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Archive for July, 2016

Salt Lake City partners with utilities

Published on 13 Jun 2016 Written by Whitney Ward Posted in Community

USGBC Utah partner Salt Lake City was recognized by the White House for its work to improve energy efficiency.

Over the past two years, USGBC Utah has been partnering with Salt Lake City to promote Project Skyline, a city initiative to expand building energy tracking and benchmarking using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager program. Our community hosted an event to raise awareness for the program and provide education on the benefits of both benchmarking and financial incentives for energy improvement projects. We are so pleased to be a part of this program and to have it recognized at a national level.

Salt Lake City has recently been recognized by the White House and U.S. Department of Energy for ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency through building benchmarking and energy transparency. According to an article on the city’s website,

Since 2013, Salt Lake City has partnered with both Rocky Mountain Power and Questar to provide whole-building energy data access to building owners through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager Tool. The effort, which is on track for completion in 2017, will ensure effortless energy data management for building owners, providing a complete picture as to building energy use and enabling them to employ more responsive strategies.

“Salt Lake City, Rocky Mountain Power and Questar are working together to help building owners understand how their building is operating and to identify opportunities to improve energy management,” says Vicki Bennett, Sustainability Director for Salt Lake City. “By automating and streamlining the process, more Salt Lake City building owners will be able to improve energy efficiency—ultimately saving energy, money and emissions.”

Salt Lake City is committed to improving air quality, and buildings play an important role in emissions. The most recent data from the Utah Division of Air Quality show that 39 percent of existing air pollution comes from area sources (i.e., homes and businesses). This percentage is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years as vehicles become more efficient, making building energy efficiency efforts more and more important.

Last week, Mayor Jackie Biskupski extended an invitation to leading industry experts to share their ideas and best practices for energy efficiency in buildings, as part of the Elevate Buildings process.

“There is nothing more important than the air we breathe, and working to clear our skies is a top priority of my administration,” says Mayor Biskupksi. “By collaborating with industry experts, we will help improve air quality through increased energy efficiency [in] our city’s largest buildings.”

You can learn more about Salt Lake City’s efforts to reduce our collective carbon footprint through energy benchmarking and efficiency improvements in commercial buildings at Skyline.


Whitney Ward

Sustainability Manager VCBO Architecture

Member employees, Chapter members


LEED Earth Project Pioneers: The Dominican Republic’s greenest mall

Published on 14 Jun 2016Written by Amanda Sawit Posted in International

Ágora Mall is the first LEED-certified building in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.

USGBC’s mission is to bring the environmental and human health benefits of green buildings to all, and it is committed to accelerating the adoption of LEED in new and existing markets.

The LEED Earth Project Pioneers series spotlights those who have set a new standard of green building leadership in their countries, sharing both the successes achieved and challenges navigated.

Ágora Mall

Large retail spaces are notorious for being huge energy consumers, and this was not lost on the project team behind Ágora Mall, Santo Domingo’s first LEED-certified building. Minimizing its environmental impact through energy- and water-saving strategies was a key priority for this project.

Ágora Mall was awarded LEED Silver under the Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating system for Core and Shell. While the mall doesn’t control the entire design of the tenants, the achievement highlights the complexity of systems that converge within the building. Its domed roof is a 2,000-square-meter structure made of steel and pneumatic ETFE pillows supported by a lightweight structure. The pillows are filled with low-pressure air for insulation and resistance to wind loads. This helps the building save energy by maximizing sunlight while maintaining thermal control over the space; it also creates a more natural indoor environment, which can directly increase employee productivity and boost visitor moods.

“This certification has a direct impact that goes beyond complying with the requirements of efficient design and construction,” said Dariela Linares of the Landmark Realty Corporation, the owner of Ágora Mall. “Our commitment goes beyond the technical operation of the building.” The mall’s status as a green building also inspires change in people’s lifestyles to raise public awareness about the need to save energy and water and how individual behavior influences our ecological footprint, she added.

The project team also implemented a recycling and waste management plan, which has become an environmental management program with key sustainability indicators that include the treatment, reuse and disposal of potable and wastewater; energy savings; and the correct handling and disposal of hazardous materials.

