MaGrann Associates Joins DOE Residential Network
Posted By MaGrann Associates, Monday, June 22, 2015
MaGrann Associates has become a new member of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings Residential Network, which connects energy efficiency programs and partners to share best practices and learn from one another to increase the number of homes that are energy efficient.
The Better Buildings Residential Network expands on the foundation of existing Better Buildings Residential programs and partners, which have invested more than $3 billion from federal funding and local resources to build more energy-efficient communities across the United States. These programs have saved Americans money, created jobs, and lowered greenhouse gas emissions.
DOE has expanded this network of residential energy efficiency programs and partners to new members. The new Better Buildings Residential Network is engaging energy efficiency programs, state and local governments, financial institutions, businesses, nonprofits, universities, utilities, and other organizations to accelerate the pace of home energy upgrades.
Members of the Better Buildings Residential Network include AFC First, Austin Energy, Clean Energy Durham, Clean Energy Works, City & County of Denver, Efficiency Maine, Efficiency First, Elevate Energy, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Michigan Saves, Neil Kelly Co., and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Members benefit immediately by receiving access to monthly topical calls with their peers about residential energy efficiency strategies. Calls have discussed business partners and workforce development, marketing and outreach, evaluation and data collection, financing, moderate- and low-income markets, program sustainability and revenue streams, along with other topics based on member requests.
Additional member benefits include tools, templates, resources, and proven solutions shared by members, newsletter and other updates on residential energy efficiency trends, opportunities to be featured in DOE materials, and voluntary member initiatives that identify common challenges and opportunities and develop resources to address them.
Residential Network members provide DOE with an annual update of the number of residential energy efficiency upgrades completed in their sphere of influence, and share information about the benefits associated with them.
Builders League of South Jersey Celebrates 75 Years
Posted May 20, 2015
One of the country’s oldest Professional Home Builder’s and Remodelers Associations, the Builders League of South Jersey (BLSJ,) celebrated 75 years of building with over 200 attendees at a Gala Reception on May 20th. The BLSJ has been “the voice of the industry” to builders, remodelers, home improvement contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, legislators, and the community in Southern New Jersey since its inception in 1940. Mark MaGrann, Founder and CEO of MaGrann Associates, has great respect and fondness for the leading organization.
“Since 1976, first with National Home Insulators and then, beginning in 1982, as MaGrann Associates, my team and I have attended and supported BLSJ events and are grateful for the unprecedented networking opportunities, business leads, and all-around good work that comes out of the League. Congratulations on 75 years of success. Here’s to 75 more,” he said.
|Mark MaGrann at the 1983 Associates Night||
Mark MaGrann with NAHB Life Director Michael Fink at the 75th Anniversary Gala in 2015
RESNET Releases Video Explaining HERS Index
Posted: May 14, 2015
Across the nation the RESNET HERS Index Score is fast becoming a mainstream in the housing market. Homebuilders are having their homes energy rated and are marketing the HERS Index Score of their homes. Multiple Listing Services (MLS) are incorporating the HERS Index Scores in their listings and code jurisdictions are recognizing a HERS Index Score as a building energy code compliance option.
The next effort is for RESNET to begin educating consumers on the HERS Index hence creating a market demand. As the first step in this effort, RESNET has produced a short video that explains what the HERS Index is to consumers. RESNET will be undertaking a social media effort to consumers using the video as a foundation. This effort will be supported with the Google Grant that RESNET has received.
Certified HERS Raters and Energy Smart Builders are encouraged to link the video to their web sites.
To view the video go to RESNET HERS Index
MaGrann Associates Introduces Groundbreaking Guarantee of Energy Savings for New Homes
With eGuarantee™ for Homes, MaGrann Sets New Standards of Quality and Energy Efficiency!
Posted: April 29, 2015
Mount Laurel, NJ – Builders can now offer customers a guarantee of their new home’s future energy performance – total energy usage, not just savings achieved with new heating and cooling systems. Maximum energy usage is guaranteed for two years! If a household’s actual annual energy consumption is higher than guaranteed, MaGrann’s eGuarantee for Homes* will pay up to 100% of the difference over the energy usage projection, estimated by a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) certification.
“This guarantee adds significant value to a new home and increases consumer confidence,” says Mark MaGrann, founder and CEO of the energy/building consulting and engineering firm. “We’re very proud to add eGuarantee for Homes to our expanding portfolio of services and to be the first firm in the marketplace to introduce guaranteed energy savings.”
“As reducing energy consumption continues to becomes more and more important, homebuyers welcome energy-efficiency certifications,” MaGrann added. “Guaranteed energy savings will be even more welcome. This will help our builders sell more homes.”
MaGrann Associates assists builders in applying for the program, provides training and marketing materials, performs the final certification to determine guaranteed energy usage levels, and serves as liaison to Bonded Builders Warranty Group. Officially launched at the Atlantic Builders Conference in Atlantic City recently, interest in eGuarantee for Homes is very high.
*MaGrann’s eGuarantee for Homes is powered by Bonded Builders Warranty Group, an affiliate of Bankers Financial Corp, a national provider of insurance and warranty services for the construction industry.
Established in 1982, MaGrann Associates is widely recognized as an innovator and leader in designing, building and certifying over 60,000, energy-efficient homes for HERS ratings, ENERGY STAR®, LEED and NGBS certifications – all nationally recognized labels of excellence in energy efficiency and sustainability. Headquartered in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, the firm also has offices in Philadelphia, Kentucky, Ohio, Hawaii, New York and Washington DC.
For more information, call 1-888-MAGRANN, or email eGuarantee@MaGrann.com.
Two Philly events you don't want to miss!
Part 1: The Green Edge - marketing & your bottom through green buildings, technologies and stormwater infrastructure strategie
Posted: April 23, 2015
Sub-Zero and Wolf Showroom
The Philadelphia Navy Yard
4050 South 26th Street
This event will kick off with nationally recognized market research guru, Suzanne Shelton, of Shelton Insights. She will share findings of a one-year market analysis on local consumer reaction to energy efficiency. Attendees will gain a detailed understanding of perceptions, trends, habits and learn how to properly market ENERGY STAR Homes and green products/technologies locally.
Additionally, Larry Levine, Senior Attorney for the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), will share research findings on the environmental and economic intersections of green stormwater infrastructure that affect commercial and mixed use properties. Attendees will learn more about local case studies that showcase market advantages for commercial corridors leveraging smart green stormwater measures.
Conversations, food and drinks will follow the presentations.
Part 2: Pushing the Envelope with Energy Star Homes Technical Workshop
Thursday, April 30, 2015
12:00 – 1:30 PM
2300 Market Street
This lunch and learn workshop will focus on technical training for builders, GCs, HVAC contractors and architects to achieve Energy Star Homes Certification. With the recently expanded PECO rebate program, financial rebates are now offered to builders meeting Energy Star Homes Certification.
Learn how to take advantage of this great bottom line strategy and build a high quality, efficient, healthy, Energy Star Home.
Brian Stanfill, Operations Manager of New Construction at MaGrann Associates, will highlight:
- program requirements
- answer questions related to costs compared to code built homes
Lunch will be served.
Only a few spaces left!
Save your seat by contacting Laila Reilly at 215.280.8524 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Plan for energy-conscious condos in Mount Airy
Posted: August 25, 2014
The Seibert brothers are green builders entering new territory, literally, by renovating a former Mount Airy warehouse down the block from the famed Weavers Way market.
Scott and G.C. Seibert grew up in Jeffersonville, near Norristown, helping their parents renovate and maintain investment homes. The brothers got their start in the building business with projects such as Weccacoe Flats, a green-conscious development in Queen Village done through their company, Bancroft Green.
Then Scott Seibert moved his family into a 100-year-old house in Mount Airy. The neighborhood "is a real gem of diversity," he said, "and my wife and I wanted to expose our kids to that."
Now, the Seiberts are razing a warehouse on Carpenter Lane to construct a 25-unit condo and mixed-use building.
The project, 520 Carpenter Lane, will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified (LEED). Construction is scheduled to start in early 2015 and, with some modular designs, should be completed in six to nine months, G.C. Seibert said.
Re:Vision Architecture is designing the three-story building, which also will include a public courtyard and garden, cafe tables, and shared work space available for rent.
Elfant Wissahickon is the real estate broker for the units, which range in price from $250,000 to $450,000.
The Seiberts also hope to incorporate "passive-house" design, to reduce the need for insulation and multiple water heaters.
Instead of a 50-gallon water tank in each unit, for example, they may install a 2,000-gallon tank that can service them all and be heated by solar power.
"It's like using a one-liter bottle vs. a six-pack," said G.C. Seibert. "There's less waste and less overhead."
Scott, 38, and G.C., 43, bought their first fixer-upper homes when they were in college.
"Our parents fixed up properties, and we spent weekends helping them do that," said G.C., who studied mechanical engineering at Lehigh University, then earned an MBA there.
Scott attended Carnegie Mellon for business and then worked at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Once they decided to go into business together, the brothers wanted to do things differently. Under the Bancroft Green name, they built Bancroft Green I and II and 715 S. Bancroft, employing features such as geothermal heating, green roofs to collect storm water runoff, reclaimed brick, bamboo flooring, dual-flush toilets, recycled-rubber patio materials, and herb gardens.
At Weccacoe Flats in Queen Village, the distinctive double-wide, single-floor design also featured heating/ventilation/air-conditioning contracted with MaGrann Associates. That firm recommended and installed such energy-efficient systems as mini split-air-source heat pumps for heating and cooling, and energy-recovery ventilators for energy savings and fresh-air flow.
Weccacoe Flats also employed modular building. It was set in place by crane after being built largely in a factory.
At 520 Carpenter Lane, the Seiberts are especially proud of the "coworking" space designated for the entire bottom floor.
The area will be divided into a multiuse party/conference/computer area with a common kitchen. It can be converted into guest rooms available to residents to rent for overnight stays.
The rear of the area will be landscaped with hammocks, a fire pit, and planters.
Currently, the brothers and their lone employee are working out of an Airstream trailer on the site of one of their next projects, a 30-unit student housing development for La Salle University. But Mount Airy will be their business' new home.
"Our corporate headquarters will be there, as well," Scott Seibert said of 520 Carpenter Lane.
He also hopes to operate the space as a type of incubator for start-ups.
Mon Group Properties Inc.
Building a new urban standard for living in New York and New Jersey
March 4, 2015
Dean Mon established D. R. Mon Group Inc. (MGI) in 1985. Mon had been working in construction management since the early 1980s after leaving the corporate world. He worked with his father in-law, building his expertise in the construction and development sector before setting out on his own. Hard work and responsibility have been integral in the development of MGI, fitting well with Mon’s experiences as an immigrant to the United States from Cuba.
“I am an American born in Cuba,” Mon explains. “My parents put me on an airplane in 1961 after Castro came to power. My older brother, Tony, had come out two weeks prior and was supposed to meet me, but it didn’t happen. I arrived alone.” When the brothers finally reunited, their parents were still in Cuba. They received assistance from Catholic Charities for three years until their parents were able to come to the United States.
Over the years, Mon has given back to the country he loves and admires; he even fought for the United States in Vietnam. “Like millions of Americans who came before me and assimilated to become an American, I remain proud of my heritage as a Cuban, but, America adopted me and I adopted her,” he says proudly. “She allowed me the opportunity to make my way and get ahead by nothing more than my own bootstraps, which Cuba would not. I am proud of being an American, an American homebuilder, and being able to give my children and grandchildren the opportunities that America has given me.”
While Mon has retired from the service, he continues to serve his country by guiding the independent corporations and limited liability companies he owns to build safe, sustainable communities in his home state of New Jersey, as well as in New York. “In the mid-90s, we saw an opportunity in the urban sector,” he explains. “We started building townhouses, then some mid-rise for sale condominium complexes.” The company’s portfolio now includes a range of market-price and affordable housing communities across the region.
To accommodate an increasing range of projects, Mon decided to establish a new independent corporation, Mon Group Properties Inc. (MGP), to provide management services for these new developments. In January 2014, MGP’s newest property, part of a larger development and known as Jaclyn Heights, opened for occupancy in West New York, N.J. The community features one- and two-bedroom apartments designed not only to reduce residents’ environmental footprint at home, but also in the community. The first two buildings in this larger development, part of the MGI group of independent companies, consisted of one-, two- and three-bedroom for sale condominiums that sold out within 18 months. The homes are Energy Star, LEED and National Green Building Standard certified to reduce energy costs for residents and to better serve the environment.
The larger development is on the site of a fabric factory formerly owned and operated by a company called Jaclyn Inc. “The factory was well-known for helping Cuban immigrants find work and many area residents recall family members working there,” Mon commented to the Jersey Journal at the building’s opening. “It was only fitting to pay homage to its history by keeping its name and creating affordable and energy efficient housing choices for a new generation of homebuyers and apartment seekers.”
Jaclyn Heights has incorporated innovative technology and materials to promote efficient operation and responsible use of resources. Utilities are designed around efficiency, saving water and energy while promoting indoor air quality. The entire larger development was selected for the amenities surrounding it. Condominium owners and tenants have easy access to public transportation via light rail and ferries into New York City, where many residents likely work.
Mon has established a track record through the family of independent entities for community-oriented development. The properties are designed and built to serve not only future residents, but the surrounding cities and towns, as well. MGI and MGP, together through the companies’ families of independent entities, have constructed hundreds of units that offer affordability and a high quality of life. As the business grows, Mon plans to stay the course.
Along the way, MGI and MGP have established lasting relationships with strategic partners throughout the region. The company has been involved with the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA) since 1985, which Mon credits for the networking, support and educational opportunities that have helped him and his team grow as professionals. The business utilizes membership benefits to connect with subcontractors and other partners that share his values and want to help improve communities through responsible construction projects.
MGI and MGP subcontract everything out, working as a developer, construction manager and property manager. “We have a set network of subs that work for us,” Mon explains. “We encourage all of the contractors we work with to join NJBA in order to support the association which has had a large hand in our success.”
Following a tradition of service, Mon has been personally involved with NJBA since joining the organization. He served as president of the association in 1995 and was inducted into the NJBA Hall of Fame in 1996. Mon received both the Silver Hammer and Sponsors’ Choice awards from NJBA at the 2014 Atlantic Builders Convention.
Mon’s involvement with industry organizations carries over to several organizations, including NJBA’s national affiliate, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), where he was designated a life director earlier in 2014. Currently, Mon is running for third vice chair of NAHB; if he wins, he will become the organization’s first Hispanic president.
As the business grows through a changing market, his involvement with these organizations becomes greater and more important to the company’s success every year. “We worry about factors such as the regulatory environment and taxes in relation to the future of our industry,” Mon explains. “NJBA provides support that is improving the political and economic environment for builders in New Jersey and on a national level.” MGI and MGP have remained stable and financially viable throughout the recession, but Mon knows that other contractors are struggling.
The numbers are important to Mon, but profits are not everything. While he continues to work to expand and improve his own business, the success of his peers in the industry is equally important. As the company grows, Mon and his team strive to set a precedent for sustainable building projects, as well as a sustainable construction industry. Mon Group Properties Inc. is a standout development firm, paving the way for New Jersey contractors through innovation and service.
Germantown woman has big ideas on affordable housing
Nonprofit group's new project in Germantown could lead to residents' owning their homes.
March 1, 2015
Nora Lichtash has lived in Germantown for more than 40 years. Now she is pitching a development project there for affordable housing that would allow renters to convert their units into equity and home ownership.
Lichtash's vehicle is a nonprofit known as the Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCRP). WCRP has operated in Philadelphia since 1987, and Lichtash has been director since 1990. In that time, the nonprofit has developed 250 affordable townhouses and apartments in all five counties of the region, investing about $4 million to date.
Among them are a 39,000-square-foot development completed in 2011 at Ninth Street and Indiana Avenue, the Evelyn Sanders Townhouses. These are 31 new-construction affordable housing units in the North Philadelphia neighborhood. The architect was Kramer + Marks Architects, along with MaGrann Associates and the Sheward Partnership. The builder was Domus Custom Builder.
Another is a new $12.5 million project that the group hopes will break ground in May in Port Richmond.
"We're a private nonprofit with a two-part mission," Lichtash says. "We build buildings, mostly rental housing as well as health-care and child-care centers. We also support women.
"We make sure there's enough money to build affordable housing. Not a lot of women understand the field, and my board has more than half women. Our tenants are low-income families, and our constituency has broadened to women with kids."
A proposed project at 417 E. Wister St. in Germantown would be Lichtash's first in her own backyard. Some community members don't support it.
"She does good work, but she can't fathom why anyone would be against new low-income housing in their neighborhood," says local activist Emaleigh Doley. "She is also a longtime Germantown resident and lives on the Mount Airy-Germantown border in a pretty nice part of town. Her neighbors wouldn't want this development next to them. And a lot of poor residents oppose this project, as well."
On a vacant parcel, the proposed Nicole Hines Townhouse development would include 35 new townhouses for rent, with an option to buy after 15 years.
Who can apply? Income limits depend on the number of people in the family. For example, a family of four earning less than $40,000 a year would be eligible, which Lichtash points out is right around the median income for Germantown. Rents would be similar to what WCRP already charges: $355 a month for a two-bedroom, $410 for a three-bedroom, and $500 for a four-bedroom.
An official at the Planning Commission suggested this parcel to WCRP for redevelopment and City Council did support it but then backtracked, Doley contends.
"Neighbors were not privy to the discussions until WCRP began canvassing in the area," Doley said. "There are a lot of near neighbors that opposed it, but unfairly, the opposition was attacked for being anti-poor or asking too many questions."
Lichtash says that "many people are eligible for these homes. It's us, it's not 'those' people. Most people in the neighborhood are eligible."
Moreover, she points to data showing that in neighborhoods where the group has worked as developer, property values have more than doubled.
For Wister Street, development money would come from the city through the Housing Trust Fund/Community Development Block Grant/HOME Investments Partnership Program administered by the Office of Housing and Community Development. When the land goes to WCRP at closing, it will be transferred for a nominal price, Lichtash said.
The WCRP project in Port Richmond at 2201 E. Auburn St. is a few blocks west of Aramingo Avenue and is called Grace Townhomes. The $12.5 million deal is a partnership with Firm Hope Baptist Church, next to the site.
"They've wanted affordable housing," Lichtash said. Renters there also will have the opportunity to become owners.
"Both the Grace and Nicole Hines are rental projects that can turn into home ownership, which hasn't really been done" in Philadelphia, but is modeled on similar projects in Cleveland, Lichtash said.
Equity investors in the project receive 10 years of tax credits. By year eight or nine, renters "will be counseled to make sure they're eligible for a mortgage and become homeowners," Lichtash said.
What a "green geek" can teach anyone about business
February 4, 2015
A Q&A with Mark MaGrann, founder, president and CEO of MaGrann
By Marc Kramer
Mark MaGrann, founder, president and CEO of MaGrann, works with his employees in the Germantown section of Philadelphia for Habitat for Humanity. Improving energy efficiency is in his blood. MaGrann, a Rutgers grad who grew up in a family of eight, got to watch his own father become a partner in a building insulation firm.
Q: What was your first professional job?
MaGrann: I was a competitive surfer. I became a sales manager for a surfboard company while I was in college. That was followed by a job as a junior high teacher and basketball coach.
