Articles/ Case Studies
AIA White Papers
Construction Waste Management
Financial Studies
ROI Calculators
Landscape and Stormwater
Schools (K-12)
Schools (Higher Ed)
Corporate Leadership
Legislative/ Legal
Green Jobs

Articles/ Case Studies

Jane's GreenBuild 2010 Recap - by Jane Ahrens - was among the more than 25,000 people from 112 countries who attended this year's USGBC Greenbuild  Expo held in Chicago. Attendees came looking for products, data, jobs, trends, hope and inspiration. The 10,000 attendees who listened to the Opening Plenary by General Colin L. Powell were certainly offered most of that. Check out http://www.bloomenergy.com/products/ to see one of the projects General Powell has been up to since retirement, and as he puts it, his banishment from the house by his wife soon after he left the armed services. Two of the main themes this year were quantifying LEED's progress thus far and charting the course for the future.  As far as the past, LEED or green / high performance / sustainable buildings - whichever term you like to use - has come a long way in documenting meaningful improvements in the performance of buildings in terms of energy and water use reduction, in addition to the other categories.

Confused about the new LEED Continuing Education Requirements? - Over this last year, there have been significant changed made to the LEED professional accreditations. The new tiers offer a better breakdown for the wide range of professionals in the marketplace, and allow individuals a better way to align their professional work experience with the credential that they pursue. But many people remain confused on the new credential maintenance requirements that are now required to keep these new credentials current. Most of the professionals that I've discussed this topic with over the last several months are very concerned with the number of credits that are required, some almost to the point of hysteria. While it will definitely require an effort to achieve these credits, these numbers are not significantly different from many other similar professional accreditations - especially when you look at all the ways that credit can be earned.

DISD continues to lead sustainably by adopting TX-CHPS - by Michael Kawecki - Last month, DISD continued to illustrate their commitment to sustainability by being the first District in the State of Texas to adopt the TX-CHPS program. These requirements will impact the design and construction projects that are part of the 2008 Bond Program. DISD recognized that the 1.35 billion dollar bond program presented a unique opportunity to further their sustainable design and construction methods, with the intent of supporting teaching and learning, reduce operating costs, elevating teacher and staff retention, and improving the indoor environment b providing cleaner air, better acoustics and more natural light.

DISD's Sustainable Policy - by Michael Kawecki - When most people think about the Dallas Independent School District, sustainability is not the first thing that comes to mind. But one of the little known facts about DISD is their long standing implementation of sustainable design and construction principles. While these principles historically may not been labeled 'green', looking at them as a whole shows DISD's concern about how their buildings impact their community.

Sustainability first, green building second - by Jane Ahrens - With limited resources and a wide array of stakeholders, many organizations can have difficulty defining sustainability in a manner that is acceptable to all stakeholders. It is becoming common practice to address development and the environment together. Unfortunately, many organizations address sustainability for the first time in any formal manner when they are preparing to build or renovate a structure. While the interest is well intended, it's often misplaced. An organization should not have the goal to build a LEED-certified or green building, but to a building that represents and supports the sustainable goals of an organization.

Can we be both Smart and Sustainable? - by Michael Kawecki - It used to be that you had to be smart to be sustainable. You had to spend time in the musty basement of a college library, pouring over obscure technical journals in poor lighting conditions. You had to invest significant capital and resources to utilize cutting edge technology. You had to be not only a trend setter, but also a test case. And due to the law of averages, you were not always successful. But those times have changed...

GOING GREEN - Green Construction and Operations - by Michael Kawecki - When asked about what constitutes a green building, most often design elements come to mind. There may be a series of canopies, awnings, skylights and light shelves that allow natural light throughout the building. Buildings may incorporate smart elements, that turn lights and mechanical systems on and off in response to the occupants. The building may incorporate regional and recycled materials, or manage stormwater runoff through the use of the site. But green does not stop at the drafting table. A truly green building not only addresses the design of the building, but also addresses green construction and operations.

The Low-Down on Low-VOC... -by Jane Ahrens - Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are organic chemical compounds such as formaldehyde or gasoline that evaporate quickly. Indoor air quality is significantly impacted by VOCs and according to the EPA, makes indoor air one of the top five leading health risks in the US. While not a true reflection, paint VOC levels, much like MPG ratings for cars, give you a base to compare. But like most products, there are many shades of green...

Meet the Trainers: Jane Ahrens and Michael Kawecki - The spotlight shines on the powerhouse training team from Dallas, Texas: Michael Kawecki, director of sustainability and government for O'Brien and Associates, Inc., and Jane Ahrens, associate with the aviation division of Gresham, Smith and Partners. Together, they are making a tremendous impact on green building in the Dallas market.

The State of Green Building in North Texas '07 - by Michael Kawecki - Over the last several years, North Texas has seen an explosion in green or sustainable construction. The goal of sustainable or 'green' design is to create high performance buildings, the results of which are reduced environmental impact, reduced infrastructure, and reduced building operations. Equally important, green buildings lead to increased value of facility assets, increased worker productivity and lessened risk management. But green has been around for several decades - why is it gaining such hold in the marketplace now?

Response to "Eco-friendly buildings may not be as green as you think" article -by Michael Kawecki - I recently read an article by Daniel Brook regarding eco- friendly, or green, buildings. In his article, Daniel criticizes issues with LEED, a rating system that is widely being utilized by the building industry as a benchmark for green buildings. While some of Daniels' criticisms are valid, I don't believe that the issue is as simple as he makes it out to be.

Greening the Nursery - by Jane Ahrens - Now, I have to point out that I am not the "Earth Mother" type. I have never cooked a batch of baby food and when it came down to it, I bought disposable diapers. I wanted simple, cost effective ways to improve his space and offer him the best start I could. I hope some of my research will help bring to light some issues you may not have thought of for your own child or family and friends expecting a new member.

Before you sign the Lease... -by Michael Kawecki - LEED-CI gives the power to tenants and designers to make sustainable choices when they do not always have control over whole building operations. However, coordination between the Landlord and Tenant is required for some of the credits. Before you sign the lease, make sure you read this checklist and determine how the lease will affect your project....

Waterless Urinals and LEED WEcr3 - by Michael Kawecki - Waterless urinals can save hundred of thousands of gallons of water per year. But, as with any new technology, there are some installation and maintenance items that every architect and facility manager need to be aware of.

LEED-NC v2 Breakdown - the first 300 projects- by Michael Kawecki - One of the most asked questions I receive from teams going through the process is which credits are most attained. Let's look at the first 300 projects certified, and analyze the most attained LEED credits. While these statistics can be informative, it is very important to stay away from the mindset of attaining LEED certification credit by credit. Instead, focus on the synergies between the credits, and which credits work in harmony, which is one of the basic tenants of sustainable design and construction.

Hensley Field Operations Center LEED NC v2.1 GOLD

Hensley Field is a 780-acre site that previously housed the Dallas Naval Air Station. Recently reassumed by the City of Dallas, the property is being converted into both public and private use for industrial/aviation use. The Operations Center is a vehicle maintenance facility that supports several operations, most notably of which is the conversion of street vehicles into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles for various City of Dallas departments. This facility was the first LEED project certified in Dallas.

Part 1 - Raised Floor
Part 2 - Construction IAQ
Part 3 - Interior Irrigation
Part 4 - Mechanical/Electrical
Part 5 - Press Release
LEED Templates & Documentation

AIA White Papers

Bamboo in Construction: Is the Grass always Greener? - In little more than a decade, bamboo flooring has become a serious contender in the hardwood flooring market, and some believe that bamboo plywood is next. Lauded in environmental circles for its quick growth and the fact that it can be harvested without harming the plant, bamboo seems almost too good to be true. In fact, like any product, it has its downsides.

Best Green Practices - Clients often ask how to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of a proposed building with no added construction cost. While some green strategies can be implemented within any budget, few of them can be implemented within a construction cost range of $90 to $110 a square foot. It is possible, however, to make environmentally friendly design decisions on nearly every project without increasing construction cost, regardless of the budget size.

Cost of LEED - The cost of LEED has been given much attention lately. Studies have shown the LEED premium to cost anywhere from 1% to 15% on average. Most architects know that those types of numbers aren't very settling to a client. Consequently, many people are still frightened by at least the variance in those price differences. In response, many studies have attempted to normalize for different variables such as certification levels, regionalism, and site conditions. The overwhelming result, though, is that no magic bullet exists other than experience. The green premium is inversely related to the experience of the design and construction team.

Creating Green Interiors: Greening concerns more than just the building - As sustainable building becomes increasingly popular and necessary, indoor air quality likewise takes on new importance. And, although architects are now routinely specifying low-VOC paints, adhesives, casework, carpeting, and other materials, one area that still is often overlooked is the environmental benefits provided by indoor plants. According to Plants at Work, an organization committed to raising awareness of the benefits of interior plants, research consistently shows that indoor plants increase worker productivity and workplace satisfaction. Interior plants also have been shown to reduce air quality-related absenteeism by 14 percent.

Design Green: Use Salvaged, Recycled, and Ag-waste materials - The materials used to produce a building product, and where those materials come from, are important green criteria and probably the best known. When many people think of green building products, they think of products made from recycled materials.

Energy Policy Act 2005: Congress passes Alternative Energy Measures - With his signature August 8 2005, President George W. Bush authorized the first national energy plan in a decade. The final legislation contains several wins for architects and their clients, including tax breaks for energy-efficient and sustainable technologies, an AIA-backed photovoltaic commercialization program, and funding for the AIA sponsored "Sun Wall" project.

Green Architecture - It does not make Dollars but it does make Sense -In the world of green architecture, there is a disconnect. Investor-Developer-Architect-Engineer-Consumer, somewhere along the lines of this conduit the value created by sustainable development is lost. Also lost in this conduit is the intent and practical function of the designed green architecture. Many members of the building industry understand the value of sustainable development; it is the consumer who does not completely understand the intrinsic value of sustainable development.

Green Practice Advice - Joe Snider, LEED AP, explains six fundamentals to building a successful green project. Whether building a house with sustainability in mind or reaching for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, these steps form the building blocks of a sustainable project.

Sustainability: A Green Tale - Statistics show that over the next 30 years nearly 90 percent of building square footage in this country will be either new or rehabilitated. That means we as architects have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to insure that the building stock by the year 2035 reflects energy-use reductions, renewable materials, and reduced CO2 discharges. These new ways of designing must not just be token acknowledgements, but significant (50-90 percent) accomplishments in energy and CO2 reductions.

Sustainability: Inciting a Green Revolution - Charles Dickens begins A Tale of Two Cities, his novel about the French Revolution, with the words: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." The words come to mind as I follow the steady drumbeat of depressing news about rising oil prices, global warming, and the seeming inability of our policy makers to do much about either. So what's the good or at least hopeful news?

Vivian Loftness gives Sustainability a Green Light - "COTE is a longstanding committee that was generated shortly after the first energy crisis in the late '70s," says Loftness. "There was a point at which architects looked at the consequences of energy inefficiency and saw the challenges we were facing if we continued on the same trajectory. We began to think that architects should play a central role because there wasn't a good national understanding of what is an environmentally sound or energy-efficient building. So the early committee began to develop a definition of green buildings. That definition was rolled into the LEED™ environmental standards."

Construction Waste Management

New Orleans parish to remove thousands of concrete slabs - It's being called the largest concrete demolition and recycling job ever undertaken in the United States. Engineers have calculated that the amount of concrete from Road Home slabs across the state could build a four-foot-wide sidewalk from New Orleans to Los Angeles. The effort has been in the works for nearly a year, with the Louisiana Land Trust and St. Bernard Parish government dividing the parish into 33 separate zones so that work will be done simultaneously across the parish.

C/D for Florida - The intent of this manual is to provide information and methods to the developer, builders, designers and owners of construction and demolition projects to assist in reducing the amount of waste generated during the entire construction and demolition process. Reducing waste demonstrates corporate responsibility, provides compliance with local government waste reduction goals and ultimately reduces overall project cost. After determining the company's commitment level and the ability if any to alter building design and construction techniques, builders can begin simple steps to reduce the waste created.

Seattle Contractor's Guide - This guidebook provides recycling and waste prevention how-to's for all builders, from the handyman and remodeler to large commercial contractors. It is your handbook for saving money and resources by recycling and preventing waste on the job-site.

NCTCOG SEE Less Trash - In the fall of 1999, the North Central Texas Council of Governments adopted its Strategic Plan for 1999- 2003. This plan focused on the future of the 16-county region "...to sustain and improve its economic, social and environmental assets and infrastructure" and promotes services and programs to help meet the needs of the region. The vision of success put forth regarding solid waste planning stated that: "Purchased materials are reused and recycled wherever possible, illegal dumping is reduced, and remaining waste is handled in a safe manner at permitted facilities."

NCTCOG C/D Final Report - Through its SEE Less Trash Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) identified construction and demolition (C&D) recycling, reuse and reduction as an objective under one of its primary goals, which is Time to Recycle. The NCTCOG recognized the need to evaluate C&D waste minimization strategies as an opportunity to increase overall waste diversion efforts in the North Central Texas region. This study evaluates three key items: What emerging or existing C&D waste minimization programs and practices are economically and operationally feasible for implementation in the North Central Texas region?; What specific elements would comprise a successful C&D waste minimization program or practice for communities or businesses in the North Central Texas region? ; If C&D waste minimization is feasible in the North Central Texas region, how can it be implemented throughout the entire region?

NCTCOG C/D List of Recycler's - A list of recyclers in the North Texas region that recycle construction and/or demolition materials such as wood, concrete, brick, sheetrock, metals, plastics, cardboard and brush. This list was compiled to provide an alternative to landfilling C&D debris.

NCTCOG Interactive Map - An interactive map illustrating both residential and commercial recycling locations for a variety of materials.

Construction Waste Management Specification - sample specification that was used for the Hensley Field Operations Center, a project that highly emphasized construction waste management for both demolition and new construction phases.


Building Commissioning Handbook - Every new building constructed is unique. In essence, each building design is a prototype, which is expected to perform as if it were something that had been built before. Combining a new building design with sophisticated technology, a tight construction schedule and a fixed budget can lead to a building that does not perform as anticipated. A building is an investment. A building that performs poorly does not reflect the desired outcome of the design team or the owner's wishes. Excessive repair and replacement costs, employee absenteeism, indoor air quality problems, construction team liability, and tenant turnover cost U.S. building owners, employers and the construction industry millions of dollars each year. Building commissioning is one way to improve the outcome of a construction project.

Continuous Commissioning Guidebook for Federal Energy Managers - This guidebook presents a comprehensive and ongoing process to resolve operating problems, improve comfort, optimize energy use, and identify retrofits for existing commercial and institutional buildings and central plant facilities. Continuous CommissioningSM (CCSM) has produced typical savings of 20% with payback under three years (often 1-2 years) in more than 130 large buildings. (large file)

A Practical Guide for Commissioning Existing Buildings - To improve buildings and capture the
sizable opportunities that exist within them, commissioning principles are being applied to existing buildings more and more often. Fortunately, commissioning of existing buildings - also known as retrocommissioning - when appropriately applied goes beyond quick-fix solutions to systematically optimize building systems so that they operate efficiently and effectively, often eliminating the need for costly capital improvements. Not only does retrocommissioning identify problems that occurred at construction just as traditional commissioning does, but it also identifies and solves problems that have developed during the building's life.

Guidelines for Incorporating Commissioning into Energy Savings Performance Contracts - Energy savings performance contracts (PCs) using the international measurement and verification protocols are increasing in number. For these projects to be successful, they must incorporate an appropriate quality assurance and quality control component. The focus of the project is to obtain utility bill savings from energy and peak demand reductions and to use those savings to pay for the improvements that led to them.

Building Commissioning, The Key to Quality Assurance - This Guide was written to help Rebuild America partnership building owners and retrofit project managers understand and successfully oversee the commissioning process. This Guide details such benefits to existing building systems and retrofit projects. Using this Guide will help building owners and project managers understand what the costs and benefits of commissioning are, how to benefit from commissioning their building, and why to select particular agents to act as a commissioning authority, or as commissioning team members.

The cost-effectiveness of Commercial Building Commissioning - (Summary) (Full Report) Designed as a "meta-analysis," this report compiles and synthesizes extensive published and unpublished data from buildings commissioning projects undertaken across the United States over the past two decades, establishing the largest available collection of standardized information on commissioning experience. We analyze results from 224 buildings across 21 states, representing 30.4 million square feet of commissioned floor area (73 percent in existing buildings and 27 percent in new construction). These projects collectively represent $17 million ($2003) of commissioning investment. The newconstruction cohort represents $1.5 billion of total construction costs.

What Owners Need to Know About Commissioning Buildings - Any building type and size can be commissioned. Common questions involve whether every building should be commissioned and what the scope will be if the building is to be commissioned. The short answer to these questions is that it depends on building size and complexity, but size and complexity are not always related. All buildings need to work well; unless they are commissioned, they probably will not.

What can Commissioning do for your Building? - In an effort to answer some of the frequently asked questions about commissioning, several organization - PacifiCorp, Bonneville Power Administration, DPIC Companies, the Northwest Power Planning Program, and the US Department of Energy Federal Management Program, and the US Environmental Protection Agency - came together to fund the collection and analysis of a commissioning case study database. (large file)


Occupant Recycling - Fact sheet for use by the building owner and their architect or designer for use in developing an occupant recycling program. Includes key principles, design steps and tips, including a discussion of costs and operational issues.

Green Housekeeping - cut sheet for Green Solutions cleaning products

Green Guidelines - Guidelines and specifications for the procurement and use of environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products for all public and non-public elementary and secondary schools in New York state.

Guidelines for Green Cleaning Products -  Brochure by Healthy Schools Network describing healthier cleaning and maintenance practices and products for schools.

CIMS Standard - The Cleaning Industry Management Standard is designed to assist cleaning organizations in setting up a management system that allows an organization to meet such goals. In essence, the Standard should be thought of as a management framework that can be used to develop customer-centered, quality organizations.

