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Tour Nashville's LEED Platinum fire station on June 28 (USGBC Tennessee)

June 22, 2017
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In 2016, Nashville’s Fire Station 19 received LEED Platinum certification. Then, in June 2017, it was awarded the 2017 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award (GESA) in the “Building Green” category. This facility that houses the city’s first responders 24/7 has several innovative features and has set the bar for future Nashville city buildings.

If you are interested in exploring Fire Station 19 firsthand, join USGBC Tennessee for a free, behind-the-scenes tour on Wed., June 28 at noon. Please send an email for details and to reserve your spot.

LEED Platinum through triple bottom line achievement

For Fire Station 19 to obtain the 80 points required by LEED for Platinum certification, seven different credit categories were met within the LEED BD+C: New Construction rating system—view the project’s LEED Scorecard.

Many of the building’s features provide not only environmental benefits, but economic and health ones as well, which emphasizes the USGBC’s commitment to the triple bottom line concept. This idea shines light on the importance of considering people (social capital), planet (natural capital), and profit (economic capital) during the completion of a truly sustainable project. 


The station has low-emitting materials for all adhesives, paints, carpet systems and composite wood materials to make it a healthier environment for the city's first responders. The HVAC system provides a constant flow of adequate ventilation to occupied spaces, leading to improved indoor air quality. In the words of Captain Derek Hogan, “I can breathe in this one. I’ve got allergies real bad, and at the old station, I got a lot of flare-ups. [Since working at Fire Station 19,] I’ve missed fewer days at work because of being sick.”


Fire Station 19’s innovative design also protects the planet. With the energy demand offset provided by the solar photovoltaic system, total annual greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 28.9 metric tons. Fire Station 19 contains 31 percent local and 16 percent recycled content in building materials. Furthermore, over 60 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill, saving 158,000 pounds of construction waste from burial.


Optimizing efficiencies in lighting systems, mechanical heating and cooling systems, use of renewable energy, and plumbing fixtures that reduce both water consumption and the electricity needed to heat water created an overall annual energy cost reduction of 44 percent compared to a baseline building. This amounted to $11,000 saved in 2016 alone. A key contributor to this success is the station’s 33kW photovoltaic panel system, which provides 15 percent of the building’s electricity use. This is Metro Nashville’s first solar installation in which power produced is used onsite, directly by the building, first.

Metro’s Department of General Services (DGS) manages nearly 100 city buildings. Since 2010, DGS has designed and constructed 12 LEED Silver and eight LEED Gold facilities, as well as one LEED Platinum. The Department’s Socket, Unplug Nashville program elevates its efforts, educating Metro employees and the public about how to live and work more sustainably. Metro’s DGS is helping to make Mayor Barry’s goal “for Nashville to be the greenest city in the Southeast” a reality.

Sign up for the tour

Register for solar training (USGBC National Capital Region)

June 22, 2017
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USGBC National Capital Region would like to alert its members to a training opportunity for architects and engineers in the Northeast. Developed by the Building Codes Assistance Project and the Center for Sustainable Energy, in partnership with AIA and ASHRAE, the solar training for design professionals course will be offered in 22 cities across the United States.

On June 27, the first training session will take place in Washington, D.C. Four others will be located in the Northeast region, including Pittsburgh (July 20), New Haven (September 27) and Boston (TBD), along with a summer 2017 webinar.

STEP into the Sun: Solar Training for Design Professionals
When: 9 am–4 pm, June 27, 2017
Where: District Architecture Center, 421 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

What it will cover:

  • How to incorporate solar photovoltaics (PV) into your design plans
  • How to differentiate yourself in the marketplace by offering solar PV to your clients
  • How to speak with clients about the benefits of solar PV
  • Where to find information on the financial incentives available for solar PV

Architects and engineers are the brains and force behind every design project, and are well poised to tap into the Northeast’s $67.5 billion solar investment potential and to influence a client’s wish list to include solar energy on both new and remodeled buildings. The addition of solar on buildings is an opportunity for designers who want to lead the market with cutting-edge designs.

