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Archive for March, 2016

Green homes yield major resale premiums in Washington, D.C.

Published on 5 Feb 2016Written by Nick Brousse Posted in Advocacy and policy

High-performing homes (HPHs) with green features—both single- and multi-family—in the District sell for nearly 3.5 percent more than those without green features, according to a recently released report, “What Is Green Worth? Unveiling High-Performance Home Premiums in Washington, D.C.,” by real estate appraiser and author Sandra K. Adomatis and the Institute for Market Transformation.

The market is taking notice. Building on the growing trend of green construction in the residential sector, a recent report from Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading provider of data and analytics serving the North American construction industry, found that among 249 builders, remodelers and multifamily firms surveyed, 51 percent expect that more than 60 percent of the homes that they build will be green by 2020.

The widely used definition of HPHs applied in the report cites six elements of green building that are found in most third-party certifying organizations’ rating systems. These environmentally responsible and resource-efficient green building elements include site, water, energy, indoor air quality, materials and operations and maintenance.

As Kenneth Harney reported in his Washington Post article, the report calculated how much buyers were willing to pay for green features and found that they ranged from just over $10,000 to over $50,000, generating premiums as high as 7.7 percent.  When renewable energy-generating technologies such as solar were incorporated into the home, that resale premium climbed even higher.

The study examined final sales prices for HPHs and non-HPHs with similar variables such as location, amenities, square footage and parking between February 2013 and June 2015. Of the HPHs examined, 75 percent were LEED-certified and marketed their unique green features in the real estate Multiple Listing Service (MLS). USGBC has been helping to drive MLSs to give homebuyers more information on green features and certifications, and this study is further proof of the value proposition for green certification and marketing those features.

Similar studies have found comparable market premiums for green, high-performing homes. For example, “The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market” found that green home labels added a 9 percent price premium in that state.

Green buildings perform better—they net higher rents, higher occupancy rates and higher prices when sold—and buyers know the long-term investment is well worth the premium.

Nick Brousse

Advocacy & Policy Project Manager

 

In Oregon, a sustainable path out of an affordable housing crisis

Published on 26 Feb 2016Written by Christina Kuo Posted in Advocacy and policy

USGBC is currently engaged in Oregon’s efforts to expand the availability of affordable housing—specifically, advocating for such housing to be green and energy-efficient. USGBC’s commitment to green buildings for all in a generation is reflected in every aspect of the work they do. Currently, over 40 percent of the almost 200,000 LEED-certified homes in the United States are affordable housing units.

Housing affordability is not just about being able to pay the rent or mortgage. It is also about being able to afford the utilities as well. That is why emphasis on energy and water efficiencies, as well as third-party verification, gives affordable housing developers, community development agencies and the government an excellent tool for providing affordable homes to vulnerable families.

Oregon, like many areas of the United States, is facing a housing affordability crisis. In response to this crisis, the state government and leading local government in 2015 passed a series of appropriations to holistically address the problems of lack of affordable housing and homelessness. One of the programs the Oregon legislature and Governor Kate Brown have funded is $40 million in bonds to build affordable housing, focused on rural communities, communities of color and families with young children served by DHS (Oregon Department of Human Services).

During the 2016 short legislative session, the Oregon legislature and the governor’s office are working to outline the program goals and priorities necessary to implement the $40 million bonding program.

The Earth Advantage Institute, local elected officials, local business members and a lobbying firm are working together to ensure that the bonding includes five green building policy principles:

  1. A focus on affordability and total value;
  2. Accountability throughout the building process and beyond;
  3. Green building standards and rewards for developers;
  4. Public participation in the planning process; and
  5. Education for residents to promote environmental stewardship.

Testimony before the Housing Stability Council gave recommendations to improve the outcome of the LIFT program. The recommendations were well received and allowed USGBC to open a dialogue with the council, legislators and the governor’s office about the need for green building standards as they move forward in addressing their housing affordability and homelessness crisis.

Having a positive impact on Oregon’s program will be a long process, with ample opportunities for the green building community to engage on addressing this important issue.

Christina Kuo

State and Local Campaign Manager

 

Hotels worldwide are going green with LEED

Published on 26 Feb 2016Written by Emily Neagle Posted in Industry

The pace of green building in the hospitality sector is on the rise, and it doesn’t require making any sacrifice in the luxury of your stay away from home!

It’s no secret that with operations running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, hotels consume natural resources at a high rate. Representing more than 5 billion square feet of space in the United States alone, there is an enormous opportunity for the industry—and guests—to positively affect the built environment.

For years, USGBC has diligently made progress toward greening the hospitality sector. Among these efforts was the establishment of the LEED User Group for Hospitality and Venues, which engages in multifaceted dialogue and peer-to-peer collaboration to identify best practices, lessons learned and ongoing challenges for sustainability in the sector.

