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Report from Greenbuild: Weinberg Commons and EPDM

Report from Greenbuild: Weinberg Commons and EPDM

November 30, 2015 20:12

 On Friday, November 20th, fifty attendees at the Greenbuild 2015 conference took to the road to tour a first-of-its kind housing initiative in Southeast Washington. They also got an up-close and personal look at how EPDM can be used in a building that is designed to redefine standards of energy efficiency.

The sold-out Greenbuild tour was headed to Weinberg Commons, a just-dedicated multi-family project that has retrofitted three abandoned 1960’s brick and mortar buildings, and turned them into literally shining examples of twenty-first century innovation. Weinberg Commons is the first Passive House apartment building project in Washington DC and the region, and is one of only two masonry retrofit Passive House multi-family projects in the country. Passive House design is based on strict requirements designed to lower energy use up to eighty-percent compared to code building. EPDM single-ply membrane was used as the roofing membrane in this high-efficiency building.

As the sponsor of the Greenbuild tour, ERA was allocated five minutes to discuss our product and explain how it can be used in the energy-efficient buildings. Our go-to-expert on sustainability, Tom Hutchinson, was our designated speaker and he chose to deliver his remarks during the bus trip from the Washington Convention Center to the Weinberg site. We were pleased to hear that because of slow-moving Washington rush-hour traffic, Tom was able to hold forth for a good half-hour to the captive but appreciative audience. Tom covered the science-based material about dark EPDM: the ability of EPDM to have a service life greater than 40 years; no energy expended for roof removal and replacement; a 45-year history of performance in climates like that of Washington; no UV deterioration; high hail resistance; easily maintained and repaired; the downward drying potential of using a dark color; and, with appropriate insulation, the potential for temperature maintenance. To underscore the longevity of EPDM, Tom pointed out to the crowd, “This roof will still be in place and delivering good performance when most of the people on this bus have retired.” And there were a lot of young people on the bus!

At Weinberg, the tour continued, lead by Matt Fine of Zavos Architecture + Design, who underscored the passive energy design of the buildings to the crowd of attentive listeners. This was the second time this month that a group of admiring visitors has gathered at Weinberg. On November 6th, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser led the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. This marked the end of the construction at Weinberg, and the official beginning of a new life of low-cost utility payments and a leg up on financial security for the 36 low-income families who will live there. ERA is proud that the innovative use of our products has played a part in helping this vision become reality

Ellen Thorp

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