Archive for August, 2011

PROSOCO’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Dwayne Fuhlhage offers this perspective on proposed revisions to Indoor Environmental Quality requirements in the draft version of LEED 2012.

LEED 2012 Second Public Comment Period

by Dwayne Fuhlhage, CHMM; Regulatory Affairs Director

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released the second draft of LEED 2012 for stakeholder review and comment by Sept. 14, 2011.

With final adoption of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) on the horizon and the Living Building Challenge nipping at its heels, the USGBC is focused on taking green building to the next level.

The proposed revision substantially increases Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) requirements for coatings, sealants and adhesives by moving from proof of regulatory VOC compliance to passing emissions testing.

If you found this blog entry after the comment deadline, keep reading.

USGBC will be listening to stakeholders well past the deadline. GREENBUILD will feature a LEED 2012 lounge where attendees can talk with USGBC staff and Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) members directly. Each TAG, including the IEQ TAG, will have scheduled times to discuss specific credit areas.

The USGBC was among the first to reward use of small-chamber VOC emissions testing by providing an EQ credit path in LEED for Schools. This was PROSOCO’s primary reason for being an early adopter (in the coatings industry) with our SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certified Consolideck products.

By contrast, LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovation calls out compliance with the 2004 version of SCAQMD Rule 1113 as the path to credit.

The LEED 2012 approach includes a substantive revision and realignment of the EQ credit system, including the EQ Credit for Low-Emitting Interiors as summarized:

• The only path to credit is through independent small chamber emissions testing of products utilized in building interiors. The cited method is the California Department of Public Health’s Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions for Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, Version 1.1.

• The credit rolls all interior products into one systems approach.

• The credit provides 1-3 points based on the percentage of combined interior surface area that is tested and demonstrated to be conformant (50% = 1 point, 70% = 2 points, 90% = 3 points).

• Conformance determination includes every layer in the system.

School example
I talked with someone who helped write the draft to better understand how the layer approach works. I’ll use a school floor as an example.

Many schools contain a mixture of finished and decorative concrete and various coverings such as carpet and resilient materials. Throw in a locker room, a wood floored gymnasium and swimming pool and the materials list gets quite a bit longer.

Our theoretical school then has the following materials: carpet, linoleum, recycled rubber tiles, concrete curing compound, concrete stain, concrete hardener, concrete finish, epoxy in the locker rooms and laboratories, control joint sealants, a swimming pool coating, and high-durability wood coating and line striping for the gym.

In order to contribute to credit, every one of these materials would require testing. Any area with multiple layers where any one layer is not tested would not be eligible for credit.

To put that in perspective, a floor might have a general application of a curing compound and a hardener with carpet and adhesive applied over it. Even if every other material is tested, an adhesive that was not CDPH tested would cause that entire area to not count towards the credit thresholds.

Some non-conformant products allowed
The credit’s tiered point approach does allow for some non-conformant products. That’s a good thing from my perspective. I’ve received multiple inquiries from LEED project team members looking for miscellaneous specialty coatings for LEED for Schools projects.

Sometimes we can help; sometimes we can’t. PROSOCO has concrete flatwork pretty well covered, but the volume of anti-graffiti coatings we could sell for the occasional interior CMU specification doesn’t merit the $2,800 outlay for CDPH chamber testing.

From a general perspective, LEED for Schools has proved to be an interesting proving ground for the CDPH emissions approach. Apparently, enough project teams were having problems finding products that the USGBC Executive Committee approved an alternative approach allowing compliance with South Coast Rule 1113 to gain credit (LEED for Schools PIEACP dated July 7, 2008).

Many of the questions posted on the LEEDUser forum on this topic relate to proper regulatory categorization of coatings as opposed to finding conformant CDPH tested products. See LEEDUser Schools IEQc4.2

This leads to fundamental questions: Is the existing LEED for Schools IEQ Credit 4.2 working as intended? Is it a good model for all new construction and major renovations certifying or specifying to LEED standards?

