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3 chances to learn about EDGE at Greenbuild Boston

September 13, 2017
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Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Join us in Boston from November 6 to 10 for two days of interactive workshops and three days of renowned speakers, industry-leading educational sessions, an interactive exhibit hall and valuable networking.

Featured at this year's Greenbuild is EDGE, a green building certification system focused on making buildings in emerging markets more resource-efficient. EDGE enables design teams and project owners to assess the most cost-effective ways to incorporate energy and water saving options into their buildings. An innovation of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, EDGE comprises a web-based software application, a universal standard and a certification system.

Learn about EDGE at Greenbuild

  1. GBCI booth and Certification Work Zone on the expo floor: EDGE subject matter experts will be on hand throughout the conference to answer all your questions about the EDGE rating system and the EDGE Expert and EDGE Auditor professional roles.

  2. EDGE Technical Workshop (Mon., November 6, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.): This workshop will help EDGE project teams understand the EDGE standard, use the software application and navigate the certification process. Attendees will understand how energy, water and materials efficiency strategies impact cost, savings and building performance. They’ll also learn best practices for bringing EDGE to the market. The workshop also prepares EDGE Expert candidates to take the EDGE Exam.

  3. EDGE Auditor Candidate WorkshopTues., November 7, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.): This workshop helps EDGE Auditor candidates learn how to complete design and site audits and prepare for their role, and is for approved EDGE Auditor applicants only. Apply at and find a description of the role, eligibility requirements and the process to become an EDGE Auditor. Completion of the EDGE Technical Workshop is also a prerequisite for this workshop. EDGE Auditors may provide services in any country where GBCI administers EDGE certification. This list may be updated over time.

Register for Greenbuild Boston

Financing a green building project

September 13, 2017
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You’re committed to maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing your environmental footprint. You know green buildings reduce energy and water use and operating costs, and can improve occupant health and productivity. But one question lingers as you begin your construction project or home search: Where to start?

Green Money Search

A startup based out of two innovation communities in Houston and San Antonio, Texas, Green Money Search has one core mission: reduce the cost of going green.

Using their comprehensive database of incentives for sustainably focused new construction and retrofits, GMS simplifies the search for incentives into four easy steps: identifying "green money," determining eligibility, applying for funds and connecting you to the right professionals for your project.

Their database and application portals are seamlessly integrated to provide you access to funding opportunities, making going green an opportunity to save you green.

Viva Green Homes

Based in Arlington, Virginia, Viva Green Homes is an online platform for sustainable home listings. The site gives visitors verified information such as energy-efficient features and third-party certifications, like LEED. The site also gives real estate agents the ability to market their premium listings, getting a better return on their clients' investment.

Industry solutions

The financing industry is recognizing the benefits of LEED and the positive impact green construction has on multifamily properties, too. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration offer discounted financing solutions for LEED-certified buildings, including interest rate reductions, increased loan proceeds and rebates and reduced mortgage insurance premiums.

Grounded in the advantageous financial performance of LEED projects, these key financing incentives are tipping the scales toward sustainability.

See our policy brief on LEED financing incentives

LEED Link: LEED jobs

September 12, 2017
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The 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study estimated that by 2018, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $190.3 billion in labor earnings. LEED projects, specifically, will be responsible for contributing to 1.1 million green construction jobs. As a green building professional, you have lots of options for employment in an industry that is only expected to grow.

Join the movement: View the list of USGBC and GBCI positions currently open on our website. These include jobs and internships at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., as well as jobs in India. Interested in applying to be a LEED certification associate, certification reviewer, energy specialist or technical development director for materials and resources? Take a look at our job listings and apply.

Explore open jobs in LEED

USGBC Announces LEED Homes Award Winners

September 12, 2017
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Annual recognition highlights projects, developers and builders leading the residential market in sustainable development

Washington, D.C.—(Sept. 12, 2017)—Today, USGBC announced the recipients of its annual LEED Homes Awards, which recognizes projects, architects, developers and homebuilders who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation in the residential green building marketplace.

The LEED Homes Award recipients include multi-family, single-family and affordable housing projects and companies that are trailblazers in the residential sector and have prioritized incorporating sustainability within their projects in 2016.

Read the full press release

View our slideshare of the recipients:

Massachusetts leads by example at Greenbuild

September 11, 2017
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The USGBC Massachusetts Chapter has been working hard all year, helping to build the road to Greenbuild. Boston first served as the host city for Greenbuild in 2008, and USGBC Massachusetts is excited to host in 2017 for this second visit.

