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Green: Emerging Technologies and Resources for Photovoltaics

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Judhajit Chakraborty, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP WSP Built Ecology

1. ClearView Power™: PV’s are getting transparent. Yes that’s right, past MIT researchers and current entrepreneurs, Miles Barr, Ian Millard, Vladimir Bulovic and Richard Lunt are making transparent solar cells that could turn everyday products such as windows and electronic devices into power generators— without altering how they look or function. How? Their new breakthrough in solar cells absorb only infrared and ultraviolet light, thereby only letting visible light pass through the cells unobstructed, so our eyes don’t know they’re there. They estimate that this technology of using PV coated windows in a skyscraper could provide more than a quarter of the building’s energy needs without changing its look. They’re now beginning to integrate their solar cells into consumer products, including mobile device displays and have started a venture called Ubiquitous Energy (

Current versions of the ClearView transparent PV cells transmit more than 70% of the visible light, which is within the range of tinted glass now used in the windows of buildings. But their tested efficiency is very low—only about 2%, but they are working on it. In theory, their design should realistically be able to reach over 12% efficiency, comparable to that of existing commercial solar panels. This will be challenging, but they believe they can do it by carefully optimizing the composition and configuration of the PV materials. The other challenge is the longevity of PV. In commercial applications such as window coatings, the solar cells need to continue performing well for many decades. With many industries tackling the same issue, the team believes that this engineering problem should be solved in the coming years, and their solar cells should be guaranteed to have a commercially viable lifespan. And this may well be a game changer in the PV industry.

62. Project Sunroof by Google: Until now you had used Google for comparing air-fares, hotel fares and for umpteen searches, now Google lets you weigh the costs and benefits of installing solar panels on your rooftop through its new online tool ” Project Sunroof” ( This new tool, now available for select cities in CA, AZ, NV, CO, CT, NY, NJ, NC and MA, requires a user to enter the home address and it computes how much sunlight hits your roof in a year. It takes into account:

• Google earth’s database of aerial imagery and maps
• 3D solar radiation modeling of your roof
• Shadows cast by nearby structures and trees
• All possible sun positions over the course of a year
• Historical cloud and temperature patterns that might affect solar energy production

Project Sunroof then computes the savings by using the current solar industry pricing data to run the numbers on leasing, taking a loan, or buying solar panels for your house to help you choose what’s best for you. Not only that, it also compiles the following incentives to calculate the final PV cost.

• Federal and state tax credits
• Utility rebates
• Renewable energy credits and net metering

Project Sunroof is a faster, simpler way of sizing up possible pros and cons of solar than calling someone for a site evaluation or using the more complex calculator offered by the U.S. Energy Department

Codes: Exit Stairways and Ramps Terminologies


Kerwin Lee, AIA CASp ICC – Certified Accessibility Inspector and Plan Examiner ICC – Certified Building Plan Examiner

Kerwin Says:

In the 2013 CBC (based on the 2012 IBC), there were some terminology changes for Means of Egress (MOE) associated with stairs:

■ Exit
■ Exit Access Ramp or Stairway
■ Interior Exit Ramp or Stairway

“Exit Enclosure” was deleted from the definitions, but not from the code. Stairways can be many things within the MOE system. A stairway can be either an “exit access” element or an “exit” element. There are also enclosed and open stairways. The changes were a comprehensive revamping of the code to clarify the use of stairways within a means of egress systems. The following are the main concepts for the changes:

■ All stairways within a building are elements of the MOE system.
■ Exit stairways are required to be enclosed.
■ Unenclosed stairways are not “exits.”
■ Stairways that are permitted to be open are “exit access stairways” and must comply
with one of the ten exceptions in Section 1009.3 for an open stairway.

Travel Distance – An open stairway that is part of an exit access may have the distance traveled over the stairs as part of the overall exit travel. In other words, a second story of a building may have one enclosed exit stair and one open stairway to the first floor and comply with the code, as long as the maximum travel distance to an exit (either an enclosed stairway or exterior exit doorway) is complied with from all points on the second floor. This may include travel down the open stairways to an exit.

