Category Archives: Articles

Articles published in the media.

Leon Wasser Interviewed by Now Magazine About Indoor Gardening

Leon Wasser was interviewed by Now magazine for an article about indoor gardening which part says:

“While HiGarden’s ambitions include working with schools, long-term-care facilities and northern Canadian food deserts, the company is also conscious of growing consumer demand.

“Younger people in condos don’t have easy access to green space,” says Wasser. “This is something that could be transformative – bringing a [garden] oasis into your home can be really beneficial, health-wise.”

So far, most home-sized systems are best suited for microgreens, leafy greens, small vegetables, peas, beans and herbs.”

The full article appears here:

https://nowtoronto.com/lifestyle/made-in-toronto-devices-make-indoor-gardening-simple/

Glass Canada Magazine – Dec 2013 – Go Nano – Leon Wasser & Peter Tung

Nano-scale spray coatings compete well with film & low-e glass

Glass Canada Magazine – Dec 2013 – “Go Nano”

Written by Peter Tung, eTime Energy, and Leon Wasser, Wasser Resources

Reflective glass is made by applying a reflective metal-based (usually silver) film or coating onto the glass. Unlike tinted glass, this film or coating works by reflecting the solar radiation away from the glass. The more reflective the film or coating, the more of the visible spectrum of solar radiation is reflected away, creating a mirror-like look to the glass and reducing visibility. The more reflective the coating, the more difficult it is to see through the glass.

portland property
When it comes to retrofitting older buildings to meet modern energy standards, a solution that avoids removal and replacement of the windows is always preferred. New nano coatings can provide that solution in some situations, saving building owners money and time without losing use of the building.


Technological developments over the last decade have addressed these shortcomings and improved performance. Low emission, or low-E, glass has a microscopically thin, virtually invisible coating usually made from metallic oxide that is highly reflective of thermal radiation. However, unlike earlier tinted and reflective glass, low-E glass is more transparent to visible solar radiation. When applied to an interior surface of a single pane window or to the interior-facing surface of the exterior light of an IGU, it allows sunlight to penetrate into the building interior but traps the thermal radiation on the other side of the glass by reflecting it back to sun.

In recent years, different types of coatings have been developed to allow even more of the visible solar radiation to penetrate the glass. These coatings are referred to as spectrally selective coatings because they allow penetration of some segments of the solar spectrum (visible light) while reflecting other segments (infrared and UV) of the solar spectrum. Low-E/high solar gain (visible and infrared radiation) coatings are best for colder, heat-dominated climates, while low-E/low solar gain (visible radiation only) coatings are best in hotter, cooling-dominated climates.

Spray-on nano-scale coatings, such as eTime Energy’s HPS Heatshield Transparent, are new products that possess some unique attributes that can potentially give it a near-term competitive advantage for certain product applications. Specifically, HPS Heatshield’s simple field application process makes the product uniquely well suited for retrofitting older single pane and non-low-E coated IGUs, skylights and doors.

Its nearest main competitors in this market segment are magnetic sputter vacuum deposition or sputter coating (soft coating) applied metallic-oxide coatings on polymer film because of their ability to be installed in the field on existing glazing. Like their glass coating counterparts, insulating films have gone through technological improvements from three standpoints:  energy performance, optical clarity and durability. However, these products continue to face issues with durability including shrinkage, scratching, bubble, pealing, ease of removal, optical clarity and thermal performance.

Review of the range of products currently on the market suggests that while manufacturers are increasingly focused on driving energy efficiency, product features and performance characteristics continue to be tailored principally for southern, cooling-dominated markets. For example, only a few products currently on the market have U-values and SHGCs that classify them as low-E/high solar gain products. Still fewer can be classified as spectrally selective low-E/high solar gain. In contrast, the stated performance characteristics for HPS Heatshield are suited for both northern, heating-dominated and southern, cooling-dominated climates.

Other than window film, the only alternative to field-applied nano coating is to replace existing glazing systems with new IGUs coated with low-E coating. This is costly. These products have much stronger thermal and solar protection performance data than window film, because much of the performance is derived from the assembly rather than the insulating coatings alone. If the additional efficiencies provided by the IGU assembly are disregarded, the performance characteristics of both pyrolitic and sputter glass low-E coatings appear to be comparable to the stated performance characteristics of nano-scale sprays. Low-E coating has to be applied in factory, inside two sealed glass compartments that are filled with gas. If the IGU leaks in later days, which will happen regardless of how good the sealer is, low-E coating will oxidize and make the coating useless. Nano coating can avoid this problem. The return of investment versus a low-E window is normally five to seven times that of a nano coating application.