I think conformant specialty coatings will remain difficult to find. Some manufacturers will get out ahead and have the testing done, but for small-volume niche products or formulations adjusted often based on raw materials availability or regulatory drivers, the economics may not work out.

What do you think?

I’d like to hear from readers and USGBC wants to hear from stakeholders. You have two avenues for formal comments. The traditional route is through the USGBC website at LEED Rating System Development

The new, interactive route is through the LEEDUser forums. USGBC will consider substantive comments from the forums. Here’s an overview.

In a recent member’s only webinar on the new MR credit system, USGBC staff reiterated their desire to get LEED 2012 right. There may or may not be a third comment period.

In addition to the LEED 2012 lounge, they are encouraging hallway conversations at GREENBUILD in Toronto to help gain insights in to what moves the bar without breaking it. Assuming my Passport comes in time, maybe I’ll see you there.

I can be contacted at dwayne.fuhlhage@prosoco.com or by toll-free phone at PROSOCO’s corporate office – 800-255-4255.

About the Author: Dwayne Fuhlhage is the corporate regulatory manager for PROSOCO. Dwayne is a member of the USGBC LEED IEQ Technical Advisory Group, ASTM E60 Committee on Sustainability and the ASTM D22.05Committee on Indoor Air Quality. Dwayne serves as PROSOCO’s representative to the American Coatings Association and the Consumer Specialty Products Association where he participates in various VOC, environmental marketing and chemicals management policy committees.
# # #

Read Full Post »

Photos courtesy John Cavalieri, Mara Restoration

Cleaned (top) and uncleaned sections of the West elevation of Kingston Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., present a definite contrast.

Stimulus funds paid for a new roof for Kingston Armory’s drill hall, and restoration cleaning and repairs of its upper stories — about 15 percent of the approximately 68,000 square foot building.

While the other 85 percent waits on the vagaries of funding, Kingston Armory, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., is a poster child for the difference skilled restoration specialists can make.

Built in 1923 and designed by local architect Thomas H. Atherton, the Classical Revivalist building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s no monument, though — Kingston Armory is working architecture. It houses three Army units — a service company and two field artillery units. When not pulling military duty, the armory hosts circuses, motorsports events and other shows.

The cleaned and uncleaned West elevation of the armory serves as a backdrop for this monument to 33 men of the 109th Field Artillery who were killed in 1950 in a train collision. One of the longest continuously serving Army units, the 109th is still based out of Kingston Armory.

Mara Restoration, Oreland, Pa., was tapped to develop and implement cleaning and repair plans for the building. It needed both, said MARA Project Manager John Cavalieri.

The Mara crew began in late Winter 2009, cutting out failed mortar joints in preparation for Spring 2010, when warmer weather would let them go to work in earnest.

As Spring rolled in, Mara got busy. A cleaning team addressed the dirty masonry in sections about 40 feet wide with masons following, repointing and raking the joints they’d cut out in the winter. The repointing team used a special Spec Mix mortar to replicate the aggregate-heavy original raked historic mortar joints.

They used Sure Klean VanaTrol, a specialized PROSOCO new construction cleaner to expose the aggregate and clarify the mortar joints. VanaTrol is a contraction of the terms “vanadium” — a kind of staining that can occur on certain light-colored bricks — and “control.”

The cleaning crew in front of them used Sure Klean 766 Limestone & Masonry Prewash and Limestone Afterwash to remove the accumulated “black muck” from both limestone and brick. The powerful alkaline prewash is safe for sensitive calcareous stones and clay brick alike, though it’s death on carbon staining.

The mildly acidic afterwash neutralizes any left over alkalinity from the prewash, and adds an additional cleaning-brightening effect of its own.

Though the brick was uniformly dirty, the limestone was a mixed bag. Where overhangs protected the stone, it stayed clean, John said. Where exposed, the stone slowly darkened to the slightly sick shade of gray it bore until cleaned.

Some of the Kingston Armory limestone managed to stay clean.

