Concrete Goes Green with Graphene

graphene concrete

Concrete is the world’s most widely used construction material. Cement production accounts for 5% of man made carbon dioxide emissions produced globally. In the era of climate change, this has got scientists thinking and rethinking concrete.

A team of scientists in the UK have come up with a new concrete formula that can actually trap greenhouse gasses. Additionally, this new formula of concrete can self-seal cracks as they form. The secret to this new concrete that is being developed at the University of Exeter, is the introduction of microscopic flakes of graphene. Graphene is one of the world’s strongest materials. With the added graphene, the concrete compound is actually stronger than regular concrete. Because it is stronger, less material would need to be used, opening up possibilities for new designs, and overall reducing the amount of materials needed for a given structure.

This new “green” concrete is also more elastic and more resistant to water. This makes it ideal for building in earthquake or flood zones. The new compound can conduct electricity, opening the possibility to use it to heat roads or walls to melt snow and ice.

Although the green concrete shows promise in many areas of design and construction, it is at the moment costly to produce. Too costly to become viable replacement for the old stuff. Also, it will likely undergo years more of study to determine the parameters of safe useage, and any potential health risks. This article goes into detail about graphene-concrete.

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Lumber Types and Top Uses

lumber stack

At Channel Lumber, we carry a variety of wood and lumber products for applications in all types of construction. Many of our products are FSC Certified. Here we describe each type of wood and how it is typically used.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir has a range of uses, and is very common in structural building. It can be used for concrete forms, plywood, framing lumber, flooring, and cabinets. Douglas Fir is known an mix of strength and workability. Channel Lumber is a supplier for FSC certified Douglas Fir.

What is FSC Certified?

(From the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is your assurance that it is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

There are three types of FSC label: 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled.  Please click here to learn more.

California Redwood

Redwood is a premium building product. It can used in nearly every application of construction, from structural to finish. It is an excellent use for outdoor construction and siding as it contains a chemical that is resistant to insect infestation, rot and damage from water and other exposures. 

Channel Lumber offers Redwood in four grades: Construction Heart, Clear Heart, Green and Dry.

Western Red Cedar

This varietal grows in British Columbia. It is a large format, soft wood, know for its workability. It is commonly used in joinery, windows and cladding, siding, and external finishes. Western cedar is known for its rich and superb beauty and is a perfect choice for indoor and outdoor features. 

Pine

Pine is versatile and is common in high value items such as furniture. It it also common in cabinetry, flooring, siding, window frames, panelling, and roofing. Pine grows throughout the world, and it is used in cultures everywhere. If you had to choose one wood type for all your building needs, pine would be a good choice. 

Poplar

Poplar is often miscategorized as a soft wood, but it actually is a hard wood. It is seldom used for its appearance on its own, but because it has some characteristics in common with soft woods, it can be stained to look like more expensive varietals like cherry wood or oak. Poplar tends to scratch or dent easily so it is a good match for painted furniture. It is also a good fit for ceiling molding.

Ipe

Brazilian Ipe is a tropical hard wood that works extremely well in outdoor construction like decking, benches, fencing, and trellising. It is twice as dense and five times stronger than comparable hardwoods. It is extremely resistant to rot, water damage, insect infestations. It can often last out doors up to 75 years, 4-7 times as long as treated wood.

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Golden Gate Green

san franciscoIn a series of independent studies, San Francisco has consistently earned top marks for being environmentally friendly, ranking in the top three (with Portland and Seattle), often taking the the top spot.

Being eco-conscious can be difficult to define, and depending who is conducting the study the parameters may vary. One key factor is per capita public transit ridership. New York City ranks #1, with San Francisco coming in at #2. Addiotionally San Francisco ranks very high for bike ridership with nearly 50,000 weekday commuters riding bikes. In 2017, 14 miles of bikeways were added or upgraded.

For recycling and carbon footprint, San Francisco again ranked in the top three along with Seattle and Portland. In this category San Francisco edged out the other contenders due to voter awareness, participation,and routinely voting for aggressive green programs and renewable energy programs. San Francisco diverts 70 of its waste due to mandatory recycling and composting.

Is the sustainable food category San Francisco again earned top ranking. With the farm to table movement, veganism, and grocery stores which feature and support sustainable practices, San Francisco has become known as an epicenter for healthy dining options. It is also worth noting that San Francisco residents on average consume less than half compared to the rest of the state.