Learn more and register

Apply for the 2017–2018 School District Sustainability Scholarship

June 22, 2017
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The Center for Green Schools at USGBC has a vision that every school can be an inspiring, healthy, green place where teachers and students thrive and where every student has the chance to succeed. One way we realize this vision is through our annual School District Scholarship, which provides professional development, targeted education and technical support for staff members who are currently undertaking sustainability work across their district.

The 2017–2018 School District Scholarship application is open through August 4, 2017.

Scholarship benefits

  • Travel, lodging and attendance for the scholar and one colleague at the 2018 Green Schools Conference
  • Travel, lodging and attendance for the scholar at the annual summit for School Sustainability Leaders (hosted in conjunction with the Green Schools Conference)
  • Travel, lodging and attendance for the scholar at the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
  • Ongoing training through personal and small group coaching
  • Limited complimentary year-long access to several school resources from USGBC, including Learning Lab, the Green Classroom Professional Certificate, and LEED Coach for school projects

Minimum requirements

The School District Scholarship is available to school systems of all sizes, but to qualify, school districts must have a current staff person who spends a minimum of 50 percent of their time on sustainability-related efforts. To determine if staff time is currently dedicated to sustainability, follow the definition of green schools described in the “three pillars”: reduced environmental impact, positive impact on student and teacher health and improved environmental literacy.

The application includes a required signed letter from school district leadership that includes 1) support for specific sustainability activities at the school district; 2) support for a named staff person to spend at least 50 percent of their time on sustainability-related initiatives during the scholarship year; and 3) support for the professional development time during which this staff person will be participating with the Center for Green Schools for the scholarship year.

Up to five districts will be selected for the 2017–2018 cohort.

Learn more and apply

You can learn more about the School District Scholarship by reading about two of our past scholarship recipients from Albemarle County Public Schools and Detroit Public Schools. If you find this opportunity a good fit for your district, use our one-page overview to talk with your district leadership about the program. Please complete the application by Fri., August 4, 2017.

We look forward to working with the next cohort of scholars to accomplish your sustainability goals, connect you to new resources and opportunities and share your stories with others across the country.

Apply for the School District Scholarship

Learn about zero waste at a June 26 workshop (USGBC Orange County)

June 21, 2017
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Join USGBC Orange County on June 26 to learn how you can get started with zero waste certification. The workshop will cover the importance of measuring what is wasted and tracking reuse, recycling and composting programs. Attendees will also learn how to plan for more waste diversion and how businesses have decreased waste bills dramatically by diverting over 90 percent from landfills, incineration and the environment.

Zero Waste 101 Workshop: Going Beyond Recycling to Certification—USGBC Orange County

When: Mon., June 26, 1–4 pm PDT
Where: LPA, 5161 California Avenue, Irvine, California
Cost: $45 USGBC members, $60 nonmembers
Register now 

This introductory workshop is appropriate for both small and large businesses and provides the basics for businesses that are just starting their recycling program and want to take it to the next level.

At his workshop, you will learn how to

  • Cut trash costs and generate more recycling revenues.
  • Go zero waste without breaking the bank.
  • Kick-start your zero waste program.
  • Become a zero waste-certified business.
  • Understand and exceed new state mandates (AB341, AB1826).

Learn more about the zero waste certification program.

Register for the workshop

Submit a proposal for the 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo

June 21, 2017
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The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) is the only national event to bring together all of the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build, and teach in U.S. schools.

Every year, GSCE brings together the growing community of green school champions for two days of learning, connecting and collaborating to support our shared mission of advancing healthy, high-performing green schools where students learn how to sustain and improve the world around them.

Attendees engage in hands-on learning, participate in in-depth discussions and problem solving, and get inspired by speakers at the forefront of connecting sustainability, social justice and education. Two days of programming offers the opportunity for attendees to share ideas and successful strategies; learn about potential partnerships; and discover tools, services and products to help them succeed in creating schools that teach students about global sustainability—all in an environment that’s healthy for them, for their communities and for the Earth.

Green Schools Conference and Expo 2018
When: May 3–4
Where: Hyatt Regency Denver, Denver, Colorado

Call for proposals

GSCE is now accepting proposals from industry experts including educators, nonprofits, governmental agencies and corporate entities who are eager to share their knowledge, experience and efforts to create green, healthy, sustainable teaching and learning environments.

