aha! Ideas & News

All Categories

Sean’s Lunch Time Concert

Sean was our recent our student graphic artist here at AHAdams&Company.  With Sean’s recent assistance AHAdams&Campany has been able to provide computer generated images and renderings for projects, visualizing design concepts, and helping us have some fun around the office!  Sean talents include playing the Mandolin.  He gave us a sample of his playing skills, we enjoyed his skills, please visit our YouTube Channel

Flexible Light Weight Solar Fabric

A new startup, the Solar Cloth Company, has developed a lightweight solar cell “cloth” that can be used to “cheaply” and easily harness solar energy while stretched across sports stadiums, parking lots, etc, as per recent reports.  Based out of Cambridge, England the Solar Cloth Company states that it is currently working to close deals that would see the solar cloth installed on over 27,000 parking lots across the UK.

The company’s founder, Perry Carroll, stated: “We have built a growing sales pipeline worth £4.2m (about $6.57 million) for 2015, including park and ride projects, airport parking operators and retail park owners.”

As per the company’s calculations, there’s around 320 square miles of roof space, and 135 square miles of parking space, in the region that could easily and cheaply be covered with the solar cloth — which could provide enough electricity to power the UK’s grid three times over. (Author’s note: Clearly these calculations don’t deal with the issues of intermittency, weather, etc.).  Some details on the solar cloth: an approximately 10 square-meter piece of the cloth weighs around 7.3 pounds, which is a lot less than conventional solar panels (35-48 lbs for the same space). The material is also quite flexible — opening the door to uses in situations where traditional panels wouldn’t be considered.

“One of the main hindrances to solar panel adoption is that they can be difficult to install and integrate with existing architecture functionally and aesthetically,” stated Hans Haenlein, adviser to The Solar Cloth Company. “Flexible solar cloth overcomes all of these problems and can add real value to existing and upcoming sites.” It seems that the cloth would overcome some functionality problems, but aesthetics are certainly more subjective.  The Solar Cloth Company web site with a You Tube video

Eli comes to Work

image

Herm Schecter, a senior Architect who works with us here at AHAdams&Company has been bringing Eli to work recently.  Eli is a cocker spaniel, an energetic 8 months old and full of energy.  He brings his well-developed sense of play to make our day more enjoyable.  Unfortunately Eli hasn’t developed the stamina to make through the entire day, along about 1:00 Eli has to take a nap, his productivity level needs improvement.

Aqua Lobby Renovations

image

Aqua America engaged AHAdams&Company to present ideas for a new customer service area and upgrades their main corporate lobby.  With new lighting, furniture and finishes, AHAdams&Company utilized wood accents of, hickory, sycamore, and cherry to present an palette evocative of environmentally conscience corporation providing customers with the ultimate environmental product, clean water.  For a video walk through of our proposed renovations please visit our YouTube Channel

EPA News Release on Automobile Fuel Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2014
New Report: U.S. Fuel Economy Reaches All-Time High
Fuel economy gains for new vehicles continue under Clean Car Program

WASHINGTON – New vehicles achieved an all-time-high fuel economy in 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg) —a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years. The average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 grams per mile in model year 2013.

EPA’s annual “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2014” report tracks average fuel economy of new cars and SUVs sold in the United States. The report also ranks automakers’ achievements in model year 2013.

Some additional top-line findings from the report:
• The recent fuel economy improvement is a result of automakers’ rapid adoption of more efficient technologies such as gasoline direct injection engines, turbochargers, and advanced transmissions.
• Mazda vehicles averaged the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions
• Nissan achieved the greatest improvement in average fuel economy and greenhouse gas reductions
• SUVs achieved the greatest improvement in all classes of new personal vehicles.
“Today’s announcement points to the greatness of American ingenuity and the strength of our auto industry. Our report shows that today’s vehicles are saving Americans money at the pump while emitting fewer greenhouse gasses. We are thrilled to see that manufacturers continue to innovate and are bringing technologies to improve fuel economy online even faster than anticipated,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Consumers now have many more choices when shopping for vehicles with higher fuel economy and lower emissions compared to just five years ago. These choices reflect both a more diverse range of technology packages on conventional gasoline vehicles as well as more advanced technology and alternative-fueled vehicles.”

