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Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:50 am
Significant strides have been made within the higher education sector to increase overall sustainability and reduce universities’ carbon footprints. A recent Greener Ideal article describes five key trends that are helping green higher education: the growth of online education, the iPad, the popularity of recycling, organized carpools, and most importantly, green buildings.
The first shift in higher education pertains to the growth of online education. As the article points out, online degree programs can benefit the environment, as most online students study primarily from the comfort of their home, cutting out carbon emissions from commuting back and forth to and from class. They also can lessen the pressure on the need for purpose-built classroom and lab facilities.
Meanwhile, the iPad is revolutionizing the world of textbooks, in that it sharply cuts the need for them. The new iBook 2 even allows you to download textbooks directly onto your iPad, eliminating the need for...
Friday, April 13, 2012 at 10:16 am
Good news for contractors and painters involved with the EPA’s RRP Rule – LeadCheck Swabs have been fully approved by the EPA to be used on drywall and plaster surfaces to test for lead paint. Previously it was believed that the sulfates present in plaster dust was an element that would trip up the accuracy of the test. The full report is posted on EPA's website: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/testkit.htm
EPA recognizes that when used by a certified renovator, the 3M™ LeadCheck™ test kit can reliably determine that regulated lead-based paint is not present on wood, ferrous metal (alloys that contain iron), or drywall and plaster surfaces.
The Breakdown: LeadCheck Swabs provide the user a convenient and cost-effective method for testing lead in paint for RRP Certified Renovators. Keep in mind, this EPA RRP Rule applies to ALL activity that will disturb lead-based paint, whether you are a carpenter, an electrician, a plumber, a renovator, or the...
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 11:35 am
The importance of building more energy-efficient and eco-friendly homes, offices and public buildings can never be over-emphasized. Fortunately, the awareness created by the “green” movement has made people understand that we need to use our resources more wisely. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a comprehensive framework for identifying and putting into action, practical and measurable steps to make buildings more energy-efficient.
The need for LEED becomes more relevant when it comes to resource-hungry buildings. One of the prime candidates in this category is data centers. We may browse different sites on the Internet and zip through pages without giving much thought to the energy being used by data centers to deliver those pages to our computer screens. But in reality, an enormous amount of energy is used by these buildings to carry out the day-to-day activities. It is not uncommon for data centers to use as much energy as a small ...
Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 5:27 am
Release Date: 04/05/2012 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Contact Information: Stacy Kika, Kika.firstname.lastname@example.org WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three enforcement actions for violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) and other lead rules. The RRP rule requires the use of lead-safe work practices to ensure that common renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition, which can create hazardous lead dust, are conducted properly by trained and certified contractors or individuals. EPA finalized the RRP rule in 2008 and the rule took effect on April 22, 2010. “Exposure to lead can cause serious health problems and affects our most vulnerable population, our children,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By taking action to enforce lead rules we are protecting people’s health and ensuring that...
Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 10:06 am
A new facility at Harvard Law School that combines student center functions with instructional space is poised to receive a Gold certification under the auspices of LEED for New Construction, according to a recent article.
The new facility, comprised of Wasserstein Hall, the Caspersen Student Center, and the Clinical Wing and known as the WCC, occupies roughly 250,000 square feet of space, and was officially opened in January. The complex’s green features range from occupancy and daylight sensors on classroom ceilings, to circular vents on classroom floors that permit displacement ventilation, and integrated carbon dioxide sensors that adjust ventilation for crowded rooms.
Outside, the building features a rainwater capture system that uses runoff water to care for the surrounding landscaping, along with vegetated roofs that provide insulation to the building, and white-painted roofs that deflect sunlight to keep the building cool.
The Law School project joins 64 other projects...
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 10:52 am
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping up enforcement in the new calendar year, prompting renovators, general contractors, home improvement firms, painters, etc to get themselves and their businesses certified under the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.
“There are a lot of cases in the pipeline and many others under review,” stated Don Lott, EPA Associate Director, Waste and Chemicals Enforcement Division, during a presentation on the EPA’s enforcement of the RRP Rule. “We have a consistent approach to how we assess penalties, which gives us an even playing field,” he added.
