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Archive for August, 2015

The Westminster Schools wins international award for facilities management and sustainability

Published on 2 Jul 2015Written by Nora Knox Posted in Education

The Westminster Schools of Atlanta, Ga., recently won the Gold Award of Excellence in FM from Global FM, the worldwide alliance of facilities management organizations. The award, given on behalf of the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), was bestowed as part of the 2015 World FM Day, an international celebration of facilities management, which was held on June 10, 2015, in London, England.

The Global FM awards focus on promoting the strategic value and progression of facilities management, and assess innovation, advancement of facilities management, corporate outcomes, contribution to Global FM’s mission, and leadership in facilities management operations. Specifically, Westminster was honored for its efforts to improve the sustainability of its campus.

During the 2007-08 fiscal year, the Facilities Department at The Westminster Schools recognized the rising cost of water and other utilities. Since then, the School has initiated a series of campus improvement projects, including the development of a campus retention pond and ongoing sustainability audits, at a cost of approximately $383,000. The energy audit and all subsequent improvement projects over the last seven years have resulted in approximately $1.1 million of total savings.

“It is an honor for Westminster to be recognized as an industry leader in facilities management and sustainability,” said William Broome, Director of Facilities at The Westminster Schools. “We are immensely grateful for the support and guidance from Global FM, and we look forward to continuing to enhance the sustainability of our campus and our School.”

“The Global FM Excellence in FM Awards are a high-level international competition recognizing the best of the best in facilities management, highlighting how they support businesses across the globe,” said Duncan Waddell, Chairman of Global FM.

Nora Knox

Digital Marketing Manager U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff


GBCI now administers EDGE in India

Published on 9 Jul 2015Written by Nora Knox Posted in Industry

GBCI has recently been selected by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group to offer the EDGE green building certification system in India. By helping to incrementally push India’s new construction market forward, EDGE jumpstarts the mainstreaming of green buildings to help counter climate change.

EDGE encourages resource-efficient building by establishing an effective entry-level option for affordable sustainable design and construction. EDGE is a measurable way for builders to optimize their designs, leading to a more investment-worthy and marketable product.

Whether you are constructing homes or apartments, hotels or resorts, office buildings, health care facilities, or retail establishments, EDGE empowers you to build sustainably.

What’s more, strategies that you apply to an EDGE project can later be leveraged and upgraded to sustainable building techniques involving more comprehensive green building rating systems such as LEED.

Here’s how it works. EDGE, at its core, is a software design application that calculates operational savings and reduced carbon emissions for your building as measured against a base case. The objective is to reduce energy consumption, water consumption, and embodied energy in materials by 20% each.

EDGE registered projects can earn certification through a two-phase process:

  • Preliminary Certification: Utilizing the EDGE software for project design is the first step to becoming EDGE certified. Preliminary Certification is awarded when the project’s design (as calculated by the EDGE software) demonstrates sustainable building solutions that result in 20% or more resource efficiency savings. Certification at the design stage is provisional.
  • EDGE Certification: To qualify for EDGE Certification, a building must actually deliver on the provisional savings demonstrated in the design stage. Before final EDGE certification is awarded, a trained EDGE auditor formally reviews the completed project and a site audit is performed.

Nora Knox

Digital Marketing Manager U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff


U.S. Senate Finance Committee votes to advance green building policies

Published on 22 Jul 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

In the run up to the 2015 August Congressional work period the U.S. Senate Finance Committee made an important move to renew and extend a $95 billion tax incentives package that expired at the end of last year. The “Final Passage of an Original Bill to Extend Certain Expiring Tax Provisions” passed on a 23-3 vote.

The legislation includes a number of important elements that will continue to support the efficiency of the building industry. In particular, the bill extends and improves the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction 179(D) through 2016. Under the bill, the deduction expands the existing allocation provisions to non-profit organizations and tribal owners. It would also phase in updates for the commercial energy code in order to qualify for the deduction.

These provisions, particularly the expansion of allocation options, will be of great use to community and non-profit development organizations. While this is welcome news, USGBC and others have long supported enhancing the existing deduction along these lines.

The package also includes:

  • Extensions of the New and Efficient Homes Credit 45(L) and parity for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits
  • Enhancements to allocations for the New Mark Tax Credit
  • Changes to local match for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds

USGBC will be continuing to work with elected officials, real estate, workforce and environmental organization to advance portions of the bill related to efficient buildings.

Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

USGBC staff


House gives thumbs up to affordable housing efficiency program

Published on 21 Jul 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of another important efficiency bill.The Private Investment in Housing Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Representatives Dennis Ross (FL), Jim Himes (CT), Emanuel Cleaver (MO) and John Delaney (MD), passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 395-28. It is nearly identical to the provisions found in the energy efficiency legislation commonly known as Shaheen-Portman. This is the second bill to advance programs out of Shaheen-Portman. As some may remember, President Obama signed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 earlier this year.

The bill, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enter into performance-based agreements to make up to 20,000 units of subsidized housing more energy and water efficient, is important for a few simple reasons. HUD spends an estimated $6.4 billion annually on utilities (both water and energy) for assisted and owned properties. Reducing these costs is an upmost priority for taxpayers and for residents of affordable housing who often spend a disproportionate amount of their annual salary on utility bills. This program can also benefit families by reducing health and safety risks. USGBC has been working with elected officials and affordable housing organizations to advance the bill in Congress and to the administration to improve the efficiency of affordable housing at HUD.

USGBC commends the House of Representatives for its passage of the bill will continue to update readers on the progress of this and other important green building legislation.


Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

USGBC staff


USGBC and UVA School of Medicine Awarded 
$1.2 Million Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Published on 14 Jul 2015Written by Aline Peterson Posted in Media

Funds will help advance existing Green Health Partnership, research to promote healthy places

Washington, DC – (July 14, 2015) – USGBC and the University of Virginia School of Medicine (UVA) announced today that they have been awarded a three year, $1.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to advance their Green Health Partnership. This research initiative, led by Chris Pyke, Ph.D., (USGBC) and Dr. Matthew Trowbridge (UVA) directly addresses longstanding gaps in the availability of practical tools to promote healthy places.

The development and launch of new tools with the expertise of UVA’s top-ranked School of Medicine, leveraging USGBC’s LEED green building rating system, will support RWJF’s vision for a nation-wide Culture of Health by enabling and incentivizing real estate professionals to participate in broader population health promotion efforts.

“The U.S. Green Building Council is pleased to work with UVA to bring the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s vision for a Culture of Health to the built environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Enhancing human health is a longstanding value of the green building movement, and RWJF’s support allows us to create powerful new tools for project teams and new strategies to effectively engage capital markets.”

This new phase of funding from RWJF will allow the UVA/USGBC Green Health Partnership to focus on developing two complementary sets of tools:

 New tools for green building project teams to create healthy places.

The team will engage with a network of collaborators to create and demonstrate the value of an innovative process for the promotion of public health through the design, construction and operation of green buildings.

 New tools for real estate investors to promote healthy places.

The team will partner with the Amsterdam-based Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) to bring a public health lens to assessments of commercial real estate portfolios.  The goal is to empower institutional investors to pursue health and wellness as investable attributes of real estate in the same way green building allows investment in sustainability performance.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation values the opportunity to continue work with both the UVA School of Medicine and the U.S. Green Building Council to further promote a national Culture of Health,” said Sharon Roerty, RWJF Senior Program Officer. “Partners with influence over the built environment, such as USGBC, combined with the public health expertise of institutions like the University of Virginia, allow us to drive community development that promotes health and well-being at a national scale.”

Aline Peterson

Media & Communications Specialist U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff


USGBC Announces New Alignment with CALGreen

Published on 30 Jun 2015Written by Aline Peterson Posted in Media

California embraces new path to achieve LEED certification as state struggles with drought

San Diego, CA – (June 30, 2015) – USGBC announced the availability of a new path forward for California project developers seeking LEED certification. This announcement comes in the midst of USGBC’s annual midyear conference for community leaders, Convergence, taking place from June 28–July 1 in San Diego.

As of July 1, nonresidential projects in California subject to the mandatory 2013 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) requirements will be able to use an alternative documentation path for LEED. CALGreen is the nation’s first statewide mandatory green building code, covering nearly all residential and nonresidential construction in California. This new path will make beyond-code green building leadership even more accessible as the state continues to set more aggressive targets for energy and water efficiency.

“From public policy to volunteer engagement to business actions, California is a standard bearer for excellence in green building market transformation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “As we come together as a community of experts, professionals, advocates and leaders for Convergence in San Diego this week, we are proud to offer more streamlined ways for projects to demonstrate green building leadership in California.”