Under the leadership of the EPA and the Department of Transportation have implemented standards projected to double fuel economy by 2025 and cut vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by half.

The EPA estimates these standards will save American families more than $8,000 in fuel costs per vehicle by 2025. Throughout the duration of the program, Americans will save $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, use 12 billion fewer barrels of oil, and in 2025, reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC.

Tomatoes

image

At the entrance to our offices is our flower garden.  For a good part of the year it is filled with perennial flowers.  This spring we planted a single tomato plant in an open spot in our garden.  Through the summer we watered and watched over the growing plant.  Our efforts where rewarded with a bumper crop of home grown tomatoes!  Everyone is the office has been able to share in the “fruits of our labor”.

Travels with Hugh

image

Hugh Loomis our trusted architectural photographer consultant recently took a trip to Turkey.  Today Turkey retains many ruins of the ancient world, artifacts of cities from the distant past.  Hugh retains his artist eye while traveling and gave us pictures he captured at Aspendos in southern Turkey.  The ancient city of Aspendos is dominated by the best preserved theatre of antiquity with seating for 15,000.  The galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all reflect the ability of the architect Zenon.  Close to the theatre, basilica and agora lay the remains of an aqueduct, one of the largest in Anatolia.  Hugh can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Remarks at the Veterans Day Ceremony by President John F. Kennedy

Remarks at the Veterans Day Ceremony (November 11, 1961)
General Gavan, Mr. Gleason, members of the military forces, veterans, fellow Americans:
Today we are here to celebrate and to honor and to commemorate the dead and the living, the young men who in every war since this country began have given testimony to their loyalty to their country and their own great courage.
I do not believe that any nation in the history of the world has buried its soldiers farther from its native soil than we Americans—or buried them closer to the towns in which they grew up.
We celebrate this Veterans Day for a very few minutes, a few seconds of silence and then this country’s life goes on. But I think it most appropriate that we recall on this occasion, and on every other moment when we are faced with great responsibilities, the contribution and the sacrifice which so many men and their families have made in order to permit this country to now occupy its present position of responsibility and freedom, and in order to permit us to gather here together.
Bruce Catton, after totaling the casualties which took place in the battle of Antietam, not so very far from this cemetery, when he looked at statistics which showed that in the short space of a few minutes whole regiments lost 50 to 75 percent of their numbers, then wrote that life perhaps isn’t the most precious gift of all, that men died for the possession of a few feet of a corn field or a rocky hill, or for almost nothing at all. But in a very larger sense, they died that this country might be permitted to go on, and that it might permit to be fulfilled the great hopes of its founders.
In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of an historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible. The resolution of the Congress which first proclaimed Armistice Day, described November 11, 1918, as the end of “the most destructive, sanguinary and far-reaching war in the history of human annals.” That resolution expressed the hope that the First World War would be, in truth, the war to end all wars. It suggested that those men who had died had therefore not given their lives in vain.
It is a tragic fact that these hopes have not been fulfilled, that wars still more destructive and still more sanguinary followed, that man’s capacity to devise new ways of killing his fellow men have far outstripped his capacity to live in peace with his fellow men.
Some might say, therefore, that this day has lost its meaning, that the shadow of the new and deadly weapons have robbed this day of its great value, that whatever name we now give this day, whatever flags we fly or prayers we utter, it is too late to honor those who died before, and too soon to promise the living an end to organized death.
But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. “The purpose of all war,” said Augustine, “is peace.” The First World War produced man’s first great effort in recent times to solve by international cooperation the problems of war. That experiment continues in our present day—still imperfect, still short of its responsibilities, but it does offer a hope that some day nations can live in harmony.
For our part, we shall achieve that peace only with patience and perseverance and courage—the patience and perseverance necessary to work with allies of diverse interests but common goals, the courage necessary over a long period of time to overcome an adversary skilled in the arts of harassment and obstruction.
There is no way to maintain the frontiers of freedom without cost and commitment and risk. There is no swift and easy path to peace in our generation. No man who witnessed the tragedies of the last war, no man who can imagine the unimaginable possibilities of the next war, can advocate war out of irritability or frustration or impatience.
But let no nation confuse our perseverance and patience with fear of war or unwillingness to meet our responsibilities. We cannot save ourselves by abandoning those who are associated with us, or rejecting our responsibilities.
In the end, the only way to maintain the peace is to be prepared in the final extreme to fight for our country—and to mean it.
As a nation, we have little capacity for deception. We can convince friend and foe alike that we are in earnest about the defense of freedom only if we are in earnest-and I can assure the world that we are.
This cemetery was first established 97 years ago. In this hill were first buried men who died in an earlier war, a savage war here in our own country. Ninety-seven years ago today, the men in Gray were retiring from Antietam, where thousands of their comrades had fallen between dawn and dusk in one terrible day. And the men in Blue were moving towards Fredericksburg, where thousands would soon lie by a stone wall in heroic and sometimes miserable death.
It was a crucial moment in our Nation’s history, but these memories, sad and proud, these quiet grounds, this Cemetery and others like it all around the world, remind us with pride of our obligation and our opportunity.
On this Veterans Day of 1961, on this day of remembrance, let us pray in the name of those who have fought in this country’s wars, and most especially who have fought in the First World War and in the Second World War, that there will be no veterans of any further war—not because all shall have perished but because all shall have learned to live together in peace.
And to the dead here in this cemetery we say:
They are the race—
they are the race immortal,
Whose beams make broad
the common light of day!
Though Time may dim,
though Death has barred their portal,
These we salute,
which nameless passed away.

