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HAPPY EARTH DAY – APRIL 22ND

There are plenty of ways you can make every day Earth Day.  Improve your own small part of the planet by considering these suggestions for spring-cleaning, garden preparation and home improvements:

* Purchase non-toxic cleaning products.  Use natural fiber sponges and cleaning agents that are biodegradable, phosphate-free, chlorine-free and unscented.

* Reduce paper use.  Use rags instead of paper towels; cloth napkins instead of paper ones.  Buy post-consumer recycled paper and recycle it when you’ve used it.

* Refurbish responsibly.  Use water-based or vegetable-based paints, stains, and varnishes.  Don’t wash paint thinners, household cleaners, oil or pesticides down the drain or pour them on the ground; use them up, give leftovers to friends or a charity, or dispose at your local toxic waste disposal center.

* Repair instead of replace.  Reupholster furniture.  Resole your shoes.

* Replace disposable goods with renewable ones.  Buy rechargeable batteries.  Use dishes instead of paper plates.

* Plant for the planet.  Strengthen your garden’s resistance to pests by planting resilient plants, by rotating the fruits and vegetables you plant, and by attracting friendly bugs to prey on the pesky ones.

USGBC FLORIDA CHAPTER

Florida Fourth in Number of LEED Projects in USA in 2016

February 02, 2017 Sarah Boren (Administrator)

Boca Raton, FL  (February 3, 2017) — Florida ranked fourth in the number of LEED projects in the U.S. in 2016, according to an annual ranking produced by the US Green Building Council.  The annual ranking highlights states throughout the United States that made significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation over the past year.  LEED is the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system.

“This speaks volumes about Florida’s commitment to environmental excellence and social responsibility,” said Mike Hess, Chair of the USGBC Florida Chapter.  “We applaud the companies, owners, municipalities and everyone who played even a small part in this effort to deliver environmentally responsible, healthy and resource-efficient buildings in 2016 and in the future.”

Across the USA, 3,366 projects were LEED Certified in 2016, representing 470.39 million square feet.  In 2016, Florida saw 204 new LEED Certified projects representing more than 15 million square feet.  Through January 10, 2017, Florida has 1,422 LEED Certified projects representing more than 125 million square feet.

In 2016, 53 percent of LEED building space was Certified in LEED’s Operations and Maintenance rating systems, representing a shifting focus toward greening the nation’s existing buildings stock.  LEED for Building Design and Construction, which primarily deals with new construction and major renovations, represented 42 percent of the Certified square footage Certified.  LEED for Interior Design and Construction made up approximately 5 percent of total square footage Certified.

USGBC   FLORIDA

 

Green anchors: LEED-certified venues spur urban growth

Published on 22 Feb 2017 Written by Rhiannon Jacobsen Posted in LEED

From sports arenas to museums, from concert halls to theaters, venues are iconic fixtures in the built environment that engage millions of people. They are centers of innovation, culture and community pride that can represent a city, a region and even whole countries. They also serve as important catalysts for development, bringing together planners, architects, developers, local government officials and residents to invest in the future growth and health of their communities.

 Growing the community

By nature, these spaces consume considerable energy and water resources, while also producing large quantities of waste. Implementing green practices in these spaces is not only a good business model in the long run, but as more and more operators embrace the role of environmental stewards and community ambassadors, they also inspire others to be proactive in the areas of social responsibility and sustainability.

Venues, and especially sports stadiums, have outsized impacts on both the environment and the community, given their size and scope. Every year, the top 200 stadiums in the U.S. alone draw roughly 181 million visitors.

Restaurants, hotels and retail spaces pop up to serve the crowds, followed by offices and other commercial buildings, which often ultimately leads to new residential development.

 Nationals Park scores for D.C. 

You need look no further than Nationals Park, located in southeast Washington, D.C., to see the economic, social and environmental benefits. Opened in 2008, the park currently makes $35 million in annual revenue, and estimates suggest that the city generates about $100 million in annual tax revenue from redevelopment around the stadium’s Capital Riverfront area. On top of that, this remediated brownfield site is easily accessible to public transportation, and is just one of many ways that the city demonstrates green building leadership.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to come out of the park’s development is the revival of community and the resurgence of southeast D.C.’s neighborhoods, as more and more people are attracted by new residential, retail and entertainment offerings—as well as plenty of green space.

Like many other venues, Nationals Park anchors the community, spurs growth and contributes to an authentic identity that’s tied to the built environment. Beyond giving a defined purpose for city districts, venues give people a place to connect and share their experiences.

 

Greenbuild 2017

Published on 28 Feb 2017 Written by Taryn Holowka Posted in Industry

 USGBC and GBCI also announced Greenbuild India 2017, which will be held in Mumbai, India, from Nov. 2–5. Since 2002, the conference and expo has been held annually in the United States. During the past two years, it has expanded its reach to include other nations. Greenbuild brings together global industry leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building, making it the ideal space to learn about groundbreaking green building products, services and technologies in the region.

