Monday, February 8th, 2010
The LEED green building rating system has seen unimpeded growth to this point. Will the impact of this growth, and the response of the U.S. Green Building Council, help or hurt the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program?
There have been 44,671 LEED projects registered and 6,908 certifications awarded – commercial and residential – according to a November publication by the United States Green Building Council. Interestingly, there are 133,489 LEED Accredited Professionals. Simply calculated, there are approximately three LEED APs for each currently registered project.
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Without question, energy-efficient and sustainable homes are legitimately gaining popularity. A very high percentage of new homes built this year – I have seen estimates as high as 40 to 50 percent – will be “green.” According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, almost 17 percent of all single family homes built in the United States in 2008 qualified for the Energy Star label.
Unfortunately, green home demand still does not approach the demand for conventionally-built homes; and without proper education and marketing, sustainable design and building may not emerge from the housing recession as solidly as some would hope. There are many obstacles that stand in the way of total acceptance and an increased market share.
How “green” is “green?”
There are many local, regional, and national green-building certification programs – private sector and government initiated – that provide systematic approaches for mandating, quantifying and verifying sustainable building practices, but all of the programs are not created equally.
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
There are plenty of companies and individuals that are cashing in on the green building market proliferation, but how is a designer, contractor, or home buyer supposed to decipher the information and separate greenwashing from legitimacy? Unquestionably, there is no shortage of information on the subject – right or wrong. Unfortunately, there are very few adequate resources that have mainstream appeal and effectively represent the sustainability movement from the various perspectives of all of the individuals that need to be involved.
I came up with this long list of rhetorical questions. My intention is to illustrate the disconnect that seems to be prevalent among industry professionals, design clients, the media, and the general public regarding sustainable building.
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Matt Macko who helped develop the new LEED exam and is a principal at Environmental Building Strategies about his role in the creation of the new exam.
As part of his daily work, Mr. Macko consults with clients who are interested in obtaining LEED certification for their building or who desire to use green building techniques and/or build as sustainably as possible.
Mr. Macko was selected to help develop the new LEED exam for a number of reasons, including his desire to advance the industry and his work in helping his clients understand the most important concepts and options for their projects. His commitment to the industry is obvious; he is a LEED Accredited Professional, RESNET Energy Rater, Certified Energy Plans Examiner, Certified Green Building Professional, Certified Sustainable Building Advisor and Chair of the Bay Area LEED Users Group (BAyLUG).
Friday, December 4th, 2009
I recently attended the West Coast Green conference in San Francisco and came out enthused and confused.
I was enthused about the progress the green building industry is making. That over 14,000 people from all over the country came to learn about the new innovations in green building is huge for an industry, which in many ways, is in its infancy.
I listened to speakers from all sides of the business, real estate experts, government officials, green building consultants, and contractors to list only a few. They all provided interesting insights on where the industry was and should be going and a bit about it how it was going to get there.
Monday, October 5th, 2009
Like many Americans who don’t realize that every time you flip the switch on a television or light, it results in the burning of coal or natural gas at a power plant, Britney Spears does not prioritize the use of energy in her life.
Why? A) She is crazy, B) Like so many others she doesn’t recognize that she personally is responsible for the pollution that is generated through her energy use, or C) All of the above.
If you answered A or C, shame on you. Similar to you or myself, without recognizing that she has a problem, it wouldn’t occur to Britney to change her behavior.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Several interesting CleanTechies articles on LEED have covered the topic from different angles — this one will add a new perspective by giving a commercial example (and make a strong case for going green).
What is LEED?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The certification is given based on an exam facilitated by the Green Building Certification Institute on behalf of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Multiple structures and projects are eligible for LEED certification and each is judged based on a set of criteria. LEED ratings are available for New Construction, Existing Buildings, Commercial Interiors, Core and Shell (total building minus interior), Homes, Neighborhood Development, Schools and Retail. Points are given in six categories including: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation & Design Process. Based on the score a structure receives, it will receive a label which allows an easy understanding for just how many of the LEED features the project incorporates.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
I don’t know if it is Obama or Al Gore but the US government is starting to understand the need for sustainability. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama in February to stimulate the sagging US economy. By injecting $690 billion to improve infrastructure the authors hoped to create millions of jobs pulling the US out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Interspersed within this $690 billion is $60 billion for green projects of which $45 billion is going specifically towards energy related programs. Within this $45 billion most will go directly towards the green building industry with some additional monies going towards large scale renewable energy production.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
I wrote earlier about the US Green Building Council’s LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) certification program. LEED is a 4-tier rating system for high-performing buildings that encourages a systemic approach to sustainable design. Historically, most LEED APs were architects, mechanical engineers, and other niche green building professionals. With the demand for green buildings and sustainable design booming, an increasing number of professionals are becoming LEED AP certified (more than 75K and climbing rapidly). For about $650 and a lot of focused studying and serious dedication, you too can become a LEED AP.
Sunday, January 11th, 2009
In Vol. I on the subject I described the US Green Building Council’s LEED AP (Accredited Professional) certification program, and my plan to become LEED AP certified to strengthen my sustainability credentials and to help guide the renovation of my historic opera house to LEED Gold status. Well, I just took the LEED AP exam….and passed!