Manufacturer of Boiler & Cooling Water Treatment Chemicals

Archive for the ‘News and Events’ Category

Annual Top 10 States for LEED Green Building

Massachusetts tops the list for the second year; New York, Hawaii and Illinois showcase leadership in geographically diverse locations

Washington, D.C. — (Jan. 31, 2018) — Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released the annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system. The list ranks states in terms of certified square feet per resident in 2017. The list draws attention to states throughout America that are making significant strides in sustainable design, construction and transformation at the building level and opens up conversations around the community and city-level accomplishments in sustainable development. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for occupants and the community at large.

“As the U.S. Green Building Council celebrates 25 years of market leadership and growth, we know how important green building practices and certifications are to ensuring a more sustainable future for all,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president, and CEO, USGBC. “These states showcase exceptional leadership and by using LEED, businesses, property owners, and policymakers in these states are strategically addressing some of the most critical social and environmental concerns of our time. LEED is a proven economic development tool and method of meeting carbon reduction targets, reducing waste, energy and water consumption, and more. By measuring success on a per capita level each year, this list reflects the personal and individual impact of these states’ efforts. We commend the community leaders, businesses and government bodies in all ten of these states for their ongoing efforts and dedication to a better quality of life for everyone.”

Now in its eighth year, the list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2017. Massachusetts retained its top position for the second year in a row with 130 LEED certifications representing 4.48 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident, the highest since 2010.

The mid-Atlantic continues to show strong regional leadership, with both Maryland and Virginia returning to the list for the seventh year running. Also notable, Washington, D.C., which is not included in the official list of top states due to its status as a federal territory, tops the nation with 39.83 square feet of space per resident certified in 2017.

With Georgia, Hawaii and Minnesota all returning to the list for the first time since 2014, it is clear that market uptake for LEED is strong nationwide and not limited to any particular region or corridor. Illinois and Colorado are the only states to have made the list every year since the inception of the ranking in 2010. This year, Illinois comes in third with 3.38 square feet per capita and Colorado places 10th with 2.27 square feet per capita. The 2017 list has the highest average square footage per resident per state since 2010 (2.9). The full ranking is as follows:

2017 Top 10 States for LEED

Rank

State

Certified Gross Square Footage (GSF)

GSF Per Capita

Number of Projects Certified

1

MA*

29,338,378

4.48

130

2

NY*

65,749,387

3.39

192

3

IL*

43,363,065

3.38

135

4

HI

4,519,757

3.32

16

5

MD*

15,854,679

2.75

105

6

MN

13,018,056

2.45

47

7

GA

23,638,051

2.44

71

8

CA*

89,258,519

2.4

475

9

VA*

18,589,482

2.32

152

10

CO*

11,397,964

2.27

76

**

DC

23,966,817

39.83

139

*Included in 2016 Top 10 States for LEED list

**Washington, D.C. is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state

USGBC calculates the list using per capita figures to allow for a fair comparison of the level of the green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings.

In 2017, LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) was once again the most popular rating system within the Top 10 States, representing more than 50 percent of the total square footage certified. LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) was the second most popular and LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C) was the third most popular rating system. A sample of notable projects that certified in 2017 include:

  • Massachusetts: Boston Public Market, a 28,000 square foot indoor, year-round marketplace with 40 regional food vendors in Boston, achieved LEED Silver;
  • New York: Animal Haven Adoption Center, a 6,700 square foot shelter and adoption center for abandoned animals in New York City, achieved LEED Silver;
  • Illinois: Chicago Children’s Theatre, a 15,300 square foot mixed-use education and performing arts facility in Chicago, achieved LEED Gold;
  • Hawaii: The Moana Surfrider Resort by Westin, a 605,400 square foot resort and spa in Honolulu, achieved LEED Certified;
  • Maryland: MGM National Harbor, a 1.3 million square foot casino resort in Oxon Hill, achieved LEED Gold;
  • Minnesota: U.S. Bank Stadium, a 1.8 million square foot professional sports facility in Minneapolis and host of the 2018 Super Bowl, achieved LEED Gold;
  • Georgia: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a 1.9 million square foot professional sports stadium in Atlanta, achieved LEED Platinum;
  • California: LA Lakers Headquarters, a 96,800 square foot commercial office building in El Segundo, achieved LEED Platinum;
  • Virginia: The Rotunda at the University of Virginia, a 38,500 historic multi-use space in Charlottesville, achieved LEED Silver; and

