Top 10 trends in green building for 2014
What are the major trends likely to affect the green building industry and markets in the U.S. in 2014? As one of the world's leading green building consultants, keynote speakers and authors, Jerry Yudelson thinks he knows the answers. In fact, his Top 10 list of green building megatrends has become an annual event.
At the top of Yudelson's 2014 list is the prediction that Green building in North America will continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction. “Green building is the tsunami of the future that will inundate the entire real estate industry,” says Yudelson.
The second trend on the list is the growing focus on energy efficiency in all kinds of buildings, including the increasing role of building automation for energy efficiency using cloud-based systems. “The convergence of corporate and commercial real estate, information technology that is based in the Cloud, and energy efficiency leads my list of new green building megatrends for 2014,” Yudelson says.
The third trend is the design and operation of zero-net-energy buildings. “We know that green building has hit the mainstream. To distinguish themselves, many building owners and developers are taking the logical next step: getting to zero net energy on an annual basis; Why? The most widespread reason is that more people than ever believe it's the right thing to do,” Yudelson says.
Rounding out Yudelson's top 10 trends for green building in 2014 are the following:
- LEED will attract competitors as never before. One reason: Recent Obama Administration actions have now put this system on a par with LEED for federal projects.
- The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings. This trend has been in place since 2010. Yudelson predicts that more than 500 existing federal buildings will seek green building ratings in 2014.
- Green buildings will increasingly be designed and managed by innovative information technologies that are based in the "Cloud." In fact, Yudelson calls 2014, "The Year of the Cloud," for how quickly this trend will become fully established.
- Green building performance disclosure will continue as a major trend, highlighted by disclosure requirements enacted in 2013 by more than 30 major cities around the country, laws that require commercial building owners to disclose actual green building performance.
- Healthy building products, product disclosure declarations, along with various “Red Lists” of chemicals of concern, will become increasingly contentious, as manifested through such tools as Health product declarations.
- Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. Yudelson expects that third-party financing offerings will continue to grow and provide capital for larger rooftop systems on low-rise commercial buildings, parking garages, warehouses and retail stores, as well as on homes.
- Yudelson says, “Awareness of the coming crisis in fresh water supply, both globally and in the U.S., will increase, as global climate change affects rainfall and water supply systems worldwide.”
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.