Green Building

U.S. Green Building Council’s New Report Reveals Hospitality Industry Poised for Tremendous Growth in Green Building

U.S. Green Building Council’s New Report Reveals Hospitality Industry Poised for Tremendous Growth in Green Building

LEED in Motion: Hospitality report highlights hotel brands across the world incorporating LEED and other sustainability practices

Washington, D.C. — (Feb. 18, 2016) — Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its LEED in Motion: Hospitality report, which showcases tremendous industry growth in green building and defines the scale up opportunities for the hospitality sector. More than 109 million square feet of hotel space is currently LEED certified, and the report highlights some of the most impressive LEED-certified hotels throughout the world.

“Across industries we are seeing an increase in consumer demand toward sustainability practices, and no industry is better poised to meet these demands than hospitality. This growing sector is rapidly adopting green buildings because owners and developers want to enhance their triple bottom line – people, planet and profit,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “LEED is a transformative tool that positively impacts the quality of our built space by creating a healthier, more sustainable environment that saves money and resources.”

Hotels consume natural resources at an extraordinarily high rate as they are occupied 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With more than five billion square feet of space in the U.S. alone, there is an enormous opportunity for the industry to transform the impact of the built environment. A

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating program, has a growing presence in the hospitality industry – and the number of LEED-certified buildings is expected to continue at a strong pace. Currently, there are more than 1,400 hotels participating in LEED representing 638.7 million square feet. Of that, there are more than 300 LEED-certified hotels comprising nearly 109.2 million square feet of space.

According to a recent study by McGraw Hill Construction, green construction in the hospitality sector has increased by 50 percent from 2011-2013 and now represents 25 percent of all new construction in the sector today. USGBC’s recent Green Building Economic Impact Study also found that across industries, green construction is outpacing that of traditional construction and is poised to create more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $190.3 billion in labor earnings by 2018.

LEED Project Update – Build Better Codes

JulieBy Julie Lundin, NCIDQ, LEED AP ID+C, ASID
Founder, Director of LEED Process Management for Emerald Skyline Corporation

Emerald Skyline Corporation, in conjunction with Golden Spiral Design, is designing, renovating and repurposing an unoccupied industrial building located in Boca Raton, FL. This distinctive commercial building will include many sustainable features with the intent to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification from the USGBC. LEED certification recognizes performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. It is a whole-building approach to sustainability which will enable us to save on utilities and maintenance while improving the well-being of our personnel and our clients.

LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The LEED Green building rating system encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

We continue to modify the design of the building in preparation for submission to the City of Boca Raton Development Services Department. In preliminary meetings with the Planning Department and Traffic Engineers it was determined that the building occupancy will require a minimum of 8+ parking spaces per the existing (dated) Municipal Codes. The limited space for parking on the site will make it difficult to meet these requirements.

Based on our plans intended use of the building, our parking needs for the building are much less than the codes require. Both Emerald Skyline and Golden Spiral employ sustainable business practices which encourages personnel to spend the majority of their time working remotely.

Boca Raton’s current parking requirement is not congruent with sustainable thinking which encourages “hotelling” or “hot desking”, the use of public transportation and alternate commuting methods such as riding a bicycle. In meeting with representatives the City of Boca Raton, they have indicated that they might help us on this initiative as they have special exemptions for sustainable buildings. Our goal is to have the minimum number of spaces necessary to satisfy our needs.

Further, as a LEED certified project, our design goals are to minimize paved surfaces as solid surfaces contribute negatively to our environment. Our vision is to utilize permeable pavers for the parking spaces we will have on-site. Here is why:

Permeable pavers help the environment by:

  • Improving the quality of storm water runoff as it is returned to a ground water source;
  • Providing a solution to soil erosion by allowing grass to grow within the spaces of the block and blend in with the surroundings.
  • Reducing or eliminating storm water runoff, decreasing flooding and relieving sewer system demands while still providing a sturdy surface for vehicle and pedestrian traffic; and
  • Reducing heat that is transmitted into the atmosphere from hot pavement by providing a vegetative and reflective surface.

Rating systems like LEED are critical proving grounds for building strategies that address an inclusive set of risks that require our attention beyond fire safety, disability access and other crucial areas.

Building codes have presented barriers to the application of more forward-looking technologies, materials and methods. Building green requires a multi-disciplinary approach to break down the walls between planning, design and construction. The existing codes have been a factor in the business-as-usual construction process. As the viability, cost-effectiveness, and many benefits of green building continue to prove their worth, code safety needs to evolve to incorporate a broader scope of responsibility that are now expected. We are hopeful that building codes, including those of Boca Raton, will begin to encompass sustainable building needs.

