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Archive for July, 2015

China’s Wanda Group looks to their global future with LEED

Published on 23 Jul 2015Written by Joseph Crea Posted in LEED

To hear Vice President Lai Jianyan of Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd.—the world’s largest commercial property owner and operator—put it, the most his company derives from LEED is not the financial benefits, it’s the demonstration of social responsibility for a global company.

“It conveys a message to the society through the LEED platform that Wanda commits to sustainable development, environment protection and social responsibility… The social value is followed by financial benefit.”

Wanda’s position as a global player is showing no signs of slowing down. They are the only company in China with the largest number of certified green projects with 322 certified buildings as of this June. Currently, 14 projects are pursuing LEED certification, including eight commercial buildings, two office buildings and four hotel and service apartment projects totaling 2.5 million gross square meters of space.

Wanda’s scope goes beyond China, with projects now in Chicago, Los Angeles, Gold Coast, Sydney, London and Madrid. Wanda is targeting to have about 1000 Wanda Plazas in operation by 2025, a diversified apparatus that will include commercial property management, cultural and tourism industries among others.

Mr. Lai spoke with USGBC about green development being a core value of Wanda’s long-term strategy, the creation of intelligent management systems for their properties and, of course, LEED, what it means to a rapidly expanding company such as Wanda and it’s future use in their built environment. Hint: LEED will be incorporated into all of Wanda Mall projects and most of their overseas hotels.

Joseph Crea

Director, International Marketing and Communications

Building fitness at the 2015 Honeywell Users Group


Published on 19 Jun 2015 Written by Gautami Palanki Posted in Industry

On June 9, the 13th annual Honeywell User Group (HUG) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, and kick starting Tuesday’s general session, “Industry Transformation with Real Time Performance.” Honeywell is a USGBC Platinum-level member and the conference brings together customers, stakeholders and product developers to share knowledge, experience and advice.

This was another example of Honeywell’s commitment to innovation and enhanced customer experience, qualities reflected throughout our collaboration to bring the LEED Dynamic Plaque to a global audience.

This year the theme was ‘Facility Fitness Challenge,’ with an emphasis on putting our buildings to work and achieving business outcomes that improve productivity, reduce risk and increase revenue. The challenge at hand is how to develop a better performing building from the inside out. This call to action resonated with me on a personal level.

Buildings are living organisms with different systems. In a healthy building, these systems run efficiently and in sync with one another. Building professionals look to the LEED rating system to design and operate buildings to achieve optimal performance.

More than 50% of HUG attendees are associated with LEED certified projects. LEED provides step-by-step guidance to develop, implement and establish sustainable strategies.

Scot Horst, USGBC’s Chief Product Officer, encourages us to separate strategies from results. An energy audit is a strategy and energy use reduction is a result. Unless you measure the reduction in energy use, you will not know if the audit and implementation of the audit’s findings were effective in your building.

Different strategies can be used to achieve the same outcome. With LEED, we have a fitness manual; we need a scale to measure results, a holistic scale accounting for different resources in a building. The LEED Dynamic Plaque offers this scale; a method to monitor and measure if a building is as fit as it can possibly be.

With more than 65,000 LEED-certified buildings and projects around the world, demand for products and processes around green building is growing. It is with partners like Honeywell that USGBC has been able to continuously push the boundaries of building fitness and we look forward to ongoing growth and innovation in the years ahead.


Gautami Palanki

Sustainability Consultant

Member employees, Chapter members


USGBC gets ready for Greenbuild 2015 with Sec. of Navy Mabus

Published on 19 Jun 2015Written by Marisa Long Posted in Community

The National Capital Region of USGBC and Informa Exhibitions, the owner and operator of Greenbuild, was honored to host Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus at a luncheon celebrating the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo coming to Washington, D.C., this November.

USGBC President Roger Platt took a few moments to introduce Sec. Mabus, who has long been a powerful voice for the role sustainability plays in how we can secure our country and better protect those who defend it. His participation in this exciting D.C. event is a strong reminder of how important government and military are to the green building movement.