Nano coating does not require expensive equipment to coat the glass. Low-E window coating production lines cost millions of dollars. Its major ingredients, nano-scale particles of titanium nitride, have a special property which will selectively absorb, block and reflect near-infrared radiation to achieve the energy conservation purpose. Because it is using such tiny particles, the coating will bond to the glass permanently. It blocks over 90 per cent of UV light as well, preventing damage to humans and furniture.

Both low-E coating and nano coatings can effectively cut down the total solar energy transmittance, especially in near-infrared 1,000- to 2,500-nanometer range. But nano coatings are much greener, environmentally friendly products. They have low VOC, lead and mercury content. Nano coating cuts down on landfill use compared to removing and replacing existing IGUs with low-E.

Even though both technologies have the ability to block the heat, they work on different principles. Low-E works by coating the inside glass surfaces to reflect the sun light to block heat. Nano coatings work by absorbing sunlight then dispersing the heat through secondary radiation. If nano glass coating is applied in a region with dramatic differences between indoor and outdoor temperatures, such as Canada, it can conserve heat in the winter.

Like-to-like comparisons among these three are still tricky, however, for two reasons. First, most performance data provided for hard and soft glass coatings are usually given as part of an IGU assembly, not for the coatings alone or for single-glazed windows.

Second, window film manufacturers do not always report performance using the same metrics. Because of their target market, window-film makers have traditionally reported performance data which focus on solar protection, not on energy efficiency specifically.

Despite the challenges associated with comparing product performance, available market data do support the assertion that nano coatings offer a significant and immediate market opportunity, especially in the retrofit market for existing glazing systems.

About the authors
Peter Tung, P. Eng., is CEO of eTime Energy. ETime Energy is the developer of the innovative eTime HPS Heatshield nanotechnology window coating.

Leon Wasser, MBA, P.Eng., is president of Wasser Resources. Wasser Resources provides product development, marketing and sales support to Canadian innovation companies to help them achieve the full economic potential of their creations and inventions.

July 2013 – Vancouver, BC – “Optimizing Public Asset Management Through the use of CMMS” Government Buyer magazine article by Leon wasser, MBA, P.Eng.

2013-07-01 Government Buyer Magazine, “Optimizing Public Asset Management- The Argument for Governmental Adoption of Computerized Maintenance Management Solutions (CMMS) Technology to Maximize Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness” Article by Leon Wasser MBA, P.Eng.

May 2013, “Beyond Windows & Doors: Innovative Products to Enhance Building Openings”, Construction Materials Magazine

Beyond Windows & Doors: Innovative Products to Enhance Building Openings
Canadian Design & Construction Report – Fenestration Issue – April 2013
The Canadian design and construction sector have done a great job of implementing optimal wall insulation, window and door systems to meet the increasing stringent demands of architects, engineers, building codes and clients to provide high insulation rating, durable finishes and practical maintenance characteristics. Some building owners and building operators are asking, what more can I do to enhance my building envelope? This article will focus on several additional technologies that can be incorporated into your specifications for either new construction or for facility retrofits.
Security Window Films: Unfortunately buildings are at risk from an increasing number of perils, and it is clear that the most vulnerable area of the building skin is its windows. Security window films can make panes more resistance to environmental damage, explosion, accidents and deliberate actions.
Privacy Window Films: Standard windows are designed to be transparent but often building occupants and management need certain building areas to be given some degree of privacy, without a complete loss of natural light or the need for major modifications.
Solar Window Films: Solar window films are designed to selectively reduce the transmission of welcome natural sunlight while shielding the building by selectively reflecting light which generates heat which then needs to be expelled by the facility’s air conditioning system. The highest inflow of solar input in July and August coincides, and not accidentally, with the electricity system’s highest peak loads.
Air Curtains & Air Doors: Air curtains can conserve energy, increase occupant comfort and reduce the risk of slip and fall due to floors made wet through the infiltration of snow and rain. Air curtains come in three basic models, electrically heated, hot water heated or ambient (unheated). Different floor or wall mounted units are available for pedestrian doors, underground parking garage doors and freight doors.
Anti-Graffiti Film for Exterior Finished Walls: Urban areas in particular are vulnerable to graffiti and deliberate or accidental damage of external finished walls and street furniture. A sacrificial film can be mounted directly on a metallic, polished stone or other smooth finished wall to provide a protective damage resistant covering that can be easily replaced as required, with no harm to the underlying surface.
Insulating Window Covering: Even high R-value glazing has limitations on its ability to eliminate the loss of building heat through windows. The addition of attractive insulated window shades can further reduce building heat loss and simultaneously improve the occupant comfort in the direct vicinity of exterior windows.
In summary, while designing and building facilities with high performance doors and windows, as well as excellent wall and roofing systems is essential, new technologies are entering the building product market that can supplement and enhance the performance of even the best engineered traditional materials, reducing maintenance expenses and saving money.
Leon Wasser, MBA, P.Eng. is a veteran engineer with experience in design engineering, construction and facility management. Wasser Resources Inc. is the distributor of advanced technological products designed to enhance building operations and performance though engineered technology solutions including HanitaTek Security & Solar Films, Heat Saving System Air Curtains and Heat Saver Insulating Window Shades.