With its green and open spaces, myriad hiking and biking trails and coastline, San Francisco is a great place to be green.

The Sky is the Limit

Sales Force Tower

In addition to the many green projects we work on, we like to showcase innovative green and smart structures here at home and around the world, hi-lighting the cutting edge building technologies, products and designs that are now available.

Salesforce Tower is now the tallest building in San Francisco, with an overall height of 1,070 ft. In keeping with Channel Lumber’s high standards for sustainability and green building, Salesforce tower is pre-Certified LEED platinum.

Over a decade of planning went into bringing this icon into fruition. It is part of the Transbay redevelopment plan, which will develop offices, transportation, residential and retail uses.

The top portion of the building features an electronic sculpture, “Day or Night”, created by artist Jim Campbell. The sculpture projects images and video captured around the city on the same day.

The construction of the project is a massive achievement for modern day engineering, materials, and subcontractors. Starting at the ground level, the mat slab floor, the foundation of the building, is reinforced with #18 rebar, the largest available. The concrete pour for the foundation started at midnight and ran 14 hours, until 2 pm, at a rate of 900 yards per hour. This amount of concrete could fill 1,400 trucks. The rebar weighs a total of 5 million lbs. The core walls surrounding the mat slab floor are 4 feet thick, the thickest of any San Francisco building.

The pace of construction was extremely fast requiring flawless planning and execution. Once the foundation was laid, 2 floors per week were built on a round the clock schedule.

The building features a state of the art air distribution system, and blackwater recycling system, among many green features.

The building is currently at 97% occupancy, with Salesforce.com being the primary lessee.

Channel Lumber is active in its support of green, and LEED certified development. For more information Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us. Channel

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Green Dream: YouTube Headquarters

You Tube HQ - Channel LumberThe YouTube headquarters in San Bruno was designed by William McDonough + Partners and Huntsman. Channel Lumber partnered with designers and contractors throughout the development of the campus.

One of the notable green features of the building is a 70,000 square foot rooftop green space featuring native grasses and wildflowers. The roof provides insulation, protection from the elements, rainwater absorption and it dampens sound from the nearby airport.

The campus features an open format loft-like design with lots of informal meeting spaces to encourage impromptu brainstorms. The hallways are lined with white board to capture inspiration.

Late for a meeting downstairs? No problem. The building features a three lane, three story slide to shuttle employees down. And when it is time to take a break employees can play on-site mini golf, frisbee golf or power nap in the Energy Pod, a dark day bed pod with relaxing soundtrack and timer.

For more information about Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us.

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Smart and Green: The Manna House

Manna HouseChannel Lumber is committed to green and sustainable building. The Channel Lumber headquarters itself has many green amenities and features including a broad energy efficiency and solar generation platform.

In addition to the many green projects we work on, we like to showcase innovative green and smart structures, and the cutting edge technologies, products and design that are now available.

The Manna house in Los Angeles, designed by architect Jeremy Levine is a modern smart home that utilizes extensive sustainable systems, and recycled and non toxic materials. The flooring throughout the house is either recycled or unfinished plywood, as are the ceilings. All of the decking is composite recycled material. The kitchen and bathroom countertops were all poured in place with concrete using environmentally friendly fly ash.

The home is powered by a photovoltaic solar energy system. It also features a rain collection and grey water recycling system which are both utilized to water fruit trees and a garden. The passive cooling system is acheived by using low windows on one side of the house and high windows on the opposing side creating a natural breezeway, and a movable fan for days when there is no breeze.

Non VOC paints and stains were used, and all electrical appliances are energy star rated.

For more information about Channel Lumber’s continuing effort to promote green and sustainable building practice, please contact us.

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Green Giant: Bank of America Tower, Manhattan

Channel Lumber is committed to the process of Green Building, and supporting LEED certification. Today we want to showcase a cutting edge Green skyscraper and highlight the latest Green design and amenity features.

In 2009, construction of the Bank of America Tower, in Manhattan, was completed. The building earned a LEED Platinum rating, the highest awarded. The rating is based on various environmental considerations. The design earns “points” for various energy saving and environmentally beneficial features. The cost of construction was One Billion USD. It is the fourth tallest building in Manhattan.

The design teams for the tower had one directive: to demonstrate that economic and environmental principles are compatible. When Green features added to the cost of construction, only those features which would pay for themselves within 5 years were included.