Summary of Current Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Incentives

To assist our clients to include the latest technology to reduce energy consumption for their projects AHAdams&Company monitors current grant/incentives/load programs to fund construction and purchase the latest systems to engage environmentally responsible design.  The attached summary details current Pennsylvania Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency credits, programs, incentives, and grant funding for solar, geo-thermal, renewable energy, energy conservation which can offset the initial cost to help our clients build for the future.

Events of this Summer

image

It has been an enjoyable summer in Willow Grove.  Our next door neighbors, The Second Alarmers Rescue Squad obtained a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.  The steel beam pictured above is to be used in a Memorial to 911 to be constructed at their soon to be built new facility in Whitpain Township, Pennsylvania.  They have all their news and information about the World Trade Center Memorial at their web site www.sars.org! 

Sustainable Insulation

Wool - it is not just for clothes and rugs.  We have begun to see an interest in wool insulation for buildings.  Before there was fiberglass, there was sheep wool insulation, and the product has never become obsolete. If anything, it may remain a better product in terms of building science. Although sheep wool insulation had nearly disappeared in this country, it has remained popular in the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations.

It’s green appeal is rather obvious: sheep wool is a rapidly renewable agri-based resource produced with a remarkably small carbon footprint, and it is completely biodegradable.

But sheep’s wool insulation also provides some intriguing functional advantages.  It will absorb up to 20 percent of its own weight in moisture.  In a humid environment it will actually absorb moisture from the room, and as the humidity drops it expels the moisture back into the room. During that process, the water vapor does not alter the thermal characteristics of the product at all, or effect its life cycle.

It also actively contributes to indoor air quality. A lot of materials that go into residential and commercial construction contain formaldehyde, and sheep wool will simply absorb it from out of the air.  As for life cycle issues, wool insulation should last as long as the the typical building that houses it.

Wool is naturally fire resistant, but t must be treated for additional protection against mold and vermin infiltration. The products should contain no added formaldehyde or VOCs. The products can contribute three different LEED credits.

All of those benefits add up to higher retail price points, but it is provides a higher value product.  It is a product worth watching - 
www2.blackmountaininsulationusa.com

Solar Power

The US Department of Energy is investing in Innovative strategies to bring the cost of producing energy from the sun down.  Through the “Sun Shot” Program (http://www.eere.energy.gov/solar/SunShot/) new technologies are moving forward to contribute to the goal of increasing the amount of energy produced by solar in the United States.  A recent development AHAdams&Company thought was interesting:

U.S. Department of Energy to Invest in Silicon Ink Manufacturer Innovalight

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/—Innovalight, Inc., a privately-held company selling silicon ink and advanced solar cell process technology, today announced it has been selected for funding under the SunShot initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Innovalight will receive $3.4 million to accelerate the development and production of silicon ink material and processes for high efficiency solar cells at its operations in Silicon Valley.  Innovalight manufactures a nanotechnology-based silicon ink and licenses a proprietary process which allows for a simple upgrade to solar cell manufacturing lines to boost the performance of solar cells and lower production costs. The company recently announced supply agreements with several of the largest solar cell manufacturing companies in the world.
“After a hyper competitive selection process, we are thrilled that we were selected for funding by the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Conrad Burke, President and CEO of Innovalight. “This endorsement from the DOE for our innovative silicon ink technology which was invented and is exclusively manufactured here in the United States, is very timely for our expansion plans,” he added.
The DOE’s SunShot Initiative aims to dramatically decrease the total costs of solar energy at the utility, commercial and residential levels by 75% before the end of the decade, making solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity without subsidies and enabling widespread deployment of solar energy.

About The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative
The SunShot Initiative builds on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s “moon shot” goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of solar electricity by about 75 percent, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country. More information can be found at http://www.eere.energy.gov/solar/SunShot

About Innovalight
Innovalight is based in Sunnyvale, California. The company manufactures silicon ink and licenses a proprietary process technology to solar cell manufacturing companies. Innovalight is venture capital backed and has received additional development funds from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. For more information, visit http://www.innovalight.com

PET/CT WINS GOLD!

image

Montgomery County Advanced Medical Imaging and Abington Hospital PET/CT facility, recently completed, has received a coveted United States Green Building Council LEED GOLD certification.  This certification distinguishes the new PET/CT facility as a project designed and constructed to the highest environmental standards and recognizes it as an outstanding achievement.  AHAdams&Company is proud of our contribution to this project and commends Dr. Paul O’Moore, President of Montgomery County Advanced Medical Imaging and Angel Fatz the PET/CT Manager, George Felici, LEED AP, Freedom Enterprise, Incorporated (contractor), Shannon Kaplan, PE, AKF Engineering, and John Zabilowicz, PE, Z&F Consulting Engineers, Richard Palmer and Elizabeth Emig at AHAdams&Company for assistance.  We want to extend a generous thank you! to Dr. Paul O’Moore for his vision to establish this environmental goal and supporting this achievement. AHAdams&Company would like to extent a thank you to the entire project team for their commitment to see beyond the horizon and improve the quality of the environment for us all..

New Materials to Generate Electricity

Advanced Materials for Thermoelectric Devices

We see an opportunity to generate electricity from low grade waste heat through the application of Thermoelectric semiconductors.  Thermoelectric semiconductor materials are recognized as having the potential to provide clean, reliable and highly effective cooling, refrigeration and energy harvesting solutions. Typical electricity generation processes burn fossil fuels generating heat that is then used to produce power in a series of efficiency-robbing mechanical steps. A staggering 50 to 60% of this heat is wasted due to technology limitations. Furthermore, passive or active cooling techniques are often required to mitigate the damaging effects this heat can have on operating equipment and electronic systems.

A new company, Phononic Devices (http://www.phononicdevices.com) is an ARPA-E awardee commercializing advanced materials nano-engineered to recapture this waste heat and convert it into useable electric power, or conversely, to provide highly efficient refrigeration and cooling. Phononic Devices’ proprietary thermal-to-electric approach is designed to make possible a more than $35B market opportunity.  AHAdams&Company is exploring the potential and opportunities to design the use of Thermoelectric semiconductors into a project.

Arthur Hall Adams receives Drexel University Award

On May 7, Arthur Hall Adams will receive the Mary S. Drexel Award from the Irick Society of Drexel University.  This award, named for Mrs. George W. Childs Drexel, was established in 1933 to honor an outstanding member of Drexel University who earned a degree through Drexel Evening College of Professional Studies.  The Awards selection committee has considered well over one hundred alumni each year before making its selections, Arthur was selected this year for his service to Drexel and his achievements as a Architect.  Arthur has been acknowledged by Drexel University previously and is the past recipient of the Drexel University Richard C. Goodwin College of Professional Studies Speciality Award (2007), Distinguished Member Award Mary S. Irick Drexel Society (2008), and the Drexel University Key D Award (2009).