Q: Why did you get into the building industry?
MaGrann: As a teen, I worked around my dad’s shop loading and unloading trucks, sweeping the warehouse and then actually installing insulation in houses. It motivated me to go to college and get my teaching degree. My dad had some health issues and I opted to go back into the business. It was about then, in the early 1980s, that people got interested in the energy and environmental area, which intrigued me. We had some early computer models and infrared technology to help our customers build better homes.
Q: How has the industry changed over the years?
MaGrann: Like many industries, there has been a lot of consolidation. There are [fewer] local and regional building companies and more national companies dominating the market. That said, the industry is truly building better homes. They are safer, healthier, and definitely more energy-efficient and green. Buyers want green homes and they are happy living in them. And the builders who offer them have a market advantage.
Q: What is the future of energy-efficient homes and buildings?
MaGrann: The future of residential and commercial buildings is to operate on a net-zero basis, which means that the building will generate [at least] the same amount of energy it consumes. Also, buildings will be far healthier for their occupants, with better ventilation and less use of toxins in building materials. Water is our next biggest global problem behind energy, and we will manage that better in future buildings. Finally, mold and mildew will be totally mitigated, eliminating “sick building syndrome,” which leads to respiratory issues.
Q: What criteria should home and building owners use when picking someone to help them with an energy plan?
MaGrann: The energy plan should be coordinated with a qualified professional, who is accredited by RESNET, the U.S. Green Building Council or the Building Performance Institute. The advantages of the certification may help the owner in acquiring loans or grants from banks, utility companies, or state and federal programs.
Q: What types of savings can someone really get?
MaGrann: It isn’t unrealistic to save 30 to 40 percent on energy and green improvements. But the ROI is more important to my clients. Some measures are providing one- to three-year paybacks.
Q: Why did you start MaGrann Associates?
MaGrann: I saw the need for builders and building owners to get an honest and professional third-party opinion to improve the performance of their buildings. We like to say, “Green knows no age.” Whether a building is old or new, it can probably use some help. By working with our clients, we offer something unique that will save them money. Every day we feel good about that.
Q: What is your culture like?
MaGrann: I expect my team to do the right thing every time … and success will come. While I pretty much have an open-door policy, I expect my managers to effectively manage. My desk is not out on the floor like a lot of CEOs. But I walk around a lot when I’m in and try my best to be very accessible to my staff. We give our people a lot of shared responsibility … and it works. Our employees have been here an average of over 10 years. And my former personal assistant just retired after 27 years. She beat me to the wire!
Q: What type of people do you look to hire?
MaGrann: I like the philosophy of H. Ross Perot, when he was the head of EDS, who said, “Look for people who love to win. And when you run out of those people, look for people who hate to lose.” Add a sense of integrity and a passion for our mission, and you have an exceptional employee.
Q: Why do you show the colleges your executives graduated from on the web site?
MaGrann: There are two reasons. One, we are proud of our staff, both from an educational level and from a compassionate level. Our clients get to see the special training and skill sets we have here. The second reason is for networking. Someone always knows someone from your college. People would say that they didn’t know you graduated from a particular college. It starts a conversation.
Q: Are there any business books you recommend that CEOs should read?
MaGrann: The one that strikes me as most important is The End of Oil by Paul Roberts. Our reliance on fossil fuels is a world problem that will not be readily resolved. It impacts every business, not just the building industry. Another book called Lights Out by Jason Makansi talks about the challenging issues of our electric distribution industry. You don’t have to be a “green geek” to get the important messages in these books.
PECO Smart Ideas Expands Smart Builder Rebate Program
January 22, 2015
The New Year is bringing new promise to builders in the PECO territory - this year, developers can get paid for building a higher quality home!
As of January 1, 2015, the PECO Smart Builder Rebate Program has expanded the program to all electric and gas heated, residential single-family new construction homes, within PECO’s service territory. (Single family homes include townhomes, stacked flats, essentially any building that is not an apartment building).
PECO Smart Builder Rebates requires builders to construct their house to ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 standards.
The program will pay a $400 base rebate plus $0.10 per kWh saved. The average incentive for a home will range from $650 to $850, paid to the builder. The more efficient the house, the higher the rebate the builder can receive.
Building an ENERGY STAR Home is appealing to your homeowner:
- Their quest for a quality builder
- The monthly energy savings The family’s health and comfort
Participating in this program will also help the builder/developer:
- Improving the bottom line with more sales
- Training staff to comply with future Energy Code requirements
- Marketing opportunities via highly recognized brand awareness
It is important to note that there are very specific prescriptive and performance requirements to achieve ENERGY STAR Certification. We can help you understand and navigate this program every step of the way.
Interested in learning more? Call Laila Reilly at 215-280-8524 or email email@example.com today!
'Green' home certifications are bringing more greenbacks
January 20, 2015
Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Buyers are paying 10 percent to 14 percent more for houses with “green” certifications than for comparable homes without, recent research shows. A Harris Interactive Poll of 2,145 Americans also recently found that 49 percent considered “eco-friendly” features more important than luxury items in a home (31 percent).
More than 180 of 850 Multiple Listing Services in the United States are including “green features” in listings, according to the Illinois Association of Energy Raters, which performs home-energy audits. Trend MLS, which serves the Philadelphia region, provides a section in listings for “green remarks,” said Chris Somers of Re/Max Access, in Northern Liberties.
Corbett Lunsford, the Illinois group’s executive director, said many agents are “widely untrained” in how to use performance features to market a house.
In this region, however, there is a growing awareness of sustainable residential construction among Realtors and builders, even if there is a difference of opinion whether buyers are willing to pay for it. Philadelphia builder Jeffrey Tubbs said both buyers and Realtors “are asking more articulate questions about efficiency.” As more firms get involved in sustainable building, “competition is picking up.”
Green-certified homes “definitely [have] value in the minds of buyers,” said Martin Millner of Coldwell Banker Hearthside, in Yardley, noting the desire is especially keen among custom-home purchasers.
“Most buyers love green features,” said Jeff Block of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors, in Center City, “yet most buyers will not pay for them.” “With the inventory of sustain able homes in Philadelphia so low, however, a few buyers is all it takes to help these homes sell at some premium,” he said.
Energy- efficient features “need to show a real benefit to the buyer,” said Joseph Scott McArdle of BHHS Fox & Roach, in Blue Bell, who is a “green-certified” Realtor.
Buyers typically look at several houses, he said, so if they are equal in size, amenities, and area, “the buyer may pay for one that is less costly to operate because of energy-efficient features.” Even in the depths of the downturn, McArdle said, firsttime buyers were attracted to a downtown Phoenixville condo project with green features, including bamboo flooring and “walkability.” Though “green” homes tend to be new construction, which “typically sells for more than resales,” Main Line Realtor John Duffy said, many buyers, conscious of energy costs, “do question a home’s energy efficiency.”
These buyers believe there will be like-minded purchasers at resale time, McArdle said. Yet John Westrum of Westrum Development Co., in Fort Washington, cautioned that “very few people talk the language of ‘green.’ What one buyer thinks is important about it might not matter to another.”
The buyer, he said, “is still focused on price.” Postgreen Homes’ partner Chad Ludeman said lower utility bills remain at the top of his buyers’ list, “something that Realtors understand and can lump in with their ‘ total cost of ownership’ speech to clients.”
They’re also “something that appraisers understand and give value to,” Ludeman said. That makes it easier for all involved to justify premium prices, “half of which are due to green or efficiency and the rest for design and quality.”
Wife/business partner Courtney Ludeman said those premium prices are typically 10 percent to 20 percent more than other new construction, and as much as 50 percent more compared with a “builderspecial” home.
James Maransky, president of E-Built L.L.C. and builder of the Icehouse, in Fishtown, said the nineunit second phase of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-certified project sold in June at $336 a square foot, 10 percent above the market.
The biggest obstacle to obtaining higher prices “is without a doubt the appraisal process,” Maransky said, “which is where the green premium many times falls apart.”
He said he sits down with each appraiser before the process begins, and “force-feeds” information on LEED certification and green features.
Top U.S. Energy Rating Companies Join Forces to Create New Industry Collaborative
An Independent Resource for Builders, EnergyPro Exchange Launches at NAHB’s International Builders’ Show
2015 NAHB International Builders Show
January 20, 2015
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--To help meet the growing demand for energy efficient homes, as well as the renewed growth in new home construction, the country’s top energy raters announced today at the National Association of Home Builders’ 2015 International Builders’ Show the first-ever industry collaborative to provide builders with a central energy rating resource.
“Many home builders take great care in hiring the best engineers and architects. Working with the best HERS raters is just as important – and building to the highest industry standards in energy efficiency adds immediate and long-term value to the homes they build while mitigating risk and liability”
Known as the EnergyPro Exchange (EPX), this new, independent group of home energy rating system (HERS) experts will provide builders a variety of services to support new home construction with greater durability, comfort and safety, and lower operating costs for homeowners. From energy ratings and code compliance to design and consulting services, EPX helps builders meet evolving national and local energy codes that incorporate HERS. It is designed to help builders who are concerned about delivering the highest-quality homes with a high performance-to-cost ratio.
“Many home builders take great care in hiring the best engineers and architects. Working with the best HERS raters is just as important – and building to the highest industry standards in energy efficiency adds immediate and long-term value to the homes they build while mitigating risk and liability,” said Steve Byers, managing director of EPX.
Unfortunately, not all energy efficient homes are created equal, and builders often need help finding a HERS rater who meets the high caliber of service and integrity they expect from a vendor.
“Energy raters represent an underutilized resource among builders. Competent, professional energy raters create added value for builders – while the inverse exposes builders to additional risk,” said Byers.
As the only collaborative of its kind, EPX members are carefully selected to ensure sophisticated guidance and expert HERS knowledge in virtually every major market in the U.S. These experts helped set the industry standard for HERS as a national energy efficiency rating system. Several EPX members are accredited Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) training providers and have participated in the development of national energy efficiency code standards of the International Code Council. They have established long-standing business relationships with the country’s biggest builders and the top 20 Leading Builders of America.
EPX member organizations currently include EnergyLogic, Inc.; American Energy Advisors; Building Energy, Inc.; Clean Efficient Energy Company; DRW; DuctTesters; Earth Advantage; Efficient Home, LLC; Energy Diagnostics; Green Building Consulting; MaGrann Associates; Southern Energy Management; and Sustainable Energy Analytics, LLC. Negotiations are currently underway with several other member organizations.
With the support of its partners, Owens Corning, Huber Engineered Woods and Panasonic, EPX has access to research and development resources, industry training and education, and financial support.
According to research from the National Association of Home Builders, four of the top most desired features in a new home involve saving energy: for instance, 94 percent of home buyers want ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and 91 percent want an ENERGY STAR rating for the whole home. Additionally, the number of homes rated according to HERS grew from 5 percent in 2007 to over 22 percent in 2013. Building permits for new, privately-owned housing units in the U.S. have grown 62 percent since 2010.
About EnergyPro Exchange
EPX is a national collaborative of the country’s top Home Energy Rating System (HERS) providers who work with residential builders to make better purchasing decisions that reduce builder risk and liability and lead to a greater stock of energy efficient homes in America. EPX is also a forum for sharing innovative ideas and best practices about operational performance, energy efficiency and sustainability, and a business incubator dedicated to developing new industry processes and solutions in residential energy efficiency. More information can be found at www.energyprofessionalexchange.com.
The First LEED v4 Certified Homes Project in the United States
December 31, 2014
GG Green is a rehabilitation and redevelopment project in Woodbury, NJ that restored a nationally-registered historic theater. Developed by RPM Development Group of Montclair, NJ, it is a multifamily, mixed-use green development and the first Multifamily Residential Pilot Program for LEED v4 to be certified in the United States. MaGrann acted as the Technical and Green Consultants for the project, providing LEED for Homes Multifamily Midrise Provider Services and New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes Rating Services. To hear more about the project from RPM's Project Manager Joel Wallace as well as MaGrann's Jon Jensen and Mike Fairall, view the short video below!
UPCOMING: Prime Energy Efficiency Conference in Harriburg, PA - KEEA's "The Utility of the Future"
November 7, 2014
November 13th will mark the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA)'s Annual Energy Conference in Harrisburg, PA. This year's event is entitled "The Utility of the Future" and will allow attendees to connect with other energy efficiency industry experts, chose from two different program tracks (program and policy) and view exhibits from participating companies. The day-long conference will begin with a Continental Breakfast followed by Opening Statements by President of KEEA and MaGrann Associates CFO/COO, Rich Selverian. A keynote address will follow, by Gene Rodrigues, Vice President of ICF International after which the breakout sessions will begin. MaGrann Vice President Ben Adams will be a panelist on the "Gas and Electric EE Program Integration: Stories from Leading States" session which is part of the Policy Track and Rich Selverian will be moderating "How Do We Get More Bang for the Buck in Multifamily Programs?" in the Program Track. MaGrann will also be exhibiting.
KEEA Executive Director Brian Kauffman states, "This is the prime event of the year to showcase the strength of the energy efficiency industry in Pennsylvania, share what you are doing as a business leader, and learn from others in the industry...KEEA has put together a great agenda full of many of the top representatives from the energy efficiency sector.
MaGrann Submittal Wins Award at the DVGBC Groundbreaker Awards
September 18, 2014
The Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) held their 2014 Groundbreaker Awards on September 18th at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia. The event was created to honor those transformative people, organizations, and projects that are moving our market, impacting the region, and influencing others to do the same around the corner or around the world. Applications were submitted for sustainable sites, innovative new buildings, impressive community programs and more.
MaGrann Associates submitted an application on behalf of the Transit Oriented Development and green community, Paseo Verde, which is located by Temple University. Paseo Verde was developed by Jonathan Rose Companies and Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM). The architect of the project was Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) and MaGrann Associates acted as the LEED and ENERGY STAR Consultant.
Paseo Verde was selected as one of the three winners at the Groundbreaker Awards, along with Shoemaker Green at the University of Pennsylvania and The Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Education Center: KidZooU at the Philadelphia Zoo. Congratulations to these groundbreaking projects!
PSE&G Seeks to Spend Nearly $110 Million to Boost Energy Efficiency
Popular program provides upfront funding for upgrades at hospitals, multifamily buildings, nonprofits and government facilities
August 8, 2014
Public Service Electric & Gas yesterday proposed investing $109. 8 million to help hospitals, multifamily housing units, nonprofits and government agencies cut their utility bills through a range of energy efficiency programs.
In a filing with the state Board of Public Utilities, the state’s largest utility proposed extending a highly successful multipronged energy efficiency program, which has served those sectors in the past. All existing funding from the prior program, proposed in 2011, has been committed, according to PSE&G.
The previous program proved so popular there is a backlog of 26 hospitals and 45 multifamily units seeking to have PSE&G undertake energy efficiency projects, according to the filing. Typically, the work involves replacing or upgrading heating and air-conditioning units, lighting retrofits, improving thermostat controls and insulation, and other measures.
PSE&G provides the upfront capital for the work. The facility pays back that money over a three- to 10-year period in their utility bills. The costs are generally more than offset by the savings, according to Jess Melanson, director of energy savings for PSE&G.
“We want energy efficiency to be a bigger part of what PSE&G does,’’ he said.
Based on the interest in the program, so do the utility’s customers.
Hillcrest Management Corp, an owner of senior-citizen buildings, said its energy bills dropped $320,000 annually after work at one of its facilities. It will only pay $180,000 for the next five years, according to a letter supporting the PSE&G filing.
“This is the best program in PSE&G history and its real world impact on the lives of my seniors is substantial,’’ wrote Kevin Krier of Hillcrest, citing improved lighting making it easier for aging eyes to see and an improvement in air quality.
The proposal also won strong support from Dale Bryk of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Tom Schuster of the Sierra Club.
In a joint letter to the BPU, they called the program “critical to delivery of safe, reliable energy savings to customers at least cost, meeting the state’s pollution reduction goals, improving the state economy and creating jobs.’’
PSE&G has been talking with state regulators for months about extending the program. Ralph Izzo, president, chief executive officer and president of Public Service Enterprise Group, the owner of the utility, hinted that a filing was imminent last week when he mentioned a $100 million energy efficiency initiative during the company’s quarterly earnings call.
The latest proposal includes a new wrinkle, assessing a 1.5 percent fee to recover some of the revenue the utility will lose by helping customers reduce energy use. The fee would be paid by the participating facility, PSE&G said.
“It’s not all of the lost revenue, but it’s important to address the lost sales issue if we are going to keep growing the business,’’ Melanson said.
For ordinary ratepayers, the program, if approved by the BPU, will have negligible impact on their bills, according to the filing. The typical residential gas customer would pay 56 cents more annually while the average residential gas bill will increase by 48 cents a year. Over a19-month period, electric rates would increase by $4.8 million and gas rates by $1.8 million, the filing said.
Under the proposal, $30 million would be allocated to energy efficiency programs at multifamily units, a market the utility and others say has been underserved. Lowering energy costs in these buildings where many low-income families live can have a significant impact – low-income people can spend up to 20 percent of their income on energy costs, compared to only 4 percent for the average household, according to the NRDC and Sierra Club.
The biggest chunk of money -- $40 million -- will be spent on programs at hospitals. Healthcare facilities are a high-energy use sector with an aging and inefficient energy infrastructure, according to Melanson. The efficiency projects at hospital also tend to be the most expensive, running from $1 million to $2 million, and, in some cases, even higher, he said. Projects at multifamily units typically cost between a half-million dollars and $1 million, he added.
The program also would spend $25 million for energy efficiency projects at government facilities, such municipal buildings, and nonprofit organizations. For the first time, too, the utility is asking the board to include small businesses in the program, according to Melanson.
The rest of the money would go to administrative expenses ($13.7 million) and for IT system enhancements ($1.1 million).
In the filing, PSE&G projected that the program would begin in March 2015, if approved by the BPU.
Nonprofits, city partner on housing complex
July 09, 2014
A nine-story affordable housing project will break ground at 810 Arch St. in September, thanks to an innovative partnership among nonprofit developers and the city to improve the blighted block.
Sister Mary Scullion's Project HOME and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. (PCDC) will build the $23.5 million apartment complex on an empty lot on the south side of Arch Street.
Expected to be completed by late 2015, the complex will provide 94 efficiency apartments for lower-income rental tenants ranging in age from seniors to children aging out of foster care.
"This is a partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the James and Frances Maguire Foundation, and Leigh and John Middleton, and many other donors," said Sister Mary.
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority donated land for the public-private partnership, said John Chin, executive director of the PCDC.
"It's going to fill in what looks like a missing tooth in the block," said Chin. "Within 15 months, we'll see positive changes."
There is some affordable housing in Chinatown, including Dynasty Courts and On Lok House, Chin said. But the neighborhood needs more.
"The partnership between Project HOME and PCDC is special because we serve distinct populations and we found a way," Chin added. This neighborhood was especially strategic for "the elderly, homeless, and those on the verge of homelessness," Sister Mary said.
The goal is for the 78,000-square foot building to be LEED Silver certified by MaGrann Associates, and offer an underground rainwater collection system to deal with runoff, said Christopher Bombardier, with architects Kramer + Marks, based in Ambler.
For units with project-based vouchers through Philadelphia Housing Authority, tenants will pay 30 percent of income.
