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Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Advocacy Day

The event featured policy briefings and discussions on water, energy, air, land, transportation, and health.

Feature image photo credit: Climate + Energy Project.

On March 15, USGBC Central Plains participated in an environmental education and advocacy day, titled “WEALTH Day,” at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. The event was hosted by the Climate + Energy Project. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to “dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in America’s Heartland through the ambitious deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy, in policy and practice.”

The event featured policy briefings and topical discussions on the six subjects suggested by the WEALTH acronym: Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation, and Health.

Participating on behalf of USGBC Central Plains were Jennifer Gunby, USGBC State and Local Advocacy Manager; Julie Peterson, USGBC Director of Community for Central Plains; and Josh Thede of Henderson Engineers, USGBC Central Plains Emerging Professionals Chair–2018, and City of Mission, Kansas–Sustainability Commission.

USGBC is monitoring two particular energy efficiency bills and met with Gov. Jeff Colyer’s staff on expanding the benefits of energy efficiency and green buildings in Kansas.

  • KS SB347—Utilities and demand-side programs: Changes how benefits of energy efficiency programs are calculated by replacing the state’s current tests with one based on the National Standard Practice Manual.
  • KS SB 322—Utilities and the net metering act: Would revert state law to 2009 regulations that protect Kansas residential distributed generation (DG) from demand charges. This would apply only to investor-owned utilities’ residential solar customers.

First ADVANCE Energy Benchmarking Jam engages community (USGBC Alabama)

Published on 11 Aug 2016  Written by Daniel Tait and Kathleen Kirkpatrick Posted in Community

On July 28, USGBC Alabama’s newest ADVANCE Ambassador, Daniel Tait—CEO of Energy Alabama—hosted our first Energy Benchmarking Jam. This community event was held at the new Salty Nut Brewery in Huntsville and brought together various community organizations, including the Von Braun Center (Huntsville’s largest convention center), and the Girl Scouts of North Alabama. Other individuals from throughout Huntsville entered energy data for their own personal places of interest, such as their church or child’s daycare.

Local energy engineers and experts were on hand to help enter and verify utility data using Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager is an online tool used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as estimate greenhouse gas emissions. By establishing building energy benchmarks of their current operating conditions, building owners and operators can begin to more easily identify how they can improve efficiency—and save big on the cost of their utilities.

“We had a blast! It was great to get together with people, roll up the sleeves and get to work,” said Randy Buckner, Director of Research and Development for Avion Solutions and one of the energy experts in attendance. “I really think we need more of this in our community.”

Participants also discussed the Huntsville Better Buildings Challenge, a local competition to document energy and water use and to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in participating buildings. Modeled after the Department of Energy’s challenge, this is a fun way to get local businesses more involved in energy efficiency and discovering ways they can improve their operations and save resources.

“This benchmarking jam is the first step,” said Daniel Tait. “This is where we show people the magnitude of the opportunity in front of them to increase energy efficiency and reduce expenses. It usually gets them pretty excited.”



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



State of California buildings focus on water, energy, environment, performance

Published on 7 Jul 2015Written by Dan Burgoyne Posted in Advocacy and policy

Green building has long been part of California’s approach to a wide array of energy, water, environment, and development priorities. There are more than 3,500 LEED-certified green buildings in the state totaling more than 500 million square feet of real estate.

At the direction of California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., the California Department of General Services (DGS) leads the state green building efforts resulting in nearly 18 million square feet of state-owned or leased floor space certified to LEED across 142 buildings and growing. Over 14 percent of the entire state building portfolio is LEED certified. 14 state buildings have received multiple LEED certifications, and 17 have been certified LEED Platinum. Since the end of 2012, 49 state-owned buildings have been certified to LEED.

For the last 18 months DGS and other state government entities have been acutely focused on slashing the state’s water footprint due to the severe drought. During calendar year 2014 alone, state facilities reduced water use by 23 percent and a moratorium was issued on non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities. In January 2014, DGS released a management memo directing state agencies to establish baseline water use figures at their facilities going back to 2010, and to report annual water use.

While water conservation and energy efficiency have been large focuses, green building and LEED certification helps our state facilities improve our performance (and helps us document that improved performance) in other important areas including indoor environmental quality, responsible materials cycles, reduced transportation impacts, environmentally preferable purchasing, and more—all with the benefit of third-party validation that we’re delivering as promised. DGS recently released a chapter of state policies on sustainable operations and practices for state agencies.

The state is proud of its long term commitment to achieve LEED Silver certification for all new and major renovated state projects 10,000 square feet or larger, and for all existing buildings over 50,000 square feet. This commitment was renewed by Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-18-12. The executive order is implemented using the state’s Green Building Action Plan. Additionally, the plan includes a zero net energy (ZNE) target for all state facilities beginning design after 2025 with an interim target for 50 percent of new facilities beginning design after 2020 to achieve ZNE, as well as a target for 50 percent of all existing state building area to achieve ZNE by 2025.

