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Posts Tagged ‘Construction’

A goal of USGBC Central Pennsylvania

In March of 2016, USGBC Central Pennsylvania identified an opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity of Harrisburg on a rewarding project: a duplex that was going to be given to a military veteran’s family, which had suffered from a fire. The goal of the project was to provide a low-cost and healthy home that operated sustainably to keep day-to-day costs for the family very affordable.

USGBC Central Pennsylvania worked with Habitat for Humanity by providing technical consultation and identifying potential suppliers to offer discounted materials and services. Several USGBC Central Pennsylvania board members conducted site visits and provided architectural, energy-related and green-building recommendations, including:

  • Insulation types and installation methods
  • Low-usage plumbing fixtures
  • Paints with less than 50 grams per liter of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Asbestos testing
  • With new roofing and windows, and a complete remodel of the interior by Habitat for Humanity volunteers, the property will soon be a beautiful home to a happy family. The space has energy-efficient windows donated by Plygem, upcycled cabinets, and countertops from the Habitat ReStore and bamboo and cork flooring donated by Calibamboo.
  • USGBC Central Pennsylvania is looking forward to more projects in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity in the coming years.  We are also glad to support other community-focused organizations that are interested in sustainability. Please email Heidi Kunka, the community’s director, or phone 202.706.0836, if you have a project in mind.

Seven need-to-know building performance strategies (USGBC Wisconsin)

Published on 3 Jan 2017 Written by Doug Pearson Posted in Industry

What goes into measuring and improving building performance? Building performance strategies can cover a wide range of topics. Each strategy is important, yet each is just one aspect of what it takes to achieve a successful project.

  • Accessibility: This should go beyond the minimum as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) to address universal design, equal access and flexibility.
  • Aesthetics: The building aesthetic needs to consider design elements that fit into the community or campus, and represent the desired architectural style.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The need to be cost-effective will suggest the building materials, but also use life-cycle costing and consider nonmonetary benefits such as aesthetic, historic preservation, safety, security, flexibility, resiliency and sustainability.
  • Functionality: Make sure to account for the needs of the owner, ensure appropriate product and systems integration and meet the performance objectives.
  • Productivity: This involves integrating technology, creating audio/visual systems, promoting health and well-being of the occupants, providing comfortable environments for the intended tasks and assuring reliable systems and spaces.
  • Safety and security: Address fire safety, indoor air quality, natural hazard mitigation and security for the occupants and assets.
  • Sustainability: Optimize energy use, conserve water, use the site’s full potential, control long-term maintenance costs and reduce the impact on the environment through environmentally friendly building materials.

Identify project goals early on, and coordinate the interdependencies of all building systems concurrently with the planning and programming phase. Following a defined building performance strategy can result in such performance changes as 25 percent less energy, 19 percent lower operating costs, 27 percent higher occupant satisfaction, and 36 percent fewer CO2 emissions.


Doug Pearson

Synergies: Interdependence and the building envelope (USGBC New York Upstate)

Published on 19 Oct 2016  Written by Jodi Smits Anderson  Posted in Industry

Interdependence, like community, is strength. We start as dependent babies, grow into young adults and become independent. Most of us stop there, because independence is not only a national ideal, but a mantra for everyone leaving home and starting their adult lives. However, true strength comes from interdependence—relationships, communities, families and a recognition of how our abilities can complement one another to achieve our common goals.

In my view, there are three pieces to this interdependence. For some metaphorical fun, I’ll use the trendy world of Pokémon Go. In this universe, Team Blue (Mystic) is that the building has to work with itself, and many don’t. Many buildings have leaky walls that undermine poorly designed HVAC systems, or they face the wrong direction and allow too much uncontrolled heat gain.

Team Yellow (Instinct) is the piece where the building needs to commune with its surroundings in order to benefit from wind, sun, rain, flora and fauna and soil conditions. Team Red (Valor) strives for interdependence between the building and its users, so they know how to manage the building and benefit from its capabilities and quirks and so the building can have the breadth of parameters to respond well. And it takes all of these teams to make the game fun and successful.

Mystic (building envelopes)

We have, historically, undervalued building envelopes and their collaborative success with mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as user comfort. It’s not enough to heat and cool a building; the building also needs to be sustainable.