An additional 57 units will be affordable to those at or below 50 percent of income, and 15 units will be affordable to those at or below 20 percent.
Rents are projected to be between $690 to $799 per month.
Between 2006 and 2010, the median rent in Chinatown was $931, compared with $683 citywide, according to a report in 2013 by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
Mark MaGrann, CEO Of MaGrann Associates, featured On Awarely TV
May 20, 2014
Mark MaGrann, founder and president of MaGrann Associates, an innovative energy/building consulting and engineering firm headquartered in Mount Laurel, NJ, was recently interviewed by Awarely, a Philadelphia based firm dedicated to promoting regional companies that are breaking new ground and making significant differences in how business is done. Awarely selects senior executives who can share their insight and acumen with other business leaders on an internet platform. The interview is available for viewing at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7BbPrFu7yA
MaGrann Associates partners with builders and developers, building owners and managers, to build and manage, greener, more energy efficient buildings that are healthier, more cost effective, environment friendly, and offer a real marketplace advantage. MaGrann Associates’ knowledge is utilized to obtain critical certifications such as LEED, Energy Star, and Green Home Planning, all of which designate top of the line efficiency standards.
MaGrann Associates has certified over 53,000 homes to date, was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year and has repeatedly received “ENERGY STAR for Homes Leadership in Housing Awards” for its work. The firm is headquartered at 701 E. Gate Drive Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 and has offices in Kentucky, Ohio, New York and Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Naval Yard.
The key to reducing operating costs is lowering utility bills through energy savings
By Patrick Bunn, MaGrann Associates
April 25, 2014
Apartment building owners may currently be enjoying low vacancy rates but still find profits reduced by rising operating costs. Whether rising costs are related to payroll expenses, taxes or the need for infrastructure improvements, reducing utility bills should be a prime strategy for holding the line. After all, if you are paying too much on utility bills, you are investing in the utility company rather than your own property.
Reducing your fuel and water consumption is best done by looking at the whole building, rather than tackling individual measures one at a time as they become crises. The size and specifications for a boiler replacement may be different and more cost ffective if you consider other energy saving issues, such as insulation, air sealing, ventilation or mechanical delivery systems. While the energy efficiency of individual components of a typical building have improved over the years, the efficiency of buildings as a whole has lagged behind.
Building owners have been hesitant to pursue energy conservation
retrofit projects for a number of reasons – predicted energy savings may not be achieved, costs of projects may result in a negative cash-flow, managers may not be equipped to take on management of a project. MaGrann Associates has a program for multifamily buildings that addresses the concerns of the building owner – eGuarantee.
The MaGrann Team will start with a free utility bill analysis, interview and physical inspection of the property. Then MaGrann presents you with an Opportunity Assessment Report that focuses on “master-metered” usage and identifies the potential for energy and water savings from retrofit measures. If sufficient opportunity is identified in this initial assessment, MaGrann Associates will provide a proposal to perform an in-depth Whole Building Retrofit Analysis. This investment grade report will describe in detail one or more packages of energy and water saving measures. Each package will include a fixed-price total cost (inclusive of the analysis, the retrofit and all related services), the projected annual energy and water savings, and the annual cost of financing (loan payments). At least one package will be presented that assures a positive cash-flow for the term of the loan or the Analysis is free. Other packages may include measures that are recommended by MaGrann or requested by the owner even if the payback is longer than the term of the loan.
The Whole Building Retrofit Analysis will provide the basis for a design/build contract between the owner and MaGrann Associates. This Energy Retrofit Project Agreement will include a guarantee that for the first two years after completion of the work, if your actual annual energy and water savings do not exceed the financing cost, the difference will be paid by MaGrann. Even if the owner selects a package predicted to exceed these criteria, MaGrann will pay any additional amount beyond the amount stated in the Analysis.
If needed, MaGrann Associates will help the owner take advantage of financing from the region’s most experienced energy efficiency lenders – the Sustainable Energy Fund or The Reinvestment Fund. MaGrann Associates will coordinate and manage the project on behalf of the owner. Our technical experts will commission all upgraded equipment and perform any additional monitoring needed to ensure the projected cost reductions are achieved.
Both the improvements and the energy savings belong to the property owner. All MaGrann requires is that a suitable maintenance contract be in place with MaGrann or a contractor of the owner’s choice for the duration of the guarantee. There is no payment to MaGrann directly – all costs are included in the financing along with the improvements.
Patrick Bunn is the operations manager for existing multifamily and commercial properties at MaGrann Associates, managing projects from inception to completion.
USGBC Wintergreen Green Building Award
February 20, 2014
USGBC Maryland Presents the Annual Wintergreen Awards
MaGrann Wins Project Award for Excellence in Green Building
The U.S Green Building Council Maryland Chapter presented the 9th annual Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building on February 20, 2014. Fourteen awards were given at this celebration of innovation and progress.
MaGrann Associates’ submittal was for one of its Maryland clients, Chesapeake Realty Partners, LLC for the project 1901 South Charles Street. 1901 South Charles is the first LEED Gold certified wood-frame residential building in South Baltimore and it consists of 193 residential rental units with Energy Star rated applicants, light-colored roofs, water-efficient plumbing and more. The contractor for this building was Clark Builders Group and the architect, J. Davis Architects PLLC.
“Our jury selected 1901 South Charles for a Wintergreen Project Award, based on MaGrann’s well-rounded approach to greening the design, which features a contemporary urban style,” noted USGBC Maryland’s Executive Director, Mary Pulcinella.
Read the full press release on the Wintergreen Awards from USGBC Maryland here.
Do Green Homes Really Deliver? New Study Tells All
February 5, 2014
GuildQuality, North America's leading provider of customer satisfaction surveying for the residential building industry, recently conducted a national survey of homeowners who purchased a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certified green home built within the past three years. The study, commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and presented today at the annual International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, aimed to uncover how green homeowners feel after purchasing their home; primarily focusing on their overall satisfaction and whether they would recommend purchasing a green home to others.
Prior to this study, customer satisfaction among green homeowners had not been thoroughly explored. “Historically, studies have focused on interest in green among buyers in the market or on trends as reported by industry professionals,” said Matt Belcher, Co-Chair of NAHB’s Energy & Green Building Subcommittee and a Builder from Wildwood, MO. “While that’s certainly important information for all those in the industry, it doesn’t always get to the heart of what new buyers want to know, which is: ‘How satisfied are green homeowners with their decision?’ This data provides groundbreaking information that can be of value to the general public as well as the industry.”
Key findings of the study reveal:
• 94% would recommend a green home to a friend.
• 92% would purchase another green home.
• 71% of respondents believe that green homes are, overall, of higher quality.
• 55% knew their home may have cost more than a non-green home, but believed the benefits outweighed the cost.
• 90% were satisfied knowing they “did the right thing” in buying a green home.
Homeowners also provided their feedback on what influenced their decision to purchase a green home, and the sustainable features they value most. According to respondents, low utility bills, energy efficiency and better insulation topped the list of the green-related aspects that homeowners were most satisfied with.
To read the full report, visit http://www.guildquality.com/green-homeowner-study-report/. A summary of the report is also available at http://www.guildquality.com/green-homeowner-study-white-paper/.
A Year in Review
January 31, 2014
One of the only LEED Platinum homes in Hawaii was certified in January of 2013. The design company, Archipelago Hawaii and contracting firm, MOKULUA HPB began this project in 2011 with the goal of molding the science of design with the science of building. In one of the most unique climates of the world, achieving this LEED for Homes certification as well as a HERS score of 15 AND an Energy Star label was a true feat.
MaGrann's VP of Program Development, Ben Adams, was appointed to Chairman of the RESNET Quality Assurance Committee!
MaGrann Associates' Midwest clients, AEP Ohio, Columbia Gas of Ohio and LG&E/KU were recognized at the 2013 Energy Star Awards March 26 in Washington, D.C. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized them amongst other leading companies and organizations with Partner of the Year awards for their leadership and dedication towards protecting our environment, particularly through ENERGY STAR programs.
MaGrann expanded its services into Washington, DC this year.
The NYC based, NHP Foundation's Alabama Avenue Senior Housing in Washington, DC was certified by the Enterprise Green Communities.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) held their Commonwealth Housing Forum. MaGrann Associates' Operations Manager, Pat Bunn, lead a session entitled "Understanding Energy Efficiency".
Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) was awarded Exemplary Multifamily Program for their Residential Multifamily Housing Program by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in its third National Review of Exemplary Energy Efficiency Programs. MaGrann Associates proudly provides the audits, project engineering and site inspections for this PSE&G service.
MaGrann introduces a market-rate service to all multifamily property owners which provides an investment grade audit and a savings guarantee. Learn more about the eGuarantee.
Ironstate Development's Harrison Element Hotel was one of the six New Jersey Clean Energy Program contracts MaGrann signed in July. Harrison Element Hotel is the first rental project in a planned mixed-use community on 245 acres around a New Jersey PATH Station.
Chesapeake Realty Partners and Clark Construction's 1901 S. Charles St. officially became the first LEED Gold certified residential rental community in Baltimore, Maryland. As a LEED certified community, the residents of 1901 S. Charles enjoy Energy Star® rated units and appliances, light-colored roofs, water-efficient plumbing, irrigation systems and high performance windows. See more on the development
With the support of MaGrann Associates, Pennrose Properties, The Bozzuto Group and Re:Vision Architecture, the Uplands Leasing Office in Maryland achieved LEED Gold certification. In 2011, work began to rebuild the Uplands community, redeveloping the land with a new mixed income neighborhood. Phase One of the project contains 104 rental units, which are served by the leasing office.
MaGrann assisted Jonathan Rose Co. and architect, WRT through a successful LEED ND Platinum certification. The development, called Paseo Verde at 9th and Berks in Lower North Philadelphia, is the first certified Platinum ND development in the country. The apartments consist of a series of landscaped terraces, green roofs and 30,000 square feet of retail and community service space.
MaGrann clients and partners including, Pennrose Management Company, CIS Management Inc., The Klein Company and The Walters Group were amongst the winners at the New Jersey Apartment Association (NJAA)'s 20th Annual Garden State Awards of Excellence Event on October 24. Pennrose and CIS received numerous awards including "Excellence in Affordable Property Management", The Klein Company received awards like "Excellence in Curb Appeal: Garden/Low Rise Apartments/Built After 2010, Under 200 Units" and The Walters Group won awards including "Green Building - Excellence in Property Management - Garden/Low Rise Apartments/Built After 2010".
MaGrann's Green Project Manager, Jon Jensen, was appointed to the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) Board of Directors!
November marked USGBC's annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo which was held this year in Philadelphia. As a local company, MaGrann Associates was proud to sponsor, exhibit and serve on multiple committees for the best Greenbuild yet!
Participating in every aspect, from leading sessions to being a stop on the Greenbuild Tours (see bottom image on right), MaGrann was pleased to contribute to the impressive event.
Watch a recap video of Greenbuild 2013 here.
MaGrann's Mount Laurel, New Jersey corporate office was LEED CI Certified in Novemeber.
RPM Development Group held the Grand Opening of G.G. Green Senior Residences in Woodbury, NJ. G.G. Green is a unique rehabilitation that consists of 55 apartments and almost 7,000 sq. feet of retail space. It is a LEED v4 pilot and LEED Platinum certified.
A Certifiable Success
Local company is a national leader in LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications
By Julianne Mesaric
In 30 years of operation, MaGrann Associates has certified 55,000 ENERGY STAR homes and 2,600 LEED homes, making it one of the nation’s leading providers of these certifications. Despite the challenge of the housing recession, MaGrann never wavered from its commitment to increase the number of energy-efficient homes in the city, through sustainability consulting and working with building professionals, utilities and program sponsors. This commitment to doing the “right thing” despite a challenging economy reflects how seriously MaGrann President and CEO Mark MaGrann takes the world’s energy problem. “It’s not going away in our lifetime,” he says.
Maybe not, but Philadelphia’s carbon footprint improves with every building that reduces the energy it consumes, and MaGrann is determined to help make that a reality for as many as possible. Their eGuarantee program provides owners of multi-family buildings with energy-saving recommendations and predictions on how much energy they will save in the next two years. If the recommendations are followed and the savings fall short, MaGrann pays the difference. To MaGrann, this makes good sense environmentally and economically. “Every dollar saved by our clients can be put back into the economy,” he says.
Originally printed in Delaware Valley Green Building Council’s “Greenprint”
What Can We Green by Greenbuild?
In an attempt to break Greenbuild out of the convention center and set the stage for a new era of the expo, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council issued a challenge to the people of Philadelphia.
At their best, industry conferences are the perfect backdrop for rubbing elbows and sharing best practices with your peers. But even when performing at this ideal level, conferences have a tendency toward self-congratulations, which often work against the industry’s best intentions. In an attempt to correct this, and set a new standard for what a green building conference can do, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), the host chapter for this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia, launched a challenge to unite the greater community of the Delaware Valley by pledging to “green” itself by November 2013.
Written up with language borrowed from the Constitution (“We the people…”), which is geographically apropos, the DVGBC 2013 Challenge is divided into eight straightforward segments, promising that the Delaware Valley, as a people, will “take care of the buildings we have and make them healthier and more efficient; clean our air and unclog our roads; educate ourselves, our clients, and our future designers; build coalitions to make our communities stronger; care more about the materials we make, use, and recycle; reconnect ourselves to our natural environment; aspire to better standards for our homes, hospitals, workplaces, schools, and cultural institutions; [and] challenge ourselves as a design community.”
On one hand, these are the fundamental goals of the general green building movement, but the DVGBC devised a way to help the community of the Delaware Valley deliver on these pledges in a practicable, quantifiable way. To coincide with the 20th annual Greenbuild conference, the DVGBC invited sustainable building pledges—tangible goals that could actually be reached over the course of a year—from any businesses in the Delaware Valley community, not just chapter members. Heather Blakeslee, deputy executive director of the DVGBC, says, “As a chapter, we initiated this challenge in May 2012 because we knew that everyone in the city, both in and outside of the green building world, would want to participate in Greenbuild somehow, but outside of attending, there’s not always a way to participate. We wanted to show off the depth and breadth of the sustainability work that has been happening in the Delaware Valley over the past 15 years.”
The pledges for the 2013 Challenge are all different and unique to each individual business. They include goals such as DVL Automation’s deployment of ZeroWire energy-harvesting integration to reduce energy use by 32 percent and averting 100 miles of copper wire and 12,000 batteries; and Forbo Flooring Systems’ goal to use transparent, third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations for its products, and MaGrann Associates’ goal to certify 1,500 LEED Homes and 5,000 Energy Star homes nationwide. The list goes on with pledges from around 120 DVGBC-affiliated companies and organizations, aiming to deliver on these pledges before Greenbuild 2013.
Jonathan Rose Companies
Eliminate nearly 79,000 car trips annually by completing the Paseo Verde transit-oriented development project with Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha.
One of the keys for mobilizing and publishing this challenge has been through a grassroots network, similar to the one that originally led to the formation of the USGBC and Greenbuild. In addition to inviting the community to participate in the activities and philosophies articulated by the USGBC, the DVGBC’s 2013 challenge has also served to publicize Greenbuild, the DVGBC, and the green-building movement in the area in a cost-free, grassroots way. “Once we announced the challenge, some of our members saw the stature of some of the people making pledges—like the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Zoo, and so forth—others knew they wanted to be part of what we were doing,” Blakeslee says. “What we build is community and connections, and this challenge pledge was a way for us to hit all of those things.”
The idea of positive competition is an integral component of grassroots marketing and largely what has fueled the Delaware Valley’s community response to the DVGBC’s challenge and the DVGBC’s role as a community leader. The challenge has served as a way to highlight and provide visibility for other community organizations, such as the Lehigh Valley Sustainability Network, which is creating a Web platform to encourage communications, or the collaboration between PennFuture and Next Great City, which will cooperatively lead the Coalition for an Energy Efficient Philadelphia.
The collaborations inspired by the challenge extend to the built environment with the Jonathan Rose Companies teaming with the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha to develop Paseo Verde, a transit-oriented development seated on a 1.9-acre site near the Temple University Train Station. The design of the development incorporates energy-efficient building envelopes, green roofs, photovoltaic arrays, and locally sourced materials, and it is seeking LEED for Homes and LEED-ND Platinum certifications. “Jonathan Rose has always been committed to community-serving design and the transformational power of good design within neighborhoods,” Blakeslee says. “This Paseo Verde project is really fantastic because it’s a totally new kind of project in Philadelphia. It’s transit oriented, there’s an affordable housing component, and it hits all of the things both designers and city planners want to see.”
Chemical Heritage Foundation
Engage 5,000 visitors with local environmental change with exhibits and programs, including this one by Vaughn Bell that gives visitors a worm’s-eye view of native plants. Photo: Kevin Kennefick
Paseo Verde is a local project, but the challenge has also attracted pledges from larger international companies such as CertainTeed, a $3 billion subsidiary of Saint-Gobain founded in 1904 and employing roughly 9,700 worldwide. Whereas some organizations have pledged external goals and targets, CertainTeed has instead translated the challenge to redress its own sustainability efforts. “CertainTeed actually looked inward for the pledge, asking what they can do differently about how they operationalize their work,” Blakeslee says. “This means that they’ve encouraged more commuting and made policies around that. And because they’re a big company, even though this is a small change, it can still result in 10,000 gallons of gasoline being saved over the course of a year.”
In addition to actual built-project pledges, such as Keating Environmental Management’s pledge to help implement 10 LEED-EB projects or Mission First Housing Group’s pledge to deliver 1,000 green and affordable housing units, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization, will be curating an arts exhibit showcasing work from artists who have visualized or depicted changes in environmental growth or degradation. “This kind of exhibit is a great tie-in for what Greenbuild can be for a city,” Blakeslee says. “People are coming here, to Philadelphia, and they’re not only seeing our sustainable work, but our vibrant and robust arts and culture community. There are a lot of ties between the arts and the sustainable communities that make this region especially unique.”
Even with so much support, Blakeslee says that a big part of the challenge has been aggregating and demonstrating its impacts to a regional, national, and international audience. “Even with the first 120 pledges that have come in, it reflects billions of dollars of investment in the region, hundreds of thousands of tons of waste kept out of landfills and kilowatt-hours saved,” she says. “The impacts are huge, and we want everyone to celebrate the work they’re doing and for everyone to see that it’s being achieved as a collective whole.”
Although it remains to be seen if the DVGBC’s challenge to its members and connected communities will be repeated for future Greenbuild conferences by other regional USGBC chapters, the positive responses and tangible goals articulated in the 2013 Challenge set a high bar for what an industry conference can do to affect change beyond the ticket table.
New Website from RESNET
October 25, 2013
The RESENET HERS Index Score is the industry standard for measuring a home's energy. It is nationally recognized as the system for inspecting and calculating a home's energy performance. Every month, more builders commit to building energy rated homes and there is a growing trend of code jurisdictions adopting a HERS Index Score as an option to demonstrating compliance with building energy codes.
Recently, a HERS Index Score dedicated micro-website was launched. Visitors are able to learn about the Hers Index Score and how it works, as well as to ask for it when shopping for a home. The microsite also includes information on energy ratings, the benefits of getting one for their home, and even the ability to search for a RESNET Home Energy Rater Member.
