CalStar Products Adds Second Shift to Manufacturing Plant
“CALEDONIA, Wis. – CalStar, manufacturer of affordable, sustainable masonry products, has expanded the capacity of its Caledonia, Wis., manufacturing plant with the addition of a second shift. The expansion will help the company meet growing demand across all of its product lines and will bring 17 new jobs to the Racine area.”
To read the full press release, click the link below:
Wet Cast Capabilities
CalStar continues to expand its breadth of sustainably manufactured bricks, with new colors and styles, along with customization capabilities. Among the latest offerings is wet cast products.
With wet cast offerings, CalStar is able to offer trim and accent pieces that mimic limestone. The process begins with natural stone materials, which are used to create molds out of urethane. Varying degrees of urethane create the texture that replicates the look and feel of the natural stone. The manufacturer pours the mix into the mold, cures it overnight, and peels the mold away.
Unlike mixing brick and natural stone, specifying CalStar’s accents mean that all the materials of the façade—the lower course, the trim, and the brick—are made of the same material, which means the pieces will move at the same rates, lessening the chance of cracks and gaps.
One of the first projects to employ the wet cast pieces is a retail center in Anderson, S.C., which include a water table and windowsills that reflect the look of limestone.
Like the rest of CalStar’s products, the accents are made with 37% recycled content and cured, not fired, to reduce energy consumption by 81% and carbon emissions by 84%.
CalStar is expanding its wet cast offerings quickly, having recently added slabs for ground cover and working on a travertine.
This retail center in Anderson, S.C., employs CalStar water table and windowsill accents.
Understanding the world of PCRs, LCAs, and EPDs—and how to use them to boost your buildings’ sustainability.
When selecting products for a new project, architects and specifiers consider many criteria, from aesthetics to strength to cost. Green buildings require an additional level of scrutiny to determine products’ environmental impacts. Historically, evaluation of environmental impact relied on manufacturer claims. Now, independently conducted life cycle assessments (LCAs) and third-party-verified environmental product declarations (EPDs), such as the one recently published by CalStar Products, are becoming more common and are emerging as the best tool for comparing similar products’ environmental attributes.
LCAs and EPDs provide standardized methods for verifying manufacturers’ environmental claims and allow for accurate side-by-side product comparisons. As such, LCAs and EPDs are possibly the best way to prevent greenwashing.
What Is Product Benchmarking?
Product benchmarking is a baseline assessment of environmental impacts across all relevant categories, from extraction of raw materials to its end-of-life disposition. Benchmarking and quantification of environmental impacts are necessary elements of green building because they provide a truly transparent method of making apples-to-apples product comparisons. Accurate measurements of products’ environmental impacts enable reduction of the overall building’s environmental impact.
As with many fields, product transparency has its own specialized jargon:
The International Organization for Standardization—an independent body that creates the rules for how PCRs should be written and how LCAs should be conducted.
A product category rule (PCR) is the standardized method for conducting and reporting an LCA. The PCR ensures all products in a certain category are measured the same way and environmental impacts are quantified in the same way in each life cycle phase. The PCR defines boundaries for measurement—such as cradle-to-gate or cradle-to-grave—as well as the functional unit measured.
PCRs are developed using a consensus-based, collaborative, transparent process by industry experts and stakeholders; they are then verified by an expert review panel. The entire process must follow certain ISO guidelines.
At present, there are not a large number of PCRs, which can be expensive to develop. This is starting to change, however, and more PCRs are being developed each year as manufacturers and their representative associations recognize the growing need and demand for transparent product comparisons.
A life cycle assessment is an analysis of every component of a product’s manufacture and use. The life cycle includes raw material extraction and transportation to manufacturing site (extraction phase), manufacturing phase, transportation to jobsite and construction (construction phase), use phase, and end-of-life phase.
An ISO-compliant life cycle assessment is conducted by an independent third party, ensuring unbiased results and confidence by end users.
An environmental product declaration (EPD) is a document created by the manufacturer to show results of a life cycle assessment. It is verified by an expert and approved by a program operator. EPDs enable stakeholders to make accurate direct comparisons of environmental attributes—such as carbon footprint and embodied energy—of similar products. This enables stakeholders to assess products that have the same traditional attributes (e.g., strength, durability, cost) and choose the product with the lowest environmental impact of interest.
These three acronyms—PCRs, LCAs, and EPDs—work together: product category rules are developed; a life cycle assessment is performed according to the PCR; and an environmental product declaration publishes the results of the LCA.
