Originally published by Metropolis Magazine, this comprehensive analysis by sustainability expert Lance Hosey examines the current disputes within the green building industry, where market leader LEED currently finds competition from the Living Building Challenge, aiming for the “leading edge” of the market, and the Green Globes at the other end of the scale. Arguing for a more holistic understanding of what makes materials sustainable, Hosey examines the role that materials, and material industries such as the timber and chemical industries, can have in directing the aims and principles of these three sustainability rating systems – for better or for worse.
At the annual Greenbuild International Conference in Philadelphia last week, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) finally announced the latest version of LEED. Aiming to make a larger forward step than previous versions, LEED v4 is described by Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO and president of USGBC as a “quantum leap”. But what are the key changes in the new LEED criteria, and what effect will they have? Furthermore, what problems have they yet to address? Read on to find out.
The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.
Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:
Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building has commenced in San Francisco with an interesting announcement from the main stage. Google has granted $3 million to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in an effort to transform the building materials industry and accelerate the creation of healthier indoor environments.
“Healthy, non-toxic building materials are a critical component in green building,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Fostering awareness of the materials we put into our buildings is of paramount importance, since many materials can link to a host of environmental and health issues. Working with Google enables us to broaden our efforts in the materials industry as we prepare for the next version of the LEED green building program, LEED v4. This updated rating system will paint a more complete picture of materials and products, enabling project teams to make more informed decisions.”
More after the break…
SOM recently shared with us their new tower located in Manila’s Makati Central Business District that has been shortlisted for a 2012 MIPIM Asia award. Rising 33 stories to height of 160 meters, the Zuellig Building is the first premium office tower in the Philippines to be erected since 2000. It is also the first building in Makati that has been pre-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) at the LEED Gold level, and is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification by September 2013. More details after the break.
Late last month the AIA announced that it is in support of the International Green Construction Code (lgCC) which will be a guide and model that helps architects and builders design buildings that conserve energy and move to a sustainable design strategy. The AIA is part of a long list of supporters which include ASHRAE, the US Green Building Council and the Illuminating Engineering Society. For architecture and engineering, this is a step in the right direction. This provides designers with a tool that makes responsible design less cryptic by offering solutions for energy saving strategies.
More on this after the break.
Green Building and Climate Resilience: A Report by the U.S. Green Building Council + University of Michigan
As many of us have already realized, sustainable design contributes to an awareness of environmental patterns and thereby creates communities that are more resilient to the devastating effects of the natural disasters that we have seen across the globe in recent months. Many people have accepted the cause and effect relationship that exists between current practices – those that pollute water and food sources, strip minerals, disturb fault linesand throw off ecosystems – with the rapidly increasing changes in climate. For those that do not, U.S. Green Building Council and the University of Michigan released this report: Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, which addresses pre- and post-emergency management situations while stressing a consciousness about the environment and ways in which to design and build communities that are physically and structurally prepared for natural disasters.
More on this report after the break.
The United States Green Building Council‘s (USGBC) Center for Green Schools, started by the Georgia Chapter, is behind the transformation of the educational system in this country through the introduction of high performance schools and facilities. It all starts with providing an environment for learning focusing on health, education and the responsible use of funds, which are “the three major concerns that the school system struggles with”, says Laura Turdel Seydel – Chair of the Captain Planet Foundation. The fundamentals are simple and are the typical goals of the Board of Education. But this initiative, which is a coalition between some of the top educational and environmental associations in the country, does this by focusing on where students are learning and that means updating the technology of our schools.
Join us after the break for more.
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announce Burtland Granvil, AIA, LEED AP as the new Architecture for Humanity Sustainability Design Fellow. Succeeding the first Sustainability Design Fellow, Stacey McMahan, AIA, LEED AP, Granvil will be working directly with the Haitian community at the Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding center based in Port-au-Prince.
“The earthquake didn’t take as many lives as the poor quality of construction did,” said Granvil. “Architecture for Humanity’s Rebuilding Center in Haiti will help educate and build together with local current and future builders of Haiti…this is the main reason why I joined Architecture for Humanity. I am here with others to work on the long-term approach. Haiti, as well as other post disaster areas, can benefit from this kind of transitional office with this mindset.”
Marking the two year anniversary of the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, we would like to share with you the important efforts of Project Haiti – a LEED Platinum orphanage and children’s center that is planned to be built in Port au Prince, Haiti. The project is lead by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and their official pro-bono design partner, HOK. Project Haiti not only focuses on the children, but also aims to create a “replicable, resilient model for rebuilding” that may serve as a practical teaching tool for the local community. The USGBC motto states, “Every story about green building is a story about people.”
An increasing trend towards sustainable construction within the building industry has resulted in a steady stream of “green” products into the marketplace. It is not uncommon to see products labeled with numerous claims that are certified by previously unheard of governing bodies. Industry leaders recently gathered in Toronto at Greenbuild to focus on avenues to increase the transparency of such claims made in the marketplace, and develop an integrated information source to reduce confusion and increase reliability.
Some of the players that are beginning to influence the conversation include the US Green Building Council and the US Forest Service, both of whom are advocates for increased regulation and standardization of Environmental Product Declarations. Architecture 2030 has also introduced a new initiative aimed at the reduction of dependency of fossil fuels in the building life cycle, reductions in greenhouse gas embodies products, and an overall reduction in energy consumption to carbon-neutral by 2030. With the latest update to the AIA 2030 Commitment, these new initiatives mark an increasing awareness of the overall building life cycle costs and their impact on our environments.
The Y.S Sun Green Building Research Center at National Kung University in Taiwan has recently been awarded top honors by the USGBC, in addition to receiving the Taiwan Ecology, Waste Reduction and Health Diamond Certification from the Ministry of Interior. The three-story 4800 square meter building utilizes 13 different sustainable building techniques in order to achieve a 65% energy savings and a 50% water savings over typical office buildings.
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Completion Date: 2011
Project Area: 52, 700SqFt
Client: US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Contractor: Straub Construction
Structural Engineer: Holben, Martin, and White Consulting Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer: GLHN Architects and Engineers
Exhibit/Interpretive Consultant: Hilferty and Associates
Photography: Robert Reck, Henry Tom
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Project Year: 2008
Project Size: 25,000 SqFt
Client: City of Phoenix
Contractor: Linthicum Constructors Inc.
Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Landscape Architect: McGann and Associates
Photography: Bill Timmerman, Henry Tom