The conference features three groundbreaking days of inspiring speakers, invaluable networking opportunities, industry showcases and an exhibit hall with the latest products, LEED workshops and tours of the host city’s green buildings.

Partnerships

To effect true market change and make the impact we need, we are working with partners every step of the way. We’ve announced partnerships with TERI and BV and with Tata Housing, when it committed to bringing 20 million square feet of LEED- and WELL-certified homes to India.

Most recently, we’ve announced partnerships with T3 around performance and with Delhi Metrorail Corporation, and we launched the new LEED for Transit system.

To learn more, check out our new LEED On video series, which celebrates leaders across India who inspire through their innovative use of green building strategies and technologies. These leaders who represent all building sectors, from education to health care, from manufacturing to hospitality, are pointing us all to a more sustainable future—one that will improve the quality of life today and for generations to come.

Green building is about reducing energy waste and water use. It’s about creating jobs and sparking economic growth. It’s also about protecting the health of our children for the future. These social and environmental benefits can be realized while dramatically improving operational profits.

Social motivators for green buildings include encouraging sustainable business practices, supporting the domestic economy, creating a sense of community and increasing worker productivity. Reducing energy consumption and reducing water consumption are also very important drivers for green building.

The green building industry has shown the world that sustainability is profitable, and that profitability is sustainable.

Green building trends in India: 2017

Published on 28 Feb 2017 Written by Taryn Holowka Posted in Industry

On a global scale, green building construction is doubling every three years, according to the World Green Building Trends 2016 report, by Dodge Data and Analytics. Some of the leading drivers of this growth are client demand, environmental regulation and an enhanced awareness of the occupant and tenant benefits of green buildings.

Over the last several years, green building has also seen a dramatic increase in India. USGBC, the developers of the LEED green building program, are committed to advancing even more rapid adoption of green building practices in India. In fact, green building is projected to grow 20 percent in the country by 2018.

India already ranks third among the Top Ten Countries for LEED, and in 2016, nearly 650 projects in India earned LEED certification. Emerging economies such as India are engines of green growth, with development varying from two- to sixfold over current green building levels.

According to a recent USGBC survey, 87 percent of Indian green building professionals anticipate the use of LEED in India increasing overall, with nine out of ten industry senior executives in India anticipating that their LEED-related work will increase over the next several years.

We are very focused on encouraging and growing the green movement in the country and have been preparing for some time:

GBCI India

In 2015 we launched GBCI India, which is a local GBCI hub in New Delhi that is designed to help LEED teams and others in the sustainability industry with on-the-ground customer service and technical support as well as a local connection.

 

USGBC South Carolina participates in STEM Fest

Published on 3 Mar 2017 Written by Sandra Doherty Posted in Community

On February 11, the USGBC South Carolina Low Country Branch participated in the fourth annual Charleston STEM Fest 2017, an outdoor celebration of science, technology, engineering and math. Our booth was located right on the river on a beautiful 70-degree day. The group started setting up around 9 a.m., and by 10, the kids were flocking around the booth with excited faces.

 Engaging the community

At this festival, our goal was to interact with students and engage them in activities about how to be green. In addition, being an exhibitor not only gave the organization exposure, but also the an opportunity to network with other exhibitors/vendors that have a presence in Charleston that may seek to know more about USGBC. We hoped to reach students, faculty members, school board members and other leaders of the Charleston community.

Sketching out green homes

USGBC volunteers Joe, Jacquayle, Jennifer and Greg assisted the children in modeling a basic house with a door, windows and a gable roof. They acquainted parents with the sketch-up software and other computer modeling software that is all free. With up to 200 students participating, the eclectic neighborhood that came to life expressed unique color palettes, and a variety of structures from modest to ambitiously soaring.

After the volunteers highlighted the basic geometric functions to the children, most were quick learners and were excited to explore their new tech-savvy hobby at home. After each child modeled their dream home in sketch-up, volunteers would assist in creating an overhang in front of a few windows. They would demonstrate the shadow cast by the new addition to their structure and open an adjacent window with a model that demonstrated an energy efficiency profile.

The energy-efficient model, adorned with a heat-color-coded response, stirred curiosity in the children. The volunteers explained that the shading device modeled above their windows allowed for a cooler response from the building toward its environment. Adjacent trees in the energy model were pointed out, and the USGBC volunteers explained how the leaves create shade in the hot months of the year and then fall to create more opportunity for light in the colder months.

 Encouraging enthusiasm for STEM

The volunteer team was as enthusiastic about the day as the participants. Jennifer described her experience:

As a USGBC South Carolina volunteer, I am absolutely thrilled we were able to attend the Charleston STEM fest 2017. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. With an abundant and vivacious group of exhibitors, I felt personally encouraged by the surrounding network of professionals, who are passionate about creating games to facilitate the interest of the next generation in science, engineering, math and technology.

