Multi-Attribute Products and a Plug for “Green Suite”

 

PORTLAND VA MEDICAL CENTER, Portland, Oreg. 

Shouldering the Burden

Similarly, the challenge of specifying more environmentally friendly products has fallen on the shoulders of designers. “It takes time to research products and to talk with manufacturers, which is a challenge given the fast pace of construction,”says Anne Garrity, LEED AP, associate, Shepley Buffnch, Boston.
To help navigate this much uncharted process, Shepley Bulfinch actively taps into its firm’s collective knowledge, product research and collaboration with colleagues in the design community.
For example, seven Boston based healthcare architectural firms, which are a part of the non-profit Partners HealthcCare, get together bi-monthly to develop a “well-patient” room design. “Together, we have explored concepts, details and products, with the goal of eliminating hospital-acquired infections.” relates Garrity.
The longer-term plan is to build mock-up patient rooms to test out hypothesis about health/sustainable materials.
Garrity notes the group is made up of competitors, but these firms have come together to help solve an important issue in healthcare, recognizing that their collective knowledge is greater than what any one firm could achieve individually.
That said, Gensler is working on its own initiative to stream a process for a one-stop shop location for material comparisons. “It is an integrated technology platform that will work with several of the various platforms out there, and will help designers remove layers of complexity to better navigate this process,” explains Alyssa Schoiz, regional, regional director of health and wellness, Gensler, Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Jane M. Rohde, AIA, LEED AP BD-C, FIDA, ASID, ACHA, CHID, GGA-CIEB, JSR Assocs., Elliott City, Mtd. Says her firm typically seeks out multi-attribute certifications and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to help reduce time spent researching products.
She adds that the Green Building Initiative has been focusing on creating a process for completing a risk assessment based upon intended use and exposure, as opposed to a deselection “hazard only” approach. “This comprehensive approach is the direction of the future in regard to product selection,” she says.

GREEN CERTIFIED “With healthy products and materials contributing to the design of the Portland VA Medical Center, the facility scored 838.5 points (83.85%), the equivalent of three Green Globes for Continual Improvement of Existing Building certification. 

As for manufacturers, Rhode encourages tapping into GreenSuite, which is a risk assessment tool and comprehensive way of evaluating the health and environmental impact of a particular product.
Sharing Kaiser’s product selection process, Gerwig relates that at the beginning of a new vendor relationship, potential suppliers are provided with a Letter of Understanding and an Environmental Scorecard. “They then submit all their products to a database that helps us to evaluate them alongside other options.”

Watch: Solar Optimum adds 780-kW SunPower system across Laguna Woods Village

SunPower Elite Dealer Solar Optimum is helping Orange County’s premier senior living community Laguna Woods Village embrace energy efficiency by installing an aggregate total of approximately 780 kW DC, producing 1,337,333 kWH, offsetting the common area load that the community was paying high Southern California Edison electricity bills for. This “Best in Class” project is the largest SunPower Helix project interconnected in the west coast in 2017.

The project consists of 12 buildings which were occupied while the work was performed and Solar Optimum used the SunPower Helix dual tilt PV solar system, which notably is the highest density solar system on the market today. The cutting-edge technology sped up the process and Solar Optimum’s rigorous safety measures made it possible to install while tenants occupied the facilities.

This was the most complicated virtual net metering project ever processed by Southern California Edison with over 550 benefiting meters offset by 800 kW on 12 sites. A typical virtual net metering project has a mere 10 to 20 meters with just one rather than 12 connection points. Southern California Edison requires meters to be lined up with parcels. “With such a large project, it was like a Rubik’s cube lining it all up. All sides are green now,” exclaims Gene Okun, Solar Optimum’s commercial project manager.

“Our goal was to get the project installed to meet the looming net metering 1.0 deadline, when rates on solar energy credit would rise and cost the community an additional $15,000 per month in meter fees,” says Gene Okun. “Solar Optimum and SunPower managed the deadline successfully, despite the size and complexity of the project. We are pleased with the results.”

The Solar Optimum team had to tackle the small sizes of the host buildings which made power density critical. “We were originally planning for 16 buildings as host sites, but the SunPower Helix system made it possible for us to get all that power in 12 buildings,” says Bill McNeese, director of business development at Solar Optimum. “This gave us the competitive advantage, reducing the number of roofs needing to be replaced by the community. When the cost-benefit analysis was complete, the board unanimously selected Solar Optimum and SunPower Helix.”

“We realized that Laguna Woods Village had other very competitive proposals but were confident in our ability to deliver the project within the tight timeframe despite its complexities and engineering challenges,” says Gene Okun. “With the success of Laguna Woods Village, we look forward to expanding our commercial portfolio and taking on new challenges in the Southern California market.”

