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Attend a spring event with USGBC New York Upstate

February 27, 2017
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Spring is almost here in upstate New York. Join us for an educational event or conference while earning continuing education credits. Meet experts in the green building sector at activities, or join us for a fun-filled gala. All events are open to the public.

If you have any questions, or ideas for another event, please contact Tracie Hall, Director of USGBC New York Upstate, via email or by phone at 315-729-9067.

March 11 (White Plains, New York)

Conquer The Code—Residential Energy Code Training

Register

March 22  (Tupper Lake, New York)

Conquer The Code—Residential Energy Code Training

Register 

March 29 (Syracuse, New York)

Fourth Annual Friends of USGBC New York Upstate Gala to Honor Silda Wall Spitzer

Register

March 30–31 (Syracuse, New York)

15th Annual New York State Green Building Conference

Register 

April 6 (Marcellus, New York)

Greening Your Home: How to Conserve Water and Energy with a Small Wallet

First in a series of four, presented by Gretchen Bevard

Register 

April 13  (Marcellus, New York)

Greening Your Home: Improving Your Home’s Thermal Envelope

Second in a series of four, presented by Jim D’aloisio

Register

April 20  (Marcellus, New York)

Greening Your Home: The Truth About Cleaning, Disinfecting and Pesticides

Third in a series of four, presented by Richard Kampas

Register 

April 27 (Marcellus, New York)

Greening Your Home: Recycling and Composting; What You Can Do in Your Home

Fourth in a series of four, presented by a representative of Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency

Register 

April 27–29 (Potsdam, New York)

Home, Garden and Business Expo: Go Local. Go Green.

Register

At GSCE 2017, learn from school leaders who are making a difference

February 27, 2017
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The Green Schools Conference and Expo is less than one month away, taking place March 21-22 in Atlanta, Georgia. There are many reasons to get excited about attending the conference, like opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals and dynamic plenary speakers.

The Green Schools Conference also features some amazing education sessions, where attendees can learn about everything from designing greener schools to encouraging physical activity to getting students excited about healthy eating.

At GSCE 2017, learn about

    1. Two school districts that are using energy management programs to get to net zero.
    2. Educators helping students to develop a sense of place of place through nature journaling and phenology.
    3. School leaders creating smart partnerships to bridge the gap between classroom and community.
    4. Designers who are using strategies for incorporating trauma-informed design principles in school environments.
    5. Educators addressing address math and literacy standards through school gardening and nutrition.

And that is just the beginning! Over the course of two days, over 100 experts will present ideas across 45 innovative and engaging education sessions. Check out all the Green Schools Conference and Expo sessions for 2017.

Register for the Green Schools Conference and Expo

Keep building, for our community and our world

February 27, 2017
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The U.S. is at an important crossroads, where we must carefully consider which direction we will take. At USGBC, we are encouraged about our future because we see that America is alive with awareness and passion.

We’ve witnessed the green building movement double down its efforts to bring people in, lift communities up and demonstrate that green buildings and communities are all about people, the environment and human health and wellness.

We’ve been encouraged by our movement’s continued commitment to building a sustainable future for all regardless of geography or financial means. And we implore you not to be discouraged by the uncertain times we are facing, but to feel empowered. We encourage you to recognize and tap into your own goodness and potential, because right now, we need to look to new leaders: ones who are all in for equality, opportunity, diversity and acceptance—inspired by the promise of a brighter future for our children and for generations to follow.

Our organization knows that these leaders are everywhere, because we’ve watched them make history together and define the work that we do each day. These are the individuals and communities who are prepared to stand up, especially when they’re being told to sit down. They are the reason I believe in our country, no matter what.

For the last 20 years, the leaders of one of the most impactful environmental movements of our time—the green building movement—have been local heroes: mayors, politicians, neighbors and advocates standing up for cleaner, more efficient and more inclusive buildings, communities, cities and states.

The leaders of the green building movement have been part of a community that is 13 million strong—and growing. They’ve been the business owners—big and small—making commitments to do the most good with the resources available to them. They’ve been the educators and innovators and scientists and non-profit employees and economists who have rallied behind a movement that has the power to change our world, definitively, for the better.

These leaders know that LEED, the most widely used and trusted green building system, is one of the single most powerful economic development tools for revitalizing and advancing sustainable communities and that LEED-certified buildings bring benefits to entire communities. Buildings, homes, schools, warehouses, infrastructure development and even entire cities are realizing their potential through green building and LEED. By using 25 percent less energy, 11 percent less water, creating less waste and being healthier for occupants, LEED buildings are a win for everyone.

The green building movement is living proof that real change starts with people—real change starts with you and me. We need to be prepared to carry this movement on our own, inspired and supported by a network of fellow change-makers who are ready to rise. We urge you to do the same.

