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Green Education Services Blog

Welcome to the Green Education Services Blog! Be sure to check back often as we are constantly adding updated articles. For questions about Green Education Services, please contact us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:07 am
Last week in Toronto, thousands of green building professionals gathered for the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council. It was the first time Greenbuild was held outside of the U.S., providing a unique international perspective on the green building scene.    We met some great individuals interested in LEED prep and CMP at our booth! And VP Michelle Cottrell received excellent feedback on her Wiley LEED prep and guidebooks. "After exhibiting for our third year in a row at Greenbuild, we are always impressed with the leaps and bounds our industry takes in the quick year between expos. It is the innovators at this expo that keep the green movement thriving," stated CEO Zachary Rose. Next year Greenbuild will be back on U.S. soil in San Francisco, CA the week of November...

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 10:05 am
A recent EarthTechling article takes a look at Google’s efforts to make its workspaces as environmentally friendly as possible. The Google headquarters in Mountain View, California (nicknamed the “Googleplex”) already features a herd of grass-trimming goats as well as a solar photovoltaic array. The sprawling complex even includes one building that recently underwent a LEED-Platinum certified renovation. The company’s holdings elsewhere around the world include more than 4.5 million square feet of building space on track for LEED certification. A video explains some of Google’s green moves at the Googleplex, below: Renovations at the Googleplex included the introduction to high-efficiency heating, cooling, and lighting systems, as well as energy and water audits designed to pinpoint existing inefficiencies. The construction focused on the use of healthy building materials and practices, as well. In addition to the company’s construction efforts...

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 10:03 am
A recent SmartPlanet.com article outlines a variety of design updates being made to wind turbines, improving efficiency and reducing construction costs. With a $3 million grant from the US Department of Energy, General Electric is developing a 15-megawatt, gearless wind turbine. While not the first of its kind to hit the market, it would be the first to repurpose GE’s magnetic resonance technology. The article explains that GE is borrowing technology from its MRI technology to increase the turbine’s efficiency. The article mentions that the materials making up turbine blades may also change in the future, citing a researcher at Case Western Reserve University whose team has built the world’s first turbine blade from polyurethane reinforced with carbon nanotubes. The material is roughly eight times tougher than typical blade materials, the article notes. According to a New York Times article about advancements in turbine design, other improvements lie ahead for...

Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 3:56 am
Some time ago, back when the only mode of transportation was a horse and buggy, a wise man by the name of Ben Franklin wrote a letter to a concerned friend about the dangers of working around the "mischievous effects" of lead. Old Ben's advice and experiences were very clear:  Lead exposure has horrible consequences, but the condition is completely preventable! Ben Franklin first experienced the effects of lead exposure in a Boston distillery, where people drinking rum from lead-laden "still-heads" experienced "dry bellyache" with a "loss of the use of their limbs."  While working as a typesetter in New England print houses, Ben Franklin also noticed a kind of “obscure pain” in his hands as he dried them over the heated lead types, and omitted the practice after getting advice not to do so from an older workman. The workman later admitted that the condition probably arose from “slovenly workmen who...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 5:59 am
A recent Clean Energy Authority article describes the US Navy’s $500 million commitment to install solar panels on three military installations in Hawaii. The $500 million was awarded in a contract with three companies (Island Pacific Energy LLC, Pacific Energy Solutions LLC, and Photon Finance LLC), according to the article. “NAVFAC Pacific furnished, as part of the solicitation package, the square footage of roof tops, carports, and ground-mount sites located on military installations in Hawaii,” Don Rochon, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific said, in the article. “Companies then proposed solar systems that they will build, own and operate on these sites. The amount of electric power produced by these systems will depend on the selected company's design.” The systems will be owned by the project developer, who will sell the power to the Navy under 30-year contracts, Rochon said. The government intends to purchase solar generated...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 4:37 am
A new 135,000-square-foot academic building at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA will soon become home to researchers focusing on areas including climate change, aquatic ecosystems, nanotechnology, groundwater contamination, environmental literacy, and energy-related topics. Home to the STEPS Initiative, the building, which opened in August 2010, is designed to facilitate collaborative learning and eliminate boundaries between the classroom and the lab, according to a section of the Lehigh website devoted to the initiative. The $62.1 million facility was constructed with the goal of attaining LEED certification, and teaching and research areas intermingled with seminar rooms, study lounges, and faculty offices. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, the building’s design has three major aims: the fostering of interdisciplinary collaboration, in both the configuration of the building’s interior spaces as well as the types of spaces themselves; the integration of...

Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 9:34 am

In an effort to enhance outreach and communication, EPA will soon begin to use a new communication tool, called GovDelivery, to disseminate information and updates about the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program. The intended audience for this tool is the RRP industry (including renovators, trainers, etc.).  For that reason, much of the information will be regulatory or technical in nature. However, it is an open list and anyone is welcome to subscribe. You can subscribe yourself or others by visiting http://service.govdelivery.com/service/subscribe.html?code=USAEPA_426.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 9:04 am
On September 1st the LEED Pilot Credit library was updated to reflect an additional nine credits, including new credits for Integrative Process and Materials & Resources. All nine of the new credits can also be found in the public comment version of LEED 2012, which opened for second public comment on August 1st, 2011. New credits include: Pilot Credit 44: EQ - Ergonomics Strategy. To achieve this credit, project teams must develop and implement a comprehensive ergonomics strategy that will enhance health and comfort during daily activity for at least 75% of workers, by consulting current ergonomic standards, defining ergonomic performance goals, and providing ergonomics education. Pilot Credit 45: SS - Site Assessment. To achieve this credit, project teams must complete and document a site survey including information on topography, climate, vegetation, soils, hydrology, and adjoining human uses. Pilot Credit 46: EA - HVAC Commissioning. The intent of this credit is to reduce...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 8:40 am
On August 31st the USGBC reached a new milestone: the 10,000th commercial building project was certified to the organization’s standards. "Ten thousand commercial certified buildings stand as a powerful example that a strong triple bottom line translates to real, tangible success," said USGBC President CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi, in an article about the achievement. The 10,000th project is a newly constructed project for the Live Oak Family Resource Center in Santa Cruz, California. Featuring a roof-mounted solar power system and extensive daylighting, the two-story building earned a LEED Platinum certification. Across the country, LEED-certified commercial space now totals 1.3 billion square feet of property, according to the article. Although the rating system and its label are based in the US and there are Green Building Councils elsewhere in the world, there are several international properties are certified under the USGBC’s LEED standards. The...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 10:27 am
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published amendments to the Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) rule, intially enacted April 22, 2010.  These changes go into effect October 4, 2011 for states under the national mandate. (Check if your state is approved to conduct its own lead safety program here).  The main changes in the rule include: Dust Wipe Testing & Clearance: EPA has decided not to mandate dust wipe testing and clearance requirements. Paint Chip: As a certified renovator, you may now collect a paint chip for laboratory analysis as an alternative to Leadcheck swabs or the D-lead kit. However, you must still comply with any previously enacted state or local requirements which may be more stringent. Exterior Vertical Containment: EPA is clarifying the requirement for exterior vertical containment.  If the renovation will affect surfaces within 10 feet of the property line, the renovation firm must erect vertical containment or equivalent...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 10:23 am
U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild 2011 is fast approaching on October 4th-7th in Toronto, Ontario.  Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and exhibit hall dedicated to the green building industry, and this will be the first time it will be held outside of the United States.  In correspondence with this exciting conference, Green Education Services will be hosting a LEED Green Associate Exam Prep course in Toronto on October 4th.  This course will provide an introduction to LEED and green building strategies, while preparing individuals to pass the Green Associate credentialing exam. In addition, everyone who registers for this event will receive FREE exhibit hall passes to the Greenbuild Expo Hall on October 5th & 6th.  Visit http://www.greenedu.com/toronto-leed-seminars/ for further details on the course - reserve your free passes today! About Greenbuild:  Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo hall...

