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Greenwatch Latin America: Greening the digital infrastructure

Published on 27 Jan 2017 Written by Nicolette Mueller Posted in Industry

LEED-certified data centers represent a fast-growing sector of green building in Latin America.

January is the time of year when we ask ourselves what we hope to see in the coming year. For the green building market in Latin America, we expect to see the investments in learning and early adoption of tools such as ArcLEED v4 and EDGE pay off with more green building projects across the region.

What is the one thing that building owners, LEED professionals and investors alike could do to make Latin America a little bit greener in 2017?  Get more data centers to become green buildings. There are nearly 40 data center projects participating in LEED in Latin America, with the majority of LEED-certified centers in Brazil. It’s a major area for growth, providing value to the market and impacting the environment.

Why are green data centers important for Latin America?

  1. They’re a fast-growing segment of buildings and infrastructure.According to industry experts, the number of data centers and demand for high-speed internet will see strong growth in Latin America, and may even represent the strongest growth market globally. One report found that investment in data centersrose by 12 percent in Latin America in 2014, compared to the global average of 8 percent, with investment growing regionally to 20–25%. Markets where we see the highest concentration of LEED projects are also home to a growing number of data centers in major urban and industrial centers, such as Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogota and Buenos Aires.
  2. Billions of kilowatt-hours mean a big impact on traditional and renewable energy markets.“The Cloud” is now more like the Pan-American highway, connecting us to one another and to information whenever and wherever we like. But instead of roads and bridges in the landscape, and cars and trucks polluting the air, data centers are the infrastructure and the engines powering our economies. A2014 study found that U.S. data centers consumed 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity – about 2 percent of national annual energy consumption. That’s triple the amount of energy consumed in 2000.
  3. It’s a proven way to slow energy demand.2016 reportfound that electricity consumption by data centers increased only 4 percent from 2010 to 2014, demonstrating the industry’s ability to find efficiency measures and implement them to minimize demand. Instead of doubling energy use every five years, the research shows that implementing best practices can make a 620 billion kilowatt-hour difference, the equivalent of $60 billion USD.
  4. Latin America has the resources that data centers need to be green.Companies looking for places to build and invest in data centers need locations with a skilled workforce, a solid and resilient infrastructure and a source of clean and reliable power. Latin America has these things in abundance.

Energy-rich Latin America is betting on a renewable energy future, and so are investors. The region is prepared with a growing supply of renewable energy to meet the demand for energy from data centers.   

 

Nicolette Mueller Posted in Industry

 

LEED plays a key role in greening affordable housing

Published on 21 Nov 2016 Written by Nick Brousse Posted in Advocacy and policy

 Trends show affordable housing becoming greener across the U.S.

The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program and state Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs) that guide the distribution of tax credits have an outsized ability to promote green affordable housing in the United State. Global Green, with support from Neighbor Works America, recently released its much-anticipated 2016 report examining green building practices in each state’s QAP.

The report identifies leading policy trends, shares best practices and puts forward technical and policy options that can use the LIHTC program to promote human health and address overwhelming utility burdens. The results are clear: more state housing finance agencies are deploying LEED and other third-party green building rating systems as tools to ensure the environmental, economic and social benefits of sustainable building practices are brought to all.

Twenty-five state housing agencies referenced green building certification programs, including LEED, in their 2016 QAPs to provide direction to developers and confidence at the agency level that green measures are being implemented. In separate research examining 15 recently constructed or rehabbed apartment communities built to LEED or EarthCraft standards in Virginia, these communities were found to use 40 percent less energy than housing built to existing code requirements. These changes saved the average tenant $54 per month on utility bills—over $600 per year.

The new report shows that currently about half of state QAPs commit to help reduce overwhelming energy burdens for those most in need while protecting our environment. We’re pleased that LEED continues to be a key tool to help state housing finance agencies ensure that all residents, regardless of income, may enjoy the many benefits that green buildings deliver.

Written by Nick Brousse Posted in Advocacy and policy

LEED plays a key role in greening affordable housing

Published on 21 Nov 2016 Written by Nick Brousse Posted in Advocacy and policy

Trends show affordable housing becoming greener across the U.S.

The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program and state Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs) that guide the distribution of tax credits have an outsized ability to promote green affordable housing in the United State. Global Green, with support from NeighborWorks America, recently released its much-anticipated 2016 report examining green building practices in each state’s QAP.