The luncheon also featured remarks by USGBC CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi and USGBC-NCR Board Chair Chris Ashworth, and Sec. Mabus was honored with a USGBC Leadership Award.

Greenbuild, the nation’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building design and construction, is aptly themed ‘Monumental Green’ for 2015. Each year, 20,000+ attendees and 600 exhibitors from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates and educators come together for the conference. This year Greenbuild is taking place from Nov. 18-20 in Washington, D.C.

 Marisa Long

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

USGBC staff


GBCI and CaGBC Join Together to Advance the WELL Building Standard

Published on 9 Jun   by Marisa Long Posted in Media

Washington, D.C. & Ottawa, ON (June 9, 2015) – Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) announce a new agreement to promote and advance the WELL Building Standard (WELL) in Canada.

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. It complements other green building rating systems such as LEED.

“As GBCI and CaGBC come together to advance WELL in Canada, we take an important next step in the development of better, healthy buildings across the globe,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president of GBCI. “Just as LEED has transformed the building sector to address environmental accountability, WELL will further that vision by focusing deeply on the people in the buildings and providing developers and owners with a new way to account for health and human occupancy challenges.”

“The Canada Green Building Council is excited to be working with GBCI, to bring the WELL Building Standard to Canada,” said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “We have made a commitment to improving the environmental performance of buildings and homes, and now we also want to ensure that buildings provide a healthy and productive environment for occupants. The WELL Building Standard is a timely addition to CaGBC’s programs, as health and wellness in the workplace is increasingly recognized as an important element in attracting and retaining employees.”

WELL certification allows building owners and employers to know their space is performing as intended to support human health and wellness. WELL can be applied across all building types and is currently optimized for commercial and institutional projects. WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI) and is third-party certified by GBCI.

The new agreement between GBCI and the CaGBC will bolster the adoption of WELL in Canada by aligning the business and administrative processes used to implement WELL in the U.S. with the demands of the Canadian market. The CaGBC has a longstanding relationship with both USGBC and GBCI, the certification body for USGBC’s LEED green building program, partnering to deliver LEED in Canada. To date, there are more than 5,300 LEED projects in Canada, amounting to more than 79 million gross square meters of space, making Canada the top producer of LEED projects outside of the U.S.

“GBCI and CaGBC joining forces will help grow the healthy building movement by bringing health and wellness into Canada’s indoor environments through the WELL Building Standard,” said IWBI Founder Paul Scialla. “With this agreement, we see tremendous opportunity for the wellness, sustainability and real estate communities in Canada to come together to support human health through the built environment.”

Marisa Long

Public Relations & Communications DirectorU.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

Saint-Gobain celebrates 350 years of innovation

Published on 16 Jun 2015Written by Roger Platt Posted in Industry

It is extremely rare for an organization of any type or size to mark 350 years in existence, never mind 350 years of continued success and innovation.

Founded in France in 1665, under the reign of Louis XIV, Saint-Gobain has been innovative from the very beginning. Starting off as the Royal Manufactory of mirror glass, the company evolved with the demands of the market over the 18th and 19th centuries, expanding to support the development of multiple types of glass used in construction. By the 21st century, Saint-Gobain had shifted to focus on other types of construction materials and international expansion.

Today, Saint-Gobain is one of the world’s premier developers of high-performance “habitat” materials and solutions—products that are leading the way in residential construction across the globe. Specializing in the creation of interior and exterior building materials including plastics, insulation, wall facings, roofing and pitching products, Saint-Gobain is dedicated to inventing and building the home of the future. The company prioritizes leadership in the face of global challenges such as growth management, energy conservation and environmental degradation.

Saint-Gobain has proven that sustainability is as much about adaptation as it is about dedication to a particular ideal. Perhaps this is why USGBC and Saint-Gobain are such natural partners; there is a common understanding that what works today might not necessarily work tomorrow and that, in order to outlast some of our world’s greatest challenges, we must be prepared to evolve.

