News Briefs


33 LEED-certified buildings were evaluated in a report commissioned by the State of California. The report concluded that higher initial costs are offset by as much as a factor of 10 through benefits of green design.

The largest U.S. landlord, the General Services Administration (GSA), published Sustainability Matters documenting 24 GSA LEED building case studies and their substantial benefits and cost savings. A second GSA publication, Assessing Green Building Performance, documents post occupancy evaluations of 12 GSA LEED buildings and concludes that GSA's LEED Gold buildings achieved the best overall performance with an average of 26% less energy use, 13% lower maintenance costs, 27% higher occupant satifaction and 33% fewer CO2 emissions.

Current list of the top ten U.S. Government building owners / green building standards.

EPA's April, 2010 Climate Change Indicators in the United States report, presents compelling evidence that the composition of the atmosphere and many fundamental measures of climate in the United States are changing. " (Summary of Key Findings on pp. 4-7) Download PDF



  September, 2014  




While green advocates in a number of other states might dispute that notion, there’s no denying the Golden State’s long history of leadership on environmental issues. In 1884, a state judge outlawed the dumping of gold-mining rubble into waterways, a decision that predated the federal Rivers and Harbors Act by 15 years. In 1959, the state developed its own air quality standards, and when the Federal Air Quality Act was passed in 1967, California received a waiver allowing it to enforce tighter emissions regulations than called for by the law. The state is home to the country’s first carpool lanes, and passed the first law requiring smog checks for cars.  Even the U.S. Green Building Council itself was founded in San Francisco. 

In 2010, when opponents of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 tried to suspend the law, a new-on-the-scene group was there to help fight to protect the legislation: USGBC California. Dennis Murphy helped start the statewide group in 2009, giving the California’s eight individual USGBC chapters an umbrella organization that could advocate for their shared values in precisely moments like this one.

Although the legislation was a little outside of USGBC’s usual green-building mission, it spoke to the larger environmental concerns that are shared by nearly all of the organization’s members. “If this law went away, it almost wouldn’t matter what we were doing on more narrowly defined green building issues,” Murphy says. “We realized that we needed to be part of a broad coalition.”

Murphy set up phone banks where volunteers called USGBC members and urged them to vote against Proposition 23 that would have suspended AB-32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requiring greenhouse gas emission levels in the state be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. Ultimately, the proposition was defeated by more than 2 million votes.

Currently, Murphy is pushing for the state to pass “purple pipes” legislation requiring new buildings to include infrastructure for utilizing recycled water. “We get involved in a lot of stuff,” Murphy acknowledges, laughing. “Across the country, nobody has the irrational sense of hope and optimism that we do."  But Murphy also quips that  "Innovation is like the wind, blowing from the West to the East—starting in California and then making its way across the rest of the country."





  July, 2014  




Chemicals, through the different steps from their production to their handling, transport and use, are a real danger for human health and the environment. People of any ages, from children to elderly, using many different languages and alphabets, belonging to various social conditions, including illiterates, are daily confronted to dangerous products (chemicals, pesticides, etc.)

To face this danger, and given the reality of the extensive global trade in chemicals and the need to develop national programs to ensure their safe use, transport and disposal, it was recognized that an internationally-harmonized approach to classification and labeling would provide the foundation for such programs.

The new system, which was called "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)", addresses classification of chemicals by types of hazard and proposes harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. It aims at ensuring that information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemicals be available in order to enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transport and use of these chemicals. The GHS also provides a basis for harmonization of rules and regulations on chemicals at national, regional and worldwide level, an important factor also for trade facilitation.

U.S. manufacturers report only those hazards found in materials at relatively high concentrations—10,000 ppm for most hazards and 1,000 ppm for carcinogens. Exemptions for trade secrets along with the fact that manufacturers format their information differently, limiting their usefulness.

Other emerging labeling options, health product declarations (HPD) and the Declare label, encourage disclosure of ingredients at very low concentrations—100 ppm.




  July, 2014  




Cities are the main human ecosystem – 60 per cent of us now live in metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people – but they also make us sick, depressed and anxious. By contrast, being around blue water, green trees and space makes us healthier, more productive, even more generous – a positive effect known as “biophilia.”

For her graduate work at the University of Washington, Judith Heerwagen, an evolutionary psychologist, studied the living conditions of the macaque monkeys at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. At the time, the zoo was bringing in biologists and botanists to design better landscapes for the animals, including an African savannah where several species might live together as they did in the wild. The effect on the monkeys, she says, was noticeable: They became less aggressive, healthier.

“It was just an ‘aha!’ moment,” says Dr. Heerwagen, now an environmental consultant in Seattle. “We do a better job building zoos for animals than buildings for people.”

If the hubbub of cities heightens anxiety – as recent German research suggests – then nature is Valium. There’s a near-universal calm in the rustle of wind in the trees and the steady slosh of an ocean tide. In the Netherlands, researchers call it Vitamin G, as in “green.”




  July, 2014  




This house was built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum standards and is estimated to be 70 percent more energy efficient than the average D.C.-area home. Built with double the normal amounts of insulation, an air barrier to minimize temperature exchange with the outside, and 32 solar panels, the home is estimated to have saved its imaginary residents $4,373 very real dollars over the course of the past year.

With a cost estimated at $132,700 over a similar home built to standard, um, these technologies don’t come cheap. But as the technologies mature and become more commonplace, the price will come down. With California’s Title 24 requiring all newly constructed homes to be net-zero beginning in 2020, these boring houses are about to become a lot more commonplace.




  July, 2014  




USGBC has launched its new LEED Dynamic plaque, a freestanding and digital scoreboard that is displayed on a LEED building site to show the project’s latest scores in five LEED performance categories—energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience. The plaque can be installed on any existing LEED-certified building, regardless of rating system and facility managers can enter building performance data into the USGBC’s online dashboard manually or automatically, and as frequently as they want to; the USGBC will require owners to submit building data for verification at least once a year.

The USGBC hopes to have 25 LEED Dynamic Plaques on building walls by the first quarter of 2014, and several thousand by year’s end, starting in the United States.




  July, 2014  




The world’s 14 billion online electronic devices – such as laptops, PCs, modems, printers, game consoles and set-top boxes – waste around $80 billion each year because of inefficient technology, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The report, “More Data, Less Energy: Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices,” finds that much of the problem boils down to inefficient “network standby” where many devices draw as much power in this mode as when activated to perform their main tasks.
In 2013, the world’s networked devices consumed around 616 TWh of electricity, the majority of which was used in standby mode, says IEA. Of that total, around 400 TWh was wasted because of inefficient technology. Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks while consuming around 65 percent less power, says IEA. The agency urges an international initiative to enhance standards, as the issue is global.




  July, 2014  




Iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson Motor Co. is launching its first electric motorcycle. Calling it Project LiveWire, the company gave the public the first glimpse of the motorcycle at an invitation-only event on Monday in New York, the Associated Press reports. Select customers will then be able to ride the motorcycle and provide feedback. The bike is not yet for sale.
Harley-Davidson will kick off a 2014 U.S. tour of the bike with a trip down Route 66, visiting more than 30 dealerships along the way through the end of the year. Next year, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the U.S. and will be expanded into Canada and Europe. See you in Sturgis!




  July, 2014  




With 97% of scientists in agreement that the window of opportunity to address climate change is closing as the debate continues, governing bodies at all levels are grappling with the issue in various ways. 


STATE GOVERNMENT ACTIONS: “Governors see the impacts of climate change first hand, and have a real understanding of the costs related to health, infrastructure, and their state’s economy,” said Ted Strickland, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and former governor of Ohio.

“If the U.S. is serious about being a leader in addressing climate change and taking advantage of the economic opportunity in clean energy and energy efficiency, it is going to be because states and governors lead the way. The only way the Clean Power Plan is successful is with governors getting on board, as many already have.”

Much of the progress that has already been made to address climate change and begin the switch from fossil fuels to clean energy started in the states. California has been busily implementing its cap-and-trade law, doubly approved by voters in 2010. It’s been going so well that recent auctions have sold out of permits, and its governor, Jerry Brown, is implementing the rest of the law fairly smoothly. California is so far ahead of the rest of the country that when Congress passed the Clean Air Act, it granted special authority to the Golden State so it could adopt even stronger fuel efficiency standards.

RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”) is the cap-and-trade program adopted by nine states in the northeast. Though it stalled at first, a simple correction last year lowered the cap and its last two auctions have been quite successful. This means that as those states seek to comply with the Clean Air Act regulations on power plant carbon pollution once they are finalized, it will be that much easier because their economies have already started to build in a cost of emitting carbon dioxide through RGGI. Most of their governors have taken additional steps to invest in energy efficiency and renewable power sources

However, fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. The map on the right categorizes US governors into four groups: green for those who both accept climate science and are taking action to fight climate change; orange for those who either accept or haven’t openly denied climate science, but also have yet to take serious action to address climate change; red for those who have failed to take action or openly rejected to federal safeguards to address climate change, and red with stripes for climate deniers.


CITY GOVERNMENT ACTIONS: "Mayors have single-handedly taken action on climate protection efforts and in many cases, creatively launched local energy efficiency programs to help reduce our carbon footprint in American cities." - Tom Cochran, CEO & Executive Director, U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayors are on the front lines of impacting human behavior - from their work on recycling, to aids prevention, and prostate cancer, they are changing human behavior every day. This is one of many reasons why 1,060 mayors continue to join The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, vowing to reduce carbon emissions in their cities below 1990 levels, in line with the Kyoto Protocol. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was the founder of this movement.

