A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems

Builders, contractors, and homeowners today face a myriad of options for home heating systems. Furnaces, heat pumps - both air-source and ground-source, and even hybrid furnace-heat pump combination systems are all options. Sorting out the best choices requires taking a close look at system costs, efficiency levels, energy prices, comfort impacts, the severity of the climate, and any applicable incentives.

This course summarizes the key findings from an extensive technical analysis of the energy, economic, and environmental results of using various heating systems in different locations throughout the U.S., and updates the prior study from 2013 with more current energy pricing, system specs, and modeling data.

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Benefits of High-Performance Windows in Historic Preservation and Renovation (Print Course)

Historic preservation projects require a significant amount of care and attention to detail. Although window replacements are traditionally seen as a last resort to repair and ongoing maintenance, working with the right partners can improve the building’s energy efficiency while preserving its legacy. Windows can have the most significant architectural impact on a building’s aesthetics, and architects and designers should understand how to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders. This is achieved through knowledge of windows’ role in both sustainability and preservation, increased building operational efficiency, various design options to meet strict historic renovation criteria, and how to manage federal, state, and local building codes and tax incentives.

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The Surfaces that Surround Us While We Heal (Print Course)

The mission of healthcare organizations is to provide patient care that is effective, medically relevant, and operationally efficient in a comfortable, convenient environment where the patient-provider relationship is at the center. Surfaces play a key role in creating a positive tone within healthcare built environments, but surface quality is dependent on proper material selection, durability of design, and material performance. Designers must understand how to specify surfaces in healthcare settings that address disinfection, durability, and design challenges to achieve safety, efficiency, and patient comfort.

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The Environmental Impacts of Building Materials: Comparing Concrete, Steel and Wood (Print Course)

In addition to performance, budget and aesthetics, design professionals are now being asked to evaluate the environmental burdens of their design choices. Measuring the impacts of buildings, assemblies and products can be complex. Every design decision, from material and product selection to envelope design and construction can have an impact on the environment and the methods used to evaluate those decisions are still not widely understood. This article will address critical issues the design professional should consider as he/she evaluates the environmental impacts of building materials to maximize performance and deliver lasting value.

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High-Performing, Resilient Wood-Framed Roofs

During this course, we will discuss what resiliency means in our built environment. It will continue on to discuss why this topic has risen to its level of importance today.

We will also talk about some of the design aspects related to resiliency. Finally, this course covers the performance characteristics we should look for in resilient design.

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An Introduction to Electrochromic Glass: What It is and How It Works (Print Course)

Electrochromic glass is a smart solution for buildings in which solar control is a challenge, including classroom settings, healthcare facilities, commercial offices, retail spaces, museums and cultural institutions. Interior spaces featuring an atrium or skylights also benefit from the use of smart glass. Electrochromic glass maintains access to daylight and outdoor views, which are linked to faster rates of learning and patient recovery, improved emotional wellness, increased productivity and reduced employee absenteeism. Not only does electrochromic glass offer design flexibility and occupant benefits, it also contributes to sustainability goals and energy savings.

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A Visual Imprint of Moving Air (Print Course)

Architectural acoustics may be a complicated and complex field today, but many of the basic principles began to take shape in the early part of the 20th century. This course covers the rise and fall of acoustical photography—its various benefits and drawbacks—and how it coincided with the development of acoustical principles in architecture.

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Solving Moisture Issues with Rapid Drying Concrete

This course will discuss moisture in concrete slabs and solutions to end slab moisture issues such as flooring failures, mold, warping or curling, and excessive drying times. One solution to these moisture related problems is utilizing a rapid drying concrete. Rapid Drying Concrete is a ready-mix concrete solution for preventing moisture-related floor covering failures, an industry-wide problem that costs millions of dollars annually in damage, downtime, repair and replacement.

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Designing with Intent: Upselling Through Client Education

Understanding your client's dream bath or kitchen space is the first step in exceeding his or her expectations. Trade professionals need to know how to ask the right questions, understand the client’s wants and needs, and work within the client’s budget.

This course will focus on how the professional can identify the unique needs of clients, ways to communicate for effective 'upselling,' analyze the potential impact of remodels and their return on investment, and the latest options for the kitchen and bath.

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Specifying Luxury Vinyl Flooring in Environmentally Conscious Design

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is an extremely versatile resilient flooring product that is commonly used both residentially and commercially, specifically in educational, healthcare, and corporate settings where long lasting performance is key. This course will explore the performance benefits, design features, and applications for luxury vinyl tile where durability, low maintenance, versatility, sustainability, and affordability are desired or required.

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