LEED around the world

Currently, there are 160 countries and territories using LEED. LEED Earth has helped catalyze green building in markets where sustainable building practices are not as prevalent, and is an important first step in steering communities toward a more resilient, healthy and sustainable future.

 Amanda Sawit

Content Specialist U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff


Financing energy efficiency in retail

Published on 13 Jun 2016Written by Monica Kanojia Posted in Industry

Learn how the Energy Efficiency Finance Calculator can aid retail professionals in projects and planning.

Driving the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through efficiency projects in the retail sector can be difficult, particularly when many energy managers lack awareness of financing mechanisms available to them to fund their projects. To address this market barrier, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Institute for Market Transformation have partnered to create an Energy Efficiency Finance Calculator with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The finance calculator is designed to help retail professionals understand how to leverage external financing to fund energy or sustainability projects within their portfolios, as well as basic finance metrics for specific projects. Project managers enter project specifications into the calculator, including:

Number of facilities the project will cover

Total projected cost across all facilities

Whether facilities will be leased or owned

Typical hold period for a single facility

Whether the company values the ability to pass upgrades on to the next occupant in the event of sale/move-out

Preferred timeline for financing

Management plan for installation

Whether third-party assistance with ongoing operations and energy management is preferred

Ability of the company to take on addition debt on balance sheet

The tool identifies what external finance mechanisms are best suited for the project, based on user inputs. Each finance mechanism is explained, and associated benefits and challenges described. Suggested finance options are highlighted in green, but those that may not be well suited are also included for reference, in the event they are applicable in combination with other options, or for future projects.

Project managers must often make the case for funding of energy efficiency projects by addressing various finance metrics, which internal leadership must determine to be of a great enough value to justify the initial investment. Although each company has its own process to determine metrics for a given project, the finance calculator gives the option to calculate estimates of internal rate of return, annual return on investment, net present value, and the simple payback period, based on three basic questions. The estimates are to be used as guidance, and it is highly recommended that each company employ more complex modeling efforts to determine more accurate numbers.

Detailed research and calculations were conducted on each featured external financing mechanism included in the finance calculator. The expectation is that this tool will simplify the often arduous process involved in selecting a financing vehicle for clean energy projects and catalyze more energy efficiency projects in the retail sector.

 Monica Kanojia

Consultant U.S. Department of Energy


The Glumac Shanghai Office aims high

Published on 31 May 2016Written by Amanda Sawit Posted in International

Glumac Shanghai Office TI

Glumac Shanghai Office TI holds the distinction of being the first LEED v4 Platinum building in China, a country with nearly 1,670 registered projects and 787 LEED-certified projects. It is also the very first LEED v4 Platinum project in East Asia, a region boasting more than 48,198,000 gross square meters of certified space.

Located in the heart of Shanghai, the 6,450-square-foot office space is a retrofit of a 100-year-old Rockefeller mansion. The project team worked to overcome many challenges specific to the project’s location: poor air quality, fractured regulatory landscape, unregulated building materials, different time zones and cultural communication.

The space, which was certified under the Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) rating system for Commercial Interiors (CI), is net-positive for energy, water and carbon. It also is designed to deliver exceptional indoor air quality, with air filtered to reduce the particle count to less than one-tenth of outdoor conditions.

“Glumac takes pride in our leadership in sustainability,” said Steven Straus, president of Glumac. “We appreciate our staff in Shanghai and believe that our great space, with excellent indoor air quality, contributes to their health and improves productivity of our office.”

Glumac, a USGBC member at the Silver Level, is an engineering firm that specializes in energy-efficient and sustainable building technologies. The new office supports Glumac’s local presence in China and showcases advanced measures of sustainability in the built environment.

LEED around the world

Currently, there are 160 countries and territories using LEED. LEED Earth has helped catalyze green building in markets where sustainable building practices are not as prevalent, and it is an important first step in steering communities toward a more resilient, healthy and sustainable future.

Amanda Sawit

Content Specialist 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.