a more advanced form.  

It’s advised that if you have no starting knowledge or need a refresher, then you should come to the early classes. If you already have some knowledge, then come to the 6 p.m. classes. 

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Volkswagen’s New Chattanooga Plant Gets LEED Platinum Certification and Now Increasing Hiring

Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga, Tenn. manufacturing plant – which opened about 11 months ago – has received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Volkswagen LEED Platinum Certified Chattanooga, Tenn. manufacturing plant. Photo courtesy of dubworld.com.

The plant is doing very well. With recent sales growth, the company is creating an additional 800 jobs at the plant. This is in addition to the 200 job openings at the plant announced by the company earlier this year. This brings the total to 1,000 new jobs needed for the plant this year so far.

The plant currently employs about 2,700 people – about 2,200 by Volkswagen and 500 by Aerotek, the company’s staffing partner.

“The plant has been working daily overtime to meet the market demand. The additions to the workforce will allow the plant to extend its weekly production capacity, while at the same time reducing the amount of overtime for current workers,” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources at Volkswagen.

“These 800 new positions are a combination of production and support functions. We will be hiring additional supervisors, quality engineers, and professionals in a number of areas. We will also use this opportunity to hire many of our current Aerotek contract employees. So, Aerotek will be recruiting to fill full-time contract production positions that will open up,” added Jagla.

Applicants for production positions need to be at least 18 years old; have a high school diploma or GED; and be authorized to work in the U.S. Interested applicants can apply online with Aerotek.

Applicants for management and advanced positions like production supervisors, engineers, and IT specialists should apply online with Volkswagen.

The LEED Platinum certified plant opened in May 2011 and builds the 2012 Passat. The car received honors including being named Motor Trend Car of the Year and being ranked as one of the 10 Best Redesigned Cars of 2012 by Kelley Blue Book.

The manufacturing plant was built on a brownfield property with “no destruction” of untouched natural habitat, according to the company, which also said it established protections of 100 foot-wide creeks and wetlands to “minimize impact on natural habitats.”

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