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Archive for April, 2016

Green schools: The food connection

Published on 3 Mar 2016Written by Karen Dittrich Posted in Center for Green Schools

Karen Dittrich specializes in marketing strategies that engage school communities through food at Creatif Leaf Marketing.

Food not only nourishes the body and mind, but it can also be used as a catalyst to create sustainable school communities where students gain knowledge about healthy sustainable living throughout the school grounds, which they can bring into their homes and community.

K–12 school food environments nationwide providing educational opportunities and healthy food choices throughout schools can greatly support the pathway to establishing sustainable school communities. By engaging students, their families, and school staff to participate in food, nutrition, and sustainability education together, it can lead to everyone making better choices for healthier lifestyles and a cleaner environment.

Marketing approaches are changing and engagement marketing has become more prevalent recently for good reason. Approaches are shifting from talking at people to engaging with people to build strong, long-term, and personalized relationships with customers. Unlike traditional marketing approaches where prospects are targeted with direct response deals, engagement marketing allows potential customers to interact and decide how they would like to proceed with a brand or program. Engagement marketing begins when a person is interested in a product or initiative and then decides to take action and engage. After providing relevant information, it is the consumers’ choice on how to proceed, making this approach much more readily accepted by members of Gen Z (today’s students) and their families. 

Karen Dittrich Posted in Center for Green Schools


The greening of Pittsburgh: Schools

Published on 1 Apr 2016Written by Rick Fedrizzi Posted in Center for Green Schools

Pittsburgh has the only LEED Platinum convention center in the world. The first LEED Gold sports venue in the nation. The largest LEED Silver museum in the country.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a USGBC metric that measures the sustainability of a building’s design, construction, operations and maintenance in terms of energy, water and resource use; waste and emissions reduction; indoor environmental quality; and innovative approaches to the development process. And by that benchmark, Pittsburgh is an impressively green city, a leader for the rest of the country in so many ways.

Pittsburgh has proved it’s ready to take on the challenge of environmental responsibility and climate change in meaningful, long-lasting ways. It has transformed the buildings that we rely on every day to use energy and water in smart, ecologically sensible ways that will help us preserve the planet for generations. But there’s one type of building that Pittsburgh has yet to make green, and it’s an important one: schools.

Our nation’s schools are in terrible shape. Across all 50 states—Pennsylvania included—students are going to schools that are in dire need of repair and are failing to create healthy and safe environments for our kids and the teachers and administrators who support them.

The conference will focus on the national conversation we need to have about the way we fund school construction and maintenance. The council’s 2016 “State of Our Schools” report, an in-depth state-by-state analysis of our country’s investment in school infrastructure, has found our funding structure inherently and persistently inequitable. Millions of students around the country are learning in dilapidated, obsolete and unhealthy facilities that are obstacles to their learning and well-being.

Making schools healthier isn’t just a matter of supporting Pittsburgh’s admirable legacy of sustainable building. It’s about providing a healthy, safe environment for our children and ensuring that they are the recipients of a 21st century education.

This is why USGBC is bringing to Pittsburgh leaders and champions of green schools, including educators, school administrators, nonprofit and corporate partners and elected officials, to advance their shared vision of healthy spaces and efficient schools for all children within this generation

Pittsburgh’s story is built on the idea of coming together, like the three great rivers that converge there. But everyone has to come to the table—or, in this case, the classroom. The Green Schools Conference is a chance for everyone to learn from each other and build a better future for our kids, one that’s healthy, safe and sustainable.

 Rick Fedrizzi

CEO & Founding Chairman U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff, USGBC board


World green building trends in 2016: Motivators and obstacles

Published on 24 Mar 2016Written by Heather BenjaminPosted in Industry

Motivators for green building

New data reveals that client demand is the top trigger for green building activity, having grown from 35 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2015. This shows that building owners recognize the benefits of green, and this recognition is a major driver of green market growth globally. In addition, environmental regulations also grew in importance from the previous data set, driven by a high response from a few regions, including India, Singapore and the U.K.

Another interesting finding is that overall, the importance of “doing the right thing” as a motivator for green building has declined over time. The same is true of the similar factors of branding/public relations and internal corporate commitment. This may suggest that as the green building market has matured and become more visible and standard in many locations, market-driven factors have supplanted the early-adopter vision as a trigger for choosing to build green.

 Obstacles to green building

As with the top triggers, the obstacles to green building vary by part of the world. Higher perceived initial cost was listed as one of the top three challenges in 11 of the 13 countries featured in the study—and was a particular problem for respondents in the United States and Colombia.