“Greening Your Parking Facility” by Leon Wasser, MBA, P.Eng., Published in Parker Magazine, June 2010

The following is an article I wrote for the June 2010 issue of Parker magazine, Published by the Canadian Parking Association. I have a long standing interest in transportation and transit issues. I was also a member of Transport 2000 which advocated for all forms of public and rail transportation. As a long-time member, and later the chair, of the York University Presidential Advisory Committee on Parking (PACOP), I helped draft the Green Parking Strategy for York University which led to a dramatic shift in the modal split between car commuting and transit. This resulted in the re-naming of the committee the Presidential Advisory Committee on Parking and Transportation. In recent years I have written on transportation and transit issues in the GTA, and some of my recommendations have been adopted.

Canadian facility managers are increasingly turning their focus to issues relating to sustainability. Formal programs such as BOMA’s Go Green Plus, the Canadian Green Building Council’s LEED®AP programs and sector specific green certification initiatives are all testaments to a growing focus across the property management sector to green strategies in all types of facilities. While each building sector has its own focus, most incorporate the common goals of reducing a building’s carbon footprint by better management of solid wastes, reduced water consumption, reduced use of volatile cleaning solvents and other innovative eco-friendly measures. For many building owners and managers, however, the single most important environmental preoccupation today is reducing energy consumption and containing upwardly spiraling energy costs.Greening Parking Facilities

Parking operators have some unique challenges in greening their operations due to the constraints imposed by the limited dimensions of their operations. While parking professionals can consider incorporating bike parking facilities or integrating car-share programs into their locations, managers with a mandate or interest in greening their operations appear at first glance to have few viable options, as will be shown below, this in fact is not the case.

Energy Conservation Opportunities for Parking Operators

For most parking facility operators, energy costs are among the largest variable expenses in their operating budgets. In addition, in recent years, energy costs have begun to grow quickly, but these cost increases pale in comparison with the energy price escalation expected in the very near future. In addition, the rapid deployment by utilities of “smart meters”, “time of day pricing strategies” and a growing number of energy system surcharges will further escalate energy costs for most businesses. In addition, tenanted parking operations can expect to face additional downloaded energy costs from their landlords as building owners increasingly implement “smart sub-meters” and other pricing mechanisms to mitigate their own escalating energy costs. For all these reasons, managing energy costs should become an increased focus for all bottom-line oriented parking facility managers. Thankfully, however, parking operators now have a growing arsenal of energy options to deploy to better control their costs and protect their profit margins. It is recognized that each type of parking facility has its own characteristic energy consumption profile depending on a number of key design and operating factors. These energy consumption profiles help determine what energy solution is best suited to the facility.

Surface Parking Lots

For surface parking lots, night-time flood lighting is the dominant energy factor. Flood lights are very energy intensive, but operate only during night time hours. Fortunately, power costs are now generally at their lowest at night time so these operators are partly protected from rising energy costs. Operators should understand that different lighting systems have different design power requirements so there may be an opportunity in these locations to implement a control system at a minimal cost to reduce voltage supplied to the flood lights to a design threshold which reduces power costs without significant effect on illumination.

Underground Garages

Underground parking facilities require lighting during all operating hours, which often is 24 hours, 365 days a year. Depending on operational demands and code requirements, they may not require full lighting all of those hours, so the implementation of a lighting control system can significantly reduce power consumption in underground facilities.

Parking Structures

Determining the lighting requirement for a multi-level parking structure is a more complex matter, which requires special attention and study. To a large extent, the power and lighting demands for multi-tier parking structures is determined by the amount of ambient light available within the facility during daylight hours. In fact, the opportunity to “harvest daylight” is a major preoccupation in the design of all new Green Buildings. Because lighting demand can change rapidly over the course of the day and season, the ability to incrementally control a parking structure’s lighting system can yield significant savings to a parking structure operator.

Lighting Retrofit Projects

One of the surest ways to reduce lighting system’s power consumption is to retrofit the lighting system with more energy efficient options where practical. In interior facilities, many parking operators have already converted from HID lighting to florescent systems such as T8. One of the key challenges with any lighting retrofit is that can be both costly and labour intensive since most require conversion of lighting fixtures, and some require rewiring of the lighting system either to incorporate a new deployment pattern for the fixtures, and sometimes difference voltage or wattage requirements. In any case, a lighting review is required whenever a wholesale retrofit is contemplated.

