We’re excited to announce that the USGBC blog has moved to the new USGBC.org website.Head there now to check out our recent posts, including:3 Things You Need to Know About Energy Data & LEEDThe Building Happiness Metric, andHow Do I Choose a LEED …
External Relations Manager
U.S. Green Building Council
Mark MacCracken, Immediate Past Chair of USGBC’s Board of Directors and CEO of CALMAC Manufacturing Corporation, is embarking on an adventure that’s taken him and his 25-year-old son, Josh, to the Swiss Alps; where they are climbing the Matterhorn, one of the highest peaks in the region, and clearly the most recognizable. Each foot they climb is raising money to build USGBC’s LEED Platinum Project Haiti Orphanage & Children’s Center being designed by HOK Architects.
Marisa Long: What made you decide to climb the Matterhorn?
|Mark with his son, Josh, on a recent climbing expedition|
Mark MacCracken: I was fortunate to first visit Switzerland and Zermatt almost 20 years ago and have been going with my wife Kimberly to ski for many years. The mountain is truly majestic and the lure to climb it was palpable, at least for me. About 10 years ago I mentioned it to my son and we put it in the “bucket” list. Two years ago my son said to me, “Dad, you aren’t getting any younger, I think we need to do this now.” I’m always looking for adventures for my son and I to take together and this seemed like a perfect fit. Knowing my year as Chair of USGBC’s Board of Directors would be very demanding on my time, and needing time to prepare, we set the date for Summer 2012.
ML: What did you have to do to get ready for this trip?
MM: Since it is a pretty dangerous adventure, my wife, Kimberly, laid down the ground rules: I had to take a mountaineering course first and had to get in great condition. Last year I took an extensive mountaineering course, learned all the safety techniques including cravats rescue and climbing in snow with crampons on 60 degree inclines. The week ended with an ascent of Mount Baker in Washington, which is about 11,000 feet. Physically, the Matterhorn climb is very demanding. I spent about two years getting into better shape. One of the best preparation exercises has been climbing the stairs in the 36-story building where I live (New York City). I slowly built up from doing the building two or three times, with no pack, to nine times in succession with 30 pounds on my back. I would take the elevator down, to save the knees and time, which resulted in some interesting conversations and some new friends.
ML: How are you using this opportunity to raise money for Project Haiti?
MM: I’ve wanted to do some type of fundraising for Project Haiti and was looking for a good opportunity that would be challenging and worthwhile. I had the idea to link it to the climb and after supportive conversations with Rick (Fedrizzi, USGBC’s president & CEO) and Roger (Limoges, USGBC’s vice president of organizational development) it became real. At USGBC’s Mid-Year Meeting this summer, I was given the opportunity to speak to all of the attendees during the opening plenary, and I announced my intentions in front of more than 500 USGBC chapter leaders and board members. Within just the first 20 minutes more than 30 people emailed me saying they wanted to make a donation.
I wanted it to be simple for people to donate, so for every foot I climb on the Matterhorn, I asked for a penny to be pledged toward Project Haiti. On the big day, we climb Hornli Hut at 10,000 feet to the peak at 14,800 feet, so each cent would be a $48 dollar donation, rounded to $50 if I made the summit. To incentivize further, my company, CALMAC, agreed to matching the funds I raised through others, up to $10,000. To my surprise some people donated 5, 10 and even 20 cents per foot! Nearly 100 percent of USGBC¹s Board of Directors, and dozens of USGBC Chapter leaders, industry contacts, squash buddies and friends are supporting this cause.
ML: What are you most excited about for this adventure?
MM: Sharing this experience with my son is what I am looking forward to the most. The Swiss Alps are mystical with rolling fields and fantastic snow covered mountains so we will just take it all in. I’m also excited that through this experience, I will be able to contribute to Project Haiti in a meaningful way. I will be thinking about the children and families who will benefit throughout this journey.
Associate, Marketing and Communications
U.S. Green Building Council
Urban Green Council, the New York City chapter of USGBC, held the first-ever EBie Awards on June 28th at the Hard Rock Café Theater. Though this marks the first public showcase for the EBies, the project reflects concepts and ideas that have been discussed for years by NYC leaders in sustainability. The basic idea is this: We need to recognize and encourage the people who are making amazing improvements to existing buildings (hence “EB”ies). Last month, a total of 10 projects from around the country received awards across eight categories.