Saint-Gobain embraces LEED, the rating system that defined the curve for the green building industry, and uses it to advance their triple bottom line. By constructing LEED-certified spaces for their employees and partners to work in, they continue to operate in a manner that supports the values they have held from the start and align with their mission to bring sustainable spaces to life for their customers.

In celebration of their landmark anniversary, Saint-Gobain is proudly presenting “Future Sensations,” a tour of four international cities with a series of built pavilions representing concepts central to the company’s success: Look, Listen, Color and Create. The pavilions have already visited Shanghai (January) and Sao Paulo (March/April) and Philadelphia (June), and to Paris to exhibit in October.

Roger Platt

President, U.S. Green Building Council U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff



Bureau Veritas and GBCI Sign Global Agreement for LEED Certification

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

May 28, 2015 (Washington, DC) – In a recent signing ceremony, Bureau Veritas and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the certification body for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building program, finalized the terms of their exclusive global agreement to facilitate LEED certification internationally.

LEED is the world’s foremost program for the certification of design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings, with more than 1.85 million square feet of commercial building space certified daily. There are currently more than 69,000 LEED building projects located in over 150 countries and territories, with approximately 44 percent of all square footage outside the U.S.

As part of the agreement, Bureau Veritas teams around the world will review LEED projects for conformity with GBCI’s strict standards for certification. Immediate plans for local LEED review teams have been drawn up for China, Brazil and India, where Bureau Veritas employs approximately 21,000 employees. Local review teams will enhance customer engagement and local support for LEED while advancing the goal for future site verification as part of the LEED certification process.

“GBCI and Bureau Veritas will be able to offer local touch points, local reviews, possible on site verifications and other resources for green building teams on the ground,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer, USGBC, and president, GBCI. “Through this collaboration, we will be able to more closely connect with our customers, which will help accelerate the adoption of green building practices and deliver their benefits to these key economies.”

Bureau Veritas is the world’s leading conformity assessment service provider in the Building & Infrastructure industry. The partnership enhances Bureau Veritas’ service offerings in this growing and important market. The first buildings to be certified by Bureau Veritas within this partnership are due to be delivered in late 2015.

The growth of LEED reflects its global adaptability as the world’s most widely used and recognized system guiding the design, construction, operations and maintenance of green buildings. LEED is a critical tool in creating structures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; create healthier indoor environments for building users and lower utility bills for building owners through reduced energy and water use.

 Marisa Long

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

USGBC staff


USGBC member WSP examines the hidden interplay of water and energy

Published on 28 May 2015Written by Tom Marseille Posted in Industry

How water consumes energy

How does water “consume” energy? In the U.S. it is estimated 13% of electrical consumption is needed to support our water/wastewater infrastructure. Of that total, about three quarters is used to produce domestic hot water. The remaining energy end uses associated with the water infrastructure are varied, and vary by location. The largest is generally the energy use associated with pumps that are required to extract and deliver water, and, depending on location, as part of wastewater collection and treatment. That is closely followed by energy use associated with treatment of water for potable uses. The proximity of water source to where it is used can functionally drive energy use. In water scarce locations pipes carrying water may need to be pumped hundreds of miles, unless it is gravity fed.

How energy consumes water

So, what about the other side of the energy/water nexus and how energy consumes water? We need look no further than at the relative size of water end uses in the U.S. to get a sense of the answer, where just under 50% of estimated annual water use is for cooling thermoelectric power plants. Unpacking this number, the large percentage of this water use is drawdown for surface water sources such as rivers and lakes. That water is arguably not consumed, in that it typically is returned to the source, though elevated in temperature. Some power plants without a nearby surface water source for cooling do recognizably consume water by relying on evaporative cooling towers that are supplied with treated potable or partially treated reclaimed water.  It has even been noted that clean hydroelectric power plants likely consume significant water indirectly through water evaporation in the reservoir at higher rates than would have been the case in the original pre-dam river waterway.