The report identifies leading policy trends, shares best practices and puts forward technical and policy options that can use the LIHTC program to promote human health and address overwhelming utility burdens. The results are clear: more state housing finance agencies are deploying LEED and other third-party green building rating systems as tools to ensure the environmental, economic and social benefits of sustainable building practices are brought to all.

Twenty-five state housing agencies referenced green building certification programs, including LEED, in their 2016 QAPs to provide direction to developers and confidence at the agency level that green measures are being implemented. In separate research examining 15 recently constructed or rehabbed apartment communities built to LEED or EarthCraft standards in Virginia, these communities were found to use 40 percent less energy than housing built to existing code requirements. These changes saved the average tenant $54 per month on utility bills—over $600 per year.

The new report shows that currently about half of state QAPs commit to help reduce overwhelming energy burdens for those most in need while protecting our environment. We’re pleased that LEED continues to be a key tool to help state housing finance agencies ensure that all residents, regardless of income, may enjoy the many benefits that green buildings deliver.

Nick Brousse Posted in Advocacy and policy

2016 LEED Report Shows Green Building Growth for Brazilian Economy

Published on 11 Aug 2016 Written by Joseph Crea Posted in Media

 Aug. 11, 2016)—The U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) released its 2016 LEED in Motion: Brazil report, which showcases tremendous industry growth in Brazil’s green building sector, including a 30 percent increase in the use of the LEED green building rating system over last year. The report was released at the annual GreenBuilding Brasil International Conference and Expo taking place in São Paulo, Brazil.

“The many projects pursuing LEED certification have dramatically helped Brazil grow its green economy. We’re proud of our contribution to Brazil’s green building surge and the corresponding ripple effect across the entire region,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, COO, USGBC, and president, Green Business Certification Inc.® (GBCI). “As the world’s leading standard for sustainable building design, construction and operations, LEED® helps innovative Brazilian business and political leaders attract new foreign investment, increase the competitiveness of real estate portfolios and position the nation as a world leader in the burgeoning green building economy.”

This timely report examines recent and significant gains in the application of green building techniques throughout Brazil, and even stronger year-over-year growth in the nation’s use of USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, the world’s most widely used green building rating program. The report notes that, despite turbulent times in Brazil’s economic history, growth in the number of LEED registrations is the strongest it has been in nearly a decade. Today, there are currently 1,114 projects participating in LEED in Brazil, encompassing more than 32 million gross square meters of LEED space.

The report also offers timely insights and perspectives from prominent industry professionals and highlights impressive LEED projects such as the Nike Factory Store in Novo Hamburgo, Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, the CYK building and the Quem Disse Berenice store, both in São Paulo.

LEED in Motion: Brazil is the latest in a series of reports from USGBC designed to provide a holistic snapshot of the green building movement in international markets. The report equips green building advocates with the insight and perspective to understand the use of the globally recognized LEED rating system and to make a strong case for sustainable building activity.

USGBC

 

Tanzania’s first LEED building a torchbearer for change

LEED Earth Project Pioneers: 

Published on 8 Jun 2016Written by Amanda Sawit Posted in International

Under the LEED Earth Project, the Luminary office building was certified as the first LEED Gold structure in Tanzania.

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 Luminary

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, boasts the distinction of being home to the only LEED-certified building in the country. The Luminary, a privately held office building, was certified LEED Gold in February 2016, marking a turning point for Tanzania’s building and design industry.

This 66,106-square-foot space is located on Haile Selassie Road in the peninsula region of Dar Es Salaam, the fastest-growing city in Africa. The architectural team and ESTIM Construction set their sights on achieving LEED early on, and their strong focus on pursuing the targeted LEED score “guided project participants to think beyond conventional and has imparted lifelong learnings,” said Ashutosh Gupta, senior project manager at EDS Global, New Delhi, and project consultant. “Being first in Tanzania, the project has inspired many in the construction fraternity to think sustainably.”

The Luminary was certified under the Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating system for Core and Shell, and it’s expected that the building will cut electricity bills annually by 10 percent. It’s designed to block different angles of the sun at different times of the day, which helps cool the space while still maximizing daylighting and quality views for occupants.

The project received full points for regional priority credits, and it sits on a previously developed site that’s well connected to the city’s public transportation system and within walking distance of many community features. Seventy-five percent of construction and demolition debris were diverted during the project’s development.