The building walls, floor and roof are part of the energy system, after all. The building envelope receives solar heat gain through windows and thermal storage through the sun beating on the materials. Using materials that can store heat longer and thereby lengthen the curve of heat gain and loss will help with energy control, and is a viable energy system akin to any radiant system or off-peak ice storage plan.

Designing the fenestrations to be very low in leakage and to optimize timing and amount of heat gain is also an energy production system, and one that can offset most of a building’s heating load, if done well. The most powerful aspect of a well-designed building envelope is its ability to act as a thermos, keeping the heat in the volume of air contained in the building. Tighter is always better, as long as we then mechanically ventilate properly to control air quality. We must select nontoxic, non-off-gassing materials for that building envelope to reduce the burden on the air quality control.

If dealt with as an energy system of interdependent elements, the building envelope can help you downsize the energy-driven systems which will save money, reduce fossil fuels and create higher resiliency in your building. There would be no battle if it were only Mystic out there looking for Pokémon. Interdependence rules. It helps us to survive, and it makes surviving fun.

Written by Jodi Smits Anderson

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

Residential offerings expanded at Greenbuild 2016

Published on 13 May 2016Written by Taryn Holowka Posted in Education

The 2016 Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which will run from Oct 5 to 7 in Los Angeles, Calif., will feature expanded education on the residential green building market.

Homes represent a critical piece of the buildings industry: not only are they the structures in which we spend a majority of our time, they’re also a sizable and valuable segment of the industry as a whole.

Consider some facts:

  1. Home buyers expect newer homes to be greener and more energy-efficient.
  2. Builders expect more than 60 percent of homes built to be green by 2020.
  3. Green homes are healthy homes—83 percent of homebuilders and remodelers believe consumers will pay more for healthier homes.
  4. Home appraisers are recognizing a greater value in green homes.

And this year, Greenbuild has expanded the offerings designed specifically for those in the residential building and construction community:

  1. Residential Track featuring educational sessions on single and multifamily buildings
  2. Residential Day: 12+ residential sessions offered on Thursday, October 6
  3. Dedicated residential product pavilion in the Expo Hall
  4. Concept Home built on show floor by KB Home

Expanded partnerships with leading organizations in the residential building community

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provides third-party verification of the features and effectiveness of green buildings and was originally created as a green building rating system for commercial projects. Recognizing the market readiness and need for a similar certification program for residential buildings, USGBC launched the LEED for Homes program in 2008. The residential LEED rating system is a specialized program that addresses the specific needs of residential projects built to be efficient and sustainable, because every LEED-certified home is a healthy, resource-efficient and cost-effective place to live.

LEED homes are built to be healthy, providing clean indoor air and incorporating safe building materials to ensure a comfortable home. Using less energy and water means lower utility bills each month.

Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, features three groundbreaking days of inspiring speakers, invaluable networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops and tours of the host city’s green buildings. For the last 14 years, the ideals and passion of the green building community have come alive at Greenbuild. Join the thousands in the green building community this October who agree that green building is not only good for the environment but also good for business.

Taryn Holowka

Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Advocacy U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff


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.


New Study Finds Green Construction is Major U.S. Economic Driver

Published on 16 Sep 2015Written by Cecilia Shutters Posted in Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Sept. 16, 2015) – The green building sector is outpacing overall construction growth in the U.S. and will account for more than 2.3 million American jobs this year, according to a new U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) study from Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH).

The 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, released by USGBC and prepared by Booz Allen, finds the green building industry contributes more than $134.3 billion in labor income to working Americans. The study also found that green construction’s growth rate is rapidly outpacing that of conventional construction and will continue to rise.

By 2018, the study finds, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs–more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector–and generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings. The industry’s direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015-2018.

The new USGBC analysis also explores the multifaceted economic contribution of green construction to the U.S. economy and individual U.S. states, quantifying the economic impact of green building and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

In addition to national jobs, GDP and labor earnings from green building, the study projects significant growth in green building’s contribution to individual states’ tax contributions and environmental asset indicators at both the national and state levels.

Total state earnings related to LEED building construction projects are estimated to total $8.4 billion by 2018. In Texas alone, almost 1.26 million jobs in the green building sector are projected between 2015 and 2018. As a result, green building will also contribute to significant savings across energy, trash, water and maintenance costs.