Please: keep building.

Keep building net-zero office buildings and hospitals and homeless shelters. Keep building more sustainable museums and mosques and schools for our children. Keep building companies that run on brilliant minds and diverse backgrounds (and solar energy). Keep building trust in one another. Keep building bridges and bonds and breaking barriers.

Keep building the places where America happens: the homes that we open to one another. The community centers where we gather. The headquarters where we commit to doing better for our nation.

This is our America. Keep building the country that you know we can be. It is in your hands now, more so than it has ever been.

We must act out of hope, and work every day for our future. We must keep building—we must keep going.

From all of us at USGBC: we stand with you—all of you. We are all in.

Sincerely,
A proud Indian, immigrant and optimist,
Mahesh Ramanujam
President and CEO of USGBC

 

Pick up a copy of today's New York Times, Wall Street Journal or New York Post to see USGBC's ad about LEED.

Hamline Church United Methodist and USGBC Minnesota advance sustainability goals

February 24, 2017
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Hamline Church United Methodist, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, recently obtained a grant to reenergize its green team and develop a long-term green vision. On a Thursday evening in January, with the support of the USGBC Minnesota community, the church launched its effort. Diane Krueger, of the church's "green team," describes the experience:

Participating in a PLANBuilder Workshop, we gathered church volunteer leaders, staff and some long-term building tenants to learn about greening concepts from a variety of USGBC industry experts through the ADVANCE program. 

Using LEED credits as our lens, we examined the challenges and opportunities for sustainability in a faith-based community, historical building and, in particular, the Hamline Church environment. The incredible wealth of knowledge and experience offered by the USGBC experts guided our thinking and opened our eyes to possibilities we had not previously considered.

Although Hamline has already tackled the “low-hanging fruit” to find greater efficiencies within its electric and heating systems, and has begun a project to reduce waste, there was a lot to learn and plenty of possibilities for expanding our care of God’s creation. For example, the group was surprised to learn about the potential for air quality issues common to older buildings. As we have young children in the building on an almost daily basis, this was a significant piece of information.

We also had our thinking broadened to recognize that sustainability isn’t just about the building, but about the entire site and all its activities. Looking at the ways we might green our site further was exciting for its potential to reach beyond the walls of the building and impact the surrounding community.

With a stated goal of being a sanctuary for the city, we strive to be a visibly green presence in the neighborhood. Especially invigorating was the discussion between church leaders and our tenant day care business on ways greening our site can impact children’s development, including a potential collaboration on a nature play area/outdoor Sunday school.

The green team will be reconvening at the end of February to take the “esprit de corps” energy from the launch meeting to move forward with establishing working teams, figuring out our short- and long-term goals and action strategies and creating an overarching vision.

We already have some plans in the works to engage the church community: launching a more comprehensive recycling/composting program on Earth Day; scheduling a “spandex Sunday” when members are encouraged to walk, bike or hike to church; a youth project to construct a new compost bin in the organic garden; and hosting a solar camp for kids. We hope this is only the beginning! 

CHP-equipped district energy: A winning strategy for LEED and PEER

February 24, 2017
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On January 18, 2017, USGBC teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership to host a webinar highlighting the potential LEED point impact for buildings connected to CHP-equipped district energy systems. In addition, we provided an overview of the PEER rating system for sustainable energy systems.

The webinar focused on how buildings connected to district energy systems can earn points in the LEED for Building Design and Construction: New Construction and Major Renovations rating system and how LEED recognizes the energy efficiency benefits of CHP-equipped district energy systems. Future PEER developments that will further streamline the process for achieving LEED points with CHP were also discussed.

If you missed the webinar, you can still check out the recording and the full presentation.

In addition, our FAQs below may answer your questions about this topic. PEER is the world’s first rating system for electricity generation, transmission and distribution. Contact us to inquire about your project.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Where can I find more information?

A: For more information, see also the following resources referenced in the presentation:

Q: Can the methodology for awarding LEED points to buildings connected to a CHP-equipped DES be used for a DES that utilizes both CHP and boilers?

A: Yes, the methodology accounts for CHP-supplied power and heat that is distributed from the central plant to the connected building, as well as any onsite production of thermal and purchased power. The methodology can also be used if there are supplemental boilers in the central plant in addition to the CHP system.

Q: Is CHP only for residential buildings?

A: No, CHP can be used for many different building types. See the EPA CHP Partnership website to learn more.

Q: Does the central plant have to be modeled on an hourly basis, or is an annual overall generation profile sufficient to calculate the annual energy cost?

A: The LEED Treatment of District or Campus Thermal Energy in LEED v2 and LEED 2009 Guidance outlines several possible approaches for modeling the annual performance, depending on the energy rate structures and the complexity of the system itself.