Collectively, 1,399 commercial and institutional projects achieved LEED certification within the Top 10 States in 2017, representing 314.7 million square feet of real estate. Nationwide, 2,647 commercial and institutional projects achieved LEED certification in 2017, representing 484.6 million square feet of real estate.

More than 40,000 commercial and institutional projects representing more than 6.5 billion square feet of space have been LEED-certified to date worldwide, with another 51,000 projects representing 13 billion square feet in the pipeline for certification. LEED’s newest version, LEED v4, features increased technical rigor; new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects; and a simplified submission process supported by a robust and intuitive technology platform. Tracking ongoing building performance is a growing priority and a number of projects in the Top 10 States achieved certification through the Arc online performance platform, which uses data to measure and improve sustainability performance. Arc delivers a performance score based on building data and action-oriented strategies across energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience.

LEED: A students perspective

 Chris Anderson, LEED Green Associate, is an environmental study major and a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) offers LEED Lab as a yearlong course with an eclectic mixture of undergraduate and graduate students. Every year, students in this class work toward certifying a building on UCSB’s campus according to the requirements of the LEED v4 O+M rating system. Thanks to its year-long course structure, the same students who start the course at the beginning of the academic year, are the ones who achieve the certification at its close.

For the past three years, Brandon Kaysen, a Bren School alumnus and LEED AP, has coached students through the certification process of buildings across UCSB’s campus. After the Student Resource BuildingBren Hall is the second building to achieve a LEED v4 O+M certification thanks to LEED Lab. Near the conclusion of the immersive course, many of the students take an exam to earn their LEED Green Associate credential, a major stepping stone for a career in sustainability.

This year’s chosen building, Bren Hall, is home to UCSB’s prestigious Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and the environmental studies undergraduate department, the first program of its kind to be formed in the United States. In 2002, Bren Hall became the first laboratory facility to be certified LEED Platinum in the U.S. and the first LEED-certified building in the University of California system. In 2009, Bren Hall went a step further, also earning Platinum certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings rating system.

Designing with the environment in mind

To ensure efficient use of energy, Bren Hall was designed to harvest natural light, heating, and cooling. The office wing has no mechanical air conditioning, relying only on passive cooling via operable windows. The roof has its own photovoltaic system, providing about 10 percent of the building’s energy. Inside Bren Hall, the carpets, rubber flooring, wallboard, tiles, and furniture are made with high percentages of post-consumer recycled content. Cleaned and re-dyed carpet tiles saved up to 40 tons of carpet from the landfill, while restroom stall partitions are made from 90 percent recycled plastics. Altogether, Bren Hall is composed of 40 percent recycled materials.

Bren Hall also has a landscape plan that is designed to minimize water use. In Southern California, the unpredictability of water availability is an integral feature of the climate. The landscaping is irrigated with 100 percent recycled water, delivered through an efficient drip system calibrated so that if an area receives precipitation, the system will compensate and reduce water allocation.

LEED Platinum Bren Hall at UCSB

Learning by doing

LEED Lab is a unique, one-of-a-kind course that nurtures undergraduate and graduate students into green building professionals by allowing us an opportunity to work hands-on with a building to achieve LEED certification. Students in our class were assigned to a credit category and focused on achieving one or two individual credits. This established a realistic goal for each student to achieve by the time the project is submitted for review.