The HERS microsite promises to be innovative, engaging and a powerful tool for raters to connect with consumers and builders.
MaGrann's VP of Program Development and RESNET Board member, Ben Adams said, "The HERS Index Score is already proving itself to be as useful a tool as MPG is for cars. Homeowners and buyers appreciate the ability to easily compare between homes. And builders have a way to differentiate the energy performance of their product in a way that buyers can understand and ask for. I predict the HERS Score will in time become an expected and ubiquitous element of buying or selling any home."
Check out the RESNET HERS Index Score site at http://www.hersindex.com/
A new scale for green
The LEEDv4 system for rating sustainable construction launches in Philadelphia this week.
November 18, 2013
The LEEDv4 system for rating sustainable construction launches in Philadelphia this week. “The market is capable of doing a lot more than it does.” The U.S. Green Building Council is raising the bar for sustainable construction with the launch of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design version 4 (LEEDv4) rating system at the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this week at the Convention Center.
“The market is capable of doing a lot more than it does,” said Scot Horst, a Green Building Council senior vice president who oversees LEED.
The new system streamlines the arduous LEED certification process, updates previously established guidelines to match more recent building codes, offers a new breakdown of standards by sector, and encourages collaboration among the architects, builders, and others involved in the construction and design process.
It’s easier to develop a workable green project when building professionals work together from its inception, Horst said.
LEEDv4 also calls for more transparency in materials composition, which Horst compared to nutrition labels on groceries. Promoting disclosure lets consumers educate themselves on what they want in their products, he said. “Right now, no one can make decisions about what is bad for them because we don’t know what is in our buildings,” said Horst, who added that the council, instead of listing what should be in building materials, wanted the market to determine the success of certain products.
But meeting the latest criteria is difficult, especially while LEEDv4 is still in its infancy.
As part of a pilot program, Mount Laurel-based MaGrann Associates worked with Montclairbased RPM Development in the construction of GG Green, an affordable-housing and retail property in Woodbury that awaits a decision on its LEEDv4 Platinum rating, said Jon Jensen, a technical consultant with MaGrann.
Obtaining product-composition details was a challenge because it is not an industry standard, Jensen said: “Everybody looks at you like you are crazy.”
But he likened it to past changes in the construction world — like listing the amount of recycled content — that initially faced skepticism before becoming the norm.
Many industry associations opt to use other green- design criteria, such as the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard developed by the National Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council.
But, Horst said, as a voluntary rating system, LEEDv4 gives builders and developers an opportunity to take extra steps to differentiate themselves from competitors.
“The goal is to allow people to distinguish themselves as leaders,” he said.
Setting these standards encourages others to build with green criteria in mind, Jensen said, and “makes it much clearer what it takes for builders and developers to set themselves apart.”
Projects can obtain LEED 2009 certification until June 1, 2015, when LEEDv4 becomes the only rating system available.
Greenbuild Presents the 2013 Regional Tours
September 23, 2013
MaGrann Associates is looking forward to the 2013 Greenbuild Tours which will consist of thirty-five regional tours showcasing local green projects in Philadelphia. They will be offered by the Delaware ValleyGreen
The Center City Rowhome LEED Platinum Retrofit is a stop on a tour. Photo Credit: Halkin Mason Photography
Building Council (DVGBC) from November 18th through November 23rd.
The Greenbuild Tours are all under $100 and participants do not have to be attending Greenbuild in order to participate. Stops include sustainable sites from affordable housing, market rate residential, commercial, industrial, manufacturing, green roofs and more. Participants may choose half-day tours at locations like The Navy Yard and University City or they may choose a full-day tour which also includes lunch.
For details on each tour and to register, please visit the website. The Navy Yard stops (TM02 and TS06) will include an inside look at the LEED Gold certified MaGrann Associates office. MaGrann projects are also included in the following tours:
Modular: Innovations in Building Design & Construction (TM08), Liberty and Justice for All: Innovative Multifamily Housing (TM09 and TF05), Building Connections, Building Community: LEED ND, Campus Living and Supportive Housing (TM12), Getting to Scale in the Suburbs: The Eagleview Master Plan (TM13) and Rebirth of a Neighborhood: Going Green in Northern Liberties and Kensington (TF06).
The 100k House, LEED for Homes Project of the year in 2010, was developed by MaGrann partner, Postgreen Homes and will also be featured in the tour. Photo Credit: Sam Oberter
Funding Awarded to MaGrann-Supported Teams for Sandy Rebuild Projects
August 12, 2013
MaGrann Associates is pleased to announce that sixteen MaGrann-supported Affordable Housing Project teams, out of a total of 25, received funding awards under the special New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) Low Income Tax Credit / Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Sandy Disaster Recovery Program.
The Program was created as part of the state and federal effort to rebuild and rehabilitate affordable housing located in areas affected by Superstorm Sandy; specifically in the nine counties of: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union. Project Teams submitted applications to NJHMFA in a competitive process where the projects had to demonstrate solutions that fulfilled CDBG criteria like being affordable and energy efficient (ie. ENERGY STAR Homes compliant).
MaGrann Associates will provide Home Energy Rating system (HERS) Rating services for each of the sixteen projects, which includes energy modeling, inspections/verification, testing, and ENERGY STAR certification.
These projects include:
- RPM Development's Pleasantville Mixed Use and Pleasantville Mixed-Income;
- RPM Development's 999 Broad/Phase II, in Newark;
- Daibes Enterprises' Winterburn Gardens, in Edgewater;
- AHM Housing Associates IV, LLC's A.Harry Moore IV, in Jersey City;
- Community Investment Strategies, Inc.'s Carolina Crescent & Connecticut Crescent, in Atlantic City;
- Rukenstein & Associates' Cape May Point, in Cape May Court House;
- Renewable Jersey at Egg Harbor's Egg Harbor Twp. Hotel Conversion;
- Woodrow Wilson Housing Urban Renewal's Woodrow Wilson Phase III, in Long Branch;
- Conifer Realty's Railroad Avenue Apts. and Rio Grande Apts., in Middle Twp.;
- Gregory Phase 2 Associates LLC's Gregory School/Garrett Annex Phase II, in Long Branch;
- Community Investment Strategies, Inc.'s Heritage Village at Bloomfield;
- Conifer Realty and MEND Inc's Conifer Village at Rittenberg, in Egg Harbor City;
- Michaels Development Company's Spruce Street Senior Residences, in Newark;
- Project Freedom Inc.'s Freedom Village at Toms River
"We are pleased that these clients accepted our proposals and put their trust in the MaGrann team. The synergy between our clients and us on these projects will provide much needed energy efficient affordable housing in the hardest hit areas of the State," said MaGrann Client Relations Manager, Ray Perkins.
Projects will get underway this fall, with construction set to begin sometime in early 2014.
AFC First and Direct Learning Systems Launch Online Green Energy Training Academy™ with Home Performance 101 Course
June 1, 2013
Allentown, PA, June 1, 2013 – AFC First Financial Corporation has partnered with Direct Learning Systems to launch the Green Energy Training Academy™ (www.greenenergytrainingacademy.com), an online educational and training curriculum for contractors and those interested in residential energy efficiency improvements and retrofits.
The energy efficiency home remodeling business is a competitive, growing and ever-changing environment. Contractors engaged in heating and cooling, insulation, renewable energy and other related improvements are seeing greater consumer demand for increased comfort and energy efficiency that is best presented using a more comprehensive “whole house” approach (Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®), instead of an emphasis on just equipment or single measures. Rather than focusing on technical and mechanical skills and certifications, the Green Energy Training Academy™ courses will highlight primarily marketing, sales, financial and other “soft” skills that contractors and their employees need to run a profitable and consumer-focused business in this expanding market.
Home Performance 101 is the first course to be launched by the Green Energy Training Academy™ with enrollment opening today. Already one of AFC First’s most popular classroom courses, Home Performance 101 is designed as an introductory overview which educates contractors and other energy efficiency professionals about energy use in the home, the “house as a system” approach to energy conservation and energy efficiency, market forces affecting homeowners (consumer demand, utility rate caps, energy cost volatility, national security, climate change policy, etc.), basic building science, state and federal incentives and how to integrate the “house as a system” approach into their business model.
Home Performance 101 can be completed at the student’s convenience with typically less than 2 hours of study time. Contractors who are approved to offer the AFC First’s consumer energy financing and who successfully complete Home Performance 101 will attain the status of “Trained” contractor which permits them to offer a more extensive array of financing programs and provide a higher listing in AFC First’s consumer contractor search engines.
Susan Moring, Marketing Manager
AFC First Financial Corporation
firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 973-2687
NJEC May Member Highlight: MaGrann Associates
May 28, 2013
MaGrann Associates is a specialized energy engineering, technical consulting and program management company headquartered in Mount Laurel, New Jersey which has focused on bringing applied building science to the new construction and retrofit markets since 1982.
MaGrann works closely with builders, developers, architects, engineers, contractors, property managers, building operators, homebuyers, homeowners and utilities to ensure their energy efficiency and building performance goals are met. Its services include energy audits, IGAs and ratings for new and existing buildings, on-site quality control and diagnostics, design engineering and commissioning, and program design and management across a range of residential, multifamily and commercial new construction and retrofit initiatives.
MaGrann Associates’ services have been responsible for energy upgrades in more than 100,000 homes and buildings.
MaGrann recently introduced a new service called eGuaranteeTM. Building off its years of experience in providing energy efficiency retrofit upgrades to multifamily buildings as part of publically or utility funded programs, MaGrann is offering a similar service to all multifamily property owners. The service helps owners improve net operating income and provides a funding source for capital improvements through key utility conservation measures. Property values are increased and wasted utilities are turned into revenue streams with the eGuaranteeTM.
Another recently introduced service is MaGrann’s Utility Allowance Analysis. This service provides assistance to owners of multifamily housing properties which have funding through HUD. MaGrann performs energy modeling and provides an estimate of monthly utility costs for each model type in a multifamily development. Property Owners that have worked with MaGrann appreciate outsourcing the time consuming task and benefit by a change in utility allowance which may allow modernization, weatherization or upgrading of systems and appliances.
MaGrann Associates' Navy Yard Office Achieves LEED Gold Certification
May 17, 2013
MaGrann Associates is a national leader in energy efficiency/green building consulting and engineering, specializing in in energy efficiency and green building. MaGrann opened their Philadelphia office in One Crescent Drive at The Navy Yard in 2011. For 30 years, MaGrann has focused on bringing applied building science to the residential housing market helping builders, developers, and designers produce higher performing, energy efficient homes. From custom engineering design to troubleshooting, program management to third party green building verification, MaGrann Associates is dedicated to providing users with expert and effective consulting and engineering support.
To complement their expertise and dedication to energy efficiency, MaGrann pursued a certification for U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® for Commercial Interiors (CI) for their 3,000 square foot office suite, to add to the LEED Platinum Core and Shell (CS) certification of One Crescent Drive. The Navy Yard is proud to announce that in March of 2013, LEED CI Gold Certification was achieved at MaGrann’s Philadelphia office!
LEED for Commercial Interiors is the rating system that certifies high-performance green tenant spaces that are healthy and productive places to work, and require minimum cost to operate and maintain. In order to achieve the Gold level of certification, MaGrann made production decisions to create a green space, including the use of low-VOC paints, adhesives, and sealants; FSC-certified wood for cabinets, doors, and windowsills; and recycled wood for conference room furniture. Additionally, the cubicles are made with a high percentage of recycled materials, and the construction team diverted 75% of the waste from landfills.
The Navy Yard Corporate Center developers Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners supported this LEED certification project by upgrading the plumbing fixtures to today’s low-flow standards, as newer, more efficient options have become available since the building’s original CS certification was achieved in 2005.
MaGrann continues to work on building an energy efficient, green-conscious community at The Navy Yard and throughout the region! If your company is interested in learning more about MaGrann’s process and experience, please contact Emma Raymont at EmmaRaymont@magrann.com or 267-625-5526.
MaGrann programs win 2013 Energy Star Awards
April 1, 2013
“MaGrann Associates’ Mark MaGrann (far left) and Landyn Garmon (far right) with the LG&E/KU team who received their third Energy Star Partner of the Year award.”
The 2013 Energy Star Awards were presented on March 26 in Washington, D.C. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized MaGrann Associates’ Midwest clients, AEP Ohio, Columbia Gas of Ohio and LG&E/KU amongst other leading companies and organizations for their leadership and dedication towards protecting our environment, particularly through ENERGY STAR programs.
MaGrann’s Julia Hall, Landyn Garmon and Mark MaGrann represented MaGrann Associates in Washington on Tuesday at the annual awards ceremony. AEP Ohio received a Partner of the Year award for the second consecutive year, due to their commitment to sponsoring ENERGY STAR certified homes and products. 2013 was also the second consecutive year Columbia Gas of Ohio received a Partner of the Year award. For LG&E/KU, this is the third consecutive year it received the award, which places them in the “sustained excellence” category.
Congratulations to our clients and the MaGrann team of Julia Hall, Landyn Garmon, Melissa Eriksen, Terry Smith, Jeremy Cohen and Teri Shinn on this great accomplishment!
For more information, click on the links below:
MaGrann Associates to Speak at Midwest Residential Energy Conference
MaGrann Associates’ Doug McCleery and Julia Hall will be presenting at the 2013 Midwest Residential Energy Conference hosted by the Home Builders Association of Lexington and RESNET. The conference will be held on March 12-13 in Lexington, Kentucky. According to its website, the conference “focuses on Building Science and issues related to home performance. The conference objective is to provide Continuing Education and updates on Building Codes, Tax Credits, Utility programs and new Technologies that benefit or affect the professions of Builders, Remodelers, Realtors, HVAC Contractors, HERS Raters, Building Analysts, Utility program managers and Utility Energy Advisors.”
VP of Technical Services at MaGrann, Doug McCleery will be presenting on “Multi-family Retrofit”. Doug’s presentation will explore the opportunities available for improving energy performance in existing multi-family buildings. Information will be presented on various multi-family energy improvement programs, including both success stories and areas for improvement. An outline for how to work in the existing multi-family sector without program support will be provided.
Julia Hall is the Program Manager for the AEP Ohio/Columbia Gas ENERGY STAR New Homes Program. Her presentation on “Selling Energy Efficient Homes” will help attendees learn how they can help potential home buyers understand the value of energy efficient homes, including ENERGY STAR and Energy Saving New Homes program labeled homes. Participants will learn what makes a home energy efficient, more comfortable and less expensive to live in.
For more information on the conference, and to register, visit http://www.midwestenergyconference.com/index2013.htm
Five Tips for Saving on Your Summer Energy Bill
August 7, 2012
Summer is generally a time to let loose and relax, but it’s also a time when energy bills heat up.
The average household spends about 20% of its utility bill on keeping cool, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – and for residents in the U.S. who have experienced record-high temperatures this summer, that can add up to a hefty sum.
While cutting your energy costs may be tough, especially for those glued to their A/C units, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your bills that won’t reduce your comfort.
1. Take a Good Look at Your A/C Unit
Experts say the first step to cutting your summer electricity bill is making sure your air-conditioning unit is in good shape.
“The No. 1 way to save on your energy bill is to make sure your A/C is functioning properly,” says Mark MaGrann, CEO of MaGrann Associates, an energy consulting firm in Mount Laurel, N.J.
Dirt and neglect are the top causes of system failure, according to the EPA. Air filters should be checked every month and changed when they are dirty or at a minimum of every three months to keep your system operating at its best.
MaGrann recommends servicing your air conditioning equipment prior to or during the summer season.
2. Use Your Thermostat the Right Way
Don't waste money and energy cooling an empty home. The EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) recommend using a programmable thermostat that turns off your cooling system while you aren’t home and turns it on for when you return, which can save you up to $180 a year.
Keeping your thermostat between 76 and 78 degrees can save you at least 10% on your bill, according to MaGrann.
If comfort is your biggest priority, raising your thermostat by only 2 degrees while using your ceiling fan can cut your cooling bill by up to 14%, the EPA reports.
For those who put savings ahead of comfort, the DOE says that setting your thermostat as high as possible, and thus reducing the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, will also trim your cooling bill.
Finally, MaGrann recommends taking advantage of programs offered by state or local utility companies. Some companies offer A/C cycling programs that recycle your electrical load during peak times, which helps with energy efficiency and could result in a rebate between $5 and $30, he says.
3. Unplug Phantom Energy Suckers
Even when turned off, many plugged-in electronic devices like computers, TVs, video games and phone chargers continue drawing small amounts of power.
Energy Star estimates that of the electricity that goes toward powering electronics and appliances, three-quarters is consumed while the products are turned off.
MaGrann advises to plug these devices into a power strip and turning the strip off when not in use.
While looking for ways to save this summer, be sure to gauge your need for extra appliances. MaGrann says homeowners often make the mistake of using a second refrigerator to store extra cool drinks for the summer – and if it’s an older and less efficient model, which it often is, it can add up.
“The cost can be surprising,” he says.
4. Lighten Up
Simply turning the lights off when you leave a room is an easy way to cut electricity cost, but there are other simple steps to save more.
Replacing five of your most used bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can save $70 a year on your utility bill, according to the EPA. CFLs are believed to last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy.
Traditional incandescent bulbs actually make your rooms hotter. The DOE reports that only 10 to 15% of the electricity incandescent bulbs use results in light while the remaining 85% to 90% is given off as heat.
5. Check Your Windows, Doors and Vents
Energy Star reports that while cool air is being pumped into your house, as much as 20% can be leaking out due to poor insulation. Energy Star recommends sealing leaky windows, doors and air ducts with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping. Replacing your windows could result in savings of anywhere from $20 to $95 a year in energy costs, Energy Star says.
The direction your windows face also matters. MaGrann says that since windows on the south and west sides of your home take a high sun load, homeowners should close blinds, shades and draperies on those windows.
Finally, take a look at those vents. New Jersey-based energy services provider PSE&G recommends closing vents in unoccupied rooms to prevent unnecessary A/C use and save you money.
AEP Ohio/Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR New Homes Program Wins 2 MAME Awards
June 7, 2012
The AEP Ohio/Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR New Homes Program received two awards for marketing excellence at the Central Ohio BIA’s 2011 MAME Awards Reception – “Best Green Environmental Marketing Effort” and “Best On-Site Outdoor Signage.”
The Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME) Awards honor the top achievers in the new home industry. Sales and marketing award winners cross all BIA membership ranks and include Realtors, interior designers, architects, landscapers, suppliers, remodelers, builders and more.
The Program submitted the welcome mat advertisement and won the “Best Green Environmental Marketing Effort” award based on relevance of environmental benefits, creativity, visual elements, originality and clear call-to-action.
The Program’s yard sign was submitted for “Best On-Site Outdoor Signage” and won based on overall effectiveness, concept and creativity, impact, content, use of color and consistency of design and message.
MaGrann Associates Program Manager Julia Hall, Amy Garrett, and Megan Bhatt of Columbia Gas of Ohio were on hand to accept the award.
“Given that this program only got its start at the beginning of 2011, it is quite an accomplishment for its marketing efforts to receive recognition by the Central Ohio BIA. We look forward to helping AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio continue to exceed their goals for the ENERGY STAR New Homes Program,” said Mark MaGrann, President and CEO of MaGrann Associates.
