Mecho Solar Trac: Harvesting Daylight for Energy Efficiency

In our previous two blog posts, we explored how daylight harvesting (or daylighting) improves energy efficiency through harnessing the power of sunlight, thereby aiding Boston in its mission if implemented properly. We looked at Lutron’s Hyperion system before, and now we’ll be discovering another active daylighting system that can help Boston on its way to becoming carbon-free by 2050: Mecho’s award-winning SolarTrac 4.0.

Mecho Solar Trac

SolarTrac’s proprietary algorithms precisely predict the sun’s position based on time, date, building location, and orientation of glass facades, in combination with rooftop radiometers that detect live conditions. Rooftop radiometers complement these algorithms by determining live conditions and reporting them, so that the shades adjust accordingly. Shades are automatically adjusted to optimize daylight entering a space and alleviate solar glare for a more comfortable and productive environment. SolarTrac also reduces solar-heat gain, which aids in reducing energy costs by decreasing demands on cooling systems.

The state-of-the-art SolarTrac 4.0 daylighting system is extremely user-friendly, with self-diagnostics alerting users to potential maintenance needs, and PC-based software supporting smartphone access and allowing up to 100 users at the same time. SolarTrac’s automation can be configured to meet the needs of a single floor, façade, building, or entire campus.

SolarTrac 4.0’s precise daylight harvesting can save up to 70% in lighting costs. By improving energy efficiency through decreased demand for electric lighting, utilization of SolarTrac allows for excess electric energy from a building to be diverted elsewhere. Elimination of unnecessary energy usage via daylight harvesting will go a long way in helping Boston with its challenging carbon-free endeavor.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll be examining Somfy’s animeo IP daylight harvesting system, taking into account its various features and impact on energy consumption and efficiency.

Lutron Hyperion: Daylighting to Save Energy

In our last blog post, we looked at Boston’s ambitious goal of completely eliminating its reliance on carbon-based energy by 2050, with all energy in the city coming from carbon-free sources by that year. We discussed how daylight harvesting systems can help with this goal by reducing energy consumption through appropriate automated shading and lighting controls.

One example of an active daylighting system that can help Boston on its way to becoming carbon-free by 2050 is Lutron’s solar-adaptive Hyperion system. Hyperion automatically adjusts shades throughout the day in response to the sun’s changing position, which both saves energy and reduces solar glare and heat gain. Information about the building’s location and glass façade orientations is analyzed to create customized shade schedules that maximize the amount of useful daylight, thus reducing energy consumption by minimizing or eliminating the need for supplemental electric light.

Wireless Radio Window Sensors add further functionality to Hyperion by accounting for varied conditions such as weather or shadows from adjacent buildings, reporting live exterior conditions and then adjusting shades accordingly. Also, the Hyperion software allows facilities’ staff to manage electric light and daylight for maximum energy efficiency, comfort, and productivity. Manual override is available as an option for specific instances. Hyperion’s automated shading maintains ideal light levels while also lowering demand on a building’s HVAC system by preventing solar heat gain. It can reduce lighting energy use by 65% or more, and Hyperion is scalable from a single area or individual building to a campus with multiple buildings.

Hyperion also integrates seamlessly with Quantum, Lutron’s lighting control and energy managcement system, designed to further improve energy efficiency by adjusting light in tandem with shades through smart lighting control. Quantum is a single data and management platform for connected buildings, delivering a simple and consistent user experience from a PC or tablet. Customizable alerts, space utilization reports, occupancy trends, and energy reports all provide actionable data to improve building layout, defer capital expenditures, deliver a more energy-efficient space, and reduce a building’s carbon footprint.

The report issued earlier this year by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission indicated that “…nearly every building in Boston will need to undergo retrofits that holistically and dramatically reduce energy consumption.” Buildings currently account for more than two-thirds of Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions. By utilizing an active daylighting system such as Hyperion in a building, energy demand is reduced, and electric energy can therefore be redirected elsewhere. This reduction in energy consumption subsequently leads to carbon-based sources of energy being phased out, as they are no longer needed due to more efficient energy management.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post, where we’ll be exploring another active daylighting system: Mecho’s SolarTrac 4.0.

Ver-Tex Construction President & CEO Speaks on Growth, Company Culture, and Unique Projects

Ver-Tex Construction President & CEO Brianna Goodwin recently spoke with Blueprint Construction Magazine about Ver-Tex’s recent growth in Florida, highlighting the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, along with the company’s culture and other noteworthy projects, both in New England & Florida.