Click on links below to see interactive maps to find out what is happening in your jurisdiction:





  July, 2014  




John Wick runs cattle on his 540-acre ranch in Northern California not for money or beef production, but instead to try to promote native grass species by mimicking grazing habits of the elk herds that once roamed these hills.

Through more than a decade of experimentation on his ranch, Wick has stumbled upon what may turn out to be a groundbreaking discovery: He’s found a way to manage grasslands that can curb climate change, while also providing multiple benefits to ranchers and to society.

Wick began studying the natural cycle he saw on his ranch. Plants grow by converting sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. Each blade of grass, he explains, is like a little straw that sucks carbon out of the air and into the plant’s tissues. When the roots eventually decompose, some of the organic material — made primarily of carbon — remains in the soil and becomes protected from further decomposition.

Rangelands cover 770 million acres of the United States and make up about one-third of the planet’s ice-free land surface. If these ecosystems could be managed, on a large scale, to store more carbon, it would cause a notable reduction in global warming.

Wick assembled a crew of experts, from ranchers and agricultural agencies to scientists and policy-makers to help answer this question, creating the Marin Carbon Project.

If it turns out to be an effective method for storing carbon underground, putting compost on grasslands could transform ranching as well as waste management nationwide. Food scraps, no longer considered waste, would be sent to facilities where they could be made into compost and spread onto the land. Ranchers would become stewards not just of the land, but also the climate.

There’s certainly no shortage of unwanted organic material: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, of the 36 million tons of food scraps generated each year in the U.S., only about 5 percent is converted to compost. The rest wastes away in landfills, where it makes up more than 20 percent of trash and decomposes in an oxygen-free environment to produce methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Aside from being good for the environment, applying compost to pastures was beneficial for business: It improved forage for cattle by increasing grass growth by 25 to 50 percent, causing the soil to retain 2,800 more gallons of water per acre, and making the pastures more resistant to drought.




  July, 2014  




Kiribati, one of the Pacific Island nations, may be the first to pull the trigger and purchase lands for a new home, but it is unlikely to be the last. “We are the canary,” Kiribati president Anote Tong told CNN. “But hopefully, that experience will send a very strong message that we might be on the frontline today, but others will be on the frontline next.”

Anote Tong was one of this year’s recipient of the Top Ten Earth Day Awards for his proactive work in addressing climate change issues on all fronts, including preserving the Pacific Island Oceanscape, keeping global climate change at the top of the agenda for the United Nations, and for proactively planning for the future of his nation by taking drastic measures to implement a Plan B.




  July, 2014  




What does the “American Dream” mean today?How—and how successfully—are Americans achieving this dream? How has the concept of the “American Dream” shifted over the past 10 years?

These questions are at the heart of the Center for a New American Dream's 2014 national survey, conducted in partnership with PolicyInteractive.

The survey, which polled 1,821 U.S. citizens ages 18 and over, illustrates the shift in public consciousness around the topic of the American Dream and sheds new light on the environment and the economy.

Center For A New American Dream



  June, 2014  




Three national solar energy records were set in Germany over the past two weeks. According to the Fraunhofer ISE solar energy research institute:

  • Solar met more than 50 percent of Germany’s total electricity demand for the first time;
  • A new solar peak power production record was set; and
  • Weekly total solar power output hit new highs.

That’s not all. With prospects for new, cheaper and more effective energy storage solutions improving, sales of solar power storage systems are “set to skyrocket in Germany”.




  June, 2014  




Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk has once again demonstrated business leadership by offering a business solution to climate change. Musk’s act of leadership is to open-source his company’s invaluable intellectual property for building world-class electric cars to the global auto industry.

“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology. Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”




  June, 2014  




World Watch reports that global production of automobiles continues to rise dramatically. London-based IHS Automotive puts passenger-car production in 2013 at 69.6 million, up from 66.7 million in 2012, and projects a figure of 71.7 million for 2014.

The world’s fleet of light-duty vehicles now surpasses 1 billion, having grown from 980.7 million in 2012 to 1,017 million in 2013—one light-duty vehicle per seven people.  Of that total, the passenger car fleet accounted for 739.8 million vehicles in 2013, up from 713.2 million in 2012.




  June, 2014  




Technology will play an important part of our future, but true sustainability is only possible if we make the huge cultural and behavioral leaps necessary to get from green technologies promising to save us in one fell swoop to appropriate ones like cradle-to-cradle bicycles and sneakers. And once we’re all living small footprint lifestyles, we’ll have an easier time meeting our transportation and energy demands with Solar Pathways!

1)      There is no silver bullet. The Solar Roadways video is powerful because it has attracted so much attention from folks outside of the traditional environmental or cleantech realms. Family members who I thought only followed sports have been sending this video to me as if they found the solution for saving the planet! What a waste of a captive audience.Viewers will come away with a reinforced notion that technology can solve all of our problems, a false notion. Climate and population stabilization, let alone universal food and water security, will require a heavy dose of values adjustment and behavior change.

2)      Car-centrism gets us nowhere. The video narrator invites you to imagine safer driving, snow-melting roads, and programmable parking lots, all attractive prospects for people whose lives revolve around car travel – which, admittedly, is most of us. However, for the globe’s 7 billion people to actually live within the biocapacity of a single planet, there would have to be almost no private vehicles on the road. A study on one-planet living in Vancouver showed that even if Vancouverites cut car-driving completely from their lifestyle, the still could not bring their ecological footprint within range. Yes, the video mentions bike travel and sports arenas, but its car-centrism makes the concept sustainababble on the whole.

3)      Appropriate Scale. I am not anti-technology, and I do not doubt that solar road tiles will make their way into many useful applications, building from the popularity of this video. But the mass consumption and globalized economy required to pave entire freeways with these tiles is only possible within first-world economic rules—rules that are at the heart of our march toward an ecocidal future. A just world requires rules that incentivize technological and political development on what E. F. Schumacher called an “appropriate” scale. And considering at the heart of Solar Roadways is cars, this idea does not currently meet those requirements.




  June, 2014  




“Who is devising ways of living that could work for the long haul?” Karen Litfin, University of Washington Professor of Political Science, researched communities around the world, traveling to 5 continents, living in 14 ecovillages and doing in-depth interviews with their members over the course of a year, and publishing the results in Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community. Her sampling reflects their diversity: rural and urban; rich, poor and middle class; secular and spiritual..

What she learned was that “sustainability” varies with context. Ecovillagers in the Global North focus on reducing social alienation, consumption and waste, whereas those in the Global South focus on village-based employment, gender equality and food sovereignty. Los Angeles Ecovillage, for instance, is an island of frugality in the heart of Southern California’s consumer culture, whereas Colufifa, a Senegal-based village network, is primarily concerned with hunger prevention. Yet both are drawn to bicycles and permaculture, suggesting that ‘sustainability’ has some common ground in east Hollywood and west Africa.

Most important, she found evidence of an emerging common worldview in the global ecovillage movement, including these basic tenets:

  • The web of life is sacred, and humanity is an integral part of that web.
  • Global trends are approaching a crisis point.
  • Positive change will come primarily from the bottom up.
  • Community is an adventure in relational living—ecologically, socially, and psychologically.

As a consequence of these beliefs, ecovillagers are unusually sensitive to the consequences of their actions, both near and far, and unusually open to sharing. “If I had to choose one word to express the essence of ecovillage culture, it would be sharing. Because ecovillages in the Global North share material resources, both their consumption and incomes are quite low compared to their home country averages. At Earthaven in North Carolina and Sieben Linden in Germany, for instance, members had annual incomes of less than $12,000. Despite being far below the poverty line, they described their lives as “rich” and “abundant.”




  June, 2014  




In 2013, a report by the Center for American Progress revealed that workers in many apparel-exporting countries earn little more than subsistence wages for 14-hour workdays. Human Rights Watch reported that factory owners used beatings and death threats to stop organizers from unionizing garment workers. In China, where over half the world’s clothes are made, industrial waste in areas where textile manufacturing is concentrated has created severe water pollution and has negatively affected the soil and air, according to the Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs.

Surveys conducted by the Global Poverty Project and by universities throughout the Western world — in places such as France, Wales and California — all point to increasing consumer awareness to negative social and environmental effects of the fashion industry.

And the leading brands are starting to respond – at least on the surface. Many fashion industry labels employ "green" and "ethical" marketing to target "conscious" consumers: H&M's Conscious collection, made of organic cotton and recycled polyester; Puma’s biodegradable InCycle Collection; Adidas’ Design for Environment gear; Uniqlo’s All-Product Recycling Initiative; Zara’s eco-efficient stores; and the Gap’s P.A.C.E. program, to benefit the lives of female garment workers.

Finding ways to increase consumers’ knowledge about the impact of clothes production is one of the main challenges for the fashion industry. Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute, has suggested a system similar to that used on refrigerators and air conditioners, where a label informs consumers about a product’s environmental toll. “It will educate us as consumers,” Kruse said. ”It will make us more aware that the product we are buying has a price in currency, but it also has a price for our planet.”

That level of transparency is already available on a smaller scale. In the online store Honest by, every product comes with information about materials used, the manufacturing process and a breakdown of costs. The denim brand Nudie Jeans has a production guide, which presents data about the company’s entire supply chain.

But it is not easy. For the larger firms — with their huge supply chains — it is  difficult to fully track where any given item of clothing might have come from and how it was made. In 2011, Nike, the Gap, Target and other major brands joined forces with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other industry stakeholders to create the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, whose goal is to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel through collaboration and collective action. Roughly 35 percent of world turnover in apparel is represented in the SAC’s membership.