The alternative documentation path outlines a set of documents that projects may provide in lieu of standard LEED documentation in order to demonstrate LEED compliance. The alternative documentation path will be available for use with measures related to indoor water use reduction, refrigerant management, the storage and collection of recyclables, construction waste management and the use of low-emitting paints and adhesives.

“The development and release of this set of alternative documentation pathways is a significant step in the co-evolution of LEED and green building codes,” said Jeremy Sigmon, director of Technical Policy, USGBC. “Leveraging California’s code infrastructure and the obligations of licensed professionals to adhere to the laws of the land, these new streamlined documentation options offer cost savings to project teams while maintaining the quality and rigor of LEED. In turn, projects already designing and building to the CALGreen code will find LEED and its many benefits more readily within reach.”


Aline Peterson

Media & Communications SpecialistU.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff


Future Greenbuild Dates Announced Through 2019

Published on 23 Jul 2015Written by Marisa LongPosted in Media

Internationally renowned, the world’s largest conference and expo 
dedicated to green building to rotate cities

Washington, D.C. — (July 23, 2015) — Dates were announced for future Greenbuild International Conference & Expo events through the year 2019 by Informa Exhibitions and the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We are committed to rotating Greenbuild to very accessible locations to maximize attendee participation and exhibitor confidence. We ensure Greenbuild takes place in different geographic locations and have scheduled a strong line-up that will take the event to the West Coast, Northeast, Midwest and Southeast,” said Lindsay Roberts, Greenbuild group director, Informa Exhibitions. “We’ve also considered other industry events with our proposed schedule to ensure we aren’t in direct conflict.”

Greenbuild will continue its pattern of rotating around the U.S. on the following schedule:

2016: Los Angeles Convention Center | Los Angeles, CA | Oct. 5-7

2017: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center | Boston, MA | Nov. 8-10

2018: McCormick Place (West Building) | Chicago, IL | Nov. 14-16

2019: Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA | Nov. 20-22

“Many factors are considered in regards to the location of Greenbuild, including the sustainability climate of the city we’re considering,” said Kate Hurst, vice president, community advancement, conferences and events, USGBC. “The selected cities are conducive to sustainability and the mission of Greenbuild – from walkability of the convention center area and public transportation options to initiatives currently taking place within each city – all these factors contribute to our ultimate decision.”

Future dates for the international Greenbuild events, including Greenbuilding Brazil and Greenbuild Europe and the Mediterranean (EuroMed) will be announced in the coming weeks.

Greenbuild, owned and operated by Informa Exhibitions U.S., Construction & Real Estate and presented by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The three-day conference attracts 20,000+ attendees and 600 exhibitors annually from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates and educators. This year’s event takes place at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Nov. 18-20.

Marisa Long

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

USGBC staff



Where in Mexico is LEED being used?

Published on 20 Jul 2015Written by Joseph Crea Posted in LEED

Today, Mexico’s architects, construction firms, energy companies, city planners, enterprises and politicians are working together to create the sustainable cities of tomorrow.

Mexico is the home to LEED-certified and 460 LEED-registered projects, totaling 13,168,705 gross square meters of space. From hospitality to retail, whether single projects or those using LEED volume certification, the projects in Mexico represent the diversity and breadth inherent in LEED.

A few of Mexico’s most impressive projects:

HSBC Tower, Mexico City, Mexico, LEED Gold

HSBC Tower, designed by Bioconstruccion y Energia Alternativa (BEA), obtained the first LEED Gold certification for New Construction and became the second certified project in the country. With 34 levels, a heliport, 12 parking garages, and 2 basements, HSBC Tower is a massive steel structure located in the heart of Mexico City. HSBC Tower unleashed the LEED certified buildings trend in the city’s Economic District.

 Bioconstruccion 347, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, LEED Platinum

As the headquarters for the LEED-pioneer consulting firm, Bioconstruccion y Energia Alternativa (BEA), Bioconstruccion347 promotes the company’s green building services and commitment to a better-built environment by being the first LEED for New Construction Platinum certified office space in Latin America.

Universidad Del Arte, Puebla, Mexico, LEED Platinum

UNARTE was designed by AKF Group with its campus’ commitments to education and art in mind. Located in a pre-existing campus parking lot, the building took on a stack architectural approach in order to restore the area’s original topography. By including native vegetation and a rainwater infiltration system, UNARTE harvests, reuses and treats 100% of its rainwater. Its natural aesthetic is due to its ‘origami’ layout where the structure folds and unfolds into different rooms and edifices. Inside,

Joseph Crea

Director, International Marketing and Communications


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.