Across the world, demand for green hotels is rising. Today, LEED-certified hotels of all sizes are found in more than 40 U.S. states, 31 countries and five continents. It’s a movement sparked in part by guest preferences. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers reported plans to make more environmentally friendly choices over the next year. And while on vacation, 88 percent of travelers turned off lights when not in their hotel room, 78 percent participated in the hotel’s linen and towel reuse program and 58 percent used recycling in the hotel.

In response to this shift, companies such as Starwood’s Elements brand, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotel

Group and Hyatt Hotels include LEED mandates and policies in their design and construction specs. ITC Hotels in India requires not just LEED certification, but also top performance.

 Project spotlights: 

 Hotels Complex (Hyatt Place, Fairfield Inn and Suites and Aloft Hotel)

Chicago, Illinois, United States
LEED Silver

 ITC Windsor

Bengaluru, India
LEED Platinum

 Tambo Del Inka Hotel, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa

Urubamba, Peru
LEED Certified

 Emily Neagle

Account Manager U.S. Green Building Council

 

2016 Building Energy Summit: Creating “smart” green buildings

Published on 18 Feb 2016 Written by Darlene Pope, Sr. Vice President, JLL Posted in Industry

It’s all about the data. Green buildings are being transformed into high-performance “smart buildings” equipped with new technologies, integrated systems, custom user apps and lots of data. Smart buildings take green to a whole new level.

Why is data important for buildings?

Data give us information on how buildings are actually being used, and it allows the building to perform based on the needs of the occupants. Having information on usage is critical to operating the building in the most efficient and sustainable manner. Not only can we obtain real-time occupancy information for the building, but we can tell exactly where those occupants are and how they are using the space.

This means that the building only conditions space that is actually being used, and it conditions the space based on the needs and preferences of the occupants. Lighting levels can be determined based on individual settings and can be adjusted based on different tasks, instead of being limited to “on” or “off.” Elevators respond to real-time needs and can even “predict” need based on other operational information (i.e., that someone just parked on the third level of the parking garage).

Real estate has entered the digital age in the way buildings are operated—but more important, in the way they are experienced. By adding a high level of intelligence through operational data and analytics, coupled with the ability to give end users more control over their environment, smart buildings are enhancing the occupant experience and creating an overall better workplace. In addition to energy and sustainability benefits, employees are also benefiting from enhanced health, wellness and worker productivity.

Darlene Pope, Sr. Vice President, JLL Posted in Industry

 

Lexington Court Receives FGBC Green Certification

Lexington Court Receives FGBC Green Certification
Offers Affordable, Healthy Living for Lower Income Families

Lexington Court, a 106-unit affordable housing project in downtown Orlando recently earned the Florida Green High-Rise Residential Building designation by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Florida Green High-Rise Residential Building certification program.

The designation represents achievements in a number of categories, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, site preservation, indoor air quality, materials, and durability, including disaster mitigation.

FGBC-certified projects complete a technically rigorous building assessment and construction process to promote design and construction practices that reduce the negative environmental impacts of the building, improve occupant health and well-being, and reduce operating costs for the owner.

Centrally located in downtown Orlando, Lexington Court provides quick access to Interstate 4, public transportation, shopping, employers in the Orlando business district, and medical facilities. It offers safe and walkable access to many other basic services such as schools, banks, restaurants, pharmacies, and recreation.

Energy performance of Lexington Court Apartments is 38 percent better than required by the Florida Energy Code. Green approaches that helped achieve the improved energy performance included installation of Energy Star appliances, energy-efficient exterior lighting, and advanced testing of the HVAC system to ensure proper installation for optimal performance and leak-free ducts. A high-efficiency air filtration system using MERV-8 air filters improves indoor air quality.

For water conservation, low- and ultra-low plumbing fixtures such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets were installed. But the biggest impact was achieved by selection of drought tolerant landscaping, less than 10% of the landscaped area was sodded with turf, and drip irrigation was used to service the installed landscape.

To reduce noise pollution, increased sound-absorbing insulation was used between individual units, common areas, and the exterior walls. Another strategy used to improve the indoor environmental quality of the building and protect the health of occupants requires green cleaning practices from service providers.

Florida Green Building Coalition.

 

USGBC Georgia: High Performance Healthy Schools Recognition Day in Georgia

Published on 12 Feb 2016Written by Suzanne Haerther Posted in Community

On February 3, USGBC Georgia celebrated the work of Georgia schools that are creating healthy and efficient learning environments for our students. The Third Annual High Performance Healthy Schools Recognition Day at the Georgia Capitol hosted 200 guests representing 62 schools and districts, as well as 12 community partners who are making a difference in Georgia.

