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Archive for June, 2015

strong evidence of the impact of school design on learning

Published on 18 May 2015Written by Peter Barrett Posted in Center for Green Schools

Until now, it may seem bizarre, but the holistic impact of classroom design on the learning of school pupils has been pretty much an unknown quantity. Although many people intuitively feel that classroom design is important for effective learning, there has in fact been very little real evidence. Of course the challenge is far from simple, as there are a myriad of design factors in play within every classroom.

So the University of Salford’s research team targeted primary (or elementary) school classrooms, where the children are in one space most of their time and for whom there are metrics of their academic progress—an ideal “natural” research design. They then worked from the individual’s perspective to create a comprehensive and novel model of the factors in play (the Stimulation / Individualization / Naturalness, or SIN model). Finally they used multilevel statistical modeling to isolate the effects on learning that attach to the classroom level of analysis.

After three years the UK-based HEAD (Holistic Evidence and Design) study has reached a successful conclusion. Based on a detailed study of 153 classrooms in 27 schools in Blackpool, Hampshire and Ealing, involving 3,766 pupils, we have now established the evidence for how important classroom design is for learning and which of the factors involved are particularly important.

Based on this large sample it can be seen that variations in the physical characteristics of the classrooms explain 16% of the variation in the learning progress of the pupils who spent a year in these spaces. This is a much bigger impact than most people expected. Half the effect links to the normal comfort (or Naturalness) factors considered, but the other half is driven by factors to do with Individualization and the appropriate level of Stimulation. Interestingly factors to do with the school as a whole are nowhere near as important as the individual classrooms, and effective and less effective classrooms were often found in the same school.

The guide, “Clever Classrooms” provides illustrated advice to teachers and designers as to which factors are especially important. This is underpinned by a refereed journal paper in Building and Environment.

USGBC

AWT’S 2015 ANNUAL CONVENTION & EXPOSITION

SEPTEMBER 9-12, 2015

OMNI NASHVILLE HOTEL & MUSIC CITY CENTER

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Five Reasons You Should Attend

AWT’s Annual Convention and Exposition continues to grow each year, yet it still remains the perfect size for professionals in our industry. With over 1,000 attendees, the meeting provides you with plenty of opportunities to increase your business connections and resources, while it maintains its exclusive focus on industrial water treatment.

Here are a few other reasons why you should attend the 2015 Annual Convention and Exposition being held in Nashville, Tennessee:

  1. 98% of past attendees say they return to the office with practical knowledge they can implement immediately.
  2. 93% of past attendees say the convention increases their industry knowledge.
  3. Since 2010, attendance has grown by more than 21%—exposing you to more individuals with whom you can network.
  4. Attendees are viewed as one of the biggest assets of the convention. The convention’s noncompetitive atmosphere allows you to share your experiences, challenges, and concerns.
  5. It’s the only convention where you’ll find exhibitors whose sole focus is industrial water treatment.

 

Bounce back faster from disaster (Building Safety)

Published on 15 May 2015Written by Grant Olear Posted in Advocacy and policy

Over the past decade, scores of devastating weather events across the globe have taken countless lives and destroyed many of the buildings people once called home.

As natural disasters become more and more common, it is imperative that building codes be updated in step with the ever-changing environment in order to adequately protect building occupants. Code revisions must arise from an integrated approach where all aspects of planning, construction, operation, and demolition are considered to ensure that human health and safety are a priority.

Planning for extreme weather events is essential, but we need to plan smarter as climate change disrupts our understanding of what’s normal, what’s predictable, and what’s likely. Currently, the majority of climate-related decisions are based on historic climate data and past trends, with the inherent assumption that the climate will remain relatively stable in the future. Observed effects of climate change include higher temperatures, an increase in the number and size of drought-prone areas, higher storm intensity, sea level rise, accelerated rates of coastal erosion, increased water salinity and suspended solids, and increased runoff.

Constructing above-code green buildings is a cost-effective way to increase resiliency while lessening the potential impacts of extreme weather events and ongoing climate change.

In order to overcome the growing threats associated with global climate change, we must continuously look over the horizon to foreseeable and unforeseeable crises and see what plans are on the table, what preparations need to be made, and what assets are in place. .

Grant Olear

Green Building Policy Associate U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

St. Louis congregations green their houses of worship

Published on 30 Mar 2015 Written by Johanna Schweiss Posted in Community

Over 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from the building sector. Anywhere there is a building, there is an opportunity to measure its energy use and make changes to conserve energy, save money, improve building occupant experience, and protect the environment.

For many congregations, saving energy can mean more than a lower energy bill. From Catholic to Buddhist, Muslim to Presbyterian, Southern Baptist to Bahá’í, faith traditions from all over the world have ethical and moral frameworks for stewardship of the environment.

In the St. Louis region, Missouri Interfaith Power and Light and the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter have teamed up to support congregations as they improve their energy efficiency and reduce their environmental impacts through the 25×20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign.

