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Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:01 am
A recent article highlights the roll-out of a new program in New York City, whose primary purpose is to create green jobs, but will also provide clean tech entrepreneurs a chance to test-drive their new products in city buildings, all while also improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
The program, part of the Municipal Entrepreneurial Testing System (M.E.T.S) that launched in January, aims to increase green jobs in New York City by connecting green technologies with landlords that are willing to test the products in their buildings. Clean tech start-up firms will be able to provide their products for trial runs with the landlords.
The program will cut the cost for start-ups to test products, which is a crucial step in gaining investor buy-in and launching products in the workplace, the article notes. The first proposals from program participants are expected next month.
In January, the Bloomberg administration launched the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center to support job...
Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 9:20 am
More than 500 building projects have been certified through the LEED Volume Program since the pilot program launched in 2006, according to a recent article. A way to streamline the certification process for high-volume property owners and managers, the LEED Volume Program serves commercial real estate firms, national retailers and hospitality providers, to local, state, and federal governments.
Utilizing a prototype-based approach, the program enables large-scale organizational builders and operators to deliver a consistent end product, earning LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than would be possible with individual building reviews. The certification program was specially designed for addressing the status of buildings and spaces across a company’s portfolio.
Companies with a large collection of new builds or existing buildings are using the LEED Volume Program to transform their portfolios at a faster rate through a cost-effective, efficient process,” said...
Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 8:49 am
The Takoma Park Auditorium, in the Washington DC suburb of Takoma Park, recently earned a LEED Silver certification following a renovation project, according to a recent article. The renovation, completed last May, features a biodegradable, organic fabric wall; ceilings and walls made of 99 percent recycled material; high-efficiency light-emitting diode and compact fluorescent bulbs; and seating made of recycled materials.
"We wanted to make sure that we did the right thing," said Suzanne Ludlow, deputy city manager of Takoma Park, about pursuing a LEED certification. While the city of Takoma Park was merely aiming for LEED certification, the Silver level of certification came as a surprise, the article adds.
Almost all of the material used in the renovation curtail the building’s impact on the environment. The city council desks are made from bamboo, and the wallpaper is made out of a recyclable mixture of grass and paper. The building’s acoustical panels are...
Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 10:31 am
Two renovations at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have received LEED-Gold certification under the auspices of the LEED for Existing Buildings—Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) and LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) programs, according to a recent university press release.
The projects—the School of Arts & Sciences Music Building, and Joe’s Café, a new eatery in a building belonging to the Wharton School of Business, join the university’s first LEED-certified project, the Horticulture Center at the Morris Arboretum (featured on this blog earlier), which received a LEED-Platinum rating.
The renovated and expanded Music Building, originally designed to meet LEED Silver requirements, became the university’s first LEED-Gold building, exceeding Silver targets with efficient lighting and controls, mechanical and plumbing systems, passive storm water management techniques, reduced site water use with planting material...
Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 10:14 am
A recent NYTimes.com blog post highlights a new feature available in homes being built in a suburb outside of Los Angeles: solar arrays.
The developer building the homes, KB Home, has included solar arrays as an option in its home designs for some time. Now, the developer offers the solar arrays as standard equipment in more than 800 homes in 10 communities being constructed in Southern California.
“This is a game changer for our industry and a powerful way for us to compete in the marketplace, especially with resale homes,” Craig LeMessurier, KB Home’s director of corporate communications, said in the blog post. The solar arrays, typically found in more expensive homes, are being featured in homes whose prices range between $250,000 and $360,000.
The 1.4-kilowatt solar array will supply roughly 30 percent of the electricity for an 1,800 to 2,000 square foot home. New homeowners will qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit, as well as state incentives. The...
Monday, March 28, 2011 at 11:33 am
A two-year audit of the school facilities of Hamilton, Ontario has identified various energy efficiency measures that could together reduce their energy costs by nearly $2.4 million annually, according to a recent article. The audit was conducted by engineering faculty and students at McMaster University.
The measures range from minor changes such as recaulking windows and adding insulation, to new investments in advanced heat recovery systems and boilers, and solar and wind generating systems.
“We found that the school boards are already involved in implementing many of the more achievable energy conservation measures at their schools,” said Samir Chidiac, professor of civil engineering at McMaster and one of the lead organizers of the audit, in the article. “But they need support and decision tools to install technologies that will generate the greatest savings over the long term.”
The energy audit was conducted by seven students in McMaster’s civil...