What “even playing field” is the EPA Associate Director referring to? After all, isn't this one of the biggest concerns facing contractors today – exactly what can the federal government fine you if you are non-compliant with this residential lead-based paint regulation? Well wonder no more. The EPA’s lengthy-titled document...
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 10:10 am
A recent article outlines five broad trends that are helping “green” the higher education field, ranging from the introduction of new technologies, to the expansion of “green” practices such as recycling and carpooling, to the growth of green construction practices.
- The Growth of Online Education: Sky-rocketing participation in online education programs, especially online bachelor’s programs. Due to flexible scheduling and low tuition, many students are opting for these programs, which cut carbon emissions in that fewer students need to commuting back and forth to campus.
- The iPad: Hailed as a transformative educational tool that cuts the need for printing excessive amounts of paper required for note taking and textbooks, (thereby reducing an institution’s carbon footprint) the iPad holds the potential to dramatically shave higher...
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 9:32 am
Volkswagen’s new production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee has achieved the world’s first LEED-Platinum green building certification for an automotive manufacturing plant, according to a recent article. The $1 billion production facility, which makes the 2012 Passat, earned the 52 of a possible 69 points to earn the Platinum designation, the highest in the LEED rating system.
The facility’s green features include:
- Certification of the paint shop facility, which will save more than 50 million gallons of water per year;
- The salvage or recycling of nearly 78%, or over 4,600 tons, of construction and demolition waste
- The extensive use of recycled materials in the building’s construction;
- The use of low-flow water closets and urinals, which reduces the potable water used for sewage conveyance in the building by nearly 60%. Together with the use of rainwater harvested from the room, more than 1.7 million gallons of potable water are saved each year....
Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 9:55 am
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) opened up a third public comment period for LEED 2012 on March 1, 2012. LEED 2012 is the third version of the green building rating system since its inception in 1998. Members of the public are invited to comment on any changes that were implemented since the previous comment period back in August and September, providing anyone interested an opportunity to influence the direction LEED takes. The comment period will remain open until March 20, 2012, after which the final version of the rating system will be prepared for a balloted vote this summer. USGBC plans to launch LEED 2012 in November. Provide your input at USGBC.org.
March 1-20: Third Public Comment period is open
April 2-May 1: LEED 2012 Ballot Opt-In Period for members in good standing
June 1-30: LEED 2012 Ballot Voting Period
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:20 am
In previous posts we've discussed the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) requirements and how to comply, and today we're taking it one step further to cover how to report your credit hours to GBCI once you have completed them. The first type of activitiy we'll look at is an online, on-demand course that is approved for Professional Development/Continuing Education activity type (ie. it's pre-approved by GBCI or another reviewing body).
To report your completed CMP hours, you must log in to your My Credentials account at www.gbci.org. From your homepage, scroll down to Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) and click "Review/Report CMP Activity".
You will then need to select which category your course falls under, based on the content of the class, or the category suggested by the education provider:
Click "Add/Review" next to the category you wish to report the hours under. It will then take you to a screen to submit further details on...
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 3:53 am
The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) recently unveiled its updated website feature called "LEED Professionals at a Glance". With the tool, you can view LEED Professional statistics by country, state and profession. It also breaks down each criteria between LEED credentials. The United States leads the way with over 86,000 accredited professionals, over 12,000 of which reside in the state of California. GBCI also recently announced that there are now over 25,000 accredited LEED Green Associates across the globe, making it the second-highest LEED credential (LEED AP BD+C was most common with over 60,000 accredited professionals). To check out the breakdown in your country or state, visit...
Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 2:41 am
Miami Dade College is holding a free OSHA training on Worker's Rights, Responsibilities and Hazard Recognition for all industry employers and employees from Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Learn the fundamentals of a safe workplace and how to recognize on-site hazards, all the while enjoying a raffle, giveaways and food and beverage served. This training will be conducted in Spanish, taking place at the Construction Association of South Florida, 2929 NW 62 Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309 on February 4th, 2012. Pre-registration is required, so don't miss out on the opportunity! Call 305-237-1019 or visit https://www.mdc.edu/ce/north/osha/register.asp and get registered today!