Monday, August 29, 2011 at 6:17 am
Residents of two neighborhoods in the southeast Michigan city of Ypsilanti, located between Ann Arbor and Detroit, will be able to take part in a unique program designed to lower energy costs, according to a recent article about the program. The Ypsilanti City Council passed a resolution during its most recent meeting allowing the two neighborhoods (Prospect Park and East Prospect Park) to participate in the BetterBuildings program. The state of Michigan was awarded $30 million in grant funds from the federally funded program to perform extensive energy efficiency improvements on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis throughout the state. Overall, a total of 27 neighborhoods across the state will be selected for inclusion in the program. Each neighborhood "sweep" will cover 420 homes, for a total of over 11,000 homes statewide. Individuals from the program will go door-to-door in the aforementioned neighborhoods, asking residents if they would like to participate in the...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 2:53 am
AUGUST 23, 2011 - On Monday, August 1, 2011, the USGBC released the second public comment version of LEED 2012. We are pleased to announce that, because of your diligent support of and participation in our “I Pledge” Campaign last year, the USGBC and its Indoor Environmental Quality Technical Advisory Group (TAG) received more comments on the IEQ section than ever before.  The USGBC responded to these comments by making some significant improvements to both the Low-Emitting Interiors (LEI) Credit (formerly IEQc4.0) and the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Assessment Credit (formerly IEQc3.2). To view GREENGUARD's second public comments please click here. These improvements include the following: LEED BD+C and LEED ID+C The LEI credit now focuses on actual product emissions rather than content. The so-called “wet” product categories of paint and adhesives will now receive credit by demonstrating minimal chemical emissions.  The ...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 2:27 am
On August 15, 2011, the United States and the State of Michigan filed a complaint and lodged a consent decree in United States of America and the State of Michigan v. Hanson’s Window and Construction, Inc. Section 406(b) of TSCA directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue regulations requiring that compensated lead-based paint renovators distribute the EPA-approved pamphlet to owners and occupants of most pre-1978 residential housing before beginning renovations. In this matter, the United States, on behalf of EPA, alleges that Hanson’s Window and Construction, Inc. (Hanson’s) violated the requirements of Section 406(b) of TSCA, 15 U.S.C. § 2686(b), and its implementing regulations, referred to as the Residential Property Renovation Rule. The State of Michigan alleges that Hanson’s also violated Michigan Rule 325.99408(6) and (7). The alleged violations are related to Hanson’s failure to comply with the federal and state...

Friday, August 19, 2011 at 4:19 am
18 communities across the state of Indiana have been selected for energy audits under a federally-funded program, according to a recent article. Announced Thursday by Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, the communities are Clarksville, Connersville, Dublin, Gas City, Greensburg, Hagerstown, Linton, Monticello, Monroe County, New Castle, Paoli, Peru, Plymouth, Rushville, Scottsburg, Union City, Washington, and Winamac. The Community Energy Program will provide energy audits for public facilities in each community and create a strategic energy plan with short- and long-term goals. The communities were selected from among 63 applicants among cities and towns with populations under 35,000 and counties with less than 200,000 residents. "What an opportunity this is for these Hoosier communities,” Skillman said, in the article. “With this program each will receive a usable and interactive energy plan that will be tailored to its unique needs. These communities are being...

Friday, August 19, 2011 at 4:04 am
The University of California-San Diego will soon open the doors to new energy-efficient apartment buildings at two of its undergraduate colleges. A recent article announces that the new apartments have earned LEED Platinum certification. The first of the two new complexes, the David Keeling Apartments at Revelle College, are named after the first scientist to record the rise of the carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to earning a Platinum rating under the auspices of LEED for New Construction, the 510-bed complex will also feature solar panels that will heat the building’s water. The complex consists of three buildings: one with eight stories, one with 10 stories, and a third with five stories. Revelle College’s new housing was designed by the Philadelphia architecture firm Kieran Timberlake. Meanwhile, the new apartment complex at John Muir College includes two towers with apartments that will house 275 people. Both complexes include...

Friday, August 12, 2011 at 4:27 am
Harvard University recently announced the 53rd LEED certification of a building on its 400-year-old campus, making it the first university in the country to have more than 50 certifications, and the university with the highest number of certifications in the country. The university’s urban location in the Boston area “motivates the university to renovate rather than build new,” said Andrea Trimble, manager of green building services at Harvard, in the article. Of the 53 certifications on the Ivy League campus, only 16 are certified under LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), while more than half of all certifications are certified under LEED for Commercial Interiors. Only two of the certifications were performed under the auspices of LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM). In an article about the achievement, Trimble said that the university’s commitment to LEED has advantages as an educational tool, both on and off campus. The...