Q: How would a campus that is currently developing a DES approach the LEED certification?

A: There are two opportunities. First, buildings connected to the DES have the opportunity to become LEED-certified. Connecting to a CHP-equipped DES will greatly enhance the opportunity for those buildings to earn points. Second, the DES as a whole can also be certified under PEER, which will also produce benefits for individual buildings connected to it.

Q: Do CHP-equipped district energy points also apply to LEED ND?

A: Today’s presentation was focused on LEED BD+C, and to some degree, LEED O+M; LEED for Neighborhood Development has a slightly different approach to earning points with DES. See LEED ND Green Infrastructure and Buildings Credit: District Heating and Cooling for more information.

Q: In our region, district energy steam costs far more than on-site-produced steam or hot water. Benefits are not energy-cost reduction, but no need for mechanical equipment and maintenance. How does this relate to LEED points?

A: LEED points are determined by energy cost savings. The cost that an individual building pays for steam is different than the cost to generate the steam, which is the basis for the LEED point calculation.

For PEER, the DES is benchmarked on environmental metrics (e.g., system energy efficiency). However, the PEER contribution is still based in part on the percentage of the LEED building’s total energy (expressed as cost) that is provided by the DES.

In general, USGBC is piloting metrics other than cost to evaluate energy performance. See Pilot Credit: Alternative Energy Performance Metric for more information.

Q: We have CHP that serves the campus, but the CHP provides 100 percent thermal and only 60 percent electric. We also have standby boilers that serve the campus; how will this be considered?

A: PEER relies on one year of data (either operational or modeled) to assess the system performance. The extent to which standby boilers were used over that year is the extent to which they would figure into the PEER performance.

For LEED, the PEER contribution is based on the percentage of the specific building’s load (electric plus thermal) that is met by the CHP.

Q: Is there any guidance for existing building connecting to a new CHP/DES?

A: The guidance provided in today’s presentation applies to new and existing buildings connected to a DES. Additional guidance for existing buildings can be found in the LEED v4 O+M Reference Guide.

USGBC’s World-Renowned Greenbuild Conference Coming to Mumbai

February 23, 2017
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India
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Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building; Conference will be held in partnership with the ABEC Exhibitions and Conferences Ltd. (ABEC)

Mumbai, India—(Feb. 23, 2017)—USGBC, the creators of the LEED green building rating system, has announced that Greenbuild, the world’s largest green building conference and expo, will be held in Mumbai, India, from Nov. 2–4, 2017.

USGBC also announced that the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will be held in partnership with the ABEC Exhibitions and Conferences Ltd. (ABEC) and will bring together Indian and global industry leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building, making Greenbuild the ideal space to learn about groundbreaking green building products, services and technologies in the region.

Read the full press release

USGBC North Dakota takes part in K–12 energy competition

February 23, 2017
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A K–12 energy competition was held on Feb. 3, 2017, at the Washington Elementary School in Fargo, North Dakota. This one-day event was organized by eFargo, as part of the 2017 K–12 Energy Challenge. To respond to the call of the school teachers, who wanted to have experts and professionals interact with their students in the competition, USGBC North Dakota, in collaboration with eFargo, volunteered to provide necessary help. 

This competition consisted of two parts. In the morning session, energy experts visited classrooms to answer students’ questions on building energy savings and to help them identify ways for the school to reduce energy usage. The common questions asked by the students included:

  • How is energy use measured?
  • Where is energy wasted in our school?
  • What are some ways to lower our energy use?
  • How much energy is used by different items?
  • What is our current energy use?
  • How will we know if our energy use decreases?

In the afternoon section of the activities, experts and professionals, as the judges, listened to the presentations of the student teams and asked questions. The role of the judges was to grade the students' work and, most importantly, to provide comments, feedback and suggestions to the student teams on their concepts for reducing the energy usage of their schools.

The event provided students the opportunity to come up with ideas about energy savings on their own. It also taught them sustainability principles and encouraged their engagement in green practices—for example, the use of LED lights or daylighting in their schools to reduce electricity consumption.

3 reports about sustainability in schools

February 23, 2017
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You want the best educational resources, and we've got them. Check out this month's selection to grow your LEED, green building and sustainability knowledge.

In February, we've rounded up some education resources related to the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. In advance of the Green Schools Conference and Expo next month, get prepared for the trending topics that will be discussed by reading these reports and taking the quizzes for CE credit.

Note: the reports are available for free through the Center for Green Schools. The associated quiz and continuing education hours are available for purchase on Education @USGBC.

