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Archive for December, 2015

World’s biggest carbon emitters convene in L.A.

Published on 23 Sep 2015 Written by Rick Fedrizzi Posted in International

This article was originally published on Huffington Post. 

News broke in November of last year that the world’s largest developing nation and the world’s most developed nation would ramp up efforts to work together in fighting climate change. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping made a historic joint announcement on climate change in 2014, establishing ambitious climate pledges and committing to work together, and with other countries, to achieve a global climate agreement in Paris this December.

At the upcoming U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit in Los Angeles, both nations are expected to announce actions to combat ongoing climate change. A leader in energy efficiency, Los Angeles is an ideal city to host the summit, the first major event held since the 2014 presidential agreement between the two countries. This convening could not be timelier for the City of Los Angeles, as Mayor Eric Garcetti released the city’s first-ever sustainability plan in April of this year, titled Sustainable City pLAn.

The Sustainable City pLAn focuses on the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social; and sets the bold goal of reducing city emissions by 80 percent by 2050, with a short term target of a 30 percent reduction in emissions by 2017, both compared to 1990 levels. Buildings are heavily targeted under the mayor’s plan, as they are the largest consumers of electricity in the city and are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Los Angeles has already established a successful approach with its Green Building Program.

The Green Building Program requires larger structures to be certified under the 15-year-old LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System and mandates that all new municipal construction or major renovations to municipally owned buildings must achieve, at minimum, LEED Silver certification. To date, the city has certified more than 50 of their buildings, making up more than 2 million square feet of building space, under LEED. With the new plan, the city aims for a 30 percent reduction in energy use across all building types by 2035—backed up by an array of additional policy measures and actions to drive improvement in all building types, including private sector.

 

Rick Fedrizzi

CEO & Founding Chairman U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff, USGBC board

Holiday Wish

The entire staff at Chemline want to wish you a joyous Holiday Season and a New Year of peace and happiness!!

Chemline will be closed Friday, December 25th for Christmas.

Cities are building the road to Paris

 

Published on 5 Nov 2015 Written by Mark Ginsberg Posted in Advocacy and policy

The 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) met in Paris to continue the search for climate solutions. Expectations are always high—with fears of failure lingering in our minds. Previous COPs have had notable successes—and publicized failures. The challenge of global climate change is enormous. COP 21 hopes to overcome some of the problems and find ways to apply technologies, policies and practices to reduce warming to under two degrees in order to reduce climate change around the world.

This year, there is a special focus on cities. Many have long realized that cities are a logical place to address global issues. More people are living in cities than ever before in history, and urbanization is relentlessly growing. Cities consume two-thirds of the world’s energy and create more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. Cities have also been leaders in innovation and problem solving. Mayors and cities around the world are active participants, taking ambitious new steps to address their energy and carbon practices.

In recognition of this, the host government of France has placed a special emphasis on cities at this year’s COP. There will be a Cities Day for the first time at a COP, which will help showcase activities going on in cities around the world. And Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg has joined with Mayor Hidalgo of Paris to recognize local climate action with a convening of mayors from around the globe at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders.

It’s important to note that the role of cities goes beyond the events at Paris. Arguably, the measurable strides that leading cities have made to reduce their climate impact in the past decade, along with a growing number of cities committing to act, give their respective national governments the confidence and backing to go to Paris with a strong national voice.

Leading cities have demonstrated that local codes, zoning and transportation policies and programs can make a difference to GHG emissions, while also sparking the local economy, saving money for residents and improving quality of life. Just take a look at the impressive green buildings that the U.S. cities in the Compact have racked up. It’s no wonder cities will play a big role at this year’s COP—and in affecting positive change post-Paris.

Mark Ginsberg

 

Albuquerque students’ Green Apple Day of Service booth yields hundreds of energy savings pledges

Published on 29 Oct 2015Written by Tony Sparks Posted in Center for Green Schools

Students from the Del Norte High School’s Earth Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico, participated in this year’s Green Apple Day of Service. The DNHS Earth Club, sponsored by biology teacher Jim Butscher, partnered with the state Energy Conservation & Management Division of the Minerals & Natural Resources Department at their display at the opening weekend of the 2015 New Mexico State Fair.

The students had hundreds of fair-goers sign Energy Pledges asking for a commitment to reduce their energy use, and they demonstrated an energy bicycle that produced electricity through pedaling. The bike created energy that provided electricity to light a box comparing incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs. This demonstrated kinetically that LED light bulbs are a good choice to reduce energy costs. 

This experience not only provided an opportunity for these students to share their knowledge of energy conservation and efficiency, but it also developed their public speaking and leadership skills while supporting the District’s Water and Energy Conservation Program. The Earth Club has been conducting a lighting audit of their school, as well as designing a butterfly garden that will be planted in the fall.