Sixty-seven entries were submitted; the jurors narrowed the list down to a select 18 finalists, and then chose the winners. Winning the All-Rounder was Glen Neville, a Director of Deutsche Bank, with a team from Jones Lang LaSalle for the Deutsche Bank Americas Headquarters at 60 Wall Street. Maintenance, operational, and capital improvements to the property increased its energy and water efficiency as it moves towards a goal of carbon neutrality by 2013. Included in the spectacular outcome of this $8 million project is the creation of a 123KW flat panel solar array – the largest rooftop array in New York City.
Forty percent energy savings over the past three years earned Jesse Dillard of the Dallas Museum of Art the Reformed Gas Guzzler Award thanks to lighting, HVAC and water heater retrofits. The Reformed Drinker Award went to Steve Allwine of the Johnson Braund office building in Seattle for reducing water consumption by 95%. The range of building types that received other innovative awards include a commercial office space, a mixed-use industrial complex and office building, an elementary school, a condominium complex and a rental apartment building.
Beyond installing sustainable technologies, some finalists and winners also encouraged behavioral changes for their projects. Recognized achievements on that front include the launch of a carpool program, information-sharing about green living and messaging to tenants about the use of energy-efficient light bulbs and other home improvements.
All of the winners clearly deserved their walk down the green carpet. And congratulations to Urban Green Council for recognizing their critical work in such prestigious fashion!
|Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council|
|A proud winner.|
Chief Operating Officer
U.S. Green Building Council
“Invent because you must.”
Tom Sachs’ adage is a fitting mantra for our International vision for LEED. As the market and the passion for LEED grows around the world, we must re-invent USGBC in the context of the global landscape. There are new destinations ripe with green building potential, and emerging markets from Berlin to Budapest.
Our strategy? To follow the knowledge, to go where there is passion. Last month, that took USGBC leadership to China.
|The USGBC team in Shanghai, along with bian lian performers wearing USGBC-themed masks|
Why China? The passion and pro-activeness for green building among Chinese developers cannot be understated. Despite language barriers and other challenges, the Chinese have begun applying LEED across an array of projects and building types, from green schools to Shanghai Tower, which will be the tallest LEED building in the world once complete. China is a place where the dispersion of green building has grown organically, 7,500 miles from the birthplace of LEED. For our USGBC team, it felt like we were parents looking at our own child: Our creation made us look very small. And that was a remarkable feeling.
We’ve been fortunate to travel to China in years past, making lasting connections with emerging LEED users and celebrating new projects with plaque ceremonies. This particular trip was an opportunity for USGBC to gain critical insight in to emerging global markets. USGBC has become a knowledge center that many sectors leverage – but there is an abundance of knowledge outside of USGBC and LEED. China represents one nucleus of this kind. As we walked the floors of China’s LEED buildings, and met the enthusiastic and accommodating teams that championed them, that fact became extremely clear.
We left China with a “mission accomplished” feeling, and a clear idea of what USGBC needs to develop in order to support Chinese developers and act on their recommendations. There were three prominent outcomes:
- The developers asked us, “How can we learn more about LEED?” China is just getting started, and it is our responsibility to bring as much education and guidance to the region as possible. Which brings us to our next outcome…
- Translating LEED resources is a necessity, not a luxury! The language barrier among Chinese LEED users is the biggest obstacle to widespread usage of LEED in China. It only gets more complex through the delivery chain – a Chinese developer or corporate leader may speak an array of languages, but consider the construction worker or laborer who has lived in China his entire life: Generations of his family may have never stepped outside of the country. The time to translate USGBC and LEED resources is now. You can expect a launch of many translated resources on Oct. 1.
- We were extraordinarily humbled by the level of access and hospitality we were given by the busy Chinese developers and business leaders we met with on our trip. Despite hectic schedules, these individuals were eager to learn from us and interested in progressing the green building mission. The amount we learned from them is insurmountable. We are grateful to them, and to our USGBC International team members, Jennivine Kwan and Nellie Chang, for making this experience a reality.
The trip to China left me and Judith Webb, USGBC’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, feeling more energized than ever – and truly convinced of LEED’s global potential.
