LEED-certified green data centers use less energy and fewer resources
Oct. 18, 2017—(Shanghai, China)—Today, during the first Greenbuild China conference being held in Shanghai, USGBC and China Software Testing Center (CSTC) signed an MOU to collaborate on promoting sustainable, energy-efficient LEED data centers in China.
“Energy efficiency in our data centers is an incredibly critical issue because of the estimated continued rapid growth of direct energy use in data centers and the resulting impact on both the power grid and industries across China and the world,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. “LEED-certified data centers provide all the benefits of green building, including reduced energy use, reduced impact of the building on the environment, resource conservation and a better indoor environmental quality.”
“CSTC has been actively following the national green development strategy,” said Fawang Liu, Executive Vice Director of CSTC. “We have published data center energy evaluation guidelines and other white papers. LEED is highly recognized and authoritative in the global data center industry. CSTC will work closely with USGBC to organize Chinese industry experts to set up a LEED Advisory Committee for data centers, to discuss the adaptability and feedback of LEED standards in China. At the same time, CSTC will also leverage our own resources and work with industry colleagues to promote the development of green data centers and contribute to energy conservation.”
“China is the ideal market for this collaboration on data centers, and CSTC is the perfect partner,” added Ramanujam.
The Chinese data center market is currently growing, with research analyst firm Technavio predicting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13 percent over the next four years because of an increased reliance by multinational and domestic enterprises on cloud storage and other colocation solutions.
China is currently the largest market for LEED green building outside the U.S., and it continues to be a main player in the global green building movement, with more than 1,000 LEED-certified projects in the country. The Chinese government has also deemed sustainable growth as a high priority.
LEED is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building. LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and a healthier environment.
For this year’s Climate Leadership Awards, USGBC and Second Nature chose winners who contributed to the environment through extensive sustainability efforts. As the recipient in the 4-Year Institution category, Loyola University Chicago was recognized for its strides promoting sustainable culture, curriculum and campus life.
Where social justice and the environment meet
The university's approach to sustainability comes from Loyola’s founding as a Jesuit institution, where social justice, service and education are upheld as pillars for action.
“This inextricable relationship between environmental degradation and justice is widely taught and understood by the Loyola community,” says Nancy Tuchman, PhD, founding dean of Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES). “Environmental issues are first and foremost problems of justice.”
Since its founding four years ago, the IES has expanded to more than 330 students, six major degree programs and two minor degrees, but sustainability isn’t just for students in the IES. In 2012, the core curriculum was modified so that all undergraduate students were required to take a course on environmental literacy. This ensures that all students must understand environmental issues and the role of human interactions in the environment.
Outside of classroom learning, Loyola has reimagined its campuses with high-performing, LEED-certified buildings and energy efficiency retrofits. These renovations have decreased energy consumption, leading to a 38 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per square foot since 2008 for the lakeside campuses, even as the population of students and staff continues to grow.
According to the Loyola mission, environmental issues and social issues are intertwined. This belief has inspired participation in several university campaigns that affect education, especially access and affordability, and those that affect social justice, such as climate change.
Sustainability strategies in their own words
Aaron Durnbaugh, Director of Sustainability at Loyola, and Nancy Tuchman expand on the university’s multidimensional sustainability efforts:
What do you consider to be the best example of campus sustainability on your campus?
Tuchman: In terms of infrastructure, Loyola University Chicago has made enormous investments to be more energy-efficient in our buildings and to conserve water. Our campus collects our stormwater in underground cisterns for reuse and slow release to Lake Michigan. Our recycling and composting rates have increased to nearly 50 percent. These infrastructure investments have facilitated a cultural shift in our students, faculty and staff toward more sustainable behavior and mindful consumption and disposal of waste/recycling.
What would you say to a peer who considers sustainability a “nice-to-have,” but not something that they can seriously implement on campus?
Durnbaugh: Our efforts save millions each year on utility costs alone and engage our student and employee community in our mission. We can also see opportunities for creating integration across academic silos, making connections between operations and academics and new opportunities for student leadership.
Can you elaborate on the university’s approach to programs that meet its commitments to social justice and climate initiatives?
Tuchman: Environmental issues are first and foremost problems of justice. Whenever and wherever water, soil and air are contaminated, or climate change drives drought, intense storm events or flooding, it is the people at the margins who are displaced. This inextricable relationship between environmental degradation and justice is widely taught and understood by the Loyola community.
Loyola University Chicago sustainability stats
100,000 student hours were spent in the local community this year alone, as a result of Loyola’s commitment to experiential learning and social justice.