• Impact Category
Impact categories describe the effect of a product life cycle (or individual phases) on specific areas of concern. Impact categories include, but are not limited to, global warming potential (a.k.a., carbon footprint), fossil fuel depletion (a.k.a., embodied energy), smog, and ozone depletion. PCRs define which impact categories must be reported in each EPD. Of course, EPDs can always report more impact categories than required by the PCR.
Boundaries are an important element in LCAs and associated EPDs. Simply put, where does the product system start and stop? Does the LCA consider the electricity used to power the plant and also the energy required to create that electricity? Does the EPD include cradle-to-grave impacts (i.e., all life cycle phases) or only cradle-to-gate impacts (i.e., limited to raw material extraction and manufacturing phases, but not construction, use, or end-of-life phases)?
CalStar’s EPD, released in November, details the results of an intensive, months-long life cycle assessment conducted by leading architectural firm and independent third party Perkins+Will. The resulting EPD was verified under the SMaRT© Certified rating system operated by the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS). The LCA is the first to be conducted within the brick category.
Data from the LCA found the cradle-to-gate CO2 emissions for a single CalStar brick to be 0.13 pounds, versus 0.81 pounds for a single clay brick (as noted in the NIST BEES Online database). For embodied energy, the LCA found the manufacture of a single CalStar brick requires 1,203 BTU of energy, while a traditional clay brick requires 6,251 BTU.
Based on these data, CalStar bricks deliver an 84% lower carbon footprint and use 81% less manufacturing energy, with similar aesthetics as traditional fired clay bricks.
ISO has requirements regarding which impact categories must be included in EPD impact category tables. For example, Figure 2 shows an impact category table from CalStar’s EPD. The items highlighted in purple are categories required by ISO, while the blue categories are additional categories required by the specific PCR used for the LCA for this EPD.
Using EPDs, environmental impacts can be compared directly, allowing for selection based on carbon footprint, embodied energy, etc., along with traditional specs such as price, color, and performance.
Ideally, in the future most products will have EPDs. At present, making accurate and meaningful comparisons of similar products can require a fair amount of effort from the stakeholder.
In some situations, there may be one EPD published for a specific product and generic industry data might be available for other products.
In other situations, when no life cycle data (or questionable life cycle data) are available, it can be worth contacting product manufacturers to ask questions regarding environmental impact. Even a high-level understanding of a manufacturing process can provide some insight into environmental impact. For example, if a product (such as a brick) requires days of high-temperature heat treatment, a user can determine the product likely has a high carbon footprint and embodied energy.
Even in the absence of EPDs or LCAs, it is important to gather environmental data for the products in your buildings. Such educated selections are perhaps the best way to avoid greenwashing and can play a significant role in reducing the environmental footprint of buildings before a single tenant takes occupancy. And as the demand for independent, standardized, verified product transparency information grows, the comparison process will get easier and easier.
CalStar’s environmental product declaration, released in November, confirmed that the company’s bricks emit 84% less CO2 and use 81% less energy during manufacture than clay bricks.
Figure 2: The impact table from CalStar’s EPD shows results from the LCA of CalStar’s brick. The items highlighted in purple are categories required by International Organization for Standardization (ISO), while the blue categories are additional categories required by the specific product category rule (PCR) used.
Three architects offer fresh facade strategies that can make even the largest expanses innovative and interesting.
While some projects are soaring masterpieces full of angles, elevations, and intricacies, a lot of what we design on a day-to-day basis is everyday structures—from hospitals to schools to retail parks—essential to the needs of the community but often lacking in inspiration.
But “everyday” needn’t equal “ho-hum.” By taking a fresh eye to your brick façades, it’s easy to find ways to mix materials, combine textures, and freshen up elevations to add visual interest to even the longest expanse or the boxiest of boxes.
Here, three architects and CalStar Products specifiers offer their tips for spicing up masonry exteriors.
Mike Baer, Neumann Smith Architecture
When Mike Baer approaches a façade design, he always calls to mind the words of his firm’s founding principals, Joel Smith, AIA and the late Ken Neumann, FAIA: “Masonry is made of little pieces, but when the pieces are put together, they make magic. You can line them up, turn them on end, angle them, curve them—the arrangements are endless.”