In addition, though, students often help one another with their individual and group credits, so that by the end of the class, everyone has an extensive knowledge of each individual credit and category and the LEED reference guide. The information that I garnered was also put to the test when I took and passed the LEED Green Associate exam.

I highly recommended LEED Lab for students who are interested in having a career related either to LEED specifically or sustainability generally. The class introduced me to the complexities of the LEED rating system, highlighted a diverse array of creative green building solutions, and drilled in the importance of documenting information pertaining to sustainable practices. I’m excited to take the information and experience that I obtained in LEED Lab and put it to work as I start a career in the flourishing field of green building.

Green Business Certification Expands into China

Shanghai, China – (18 January 2018) – Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), the exclusive organization certifying all LEED projects worldwide, announced the opening of a new office in Shanghai today. Through rigorous certification and credentialing standards, GBCI drives adoption of green building and business practices through LEED and other green building rating programs. Andy To has been named managing director of GBCI North Asia.

“China has been a leader of the green building market for a long time and we are continuing to see tremendous interest and support for LEED in the country,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and GBCI. “Market transformation happens one project a time, and China has an opportunity to continue to drive sustainability on a global scale. Over the last decade, China has emerged as a global leader, focusing on responsible growth and economic and environmental development. Andy To is the perfect leader to help establish a local GBCI presence in China and further facilitate the global growth of a sustainable built environment locally and across the globe.”

Andy To comes to GBCI China from CBRE where he was managing director of Asset Services for Greater China. He has more than 20 years of experience in the property and asset management industry with a particular focus on properties and facilities in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and second-tier cities. He also worked at Kerry Property Management Beijing and Sino Estates Management Limited.

GBCI’s expansion into China will help facilitate the growth and policy around LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system, and GBCI’s other sustainability programs in the China region as the country works toward meeting the many sustainable and green development goals in its 13th Five-Year Plan. The new office will also provide local, on-the-ground support to clients in the region and improve access to GBCI’s sustainability programs and resources.

GBCI is the only certification and credentialing body within the green business and sustainability industry to administer project certifications and professional credentials for LEED, EDGE, PEER, WELL, SITES, GRESB, Parksmart, Investor Confidence Project and TRUE Zero Waste. By verifying strong, green business performance and recognizing individual expertise through accreditation, GBCI is driving market transformation that is economical, environmentally and socially responsible.

Since 2008, GBCI has exclusively delivered more than 37,800 LEED certifications to green building and community projects around the world and has established a world-class infrastructure to help advance the mission of the green building movement. Currently, there are more than 3,400 LEED registered and certified projects in China, comprising more than 212 million gross square meters of space, and more than 2,900 LEED professionals. To and his team will be responsible for the market development efforts of GBCI China and will ensure the advancement of LEED and other GBCI sustainability programs in the region.

“GBCI has been successful at driving the global adoption of green business practices which fosters competitiveness while enhancing environmental performance and human health benefits,” said To. “I am delighted to be joining GBCI at this critical time and I look forward to partnering with stakeholders in the region and those involved in the green building movement in China as we all work towards creating a better planet for both people and prosperity.”

According to a newly published report from CBRE and USGBC (English and Chinese versions), as Chinese builders move in accordance with the nation’s 13th Five Year Plan, green building space is expected to reach two billion square meters by 2020, up from current estimates of 600 million square meters of green building space spread across more than 300 cities. Between 2006 and 2016, LEED-certified projects had a compound annual growth rate of 77 percent, making China the global leader for LEED projects outside of the United States

SITES and LEED: Pilot projects

A third of the certified projects that participated in the SITES pilot phase also achieved LEED certification.

LEED is a global movement, with about 92,000 registered and certified projects across 167 countries and territories, with 2.2 million square feet certifying every day. To complement LEED and ensure that the sustainability movement addresses all areas of the built environment, GBCI expanded with several other project certification and credentialing programs, including SITES.