CIMS checklist - Cleaning Industry Management Standard Certification Checklist

Financial Studies

Green Building Market and Impact Report 2010 - The findings of the third annual Green Building Market & Impact Report are both encouraging and cautionary: Overall, LEED buildings are making a major impact in reducing the overall environmental footprint of individual structures. However, significant additional progress is possible and indeed necessary on both the individual building level and in terms of market penetration if LEED is to contribute in a meaningful way to reducing the environmental footprint of buildings in the U.S. and worldwide. This report, created and researched by Rob Watson, executive editor of GreenerBuildings.com and a founding father of LEED, explores in great detail the growth of green buildings, and projects their impacts out for the next 20 years.

Is it time to abandon the triple bottom line? - The so-called "triple bottom line" has become sufficiently widespread that misconceptions about it must be corrected, and the way we talk about it must reflect a consensus about what it is. These things must happen because current discussions of the triple bottom line may be doing more harm than good. The greatest flaw in the formulation of the Triple Bottom Line as "people, planet, profit" is its implicit proposition that profit is somehow distinct from people and planet. That isn't just wrong, it's harmfully wrong, because it perpetuates a misconception that is held by business leaders (as one might expect) and also by environmental and social activists and commentators (as one should not expect - but is very real and, in fact, rampant).

The cost of building green - perception vs. reality - One of the hottest issues in the green building world is whether there is a significant premium to building "green" as opposed to the use of standard building products and practices. It is not uncommon for some members of the construction industry to say that the cost of building "green" can add 10 percent or more to the cost of construction even though there are studies that indicate that this is not the case. Experts say that although about two-thirds of construction-industry professionals believe there's a hefty green-building premium, studies suggest that in fact going green brings negligible costs or a premium of as low as a 1% to 2%.

Report: U.S. Green Building Market Will Balloon to $173.5 Billion by 2015 - Think the trend of businesses making green office renovations is just a passing fad? Not according to the latest issue of EL Insights, which reports that the U.S. green building market value will balloon from $71.1 billion now to $173 billion by 2015. Commercial green building is expected to grow by 18.1% annually during the same time period from $35.6 billion to $81.8 billion. In this case, green building is defined as building with resource use and employee productivity in mind. The growth in green building will lead to a number of changes in the larger building market, according to EL Insights: Construction workers will increasingly seek out green training programs, companies will spend more cash on green building technology (GE is already doing with its ecomagination initiative), and homes touting green building features will do better on the real estate market. All of this will result in cost savings for building and home owners, who will reap the benefits of lower energy and heating bills.

CoStar Study - April 2008 - According to the CoStar study, LEED buildings command rent premiums of $11.24 per square foot over their non-LEED peers and have 3.8 percent higher occupancy. Rental rates in ENERGY STAR buildings represent a $2.38 per square foot premium over comparable non- ENERGY STAR buildings and have 3.6 percent higher occupancy. And, in a trend that could signal greater attention from institutional investors, ENERGY STAR buildings are selling for an average of $61 per square foot more than their peers, while LEED buildings command a remarkable $171 more per square foot.

Newly Released Studies Confirm Energy Savings Significant in LEED, ENERGY STAR Buildings April 2008 - Two recently released studies, one by the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and one by CoStar Group, have validated what the green building community has known all along: third party certified buildings outperform their conventional counterparts across a wide variety of metrics, including energy savings, occupancy rates, sale price and rental rates.

Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings March 2008- This study analyzes measured energy performance for 121 LEED New Construction (NC) buildings, providing a critical information link between intention and outcome for LEED projects. The results show that projects certified by the USGBC LEED program average substantial energy performance improvement over non-LEED building stock. This Executive Summary briefly summarizes key study findings. See the full report for further detail on study methodology and results.

Does Green Pay Off? November 2007 - Contrary to popular opinion, the green movement is not purely public sector-driven. Tenants like the EPA and others within the Federal government are important drivers but so is the typical public corporation today. The more typical tenants asking for energy star ratings, LEED certification or high performance building features are private market-based firms. Private developers are leading the way in accommodating this burgeoning demand. Some investors like CALPERS have recently announced efforts to increase their emphasis on green over the next several years. Some cities, like Boston or San Francisco, have mandated LEED certification, while others, like Toronto, have provided incentives for energy conservation methods. We need more studies on the best practices and this paper is intended in part as a call for more research.

Cost of Green Revisited/ Davis-Langdon Study July 2007 - The 2006 study shows essentially the same results as 2004: there is no significant difference in average costs for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings. Many project teams are building green buildings with little or no added cost, and with budgets well within the cost range of non-green buildings with similar programs. We have also found that, in many areas of the country, the contracting community has embraced sustainable design, and no longer sees sustainable design requirements as additional burdens to be priced in their bids. Data from this study shows that many projects are achieving certification through pursuit of the same lower cost strategies, and that more advanced, or more expensive strategies are often avoided. Most notably, few projects attempt to reach higher
levels of energy reduction beyond what is required by local ordinances, or beyond what can be achieved with a minimum of cost impact.

Greening America's Schools Costs and Benefits October 2006 - This report documents the financial costs and benefits of green schools compared to conventional schools. This national review of 30 green schools demonstrates that green schools cost less than 2% more than conventional schools - or about $3 per square foot - but provide financial benefits that are 20 times as large. Greening school design provides an extraordinarily cost-effective way to enhance student learning, reduce health and operational costs and, ultimately, increase school quality and competitiveness. The financial savings are about $70 per ft2, 20 times as high as the cost of going green. Only a portion of these savings accrue directly to the school. Lower energy and water costs, improved teacher retention, and lowered health costs save green schools directly about $12/ft2, about four times the additional cost of going green.

National Review of Green Schools: Costs, Benefits, and Implications for Massachusetts - Capital E Report December 2005 - This report documents the financial costs and benefits of green schools compared to conventional schools, specifically with reference to Massachusetts. Making schools green is very cost-effective. A national review of 30 green schools and analysis of available research demonstrate that green schools cost 1.5% to 2.5% more than conventional schools, but provide financial benefits that are 10 to 20 times as large.

GSA LEED Cost Study October 2004 - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) commissioned this study to estimate the costs to develop "green" federal facilities using the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Rating System, Version 2.1. The report provides a detailed and structured review of both the hard cost and soft cost implications of achieving Certified, Silver, and Gold LEED ratings for two GSA building types, using GSA's established design standards as the point of comparison.

Cost of Green - Davis/Langdon Report October 2004 (summary) (full version) - Davis Langdon conducted an in-depth study of their current projects to analyze the cost of sustainable buildings.'Green' buildings were compared to buildings with similar programs, but which did not have sustainable goals. Building budgets were analyzed to assess what, if any, supplemental funding was directed towards the sustainable effort. From this analysis, they concluded that many projects achieve sustainable design within their initial budget, or with very small supplemental funding. This suggests that owners are finding ways to incorporate project goals and values, regardless of budget, by making choices.

California Cost Study - Capital E Report October 2003 - This report reviews and analyzes a large quantity of existing data about the costs and financial benefits of green buildings in California. Several dozen building representatives and architects were contacted to secure the cost of 33 green buildings compared to conventional designs for those buildings. The average premium for these green buildings is slightly less than 2%, substantially lower than is commonly perceived. The majority of this cost is due to the increased architectural and engineering (A&E) design time necessary to integrate sustainable building practices into projects. Generally, the earlier green building gets incorporated into the design process, the lower the cost.

EPA releases top markets for energy-efficient buildings - Dallas-Fort Worth, TX is one of the top markets in the country for energy-efficient buildings. Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA top the list. "Energy Star buildings typically use 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less greenhouse gases than average buildings," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement.

Can Green Buildings Pass Payback Tests? - It's been sold as the ultimate no-brainer climate investment: Make a building that's more energy efficient, and you'll pocket the savings while avoiding harmful emissions. Now a group of builders has issued a report arguing that the green-building vision may be more of a myth. You can make a building more energy efficient, the group says, but it won't come cheap, and it could take decades to pay off.

Aberdeen releases "The ROI of Sustainability: Making the Business Case" study - Aberdeen data indicate that far from being a philanthropic 'nice to have,' top performing organizations view sustainability as a 'must have' strategy for long-term, business viability and success. For 59% of respondents to the March 2009 study, sustainability does or will�soon guide major parts or the entirety of their corporate strategy. In fact, surveys and qualitative interviews with top performers demonstrate that the Best-in-Class excel at matching potentially hard to grasp concepts like 'environmental and social stewardship' to clear, actionable, and measurable improvements to their bottom lines, operational efficiencies, customer and trading partner relationships, environmental impacts, and brand value.

"FEEBATE" Program to reward Green Buildings in Portland, Oregon - Officials in Portland, Ore. have proposed a green building incentive program that would be the first of its kind in the United States. Under the program, new commercial buildings larger than 20,000 square feet would be assessed a fee by the city of up to $3.46 per square foot. The fee would be waived for buildings that achieve LEED Silver certification, and projects that achieve LEED Gold, LEED Platinum, or meet the Living Building Challenge would receive a rebate.

Quantifying the Benefits of Green Buildings - On a national level, tenants are springing for sustainable and energy-efficient buildings, according to recent studies that have revealed higher-than-normal occupancy levels and rental rates at those properties. But on an individual property level, how exactly are those claims playing out? The study, titled "High Performance Green Building: What's it Worth?" profiled two office buildings in the Pacific Northwest and one in Canada to determine how sustainability and energy efficiency are affecting property value. Although the answer to that question is complicated, the study did find that green attributes are having a positive impact on all three properties.

SECO Administers Millions in Funding for Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Projects - As the state works to implement programs funded by the economic stimulus bill, the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) expects to receive approximately $285 million of stimulus funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. SECO has recently released details of its newly created grant programs for market-ready projects in these arenas.�The State Energy Program is a $218 million program designed to provide government entities at the state, local and municipal levels funding for various projects.

McKinsey Study Finds Commercial and Residential Buildings Key to Unlocking Nation's Energy Efficiency - Investing $125 billion in efficiency measures over the next decade would reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. commercial sector to pre-2008 levels, according to a new report by the consulting group McKinsey & Co. The report, titled Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy, looked at energy efficiency potential in the U.S. residential, commercial and industrial sectors (transportation was not part of the study). Overall, it found that a 10-year investment of $520 billion would trim the nation's projected energy consumption in 2020 by 23 percent and erase 1.1 gigatons of annual GHG emissions, while "measurably" reducing the need for additional energy infrastructure such as power plants.

USD/CBRE Study Finds That Employees in Green Buildings Are More Productive Than Those in Non-Green Buildings - Researchers at the University of San Diego's Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and CB Richard Ellis have found that employees who work in green buildings are more productive than their counterparts who work in non-green buildings. Green buildings were defined as those that are LEED-certified at any level or those that bear the Energy Star label. In the study, researchers Norm Miller, Ph.D., academic director at the Burnham-Moores Center, and David Pogue, national director of sustainability at CBRE, surveyed 154 green buildings nationwide containing over 2,000 tenants, 534 of which participated in the study. The study is the largest of its kind by far; a 2003 study looked at productivity levels in just 33 green buildings. Miller and Pogue used two measurements of productivity: sick days and the self-reported productivity percentage change after moving into a new building.

Denton cashes in on energy rebates - Owners of homes and businesses in Denton got roughly $190,000 in rebates for installing energy-saving devices during the first fiscal year of the city's retooled GreenSense program. The rebates helped nearly 300 customers of Denton Municipal Electric pay for programmable thermostats, attic insulation, solar window screens and other gadgets meant to save money by cutting energy use.

The Green Building Market and Impact Report 2009 - This second annual report, researched and written by Rob Watson, the "Founding Father of LEED," explores the impacts that LEED-certified buildings have already had on energy, water, waste and employee productivity -- and projects those impacts for the next 20 years.Green building activity has sustained impressive growth during 2009, amid a brutal construction market that has decimated other segments of the construction marketplace, according to the 2009 Green Building Market & Impact Report published by GreenerBuildings.com, a website produced by Greener World Media. According to report author Rob Watson, floor area registered and certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building rating system in 2009 is estimated to grow by over 40% compared to last year's totals, for a cumulative total of over 7 billion square feet worldwide since the standard was launched in 2000.

Regional Study of Green Buildings First of Its Kind to Study Post Occupancy Results of LEED Buildings in Illinois - Illinois has been an early leader in green building construction, currently ranking sixth in the number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings built, with the City of Chicago itself having more LEED certified buildings than any other city in the country.� This leadership continues with release of a report from the U.S. Green Building Council - Chicago Chapter (USGBC-Chicago) that provides a first look at post-occupancy performance of LEED buildings on a local scale. The Regional Green Building Case Study Project: a Post-Occupancy Study of LEED Projects in Illinois report summarizes the first year of a multi-year study to analyze the post-occupancy benefits of 25 LEED certified projects in Illinois related to: energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, construction and operating costs, cost of building green, health and productivity impacts, and occupant comfort. The study found that sustainability does not stop with building design and construction. While a building may be designed to be sustainable, it is often ongoing operational issues that affect the amount of energy, water, and other resources it consumes.� Accordingly, ongoing performance evaluation is a key component of long-term sustainability.

Deciphering the Tax Credits - The energy-efficiency tax credits and renewable-energy tax credits are better than tax deductions. The allowable credits aren't just deductible expenses; they represent dollars subtracted directly from your tax bill. While the tax credit program includes illogical rules, the available tax credits can be significant. If you want to claim a tax credit on your 2009 income tax return for energy-efficiency improvements to your home, you should get the improvements installed before the end of the year. There's really no need to rush, however, since the tax credits will remain available until the end of 2010 - or, in some cases, 2016.

ROI Calculators - partially complied by http://www.sustainablecoin.com/

The simplest way to convey the benefits of a greener facility is to calculate�the Return On Investment To do so, you take the benefit (return) of an investment and divide it by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio. Keep in mind that ROI calculations can be easily manipulated to suit the user's purposes, and the result can be expressed in many different ways.� So, no matter how accurate a calculator claims to be� ALWAYS consider them to be "for informational purposes only".

Zurn Water Use Calculator - (online) Calculate ROI for a new or retrofit low-flow plumbing system. Zurn was founded in 1900 in Erie, PA. It originally manufactured a patented backwater valve, and it now manufactures and distributes one of the largest plumbing products packages in the world.

RelightWithT5.com's T5 ROI Calculator - (online) Calculate the ROI for installing T5 High Bay fixtures in place of existing systems. After helping many corporations realize significant operating cost reductions by switching to T5 high bay fixtures, Electrical Marketplace launched the Relight with T5 Green Initiative as a resource for those planning a lighting retrofit project.

Western Energy Services' Cooling Calculator -(online) Calculate the coin you can save by choosing a new cooling system over your current one. Western's Energy Services Program helps it's customers improve energy efficiency, explore and use renewable energy options, find new technologies, and learn about programs and techniques at other utilities.

Western Energy Services' Heating Calculator -(online) Calculate the coin you can save by choosing a new heating system over your current one.

Solar Era Inc.'s Renewable Energy Calculator - (online) Use this tool to understand the investment costs and returns of a Renewable Energy System.

Lutron's Eco-System ROI Calculator- (online) Calculate ROI for investing in a highly efficient lighting system by Lutron.� EcoSystem is a commercial lighting control system that is comprised of digital electronic dimming ballasts, controls, and environmental sensors.

LEDInsider's LED ROI Calculator - (online) This calculator will determine the annual energy cost savings and life-time energy cost savings when you upgrade bulbs to a newer LED type bulb. LED Insider is a leading world provider of environmentally friendly lighting solutions. We are dedicated to offering cutting edge lighting for home and business applications that are good for the planet and competitively priced.

EATON'S Energy Cost Estimator - (online) See how your facility's energy usage (based on cost) compares to a baseline of similar facilities. Tip! Lots of other downloadable calculators on this page as well.

Jalite's Exit Sign ROI Calculator- (download) Using the EPA Energy Star Program's calculator, you can compare the savings of using a photoluminescent exit sign instead of an LED exit sign or a conventional exit sign.

EnergyPeak's BIPV ROI Calculator- (agent assisted calculator) Calculate the ROI of installing a EnergyPeakTM building-integrated photovoltaic standing seam roof . EnergyPeak was formed by CENTRIA Services Group, in partnership with UNI-SOLAR, in 2007 with the goals of advancing the efficient and affordable integration of solar technology with standing seam metal roofing, and to promote the adoption of building integrated photovoltaic solar standing seam on behalf of the entire standing seam industry.

SOLR (solar energy) Roofing Panel ROI Calculator - (online) Calculate the ROI of this BIPV system. In manufacturing SOLR, thin-film solar laminates are fused to the surface of the roofing panel substrate. The panel/laminate bond that's created has been tested and proven to withstand wind forces of 160 mph.

InterfaceFLOR's Flooring System Calculator - (online) This ROI calculator compares the cost of ownership (material with waste, repair maintenance, etc.) of Interface i2TM Non Directional modular carpet, typical modular carpet and roll carpet over a twenty year time period. Tip! Also see the LEED Calculator which automatically calculates possible LEED recycled content value when you enter the product, backing type, project size and product price of a particular flooring system.

Energy Star Roofing Calculator - (online) ENERGY STAR labeled roof products can help you save money and the environment by reducing your energy use. They work by reflecting more of the sun's energy back into the atmosphere, keeping your building cooler and reducing your air conditioning bills. This calculator helps you estimate how much energy and money you can save by installing an ENERGY STAR labeled roof product on your home or building.


Grading green: USGBC West Michigan Chapter evaluates LEED buildings - Forty buildings were audited by the West Michigan chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, which wants to raise awareness of sustainable construction. "Our hope is that this exercise challenges building owners to question all aspects of their performance and not take their LEED rating for granted," the group wrote in its report. "Complacency is not an option, and a good score today is only a performance snapshot that will require continuous improvement to retain

Texas project to put green products to the test - Texas A&M University System and a Dallas-area developer are creating a $127 million commercial and residential "incubator" where cutting-edge sensors will monitor data on everything from light bulbs to appliances and toilets. Companies like General Electric Co, Philips Electronics, Owens Corning, LG Electronics Inc and Kimberly-Clark Corp are lining up to test their products in the proposed Urban Living Laboratory. The 73-acre site, 15 miles north of downtown Dallas, once used to test new varieties of wheat and cotton, will be developed starting in late 2011.