The main initiative of the SAC is a tool called the Higg Index, which measures five factors — water use, carbon emissions, waste, chemical constituents and labor conditions — across the life cycle of apparel products. It is deliberately taking a broad-brush approach across the whole supply chain of any single product. “For example, a shirt made of organic cotton may have been sewn in a facility with bonded labor,” said Jason Kibbey, the SAC’s chief executive. “It might be dyed with chemicals from harmful materials that are both harmful to the wearer of the garment and to the workers who worked there. It may have been flown via air freight to North America from South Asia with an incredibly large carbon footprint. This shirt isn’t sustainable, but unless we look at all the stages of production, in today’s world it might actually be described as such.”




  June, 2014  




Scoop up a bucket of seawater (or swallow a mouthful) and this is what you get: a bizarre menagerie of plants and animals, some of them known to us, others a complete mystery. This extraordinary photograph shows a random splash of seawater, magnified 25 times. The Earth's open seas are home to countless tiny animals and plants that are known collectively as plankton.




  June, 2014  




This summer, climate deniers will gather for their annual meeting of the twisted minds, the International Conference on Climate Change, organized by the Heartland Institute and underwritten by the good people who brought you climate change in the first place. Their choice for a venue? The beautiful Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Ask about climate in Las Vegas, and people go straight to the dearth of water. Rightly so: In a city that gets four inches of rain each year, residents pump billions of gallons of water out of nearby Lake Mead, a reservoir on the overtaxed Colorado River, and proceed to dump more than half of it on their lawns. There’s also the disconcerting (and rather embarrassing) fact that the lake level keeps threatening to drop below the city’s intake pipes, prompting water authorities to bore ever deeper (and astronomically expensive) tunnels through the rock to ensure that they won’t literally be left high and dry.

And it’s only going to get harder, and more expensive, for Las Vegans to maintain their illusions. According to the just-released National Climate Assessment, if we continue to increase the amount of pollution we pump into the air (and there’s little reason to believe that we won’t), the southwestern U.S. will see average annual temperatures rise by 5.5 to 9.5 degrees F by the end of the century, and as early as 2070.

“Climate change is going to affect poor people and people of color most,” Laura Martin, communications director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, told me recently. “We have places like the Historic West Side, Ward 5, that is one of the poorest areas in the country, with the worst health outcomes. It’s a food desert. It’s a wasteland. As people fight about climate change, they forget about places like Ward 5.”

The prognosis for the region’s water supply isn’t any better. Here’s the climate assessment:

Southwest paleoclimate records show severe mega-droughts at least 50 years long. Future droughts are projected to be substantially hotter, and for major river basins such as the Colorado River Basin, drought is projected to become more frequent, intense, and longer lasting than in the historical record.

That’s harsh news for a region that is already 14 years into the most serious drought in more than 1,000 years.




  June, 2014  




When a team of researchers from the University of Delaware traveled to Africa two years ago to search for exemplary chickens, they weren't looking for plump thighs or delicious eggs.  They were seeking out birds that could survive a hotter planet.

The researchers were in the vanguard of food scientists, backed by millions of dollars from the federal government, racing to develop new breeds of farm animals that can stand up to the hazards of global warming.

Some climate-change activists dismiss the work, which is just getting underway, as a distraction and a concession to industrial-style agriculture, which they blame for compounding the world's environmental problems. Those leading the experiments, however, say new, heat-resistant breeds of farm animals will be essential to feeding the world as climate change takes hold.

The experiments reflect a continued shift in the federal government's response to climate change. With efforts to reduce carbon emissions lagging behind what most scientists believe will be needed to forestall further warming, the government increasingly is looking for ways to protect key industries from the impact.

Some climate experts, however, question the federal government's emphasis on keeping pace with a projected growing global appetite for meat. Because raising animals demands so many resources, the only viable way to hit global targets for greenhouse gas reduction may be to encourage people to eat less meat, they say.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approach to climate change "is like trying to promote driver safety while helping the car industry make faster cars," said Alan Miller, who recently retired as a principal climate-change specialist at the World Bank.




  June, 2014  




The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its ranking of the top 10 countries for LEED® outside of the United States, demonstrating the global reach of the movement that is transforming the built environment into healthy, high-performing structures that benefit the planet and all of its people.

“The global community is increasingly recognizing the imperative for action as we combat the extraordinary challenge of worldwide climate change,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “LEED’s success across a wide variety of cultures, climates and communities represents not only a growing recognition of its demonstrated benefits for human health and operational cost savings, but also its unparalleled potential to be part of the solution to a warming planet and rising sea levels.”

The list of the top 10 countries for LEED reflects the global adaptability of the world’s most widely used and recognized system guiding the design, construction, operations and maintenance of green buildings. To date, project teams in more than 140 countries and territories have implemented LEED in their building projects, taking advantage of its global, regional and local applicability to create structures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; create healthier indoor environments for workers, students and community members; and lower utility bills for building owners through reduced energy and water use.

The ranking of the top 10 countries for LEED outside of the U.S. is based on cumulative gross square meters (GSM) of space certified to LEED in each nation as of April 2014.

Canada tops the list, with 17.74 million GSM of LEED space. Collectively, Canada boasts 4,068 total LEED-registered and -certified projects, representing 58.66 million total GSM of LEED space.

China and India, two of the world’s fastest growing economies and rapid adopters of sustainable building practices, took second and third place on the list, respectively boasting 14.30 million and 11.64 million GSM of LEED-certified space.

Other Asian nations in the top 10 include South Korea, at No. 4 with 3.84 million GSM of LEED-certified space; Taiwan, at No. 5 with 2.98 million GSM; and Singapore, at No. 8 with 2.16 million GSM.

In Europe, Germany and Finland secured spots 6 and 10, respectively — Germany with 2.90 million GSM of LEED-certified space and Finland with 1.45 million.

In South America, Brazil stood at No. 7 on the list, with 2.85 million GSM, while the United Arab Emirates represented green building success in the Middle East, at No. 9 with 1.82 million GSM of LEED-certified space.

Collectively, more than 59,000 commercial and institutional projects are participating in LEED, representing 967 million GSM of construction space worldwide.

In June 2013, USGBC launched the LEED Earth campaign, offering free certification to the first projects to certify in the more than 100 countries where LEED has yet to take root. Since then, 15 projects in various nations have earned free certification, including Venezuela and Kuwait. To learn more, visit



  June, 2014  




Some 97 out of 100 actively publishing climate scientists agree with the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming.

The challenge for the media is how to accurately reflect that consensus. One way NOT to do it is to give equal time to climate science deniers. Unsurprisingly (yet tragically), that is the preferred strategy of most of the MSM. False balance lives at CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and even PBS.

Only one cable news show has been brave enough to take on false balance with a “statistically representative climate change debate.” Unfortunately, it’s a fake news show, John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” on HBO.

Graham Readfearn recently posted his fave climate change comedy videos on The Guardian, but who has half an hour to waste on silly videos? (Don’t answer that. I totally do.) So I compiled his clips and some others into a two-minute supercut of sustainability-related punchlines.

The Onion, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Al Gore, and even Will Ferrell as George Dubya make appearances, proving that while yes, most of the time climate change is hella depressing, there are some bright spots. (OK, it’s not strictly climate change-related — there are also some gags about wind and whales in there.



  June, 2014  




The world population has now reached 7 billion people. This milestone inspired us to conduct research to update our statistics, and the changes over the past 5 years are remarkable. In 2006, only 1 person out of 100 would have had a college education-- today that number has jumped to 7 thanks in part to advances in higher education in Asia. The detailed research and source information can be found here and the statistics provided by Donella Meadows in 1990 that originally inspired our project can be viewed here.

If the World were 100 PEOPLE:

50 would be female
50 would be male

26 would be children
There would be 74 adults,
8 of whom would be 65 and older

There would be:
60 Asians
15 Africans
14 people from the Americas
11 Europeans

33 Christians
22 Muslims
14 Hindus
7 Buddhists
12 people who practice other religions
12 people who would not be aligned with a religion

12 would speak Chinese
5 would speak Spanish
5 would speak English
3 would speak Arabic
3 would speak Hindi
3 would speak Bengali
3 would speak Portuguese
2 would speak Russian
2 would speak Japanese
62 would speak other languages

83 would be able to read and write; 17 would not

7 would have a college degree
22 would own or share a computer

77 people would have a place to shelter them
from the wind and the rain, but 23 would not

1 would be dying of starvation
15 would be undernourished
21 would be overweight

87 would have access to safe drinking water
13 people would have no clean, safe water to drink




  June, 2014  




Wind turbines might be an excellent source of renewable energy, but they have yet to become a residential feature due to one thing – the noise. Thankfully, a Rotterdam-based company called The Archimedes claims to have a solution that is not only quiet, but significantly more efficient that existing wind turbines. Modelled after a Nautilus shell, its inventors claim the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine can achieve “80 percent of the maximum that is theoretically feasible.”

“The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household.”

Although it’s not officially available until July 1st, the company states that it has already sold 7,000 of the turbines in 14 countries. When it does become available to the general public, it will sell for €3,999, which is about US$5,450.