With several rating systems to choose from, how does one know which is the right fit? How can specific goals be met through a variety of approaches? This article is the first part of a series explaining the relationship between the two rating systems and how projects can drive incredible results by using SITES and LEED together.

Integrating natural and built systems

Although every building project has a site, not every site has a building. Originally modeled after LEED, SITES was developed to fill the gap in addressing site sustainability. It can be used as a standalone system, but it was also developed to work with LEED to integrate natural and built systems in a more meaningful and efficient way.

A third of the certified projects that participated in the SITES pilot phase (2010–2014) also achieved LEED certification. These projects were national and local parks, commercial headquarters, botanic gardens, museums, government facilities, residential homes and more. Each helped shape the direction of the SITES program and its relationship to LEED.

Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes

For Richard Piacentini, Executive Director of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, pursuing SITES certification in addition to LEED was not even a question. As an early adopter of SITES, the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) achieved the highest certification level in 2013 during the SITES pilot program. CSL was among the 150 projects that field-tested SITES during its pilot phase.

CSL also achieved LEED Platinum, the Living Building Challenge and WELL Platinum certifications. The goal was to apply systems thinking to the center, says Piacentini. “We wanted to know how we could truly integrate the building and landscape.” With the new center, “nature is now not that far away,” he explains. Sustainability is embedded in the organization’s culture and values.

Novus International

Novus International

In 2009, Novus International achieved LEED Platinum for their nine-acre corporate campus. Landscape architect Hunter Beckman recalls meeting the Novus owners soon afterward at a local USGBC event. According to Beckham, “We shared similar passions for sustainability and were fortunate enough to introduce them to what sustainable design means outside of the building, particularly improving both intellectual and physical health for anyone experiencing the property.”

After achieving SITES certification during the pilot program, the campus boasted many sustainable elements, such as a garden terrace linked by a trail and the transformation of a concrete-lined water detention pit into an amenity that not only manages stormwater, but also attracts wildlife and serves as an inviting outdoor space.

“This level of certification represents the company’s commitment to minimizing our impact on the environments in which we operate,” said former Novus President and CEO, Thad Simons, in 2012. “Our successful application of land and development practices proves that companies can achieve a healthy sustainable work environment while reducing operating costs.”

NREL Research Support Facility

National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Research Support Facility

The 30-acre Research Support Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, earned both LEED and SITES certification (also during the pilot phase).

“For buildings, we tend to concentrate on LEED certification, which is great from a structure standpoint,” said Michelle Slovensky, the NREL Senior Sustainability Project Manager at the time. “Not only should your building have a sustainable and efficient design, but so should your infrastructure and your landscape. We felt that if we have the highest-performing buildings, we should look at our campus to find ways it can be used as an example of a sustainable campus and living laboratory.”

Project Water Use Reduction

See how a water use reduction pilot credit helped Starbucks measure their water savings.

In April 2017, USGBC released a new pilot credit with the potential to change the way project teams document their water savings—allowing teams to earn more points while potentially saving both time and money.

In the U.S., buildings account for 13.6 percent of potable water use. As our climate continues to change with the warming of the planet, it’s more important than ever to both use water more efficiently and reduces our potable water use. Now is the perfect time to reevaluate how your team documents water use reduction—there might be several additional LEED points you could achieve.

Taking water use reduction further

The LEED Building Design and Construction pilot credit Whole Project Water Use Reduction aims to reduce the indoor and outdoor water consumption of a project and associated site. Project teams can always document water savings through credits such as Rainwater Management, Outdoor Water Use Reduction, and Indoor Water Use Reduction, but depending on the building type and use, these credits may not currently address all the water use within a given project boundary. The pilot credit allows potentially significant water savings that previously went unrecognized, such as process water.