LEED Gold Now Required for Federal Buildings - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has upgraded its green building standards, requiring LEED Gold certification for all new federal construction and major renovations. GSA previously required LEED Silver for all federal facilities; the new requirement applies to all projects that are currently in design as well as all future projects. For newly constructed properties that GSA leases, the agency has maintained a LEED Silver requirement for new construction projects over 10,000 square feet. LEED for Commercial Interiors is optional for GSA facilities in existing buildings. "This new requirement is just one of the many ways we're greening the federal real estate inventory to help deliver on President Obama's commitment to increase sustainability and energy efficiency across government," said Robert Peck, GSA's commissioner of public buildings

Making the Case for 'Clean Construction' - In the same way that LEED has transformed architectural design to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean construction is emerging as the next big thing to revolutionize the building industry. Clean construction brings new practices, equipment standards and jobsite management strategies to building projects. Through a focus on the impacts of the building process, clean construction principles emphasize reducing greenhouse gas emissions from equipment, improving air quality, and minimizing site disturbances and community disruptions.

Tools for Clean Construction - Emissions from construction equipment are the third largest source of all mobile emissions in the D-FW nonattainment area, producing approximately 40 tons per day, or 10 percent, of all nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. These NOx emissions are the primary contributor to ground-level ozone formation in this region. Therefore, strategies that reduce emissions from construction equipment have the potential to make a great impact on the region's overall air quality. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has compiled several resources for design teams to utilize in bidding documents. These specifications are highly flexible, and allow the team to collect clean construction prices through bid alternates.

Not enough votes for LEED Certified Wood Benchmark - proposed rewrite of the certified wood policy in the LEED rating systems failed to get enough votes from U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members to become policy. USGBC announced that of the 965 people who had opted in to a voting body, 54 percent voted, with 55 percent of those voting "Yes," and 42 percent voting "No." Three percent abstained. Without a two-thirds majority, the policy failed to pass under LEED rules, and the certified wood credits will remain unchanged. Only certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is recognized under credits in the various LEED rating systems awarding points for sustainably harvested forest products. For the last decade, other groups, especially the more industry-friendly Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), have sought entry. A proposal emerged from USGBC's technical committees over the last several years that would have judged certification programs against a benchmark created by USGBC. The benchmark was expected to continue to allow full credit for only FSC, and also allow partial recognition of SFI.

US Army steps up Requirements for Green Building - Cool roofs, solar water heating and advanced metering are among the energy efficiency elements that are to be incorporated into new permanent Army buildings in the U.S. and abroad. Starting in fiscal year 2013, designs for new construction and major renovations are to incorporate the sustainable design and development principles contained in the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 189.1. The standard details strategies for siting, cool roofs, solar water heating, advanced metering, storm water management and energy and water efficiency that reduce the environmental impacts of buildings. All are to be considered and included in designs to the extent possible (in some climates, for example, cool roofs would not be practical or beneficial), according to Army policy announced last week.

US Green Building Council certifies 1 billion square feet - The U.S. Green Building Council is announcing a major milestone: its certified commercial buildings now exceed 1 billion square feet. Another 6 billion or so square feet of projects are registered around the world under the private group's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, one of the most comprehensive and best-known green building standards. "This traction demonstrates the transformation of the way we design, build and operate buildings," said Rick Fedrizzi, the group's president and CEO, in a statement. "Not only does green building contribute to saving energy, water and money, it also creates green jobs that will grow and energize our economy."

White House to Go Solar in 'Clean Energy' Push - Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced plans to install solar panels on the White House roof today, kicking off a three-day federal symposium focused on targeting sustainability efforts throughout the federal government. The Department of Energy aims to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater by the end of next spring as part of a demonstration project showcasing the availability and reliability of the country's solar technologies. In a press release, DOE officials emphasized the growing industry and the availability of tax credits for those who install panels.

Scientists find dead zone in Chandeleur Sound off Louisiana, Mississippi coast - The sprawling band of lifeless ocean water known as the "dead zone" that forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico has been well-documented for decades, with teams of government and research scientists analyzing the ecological impacts every year. But much less is known about smaller low-oxygen dead zones along the state's coastline. According to research done by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and another local volunteer group this summer, scientists have found a 250-square-mile dead zone in Chandeleur Sound, east of the Mississippi River.

First-ever carrotmob in Texas descended on Deep Ellum's LaGrange - Last wednesday night, a group of green consumers, art lovers, regulars, and press descended upon LaGrange in Deep Ellum. Some came for the snow cones or to hear the five bands that were taking stage that night. Tajana Mesic and Jonathan Feinstein were there to make history. Mesic and Feinstein are two young professionals on a mission: Revitalize the Dallas area while building a sustainable future through green improvements. Both of them came upon the idea of Carrotmob separately but quickly realized that by joining forces, their two communities could immediately make an impact. LaGrange "won" the carrotmob by pledging the highest percentage of their revenues that evening -- 81.5% -- to put that money toward energy-efficient lighting. The bid topped the list of 12 competitors (second place was 80% by Bolsa in Oak Cliff) and is far and away higher than the first-ever carrotmob bid from April 2008 in San Francisco, with a winning bid of 22%.

For Texas, thermometer-busting heat is the new normal - Triple-digit temperatures will be the norm in Texas within a few decades, and 115-degree heat won't be surprising, according to the state climatologist. Texas A&M University atmospheric sciences professor John Nielsen-Gammon said recently that models he's analyzed show temperatures rising as much as 1 degree each decade, meaning that by 2060, temperatures around the state would be 5 degrees hotter than now. A recent Texas A&M University news release said the heat could bring water shortages, more severe droughts, crop failures and more difficulty controlling air pollution. Farmers will need to irrigate more. Every region of the state will become warmer, although East Texas is expected to be less affected than the rest, he said.

6 tips for starting a sustainable small business - Small businesses have an important role to play in greening the American business world, writes Caron Beesley. To slice through the hype and do your bit to help the planet, develop a clear plan to integrate sustainable strategies into your core business, make the most of green-business tax breaks and be sure to tell your customers about all the good work you're doing, Beesley writes.

Making Green Buildings Safe for Firefighters - Green buildings may present special challenges for firefighters because of new technologies, building materials, and building techniques. That's the concern Fire Safety and Green Buildings-Bridging the Gap, a new website at www.GreenBuildingFireSafety.org developed by the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM); a handbook on the topic has also been released. Green buildings are subject to fire hazards just like any other building-but sometimes in unique ways. Two of the main issues addressed by NASFM's guidelines are light construction and solar installations-both of which have been the subject of regulatory attention.

Staggered Stud framing increases insulation while reducing construction costs - Researchers in Ontario have come up with a way to reduce heat loss from wood-framed buildings by tweaking the carpentry techniques used in their construction. By staggering the placement of studs when framing buildings, builders can increase the amount of insulation while reducing overall construction costs. The science behind the concept is that heat escapes more quickly through wood studs than insulation, so by reducing the number of studs and increasing the amount of insulation used, more heat can be
retained by a building. 

Illinois begins work on LEED Platinum affordable-housing project - Illinois officials broke ground this week on what is likely to be the country's first LEED Platinum certified affordable-housing development. Geared toward rural residents making less than $41,000 a year, the multimillion-dollar development will include 32 three-bedroom single-family homes that will rent to qualified people for $590 a month. Rooftop solar panels and wind turbines throughout the community are expected to mean no monthly utility bills for residents and even power the streetlights. The first homes will be ready for rent this year

Greener buildings LEED to better workers - A new study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University shows that employees who work in environmentally friendly buildings are more productive and take less sick days. The researchers took employees working in conventional buildings and placed them in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, the workers transferred to LEED offices were less prone to absenteeism and stress related problems. Employees also demonstrated a higher level of productivity when working in LEED buildings than conventional offices; this was attributed to perceived improvements in health and well being.

How Dilbert Almost Saved the Earth - Let's say you love the Earth. You see an article in a magazine about a guy who built a "green" house using mostly twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. You want to build a green home, too. So you find an architect, show him the magazine and say, "Give me one just like this." Good luck with that.

Critics Say LEED Program Doesn't Fulfill Promises - The business of green building is growing, even though the construction market as a whole has been in a slump. The U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, and its certification system are swaying the industry - creating cachet around green buildings. The company is influencing policy, but some critics say it isn't delivering on its environmental promises. LEED is a force to be reckoned with in the construction world. Fourteen federal departments and agencies, 34 states and more than 200 local governments now encourage or require LEED certification. Some places offer incentives to certify. Others, like Washington, mandate it as a kind of code.

Green Building: A Real Estate Revolution? - While much of the U.S. real estate market has been floundering, one area has not seen a dip. Green building now accounts for nearly one-third of new construction in the U.S. That's up from 2 percent in 2005, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, which tracks the industry. The numbers suggest a revolution is taking place within an industry that is historically slow to change. There are many factors - and many players - in this move toward green building. But one company and its rating system have been undeniably influential in changing construction practice and policy around the country, despite some people's reservations about whether it's really helping the environment.

Will incandescent bulbs go away? - The "last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent bulbs in the United States" is set to close later this month. Most incandescent bulbs will be banned from sale in the U.S. in 2014, and many other countries have enacted similar bans on incandescent bulbs within the next few years, as well. But while the deadline has been set, and the manufacture of incandescent bulbs is set to end in a couple of years, there is a growing market for specialty incandescent bulbs. Against all reason though, bare filament light bulbs are spreading as a trendy fashion in restaurants, as was noted in the New York Times earlier this summer.

Report predicts big benefits for green industry in Texas - State leaders joined together at the Texas Capitol Monday morning to tout the report, released by The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. The study states that if the state chooses to invest in renewable energy programs, it could spur the creation of 22,900 new jobs a year and $2.7 billion annually in local and state tax revenue. The report suggests the state model legislation to incentivize green energy investment in Texas, and, based on three potential scenarios, increase energy costs for consumers. In the high-range scenario, the report estimates that for a 20 percent increase in the state's clean energy generating capacity, the average Texan would see their energy bill increase by an average of $13 a month. The report says this scenario would create an average of 22,900 jobs per year for the next decade.

Feds Urged To Include Green Construction Code In New Government Buildings - Citing the gap between existing construction codes and green rating systems has been filled, the International Code Council (ICC) encouraged the U.S. government to reference the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) in an effort to apply sustainable design principles to the design and construction of new federal buildings. "Prior to this year, voluntary 'rating' type programs were among the only options for guiding the design of green buildings," said Code Council CEO Rick Weiland testifying at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) public hearing. "Such programs, including LEED, were not designed to act as regulatory language. The gap between existing codes and rating systems has now been filled.... [and] are now available to address federal goals as well as meet the needs of state and local jurisdictions."

USA's greenest cities? You might be surprised - These are tough times for cities as they struggle to find the funds to maintain basic services. Interestingly, economic necessity was a driver for Columbus, Ohio, a 2010 Smarter City for energy, as it put together a plan to increase energy efficiency and reduce city government expenditures over the next 10 years. Quality of life mattered too. Columbus is not alone; cities across America are looking at their municipal energy production and use and asking can we do this better, more responsibly, considering the impacts to budget, health and environment, and fairness and livability concerns.

12 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Green Building Product - While the industry has made real progress in providing us with green products and backing up their performance claims, product selection will continue to be one of the most critical challenges you will face in meeting your green missions-and that puts your business and reputation at risk. Here are the first 12 questions you should ask about any green building product you're evaluating-before you make your selection:

Can the GSA Really Achieve a 'Zero Environmental Footprint'? - New government buildings will be greener than ever, now that an executive order requires that 95% of contracts meet sustainability standards. But the General Services Administration is going whole-hog with a plan to eliminate its impact on the environment altogether. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has proposed the government go "net-zero". Johnson outlined a number of areas in which GSA could take the lead toward greening the government. These include cultivating green-centered public/private partnerships, aiming for only green products on the federal supply schedules, and using the federal building portfolio as a green proving-ground for new sustainable building and design technologies. ..."

Point: Do Green Building Standards Minimize Human Health Concerns? - The gold standard for certifying "green" buildings fails to place enough emphasis on human health and needs to be upgraded, according to a new report from an environmental health group.The LEED standard is weighted more heavily toward energy conservation and not enough toward health protection, skewing green-design criteria, concluded Environmental and Human Health, Inc., a Connecticut-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting human health from environmental harms."They have to be given great credit for work on energy conservation. And there clearly are environmental quality and health benefits that will accrue from conservation efforts," said John Wargo, professor of risk analysis and environmental policy at Yale University and a lead author of the report, released in May.

Counter-point - Do Green Building Standards Minimize Human Health Concerns? - EHHI, author of a recent report on LEED, and the U.S. Green Building Council, developers of the LEED Green Building Rating System, clearly share a common mission: we care deeply about human health. In fact, human health and how it is tied to environmental health is at the core of what both organizations study and do. To suggest something contrary to that, as you did in your recent report, suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the role LEED plays as a catalyst for action related to this critical issue. We could not agree more with the need for serious action on improved indoor air quality. But your report fails to provide a complete picture of how interconnected the built environment and public health truly are. Can LEED as a tool be improved? Yes, always! So please help us.

Model solar car race in Springfield attracts middle school students - Using soda cans, solar panels and a variety of lightweight materials middle school students from all over New England showcased their model solar powered cars during the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Junior Solar Sprint. The sprint allows individual and group teams to create solar electric cars that run on a renewable energy source. "This gives students an opportunity to apply solar energy to something that actually works," Grindrod said.

Mayors Endorse 'Green' Construction Code, Natural-Gas Vehicles - The U.S. Conference of Mayors is backing a mandatory "green" construction code that would slash the negative effects of commercial buildings on the natural environment. The green code, which is amid a public-comment period and slated for release in November, would join the Washington, D.C.-based ICC's family of plumbing, mechanical and residential building codes, explained Jessyca Henderson, AIA's director of sustainability advocacy.

Facility Managers Using LEED-EBOM As Blueprint for Sustainability - Simply considering green is no longer optional. It may not be too long before conventional buildings are rendered obsolete. More frequently, facility managers are using the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) rating system as a blueprint for their sustainability plans. But what does it take to manage the LEED-EBOM certification process? What follows is a tip sheet for facility managers to make sure they get the best results from their LEED-EBOM initiatives.

GSA developing system to track buildings' energy and water use  - The General Services Administration is launching a new tool to measure the performance of green building projects funded by the Recovery Act. GSA received a total of $5.55 billion in Recovery Act funding, $4.5 billion of which must be used to convert its facilities to high-performance green buildings, which rely on technologies such as solar panels and energy-efficient lighting.

Former Olympic Village is converted to green neighborhood - On May 15, Vancouver's mayor, Gregor Robertson, hosted a celebration at the former 2010 Winter Olympics village in Southeast False Creek, a section of the city's formerly industrial waterfront, to mark the handing over of a first batch of the apartments to their new long-term residents. To heat the high-rise buildings, their new inhabitants need only pull the plug in the bathtub or the kitchen sink and send their warm wastewater spiraling down the drain. The Southeast False Creek Neighborhood Energy Utility, or N.E.U., supplies space heating and domestic hot water to local buildings using heat recovered from wastewater and raw sewage. "This is a test case for Vancouver," said Chris Baber, the N.E.U.'s manager. It is also the first "district" energy system in North America to draw heat from untreated wastewater. There are only three similar projects worldwide: two in Oslo and one in Tokyo.

Alec Appelbaum's Misunderstandings of LEED are LEEDing Us Astray - Leonardo Academy President Michal Arny refuted Alec Appelbaum's New York Times May 20 OpEd piece, "Don't LEED Us Astray", stating for the record that the LEED green building rating systems do address maintaining the ongoing green performance of buildings. Michael Arny said: "The family of LEED green building rating systems does address the maintenance of ongoing green performance of buildings and Alec Appelbaum is doing a disservice to the built environment, the people that occupy buildings and environment by perpetuating the myth that LEED does not address maintaining the ongoing green performance of buildings."

Don't LEED Us Astray - This recent Op-Ed piece by Alec Appelbaum in the New York Times has created quite a stir... TODAY Al Gore is expected to join some of the city's top developers and bankers for the grand opening of the luminous office tower known as 1 Bryant Park - the second-tallest building in New York City and, with a handsome foyer and a roster of prominent tenants, a ray of hope in a gloomy commercial real estate market. But while the standard is well-intentioned, it is also greatly misunderstood. Put simply, a building's LEED rating is more like a snapshot taken at its opening, not a promise of performance. Unless local, state and federal agencies do their part to ensure long-term compliance with the program's ideals, it could end up putting a shiny green stamp on a generation of unsustainable buildings.

'Green' business is picking up - Going green has become good business. Just look at store shelves: Sales of "green'' products, such as organic foods and natural personal care items, have jumped 15 percent since 2006, according to research firm Mintel International. A wave of promotion is hitting consumers during this month's 40th anniversary Earth Day observances: Hanes says it can put you in eco-friendly underwear, Frito-Lay offers Sun Chips from a bag you can toss in a compost pile, and Target stores invite you to use their recycling bins. 

MIT researchers print solar cell on paper - Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have successfully coated paper with a solar cell, part of a suite of research projects aimed at energy breakthroughs. The printed solar cells, which Bulovic showed at a press conference Tuesday, are still in the research phase and are years from being commercialized. However, the technique, in which paper is coated with organic semiconductor material using a process similar to an inkjet printer, is a promising way to lower the weight of solar panels. "If you could use a staple gun to install a solar panel, there could be a lot of value," Bulovic said.