As the number one state for LEED buildings in the U.S., with more than 24 million square feet certified in 2016 alone, Massachusetts is a leader in the green building industry. The state has been growing fast in its LEED certifications, moving from number five nationwide in 2014 to number three in 2015, before topping the list in 2016.

While green building professionals from all over the world convene in Boston, the city will be showing off its sustainable features and LEED buildings on Greenbuild tours, as well as offering expertise at education sessions about strategies that have made Massachusetts a greener, healthier place to live and work.

The next generation of green builders

Focusing on growing the green building industry through education and equity, the USGBC Massachusetts community initiated the Greenbuild Boston Legacy Project, currently under way at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. Dubbed the Green Building Tech Program, this project will create awareness of green building technologies and the green trades, such as facilities management, electrical and plumbing skills, to help close the "green gap" that exists for the next generation of building operators.

Another way the community is reaching out to students is through a free workshop at Boston University, "How to Network at Greenbuild and Build Your Career in Sustainability." Local students and emerging professionals can brush up on their skills ahead of Greenbuild's many opportunities to connect.

Green building tours

A wealth of walking tour options is available at Greenbuild: The 2017 slate covers 80 sites throughout Massachusetts, across 30 different tours. In these tours, attendees explore exciting places ranging from higher education facilities to sports venues to local neighborhoods. There's even a harbor tour, at Boston's rejuvenated Seaport District. Here is just a sampling of what you can see outside the conference center:

Explore more Greenbuild tours.

Education sessions

Attendees at Greenbuild have the choice of a broad array of sessions and workshops. Among them are many Boston-area projects, collaborations and case studies from which green building professionals can take away insights and strategies to help them succeed in their own localities. Here are just a few:

Creating Disaster-Resilient Housing in East Boston—Thurs., November 9, 3–4 p.m. 

This session showcases an East Boston waterfront apartment building designed for resilience against storm surges, sea-level rise and flooding in a site particularly vulnerable to climate change. Learn about Boston’s zoning code “Green Buildings and Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency Policy," and how the project was “built to last” rather than “built to code.”

Social Equity at Work in Roxbury and Dorchester—Tues., November 7, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

The session will focus on achieving the LEED Social Equity in the Community credit, describing the process from the perspectives of the developer and the community advocate and discussing effective community engagement in the building development process. Attendees will learn how to avoid displacement, enhance access to public transportation and engage community through art and culture.

Renewable Energy: Innovation Through Collaboration—Thurs., November 9, 3–4 p.m.

Explore the lessons learned from a joint power purchase agreement model implemented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Medical Center (BMC), and Friends of Post Office Square. The team bought electricity from a large new solar power installation, adding carbon-free energy to the grid and demonstrating a partnership model for other organizations in climate-change mitigation efforts.

See more Boston-related sessions by using the keyword search field in Greenbuild's Sessions page.

Register for Greenbuild

Mass timber: Tall wood buildings for high-performance design (USGBC Northern California)

September 8, 2017
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In this series, speakers from USGBC Northern California’s GreenerBuilder conference, held July 13, 2017, at the Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro, share insights from their sessions. Interested in supporting GreenerBuilder 2018 as an event sponsor or exhibitor? Please contact Brenden McEneaney.

Building with mass timber is relatively new to the United States, and particularly to Northern California; the session served as an introduction to the material and basics of construction, set the context for the role of mass timber in sustainable design and high-performance buildings and presented lessons learned from an experienced developer.

The basics

The term "mass timber construction" or "tall wood construction" is different from light-wood frame, stick-frame or even heavy timber post-and-beam structures. Mass timber usually refers to timber products engineered for loads similar in strength to structural materials like concrete and steel. Fire and structural engineering methods for these materials have been well developed around the world in the last 20 years, and we are realizing the many benefits mass timber that allow us to build tall, with a lighter, natural, low-carbon and high-quality material.

There are several products in the mass timber family. Nail-laminated timber (NLT), glued-laminated timber (GLT), and cross-laminated timber (CLT) are some of the most common. Each product is engineered to provide strength in different ways, and the way we use them varies accordingly. CLT is particularly versatile, and it presents strong opportunities for Northern California.

Why wood?

Building with wood is an opportunity to realize complementary performance benefits contributing to environmental, social and economic goals at all scales.