In order to pursue this pathway, project teams must develop a water use baseline and create a proposed water balance model. USGBC and GBCI will also work with you before you even submit the credit, to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

A successful test run with Starbucks

Although this is a relatively new pilot credit available for all LEED 2009 and LEED v4 new construction and tenant fit-out customers to use, Starbucks, a leader in the sustainable retail and food service building industry, has already used this pilot credit on over 500 LEED-certified projects worldwide, with several others close behind. Their use of this new pilot credit exemplifies how USGBC and GBCI work together with customers to find solutions that encourage innovation in sustainability.

Starbucks leadership has long recognized that process water use far exceeds fixture water use in stores, leading project teams to employ methods to save process water—even though they weren’t gaining additional points through their LEED volume program. Therefore, the company decided to work with USGBC on a cumulative calculation to account for the process water savings they had been able to achieve. As it happens, members of USGBC’s LEED User Group: Industrial Facilities were also working on an alternative solution to better address the high volume of water used in a manufacturing facility.

Measurable results, high savings

Essentially, LEED was capturing all water savings in two separate use categories, but the Indoor Water Use Reduction credit required that both the fixture and process water categories meet the percentage savings required to achieve higher point thresholds. Starbucks’ process water savings are typically four times the savings achieved in fixture water, because of the much higher volume of use. This innovative new pathway therefore allowed projects to receive credit for the high volume of savings achieved in the process water category.

With this process, Starbucks went from achieving 2–3 points to 11 points on most projects. This type of major increase could mean the difference in certification levels for a company seeking LEED credits. In addition, the new strategy has reduced the project teams’ overall documentation burden. Starbucks presented their approach to holistic water management at an education session exploring the new pilot credit at the recent 2017 WaterBuild Summit at Greenbuild Boston.

If you’re interested in using this pilot credit on a project or have questions, please contact us. Our LEED technical specialists can work with you to meet your special water reduction needs. To suggest a future LEED pilot credit, please submit your idea online.

Rhode Island Green Buildings Act

The official signing launches Rhode Island’s updated green building standards.

On December 15, the Honorable Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island, signed a law “showing that [Rhode Island] is serious about being green.”

The legislation updates the state’s Green Buildings Act, first adopted in 2009. The amended law now includes LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES as applicable standards for the sustainable development of the real public property, making Rhode Island the first state to incorporate SITES into statewide public policy.

“I love it that Rhode Island is first, and I hope that the rest of the nation follows our lead,” Gov. Raimondo said in an interview with Renewable Now Network (RNN) upon signing the legislation into law. “It is the right thing to do. It is the right thing for the environment, and it will also save money,” she said, by enabling the state to consume less water and energy while creating jobs.

In 2009, Rhode Island became the first state to adopt LEED into law for state construction projects, through its Green Buildings Act. The update to the legislation maintains the previous commitments and effectively establishes a demonstration project period for four years or four projects, whichever comes first, where new public construction in the Ocean State must apply sustainability and resilience measures to project sites beyond the buildings themselves.

“Once again, Rhode Island shows its leadership position,” said USGBC Chair of the Board of Directors and Rhode Island native Mike McNally to RNN. “[T]he certification has moved beyond the buildings, into the public space here in Rhode Island, and we expect the rest of the states to follow as they did years ago.”

The signing was the culmination of a multi-year collaborative effort between USGBC, USGBC-Rhode Island, Environmental Council of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition and other stakeholders like the Rhode Island Builders Association.

Effective Advocacy through Relationship Building Skills

A Greenbuild 2018 presenter shares tips on building relationships for advocacy goals.

These tips follow up on the Greenbuild Boston session “How You Can Be an Effective Advocate” on November 8, 2017, about specific ways to influence public policy related to green building.

The ability to build relationships is at the core of effective advocacy.

First, to have an impact on matters we care about, it is essential to identify the established leaders on those issues. Strive to get to know them and support their work if it is in line with your values and priorities.

Once trust is built and we get past any existing skepticism, we are more likely to be viewed as credible contributors.

