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Archive for November, 2016



Albemarle County Public Schools awarded a School District Scholarship (USGBC Greater Virginia)

Albemarle County Public Schools awarded a School District Scholarship (USGBC Greater Virginia)

Published on 11 Oct 2016 Written by Carrie Webster Posted in Center for Green Schools

Albemarle County Public Schools has received a School District Scholarship from the Center for Green Schools.

Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) has recently been awarded a School District Scholarship from the Center for Green Schools™ at USGBC®. The scholarship includes travel and attendance for school representatives to the Greenbuild Conference and Expo in 2016 and the Green Schools Conference in 2017. It also includes access to exclusive USGBC training opportunities and resources, as well as financial assistance with a high-impact sustainability project of the district’s choice.

ACPS was awarded the scholarship based on the impressive list of environmental initiatives that the school system has already implemented over the past 10 years, championed by Lindsay Snoddy, the ACPS Assistant Director of Environmental, Health, and Safety.

Energy and sustainability successes at ACPS have included

  • Earning the Energy Star label for 21 schools.
  • Conducting plumbing fixture audits in partnership with University of Virginia to identify and implement water-saving upgrades.
  • District-wide green cleaning and integrated pest management policies.
  • Composting programs in many schools.
  • Rigorous recycling programs that go beyond standard curbside items to encompass such items as electronic waste, batteries, fluorescent bulbs and construction and demolition debris.

In 2012, a Renewable Energy Resource Center was constructed at Henley Middle School with grant funds. The center includes a solar array, a wind turbine and a solar thermal system.

In addition, ACPS recently became the first school system in Virginia to install 1 megawatt of solar photovoltaic cells under the solar power purchase agreement in Dominion Power’s territory. Projects still in the works include upgrading all classroom lighting to LEDs to save energy and improve the learning environment.

Written by Carrie Webster

Promoting sustainability and equity through Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda

Published on 17 Oct 2016 Written by Grant Olear Posted in Advocacy and policy

The U.N. Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development looks to use its New Urban Agenda to establish a common vision for sustainable and equitable urban developments.

UN-Habitat, the formal United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, looks to establish a common vision for sustainable and equitable urban developments. UN Habitat conferences take place every 20 years, with the first two taking place in 1976 and 1996, in Vancouver and Istanbul, respectively.

Habitat III began October 17, 2016, in Quito, Ecuador, and is especially timely in helping the nations of the world align increasing urbanization with the newly entered Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals adopted last year.

With its focus on the nexus of development with sustainability, equity, prosperity, dialogues and partnerships, Habitat III will align significantly with USGBC®’s mission. USGBC participated in the conference with global partners such as the World Resources Institute and ICLEI, advancing our community’s suite of sustainability tools.

The primary goals of Habitat III are to renew nations’ commitments to sustainable urban development and to address new and emerging challenges, resulting in adoption of the New Urban Agenda. The agenda outlines commitments and a common vision for future urban development. The culmination of a series of issue papers, the official draft was agreed upon at the Habitat III Informal Intergovernmental Meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Sept. 10.

The New Urban Agenda seeks to meet the challenges and opportunities of sustained, inclusive economic growth, leveraging urbanization for structure transformation, high productivity, value-added activities and resource efficiency. It stresses inclusion—across different levels of government as well as in gender.

There is much to like about the New Urban Agenda, which encompasses a broad array of commitments relating to smart cities, protecting ecosystem services, reducing waste, strengthening resilience and resource-efficiency of materials, among others. We see many connections with our suite of tools, and will reinforce these opportunities as the agenda moves forward.

Written by Grant Olear

Hitched: How we all work together (USGBC New York Upstate)

Published on 18 Oct 2016 Written by Jodi Smits Anderson Posted in Community

We all need to work together to strengthen our communities and environment.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” —John Muir

This Muir quote does a great job of defining sustainability, triple bottom line planning and just plain common sense. Additionally, as we are reminded in the book “This Spaceship Earth,” we are “crew” on this planet, not just passengers who can sleep our way through the journey. “This Spaceship Earth” makes it clear that we are all hitched together—and not just to one another, but to the world we inhabit: the water, air, soil, flora and fauna, affecting planetary bodies beyond our thin, habitable layer as well.

Buildings are like this. Take one element of a building, such as the type of window, and change the window’s functional attributes or performance ratings. That will affect view, solar heat gain, comfort of the occupants, sizing of HVAC systems, the code review and even the manufacturing and material sourcing. It is not just a window, but one component of the building energy system and a connector of the occupant to earth and sky.

Projects are like this. The most successful projects in business, in life, in committee work, are those that seek to achieve cost-effective, optimized results in the long-term view, and that consider as much as possible all the aspects that the project affects and all that can affect the project. We have to expand our teams and ask more questions. Seek broad and deep levels of input from your stakeholders.

Relationships are like this. The deepest and most fulfilling relationships have many layers and embedded influences in our lives. Some of these influences are supportive and generous, and some cause negative ripples for years. The characters most deserving of our pity in literature and song are those who are not “hitched” to those around them, either by circumstance or by their own actions.

Simply put: we need to be engaged with one another and our environment, since we are intrinsically connected. If every project requires insights beyond our own capabilities and if each building is tied to the aspects of nature around it, we have the power to make the changes we seek. We are crew. We have the responsibility to understand and strengthen our connections and our effects. All hands on deck.

Written by Jodi Smits Anderson

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.