Friday, August 12, 2011 at 4:13 am
A recent article announces positive news: rooftop panels can help cool a building, in addition to powering it. The article cites a recent study that finds that a building’s ceiling was 5 degrees cooler under solar panels than under an exposed roof and that the panels helped retain heat at night, reducing energy costs during the winter. "Talk about positive side-effects," said author Jan Kleissl, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of California-San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering. Kleissl’s team claims that its study is the first to show the cooling benefits of solar photovoltaic panels. Kleissl’s research finds that solar panels can essentially act as roof shades. After collecting data from solar panels on the roof of one of the buildings at UC-San Diego, the team found that the panels reduced the amount of heat reaching the roof by 38%. The panels reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the roof, and much of the heat from the...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 9:52 am
A recent article announces San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee’s introduction of legislation that would update the city’s Municipal Green Building Code to require adherence to LEED Gold certification standards for all municipal construction and major renovation projects over 5,000 square feet after September 1. Currently, only LEED Silver certification is required for municipal buildings, while LEED Gold is required for private sector buildings, beginning in 2012. Lee’s legislation updates green building standards for city building projects, further reinforcing San Francisco’s position as a national leader in green building practices, according to the article. Now that we have developed high standards for new construction and existing commercial buildings, it is time to turn our attention to municipal building practices,” said Mayor Lee, in the article. “This legislation will make City departments pursue LEED Gold certification ahead of the schedule...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 9:34 am
Wake Forest University’s new Welcome Center & Admissions building, completed in March, has been awarded a Gold certification by the US Green Building Council, according to a recent news release. “We’re now three for three in terms of new buildings that have set a goal to earn LEED silver and actually achieved a higher level,” said Jim Alty, associate vice president for facilities and campus services, in the release. “The University is committed to sustainable design and building practices in all of its future buildings.” The 23,000 square foot facility includes numerous green features, ranging from high-efficiency mechanical systems and the incorporation of natural light in most spaces, to the fact that 30 percent of building materials were sourced within 500 miles of the building site, and almost 90 percent of waste generated during construction was diverted from the landfill for recycling and reuse. Recycled material included the copper used...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 8:46 am
WASHINGTON, DC -- Earn green continuing education credits, network amongst government and commercial decision makers, gain insight to how actionable plans are developed to translate green policies into green programs within the federal government and military segments.  Claim your spot at this not to be missed event by registering at www.GOVgreen.org/SPECIAL GOVgreen 2011 Conference and Exposition (November 30 – December 1) features over 150 exhibitors and more than 25 educational sessions providing an overview of agency programs and projects designed to conserve, reduce and reuse resources and incorporate green products throughout agency programs, as mandated for implementation through Executive Order 13514.  Sessions will be accredited for learning units from both AIA and USGBC. Key themes this year include: ·       Anticipating and preparing for what’s next·       Adapting to climate...

Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 9:54 am
The Massachusetts town of Scituate, located south of Boston on Massachusetts Bay, is experiencing a wave of projects that are helping make the town more energy-efficient, according to a recent article. In addition to the wind turbine under construction at the town sewer treatment plant and a solar photovoltaic array at the town landfill, town officials are rolling out an Energy Savings Performance Contract, according to the article. The contract, awarded to Framingham, Mass.-based Ameresco, will conduct an energy audit of the town, recommending 300 projects with recommendations on which will have the most positive rates of return for energy savings. If Scituate officials choose to complete any of the projects that are recommended by Ameresco, the town will not be required to pay the $33,000 audit cost. “I think it’s going to be great,” said Paul Reidy, Chairman of the Renewable Energy Committee, in the article. “One of the things I kept discussing was the...

Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 9:11 am
A recent San Francisco Examiner article focuses on the San Francisco Bay area city of Burlingame, which is ahead of schedule for meeting California’s state carbon emission reduction goals. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 requires local governments to reduce their greenhouse gases by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. Several years ago, while feeling that Burlingame was behind the curve, Mayor Terry Nagel aunched a series of community consultations that have since grown into a series of actions. “Some of the best stuff we’ve done is to require people to take green measures when they build,” said Nagel, who accepted the Environmental Hall of Fame’s green award for the city in April. Burlingame’s ordinances require builders to list ways that they will make their designs more sustainable, a process that is overseen by a green-building specialist. In October of last year, the City Council approved a...

Monday, July 18, 2011 at 9:01 am
Newly elected Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, recently pledged to save Chicago taxpayers up to $5.7 million yearly while creating jobs and reducing the city’s carbon footprint by improving the energy efficiency of City Hall, the Harold Washington Library, and other government buildings in the Windy City, according to a recent article. “You win on the energy. You win on the jobs. And taxpayers win on the savings. You don’t often get a win, win, win like that. “The savings will be accrued by the taxpayers. The jobs will be accrued by people living in the Chicago area. And we’ll be modernizing buildings that are not energy efficient, be they windows, insulation, caulking” or other retrofits, Emanuel said, in the article. Nearly 100 public buildings totaling more than 6.5 million square feet of space would be retrofitted in the program, costing approximately $40 million. The program aims to build on the successes of energy retrofits at the Richard J....