  June, 2014  




Gas wells (red dots) surround the home of Lisa and Bob Parr (black box, center) in the Barnett Shale in Texas. Sick from breathing in the foul air, frustrated and angry the Parrs decided to sue. They recently won what appears to be the first successful U.S. lawsuit alleging that toxic air emissions from oil and gas production sickened nearby residents. Credit: Paul Horn/InsideClimate News Between February 2010 and July 2011, Lisa and Bob Parr filed 13 complaints about air pollution from gas and oil operations near their ranch in Wise County, Texas. Sometimes they had trouble breathing, they told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). They also experienced nausea, nosebleeds, ringing ears and rashes.

Other families were also alarmed. Between 2008 and 2011, the TCEQ received 77 complaints from Wise County, in the Barnett Shale drilling area in North Texas. One said the odor was so powerful that the complainant "couldn't go outside," according to the TCEQ report.

Frustrated and angry, the Parrs decided to sue. Their attorney warned them that lawsuits against the oil and gas industry rarely, if ever, succeed. But the Parrs persisted and last month won what appears to be the first successful U.S. lawsuit alleging that toxic air emissions from oil and gas production sickened people living nearby. A Dallas County jury found that Aruba Petroleum, a privately owned company based in Plano, Texas, "intentionally created a private nuisance" that affected the family's health and awarded the Parrs almost $3 million in damages.

That the case was won in Texas makes the Parrs' victory especially unusual. A recent investigation by InsideClimate News, the Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel found that Texas politicians often work hand-in-hand with the industry, regulations are lax and little is known about the risks from the toxic soup of emissions the industry releases.

Thousands of oil and gas facilities, including at least one Aruba facility near the Parrs' house, self-audit their emissions without reporting them to the state. The TCEQ, which regulates most air emissions, doesn't even know some of these facilities exist.




  June, 2014  




The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a regulation Monday that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, taking aim at one of the nation’s leading sources of greenhouse gases.

Under the draft rule, the EPA would let states and utilities meet the new standard with different approaches mixing four options including energy efficiency, shifting from coal to natural gas, investing in renewable energy and making power plant upgrades. Other compliance methods could include offering discounts to encourage consumers to shift electricity use to off-peak hours.

The rule represents one of the most significant steps the federal government has ever taken to curb the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are linked to climate change, and the draft is sure to spark a major political and legal battle. Conscious of that, President Obama called a group of Senate and House Democrats on Sunday afternoon to thank them for their support in advance of the proposed rule, according to a White House official who asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations with lawmakers.

The EPA estimates that the new rule would cut traditional air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot by 25 percent, according to those who have been briefed, yielding a public health benefit of between $55 billion to $93 billion when it is fully implemented with 2,700 to 6600 premature deaths avoided and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks a year avoided. The cost, by contrast, would be $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion.

EPA said that for every $1 invested, Americans would reap $7 in health benefits.

Recent improvements in energy efficiency will accelerate the rule’s implementation, the agency projects, with a roughly 8 percent cut in the national average cost of electricity bills by 2030.

Washington Post



  June, 2014  




The UN General Assembly declared 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States to celebrate the contributions that this group of countries and territories has made to the world. These small islands are home to vibrant and distinct cultures and heritage as well as to rich ecosystems, biodiversity and dazzling landscapes.

But the challenges these small states face are many. From Trinidad and Tobago to Tonga, Samoa to Suriname, the problems that these small islands face – climate change, waste management, unsustainable consumption, degradation of natural resources, extreme natural disasters in the midst of overpopulation and continuing industrialization – are the problems that face us all.

Climate change is foremost among these challenges, as global warming is causing ocean levels to rise. According to the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), global sea levels are rising at an increased rate which is projected to be even greater this century. When global temperature warms, seawater expands and occupies more space. Sea levels rise when ice melts as well. Coastal communities in every country are then threatened with floods and storm surges, to which these small islands are the most exposed. Many of these islands’ inhabited areas and cultural sites are potentially in danger of being lost to sea-level rise.

UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors Gisele Bündchen, Don Cheadle, Ian Somerhalder and Yaya Touré are sending an SOS to the world on behalf of Small Island Developing States. Their message in the bottle: "We are all connected. The challenges faced by islands will face us all. So, every action we take to reduce waste and mitigate climate change counts."

Join a team and pledge to make a difference by taking action for WED (World Environmental Day). on June 5th.





  May, 2014  




New research indicates that climate change has already triggered an unstoppable decay of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The projected decay will lead to at least 4 feet of accelerating global sea level rise within the next two-plus centuries, and at least 10 feet of rise in the end.  Impacts are far-reaching and include severe financial implications. as well as enormous social and political implications.

What does the U.S. look like with an ocean that is 10 feet higher? The radically transformed map would lose 28,800 square miles of land, home today to 12.3 million people.

More than half of the area of 40 large cities (population over 50,000) is less than 10 feet above the high tide line, from Virginia Beach and Miami (the largest affected), down to Hoboken, N.J. (smallest). Twenty-seven of the cities are in Florida, where one-third of all current housing sits below the critical line — including 85 percent in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Each of these counties is more threatened than any whole state outside of Florida – and each sits on bedrock filled with holes, rendering defense by seawalls or levees almost impossible.

By the metric of most people living on land less than 10 ft above the high tide line, New York City is most threatened in the long run, with a low-lying population count of more than 700,000. Sixteen other cities, including New Orleans, La., Norfolk, Va., Stockton, Calif., Boston, Mass., St. Petersburg, Fla., and Jacksonville, Fla.,are on the list of places with more than 100,000 people below the line.

Climate Central News



  May, 2014  




Since its public launch in November 2006, the Living Building Challenge™ has inspired thousands of people throughout the world to action. Project teams are innovating solutions to create net zero energy, water independent, non-toxic, and culturally rich projects. To date, thirteen projects have achieved certification through the Living Building Challenge, five of which have achieved Full Certification, and many others have entered the twelve-month operational phase required prior to audit. 

In a matter of months, five projects—two residences, a government office and a pair of educational facilities—achieved Net Zero Energy Building Certification through the Living Building Challenge. This recent flurry of certifications supports an assertion commonly voiced at the Net Positive Conference in February The future of Net Zero buildings isn’t on the horizon, it’s already here.

Living Building Challenge



  April, 2014  




The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE), the Top Ten Green Projects celebrate innovation in sustainable design that thoroughly integrates architecture, natural systems, and technology to protect and enhance the environment.

While in the past, West Coast locales have occasionally made up a majority of the Top Ten winners, this year’s Top Ten represent a range of regions and climate zones from coast to coast, as well as a mix of new construction and existing buildings. The jury—comprising Bill Browning, founder, Terrapin Bright Green; Catherine Gavin, editor, Texas Architect; Tom Simpson, managing principal, Integral Group; Fritz Steiner, dean, School of Architecture, University of Texas; and Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, principal, VJAA—praised projects that incorporated elements of passive survivability, those that not only met ambitious performance predictions but also surpassed them, and those that integrated high-performance design elements in sophisticated, thought-out ways that didn’t scream “green.”

ECOBUILDING - AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects


  April, 2014  




Every year Green Building Pages TOP TEN EARTH DAY AWARDS recognizes personal, corporate, community and governmental efforts that make our world a better place.

IN 2014 WITH THE LAUNCH OF OUR SISTER WEBSITE, GREEN PRODUCT PAGES, we have the pleasure of recognizing the TOP TEN EARTH DAY AWARDS x 2 - once for the building industry, and once for the general global community - giving us the opportunity to offer a greater perspective on the growing depth, breadth and inspiration within the sustainability movement.
You will begin to understand as you click on Paul Hawken's image, that these award recipients represent a small fraction of the sustainability movement and leadership that is emerging globally in all sectors.

There are some notable trends among the diverse 20+ recipients of this year's two TOP TEN award lists, spanning across disciplines and the globe. Many of this years' recipients have been prolific, writing books, making movies or videos and many have been honored as TED presenters. You can see and hear their passion by clicking on many of their images.

INTERGENERATIONAL CONTINUITY: There are several pairs of 'then' and 'now' leaders who have passed or received the sustainability leadership torch over generations, creating a continuity.

Chief Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, beautifully articulates the long intergenerational history and wisdom of First Nation peoples that is shared globally.

Rachel Carson, who first raised the alarm regarding the detrimental effects of the chemicals in 1962, is followed by Arlene Blum, who today continues to address the issues of harmful chemicals prevalent in baby toys, furniture and many of our consumer goods.

Jane Jacobs, against common thought, first articulated the social and environmental advantages of compact cities in 1961. Today, Rob Bennett continues to push that envelope with his EcoDistrict campaign to create sustainable city neighborhoods and communities.

While Severn Cullis-Suzuki is the only one of her family receiving a TOP TEN Award this year as an advocate who began her leadership career at age 12 delivering her passionate speech at the 1992 UN Earth Day Summit, her father, David Suzuki, also a famous environmental activist and leader, clearly deserves enormous credit for creating and passing the torch to the next generation of leaders.

UNITED, URGENT MESSAGE: Ed Mazria, Rachel Carson, Arlene Blum, Lester Brown, Al Gore, and others express a constancy and urgency in their messages and their work focused on issues of sustainability and climate change. Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, a group of small islands in the Pacific whose existence is very much in peril, speaks uniquely from the front lines of climate change.

JOY, BEAUTY, REASONS FOR HOPE: Janine Beynus, Shigeru Ban and others have given us many visions and expressions of beauty and joy. And Paul Hawken has provided us with the most wonderful, explicit, lengthy and unusual list of reasons for hope that will likely make you cry.

INSPIRED, LONG VISIONS: Chief Oren Lyons, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Wangari Maatha, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Majora Carter, Susan Maxman, Jane Jacobs, Rob Bennett, David Gottfried, Jane Henley, Van Jones, and each of the others have inspired us with their diverse stories of leadership, vision, continuity and community, along with a whole host of 'firsts'.