The Luminary has become a torchbearer for all upcoming buildings in the country, steering professionals toward a greener way of contemporary building design, construction and operations for the future.

Amanda Sawit

Content SpecialistU.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

 

 

Hotels worldwide are going green with LEED

Published on 26 Feb 2016Written by Emily Neagle Posted in Industry

The pace of green building in the hospitality sector is on the rise, and it doesn’t require making any sacrifice in the luxury of your stay away from home!

It’s no secret that with operations running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, hotels consume natural resources at a high rate. Representing more than 5 billion square feet of space in the United States alone, there is an enormous opportunity for the industry—and guests—to positively affect the built environment.

For years, USGBC has diligently made progress toward greening the hospitality sector. Among these efforts was the establishment of the LEED User Group for Hospitality and Venues, which engages in multifaceted dialogue and peer-to-peer collaboration to identify best practices, lessons learned and ongoing challenges for sustainability in the sector.

Across the world, demand for green hotels is rising. Today, LEED-certified hotels of all sizes are found in more than 40 U.S. states, 31 countries and five continents. It’s a movement sparked in part by guest preferences. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers reported plans to make more environmentally friendly choices over the next year. And while on vacation, 88 percent of travelers turned off lights when not in their hotel room, 78 percent participated in the hotel’s linen and towel reuse program and 58 percent used recycling in the hotel.

In response to this shift, companies such as Starwood’s Elements brand, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotel

Group and Hyatt Hotels include LEED mandates and policies in their design and construction specs. ITC Hotels in India requires not just LEED certification, but also top performance.

 Project spotlights: 

 Hotels Complex (Hyatt Place, Fairfield Inn and Suites and Aloft Hotel)

Chicago, Illinois, United States
LEED Silver

 ITC Windsor

Bengaluru, India
LEED Platinum

 Tambo Del Inka Hotel, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa

Urubamba, Peru
LEED Certified

 Emily Neagle

Account Manager U.S. Green Building Council

 

The Green Industry Is Flourishing, According to USGBC Study

by Anca Gagiuc | 24 November 2015

The green building industry is expanding rapidly, and creating millions of jobs in the process.

According to a new U.S. Green Building Council(USGBC) study from Booz Allen Hamilton, the green building sector will account for over 2.3 million American jobs in 2015. Furthermore, the industry is outpacing overall construction growth in the country. The 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study shows that the green building industry contributes more than $134 million in labor income in the U.S.

Moreover, the report reveals that the number of jobs generated in green construction will exceed 3.3 million over the next three years—representing more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector. The industry’s direct contribution to the U.S. GDP will also reach an estimated $303 million from 2015 to 2018. New developments will save more than $1 billion in energy usage and $100 million in water use by 2018.

The green industry is rapidly expanding not only through new constructions, but also through retrofitting existing buildings. A good example of a company that enlisted Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program to accelerate clean energy projects to meet its corporate energy goals is JLL. One of their managed properties in Chicago—77 West Wacker—found the ways to reduce 32 percent of its energy use through LEED certification. Currently the building is advancing new approaches to reach the goal of cutting another 26.5 percent of its energy use by 2018.

Shorenstein Properties of San Francisco holds one of the industry’s most respected sustainability programs with 15 million square feet of its portfolio LEED-certified and an average ENERGY STAR score of 82 out of 100 points. Shorenstein is the winner of the last two consecutive years of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark Green Star, the highest rating, for its sustainability strategy on smart operation, investment in efficiency, and tenant engagement.

USGBC

USGBC and GBCI Collaborate with Shougang to Further LEED Green Buildings in China

Published on 18 Nov 2015Written by Marisa Long Posted in Media

New 833 hectare Beijing development aims to be “world model” of green city

Washington, D.C. (18 Nov 2015) – The U.S. Green Building Council and Green Business Certification Inc. signed into a collaboration with Beijing-based Shougang, one of China’s largest steel companies and Fortune 500 company. The partnership aims to incorporate LEED, the WELL Building System and other green building rating systems into a new, mixed-use development on an old factory site spanning 833 hectares, in addition to creating an ongoing collaboration around LEED in China, education in the green building arena and workforce development.

Named the “New Shougang High-End Industry Comprehensive Service District,” the project seeks to transform an old factory heritage site in Beijing into a “new comprehensive service provider” combining infrastructure, district development, industrial layout and ecological harmony for financial and health care services, culture and sports, among others. Through the development, Shougang hopes to achieve a “green Beijing” to serve as a national example of green innovation in the construction of low-carbon ecological Chinese cities while being a world model of green building certification for industrial heritage renovations. Shougang has 20 more similar projects in China currently in development.

