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Archive for March, 2015

Efficient buildings help federal energy use get to 40-year low

Published on 17 Feb 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

There was a  recent announcement from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that energy consumption by the federal government is at its lowest point since 1975. This is, as some would say, a big deal and in looking at the contribution of the building sector in achieving this goal, it is in fact a very big deal for green buildings.

While reducing fuel consumption was a meaningful factor in getting to this point, lower energy use in federal buildings was a key aspect in getting to this accomplishment. The analysis from EIA points to the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), which set requirements to achieve 30 percent reduction in federal building energy use and 65 percent reduction in fossil fuel consumption of new or renovated federal buildings by 2015, as a reason for the downward trend.

While not named specifically, a large portion of the new and renovating buildings meeting these targets and contributing to these energy reductions are LEED buildings. With more than 150 million square feet of federal buildings LEED-certified, it’s clear that LEED is helping federal agencies and departments lead by example and achieve the many benefits of green building.

This is good news, but not great news. The agencies must continue to do more to reduce consumption through a number of measures including a continued commitment to performance contracting to help address existing buildings and certifying major renovations and new construction through the LEED rating system.

Let’s keep the government’s commitment to green building going.

Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

USGBC staff




First Ever Joint ASHRAE- USGBC Golf tournament!

This event has quickly become the “can’t miss” event organized by your USGBC Central Florida Chapter and now we are joining forces with the Central Florida chapter of ASHRAE to bring you the largest construction industry Golf event in Orlando.

The Central Florida Chapter of ASHRAE has partnered with the USGBC Central Florida Chapter with the common goal to bring a higher level of sustainability to the Coalition for the Homeless’ Women’s Residential Counseling Center in downtown Orlando (WRCC). ASHRAE and USGBC are both committed to partnering with the Coalition for the Homeless to participate in launching a community project focused on education and sustainability improvements.

The WRCC is a 126-person transitional living program for single women and women with children, with an additional 12 beds for emergency situations. In addition to receiving shelter and nutritious meals, homeless women who turn to the Coalition for assistance work with a case manager at the WRCC to build a budget and savings account, and to develop a plan for self-sufficiency. The Coalition’s goal is to help their residents move into stable, affordable housing.

This year’s Golf Tournament will take place on Friday, April 10 at the rolling hills of Sanctuary Ridge golf club, one of the more unique golfing experiences in Florida. Although the property has had many uses over the past years, the lay of the land and topographic feature resemble that of Ireland and Scotland.

USGBC Central Florida Chapter



Legislators announce bipartisan effort to advance school efficiency

Published on 6 Feb 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

Members of the U.S. Representatives reaffirmed their commitment to advancing school efficiency policy. Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA), Chris Gibson (NY), and Peter Welch (VT) re-introduced the bipartisan Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act.

This legislation might sound familiar to frequent readers. It was passed out of the House Energy and Committee and the by the House of Representatives last year.

The bill would require the Secretary of Energy to establish a centralized clearinghouse to disseminate information on federal programs, incentives, and technical assistance for financing efficiency retrofits and upgrades at schools. The bill would also direct the Secretary to work with other federal agencies to develop a comprehensive list of these programs and to maximize efforts to publicize them through education and outreach.

Upon the re-introduction of his legislation Rep. Cartwright urged swift action. “Our children deserve to attend school in a safe and comfortable learning environment.  We must also learn to utilize energy in an efficient, responsible, and effective manner if we are to attain energy self-sufficiency.”

Smart policy like this has a great chance of getting enacted this Congress. Stay tuned to see how this legislation progresses and how dovetail with other congressional priorities.

Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

USGBC staff



LEED offers beacons of hope at shelters across the U.S.

Published on 12 Feb 2015Written by Sarah Buente Posted in LEED

From green roofs, to natural light and landscaped courtyards, green building practices are offering our nation’s homeless beacons of hope even in the bleakest of situations. Shelters are turning towards energy-efficiency and sustainability measures as a new solution to improving lives and the communities that surround them.

As of January 2014, over 578,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States—and nearly two-thirds of that number lived in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs. Additionally, nationwide emergency shelter use was close to 100% and transitional housing use was between 83-89%. With the homeless assistance system continuing to deal with such a large population, healthy buildings offer a unique opportunity to help the most disenfranchised members of our society heal and reconnect to the communities around them.