The 2014 TOP TEN EARTH DAY AWARDS recognizes these diverse leaders from around the world who have all made enormous contributions toward creating a more sustainable future and building industry.

Take a moment to click on the image of each award recipient to view links and videos to truly appreciate their contributions toward creating our collective sustainable future.



  APRIL, 2014  




Chemicals in your household products may be negatively affecting your hormones, says a recent study by the WHO (World Health Organization). The study, "State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals," says pesticides, plasticizers and product additives contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They act like synthetic hormones, throwing off the body's natural hormonal system. Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the glands in our endocrine system and released in our blood, affecting everything from mood to metabolism.

The exposure happens on a daily basis from being in contact with items like soap, shampoo, cleaners, drinking water, food and plastic containers. One of the chemicals investigated in the study is BPA, or Bisphenol A, which mimics estrogen if it's introduced into the body. It can get there by leaching out of hard plastic bottles, especially if they are heated (in microwave ovens or dishwashers) or exposed to acidic solutions (tomato sauce). BPA has been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

BPA was banned in baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012, but can still be found in plastic reusable food containers, measuring cups, canned soup, soda cans and cash register and ATM receipts. If you think you'll be safe if a product claims "No BPA" on the label, you'd be wrong. A new exposé by Mother Jones magazine revealed that chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous to your health, if not more. "Plastic products being advertised as BPA-free -- and sold by companies such as Evenflo, Nalgene and Tupperware -- are still releasing synthetic estrogen," the article stated.

Another chemical to be aware of is the antibacterial chemical Triclosan, found in many personal-care products, including liquid soap, deodorant, acne cream and toothpaste. A really effective way to absorb chemicals is through the mouth. For example, when a drug like nitroglycerin is administered for a heart condition it is given under the tongue for fast absorption. So are natural homeopathic remedies. So what happens when you brush with toothpaste containing Triclosan? You get a dose of the chemical.

"Three out of four Americans have Triclosan in their blood," said Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D, senior scientist in the health and environment program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) in San Francisco. "And when you brush your teeth with a toothpaste containing the chemical, your levels go way up."

According to scientists, Triclosan is proven to be an endocrine disruptor in laboratory animals. It decreases thyroxine levels in the thyroid (Crofton, 2007); interferes with testosterone and decreases sperm counts (Kumar, 2009); and interferes with estrogen, bringing on early puberty (Stoker, 2010). The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says that girls in the US are entering puberty at earlier ages than they have in the past. Plus, $3 to $5 billion is spent per year in the U.S. on infertility treatments.

What can you do?

Beth Greer of the Huffington Post has these suggestions:
• Get tested at a lab that measures hormones, specifically estrogen, testosterone and thyroid levels. A great diagnostic testing service that doesn't require a doctor's visit is
• Replace plastic drinking bottles and storage containers with glass or metal.
• Read labels. Look for the word "antibacterial" as a clue that the product contains Triclosan, and don't buy it.
• Use plain soap and water. Antibacterial soaps and washes are not any better at killing germs and could contribute to the growth of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.

World Health Organization (WHO)



  April, 2014  




The Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the world's leading climate science body – projected a number of scenarios, each plotting amounts of carbon emissions and the resulting future global average temperatures. The bottom line is, there is only one scenario with a good chance of averting irreversible climate change: one that caps global cumulative industrial-era carbon emissions at under one trillion tons.

With this projection in mind, in December 2015 the United Nations climate conference will convene in Paris. The goal is to reach a new agreement, applicable to all countries, to keep carbon emissions under the one-trillion-ton threshold. Leading up to this conference is a series of interim meetings.

Architecture 2030 was asked to present its perspective on the U.S. and global built environment at one of these meetings – the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Climate Change Expert Group (OECD CCXG) Global Forum in Paris.

In an opening plenary session presentation on March 20th, Edward Mazria had the privilege of introducing Architecture 2030’s new report, Roadmap to Zero Emissions. A major component of the report is Roadmap 20/80, which sets out the emissions reduction targets necessary in the building sector to avert dangerous and irreversible climate change. Mazria also described the actions and financing instruments needed to reach global zero emissions by the second half of this century

UN Framework Convention On Climate Change



  March, 2014  




Just the Facts from the World Water Development Report on Water and Energy published in March 2014 and launched on the occasion of World Water Day celebrations in Tokyo, Japan:

China's target to produce 12 million metric tonnes of biodiesel by 2020 requires an amount of water approximately equivalent to the annual discharge of the Yellow River.

Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production.

Waterborne transit is one of the most energy efficient. Inland towing barges are more than 3 times more energy efficient than road trucks and 40% more efficient than rail.

In Stockholm, public buses, waste collection trucks and taxis run on biogas produced from sewage treatment plants.

In 2011, 768 million people did not use an improved source of drinking-water and 2.5 billion people did not use improved sanitation.

Approximately 15–18 billion m3 of freshwater resources are contaminated by fossil fuel production every year.

UNES Report



  March, 2014  




A small US-based company called Solar Roadways are developing a solar road surface that, if installed nationwide, has the potential to produce more renewable energy than the entire country uses. In fact, they’ve actually already developed a working prototype that’s been installed in a parking lot, and they’re now crowdsourcing funds in order to tweak the design and move towards production.

Solar Roadways, which was started by Scott and Julie Brusaw in 2006, designed and developed hexagonal glass solar panels studded with LED lights that could be installed on a variety of surfaces such as roads, pavements and playgrounds. These panels would more than pay for themselves and would benefit both businesses and homeowners as the energy generated from driveways and parking lots could be used to power buildings, and any excess can be sold back to the grid.

The panels also contain heating elements to melt ice and snow so are ideal in winter conditions, and LEDs to make road lines and signs which have been previously shown to reduce night time accidents. The surface could also be used to charge electric vehicles as oppose to fossil fuels, and future technology could even allow for charging whilst driving via mutual induction panels. Amazingly, the team also found that car headlights can produce energy in the panels, so cars driving around at night would be producing some electricity.

The team have done some calculations; there’s approximately 31,000 square miles of usable surfaces in the US, and if all of these were covered the Solar Roadways system could produce over three times the electricity that is used by the entire country. That’s an incredible potential that could lead to a huge decrease in dependence on foreign oil. It would also cut CO2 emissions by a considerable amount.

IFL Science



  March, 2014  




The World Resources Institute just updated its compendium of historical carbon dioxide emissions for each country in the world to include 2011. More interestingly, the group has extended the oldest data. Previously the collection reached only to 1990, but now it goes all the way back to 1850.

The Civil War was over, and the United States turned its focus toward settling the West. Railroads were expanding across the country, and factories were expanding in the East. The United States had just knocked off England as the world’s No. 1 CO2 polluter. A new invention—electricity—was set to revolutionize the world and increase the demand for energy.

But America’s CO2 emissions were small compared with today’s: California’s current emissions are more than the entire country’s back then.

After two world wars and the Great Depression, most of the planet’s economy was in transition. The United States was by far the global leader in CO2, emitting more than the entire rest of the world combined. The numbers are staggering: The U.S. emitted 336 times as much as Brazil, 47 times as much as China, 21 times as much as a devastated Germany, and 10 times as much as Russia, its Cold War rival. It wasn’t even close.

As a sign of how quickly things have been changing, it was less than 10 years ago that China overtook the United States as the world’s number one CO2 emitter. Since then, the country’s emissions have roughly doubled. The world’s top 12 emitters are now China, the United States, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Iran, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. But it’s not even really close. China now emits more than 20 times what the United Kingdom does, mostly using the same technology that helped England start the Industrial Revolution all those years ago.

The world needs cheap sources of energy, but the current price of coal doesn’t factor in its dirty legacy and tremendous impact on human health and the environment The world needs cheap sources of energy, but the current price of coal doesn’t factor in its dirty legacy and tremendous impact on human health and the environment

World Resources Institute



  February, 2014  




The year 2013 tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average and marks the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) that the annual temperature was above the long-term average. Currently, the warmest year on record is 2010, which was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above average. To date, including 2013, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occured during the 21st century. Only one year during the 20th century—1998—was warmer than 2013. The global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.06°C (0.11°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.16°C (0.28°F) per decade since 1970.

National Climate Data Center (NOAA)



  February, 2014  




Locally sourced biomass and biogas are becoming increasingly feasible alternative energy options in many regions. Renewable fuels such as scraps and manufacturing byproducts can be a boon for building owners hoping to further decrease their carbon footprint.  Whether you’re looking to generate your own power on-site or simply hoping to lower your heating-related electricity demand, biofuels may offer an affordable, efficient solution.




  February, 2014  




The National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) combined heat and power (CHP), or cogeneration, system has achieved an operating efficiency of 72%.  Conventional production of electricity and thermal energy can be less than 50% efficient. The highly efficient system increases the reliability of the D.C. facility’s electricity supply while also reducing carbon pollution, an effort that the EPA has recognized with an ENERGY STAR Combined Heat and Power Award.  The Marine Corps Logistics Base, located in Albany, GA, was also a recipient of the award.  The base is saving $1.3 million annually in energy costs compared to what it had been spending before the installation of its CHP system, which utilizes renewable landfill gas from the nearby Dougherty County Landfill.  In the event of a disruption in the landfill gas supply, the 1.9 mW system can switch to natural gas. According to the EPA, approximately 450 U.S. landfills are candidates for energy production. An additional benefit is protection against power outages. If the grid goes down, the system is capable of operating independently.