Top obstacles in developing markets included lack of public awareness and lack of political support, as noted by Brazil, Colombia, India and Poland.

In more established markets such as Australia and the U.K., proponents also have to fight the perception that green building is for only high-end projects.

Heather Benjamin

Content Marketing Specialist U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

Rhode Island leads by example in green building policy

Published on 8 Mar 2016Written by Alysson Blackwelder Posted in Advocacy and policy

Late last year, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed an executive order mandating that state agencies reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions throughout their facilities.

Motivated by the state’s commitment to address climate change and by the Resilient Rhode Island Act, the executive order (EO) is broad in its reach in promoting renewable energy and working to reduce energy consumption. Notably, the directive mandates that state agencies achieve high performance green building standards in existing buildings, thereby going beyond current requirements for new construction.

Making energy goals specific

The EO directs the Rhode Island Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to “achieve a high standard of green building operations and maintenance at all state facilities such as may be accomplished through the International Green Construction Code, USGBC’s LEED certification, or an equivalent high performance green building standard.”

Specifically, the EO directs Rhode Island State agencies to

Procure 100 percent of government electricity consumption from renewable sources by the year 2025.

Reach a 10 percent reduction of energy consumption by the year 2019.

Ensure that 25 percent of new vehicles added to the state fleet will be zero-emissions vehicles by the year 2025.

Encourage state employees to commute by public transit, by bike or on foot.

Coordinate with the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, National Grid and the Green

Building Advisory Committee to establish a voluntary aspirational or stretch building code based on the

International Green Construction Code or “equivalent” by the year 2017.

According to the governor’s office, the EO is expected to add around 1,600 additional jobs to the clean energy sector, which currently employs nearly 10,000 Rhode Islanders.

Alysson Blackwelder

 Project Manager, Advocacy and Policy U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff


Mayors continue to play vital role leading into COP


Published on 23 Oct 2015Written by Grant Olear Posted in Advocacy and policy

For two weeks in December, the world will gather in Paris for COP21, or the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, to negotiate a global agreement on climate change.

Through the Compact of Mayors, cities around the world have committed to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cities participating in the compact have adopted a common measurement system and a public reporting process to ensure accountability.

Cities are heavily invested in the outcomes of the negotiations at COP21, as urban areas are home to over half of the global population. The majority of future population growth is also expected to occur in cities. It’s estimated that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas.

They were able to share some of the innovations that we are working on, and learn about the impressive efforts being done in cities around the world. Global cities are the source of brilliant ideas that are creating jobs, saving citizens’ money, and helping the planet heal all at the same time. Here in DC, we shared our stories of climate action and adaption planning and green building policies and programs, and took the exchange participants on a tour of some of the cutting-edge work that DC is doing around green infrastructure.

A group of U.S. mayors also took part in the sessions, including Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum. A long-standing advocate of climate action, Mayor Appelbaum is also a member of the Local Climate Leaders Circle, a Resilient Cities for America (RC4A) initiative. Led by RC4A’s steering committee (ICLEI USANLCWWF and USGBC), the initiative will bring 12 U.S. mayors and local elected officials to Paris for COP21 to show their support for a strong global agreement on climate change.

 Grant Olear

Green Building Policy Associate U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff



Earth Month 2016: The Elements of Forests

March 31st, 2016 by American Forests

By Austa Somvichian-ClausenCommunications Intern

There are four elements believed by many cultures to be fundamental to life: earth, air, fire and water. Though these four fundamental elements have not changed — they are constantly evolving, building and shaping the environment around us, including our world’s forests. Without a sufficient supply of water, our forests wouldn’t have the sustenance to grow. Without clean air, our forests can’t breathe. Without nutritious earth, our forests would never be able to take root. And, even without fire, many of our forests don’t have a chance at rebirth.

But, this Earth Month (the best month of the year), American Forests will not only be looking at what the elements do for our forests and the wildlife that call them home, but also what forest ecosystems contribute to the elements, to our earth and to our individual health via the elements. Without forests, millions of people wouldn’t have access to palatable drinking water. Without forests, Earth’s largest carbon sink, our air wouldn’t be nearly as clean. Without forests, the earth would erode. And, without the plant matter from forests, fire can’t contribute to the nutrition of the soil.

Another way to get involved this Earth Month is by plant trees. Each year, we lose between 46,000 and 58,000 square miles of forest — which is equivalent to about 48 football fields every minute. Forests can use all the help they can get, and you can do your part restore ecosystems!