The Albuquerque Public Schools Water and Energy Conservation program is looking for schools, teachers and students to organize Energy Teams.

Tony Sparks

Staff Project Manager – Mechanical Systems APS-Facilities Design & Construction

Member employees

 

The business of sustainability

Published on 24 Feb 2015Written by Stephen Demers Posted in Education

Businesses are adopting sustainability practices. They are keen to recognize the potential gains derived from public acceptance of their brand name because of sustainability efforts. Businesses are also finding that sustainability is increasingly important in compliance areas, especially in environmental health and safety. And businesses are finding that shareholders and upper level executives are interested and want sustainability programs. Companies like Cisco are using sustainability commitment as part of their mission and values statements.

Cisco’s use of renewable energy reflects our commitment to sustainability and is a key part of managing our impact on the environment. This is the right thing to do as a corporate citizen; it also helps us optimize the value of our operations and attract and retain best-in-class talent. – Ali Ahmed, Cisco Systems, Inc. Here we see that Cisco refers to people, planet and profits.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations (UN) both publish reports on organizations and businesses compliance and adherence to their systems of gauging sustainability.

Green Power Partners list: The Green Power Partners list is made by the EPA. It lists Fortune 500 companies that have made the grade in energy conservation and usage of renewable sources of energy. In 2013 82 companies made the list, gaining coveted positioning as leading sustainable energy users. Here are the top five: Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Kohl’s Department Stores, Wholes Food Market, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

United Nations report: The United Nations bases performance measurement on compliance with a set of published principles. Companies are gauged by their adherence to these principles, and sign on to what the UN calls a ‘Global Compact,” compact principles include: human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.

 State of Green Business Report by the editors of GreenBiz: This report is more of an overall look at quantifying what makes a sustainable business. GreenBiz uses 20 indicators of progress, including; carbon emissions, e-waste recycling, energy efficiency, green office space, employee commuting, and corporate reporting, to name a few.

It appears that one of the trends in sustainability in 2015 will be the conversion or creation of office space to green standards. Since green buildings are not only better at producing occupant comfort, they are cheaper to run. Lowered operating costs offers a win-win situation for tenants and landlords as tenants lower their overhead for costs and landlords have less problems finding tenants due to demand.

The days of plenty have most likely passed and companies will need to act sustainably to ensure long term existence. Companies will need to become more like ‘planet managers,’ and less like individual operations managers.

Stephen Demers

Consultant Director Education for Professionals

 

Appleton Farms preserves cultural and historical landscapes

Published on 21 Oct 2015Written by Nancy E. Berry Posted in Industry

Walking down a pristine gravel road past the fields of grazing Jersey cows, meandering stone walls, and historic dairy barns, a pastoral landscape unfolds. Appleton Farms in Hamilton and Ipswich, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest and largest (with more than a thousand acres) continuously operating farms in the United States. Established in 1638 by a land grant to Samuel Appleton, the farm today preserves a bucolic landscape, agricultural traditions, and historic farm buildings that are disappearing in the eastern part of the state.

The working farm is just one of 114 properties located on more than 25,000 acres across the state under the auspices of The Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts that not only preserves land and historic buildings but also works in ways to support the vitality and sustainability of the communities in which they exist. The Trustees was founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891. The properties are open to the public with a vision toward creating a more healthy, active, and green communities across the Commonwealth. Acquired by the Trustees in 2000, Appleton Farms has the ambitious goal to become carbon-neutral in its near future. “This is no small feat,” says Jim Younger, director of structural resources for the Trustees. Because farming can be incredibly damaging to the environment—fertilizer, livestock production, and food distribution all create greenhouse gases—farming has become a leading contributor to climate change.

 Organic Growers

To move toward this goal, The Trustees began to farm the land sustainably. “All the vegetables are grown in an environmentally sustaining manner,” says Ryan Wood, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program manager on the property. Practices are guided by the National Organic Standards, which means synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides are not used. Instead, the farmers employ aged animal manure compost and organic fertilizers. Legume cover crops are planted to regulate nitrogen, build soil organic matter, and prevent erosion. Seeds are organic when available and include heirloom and open pollinated varieties. Wood controls pests through the use of crop rotations, biological insecticides, and cultural practices such as the use of row covers. “Some bugs we’ll just tolerate,” he notes. “We grow about 200 different vegetable, fruit, and flower crops on the farm.”

Sustainable Farming

Fresh eggs are collected daily from the farm’s hen house and free-range grass-fed beef cows graze in the Great Pasture. During the haying season, the farm produces thousands of bales of hay to feed the livestock, and all farm waste is composted and turned out on the fields. Hundreds of families visit the farm during the growing season to pick their own vegetables as a part of the CSA.