Ver-Tex Construction Floridaiconic guitar-shaped tower at seminole hard rock hotel and casino

In discussing the company’s growth and its Florida division, Goodwin mentions Ver-Tex’s involvement in notable construction projects in the area, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, which features a 450-foot tall tower shaped like a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, and the Orlando International Airport expansion. Goodwin touched specifically on the unique solutions needed to complete the project, noting that the “guitar shape necessitated angled windows of different shapes, sizes and inclines, for a lot of customized solutions,” and mentioning, “…we’ve been involved with this project for years and now it’s time to perform under a tight schedule. The next Super Bowl is in Hard Rock Stadium.”

 

Ver-Tex Company Culture

The familial company culture of Ver-Tex Construction was another point discussed, with Goodwin highlighting the company-wide events held in Canton: themed parties, casual get-together, and strategic meetings, during which the Florida team is often flown up to the company’s Massachusetts headquarters. With the rate of growth in Florida at 500 percent annually, Goodwin makes it a priority to gather and connect the New England and Florida divisions, neglecting nothing on the home front and continuing to honor long-time commitments to New England clients.

 

 

 

 

 

Noteworthy Construction Projects

In addition to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Ver-Tex has secured a large contract for the Orlando International Airport expansion and is also currently completing a job at Florida International University. Other prominent institutions that Ver-Tex has provided window treatments for include Harvard, MIT, Berklee College of Music, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, among others, with these and many other long-term clients turning to Ver-Tex Construction as an unbiased resource with the capability of providing products from all major window treatment manufacturers from the U.S. and beyond, along with products from new boutique companies offering distinct solutions.

To read the full article, visit Blueprint Construction Magazine.

A Carbon-Free Boston by 2050: How Daylighting Can Help

By 2050, the state of Massachusetts aims to have 80% of its energy provided by carbon-free sources, but the city of Boston is planning to one-up the state by becoming 100 percent carbon-free by then. A report published in January of this year details the findings of a team of experts from the city, outside consulting firms, and Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, who were tasked with researching how Boston can become 100% carbon-free. The report found that the city must pursue interconnected strategies in three key sectors: first, deepen energy efficiency while reducing demand; second, electrify as much as possible; and third, purchase 100 percent clean energy.

When it comes to buildings in the growing city, the report has stated, “Nearly every building in Boston will need to undergo retrofits that holistically and dramatically reduce energy consumption.” New buildings must meet high energy performance standards, and existing buildings will need deep energy retrofits. Through the implementation and utilization of daylight harvesting systems, Ver-Tex Construction has the opportunity and capability to help with both requirements, in order to aid the city in becoming carbon-free by 2050.

Daylight harvesting systems utilize daylight to offset the amount of electric lighting needed to light a space, thereby reducing energy consumption by using lighting control systems that dim or switch electric lighting in response to daylight levels. The most efficient daylight harvesting systems are automated and maintain a light level of 500 Lux (the commonly recommended light level for offices). Daylight harvesting can be sub-divided into passive daylighting and active daylighting.

daylighting also known as daylight harvesting used in a commercial office building setting

Passive daylighting collects sunlight using static, stationary systems that do not track the sun (like windows, skylights, and sliding glass doors) and simply reflect collected daylight into a building, using elements such as light wall colors, mirrored walls, glass paneling, and light shelves. Passive daylighting systems do not use mechanical means to track or follow the sun.

Active daylighting tracks sunlight using mechanical methods. Mathematical formulas based on sun path charts, in combination with sensors or lenses that detect light levels, are used to predict and maximize the amount of natural daylight present in the space. Electric lighting is then adjusted based on the available daylight in the space. A lighting control system module and automated light switching devices are used to dim or turn off fixtures as needed, in order to maintain optimal lighting in the space.

In commercial buildings in the United States, including Boston, the single largest operating cost is lighting, with lighting systems representing one-third or more of a commercial building’s total electrical energy costs. Additionally, lighting systems constitute 30% to 50% of U.S. office buildings’ total electrical energy consumption. By implementing daylight harvesting systems into new and existing buildings, Boston can drastically reduce its energy consumption while also ensuring that optimal lighting levels are maintained. This reduction in energy consumption through daylight harvesting would greatly assist the city in reaching its 2050 goal by allowing the massive amount of electrical energy previously needed for lighting these buildings to be redirected elsewhere.

In our next blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the daylight harvesting systems that Ver-Tex Construction offers, which can all be used to help Boston achieve its ambitious goal of becoming carbon-free by 2050.