LEED is currently being applied in hundreds of countries, but to see China’s green building revolution firsthand brought the idea home. And just like the bian lian performers we met in Shanghai, who can change their masks in a fraction of a second (see the photos below), we, too, need to change and reinvent ourselves. By making LEED globally accessible, we’re on the road to doing exactly that.
Lastly, thanks goes to USGBC’s Senior Vice President of LEED, Scot Horst. Accompanying him to China was an experience: I felt like a student in the presence of the master. Thank you, Scot, for your influence over the past three years.
I have just become more passionate.
|The art of bian lian – or “face-changing” with masks.|
|A bian lian performer changes his mask with a flourish…|
|A USGBC bian lian mask.|
Jeremy Sigmon, LEED® AP BD+C
Director, Technical Policy
U.S. Green Building Council
Even in a still struggling economy, green building policymaking continues. To celebrate some of the impressive progress this year, USGBC partnered with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) to convene key state lawmakers in Chicago this past Tuesday during the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The most notable successes to date have been in the proliferation of green schools policymaking – more than 80 bills in 28 states this year alone.
Big buildings – like schools, office buildings and civic structures – capture a lot of the limelight in green building policy and practice. Rightfully so, you might say, due to their typically large social, economic and environmental footprint. But in a nation with more than 130 million homes and growing, the numbers point to a similarly important opportunity for residential buildings to make important contributions to a more sustainable future.
|Access the policy brief.|
At Tuesday’s event, the group of leading state policymakers explored how government could help augment the potential of residential buildings to contribute to achieving sustainability goals. We introduced a new policy brief to answer that question: Green Homes are Better Homes.
To date, USGBC counts more than 400 public policy initiatives that promote or advance green building and LEED. Only 25 of these, however, make a concerted effort to leverage all that a green home can contribute to a greener neighborhood or community. (If I’m missing one you know about, please do send it in!) New Mexico and Cincinnati have probably had some of the most celebrated successes with their programs, and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo just approved a bill last month that would allow New York municipalities to offer similar, powerful incentives.
Of course, Adam Smith would argue that the Invisible Hand of the free market, too, has a critical role to play. But efficient and transparent systems for sellers and buyers of green homes aren’t yet widely available. We’ve got a campaign for that: Highlight Green Homes. And while the market may eventually provide adequate and appropriate housing for all, healthy and efficient affordable housing is needed today. We’ve got a campaign for that, too: Value Healthy and Efficient Affordable Housing. And to accelerate the market uptake of green homebuilding practices, our Leadership with LEED campaign promotes incentives for building green homes that are verified and tested by a third-party, like a LEED for Homes Green Rater.
At Tuesday’s gathering, Jason La Fleur, Regional Director of the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability and lead residential advocate for USGBC-Illinois, provided lawmakers with his professional perspective from the field. “Green homes address many of the energy and environmental issues that state legislators are already focusing on, such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource conservation, reduced toxicity, stormwater management, heat island reduction and more.”
In addition to providing incentives for market uptake of green homebuilding practice, some states are demanding higher energy and environmental performance of their new and existing affordable housing stock. Helping the market operate more efficiently may be the most transformative means to unleash the potential of green homes and, as La Fleur said, “It’s all about allowing the market to quantify the value of green.” At the federal level, help is hopefully on the way with the SAVE Act.
In the California marketplace, where green homebuilding has been prolific and is now also required in the statewide code, we now have empirical evidence that green homes sell for a premium – upwards of nine percent according to a study released last month. La Fleur added that some projects in Chicago report 20 percent value premiums for LEED certified homes. Higher valuation creates a greater asset value for homeowners, establishes a broader tax assessment base for municipal governments, and drives the market to deliver more green real estate.
June’s announcement of 20,000 LEED-certified homes and the accelerating growth of the program does provide promise that the residential marketplace is expanding, but there is a lot of ground to gain. How will you help policymakers incentivize the sustainability potential of 130+ million homes?
Jeremy Sigmon, LEED® AP BD+C
Director, Technical Policy
U.S. Green Building Council
Even in a still struggling economy, green building policymaking continues. To celebrate some of the impressive progress this year, USGBC partnered with the National …
Center for Green Schools Advocacy Lead
U.S. Green Building Council
Earlier this week, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council co-hosted a reception at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) alongside the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) to celebrate the impressive growth of green schools policy activity. More than 80 related bills across 28 states have been considered in state legislatures just this year. Additionally, 28 of these bills have been signed into law, and more may still be on the way. Surely these are stats worth celebrating.