Monday, January 23, 2012 at 10:44 am
A currently pending lawsuit against the US Green Building Council (USGBC) charges that LEED over-promises and underperforms in relation to energy savings. The suit, filed by Henry Gifford, along with team of consultants (including an architect and an engineer) alleges that LEED is exaggerating its abilities as a rating system to deliver significant energy savings to clients. Depending on the result of this case, LEED-accredited professionals across the building industry may be impacted, as they may also be held liable for any energy performance shortfalls that their projects experience.
Mr. Gifford’s lawsuit, originally filed as a class action, was amended in February 2011 to include claims of false advertising, deceptive practices, and illegal monopolization. According to a Sustainable Real Estate Solutions blog post about the lawsuit, Gifford’s chief complaint is that LEED misrepresents the energy performance of its building by skewing study results. This contention...
Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm
Released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
Release Date: 01/10/2012Contact Information: David Deegan, 617-918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 10, 2012) – Two companies face significant penalties for violating federal lead paint disclosure laws at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine and the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.
A complaint filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asserts that Northeast Housing, LLC, and Balfour Beatty Military Housing Management, LLC failed on multiple occasions over several years to notify prospective tenants, including families with young children, about potential lead paint hazards in housing managed by the companies on the two Navy bases in New England. Notifying prospective tenants and purchasers of housing units helps parents protect young children from exposure to lead-based paint hazards.
The companies face a possible fine of $153,070 for alleged violations of the...
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 6:52 am
NEW YORK, NY - In early December 2011, a contractor from one of our EPA Lead Renovator Certification classes in New Jersey showed me a letter he received from an Enforcement Officer of the EPA. It was obvious that the letter was causing my student much alarm, and he had every reason to feel this way. The letter was in actuality a Request for Information regarding a renovation he conducted back in July of this year.
Two important points can be taken from this occurrence: First, the EPA has the power to audit a renovation almost six months after the renovation was completed. In fact, they can retroactively audit you for paperwork for up to three years, according to the RRP Rule. Secondly, and the reason why my student was so concerned, the gentleman did not have his RRP certification at the time he completed that renovation in July, breaking the cardinal rule of the construction industry – having all of your certificates/credentials/permits updated and in-line.
It pays in the...
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 11:06 am
A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald reports on the growing evidence that green buildings can improve staff productivity, through enhancements in indoor air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, access to views, and acoustics.
Joel Quintal, the director of sustainability for global real estate concern Jones Lang LaSalle, said assessing the drivers of office productivity was a complex topic—the quality of the physical environment being just one factor affecting workplace productivity.
Other factors impacting workplace productivity included personal motivation and work satisfaction; organizational factors, including the quality of management and pay rates; social factors, including relationships with coworkers and recognition of individual achievements within a business; and the role of technology, such as IT and communication equipment.
Despite these, Quintal said, high rates of natural ventilation and access to natural light were green building features that have a...
Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 11:41 am
A recent article discusses a white paper issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) reviewing a post-occupancy evaluation study of 22 “green” federal buildings from around the country.
Compared to average commercial buildings, the buildings analyzed cost 19 percent less to maintain, on average; use 25 percent less energy and water; emit 36 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions; and have occupants that are 27 percent more satisfied, on average.
The study, conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, built on a good indication of the potential for increased productivity and performance pilot research completed two years ago, with similarly impressive results.
Because of GSA’s commitment to real-world results, the study evaluated actual, not modeled, building performance. Successes and shortcomings were identified, along with areas requiring further research. The 22 buildings selected reflect different US regional climates, a mix of uses...
Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 11:11 am
A recent decision by California air regulators has paved the way for the country’s first economy-wide program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent article.
The state’s Air Resources Board approved 252 pages of rules governing how the state will cut 15 percent of carbon emissions from power generators, oil refineries, and industrial plants by 2020. The plan will now proceed to the state’s Office of Administrative Law.
“This is the most important experiment for the rest of the country to watch,” Ann Carlson, faculty director of the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s less about California and more about what an impressively designed program can prove to the country.”
California regulators spent three years designing rules for the cap-and-trade program, named for how it will cap carbon emissions and allow companies to trade pollution permits to...