LEGO kit lets young ones build a better future - A new product line from LEGO aims to teach children the importance of renewable energy by letting them add fully functional solar panels and wind turbines to their LEGO construction projects. Parents who hope to turn their children into budding eco-builders will have to wait until this fall to get their hands on the new gadgets, though.

Lawn-watering regulations contributed to massive water main breaks - A blue-ribbon panel of scientists said Tuesday that the high-volume water main breaks that bedeviled Los Angeles last summer and fall were caused in part by the city's restrictions on lawn watering, and their findings could force the city to remake its strict water conservation policy. The city last June limited the use of lawn sprinklers to Mondays and Thursdays, and those restrictions have proved highly successful. Officials said Tuesday that in February, Los Angeles had its lowest recorded water use in 31 years. But the water conservation policy was too much for the city's aging network of cast-iron pipes, causing fluctuations in water pressure that strained them to the bursting point, the panel's long-awaited report found. Its conclusions appear to put to rest other theories about the cause of the mystery, including increased seismic activity.

AIA Releases Top Ten Green Projects for 2010 - The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA-COTE) has announced its Top Ten Green Projects for 2010. This years winners include 355 11th Street, Homer Science & Student Life Center, KAUST, Kroon Hall, Manassas Park Elementary School + Pre-K, Manitoba Hydro Place, Omega Center for Sustainable Living, Special No. 9 House, Twelve|West, and Watsonville Water Resource Center.

Dallas Convention Center earns LEED EB Silver Certification - The Dallas Convention Center has been awarded the LEED-EB v2.0 Silver Certification. Interim Director Al Rojas said, "The LEED Certification exemplifies our commitment to providing the highest quality space for our customers and employees. We understand the importance of these efforts which not only lower costs but improve the environment for generations to come." The Convention Center's green building programs and features include: alternative transportation options; energy efficient lighting with reduced mercury content; environmentally sensitive cleaning products and practices; reduction of indoor potable water through low-flow fixtures and the replacement of one cooling tower; and a comprehensive recycling program.

Cool roof coating: Mechanism kept under wraps - The American Chemical Society held a news briefing March 21 to feature a new energy-saving technology. It's an ostensibly "smart" coating for roofing materials that knows when to reflect heat, like in summer time, and when to instead let the sun's rays help heat a structure. Roofing materials already exist that can reflect the sun's rays. But
they always reflect, says Kyle Ungvarsky, an engineer with United Environment & Energy of Horseheads, N.Y. In contrast, his company's new material can be tuned to stop reflecting when it's advantageous to do so.

EPA Issues Second Annual Ranking of U.S. Cities with the Most Energy Efficient Buildings - Dallas ranks 8th on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's listing of metropolitan areas with energy-efficient buildings. Cities were ranked by the agency according to the number of buildings that earned the EPA's Energy Star rating by the end of 2009. Houston took the highest spot in Texas, No. 6, with 133 Energy Star-rated buildings. The Dallas/Fort Worth area also breached the top 10 with 113 Energy Star buildings. Austin, ironically considered one of the state's greenest cities, made the EPA list with 55 Energy Star facilities, but fell below Dallas and Houston, ranking No. 18.

EPA Study Looks Beyond Recycling - A new study funded in part by the U.S. EPA, examined city-based composting as a method of waste diversion. The Center for a Competitive Waste Industry examined composting programs in 121 cities in its study, "Beyond Recycling: Composting Food Scraps and Soiled Paper." The 79-page report provides best practices for expanding beyond recycling and advice on processing food scraps, soiled paper, and yard trimmings. According to the study's authors, these materials make up half of all household solid waste - 75% of which can be composted.

Banks focused on a new kind of green - From building environmentally friendly branches to supporting green power to replacing styrofoam cups with china in break rooms, Pittsburgh-area banks are embracing ways to protect the planet while at the same time saving money and attracting customers to boot. PNC Financial Services Group, the region's biggest and the nation's fifth-largest bank, has become a Green Giant of sorts with more green-certified buildings than any company in the nation. The banking behemoth even has a trademark on the term "Green Branch."

Saving US Water and Sewer Systems Would be Costly - One recent morning, George S. Hawkins, a long-haired environmentalist who now leads one of the largest and most prominent water and sewer systems, trudged to a street corner here where water was gushing into the air. A cold snap had ruptured a major pipe installed the same year the light bulb was invented. As city employees searched for underground valves, a growing crowd started asking angry questions. Pipes were breaking across town, and fire hydrants weren't working, they complained. Why couldn't the city deliver water, one man yelled at Mr. Hawkins.

George W. Bush library's blueprints filled with green - A big environmental change is coming to a muddy, skinned-off patch of former condominium land jammed up against one of Dallas' busiest freeways. Native prairies, oaks and wildflowers, reminders of North Texas' natural past, are destined for the site's future. So, too, is a new building of nearly a quarter-million square feet that planners promise will meet the highest environmental and energy standards. Details are just emerging about the environmental aspects of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which will rise between Southern Methodist University's campus and North Central Expressway. Groundbreaking for the center, which will house the former president's archives, foundation, institute and a museum, is expected late this year.

Las Vegas City Hall, businesses turn buildings green - Las Vegas has jumped aboard the growing green-building movement, with a new City Hall that could meet Silver LEED certification and a bevy of businesses making ecological upgrades to their buildings. "People are increasingly realizing benefits of green building in terms of the energy savings," said Deepika Padam, 2010 president of the Las Vegas chapter of the American Institute of Architects. More than one in five U.S. cities with 50,000 residents or more have a policy to promote green building, according to a new American Institute of Architects survey. The city of Las Vegas and Henderson have sustainable building policies in place, as do the state of Nevada and Clark County.

7 trends that will shape the future of green building - Green building seems to be here to stay, but what lies on the road ahead? With all the changes afoot today in both the real estate economy and local and federal government, many may be wondering how to position themselves for emerging sustainable development issues. I see the following key trends informing the road ahead for green building, impacting both the public and private sectors.

HUD secretary announces sustainable-urban-planning office - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan on Thursday announced the creation of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. The office will study smart growth and invest in affordable-housing and mass-transit initiatives. Backed by $200 million, the office plans to study smart growth and put money toward helping communities across the country develop mass transit lines near affordable housing -- the type of urban planning Portland has practiced for years.

GSA signs up 19 vendors to help agencies cut energy use - Nineteen vendors will provide services to help agencies meet their energy conservation and green government goals under a contracting agreement announced Wednesday by the General Services Administration. GSA established the blanket purchase agreement to help agencies achieve their energy, greenhouse gas and water conservation goals using a streamlined acquisition process. Several of the participating companies are offering their energy services and products at discounts from previously published rates on existing GSA schedules, GSA said.

"Melting" Drywall keeps rooms cool - Building materials that absorb heat during the day and release it at night, eliminating the need for air-conditioning in some climates, will soon be on the market in the United States. National Gypsum is testing drywall sheets containing capsules that absorb heat to passively cool a building. The capsules, made by chemical giant BASF, can be incorporated into a range of construction materials and are already found in some products in Europe. The "phase-change" materials inside the BASF capsules keep a room cool in much the same way that ice cubes chill a drink: by absorbing heat as they melt. Each polymer capsule contains paraffin waxes that melt at around room temperature, enabling them to keep the temperature of a room constant throughout the day. The waxes work best in climates that cool down at night, allowing the materials inside the capsules to solidify and release the heat they've stored during the day.

Six Key Lessons on Green and Energy Efficiency Retrofits - While the real estate economy faltered between late 2008 and early 2009, Leanne Tobias was writing a book about building retrofits, the sector of the property market that will likely bring us through and out of the downturn. The result, "Retrofitting Office Buildings to be Green and Energy-Efficient," was published recently by the Urban Land Institute.

City of Portland - During 1999, the City of Portland, Oregon, conducted a public process to investigate options open to the City to promote the construction and operations of green buildings. This process led to development of the City's Green Building Initiative. Two of the main issues raised during development and early implementation of the Initiative were what constitutes "green building" and the costs and benefits of building green. This report discusses a study conducted to provide initial answers to these questions.

City of Seattle LEED Supplement - The purpose of the Seattle Supplements to LEED is to provide assistance in applying LEED to City CIP projects, and integration of the LEED system with local building codes, practices, and City policies. In addition, resource information is provided to connect City capital project managers with program staff and information.

GSA LEED Application Guide - In support of GSA's commitment to the LEED program, this GSA LEED Applications Guide has been created to assist GSA Project Managers and their design teams in developing focused, valuedriven, and cost-effective approaches to meeting GSA�s LEED mandate. This Applications Guide, which is a companion document to the GSA LEED Cost Study, outlines an evaluation process in which the predicted first cost impacts of the individual LEED prerequisites and credits (developed from the Cost Study) are used as a basis for structuring an overall LEED project approach.

GSA report to Congress on LEED - GSA determines which rating system is the most appropriate sustainable building rating system available for GSA projects. A review of multiple rating systems is included: BREEAM; CASBEE; GBTool; Green Globes; LEED.

Building Design & Construction White Paper on Sustainability - This report traces the history of the green building movement in the U.S. and internationally, from the earliest days of the environmental movement to the present. It examines developments at the international, Federal, state, and local level, and analyzes the costs and benefits, both financial and human, of sustainable development. Certification and labeling systems for "green" products are also reviewed.

LEED is Broken -We�re concerned that LEED has become costly, slow, brutal, confusing, and unwieldy, a death march for applicants administered by a soviet-style bureaucracy that makes green building more difficult than it needs to be, yet has everyone genuflecting at the door to prove their credentials. The result: mediocre "green" buildings where certification, not environmental responsibility, is the primary goal; a few super-high level eco-structures built by ultra-motivated (and wealthy) owners that stand like the Taj Mahal as beacons of impossibility; an explosion of LEED accredited architects and engineers chasing lots of money but designing few buildings; and a discouraged cadre of professionals who want to build green, but can�t afford to certify their buildings. A growing number of LEED veterans have, or soon will, throw in the towel. LEED is broken. This article explores what went wrong, and begins a discussion of how to fix it.

Sustainable Building Technical Manual - The Sustainable Building Technical Manual was written to filll a void. In its pages, noted private practitioners and local government experts extract, consolidate, and prioritize - from their own experience and expertise - the scattered and growing volume of information pertaining to sustainable buildings. The manual's primary intent is to provide public and private building industry professionals with suggested practices across the full cycle of a building project, from site planning to building design, construction, and operations.

Resource Guide for Sustainable Development in an Urban Environment (large file! 27 meg) - The following resource guide proposes goals, design principles and tools for designing and building sustainably in a mixed use development market. Many of the high performance buildings that have been completed in the last 10 years have been owner-occupied or for institutional owners. Within that community, the 'triple bottom line' concept of economic, environmental and social payback can be tuned to each owner or institution's unique environmental and social values. This study examines possibilities for the developer marketplace, and prioritizes a series of strategies that can be accomplished within a range of conventional payback time periods.

Understanding the Relationship between Public Health and the Built Environment - a report prepared for the LEED-ND Core Committee - This report presents an appraisal of the current state of the research regarding the links between public health and neighborhood design and provides recommendations about how this knowledge can be integrated into the LEED-ND rating system to improve public health. The report was prepared for the US Green Building Council (USGBC), Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the participants in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Core Committee. LEED-ND is a rating system for neighborhood location and design based on the combined principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building. The purpose of this report is to better understand the specific development patterns and changes to the built environment will have a significant impact on public health.

Local Leaders in Sustainability: A Study of Green Building Programs in Our Nation's Communities - Local Leaders in Sustainability examines the growth and effectiveness of green building policies in cities with populations greater than 50,000. This represents a total of 661 communities, or 107,918,963 Americans. In conducting this study the AIA spoke to planners, building, and sustainability officials in 606 cities, for a response rate of 92 percent, during the summer of 2007.

Buildings and Climate Change: Status, Challenges and Opportunities - This report considers the use of energy in five phases of the building's life cycle: (i) the manufacturing of building products and components; (ii) the transportation of building products and components to the construction site; (iii) the construction itself; (iv) the operational phase; and (v) the final demotion and recycling. Although energy consumption is significant in all these phases, in this report emphasis is given to the operational phase of the building, the most energy-intensive phase.

Field Guide for Sustainable Construction - This Guide has been developed to assist and educate field workers, supervisors and managers in making decisions that help the project team meet sustainable project goals. The field guide is designed to fill a significant void in available information for sustainable construction methods. It systematically draws together and organizes information on many aspects of construction that can assure the sustainability of a facility. Simple methods and suggested practices are presented for the major phases of construction in the field guide.

BuildingGreen announces Top 10 Green Products for 2008 - This year's top ten products, drawn from the GreenSpec Directory, include a solar water-heating system, a rainwater collector, and FSC-Certified bamboo flooring. Interior products made up a larger portion of the top ten than in past years. GreenSpec has added more than 200 products to its database. Follow the link in this article to more detailed descriptions of the products to see which LEED credits are obtainable with each product.

More Insurance Carriers Offer Green Coverage - As insurance underwriters become more familiar with the risks and opportunities in the green building hemisphere, more carriers are entering the marketplace with increased capacity and product offerings, according to a year-end update of insurance global giant Marsh's green building report. The report entitled "Marsh Green Built Environment in the United States Market Survey" was first released in June 2008. Since then, several additional builders' risk insurance carriers now offer specific green endorsements. They include Zurich Financial Services, Travelers Insurance and ACE USA.

LEED Projects Doubled in 2008 - If you use LEED numbers as a gauge, 2008 was a success for green building. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) confirmed that numbers of both LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects doubled in 2008-from about 10,000 registered projects at the end of 2007 up to more than 20,000 by the end of January 2009, while square footage of LEED-certified construction rose 92%, from 148 million to 284 million square feet.

Greening the Prison-Industrial Complex - Instead of reporting to the laundry or the kitchen or the boiler room, a Washington state prison inmate, Robert Knowles, reports to the compost heap. Mr. Knowles is taking part in a "green work" program at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center. Inmates grow organic produce, compost the prison's food waste, take part in ecological research projects with a nearby university, and even produce honey from the prison's own hives. Washington is not alone. It seems several states are busy rethinking the old concrete-box approach to prisons - home to more than two million Americans - and high on the agenda are energy efficiency and other "green" upgrades.

Top 50 Green Power Users - The EPA has released it's list of the Top 50 Partners in the Green Power Partnership whose annual green power purchase is the largest nationwide. Their actions are helping drive the development of new renewable energy sources for electricity generation. Combined, these top 50 largest purchases amount to nearly 11.8 billion kilowatt-hours annually, which represents more than 70 percent of the green power commitments made by all EPA Green Power Partners.

The Seven Sins of Greenwashing - Green-wash - verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. A few years ago, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing created a list that we green communicators and marketers should have taped next to our computers: the Six Sins of Greenwashing. 98% of products committed at least one of the Sins of Greenwashing. Greenwashing is so rampant that a Seventh Sin has emerged. The Sin of Worshiping False Labels is committed by a product that, through either words or images, gives the impression of third-party endorsement where no such endorsement actually exists.

Chilled beams hit the roof - Employees in a handful of MIT buildings might notice what look like slim, fin-tubed radiators in ceiling cavities. These cooling devices are a relatively recent innovation to make its way to the U.S. market. Called chilled beams, they use water, not air, to remove heat from a room. The potential energy reduction of using chilled beams instead of a traditional air-conditioning system ranges from 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on the type of system, climate and building.

Green Data Centers Bring Environmental, Financial Gains - Everyone knows that data centers consume tremendous amounts of electricity. In fact, data centers used 61 billion kilowatt hour of electricity in 2006, double the amount of energy used in 2000 - representing 1.5 percent of all U.S. electricity consumption. The EPA predicts growth in energy consumption by data centers will continue to skyrocket by 12 percent annually. Even if data centers were only 10 percent more efficient, they could yield energy savings of 10.7 billion kWh by 2011.

Getting a Grip on a Refrigerant Phase-out - EPA rules will require that ozone-friendly refrigerant be used in new HVAC equipment sold after January 1, 2010. But that doesn't mean use of ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant will end. R-22, also known as Freon 22, has been used for decades in residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps. The problem is it is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon, a gas that will deplete the ozone layer if it is released into the air, and the Environmental Protection Agency has targeted R-22 for phase-out.

NAHB: Green Program Participation Beats Expectations - Despite the downturn, green construction and remodeling has been building steam among consumers and industry professionals. More than 3,100 builders, remodelers, designers, and others in the homebuilding business have earned the Certified Green Professional educational designation. The level of participation, NAHB Chairman Joe Robson says, "exceeds even our most optimistic expectations."

You can't improve what you can't measure - We have all heard that phrase a thousand times, but the reality is that it is bang on. Now check out the Power Cost Monitor from Blue Line Innovations, it does the same thing for your home as the fuel gauge does for the car. The monitor provides homeowners and tenants with real-time energy consumption numbers. So instead of waiting a month for the electricity bill, you are able to see what you are consuming immediately.

Largest Recycling Facility in Texas Opens for Business in San Antonio - Houston-based Greenstar North America, the country's largest private processor of recyclables and the largest municipal recycler in Texas, has officially opened the largest recycling facility in Texas. The new plant is among the largest, most automated single stream facilities in North America. It has the capacity to process 20,000 tons per month at its 180,000 square foot facility located on nine acres in San Antonio.

Richland College officially opens Garland campus - Richland College officially opened its Garland Campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 30. Designed to achieve LEED Gold, it is Richland's intent that the systems and operations of this new building will function in efficient ways that produce minimal impact to the environment while providing lessons to its students and surrounding community on sustainability. It is hoped that the money saved on energy can be reinvested in workforce development instruction, student outreach services, and student learning success.

Iconic skyscrapers find new luster by going green - When owners of the Empire State Building decided to blanket its towering facade this year with thousands of insulating windows, they were only partly interested in saving energy. They also needed tenants. After 78 years, Manhattan's signature office building had lost its sheen as one of the city's most desirable places to work. To get it back, the owners did what an increasing number of property owners have done - they went green, shelling out $120 million on a variety of environmental improvements, a move would have been considered a huge gamble a few years ago.