Monday, March 28, 2011 at 11:05 am
Edificio Coca-Cola, the corporate headquarters building of the Mexico division of global soft drink Coca-Cola, recently received LEED-EB certification, according to a recent news release from Hines, the international real estate management and development firm. The building is the first in Mexico to receive the LEED-EB certification.
Edificio Coca-Cola is a 151,936 square foot Class A office property located in the Polanco district of Mexico City. The property was originally constructed by Hines in 1997 as part of a larger project called Del Bosque, which also includes two 30-story condominium towers. Designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates, the facility has been managed by Hines since its completion, according to the release.
Sustainable features range from energy savings measures, to the use of environmentally friendly chemicals, and the reduction of water consumption in the facility. For example, incorporation of low-mercury lighting, the re-scheduling of power loads,...
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 3:25 am
A recent article describes the growth in solar power at public school facilities across New Jersey. Despite looming cuts in state aid, the solar photovoltaic systems being installed at the schools represents an opportunity to not only cut costs, but also generate revenue through the sale of solar renewable energy credits, according to the article.
For example, in 2010 the Hazlet school district became the first in the state’s Monmouth County to pursue using a power-purchase agreement (PPA) to help realize its 1.6 million kilowatt solar-energy initative. (A PPA is an agreement in which an outside company, and not the school district, bears the expense of a system’s construction and installation, saving taxpayers from having to foot the bill.)
In Hazlet’s case two companies will finance, install, and maintain the solar photovoltaic system at their expense. In turn the school district commits to purchasing all the electricity that the system produces at a rate...
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 2:26 am
A recent article outlines why it’s worth going the extra mile to green your travel arrangements.
Reason 1# concerns the food and lodging that you’ll encounter on your trip.. Eating organic food, grown in healthy soil (no chemical pesticides or industrial fertilizers) is healthier. The article quotes bestselling author Michael Pollan: "We now have a body of research supporting the hypothesis, first advancedby organic pioneers Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale, that soils rich in organic matter produce more nutritious food: that is, food with higher levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals." Organic foods, which can contain up to 40% more nutrients and antioxidants than non-organic foods, can help ward off cancer and heart disease, according to the article.
Just as eating green is important, so is sleeping green: staying in lodging where non-toxic and natural cleaning products, linens, furnishings, and building materials are used can enhance the...
Monday, March 21, 2011 at 11:23 am
Green Education Services, in partnership with AIA|DC, will present a two-day LEED AP Homes Exam Prep Seminar on April 12th and 13th, 2011. The 16-hour course will prepare individuals to sit for the LEED AP Homes specialty exam, and is approved for 16 AIA HSW/SD continuing education units.
LEED AP Homes is a professional credential that signifies an expert understanding of the LEED for Homes rating system. Green Education Services developed the LEED AP Homes training course to facilitate the growing demand for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) certified homes. Created by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC®), LEED for Homes is a voluntary green building rating system that was developed to promote the design and construction of high-performance green homes, including townhouses, condominiums, mass-production homes, and other residences under 3 stories.
The seminar will cover all areas of the designing and building a green home, including the innovative...
Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 6:59 am
The new retail shop at the Calgary Zoo, due to open this fall, will achieve LEED Gold certification, according to a recent article.
Designed by Calgary design practice Parchoma & Jones, the new facility, located near the zoo’s north entrance, will include a retail outlet, a concession area, bathrooms, and a pickup for wheelchairs and strollers adjacent to the future site of the zoo’s new Antarctic House.
In addition to meeting LEED Gold standards through the use of natural products, and non-toxic paints and adhesives, the retail shop’s interior design will reference the natural environment in more visible ways, including a “smiling crocodile, frogs, and lily pads” that will wind above in-slab floor heating. Elsewhere in the store, design features will include insects, monkeys, and birds. Behind the retail sales desk, a tropical saltwater fish tank will be installed.
The concession area will be integrated into the store’s design, with...
Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 6:42 am
A new building in Prague, Czech Republic, owned by construction giant Skanska will be aiming for LEED Platinum certification, according to a recent EarthTechling article.
Designed by Richard Meier’s world-famous architectural practice, the third building to be constructed in the Prague 4-Pankrac masterplan, called City Green Court, will consist of eight stories of commercial office space. The building, which has already achieved LEED Platinum pre-certification, will feature natural ventilation, state-of-the-art mechanical systems, storm water reduction and reuse, indoor air quality control, green roof areas, and the use of local and recycled construction materials. A central feature of City Green Court is the building’s light-filled, multi-story atrium, with a black olive tree planted in the center of the space, surrounded by ivy-covered “living walls.”