“The market for green building in Greater China has seen extraordinary growth since its first LEED project earned certification in 2005,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer, USGBC, and president, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).

LEED has facilitated advances in building technologies, integrated design and operating practices, as well as the tremendous growth of the green building sector, especially in China, the second largest market for LEED in the world outside the U.S. with 118.3 million gross square meters of space participating in the LEED green building rating system.

The green building industry contributes more than $134.3 billion in labor income in the U.S. and by 2018, the industry’s direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion.

Marisa Long

Public Relations & Communications DirectorU.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff

 

 

Government watchdog doesn’t bark at using LEED

Published on 12 Oct 2015Written by Bryan Howard Posted in Advocacy and policy

With the release of the Clean Power Plan and consideration of comprehensive energy legislation, the last few months have been pretty active with regard to energy efficiency and buildings. One item that hasn’t been getting as much attention as it deserves is the recent report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that third-party rating systems like LEED assist federal agencies in implementing key efficiency goals.

An independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends tax dollars, GAO reviewed the use of third-party certification programs by five federal agencies for this study, including the Department of Defense (DOD) and the General Services Administration (GSA). GAO concluded that third-party certification (of which LEED is the most common) helps to ensure compliance with various federal building obligations by holding contractors and agency project teams accountable for incorporating these requirements. These findings support the analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), released earlier this year, that newly constructed or renovated federal buildings, many of them LEED-certified, were a contributing factor in federal energy use reaching a 40-year low.

While this is good news on its own, it is also notable that LEED certification is delivering this level of accountability to federal agencies in a cost-effective manner. The GSA informed GAO that the price of certifying a new construction or major renovation accounts for only 0.012 percent of a project’s total budget.

With more than 1,500 federal projects certified, the LEED rating system has a great track record in improving the efficiency and sustainability of buildings across federal agencies. USGBC looks forward to continuing its work with the federal government to enhance its leadership with LEED.

Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

Global market watch: Mexico—A rising leader in green building and sustainability

Published on 20 Aug 2015Written by Nicolette Mueller Posted in LEED

Mexico City: It’s a place famous for its pre-Colombian civilizations, its cuisine and culture, and as the megacity once ranked as the #1 most polluted city in the world.

Today the city is a rising leader in sustainability and urban innovation, with aggressive work to decrease pollution, promote public health and wellness, and the highest concentration of LEED buildings in Mexico. Of course, the cities of Zapopan, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Queretaro are not far behind in the race to be the national leader in green building, and these cities have helped to make Mexico the largest market for green building in the Spanish-speaking world.

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of the very first LEED certified project in a market that continues to set the pace for Latin America. Mexico’s first LEED AP and first LEED Fellow, Cesar Ulises Trevino, and his company BEA can now claim to be the first LEED v4 project (Platinum certified, no less) for Mexico. Mexico is also setting trends when it comes to health and wellness. The WELL Building Standard, the first building standard to focus on human health and well-being which launched in October 2014, is making inroads in Mexico as the first projects begin pursuing WELL Certification in the region. Going for LEED certification is important for achieving the best possible outcomes for environmental sustainability, and WELL maximizes the potential for supporting human health and wellness.

Privately owned Mexican companies are also ramping up their commitment to LEED and green building.Alejandro Bátiz of CIVITA, another leading green building consulting firm in Mexico, noted that a wide range of companies are expressing interest in owning and operating a LEED building, from small, family owned and operated child care centers to university campuses and family-owned conglomerates.

It’s a trend confirmed by Cushman & Wakefield’s Africa Rubio, whose growing team of sustainability professionals in Mexico City are responding to inquiries from the hospitality and retail sectors. Both sectors are predicted to be major areas of growth for the new construction and retrofit markets, as Mexico becomes the new headquarters for global business.

Thanks to the efforts of public and private sector leaders who are committed to a greener, more sustainable future for their country, Mexico is becoming a world leader in sustainable building.  It’s a global market to watch, and one that will surely continue to raise the bar for LEED and green building in the Americas.

 Nicolette Mueller

Director, Global Market Development – Latin American Region U.S. Green Building Council

Member employees, USGBC staff

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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.