The Delaware Valley Green Building Council Challenges Philly Businesses to Make a Pledge
May 8, 2012
In anticipation of the 2013 Greenbuild conference being held in Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) has started reaching out to its regional sustainability partners to come up with measurable sustainable goals that can be reached in 2013. Even though the Council’s pledge has only been circulating for a couple of months, it has attracted the participation of a number of for-profit and non-profit companies vowing to practice even more eco-friendly development.
“Being one of the earliest advocates of green building in Greater Philadelphia, MaGrann Associates knew this was the time to make our pledge to sustainability and help the DVGBC show the rest of the nation (and possibly the world) that Philadelphia is a hub for the sustainability movement,” said MaGrann Business Director and COO Rich Selverian.
Deputy Executive Director of DVGBC Heather Blakeslee was recently quoted in Flying Kite magazine discussing the many pledges they have already received, and highlighted MaGrann’s pledge. Says Blakeslee, “MaGrann Associates, which is an energy consulting and engineering company that started in Mount Laurel, has vowed to certify 1,500 LEED residences, make 5,000 additional homes Energy Star-compliant, and achieve LEED certification for commercial interiors for their Navy Yard and South Jersey offices.”
We look forward to helping the DVGBC in this road to Greenbuild and seeing what other local companies can pledge to contribute.
To make your pledge, visit the DVGBC website.
MaGrann Associates Wins ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award
April 18, 2012
In recognition of our commitment to providing homebuyers with ENERGY STAR certified homes, MaGrann has earned a 2012 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award -- making this our 8th year winning the prestigious award. This award recognizes our work in promoting energy efficient construction and helping to protect the environment through our partnership with ENERGY STAR.
Despite the downturn in the housing market, it is clear that both homebuilders and homebuyers are continuing to invest in high performing homes. To date, more than 1.3 million ENERGY STAR certified homes have been built - with more than 127,000 constructed in 2011. MaGrann contributed to that overall number by rating 3,743 ENERGY STAR qualified homes in 2011 alone. Our contribution saved homeowners $1,673,121 on their utility bills and eliminated the emissions from 1,834 vehicles. In 2011, with the help of the 5,400 active ENERGY STAR for New Homes partners, Americans saved nearly $400 million on their utility bills and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of more than 510,000 vehicles.
We want to thank you, our clients and partners, for helping us achieve this award and continue our success with the ENERGY STAR New Homes Program.
MaGrann Conference At Rutgers Hosted by Department of Geography
April 16, 2012
The Rutgers University Department of Geography held its 6th MaGrann Conference on April 12 to 14. This conference Breaking the Ice: Theorizing the Arctic Thaw focused on climate change related to the melting of Greenland's ice cap. It specifically focused on Geography Department Professor Asa Rennermalm's research relating to the topic. Other points of interest were a keynote address from Dartmouth Professor Mary Albert where she summarized the state of the art of polar research, and a full-day of in-depth research presentations and discussions.
Mark MaGrann is an alumnus of the Rutgers University Department of Geography and personally funds an endowment to use as an outlet to feature junior faculty and graduate students.
"I'm pleased to be a sponsor of this important conference series. Global climate change, both natural and man-made, ultimately impacts every living creature in some way. Through research developed by the best minds in the world, we can better understand its causes and, hopefully, respond positively to its challenges," said Mark MaGrann.
The conferences have featured some 70-80 participants and have resulted in the publication of five special issues of peer reviewed journals.
Paseo Verde Breaks Ground in Philadelphia
April 11, 2012
Jonathan Rose Companies and the Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM) celebrated the groundbreaking of Paseo Verde in Philadelphia on April 10th. The companies were selected by the City of Philadelphia to develop the 1.9 acre parcel of land adjacent to Temple University. The development will be a sustainable, mixed-use rental community for low- and moderate-income families. It will consist of 120 rental units (206,000 SF total residential space) that include a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and 30,000 SF of ground floor retail and community service space.
The goal of this project is to provide a healthy living environment for residents through sustainable building practices and cost savings from effective reduction in water and energy use. The building, which is pursuing LEED for Homes and Neighborhood Development certification, will be constructed with an environmentally responsible design including: an energy efficient building envelope and MEP systems; effective ventilation systems to provide outside air, green roofs; photovoltaic solar panels; and the use of local, recycled, and healthier materials.
"The Paseo Verde project team has the principles of green building embedded in their process and approach. They represent a remarkable combination of an ambitious focus on sustainable outcomes with the practical experience required to make them a reality," said MaGrann Technical Consultant Jon Jensen.
MaGrann Associates is happy to collaborate with Jonathan Rose Companies and APM as the LEED for Homes Provider as well as Energy Works energy modeler for the Paseo Verde project. This project helps us continue our goal of providing better, green homes for everyone.
ENERGY STAR® New Homes Programs Receive Partner of the Year and Sustained Excellence Awards from EPA
Posted on March 26, 2012
Mount Laurel, NJ --- Three MaGrann Associates supported energy efficiency programs were honored with ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year awards at a ceremony in Washington DC on March 15. The AEP Ohio/Columbia Gas of Ohio ENERGY STAR New Homes Program and the Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities (LG&E and KU) ENERGY STAR New Homes Program were presented with 2012 Partner of the Year Awards for Energy Efficiency Program Delivery. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities received recognition for Sustained Excellence, citing the ENERGY STAR New Homes Program for its success again in 2012.
AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio first partnered with MaGrann Associates and ENERGY STAR in September of 2010. The program enrolled 45 builders and 19 raters and completed almost 800 new ENERGY STAR certified homes in the Columbus/Central Ohio region in its first year. The program received the award for the utilities’ collaboration and shared commitment to sponsoring ENERGY STAR certified homes, as well as for its marketing and training innovations.
“We have received outstanding support from the builder, contractor and energy rater communities since the inception of this program in 2010. It is an honor to be recognized by the EPA as Partner of the Year for a program that we are so proud of. We look forward to continuing this pattern of success as the program progresses and takes on more roles in the new construction industry of Central Ohio,” said Program Manager Julia Hall of MaGrann Associates.
LG&E and KU were presented with the Partner of the Year Award for a second year in a row. The EPA highlighted continued technical, marketing and educational support in promoting the ENERGY STAR New Homes Program as a reason for the ENERGY STAR recognition. The program completed almost 1,100 ENERGY STAR certified new homes in 2011 – reaching 25% market penetration – for a total of 2,400 certified homes since the program was launched in 2009. The program achieved an estimated 4,000 MWh in annual electric savings and 1,800 kW in annual demand reductions.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the EPA for the second year in a row for our hard work promoting energy efficiency for Kentucky’s new residential construction market. LG&E and KU’s efforts in developing and delivering an effective program which exceeds baseline ENERGY STAR requirements has played an important role in helping to improve the energy performance of housing being produced in the state,” said Program Manager Landyn Garmon, of MaGrann Associates.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities received ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence recognition at the awards ceremony for its innovative and high-quality delivery of energy efficiency programming across the commercial and residential sectors through its statewide New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program. A key accomplishment for 2011 included completing 3,900 ENERGY STAR certified new homes through the New Jersey ENERGY STAR New Homes Program– increasing its market share to 45 percent of the new housing market in New Jersey.
Rich Selverian, MaGrann’s CFO/COO, stated that “it is a privilege to work with leading organizations to help them achieve their energy efficiency goals.”
MaGrann Associates, a residential energy consulting and engineering firm, has provided program management and implementation for both the AEP Ohio/Columbia Gas of Ohio and LG&E and KU energy efficiency programs since their inception. MaGrann also served as longtime market manager for the New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes program until the company stepped down from that role in January 2012.
About the ENERGY STAR Awards
Partner of the Year. Forty-two organizations are recognized as Partner of the Year. This award honors partners for strategically and comprehensively managing their energy use and promoting ENERGY STAR products and practices in their own operations, and/or providing efficient products and services to consumers and within their communities.
Sustained Excellence. Fifty-eight organizations are recipients of this most prestigious ENERGY STAR award for their long-term commitment to protecting our environment through superior energy efficiency. These winners exhibit outstanding leadership and achievements year after year.
Letter from the CEO: MaGrann Celebrates a Milestone Year in 2012
Posted on March 2, 2012
"It all started in a 10' x 10', second floor office in a log cabin in Medford Lakes, NJ." For years this was my opening line to employees at our annual meeting. In spite of the moans and groans from those that heard it each year, the story is true!
This year we celebrate our 30th anniversary as a building/energy consulting and engineering firm. What started as a one person operation has expanded to a team of over 50 professionals with offices spanning New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Florida. Since 1982, MaGrann Associates has grown within the often turbulent building industry, celebrating the highs and working through the lows. But the whole time, we have maintained our core mission statement, "We help you build a better home."
Over the last three decades, we have made lasting partnerships with some of the best in the industry, and worked with some of the most innovative builders, developers and utility companies. Our dedication to each project has helped us receive some great recognition including ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year, multiple EPA Leadership in Housing Awards and, most recently, being named the leading provider of LEED™ for Homes certifications in the nation for 2010 and 2011. But none of this would have been possible without our dedicated employees and our loyal clients. Our diverse team of specialists has helped MaGrann grow into the nationally-recognized firm it is today.
Although we now work out of our state-of-the-art, green offices, the memory of those early days in the log cabin still pushes us forward. We have high expectations for 2012, and we hope you -- our clients, partners and friends -- continue to challenge us to exceed your expectations during this monumental year.
Contract Expansion in KY Includes New Rebate Programs
Posted on March 1, 2012
MaGrann Associates is pleased to announce the expansion of its scope of work with Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) in Kentucky. MaGrann will be the program implementer for a "Home Energy Rebate Program" and a "Commercial Energy Rebate Program" - both of which provide incentives for the purchase and installation of qualifying energy efficient equipment.
The residential program, which includes rebates for a variety of HVAC systems and home appliances, will be operated in partnership with Energy Federation Inc. (EFI) based in Massachusetts. EFI is an industry leader in processing incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy products and measures.
The commercial rebate program is based on a selection from a long list of prescriptive measures or a customized approach proposed by applicants. MaGrann will provide administrative, outreach and engineering review services, under the leadership of Program Manager Rebekah Phillips.
MaGrann has administered the Residential New Construction program over the past three years for LG&E and KU, and the establishment of this new program reflects on the great success of this continued partnership. We are happy to expand our presence in the region, building on the accomplishments of the existing residential new construction programs in Kentucky and Ohio.
MaGrann Associates Named Leading Green Building Provider Two Years In A Row
Posted on January 31, 2012
MOUNT LAUREL, NJ --- According to data provided by the U.S. Green Building (USGBC) today, MaGrann Associates is the leading provider nationwide of LEED™ for Homes certifications with 914 housing units certified in 2011.
Despite the continued housing market slump, MaGrann Associates still managed to certify 142 more units than 2010 when they were previously named the leading provider with 772 units.
"MaGrann is very proud to continue being the number one LEED for Homes provider in the nation. We will continue to encourage our clients to build to LEED for Homes standards. We look forward to raising the bar even higher next year to increase the number of units we certify for 2012," said Mark MaGrann, CEO and founder of MaGrann Associates.
The USGBC defines LEED for Homes as “a green home certification system for assuring homes are designed and built to be energy- and resource-efficient and healthy for occupants.” There are 38 approved providers nationwide – a number that has quickly increased since the program’s inception in 2005. In addition, nearly 16,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 67,000 more homes registered.
MaGrann Associates is an energy/building consulting and engineering firm specializing in energy efficiency and green building. Since 1982, it has been a national leader in bringing applied building science to the residential housing market. It was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year 2004 and the Number 1 LEED for Homes Provider in the nation in 2010. Headquartered in Mount Laurel, NJ, MaGrann has offices in Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Louisville, Ky; and Columbus, Ohio.
Princeton University adding residential community for staff and families
Posted on January 24, 2012
Princeton University has unveiled plans to transform the Merwick and Stanworth sites north of campus into a residential community for faculty, staff members and their families. The project will feature a mix of apartments and townhomes, including affordable units available to local residents with low to moderate incomes, according to a university news release.
The sites, along Route 206/Bayard Lane, include the former location of the Merwick Care Center rehabilitation facility, which is being demolished, and the Stanworth Apartments, which have served as faculty and staff housing for more than 60 years.
The university said plans call for a close-knit community that modernizes the existing housing units, adds a significant number of new units, incorporates sustainable design features, preserves the existing landscape and enhances the surrounding neighborhood. The development is part of the university’s Campus Plan, which guides campus development through 2016.
“This project allows us to add a substantial amount of publicly available affordable housing, as well as faculty and staff housing, to a well-established and historic Princeton neighborhood that is adjacent to the Princeton YW and YMCA and within easy walking distance of the campus and the downtown,” said University Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee. “It also allows us to maintain an attractive tree canopy, integrate this area more fully into the broader community, provide amenities to nearby residents, and significantly increase the number and value of taxpaying properties on both the Stanworth and Merwick sites.”
The Georgetown Co. of New York City is developing Merwick and Stanworth on behalf of the university, working with design architect Torti Gallas and Partners of Maryland.
Following the necessary planning approvals, construction is expected to begin at Merwick with the development of 128 units within two-story townhomes, two-story multifamily stacked flat homes and three-story apartment buildings. The new Merwick complex is scheduled to open in fall 2014.
Work at Stanworth is expected to follow in 2014 with the redevelopment of 198 units contained within two-story townhomes and two-story multifamily stacked flat homes. The current 154 units at Stanworth will be demolished and the new structures are designed to be built within the footprints of the old apartments in order to preserve as many trees as possible.
“This community will be a place that Princeton faculty and staff will be able to call home for years to come,” said Director of Housing and Real Estate Services Andrew Kane.
The project team also includes: landscape architect Arnold Associates of Princeton; arborist Woodwinds Associates of Princeton; civil engineer Van Note-Harvey Associates of Princeton; and sustainability consultant MaGrann Associates of Mount Laurel.
Top Ten Ways to Winterize Your Home
Posted on October 26, 2011
If you are a resident of the Northeast, then these last few winters have been daunting for you. Multiple blizzards, sub-zero temperatures and higher energy bills have wreaked havoc on your home and wallet.
But that can change this year.
By following these ten low cost, high impact tips, you can keep your winter energy bills under control and keep you and your family warm as the temperatures continue to drop.
- Block Leaks Inside and Outside the House
A typical, older home has leakage that is equivalent to an open two-foot square window. To reduce drafts in your doors and windows, caulk the frames. Also, make sure to use caulk or spray foam in both the basement and the attic around ducts, vents and piping.
- Add Insulation to the Attic
The current building code requirement calls for insulation to be R-30 or R-38 in an attic (depending on where you live). This comes to about 12 inches of insulation, either batt or loose fill. If you have less than 6 inches of insulation in your attic, you should see significant savings from installing additional insulation. If you have more than 6 inches your home will still benefit, but the payback period is longer.
- Don’t Forget About Your Furnace and Boiler
Turn it on now to make sure it’s working before the temperatures really start to drop. It is recommended to change your filters regularly (at minimum every 3 months and monthly during the winter) and have your unit cleaned/tuned annually by a professional. Also be careful about installing high efficiency filters. It is best to consult an HVAC contractor first because older furnaces and duct systems are often unable to overcome the blockage created by high efficiency filters. They could end up being a detriment to your system instead of a benefit.
- Get Your Ducts in a Row
The Department of Energy says that “homes with central heating can lose up to 60% of heated air before it reaches vents if ductwork is not well-connected or insulated.” This can be prevented in a few do-it-yourself steps. Look for gaps, holes and tears in ducts, and seal them with mastic or metal tape (not duct tape!). Insulate any ductwork in attics or unfinished crawlspaces, basements or garages where you don’t want heated air to go.
- Cover Those Windows and Doors
Ideally, replacing windows with ENERGY STAR qualified two-pane windows would be best, but just weather-stripping and caulking windows can save up to 5% on your energy bill. Replace your screens with storm windows to provide an extra barrier from winter’s chill or install do-it-yourself plastic film storm windows (available at most hardware stores). Another simple trick is to close drapes at night to keep the warmth in, and open them during the day to allow the sun to warm the space. Prevent drafts from coming in through doors by placing a door sleeve underneath exterior doors.
- Reverse That Fan
Reverse ceiling fans so the blades turn clockwise. This pushes the warm air downward and circulates it around the room. Most fans have a switch that will change the blades’ direction.
- Wrap Those Pipes
Make sure water to outside faucets (hose bibs) is shut off and drained to prevent pipes from exploding. Also, wrap pipes that aren’t insulated – particularly those near water heaters – with pre-molded foam sleeves to reduce the chance of freezing.
- Lower That Thermostat
Install a programmable thermostat and lower the temperate at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Lowering the thermostat by 10 degrees at night can reduce your heating bill by 10 to 20%. If you are worried you will freeze by lowering the temperature 10 degrees, try lowering your thermostat by just 1 degree and reduce your energy use by 3%.
- Check that Water Heater
Make sure the water heater is set no higher than 125 degrees, and try installing an insulating blanket to keep the tank warm without having to raise the temperature. This is particularly important if your water heater is more than 5 years old. If you are considering replacing your water heater, try an ENERGY STAR rated tankless water heater. It is the most efficient type of gas water heater because it only heats the water that flows through it.
- Prevent Heat Loss in Fireplaces and Radiators
Place heat-resistant reflectors or insulation between radiators and walls so the room is heated instead of the wall. Also, make sure to close the flue damper tightly when not in use to prevent hot air from escaping.
If your winterization budget is next to nothing, just taking care of one of these categories will help with energy savings and heat loss prevention. Start early and make these changes before the weather takes a sudden turn for the worst. Don’t let your money float out the door along with the heat this season.
MaGrann Associates is an energy/building consulting and engineering firm with offices at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and in New Jersey, Kentucky and Ohio. Since 1982, we have helped our customers and clients build energy efficient homes that use fewer resources, produce fewer emissions and are healthier, more durable, more comfortable and have lower utility bills.
At Home or Work, Buildings Could Use a Performance Review
Posted on October 18, 2011
By John Shields
Mount Laurel-based MaGrann Associates is a national leader on turning energy-wasting buildings into energy-saving buildings.
When you think of peak performance, what comes to mind might be athletes or stage actors. But did you know you're in the middle of a performance right this second? The performer is the building, and if it's not up to snuff, your health, environment and wallet might all be suffering.
Few of us give it any consideration, but after a building is constructed, it forever affects all aspects of its surroundings—in the air its inhabitants breathe, the emissions from its heating and cooling needs, and in the regular flow of dollars that keep it in operation.
One person that gives it plenty of consideration is Mark MaGrann.
I met MaGrann in Mount Laurel at his company's new headquarters. In the midst of a professional business park you'll find the three-story building that houses MaGrann Associates. It's one of their five offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, employing 50.
You can likely picture it: primarily a glass exterior, cube-like in form. It's a glistening ode to 1980s construction design, a by-product of which was inefficient performance. As I strolled through the offices, artfully appointed and impeccably maintained, I wasn't particularly impressed by the fancy green features I expected to find. And that's the point.
"People think 'green' will look different. It will act different, but it won't look different—and it shouldn't," MaGrann said.
The 10,000 square feet occupied by MaGrann Associates is cutting edge in so many ways—and yet only in function, not in form.