 

USGBC – Build Better Codes

http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/Archive/General/Docs18641.pdf

On Questioning Assumptions/Making an Immediate Impact

PJ Picture
By Paul L. Jones
, Founder,
Director, Financial Advisory Services for Emerald Skyline Corporation

The nature of our education system is for us to believe that once we learn a topic or draw a conclusion on an issue, we move on to the next subject and never look in the rear view mirror except to use that knowledge to advance in the next course, subject or project. It is easy to fall into this routine, but life and reality do not fit neatly into this sequential thinking process.

For too many people, we have drawn a conclusion on a topic at one point in our lives and never revisit it with an open mind and the benefit of more time and knowledge and wisdom which leads to false beliefs and poor decisions but, the British philosopher and Nobel Laureate, Bertrand Russell, advises us: “In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hand a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

Of course, we know this is the case with making the existing building stock sustainable. A common pre-conception is that it costs a lot of money to reduce a property’s impact on the environment and improve the operating performance of a commercial building. Yes, replacing inefficient lighting and HVAC systems, adding solar panels, installing a green roof and changing the windows and/or skin of a building are definitely investments that will save money, but there are many ways to achieve savings without a major investment. YOU CAN MAKE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT NOW.

Jennifer McConkey, Operations & Sustainability Director at Principal Global Investors, reports in a recently published White Paper: “It seems clear that running efficient building operations, sometimes with no-cost and low-cost improvements, can be the quickest way to implement sustainability into your properties or property investments. Operations can provide the foundation for ‘green’ no matter how old the building.”

An article in the 6/10/2014 issue of EDC (Environmental Design & Construction) Magazine reports, “Implementing green building practices will help reduce environmental problems caused by building construction, use and demolition, as well as the manufacturing of building materials. It also has tangible economic and public health benefits such as lower operating costs and improved occupant health and comfort.”

So, we know that commercial properties consume approximately 20% of the total energy used by the United States. We also know that commercial buildings consume a large portion of water, produce greenhouse gas emissions and generate significant waste. Further, we know that building owners and managers will seek to reduce energy and water consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions and waste that is taken to a landfill (or the ocean). But, we also know, owners and managers are budget conscious and want to time replacements with the deterioration or functional obsolescence of their systems and equipment. So, what can an owner, manager or tenant do?

Plenty. For ways to start your road toward sustainability and improved operating performance, Jennifer McConkey of Principal Global and BAMCO courtesy of EDC gives us the following free or low cost ideas:

  • Adjust the thermostat to be one degree higher during the cooling season and one degree lower during the heating season;
  • Leaving the lighting in vacant spaces off except during use or installing occupancy sensors which “ensures that even occupied spaces are lit when there is a person the room, further reducing energy consumption;”
  • Establish a pro-active HVAC systems and building envelope maintenance programs. Ms. McConkey reports that “something as simple as replacing worn door seals can cost around $100 per doo, but lead to thousands of dollars in annual savings;”
  • As lightbulbs are replaced, use LED bulbs to help reduce energy consumption;
  • Install VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) on pumps and water features which minimizes energy use during low demand times;
  • Use native or drought-tolerant plants and landscaping;
  • Implement a recycling program (be sure to check local recycling and waste reduction guidelines for materials that are eligible to recycle); and
  • Use sustainable cleaning products and building materials for any tenant improvements or repairs.

Ms. McConkey’s White Paper can be found at the following link: www.principalglobal.com/us/download.aspx?id=96043

The EDC post can be found at the following link: http://www.edcmag.com/blogs/14-edc-blog/post/95677-building-green-5-ways-to-reduce-your-impact-on-the-environment

Remember, reduce, reuse and recycle.

Seek to make a difference! Be well and be blessed, Paul

Is Your Building Conducive to the Installation of a Green Roof?

Any reason for installing green roofs on a building—whether it’s to save money or the environment—is a good reason.

By Richard Heller and Chris Psencik
View the original article here
February 4, 2014

 

According to the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) association, the North American green roof industry grew by a remarkable 24 percent in 2012. Part of this growth was spurred on by more cities recognizing the public benefits of green roofs and taking various policy measures to encourage their widespread installation. However, according to GRHC there is still enormous potential for growth of new green roofs on billions of square feet of buildings across North America.

Despite the potential, installing a green roof is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are several structural and site/location considerations to take into account. The most recent news of a probable green roof collapse at a Latvian supermarket should give one pause. Before allocating the time and resources, facility owners and managers should weigh the pros and cons of a green roof and what to keep in mind during the planning stages.

