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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Completion: August 2011
Sustainability Standards Followed: LEED for New Construction, Living Building Challenge
Awards: Awards for Environmental Excellence, Excellence in Urban Sustainability Finalist, 2013
GLOBE; Wood Innovation Award, 2013; 2013 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards; Engineering Award Winner, 2012 World Architecture News; Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Merit Award, 2012, Architectural Institute of British Columbia.
Inspired by natural forms, particularly the orchid flower, the designers of VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Center sought to create a balance between the landscape and the architecture. The building achieves net-zero energy by utilizing on-site renewable energy sources. Other exceptional features to note...
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 10:39 am
EPA Compliance Series Part 1: Necessary Equipment for a Lead Safe RRP Job
As you may already know, complying with the EPA's Lead Safe Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule goes beyond just attending the Renovator Training and certifying your company. How you actually perform the work is the most important part of compliance. In this blog series, we'll look at what implementation of RRP lead-safe practices looks like on a job site, beginning with the equipment necessary to properly perform the work.
Without the right equipment, it is nearly impossible to comply with the regulations and standards established by the EPA's RRP Rule. In this breakdown, we will go step-by-step through a typical RRP project, and list for you the necessary materials and equipment needed to stay compliant with this rule. We will follow the Steps to Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting guide found in Appendix 5 of your RRP...
Friday, March 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm
The mandatory budget cuts that went into place at the beginning of this month, know as the sequester, have been a popular topic of discussion and speculation on how they will impact all areas of government. For the energy sector, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are the agencies most likely to feel the effects of these cuts. Johnny Ritzo of Efficiency Law Review summarized the anticipated impacts of these cuts on the home energy efficiency industry:
Less Focus on Scientific Innovation: Both the DOE and the EPA fund significant grants for scientific research in energy efficiency, solar energy, battery storage, and other critical areas of the Renewable Energy Industry. In addition to reducing available grants, both organizations will have to downsize research labs and operations.
Cuts to Weatherization Programs: The DOE is expected to reduce contributions to state...
Monday, February 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Defense should continue to require that its new buildings or major renovations to facilities be designed to achieve a LEED-Silver or equivalent rating, says a new report from the National Research Council. Based on a review of empirical studies related to energy-efficiency and green building standards, the report concludes that green building certification systems such as LEED offer frameworks for successfully reducing energy and water use in buildings.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires federal agencies to use a green building certification system for new construction and major renovations of buildings. One of the most commonly used systems in the U.S. are theLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, co-developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Globes and licensed by the Green Building Initiative. Buildings can qualify for four levels of LEED...
Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Washington, DC - The General Services Administration (GSA) has delayed submitting its formal recommendation to the Department of Energy on green building certification systems, and is seeking further public input on the matter. GSA reviews the available certification systems every five years, and this year has been evaluating U.S. Green Building Council's LEED 2009, the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes, and the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge.
The following Federal Register Notice was published on 02/05/2013:
"GSA and its Federal agency partners in the EISA 436(h) Ad-Hoc Discussion Group are seeking public input regarding possible approaches GSA may take in fulfilling its requirement from the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 to provide a formal recommendation to the Secretary of Energy that identifies a green building certification system(s) most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally-sound approach...
Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm
State and Local Governments Are Critical in Supporting the Green Building Industry and the Sustainability Movement
The green building industry grew an estimated 18.3% in 2012, and trends indicate it will continue increasing at an average annual rate of $245 billion over the next four years. Much of this growth is driven by consumer awareness and demand, and the increasing branding importance of corporations embracing sustainability. In addition to voluntary actions, there are also a number of local, state, and federal public policies that require compliance with green building standards that continue to be a backbone of support for the industry.
The US Green Building Council reports that as of 2011, initiatives involving its LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building rating system were found in 442 local towns and counties across the U.S., 34 state governments, and 14 federal agencies and...
Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 9:18 am
More than 20 years ago a group of building tradesmen and weatherization program professionals had a vision for independent, third party verification of worker skills in the weatherization industry. The Building Performance Institute was born from this vision, and, together with scores of pioneering true believers volunteering hundreds of hours of their time, BPI has developed the standards and credentials that set the bar for quality in home performance contracting.