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 5:39 am
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently launched an online "App Lab" in an effort to provide new applications to support the LEED certification process.
The lab launched with eight applications, developed by LEED Automation Partners, and is designed for use with Internet browsers, tablets, smartphones and other devices.
The App Lab is a searchable catalog of third-party apps that are integrated with LEED data. Each app is a fully functional software tool that has been enhanced to provide LEED projects teams and administrators integration with LEED Online and address the LEED certification process. These tools are already being used for helping with task management, data interchange, file uploads, credit scorecards, credit strategies, team messaging and other uses, and are now capable of interacting directly with USGBC’s LEED Online system
You can check out available Apps and download for use at...
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 4:44 am
On October 15, 2011, the National Toxicology Program issued a new study on the health-effects of low-level exposure to lead, and their findings were very interesting. The key word to look at here is low level. It is no surprise to anyone that high levels of lead exposure will cause many negative conditions in children as well as adults, but do people truly understand how little of the deadly substance can put their loved ones in harm’s way?
The amount of lead in blood is measured in micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL) of the blood, a very small unit of measurement. A microgram is one millionth of a gram. That is like one penny out of $10,000. Here’s another way to understand it: a standard size paperclip weighs about one gram, or one million times more than a microgram. We are talking about very small amounts (micrograms = microscopic) of a highly ingestible poison with the ability wreak havoc on the majority of a human’s body systems.
Over the past 40...
Monday, December 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm
WASHINGTON, DC - President Obama announced Friday a combined commitment of $4 billion from federal and private investments towards building energy upgrades. The commitments were announced by President Obama and former President Clinton along with representatives from more than 60 organizations as part of the Better Buildings Challenge.
From the White House Press Release:
“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now. But we can’t wait for Congress to act. So today, I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next 2 years – at no up-front cost to the taxpayer. Coupled with today’s extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step...
Monday, December 5, 2011 at 11:51 am
Credential Maintenance is the continuing education required by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) in order for individuals to keep their LEED credentials current. Once an individual passes the LEED exam and earns either the LEED Green Associate or LEED AP with specialty credential, a two-year renewal period begins. During this time, the candidate must complete a required number of continuing education hours and pay a renewal fee in order to keep their credential.
GBCI states that these requirements help LEED professionals to maintain their green building knowledge, and to keep up to date with current best practices of the industry. The LEED CMP program is meant to ensure quality control amongst the growing body of LEED Green Associates and LEED APs. By ensuring a system to engage current LEED professionals in the most recent trends in green building and sustainable design, GBCI hopes that the various LEED credentials will continue to...
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm
The new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus has earned a Platinum rating under the auspieces of LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), making it the world’s largest non-profit LEED-NC Platinum building, according to a recent EarthTechling article.
The 639,860 square-foot campus is located in downtown Seattle, across from the Space Needle. Taking advantage of the wet climate of Seattle in the form of water conservation is a huge part of the building’s design. A one-million-gallon rainwater storage tank is located underneath the campus. Water runoff is collected in the rainwater storage tank, cleaned of pollutants and filtered back into the campus for reflecting pools, irrigation and toilets. The campus’ potable water use is reduced by nearly 80 percent.
Additional green features of the campus include a roof-mounted solar energy system which provides energy for more than a third of the hot water use. Below the surface is a 750-thousand gallon water storage system...
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm
Minnesota’s Hennepin County, the jurisdiction containing Minneapolis and many of its suburbs, recently secured $7 million in federal lead-abatement grants to repair homes where lead-based paint is present.
Though lead paint is assumed to be present in thousands of homes in Minneapolis and elsewhere across the country, the federal funds will pay to make an estimated 365 homes lead-safe, and another 675 homes will have safety repairs made to them, according to a recent article about the grant.
"It's not just an inner-city problem," said Melisa Illies, spokeswoman for the county project. "The inner-ring suburbs especially will also have these problems."
Elevated lead levels can pose serious health issues for anyone, but small children are especially at risk. It gets into their systems when they inadvertently ingest paint chips, or play with toys in which lead paint is used. At elevated levels, it can cause serious physical and mental damage and even death,...