Cecilia Shutters

Policy and Data Communications Specialist



Statewide Green Building Award Winners

Award Winners Announced By the Florida Green Building Coalition

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) has recently announced winners of its annual Green Achievement Awards. The competitive awards, based on green certification scores, recognize residential, commercial, high-rise residential, and land development projects, as well as, local governments for exceptional sustainability achievements in a number of categories, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, site preservation, resource (materials) efficiency, and durability.

The local government program criteria evaluates energy and water usage, air quality, health issues, land use, recycling and waste disposal, maintenance policies, educational programs, purchasing practices, and regulatory policies. It is designed to help protect and conserve the community’s natural resources, enhance the efficiency of government, thus reducing the cost to taxpayers, and raise public awareness about the benefits of environmental stewardship.

This year’s FGBC Green Achievement Award winners are:

 Highest Scoring Land Development
Abacoa in Palm Beach County
Score  207
Developer:  Cypress Realty of Florida
Owner: Abacoa Property Owners Assembly

 Highest Scoring Green High-Rise Residential Building
Gables 4585 Ponce, Coral Gables
Score: 52
Builder: Gables Residential

 Highest Scoring Green Home
Big Bend Habitat for Humanity – Tallahassee
For: 1621 Harris Street in Tallahassee

Score: 212, Platinum Level

 Green Builder of the Year  (for most homes certified):

Single-Family Category
Neal Communities, Bradenton – 257 Homes Certified

Multi-Family Category
McIntyre Elwell and Strammer General Contractors, Sarasota – 68 units


U.S. Senate Finance Committee votes to advance green building policies

Published on 22 Jul 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

In the run up to the 2015 August Congressional work period the U.S. Senate Finance Committee made an important move to renew and extend a $95 billion tax incentives package that expired at the end of last year. The “Final Passage of an Original Bill to Extend Certain Expiring Tax Provisions” passed on a 23-3 vote.

The legislation includes a number of important elements that will continue to support the efficiency of the building industry. In particular, the bill extends and improves the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction 179(D) through 2016. Under the bill, the deduction expands the existing allocation provisions to non-profit organizations and tribal owners. It would also phase in updates for the commercial energy code in order to qualify for the deduction.

These provisions, particularly the expansion of allocation options, will be of great use to community and non-profit development organizations. While this is welcome news, USGBC and others have long supported enhancing the existing deduction along these lines.

The package also includes:

  • Extensions of the New and Efficient Homes Credit 45(L) and parity for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits
  • Enhancements to allocations for the New Mark Tax Credit
  • Changes to local match for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds

USGBC will be continuing to work with elected officials, real estate, workforce and environmental organization to advance portions of the bill related to efficient buildings.

Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

USGBC staff


China’s Wanda Group looks to their global future with LEED

Published on 23 Jul 2015Written by Joseph Crea Posted in LEED

To hear Vice President Lai Jianyan of Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd.—the world’s largest commercial property owner and operator—put it, the most his company derives from LEED is not the financial benefits, it’s the demonstration of social responsibility for a global company.

“It conveys a message to the society through the LEED platform that Wanda commits to sustainable development, environment protection and social responsibility… The social value is followed by financial benefit.”

Wanda’s position as a global player is showing no signs of slowing down. They are the only company in China with the largest number of certified green projects with 322 certified buildings as of this June. Currently, 14 projects are pursuing LEED certification, including eight commercial buildings, two office buildings and four hotel and service apartment projects totaling 2.5 million gross square meters of space.

Wanda’s scope goes beyond China, with projects now in Chicago, Los Angeles, Gold Coast, Sydney, London and Madrid. Wanda is targeting to have about 1000 Wanda Plazas in operation by 2025, a diversified apparatus that will include commercial property management, cultural and tourism industries among others.

Mr. Lai spoke with USGBC about green development being a core value of Wanda’s long-term strategy, the creation of intelligent management systems for their properties and, of course, LEED, what it means to a rapidly expanding company such as Wanda and it’s future use in their built environment. Hint: LEED will be incorporated into all of Wanda Mall projects and most of their overseas hotels.

Joseph Crea

Director, International Marketing and Communications

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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.