New Tarrant Regional Water District annex incorporates eco-friendly features - When the Tarrant Regional Water District decided to go "green" on its new $9.9 million, 26,000-square-foot Information Technology and Engineering annex north of downtown Fort Worth, it went all out. Most notably, the building has the largest roof-mounted, solar photovoltaic panel array in Texas, a $1.47 million, 236-kilowatt system with 1,157 panels. The array is expected to provide 70 percent of the building's energy needs as well as some surplus electricity for the power grid. The building's solar capacity slightly eclipses that of a San Antonio building, said Laura Blaylock, water district hydrologist and energy-efficiency specialist.

The Greenest Cities in America - The Natural Resources Defense Council recently announced their list of the greenest cities in the United States. The survey includes all cities in the United States with populations larger than 50,000. Smarter Cities is considered to be one of the nation's most comprehensive and robust database of U.S. urban progress toward sustainability. Each city was ranked according to the following: Air Quality; Energy Production and Conservation; Environmental Standards and Participation; Green Building; Green Space; Recycling; Transportation; Standard of Living; and Water Quality and Conservation.

Turner edges out Perkins+Will for the top spot on BD+C's Top 200 Building Team LEED APs ranking - During the past year, 60,950 design and construction professionals in the U.S. earned their green stripes by becoming accredited through the Green Building Certification Institute's LEED Accredited Professionals program. As of late June, 114,291 AEC professionals have been accredited through the GBCI, up from 53,341 last year, according to the Washington, D.C.-based organization. Since 2004, BD+C has tracked the number of LEED APs within the nation's largest AEC firms as part of its annual Giants 300 survey. Of the 320 firms surveyed this year, 99% report having at least one LEED AP on staff, and 88% say they have 10 or more LEED APs. For the first time, Turner takes the top spot on BD+C's Top 200 Building Team LEED APs ranking, with 1,006. Turner added more than 580 LEED APs during the past year to surpass Perkins+Will, which held the top spot four years running. LPA has the highest percentage of LEED APs on staff among the Giants 300, with 76.4% of the firm's total staff accredited. Mithun (70.1%), Perkins+Will (61.7%), Dunham Associates (60.2%), and FXFOWLE Architects (55%) round out the top five by percentage.

Google Earth MapsTrack CO2 Emissions In Detail - Google Earth and a team of U.S. researchers have created an interactive map showing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by county and state and by sectors such as automotive, power plants, industrial, residential, and aviation. The Vulcan Project, named after the Roman god of fire, uses county-by-county emissions data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, but project leaders said they eventually hope to make the mapping so interactive that emissions can be quantified for individual streets and buildings. "This will bring emissions information in everyone's living room as a recognizable, accessible online experience," said Kevin Gurney, the project leader and an assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University. Scientists from Colorado State University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory also participated in the project.

Solar Roadways get prototype funding from DOT - Solar Roadways announced that it has been awarded a DOT contract that will enable them to prototype the first ever Solar Road Panel. Through embedded LEDs, the Solar Roadways will collect solar energy to power businesses and homes via structurally-engineered solar panels that are driven upon, to be placed in parking lots and roadways in lieu of petroleum-based asphalt surfaces.

'Green' Consumers Out to Save Money - Green consumers are more concerned about saving money than saving the planet, according to new research from advertising agency the Shelton Group. The study found that while 59 percent of green consumers identify the economy as their top concern in making purchases, a mere 8 percent consider the environment. According to the report, 77 percent of the population occasionally buys green products, but these green consumers form a varied group. While 26 percent said they would reduce energy consumption "to lessen my impact on the environment," a whopping 73 percent said they did so "to reduce my bills/control my costs."

Home Depot "lights up" over eco-friendly buyers - Home Depot has started a light-bulb recycling program. "Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs last 10 times longer than your incandescent bulb, but they've got mercury inside of them, so you really shouldn't throw them away," Home Depot CFO Carol Tome said. The chain also is hoping to reach more environmentally responsive buyers with its "Eco Options" line, which features more than 3,700 products.

Net-zero homes would reduce dependence on power plants - Texas would not need seven new power plants if all new homes in the state were built with solar power systems, according to a report sponsored by an environmental group. Consumers would also save more than $5 billion if all new homes generated as much energy as they used, the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center study found.

"Zero-waste" movement goes mainstream - At Yellowstone National Park, the clear soda cups and white utensils are not your typical cafe-counter garbage. Made of plant-based plastics, they dissolve magically when heated for more than a few minutes. At Ecco, a popular restaurant in Atlanta, waiters no longer scrape food scraps into the trash bin. Uneaten morsels are dumped into five-gallon pails and taken to a compost heap out back. And at eight of its North American plants, Honda is recycling so diligently that the factories have gotten rid of their trash Dumpsters altogether. Across the nation, an antigarbage strategy known as "zero waste" is moving from the fringes to the mainstream, taking hold in school cafeterias, national parks, restaurants, stadiums and corporations.

Retailers launch green initiatives to reduce plastic-bag use - Target has launched a program that offers a 5-cent discount for every reusable bag used by customers for their purchases. The move follows a similar incentives program recently announced by drugstore giant CVS. The programs are the retailers' response to lawmakers and advocacy groups pushing for the widespread use of reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Green initiatives have "become part of the competitive landscape to demonstrate that it's part of your culture," a marketing professor said.

China has space for carbon - Does clean coal really have a future where it's needed most-in China? As much as policymakers keep talking about carbon capture and storage, the obstacles facing wide deployment of the technology are pretty steep. There's the $5 trillion price tag, for starters, and the sheer difficulty of building thousands of carbon-capture plants, and hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines to store emissions underground. But one piece of the puzzle is falling into place. A new study by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory says China is blessed by geology-it has loads of places to stick carbon emissions underground, enough to store a century's worth of emissions at least - 2,300 gigatons!

Analysis Links Pollutants with Barnett Shale Gas and Oil Production - Environmental Defense Fund has�released an analysis that compared trends in air pollution data collected by the state with public records of oil and gas activity in the Barnett Shale and found a correlation between the ambient levels of common hydrocarbons and the amount of condensate produced by natural gas wells in Denton County. A related analysis recently released focused on state air pollution monitoring data between 2002 and 2008 found that the air in Denton county contained more non-methane hydrocarbons (including some potentially hazardous pollutants) than any of the other counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where such monitoring was conducted. The oil and gas industry releases about 37 tons of VOC emissions per day in Denton County, which ranks second in the region behind Wise County's 42 tons per day. These emissions are substantial, nearly equal to a third of the 100 tons of VOC emissions produced daily from all of the cars and trucks in the nine-county DFW ozone nonattainment area.

Greater Waco Chamber earns LEED designation at Gold level - The Greater Waco Chamber has earned a LEED certification at the gold level for its headquarters at 101 S. Third St., and the designation is generating national attention for the economic and community development organization and for Waco. The Chamber's building is the first in Greater Waco to be designed and constructed to meet the stringent guidelines of the USGBC, and also is the first Chamber of Commerce building in America to be LEED-certified.

BuildingGreen Announces 2009 Top-10 Green Products - BuildingGreen, LLC, publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News (EBN), announced its eighth annual Top-10 Green Building Products during the 2009 Greenbuild conference in Phoenix. The list recognizes the most exciting products drawn from recent additions to GreenSpec and coverage in EBN. This years list includes Pozzotive Plus CMU's, Thermafiber mineral wool insulation, Invelope integrated wall insulation and rainscreen system, Baltix recycled and biobased content furniture, Project FROG modular green classrooms, Rheem heat-pump water heater, Convia energy management infrastructure, Pentadyne flywheel energy storage, Silva Cell subsurface tree protection and stormwater infiltration system, and Mobile solar power generators.

New software helps keep tabs on construction emissions - A new computer tool called Green Footstep helps bring down carbon emissions from new buildings by letting designers and construction teams set targets and spot potential savings in emissions. The system's developers hope building professionals will use the tool to articulate their goals and to keep tabs on their progress, and ultimately to construct cleaner, greener buildings. Because the construction and operation of buildings represents a large chunk of North American energy use and carbon emissions, it's a sector that presents a big target for improvement.

Lewisville woman takes aim at utility bills with 'zero energy' home - Amanda Ferguson demolished her water-damaged childhood home to build an eco-friendly house for her family. The new home, in Lewisville, Texas, uses spray-foam insulation to boost energy efficiency, and solar installations and rainwater-gathering facilities to reduce the family's environmental footprint. "Our goal is to have no utility bills," Ferguson says.

AIA Releases Local Leaders in Sustainability - Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment Report - Despite the extended global economic slump, local communities are pushing ahead and expanding their green building programs. In the new Local Leaders in Sustainability report, Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment,�the AIA reviews policies and best practices intended to help policymakers advance a more sustainable legislative agenda for growth and development. More than one in five U.S. cities with populations greater than 50,000 surveyed have a policy to promote green buildings, the report finds. This accounts for more than 53 million people. The AIA also found a 50 percent increase in cities with green building programs since 2007, when the AIA initially first conducted its survey of cities. The report also contains detailed case studies of the green building programs in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Nashville, and Grand Rapids.

What Does It Mean When Procurement Goes Green? - Green purchasing by companies is up in a down economy. Our recent October 2009 survey of more than 450 companies found that over the past 12 months there was a 63 percent increase in green purchasing, from computers to chemicals to cleaning supplies. Perhaps even more encouraging, none of the respondents from large companies (those with revenues over $1 billion) identified any decrease in buying green. But when it comes to businesses buying green, what do they really mean?

Landscape and Stormwater

Schools plow playgrounds to reduce runoff - Schools in the Baltimore area are stripping away the blacktop from their playgrounds, then deep-tilling the ground beneath in a bid to break up compacted soil and reduce stormwater runoff. Besides giving students a grassy area in which to play, the projects are part of a plan to reduce toxic runoff into the city's harbor by more than 20%. It's not enough simply to strip off some of the city's ubiquitous pavement and plant grass. The ground beneath that asphalt and concrete often remains as hard and impervious as the man-made surface it's replacing. And the rainfall will just keep running off - washing fertilizer, pet waste, oil and other contaminants into storm drains and nearby streams. So to make that urban hardpan act more like a natural sponge and cut down on storm-water pollution, city officials are trying out the agricultural process known as "sub-soiling."

Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting (2nd Edition) (3rd Edition)- The Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting is a primer of the basic principles of captured rainfall, with an emphasis on residential and small-scale commercial applications. If you are considering rainwater harvesting as a partial or total source of your water supply for new construction or remodeling, this Guide and accompanying videotape provide the essential information to enable you to design a system that meets your needs.

Designing Grassy Swales - Conventional grassed swales are gently sloped, vegetated conveyance ditches in which pollutants are removed from stormwater by filtration through grass and infiltration into the soil. Enhanced grass swales, or biofilters, use check dams and wide depressions to increase runoff storage and promote greater settling of pollutants.

Designing Vegetated Swales - Vegetated swales reduce peak flows by slowing runoff, by incorporating microstorage elements such as ponding behind check dams, and by infiltrating water into the ground. Unlike curb-and-gutter drainage systems, water in swales must flow over the relatively rough ground surface and through dense vegetation. Each of these acts to slow water velocities, reducing the rate at which runoff is conveyed downstream.

NCTCOG iSWM website - The iSWM™ design manuals for construction and for site development are cooperative initiatives that assist cities and counties to achieve their goals of water quality protection, streambank protection, and flood control. They also help communities meet their construction and post-construction obligations under state storm water permits, current and emerging.

2003 EPA Chapter 3 - Soil erosion and sediment controls are measures which are used to reduce the amount of soil particles that are carried off of a land area and deposited in receiving water. Soil eroision and sediment control is not a new technology. This chapter provides a general description of some of the most appropriate measures for your project.

2003 EPA SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan) - This guide was developed as a helpful reference guide for construction site operators across the country. We have tried to accommodate the wide range of knowledge and experience about stormwater pollution prevention that currently exists among operators�from novice to expert.

EPA Issues Rule to Reduce Water Pollution from Construction Sites - Effluent guidelines are national standards that apply to stormwater and prevention measures to control discharges from activities such as dewatering and concrete washout. The rule contains stringent requirements for soil stabilization as well. EPA is phasing in the numeric limitation over four years to allow permitting authorities adequate time to develop monitoring requirements and to allow the regulated community time to prepare for compliance with the numeric limitation. Construction sites that disturb 20 or more acres at one time will be required to conduct monitoring of discharges and comply with the numeric limitation beginning 18 months after the effective date of the final rule. Beginning four years after the effective date of the final rule, the monitoring requirements and numeric limitation will apply to all sites that disturb 10 or more acres at one time.

Schools (K-12)

US Green Building Council Launches Push for Energy-Efficient Schools - USGBC is hoping to educate and connect the people and groups involved in greening schools, from committee members in the council's chapters throughout the country, to mayors who wield influence to get projects rolling, to the architects and engineers who actually get the work done. It is also hoping to show teachers how to use the school building as a laboratory for lessons in different subjects, the idea being that students learn sustainability at a young age much like how they usually learn foreign languages. "The education sector is doing more in the way of green building than any other sector, more than health care, more than commercial, more than religious institutions. But we still have a really long way to go," said Rachel Gutter, director of the USGBC's new initiative, before the launch event at Stoddert.

Sustainable Schools Guide - The objective of this guide is to provide you with information that will allow your school system to make informed decisions regarding energy and environmental issues that are important to your school, community, and country.This guide is presented in six parts. Each eight to twelve page section addresses a different issue pertaining to Sustainable School design practices which can help you in meeting your educational mission.

Innovative Design - 50 Green Strategies that Cost Less - With the experience that comes from being involved in the design of 90+ green schools, Innovative Design has learned many important lessons - none more important than the fact that green doesn't always have to cost more. In fact, Innovative Design has been able to integrate many sustainable design strategies and still keep our projects 5% under budget.

Innovative Design - Guide for Daylighting Schools - A well-integrated daylighting design has a greater positive impact on a school than any other sustainable design strategy. This guideline is based upon practical experiences in designing and constructing over 40 daylit schools throughout the country.

Daylight Dividends Case Study - Daylight Dividends promotes the effective use of daylighting strategies in nonresidential buildings. Part of this effort focuses on impartially evaluating the use of daylight in different building types, reporting those results so that others considering daylighting can see what works and what does not.

Guide for the development of bicycle facilities - Safe, convenient and well-designed facilities are essential to encourage bicycle use. This guide is designed to provide information on the development of facilities to enhance and encourage safe bicycle travel. The majority of bicycling will take place on ordinary roads with no dedicated space for bicyclists. Bicyclists can be expected to ride on almost all road-ways, as well as separated shared use paths and even sidewalks, where permitted to meet special conditions.

Safe Routes to School: 2007 State of the States Report - Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national program that creates safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from their schools. The program seeks to increase the number of children walking and bicycling to schools, and to improve traffic safety and mobility. SRTS also aims to play a critical role in helping children be more active on a daily basis. Ultimately, we hope that national SRTS efforts help reverse the alarming nationwide epidemic of childhood obesity.

National Review of Green Schools: Costs, Benefits, and Implications for Massachusetts - Capital E Report December 2005 - This report documents the financial costs and benefits of green schools compared to conventional schools, specifically with reference to Massachusetts. Making schools green is very cost-effective. A national review of 30 green schools and analysis of available research demonstrate that green schools cost 1.5% to 2.5% more than conventional schools, but provide financial benefits that are 10 to 20 times as large.

Greening America's Schools Costs and Benefits October 2006 - This report documents the financial costs and benefits of green schools compared to conventional schools. This national review of 30 green schools demonstrates that green schools cost less than 2% more than conventional schools - or about $3 per square foot - but provide financial benefits that are 20 times as large. Greening school design provides an extraordinarily cost-effective way to enhance student learning, reduce health and operational costs and, ultimately, increase school quality and competitiveness. The financial savings are about $70 per ft2, 20 times as high as the cost of going green. Only a portion of these savings accrue directly to the school. Lower energy and water costs, improved teacher retention, and lowered health costs save green schools directly about $12/ft2, about four times the additional cost of going green.

The Impact of Sustainable Buildings on Educational Achievements in K-12 Schools - Research shows that the physical environment provided by school facilities has a significant effect on learning. Spatial configuration, noise, thermal comfort, lighting, and air quality all have an impact on the students, teachers, and staff who study and work in America's schools. Sustainable schools provide a well-lit, healthy, comfortable environment conducive to learning and student achievement while saving money, energy, and resources.

Green Impact on Education - Turner Construction Company has announced the findings of its
annual survey of building owners, developers, architects, engineers, corporate owners, occupants, consultants, and educational institutions on green building issues. This 2005 survey placed a special focus on green educational facilities -- both K-12 and higher educational facilities.

DISD continues to lead sustainably by adopting TX-CHPS - In September 2009, DISD continued to illustrate their commitment to sustainability by being the first District in the State of Texas to adopt the TX-CHPS program. These requirements will impact the design and construction projects that are part of the 2008 Bond Program. DISD recognized that the 1.35 billion dollar bond program presented a unique opportunity to further their sustainable design and construction methods, with the intent of supporting teaching and learning, reduce operating costs, elevating teacher and staff retention, and improving the indoor environment b providing cleaner air, better acoustics and more natural light.

Schools (Higher Ed)

Dallas school teaches environmental education in an urban setting - A Dallas private school has opened an environmental science center that has students receiving environmental education in an urban setting. Students can explore a 43-acre city-owned forest adjacent to the center, which is located on a wooded lot and includes three science labs and a retention pond. The school is hosting environmental summits at the center. "When you have a facility like that, it's almost an obligation to share it," one school official said.

Second Nature Technical Assistance Grants Available - As part of the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Program, Second Nature will award 15 technical assistance grants of up to $2000 each to provide building professionals that work with under-resourced higher education institutions with green building training opportunities.Schools that have received Title III/V designation from the Department of Education are invited to apply. Awardee institutions will nominate at least one external building professional (e.g. construction contractors, architects, designers, engineers) that they work with who will select among green building training opportunities that meet the requirements of the program.