For example, at the Harry and Wanda Zekelman Campus in Oak Park, MI, Baer was able to visually transform a long, expansive single-story building by employing different materials and textures that break the structure down into distinct areas. His go-to strategies:
• Use different bond patterns. Corbeled units, Flemish bond, running bond, and stack bond can all be employed to visually separate different sections of a building. For example, he combined corbeling and Flemish bond in CalStar’s dark gray bricks, gradually increasing from one end to the other, to set off a massive 18-foot-by-50-foot study hall space.
• Mix colors into patterns. On Zekelman, Baer used two colors for the adjoining classrooms and cafeteria. For the classroom section, a swath of gray bricks is broken up by single rows of tangerine, while the adjoining cafeteria flips the scenario, with narrow rows of gray amid a sea of tangerine.
• Mix materials. Baer suggests breaking up long brick expanses with other materials or elevations. On Zekelman, Baer set off the entrance with aluminum, deep burgundy composite panels, and a two-story wall of glass that will someday be employed as a staircase for a future second level.
• But don’t mix too much. Much like mixing patterns on the fashion runway, don’t be tempted to do it all nor do the whole building in specialty patterns. It will look too busy.
• Use light materials for the base course. This will elevate the building almost as if it’s on a pedestal; a dark color will make the building look like it’s sinking.
Kent Utsurogi, Centerline Construction Services
As can be seen in the Lockport Express Medical building, architect Kent Utsurogi is an expert at making his industrial buildings stand out in a sea of suburban office parks. Perhaps it’s because he breaks the rules.
For example, unlike many architects, Utsurogi swears by utility bricks over modular for most commercial projects. Why? Cost. Modular bricks require 6.9 per square foot, while only 3 utility bricks are needed for the same amount of space. Fewer cuts for the mason means lower labor costs, which leaves more money for other design elements.
Another traditional element Utsurogi eschews is setting back windows, instead stretching the canvas and keeping the design as simple and modular if at all possible, which saves the cost of turning the brick at window and door openings. To add interest to the windows in the absence of setback, he employs sills in a different color.
Essential to breaking up box-like structures is having a distinctive bottom, middle, and top. For Lockport Medical, Utsurogi used manufactured stone for the base and base accents. CalStar’s dark red utility bricks make up the bulk of the façade, including a soldier course under the second-floor windows and full-height vertical pilasters framed with stack bond to create depth and visual interest. For the top detailing, EIFS was chosen for its lower cost and was segmented to look like precast concrete mimicking cut-stone patterns.
Lockport is also an example of how Utsurogi considers how the occupants and visitors perceive and use the building. A vertical row in a contrasting color around the entrance draws the eye to where the visitor is headed while putting a human scale to the full-height pilasters; corresponding accents on the corners define the structure’s boundaries. Finally, a two-story span of glass adds a final pop of modernity and contrast to the other, more uniform, windows.
Bob Goes, Matocha Associates
When he designed the Adult Down Syndrome Center on the campus of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Bob Goes relied on his elevations and materials to help provide a transition from between nearby homes and the hospital’s more modern buildings. The facility’s asphalt-shingle roof, gables—which scale down as you approach the entry—and stone and brick projections lend a residential quality to the Center, while CalStar modular bricks, in dark red, light red, and tangerine, relate to the adjacent campus building to the north.
Goes offers the following strategies for planning a façade:
• Blend three to four colors on an elevation; this is enough to create interest, but not so much that it gets busy and distracting.
• Don’t put stone on top of brick. Even if the brick is a lighter color, the stone feels heavier and will visually weigh the building down.
• Don’t change materials on an exterior corner. Different materials expand/contract at different rates, so an outside joint with differing materials is going to require a lot of caulk; interior corners are preferred for transitions. Some villages don’t even allow it.
• Plan joint locations ahead of time; otherwise, the installer will put it anywhere, such as in a bad spot like in the center of a gabled end. This necessary detail can actually enhance the elevation if planned appropriately.
• Set off the bottom: Include a base course of differing material to provide a clear delineation of where the building meets the ground.
Click the links below to view full case studies of the projects above:
CalStar Products’ bricks, pavers, Thru-Wall units, and cast stone offer a dramatically lower footprint than traditional products–using 81% less energy during manufacture and emitting 84% less CO2. At the same time, they cost up to 10% less.
CalStar Products’ article on product benchmarking, based on Julie Rapoport’s Greenbuild presentation, has been published in the March issue of Construction Specifier.
CalStar Products was included in this month’s Residential Building Products & Technology, in its feature on innovations.