Single Exit – This takes us to another confusing part of the code. When can you have a single exit from a story or space? The basic premise of the code in Section 1021 is that each story is required to have a minimum of access to two exits. However there are six conditions outlined in Section 1021.2 that permits a single exit:

1. Maximum permitted travel distance is not exceeded.
2. Space(s) have access to an exterior door or exit.
3. R-3/dwellings complying with Table 1021.2(1)
4. Mechanical parking garages
5. R-3/dwelling and R-4/Congregate Residences complying with Table 1021.2(1)
6. Individual dwelling units complying with the requirements for a single exit in Section
1015.1 and the exit is directly to the exterior.

Read Section 1021.2 for all detailed requirements associated with a single exit. The primary premise is low occupant load and short travel distance to a point of safety.

Note: Section 1021 of the CBC is different from what is found in the 2012 IBC. The IBC rewrote this complete section and the State decided it did not fit their needs regarding single exit concepts. In the CBC there is a Table 1021.3(1), which is not found in the IBC. This table addresses the minimum number of exits for a giving occupant load. The IBC uses text to address multiple exits. So, if you are familiar with
the IBC’s version, make note that what is in the CBC is different and may be applied/interpreted differently. This goes for those who normally use the CBC and do work out of the State where only the IBC applies.

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Erick Mikiten, AIA LEED-AP Mikiten Architecture

Erick Says:

It’s worth noting that the word “access” in the code term “access to exits” means availability of exits, not usability by people with disabilities. Keep these separate in your mind as you’re using the CBC.

You’ll also come across “Accessible Means of Egress” (a continuous emergency egress path from an accessible spot in a building) and “Accessible Route” (the creation of a continuous path connecting all the accessible elements of a site, building or facility together; it’s about daily usability, not emergencies).

When determining the level of accessibility required in your egress system, Section 1007 requires all accessible spaces to have at least one Accessible Means of Egress. It details the elements of the egress system, including the requirements that allow stairways (ironically) and elevators to be used. There are also exceptions for existing buildings, mezzanines and assembly areas.

But remember-the code only gives us minimums. If you can make more exits accessible than required, such as using a ramp rather than a stair, you will create a building that more people can use at all times, and that will allow everyone to exit more smoothly and safely.

President’s Letter: Susi Marzuola, AIA Chapter President

1Hello Members of AIA East Bay!

Is it really February already? A belated happy new year to you all. 

I am very excited to be part of our thriving and growing East Bay architectural community, and honored for the opportunity to serve as your AIA East Bay Chapter President. My job, as I see it, is to help keep our local chapter relevant to you and the work you do in our field. Previous presidents Malvin Whang, AIA, Jeremiah Tolbert, AIA and Andre Ptaszynski, AIA are indeed hard acts to follow. They are also excellent mentors. Add to that a fearless Executive Director Sidney Sweeney, the unflappable Secretary/Treasurer Doug Frazier and dedicated board members and committee chairs, and I believe your local chapter is in good hands.

This year we will shine a bright spotlight on design excellence – beautiful, purposeful, sustainable and healthful places designed for people. A special thanks to the panelists of our first monthly program Oakland Planning Director Rachel Flynn, AIA, Pyatok Principal Peter Waller, AIA and Gensler Oakland Principal Doug Wittnebel, AIA – for kicking off the discussion, focusing on the design of places to live and work in Downtown Oakland (Wednesday, February 3).

On the special project front, I am particularly excited about AIA East Bay’s involvement in the first ever UCB Solar Decathlon Team. The Solar Decathlon, now in its 14th year, is a biannual competition sponsored by the Department of Energy. The challenge for the 16 selected American and European university teams is to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The buildings will be assembled on a yet-to-be announced competition site in Fall of 2017 to showcase integrated sustainable design and new technologies, and to help accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products and design. Please contact team leader Sam Durkin, AIA at for more information. The UCB Solar Decathlon Team would love your help and guidance. Lastly, Sidney and the board used our annual retreat in January to lay out a year of programs, events, roundtables and forums that:

■ build on the on the work of previous boards and presidents
■ support our broad range of members from recent graduates to established architects
■ demonstrate to the public how our work makes a difference in their lives
■ partner with other chapters and affiliated organizations.