The Mara cleaning crew got rid of the staining with alkaline 766 Limestone & Masonry Prewash followed by mildly acidic Limestone & Masonry Afterwash -- a one-two combination punch.

The Mara crew applied the cleaners with rollers and paint brushes, scrubbing to get all the nooks and crannies. They rinsed the spent cleaner and dissolved contaminants off the wall with low-pressure water — about 600 psi, John said.

Thick and dark was how the water came off the wall, John said. The crew caught the rinse water and its cargo of emulsified grime in collection areas of rubbery EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofing membrane. Then they pumped it into closed containers for transport to a disposal facility.

In addition to repointing and cleaning, the Mara team also replaced a badly cracked limestone crosspiece in windows on the front elevation, craning it up and muscling it into place.

John couldn’t say exactly how much the piece weighed, but at 10 feet long, 8 inches high and 6 inches deep, it was a heavy piece he said. They got it into place without distrubing the windows.

Come to Poppa! The Mara crew cranes in a massive piece of limestone to replace a badly cracked original window crosspiece during restoration of the upper stories of the Kingston Armory.

Mara also replaced about 140 smaller 4 x 2 foot — but still heavy — capstones running the length of the upper story, as well as recaulking 22 windows, 8 x 10 feet, including the one with the new limestone crosspiece.

Kenseal Construction Products, Folcroft, Pa., and TB Philly, Phoenixville, Pa. supplied the project.

“Mara did a beautiful job,” commented supervising architect Mark Schwager, of the Design Division of Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services, the Armory’s owner. “From the way they recreated the historic raked mortar joints and exposed the aggregate, to the cleaning, repair and replacement of the deteriorated limestone, Mara set the standard for the continuing restoration of the Armory.”

“We’ve gotten great feedback,” says John. “People say the upper stories look phenomenal. They just want to know when we’re going to do the rest of the building.”

# # #

Mara restoration specialists shove limestone coping into place.

Read Full Post »

In our new video, handyman Ted Barnekoff shows how fast and easy it is to install a seamless, continuous, breathable air & waterproof barrier that keeps water out of walls in all conditions from mild Spring day to Category 5 hurricane. Click the arrow to play! Did I mention it was fast and easy?

Just about any air barrier will perform ok under perfect conditions, if it is installed precisely following manufacturer’s instructions.

Alas, in the real world conditions are seldom perfect. Peel and stick membranes will delaminate when their adhesives dry out, high winds will rip building wraps off their staples, and fluid-applied barriers usually have to be done over again when construction delays leave them exposed to the weather for a month or two.

Hmm, this building wrap doesn't seem to be staying on the structural wall very well. In defense of the wrap, there was a breeze that day.

If you get a rainy period that keeps the OSB, Densglass or other structural wall or CMU backing damp for awhile, you can’t even install most fluid-applied or peel and stick membranes. Dampness interferes with adhesion.

If the membrane is an impermeable vapor barrier, the moisture will be trapped. The structural wall will decay when it can’t dry out. If the water in the wall can’t get to the outside, it may migrate toward the inside, giving you water stains on the living space walls, among other problems.

This photo shows severe water damage at a rough opening flashed with a non-vapor-permeable peel and stick membrane. If vapor-permeable materials had been used, the wood could have dried out and the damage wouldn’t have occurred.

Air barrier installation should be simple and easy. You should be able to install it whether the surface is damp or dry. If damp, the air barrier should let the wall dry out. If dry, the air barrier should prevent the wall from getting wet, even before the cladding goes up — even in extreme weather.

And it needs stay good in the face of weather — even extreme weather — and sunlight, for months in case of construction delays.

Air barrier products and installation must meet these requirements, not because industry standards demand them — they should, but they don’t. It’s the real world that demands that common-sense level of performance.

When products and procedures don’t match up to real-world demands, one of two things can happen.

(a) you get lucky because details of construction such as overhangs may help keep water out that would’ve otherwise gotten past an air barrier that doesn’t meet real-world requirements.