Shade Light Solutions by Ver-Tex Construction to Co-Host “Smart Homes in Smart Cities” CEU Course with Yusen Associates for Boston Design Week

Boston Design Week event will focus on emerging smart home technology and possibilities for automation

BOSTON, MA, Mar. 26, 2019 – Shade Light Solutions by Ver-Tex Construction (Shade Light Solutions) recently announced that it will be co-hosting “Smart Homes in Smart Cities,” a CEU luncheon, with Yusen Associates on April 2 as part of Boston Design Week.

The event will explore the emergence of smart homes and smart cities in response to an increasingly urbanized world aimed at improving energy efficiency and quality of life. Attendees will learn how to improve energy efficiency, security and convenience with the use of intelligent, connected devices, and will also be able to identify opportunities for various smart home products throughout a property, communicate the benefits of smart home products, and ensure that these products will successfully integrate with each other.

This event will be presented as part of Boston Design Week, which seeks to increase public awareness and appreciate of all aspects of design, foster recognition of the vital role design plays in our lives and bring new audiences to a wide array of design industries and organizations. The vision of Boston Design Week to encourage the public to explore all aspects of design.

“With smart home technology becoming increasingly advanced and in-demand, there’s no better time to host such an educational event aimed at informing attendees on the benefits of and possibilities for smart controls. Whether it comes down to creating a more energy efficient home or added convenience for the homeowner, smart controls and systems are the future of home design and construction,” said Brianna Goodwin, President and CEO of Ver-Tex Construction. “We’re very pleased to be partnering with Yusen for this Boston Design Week event, which will be sure to inform and educate our audience on the various advantages and opportunities that exist for smart controls in the residential setting.”

“Technology is continuously evolving in our industry. Over the past several years, the focus has been on the integration of smart home products. The goal with smart home products today is to create a more comfortable home experience along with ease of use and maximizing energy efficiency. Unfortunately, the average home owner is either intimated or not familiar with the various products and solutions that are offered in the smart home market today,” said Bill Hurwitz, Vice President of Yusen Controls. “A major objective of Yusen’s is to further educate the consumer on the solutions that are available and the benefits they deliver. We believe education is the critical component needed to accelerate the adoption of using smart home products.”

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About Shade Light Solutions

At Shade Light Solutions, our focus is on integration and simplicity. We offer clients an ill-inclusive service when it comes to controlling light, both natural and artificial. We will manage your project from design conceptualization to specification, installation and programming.

About Yusen Associates

Yusen Associates is an independent manufacturer representative agency focused on selling electrical, lighting & controls products and services to the New England electrical industry. Our primary customer is the electrical wholesaler. We also serve, support and maintain important relationships with the electrical contractor, electrical engineer, architect and lighting design communities. We represent commodity products, typical electrical supply products, lighting controls as well as light fixtures and lamps.

Cindy Cox Joins Ver-Tex Construction as Chief Financial Officer

Ver-Tex Construction announces new CFO as company expansion and growth continues

Ver-Tex Construction (Ver-Tex) recently announced that Cindy Cox, a recognized leader with extensive experience in senior finance operations, will join the company as Chief Financial Officer. At Ver-Tex, Cox will oversee all financial functions and will assume a strategic role in the overall management of the Company.

Cox brings with her more than 20 years of experience in senior finance and leadership roles, and she most recently helped bring her previous company from startup to a business with hundreds of employees, including national and international expansion. She has built Finance & Accounting, Human Resources and Legal infrastructure during her career, and has strength in financial planning & analysis, budgeting, organizational leadership, accounting & internal controls, and process improvement. With international experience launching and running operations in London, Toronto, Philippines, Dublin, Portugal, and Sweden, Cox provides Ver-Tex with a wealth of knowledge that will help them in their continued growth and expansion.

“I am honored to join Ver-Tex and look forward to working with Brianna and the talented team at Ver-Tex.” said Cox. “I look forward to putting my background and skills to work to help the Company achieve greater results for our team members and our clients.”

“I’m thrilled to have Cindy join Ver-Tex. Her knowledge and experience will really help take us to the next level. She’s a welcomed addition to our growing team!” said Brianna Goodwin, President and CEO of Ver-Tex Construction.

A New Year: Looking Forward

As we begin a new year, we tend to look ahead and plan for the coming months, creating resolutions, setting goals, and challenging ourselves to implement lasting, impactful changes. At Ver-Tex Construction, we promise to continue upholding our commitment to our team members and our clients, while also building new relationships, discovering and implementing the latest and greatest in window treatments, and innovating to provide our clients and customers with the most appropriate, individualized solutions for their needs.