1,384 courses taught at Loyola include sustainability learning objectives. In 2012, environmental threats to the planet were added to the core curriculum for all undergraduates.
More than 1,000 students, citizens and policymakers participate in Loyola’s annual Climate Change Conference each year.
A 38 percent reduction in carbon emissions was ahchieved through improvements on two of the university's campuses.
30 projects were completed by students on climate-specific topics at this year’s Weekend of Excellence.
In 2017, Loyola received the Climate Leadership Award from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Solution Generation for its commitment to climate action in neighboring communities.
Loyola consistently ranks in the Sierra Club Cool Schools Top 20, and is a Gold-rated AASHE STARS university.
Today, China has assumed a tremendous leadership position in stemming the tide of climate change and protecting its citizens and precious natural resources. As mandated in President Xi’s 13th Five Year Plan, an important part of this role involves improving the efficiency and sustainability of its infrastructure. Please know that all of us who care about the future applaud those efforts. They will greatly benefit each and every one of us who call this planet home.
In support of those efforts, I’d like to call your attention to a new report, LEED in Motion: China. It’s about LEED and the many leaders across China who are working to build a sustainable country and planet. The report is in English, with a version in Chinese to be available soon.
LEED in Motion: China includes
Profiles of the many remarkable leaders in China who are doing the right thing for people and the planet.
Project profiles that showcase China’s sustainable marvels.
An overview of LEED’s evolution over two decades.
Insight as to how LEED contributes to China’s 13th Five Year Plan and how it is being used for city- and community-scale projects, mass transit systems, industrial facilities, health care facilities, residences and more.
Perspective on how LEED is being adapted for global, regional and local applications.
Ideas as to how LEED is being applied to benefit human health.
An introduction to a new online platform, Arc, that can be used to monitor and track building efficiency.
ACEEE developed the scorecards to "give state-level policymakers a road map for building stronger and more resilient communities." Plus, a little friendly competition never hurts. The scorecards are a great resource, providing a benchmark of state energy policy and progress. The scorecard uses a 50-point scale across six categories, with 30 total submetrics, helping one drill down into areas where a state can benefit from improvements, as well as highlighting areas in which a state is a top performer.
Recently, ACEEE hosted a webinar to share the 2017 scorecard, and provided highlights by region:
The Midwest region has most variability in their rankings, with Minnesota (9), Illinois (11) and Michigan (11) at the top. Meanwhile, Kansas (48), South Dakota (49) and North Dakota (51) are at the bottom—not just in the region, but in the country, with three of the four lowest rankings.
The Northeast region has long showed a strong commitment to energy efficiency. It has all the states ranked in the top half of the U.S., and half of those in the top 10. This region is great at setting and achieving long-term targets. ACEEE highlighted New Hampshire (21) as a state to watch.
The Southeast region is led by Florida (22), which received a "Most Improved" acknowledgement, but most of the region falls in the bottom half of the rankings. Virginia (29) is also a "Most Improved" state, attributable to improvements in energy codes and the governor’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Central/Southwest region showed a strong performance from Colorado (15), Arizona (17) and Utah (17). A common theme from this region is that home rule states have inconsistent code enforcement, creating an opportunity for improvement. Nevada (34) did get some wins this year with new energy targets.
California and the Northwest region includes the high performers of California (2), Oregon (5) and Washington (7). Idaho (26) is in the middle of the rankings, but did receive a "Most Improved" acknowledgement, and the state’s utility efficiency savings continue to advance.
Next year, there will be a change in the Energy Codes category. Residential and commercial codes are scored for stringency and compliance. But with many states adopting amendments, either to strengthen or weaken their codes, it’s often difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison. In 2018, ACEEE will implement a performance index to look beyond just the code enacted.
Weston Berg, a research analyst at ACEEE, shared some "Strategies for Improving Efficiency" that can help all states:
Put into place, and adequately fund, an energy efficiency resource standard or similar energy savings target. Examples: Massachusetts, Arizona, Rhode Island.
Adopt policies to encourage and strengthen utility programs designed for low-income customers, and work with utilities and regulators to recognize the nonenergy benefits of such programs. Examples: Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire.
Adopt more stringent building energy codes, improve code compliance and enable the involvement of efficiency program administrators in code support. Examples: California, Maryland, Illinois, Texas.
Adopt stringent tailpipe emissions standards for cars and trucks, and set quantitative targets for reducing vehicle miles traveled. Examples: California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon.
Treat combined heat and power (CHP) as an energy-efficiency resource equivalent to other forms of energy efficiency. Examples: Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island.
Expand state-led efforts and make them visible. Examples: New York, Connecticut, Alaska.