(b) you put yourself in the hands of the unhappy, multi-billion dollar construction-litigation industry. The good news is — you’ll have plenty of company.

This rant was actually not the point of this blog post. It was really just to share this cool video our videographer John Young made about how quick and easy our FastFlash air and waterproof barrier is to install. It DOES meet all those real-world requirements, btw.

And yours truly has a cameo in the video as the orange-shirted helper who assists with window installation.

I begged for a speaking part, but no. Maybe in the next one.

# # #

Read Full Post »

Ben Jones, certified walkway specialist, tests concrete floors at PROSOCO for slip resistance. The good news was -- we passed! There was no bad news. photo courtesy Tom Stalnaker

Highly polished concrete floors are beautiful — eye candy, in fact. But let’s face it — they look slippery.

It’s a fact, established time and again that polished concrete floors are NOT slippery. But the erroneous perception, because they are glossy and reflective, is that they are.

It’s possible that perception wouldn’t be a problem if falls weren’t the “leading cause of nonfatal medically attended injuries in the United States,” as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

OSHA reports slips, trips and falls compose the majority of industrial accidents, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of death. The cost, from litigation, medical bills, workers comp and other costs is in the tens of billions of dollars annually, according to the National Floor Safety Institute.

Though beautiful, polished concrete floors, like this Consolideck concrete floor in Blackhawk Church, Madison, Wis., can have an undeserved rep for being slippery. Erik Hendrickson photo

That kind of pie makes slip and fall claims a tempting target for scam artists. A popular scam, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) has two people splitting up in a big box store.

One acts as lookout while the other spills some liquid on the floor and pretends to fall and be hurt.

The lookout runs to help and is the “witness.” Many retailers, who are self-insured, will cut a check without looking further. They see at it as just another business cost, the NCIB said in an Aug. 24, 2010 press release.

These facts might have something to do with why many specifications require finished concrete floors and flooring products to meet benchmarks for traction and slip-resistance such as ANSI B101.1 Standard for Walkway Surfaces.

I don’t know what the legalities are, and they probably very from state to state. One thing I do know is that in any slip and fall claim investigation, the incident walking surface will likely be tested for static or dynamic coefficient of friction (SCOF or DCOF), which is basically how much traction the floor offers.

If it’s under a certain standard, liability may go up — the floor owner’s liability and possibly the liability of anyone connected with installing the floor. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) both set that number at Static Coefficient of 0.6 for wet concrete floors.

That’s why it was super news to us at PROSOCO, that finished concrete floors treated with Consolideck LS (lithium-silicate) Hardener/Densifier and LSGuard, micro-thin glossy lithium-silicate protective treatment tested out at numbers considerably higher than the ADA and NSFI safety standard.

Certified Walkway Specialist Ben Jones of testing organization NU-SAFE Floor Solutions, Walton, Ky., tested the floors according to ANSI B101.1 Standard for Walkway Surfaces including using the specified BOT 3000 Tribometer. The standard calls for testing floors wet, since wet floors are the ones people seem to slip on most often.

It might look slippery, but this Consolideck polished concrete floor tested out well above required ADA and NSFI standards, using ANSI B101.1 test procedures. John Young photo

His conclusion:
“The wet static coefficient of friction as referenced in the ANSI B101.1 standard far exceeded the ‘High Traction Range’ for wet surfaces. Each zone tested demonstrated that the wet coefficient of friction in each zone would provide a very safe walkway surface, even when wet and contaminated.”

Other Consolideck products included in the tests, and in the high marks:

LS/CS Lithium-Silicate Hardener/Densifier
SLX100 Oil & Water Repellent – penetrating protective treatment
PolishGuard – glossy protective treatment for polished concrete floors subject to spills of acidic liquids

This is good news, not just for us, but for design professionals who specify our Consolideck products, and the applicators who install them. It means our products meet those specifications.

It’s also good news for owners of floors. While no one can guarantee which way a damage claim might go, it can only help if the investigation following an accident shows that the floor exceeds standards for slip-resistance.

# # #

Read Full Post »