Since 1982, MaGrann Associates has provided energy consulting services to home builders and commercial entities. The company's roots stemmed from energy-efficiency services, but since then they've latched onto the popular LEED certification programs that establish best practices in the building trade.
"Our forte as a company is in the residential new construction market. We help builders and developers attain ENERGY STAR and LEED certification," MaGrann said.
An internationally recognized rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) measures a variety of indices and succinctly answers the question "just how efficient is this building?"
With a territory covering most of the Mid-Atlantic region, MaGrann had the distinction of being the nation's leading verifier of LEED-certified homes in 2010. Their portfolio claims more than 50,000 ENERGY STAR-certified and 1750 LEED-certified units (which includes muliti-family dwellings).
Some area projects include the Voorhees Town Center condominiums and Camden's Market Fair Senior Housing, which achieved LEED Platinum, the highest ranking awarded. Moorestown's affordable housing provider MEND is another of their clients.
For the last decade, MaGrann was located on Route 38 in Moorestown, but in July moved to the new building closer to the Moorestown Mall. Communications manager and Mount Laurel resident Erin Phillips briefed me on the intensive renovation the company underwent when they arrived this July.
"We completely knocked this office space down to its studs, and rebuilt from there. Now it's more energy-efficient, healthier and more comfortable," she said. She noted there's less asthma-related complaints and less need for space heaters.
Some of the attributes include low-VOC paint and sealants, cubicles featuring 100 percent recycled fabric and desks made of sawdust waste, and lighting that includes high-efficiency T5 lamps. Much of the cabinetry and architectural features are certified through the Forest Sustainability Council.
Promoting conservation and efficiency in lieu of longer-payback upgrades like solar, MaGrann aims to deliver fast payback and immediate savings.
"As a company we don't focus on renewable solar. The renewable aspects are the last a homeowner needs to do in the progression of 'green'," MaGrann said.
"[Solar] offers the least payback per dollar spent, and produces less savings compared to conservation and efficiency."
While that might sound heretical, it's accurate. A wasteful home is just as wasteful if it's powered by coal or sunlight. Addressing the upgrades that make a home efficient—tightening the building envelope, replacing windows and using ENERGY STAR appliances—should always take priority.
Is hyper-efficiency the endgame for residents? It's just the start. MaGrann said the next level is a net-zero energy home that produces as much energy as it uses, effectively making it neutral to the environment.
"Legislation will be pushing the new construction industry to net-zero in 10 to 15 years," he said. "It's coming."
On this, I trust MaGrann is right. When that time comes, you can bet his headquarters will be first in line to showcase it, too. I expect it would be his building's finest performance yet.
MaGrann Associates: Practicing what it preaches
Posted on September 29, 2011
By Chris Bishop, cbishop@phillyBurbs.com
Mark MaGrann was “green” when green wasn’t cool.
The Medford resident and owner of MaGrann Associates has been in the green industry for almost 30 years and celebrated the opening of his new green headquarters on East Gate Drive in Mount Laurel this week.
MaGrann, 61, is also a homebuilder. He has advocated his position on making homes more energy efficient since entering the business about the time he founded MaGrann Associates.
The new 10,000-square-foot office, nestled among other office buildings off busy Fellowship Road, employs about 30 and opened earlier this summer after the company signed a lease with landlord Brandywine Realty Trust.
MaGrann Associates is an energy and building consulting and engineering firm that focuses on energy efficiency and green building.
At his old building on Route 38 in nearby Moorestown, the company was a bit spread out on two floors, MaGrann said during a tour of his new office Tuesday.
His new office, which was “gutted,” was made green with Energy Star electronics; cubicle workstations made from 100 percent recycled fabric and sawdust waste; low mercury, high efficiency lamps; low volatile organic compound paints, adhesive and sealants, and other features that are environmentally friendly.
Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help residents save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
Having his new building completely green made sense to MaGrann and his employees since they were, after all, supposed to be a green company.
It was a case of practicing what he preached, MaGrann said.
Long before the green industry became a growing presence in the U.S. economy, MaGrann was involved in making homes more energy efficient.
In a 1998 interview with the Burlington County Times, MaGrann said he started out troubleshooting for builders who had problems in the energy design of homes.
“We problem-solved for homeowners and builders by doing a computer audit to see what they could be saving in energy costs,” MaGrann was quoted as saying at the time.
He’s been doing that ever since, and has moved beyond homeowners to industrial and utility customers, he said Tuesday.
Ed Hutchinson, who attended Tuesday’s tour, said the new headquarters is great, and perfectly reflected the MaGrann philosophy of energy efficiency and environmental sensitivity.
Hutchinson, a Moorestown resident, is president of Hutchinson Mechanical Services in Cherry Hill.
“They were doing Energy Star things 15 years ago,” Hutchinson said. “They’ve always been the leading edge on the energy side .... They walk the talk.”
Curtis Johnson, director of the Diocesan Housing Services Corp. of the Diocese of Camden, attended the tour Tuesday and said he was impressed.
He said his organization made all of its new developments Energy-Star compliant.
MaGrann, who was once a junior high school teacher, said he had an opportunity to leave the state and move to Pennsylvania or Delaware.
“But we made a commitment to stay here in New Jersey — without any state incentives,” he said.
As for the move and the renovations, MaGrann called it a “learning experience.”
“But it’s been an extremely fulfilling one,” he said. “We want to be a model to other businesses.”
The company also has a 3,000-square-foot “green” office at the Philadelphia Navy Yard with 16 employees, who perform the same functions as those in Mount Laurel.
According to a report by the New Jersey Department of Labor, 20,764 companies in the Garden State in 2009 were either already performing green functions or may “turn green.” Combined, these industries employed almost 192,000 workers, which is 5 percent of New Jersey’s total employment, as of two years ago.
Leading New Jersey Green Firm Expands Office to the Philadelphia Navy Yard
Posted on September 14, 2011
MaGrann Associates opened the doors today to its new, green office at The Navy Yard.
The firm, which has served Greater Philadelphia for 30 years, celebrated with a grand opening reception for industry partners and government officials and led guests on an educational tour of the office’s green and energy efficient features.
The office space is pursuing LEED Commercial Interiors (CI) Silver certification. The U.S. Green Building Council states that LEED-CI is the “recognized system for certifying high-performance green interiors that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint.”
Being a national leader in green building consulting, MaGrann Associates practiced what it preaches when it came to office design and construction.
Some of the office’s green features include:
- 100 percent ENERGY STAR® electronics and appliances
- Daylight/occupancy light sensors that turn off lights when natural daylight is sufficient or space is unoccupied
- Low mercury, high efficiency lamps that are 35 percent better than building code
- Workstations made from 100 percent recycled fabric and sawdust waste
- Conference room furniture made from Mahogany and Peroba wood recycled from deconstructed buildings in Brazil
- Low VOC paints, adhesives, sealants, and finishes
- High efficiency air filters
- Participation in Green-e Certified Program for carbon offset through wind power
Green construction principles used in the process include:
- Filters were used to prevent dust and debris from entering ducts
- Over 75 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills
President and CEO Mark MaGrann said that the office expansion “allows us to connect better with our Philadelphia clients and partners and be part of the great revitalization of the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard.”
MaGrann’s 3,000 square foot office space is in the LEED Platinum Core & Shell building, One Crescent Drive, owned and operated by Liberty Property Trust.
Affordable Senior Community Receives First LEED Gold Certification in New Jersey
Posted on July 7, 2011
On Thursday, July 7, the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey held a grand opening for The J. Christian Bollwage Elizabethport Commons. The affordable senior community is the first in the state to receive LEED Gold certification. The project was also built under the guidelines of the New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes Program. This 30-unit, $10 million mixed-use investment was made possible by dedicated individuals from the City of Elizabeth, Elizabeth Development Company, Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth and 205 First Street LLC. Featuring 3,700 square feet of commercial space along with ENERGY STAR appliances, rainwater catchment system, sun shades and solar paneling, this initiative was designed to incorporate environmentally conscious and renewable energy sources to create a greener tomorrow. Mayor Bollwage of Elizabeth attended the grand opening.
Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County Teams Up with South Jersey Organizations to Celebrate Its First Green Home
Posted on July 9, 2011
MOORESTOWN, NJ --- Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County (www.achabitat.org) held a house dedication for its first “green” certified home on Saturday, July 9 at the home – 1731 Grant Avenue, Atlantic City.
The home received a National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) National Green Building Standard™ Bronze certification, and was built under the guidelines of New Jersey ENERGY STAR® Homes.
Homeowner Thelma Wilder said, “the primary benefit of living in my Habitat home is that I am now living in a healthier and affordable place that I can truly call my own. My previous residence had a growth of mold and mildew which was very unhealthy for my children and myself. The utility bills at my previous home were high and have been cut in half in my new Habitat home.”
The two-story, 1,250 square foot home uses highly energy efficient equipment for heating and cooling, and ENERGY STAR® appliances, windows, and lighting. Specific duct and air sealing techniques provide the occupant with a quieter, tighter, more comfortable, and healthier home. With a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 71, the home uses 30% less energy than one built to New Jersey code.
MaGrann Associates (www.magrann.com), an energy/building consulting firm based in Moorestown, NJ, was a main sponsor of the project. The firm dedicated more than 60 pro-bono hours to the project and provided all of its services for free, including HVAC design; ENERGY STAR compliance; NAHB Green verification; and overall construction consultation.
“MaGrann Associates is always happy to help out a family in need of affordable, energy efficient housing. By partnering with Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, we were able to show the volunteer builders and the homeowner the importance of building a sustainable, comfortable, and healthier home,” said Mark MaGrann, Founder and CEO of MaGrann Associates.
Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose goal is to eliminate poverty or sub-standard housing in our community, one house at a time. It is a volunteer organization that works in partnership with carefully selected families to achieve their goal of obtaining decent, affordable housing for their family.
NJBiz.com: Developer breaks ground on South Jersey apartment complex
By Evelyn Lee
Posted on June 24, 2011
A rendering of Stafford Preserve.
The Barnegat-based real estate developer Walters Group said Friday it has broken ground on Stafford Preserve, a rental community consisting of 18 three-story buildings totaling 216 units in Stafford Township.
The complex, which will open for occupancy in April 2012, will include one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as two-bedroom townhouses, with monthly rents starting at $1,195.
The project is the second apartment community to be built at Walters' Stafford Park, a 370-acre brownfield mixed-use redevelopment that also includes Stafford Park Apartments, a 112-unit affordable housing community, and about 388,000 square feet of retail space.
Walters also expects to soon begin construction on a 6.5-megawatt ground-based solar facility at Stafford Park, about a quarter mile from Stafford Preserve. The solar farm would supply 100 percent of the new project's electricity needs, according to Edward Walters Jr., founder and partner.
Last November, the state Department of Environmental Protection approved an application by Stafford Township to remove a 48-acre landfill on the Stafford Park site from the Green Acres inventory of open space, clearing the way for Walters to build the solar farm on the property.
The Numbers Are In: MaGrann Rated 4,640 ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes in 2010
Posted on May 11, 2011
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), MaGrann Associates rated a total of 4,640 ENERGY STAR® Qualified Homes in 2010.
To fully understand the positive environmental impact, consider the following comparisons.
4,640 ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes are equivalent to:
- Eliminating the emissions from 2,273,60 vehicles
- Saving 13,752,960 pounds of coal
- Planting 3,758,40 acres of trees
- Saving homeowners $2,074,080 on their utility bills
By providing ratings and acting as a Provider for ENERGY STAR qualified homes, MaGrann Associates is happy to help protect the environment while offering consumers new homes that are more comfortable, durable, and reduce utility costs.
MaGrann has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since the Program inception in 1992.
The Columbus Dispatch: Builders get paid for energy efficiency
by Jim Weiker
Posted on April 21, 2011
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Columbia Gas of Ohio and American Electric Power, which often compete, yesterday joined hands in unveiling a program to encourage new energy-efficient homes.
Under the program, the utilities pay builders $900 to $2,000 per home to add energy-saving features.
Utility representatives said they hope the effort will prompt prospective home buyers to pay more attention to a home's energy use.
"We really hope to transform the marketplace with this," said Columbia Gas President Jack Partridge.
To qualify for the money, new homes must exceed federal Energy Star standards, which are already more stringent than conventional building codes.
Mark MaGrann, the CEO of MaGrann Associates, a New Jersey firm that administers the program for the utilities, yesterday hosted a tour of a new M/I Homes house in GroveCity that has qualified for the program.
All new M/I Homes models already meet Energy Star standards.
MaGrann touted the house's low Home Energy Rating Service score, which measures the amount of energy a home consumes.
A typical existing home has a HERS score of about 130, while a typical new home would score 100.
A typical Energy Star home would score 85, meaning it consumes 15percent less energy than an ordinary new home. The M/I Homes house scored 64, so it should use 36percent less than a typical new home.
"This would allow a homeowner to save $70 on a $200 monthly utility bill," MaGrann said.
The home achieved the score in conventional ways: by installing better wall insulation; using energy-efficient windows, appliances and light bulbs; and by tightly sealing the home and air ducts.
The program was publicly unveiled yesterday but has been in effect since September. Nearly 40 homebuilders have enrolled, including many of central Ohio's biggest: M/I,
Dominion, Maronda, Ryan, Schottenstein, Bob Webb and the Columbus Housing Partnership.
To date, applications for 813 homes under construction have been submitted, about 600 of them in central Ohio, said Julia Hall, who administers the program for MaGrann. The process has been completed for about 130 homes, she said.
"We're going to put energy efficiency in the forefront of people's minds," Hall said.
NJAA Aim Magazine March 2011: Save Energy and Increase Comfort in Large Apartment Buildings
by Patrick Bunn, MaGrann Associates
Posted on April 14, 2011
If you own or manage a large apartment building, it is likely that you think about new windows or solar panels when the topic of saving energy comes up. At MaGrann Associates we know that there may be plenty of good reasons for doing both, but our last 60 energy audits of large apartment buildings prove that, in terms of cost effectiveness, these are two improvements that should not be put at the top of your list. When considering which energy efficiency improvements to make to your building, it is best to first perform a wholebuilding analysi s so that you can consider the relative cost effectiveness of all of the possible improvements. That analysis should include an estimated cost for each improvement; the amount of energy it will save each year and over the expected life of the improvement; and, just as importantly, the value to the residents’ comfort, health and safety. Once you have a comprehensive list of potential improvements and fully understand the costs and cost savings, you can plan your strategy for budgeting and implementing. Energy improvements for large apartment buildings tend to fall into three basic categories – lowhanging fruit, necessary replacement of existing equipment, and modifications to building systems.
Look first for improvements with short payback periods such as lighting changes, installation of water-saving devices, and better control devices for existing equipment. First on everyone’s list of low-hanging fruit is lighting upgrades. Residents will soon be replacing incandescent bulbs in their apartments with CFLs as new federal standards for bulb efficiency will make the common incandescent bulb a thing of the past. Building-wide lighting upgrades should focus on those areas where lights are used most often – hallways, stairwells, certain common areas and exterior lighting. Fluorescent lighting technology has improved a great deal, both in terms of energy efficiency and quality of light. LED lighting, while more expensive initially, uses even less energy than fluorescent bulbs and may be a viable option in halls and stairs where lights are left on most of the time. Timers and sensors in laundries, restrooms and stairwells are also a consideration. No matter which technology works best for your building, consideration should be given to whether areas are currently under-lit or over-lit.
Saving water with low-flow devices will, not only, reduce the water bill, but will save energy by heating less water. Traditional complaints about the quality of low-flow showerheads or low-flow toilets have been largely overcome by manufacturers. Many suitable options are now available and their cost-saving impact can be dramatic. Often, an energy audit will determine that there is no need to replace existing boilers or chillers. Rather, modifications to the control devices, thermostats and valves will reduce energy significantly. Retro-commissioning (getting the most out of existing equipment) is often the most cost-effective solution and should always be considered before making a commitment to replacing equipment.
Necessary replacement of existing equipment with high efficiency technology
While the replacement of equipment like boilers and chillers will usually have a longer payback period, it also protects the value of the building. Analysis of the cost effectiveness for equipment replacement must take into account the age and condition of the current equipment as well as its energy inefficiency. When existing equipment does need to be replaced, it is essential that it be considered in the context of other building improvements. In past years, many mechanical systems were oversized to compensate for other inefficiencies that were assumed to exist in the building, like poor air sealing, lack of insulation and poor ventilation systems. By addressing the building as a system with several integral parts, equipment can be sized properly to work more economically and efficiently.
Modifications to building systems that increase comfort and address potential health and safety issues
Many large apartment buildings suffer from poorly designed or maintained ventilation systems. Apartments can be underventilated or over-ventilated, resulting in unhealthy living environments or wasted energy. New technologies in dampers for exhaust systems and energy recovery devices can be implemented to assure that residents are breathing fresh air without wasting conditioned air. Poor ventilation, along with water infiltration, can result in humidity and mold issues, while improved ventilation can sometimes result in an energy penalty to the building. While the need to attend to these issues may affect the planning and budgeting of other improvements, the health and safety of the residents must prevail.
Rely on Building Science
Each building has its own set of solutions to its energy issues. Each improvement that is considered should be measured in context with the other improvements on the list. For instance, replacement of a boiler may have greater energy savings if considered in isolation, but may have a much more modest payback if several other, less costly improvements are implemented first.
The critical judgment for property owners and managers is to start with a whole-building approach based on sound building science. He or she must develop a long range plan that will allow for an accurate prediction of costs and savings and measures the impact that decisions have on the comfort and safety of the residents. Energy professionals have specific equipment and computer software that is employed to assure that a whole-building energy analysis will result in the predicted performance. It is no longer necessary to rely on your gut feeling or your best educated guess when making energy improvement decisions. To get the best bang for your buck, put the window and solar panel projects on hold until a wholebuilding energy analysis is conducted.
EPA Names New Jersey and Kentucky ENERGY STAR® Homes Programs Partner of the Year 2011
Posted on April 11, 2011
MOORESTOWN, NJ --- New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™, sponsored by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and the Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities (LG&E/KU) ENERGY STAR New Homes Program have been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Partner of the Year – Energy Efficiency Program Delivery Sponsors. Both Programs will be honored at the awards ceremony on April 12 in Washington, D.C.
The EPA highlighted market penetration and exceptional program support as key accomplishments for both Programs.
The LG&E and KU ENERGY STAR New Homes Program offers marketing, educational, and administrative support, and financial incentives to promote energy efficiency through the ENERGY STAR label for residential new construction. As of September 2010 approximately 900 new homes have been qualified under the Program. These program completions yielded predicted annual electric savings of more than 3,000 MWh and 45,000 CCF in annual gas savings. LG&E and KU has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2009.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the EPA for our hard work promoting energy efficiency for Kentucky’s new residential construction market. LG&E and KU’s efforts in developing and delivering an effective program which exceeds baseline ENERGY STAR requirements has played a role in helping to improve the overall quality of housing being produced in the state,” said Program Manager Landyn Garmon.
New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP) is a statewide program that offers financial incentives and services to New Jersey residents and businesses while promoting increased energy efficiency and use of renewable energy. NJCEP has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2001.