In 1993 BPI was founded to create the industry's first ever Building Performance Field Manual, as a project under New York's NYSTAR program. Within two years BPI had established a "test house" in Glen Falls, New York, to test candidates' skills and training in a real life setting. In 1996 BPI officially incorporated and issued its first certifications for Weatherization Assistance Program auditors and installation personnel. Ever since, BPI has played a pivotal role in the advancement of the weatherization and home...
Friday, December 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm
Malta, NY, December 28, 2012 - In the interest of reducing the training burden on our accredited contractors and programs, BPI will postpone referencing ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2010 - Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low Rise Residential Buildings in BPI's standards and certifications. ASHRAE is expected to publish an updated 62.2-2013 standard, which includes several significant changes, in the spring of 2013.
Last June BPI announced that on January 1st, 2013, we would transition from ASHRAE 62-89 to ASHRAE 62.2-2010 in all our standards and certifications. The decision to postpone is based on the input of BPI's ASHRAE 62.2 Expert Panel. This panel strongly encouraged BPI management to postpone any revision to the current BPI standards until ASHRAE 62.2-2013 is published. BPI will thus implement a two-part transition plan for 2013:
Part 1 will be a...
Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm
Contributor: Greg J, Certified Lead Renovator. Programs Manager, In-House Instructor and Ninja/Rockstar for Green Education Services.
Philadelphia, PA - December 14, 2012 -- I had the pleasure of attending the Lead and Healthy Housing Conference in Philadelphia on behalf of Green Education Services this past Thursday and Friday, a conference featuring dynamic speakers and training programs covering a variety of topics related to lead and human health. The conference included many industry professionals from both ends of the spectrum, including college professors, child physicians, representative from various government agencies like EPA, HUD, the National Center for Healthy Housing, and various other advocates and experts who are all committed to ending lead poisoning and other health hazards in children across the board.
My day began with a lecture on New Insights Into the Effects of Lead on the Brain and Behavior. Although most people...
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm
GBCI has made a few changes recently to its CMP reporting form in an effort to simplify the process for everyone. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to submit the information for the individual webinars that you've attended with Green Education Services. If you are completing one of our CMP Packages (ie. Silver, Gold, or Platinum) you will receive package-specific reporting instructions via email after you have finished all of the courses.
To report your hours, login to your GBCI "My Credentials" account, and click the blue button that says "Report CMP Activity". For Green Associate, and most LEED AP+ credentials, you will be taken directly to the reporting form. If you are a LEED AP who opted in to upgrade to a Specialty (ID+C, O+M, or BD+C) and are completing the Prescriptive Requirements, you must first select the category that best fits the topic of the course and select "Add" to get to the...
Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm
New York, NY - In an effort to expedite the local clean-up and rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy, New York and New Jersey have temporarily waived application and permit fits for work made necessary by the storm.
In New York, demolition and alteration 1, 2, & 3 applications and permits to renovate or repair damaged structures have been waived, in addition to permits required for plumbing and electrical repair work in damaged buildings. Applications and permits to rebuild structures that were completely destroyed have also been waived.
In New Jersey, fees may be waived for both local and state permit fees for hurricane repair work. Temporary code officials for building plumbing and electrical are also being hired in NJ to assist with necessary emergency inspections.
More information can be found...
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm
New York, NY - Online registration is now open for contractors who are interested in participating in New York City's rapid repair program. The program aims to help homeowners rebuild after the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. The program was announced by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on November 9th as a way to bring help to those who need it as soon as possible.
In partnership with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the city is sending teams of contractors & inspectors to assist those neighborhoods hit hardest by the storm. Rather than the individual homeowners having to scout for and hire contractors to fix their home, they will be assisted by a regional team of workers. Mayor Bloomberg referred to the program as "an innovative and unprecedented way to bring government resources to bear on this recovery effort."
Interested contractors need to register with the FEMA Disaster Response Registry’s...
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- For those of you who are landlords that own and operate pre-1978 rental property in the City of Brotherly Love, you may have heard about the new lead paint dust bill that is coming into effect next month - the City of Philadelphia’s Bill No. 100011-A: LEAD PAINT DISCLOSURE AND CERTIFICATION.