Submit to tell your story of students getting engaged in learning at schools that are better for their health and better for the environment. View the Call for Proposals document, Submittal Guide and Program Policies to learn more.

The deadline for submissions is Fri., August 11 at 5 p.m. ET.

Submit a proposal

Call for reviewers

GSCE is also accepting applications for peer reviewers to evaluate proposals for educational sessions at the 2018 conference. Peer reviewers help maintain the outstanding reputation of GSCE by identifying exceptional and timely presentations. Engaging, highly qualified reviewers with expertise in the conference’s content areas is essential to the ongoing success of the GSCE education program. 

Review the Call for Reviewers document to learn more. The online application must be complete by August 11 at 5 p.m. ET. Complete the application.

California Policy Corner: Green Hard Hat Awards and advancing legislation

June 20, 2017
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Budget and green legislation

After clearing a series of legislative deadlines in April and May, seven of the eight green building bills USGBC is supporting are charging forward, although California’s bold new attempt at a cap-and-trade bill did not advance. All the while, Gov. Brown has put state leadership on the global stage by striking new climate deals with China.

The deadline for the Governor to pass the budget put pressure on the legislature to figure out how to align state funds with state priorities. The newly adopted 2017–2018 budget is lengthy, and will not be truly complete without a few key trailer bills that address cap and trade and water conservation. These issues are still in negotiation, and are likely to be resolved at the end of June.

The budget includes

  • $2.8 billion towards fixing roads, strengthening overpasses and bridges and building mass transit.
  • More than $11,000 per pupil on K–12 schools.
  • $546 million toward health care access and family planning.

Seven of the eight bills USGBC supports are moving forward in the legislature. Check out the widget below for up-to-date information on the eight bills we’ve been supporting.

Green Hard Hat Awards

On June 21, USGBC will celebrate two state leaders who are helping take California forward on climate, energy and water issues through green buildings at the 2017 Green Hard Hat Awards. Sen. Scott Wiener and Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission will earn this badge of honor as champions for our cause.

Register for the event at the LEED Platinum Golden 1 Center.

Under debate

Achieving the state’s aggressive energy and climate goals will require efforts on many fronts, including building codes, appliance standards, improved compliance, education and training and market demand. Green buildings and communities play an important role in driving investment and actions that deliver direct and indirect climate benefits.

An upgraded cap-and-trade program for California would be much-needed rocket fuel to propel market forces behind the effort. However, no legislative vehicle appears to remain for cap-and-trade extension this session. This year’s ambitious cap-and-trade extension and improvement measure, AB 378, failed to advance. Key players representing labor, environmental, environmental justice, and business groups must reconcile their disagreements in order to move forward.

Looking ahead

After this month’s Green Hard Hat Awards, we’ll be focusing on supporting state agencies in their implementation of key policies and programs that are driving green building forward:

  • Statewide building benchmarking implementation via AB 802
  • Green building requirements in Title 24 via CALGreen
  • The AB32/SB32 scoping plan and how green buildings can be a key part of the solution to meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Other bills to watch are SB 100, a push toward a 100 percent renewables portfolio standard, which recently passed the Senate, and SB 1, a major transportation measure that seeks to raise revenue for infrastructure investments.

Water conservation continues to take center stage in the state legislature. AB 1667 and AB 1668 passed the assembly. These measures would be instrumental “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life,” an extension of Governor Brown’s 2016 Executive Order B-37-16.

USGBC will continue to support all relevant legislative measures in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, we hope you'll join us for the Green Hard Hat Awards.

Register for the Green Hard Hat Awards and tour

Earn the energy efficiency badge with Education @USGBC

June 20, 2017
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Interested in learning more about specific green building topics and wondering how to demonstrate your knowledge in these areas? Let your professional network know you’ve invested in learning about these key topics through USGBC’s knowledge-based badges.

In the coming months, USGBC will launch our initial knowledge-based badges. These badges address high-priority topics in green building and LEED. The first of these, the energy efficiency badge, is now live. This badge will be awarded to individuals who complete a series of courses addressing topics such as minimum energy performance, commissioning and energy auditing. 

Additional badges for life cycle assessment and indoor air quality will launch later this year.

