This Issue

ADVOCACY

Climate Action: Time to Make It Real

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Climate Action: Time to Make It Real [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] A look at COP 23 and action items to combat climate change.   By Elizabeth Beardsley, USGBC Senior Environmental Policy Counsel [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] We Care About Places Lately, it seems we are deluged with bad news about climate change and the rate at which the Earth is warming. Science tells us that humans are accelerating the process, and observed changes ranging from lower snow totals, glacial melt, increased extreme weather events, wildfires, drought, and rising    sea level show how climate change poses risks to the communities and places we care about. These predictions threaten our lives and way of life made real most recently by the three hurricanes that devastated areas of the U.S. and its territories this fall. While it’s hard to pinpoint the effect of climate warming on any specific weather event, scientists believe storms and flooding will be more extreme and frequent.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="25347" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full" css=".vc_custom_1509635758948{margin-top: 5px !important;}"][vc_column_text]The Park Shops building on the north campus of NC State University is a historic, three story masonry structure originally constructed in 1914 now transformed into a 21st century, multi-functional building that exemplifies reuse and...

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Policy at Play

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Policy at Play [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] David Matiella is a champion of sustainability in the Lone Star State.   By Mary Grauerholz [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]The ribbon of highway from Dallas to Austin, Texas, is not a journey to be taken lightly. Interstate 35 South is a straight shot of asphalt, surrounded by vast open plains and wide sky, a monotone setting that can seem endless. Yet David Matiella, who plays a critical role in linking the state’s green initiatives to the Texas State Legislature, regularly draws volunteers from Dallas, Houston, and lesser-known outposts, to the state capital to advocate for sustainability policies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="25001" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full" css=".vc_custom_1506094567649{margin-top: 5px !important;}"][vc_column_text]Hon. Rep. Mark Strama, USGBC Texas Advocacy Committee Chair David Matiella, and USGBC Texas Advocate Larry Graf.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Matiella is an associate dean of academic affairs and a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning. As the organizer and chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Texas Chapter’s Advocacy Committee, Matiella is a prime mover and shaker for Texas green initiatives, deftly steering politicians and residents toward a more sustainable future. “We focus on public policy...

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Accessible and Sustainable

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Accessible and Sustainable [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Ron Rambo brings a unique approach to green living.   By Alexandra Pecci[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]Ron Rambo is many things: a friend, a son, a volunteer and advocate for the disabled community, and a well-known figure of the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Now, he’s adding the word “pioneer” to that list, thanks to the Rambo Project, a cutting-edge home that will not only provide a totally accessible place for him to live with his wheelchair, but also one that will be radically sustainable. Nicknamed “Ramboland,” this ambitious project has been years in the making and has attracted the attention and cooperation of green builders, designers, government officials, and many others who have been inspired by Rambo’s desire to create a home that embodies the word “independent” in every way, from personal independence for the disabled, to complete energy and water independence for the home itself. “I hope this house will give me a more safe and accessible home with more independence, including independence from high utility bills!” says Rambo.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="23929" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full" css=".vc_custom_1490022532416{margin-top: 5px !important;}"][vc_column_text]Rob Rambo—when he’s not working on his dream home—hangs out at Square One coffee with his friends...

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Neutral Zone

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Neutral Zone [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] An initiative created by the AIA helps architectural firms turn the 2030 Challenge into a 2030 Commitment.   By Alexandra DeLuca[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]“I am such a believer that the hardest line to draw on a canvas is that first one,” says Greg Mella, an architect at SmithGroup JJR and co-chair of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment Steering Committee, which was formed in response to the challenge in 2006 by architect Edward Mazria for all buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030. Since 2009, nearly 400 firms have taken that initial step, tracking and reporting their entire portfolios—representing more than 2.6 billion square feet of project work in 2015—thanks to a national standardized framework developed by Mella and AIA to help measure the progress toward a carbon-neutral built environment. “Our members really drove this,” says Melissa Wackerle, director of Sustainable Practice & Knowledge at AIA. “The creation of this initiative makes adopting the 2030 Challenge into a 2030 Commitment. It’s a commitment to design to those goals and measure progress.” AIA collects data that includes the type of building, area, baseline energy performance, and predicted energy performance. “The program grows every year, so we’ve...

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Netherlands in the LEED

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Netherlands in the LEED [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Gerrit-Jan Teunissen champions the inclusion of LEED v4 in public policy in his northwestern European country.   By Alexandra DeLuca[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]“It’s part of my personality,” explains Gerrit-Jan Teunissen. “If someone tells me something is not possible, I always try to find out why and what I can do to change that.” For Teunissen, a Dutch energy and sustainability consultant with TRAJECT, this modus operandi has meant dogged work surrounding the advancement and acceptance of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the Netherlands—as well as throughout the rest of Europe. In 2014, Teunissen successfully petitioned the government of the Netherlands to recognize LEED as a rating system eligible for green building tax incentives, marking the first time this version of LEED v4 was referenced in public policy in any country. However, before he was taking on national governments and expanding tax code subsets, Teunissen became involved in operations and maintenance at the headquarters of ABN AMRO, a large Dutch banking corporation. He was asked to consult on green building energy conservation and savings possibilities: “They were challenging themselves to be a more progressive and environmentally...