Per the new law, beginning December 15th 2012, landlords must prove that a residence has been proven to either be "Lead Free" or "Lead Safe", and follow through with their "Lead Disclosure Obligation" which means giving tenants necessary lead information pamphlets, a copy of the lead inspection performed or dust clearance performed, etc.
For an apartment/home/structure to be considered "Lead Free," a lead inspection and lead risk assessment must be performed by a certified professional, and dust clearance must be performed by the same entity. Dust clearance is a process that usually follows an abatement...
Monday, November 19, 2012 at 10:01 am
New York, NY --
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced 16 enforcement actions for violations of the lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP). A priority for EPA’s enforcement program is to protect children, and others, from exposure to lead dust that can cause lead poisoning by ensuring that renovators follow the RRP Rule and other lead laws. Lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing.
The RRP rule requires that contractors that work on pre-1978 dwellings and child-occupied facilities be trained and certified to use lead-safe work practices. This ensures that common renovation and repair activities like sanding, cutting and replacing windows are done in ways that minimize dangerous lead dust. EPA finalized the RRP rule in 2008 and the...
Monday, November 19, 2012 at 9:51 am
San Francisco, CA -- The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) announced several changes to the LEED credentialing process this week at the annual Greenbuild Conference. The changes were officially announced on Wednesday at a Greenbuild Expo Hall session.
Here are some highlights of the most important changes that GBCI put into effect this week:
1. Eligibility Requirements for the LEED Green Associate Exam Removed
Previously, candidates for the Green Associate exam were required to become eligible by either having experience working on a LEED project, or working in a sustainable field, or by attending a class on green building. Under the new changes, anyone can apply for the exam by completing a brief application at www.gbci.org, regardless of their experience or training.
From the recently-updated LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook, released by GBCI:
“There are no...
Friday, October 19, 2012 at 11:51 am
Kingston, NY - Green Education Services, in partnership with the Ulster County Health Department, will be providing a free EPA Lead Certification course in Kingston, NY on October 26, 2012. The course is part of a full line-up of local activities revolved around Nation Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which begins October 21st.
Effective April 2010, this Lead Renovator Certification is now required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for contractors who perform renovations, repairs, or painting that disturb paint in housing, schools, and day care centers built before 1978. The 8-hour training course emphasizes lead-safe work practices, and concludes with a short certification exam.
The Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO) will be hosting the certification course at the historic Kirkland Hotel in Kingston, NY on October 26th, from 9am - 5:30pm. Anyone interested in earning the EPA Lead Safe Certification for Renovations is invited to attend. Although tickets...
Friday, September 28, 2012 at 11:51 am
A recent report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) highlights the sports industry's efforts to "green up", and how they are encouraging fans to do the same. The report pulls together a collection of case studies of the most successful and prominent initiatives by the industry.
Key findings from the case studies:
All Commissioners of professional sports leagues in the United States have made commitments to environmental stewardship and are actively encouraging the teams in their leagues to incorporate sustainable measures into their operations.
15 professional North American stadiums or arenas have achieved LEED green building design certifications, 18 have installed on-site solar arrays, and virtually all have developed or are developing recycling and/or composting programs.
Among all sports leagues, Major League Baseball has the best-developed environmental data measurement program, followed by the National Hockey League and the National Basketball...
Monday, September 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm
New York, NY -- How many landlords out there have rented property in the last year without providing the necessary lead disclosure pamphlets? If you have, you are probably not alone, but you may be in for more than you bargained for.
Following the mandate of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, landlords of target housing must provide a copy of the "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" pamphlet to tenants who are either purchasing or renting the prospective property. In Section 1018 of the law, Congress directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the EPA to require the disclosure of lead-based paint hazards before the sale or lease of housing units built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned.
"Failure to provide a purchaser or lessee an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet pursuant to 40 C.F.R. 745.1 07(a)(I) results in a high probability of impairing the lessee's ability to properly assess information...
Friday, August 31, 2012 at 9:49 am
Malta, NY, August 31, 2012 - The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI), a nationally recognized standards development and credentialing organization, is proud to announce that today it achieved accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a national certifying body. BPI's accreditation is based on earning ISO 17024 accreditation for its Residential Building Envelope Whole House Air Leakage Control Installer (RBE-WH-ALCI) certification.