  • State of Our Schools 2016. This national report on K–12 public school facilities funding projects an annual under-investment of $46 billion. The report features a state-by-state analysis of investment in school infrastructure, as well as recommendations for investments, innovations and reforms to improve learning environments for children in all U.S. public schools.
  • The Green Schools Investment Guide for Healthy, Efficient and Inspiring Learning Spaces. This guide is designed to help school stakeholders advocate for renovations, retrofits and upgrades to their school buildings. Using the tips, tools and charts provided, all school stakeholders—from parents to teachers to school board members—can advance their school and community priorities.
  • Powering Down: Behavior-based Energy Conservation in K–12 Schools. This toolkit follows the experiences of five public schools that have reduced electricity use by 20 to 37 percent through behavior-based strategies alone. Use these schools as models for yours, and examine common strategies for every school.

Explore Education @USGBC

Greenbuild is coming to India in 2017 [video]

February 23, 2017
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India's unwavering commitment to green buildings and sustainability is apparent through its reaching the level of the third most LEED-certified buildings internationally. With such dynamic growth to support it, the world's largest sustainability and green building conference and expo, Greenbuild, is coming to India in 2017. 

Greenbuild India will be held November 2–4, 2017 in Mumbai. A fixture in the United States since 2002, Greenbuild brings together industry professionals across various portfolios to share their knowledge and experience of the booming green building industry.

India, with more than 2,400 LEED projects and renowned partners such as ITC, Infosys, Tata Housing and K Raheja Corp., among others, will provide a platform for green building professionals to connect, share knowledge and expand the green building market in the country. 

Learn more about Greenbuild India

Meet USGBC Nevada's new director: Q&A with Jeneane Harter

February 22, 2017
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Today, USGBC announced the appointment of Jeneane Harter as the director of USGBC Nevada. In this role, Harter will work to advance USGBC’s mission to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated through localized engagement and outreach throughout Nevada.

As director of USGBC Nevada, Harter will collaborate on initiatives with local stakeholders and communities to create a built environmental that prioritizes environmental and human health. Harter will also work to expand the use of LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system, and advocate on behalf of the green building sector.  

Where are you from?

California, the Bay Area.

What’s your favorite thing to do in in your town on a Saturday afternoon?

Hang out with my nieces and nephew, enjoying all the beauty northern Nevada (and Lake Tahoe) have to offer.

Who would you want to go to dinner with—living or dead?

Sun Zu.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?

Professionally—receiving an award from NASA for my work with the International Space Station.

In real life—adding “unintentional midwife” to my life resume. It’s a long story, but when my sister-in-law was ready to give birth to her third child, she asked me to come over to take care of the other children while she and my brother went to the hospital. She never made it out the front door. While my brother called the ambulance, she and I delivered my niece Kaelyn “Jeneane” Harter.

Who is your favorite superhero, and why?

Among the goddesses, Freyja (my ancestors were Vikings, so I really relate to that culture). Her corresponding super hero is Red Sonja. As a Viking descendent, I’ll never forgive Dino De Laurentiis for that movie!

In real life, my sister-in-law. She’s the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. She’s a policewoman here in Reno. She deals with horrors most of use can’t imagine, and she does it on a daily basis. And yet when she comes home at night ,she’s the most tender, loving, fun mother you can imagine.

What’s your background, and what motivated you to pursue a career in sustainability?

My first career was in technology. I spent 19 years in Silicon Valley raising venture capital, doing IPOs, mergers and acquisitions and bringing new technologies to market. When I moved to Nevada to be with my family, I got involved in sustainability for several reasons. One is that Nevada is a fragile high desert environment; what we do here is felt, and can be measured, more immediately than in areas of the world where human-caused damage is more readily absorbed by a more verdant, water-rich environment.

Since I wanted to leave my nieces and nephew with the same beautiful environment I enjoyed, I decided to dedicate my second career to sustainability. I got into the ecoliteracy aspects of sustainability because I wanted to create systemic rather than incremental change.

What impact does LEED have on the city of Reno and in the state?

Reno is located in a high desert environment. Las Vegas is an even more fragile, dry desert environment, so sustainability is more important here than in other state. The only way Reno, and Nevada, can experience economic growth is if that growth is based on sustainable practices. Anything less, and the environment will be destroyed. Destroy the environment, and it cannot sustain a population of any size.

What excites you most about joining the USGBC team?

The opportunity to work with like-minded individual people dedicated to sustainability. The more of us there are, the faster we can effect change.

What part of the sustainability movement inspires you the most?

Education. Building projects creates incremental change and public policy can expand markets for sustainability, but policies can change at the whim of the next administration. However, education, in terms of eco-literacy in the classroom, creates systemic change.

“A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Changing minds creates systemic change.

What’s your favorite LEED project?

The next one, of course! LEED is a progressive continuum. To pick a favorite is to focus on the past. I try never to do that. My eyes are always firmly fixed on the horizon.

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