The building’s exterior will stand out for its array of vertical panels, with fins angled according...
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 10:59 am
Canada’s leading telecommunications company, TELUS, is building a $750 million, one-million square foot project in downtown Vancouver. Named TELUS Garden, the project will designed to comply with 2009 LEED Gold standards, making it the first building in Canada to be built to that standard.
“The fact that TELUS is choosing to build a new national headquarters in Vancouver is a great vote of confidence in our local economy," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, in a statement. "Their proposal to build to LEED Platinum is extremely ambitious and sends a signal that in Vancouver, going green is good for business and the environment. I'm very excited that they are investing in Vancouver – we've worked hard to build a competitive climate for business, and when companies like TELUS choose to expand their presence it is great for creating new jobs and economic spin-offs in our city."
The development features a 10,000 square foot green roof with a garden...
Monday, March 14, 2011 at 6:30 am
According to a recent Environmental Leader article, the city of San Francisco has adopted regulations requiring commercial property owners to publish data on the energy performance of their buildings.
The Existing Commercial Building Energy Performance Ordinance, approved by the city’s Board of Supervisors, requires owners of commercial properties that exceed 10,000 square feet in size to measure and rate the performance of their buildings and publish the results. Using a free online tool provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the owners will have to benchmark their energy use, and file annual results with the city. Owners would further be required to conduct energy audits every five years, the article adds.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee backs the regulations: “”San Francisco needs to increase the energy and resource efficiency of existing buildings if we are going to meet our aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets,” Mayor Edwin Lee...
Monday, March 14, 2011 at 6:26 am
According to a recent article, the Habitat for Humanity chapter in St. Louis, Missouri has earned the title of being the largest producer of LEED Platinum single-family detached homes in the United States. The organization has completed a total of 51 homes in the city of St. Louis over the past three years, according to the article.
Below is a video exploring some of the green features of the homes that Habitat St. Louis has constructed.
Habitat St. Louis is completing six new homes in the city’s Jeff VanderLou neighborhood, an area where the organization has already constructed 91 homes over the last few years. The homes will be dedicated on March 16th. Meanwhile, in April, Habitat will build seven additional homes on the same street. With 300 homes already built throughout the St. Louis area, Habitat St. Louis has become one of the region’s leading housing developers, according to the article.
Learn more about Habitat St. Louis on the organization’s...
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm
A recent US Green Building Council blog post, written by Bryan Howard, legislative director for the USGBC, points out the ways that current federal spending cutback legislation in the US House of Representatives—totaling over $61 billion—would negatively impact the green building industry.
According to the post, the proposed bill would:
- Cut $1.6 billion, or nearly 20%, of the Federal Building Bund at the General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA uses the fund, utilizing mostly private-sector employees, to modernize and update public buildings, making them more efficient and reducing the utility expenses paid for by tax dollars.
- Cut $786 million, or over 35%, of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) office of the US Department of Energy (DOE). This office is the home of the Building Technologies Program (BTP), which teams with industry, researchers, and academia to develop technologies, techniques, and tools for making buildings more...
Monday, March 7, 2011 at 11:46 am
Last week the US Green Building Council (USGBC) unveiled the LEED for Homes Scoring Tool, an online service that professionals can use to tally an estimated LEED certification score for their residential projects.
With the tool, users can experiment with various design and product options and immediately identify how those decisions would impact a LEED rating, see how close projects are to various certification levels, and gain a better understanding of the program overall.
“We wanted to put something in the marketplace that would allow builders to explore LEED for Homes at their own pace,” said Nate Kredich, vice president of residential market development for USGBC, in an article about the service. “[The scoring tool] takes the rating system and makes it easy to understand, navigable, and accessible.”
Featuring two usage levels, the Self-Scoring Tool provides a sense of how many points a project might achieve: the Credit-by-Credit option walks through the...
Monday, March 7, 2011 at 9:54 am
Last year, the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety amended its Deleading and Lead-Safe Renovation law to include a series of changes effective July 9, 2010 that cover Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) of structures, such as housing and child-occupied facilities that were previously painted with lead-based paints. You can read the entire website devoted to the changes here; however, these new rules basically adapted from policies regarding lead that the EPA had implemented.
Essentially, the bill requires that any renovation project must be accomplished by a contractor who is certified and licensed to be a lead-safe renovator. Because renovation projects disturb lead-paint and can create poisonous dusts, the state found that regulating renovations in houses that have lead-based paints from before 1978 could help control that dust in order to protect the health of contractors and workers, as well as the residents of the building, including adults and children.
Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm
A recent USGBC press release announces the top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, based on 2010 US Census information. The District of Columbia leads the nation, with 25 square feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2010, followed by Nevada, with 10.92 square feet per person in 2010.
Other top states include New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Oregon, with more than 6 and 4 square feet of LEED-certified space per person, respectively.
“Using per capita, versus the more traditional numbers of projects, or pure square footage, is a reminder to all of us that the people who live and work, learn and play in buildings should be what we care about most,” said USGBC SVP of LEED, Scot Horst, in the release. “2010 was a difficult year for most of the building industry, but in many areas, the hunger for sustainable development kept the markets moving.”
The top ten includes the District of Columbia (25.15 sf);...
Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 4:51 am
The new Horticulture Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum has earned LEED Platinum certification, making it the first building at the University to earn the honor, according to a recent press release.
Located on the Arboretum’s Bloomfield Farm, which serves as a support facility, the 20,840 square foot facility provides workspace for the horticulture, education, maintenance, and facilities staff. It includes offices, conference rooms, kitchen and break rooms, locker rooms, maintenance and storage areas, and vehicle garages. The center is the Philadelphia region’s first newly-constructed, not-for-profit LEED Platinum building, and only the second in all of Pennsylvania.
“During 30 years of planning and anticipating this center, our goal was to create a forward-looking building that is respectful of its surroundings and incorporates the highest standards in sustainable principles,” said Paul Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Director of the...
Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 4:49 am
Global household products conglomerate Procter & Gamble recently announced its commitment to pursue LEED certification for all new sites around the world. According to a recent article, the company’s new Taicang plant in China—which is breaking ground today—is the first manufacturing site to pursue LEED certification, with several additional new sites currently working toward the same distinction globally.
“Pursuing LEED certification for all new sites including offices, innovation centers, and our manufacturing and distribution centers is the next evolution in our facility eco-design process that will ensure excellence in sustainable design,” said Keith Harrison, P&G global product supply officer, in the article. “Having all of our new sites LEED certified will help us make progress toward our long-term sustainability vision which includes powering our plants with 100% renewable energy and zero manufacturing waste to landfill.”
Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9:46 am
A federal lawsuit filed against the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and other defendants, focusing on allegedly fraudulent claims of the LEED rating system, has been amended. The amended version, filed on February 7th, is essentially a much-reduced claim of false advertising, and is no longer a class-action suit, according to a recent Architectural Record article.
Both versions of the lawsuit focus on a critique by mechanical systems consultant Henry Gifford, that the USGBC falsely claims that LEED guarantees energy savings in LEED-certified buildings.
Instead of seeking to establish a broad class-action lawsuit representing multiple constituent groups, including building owners, taxpayers, and professionals allegedly harmed by LEED, the amended lawsuit focuses solely on professionals. The lawsuit claims that Gifford and other professionals are losing customers because USGBC’s false claims mislead consumers into believing that obtaining LEED certification incorporates...
Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9:21 am
A recent Green Building Pro article cites a USGBC announcement that more than 30 projects in Denver have achieved a LEED green building certification since the beginning of 2010, with two of these achieving Platinum status, the highest award possible.
“Colorado’s culture of sustainability and conservation are part of its DNA; individual cities like Denver clearly understand the importance of green building as a part of that culture,” said Deb Kleinman, executive director of USGBC Colorado Chapter, in the article. “From the largest commercial buildings to schools and universities to individual homes, Denver is embracing LEED and its comprehensive approach and process for green building.”
Overall, there are roughly 230 LEED-certified and registered projects in Denver. New additions to the list in 2010 include the city’s Wells Fargo Center; Legacy Plaza, home of Gates’ Corporation’s world headquarters; the Colorado Convention Center; and...
Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9:08 am
The new Wounded Warrior Barracks facility at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California has achieved LEED Platinum certification, according to a recent article.
Under the direction of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest (NAVFAC SW), design-builder Barnhard Balfour Beatty completed the project. The Wounded Warrior Barracks becomes the first Marine Corps’ project to be awarded a Platinum certification, the highest level of certification available under the US Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) certification program.
"This is a tremendous achievement that fulfills the goal of our company to be ‘ecoengaged,' creating a healthier future where clients achieve their environmental goals and communities thrive," said Eric Stenman, president of Barnhart Balfour Beatty, in the article.
Sustainable attributes of the Wounded Warrior Barracks include a focus on reducing energy and water use. In fact, the facility uses...