Dairy farmer Scott Rowe makes his way before daybreak each morning to milk the Jersey cows, which have an integral history on the farm. In the 1800s, the Appleton’s brought Jersey cows to this country for the first time for their high butter fat content. Today 22 Jersey cows roam the property. The milk is processed onsite to make cheese and yogurt. Rowe does not use antibiotics on the cows, which he says have “low stress and are well cared for.” He does not push for the most milk production but rather provides more targeted care. “The old ways of farming are simply not working. What The Trustees are doing is the future of the New England Farm—creating a local sustainable model is going to be the driver,” he says.

 

Nancy E. Berry Posted in Industry

 

Green Building Japan and USGBC collaborate

Published on 8 Oct 2015Written by Joseph Crea Posted in Media

Green Building Japan (GBJ) and USGBC announced a collaboration that is designed to further accelerate the adoption of LEED v4, the latest version of the LEED building program, in Japan.

LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

As part of the collaboration, GBJ and USGBC have begun a pilot test of a new Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) for Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) control that will allow qualifying Japanese projects to maintain designated smoking rooms in LEED v4 projects.

USGBC and GBJ will engage directly with Japanese LEED project teams to refine and evolve the ACP with the goal of providing a permanent solution for the Japanese building market as soon as practical.

“All LEED projects are local,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, Chief Operating Officer of USGBC and President of the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). “USGBC is committed to reinforcing to markets around the world that LEED is a global green building rating system with regional and local applicability. We will continue to meet market demand on the local level.”

LEED pilot ACPs give users of LEED more flexibility to explore innovative solutions that account for variance in climate, codes, standards, culture and laws in the 150+ countries where LEED is in use.

Joseph Crea

Director, International Marketing and Communications

 

Second Nature and USGBC announce 2015 winners

Second Nature and USGBC announce 2015 winners in higher education climate leaders competition

Published on 8 Oct 2015Written by Aline Peterson Posted in Media

WASHINGTON, DC—(Oct. 8, 2015)—Second Nature, a national nonprofit that works to build a sustainable and positive global future through collaboration with leadership networks in higher education, in partnership with the Center for Green Schools, announced that two academic institutions have been selected to receive the sixth annual Climate Leadership Awards.

The awards recognize innovative and advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience at college and university campuses that participate in Second Nature’s Climate Commitments. This year’s recipients show leadership through practices, partnerships and initiatives designed to tackle some of the greatest modern challenges. Examples of commitments made by these institutions include ongoing pursuit of green building practices, the development of a campus culture that embraces local sourcing, alternative transportation methods, innovative partnerships with their surrounding communities and cultivation of a sense of individual responsibility among students, faculty and staff.

“The Climate Leadership Awards celebrate and support those at the leading edge of sustainability and climate action in higher education,” said Tim Carter, president of Second Nature. “We are continually impressed by what our network is capable of, and know they will keep pushing what is possible for higher education further.”

This year marks the most competitive year yet, with close to 50 institutions vying for only two awards: one for a two-year and one for a four-year institution. The winners were chosen from a pool of 19 finalists: seven finalists in the two-year category, and 12 in the four-year category.

“The leadership demonstrated by this year’s Climate Leadership Award winners is inspirational. These schools, their students, faculty and staff are committed to change through action,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “By choosing to address sustainability issues head-on, involving members of their broad communities and drawing on their resources as places of higher learning, these schools show that great achievement is possible with dedication and a willingness to innovate and iterate. Congratulations to both of this year’s winners for so clearly demonstrating that where we learn matters!”

 The 2015 Climate Leadership Award Winners are:

Two-Year Institution:

Western Technical College, La Crosse, WI

Four-Year Institution:

Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

Aline Peterson

Communications Manager U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

 

Government watchdog doesn’t bark at using LEED

Published on 12 Oct 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

With the release of the Clean Power Plan and consideration of comprehensive energy legislation, the last few months have been pretty active with regard to energy efficiency and buildings. One item that hasn’t been getting as much attention as it deserves is the recent report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that third-party rating systems like LEED assist federal agencies in implementing key efficiency goals.

An independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends tax dollars, GAO reviewed the use of third-party certification programs by five federal agencies for this study, including the Department of Defense (DOD) and the General Services Administration (GSA). GAO concluded that third-party certification (of which LEED is the most common) helps to ensure compliance with various federal building obligations by holding contractors and agency project teams accountable for incorporating these requirements. These findings support the analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), released earlier this year, that newly constructed or renovated federal buildings, many of them LEED-certified, were a contributing factor in federal energy use reaching a 40-year low.

While this is good news on its own, it is also notable that LEED certification is delivering this level of accountability to federal agencies in a cost-effective manner. The GSA informed GAO that the price of certifying a new construction or major renovation accounts for only 0.012 percent of a project’s total budget.

With more than 1,500 federal projects certified, the LEED rating system has a great track record in improving the efficiency and sustainability of buildings across federal agencies. USGBC looks forward to continuing its work with the federal government to enhance its leadership with LEED.

Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

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.