April 2020

Side-by-Side Comparison in Efficiency

Minnesota is hitting new heights when it comes to green energy standards. The state’s first-ever Passive House multifamily development, Hook & Ladder Apartments, opened October 2019 in northeast Minneapolis. It is set to prove just how much of a difference Passive House construction can make in operations cost and occupant comfort compared to buildings designed to conventional energy codes.To create a real-time project demo, lhb Architects designed the complex as a side-by-side experiment with two adjacent, nearly identical apartment buildings. One set of the look alike apartment buildings is built to state energy code specifications, the other to the Passive House Institute U.S. (

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Winter-Proof Walls

Winters in Traverse City can be brutal, so when planning its proposed four-story, 47,000-sq.-ft. Trailside45 apartment building in the northern Michigan town, owner, developer, contractor and operator, Westwind Construction, knew it needed a durable, energy-efficient exterior wall system that would also be attractive and easy to maintain. At first, the company tried life-sized samples of a stenciled brick design for the exterior wall. That didn’t achieve the look the design team wanted, so it explored other options.“We envisioned a modern, contemporary design and wanted a versatile exterior appearance, using as many textures as possible to provide exterior character,” said

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Floor-to-Ceiling Inspiration in Seattle

Located in Seattle’s thriving and diverse South Lake Union neighborhood, 9th and Thomas provides a welcoming presence for the growing population of downtown Seattle and serves as a model for sustainable building design.The 12-story, 230,000-sq.-ft. office-retail complex, certified as LEED Gold, features an ultra-low-energy HVAC design, chilled beams that heat and cool with minimal airflow, a heat-recovery chiller that “pumps” heat from hot to cold spaces, and a dedicated outdoor air system that provides increased fresh air ventilation to all spaces. Designed by Olson Kundig Architects, the building also includes 12,000 sq. ft. of flexible, interconnected retail sp

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Clip It

ExoClad Rainscreen QuickClips accommodate natural swelling and shrinkage of wood siding throughout the year. The devices compress to absorb wood’s expansion during humid periods and then move boards back into place during dryer periods. They are designed to work with a range of wood materials and provide a 0.75-in. stand-off from the structure. They can be drilled directly into studs over building wrap, eliminating the need for furring strips.

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On the Dot

DOT Series microcylinder fixtures take minimalism to new levels, with 1.5-in., 2.5-in. and 3.5-in. aperture housings. Additionally, specifiers have two new mounting options with these products, includinga proprietary power-line system and a surface adjustable mount. Lumen output ranges from 800 lm to 2000 lm, depending on aperture size.

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World’s First Precast Products Manufactured with CO2-Cured Solidia Concrete

EP Henry, in collaboration with Solidia Technologies, a cement and concrete technology start-up, has introduced the world’s first products made with low-carbon Solidia Concrete. Using LafargeHolcim’s Solidia Cement as its base, which requires lower temperatures during production and thereby emits less carbon, Solidia Concrete products are cured with CO2 instead of water, reducing their overall carbon footprint up to 70% compared to traditional concrete.Through their combined research and development efforts, the firms demonstrated the many benefits of Solidia Concrete over traditional ordinary Portland cement-based products, including enhanced color vibrancy, the near elimination

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In Between the Lines

The lines between humanity and technology are blurring, yet nature remains a grounding factor. It’s this “blurred lines” theme that serves as the basis for SurfaceSet 2020, a collection of new woodgrains, solids and patterned Formica Laminate designs intended to help interior designers create beautiful and functional spaces. A combination of raw elements and natural warmth give this palette a familiar sense of security with a hint of exploratory wonder.

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On the Verge

Enhancing the distinctive Verge washbasin is a new line of matching soap dispensers and faucets. Products incorporate advanced sensing technology for reliability and durability. Soap dispensers and faucets include hidden sensors to deter tampering, optimized sensing to eliminate false activations, longer spouts for increased hand-washing space, and cast brass spout construction.

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Sleek and Subtle

Swapping out the traditional lever handle with a cylindrical cap, users turn on the Bel Canto faucet by pressing and twisting to adjust the temperature. Available in 8.5-in. and 14.875-in. heights, the sleek fixture can be specified in 28 finishes including matte black, French gold and satin nickel, and with matching or contrasting cap finishes.

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High Class

Meeting architects’ needs for customization, the modular Class vanity system can be scaled to one or two sinks in a range of color and finished options. Streamlined matte black metal frames offer a clean look, and the cabinet and drawer inserts come in wood or one of 36 matte and glossy lacquered finishes. Countertops are available in glossy glass or frosted glass in one of 36 colors, with a new pure white milk glass option.

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