The children and parents came out with overwhelming interest. The kids were patient and quick learners who were all extremely engaged. It was a great success.

Green Schools Conference and Expo Comes to Atlanta

Published on 2 Mar 2017 Written by Rachel Gilbert Posted in Media

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Dr. Antwi Akom and Dr. Elizabeth Kiss to speak at conference that brings together sustainability advocates, education leaders, parents to transform nation’s schools

Washington, D.C.—(March 1, 2017)—The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE), presented by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, and produced in partnership with the Green Schools National Network, is coming to Atlanta, Georgia, March 21–22, 2017, at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, located at 210 Peachtree Street NW.

The conference, designed to bring together teachers, parents, students, school and district staff, educational leaders, building industry professionals and nonprofit partners, is the premier education and engagement opportunity for those who are passionate about the future of green schools throughout the country and around the world. During the two-day conference, advocates will come together to make measurable and lasting progress toward the three pillars of green schools: environmental impact, health impact and environmental and sustainability literacy.

Occupant-aware buildings or building-aware occupants?

Published on 1 Mar 2017 Written by Tom Marseille Posted in Industry

 Efficiency is in the occupant’s hands

At one end of the spectrum, effectively leveraging passive design and daylighting usually depends on occupants changing the indoor environment to fit their needs (e.g., opening and closing windows or raising and lowering blinds). Essentially, occupants are asked to become more aware and more educated about how their buildings are meant to operate to provide the most benefit.

Buildings that are designed and built to current market standards increasingly include more indoor sensors to control mechanical HVAC or artificial lighting. But occupants can easily manipulate these tools, and do so frequently, typically in response to a lack of control over the space. Occupant education can help in setting expectations and encouraging behavioral changes, but it is challenging to execute, and the knowledge does not stay constant during inevitable staff turnover.

Customizing building information, and making it accessible via individual workstations or smartphones, is a reality today. But it remains to be seen whether occupant interest and active engagement can be sustained in the long term. Early findings are not particularly encouraging except in cases where there is a strong motivating factor. Does this mean having effective building-aware occupants is an aspiration that may not be achievable?

 Your building can sense you

Everyone, from tech developers to futurists to politicos, have latched onto the idea of smart buildings within smart cities, of making sense of big data collected from new information conduits available through the internet of things and new sensory technology. Smart buildings stand to benefit the broad spectrum of building stakeholders.

Developers looking for a quick and profitable sale can tout the latest approach to building technology and use it as a lever to fulfill energy efficiency code mandates. Building owners could enjoy lower operating costs through a fully and continually tuned, optimized building, and be poised to better track and retain tenants. Tenants may see improved productivity from employees through a healthier, more comfortable environment, which could contribute in turn to reduced staff turnover. Smart sensors gathering data on occupancy trends may inform future workplace strategies, enabling planning for reduced leased space requirements without compromising employee comfort and productivity.

It is a powerful idea, but it raises some questions, because—if we are willing—buildings will soon know our preferences, where we are and when they can expect us to arrive or depart. Buildings can potentially make choices for us to optimize (based on the trended algorithms) occupant experience and performance.

Does this mean that eventually, your building may know more about you than you are comfortable with, even though you are more comfortable in your building? Is the next generation of high performance for building stock only possible at the expense of personal privacy? And can we truly rely on this additional layer of systems complexity to be reliable, affordable, maintainable and secure?

For now, we can still consider the other option of educating people to “do it themselves,” to emphasize and enable the building-aware occupant in a simpler building, arming them with information that helps them consume less and enjoy an admittedly lower tech building more.

USGBC

 

Green infrastructure: City climate action planning

Published on 2 Sep 2016 Written by Hannah Jane Brown Posted in Industry

We are breaking world records this year. We are on track for the hottest year on record. Already, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred during the young 21st century, and this year is adding yet another extreme to the list. This mounting challenge drove world leaders to come to a landmark agreement at last winter’s Paris talks.

The emissions reduction targets formalized in Paris tell us what our emission levels should be, but if you’re like me, you might be asking how we are going to get there. Thankfully, we know that green infrastructure boasts many benefits that could be part of the solution.

City climate action plans are steering cities in their implementation of policies and actions providing both tangible local benefits and contributing to global impact.

Cities can generally be doing more. Here’s a summary of findings from my review of climate action plans from 28 U.S. cities. On the whole, 21 of the 28 plans mention green infrastructure at various depths.

Some plans detail robust implementation strategies and specific initiatives, while others mention green infrastructure as a general concept, but lack a developed discussion or implementation strategy.

Most cities appear to be aware of green infrastructure as a possible solution set, but their climate action plans do not demonstrate a current understanding or commitment to put it to maximum use.