PET/CT Gets Published

The recently completed PET/CT (Positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT)) suite designed by AHAdams&Company was a included as a sustainable health care project in the March issue of gb&d (Green Building & Design)  http://gbdmagazine.com/2011/02/march-2011/ (pages 103 /104)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

To help in your celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day we have an Irish song lyric, so tune your voice, drink a few green beers and let the melodious voices resound!

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING
There’s a tear in your eye,
And I’m wondering why,
That it ever should be there at all.
With such power in your smile,
Sure a stone you’d beguile.
And there’s never a tear drop should fall.
When your sweet, lilting laughter’s
Like some fairy song
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
Oh then laugh all the while
And all other times smile
And now smile a smile for me.
CHORUS
When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure it’s like a morn in spring,
In the lily of Irish laughter
You can hear the angel’s sing.
When Irish hearts are happy
All the world seems bright and gay,
And when Irish eyes are smiling
Sure they steal your heart away.
For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright.
Like the linnet’s sweet song,
Crooning all the day long,
Comes your laughter and light
For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne’er a real care or regret;
Ad while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth’s hours,
Let us smile each chance we get.

Settlement Music School

image

Recently completed the Settlement Music School is up and running (and our newest neighbor) here in Willow Grove.  The oldest continuously operating Music School in the United States Settlement Music School was full operational in January 2011.  The three story building (25,000 gsf) will provide for new music classrooms, office and administration spaces, and a three hundred seat recital hall.  Settlement Music School expects this new facility will accommodate over 1,000 students by 2013.  AHAdams&Company provided technical consulting services for design development and construction documentation for the new Settlement Music School.  From initial design concepts AHAdams&Company developed the necessary acoustical performance requirements and worked with the acoustical consultant to integrate construction assemblies and optimize building systems to achieve the goal of undistorted musicial sound quality as part of the overall building performance requirements.  The design architect and Settlement Music School Board member George von Scheven, was also Arthur Hall Adams teacher as an undergraduate in the architecture program at Drexel University.

Integral Sustainable Design

Elizabeth, an Intern Architect here at AHAdams&Company, has some thoughts on new integral approaches to “green” design:

The “Green Movement,” along with recently created specialty grants and programs, has recently created a need to explore an integral approach to architecture and planning.  Recent projects in the education sector, in particular, have used sustainable design not only to improve building efficiencies, but also as a tool for teaching and learning.  In these projects, aesthetics embedded in the design reveal information about the buildings performance, the surrounding site, and community.

“Greening Greenfield” is a renovation project to Philadelphia School District’s Greenfield Elementary school play yard on 22nd and Chestnut in Center City.  Greenfield Elementary is just one school that has recently taken to the “green movement” by using an integrated and creative design approach.  Including the community, students and teachers in the design process from day one, the project immediately gained perspective on the importance that the design be both a visual and experiential learning tool.  This is achieved by using the project’s constraints, such as the asphalt schoolyard and the associated heat and drainage issues, as design opportunities.

Pennsylvania Grant Programs for Renewable Energy Products

The State of Pennsylvania continues its efforts to cut energy costs and move towards energy independence through its grant, loan and rebate programs.  AHAdams&Company is assisting its clients with the application process for some of these pending grant programs:

Pennsylvania Grant Programs for Renewable Energy Products:

Renewable Energy Program – Geothermal and Wind Projects –
The Renewable Energy Program provides financial assistance in the forms of grants and loan funds to promote the use of alternative energy in the Commonwealth.  The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

Solar Energy Program –
The Solar Energy Program provides financial assistance in the forms of grants and loan funds to promote the use of alternative energy in the Commonwealth.  The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

Alternative and Clean Energy Program –
The Alternative and Clean Energy Program provides financial assistance in the form of grants and loan funds that will be used by eligible applicants for the utilization, development and construction of alternative and clean energy projects in the Commonwealth.  The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

PA Conservation Works!  Harvesting 25% Energy Savings for Pennsylvania’s Communities –
As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pennsylvania is offering one-time grants for motivated local governments and non-profit entities with shovel-ready projects that will save or conserve a minimum of 25% of all energy used.  Final guidelines are expected to be released approximately June 22, 2009.  The program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Questions may by directed to Mary Ann McGee at 215.659.8844 x203.