Monday, July 18, 2011 at 8:09 am
The newly completed Wilf Hall at New York University’s School of Law in Manhattan is being considered for LEED Platinum certification by the USGBC, according to a recent Contract Magazine article. The facility, located near Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, houses several NYU centers and institutes, including the Provincetown Playhouse. Over half of Wilf Hall’s footprint is covered with a green roof, featuring local species of grasses and ferns. The new habitat for birds and insects reduces heat island effect while regulating the building’s temperature to reduce energy use. Meanwhile, pollutants from rainwater are filtered and naturally absorbed back into the soil, reducing runoff into city sewers. Compared to conventionally-built structures, the energy envelope design prevents air leakage and reduces heat loss, lowering the cost of heating and cooling bills at Wilf Hall and providing energy cost savings at 44 percent above the baseline industry...

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm
A new program in Oakland, California offers energy audits and advice to businesses in that city’s downtown, according to a recent article. In conjunction with the California Energy Commission, the city hopes to make the downtown area a showcase of energy efficiency technologies and low carbon emissions. Using a $5 million federal stimulus grant and working with utilities, the “Oakland Shines” program will offer free energy audits, technical assistance, and retrofit rebates to business owners. Thus far, 400 businesses have accepted an audit from the program; within that, a smaller number have followed through with retrofits of their building’s heating and cooling systems. One happy property manager, Sylvia Rampi, noted that the rebates offered by the program covered 90 percent of the costs for retrofit her 800,000 square foot property. "We just completed it, replacing 738 lighting figures throughout building, garage, stairwells. We ended up getting 90...

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 11:53 am
The University of the Highlands and Islands, the newest university in the United Kingdom, is hoping to reduce harmful carbon emissions and reap financial savings through car-sharing, increased use of energy-efficient lighting, and biomass boilers, according to a recent article. The institution, unique in its federation of colleges and research centers located across Scotland, is aiming to save over £200,000 over the next four years, through a combination of various initiatives at individual member campuses Donald MacLennan, of Gaelic college Sabhal Mor Ostaig, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said in the article: “Reducing our carbon emissions is a natural follow-on to recent initiatives undertaken by the college which have included the installation of a 500kw biomass woodchip boiler and a compost recycling scheme. Our carbon management plan has at its heart a carbon reduction awareness campaign among college students and staff. We are also going to...

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am
The Florida city of Lake Worth, located between West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach on the Sunshine State’s east coast, is pursuing a new certification program for rental units in the city. Lake Worth’s city commission recently voted to have staff create a proposal for a certification program that would make the city’s rentals more energy-efficient, according to a recent Palm Beach Post article. As envisioned by the city, the program would offer energy audits, at a cost to the owners of the rental units, for any property where the resident is paying a city electricity bill. The audit would suggest ways that the units could become more energy efficient. The program would also create certificate or sticker that could be given to property owners, to mark each audited property as energy-efficient. It would also aid prospective renters in the city to find energy-efficient properties to rent. City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill said that the price for the audits has not...

Friday, July 8, 2011 at 9:09 am
EPA Environmental News Update(ATLANTA – July 7, 2011) On July 5, 2011, the State of Georgia received authorization to administer and enforce EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program.  The authorization became effective upon EPA’s receipt of the State’s certified Renovation Authorization Application, which was submitted by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Attorney General, Sam Olens has certified that the Georgia Program, which will be administered by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is at least as protective as EPA’s and provides adequate enforcement. “EPA appreciates Georgia’s leadership in protecting kids from exposure to lead-based paint,” said Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 4. “Because lead exposure can cause permanent, serious, life-long problems, renovators and rental property owners play a big role part in shielding children from its impact in their...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 3:46 am
CPS Energy, provider of electricity to homes and businesses in the San Antonio area, has launched a new energy audit program for its customers. A recent article details the Energy Savers program, which will use $10 million in federal grant money to help homeowners and business owners get deeply discounted energy audits. As part of the program, a $5 utility bill credit is available to homeowners who fill out an online energy evaluation, covering topics such as typical energy use and type of home construction. Additionally it offers advice about possible repairs, such as the addition of insulation to the attic. For $25, homeowners can have an energy auditor walk through the home and perform and evaluation, including a prioritized recommendation list and information about potential rebates, financial incentives, or finding a contractor. A home energy evaluation typically costs around $200, according to the article. Meanwhile, for just $95 homeowners can have comprehensive testing done...

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