New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes is an energy efficiency based residential new construction program in which all homes are built to meet or exceed the national ENERGY STAR Homes standard, while being at least 15 to 35 percent more energy efficient than traditionally built new homes. Despite the current real estate market, 4,400 new homes were built and certified to New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes standards as of December 2010.
“NJCEP has been at the forefront of the ENERGY STAR Homes Program since the start of the EPA Federal Program. It has consistently worked with its builders for additional energy efficiency measures and has achieved greater market penetration each year,” said NJCEP Program Manager Mike Flannery of MaGrann Associates.
New Jersey consulting and engineering firm, MaGrann Associates, has been program manager and implementation contractor for both energy efficiency programs since their inception.
The 2011 ENERGY STAR Awards ceremony will be held April 12, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Mark MaGrann, CEO of MaGrann Associates, will accept the award on behalf of NJCEP. Representatives from LG&E and KU will be on hand to accept the award.
About the ENERGY STAR Awards
Partner of the Year. Forty organizations from across the country are recognized as ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. This award honors partners for superior energy management while promoting ENERGY STAR products and practices in their own operations as well as to their consumers and within their communities.
Energy Efficiency Program Delivery Sponsors. These partners offer education, technical assistance, and incentives across their customer classes to help them save energy. These program delivery sponsors set the standard for utilities, nonprofits, and state and local government entities administering energy efficiency programs that service 75 percent of U.S. households.
Press of Atlantic City: Barnegat developer embraces energy-efficient construction, wins industry group's Green Builder of the Year award
By KEVIN POST Business Editor
Posted on March 27, 2011
Walters Group managing partner Ed Walters Jr., of Harvey Cedars, visits the Olive Garden construction site in Stafford Township, just off Route 72. The Walters Group and its Walters Home division have been named Green Builder of the Year by the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey.
The Walters Group, a builder in Barnegat, had to go green five years ago to satisfy state Pinelands Commission requirements for its ambitious development in Manahawkin.
The company learned about energy efficient improvements, recyclable materials and reducing pollution, and saw that this was the future for construction. It embraced the changes, and this month its homebuilding division, Walters Homes, was named Green Builder of the Year by the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey.
The award-winning project was selected from a record number of entries, said association spokeswoman Marge Karahuta, and honors Walters for its 350-acre, mixed-use brownfield development, Stafford Park.
Walters Group founder and partner Ed Walters Jr., 48, of Harvey Cedars, said the Pinelands Commission required LEED-certified construction at Stafford Park, which is in the Pinelands Regional Growth district.
That was the first time he’d heard of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Walters said, so the first thing he did was educate himself.
“Once we started, the entire company realized the importance of building things differently than we had for years,” he said. “There was no real concern about energy usage in the building industry, and it was an awakening.”
Corporate clients were the first to welcome the savings of green building. Among retailers in the commercial part of Stafford Park, stores attaining LEED silver certification include Costco, Target and many others. The Vitamin Shoppe went all the way to LEED gold.
And atop the Best Buy, PetSmart and Dicks Sporting Goods there are solar arrays that provide 30 percent of the electrical needs of the stores.
Stafford Park Apartments is the state’s first affordable housing to be certified LEED gold. Residents there have seen their electric and gas bills cut to a third of what they expected in winter.
In a couple of weeks Walters Home will begin work on 216 market-rate apartments that will be LEED gold.
“They’ll also be connected to the solar farm and 100 percent of their electricity will come from solar,” Walters said, which will include their heating and cooling.
The 6.5 megawatt solar farm will be built over the 5-acre landfill that Walters Group agreed to cap — the procedure that prevents its pollution from seeping into groundwater — as another condition of the development.
Later this year, Walters Home will start work on 349 single-family homes at Stafford Park, a traditional neighborhood development with a homeowners association, clubhouse and 2-mile recreational trail, Walters said. He said he expects to have those homes on the market early next year for the “predicted upswing in housing then.”
Meanwhile, commercial construction continues, with an Olive Garden restaurant being build on a pad site in the shopping center.
And Walters has taken its green building beyond Stafford Park, constructing 107 LEED silver townhomes in the Whispering Hills development in Barnegat.
Walters said it’s quite a change from the company’s humble start in 1984. An English major who spent summers framing homes for contractors, he decided he liked the work and started building custom homes on Long Beach Island with two or three others.
The company’s first development was in the Ocean Acres section of Manahawkin.
“We built a model, put out a sign and started selling single family ranchers,” he said. “Back in the last recession the market was similar to now, pretty bad. I think we had contracts in 1991 for $69,900 for a 1,000 square foot rancher.”
Now, “even during this horrible market,” sales of green housing have been pretty good, enough to win several Walters staffers awards of their own from the Shore Builders Association.
Via PRWeb.com: WV's EDISON.21 Team to Connect with Pittsburgh Innovators
Explorers in cutting-edge urban and rural revitalization will visit top high performance, adaptive reuse, and community design sites in southwestern PA.
Posted on March 24, 2011
The EDISON.21 Project, a program dedicated to cultivating innovative thinking that leads to new business development, heads to the Pittsburgh area Thursday for its first full immersion in sustainable community design.
The EDISON.21 team, a group of 12 young adults, plus design and construction professionals, mentors and program sponsors, are slated to visit several sites that are the world’s first examples of high performance building in several categories.
The three-day tour will include stops at Bakery Square, where the group will meet and talk with developer Todd Reidbord of Walnut Capital; Consol Energy Center, the world’s first LEED Gold Certified hockey arena; and the David L. Lawrence Center, the world’s first “green” convention facility.
“We’re visiting some of Pittsburgh’s best-known examples of commercial and residential high performance, adaptive reuse, and neighborhood revitalization projects,” says Sarah Halstead Boland, executive director of WV GreenWorks. “These types of projects helped redefine Pittsburgh, making it easier to attract and retain creative talent, and grow new opportunities. Emphasis on sustainability and resource management has proven to be good for business, according to owners of these facilities.”
The first tour day, dedicated to commercial development, will wind up with dinner at the LEED gold-certified Fairmont Hotel followed by a tour of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
The second day, Saturday, includes a tour of Sota Construction Services, Inc. projects such as Riverside Mews, the South Hills High School adaptive reuse project, and the urban biophillic pavilion located atop a nineteenth century row house. EDISON.21 team members will travel to meet Slippery Rock University faculty and tour the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems, and will visit a Slippery Rock Watershed Association wetlands project that addresses coal mine acid drainage at Jennings State Park.
On Sunday, the group will visit Fallingwater, a rural mountain residence designed in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the world’s best-known organic architects.
“We’re making it a point to introduce the EDISON.21 team to projects and people with proven track records of transformative success,” Sarah Halstead Boland explains.
She says Jason Clark, of MaGrann Associates, a company that is a national pioneer in Energy Star and LEED project consulting, will join the group on Friday and Saturday. “Clark is a Pittsburgh native and an innovator in sustainable design and efficiency. It’s always good to see a place through the eyes of an insider.”
“Mentoring programs are often difficult to establish and manage,” Halstead Boland continues. “WV Greenworks is grateful to the Workforce West Virginia Region I Investment Board for their wisdom and innovative spirit in supporting this groundbreaking program. This trip is designed to open a new conversation about how to deal with problems that are common in every community.”
The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board is also working with the Southern Workforce West Virginia GREENUP Council. For more information on the EDISON.21 Project, email Sarah@WVGreenWorks.com.
Baby Boomers and Gen Y Are Demographics Most Likely to "Green" Their Homes
Research Study by Philadelphia Consulting Firm Shows Region's Attitude Towards Green
Posted on March 7, 2011
PHILADELPHIA, PA --- In a recent survey commissioned by MaGrann Associates, 91 percent of respondents said they are likely to consider green or energy efficient features in a renovated or new home if cost wasn’t a major issue in the buying decision.
MaGrann Associates, an energy efficiency/green building consulting and engineering firm in Philadelphia, Pa., commissioned this survey to discover the homeowner and home buyer’s awareness of, and preferences for, services geared towards “green homes.”
The web survey, conducted by The Melior Group, was administered to over 250 pre-qualified respondents. Of the participants, 55 percent were female and 45 percent were male all between the ages of 25 to 64. Respondents live in the Philadelphia Metro Area and most have a household income of $50,000 or higher, with the majority fitting into the $75,000+ category.
Throughout the survey, Baby Boomers (over 50) and Generation Y (under 35) respondents consistently linked up in terms of their awareness and openness to make energy efficient and green changes to their homes. Generation X was neither aware of many “green options” nor did they care about making these improvements.
What measures are respondents taking to be environmentally friendly?
A high number of respondents do the basics – recycle, use energy efficient light bulbs, set back the thermostat at night and when leaving the house – but the extra measures taken by the different age groups varied. Younger homeowners are improving insulation in their existing homes while Baby Boomers are buying energy efficient appliances. Gen Y showed that they are more likely to take public transportation and walk or bike rather than drive.
This further shows that the awareness and desire to make environmentally friendly lifestyle decisions is present. The curiosity is there, but minimal action is being taken.
What do they already know?
When asked to identify popular green building and energy efficiency organizations from a list, almost everyone recognized the ENERGY STAR® label. Respondents ages 25-34 and 55-64 were the highest to recognize Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), whereas the two middle age groups (35-44 and 45-54) minimally recognized any of the organizations.
This leads to the fact that although the majority of respondents would like to make environmentally friendly lifestyle choices, the information and points of contact needed for these decisions are not “top-of-mind” for consumers.
What “green” features do consumers care about?
Surprisingly, the highest ranking “green” factors in buying a new home or renovating an existing one is proper ventilation for healthy indoor air. Energy reducing measures that save money on utility costs trails close behind. Respondents also stressed the importance of high insulation levels and energy efficient appliances.
Seventy percent of respondents think that just because they live in an older, existing home, their house isn’t considered “green.” Based on the open-ended responses, most homeowners do not truly understand what makes a home green, but still assume that older, existing homes cannot be green primarily because of age.
Homeowners will buy a few energy efficient appliances, but what about green services?
A surprisingly high number, 84 percent of respondents are interested in having the most energy efficient HVAC systems and 74 percent are interested in receiving recommendations on energy saving renovations. Baby Boomers are the most interested in green certified new construction, renovations, and energy efficient home systems and maintenance.
Overall, 89 percent of respondents are interested in learning more about how to make their homes more energy efficient. This is a positive outlook for the future of the green building and renovation industry because it shows potential action if the consumer can be convinced the green benefits are worth the price tag.
So, what does this mean for the green building industry?
Up-front costs are the biggest factor preventing the respondents from moving to or living in a “green” home. Although 83 percent understand that the cost of building a new “green” home is eventually balanced out by energy and maintenance savings, substantially fewer respondents ages 45-54 believe that the cost will be balanced out by the savings in a timeframe of seven years, or even at all.
Ultimately the driving force behind a homeowner or homebuyer’s “green” decision making is the monetary benefit. They don’t want to spend the money up front, but would still like to save money on their utility bills. The biggest deterrence for those questionable consumers is where the break-even point is between the upfront costs and the utility savings.
Although all of the respondents are aware of the environmental benefits that come from making “green” improvements to both existing and new homes, many are still wary of the true benefits associated with this behavior – both monetarily and environmentally.
The green building and energy efficiency industries still have their work cut out for them. The awareness and knowledge is present among two key generations (Baby Boomers and Gen Y), but the extra push still needs to be taken to prove the overall benefit – saving money, saving energy, and saving the environment.
USA Today: Builders offer MPG-like home efficiency labels
Posted on February 14, 2011
USA Today Green House reporter, Wendy Koch, posted an article about specific residential builders who are starting to post Home Energy Rating scores on individual new homes are a marketing tool for bringing in potential homebuyers. This efficiency label is being compared to the MPG label on new cars.
By clearly presenting the Home Energy Rating of their homes, these builders are providing consumers with an easy way to understand and compare the estimated operating cost of their purchase. When combined with an ENERGY STAR label for the whole house, buyers can know when they are looking at a home that meets a superior standard for energy and environmental performance. This is a positive and important development for our industry.
President Obama Announces the Better Buildings Initiative and Other Energy Efficiency Initiatives
Posted on February 4, 2011
Yesterday, President Obama visited Penn State to give a speech on his initiative to fund energy efficiency in buildings, and specifically the Energy Innovation Hub that Penn State is coordinating at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It’s an important speech for the green building and energy efficiency industries.
President Obama addressed a crowd of students and green building supporters to announce the “Better Buildings Initiative,” which aims to achieve a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, reduce commercial energy bills by about $40 billion per year, and save energy by reforming outdated incentives and challenging the private sector to act.
One important quote to take away from the President’s speech is:
“Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution and create jobs right here in the United States of America. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
This is a big step for the energy-efficient building industry.
MaGrann Associates Opens New Office at the Philadelphia Navy Yard
Posted on January 28, 2011
MOORESTOWN, NJ --- MaGrann Associates, an energy/green building consulting and engineering firm currently headquartered in Moorestown, announced its office expansion to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
MaGrann Associates has over 30 years of building science experience in the residential, multifamily, and light commercial industries. It provides green building certification and consulting; utility and government sponsored energy efficiency program management; multifamily and light commercial audits; as well as design and engineering services.
The firm will continue to run its business operations out of its new Mount Laurel headquarters.
“The expansion to The Navy Yard seemed appropriate since the U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub for energy-efficient building is being established right in our backyard. This gives us the chance to help keep the Greater Philadelphia region on the map as a leader in green and energy efficient building technology,” said Rich Selverian, MaGrann Associates CFO/COO and Business Director.
MaGrann Associates will offer its services in green building, energy efficiency program management, and multifamily and light commercial auditing at its 3,500 square foot office at The Navy Yard. The building, One Crescent Drive, owned by Liberty Property / Synterra LP, is green certified as a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum building, furthering MaGrann’s corporate standard for energy efficiency and sustainability.
The Philadelphia Navy Yard office will be MaGrann Associates fifth office – joining its other operations in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Louisville, Ky.; Columbus, Ohio; and Moorestown, NJ.
For more information on MaGrann Associates and its direct services, contact Erin Phillips at email@example.com. For information on the Philadelphia Navy Yard or leasing opportunities, contact Brian Berson (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Liberty Property Trust.
Client Franklin Senior Housing Wins 2010 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award
Posted on January 11, 2011
MaGrann Associates presented Franklin Senior Housing with a plaque for the 2010 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. The award recognizes an organization’s work in promoting energy efficient construction and helping to protect the environment through its partnership with ENERGY STAR.
Cutting Edge: New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes Program Version 3.0
Posted on January 11, 2011
By MaGrann Associates / Read the full article
Beginning January 1, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be implementing the 2011 ENERGY STAR® New Homes guidelines, also known as Version 3.0. This article highlights key elements of changes in the guidelines and identifies the EPA's implementation schedule.
The EPA's new guidelines, which recognize the adoption of more stringent energy code requirements in the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), help ensure that ENERGY STAR continues to deliver homes that are high-quality and more efficient than standard new construction. More rigorous guidelines will strengthen the integrity and value of the ENERGY STAR label.
With the new guidelines, EPA is ensuring that ENERGY STAR qualified homes represent the standard for energy-efficient, high-quality home construction by including additional cost-effective energy efficiency technologies; adopting key details that improve efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality; and further ensuring that key components and equipment are installed according to best practices.
ENERGY STAR 2011 will continue to include a performance path that requires the use of a HERS Index. However, the EPA will no longer use a fixed HERS Index threshold (e.g. HERS 85 Index). EPA has recognized that homes with the same energy efficiency features within the same climate zone can have significantly different HERS indices due to house size, aspect ratio, fuel type, adiabatic surfaces, foundation type, number of bedrooms, and number of stories. The use of a new ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target levels the playing field.
The 2011 ENERGY STAR guidelines include a Size Adjustment Factor (SAF) for large homes. Homes larger than the EPA's Benchmark Home Size, based on an average home size for the number of bedrooms, will be subject to the SAF that will reduce the HERS Index Target threshold and require additional energy efficiency measures.
The 2011 ENERGY STAR guidelines will be phased-in, beginning January 1, 2011.
Under the 2011 ENERGY STAR guidelines, one of the prerequisites for qualification is that a home meets the requirements of fourchecklists. These checklists will help ensure better performing homes.
A Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist, which replaces the Thermal Bypass Checklist, addresses requirements for high-performance windows, quality installed insulation, fully aligned air barriers, reduced thermal bridging, and air sealing. The HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist is designed to assist contractors improving the design and installation of HVAC systems, focusing on proper sizing, refrigerant charge and airflow.
The rater uses the HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist to verify proper duct installation, adequate ventilation and balanced house pressures. The fourth checklist, the Water Management System Checklist, was added as an important tool to ensure durable, energy efficient homes. The specifications in this checklist are designed to improve moisture control in new homes compared with homes built to minimum code.
More information about the 2011 ENERGY STAR Guidelines and training is available at www.energystar.gov or by contacting email@example.com.
MaGrann Associates is a green building/energy engineering firm headquartered in Moorestown, NJ.
Postgreen Gets USGBC National Recognition at Greenbuild 2010
Posted on November 19, 2010
MaGrann Associates would like to congratulate Postgreen for winning the esteemed “LEED for Homes Project of the Year” for the 100k Project at the 2010 Greenbuild Residential Summit last month. Postgreen sets the standard high for green building in the Delaware Valley. In our last issue, we noted that Postgreen’s Skinny Project recently received some of the lowest HERS ratings in Philadelphia. These homes consume a quarter the energy of a typical home and half as much as the 100k House. Postgreen continues to raise the bar for green building and we look forward to helping them with the LEED process on their future projects. Here is the Project Profile posted at Greenbuild if you are interested in seeing what makes a “LEED for Homes Project of the Year.”
MEND Receives $100,000 TD Bank Grant
Posted on November 11, 2010
Congratulations to our Multifamily/ENERGY Star client, MEND, for receiving $100,000 in funding through the TD Charitable Foundation 2010 Housing for Everyone grant competition. When originally applying in September, MEND applied for $50,000 for energy efficiency/solar initiatives at their Lenola School senior citizen apartment building in Moorestown, NJ. As it turns out, they were one of four applicants to be awarded $100,000 for submitting the best application and one of 42 to receive funding at all. MEND's application stood out as exceptional in addressing the affordable housing needs of the community.
Through a MaGrann Associates Investment Grade Audit, MEND was able to make other cost-effective, energy improvements to the building besides just using solar panels. The audit showed that it made sense to first reduce the electricity use by installing efficient LED lighting and replacing laundry electric dryers with gas and then installing smaller, less expensive solar panels.
MaGrann Associates Senior Analyst, Steve Clark and Operations Manager Brian Stanfill calculated that by taking the 14 energy conserving measures detailed in the audit, there would be a 41% savings in natural gas; 65% savings in electricity; 13% savings in water costs; and a 64% reduction in total utility costs.
Congratulations again to MEND for receiving this outstanding grant.
Walters Group Wins Big at the Shore Builders Association Meeting
Posted on November 10, 2010
At the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey (SBACNJ) meeting on November 10, the Walters Group was presented with two awards for their dedication to the industry. First, they won the “Builder of the Year” Award for their outstanding achievements – including relationships with trade partners and their role in the community. Then, they received the Builders Employing Associate Members (BEAM) Award. It is designed to encourage Builder members to use the goods and services offered by member companies. The BEAM Award annually recognizes one builder who exemplifies this vitally important teamwork. As a Professional Associate member of the SBACNJ and Walters Group partner, MaGrann Associates is pleased to see the two awards go to such a deserving recipient.