The past few years have been filled with rapid growth for our company, but we haven’t lost sight of what matters most: our purpose, vision and core values. With a new year comes new opportunities to provide the highest quality service and solutions for our clients’ needs with unrelenting dedication and care, along with various chances to create unforgettable customer service experiences, collaborate and listen, challenge paradigms, be a community of care, and make time for life. By taking advantage of these opportunities, we will be steadfast in maintaining our vision: to be the best company in the world to work for and with.

Looking to 2019, we aim to streamline our processes, increase our efficiency, strengthen and develop our partner relationships, and ensure that we consistently provide the highest quality and customer-oriented service each and every day. We’d like to take this time to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year, and we encourage you to let us know what you’re looking to achieve in the New Year, both personally and professionally.

Happy Thanksgiving

As we move through fall, temperatures plummet and the days get shorter. At the same time, however, the holiday season offers a chance for the warmth of celebration. The holidays are a time of community, connection, and counting our blessings, with friends and family coming together to spend time, share stories, laugh and be merry. With Thanksgiving approaching, the Ver-Tex Construction management team wanted to do something truly special for our valued team members.

With a turkey dinner being a long-standing tradition of Thanksgiving, and one that brings together family and friends for a delicious and festive feast, we decided to give away six turkeys to the devoted team members who work hard to fulfill our company purpose: to provide the highest quality service and solutions for our clients’ needs with unrelenting dedication and care.

But how were we able to decide who to give the turkeys away to? And how were we go to about telling the team members? Watch the video below to find out!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation for all those who have helped us prosper and thrive throughout the years, from team members to partners, vendors to clients, and all those who have been present throughout the Ver-Tex Construction journey. From our family to yours, we wish you all a very, very Happy Thanksgiving!

Why Should I Choose Motorized Shading?

With rapid advancements in technology, homeowners are beginning to understand the many benefits of often-overlooked motorized shades. While motorized shades surely offer safety benefits, there are several other advantages to purchasing this technology for your home.

Eliminates Wear & Tear

Daily tugging or pulling on window treatments is a sure-fire way to cause damage to your manual shading systems. Eventually, even the hardware might start to loosen, causing additional costs in replacement and repairs. Motorized shading completely eliminates any struggle and even extends the longevity of your window treatments.

Easily Accessible

Regardless of whether windows are at a comfortable level or not, they still may not be accessible.  Since you can adjust motorized shades from anywhere using a variety of available wall switches and/or remotes, these are ideal for the elderly, those who are bed-ridden or homeowners who simply struggle waking up in the morning.

Increases Home Security

When windows are permanently closed, this gives burglars an open invitation into your home. Some motorized window shades can include a timer option which opens the shades during the day and closes them at night. This gives off the illusion that the home is occupied.

Countless Options

Motorized window treatments allow you to alter the exposure of natural light that penetrates the home. By doing so, you can easily control the mood at any time. In addition, motorized window treatments are offered in an array of designs, styles & colors and are available in wired or battery options.

If you are seeking to improve the aesthetics of your home without breaking your budget, opt for motorized window shades. Not only are these practical and easy to use, but motorized window treatments will create an ambience in your home that everyone can enjoy.

Ver-Tex Helps Brighten Historic Harvard Dormitories

We’ve said it before: all of Harvard’s facilities adhere to a high standard of excellence that matches the prestige and acclaim of their institution. Previously, Ver-Tex Construction worked with Harvard University and Lee Kennedy on a project at the university’s business school campus.

At the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, Ver-Tex installed approximately 40 Mecho manual clutch operated shades and 115 Mecho WhisperShade IQ2 intelligent motorized shades using Mecho’s proprietary EcoVeil PVC-free fabrics.

Once completed, our focus shifted from the business school to its main campus, where Ver-Tex worked on two separate large dorm renovations at Harvard’s Winthrop House. The first was Gore Hall. With Consigli Construction serving as the general contractor, this was a massive undertaking that included a renovation spanning over 100,000 square feet. We installed approximately 460 manual shades and 30 motorized shades on this project.

Gore Hall was just one piece of Harvard’s House Renewal Program, which seeks to create revitalized student living spaces, and social and academic areas. The second project, occurring nearly simultaneously on campus, was Standish Hall. Much like Gore Hall, this was a complete renovation of the 81,000 square foot. space. Lee Kennedy served as the general contractor. We installed approximately 265 manual shades on this project. In addition to shade installation, Ver-Tex Construction also supplied a number of miscellaneous specialties including wall protection, signage, lockers, FECs, toilet accessories, appliances, and bike racks.

Both Gore Hall and Standish Hall were built over a hundred years ago to house freshmen and will continue to be fine homes to Harvard’s student population for decades to come.