These targets build upon the state’s carefully curated public green building baseline: the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen, or Title 24 part 11) which, among many other relevant codes like the California Energy Code, applies to all new and renovated buildings (residential and non-residential alike) throughout the entire state California codes establish a much stronger baseline for all buildings from which additional greening can be attempted and achieved through leadership programs like LEED. We applaud the recent alignment work between LEED and CALGreen to reduce documentation burden and to make beyond-code green building leadership even more accessible to all building projects in the state.

Dan Burgoyne

Sustainability Manager State of California

Member employees, USGBC board


GBCI now administers EDGE in India

Published on 9 Jul 2015Written by Nora Knox Posted in Industry

GBCI has recently been selected by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group to offer the EDGE green building certification system in India. By helping to incrementally push India’s new construction market forward, EDGE jumpstarts the mainstreaming of green buildings to help counter climate change.

EDGE encourages resource-efficient building by establishing an effective entry-level option for affordable sustainable design and construction. EDGE is a measurable way for builders to optimize their designs, leading to a more investment-worthy and marketable product.

Whether you are constructing homes or apartments, hotels or resorts, office buildings, health care facilities, or retail establishments, EDGE empowers you to build sustainably.

What’s more, strategies that you apply to an EDGE project can later be leveraged and upgraded to sustainable building techniques involving more comprehensive green building rating systems such as LEED.

Here’s how it works. EDGE, at its core, is a software design application that calculates operational savings and reduced carbon emissions for your building as measured against a base case. The objective is to reduce energy consumption, water consumption, and embodied energy in materials by 20% each.

EDGE registered projects can earn certification through a two-phase process:

  • Preliminary Certification: Utilizing the EDGE software for project design is the first step to becoming EDGE certified. Preliminary Certification is awarded when the project’s design (as calculated by the EDGE software) demonstrates sustainable building solutions that result in 20% or more resource efficiency savings. Certification at the design stage is provisional.
  • EDGE Certification: To qualify for EDGE Certification, a building must actually deliver on the provisional savings demonstrated in the design stage. Before final EDGE certification is awarded, a trained EDGE auditor formally reviews the completed project and a site audit is performed.

Nora Knox

Digital Marketing Manager U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, 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

Building Performance  

A building’s location and surroundings play a key role in regulating its temperature and illumination. For example, trees, landscaping, and hills can provide shade and block wind. In cooler climates, designing northern hemisphere buildings with south facing windows and southern hemisphere buildings with north facing windows increases the amount of sun (ultimately heat energy) entering the building, minimizing energy use, by maximizing passive solar heating. Tight building design, including energy-efficient windows, well-sealed doors, and additional thermal insulation of walls, basement slabs, and foundations can reduce heat loss by 25 to 50 percent.

Dark roofs may become up to 39 C° (70 F°) hotter than the most reflective white surfaces. They transmit some of this additional heat inside the building. US Studies have shown that lightly colored roofs use 40 percent less energy for cooling than buildings with darker roofs.

Proper placement of windows and skylights as well as the use of architectural features that reflect light into a building can reduce the need for artificial lighting. Increased use of natural and task lighting has been shown by one study to increase productivity in schools and offices.

Effective energy-efficient building design can include the use of low cost Passive Infra Reds (PIRs) to switch-off lighting when areas are unoccupied such as toilets, corridors or even office areas out-of-hours. In addition, lux levels can be monitored using daylight sensors linked to the building’s lighting scheme to switch on/off or dim the lighting to pre-defined levels to take into account the natural light and thus reduce consumption.

Smart meters are slowly being adopted by the commercial sector to highlight to staff and for internal monitoring purposes the building’s energy usage in a dynamic presentable format. The use of Power Quality Analyzers can be introduced into an existing building to assess usage, harmonic distortion, peaks, swells and interruptions amongst others to ultimately make the building more energy-efficient.

deep energy retrofit is a whole-building analysis and construction process that uses to achieve much larger energy savings than conventional energy retrofits. Deep energy retrofits can be applied to both residential and non-residential (“commercial”) buildings. A deep energy retrofit typically results in energy savings of 30 percent or more, perhaps spread over several years, and may significantly improve the building value.

Energy retrofits, including deep, and other types undertaken in residential, commercial or industrial locations are generally supported through various forms of financing or incentives. Incentives include pre-packaged rebates where the buyer/user may not even be aware that the item being used has been rebated or “bought down”. “Upstream” or “Midstream” buy downs are common for efficient lighting products.


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.