I am looking forward to a very busy and stimulating year. I invite you to let us know how we can make this chapter more your chapter.

Carry on!

BIM Execution Plan: Revit User Group

a Revit User Group

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Free and open to all.
Lunch provided by Ideate, Inc. Register here.


As it is very well said, failing to plan is planning to fail! The same is true with implementing BIM on a project. The first step in ensuring that your project is set up for success with BIM is to compose a thorough, well thought out BIM Execution Plan (BIM XP) and this cannot be done in a silo.

About the Presenter:

Shruti Harve is a Senior Project Engineer with DPR Construction and has many years of experience with training, consulting and implementing BIM in the AEC industry. During this discussion, Shruti Harve will also share some examples and lessons learned from the project she is working on.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to…

1. List at least three components of a well-drafted and complete BIM XP.

2. Know who the key contributors should be in a BIM Execution Plan.

3. Learn two ways to ensure the agreements made in the documents are followed.

4. Demonstrate how you can use this document to buy out BIM efficiently on a job.

The Joy of Accounting: Small Firm Forum

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Free AIA Members; $3 Guests
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5  CES LUs

Host:  Donald Wardlaw AIA

The February program will explore, via the urge to share, the many ways we manage the accounting challenges of small firm practice.  How do we tame this side of our practice so that the rest of our practice remains viable?

Are we all managing our job and office accounting with the same tools, the same methods?  That seems unlikely. If there is a smarter and more efficient way, would that interest us?  Likely yes. This month we will look at these questions and any others you bring:

Do we run separate systems for job and company accounting?

Has our accounting method evolved with time?

What have we learned about accounting that we did not know when we began our practice?

Who is responsible, you, a bookkeeper or your CPA?

How much time is required each month for company bookkeeping?

How much time is needed for client billing?

Are we using post-its, spreadsheets or dedicated accounting software?

Are we concerned about banking security and if so, what are we doing about it?

If there are employees, what access do they have to the accounting system?

Are we using the accounting system to track employee hours on a daily basis?

Income and expense, or double entry?


Learning Objectives:

By the end of the presentation, attendees will…

1.  Gain perspective on the accounting methods and systems used by other small firms.

2.  Learn how accounting methods can be improved by seeing how other architects manage job accounting and client billing.

3. Learn what accounting software tools other architects are using and each program’s strengths and weaknesses.

4. See how to reduce time spent on accounting to allow more time for billable tasks.


Backups & Disaster Recovery for Architects

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Noon – 1:30 PM

Free and open to all!
Lunch provided by ArcSource; please RSVP by 3pm Tuesday, February 9.

1.5 CES LUs

Did you know that 70% of small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year? Attend this seminar, and you will learn: strategies to backup every type of data, key ingredients for every disaster recovery plan, how to evaluate online backup services, and more. Attendees will also receive a free ArcSource Disaster Recovery Plan Template to help you start or update a disaster recovery plan for your business.

Presenter Dave Monk, Allied Member will share the secrets to backups & disaster recovery based on over 18 years of experience as an IT expert to Bay Area architects and other professional services firms through his company ArcSource. ArcSource provides rock solid backups and disaster recovery plans designed specifically for AEC firms.

About the Presenter:

Dave Monk, Allied Member is the founder and CEO of ArcSource, a premier provider of IT consulting & support services to businesses in the Bay Area. As the Principal Consultant, he combines his passions for technology and helping businesses. Dave Monk holds Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Structural Engineering degrees from UC Berkeley. Prior to starting ArcSource, he worked at Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects as an architectural designer focused on design development, project management, construction administration, and, of course, maintaining the firm’s growing computer network.