This year’s monumental progress is enumerated in a report released at the reception, which drew together approximately 50 lawmakers and members of the NGO community. The report highlights the variety of ways that legislators are using their pen to help make green schools for all within this generation a reality. From appropriating funds for school upgrades, to standards around new school construction, to improved operations and maintenance best practices, the report showcases tried-and-tested policy ideas and fresh, new approaches.
A few highlights include:
- Utah passed HJR1 which highlights the importance of green schools and encourages new construction and major renovation projects to be healthy and energy-efficient.
- Vermont passed S.92, instituting a green cleaning policy for schools.
- Arkansas appropriated money through HB1078 to fund infrastructure improvements consistent with green building rating systems.
- Illinois passed a resolution to encourage participation in Green Apple Day of Service this coming September 29.
This is a significant increase in the volume of state legislative activity on green schools from years past, and it demonstrates that even amid unproductive political discourse and gridlock, state lawmakers are continuing to put differences aside to prioritize the importance of green schools in our communities.
Illinois State Representative Karen May, chair and co-founder of the 50 for 50 Green Schools Caucus Initiative, urged her colleagues to continue to fight to make green schools their lasting legacy that will impact communities for generations to come.
|Doug Widener, Executive Director of the IL-USGBC Chapter,
Rep. May, Nate Allen and Jeremy Sigmon, pictured with a green
apple necklace, hand-made by USGBC’s own Maggie Comstock
After six terms of dedicated service to the legislature, Rep. May is retiring at the end of this session. She has been a terrific champion for the green schools movement. Since helping to found the 50 for 50 Initiative, Rep. May has elevated this topic among her colleagues in Illinois, organized state lawmakers around the country in the 50 for 50 network, helped create resources specifically for state legislators to advance green schools, and most recently, brought together both sides of the aisle around an issue that’s too important to fall victim to partisan politics. We will miss working with Rep. May as a member of the Illinois legislature, but look forward to future opportunities to engage with one of this movement’s greatest champions. On behalf of all your friends at USGBC, thank you, Karen!
For additional ideas and resources about advancing effective green school policies, consult USGBC’s evolving Green Schools Menu of Options for State Legislators, available for download at www.centerforgreenschools.org/50for50.
For more about Tuesday’s event, and the release of a new policy brief on how policymakers can tap residential buildings to further sustainability goals, see “Policymakers Imagine a Contributing Role for 130+ Million (Greener) Homes.”
Center for Green Schools
Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle for our very first Day of Service project. I joined the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders and Seattle Storm, along with Washington Green Schools and Seattle Public Schools, the Green Sports Alliance, Skanska, community volunteers and students from Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth High School to conduct a service project to gain momentum leading up to the official Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 29.
The goal for the day was to expand the garden. We were tasked with building three plant beds and filling them with compost, soil, and plants, installing shelves in the tool shed and building a few benches. There were 22 middle and high school students there to join including the garden clubbers and some of the school’s athletes, new Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda, an amazing crew from Skanska, the Washington Green Schools program, Cedar Grove Composting who even donated a truckload of composted soil, as well as players past and present from the Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders and Storm.
|Helping Lucas Luetge with our project|
In four hours we unloaded the soil, built three beds, two benches, planted kiwi, lavender, blueberries, strawberries and flowers, made an amazingly tasty lunch with ingredients from the garden, got really smelly and pretty much had the greatest day ever. The players were super engaged and excited to be there. I showed the Mariners relief pitcher Lucas Luetge (who pitched half an inning later that night!) how to plant a lavender bush and helped Superintendent Banda put a blueberry bush in the ground. They had a great time. The team from Skanska taught the kids about the company’s “Stretch and Flex” program which encourages job site safety and about being great advocates for Green Apple Day of Service.
This project realized everything Day of Service has the potential to be:
- A diverse group of students engaged and excited to get dirty and learn new things.
- Community organizations and companies partnering together for a great cause (including local celebs!)
- Local media coverage – West Seattle Herald as well as a couple of local news outlets and the sports radio station
- Hard work with tangible results and something the community put their sweat into, will maintain, and be proud of.