Whether or not the term “green infrastructure” is mentioned, most city climate action plans are outlining ways for green infrastructure to help, including:

 Urban forests and urban agriculture: 25 plans include urban forestry initiatives and 26 include urban agriculture programs. Considering only 21 plans mention green infrastructure, it is safe to say cities see the value in green infrastructure practices even if they don’t identify them that way.

Transportation and streetscapes: 20 of the plans refer to green infrastructure in relation to street design and public rights-of-way. These plans encourage permeable surfacesplanted medians and stormwater planters along streets and sidewalks. Green infrastructure is often coupled with initiatives to create safe and inviting street environments that promote walking and alternative transportation.

Green roofs: 16 of the plans discuss green roofs. Some cities require green roofs for new development. It is common for cities to offer direct development incentives such as density bonuses, permit fast-tracking, or floor-area-ratio bonuses for projects with green roofs. Many cities also offer grants to assist building owners with retrofitting their roofs. Stormwater fees further incentivize green roofs by linking savings with reduced runoff.

Bioswales, rain gardens and water catchment systems: Bioswales and rain gardens are mentioned in 11 of the plans, and water catchment devices in 13. City ordinances designed to manage stormwater tend to promote these strategies, and so can codes that guide street design. Cities are taking a more critical look at parking as well and encouraging these practices to reduce runoff and pollution.

It’s clear that the elements of green infrastructure are recognized as effective strategies to address climate action, but more remains to be done to harness the full range of benefits. In addition to meaningful climate action, green infrastructure can move cities closer to achieving myriad other goals, including social equity.

Hannah Jane Brown Posted in Industry

Green infrastructure: Best practices for cities

Published on 10 Jan 2017 Written by Hannah Jane Brown Posted in Advocacy and policy

Next time you take a walk around your city, look around. Is there green infrastructure near you? If not, there might be soon! Green infrastructure is becoming a more widely adopted strategy for addressing city challenges and goals.

In addition to taking root in climate action planning, cities are weaving green infrastructure into sustainability efforts and throughout myriad other initiatives. Recent articles on city climate action planning and fostering equity highlighted trends and best practices.

Some leading U.S. cities have already taken steps to invest in green infrastructure in a way that ensures benefits across the triple bottom line:

 Chicago, Illinois: The city’s climate action plan calls for 500 new green roofs each year, leading up to 2020, to help manage stormwater and the urban heat island. Chicago is well on its way already, with over 500, and it continues to be among the national leaders in green roof development. The city led by example, installing a green roof on its City Hall building in 2000. Since, green infrastructure has been further promoted through city ordinances and programs such as the Green Alley program, the Sustainable Development Policy and a stormwater ordinance.

Baltimore, Maryland: Since 2010, the city has been focused on reversing urban blight using green infrastructure and community spaces through the Vacants to Value program. Since the program launched, 700 new community-managed spaces have been created from previously vacant properties. Complementary city-run initiatives, such as urban agriculture and arts programs, are expanding more equitable access to land and green spaces while harnessing the benefits of a greener city.

Portland, Oregon: The city’s climate action plan prioritizes urban forest development in underserved areas, helping to grow the urban canopy with a more equitable distribution. Unlike most plans, Portland’s sets a minimum canopy coverage target, which prioritizes underserved neighborhoods. Portland’s plan includes an initiative to revisit canopy targets in the future to ensure they better capture resiliency outcomes, equitable distribution, and biodiversity.

 Guiding principles for cities

Data-driven. Cities use GIS mapping, census data and visualization tools to drive planning. This can include mapping current green infrastructure together with demographic information, as well as using models to understand future climate scenarios. Strategies are strongest when they consider cross-disciplinary information, both qualitative and quantitative.

Place-based. Green infrastructure projects are site-specific and community-based. Implementation involves community and stakeholder engagement to ensure the planning process recognizes distinctions within a city across ecological, social and cultural dimensions. Green infrastructure projects are best if they follow the local community’s vision and meet its specific needs.

Integrated with other initiatives.The myriad benefits of green infrastructure make it an excellent tool for addressing a number of challenges. Cities that break down silos and create cross-cutting green infrastructure projects are better able to garner public support, thus improving their attractiveness to diverse sources of funding. Urban farming is an excellent example; urban farms combat food deserts, provide STEM learning opportunities and contribute to ecological health.

Aligned with structural adjustments. Cities can update their policies to align with green infrastructure initiatives. This can include creating new ordinances, rewriting codes, and facilitating green infrastructure through interagency alignment. Cities committed to unpacking the historical and political background of policies will be more prepared to implement projects that deliver equitable results.

When green infrastructure initiatives have these characteristics, they have the potential to create more resilient communities by strengthening climate adaptation and social equity at the same time.

Hannah Jane Brown   Posted in Advocacy and policy

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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.