 Austa Somvichian-ClausenCommunications Intern

USGBC North Carolina: Students help install LED lights at zoo

Published on 19 Feb 2016Written by Rachel Quetti Posted in Community

It’s not all that often that students have the chance to participate in the actual installation of new technology, but that is exactly what happened at the North Carolina Zoo this past fall.

LED innovator Cree, Inc., partnered with USGBC to provide an opportunity for the students of Asheboro High School to work with Cree and local officials to upgrade the North Carolina Zoo’s multipurpose room through the installation of LED lights.

The project honored the Center for Green Schools Green Apple Day of Service, an international day of service meant to raise awareness about the importance of creating healthy, safe and productive learning environments for students. The day gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into optimal learning environments through local service projects.

“Installing new Cree LED lighting is a way to teach students, teachers and administrators the importance of sustainable classrooms and how these features benefit the learning environment,” said Emily Scofield, Director, Community, USGBC North Carolina, in an email response.

 Meeting a need

USGBC and Cree, Inc. became aware of the zoo’s need for a lighting upgrade in its multipurpose room when John Casadonte, vertical marketing manager for lighting at Cree, Inc., visited the zoo, to learn how the company could assist the zoo’s educational program.

According to Casadonte, the multipurpose room was in great need of a lighting upgrade. The room was lit using a technology called metal halide, a unique light that is not typically found indoors.

 Learning about energy efficiency

Cree offered new LED fixtures to be installed in the multipurpose room by onsite electricians, and students who were interested in the discussion of energy efficiency and sustainable operations and maintenance were invited to see a demonstration of the installation.

The actual installation went extremely smoothly, where installers only ran into the minor challenge of having to work around air conditioning ducts.

Installing LED light in the zoo’s multipurpose room not only gave students a great learning experience on the Green Apple Day of Service, it will continue to provide them with an optimal learning experience every time they use the room. In comparison to the traditional lighting found in educational environments, LED lighting can help students stay focused longer.

Once the installation was complete, the zoo held an event to show off the new LED lighting. As part of the presentation, the zoo only lit half of the multipurpose room, and the audience was essentially viewing the beginning of the presentation in the dark. As part of the live demonstration, the zoo turned on the other half of the room with the new LED lights.

“Half of the room was still outfitted with the metal halide and the other half with LEDS. That’s when the kids instantly got it. How do you get that through to a teenager in high school? How do you make that impactful? The whole idea of seeing it first hand was really impactful for them,” said Casadonte. “It was so surprising, the change in the room. I don’t think anybody who was sitting there wouldn’t recognize that.”

Rachel Quetti Posted in Community

USGBC Minnesota: Check out the Energy Star Challenge

Published on 26 Feb 2016Written by Sheri Brezinka Posted in Community

It’s no secret that buildings are responsible for a large portion of energy use in the United States. What many people are not aware of is how easy it can be to increase energy efficiency at little to no cost, by making simple changes. This notion led to the implementation of the Minnesota Energy Star Challenge, a statewide project organized by USGBC Minnesota, the Great Plains Institute and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart program. The Challenge is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and in-kind contributions from several utilities.

The Challenge seeks to lessen environmental impacts that result from excessive energy use in our built environment. Nearly 20 percent of the nation’s total CO2 emissions come from commercial buildings. On average, buildings that are Energy Star-certified use 35 percent less energy than comparable buildings, reducing air emissions as well as operating costs. USGBC supports use of the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager as an effective tool for benchmarking. Energy Star Portfolio Manager compiles building stats and energy consumption data to produce an Energy Star Score, central to the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system.

“Minnesota building owners are embracing energy efficiency and the cost savings that result, but there’s so much more to do,” said Great Plains Institute President and CEO Rolf Nordstrom, noting that more than 600 commercial buildings in Minnesota are currently Energy Star-certified. “In many cases, building energy efficiency investments can be made—and paid for with energy savings achieved—in a relatively short period of time, making those investments a ‘win’ for the environment and a ‘win’ for business owners’ pocketbooks. You don’t have to look further than the Science Museum of Minnesota’s recent retrofits to see how large those savings can be!”

USGBC Minnesota is proud to be a part of a program committed to assisting local building owners in lowering their carbon footprint. They believe the efforts will not only promote economic vitality, but also create a healthier, more sustainable Minnesota. The Challenge is open to all owners and property managers of existing buildings in Minnesota with eligible properties.

Sheri Brezinka

Executive Director USGBC – Minnesota Chapter

Member employees


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.