 Projects of all sizes 

School activities ranged from one-day projects to long-term school engagement with national recognition through Green Ribbon Schools, the Princeton Review of Colleges and LEED certification. The 10 institutes of higher education and three K–12 schools that received LEED certification in 2015 joined the group of buildings that have committed to a higher standard. This group includes 161 LEED higher education buildings and 79 LEED K–12 buildings in Georgia alone.

Special guests included Rep. Rahn Mayo (84), Rep. Margaret Kaiser (59), Rep. Beth Beskin (54) and Sen. Nan Orrock (36). Sam Culbreath attended on behalf of Rep. Michael Smith (41). From USGBC, Judith Webb, Executive Vice President, and Cecilia Shutters, Policy and Data Communications Specialist, joined the festivities. A House resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mayo (who also volunteers his time with the High Performance Healthy Schools program), and longtime supporter Rep. Kaiser, was presented, along with a Senate resolution sponsored by Sen. Orrock recognizing February 3, 2016 as High Performance Healthy Schools Day. Additionally, a proclamation from the Governor’s office was presented.

The guests were inspired by the accomplishments of the schools, both K–12 and higher education. One presentation that made a strong impact on the luncheon attendees was given by Leon Grant and his students from Marietta High School. The students designed a self-sustaining community center that will be constructed in Haiti from recycled shipping containers. The community center will include solar energy, composting toilets and rainwater harvesting systems. To ensure that all of the systems work as designed and to give the students hands-on experience, a smaller-scale project will be installed at Marietta High School.

 A more sustainable future for schools

The High Performance Healthy Schools program strives to ensure that better buildings are our legacy. We believe in better buildings. Structures must complement our environment and enhance our communities. Students deserve better, brighter, healthier spaces to live, learn, work and play. The program will continue to work with the schools throughout the year providing resources and mentors to schools to help them achieve their goals. We look forward to joining together next year to celebrate even greater accomplishments in Georgia’s healthy, high-performing schools.

Suzanne Haerther

Program Manager, Community, Georgia U.S. Green Building Council

Chapter members

 

 

Green Homes 101

Published on 22 Dec 2015Written by Heather Benjamin Posted in Community

According to the National Association of Home Builders, single-family green residential construction has grown dramatically, from 2 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2013. Green home building—or retrofitting—is clearly a booming industry. But it may be intimidating to think about making your home green and what that involves.

What is a green home? 

Simply put, a green home uses less energy, water and natural resources compared to a standard home. It is more efficient, and so creates less waste. In addition, a green home can be a much healthier habitat for the people living inside.

 Why make your home green?

Benefits to living in a green home include greater durability, lower energy costs and increased health for those dwelling inside the building.

 Saving your breath 

Green homes use nontoxic building materials to help combat indoor air pollution. Unhealthy air inside a dwelling can pose serious health risks for residents.

Saving money 

The typical household spends about $2,150 a year on residential energy bills. LEED-certified homes can save 30-60 percent on those bills.

An increasing number of insurance companies offer discounts on policies covering green homes. Similarly, several mortgage companies offer discounted loan rates for homebuyers.

A green home often uses higher-quality building materials and construction processes than a standard home—and better materials mean fewer repairs.

The resale value of a green home is often higher than that of a comparable standard home, and the market demand continues to rise.

Saving the environment 

Residential cooling and heating alone make up 20 percent of annual energy use in the United States. When you add in lights, appliances and other electronics, homes use a huge amount of energy. Most of this comes from greenhouse gas producers such as oil and coal, in turn contributing to global climate change. Green homes use 40 percent less energy.

By deciding to make your home more green, you are also making a commitment to be part of a more sustainable world.

Heather Benjamin

Content Marketing Specialist U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

Green homes yield major resale premiums in Washington, D.C.

Published on 5 Feb 2016Written by Nick Brousse Posted in Advocacy and policy

High-performing homes (HPHs) with green features—both single- and multi-family—in the District sell for nearly 3.5 percent more than those without green features, according to a recently released report, “What Is Green Worth? Unveiling High-Performance Home Premiums in Washington, D.C.,” by real estate appraiser and author Sandra K. Adomatis and the Institute for Market Transformation.

The market is taking notice. Building on the growing trend of green construction in the residential sector, a recent report from Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading provider of data and analytics serving the North American construction industry, found that among 249 builders, remodelers and multifamily firms surveyed, 51 percent expect that more than 60 percent of the homes that they build will be green by 2020.

The widely used definition of HPHs applied in the report cites six elements of green building that are found in most third-party certifying organizations’ rating systems, including LEED. These environmentally responsible and resource-efficient green building elements include site, water, energy, indoor air quality, materials and operations and maintenance.