Building relationships

Connecting with established leaders is not enough though. In many cases, there are people who have an interest in an issue, but who have not yet participated in the public dialogue on the issue, and so are not shaping decisions. How do we make sure that, as we are organizing and advocating, we are taking into account a variety of perspectives, experiences, and needs? In order to create a process and achieve results that resonate with various demographics in our community, we need to strive to be welcoming and open.

If we genuinely want to get to know people and explore opportunities for collaboration, we must not expect them to always come to us. We need to offer to go to them. Typically, the further away the person is, the more the effort is appreciated! Instead of a meeting in someone’s office, how about suggesting a tour of the area or a visit to their favorite local coffee shop? They will value the opportunity to show off their community, and the interaction could help break down barriers and reveal commonalities.

If you have the opportunity to meet friends or colleagues of the host while you are there, that can be an effective way to get to know your host and their community better. This type of casual, authentic visit instills a sense of bonding.

Sometimes, when we are trying to advocate for a cause we care about, we think it is best to educate people with data. We might dive right into the substance of the policy proposal, and start hurling numbers at our audience. However, when we take this course, we often skip important relationship-building opportunities and end up with impersonal meetings that fail to leave a lasting, positive impression.

Instead, start by getting to know each other by having a conversation that addresses questions like, “What brought you to the work you are doing? What kinds of things are you working on? Is there an area in which you’d like to become more involved?” This sort of interaction supports an exchange of information, ideas, and contacts. You might bring up a particular issue you are involved in, answer questions about it, pitch a way to lend support and ask for input on who might be interested.

What to avoid

As people who care deeply about creating a more just, sustainable world, it is easy to get frustrated when progress seems too slow. However, frustration can get in the way and cause us to lose sight of the steps we need to take to achieve progress. Frustration may even cause us to act in a way that is counterproductive to the cause.

How do we avoid this common pitfall? Focus on building relationships—and not just with elected officials whom we are trying to influence, but also with fellow community members and other potential allies, such as those with funding capability.

Whenever possible, we should work to build relationships with our opponents, too. Just because we do not agree on one issue does not mean we could not be allies on another. It is also important to know when to step back. If our frustration reaches a certain level, it can be best to encourage someone else to take over who might have a fresh perspective and higher level of positive energy.

Nurture your relationships

Positive relationships involve mutual respect and support. Like plants that need sun and water, relationships require nourishment. So, once you plant the seeds, be sure to tend to the garden.

Green and healthy schools

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC was founded in 2010 with a vision to put every child in a green school within this generation. The very week of its founding, I moved to Washington, D.C., to bring to a national scale the work I’d been doing with the Recovery School District in New Orleans.

Through my work in that district, I had learned that healthy and safe learning environments cannot be taken for granted. I had also grown to understand that, every time a community builds a school, it has the chance to tell its children that they are valued. Over the nine years I’ve worked with USGBC, I have been privileged to be able to help many communities make good choices for their students’ futures.

The energy and leadership that USGBC has invested in the green schools movement has paid off, and our commitment remains strong. We believe the mission we’ve set forth is about lifting people up and making our world not just more environmentally friendly, but more equitable. Everyone, from the kindergartener to the Ph.D. student, deserves to attend schools that sustain the world they live in, enhance their health and well-being and prepare them for 21st century careers as global sustainability citizens. Our mission is about building a green future for all, regardless of one’s social or economic background.

“As part of our vision for 2020, USGBC has committed to investing in the future by developing the full potential of the diverse, committed and passionate people who power our movement,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI. “And we know that one crucial way to achieve that is through empowering our movement’s future leaders. By ensuring that children all over the world have the opportunity to learn in a green school, we will lay this foundation. So let’s keep striving to build a better world for our children, their children and generations yet to come! That’s how we’ll achieve the world we’ve imagined.”