Across the country, shelters are certifying to LEED and implementing sustainable design features. Often housed in outdated buildings, such as old, abandoned warehouses, or buildings that have out-served their original use, green initiatives at these shelters are a welcome departure. In return, the cost-savings these energy-efficient measures allow are vital to the often underfunded homeless assistance system.

 The positive impacts sustainable design can have on communities everywhere: cities have begun to address root causes of issues that undermine its urban fabric. In effect, they have created a safe, sustainable, beautiful environment as a means of creating a more sustainable, safe, and beautiful city. This is the impact that a homeless shelter can have on a city: to literally transform a city both physically and psychologically.”

Sarah Buente

Marketing Project Coordinator


An update from Georgia: Cheers for green schools

Published on 10 Feb 2015Written by Suzanne Haerther Posted in Center for Green Schools

The USGBC Georgia Chapter is excited about the turnout and feedback from the Second Annual High Performance Healthy Schools Recognition Day at the State Capitol on Feb. 5, 2015.

The event brought out over 180 people interested in the schools in Georgia. They were district personnel, principals, teachers, and students, as well as legislators. Senator Margaret Kaiser presented two resolutions that had been approved by the Georgia House of Representatives. Senator Nan Orrock presented a resolution that had been approved by the Georgia Senate and a proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal was also presented.

Schools across the state of Georgia are doing great things to provide healthy learning environments and more efficient schools. This year, both leaders and projects were recognized, and over 50 awards were given out to schools, districts and organizations throughout Georgia that have made a commitment to sustainability in 2014.

Awards were given out for participation in the Green Apple Day of Service, Green YOUR School Competition, LEED certification, and the Princeton Review of Green Colleges. Additionally, several organizations were recognized for partnering with the chapter to help promote these programs and the health of our schools. The program included presentations from several of the schools and a chance for the attendees to meet each other.

 Suzanne Haerther

USGBC – Georgia Chapter

Wisconsin leads the world with the first certified LEED v4 O&M: Schools project


Published on 5 Jan 2015Written by Emma Arnold Posted in Center for Green Schools

On Nov. 7, 2014, Maple Dale School in Fox Point, Wisconsin made history. The school was the first in the world to earn certification under the LEED v4 Operations and Maintenance: Schools rating system, achieving LEED Gold certification.

In a special ceremony, Al Skodowski, Immediate Past Chair of the USGBC Board of Directors, presented the LEED plaque to the Maple Dale-Indian Hill School Board.

The certification was the result of a collaborative process that involved school leadership, staff, students and parents in the implementation of sustainable changes to improve the building’s environmental footprint.

Maple Dale School is exemplary in their commitment to sustainability. Student-led initiatives, like a waste audit facilitated by 5th grade students, have been integral to the school’s success. Other notable achievements include an Energy Star performance rating of 90, a 26 percent reduction in total water consumption, and the installation of an 11kW photovoltaic solar panel system.

The LEED Gold certification marks yet another success for Wisconsin. Earlier in the fall, the district’s Director of Operations, Jim Beckmann, was selected by the Center for Green Schools as one of only six 2014 recipients of its School District Scholarship program. The scholarship recognizes schools that are doing great work in the green schools movement, and provides support through networking, professional development and on-site assistance. The scholarship is funded through a generous grant from Transwestern, which has been a tireless supporter of healthy, safe and efficient schools for every child.

Emma Arnold

U.S. Green Building Council



Shaw introduces new Green Apple-branded carpet line

Published on 3 Feb 2015 Written by Joshua Lasky Posted in Center for Green Schools

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC launched the Green Apple campaign as a way to partner with businesses that share our vision of providing green schools for all within this generation. The Center is proud to welcome Shaw Contract Group, a company truly committed to providing healthy, high-performing, and sustainable learning spaces around the world, as our newest Green Apple partner.

Shaw has been engaged in Green Apple Day of Service since its inception, and Shaw employees have perennially organized numerous school improvement projects around the country. As a Green Apple partner, Shaw is poised to take its participation in Day of Service to the next level to support the communities in which its employees live and serve.