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Driving Sustainability Beyond the Building

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Driving Sustainability Beyond the Building [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] General Services Administration has adopted SITES, a rating system that takes sustainability outside and into our landscapes.   By Alexandra DeLuca [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]Can landscape architecture help save the world? The way Christian Gabriel, the national design director for landscape architecture at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), describes the federal agency’s recent work in the field makes a compelling case for the affirmative. Take, for an example, how an evolving approach to landscaping, such as delaying cleanup of vegetation that would have previously been deemed an eyesore, is creating crucial foraging space for honey bees—in a time when colonies and other pollinators are dying off at unprecedented rates, yet are responsible for more than 50 percent of the world’s food supply and $25 billion of the annual U.S. economy. GSA’s efforts to counter this threat were prompted by a 2014 memorandum by President Obama, and it is a prime example of how the federal agency uses its diverse real estate portfolio comprising more than 140,000 acres of land to tackle “increasingly complex environmental and forward-thinking aspirational policies,” says Gabriel. “We take these ideas and chase them within the context of designing...

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Better Living Through Transparency

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="center" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Better Living Through Transparency [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] The CoStar Group offers easy access to information on energy efficiency for its investors, owners, and tenants.   By Alexandra DeLuca[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text] As state and local governments continue to adopt building energy transparency laws, a new partnership between the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative and real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc. aims to put more energy efficiency information at the fingertips of investors, owners, and tenants. The plan to add more energy-related information to the CoStar Group’s online property database began in 2013 when Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy, and CoStar CEO Andrew Florance started discussions exploring an alliance. “People have always been interested in as much information on the efficiency of buildings as possible and CoStar has led this effort on a number of fronts,” says Hogan. “As a number of cities were moving forward on building transparency policies and making the information more available, it was an interesting conversation to have with CoStar—given that that data would be public—to pull into their database to make it readily available.” This partnership builds on CoStar’s previous initiatives...

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Affordable and Energy Efficient

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_bottom="15"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Affordable and Energy Efficient [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Changes in the FHA’s insurance rates foster sustainability in multifamily housing.   By Bryan Howard [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text]For decades the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping individuals and families be part of the American dream of owning a home or property. FHA’s role of insuring loans has helped millions of borrowers get better interest rates for both the purchase and refinancing of homes. Recently, the FHA multifamily lending program has taken a monumental step in signaling to the market the value of LEED-certified buildings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="22179" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_column_text] U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]In April the FHA Office of Multifamily Housing Programs announced a change that will benefit certain FHA-insured loans through reduced upfront and annual insurance rates. For new or renovated LEED-certified multifamily properties, annual rates will drop to some of the lowest levels that FHA is allowed to offer. // // ]]> // ]]> “By reducing our rates, this Administration is taking a significant step to encourage the preservation and development of affordable and energy-efficient housing in communities large and small. This way, hard-working families won’t have to make the false choice between quality or...

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Green State

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="center"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] Green State [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] California green builders find new solutions to scaling LEED with green codes.   By Alison Gregor[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1443107067114{margin-top: 25px !important;}" row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_top="25"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_single_image image="20655" border_color="grey" img_link_target="_self" img_size="full"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="10"][vc_column_text]Workshops held at the congregations spread the word about mitigating waste, growing vegetables in the church gardens, and carpooling. Top right photo: Kathy Arnold; Left and bottom right photos: Kari R. Frey, FREYtography[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1443189009446{margin-top: 25px !important;}" row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left" padding_top="15"][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Building codes in many areas of the country are becoming incrementally greener, with the state of California in the lead after the 2010 adoption of the nation’s first and only statewide mandatory green building code, called CALGreen. CALGreen is considered so eco-friendly that the LEED Steering Committee ruled this spring that a handful of their building measures are aligned enough with LEED credits for building professionals to use a streamlined documentation path for LEED certification. As of July, projects in California subject to the mandatory 2013 CALGreen requirements and registered under the 2009 or v4 versions of LEED BC+C or LEED ID+C can use the streamlined path for select credits and prerequisites. “The streamlining of paperwork has obvious benefits,” says Wes Sullens,...

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The New Capital of Energy Conservation

[vc_row row_type="row" type="full_width" text_align="left"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="30"][vc_column_text] The New Capital of Energy Conservation [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="25"][vc_column_text] How Atlanta is leading the south in energy efficiency policy.   By Cecilia Shutters[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="transparent" position="center" up="25"][vc_column_text]From the baking heat and humidity of an Atlanta summer, stepping into the cool, climate-controlled, reprieve of one of its large downtown buildings offers instant relief. Once a largely unchecked box for potential savings and even job growth, Atlanta’s commercial building stock is now at the center of the city’s newest, boldest energy policy, the Commercial Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance. The city projects “a 20 percent reduction in commercial energy consumption by the year 2030,” which will “spur the creation of more than 1,000 jobs a year in the first few years, and reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent from 2013 levels by 2030.” The unanimous passage of the ordinance by the City Council in April of this year makes it the first city in the southeast, and the 12th city in the United States, to pass a version of what is known as benchmarking and disclosure (also known as transparency) policies. Atlanta’s announcement precedes Portland, Oregon’s and Kansas City, Missouri’s recent announcements of similar polices, bringing the total number of cities...

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