"The development and execution of ANSI procedures is a major undertaking, and BPI has committed considerable resources to ensure its success," said David Hepinstall, BPI Chairman of the Board. "Many organizations develop industry level certifications for technicians within their sector; but achieving accreditation to this international standard means BPI has put in place processes critical to delivering fair exams at every BPI Test Center across the country."
ANSI is the U.S. representative of the International...
Friday, August 17, 2012 at 10:34 am
WASHINGTON, DC - At the beginning of August, US Green Building Council announced that the total footprint of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified commercial buildings has reached over 2 billion square feet.
USGBC's founder Rick Fedrizzi commented on the achievement, stating, "In communities around the globe, leaders from every sector of the building industry are reinventing their local landscapes with buildings that enliven and bolster the health of our environment, communities and local economies."
In total, over 50,000 commercial projects and 23,000 residential projects have earned LEED certification.
86,000 projects are registered as seeking LEED certification.
An average of 2 million square feet is certified each day for commercial buildings.
USGBC estimates that these projects have injected $554 billion into the economy and supported 7.9 million...
Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm
London Olympics Recap: The Sustainability Standard
As the buzz of another exciting Olympic Games settles, so too wanes the interest in the facilities erected to host such an affair. Historically, many of the venues used for the Olympics past now sit empty or under-utilized. This year however, we saw some exciting progress in the way of sustainability and green design with several of the London Olympic structures.
According to London2012.com, the city aimed to host "the world's first truly sustainable Olympic & Paralympic Games, leaving a legacy far beyond the departure of the Olympic Flame."
Here are a few examples of how London executed this mission:
Site Selection - London's Olympic Park was built on what used to be a mixture of abandoned industrial buildings and brownfields. Not only did they remediate the contaminated land, but also they were able to reuse 98% of the demolished buildings on the site.
Reuse of Existing Venues - By utilizing existing buildings...
Friday, August 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm
New York, NY - As you may already know, the EPA has authorized 12 states to run their own RRP Program, including Washington, Oregon, Utah, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. What may not be as clear, however, is to what extent the EPA has overreach in regards to enforcement in those states.
The Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule states that the EPA's maximum penalty is $37,500 per day for RRP violations, whereas in a state like Massachusetts that runs its own program, that maximum fine is much less, at $5,000 per violation. But that is not reason to celebrate for contractors in RRP-authorized states. EPA has enforcement oversight of an authorized state, and if an authorized state is unable to handle a violation case, or asks EPA to take it over, EPA can and will step in to go after a violator utilizing EPA's penalty fee structure.
Although violators of the lead-based paint program would not receive a...
Monday, July 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm
OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) is a U.S. federal agency responsible for creating and enforcing standards for working conditions. Many of its regulations involve the construction industry, including its OSHA 10 Hour Construction Training program, which is recommended for all construction workers, and is required in some states for qualifying projects.
Below are the seven states that require OSHA 10 Hour training for all workers involved on a publicly funded project. Read below for further specifications for each state.
For partially and fully publicly funded projects over $100,000, each contractor must prove that all workers who will be involved have completed the OSHA 10 Hour course within 30 days of winning the contract. The course must be retaken every 5 years, however some project types do not require the training, such as work on railroads, parking lots, and utility projects. (Effective: 2007)
All workers involved on a...
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm
A recent article on BUILDINGS discusses that with the proliferation of EVs (Electric Vehicles) around the corner, now is a great time for building owners and service providers to seize the opportunity and install EV charging stations on their premises. In addition to potential tax incentives for installing such facilities, companies can use them to attract new clientele to their existing business. Investing in the EV market early on could provide a lead for many companies, capitalizing on the positive image that they project through their green initiatives.
Installing an EV charger could be included with other green initiatives such as installing green roofs, LED lighting, renewable energy, or solar glazing, all as part of a comprehensive corporate sustainability plan. At least in the near future, it might not be feasible for businesses to profit directly from providing EV charging facilities, but if considered as a value-added service it could potentially attract customers to...