A Greener Playing Field - In sports, April was a big month, with major arenas that home to professional basketball and ice hockey teams announcing the receipt of LEED certification, a third-party verification of their green building operations and performance. Nine university or private sports facilities, including tracks and gymnasiums, have earned LEED certification. And according to USGBC spokesman Marie Coleman, 139 sporting arenas have applied for LEED certification or are in the process of greening. Note: We have two facilities in our own backyard that fall into this category - both University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington!

Colleges Become Greener Thanks to Savvy Students - Smart students know they need environmental literacy to be prepared for the green economy, and more colleges are responding, reports The Princeton Review. It is only the second year the publication has compiled its "Green Colleges" rating, but results show more institutions are participating in the survey -- and more students are concerned about a college's environmental policies and practices. Specifically, the survey analyzed quality of life issues, such as the availability of local and organic food; preparation for employment and citizenship through environmental literacy courses; and overall commitment to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through LEED certified buildings or participation in The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Green-energy academies to open in some California high schools - Five California high schools plan to open academies next year focused on a green-energy curriculum and funded by Pacific Gas & Electric and the state. Students will concentrate on science, technology, engineering and math, and they will do internships. "Whether they install the next generation of solar panels or invent the next generation of solar panels, they will know what to do and why it's important to the world," a state lawmaker said at one of the schools selected for the program.

Auto shop and other industrial arts slated for a comeback as 'green tech' - Classes in the industrial arts -- such as automotive repair, woodworking and metal shop -- fell out of vogue as high schools pushed to prepare every student for college. Seattle Times columnist Bruce Ramsey argues that it is time for schools to beef up their technical course offerings. Students can find worthwhile and lucrative careers in new industries focused on greening the world's technologies and infrastructure, he writes.

Choosing the Right Green MBA Program For Career Success: 10 Key Factors to Consider - If you are exploring the option of a green MBA program it is important to look beyond simple ranking metrics of a school and the green MBA program(s) that it offers. This very important life choice is one that warrants a careful and in depth examination. Here are 10 important factors to consider when evaluating your options. They will help you narrow your focus to the select schools and green MBA programs that are a good fit for you.


Green-building jobs helped Contractors ride out the recession - In 2009, the recession hit contractors hard. For the Top 400 Contractors-the 400 contractors in the U.S. that had the most overall revenue-revenues dropped 14.1 percent to levels lower than those earned in 2007 and 2008. The Top 100 Green Contractors-the 100 firms bringing in the largest revenues from LEED and other certified projects as reported to ENR magazine fared the same, with their total revenues dropping 15.5 percent. However, the story changes when you look at the Top 10 Green Contractors-they fared significantly better in thecontra downturn, with their total revenues only dropping 2.8 percent between 2008 and 2009.

US Firms to Double Sustainablity Spending to $60B by 2014 - A study by analyst firm Verdantix predicts huge growth for the business of sustainable business in the United States, as executives increase their awareness of the importance and business benefits of green practices. After analyzing over 1,800 companies worth $1 billion or more, Verdantix sees a growth of 11 percent in 2010 in how much companies will spend on sustainability initiatives. That growth is expected to accelerate, to 16 percent in 2011 and 24 percent in 2012. All told, Verdantix predicts that by 2014, the annual amount spent on green projects by U.S. companies will reach $60 billion.

Investing In Green-Building Real-Estate Companies Becoming More Viable - Not everyone who believes in the future of green buildings can build one themselves, but investing in real estate companies that share this conviction is an increasingly viable option. Real estate companies and real estate investment trusts have been boosting the environmentally friendly credentials of their buildings, often turning to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. Out of 135 REITs, 52, or about 38%, have some space that they disclose as having a LEED certification of some type. This accounts for about 9% of the total space owned by public REITs, according to Uniplan Investment Counsel Inc., an investment advisory firm. "One thing that's interesting is even despite the downturn, real estate investors have remained focused on energy efficiency" said David Wood, Director of the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University. "In part that is because it is something they can focus on. You can work on benchmarking their performance even while the market is fairly frozen." 

Fireman's Fund Steps Up Green Insurance - Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, the first green building insurance provider in the U.S., has added benefits to its Green Financial Incentive Coverage for customers who use grants, loans, or tax incentives to pay for energy-efficient renovations. Since 2006 Fireman's Fund has offered insurance for both residential and commercial properties that are already certified through LEED or Green Globes, or for customers who would like to make their properties more green following a loss. Under the new coverage, certified buildings are allowed to upgrade to the next level of certification through repairs after a loss, and covered upgrades now include power generation equipment, alternative water systems, and vegetated roofs.

AUI Contractors first General Contractor in Texas to receive Green Contractor Certification - In answer to growing demand for resumes stuffed with sustainability efforts, Fort Worth's AUI Contractors has become the first Texas firm to earn a Certified Green Contractor designation by the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. New to the Associated Builders and Contractors, or ABC, the Green Contractor Certification program recognizes construction companies that implement green practices and principles in the workplace, including headquarters, branch offices and jobsite offices. For AUI, Tony Rader, company director of sales and marketing, said the effort meant streamlining and changing the way the company operated at the office and at the job sites with education paramount. It's down to educating your subcontractors on simple solutions like car pooling to the sites, Rader said. By now, people know what green is and they know what sustainability is. They're getting educated quickly and they want to know that a contractor and their subcontractors are doing their part.

Fortune 500 Firms Scrutinize Property Costs as they Go Green - The corporate real estate divisions of a growing number of Fortune 500 companies are aggressively pursuing energy-conservation measures, from relocating warehouses in order to save fuel costs to applying Japanese ideas to the design and operation of manufacturing plants. From The Home Depot, which operates 2,245 retail stores occupying 235 million sq. ft. and owns 89% of the real estate it uses, to Coca Cola Enterprises, which owns 70% of the 43 million sq. ft. it occupies in North America and Europe, the companies� commitment to green measures has a substantial impact on them and the communities in which their facilities are located. Both firms are headquartered in Atlanta.

Obama Already Has $72 Billion on Tap to Green Buildings, Study Says - President Obama and his administration have an arsenal of more than 30 existing programs worth $72 billion at their finger tips that can be used to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings and multifamily housing. That's the conclusion of a legal analysis prepared by Van Ness Feldman for the U.S. Green Building Council and several other sponsoring organizations and companies. "The Obama Administration has tremendous, untapped opportunities to use legal tools already at its disposal to enhance the energy efficiency and sustainability of the nation's multifamily and commercial buildings -- all without seeking new funds or authority from Congress," says the report that was released Thursday.

Kickstarting the Green Economy with Building Energy Efficiency - The New York Times' Thomas Friedman has written repeatedly about the economic challenges facing our country as we struggle to make the transition to an economy based on developing and implementing green and sustainable technologies. Hurt in our pocketbooks, we've recently had an impassioned awakening of desire to drive real efficiency and productivity. We need our businesses to be more competitive and our governments less expensive. Some might argue that the quality of U.S. innovation work is better, a point that may be debatable. However, our innovation engine is sucking wind compared to the supercharged Chinese green technology economy. We're working hard on selective parts of the glittery future promised by wind, solar, hydrogen and other forms of alternative energy, but we're not keeping pace.

How hotels go green without raising rates - Hotels are finding that their guests want environmentally friendly services -- but won't pay extra to receive them. That's driving hoteliers to put their environmental strategy at the heart of operating procedures, training staff to cut waste and find new efficiencies at every opportunity. "Guests may not pay more for an eco-conscious hotel experience, but their attention to our environmental practices will push demand until green becomes 'table stakes,' " says Dennis Quaintance, CEO of the Quaintance-Weaver Group.

Developers find green building is 'good business' - Even with the economy and real estate business in the tank, building owners are looking for ways to make their properties more eco-friendly. But the driver in the decision to build and operate more energy and environmentally efficient properties has as much - if not more - to do with saving dough as hugging trees, real estate industry leaders meeting in Dallas Tuesday said. "The fact of the matter is this is just good business - making buildings perform better," said Dan Probst, an energy and sustainable development expert with real estate broker Jones Lang LaSalle. "We are not building a lot of buildings today.

4th Annual Green Building Survey released - The Allen Matkins/CTG/Green Building Insider Green Building Survey completes its fourth year with over 1,600 design and construction professionals from across the U.S. responding. This largest survey of green building professionals, examines the fastest growing sector of the construction industry - green and sustainable construction. Support for building green remained nearly unanimous at 92%. At the same time, support for LEED certification slipped 4.7% in 2009 to 62%. Cost is a major driver for green building in this economic downturn, with the gap between support for green construction and LEED certification growing over the past two years.

Greening to Compete - Are sustainability and energy efficiency upgrades playing a role in today's down commercial real estate market? Definitely, say those in the field. "I recently lost a 20,000-square-foot office tenant to a Silver LEED certified building that was $2.12 more per square foot than our building," says Doug Webster, an office leasing specialist with Grubb & Ellis/The Furman Co. in Greenville, S.C. "The tenant's broker said they preferred our location, layout, and lower rate, but the fact that the building owners were not willing to institute a formal sustainability program caused this national engineering firm to select the LEED location.

Existing Office Buildings Catching Up on Green - Office towers are feeling pressure to get green in a hurry. Besides the prospect of three gleaming new structures adding nearly two million square feet to existing inventory, a greater number of current and prospective tenants have launched their own sustainability initiatives. The bottom line is, if a class A office building cannot prove its own interests in energy efficiency or environmental consciousness, it may have a more difficult time backfilling vacant floors. Worse yet, it may also stand to lose some corporate tenants it has kept in place for years or even decades.

Schwarzenegger proposes alternative-energy tax break - Hoping to spur job creation, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing a corporate tax break that could potentially siphon millions of dollars from the beleaguered state treasury. Under Schwarzenegger's proposal, plant equipment purchased by manufacturers of alternative energy components would be exempt from the state sales tax. Parts needed to make solar panels or wind turbines, for instance, might qualify. The program would be limited to investments that are found to create enough economic activity -- such as new jobs -- that would eventually replace or outpace the lost tax revenue. 

Retailers try new survival strategies for 2010 - The recession pushed shoppers to pick necessities over discretionary items, discounts over luxury. But retailers hope to shift such behavioral changes further in coming months, affecting what consumers will buy, pay and experience at stores. "Retailers are following through on their strategy to get their houses in order during the recession so they are positioned to be strong players as the recession ends," says Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation, which held its annual conference here this month. "Whether it's technology, product assortment or sustainability, they're asking themselves, 'How can we be smarter about meeting the needs of our customers quickly?' "

Obama awards $2.3 billion clean energy tax credits - U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled a $2.3 billion tax credit to boost jobs by promoting clean energy, as new data showed the country's unemployment rate remained stuck in the double digits. Obama said the credit, from funds earmarked under a $787 billion stimulus package he signed last February, would create 17,000 U.S. jobs and be matched by an additional $5 billion in private capital. "Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future, jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced," Obama said.

Strong Forecasts for Green Business and Building in 2010 - Leanne Tobias shares her thoughts on what's in store for green buildings and green business in 2010. She highlights her predictions on this year's emerging trends, including retrofits, energy efficiency, alternative energy, localism, cityscapes, and more.

Greenwashing or Just Misunderstood? - Increase in Dubious Claims of LEED Certification Seen in Marketplace. With increasing frequency, buildings that are registered for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification are being promoted using exaggerated, misleading or false claims, real estate lawyers and consultants say. Many of the claims indicate that a property has earned LEED certification when it has not, or imply that certification is guaranteed at a time when the achievement is still uncertain. "There's a trend toward greenwashing across the board," said Valerie Walsh.

Green Support Remains, LEED Interest Slips - The commercial real estate and construction industries continue to overwhelmingly support green building, but support for official LEED certification has slipped in a new survey. The third annual Annual Allen Matkins/CTG/Green Building Insider Green Building Survey shows that 93.4% of those surveyed agreed that it is worth the time and effort to build green, but only 66.2% believe that obtaining LEED certification is worth the effort. To view the survey, click here. Among the other findings in the survey were that designers, owners and contractors have differing views on the risks involved in green construction and different ideas on whether green construction adds to the cost of projects. The annual survey included responses from 900 design professionals, contractors, subcontractors, construction planners, building owners and others in the industry.

LEED Projects Doubled in 2008 - If you use LEED numbers as a gauge, 2008 was a success for green building. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) confirmed that numbers of both LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects doubled in 2008-from about 10,000 registered projects at the end of 2007 up to more than 20,000 by the end of January 2009, while square footage of LEED-certified construction rose 92%, from 148 million to 284 million square feet.

Is the Green-Building Market Recession-Proof? - Over the last decade, the green building industry has risen on the tide of a culture-wide trend toward sustainability, and many in the architecture profession believe it will continue to prosper even as the U.S. falls deeper into a recession. "I think there's a very compelling argument that the economic environment we're going into right now will only enhance the value of doing green," says Guy Geier, FAIA.

Greening the real estate office - Today we are more conscious of our everyday actions and their impact on our environment. In the office setting, each of us can contribute to this cause by taking measures to reduce the environmental impact while also decreasing costs. The real estate market can also see a variety of benefits from implementing green measures.

Firms Share Successes in Greening Office Portfolios - While government works at a fevered pitch to generate sustainability regulations and incentives for office buildings across the country, the private sector is busy sharing the cost of research that will ultimately yield best practices for the greening of office building portfolios. The research is being compiled by Cambridge, Mass.-based Sustainability Roundtable Inc. (SRI), a private research firm whose goal is to accelerate the adoption of best practices for more sustainable buildings. SRI's inaugural research will focus on practices that demonstrate100% return on investment, and also provide regulatory updates annually for the Sustainable Offices Roundtable.

100 Ways Commercial Real Estate is Going Green For Earth Day - BOMA International has issued "100 Days, 100 Ways," a list of tips and strategies to help property professionals make going green a priority on Earth Day and every day. With the office building industry accounting for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, BOMA has committed to making the commercial real estate industry sustainable and energy efficient. BOMA released the list to commemorate a shared green vision with the new Obama administration. "These 100 straight-forward strategies for going green are critical tools any property professional can put to work today," said BOMA International Chair Richard D. Purtell.

NeighborWorks America Releases New 'How-To' Guide to Green a Non-Profit - NeighborWorks America has released a comprehensive sustainability guide to help community development corporations and other non-profits to evaluate and improve the environmental and sustainable footprint of their organizations, or in short, 'Go Green." The proven benefit of following the guidance of Greening Your Non-Profit can be seen in the results of some of those 22 organizations that were part of the case study. Each is developing an action plan and taking immediate steps to reduce their environmental impact. Greening Your Non-Profit gives seven strong business reasons that a non-profit organization should "go green." 1. Reduce Operating Costs 2. Provide a Healthier Work Environment 3. Attract and Retain the Best Employees 4. Build Integrity 5. Access New Capital 6. Plan for the Future 7. People Expect it and Respect It

Green keeps Growing despite downturn - A global economic crunch isn't expected to dampen growth for green building, says a new report from NextGen Research. The report from the locally based research company says office buildings will be the largest non-residential target sector for green materials, the market for which is expected to reach $571 billion worldwide by 2013, up from $455.3 billion in 2008. Fisher tells GlobeSt.com that advances in green materials themselves will play a "substantial" role in the growth of sales and usage, "provided those advances include making the materials less expensive to produce." He adds that notwithstanding the slight decrease in the cost premium for using green materials in construction, "the market's too nascent for increasing volume to offset prices. Economies of scale will kick in eventually."

Sustainability Initiatives Cut Costs by 6-10% - Sustainability initiatives have become a "must have" business imperative for companies, despite budget and return on investment (ROI) challenges, according to a new study from Aberdeen Research. Aberdeen Group has benchmarked over 200 enterprises involved in sustainability initiatives for its ROI of Sustainability survey. The research company says that top performers excel at matching potentially hard-to-grasp concepts like environmental and social stewardship to actionable and measurable improvements to their bottom lines.

How to Capture Green Opportunities in Commercial Office Space - With the economic slowdown and as a result, the need to be more efficient with both resources and costs, tenants are increasingly focused on the operating costs of buildings -- whether they are looking to relocate or remain in their current space. Tenants are also making efforts to operate within their offices more efficiently. Going green therefore provides them a way that they can save money and the environment.

What Tenants Should Know About Green Leases - Green leasing seems headed toward becoming part of the mainstream real estate discussion. However, there is still widespread uncertainty about what green leasing actually is. As such, both landlords and tenants are unsure of the advantages - and disadvantages - that a green lease can afford them. This is a missed opportunity, because a green lease is an excellent vehicle for both tenants and landlords to work together to achieve and retain a green-operated building, and critically in these tight times, benefit from reduced operating costs.

Q&A: Sally Wilson on the USGBC Headquarters, LEED Fine Print, and Negotiating a Green Lease - If green building is to ever become mainstream, it will need people like Sally Wilson working behind the scenes. A trained architect, Wilson is a real estate broker in the CB Richard Ellis Washington office, and the firm's global director of environmental strategy. She had the distinction of being the first real estate broker in the world to be LEED accredited. Wilson served as a real estate consultant for the USGBC's new headquarters and�negotiated its green lease.

Its Economy in Shambles, The Midwest Goes Green - It took awhile, but the U.S. Midwest finally has recognized that the industries that once powered its economy will never return. Now leaders in the region are looking to renewable energy manufacturing and technologies as key to the heartland's renaissance. "Michigan's problem is America's problem," said Soji Adelaja, an agricultural economist and director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University. "We have constructed our businesses, our mindset, and ourselves around an old concept of how the world works. But the old economy is dead. We have all the tools we need in this state to build the new economy in clean energy. The question is whether we will take this opportunity, and whether we get there before other states and other countries."