As Kenneth Harney reported in his Washington Post article, the report calculated how much buyers were willing to pay for green features and found that they ranged from just over $10,000 to over $50,000, generating premiums as high as 7.7 percent. When renewable energy-generating technologies such as solar were incorporated into the home, that resale premium climbed even higher.

The study examined final sales prices for HPHs and non-HPHs with similar variables such as location, amenities, square footage and parking between February 2013 and June 2015. Of the HPHs examined, 75 percent were LEED-certified and marketed their unique green features in the real estate Multiple Listing Service (MLS). USGBC has been helping to drive MLSs to give homebuyers more information on green features and certifications, and this study is further proof of the value proposition for green certification and marketing those features.

Similar studies have found comparable market premiums for green, high-performing homes.

Green buildings perform better—they net higher rents, higher occupancy rates and higher prices when sold—and buyers know the long-term investment is well worth the premium.

Nick Brousse

Advocacy & Policy Project Manager

 

 

Benchmarking in Montgomery County, Maryland

Published on 18 Sep 2015Written by Grant Olear Posted in Advocacy and policy

In May 2014, the Montgomery County Council adopted Bill 2-14Environmental Sustainability—Buildings—Benchmarking, requiring the county and building owners to benchmark energy use in certain nonresidential buildings of 50,000 square feet or greater with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

The county elected to “lead by example” by being the first to report building energy use, with a deadline of June 1, 2015, and 23 Montgomery County-owned facilities are subject to the benchmarking requirements.

Under the legislation, many private, nonresidential buildings will be required to benchmark in phases over the next couple of years. Projects having a gross floor area of 250,000 square feet or more will be first, and are required to report their energy use data by December 1, 2016. Affected nonresidential structures with a minimum of 50,000 square feet of gross floor area and a maximum of 250,000 square feet will be required to report benchmarking results no later than December 1, 2017. Other facilities such as warehouses, industrial complexes and utility buildings are not subject to the legislation. The county has assembled a working group on the law’s implementation for private-sector buildings.

The legislation also created a work group that includes representatives from the county, real estate sector, industry trade associations, nonprofit entities and utility companies. The group was charged with developing a report that provided recommendations on the implementation of building energy benchmarking in the county, including any proposed amendments to the legislation. In the report, sent to the County Council on June 10, 2015, the group advised the county that the intent behind the regulation should be made clear within the text itself so that affected building owners and managers could understand the value of benchmarking their facilities. Additionally, the group recommended the reporting deadline for private developments subject to the legislation be moved up to June 1 to coincide with public sector benchmarking reporting, as well as recommendations on guidelines for the law’s verification requirement.

In an effort to spur voluntary benchmarking activity in the private sector, prior to mandatory reporting periods or for buildings not bound by the legislation, Montgomery County DEP developed the Early Bird Benchmarking Program to recognize and support building owners who began benchmarking before their respective reporting dates.

USGBC applauds Montgomery County and the rest of the jurisdictions across the country implementing building energy benchmarking policies.

Grant Olear

Green Building Policy Associate U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

 

 

USGBC National Capital Region: Calvary Women’s Services ADVANCE Project

Published on 27 Jan 2016Written by Suzi Warren Posted in Community

USGBC National Capital Region (NCR) Emerging Professionals are working with Calvary Women’s Services, an organization that provides housing, health, education and employment programs to homeless women in Washington, D.C., to make their facility and operations more sustainable, healthy and cost-effective.

The Emerging Professionals began this project over the summer, after selecting Calvary as the recipient of the services provided through the ADVANCE platform. Over two site visits, the EPs collected data, surveyed the grounds and interviewed staff about the operations of the facility. From there, they compiled a list of potential facility improvement measures and presented them to the USGBC National Capital Region Market Advisory Leadership Board for input and approval.

Once the EPs received the green light, they sent their findings to Calvary to read through and prioritize based on the individual needs of the women, the facility and the mission. Calvary came back with the following improvements, ranked in order of importance:

  • Freshly painted and stained exterior retaining walls
  • Timers or photocells on exterior lights
  • Lighting controls and rewiring to allow lights to be turned off at night
  • Utility price optimization analysis
  • Thermally improve historic storefront
  • Rainwater harvesting via rain barrel and rain garden
  • A low/zero-maintenance green wall
  • Professional energy audit
  • Blower door + infrared test
  • Professional air quality assessment
  • Green roof on garage building
  • Solar thermal and/or PV system
  • Mural on exterior walls

As of January 2016, the Emerging Professionals have started soliciting donations and services to complete these improvements

Suzi Warren

 

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.