The use of mass timber helps with our shift to renewable resources, necessary as part of large-scale climate adaptation and mitigation. Mass timber supports very efficient and high-performing envelopes, and the precision manufacturing process creates extremely airtight buildings that can support good passive strategies for high-quality and comfortable operation.

Economic benefits include off-site fabrication, making construction schedules shorter and limiting financing time. Wood is a lighter material compared to concrete, allowing for a reduction in the size of footings and an associated reduction in costs. In addition, mass timber often means smaller crews and simpler tools.

Aesthetically, the natural qualities of wood lead to increased occupant satisfaction. Humans are attracted to natural shapes, forms and textures, and wood is widely understood as a material that contributes to our sense of well-being in spaces and that can be a very healthy alternative to other finishes as an exposed surface on the interior.

Finally, mass timber is being used around the world to contribute to local and global climate action goals. It has a place in policy at all scales of governance as many jurisdictions recognize wood as an integral part of a low-carbon development, tying it directly to economic development, research initiatives and emissions goals. Local expertise with the material is growing, and many resources exist to support developers, designers and construction professionals.

Lessons from experience

The benefits of building with CLT in the United States is demonstrated by Lend Lease’s Redstone Arsenal hotel project in Huntsville, Alabama. Completed 37 percent faster than traditional steel frame construction, and first-cost neutral, this example was a success that is being replicated in support of positively disrupting traditional construction methods. Analysis indicates that this approach could be optimal in the current residential, hospitality and office market sectors for mid-rise buildings of between six and 12 stories.

Challenges in the industry include a limited supply of CLT within North America, limited industry experience, lack of testing data and explicit support in building codes. Although it is currently possible to overcome regulatory barriers, early adopters like Lend Lease are supporting fire, blast and seismic testing to demonstrate acceptable performance parameters to regulators and authorities. Moreover, new U.S suppliers of CLT are becoming available, and other mass timber products can be accessed through numerous suppliers across the country.

To accelerate adoption, emphasis on demonstrating that this approach is effective for mass market development is most important.

Learn more

To learn more about mass timber, visit and download the Survey of International Tall Wood Buildings or the Nail Laminated Timber Design and Construction Guide. Check out the many learning opportunities, including a case study of Redstone Arsenal, through WoodWorks Education webinars.

Connect the Dots Green Schools Challenge: Agnor-Hurt Elementary School

September 8, 2017
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USGBC’s Connect the Dots program challenges K–12 schools across the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia regions to develop and implement the most creative, effective, no- or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. Participating schools target projects that aim to lower operating maintenance costs, improve indoor air quality, conserve natural resources and more.

Schools are matched with volunteer mentors from the building and design industry to guide project implementation and development. Projects are also registered as part of USGBC’s annual Green Apple Day of Service campaign to contribute to the global impact of increasing sustainability in schools.

Registration for both schools and volunteer mentors for the 2017–2018 program is open through October 13.

Each spring, the schools that most effectively meet this challenge are recognized for their achievements at a ceremony around the time of Earth Day. In 2016, the Agnor-Hurt Elementary School in Charlottesville, Virginia, was given the Honor Award for their comprehensive approach to promoting sustainability. The school constructed its own learning gardens, using the vegetables and herbs in cooking classes to promote healthy eating. To engage the whole community in this effort, the school organized a Healthy Living Night for students and parents.

The Albermarle County School District in which Agnor-Hurt Elementary is located has also been a past recipient of USGBC’s School District Scholarship program, and is currently part of a small cohort of school districts using the Arc platform to benchmark, track and take action on sustainability metrics at each school. Energy, water, waste and other data can be collected by students through hands-on auditing activities and then incorporated into STEM curriculum for ongoing engagement and action. The data is also used by school personnel to make informed decisions about school improvements.

The 2016–2017 Connect the Dots School Champions at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School were Adam Mohr, Courtney Wood, Brittany Mullinex, Marci McKenzie, Michael Thornton and Drew Craft, and their volunteer mentor was Tish Tablan, a national organizer with Generation 180.

After participating in the program, Mohr, who was also Agnor-Hurt’s multiage team leader/teacher for grades 1–3, commented, “This was a fabulous opportunity for our school and existing garden-to-table project. It helped us reflect on what successes we have had thus far, and what we still need to improve upon moving forward. Other schools should take part in this important challenge, so we can all benefit from each other’s work and share ideas.”