The 25×20 Campaign’s goal is to reduce building energy consumption in the St. Louis region by 25% by the year 2020, with campaign participants pledging to benchmark their building energy use. According to ENERGY STAR, buildings that benchmark their energy use for three years see an average energy savings of 7%.

Since the campaign was launched in April 2014, building owners and operators of all types have stepped up to show their commitment to the environment and to their bottom line, including many houses of worship.

Energy auditors investigated opportunities for energy savings in the selected congregations’ facilities, and provided each with a report that details potential strategies for energy savings.

Going forward, these congregations will be reviewing their reports and considering their potential next steps. To aid them in this process, Missouri Interfaith Power & Light, the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Jewish Environmental Initiative, a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, invited congregations to reunite in a workshop titled “Green your House of Worship: Building Success for a Better Building and a Better Planet.”

Through conserving energy, making sustainable purchasing decisions, thoughtfully caring for our landscapes, responsibly handling waste, and ensuring a safe and healthy indoor environment, people of faith have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their congregations, their communities, and on climate.

Johanna Schweiss

USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter

Member employees

Going beyond green with green buildings

Published on 1 Apr 2015 Written by Nora Knox Posted in Industry

Initially, green buildings were intended to reduce damage to the environment and human health caused by creating and maintaining buildings and neighborhoods. As the concept of sustainability was applied to the built environment, it has become clear that doing less damage is not enough.

Leaders in the field now speak about buildings and communities that are regenerative, meaning that these sustainable environments evolve with living systems and contribute to the long-term renewal of resources and life. Some practitioners have begun to explore what it would mean to move beyond “sustainable” and participate as a positive developmental force in our ecosystems and communities. The focus is on building a comprehensive understanding of the place in which the project is located, recognizing the site’s patterns and flow of life. Accordingly, such projects contribute to the healthy coevolution of humans and all life in that place. They thrive on diversity, for example, and clean the air rather than pollute it. Regenerative projects and communities involve stakeholders and require interactivity.

Regenerative projects support the health of the local community and regional ecosystems, generate electricity and send the excess to the grid, return water to the hydrologic system cleaner than it was before use, serve as locations for food production and community networking, regenerate biodiversity, and promote many other relationships that link the projects to the whole system of life around them.

Regenerative projects strive toward “net-zero”—using no more resources than they can produce. For example, net-zero energy projects use no more energy from the grid than they generate on site. These projects may be connected to the grid, drawing electricity from it at night and contributing energy from on-site renewable energy systems during the day, such that their total energy cost is zero. Other projects strive for carbon neutrality, emitting no more carbon emissions than they can either sequester or offset. Still other projects are designed to achieve a more even water balance: they use no more water than that which falls on site as precipitation, or they produce zero waste by recycling, reusing, or composting all materials.

Not all projects can achieve those levels of performance. Nevertheless, on average, green buildings save energy, use less water, generate less waste, and provide more healthful, more comfortable indoor environments.

Getting to green and beyond requires more than learning about new technologies and strategies. Achieving true sustainability requires a new approach to creating and caring for the built environment.

Nora Knox

Digital Marketing Manager U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff

 

USGBC and C40 Release Landmark Green Building City Market Briefs

Published on 2 Apr 2015 Written by Cecilia Shutters Posted in Media

(Washington, D.C.) April 2, 2015 –The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in partnership with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and the World Green Building Council (WGBC), released a compendium of briefs that showcase the sustainability, building energy use and climate change policy work of cities across the globe.

Approximately 74 percent of the cities examined are implementing incentives for a greener built environment, 61 percent have enacted municipal green building policies and 49 percent are pursuing sustainable community policies.

“The findings within these briefs indicate that cities are making impressive investments to create more resilient and sustainable built environments, as well as impact the health and wellbeing of their citizens,” said Roger Platt, president of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Many mayors are forging the path toward a more sustainable future, and cities are the lifeblood of policy innovation. The collective impacts and outcomes showcased across these briefs show thoughtful leadership and innovation.”

The research covers an assessment of policies, plans, projects and programs in 66 C40 cities. Categories include: city-wide sustainability initiatives, private sector green building incentives, green codes, sustainable community development, energy benchmarking, green schools, green affordable housing and sustainable transportation measures. Additional data points on the uptake of green building certified projects are included where applicable. Collectively, nearly 5,000 projects in these cities have achieved LEED green building certification.

“Building energy use is a leading contributor to urban greenhouse gas emissions and therefore represents one of the greatest opportunities for cities to tackle climate change,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40. “This report shows that C40 cities, representing 500+ million people and one quarter of the global economy, are taking bold and innovative steps to improve the long-term sustainability of their municipal and private building infrastructure, for the benefit of urban citizens.”

 Cecilia Shutters

Communications Associate

 

 

WELL Building Standard Introduced in China

Published on 24 Mar 2015Written by Marisa Long Posted in Media

(Beijing) March 24, 2015 – The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) formally introduced the WELL Building Standard in China. WELL is a system that focuses on human health and wellbeing in the built environment.