  February, 2014  




As asthma rates continue to rise, the Healthy Building Network (HBN) warns that new preventive strategies are needed to address this epidemic at its source. Actions include avoiding the many building materials that introduce asthma-causing chemicals into the indoor environment. Materials that may include chemicals that can cause the development of asthma include flooring, carpets, insulation, and paints.  This information has been released in the new HBN report, Full Disclosure Required: A Strategy to Prevent Asthma through Building Product Selection, which reveals that building occupants can be exposed to 20 asthmagens commonly found in these products.  "Many building materials asthmagens, chemicals that can cause asthma to develop, as well as chemicals that can trigger asthma attacks," explains Ted Schettler, MD, MPH from the Science and Environmental Health Network. "The HBN report also identifies chemicals that may impair the early development of the lungs and immune systems in children."  The full report can be found at HBN.


  February, 2014  




A 180-square-foot PV array at the University of Iowa (UI) generates an estimated 70,000 kWh of energy annually, which allows for a reduction in gasoline use by almost 16,000 gallons. At a construction cost of $950,000, the station provides approximately 20 spaces for charging. “The goals were to green our energy portfolio, reduce the carbon impact of transportation, and increase student opportunities to learn and practice principles of sustainability,” explains Eric Foresman, energy engineer at UI. “It was funded by a coalition of our energy, sustainability, facilities management, and parking and transportation departments.” The station serves campus utility vehicles. Design projections resulted in the array being able to support over 35 EVs traveling 10,000 miles per year, Foresman says. Actual PV production has exceeded this, but the UI is still building its EV fleet, so most power currently generated is surplus and distributed back to the grid.    




  January, 2014  




In January, California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson launched an effort to ensure that future school construction projects incorporate energy efficiency and renewable power as he awarded $848 million in federal Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) tax credits to California schools.  Torlakson is creating a Schools of the Future team, made up of state, education, labor, and business leaders to remove barriers, identify funding sources, and make it easier for schools to build energy efficiency into every project. He said, "It makes no sense to teach the next generation of California's students in facilities that are relics of the past, powered by energy sources that are out of touch with our state's renewable future." As a science teacher, Torlakson recognizes that energy-saving and renewable energy projects have exciting potential as teaching tools for students: "I see hundreds of teachable moments where students can be included and study firsthand the design and installation of energy-saving improvements and solar and wind power systems."

"Investing in energy efficiency will help our schools save money — now and over the long run – and show students that we're concerned about the environment and their future," Torlakson said.

The Record



  January, 2014  




Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the chemical spill in West Virginia earlier this month that left more than 300,000 residents and many businesses without drinkable tap water, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the New York Times reports.  The spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a chemical used in the coal industry, originated from Freedom Industries’ water treatment plant on the Elk River in Charleston.

New York Times



  January, 2014  




Our health is impacted by a combination of individual choices, our environment, public policy and clinical care.  For over 20 years, America’s Health Rankings® has been tracking the state of our nation’s health by studying numerous health measures to compile a comprehensive perspective on our nation’s health issues, state by state.  Search the rankings to discover little known facts and statistics, and find out how you can take action and become an advocate for improving our nation’s health.

America’s Health Rankings



  January, 2014  




Our soil contains more carbon than all living plants and the atmosphere combined. A new study says that a certain type of fungi can help soil hold up to 70% more carbon—with potentially big impacts for the climate.

Fungi also play an important role in the carbon cycle, the biogeochemical process by which carbon—the essential element of life on Earth—moves between the air, soils and water. Plants sequester carbon dioxide, but when they die, that carbon enters the soil—a lot of it. Globally, soil is the biggest single terrestrial reservoir of carbon, far more than the amount of carbon contained in living things and in the atmosphere combined. (On a planetary scale, the oceans hold by far the most carbon.) As the dead plant matter is broken down by microbes in the oil, that carbon is released back into the air. The rate at which that carbon leaves the soil can obviously have a major impact on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, which in turn helps drive climate change.



  January, 2014  




Starbucks, Nestle and the University of Cincinnati are among the organizations turning spent coffee grounds into bioplastics, laundry detergents and biodiesel, The Guardian reports.

Starbucks currently purchases around 400 million pounds of coffee a year and is working on turning the used grounds, along with its bakery waste, into laundry detergents, bioplastics and other products.  The waste is being donated to a research project at the City University of Hong Kong. Researchers blend the grounds and baked goods with fungi that break down the carbohydrates into simple sugars that can the be processed into succinct acid, a key ingredient in many products including bioplastics and laundry detergents.

Nestle, which has been burning waste coffee to make energy for decades, now uses it as a heat source for cooking food products at 22 of its 28 coffee factories. Coffee grounds fulfill all of the “actual energy needs” of two of Nestle’s newest coffee factories in Vietnam and China, the company says.

Among others researching other end uses for coffee grounds, the University of Cincinnati is researching how to use spent grounds as a feedstock for biodiesel. Researchers at the school found that grounds are comprised on average 11 to 20 percent oil, roughly the same as the amount of oil found in other more traditional feedstocks.

Environmental Leader


  January, 2014  




Demand response and energy efficiency hold the key to California’s electric power system, so says the California Independent System Operator in a roadmap released this week. Smart grid technologies such as DR and EE are key elements in the “Demand Response and Energy Efficiency Roadmap: Maximizing Preferred Resources.”

The California ISO collaborated with the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission and industry stakeholders. The policies are geared to enable distributed energy resources such as microgrids, rooftop solar, electric vehicles and energy storage facilities.

Energy Manager Today



January, 2014





The National Institute of Building Sciences Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) recognized the 2013 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards winners.  The SBIC Jury selected six winners ranging across four categories. Each of the six award-winning projects, products, initiatives and innovations demonstrate leadership in advancing the production of high-performance buildings.

The top prize in the High-Performance Buildings Category went to DPR Construction's Phoenix Regional Office. During this project, the team transformed an abandoned, distressed building in a redeveloping community of Phoenix into a modern sustainable facility that achieves net-zero energy use. Their efforts earned the building an Honor Award, First Place.

In the High-Performance Products Category SageGlass earned an Honor Award, First Place. The electrochromic or electronically tint-able, dynamic glass provides architects, building owners, glazing contractors and homeowners with an energy-efficient glazing solution that controls the sun without blocking the view to the outdoors.

"Sage deserves recognition for its longstanding leadership in glazing innovation,” noted Juror, Author and Green Building Architect Ann Edminster. "Also of note are its partnerships with Lutron and Schneider Electric, which show great promise to leverage the synergies available through collaboration.”

RDH Building Engineering's Enclosure Renewal approach, which lowers a building's energy consumption at low incremental capital cost, earned it recognition as an Honor Award, First Place recipient in the Innovations for High-Performance Buildings Category.

The SBIC Jury also recognized three Merit Award winners. In the High-Performance Buildings Category, a Merit Award went to Chemeketa Community College, Salem, Oregon for its new Health Sciences Complex.

Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC)



  December, 2013  




Our health is impacted by a combination of individual choices, our environment, public policy and clinical care.  For over 20 years, America’s Health Rankings® has been tracking the state of our nation’s health by studying numerous health measures to compile a comprehensive perspective on our nation’s health issues, state by state.  Search the rankings to discover little known facts and statistics, and find out how you can take action and become an advocate for improving our nation’s health.

America’s Health Rankings



  December, 2013  




The EPA announced Tuesday it has released screening data on 1,800 chemicals found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs.  The data, which was gathered through a variety of advanced techniques including robotics and high-throughout screening, is available through the EPA’s new interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability dashboard. The dashboard and the data is part of an ongoing collaboration, known as Tox21, between the EPA, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences/National Toxicology Program, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration to improve chemical screening, the agency says.

The vision is for the dashboard to evolve into an iCSS web application that will become the portal to access all EPA computational toxicology research data and studies including aggregated public sources of chemical toxicity data, animal toxicity studies and high-quality chemical structures and annotations.

Environmental Leader



  December, 2013  




Connecticut made food history last week when Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed the first state law in the nation mandating the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.  But there’s a catch that’s bigger than the fry of an escaped GMO salmon: The new law might never actually lead to the labeling of GMO foods.  That’s because the state is understandably reluctant to go it alone in the legal battles that are sure to ensue when big-spending agro-corporations are ordered to be fully transparent.  Connecticut is the first state to enact such legislation, but the rules will take effect only after at least four other states enact similar laws. The bill also requires that any combination of Northeast states where together reside at least 20 million must adopt similar laws in order for the Connecticut regulations to take effect.




  December, 2013  




Riding a bike is better than driving a car because, among other things, bikes don’t emit greenhouse gases or other poisons. But going further, what if bikes could actually reverse pollution, by sucking in smog and pumping out clean air?

The air-purifier bike currently exists only in concept, developed by Bangkok’s Lightfog Creative & Design Company. In theory, its aluminum frame would run on a “photosynthesis system” that generates oxygen through a reaction between water and electric power from a lithium-ion battery.

It is within the realm of possibility that your bike might someday make the environment actively better, instead of just making it less worse.




  December, 2013  




End-of-life electronics worldwide are expected to increase 33 percent in just five years, reaching 65.5 million metric tons annually by 2017, according to data from Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, a UN-backed alliance.

StEP illustrates the e-waste volume in an interactive E-Waste World Map, which the initiative says is the first of its kind. The map shows, for example, that almost 48.9 million metric tons of e-waste was produced last year — an average of 7 kg for each of the world’s 7 billion people.