Register your school to participate in the 2017–2018 Connect the Dots Challenge by October 13.

Sign up to be a volunteer mentor

3 course recommendations from green professionals

September 7, 2017
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USGBC asked these green building professionals and companies to share an education course that stood out to them and asked what made it exceptional. Over the past year, Education @USGBC has supported their exam prep and credential maintenance efforts, serving as a go-to place to get up to speed on diverse green building and sustainability topics.

  • Todd Anderson, Senior Real Estate Manager with JBG Smith, turned to the Education @USGBC platform to maintain his Green Associate credential last spring. Although he took many great courses, Biophilic Design: A Truly Sustainable Solution, by Education Partner GBRI, stands out as a favorite. Anderson says, “I enjoyed it because it validates the need for buildings to be places where employees' health and well-being have been factored into the design and operations.” He recommends this course to anyone interested in the human factor of development, design and maintenance.
  • Jake Rose had just joined USGBC as a Marketing Specialist when his supervisor set out a challenge to watch one course on Education @USGBC each week. Coming from a nontechnical background, Rose appreciated this assignment to strengthen his foundational knowledge related to the organization’s mission. Quartersawn American Hardwood in Sustainable Design, by Education Partner American Training Solutions, remains one of Rose’s all-time favorite courses. “I learned things about lumber that I had not known after 10 years of woodworking," says Rose.
  • Platinum-level USGBC member Skanska recommends its team pair access to Education @USGBC with internally developed training materials when preparing for a LEED professional exam. The Green Project Solutions team balances technical expertise, education and training, knowledge transfer and reporting efforts to make the job site more efficient and green project pursuits more effective. This team finds practice questions particularly useful, such as those found in the Test Your Knowledge—LEED Green Associate Exam Prep resource from Education Partner ATP.

Let us know why you love a course on Education @USGBC—leave a comment on the course page to help your peers find their next favorite course.

Each course on Education @USGBC is available for individual purchase at $45. You can also access the courses through the Education @USGBC subscription.

Subscribe to Education @USGBC

WaterSmart and WaterBuild partner on sustainable water use series

September 7, 2017
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USGBC has partnered with the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition (WSI) to accelerate sustainable solutions for the water and building industries. This collaboration has made possible a two-part education series hosted at WSI and the WaterBuild Summit at Greenbuild Boston.

The sessions, “Towards Net Zero Water in LEED: A Forum on Whole Project Water Use,” explore LEED v4’s newest pathway for teams to demonstrate reductions in water consumption, the pilot credit Whole Project Water Use Reduction.

Depending on the building type and use, LEED may not previously have addressed all water use within a project boundary. This pilot credit rewards projects that take a holistic approach to water management and reduce total potable water consumption within a project boundary.

Participants at the session will hear from USGBC staff and LEED project teams how the whole-building water balance methodology provides projects with diverse water needs a practicable solution for achieving LEED points in the Water Efficiency credit category and how it aligns with the LEED v4 rating system’s focus on performance.

Part I at WaterSmart

Part I of the series, hosted at WSI, will introduce the whole project methodology and project types using the pilot credit. The WSI session will not require a conference registration and will be held Wed., October 4 in the South Point Hotel and Conference Center.

Taking place October 4–6, the 10th annual WSI will feature more than 100 professional sessions, an expo hall showcasing water-efficient products and services and technical tours to venues illustrating Southern Nevada's commitment to water efficiency.

Part II at WaterBuild

Part II of the series, hosted at the WaterBuild Summit at Greenbuild on November 7, will feature case studies presented by sustainability practitioners working on hospital, retail and data center projects. Attendees will learn the value of of whole-building water balance modeling as a design and operations tool and have the opportunity to discuss water efficiency technologies and strategies that can be implemented at the building scale.

The summit will explore ways in which the green building industry can spur more meaningful transformation in important areas of water quality, access, efficiency, resilience and abundance. It will focus on innovative infrastructure solutions that equip communities to resiliently respond to environmental challenges and stresses.

Register for Greenbuild Boston

GBCI Introduces TRUE Zero Waste Rating System

September 7, 2017
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Certification program helps businesses and facilities work toward goal of zero waste

Washington, D.C.—(September 7, 2017)—Today, GBCI, the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally, unveiled TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency), the new brand identity for its zero waste rating system. The TRUE Zero Waste rating system helps businesses and facilities define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals through project certification and professional credentialing.

Read the full press release


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