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Archive for March, 2017

Green building trends in India: 2017

Published on 28 Feb 2017 Written by Taryn Holowka Posted in Industry

On a global scale, green building construction is doubling every three years, according to the World Green Building Trends 2016 report, by Dodge Data and Analytics. Some of the leading drivers of this growth are client demand, environmental regulation and an enhanced awareness of the occupant and tenant benefits of green buildings.

Over the last several years, green building has also seen a dramatic increase in India. USGBC, the developers of the LEED green building program, are committed to advancing even more rapid adoption of green building practices in India. In fact, green building is projected to grow 20 percent in the country by 2018.

India already ranks third among the Top Ten Countries for LEED, and in 2016, nearly 650 projects in India earned LEED certification. Emerging economies such as India are engines of green growth, with development varying from two- to sixfold over current green building levels.

According to a recent USGBC survey, 87 percent of Indian green building professionals anticipate the use of LEED in India increasing overall, with nine out of ten industry senior executives in India anticipating that their LEED-related work will increase over the next several years.

We are very focused on encouraging and growing the green movement in the country and have been preparing for some time:

GBCI India

In 2015 we launched GBCI India, which is a local GBCI hub in New Delhi that is designed to help LEED teams and others in the sustainability industry with on-the-ground customer service and technical support as well as a local connection.

 

USGBC South Carolina participates in STEM Fest

Published on 3 Mar 2017 Written by Sandra Doherty Posted in Community

On February 11, the USGBC South Carolina Low Country Branch participated in the fourth annual Charleston STEM Fest 2017, an outdoor celebration of science, technology, engineering and math. Our booth was located right on the river on a beautiful 70-degree day. The group started setting up around 9 a.m., and by 10, the kids were flocking around the booth with excited faces.

 Engaging the community

At this festival, our goal was to interact with students and engage them in activities about how to be green. In addition, being an exhibitor not only gave the organization exposure, but also the an opportunity to network with other exhibitors/vendors that have a presence in Charleston that may seek to know more about USGBC. We hoped to reach students, faculty members, school board members and other leaders of the Charleston community.

Sketching out green homes

USGBC volunteers Joe, Jacquayle, Jennifer and Greg assisted the children in modeling a basic house with a door, windows and a gable roof. They acquainted parents with the sketch-up software and other computer modeling software that is all free. With up to 200 students participating, the eclectic neighborhood that came to life expressed unique color palettes, and a variety of structures from modest to ambitiously soaring.

After the volunteers highlighted the basic geometric functions to the children, most were quick learners and were excited to explore their new tech-savvy hobby at home. After each child modeled their dream home in sketch-up, volunteers would assist in creating an overhang in front of a few windows. They would demonstrate the shadow cast by the new addition to their structure and open an adjacent window with a model that demonstrated an energy efficiency profile.

The energy-efficient model, adorned with a heat-color-coded response, stirred curiosity in the children. The volunteers explained that the shading device modeled above their windows allowed for a cooler response from the building toward its environment. Adjacent trees in the energy model were pointed out, and the USGBC volunteers explained how the leaves create shade in the hot months of the year and then fall to create more opportunity for light in the colder months.

 Encouraging enthusiasm for STEM

The volunteer team was as enthusiastic about the day as the participants. Jennifer described her experience:

As a USGBC South Carolina volunteer, I am absolutely thrilled we were able to attend the Charleston STEM fest 2017. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. With an abundant and vivacious group of exhibitors, I felt personally encouraged by the surrounding network of professionals, who are passionate about creating games to facilitate the interest of the next generation in science, engineering, math and technology.

The children and parents came out with overwhelming interest. The kids were patient and quick learners who were all extremely engaged. It was a great success.

Green Schools Conference and Expo Comes to Atlanta

Published on 2 Mar 2017 Written by Rachel Gilbert Posted in Media

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Dr. Antwi Akom and Dr. Elizabeth Kiss to speak at conference that brings together sustainability advocates, education leaders, parents to transform nation’s schools

Washington, D.C.—(March 1, 2017)—The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE), presented by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, and produced in partnership with the Green Schools National Network, is coming to Atlanta, Georgia, March 21–22, 2017, at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, located at 210 Peachtree Street NW.

The conference, designed to bring together teachers, parents, students, school and district staff, educational leaders, building industry professionals and nonprofit partners, is the premier education and engagement opportunity for those who are passionate about the future of green schools throughout the country and around the world. During the two-day conference, advocates will come together to make measurable and lasting progress toward the three pillars of green schools: environmental impact, health impact and environmental and sustainability literacy.

Occupant-aware buildings or building-aware occupants?

Published on 1 Mar 2017 Written by Tom Marseille Posted in Industry

 Efficiency is in the occupant’s hands

At one end of the spectrum, effectively leveraging passive design and daylighting usually depends on occupants changing the indoor environment to fit their needs (e.g., opening and closing windows or raising and lowering blinds). Essentially, occupants are asked to become more aware and more educated about how their buildings are meant to operate to provide the most benefit.