Anisa Heming in New Orleans

 

Where we learn matters

My experience with schools and school districts in nearly all 50 states and several countries outside of the United States has given me a litany of reasons why green schools matter. It’s an easy question to answer when you have been in both the worst schools imaginable and the most inspiring learning environments in the world. By the numbers, schools have an enormous impact on people and the environment. Globally, 1 in 8 individuals set foot in a school each day. There are over 130,000 schools in the U.S., occupying square footage equivalent to half that of the commercial building sector. It is clear that where we learn matters, and better schools have the potential to improve the lives of millions around the world.

A school’s curriculum, pedagogy, operations, culture and learning environment are all connected. Green schools serve as hands-on educational tools for students to learn about green building and sustainability. The real-world, project-based learning that sustainability education provides prepares students to discover new solutions for our global challenges, and we can best educate students for a sustainable world by modeling it for them at their own school.

We also know that green school buildings are critical for student and teacher health. The importance of facilities to student health, wellness and performance is well established, and research also tells us that responsible investment in school buildings can lead to thriving local communities. Green schools support community health by reducing harmful emissions, minimizing environmental impact, saving energy and water while reducing utility costs, reducing waste going to landfill and lessening the burden of extraction of new natural resources for construction and operations.

Nothing beats results

Since 2010, the Center for Green Schools has sustained volunteer action in every U.S. state and educated thousands at our annual Green Schools Conference and Expo. We have inspired acts of service to benefit over 7 million students during Green Apple Day of Service with almost one million volunteers across 73 countries. We launched Learning Lab, a platform for K–12 sustainability curriculum content, which now hosts over 500 high-quality lessons in English and Spanish. LEED Lab, a course to teach the LEED rating system to college and university students by giving them hands-on certification experience, is now offered in 25 institutions in nine countries around the world. As of October 2017, we have more than 12,100 certified and registered LEED K–12 and higher education schools projects.

We have reinforced our belief that healthy learning environments lead to thriving communities with the publication of original research and policy analysis, and we have increased the introduction of green schools legislation in U.S. states fivefold. Our staff and volunteers have worked to establish the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award program in dozens of states, strengthening the program’s “three pillars” of a green school as unifying criteria for the movement. This criteria is now used by organizations in 25 countries through our Global Coalition for Green Schools.

Anisa Heming at Green Schools Conference

Anisa Heming at the Green Schools Conference and Expo. Photo credit: coolgreenschools.com.

Finally, we have been the primary voice for a new job class, the K–12 sustainability director, providing professional development to a growing network of 120 school district staff who collectively serve over 7.5 million students. We have established Green Schools Fellowships and school district scholarships to successfully institutionalize sustainability positions in school districts.

What’s next for the Center

The Center sits at the forefront of USGBC’s drive to broaden our message about the impacts and benefits of green buildings. As the Center for Green Schools’ Director, I approach the work with the knowledge that schools are central to our communities and our future. Our children’s schools are of interest to the public in a way that few other buildings are. Additionally, schools have the potential to prepare students to care for and sustain the world in which they live, taking on their future careers with a mindset rooted in sustainability.

I am excited that, with USGBC’s tools and the new Arc platform, schools and school stakeholders can benchmark their performance, access important educational resources, find inspiring examples of success, and connect with and learn from each other. High-quality tools enable passionate people to do transformational work, and these tools will help the green schools movement go further.

Building on this foundation, the priorities of the Center for Green Schools over the next three years are to

  • Prepare students for a sustainable future by influencing the value of sustainability within mainstream education and serving sustainability education online.
  • Engage communities for impact by driving engagement in sustainability at school and leading and educating green school champions.
  • Guide policy and investment by advocating for school facility equity, encouraging investment in green school facilities globally and influencing school system practices and policies.

We will leverage USGBC’s considerable strengths to maximize the work of the Center for Green Schools and bring the green schools movement into its next phase. Through all of this work together, we will grow the audience for green schools and provide a launching pad for schools around the world to do great things for their students’ futures—because where we learn matters.