Monday, February 14, 2011 at 6:33 am
The sprawling Sonoma Mountain Village development in Rohnert Park, California (roughly 50 miles north of San Francisco) has achieved LEED for Neigborhood Development certification from the USGBC, according to a recent Multi-Housing News article . When complete, the 200-acre master-planned project will feature 951 apartments and condominiums, and a variety of commercial properties.
The LEED-ND rating system, the country’s first sustainable development rating system for neighborhoods, combines the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building. For Sonoma Mountain Village, the certification is a natural extension of the developers original intentions. According to Ben Boyce, director of the Accountable Development Coalition, the certification is of the development, familiarly known as SOMO, is consistent with the intention of the project from the beginning, which was to set a standard of green neighborhood development….The fact that it’s been acknowledged...
Monday, February 14, 2011 at 4:26 am
Officials at the Department of the Interior have identified four areas of ocean along the Eastern Seaboard that have prime conditions for the development of wind power, according to a recent article. Additionally, the Department of Energy said that it intended to spend more than $50 million over the next five years to hasten development of the farms.
The four sites are off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, and these states will receive expedited environmental reviews for the projects, which are expected to create thousands of jobs. The funding will include money to develop technology to make wind power more affordable.
“You need to drive that reliability up so the costs go down,’’ Energy Secretary Steven Chu told reporters at a news conference.
“We applaud the decision to substantially shorten the permitting process in a way that will allow project developers to attract the investment necessary to support offshore wind...
Monday, February 14, 2011 at 4:05 am
Another Virginia hotel has achieved LEED certification: the new Hilton Garden Inn Arlington/Shirlington, in Arlington, Virginia, recently received a Silver rating under the auspices of LEED for New Construction, according to a recent article.
The hotel’s LEED program was managed by Beery-Rio Architecture of Springfield, Virginia, together in consultation with the Project Architect Awbrey Cook McGill of San Diego, California. Green features include green roofs that reduce the heat island effect and help filter and slow storm water discharge; the incorporation of energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems that reduce electrical and gas use by 20 percent; recycling of over 90 percent of demolition and construction waste; a daily reduction of 785 gallons of potable water from low-flow water systems; the use of indigenous plants requiring no irrigation use of water; and the sourcing of 38 percent of construction materials from within a 500 mile radius.
The hotel is operated...
Monday, February 14, 2011 at 11:17 am
According to the Greeting Card Association, Americans buy 7 billion greeting cards annually, and the average person in the US receives 20 cards each a year. That's a lot of cards and even more paper - so why not try for a green Valentine's Day this year and keep it digital? Here are 5 easy-to-use ecard websites to help you keep the love and cut the paper.
1. SomeECards - http://www.someecards.com/valentines-day-cards/most-sent-today
2. 123 Greetings - http://www.123greetings.com/events/valentines_day/happy
3. Blue Mountain Cards - http://www1.bluemountain.com/ecards/valentines.pd
4. Funny Ecards - http://www.funny-ecards.com/cards/valentine/index.html
5. Egreetings - http://www1.egreetings.com/category?path=1055
Many of these sites even allow you to schedule cards to be delivered at later dates, so while you're in there you should schedule out some birthday cards too! Have fun!
<3 - Green Education...
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 3:33 am
A new hotel on the George Mason University campus in the northern Virginia city of Fairfax recently became the first hotel in the state to achieve a LEED Gold certification, according to a recent article. The new Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel received its LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as other sustainable strategies. These include an improved thermal envelope, high-efficiency glazing and water source heat pumps, construction waste diverted from landfills to recycling agencies and at least one-third of the total building materials content by value manufactured using recycled materials.
"As Mason works to achieve ambitious sustainability goals, a LEED Gold-certified conference center and hotel makes a strong statement about how serious we are in these efforts,” said Christine LaPaille, vice president for University Relations, in the article. “We believe there is significant appeal among businesses and...
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 3:17 am
A recent article describes the green rebirth of Greensburg, Kansas, a town of 900 that was devastated in a tornado in May, 2007. In the aftermath of that tornado—a 1.7-mile-wide behemoth that swept through town at 205 miles per hour and flattened the entire town—the city management made the audacious decision to rebuild the town in a sustainable manner.
Below, a video describes the town’s resurgence.
Several years on, however, the town is springing back to life. It is home to a community wind farm that produces 100% of its power, and all except one city building in the small town has earned LEED-Platinum certification (the exception being a city shop building that has earned a Silver designation), according to the article. As a result, Greensburg is said to have more LEED-Platinum buildings per capita than any other city.
The town’s community wind farm—built to take advantage of the gusts of wind that are common to the Great Plains—consists of...