Shades of Green for 35 Years

At BACORP Building Group, Inc., we believe a major re-evaluation of the building industry’s impact on the environment is long over due. We are both relieved and excited to see that homeowners, manufacturers, government and business owners alike are becoming more interested in curtailing environmental degradation as a whole, and actively seeking knowledge and a means of implementing environmentally and socially responsible business practices and personal habits. We are happy to see recent strides commercially and residentially by the construction industry to “go green.”

Lately, it seems as if every time one opens a newspaper, turns on a television, peruses a magazine, or selects a household cleaner while shopping, ideas of being “green” are splashed across a label or headline but sometimes offer little, if any, in the way of substantiation of “green” claims.

 “..at BACORP, Inc, environmental stewardship has guided  our development and construction practices for 35 years..”

Pictured above is the AZTEC Center

The building industry especially is currently undergoing somewhat of a “green” revolution of sorts, with everyone from builders, architects and designers to chemical companies, paint manufacturers, and a myriad of construction assemblage component offerings all purporting to be “green.” While we believe that an industry wide progression towards adopting “green” and sustainable practices are essential to preserving the health of both the environment and people, the process should first and foremost be tempered in fact and good business judgement in order to preserve the integrity of “green” as a label and sound market distinction; essentially, “caveat emptor,”or “let the buyer beware.” As with anything else, proper due diligence should be done by industry professionals, home buyers and those seeking commercial ventures when it comes to incorporating “green” and sustainable practices into there homes and workplaces. Just as there are many individuals and businesses that are seeking to contribute to the green movement and have the best of intentions, there are those attempting to profit off of what has become a booming green industry, and green wash is rampant. Sometimes, individual companies or product manufacturers mislead consumers when purporting to be “green” when in fact those claims are embellishments of the truth. Sometimes, perpetuated falsehoods regarding green and sustainability sometimes persist and end up becoming fact, and, irresponsibly, are passed from professional to consumer as such. Fortunately for the green movement, there are existing and emerging third party verification processes by no interest groups who can monitor the claims of green organizations and product manufacturers to ensure green claims match green practices.

“..we feel the most efficient form of energy is the energy a structure does not use, or even need..”

Groups such as the F.S.C, or Forest Stewardship Council, ensure that sustainable wood materials used for construction are in fact grown and harvested in forests utilizing a sustainable means of doing so. The USGBC, or United States Green Building Council is another popular non profit organization that uses the LEED  rating system, which is a point system that qualifies a structure for it’s degree of “greenness.” The NAHB  (National Association of Home Builders) also has a Green Building Program utilizing a similar rating system. There are literally hundreds of local and national green building organizations around the country, each with similar, and differing, definitions of green. Herein lies a potential problem in the fledgling green movement. A client’s definition and expectation of sustainability, carbon footprint reduction, and zero energy living may vary considerably from a building professional’s idea of the same word or phrase. Essentially, there remains to emerge one standardized system for classifying or qualifying something as “built green”. BACORP advises individual’s seeking a more environmentally responsible means of constructing a home or business to be sure that their builder will be meeting their specified expectations, as ambiguity does exist in defining “green”, or even “sustainability” for that matter.

10 foot tall 130 gallon water cylinders in the lobby of the building absorbed winter sun through similarly shaped windows. The water columns would retain the heat absorbed during the day and exude heat into the lobby and cathedral area at night. Shades were drawn during the summer to reduce solar gain on the cylinders.

At BACORP, environmental stewardship has guided our development and construction practices for 30 years. By designing and building structures that are energy efficient to begin with, we have made our most green contribution by initially lowering energy consumption demands for any given structure from the outset; besides, we feel the most efficient form of energy is the energy a structure does not use, or even need. This also appeals to our clients in terms of cost savings. We find that by appealing to a business’ or homeowner’s bottom line, alternative energy sources and concepts of “green”are more attractive because we are saving them money. We feel that Eco-friendly building practices and “clean” energy technologies for the sake of being socially responsible is certainly important, but so is our clients’ money and comfort level while inhabiting the space. There are a large number building products, alternative energy sources and gadgetry claiming cost savings on the market right now, however, it is important to know which of these available technologies will most benefit our client and that it is the right technology for the application; we see to it that systems will actually perform to a client’s expectations before the money is spent.

“..we feel that Eco-friendly building practices and “clean” energy technologies for the sake of being socially responsible is certainly important, as is our clients’ money..”

Only after an in depth analysis of envelope design, insulation strategies, building and site orientation and occupant

Active and passive solar gain were the primary means of heating the building in the winter months during the day. Additionally, the building has architectural features that are conducive to solar gain when the winter sun is at a lower angle in the sky, and solar shading when the sun is at a higher angle in the summer. A water source, geothermal heat pump supplemented the passive solar attributes and cooled the building.

use do we begin to consider alternative energy sources. For example, solar may be the cleanest and cheapest energy available, but we would be hard pressed to recommend a solar pool heating system on a roof facing north (or away from the sun) shaded by a 60 foot tall oak tree for most of the day. A client may never see a cash return on such an investment. Misinformation and inappropriate application of alternative energy sources gives ‘green’ a bad name. Rebates offered by state and federal agencies for installing ‘green’ technologies are constantly changing. Duty cycles or the life span of alternative energy source equipment may fall short of the time a client would begin to see a cash return on their investment. Most inexperienced building professionals are unaware of all the factors that are integral in making ‘green’ sources of energy a success for there clients. At BACORP, we make it work because we think of the building and its’ geographical location as a system, or integrated whole, not just assembled parts and pieces. We have managed to meet challenges to occupant comfort and energy efficiency in an unforgiving coastal environment for our clients successfully, and we’ve been doing it for 35 years.

In 1980, Alan Baker Sr., Vice President of BACORP, Inc., built our existing office building in the Cedar Creek basin critical area of NJ to what would be the most “green” standards of today. Aptly named the Aztec Building, it’s 12 degrees west of south frontal orientation was ideal for utilizing active and passive solar systems gain to heat the building most of the time, even through the long winter months. A direct heat trickle down solar system was installed on the roof and sent solar heated water to a heavily insulated 1,600 gallon storage tank in the basement. If exceeding a specified temperature, the solar heated water was funneled from the holding tank and into a water to air heat ex-changer  when the geothermal heat pump fan was engaged. On some winter days, the heat pump compressor did not need to come on at all. Efficiency was further enhanced by funneling the same solar heated water through a water to water heat ex-changer to pre-heat the well water. By nature of the technology, the geothermal device extracted the heat from well water. By pre heating that well water with the solar heated water, more efficiency was achieved.

  • Bacorp Building Group, Inc.

    1044 Lacey Road
    Forked River, NJ 08731

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