Start to finish, the trip to Seattle could not have been better. Our new friends from the Mariners, Skanska and the Green Sports Alliance treated us like family the entire week, and we even got to spend an evening on the owner’s suite at the Mariners game. It was awesome, but was really just a treat on top of the experience we had the day before yesterday.
Thanks to everyone who made this day such a success, and we’re look forward to many more projects like this to come!
University of California, Berkeley
When shopping for a new car, one of the most prominent features on display is the miles-per-gallon (MPG) usage of the vehicle. There is an EnergyGuide label for dishwashers, clothes washers and other appliances, and an Energy Star label for the most efficient appliances. But when buying a home, there is usually no information on its energy efficiency — which is strange, considering the substantial impact that monthly expenditures on electricity, gas and water have on disposable income. For many people, energy is the single largest monthly expense after mortgage or rental payments.
|Photo credit: Zeck Butler Architects|
The recent surge in the labeling of more efficient, “green” homes should therefore be good news for people who want to make a more informed decision when purchasing a new home. In Europe, an energy label for homes has been in place for some years now, providing prospective homebuyers with a simple assessment on the energy efficiency of a dwelling. Consumers seem to value this type of information: a large-scale study on the effect of energy labels on the selling prices of homes in the Netherlands shows a price premium for more efficient homes.
Now there is comparable evidence for the U.S.
In a study released last week, Matthew Kahn and I look at sales transactions of 1.6 million homes in California to investigate the price implications of three “green” labels: LEED for Homes, Energy Star and GreenPoint Rated. We find statistical evidence that, holding other factors constant, a green label on a single-family home in California provides a market premium of 9 percent compared to a similar home without the label. It is important to note that this premium is just an average, and there is some variation in the estimate. In addition, we find that the price premium is influenced by local climate — a green home is worth more in hotter areas where cooling is more important, and thus energy efficiency is more valuable. We also find that environmental ideology influences the willingness to pay for green homes. In areas with more hybrid vehicle registrations (which presumably reflects a higher degree of environmental consciousness), the premium paid for a green home is higher.
The bottom line: Green labels, or the characteristics these labels reflect (energy savings, water savings, higher comfort, etc.) are valued by homebuyers.
This finding is comparable to evidence on the financial implications of LEED and Energy Star labels as documented for the commercial sector, and it provides important information for developers who still wonder about the marketability of more efficient homes. A question that remains is whether displaying information on non-efficient homes could further consumers’ understanding of the energy efficiency of their (prospective) homes, thereby reducing the information asymmetry that is currently present in the residential housing market. But for now, green labels seem to do a good job in informing the market. For consumers who upgrade their home, getting a label might not be a bad idea!
As the dust settles from Rio+20, I finally have a moment to reflect upon the outcomes of the historic Earth Summit Conference. The non-committal nature of the Rio text was a surprise to no one, yet the identification of buildings as an important strategy for the development of sustainable cities and urban infrastructure was still a “win” for the green building movement. Energy efficiency was also recognized as a strategy for combating climate change within both the developed and developing world. Our leaders’ acknowledgement of the role of the buildings sector in sustainable development is a testament to the benefits of green building that go beyond protecting the environment, as outlined in the United Nations Environment Programme Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative’s new report, “Building Design and Construction: Forging Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Development.”
|Snapped on USGBC’s trip to the Rio+20 conference.|
As the world’s population rapidly urbanizes, we need to address future development and construction. Picture this: In order to accommodate the expected increase in urban population of two billion people before 2030, we would need to construct 200 new cities larger than Paris! Our planet cannot accommodate such development, especially if done conventionally. Clearly the decisions that we make today are crucial to ensuring the future health of our planet as cities put more pressure on our finite resources.
Green buildings not only address the development requirements of future urbanization, but also serve important social and economic needs of these populations. For example, the International Labour Organization estimates that the construction sector employs 111 million people globally; and as green buildings increase their share of the market, they also provide stable employment for millions and boost local economies around the world. Green schools and affordable housing programs help spread the social benefits of green buildings to a wider audience, promoting education and health.
|Download the report.|
Finally, the report outlines the role of cities in driving green building construction and sustainability. Sub-national governments are taking the lead on urban sustainability as national governments are slower to implement progressive policies. As building design and construction have acute benefits for local populations, cities are often best suited to implement these policies.