— Solar Builder magazine

EnerBank to offer ‘PowerLoans’ to lower solar install payments for homeowners

solar loan

Need some new financing options for your customers? EnerBank USA introduced its 12 and 20-Year PowerLoan with an optional re-amortization feature for Solar PV projects. Annual percentage rates (APRs) for 12-Year PowerLoan is 1.99%, 2.99%, and 3.99%; 20-Year PowerLoan APRs are 4.99% and 5.99%. Minimum and maximum loan amounts are $15,000 and $65,000, respectively, on approved credit.

“We want to make it easier for contractors to sell solar PV panels,” said Charlie Knadler, president and CEO of EnerBank. “These loans give homeowners even more flexibility in how they can finance their solar projects by providing monthly loan payments that are comparable to their monthly electric utility bills.”

Who is EnerBank?

For over 15 years, EnerBank USA has helped home improvement contractors grow their businesses and enabled homeowners to achieve their remodeling dreams. Through mobile, online and phone application choices, homeowners get a credit decision in minutes, making for higher close rates, and bigger jobs for contractors. Homeowners enjoy Same-As-Cash loans and low interest, low monthly payment loans, while contractors improve their bottom line. EnerBank USA is a fair housing lender and makes loans without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. Visit  for more information.

What is a PowerLoan?

These new loans are specifically for homeowners who want to use their solar tax credit to pay off a portion of the principal amount—in a lump sum within the first 18 months of their loan—to lower their monthly payments while retaining the loan’s original interest rate and terms.

To re-amortize their PowerLoan, homeowners simply request a re-amortization of their loan online at enerbank.com after making a minimum lump sum payment equal to at least 15% of the original loan amount. There is a modest $150 fee to be paid by borrowers to re-amortize their loan.

“Keeping consumers’ monthly payments low and giving them the flexibility to use their tax incentives how they choose will help the solar industry continue to increase sales to consumers,” Knadler said. “A flex loan option, paying contractors up to 50% of the project’s loan upfront, is also available to help improve a contractor’s cash flow. That’s why we’re excited to be providing this new loan option to solar contractors.”

During the current slight slowdown in rooftop solar PV sales in the United States, according to industry reports, solar contractors who offer a choice of payment options are more likely to close more sales in a competitive market. In addition to the new PowerLoan, EnerBank offers a variety of other solar loans such as Same-As-Cash and low interest loans with fixed monthly payments. The bank’s innovative Combo Loan continues to be a very popular option.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

GCL showcased black silicon, PERC and diamond wiring PV modules at SPI

GCL-booth-at-SPI

GCL-SI attended Solar Power International Exhibition (GCL System)

GCL System Integration Technology, a subsidiary of GCL, has been developing solar modules that utilize new technologies, specifically black silicon, PERC and diamond wiring. At SPI, the company showcased its latest products, including the Black Silicon 5 Busbar (5BB), Multi-Busbar (MBB) and Double-glass modules. The solar modules with these new technologies are all in a 72-cell format in each configuration.

“To differentiate from other solar energy companies, GCL-SI is able to provide high performance modules at a competitive price to the U.S. market due to the great advantage from integrated industrial chain of the GCL group,” explains Dong Shuguang, Executive President. “GCL-SI also offers design, product, service, finance, and operations as a whole.”

He further described that after their opening of a factory in Vietnam, the company is now able to provide 600 MW high-efficiency PERC modules to meet the requirements of the American market.

GCL-SI’s black silicon and PERC solar modules are based on multi-crystalline silicon. Dong adds that GCL-SI will maintain its focus on developing modules using multi-crystalline silicon, while continually researching more innovative ways to integrate black silicon, PERC and diamond wiring. The results will lead to lower costs and increase the efficiency of solar modules. If people are able to harness the full potential of the multi-crystalline material, that would ultimately contribute to broader adoption of solar energy by lowering the LCOE.

Vote here for the 2017 Solar Builder Project of the Year

— Solar Builder magazine

Goldman Sachs to buy $300 million home solar loans from Mosaic

Mosaic solar financing

Goldman Sachs Bank and Mosaic, a provider of home solar financing solutions, have announced a purchase commitment in which GS Bank will buy $300 million in home solar loans originated by Mosaic. The commitment increases Mosaic’s available future loan funding commitments from banks and credit unions to $800 million. This is in addition to $650 million of committed borrowing capacity provided by Mosaic’s existing warehouse partners.

Mosaic makes financing solar energy systems accessible and affordable for homeowners by providing the simplest borrower experience in the industry. Mosaic has originated over $1 billion of loans to date. Customers are connected to top solar installers and can qualify instantly for no money down loans with fixed interest rates and multiple term options. For solar installers, Mosaic provides a streamlined financing platform to drive sales growth. Since 2012, Mosaic has helped over tens of thousands people go solar with a network of over 125 installers.

— Solar Builder magazine