In 2012 China and the US topped the world’s totals in market volume of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and e-waste. China put the highest volume of EEE on the market in 2012 — 11.1 million tons, followed by the US at 10 million tons. Those positions were reversed when it came to the total volume of e-waste generated per year. Here the US had the world’s highest figure of 9.4 million tons and China generated the second highest e-waste total of 7.3 million tons.

Environmental Leader



  December, 2013  




Often recycling carpet is cost-neutral, cost-positive, or no more than $1 per square yard, adds Ellis.  Depending on local tip fees, recycling can even save money.  "Rates vary, but a rule of thumb is carpet recycling costs about the same as getting a 30-yard commercial dumpster," Peoples says.  California is the first state to incentivize carpet recycling through AB 2398, the Carpet Stewardship Bill.

Peoples and carpet manufacturers expect other states to follow suit, perhaps by introducing ordinances that prohibit carpet from being left on the curb. On the East and West Coasts, landfill charges are based on weight and biodegradability, so throwing carpet away already comes at a premium.

"Most manufacturers and mills will have some kind of recycling program, so they should usually put some options on the table," says Robert Peoples, executive director of nonprofit organization Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). "And if they don't have recycling, they can talk to someone who does."

Taking advantage of nearby entities is also the most environmentally responsible route.

Carpet Recovery



  December, 2013  




Leading the charge for more sustainable products—those that are environmentally and socially responsible—is the Millennial generation.  Recent studies confirm that more than half of this generation would buy sustainable products and services if they were available. 




  December, 2013  




Since at least the late 1980s, insurance providers have expressed public interest in discovering whether there’s a link between global warming and increases in catastrophic storms, according to a study conducted on behalf of the Insurance Information Institute (III). Why? Because providers fuel their business by accurately predicting risk. And many don’t like what they hear.

For example, Karen Clark & Co., a Boston-based risk-assessment consultant, predicts that top hurricane wind speeds could increase up to 5 percent because of climate change. Such an increase could result in up to 40 percent in additional property insurance losses.

In 2007, a group of leading insurers from North America, Europe and southern Africa formed ClimateWise, which tries to raise awareness about the economic risks associated with climate change. Its principles include influencing public policy, incorporating climate change into members’ investment strategies and reducing the environmental impact of the industry.

Home insurers also increasingly are adopting practices that reward policyholders for working toward sustainability.

For example, one of the major tenets of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification is having 75 percent of a building’s roof covered with recycled materials such as aluminum or steel. These metals are reflective, which helps with energy efficiency; they also are some of the most durable materials used in roofing, especially when it comes to wind and hail damage. In addition, both metals are fire-resistant. Those factors make sustainable roofs a good deal for insurance providers, which means homeowners could qualify for preferred (and lower cost) home insurance policies.




  December, 2013  




One of the simplest ways to measure our dependence on cars is to look at the share of commuters in a given city who get to work in a private vehicle. These are the people who rely on automobiles as part of their everyday travel patterns. They’re people who live too far from work to walk there, who may prefer not to take transit, or who simply have no other options. They’re the commuters for whom communities must widen highways for rush-hour capacity and build out parking garages for downtown businesses.

Over the last decade, however, a new report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group finds that the share of workers who get to work by private car declined in 99 of America’s 100 largest urbanized areas (by the Census Bureau’s definition, this is a densely populated geography often larger than a single city but smaller than a metropolitan area). The lone outlier was New Orleans, which has been an outlier in many ways since Hurricane Katrina.




  December, 2013  




In a just-released report, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has taken an extensive look at the scary side, the dramatic side … let’s face it, the Hollywood side of global warming. The new research falls under the heading of “abrupt climate change”: The report examines the doomsday scenarios that have often been conjured in relation to global warming (frequently in exaggerated blockbuster films), and seeks to determine how likely they are to occur in the real world.




  December, 2013  




Two bills in the Senate would require the country to get at least 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025. President Obama says the U.S. government “must lead by example” when it comes to safeguarding the environment, so he’s ordering federal agencies to use more clean energy. The U.S. government currently gets about 7.5 percent of its electricity from renewables, so the new goal would almost triple that percentage.

Under a presidential memorandum each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable supplies.  Agencies are supposed to build their own facilities when they can, or buy clean energy from wind farms and solar facilities.  The memo also directs federal agencies to increase energy efficiency in its buildings and its power management systems.

The Grist



  December, 2013  




The U.S. Federal Government is the largest single purchaser of goods and services, in the world. In fact, the federal government purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services. “As the largest purchaser in the world, the U.S. government is working to reduce its environmental footprint,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The government buys everything from furniture to lighting to cleaning products. These guidelines will make it easier for federal purchasers to meet the existing goal of 95 percent sustainable purchases while spurring consumers and the private sector to use and demand safer and greener products.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing draft guidelines that will help the federal government buy greener and safer products. In response to broad stakeholder interest, EPA is seeking public input on these draft guidelines and a potential approach to assessing non-governmental environmental standards and ecolabels already in the marketplace.

EPA Proposes New Guidelines for Greener Federal Purchases



  November, 2013  




On November 8, the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan came ashore in the Philippines, killing more than 2,000 people, displacing 660,000 more, and impacting nearly 10 million throughout the islands.

Those who have been affected are now struggling to survive without access to power, food, shelter or clean drinking water. The storm is being described by disaster management experts as one of the most intense and strongest of its kind to make landfall.

On November 11, Yeb Sano, the Philippines' delegate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change now underway in Poland spoke out powerfully and poignantly, saying:

"To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian Ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels ... to the hills of Central America that confront similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce ... And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now."

Climate Reality Project



  November, 2013  




Elon Musk is one of the world’s great innovators. The South African-born developer of PayPal, and current CEO of both Tesla Motors and Spacex may well be a legend in his own time. In 1992, he dropped out of a Ph.D program in Physics at Stanford to pursue entrepreneurial aspirations in the Internet, space exploration and renewable energy. To date, he has achieved major successes in two out of three.

And now, as the Chairman of SolarCity, he might have achieved a Triple Crown. The solar installation company has just become the first of its kind to offer bonds backed by rooftop solar panels.

This financial innovation will allow solar companies to move away from becoming manufacturers and distributors of solar equipment, into energy companies, selling solar power as a service to their customers. The move is reminiscent of the move Xerox Corporation made back in the 60s, when they moved from selling copiers to selling copies by the click through leasing arrangements. The move proved to be critical to the company’s long-standing success.

SolarCity sold $54.4 million worth of bonds last week based on the 68,000 contracts they currently hold. Bloomberg states that the company might raise an additional $200 million early next year.




  November, 2013  




The USGBC-Northern  California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) is committed to promoting the creation of environments that support improved health, and is launching the Building Health Initiative in recognition that health and wellness are vital components of sustainability and green building.  The Building Health Challenge, a two-year program in which Northern California industry leaders from multiple sectors pledge to promote health and wellness, take simple but effective actions to catalyze industry transformation, and create market demand for product transparency and healthy places.  Founding Partners include 27 prominent corporations, institutions, and organizations.

USGBC-Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC)


  November, 2013  




While the fossil fuel industry continues to hawk its wares in total denial of the devastating global effects of its actions, the new International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report confirms the necessity for immediate and sustained action.

The IPCC report reveals how close we are to a turning point in the earth’s climate system, and reveals two critical numbers that speak to the urgency of the situation:

  • One trillion tons – a maximum global carbon budget of one trillion tons burned is necessary to keep global warming under two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; and
  • 2020 – the year global CO2 emissions must peak in order to burn less than one trillion tons of carbon (the world has already burned more than half of that to date).

The underlying conclusion of the report is that the time has arrived for taking the necessary steps to preserve livable conditions on earth: i.e., we must stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible. 

The IPCC report defines four timeline scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways or RCPs) plotting amounts of carbon burned and resulting global average temperatures, depending on when global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) peak and then decline. The IPCC chose to plot the “business as usual” scenario (RCP 8.5 – continued increase in GHG emissions), then scenarios for global GHG emission peaks in the year 2080 (RCP 6.0), 2040-2050 (RCP 4.5), and 2020 (RCP 2.6). Only by peaking GHG emissions in the year 2020 or sooner, and phasing out conventional fossil fuel burning around 2080, can we stay beneath the total of one trillion tons of carbon burned, which represents the threshold of catastrophic climate change, as shown in the graphs above.

Architecture 2030 E-News



  November, 2013  




The U.S. General Services Administration formally recognized the Green Globes program alongside LEED as the two recommended third-party certification systems for the federal government to use to gauge performance of its buildings.

The Federal Times



  November, 2013  




Studies have found that the two most used flame retardants in foam insulation are HBCD and TCPP, which can enter the environment and be inhaled or ingested because they aren't chemically bonded to the insulation. HBCD has been shown in animal studies to disrupt hormones and harm the developing nervous system, while TCPP is considered a potential carcinogen.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that may lead to a change in state building standards that would discourage the use of potentially hazardous flame-retardant chemicals. The law, known as AB127, found support from the U.S. Green Building Council, firefighters in San Francisco and across the state, and health advocacy organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In a study published last year, Bay Area chemist Arlene Blum suggested that flame retardants may be redundant given fire-safety codes that are already in place.

"These old standards lead to the use of flame retardant chemicals associated with health and environmental harm, but we understand now that they don't provide a fire-safety benefit in many cases," said Blum, who runs the Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley, in a statement.