Boundless LEED EB potential - LEED for Existing Buildings certification has evolved from being more construction related to a pure operation and maintenance protocol. There's tremendous opportunity for significant environmental improvement in the existing building inventory in West Michigan with LEED EB because 98 percent of buildings out there are not new construction, according to Sam Pobst, owner of Eco Metrics LLC. The goal of LEED EB is to maximize operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts, addressing whole- building cleaning and maintenance issues, recycling programs, exterior maintenance programs, and system upgrades. "The use of these standards is really interesting particularly for institutional users and companies that have building portfolios such as schools, municipalities, hospitals and healthcare groups," Pobst told MiBiz. "Once adopted, the plans and policies can be used throughout the whole business inventory."

The Eight Biggest Myths about Sustainability in Business - In our research, and in engagements with dozens of Fortune 1000 companies, we are sometimes surprised at the reluctance to pursue environmental sustainability initiatives, because of misconceptions about their cost or benefits. But we have also seen how some companies have embraced sustainability whole-heartedly, and are profiting from it. As a way of helping to get every company on the journey to sustainability, here are some of the most common myths we have heard from otherwise successful companies. As surprising as some of these might sound -- like the idea that there is no money to be had from sustainability efforts -- these ideas persist in companies large and small and in any industry.

Corporate Leadership

Kohl's to Open Nine Stores this Spring, Remodel 85 in 2010 - Kohl's plans to open about 30 new stores this year and will remodel 85 existing stores. Seventy-one of the retailer's locations are built to meet LEED certification. In addition to piloting LEED certification programs for new stores, Kohl's is also working with USGBC on a separate pilot program for LEED Volume Certification for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. The 58 existing Kohl's locations registered under this rating system will help set LEED guidelines among existing buildings nationwide. These stores are also expected to be the company's first locations that are LEED certified, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR labeled and solar.

Intel, Kohl's, PepsiCo Lead EPA's List of Green Power Purchasers - For a third year, Intel Corporation heads the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of top green power purchasers in the U.S. with Kohl's Department Stores and PepsiCo holding second and third place, respectively. The rankings also hold for the EPA's list of top green power purchasers in the Fortune 500. The EPA released its first report of the year on the companies, schools, colleges and government agencies that purchase or generate the greatest amount of renewable energy in the country and participate in the Green Power Partnership program.

New North Texas nonprofit to launch sustainable-energy projects - New North Texas nonprofit to launch sustainable-energy projects The Texas Institute, a new energy research nonprofit organization, hopes to attract top academic researchers from North Texas to work on sustainable-energy technology and projects. The institute has already negotiated a contract with a small town to install equipment designed to monitor electricity use. From their website, 'Our nation is racing to develop a smart grid, the basis of a new intelligent power network. North Texas has the opportunity to be more of a leader in this. The Texas Institute for Sustainable Technology Research will help North Texas be a leader in smart grid technology, serving as a catalyst for creating jobs and businesses in the most important industry emerging in today's world.'

JC Penney breaks ground on projected LEED store - Last Thursday, JC Penney's broke ground�on�a 115,000 square-foot store in Fairview, Texas. Scheduled to open in August, this high-performance building is pursuing certification under the LEED system. Despite a building slowdown and a weakening economy, retailers are pushing forward with environmental projects they planned months in advance.

Wells Fargo Giving Green for Going Green - Financial services giant Wells Fargo announced Nov. 11 that it has exceeded $2 billion in lending for LEED-certified buildings. Even during a time when credit markets are all but frozen, Wells Fargo has continued to recognize the value of green development and LEED. Wells Fargo not only continues to lend to green building projects, but they themselves have stepped up to the plate and are using LEED to green their buildings to the tune of 20% energy savings goals and 40% predicted water reduction in all of its new banking stores.

Green-Light Specials, Now at Wal-Mart - In 2005, Wal-Mart was the target of a well-orchestrated assault focusing on its labor practices and environmental record. It was also straining to keep its legendary growth on track. H. Lee Scott Jr., the retail giant's chief executive, began to see environmental sustainability as a way to achieve two goals: improve Wal-Mart's bottom line and its reputation. By virtue of its herculean size, Wal-Mart eventually dragged much of corporate America along with it, leading mighty suppliers like General Electric and Procter & Gamble to transform their own business practices.

Cushman & Wakefield Signs Sustainability Pact with EPA - Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest privately held commercial real estate services firm, is�the first real estate services firm in the country to enter into a comprehensive MOU with EPA aimed at addressing environmental issues in the commercial real estate sector. The MOU sets out environmental best practices designed to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint, promote water conservation and minimize waste within Cushman & Wakefield's corporate offices and in properties under management. For its U.S. corporate offices, Cushman & Wakefield will consider environmental criteria in site selection for new leased space, and implement best practices in office operations.

JCPenney Becomes First Retailer to Earn Energy Star Award for Sustained Excellence in Energy Management - In recognition of its continued commitment to strategic energy management, JCPenney was honored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy with the ENERGY STAR Award for Continued Excellence in Energy Management. Using the data and tools available through the ENERGY STAR program, JCPenney has improved energy efficiency throughout its operations, and continues to implement energy conservation projects and engage its 150,000 Associates to seek out innovative ways to save energy.

Wal-Mart to double amount of solar energy use - Wal-Mart announced on Earth Day that it will as much as double the size of its solar-power initiative in the next 18 months by putting rooftop solar arrays on 10 to 20 stores and distribution centers in California. The retail giant early this month finished installing solar setups at 18 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores and two warehouses in California and Hawaii. The U.S. solar market showed healthy first-quarter gains in an otherwise bleak renewable energy industry, though some experts say that largely resulted from a 2008 order backlog.

Wal-Mart: Making Its Suppliers Go Green - The scope of Wal-Mart's green goals is without parallel. The mega-retailer is pushing its Chinese suppliers to conserve resources and cut energy use. Its campaign will affect a vast swath of China's manufacturing sector. "Our goal is for supplier factories to meet or exceed all social and environmental laws and regulations," said Lee Scott Jr, CEO. Meeting these standards "is not optional." The threat: By 2012, Wal-Mart would pull its orders from companies not meeting the new standards.�This�mandate requires Chinese factories to track great volumes of data on energy use and to make it available for audits.

Wal-Mart to Assign New 'Green' Ratings - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unveiled an environmental labeling program for the products it carries, in a step that could redefine the design and makeup of consumer goods sold around the globe but also boost costs for suppliers and customers. Wal-Mart told suppliers they must calculate and disclose the full environmental costs of making their products, then allow Wal-Mart to distill the information into a rating system that shoppers will see alongside prices for everything from T-shirts to televisions.

Comerica Bank opens LEED branch in Fort Worth - Dallas based Comerica Bank opened its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified facility in the Fossil Creek area on Aug. 17.�'Earning LEED certification for our Fossil Creek Banking Center is a testament to our core commitment to sustainability as a business practice', said Connie Beck, executive vice president of the retail bank Comerica Incorporated. This facility is our first LEED certified building and will serve as the prototype for newly constructed sustainable banking centers across our geographic footprint.

Survival Tips for Walmart Suppliers: Beware the Top 10 Sustainability Myths - "May you live in interesting times." This ancient Chinese curse resonates with Walmart suppliers today -- many of whom have noted their relationships with the retailer growing more turbulent and unpredictable in the past few years. Walmart has shifted gears to focus more on store upgrades than expansions, to reinvigorate its private brands, and to get undeniably serious about sustainability. Suppliers who feel this is a lot to handle, in addition to the everyday rigors of doing business with Walmart, are not alone. These challenges are not going away. However, Walmart is trimming the number of its suppliers and focusing on building "strategic relationships" with companies, large and small, who demonstrate leadership. Some companies supplying Walmart today may not be supplying Walmart tomorrow. Fortunately, there are numerous bright spots in the story -- with sustainability at the epicenter.

Regency Centers expands water savings - Regency Centers Corp. is expanding a water conservation pilot program to 90 shopping centers nationwide. The program aimed at reducing outdoor water consumption with high-efficiency "smart" irrigation controllers started with 36 shopping centers in December 2008 and has reduced water consumption costs by about 30 percent, according to a new release announcing the expansion. Mark Peternell, Regency Centers vice president of sustainability, said the Jacksonville-based company anticipates saving more than 96 million gallons of water per year.

All New Starbucks Stores to Be LEED-Certified - As part of a broader effort to reduce the company's energy use 25 percent by the end of 2010, coffee giant Starbucks Coffee Company today announced two major energy-saving initiatives. First, they will be replacing traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs with more efficient light emitting diodes, or LEDs, in 8,000 of its stores worldwide. A move that Starbucks projects will cut energy 7 percent per-store in energy use and reduce maintenance costs. Second, the company announced it is moving forward with�a plan to obtain LEED certification for 100% of new company owned stores.


LEED for Healthcare 2009 released - LEED for Healthcare has passed the member ballot  with an 87 percent approval rate. LEED for Healthcare is designed to guide and distinguish high-performance healthcare projects, including inpatient and outpatient care facilities and long term care facilities. LEED for Healthcare was written primarily for inpatient and outpatient care facilities and licensed long term care facilities. The rating system may also be used for medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers.

USGBC Announces "LEED Automation" to Streamline LEED Building Projects - LEED Automation is a new program in collaboration with leading technology companies that is designed to streamline and create capacity for the LEED building certification process. LEED Automation enables LEED Online, the online tool projects use to submit documentation and certify LEED projects, to interact with third party technology platforms. "LEED Automation takes the green building process to a new level," said Chris Smith, Chief Operating Officer, USGBC. "We recognized several years ago that we cannot focus only on the evolution of LEED and its continuous improvement. The technology used to administer the LEED certification process is also evolving to increase customers' business agility through improved data, information and content integration."

LEED for Retail and LEED Volume Program released - The LEED for Retail rating system recognizes the unique design and construction needs of this market sector, enabling forward-thinking retailers to integrate green building design, construction and operation into ground-up construction, retail interior and build-out projects. Nearly 100 national and independent retailers and franchisees, including Bank of America, Best Buy, Chipotle, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Kohl's, LL Bean, McDonald's, Pizza Fusion, Starbucks and Target, have participated in the pilot program since its launch in 2007, providing valuable feedback to inform the rating systems' development. Also launched at Greenbuild was the LEED Volume Program, a certification program that was created to streamline and make the LEED certification process faster and more manageable for high-volume property developers such as  national retailers, hospitality providers and local, state and federal governments. Utilizing a prototype-based approach, the program enables large-scale organizational builders to deliver a consistent end product, thereby earning LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than would be possible with individual building reviews.

1st Public Comment open on drafts of the LEED Rating Systems - The public comment draft of the next version of LEED is a general update and expansion of the technical content and organization of LEED. By simultaneously aligning and harmonizing inefficient duplication of LEED credits and expanding the bookshelf to include credits that make LEED more appropriate for previously underserved market sectors, the public comment draft attempts to streamline project team engagement with LEED. In addition, the release of high performance green building codes provides clear evidence that the market has transformed in the short time since the last update to LEED. The public comment draft builds off the new foundation that these code intended documents provide to ensure that LEED continues to be the vanguard of innovative design, construction, and operations of buildings and communities.

ASHRAE Journal Article on LEED and Green Building Codes - Building codes are the tools we use to ensure the basic health and safety of a building's occupants. They have long played an important role in establishing minimum standards of practice to ensure fire, structural and sanitary safety in homes, schools, offices, and public buildings of all types. LEED and the codes have always strived to work together as complementary and compatible elements in the building process. But before attempting above-code measures in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, or stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts, green buildings require minimum compliance with baseline codes in a given jurisdiction. LEED's recognition of ASHRAE Standards 90.1, 62 and 55, as well as standards set by the California Air Resources Board and the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors' National Association are a few examples of how LEED has encouraged benchmarking against industry-accepted standards. Broad stakeholder input and community consensus have recently led to the development of green building codes and standards that can be adopted and enforced by jurisdictions in line with their commitments to safeguarding environmental and public health. Standard 189.1 is a set of technically rigorous requirements that, like IGCC, covers criteria including water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building's impact on its site and its community.

Greening the Codes - A White Paper - Last week USGBC released a white paper on building codes, on green building codes, and on the way that these regulatory tools work with LEED.  This white paper was crafted in response to the prolific questions about how codes and rating systems work together - we see them as having important, distinct and complementary roles.

Model Clean Construction Specification released by NCTCOG for construction equipment - The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) and the Surface Transportation Technical Committee (STTC) recently approved a Clean Construction Demonstration Project to help evaluate potential impacts of a Clean Construction Specification.  A new specification is now available which is designed to encourage the use of the cleanest available construction equipment and set standards for best operational practices. This specification was drafted by North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) staff for potential use on public works projects as an air quality control strategy to aid in attaining the federal ozone standard.  NCTCOG is requesting that local governments from across the region participate in this Demonstration Project on a voluntary basis by incorporating the Clean Construction Specification into the bid process of upcoming public works projects and/or solicit feedback from contractors during a pre-construction conference. 

GBCI encounters concerns with new LEED reviewers - After attempting a new method of reviewing green building applications for nearly a year, the U.S. Green Building Council's certification affiliate is now making plans to bring the process back in house after some in the builder community raised doubts about its effectiveness. The Green Building Certification Institute, which began contracting out the review process for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification last April, said it plans in the next two years to resume management over a bulk of LEED application reviews. For the past year, in an effort to cut down a growing backlog of applications and slash months-long delays in review times, the institute had been contracting out the review and quality-control processes to 10 outside organizations that specialize in general certification consulting, as opposed to the green building niche.

Nation's first set of green building model codes and standards announced - The ICC, ASHRAE, USGBC, and IES have launched the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The IGCC provides the building industry with language that both broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of high-performance, green buildings across the United States. For decades, ICC and ASHRAE have worked to develop codes and standards that become the industry standard of care for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings in the United States and internationally. In coordination with the efforts of ICC and ASHRAE, USGBC has been leading a nationwide green building movement centered on the LEED Green Building Rating System since LEED was launched in 2000. The convergence of these efforts in the IGCC is perhaps the most significant development in the buildings industry in the past 10 years.

Chicago marketing companies weigh methods for green certifications - With consumer complaints about deceptive environmental advertising claims on the rise, Chicago-based marketing companies are exploring ways to navigate the circus of green certifications and seals. "In an age of social media and citizen journalism, I think greenwashing is a natural consequence of companies trying to jump on a bandwagon without doing their due diligence, and perhaps by error or oversight or consciously, making false claims...and getting busted for it by citizen journalists when they otherwise wouldn't have even been called on the carpet," Stoiber said.

California wine gets green standards - California wine's efforts to go green got a big push when the industry unveiled a certification program for its sustainable practices.The wine industry has for years been pushing its green credentials by letting wineries evaluate their own progress on everything from less use of water to carpooling. Wineries were left to assess their own efforts under a sort of self-help quiz that offered a lengthy list of possible green efforts. But if you're a green winery by your own declaration, critics have asked, so what?

So it was a major leap forward for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, which managed the self-assessments, to announce that wineries can now pay outside auditors to ensure that their efforts on everything from pesticide use to creating mission statements and recycling corks are up to snuff.

LEED 2009 approved - LEED 2009, a revision of the LEED Rating System first made available for comment in May 2008, has been approved by the 18,000 member organizations of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The revision is intended to create greater consistency among the several LEED rating systems, reflect a more scientifically grounded weighting of credits, and gracefully accommodate future changes. The affected LEED rating systems include the five nonresidential systems that are officially released: LEED for New Construction, LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, LEED for Core & Shell, LEED for Commercial Interiors, and LEED for Schools.

New Green Standards to Mesh with Local Building Codes - A swath of new standards for green building may soon make sustainable construction and energy efficiency retrofits in the United States more predictable. Designed to enhance clarity and provide more specific performance objectives, the new reference work includes: The National Green Building Standard, approved in February by the ANSI; GBI 01-200XP, a commercial reference scheduled for release this summer by the Green Building Initiative; Standard 189, under development by the ASHRAE, IES, and USGBC; LEED 2009, developed by the USGBC.

LEED v3 launches! - On April 27, 2009, the long awaited LEED v3 was successfully launched. The LEED green building certification program's greatest strength lies in its consensus-based, transparent, ongoing development cycle. The ability to be flexible allows LEED to evolve, taking advantage of new technologies and advancements in building science while prioritizing energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reductions. LEED v3 includes 3 main items; LEED 2009 rating systems: Technical advancements to the LEED credits and points. LEED 2009 is not a "tear down and rebuild" of the LEED that exists in the market but rather a reorganization of the existing commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, along with several key advancements; LEED Online: An upgrade to LEED Online that is faster and easier to use, featuring new help options; Certification model: An expanded certification infrastructure based on ISO standards, administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) for improved capacity, speed and performance.

ASHRAE Unveils Design of New Building Energy Label - ASHRAE has unveiled details about its building energy labeling program, including a prototype label design. The two main components of the label are an asset rating, which is based on energy models and represents the building's designed efficiency, and an operational rating based on actual performance. The ratings would ideally appear on the label side-by-side, although the operational rating requires 12 months of utility bills, which would disqualify newer buildings.

First Green Building Code - With a bold plan to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint, the International Code Council (ICC) has launched a Green Construction Code. Having written building code for almost a century, members of the ICC are now entering the world of environmental protection and building sustainability...and in a big way! Richard Weiland, CEO of ICC, said, "We believe the time has come for us to develop a code that will stand as a useful and credible regulatory framework for creating a greener commercial building stock."

Green Seal Environmental Standard for Restaurants and Food Services Released - The Green Seal Environmental Standard for Restaurants and Food Services, GS-46, has been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). First published in May 2009, GS-46 is based on real data on the environmental impacts of restaurants and food services including the impacts of food, energy and water use, and supplies. Green Seal restaurant certification involves a comprehensive review of records, invoices, and procedures to verify that the operation meets GS-46 criteria. An on-site audit is performed as part of the evaluation to ensure that compliance has been achieved. Restaurants that are awarded certification are subject to annual monitoring in order to retain the license to use the Green Seal.