The Mental Checklist

First, you need to consider the load capabilities of the building. The space that is designated for the green roof: Is it able to sustain the weight for the items that will be designed and placed on top of the roof? If the live weight load (after snow, for example) is less than 35 pounds per square foot, it will be harder to establish a green roof.

Second, consider the design intent of the green roof. Is the space going to be an area that individuals will be able to visit and enjoy up close, or is the green roof only to be viewed from a window, door, patio, etc?

Third, take into account the location and climate of the intended green roof. A common misconception about green roofs is that they must always be green and vegetative, but there are several possibilities. However, one needs to consider the climate and the exposure. For example, the west side of a building is going to have a tremendous amount of sun and heat, so plant materials will need to be suited to sustain themselves in this environment. The north side will receive colder northern winds and can be more heavily impacted by freezing temperatures.

In many instances the natural environment is not the only factor to consider when designing a green roof environment. Microclimates will also be created from the structure surrounding the space. For instance, radiant heat will increase exponentially when planting next to mirrored glass. Overhangs will create opportunities for shade gardens. Planting soil depths and soil material makeup will determine how quickly or slowly a space will dry out in rainy or dry seasons.

Fourth, consider irrigation and drainage. Drainage is key in making sure that rooftop gardens do not become pools. Rock gardens are commonly used in situations where irrigation cannot be provided and temperatures are determined to be too extreme in a green roof environment. Draining and irrigation issues can be solved with construction, but this will add costs to any budget.

Finally, one must ask if a green roof is the best choice for achieving goals. Many of the functions of a green roof can be achieved through other means. For example, rainwater from roofs can be recycled for irrigation. Heat can be mitigated by shade trees, which are the backbone of the ecology and support far more beneficial insects than most green roofs ever will.

In an urban environment, where there is almost no ecology and nature has been paved over, green roofs can play a vital role. In a suburban environment, however, the functionality of green roofs may become harder to justify when one looks at other alternatives.

Green Roofs Expand Green Spaces

According to the Environmental Health Research Foundation, each day a 50-foot by 50-foot green space releases enough oxygen to support a family of four, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to the positive mental health benefits of being exposed to parks and green spaces.

Green roofs offer various opportunities for owners and employees to experience a little bit of nature. For example, the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Dallas developed a vegetable garden green roof, which allows the kitchen to provide fresh, locally grown herbs, spices and seasonal vegetables that go straight from the garden to the plate.

 

At the University of North Texas (UNT) Business Leadership building, a series of outdoor green roof spaces created by Southern Botanical and Lindsey White of Caye Cook and Associates allows students and faculty an opportunity to leave the classroom and office to take a break to reflect and study.

These spaces also help with the conservation of energy for the facility by increasing natural lighting within interior rooms and corridors. In turn, the increased natural light offers an opportunity to save on energy and lighting costs for the facility.

But there are also some concrete reasons for installing a green roof.

Green roofs can protect the roof membrane from elements that can be destructive, such as extreme heat and cold, water, mechanical damage and ultraviolet rays. In some cases, a green roof can double or triple the life of the membrane when properly installed and maintained.

Additionally, there are energy savings since a green roof acts as an insulator. Green roofs can also mitigate the heat island effect, reduce rainwater runoff, and to some extent, replace the flora that was destroyed by the footprint of the building.

For many cities, a compelling reason for green roofs is to offset the underlying, weak urban infrastructure that is overwhelmed by rainwater runoff.

New York City, for example, has an antiquated sewage system which, when overwhelmed by rainwater, forces the city to dump raw sewage into local bodies of water and makes New York beaches unusable for several days thereafter. In this instance, green roofs absorb 80 percent of the water that lands on them, so they can be a strategy to reduce the amount of water that reaches urban infrastructures.

Expecting Positive Growth for Green Roofs

The USGBC and its LEED certification program are spurring on the design and installation of green roofs all over the country. There are some regional variations, but that is often tied to climate. In Texas, for example, extreme temperatures can be somewhat of a limiting factor.

The increase in green roofs is often a matter of education, cost and technology, but signs indicate that they will become more productive and/or habitat-oriented. Green roofs will become popular as a site for food production, a habitat for beneficial insects, a way station for migratory birds and so on. This is a trend that is already happening in some cities and will continue to expand as food prices rise, and natural habitats continue to be reduced by population pressure.

And green roofs will continue to grow as a market segment as they establish track records and are supported by legislation.

For example, New York City gives a tax rebate for green roofs more than a certain square footage because the city recognizes that every square foot of green roof means less money it will have to spend upgrading the sewer and rainwater infrastructure.