Explore and promote innovative financing mechanisms to leverage private capital and lower up-front costs of energy efficiency measures. Examples: Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut.
No matter where your home state falls in the rankings, the ACEEE State Scorecard is a beneficial tool for identifying energy efficiency programs, policies and strategies to create a more resilient nation.
LEED Fellows are best-in-class for green building design, engineering and development
Washington, D.C.—(Oct. 16, 2017)—GBCI has announced its 2017 class of LEED Fellows, an annual recognition of outstanding LEED professionals. This year’s 23 LEED Fellows exemplify a diverse array of achievements and contributions to the green building community and LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system.
Water has played a critical role in shaping Boston since the city's founding. From the earliest settlers to today’s developers of high-performance green buildings, managing water has been a consistent theme for Bostonians and for leaders of the Bay State.
At Greenbuild 2017, the WaterBuild summit digs deep into the topic of water infrastructure in Boston by keeping three themes in mind: sustainability, resilience and risk. Attendees will discuss equity, quality and technology and how they each intersect with water and modern society. Before you join us for education and connection, here's some background on Boston's water history
A waterworks is born
The Pilgrims relocated from Charlestown to Boston in order to access a clean source of fresh water for their community. As the population grew and the spring could no longer supply the residents with ample resources, the first private waterworks system in the New World was created.
Using wooden pipes, reservoirs were able to supply water for everyday consumption. In 1796, entrepreneurs created the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company with the hope of providing water to all Bostonians. The aqueduct was relatively expensive and relied on gravity for distribution, which meant that due to elevation, residents in the North End and Beacon Hill areas were at a disadvantage, as well as those who did not have the financial means to take advantage of this service. Interestingly, those at higher elevation were also at a lower risk for other water resilience hazards that are prevalent today.
Serving the public good
The 1820s marked the beginning of the discussion for implementing a public municipal water system. This conversation lasted several decades, due to competing interests, but in 1848, a municipal system was established to serve the city. It would be called Boston Water Works.
The need for safe water grew exponentially as more immigrants migrated to Boston. In 1895, the Metropolitan Water Act created a new approach for supplying water to towns within 10 miles of the state house, which was the birthplace of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). This system continues to serve over 2.5 million people in the greater Boston area.
It wasn’t until the 21st century that the original aqueduct was reinforced with a redundant line to help supply ample water to 61 communities in and around Boston. The 17.6-mile, $665 million project, called the Metrowest Tunnel, is now increasing water flow into Boston.
A fresh look
Boston’s water history is long and complex. At WaterBuild, professionals from Boston, across the industry, and around the world will talk about water risks and opportunities in 2017 and beyond. Join us there to learn more from some of the brightest minds in the fields of resilient and sustainable community planning, water cycle management, risk mitigation and green building.
Award recipients recognized for being at the forefront of green building in China
Shanghai—(October 13, 2017)—USGBC, the creators of the LEED green building program, announced Dalian Wanda Group, Shougang Group Co., Ltd. and Mr. Cai Fangming as the 2017 Greenbuild Leadership Award recipients. The awards will be presented for the first time in China as part of the inaugural Greenbuild China conference and exposition. The awards ceremony will take place at the conference in Shanghai on October 18.
With the extreme weather events of the past month—hurricanes, floods, drought and wildfires—it may indeed be time to more urgently think about water resilience and water risk mitigation. How are you and your community incorporating water resilience and water sustainability in planning and design? When water quality hangs in the balance, and we have too much or too little water, what is the downstream effect?
Join us at Greenbuild Boston, as we dive deep into water resilience at the WaterBuild Summit. Industry experts are convening for a full day of programs and discussion that you won’t want to miss.
Here are just a few considerations at the nexus of water and resilience that we’ll be exploring at WaterBuild.
Water resilience and technology
We know that our communications and energy infrastructure can be crippled by a severe storm, but how can technology help us predict and model our design shortcomings? Technology can help us track performance of our infrastructure, including rainwater quantity and quality, potable water quality, wastewater processing and water access. We can use an emerging set of tools to adapt to the "new normal” of our severe weather cycles. At this year’s WaterBuild Summit, we will be talking about and applying some of the emerging technologies, as well as revisiting some of the existing technologies that might help us plan better and adapt better in the long term.
Water resilience and equity
Many residents displaced by flood events do not have the available resources to rebuild new homes, restore their old homes or return to live in recovering communities. When the water rises or spoils, it does so indiscriminately. Its impacts are rarely felt equally. How we plan for those often predictable impacts, and how we provide support services doesn’t have to be indiscriminate; it can be done with intention. This year’s WaterBuild program will build on the 2016 summit and deepen discussion on this important topic, giving consideration to how water can negatively impact a community and how to design with greater equity in mind.