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm
Quoted From EPA update issued Mon, Nov 7, 2011:
EPA has improved and updated its search tool for EPA-certified RRP firms, allowing the public to search by firm name, as well as by location. You can find the search tool at http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm. EPA-certified firms should encourage their potential customers to use this search tool to check the certification status of firms they are considering hiring.
In addition, EPA has updated its database of Frequent Question (FQ) about the RRP Rule to reflect recent regulatory changes that took effect on October 5, 2011. The searchable database is located at http://toxics.supportportal.com/link/portal/23002/23019/ArticleFolder/615/. In addition to the database, you can also find a searchable pdf version of the FQs at http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/rrp-faq.pdf.
Finally, EPA has issued a fact sheet describing how provisions of the RRP rule apply to repairs and renovations done in response to natural disasters such as...
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am
A recent U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) post-occupancy evaluation study of 22 "green" federal buildings found that they:
cost less to maintain, by 19%
use less energy and water by 25%
emit fewer carbon dioxide emissions, by 36%
have more satisfied occupants, by 27%
The study was conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Find out more by reading the white...
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Congratulations on becoming a LEED AP! You studied hard, nailed the exam...but now what???
For starters, you will now need to complete 30 hours of continuing education courses, of which 6 must be LEED-specific in their content. This means that the majority of the course deals with topics covered in the LEED Rating Systems, and also that it has been approved by the USGBC's ERB (Education Reviewing Body). This is a very stringent review (to say the least) and there are not too many courses out there right now that have achieved this approval.
Green Education Services is one of the longest standing USGBC Education Providers and that has given us plenty of time to create some really fantastic courses. Since we started authoring courses on behalf of USGBC, we've already gotten 19 credit hours worth of LEED-specific courses reviewed and approved by the ERB! These courses are hard to come by, so here is a simple listing of them with direct links to the course description and...
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 10:13 am
Texas set a new record for wind power output earlier this month, due to the growth of wind farms along its Gulf of Mexico coastline, according to a recent Reuters article. As a result, wind power is becoming a more significant source of energy for the state, the article notes.
The amount of electricity produced from wind on the afternoon of October 7 set a record at 7,400 megawatts, more than 78 percent of the 9,400 MW of installed wind capacity in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). That’s well above the 30 to 40 percent of nameplate electric capacity that wind farms typically produce.
Texas is already a national leader in carbon-free electric capacity from wind turbines, but most of the state’s farms have been located in West Texas, and are most effective during the evening and during the spring and fall months when power demand is low.
In contrast, recent wind farm additions in the state, now totaling more than 1,200 megawatts, have been built closer to...
Monday, October 17, 2011 at 10:08 am
The new Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville, Virginia recently received a LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council, according to a recent Earth Techling article. The facility, located on the grounds of a local middle school, was named one of the top 10 New Facilities by Athletic Business magazine for 2011.
During construction of the facility, 99 percent of all wastes were diverted from landfills, and high-efficiency glazed windows were used throughout to bring daylight to 98 percent of all occupied spaces. A rooftop solar thermal system provides hot water for all those hot showers swimmers enjoy after a dip in the pool and automatic faucets and low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption to by up to 64 percent.
The center’s two pools use a combined ultraviolet and CO2 pool water treatment system to reduce the chemicals used for pool maintenance. 31% of all building materials were regionally sourced, selected for their material content, and...
Monday, October 17, 2011 at 9:20 am
A new research facility at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York is dedicated to research on renewable energy sources, including hydrogen energy, fuel cells, and energy conservation. A recent Inhabitat article profiles the Advanced Energy Center, which works to advance clean energy through research while exemplifying the technology it promotes.
Designed by Flad Architects, the building is covered in photovoltaic louvers on the south side, and also has solar thermal systems on the roof, thus generating a portion of its own energy. In fact, the building is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification as a result of its extensive energy-efficiency design features.
Other green features include a system that makes ice overnight in tanks, which is then released back into the building during the day for cooling, and radiant floor heating for the cooler months. Daylighting, solar tubes, skylights, and energy recovery units work to minimize energy use.
A butterfuly roof...