The UNEP-SBCI report helps builds the broader case for green building throughout the world as more than an environmental movement, but also a social and economic one, which appropriately aligns with the themes of Rio+20—economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental protection.
Brendan Owens, LEED AP, P.E.
Vice President, LEED Technical Development
U.S. Green Building Council
Ever been to New York, NY? Picture the island of Manhattan in your mind (or Google’s). Now multiply that by three. Or, picture the entire District of Columbia.
Both are roughly equivalent to two billion square feet – the amount of LEED-certified space that now exists around the world, a milestone that we announced yesterday. And while it’s difficult to conceptualize so much space, I think we can all agree that it’s a milestone worthy of celebration – and one to which so many people, from architects to project managers to building inhabitants – have contributed.
To exemplify that point, let’s take a peak at some of the recent certifications:
- Google’s LEED Platinum office in Mumbai, India, a commercial interiors project
- A new construction project in Lem, Denmark: the LEED Platinum Vestas Technology Center
- LEED Gold Warrensburg Elementary School in Warrensburg, Missouri
- LEED Platinum Ernst & Young Plaza in Los Angeles, California, an existing buildings project
- LEED Platinum University of California Irvine Medical Education Building in Irvine, California
Two billion is a great benchmark for LEED’s growth. Twelve years ago, LEED started as a singular rating system for new construction projects. Now, LEED encompasses a suite of rating systems that touches just about every possible building type, from hospitals to our homes, offices to outlet malls. We’re certifying two million square feet of commercial LEED space every single day in 130 countries. There are 50,000 LEED-certified and LEED-registered projects, comprising a grand total of nine billion square feet. And if that isn’t enough to blow your mind, perhaps the 22,000 LEED for Homes certified units will. (51% of which are in the affordable housing sector!) In twelve years, LEED has made more than a splash in the marketplace (cannonball, anyone?), which would have never been possible without the continued input and involvement of a vast array of industries. Today, LEED is a rating system that more than 1,200 companies, from architecture firms to product manufacturers to Fortune 500 companies, are willing to stand behind.
To all of you LEED users out there, whether your certified project was a commercial building that accounts for hundreds of thousands of square feet, or a small storefront of just a couple hundred, we applaud you – and we thank you. Green building is our collective movement, and no matter how far you moved the needle, you’ve helped tip the scales to two billion square feet. One billion = big. But two billion? It’s safe to say that LEED has grown larger than we ever imagined in the early days, and now, it’s difficult to imagine a built world without it.
All this amazing work notwithstanding – let’s all agree that this is just the beginning!
U.S. Green Building Council
Hello San Antonio! The Center for Green Schools team arrived this week in the great state of Texas for USGBC’s annual mid-year meeting, chatting with our most engaged stakeholders about Green Apple and the Day of Service. It’s been inspiring to hear how engaged so many of our leaders are planning to be on Sept. 29, and what they’ve already done to promote this day.
We’ve been spending our days with the chapter green schools committees and those interested in how they can further become involved in our mission to create healthy, high-performing schools for all within this generation. But through talking further about the Day of Service, one thing we’re finding is that people still have a lot of questions. How do I register? How can I get more volunteers? How do I promote my event on and after Sept. 29? Where can I find funds for my project? And the list goes on.
Well, for those of you reading this post and find yourself asking similar questions, you’re in luck! We’ve answered some of the inquiries we’ve been getting a lot of below. If we didn’t answer your questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be sure to get you an answer ASAP.
How do I find projects in my area?
Our Green Apple website supports search functionality for registered projects within a 100 mile radius of a zipcode, or by country. We’re seeing 8-10 new registrations a day, so check often!
Does my event have to be on Sept. 29?
We’re using Sept. 29 as our main date for service projects, but we don’t want to discourage others from getting involved if Saturday does not work for them. The majority of events will happen in the month of September, so if you’re not doing a project on Sept. 29, just be sure to keep us informed of what date it will be on.
How do I promote and broadcast the work I’m doing leading up to Sept. 29?