Water resilience and grey/green infrastructure
We have developed amazing feats of engineering to manage and mitigate risks to water quantity and quality. When deployed effectively, these can complement nature’s many tools in its toolbox. Engaging communities and design teams in dialogue about how to apply both grey and green infrastructure to have the greatest impact on adaptation is essential to developing solutions that will last. There are many dimensions to infrastructure development. Considering the greatest multiple outcomes of a solution set will set the standard of gaining the greatest return on investment.
Join us at WaterBuild to discuss all these important aspects of water resilience.
The fate of the Clean Power Plan, the federal regulation of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel electric power plants, has taken a turn for the worse this month. The EPA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, beginning the process to repeal the rule.
The proposal would change the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act and reflects the position of the current administration that the Clean Power Plan exceeded EPA’s authority. Litigation over this action is certain, and it will feature a debate over the legal limits on EPA regulatory power balanced against the legal mandate for EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant endangering public welfare, as found by the Supreme Court in 2009.
Market shifts away from fossil fuels
Whatever the fate of the plan, the U.S. power sector is already shifting toward less carbon-intensive energy sources. The 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook reported that since 2005, the power sector has shrunk its carbon footprint by 24 percent. A new analysis suggests that the sector’s emissions are already on track to meet the Clean Power Plan’s target of 32 percent by 2030, with a projected 27 to 35 percent reduction below 2005 levels.
This decarbonization is all without the Clean Power Plan having come into effect—but how? The power sector has been influenced by state policies and shifts in relative costs among energy sources, including cheaper natural gas, which has a significantly lower carbon impact than coal. From 2005 to 2016, according to the Factbook, the U.S. added 78GW of wind, 39GW of solar and 104GW of natural gas, while retiring 49GW of coal-fired power plants.
In the void—whether temporary or permanent—left by the federal Clean Power Plan regulation, we will continue to see market forces pushing decarbonization of power generation. Some states will move ahead with steps to accelerate that transition and to use power more efficiently, with approaches ranging from California’s cap and trade program, to a diverse set of states, including Ohio and Illinois, leveraging renewable portfolio standards. Some utilities will continue to increase their investments and transition to lower carbon generation.
States left without a critical mechanism for efficiency
Under a Clean Power Plan repeal, we will be missing a key, if imperfect, tool to incentivize robust energy efficiency programs in every state. The rule would have allowed states to leverage energy efficiency for credit by avoiding the need for electricity generation and the associated emissions, with special emphasis on low-income communities.
Although leading states have adopted policies to push efficiency and its financial benefits to various sectors, other states have lagged, especially those in the Southeast and Midwest. (See, for example, ACEEE scorecards ranking energy efficiency policies in states and major utilities.) Without state and utility structures supporting efficiency, business and residential customers will continue to spend more money on electricity than they need to, and miss out on co-benefits to health and comfort. USGBC is concerned in particular about the disproportionate impact of energy costs on low-income households.
The Clean Power Plan story is not over yet, but with or without the plan, we will continue to advocate for strong, effective state and utility policies and programs to drive improvements in energy efficiency that supports jobs, businesses and families.
To learn more about how you can support low income efficiency, contact the Advocacy and Policy staff at USGBC.
The world’s largest green building conference and expo is now global. Greenbuild is not only bringing world-renowned thinkers and innovators together in Boston, but for the first time, the show is also being hosted in China and India. The Arc platform will be a hot topic at each of the Greenbuild events.
Arc is helping buildings and communities around the world connect actions to create a higher quality of life. Not only is Arc the first platform to benchmark activity using a holistic performance score, but it also enables buildings and communities to use that score to achieve LEED certification.
Learn how to make Arc a part of your sustainability journey by registering for a Greenbuild session near you.
International Summit: Tues., November 7, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Join Arc CEO Scot Horst as he reveals how data is defining the next era of green building performance and what technologies and resources are just around the corner to help further connect actions and improve performance.
Master Series: Wed., November 8, 2–3 p.m. The "Powering Performance: How Connecting Actions is Accelerating Global Market Transformation" session will explain why data is today’s connector, driving us to do better. Arc CEO Scot Horst will bring together market leaders to tell their Arc story and share real-world examples of how benchmarking and tracking data using the digital platform is creating change.
Sessions will also be available to learn about the LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs implemented through Arc.
Attendees who have Arc-related questions during Greenbuild can stop by the USGBC booth and the GBCI Certification Work Zone, where team members will be available. Contact the Arc team to register your project and learn how data can help you achieve a higher level of performance.