The Green Apple team works collaboratively with each unique partner to integrate Green Apple branding and messaging into their products and marketing strategies, driving visibility and awareness for the Center’s work. To achieve that goal, Shaw recently announced the creation of a Green Apple-branded carpet line, the Cut & Compose Collection, which features letters and numbers rearranged to achieve a bold graphic effect. Each product in the collection has been Cradle to Cradle Certified at the Silver level, and at the end of its useful life, Shaw will pick it up and recycle it at no cost to the customer.

A portion of proceeds from the sales of Cut & Compose, which will be sold to education clients as well as other sectors, will be donated to the Center for Green Schools.

Rachel Gutter, Senior Vice President of Knowledge at USGBC said, “We are excited to work with Shaw Contract Group to advance the message that where our children learn matters.”


International Parking Institute and Green Parking Council Collaborate with GBCI, the Certification Body for LEED


Published on 18 Dec 2014Written by Taryn Holowka Posted in Media

New collaboration recognizes importance of sustainable parking facility design and management to the built environment

In recognition of the importance of sustainable parking facilities and practices to the development of sustainable communities, the Green Building Certification Institute(GBCI), the certification body for the U.S. Green Building Council’s global LEED® green building rating system, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the International Parking Institute(IPI), the world’s largest parking association, and the Green Parking Council (GPC).

“Sustainability in parking is integral to building a greener future, not only structurally, but also by shaping transportation networks that support more livable, walkable communities,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president, GBCI. “This agreement will also expand the GBCI’s portfolio and mission to recognize excellence in green performance and practice.”

The three organizations will work in a strategic partnership for the delivery and promotion of the GPC’s recently launched Green Garage Certification program, which applies to both new and existing parking structures.

Green Garage Certification was developed by experts from a range of related fields, including parking, architecture, engineering, technology, property management, and academia. It assesses 50 elements of parking facility sustainability, including management practices that maximize performance while minimizing waste.

“This is a game-changer,” explained John Schmid, chairman of GPC, an affiliate of IPI. “Collaborating with the GBCI will result in a multiplier effect, dramatically increasing awareness of sustainable parking design, operations, and management.

“With GPC’s Green Garage Certification standards, IPI’s established focus on education related to sustainability, and GBCI’s distribution channels all working in sync, we’re enthusiastic that we can mainstream sustainable parking,” said Shawn Conrad, CAE, IPI’s executive director. “We are confident that will have a positive, far-reaching effect on the environment.”

 Taryn Holowka

Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Advocacy U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff


Weifang and USGBC Announce Partnership to Advance Green Buildings

Published on 28 Jan 2015Written by Marisa Long Posted in Media

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the city of Weifang have signed a strategic agreement to accelerate greater adoption of green buildings while strengthening and encouraging robust green city principles and practices in Weifang.

“It is an honor to work with Mayor Liu and Weifang Housing and Urban Rural Development Director Li Guangdong to advance green buildings in China,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer of USGBC. “I am impressed with their leadership and commitment to making Weifang a greener and more successful city. Over the next few years, we at USGBC look forward to helping Weifang become a leader in using the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system.”

Selected by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development (MOHURD) and the U.S. Department of Energy, Weifang, a city of nine million people, is one of seven pilot Eco-Cities in China that will apply Eco-City guidelines in designated districts to demonstrate how cities can become greener, cleaner, healthier and successful. Eco-Cities is initiative of MOHURD.

The new partnership will also focus on efforts to develop a workforce able to design, build and maintain green buildings, provide public and consumer information and education about green buildings, develop green school programs and collaborate around the adoption of LEED, while providing training opportunities related to green buildings and green communities.

“The U.S. Green Building Council is one of the earliest organizations to promote green buildings in the world,” said Li Guangdong, director of Weifang Housing and Urban Rural Development. “I consider LEED to be the most influential green building rating system in the world, an internationally recognized benchmark for high-performing, green buildings. The city of Weifang would like to carry out further cooperation with USGBC to implement the necessary related contents in our strategic agreement to make breakthroughs in promoting green building in Weifang and accelerate Eco-city construction.”

USGBC and the city of Weifang will continue to develop concrete engagements to further their strategic alliance, and will work closely with partners both in the United States and China to advance the cause of green buildings and green cities.

 Marisa Long

Public Relations & Communications DirectorU.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff



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.