How to get started

  1. Take a series of at least four courses on Education @USGBC designated as part of a knowledge-based badge suite. At least two of those courses must be above the basic level.
  2. You’ve earned your badge for completing the series of courses related to energy efficiency. Although courses qualifying for a certain badge might change over time, once you’ve earned the badge, it does not expire.
  3. Share your badge with your network. The badge will automatically appear in your profile, distinguishing your efforts and knowledge. You can also post your badge on other social platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Energy efficiency badge courses

Learn more about badges.

Get started on energy efficiency courses

LEED Link: LEED crosswalks

June 20, 2017
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LEED is the go-to green building rating system for architects and builders worldwide. But in the quest to make our entire environment healthier and more sustainable, there are also other, specialized ways to achieve our goals—such as Parksmart, for parking facilities, and SITES, for landscape design.

There are many places where LEED intersects with these other rating systems so that your project can achieve both. For example, you can use LEED credits to achieve Parksmart credits, and vice versa. Take a quick look at our crosswalk resources:


LEED-certified projects often include high-performance garages employing sustainable parking and transportation tools and practices. In June, GBCI released a guidance document with a detailed list of credits within LEED that can also apply toward earning Parksmart certification. Download the synergies document.


In 2016, SITES released a list of over 40 credit substitutions, so that similar credits need only be earned in one rating system, not both. Many SITES and LEED credits are almost identical. Now, it is also possible for LEED v4 projects to automatically earn all the points in the Sustainable Sites credit category in LEED when they achieve SITES v2 Gold certification or higher. Download the synergies document.

2018 International Green Construction Code

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is in the process of being harmonized with ASHRAE Standard 189.1 for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings. The merger of these two technical documents into one green code will begin to take shape in the next version of the IgCC, due to be published in the summer of 2018. Learn more.

Learn more about choosing LEED credits to pursue

Tour the San Francisco Public Utilities Living Machine on June 20 (USGBC Northern California)

June 16, 2017
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This article is by Marsha Sukardi, SFPUC Engineer, who will be hosting the sold-out USGBC Northern California tour of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's Living Machine on June 20. Interested in learning more about water reuse? The GreenerBuilder Conference on July 13 features the topic "Dirty Water: Solving Onsite Water Reuse."

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) headquarters, located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue, is taking water conservation to a whole new level. Although various decentralized wastewater treatment technologies exist throughout the world, the SFPUC’s Living Machine is the first treatment system to combine these technologies and apply it to an office building within a densely urban environment.

This SFPUC demonstration system is located in San Francisco’s busy Civic Center area. The building’s planter boxes are engineered to mimic tidal wetlands, which help treat all of the building’s black and grey water, and, in turn, provide non-potable toilet flushing water for the building.

To date, the Living Machine has saved over 3.5 million gallons of potable water, reducing consumption from an average of 12 gallons per person per day in a typical office building to five gallons per person per day. The 525 Golden Gate building achieved LEED Platinum certification and is one of the few projects to meet all available LEED water credits.

The technology used and lessons learned from the Living Machine continue to set precedents for the state’s wastewater treatment and water conservation efforts. The Living Machine was the first system permitted under San Francisco Health Code Article 12C, more commonly known as the Non-potable Water Ordinance. Though it began as a voluntary program in 2012, in July 2015 the ordinance became a requirement for all new construction of 250,000 square feet or more of gross floor area. With San Francisco leading the way, decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse is on its way to becoming the new norm. Learn more about the SFPUC Living Machine.

The site tour on June 20, 2017 will include an in-depth presentation of the Living Machine system, a walk-through of the treatment train, and a Q&A session with the lead Stationary Engineer.

Sign up for the tour

USGBC Announces Songdo IBD as the First to Earn LEED for Communities Precertification

June 16, 2017
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LEED for Communities combines sustainability, social equity and human experience with technology and analytics at the community-wide level

Incheon, South Korea—(June 16, 2017)—Today, USGBC announced that Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD), which is home to nearly 50,000 residents and 50,000 jobs, has earned precertification utilizing LEED for Communities. LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities address sustainability, quality of life, education, prosperity, equity, public health and safety. The announcement was made at the 2017 edition of the New Cities Summit in Songdo.

Read the full press release


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