We encourage you to check out our promo kit on our tools page, which takes you step by step through different ways you can talk about the great work you’ve been doing. We also encourage you to share your updates and progress via social media – it’s a great and easy way to spread the word and get more people on board. Follow us on twitter, @mygreenschools, and share your plans with #greenapple. Finally, the Center welcomes any photos or blog posts you may have about the work that you’re doing – we’d love to feature them on our site!
What do I do after my project?
Tell us the details! How it went, how many people showed up, what you accomplished, any media coverage that came from it – and don’t forget photos! We’ll be working hard in the months after September to share all of your stories, and encourage more participation for next year’s Day of Service.
Where can I find funding?
Our hope is that Green Apple Day of Service does not have to be a significant financial undertaking, demonstrating that school improvement projects can happen with little cost, and with in-kind contributions of services and resources from within one’s own community. Check out the idea cards we have posted on the site. We’ve suggested a number of low- or no-cost school improvement projects like classroom and schoolyard cleanups. For other projects like school gardens for which supplies will be required, we recommend you seek in-kind contributions of services and resources from within your own community. Local businesses, NGOs and PTAs make great partners for Green Apple Day of Service.
Where can I find additional volunteers?
Partner, partner, partner! Forming a partnership with a group in your community is a very easy way to expand your volunteer base exponentially. Places like churches, Rotary clubs, companies based in your area with a large number of employees or local non-profits are great places to start.
My project is small – should I still register it?
Yes! Even if you don’t plan on needing additional volunteers or capacity, we’d still like to get your project on the map.
If I will be doing something in multiple locations, should I register one event, or each one?
We’re thrilled you have more than one project in the works, and we want to know about every single one. The map on mygreenapple.org is more than a way for you to register projects; it’s way for everyone to see just how far and wide Green Apple Day of Service is being taken! By registering each Day of Service event individually, you’ll be able to meet potential volunteers where they live and work, providing nearby opportunities to connect and support. If you have lots and lots of projects to get registered, contact Emily Davis, email@example.com, to help you navigate the registration tool.
I’m from another country – do you have materials in different languages?
We do! We have our one-pager in Spanish, and are working on also translating it into Arabic, Swahili and French. If there is a resource you would like translated, please contact Carly Cowan, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve already taken the initiative to translate our resources yourself, please let us know and we can help to format them.
I’m not able to do a service project – is there anything else I can do?
While we’re sad to hear you aren’t able to join us on Sept. 29, there are plenty of other ways you can get involved. One of the easiest and most visual ways you can help is to take a picture of a green apple for our We Learn Here campaign. Identify a place you feel you learn the most, and snap of a picture of you with a green apple there. The upload it on our website, or share it via social media.
Jeremy Sigmon, LEED® AP BD+C
Director, Technical Policy
U.S. Green Building Council
I overheard a lot of scary things in the workshops and in the halls during last week’s 37th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop. The sessions I attended were worrisome, and the mere titles of some of the sessions I missed were downright frightening – like, “Community at Risk: Biodefense and Civic Action after the Anthrax Attacks,” or “What Keeps Me up at Night: Senior Hazards Researchers Reflect on Lessons (Not) Learned.” It’s a sobering conference to be sure, but it’s also extremely important to learn about the many ways that our society, economy and infrastructure are very, and increasingly vulnerable to disaster.
Where I come from, the motivation for action today is not typically driven by the threat of disaster. Instead, we’re driven by the promise of a brighter, greener future. I was uncertain about how this optimism would be received when I was invited to participate on behalf of USGBC in this conference, but I learned very quickly that emergency managers and the many minds that stay up late thinking about how to better prepare for and mitigate myriad disasters are advancing a hopeful and constructive approach to planning for a resilient future. Phew!
|Build to last: Green building methods and codes can help prepare and mitigate the effects of natural disasters. Photo source: NOAA Photo Library, Flickr|
As you may know, USGBC has been involved in this line of thinking for several years, after being called upon time and again to help communities rebound from disasters and build back better, stronger and greener. Resistance, preparedness, mitigation and resilience to natural hazards are at the heart of a resiliency agenda. And we know, intuitively, that a resilient future is a sustainable future.
At our panel session, we addressed a simple question, “The Future of Green Codes and Standards: Is there a Place for Disaster Resistance?” The short answer is, “Of course!”