Press of Atlantic City: West Cape May “Green” House Finished
Posted on October 29, 2010
Cape May officially has its first certified green home. Homeowner Gretchen Hoekenga’s 3,100 SF home is the first LEED certified home in the borough – complete with a green roof and structural insulated panels (SIPS). MaGrann Associates worked with architect Cecil Baker + Partners on the certification aspect of this project.
To read the entire article from The Press of Atlantic City and to view photos of the project, click here.
Aiming Low: Postgreen Homes HERS Scores
Posted on Sept. 10, 2010
MaGrann’s LEED for Homes client, Postgreen, was recently awarded some of the lowest HERS scores in Pennsylvania for their project, The Skinny Homes.
Below is an excerpt from their blog describing how they achieved such low scores and why they find it so important to build their homes to such strict energy efficiency standards.
The HERS (Home Energy Rating) score is one of the key ways in which we judge our homes. Affordable energy efficiency is our highest priority when designing and building a home, and the HERS system of rating is the most widely accepted model for understanding success in that pursuit. The rating system is part of LEED, but we like to pull it out and look at it on its own, as we feel it says more about a home’s actual performance than the occasionally murky waters of LEED certification.
An Energy Star home needs to be 15% more efficient than a code built home, which means a score of 85. Existing homes get an assumed score of 130 though we would guess that most Philadelphia row homes are actually significantly higher (150-180?). We are obviously aiming for the extreme low end of this scale.
Our first two homes in the 100K project hit HERS scores of 49 and 46. This means they use half the energy of a code built home and our energy bills seem to support that claim. The Skinny Homes improved on this through additional insulation, greater attention to detail and the addition of a 3 kW solar PV array. They came in with scores of 23, 25 and 27. According to MaGrann, our HERS rater and LEED provider, these are some of the lowest scores in the state and particularly impressive due to the relatively small solar system.
To illustrate the relative energy use we created the following collection of energy spheres.
As you can see, we could build five of the Skinny Homes, and they would collectively use less energy than one existing Philadelphia row home. More importantly, an average code built new home uses about four times the energy of the Skinny Home. This is simply irresponsible. The existing home has the excuse of age, but the new built home has simply taken the easiest, cheapest path without regard for the environment or its future owners.
For more about Postgreen’s Skinny Homes or to read the entire blog post, check out their blog Postgreen Homes.
MaGrann Associates is proud to see one of its clients taking the initiative to build to such high standards and help Philadelphia become one step closer to a Net-Zero energy city.
Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County Builds Its First “Green” Home
Posted on Oct 8, 2010
Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County’s latest project is one for the history books.
The home, 1731 Grant Avenue in Atlantic City, was recently certified as a National Association of Homebuilders National Green Building Standard™ Bronze house and was built under the guidelines of New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes. This is the first home by Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County to be certified “green.”
The two-story, 1,250 square foot home uses highly energy efficient equipment for heating and cooling, and ENERGY STAR® appliances, windows, and lighting. Specific duct and air sealing techniques provide the occupants with a quieter, tighter, more comfortable, and healthier home. Guidelines from the NAHB National Green Building Standard helped the team coordinate green design into the construction process.
MaGrann Associates provided its services free of charge, including attendance at numerous building committee meetings, HVAC design, ENERGY STAR compliance, NAHB National Green Building Standard field verification, and assistance with the homebuyer manual. MaGrann also covered all costs for the project certification.
Other team members involved in the completed project include Todd Miller at QMA Design + Build, LLC, Project Leader Robert Brown, Atlantic City Electric, the City of Atlantic City, the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, and the Builders League of South Jersey.
“MaGrann Associates is always happy to help out a family in need of affordable, energy efficient housing. By partnering with Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, we were able to show the volunteer builders and the homeowner the importance of building a sustainable, comfortable, and healthier home,” said Mark MaGrann, Founder and CEO of MaGrann Associates.
The future homeowner will benefit from significant energy savings, greater comfort, improved indoor air quality, a quieter home and increased durability.
Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose goal is to eliminate poverty or sub-standard housing in our community, one house at a time. It is a volunteer organization that works in partnership with carefully selected families to achieve their goal of obtaining decent, affordable housing for their family.
Congratulations to the 2010 Excellence in Housing Awards Recipients
At the 2010 New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Housing and Community Development in Atlantic City on September 28-29, 2010, several of MaGrann Associates’ clients received Excellence in Housing Awards in multiple categories.
MaGrann would like to congratulate these organizations for their innovation and dedication towards making New Jersey’s affordable housing industry energy efficient and sustainably designed.
- Long Branch Housing Authority and Pennrose Development – Presented “Best Neighborhood Revitalization - Hope VI” for Sea View HOPE VI Revitalization. Three rental phases have been completed, representing 198 new family housing units and two public spaces designed to serve residents and the greater neighborhood.
- RPM Development – Presented “Best Superior Design” for Berry Street Commons, which comprises 94 units that are 100 percent affordable. This is the first LEED Platinum certified affordable building in New Jersey.
- Rukenstein & Associates, LLC – Presented “Best Neighborhood Revitalization – Rental” for Whispering Waters – Phase II in Salem City. Eighteen buildings were rehabilitated or reconstructed to provide 260 units, a community center, distance learning center and recreation facility.
- TRF Development Partners – Presented “Best Neighborhood Revitalization – Homeownership” for Schoolhouse Square. The project consists of 58 newly-constructed, ENERGY STAR certified homeownership units. The site is in a Smart Growth Designated Center and met all the goals and guidelines set forth by New Jersey’s CLEAN ENERGY Program and the Board of Public Utilities (BPU). As the implementer of the New Jersey ENERGY STAR program, MaGrann Associates worked with TRF to meet the necessary requirements.
- The Walters Group – Presented “Best of Housing” Award for Stafford Park Apartments. This LEED Gold certified project integrated 112 affordable housing units, market-rate housing, office space, municipal facilities, and a large-scale retail complex while being a model of “green” affordable housing development in New Jersey and across the nation.
Register Now for the KEEA Energy Efficiency Conference 2010
Pennsylvania is at a crossroad in its quest for sustainability. At this one-day conference, attendees will hear about developments in the field of energy efficiency, and gain insight into both existing programs and pending legislation to reduce energy consumption. The program will consist of presentations from local, state, and national leaders as well as appearances by PA gubernatorial candidates.
Join us Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at the Hilton Harrisburg for this exciting look into PA’s energy efficient future. For more information, visit the event web site at KEEA Energy Efficiency Conference 2010.
Hurry up and register! The event is only a few weeks away.
Client RPM Development Wins 2010 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award
MaGrann Associates presented RPM Development with a plaque for the 2010 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. The award recognizes an organization’s work in promoting energy efficient construction and helping to protect the environment through its partnership with ENERGY STAR. RPM consistently proves their concern and devotion for building affordable housing to a high level of both ENERGY STAR and LEED for Homes certification.
MaGrann Associates Steps up to the Plate in Support of Organ Donation
(MOORESTOWN, NJ) --- Last year, approximately 8,000 deceased donors made 22,000 organ transplants possible. To sponsor the courageous act of organ donation and those families affected, MaGrann Associates held a fundraiser at their office on Friday, August 13.
MaGrann Associates, an energy/green building consulting and engineering firm headquartered in Moorestown, NJ, hosted the fundraiser in support of an employee who recently lost her infant son due to a traumatic head injury. The family donated his organs, saving the lives of a five month-old boy from California and a 43 year-old father from New Jersey.
The sports-themed “Dress Down Day” raised over $800 for the Gift of Life Family House, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that provides lodging, supportive services, and critical resources for transplant patients and their family members.
While supporting a good cause, MaGrann turned a typical summer Friday into a fun day for its Moorestown employees. The event, complete with a pizza party and silent auction, allowed employees to show off their creative side and have a chance to win complimentary Club Box seats to an Eagles game. Silent auction items included an authentic Eagles football signed by Philly favorite Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, a pair of Phillies tickets, and a pair of Eagles pre-season tickets.
“The Gift of Life Family House helped turn a tragic event into a life saving contribution. While there is nothing that can be done to replace the life of this wonderful , we feel our small contribution in support of his memory will help bring awareness of this great organization,” said Mark MaGrann, President and CEO of MaGrann Associates.
For more information on the Gift of Life Family House, visit www.GiftofLifeFamilyHouse.org.
Own a Home In Levittown, PA? Want a FREE Home Energy Audit?
MaGrann Associates is currently conducting a study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that researches and develops a program to improve energy efficiency for the average Levittown home.
The program consists of comprehensive home energy audits of at least 25 Levittown homes. MaGrann’s study will include recommendations for the more than 17,000 homes in the Levittown areas of Bristol Township, Falls, Middletown, and Tullytown.
MaGrann engineers will then identify common characteristics and energy retrofit opportunities for these communities and develop cost effective, easily replicable energy retrofit packages for each standard house model.
The results of the energy audits will demonstrate how simple improvements might result in significant reductions in energy use for the homeowners.
The homes in the various Levittown communities are all more than 50 years old and most likely have some inefficiencies due to wear and tear the homes incurred during the years.
All home energy audits are conducted at the expense of the federal government. Although homeowners will not receive an audit report specific to their home, all Levittown homeowners will have access to the study findings. The program serves to make Levittown homes more energy efficient and save the homeowners money on their monthly utility bills.
All Levitt homeowners who can supply two years of utility data (electric and oil bills) will receive a free home energy usage report and will be entered into a drawing to win a $250 gift certificate to a home improvement story of their choosing.
For Levittown homeowners interested in participating in the study, contact MaGrann Associates representative, Loretta Campbell, at 856-813-8781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MaGrann Associates Congratulates Client on Prestigious Award
(Raleigh, NC) --- MaGrann Associates congratulates Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric Company (E.ON U.S. companies) on receiving the prestigious “Leadership in Market Transformation Award” at the 2010 RESNET Building Performance Conference, February 22-24.
The RESNET “Market Transformation Award” is one of two awards presented annually to recognize leadership in the home energy rating industry.
KU and LG&E won the award for the success of their ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program in its first year of operation. Prior to the introduction of the program in February 2009, E.ON estimates there were only 10 builders, two energy raters and 50 housing units in the company’s service territories who were participating under the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program for new construction. By the end of the year, those numbers grew to 153 builders, 24 energy raters and 750 units. As of June 2010, over 1500 homes have been enrolled with more than 900 homes completed and certified.
The objective of the E.ON U.S. program is “to promote the building of more energy efficient homes within its service territory to reduce its customers’ energy usage and encourage better building practices.”
As administrator for the program, MaGrann Associates has supported E.ON U.S. in establishing a network of independent raters; developing processes for qualifying and enrolling builders, homes and raters; introducing a modest incentive structure to encourage a diversity of participation; implementing quality assurance monitoring, and delivering technical training sessions for raters, providers and the builder community.
E.ON U.S., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a subsidiary of E.ON A.G., the world’s largest investor-owned energy services provider. E.ON U.S. is a diversified energy services company that owns and operates Louisville Gas and Electric Company, a regulated utility that serves 314,000 natural gas and 389,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties, and Kentucky Utilities Company, a regulated electric utility in Lexington, Ky., that serves 538,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia.
MaGrann Associates Recognized for Contribution to New Jersey Historic Preservation
MaGrann Associates received an award from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Office, and N.J. Historic Sites Council for its contribution to the rehabilitation of the Market Fair Security and Trust Building in Camden on May 25, 2010.
MaGrann was part of the project team awarded for outstanding achievement in preservation and sustainability, receiving special recognition for their extensive knowledge and support of the LEED® rating system.
The “Annual Historic Preservation Awards” recognize the efforts of individuals, organizations and government agencies in preserving the State’s valuable resources.
Recognition for the project also went to RPM Development, Inglese Architecture, Carlton Design, and the Camden Redevelopment Agency.
The Security Trust Building rehabilitation project consists of new construction and renovation to include residential space mixed with commercial space. It will total 35 affordable senior housing units with commercial space located along the ground floor.
The 122 year-old Security Trust Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
MaGrann Associates Has Become a Supporting Sponsor of Efficiency First
MaGrann adds Efficiency First to its list of sponsored organizations. By supporting the national non-profit organization, MaGrann Associates is helping to unite the Home Performance workforce, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations in the escalating fight against global warming and rising energy costs.
Efficiency First represents its members in public policy discussions at the state and national levels, to promote the benefits of efficiency retrofitting and to help our industry grow to meet unprecedented demand for quality residential energy improvements.
For more information on Efficiency First, visit their Web site at http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/about/.
Engineers study energy use in Levittown
When Eric Bown ran his hands along the windowsill of his Levittown home, he could feel hot air — invisible and silent — invading his air-conditioned house.
The family home in Falls’ Lakeside section is 55 years old and most likely has some inefficiencies, Bown confessed Thursday, as energy/building engineers from MaGrann Associates attached a large fan to his front door.
The industrial strength fan lowered and raised air pressure within the one-story Levittowner, drawing air through tiny cracks in doors, walls and windows.
The air leakage calculations were shocking for the homeowner of 18 years.
The tiny openings were the equivalent of a 1.2-square-foot window left open to the outside world. And this is probably common for most houses in Levittown, engineers said.
Bown is one of 25 homeowners participating in a study at the expense of the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Energy has contracted with building sciences firms across the nation.
MaGrann’s study — due back to the Department of Energy in spring — will include recommendations for the more than 17,000 Levittown homes in Bristol Township, Falls, Middletown and Tullytown.
Engineers such as Emma Raymont, project manager for MaGrann, believe results will demonstrate how simple improvements might result in significant reductions in energy use.
For example, the boiler — installed in Bown’s kitchen more than 50 years ago — is in constant combat with the air conditioner in his living room.
Home performance analyst Scott Sidlow pointed his infrared monitor over heating system. The surface temperature was 149 degrees.
Because the boiler also serves as a hot water heater, Bown didn’t turn down the temperature.
“I am surprised. It’s a big surprise,” Bown said of the audit. “I definitely will close off all those tiny spaces before the winter comes, and if the boiler dies, I may replace it.”
Bown and other participants would be responsible for correcting any problems found with the audit, if they decided to do so.
Sometimes, a simple solution can be the careful placement of a tree. A three-story Maple tree rises above Bown’s Laurel Lane home. Trees placed to the east or west of a house will block the sun during the morning and late afternoon hours, Sidlow said.
Deciduous trees are best because their leaves shed during the winter, allowing the sun to warm the home during colder months, he added.
For the most part, energy-wise, Levitt “did a lot of it right” for his era, Raymont said, noting his use of radiant floor heating on concrete slabs beneath the house as opposed to central air systems.
“It was unusual at the time, but radiant floor heating is making a big comeback right now,” she said. “It’s an efficient distribution system in a lot of ways. Rather than blowing hot air around, radiant floor heating puts heat right where you’re feeling it down on the floor.”
Levittown homeowners interested in participating in the energy study can contact MaGrann Associates representative Loretta Campbell at 856-813-8781 or e-mail email@example.com.
Anneliese Khalil Competes In World Kickboxing Association National Mixed Martial Arts Competition
Anneliese Khalil, operations administrator at MaGrann Associates, competed in the North American Amateur Combat Sports Championship in Hampton, Virginia on June 18, 2010.
Khalil competed in the Open Division Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) single elimination tournament at the female featherweight division (135 lbs.), but lost in the second round. Regardless of her loss this past weekend, she remains undefeated in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, and is the 2010 Philadelphia Grappling Champion.
Being her first national MMA competition, Khalil refused to let her dislocated ankle stop her from competing in the tournament and plans to fight for an upcoming New Breed promotion in Atlantic City on July 24.
Khalil competes out of Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia.
The World Kickboxing Association is one of the world’s oldest and most recognized governing bodies for various forms of Kickboxing. In 2000, the organization formed the WKA USA to oversee Kickboxing competition in the United States and, in 2004, WKA USA added Mixed Martial Arts and Submission Grappling to the portfolio of combat sports that it regulates.
E.ON U.S.'s ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program earns 2010 "Leadership in Housing Award"
For the second consecutive year, E.ON U.S. has received national recognition for its contribution to the ENERGY STAR® program success.
The ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program provides customers with quality homes that are 15 to 20 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code, and the 2007 Kentucky Residential Code.
The utility program is recognized for contributing 158 completed program homes in 2009, and more than 856 completed homes since the February 2009 program inception. E.ON U.S. generated 868 ENERGY STAR® new home enrollments in 2009 and more than 1,400 enrollments since the program's inception. Approximately 530 homes remain under construction, pending final ENERGY STAR® qualification.
"As in 2009, E.ON U.S. is proud to be recognized for its support of the ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program," said Bill Cooper, Energy Efficiency Program Manager. "The support of KU and LG&E staff, our program contractor MaGrann Associates, and builders in the service territories have worked together to make this effort possible."
ENERGY STAR® qualified homes make use of effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and other products. These energy-efficient features provide customers with benefits varying from added confidence, lower ownership cost, better performance and a smart investment.
Click here for more information on the company's ENERGY STAR® New Homes Program.
MaGrann Associates Client Wins 2010 Smart Growth Award for Creative Neighborhood Affordable Housing
The Jersey City Housing Authority, Michaels Development Company and Wallace Roberts & Todd won the 2010 New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award for “Creative Neighborhood Affordable Housing.” MaGrann Associates contributed to the project by consulting with the developer and architect regarding participation in, and compliance with, the New Jersey ENERGY STAR® Homes Program. The firm’s role included performing energy modeling – consulting with the team as to energy upgrades, performing field inspections, and testing of units, and finally certifying units as ENERGY STAR compliant.
Both the Jersey City Housing Authority and the Michaels Development Company were early adopters of the New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes Program.
The winning project, Lafayette Gardens Hope VI Revitalization in Jersey City, N.J. consists of a 450-unit mid-rise public housing site revitalized into a true mixed-income urban community. The site integrates a full range of housing options – low- and moderate-income as well as market-rate. The plan consisted of two principle components: revitalize the Lafayette Gardens public housing project in six phases, and redevelop a former, underutilized industrial property in one phase.
A total of 209 mixed-finance, mixed-income units have been built – 72 stacked townhouses on the former industrial site and 137 stacked one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom townhouses and flats, in the last two phases, on the former public housing site. An additional senior housing community consisting of 59 one- and two-bedroom rental units is now under construction. Future plans are in the works for 127 mixed-income family rental townhouses, along with seven affordable homes for sale on an adjacent parcel.
The New Jersey Future Smart Growth Awards honor municipal officials, developers, contractors, architects and other organizations who initiate projects and growth patterns that help strengthen New Jersey’s economic, social, and environmental future.
MaGrann Associates is happy to be part of such a fulfilling and award-worthy project that helps New Jersey achieve its energy efficiency goals under the State’s Energy Master Plan.
MaGrann Associates is an energy/building consulting and engineering firm headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey with affiliate offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. Established in 1982, the company is a national leader in the certification of over 30,000 ENERGY STAR Homes. MaGrann Associates also provides services relating to Green Building Consulting and Energy Auditing. (www.magrann.com)