WELL, which complements green building rating programs such as LEED, Three Star and BREEAM, has come forward at a time of increased environmental awareness among the Chinese people who are looking for solutions to improve quality of life.

“Our world today is confronting massive health challenges that are assaulting our complete physical, mental and social wellbeing,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO & founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “As these challenges continue to mount, all of us have an obligation to be more purposeful when addressing how human health relates to our built environment. The WELL certification program is a powerful way to accelerate better, healthier buildings throughout China.”

The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time and the health and wellness of the people in them, WELL certification allows building owners and employers to know their space is designed to promote health and well being and is performing as intended.

“We think there is a great market opportunity in China for companies to be at the forefront of healthy building practices,” said Paul Scialla, founder of the International WELL Building Institute. “We are excited by the strong interest and demand we have already received from companies and projects that are interested in WELL certification and merging together best practices in environmental and human sustainability.”

GBCI, as the official certifying body of both WELL and LEED, will successfully integrate the certification and credentialing processes of both systems to help project teams efficiently deliver on both their environmental and human health goals.

Marisa Long

Public Relations & Communications Director U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

 

Relationship between the office building and its users

There is overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that the design of an office impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants.  For many, that will sound so obvious it almost goes without saying. But it does need saying, loud and clear, because this evidence has not yet had a major influence on the mainstream real estate sector, and is not yet translating at scale into design, finance and leasing decisions, certainly not in all parts of the globe. Furthermore, our understanding of the health, wellbeing and productivity implications of office design is deepening, aided by advances in technology and a growing awareness amongst a small number of enlightened developers, owners and tenants. For instance, it is increasingly clear that there is a difference between office environments that are simply not harmful – i.e. the absence of ‘bad’ – and environments that positively encourage health and wellbeing, and stimulate productivity. What has been clear throughout is the importance of climatic and cultural differences to design and the working environment. Santos Headquarters, Adelaide, GBC Australia There is overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that the design of an office impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants.

This complex relationship between health, wellbeing, productivity and ‘green building’ points to a need to reinterpret – some might say rescue – the term ‘green’ from an association purely with the environmental movement; or we may need to move ‘beyond green’ to talk much more about sustainable buildings. Either way, the goal should be buildings that maximize benefits for people, and leave the planet better off as well. Low carbon, resource efficient, healthy and productive – really what we are talking about is higher quality buildings.

If we better understand the relationship between the office, people and organizational performance, the potential for practical application is significant. This includes due diligence on new space, rent review on existing space, fit-out guidance on refurbished space, and so on. A better understanding of how buildings impact people should drive improvements in the workspace, which may be one of the most important business decisions to be made.

 

WORLD GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

Building Performance  

A building’s location and surroundings play a key role in regulating its temperature and illumination. For example, trees, landscaping, and hills can provide shade and block wind. In cooler climates, designing northern hemisphere buildings with south facing windows and southern hemisphere buildings with north facing windows increases the amount of sun (ultimately heat energy) entering the building, minimizing energy use, by maximizing passive solar heating. Tight building design, including energy-efficient windows, well-sealed doors, and additional thermal insulation of walls, basement slabs, and foundations can reduce heat loss by 25 to 50 percent.

Dark roofs may become up to 39 C° (70 F°) hotter than the most reflective white surfaces. They transmit some of this additional heat inside the building. US Studies have shown that lightly colored roofs use 40 percent less energy for cooling than buildings with darker roofs.

Proper placement of windows and skylights as well as the use of architectural features that reflect light into a building can reduce the need for artificial lighting. Increased use of natural and task lighting has been shown by one study to increase productivity in schools and offices.

Effective energy-efficient building design can include the use of low cost Passive Infra Reds (PIRs) to switch-off lighting when areas are unoccupied such as toilets, corridors or even office areas out-of-hours. In addition, lux levels can be monitored using daylight sensors linked to the building’s lighting scheme to switch on/off or dim the lighting to pre-defined levels to take into account the natural light and thus reduce consumption.

Smart meters are slowly being adopted by the commercial sector to highlight to staff and for internal monitoring purposes the building’s energy usage in a dynamic presentable format. The use of Power Quality Analyzers can be introduced into an existing building to assess usage, harmonic distortion, peaks, swells and interruptions amongst others to ultimately make the building more energy-efficient.

deep energy retrofit is a whole-building analysis and construction process that uses to achieve much larger energy savings than conventional energy retrofits. Deep energy retrofits can be applied to both residential and non-residential (“commercial”) buildings. A deep energy retrofit typically results in energy savings of 30 percent or more, perhaps spread over several years, and may significantly improve the building value.

Energy retrofits, including deep, and other types undertaken in residential, commercial or industrial locations are generally supported through various forms of financing or incentives. Incentives include pre-packaged rebates where the buyer/user may not even be aware that the item being used has been rebated or “bought down”. “Upstream” or “Midstream” buy downs are common for efficient lighting products.

USGBC

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.