In fact, USGBC posed a similar question last year in a joint venture with the University of Michigan to better understand how green building – and LEED in particular – already addresses some of the longer term hazards posed by a changing climate. This report is one of the first attempts to compile all research on the impacts of climate change on the built environment, and to link impacts with strategies for addressing them.
The report finds that preparedness for future climatic conditions will require greater effort in design, mitigation and adaptation given the decreasing reliability of past climate and weather data. Appendix C spends more than 150 pages detailing how LEED credits and prerequisites are, in many cases, promoting resistance to potential climate-related disasters. LEED users may think most commonly of credit awarded for development outside of known floodplains and for minimizing contributions to global climate change through energy efficiency and renewable energy. Maybe the most direct example is LEED for Homes’ “Durability Management Process,” where all projects are required to assess durability risks (with particular emphasis on moisture control, including flood risk), prior to construction, then manage those risks, and may also earn credit for third-party verification that those measures were implemented. You are encouraged to suggest ways that LEED could evolve to even better address these and other hazards by proposing a credit for the LEED Pilot Credit Library.
Codes, too, have a clear and important role to play given their well-established role of protecting the health, safety and welfare of building occupants in any compliant building from acute risks and hazards, and the insurance industry agrees. For some natural hazards, a code that applies to all buildings may be a far more logical and effective place for design and construction safeguards and other applicable mitigation strategies. Should any building be allowed to be built in an area prone to earthquakes that would crumble under even the most frequent and predictable quakes? Determining the minimum threshold of acceptable risk is what code development and adoption is all about.
There’s a reasonably good argument to incorporate some of these safeguards into the International Green Construction Code (certain measures may extend building service life, for example), but there is an equally appropriate counter argument for them to be incorporated into the base codes (these are acute life safety hazards to which all buildings should be resistant). Either way, the codes will continue to be an important vehicle to mainstream these protections in newly constructed buildings.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Mayor Dixson of tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kan. about his community’s rebuilding efforts, in which they have committed all new public construction to LEED Platinum. Almost any building – green or not – would be damaged if a similar tornado were to strike again.
“We’re building back in a way that will ensure that this can never happen again,” Mayor Dixson told me, referring both to the deliberate focus on preventing loss of life and property in a future storm, as well as investments to reduce the carbon footprints of city facilities that will thus contribute far less to the uncertain weather patterns and events.
|Discussing green buildings and resiliency with Mayor Dixson of Greensburg, Kan. at the 37th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop|
Most importantly, we should be pleased that this constructive conversation on green buildings and resilience is happening, and will continue. I came away from the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop with a renewed sense of hope because of the common ground we found between these two communities. Through research and outreach, the green building community is taking the steps to better understand the risks posed by natural hazards and to find innovative approaches to address and mitigate those risks. Communities around the country are doing great work to analyze, design, and build today in order to ensure a better, brighter, greener and stronger tomorrow. That bridge to a more resilient future requires input and action from a diverse community of perspectives to ensure that our buildings, our communities and our society end up better, brighter, stronger and greener.
Visit USGBC.org/resiliency to learn more.
Manager, Event Content
U.S. Green Building Council
Heading into the eleventh Greenbuild, our education program continues to evolve with a fresh approach to entertaining and motivating you inside the session room.
Check out some of the changes I’m most excited about:
- Shorter education sessions = 60 minutes. In an effort to help you make the most of your experience, education sessions are now hour-long presentations. View the program »
- Earn your continuing education. This year we’re increasing time slots and education opportunities. LEED APs and Green Associates can still earn one year’s worth of continuing education credits at Greenbuild. Learn more »
- USGBC Updates are one track. In the past, specialty updates were offered during one time slot, and you told us it wasn’t working. So we’re changing it up. In 2012, if you wish, you will have the opportunity to attend every USGBC update.
- More special sets. This is your year to experience the magic of special sets. Special sets feature unique stages, lighting, audience polling and interactive presentation styles to better engage the audience. Forty sessions will be held on a special set.
- Start scheduling and connecting. Looking to connect with an attendee, exhibitor, or presenter? Greenbuild Connect not only reserves your seat in education sessions, it also helps you plan your entire Greenbuild experience. Greenbuild Connect »
What are you looking forward to learning @ Greenbuild 2012? Let us know and tweet @Greenbuild.