Dave is an expert in technology planning, server operating systems, application software, software as a service, computer hardware, network design, problem solving, and training. His background in business, computer networks, architecture, and engineering gives him unique insight on the latest IT issues, needs, and trends in small to medium sized businesses.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the common causes of data loss.
  2. Learn strategies to backup every type of data from mobile devices to workstations.
  3. Review online backup services.
  4. Discover the latest in backup hardware/software technologies.

Site Planning & Design: AIA East Bay ARE Bootcamp

Prepare for the ARE with AIA East Bay.

From February 8 to March 28, AIA East Bay will hold a weekly ARE Bootcamp, providing a structured, rigorous study group for the Site Planning and Design section of the ARE, with the goal of every person passing.

Section Mentors:
Jason Pignolet, AIA
Ashley Rybarczyk, AIA

Cost: $50 for AIA Members and Employees of Chapter Member Firms; $75 for guests. Cost includes a set of Site Planning and Design ArchCards flashcards and access to study materials and knowledge experts. Participants must email proof of test registration to AIA East Bay by the first day of ARE Bootcamp:

AIA East Bay’s ARE Bootcamp runs Monday, February 8 – Monday, March 28 from 6-9pm (please note the second meeting will be on Tuesday, February 16 due to the President’s Day holiday).

Click here to register!

Participants must schedule to take the Site Planning & Design section of the ARE between Tuesday, March 29 and Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Registration is limited to 12 participants.

Design For Aging: Regional Committee Meeting

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Location: AIA, San Francisco, 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600
Free and open to all. Bring your own lunch.


Please join us for our next meeting where Leslie Moldow, FAIA, of Perkins Eastman will lead us in a discussion and interactive session of designing for senior affinity groups. One definition of an affinity group is as follows: “Niche or Affinity communities are places where people who share similar interests, education and professional backgrounds or lifestyles decide to live in the same place.”

This committee will explore what already exists out in the world, including in the Bay Area and then talk philosophically beyond that.

Charles Renfro, AIA Lectures in Berkeley, 1/27

Charles Renfro: Hyperception
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Location: First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way at Dana, Berkeley
Admission free

Lecture by Charles Renfro, AIA partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the New York–based interdisciplinary design studio that designed the new BAMPFA. Renfro will present the design of BAMPFA in the context of several other DS + R projects that challenge our standards of perception in often surreal ways, including Blur Building, The High Line in New York, Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro, and Moscow’s Zaryadye Park. Renfro will also consider resonances between the BAMPFA design and works on view in BAM’s inaugural exhibition, Architecture of Life.

This is the first presentation in the UC Berkeley Big Ideas course inspired by the BAMPFA exhibition Architecture of Life.

16500 Presents: Pleasanton Program

a Pleasanton Program

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Location: Dahlin Group, 5865 Owens Dr., Pleasanton
1.5 CES LUs

Join Shannon Burry from 16500 for a presentation on their work and how to build lighting systems that are functional, beautiful and energy efficient.

About the Presenter:

Shannon Burry, LEED, AP is originally from Colorado and received a degree in Architectural Engineering from UC Boulder, where she developed a passion for lighting design and architecture–a relatively new field at the time. Shannon’s experience in design and construction has helped her understand what it takes to bring a project from concept and design to final installation. Shannon was a lighting designer at Horton Lees Brogden, where she worked on historic renovations of SF City Hall and the Ferry Building. She was also a lighting designer at Architecture + Light and worked on several data centers for Sun Microsystems and large tech industry TI projects. As a lighting designer at WSP Group (Flack + Kurtz), Shannon worked on corporate TI projects and large-scale projects in China.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, attendees will…

  1. Be able to identify two samples of Title 24 Compliant residential decorative lighting fixtures.
  2. Be able to state two ways commercial lighting has changed in the past five years.
  3. Have an understanding of tunable white and color tunable technology.
  4. Be able to identify three examples of high CRI LED lighting.