Walgreens Sets Goal to Build Nation’s First Net Zero Energy Retail Store in Evanston, Ill.
By utilizing solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal technology, engineers anticipate the new store will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes
DEERFIELD, Ill., March 7, 2013 – Walgreens today announced plans to build what the company believes will be the nation’s first net zero energy retail store, which engineers predict will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes. Walgreens plans to achieve that by utilizing solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration.
“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology,” said Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president of facilities development. “We are investing in developing a net-zero store so we can learn the best way to bring these features to our other stores. Because we operate 8,000 stores, we believe our pursuit of green technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation’s environment.”
The store will be located in Evanston, Ill., at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street, where demolition of an existing Walgreens store now is under way. The Chicago-area location will allow convenient access for Walgreens engineers based at the company’s headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., to measure the store’s performance for an entire year to determine if the store reaches its goal of net zero energy use.
Walgreens plans to generate electricity and reduce its usage by more than 40 percent through several technologies in the store including:
- more than 800 roof-top solar panels,
- two wind turbines,
- geothermal energy obtained by drilling 550-feet into the ground below the store, where temperatures are more constant and can be tapped to heat or cool the store in winter and summer,
- LED lighting and daylight harvesting,
- carbon dioxide refrigerant for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment,
- and energy efficient building materials.
Engineering estimates — which can vary due to factors such as weather, store operations and systems performance — indicate that the store will use 200,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 256,000 kilowatt hours per year.
Over the past year, Walgreens engineers have worked with the city of Evanston and vendors, including Trane, CREE Lighting, Acuity Lighting, Cooper Lighting, CalStar Products, GE Lighting, Geothermal International, SoCore Energy, Wing Power and Camburas and Theodore Architects.
“This planned building development reflects the City of Evanston’s ongoing commitment to the constant improvement of sustainable practices in the natural and built environment and will serve as an excellent example of how responsible development and the environment can be harmoniously combined,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “Green building is important to Evanston as it is good for business, good for the environment, good for our health and essential to our future. We are honored that Walgreens has chosen our community to build the nation’s first net zero energy retail store that will be LEED certified as well.”
Walgreens will attempt to have the store achieve LEED Platinum status, which is the most stringent green designation by the U. S. Green Building Council, and plans to enter the store into the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge. The store will be Walgreens second showcase project in the Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Walgreens has committed to a chain wide 20 percent energy reduction by 2020.
“Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge are leading by example, showing firsthand how energy efficient buildings save money by saving energy,” said David Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy. “The investments made through the Better Buildings Challenge are helping to cut energy waste while saving millions in energy costs, creating jobs nationwide and helping to position the United States to lead in the global economy.”
The project is the latest of many green initiatives for the company. Walgreens currently operates two stores that have achieved a LEED certification level of gold and certified; 150 stores utilizing solar power, a store in Oak Park, Ill., using geothermal energy; a distribution center in Waxahachie, Texas, that generates energy though the use of wind; and 400 locations with electric vehicle charging stations. Walgreens stores use 25 watt fluorescent lamps (lowest wattage in the industry), LED cooler and freezer lighting and energy management systems in more than 5,000 locations. In addition, 15 Walgreens distribution centers have achieved net zero waste, which means revenues from recycling exceed waste expense.
To follow the new store’s two-year journey to achieve net zero status and the company’s other green initiatives, visit the Net Zero Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Walgreens-Net-Zero-Community/141953242640364?fref=ts
About PURE Walgreens
The company’s corporate sustainability program, “PURE Walgreens – For the health and wellness of our planet,” focuses on helping customers get, stay and live well through innovative leadership in corporate sustainability. In support of “People Using Resources Efficiently,” PURE Walgreens programs focus on making Walgreens a leader in resource conservation, carbon emissions reduction and waste diversion.
As the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,071 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements. Statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “expect,” “likely,” “outlook,” “forecast, “would,” “could,” “should,” “can,” “will,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “continue,” “sustain,” “synergy,” “on track,” “believe,” “seek,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “may,” “possible,” “assume,” variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is incorporated herein by reference, and in other documents that we file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by such forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Except to the extent required by law, Walgreens does not undertake, and expressly disclaims, any duty or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the initial distribution of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.
MTS (Market Transformation to Sustainability) has been named a supporter of the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products. MTS’s SMaRT© EPDs offers a compliance path for meeting the challenge through quantification of a product’s carbon footprint.