In the end, consider function first and make sure your building and location are amenable to a green roof, or be clear on the extent of changes that need to be made and costs that need to be incurred for it to function properly and safely. Then be clear on the “why.” If the “why” is that you want to reap the qualitative benefits for employees and the environment, that is okay, too.

USGBC: Top 10 States for LEED Green Building

By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor
February 27, 2014
View original article here

Built along the Chicago River by Hines, 300 North LaSalle, a 57-story, 1.3 million-square-foot Class A office tower in Chicago was designed to be extremely energy efficient with a façade of articulated glass and stainless steel that maximizes daylight and minimizes solar gain. It has a green roof and water and energy conservation systems. Tenants and property managers recycle paper, glass, aluminum and plastic. The tower has earned Platinum and Gold LEED certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council – Platinum for Existing Buildings and Gold for its Core & Shell.

Owned by KBS REIT II and managed by Hines, it is one of two Hines-related properties highlighted by the USGBC in its ranking of the Top 10 States for LEED. The other Hines building cited by the USGBC is Fifty South Sixth, a 29-story, Class A office tower in Minneapolis. The 698,600-square-foot building developed and owned by Hines has LEED Gold certification. Green features include energy efficient lighting with reduced mercury content; use of environmentally safe cleaning products and practices; water use reduction and a comprehensive recycling program.

At both buildings, Hines offers its GREEN OFFICE for Tenants program, which assists the tenants in ways to reduce their carbon footprints.

“We are very pleased that 300 North LaSalle and Fifty South Sixth are being highlighted in the USGBC’s Top 10 States for LEED,” Gary Holtzer, global sustainability officer at the privately-owned Houston-based firm, told Commercial Property Executive. “We have partnered with the USGBC since its founding to identify best operating practices and cutting-edge techniques in order to stay in the forefront of building operations.”

“We have continually sought new ways to maximize the efficiency of our buildings and are leading the industry with new building strategies and putting technologies into practice in an economically viable way, which is evidenced by our La Jolla Commons project (in San Diego) with LPL Financial – the largest net-zero energy building developed for lease in the U.S.,” Holtzer added.

Topping the USGBC list was Illinois with 171 projects certified in 2013 for a total of 29,415,284 square feet and a per-capita square footage of 2.29. Maryland followed with 119 certified projects in 2013 for a total of 12,696,429 square feet for a per-capita square footage of 2.20. Virginia placed third with 160 properties and 16,868,693 square feet receiving LEED certifications in 2013 for a per-capital square footage of 2.11. Massachusetts came in fourth with 101 projects certified in 2013 and 13,684,430 square feet for a per-capita square footage of 2.09. Rounding out the top 5 were New York and California, which tied. New York had 259 projects certified in 2013 and 37,839,395 square feet for a per-capita square footage of 1.95. California had 595 projects certified in 2013 and 72,729476 square feet for a per-capita square footage of 1.95.

Oregon placed sixth, followed by North Carolina, Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota. Since Washington, D.C., is a federal district it was not ranked but it had 106 projects certified in 2013 and 19,524,216 square feet for a per-capita square footage of 32.45.

USGBC calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of the green building, allowing for a fair comparison among states with population differences and number of overall buildings, the council said. It is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013.

Making the list for the first time were Oregon, which certified 47 projects representing 1.83 square feet per person; North Carolina with 133 projects representing1.80 square feet per resident; Hawaii with17 projects and 1.71 square feet per resident and Minnesota with 51 projects certified or 1.55 square feet per resident.

“The list of the Top 10 States for LEED is a continuing indicator of the widespread recognition of our national imperative to create healthier, high-performing buildings that are better for the environment as well as the people who use them every day,” Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair of USGBC, said in a news release.

Skanska USA, another commercial real estate firm focused on sustainable building practices, had several properties included in the USGBC report. One is 1776 Wilson Boulevard, a 139,593-square-foot office and retail building that is the first LEED Platinum property in Arlington, Va. It has a green roof, solar panel, fitness center, bicycle storage and is located within walking distance of two Metro train stations.

The second property noted by USGBC is Skanska USA’s own office building in Rockville, Md. The 13,000-square-foot office building at 700 King Farm Boulevard achieved LEED Gold certification for the interior space. DCS Design, the McLean, Va.-based architecture and design firm responsible for the interior said on its website that glass walls, partitions, workstation panels and doors were used throughout the office to bring in natural light. The firm used salvaged materials and recycled finishes, fixtures and furniture.

The USGBC list included other notable green projects such as Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Kapolei, Hawaii, LEED Silver; M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, LEED Gold; Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., LEED Silver. The Carlton College Weitz Center for Creativity in Northfield, Minn., received LEED Gold, the college’s third project to earn LEED certification.