State Codes, LEED Tighten Water Efficiency Standards - Lately, there has been a veritable crescendo of activities at the national level regarding water efficiency. New codes and standards will impact the way facility executives plan water efficiency projects, specifically, but also whole-building operations in general. Both the availability of new freshwater supplies and rising water and wastewater treatment costs to meet ever more stringent drinking water and wastewater treatment levels are all contributing to these rapidly rising costs. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that 37 states will have non-drought-related water supply shortages of some type by 2013.


FTC strikes back against "greenwashing" - It's an inconvenient truth: Many of the environmental claims in advertisements and packaging are more about raking in the green than being green. Aiming to clear up confusion for consumers about what various terms mean, the Federal Trade Commission has revised its guidelines for businesses that make claims about so-called "eco-friendly" products."In recent years, businesses have increasingly used 'green' marketing to capture consumers' attention," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement. "But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things."

Congress Passes Formaldehyde Limits for Composite Wood Products - Supported by industry and environmental groups alike, the U.S. Congress has passed a bill limiting the amount of formaldehyde in hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard. Introduced in late 2009, the bill bases its formaldehyde thresholds on those developed and enacted by the California Air Resources Board (see "Diverse Interest Groups Support National Formaldehyde Standard," EBN Dec. 2009). Limits become effective as soon as 2011 and become more stringent over time. These dates are dependent on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, however, which must develop regulations for enforcing the standards. 

Rash of Earth-Friendly Claims Spurs Rising Number of Lawsuits and FTC Actions - Wayne Koh likes products that are environmentally friendly and was willing to pay a little more for a household cleaner that had earned a "green" certification. Or so he thought. When Mr. Koh learned the "Greenlist" label on SC Johnson's Shout and Windex products was created by the company itself, not awarded by an independent third party, he was angry enough to demand his money back-in court.

Washington DC begins measuring building energy use under new law - A new law requiring commercial building owners to measure - and eventually make public - energy use in their largest buildings took effect Jan. 1, 2010, ushering in what proponents say will be an era of greater energy efficiency and transparency in the district's building marketplace, reducing energy costs for all. Under the law, all commercial buildings greater than 200,000-sq.ft. must be benchmarked annually, using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Portfolio Manager rating system. The system accounts for differences between buildings - such as climate, occupancy levels and operating hours - so that direct comparisons can be made between similar buildings. The resulting rating reveals not just how much energy a building uses, but how efficiently it uses it.

D.C. Green Building Law Hits Enforcement Snag - One of a handful of laws in the U.S. requiring private buildings to meet LEED standards, this law�mandates specific LEED standards for new construction in Washington DC. Developers must provide "performance bonds" for up to four percent of the construction cost, up to a maximum of $3 million. If the building fails to achieve LEED certification, the bond is paid into a green building fund held by the City. As currently written, this law may be unenforceable.

As the green construction industry expands, litigation and arbitration might follow - The growing green building movement may bear unintended fruit: legal trouble. Lawyers, architects and developers say they expect an increase in construction-related litigation and arbitration as the industry expands. They say the problems will result from confusion over what "green" means, clumsy government sustainable-construction requirements and the normal growing pains of a relatively new sector.

Initial Legal Thoughts on the LEED 2009 Minimum Program Requirements - In order for a project to be eligible for certification under LEED 2009, it must adhere to LEED's Minimum Program Requirements (MPR's). These MPR's may present some novel legal issues for project teams- and their attorneys- to consider in connection with drafting construction agreements or leasing documents in connection with LEED v3 projects.

On Earth Day, House Passes Two Important Environmental Bills - On April 22, and as a nod towards Earth Day, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation for grant programs to reduce the volume of discarded electronic products as well as for education and training in clean energy and high-performance building design. The Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act (H.R. 1580) requires the Environmental Protection Agency to award multiyear grants for research to create innovative and practical approaches to reduce the volume and manage the environmental impacts of electronic waste. The Green Energy Education Act of 2009 (H.R. 957) requires the Secretary of Energy to contribute energy research and development funds to the National Science Foundation for the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program to support graduate education related to green energy building projects.

House OKs $6.4 billion to make schools greener - The House has passed a $6.4 billion school modernization bill that would commit funds for the construction and update of more energy-efficient school buildings. The measure will now move to the Senate for further review. Among other things, the bill allocates substantial funds for improvements along the Gulf Coast, where many school districts are still struggling to repair buildings damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The legislation, according to the House Education and Labor Committee, also makes schools part of the effort to revive the U.S. economy and fight global warming by "creating clean energy jobs that will help put workers in hard-hit industries back to work."

House Passes Landmark Climate Change Bill, Now Heads to Senate - The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a sweeping climate change bill last Friday that will significantly change the way Americans use and produce energy. The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which passed on a 219-212 vote, now moves to the Senate, where experts predict another battle. The bill aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change: 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, with other measures promising additional reductions. At its core is a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that gives away about 85 percent of the carbon permits to utilities, heavy industry, refiners, among others, and includes provisions to shield consumers from rising energy prices.

First Austin Energy audits find a lot of leaky ducts - The results are in from the first 310 homes that received energy audits under a new Austin ordinance. The main finding: Most of the houses had leaky air ducts, which means lots of wasted energy. The ordinance, which went into effect June 1, requires sellers to get energy audits of their homes and disclose the results to buyers.

The Real Estate Industry Quietly Removes a Label Showing Energy Use of Older Buildings - The pending climate bill passed by the House has a medley of programs to save energy in buildings, but there was one in particular that drew the attention of the multitrillion-dollar real estate industry. It was a plan to create an "energy label" for homes and commercial buildings, showing, in one simple illustration, how much energy they use compared to their ideal performance. In theory, the information would be like the miles per gallon stickers on cars, giving vital information to buyers and owners, who are becoming increasingly aware of rising energy costs. The real estate industry had a different take: It called the labels a scarlet letter that would stigmatize old, energy-leaky buildings, making them harder to sell. They said it would hobble a market already suffering from the mortgage meltdown.

Nike Quits Chamber of Commerce Board Seat Over Climate Policy - Nike will step down from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's board, the company announced, in protest of the Chamber's stance on environmental issues. Nike is the fourth company to disassociate from the Chamber in some way over this issue. The Chamber claims it is still in favor of some form of climate-change legislation.

Why compromise won't work for climate change - Climate change is nonnegotiable, unlike so many policy issues, Bill McKibben argues, commenting on the political process surrounding climate-change legislation. Political considerations make it tempting for lawmakers to take the easiest compromise, but McKibben argues that lawmakers are unlikely to have a second shot at the issue if their first effort proves insufficient.

Green Jobs

Is the Green-Building Market Recession-Proof? - Over the last decade, the green building industry has risen on the tide of a culture-wide trend toward sustainability, and many in the architecture profession believe it will continue to prosper even as the U.S. falls deeper into a recession. "I think there's a very compelling argument that the economic environment we're going into right now will only enhance the value of doing green," says Guy Geier, FAIA.

Creation of Green Jobs Is Worthy but Elusive Goal - Among labor and environmental activists who gathered at the February "Good Jobs, Green Jobs" conference in Washington, a sense of excitement was palpable. For years, they had been promoting the creation of "green collar" jobs ' jobs that are related to energy-efficient systems and development of alternative forms of energy ' as a worthy goal, one that would help restore U.S. manufacturing leadership, reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports and address global warming. However, some people look at the term with skepticism. Robert Pollin, a professor of economics at the University of Massachussets at Amherst, said the term "green jobs" is more confusing than helpful.

How we s'posed t' get paid fer this green stuff? - Michael Chandler teaches the NAHB Certified Green Practitioner class, and is faced with a wonderful gang of skeptics and beleaguered tough guys every time. "These guys don't sign up for the class until they're ready and eager to learn, they want to build tighter, healthier, more durable and efficient homes. But they are convinced that the customer isn't ready to pay for it. The bottom line is, they aren't ready to sell it, and if they can't get the contract signed at a price that supports the effort of stepping up to Certified Green building practices, this whole movement is dead in the water." There are two themes at work here: 'Green building is not an upgrade, it's a differentiator' and 'Both you and your customers demand it.'

Green keeps Growing despite downturn - A global economic crunch isn't expected to dampen growth for green building, says a new report from NextGen Research. The report from the locally based research company says office buildings will be the largest non-residential target sector for green materials, the market for which is expected to reach $571 billion worldwide by 2013, up from $455.3 billion in 2008. Fisher tells GlobeSt.com that advances in green materials themselves will play a "substantial" role in the growth of sales and usage, "provided those advances include making the materials less expensive to produce." He adds that notwithstanding the slight decrease in the cost premium for using green materials in construction, "the market's too nascent for increasing volume to offset prices. Economies of scale will kick in eventually."

Green Builders' Study Forecasts Job Growth - To better understand the domestic job potential from green buildings, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) asked Booz Allen to estimate the number of jobs associated with the green building market. Recent articles and studies have tried to estimate the number of "green collar jobs" that will be created from various national energy proposals, but few studies have focused exclusively on green building employment opportunities. This study contributes to this effort by calculating the number of jobs supported by the total green building construction market. The study also estimates the number of jobs that can be attributed to USGBC as a result of developing the LEED rating system. The results of this study show that the economic impact from green building construction is significant and will continue to grow as the demand for green buildings rises. Green construction spending currently supports over 2 million jobs and generates over 100 billion dollars in gross domestic product and wages. By the year 2013, this study estimates that green buildings will support nearly 8 million jobs across occupations ranging from construction managers and carpenters to truck drivers and cost estimators. USGBC also supports job creation and economic activity. LEED-related spending has already generated 15,000 jobs since 2000, and by 2013 this study forecasts that an additional 230,000 jobs will be created.


Wind Battle at Palo Duro Canyon - A Texas commission won't allow a transmission line to cross the second-largest canyon in the U.S., a victory for preservationists that still raises thorny environmental and cost issues. Skirting the majestic Palo Duro Canyon means the line delivering wind power from the Texas Panhandle will be longer and thus costlier for consumer ratepayers. And it will still cut across land that is home to fragile wildlife populations, including bald eagles. "The nation is about to confront a major infrastructure-transmission discussion," said Michael Webber, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "And if it's hard in Texas, where we're good at it and we have experience and we've figured out funding models, what's it going to be like in the nation? It might be a very bruising fight."

Pickens calls off massive wind farm in Texas - Plans for the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle have been scrapped, energy baron T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday, and he's looking for a home for 687 giant wind turbines. Pickens has already ordered the turbines, which can stand 400 feet tall - taller than most 30-story buildings. "It doesn't mean that wind is dead," said Pickens, who runs the Dallas-based energy investment fund BP Capital. "It just means we got a little bit too quick off the blocks."

World's Largest Wind Farm Churns in Texas - The world's largest wind farm is officially up and running, with all 627 towering wind turbines churning out electricity across 100,000 acres of West Texas farmland. The Roscoe Wind Complex, which began construction in 2007 and sprawls across four counties near Roscoe, is generating its full capacity of 781.5 megawatts, enough to power 230,000 homes. The complex is about 220 miles west of Dallas and 300 miles south of the land where billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens had planned an even larger wind farm before he scrapped the idea in July.

Why Texans See Green Gold in Renewable Resources - If Texas were a country, it would rank seventh in the world in terms of carbon emissions. But energy tycoons in the state are seeing gold in the breeze, and their frontier mind-set is helping them rapidly expand the wind power industry in the state. Driving along Broadway in Sweetwater, Texas, one could justifiably assume the city is on its way down, not its way up. Cobwebs crowd the windows of abandoned storefronts, and peeling signs hang from cracked facades. It is only after I pull up to the mayor's office, pausing to study the street more carefully, that I notice a real clue to the city's changing fortunes: The blond stone building is neatly sandwiched between Craig A. Johnson, Independent Petroleum Landman, and Evans Enterprises, "Your source for wind turbine maintenance solutions." Greg Wortham, the mayor of Sweetwater, is a compact man who, contrary to his West Texas roots, speaks quickly and easily, offering more information than is asked. As we leave downtown in his silver Ford Escape Hybrid, he points to one low-slung building after another. "That's a British company, Altezza. They work on the outside of the blades and towers, like spacewalkers. That building had been vacant for a dozen years, easily. This is General Electric-there's 150 workers there. It used to be a Coca-Cola storage facility. At one point, a quarter of all GE turbines in the world were built here. Northwind moved into that one; it held a company that made deer blinds."


Cement Makers Ordered to Cut Mercury Emissions - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time imposed limits on mercury emissions from existing cement plants, a move to curb a potential health hazard that the industry said will cost jobs and raise construction prices. The new rules, part of a broad effort by the EPA to cut mercury emissions from various sources, apply to makers of Portland cement, a common ingredient in concrete and stucco. Collectively, cement manufacturers are the third-largest source of mercury air emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. The cement industry opposes the new regulations, saying they could force some cement companies to shut down plants and lay off workers. The industry also says the rules could lead to higher cement costs and thereby raise the price of infrastructure projects.

High-tech concrete cuts carbon emissions - A company developing a new kind of cement has carried off top honors -- and a $100,000 prize -- at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's entrepreneurship competition. C-Crete's new material is much stronger than conventional cement, allowing architects to use less in designing their buildings and sharply reducing the industry's carbon emissions. C-Crete has invented and is attempting to patent a new type of cement, which it says is harder and more durable than any other on the market. The founders say that longer-lasting cement like C-Crete's can be used to make concrete that weighs less and is less bulky (but stronger) than standard varieties and requires less energy for manufacturing and transport. "It gives architects the option to build walls half as thick as normal walls," said Mr. Shahsavari, "to build taller, more impressive and more elegant structures."

Coal Ash in Construction Materials Safe Under EPA Proposal - On May 4, 2010, the U.S. EPA issued a draft proposal for regulating the use and disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs), including coal fly ash, which is widely used in construction materials. The proposal comes in the wake of a large spill from a coal-ash holding pond in Kingston, Tennessee, in 2008 (see "Coal Ash in Spill Could Not Have Been Used in Concrete,"). Coal ash contains mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and other harmful substances. EPA has proposed two options for better regulating coal ash; after a 90-day public comment period, the agency will decide which option to pursue, modify the specifics based on input, and finalize its rule.

Fly Ash Looms As The 'New Asbestos' - Concrete groups are on tenterhooks, waiting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to publish a proposed rule that aims to designate fly ash and other coal-combustion by-products as hazardous waste. The concrete sector is concerned even about the ramifications of a "hybrid" rule that would allow beneficial uses of CCBs to continue.Concrete stakeholders say a hazardous-waste designation for fly ash would make it the "new asbestos" or "new lead paint," dragging concrete into the fray. Questions would arise over the handling practices of both materials during production and casting as well as during the demolition and disposal of concrete structures.

Carbon-eating "green" cement wins funds for UK firm - A British start-up company developing a cement that absorbs carbon dioxide has raised 1 million pounds ($1.7 million) to fund its work, underscoring the growing interest in eco-friendly construction ventures. Novacem believes its "carbon-negative" cement answers the problem because it absorbs more carbon dioxide over its life cycle than it emits.

Companies Mixing up Greener Cement - Contributing at least 5 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the cement industry is ripe for changes to lower its impact. Cement, the glue that binds concrete, is one of the most carbon-intensive materials out there: It produces one ton of CO2 for every ton of cement made. Several companies are now experimenting with less carbon-intensive alternatives, some of which outperform conventional cement. A number of companies, looking to cut the global impact of concrete, as well as open up huge markets for greener building blocks, are using a variety of methods like replacing concrete ingredients and adding new materials that make concrete waterproof.


www.usgbc.org - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a nonprofit membership organization with a vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.

www.buildgreenschools.org - green school /grEn sk�l / n. a school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money. Green schools are healthy for students, teachers and the environment. Built right, green schools are productive learning environments with ample natural light, high-quality acoustics and air that is safe to breathe. Schools everywhere are going green, nurturing children while saving money. Get the facts and learn how you can make the case to build green schools.

www.greenhomeguide.org - A green home incorporates smart design, technology, construction and maintenance elements to significantly lessen the negative impact of the home on the environment and improve the health of the people who live inside. No matter your location or living situation, the opportunities for living a greener life at home are limited only by your imagination.

www.greenplaybook.org - the Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods is a web-based resource that provides strategies, tips, and tools for cities and counties to take immediate action on climate change through green building, green neighborhoods and sustainable infrastructure. Launched at the US Mayors Climate Summit in Seattle and the GreenBuild International Conference, the Playbook is designed both for communities that are considering making the first steps toward green, as well as for those who want to take existing efforts to a new level.

www.sustainablesites.org - The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary partnership between the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden and a diverse group of national stakeholder organizations to develop standards and guidelines for site sustainability. This initiative grew from concerns that conventional land development and management practices often limit, rather than enhance, the ability of landscapes to benefit humankind and other organisms by providing valuable ecosystem services.

www.planitgreenhome.com - When It Comes to Bridal Shower Gifts, Think 'Green' - Something old, something new, something borrowed, something... green! For the perfect shower gift for today's earth-conscious bride-to-be, consider a green gift basket of organic, all-natural gifts for the new couple to celebrate their love for each other and for their planet. Planitgreenhome.com features some of the more respected names in green manufacturing, including Anna Sova, Bentley, Bambu, Deep Steep, EO, Ecover, Hamadi, Lunares, Nuxe, NVEY, Red Flower, Sante, Sun and Earth and Under The Canopy.

www.yougottabekidding.org - Georgia program shames residents into recycling - Georgia has enlisted a new tool in its efforts to encourage recycling: satire. The state's "You Gotta be Kidding" campaign features four characters who wear "I don't recycle" logos and who provide humorous, ridiculous excuses for not recycling. For example, one of the fictitious characters, Tommy Krenshaw, simply tells people that he will "find a new planet" when the Earth fills up with un-recycled waste. "We all realize that Tommy's excuse is preposterous," said Randy Hartmann, director of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs' Office of Environmental Management, in a statement. "However, every time someone bypasses a recycling bin or chooses to throw a can away, they're effectively saying 'I don't recycle!' They're wearing their apathy on their sleeve. What we're saying is that lame excuses won't work anymore."

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