There were many other areas where the tower scored well including site selection (near public transportation), building form, and energy conservation.

The towers’ sloped form has two primary benefits. First, it allows more natural light to penetrate the building. 90% of workers have floor to ceiling windows which can be fully lit with natural light. Second, the sloped form allows for the efficient capture of rainwater, which can then be used in a variety of ways.

The Bank of America tower has an onsite natural gas power plant which generates 70% of the buildings electricity consumption, and 30% peak hour consumption. This eliminates electrical transmission losses which are significant on the city’s power grid.

The power plant makes ice at night which is used to cool the building in the day. Additionally the waterless urinals save up to 8 million gallons of water annually.

Channel Lumber has an extensive list of Green Projects and clients including the Aria Resort and Casino, Veer Towers, and the Portola Valley Town Center.

For more information on Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us.

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Turn It Up to Ten

Concrete Forms for Level 10 Sunnyvale projects.

Level 10 is a leading construction company based in Northern California. Channel Lumber has partnered with Level 10 on numerous projects, primarily through concrete forming materials.

Level 10 recently completed several high profile award winning projects including the new Facebook Campus (MPK 20) and 181 Fremont, now the tallest skyscraper on the San Francisco skyline.

Currently, Level 10 is working with the Jay Paul Company on two sites in Sunnyvale, the Moffet Gateway and Moffet Place Campus. These projects are unique in that they are not being built for a specific company. Both of these projects were designed and developed to be put on the market for sale after completion.

The Moffet Gateway, completed in 2016,  features two seven story buildings, with a parking structure, roof-top garden and lounge. The Moffet Place Campus is a 1.9 million-sq-ft. Class “A” office campus. The campus will also feature an event center, several parking structures, and other modern amenities. The project has a completion date of April 2020.

In keeping with Channel Lumbers high standards for Green Building, both the Moffet properties are targeted for LEED® Platinum sustainability, the highest level awarded.

Please contact Channel Lumber for more information about products, services and Green Building.

Earth Day 2018

View of Earth from SpaceEarth Day is a Global event which will be held on April 22 of this year. The campaign and focus for this years’ Earth Day is “A World Without Plastic Pollution”.

Over the past several decades, plastic pollution on our planet has grown exponentially. As a result, Earth Day is committed to fundamentally changing human attitudes and behaviors about plastics, and to sparking a drastic reduction in plastic pollution globally.

Plastic Pollution is pervasive at all levels in nature and within our infrastructure. We have all seen pictures of plastic bottles in nature, etc. but this is just the tip of the iceberg. As plastics decompose, they become smaller and smaller bits of pollution eventually so small they can not be seen and are very difficult to contain. Eventually these particles make it into our tap water system. A recent study showed that 94% of American tap water contained plastic pollutants.

The Earth Day Campaign will be an all out attempt to build a Global framework of plastic pollutant reduction with a vertical approach, from grassroots education, school system outreach, advertising, encouraging more reports in the news, and reaching out to our Global Leaders to take an aggressive stand on the issue.

You can track your own plastic pollutant footprint and learn how to make changes using the Earth Day End Plastic Pollution Kit.

For more information and to get involved please visit the Earth Day website.

Channel Lumber is a leader in Green Building. For more information about our green projects, please contact us.

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Today is International Day of Forests

forestInternational Day of Forests is celebrated on 21 March each year. It was established in 2013 by the United Nations, and the week long symposium and celebration is hosted by a different country each year. The theme for this years’ International Day of Forests (IDF) is “Forests and Sustainable Cities”.

The slogan for this year’s’ celebration is “Let’s make our cities greener, happier, healthier places to live.” There is comprehensive list of topics on the IDF website, and among the primary messages are that trees contribute to a host of benefits in an urban setting. These include that forests store carbon and help to mitigate climate change. Trees can be used to cool air, thus decreasing the need for air-conditioning and power consumption. Lastly that green urban spaces contribute to more healthy active lifestyles.

It is estimated that deforestation contributes to 10-20% of climate change related problems. Each year the world loses 13 million hectares of forests, approximately the size of England.

The concept for IDF started casually at Oxford, England, when two professors agreed that the consequences of deforestation especially as it relates to climate change was being grossly underestimated. Over the next several years, with support of the United Nations, the IDF was founded and continues to be a source of education, awareness and action around protecting and developing forestry around the world.

Sustainable forestry is, and will always be, one of our driving missions at Channel Lumber.