So, the total water our buildings use, measured at the water meter, is generally only a fraction of the total water consumed if one accounts for how energy is produced to serve the building. Likewise, the energy consumed by our water and wastewater systems should be considered if source energy use rather than site energy use accounting is evaluated.

Tom Marseille

Senior Vice President WSP



Water Safe, Water Smart—Build to Code

Published on 21 May 2015Written by Grant Olear Posted in Advocacy and policy

Water safety takes center stage of Building Safety Month, Water Safe, Water Smart – Build to Code. The International Code Council’s (ICC) website features tips on staying safe from water related hazards. When using and managing water in a building, plumbing codes provide the foundation for safe conditions.

USGBC has collaborated with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Professionals (ASHRAE), the International Code Council, ASTM International, American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) to develop the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

The code, established with the intent to be adopted on a mandatory basis, includes provisions for water efficiency such as metering, rainwater collection systems, gray water reuse systems, and reclaimed water systems. These and other advanced strategies are incorporated into the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)—the nation’s only statewide code to tackle a range of green building priorities.

Green buildings also contribute to community safety by managing stormwater flows to reduce development’s contribution to downstream flooding. Additionally, given freshwater scarcity, green buildings have an important role to play in conserving, protecting, and restoring freshwater resources.

USGBC is putting this in to practice at the William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center, otherwise known as Project Haiti. The building is set to employ a closed-system system that will collect, treat, and store water on-site. Grey and black water will be fed into a bioreactor to be filtered and cleaned for reuse in landscaping.

Grant Olear

Green Building Policy  Associate U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff



raising the bar for energy efficiency in affordable housing

Published on 14 May 2015Written by Elizabeth Beardsley Posted in Advocacy and policy

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) took an important step—one that will make a difference in the lives of thousands of families. HUD and USDA issued a final determination essentially adopting the next set of building energy codes for a suite of programs and recognizing LEED certification as an alternative compliance path, which will help streamline documentation for project teams. USGBC filed comments on the proposed rule last summer, and also joined a diverse set of organizations in supporting the proposal.

Under federal law, HUD and USDA have a responsibility to adopt minimum energy standards for new construction of certain assisted housing, based on periodic revisions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for single family homes and the ASHRAE 90.1 for multifamily buildings. Specifically, once the Department of Energy (DOE) has studied and found that the revised codes would improve energy efficiency, then HUD and USDA must adopt the revised codes after first determining that they will not negatively affect the affordability and availability of certain HUD- and USDA-assisted housing.

In this action, the agencies determined that adoption of the 2009-IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 will not negatively affect the affordability and availability of covered housing, so, these codes now become requirements for those programs, which include both rental and owned housing.

In addition, LEED project teams will be able to use certification as a recognized alternative path to show compliance with the agency requirements. This means streamlined documentation and less work for projects being LEED certified. The complete list of alternative compliance paths include ENERGY STAR Certified New Homes, ENERGY STAR Multifamily High Rise, LEED–NC, LEED–H, or LEED–H Midrise, and other green building programs, all of which require energy efficiency levels that meet or exceed the 2009-IECC and ASHRAE 90.1–2007. Likewise, HUD and USDA will accept certifications of compliance with state codes that exceed 2009-IECC and ASHRAE 90.1–2007.

The agencies will now take steps to implement the new baseline codes, such as HUD updating its Builder’s Certification Form and handbooks.

The impacts of HUD and USDA’s action are positive and significant. Their analysis show that houses will save about 10% in energy over the currently used code versions. Among the benefits of energy savings are potential health impacts with improved indoor environmental quality; reduced mortgage default risks; and many others. Importantly, the families who will rent or own these housing units will see a real and sustained benefit, as well. The reduced utility costs can be a significant boost to low income families, for whom utilities may represent 10 percent of income. For example, a recent study of green affordable rental housing in Virginia found that energy usage was approximately 30% less than new standard construction, saving families $54 per month on average—representing 1% to nearly 3% of gross income. That’s a big deal for any family struggling to put food on the table.

Elizabeth Beardsley

Senior Policy Counsel U.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.