Lighting Control Systems

Another approach to lighting system energy conservation is the through the continued employment of the existing lighting system infrastructure enhanced by the implementation of an effective lighting control or management system. LDC Energy (www.LDCEnergy.com) is a Woodbridge, ON based developer and manufacturer of lighting control systems with a control system designed for parking facilities due to its relatively low cost and robust design. The company has lighting systems installed in all three types of parking facilities including Toronto Eaton Centre’s Yonge Street Parkade (parking structure), Manulife Centre (underground garage) and a variety of surface lots.

Customized LDC Energy Lighting Control solution reflects the following lighting system design characteristics:

» Lighting technology (e.g. metal halide, mercury vapour, florescent etc.)
» Total number of fixtures
» Individual bulb wattage & total wattage
» System voltage
» Lighting system operating hours
» Load balance between phases
The system’s savings opportunity comes from reducing the voltage fed to lighting fixtures down to their threshold design requirements, since excess voltage often does not contribute additional lumens to a lighting system and is therefore wasted power. In addition, a programmed lighting control system allows operators to automatically reduce lighting levels when not required by regulation or for operations. In general, more control over the lighting system provides operators far more savings. One attractive feature of a lighting control system is that because it is designed as a retrofit kit the lighting system control panel can be relatively easily added to any existing lighting system adjacent to the parking facility’s lighting panel, so installation work is limited and shutdown time is minimal.

Painting Parking Garages

One further measure that can be used in conjunction with lighting system upgrades is to paint garage facility walls and ceilings with reflective paint. Painting a facility with a highly reflective, usually white, paint helps maximize a facility’s illumination from the lighting system. Toronto’s Induspray (www.induspray.com) is one of Canada’s foremost painting contractors in this application.

Electrically Heated Ramps

One major energy demand that is more common in Canada than perhaps in other jurisdiction is the use of electrically heated ramp systems. It should be acknowledged that using electricity for heating is fairly costly and inefficient, which is why electrical heating systems in new commercial buildings have become less and less common. Heated embedded electrical ramp heating systems do however make great sense in our unpredictable winter climate, and the combination of safety improvement, convenience and reduction of salt consumption make embedded ramp heating systems an attractive option for environmentally exposed parking ramps. Perhaps the best to manage the power consumed by these systems is through an innovative and unique new ramp heater control system designed and patented by LDC Energy Inc. (www.LDCEnergy.com). The control panel for the ramp heating system is easily mounted and programmable to meet the specific requirements of the parking facility using a variety of set points, timers and algorithms. This offers the facility manager far more control over the power used by the ramp heaters.

Green Energy

One additional energy opportunity has emerged in recent years as the Canadian energy sector has increasingly deregulated. In some jurisdictions, facility operators are now permitted and indeed encouraged to produce “green renewable energy” through the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, windmills and solar thermal panels. Ontario’s new “Feed in Tariff” program offered through the Ontario Power Authority (www.powerauthority.on.ca), for instance, offers facility managers long term guaranteed contracts for supplying green renewable electricity produced at the facility. The In addition, parking managers can also incorporate solar thermal panels to generate hot water either for domestic use in washrooms or kitchens, or for thermal heating systems. This new opportunity is highly complex, both from a technological perspective and due to complex regulatory requirements, so the help of a consultant is essential to ensure a successful green energy project.

Energy Studies & Plans

The best place for a parking manager to initiate an energy strategy is by engaging a consultant to review a parking facility’s operations and design features to identify opportunities for energy conservation and, in some cases, where the facility can incorporate green energy potential. SRS Consulting Engineers Inc. (www.SRSCanada.com) is a Markham, Ontario, based firm that specializes in all aspects of energy engineering, including energy audits, energy modeling, incentive identification and application, energy project coordination and measurement & verification studies. In many jurisdictions there are specific incentives for studies and other project elements.

Conclusion

Energy should become a greater focus of attention for parking facility managers as power costs continue to escalate, and as the deployment of intelligent meters by both utilities and landlords increase. Some of the best energy conservation options include lighting retrofit projects, the installation of a lighting control system and installation of a ramp heater control system where appropriate. Parking operators that have multi-level parking structures extending to roof levels can also exploit the opportunities for generating green energy. Incentive funding is available to defray the cost of energy studies, energy conservation projects or green renewable energy projects in different parts of Canada. Investing time and effort in reviewing energy options for parking facilities makes more sense than ever, and is the environmentally correct thing to do today.

Leon Wasser MBA, P.Eng. is the President of Wasser Resources Inc., a consultancy in the fields of corporate sustainability, green buildings, energy conservation and green energy.