USGBC urges preservation of greenhouse gas measure

USGBC has submitted a public comment urging the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to keep in place the current greenhouse gas (GHG) measure for federal highways. This message came in response to a proposed rulemaking that would repeal the measure, which requires state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations to monitor on-road vehicle emissions and set targets for improvement.

The GHG measure applies to state and metro area transportation agencies that receive federal funding and is one of a suite of performance measures. The current rule does not impose any specific limit, but rather identifies on-road vehicle emissions as among the metrics appropriate for evaluating overall transportation system performance.

DOT initially suspended the GHG measure, which eight states then challenged in a lawsuit. Notably, each of the states—which included California, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—argued that they have the duty to protect their residents from the adverse effects of climate change. California, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, cited its own legislatively mandated targets for emissions reductions, as well as the state’s particular vulnerability to the consequences of high GHG emissions.

The built environment, which encompasses transportation systems and commercial, residential and industrial buildings, was responsible for 60 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2015, according to the U.S. EPA. Tracking these emissions is essential to making our cities and states more livable, healthy and green—especially since you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

LEED strongly supports GHG emission reduction through innovative and mindful design and implementation, including LEED credits that offer incentives to accommodate non-motorized modes of transportation and green vehicles, as well as rewarding strategies that provide access to reliable public transit.

USGBC will continue to monitor all transportation performance-measure rulemakings, in order to support ways for society to measure and understand externalities imposed by our built environment.

LEED-certified schools hits 2,000

Take a look at the trends tallied by the Center for Green Schools upon the 2,000th LEED certification of a school.
For years, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC has kept a close eye on the way that K–12 schools interact with or purchase the resources and products that USGBC provides. It’s one way to tell how well the benefits of green building are reaching schools and school districts, and it also tells USGBC when we need to do some research to improve the solutions we’re offering.

Just recently, we reached a major milestone: 2,000 LEED-certified K–12 schools.

True to our LEED standards, our 2,000th school, the Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, operates with high levels of sustainability. With on-site renewable energy, the use of low-emitting materials and reduction in water use, among other features, the Rio Grande High School earned LEED Gold certification.

With thousands of schools becoming certified, there’s a wealth of sustainability trends to observe. Here are some we’ve been noting:

Public schools are leading. These 2,000 projects represent well over $30 billion in investment. They also cover a total of 160 million square feet of education space, approximately 2 percent of the total square footage of all U.S. public schools. Public schools make up the vast majority of LEED certification commitments, driven by either state laws or by the desire of school districts to show good stewardship of tax dollars.
Large districts make large-scale commitments. Typically, when we take a look at LEED-certified projects by large/medium public school district size, we see large districts with big capital campaigns at the top. Over the last couple of years, Houston Independent School District and Washington, D.C., Public Schools have risen in numbers quickly as they dive fully into their bond projects. They’ve overtaken Albuquerque Public Schools, whose recent capital campaign is winding down, and Chicago Public Schools.

Looking at the numbers another way, within the large/medium public school district group, we see that Cincinnati Public Schools and South-Western City Schools, both in Ohio, have huge percentages of schools that have achieved certification. In both cases, nearly 40 percent of all schools in the district are certified, constituting a major commitment and commendable effort.
Some states distribute funding to assist smaller districts. The state-level data tells another angle of the national story because it highlights the state of Ohio’s commitment to LEED certification for all of its schools. Just over 300 schools have been certified in Ohio, more than double the number certified in the second-place state, California. The certified schools in Ohio are distributed around the state, reflective of the state’s commitment to assist smaller, less-wealthy school districts with needed capital construction funds.
The places using LEED are geographically diverse. The list of top states for LEED-certified schools emphasizes the broad appeal of green schools and green building practices. The top six states for LEED in schools are Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland and Florida. Schools are seeing the value of the third-party verification that LEED provides—whether rural, urban, suburban on the coast or inland.

Page 1 of 2412345»1020...Last »

LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Chemline, Inc. is a member of The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has the potential to provide LEED points.