Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Renovations at Michael Shilale Architects, LLP

We're making numerous renovations to our offices here at Michael Shilale Architects, LLP, all on the road to being an energy efficient, LEED certified building. One of the many renovations we are most excited about is the renovations that we have made on our roof!

MSA decided that we wanted to take advantage of the amazing energy benefits offered by solar panels - but first our roof had to be renovated. We increased the R Value, or the insulating value, by adding tapered insulation. Now, significantly less heat is lost through the roof, more heat stays inside which = reduced energy! Plus, the insulation is tapered to cause water to run off of the roof and into the drains, which can be collected to water our landscaping.

We also put up a 4-ply built-up roofing system with coal tar product and white gravel. Why the coal tar? It has a low melting point, so in hot weather, it actually flows and re-seals itself. And why the white gravel? It reduces heat absorption on the roof, the kind that black gravel or darker roofing causes. Roofs with this type of insulation and built-up roofing system can last up to 40 years.

After this work was done, we were ready for our solar panels, of which 4 1/2 kilowatts were installed. Quick recap on solar panels: they are made up of photovoltaic cells, which take sunlight and turn it into pure, clean energy and electricity. So now, not only does MSA have a more efficient roof, we also now have a major source of completely clean and environmentally-friendly energy! 30% of our electric load will now be supplied by our solar panels, which have a seven year payback. It is important to note that 50% of the cost of these panels comes from a New York State Incentive, a loan from NYSERDA. You might be eligible for that very loan, and solar panels of your very own! And we can help, so if you’re wondering how this can work for you, just ask!

By Courtney Iseman

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our New Roof and Solar Panels

Michael Shilale, AIA, LEED and John Cirilli, AIA, LEED with our roofer: Chris Stevens of Frank Stevens Roofing.

Our roofing work begins!

Surveying the work to be done...

Laying the white gravel...

Our new white gravel roof!

And now to install the solar panels!

Our building officially has a solar energy source!

By Courtney Iseman

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Welcome to Michael Shilale Architects, LLP's "going green" blog! We decided to start this blog to document our efforts to be LEED certified, as we feel this information could help a lot of you out there who are considering energy efficient renovations.

But let's back up a few steps. What do we mean when we say we're striving for LEED certification?

At MSA, we "walk the walk." We are currently helping several clients, especially school districts, make energy efficient upgrades that are not only good for the environment, they're good for the energy bill, as well. We help our clients see what improvements can be made, and how those measures will help. (More about that, later, though.)

So, we thought, if we're helping our clients "go green," we should do the same for our own building! To benchmark our efforts, we have set forth using LEED, the United States Green Building Council's rating system. LEED is basically a set of credits you can reach by modifying your building and some of your systems, for example how you dispose of your trash: do you separate by paper, cans and bottles, and waste? These LEED credits are grouped into categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Design. You can reach different levels of certification based on how many credits you can complete, Platinum being the highest level.

LEED certification is an ongoing process that not only includes physical changes to the building, but to how we operate in that building. That's why MSA will be keeping you posted on our hard work, so you can learn about LEED and the steps you can take to strive toward certification.

By Courtney Iseman