Buildings that are designed and built to current market standards increasingly include more indoor sensors to control mechanical HVAC or artificial lighting. But occupants can easily manipulate these tools, and do so frequently, typically in response to a lack of control over the space. Occupant education can help in setting expectations and encouraging behavioral changes, but it is challenging to execute, and the knowledge does not stay constant during inevitable staff turnover.

Customizing building information, and making it accessible via individual workstations or smartphones, is a reality today. But it remains to be seen whether occupant interest and active engagement can be sustained in the long term. Early findings are not particularly encouraging except in cases where there is a strong motivating factor. Does this mean having effective building-aware occupants is an aspiration that may not be achievable?

 Your building can sense you

Everyone, from tech developers to futurists to politicos, have latched onto the idea of smart buildings within smart cities, of making sense of big data collected from new information conduits available through the internet of things and new sensory technology. Smart buildings stand to benefit the broad spectrum of building stakeholders.

Developers looking for a quick and profitable sale can tout the latest approach to building technology and use it as a lever to fulfill energy efficiency code mandates. Building owners could enjoy lower operating costs through a fully and continually tuned, optimized building, and be poised to better track and retain tenants. Tenants may see improved productivity from employees through a healthier, more comfortable environment, which could contribute in turn to reduced staff turnover. Smart sensors gathering data on occupancy trends may inform future workplace strategies, enabling planning for reduced leased space requirements without compromising employee comfort and productivity.

It is a powerful idea, but it raises some questions, because—if we are willing—buildings will soon know our preferences, where we are and when they can expect us to arrive or depart. Buildings can potentially make choices for us to optimize (based on the trended algorithms) occupant experience and performance.

Does this mean that eventually, your building may know more about you than you are comfortable with, even though you are more comfortable in your building? Is the next generation of high performance for building stock only possible at the expense of personal privacy? And can we truly rely on this additional layer of systems complexity to be reliable, affordable, maintainable and secure?

For now, we can still consider the other option of educating people to “do it themselves,” to emphasize and enable the building-aware occupant in a simpler building, arming them with information that helps them consume less and enjoy an admittedly lower tech building more.

USGBC

 

Green infrastructure: City climate action planning

Published on 2 Sep 2016 Written by Hannah Jane Brown Posted in Industry

We are breaking world records this year. We are on track for the hottest year on record. Already, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred during the young 21st century, and this year is adding yet another extreme to the list. This mounting challenge drove world leaders to come to a landmark agreement at last winter’s Paris talks.

The emissions reduction targets formalized in Paris tell us what our emission levels should be, but if you’re like me, you might be asking how we are going to get there. Thankfully, we know that green infrastructure boasts many benefits that could be part of the solution.

City climate action plans are steering cities in their implementation of policies and actions providing both tangible local benefits and contributing to global impact.

Cities can generally be doing more. Here’s a summary of findings from my review of climate action plans from 28 U.S. cities. On the whole, 21 of the 28 plans mention green infrastructure at various depths.

Some plans detail robust implementation strategies and specific initiatives, while others mention green infrastructure as a general concept, but lack a developed discussion or implementation strategy.

Most cities appear to be aware of green infrastructure as a possible solution set, but their climate action plans do not demonstrate a current understanding or commitment to put it to maximum use.

Whether or not the term “green infrastructure” is mentioned, most city climate action plans are outlining ways for green infrastructure to help, including:

 Urban forests and urban agriculture: 25 plans include urban forestry initiatives and 26 include urban agriculture programs. Considering only 21 plans mention green infrastructure, it is safe to say cities see the value in green infrastructure practices even if they don’t identify them that way.

Transportation and streetscapes: 20 of the plans refer to green infrastructure in relation to street design and public rights-of-way. These plans encourage permeable surfacesplanted medians and stormwater planters along streets and sidewalks. Green infrastructure is often coupled with initiatives to create safe and inviting street environments that promote walking and alternative transportation.

Green roofs: 16 of the plans discuss green roofs. Some cities require green roofs for new development. It is common for cities to offer direct development incentives such as density bonuses, permit fast-tracking, or floor-area-ratio bonuses for projects with green roofs. Many cities also offer grants to assist building owners with retrofitting their roofs. Stormwater fees further incentivize green roofs by linking savings with reduced runoff.

Bioswales, rain gardens and water catchment systems: Bioswales and rain gardens are mentioned in 11 of the plans, and water catchment devices in 13. City ordinances designed to manage stormwater tend to promote these strategies, and so can codes that guide street design. Cities are taking a more critical look at parking as well and encouraging these practices to reduce runoff and pollution.

It’s clear that the elements of green infrastructure are recognized as effective strategies to address climate action, but more remains to be done to harness the full range of benefits. In addition to meaningful climate action, green infrastructure can move cities closer to achieving myriad other goals, including social equity.

Hannah Jane Brown Posted in Industry

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.