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm
July 24, 2012
As many of you are aware, BPI introduced exams for four advanced certifications in a pilot phase this summer and will follow with a nationwide roll out later this year. Together with BPI's existing certifications held by tens of thousands of professionals throughout the country, the new credentials help to define a career path in home performance contracting. These certifications - Home Energy Auditor, Retrofit Installer, Crew Leader, and Quality Control Inspector - satisfy the demands of both the national Weatherization Assistance Program and the home performance marketplace for a skilled workforce with proven experience.
The Home Energy Professional certifications will not replace existing BPI certifications; rather, they will build on and complement the current credentials. Our Building Analyst, Envelope, and Air Leakage Control Installer certifications play an important role in weatherization and home performance, as do our Heating, Air...
Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm
Social housing often comes attached with a stigma due to various
reasons. Most often, these buildings have a drab and minimalist design
because of the many logistical and monetary constraints placed on
architects. They have to work within several limitations and
restrictions, which invariably give rise to mediocre design. However,
this need not always be the case, as Spanish architectural firm ACXT
has proven recently with its social housing
development project in Salburua.
To begin, the entire structure is painted a bright red, making it
look like an upscale designer housing complex rather than a social
housing project. However, the aesthetic vibrancy of the building is the
least impressive feature of the design. There are a number of other
innovative characteristics in the blueprint that are even more
The building is designed to make maximum use of natural sunlight for
lighting the interiors during the day time. It is shaped in...
Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm
NEW YORK, NY - Massive recalls of lead-painted toys from China have made the news in the past. Fisher-Price recalled 1.5 million infant toys worldwide because of possible lead-paint hazards for children. Mattel recalled 675,000 Barbie toys in 2007, including Barbie's Dream Puppy House and Kitty Condo. But for many of today's children poisoned by lead each year in the United States, it's not their toys that make them sick. It's the house they are living in.
The U.S. government banned lead paint for residential usage in 1978, and U.S. oil companies began phasing out leaded gasoline in 1975. Since then, the percentage of children with high levels of lead in their blood has dropped from 88% in the 1970s to 1.6% in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the indoctrination of today's EPA Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, more and more contractors, renovators, painters, homeowners and parents are becoming aware of this man-made health problem,...
Monday, May 28, 2012 at 9:24 am
A recent article describes ways in which the corporate headquarters of five companies (Google, Hearst, Bank of America, Whole Foods Market, and Suzlon One Earth) set the standard for sustainability.
The headquarters campus of Google, in Mountain View, California, leads the pack because of how it reflects green building initiatives in the design of its ultra-eco campus headquarters, as well as their overall fiscal commitment to sustainable energy. To date, the company has invested over $915 million in renewable energy, and this is exemplified in their headquarters’ energy sources which utilize solar energies derived from solar electric, and solar hot water panels installed on their roofs. Google conserves resources by using recycled municipal wastewater to water their plants’ landscaping, and flush their toilets. The campus headquarters are built in coordination with the company's "Healthy Materials Program," which mandates that builders use only non-toxic...
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 9:30 am
A Time Magazine blog post from this past winter points to recent research by the Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation suggesting that building reuse almost always has fewer environmental impacts than new construction, suggesting that renovations of existing facilities are equally, if not more, important than the construction of new buildings.
The article argues that the greater inherent sustainability of existing buildings vis-à-vis new construction stem from the carbon debts (negative climate change impacts) incurred during construction, which can take decades to repay. The study’s researchers examined buildings in Portland, Phoenix, Chicago, and Atlanta, applying metrics to the buildings in question in four categories: climate change, human health, ecosystem quality, and resource depletion. What the study found is that building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.
Commenting on the...
Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 10:23 am
President Obama issued an Executive Order that warrants Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in the construction and maintenance of more sustainable and efficient buildings. One of the proposed tools that could help federal agencies evaluate buildings and construction projects is a Green Building Certification System.
On May 3, 2012, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) released its initial review of three of the top existing Certification Systems in the US. The release of the report marks the first step in a broad ranging review process, which includes a public comment period. Once the process is eventually completed, GSA hopes a superior system will emerge to enable the customer agencies of GSA to better meet the standards set by the President’s Executive Order.
The US government is the largest energy consumer in the country. The government owns and leases real estate amounting to an area of about 3.4 billion square feet. The GSA...