  November, 2013  




The Federal Trade Commission has charged six companies for violating the agency's recently revised Green Guides on deceptive environmental claims, all for making claims of biodegradability on their plastic products.

The FTC complaint charges ECM Biofilms with violating the FTC Act by misrepresenting that: ECM plastics are biodegradable and will completely break down within a reasonably short time period after disposal; ECM plastics are biodegradable in a landfill; ECM plastics are biodegradable in a stated qualified timeframe; and that various scientific tests prove ECM’s biodegradability claims. Finally, the complaint charges ECM with providing its customer and independent distributors — through the distribution of its promotional materials — with the means to deceive consumers.

The FTC’s complaints against American Plastic Manufacturing, Champ, Clear Choice Housewares, Carnie Cap charge them with misrepresenting that plastics treated with additives are biodegradable, biodegradable in a landfill, biodegradable in a certain timeframe, or shown to be biodegradable in a landfill or that various scientific tests prove their biodegradability claims. FTC also filed a complaint against AJM Packaging for their claims that their paper plates are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable with a $450,000 civil penalty for violating a 1994 court order prohibiting it from making unsupported green claims.

FTC Green Guides

  October, 2013  




Mike Werner, chemist for large furniture manufacturer, talks about designing for tomorrow, creating a model for change to address dwindling resources, 2.5-3 billion new consumers entering the market by 2015, and the prosperity of our current economic model that increases shareholders value at the expense of the health and well-being of people and planet.

He asks whether we in fact prosper when we toxify the planet. In this TED video, Mike speaks about a new vision of the future with a circular economy, clean chemistry, and an appeal to ourselves to be more. Designing for the future requires expanding our value set.

Chemical Materials and Sustainable Design: TEDxMacatawa

  October, 2013  




Sustainability leaders are much more likely than average to be innovation leaders.
The evidence points to the relationship being causal, not just correlation.
Sustainability's ability to spark innovation can be harnessed, and it can be incorporated into organizations' innovation processes.

"Sustainability Driven Innovation" written by Daniel Aronson quantifies for the first time how sustainability leadership is linked to innovation leadership. It concludes that “companies that pursue sustainability significantly increase their chances of becoming innovative leaders in the process.”

Aronson drew on a number of lists ranking both sustainability and innovation leaders, including Fortune, Businessweek, Newsweek and Corporate Responsibility magazines. He analyzed the relationship between the two and came to the following conclusion: “When we averaged across multiple lists sustainability leaders are more than 400 percent more likely to be considered innovation leaders.”

Two Steps Forward

  September, 2013  




Eight researchers from academia, business, and the NGO-sector, with diverse backgrounds ranging from consulting to sociology and environmental engineering, call for extending the concept of sustainability by nothing less than a whole fourth pillar.

It has become a well-accepted structure: “good development” serves three dimensions simultaneously, namely society, business and environment. However, the more popular this triangle gets among mainstream politicians and business makers, the more apparent become its flaws. Three pillars are simply not enough. The researchers mentioned above initially published such a well-written and thought-out paper that I immediately converted to being a four pillar supporter. Find the paper in the current issue of MDPI Sustainability.

Sustainability deals with caring for the future, and it is this very caring that couldn’t exist without a mindset based on values like responsibility, cooperation and respect. These values are related to all forms of sustainable action, be it social, economic or environmental. So ethics and values most definitely merit a prime position among the cornerstones of sustainability.

Know The Flow

  September, 2013  




Solar power is coming back to the White House. The citizens of Detroit are rebuilding their community one block at a time, AND 4.3 million people live and work in LEED buildings—a number of them are historic. Real estate researchers are uncovering long-awaited proof of higher value for LEED-rated properties. LEED buildings are now in 140 countries, and LEED Earth will take it further. Certified projects are doubling down on their commitments and recertifying, while compliance forms are becoming easier to use. Public policy is enabling greater opportunity, too.

Find out what is happening in YOUR state!

  August, 2013  




Copenhagen, the Danish capital was awarded the INDEX: Award 2013 for the city’s climate adaptation plan, a plan that provides a unique and robust framework for a massive influx of sustainable design solutions in the future.

Whether or not CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases are to blame, an irreversible fact is that the planet’s climate is currently in a state of change, throwing tsunamis and massive rain pours at its inhabitants. And even though we cannot precisely predict the next natural disaster, we do know that our surroundings are changing dramatically.

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, found a way to connect and address the climate changes in one master plan – The city’s Climate Adaptation Plan, aiming to prepare Copenhagen for the future by developing the Danish capital as a climate proof, attractive, and green city. The plan is one of two winners in the COMMUNITY category of INDEX: Award 2013, and jury member Arnold S. Wasserman calls it “a foresight of critical importance.”


  July, 2013  




LEED certification provides on average 24% added value in rent premiums for apartment buildings according to a new report by CoStar's Property Portfolio Research subsidiary. After analyzing nearly half a million data points PPR concluded that LEED certification was the second most important feature to the apartment renter, second only to a central business district location. This puts the importance of LEED certification above other attributes like Transit Oriented Developments, Fitness Centers, Finishes and even if the building is new or not.

U.S. Green Building Council

  June, 2013  




Construction Specialties has partnered with Earth911 to provide an easy-to-use tool for locating facilities that recycle building materials. All you do is select the material to be recycled and input your project zip code! Now there is no excuse for not recycling those building materials that are filling up our landfills. This is in addition to last year, when the company launched a transparency label it developed to adhere to the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Pilot Credit requiring product manufacturers to disclose material ingredients and chemicals of concern used in their building products.

  June, 2013  




A new report from World Wildlife Fund and the Carbon Disclosure Project—The 3% Solution: Driving Profits Through Carbon Reductions—helps U.S. businesses chart a new path forward. The report identifies novel approaches for the private sector to realize cost-savings up to $190 billion in 2020. These savings are achieved by boosting energy-efficiency measures and transitioning to low-carbon energy sources. In the process, the US corporate sector will cut carbon emissions by 3% annually and achieve the 2020 carbon reductions scientists say are needed. Written and researched with CFOs in mind, The 3% Solution is the answer that businesses and sustainability stakeholders have been searching for.

To be on track to keep the rise of global temperatures below 2°C, the US corporate sector must reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 1.2 gigatons of CO2e from 2010 levels. This amount is equivalent to annual reductions of approximately 3 percent per year across the US corporate sector.

The 3% Solution shows these reductions can be achieved through cost-effective measures alone, generating savings of up to US$190 billion (PV) in 2020 for the US corporate sector, excluding utilities. Between 2010 and 2020, that amount grows to up to $780 billion in potential savings.

World Wildlife Fund

  June, 2013  




TESLA electric car maker’s CEO Elon Musk said the system offers an alternative to charging EVs and should help convince consumers that EVs are “more convenient than a gasoline car.” Musk demonstrated the new technology on stage, swapping out two Model S battery packs in less time than it took for a car on a video screen to fill up with gas, which took about four minutes.

A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80--about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank. Reuters says the stations will each cost about a half a million dollars to build.

The battery swap stations will be located alongside Tesla’s fast-charging stations, Musk said on Thursday. The free fast-charge stations take about 30 minutes to charge a battery. “The only decision you need to make when you come to one of our Tesla stations is do you prefer faster or free,” Musk said.

Tesla will roll out the battery swap technology this year, first between Los Angeles and San Francisco and then in the Washington-to-Boston corridor, Reuters reports.


  May, 2013  




California raised more than $280 million selling greenhouse gas emissions permits in its third auction, with businesses paying a record $14 per metric ton for the right to release carbon this year. All 14.5 million available allowances for use this year sold, the California Air Resources Board says.

The $280 million includes the state’s sale of 7,515,000 carbon allowances for 2016 at the minimum price of $10.71 a metric ton, according to the state. California’s inaugural auction in November raised nearly $300 million, with emitting businesses paying $10.09 per metric ton for the right to release carbon in 2013. All 23.1 million permits on offer were purchased.

Environmental Leader

  May, 2013  




The debate over safe building materials shows no signs of stopping as LEED v4 draws closer to its official release. It’s clear that the certification system will include credits for optimizing building material ingredients and the supply chain in some form. And that is because specifying better building products is impossible without a clear understanding of the ingredients in the materials themselves.

Many of the environmental impacts of buildings come from the materials used to construct them. The risks to human health and to the environment from many of these chemicals are not widely understood and may bioaccumulate in the human body, thus reaching dangerous concentrations. They may also chemically react with one another, producing new substances with new risks. To minimize these risks, industry must do more to provide basic information on the chemicals used in the manufacture of building products. “Just like nutrition labels in the grocery store, project teams want to know what’s in the building products they are using,” says Brendan Owens, VP, LEED Technical Development. Of the 100,000 plus chemicals in commerce today, over 3,000 these are manufactured or imported at a rate of more than one million pounds annually. Only seven percent of these “high production volume” (HPV) chemicals have a full set of test data and some have no data on how toxic they are to humans or the environment. According to the European Commission, "little safety information exists for 99 percent of the tens of thousands of chemicals placed on the market before 1981". Of these, only 3,000 have been tested and over 800 are known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. This lack of information compromises the public's right to know about the chemicals found in our environment, our homes, and our workplace.

For additional information:

World Health Organization

Scientific American


Environmental Leader

Healthy Building Network

  May, 2013  




According to the United Nations the global market for low carbon and energy efficient technologies, including renewable energy supply products, will triple to $2.2 trillion by 2020.

The UNEP report, Green Economy and Trade-Trends, Challenges and Opportunities, says developing countries with abundant renewable resources are well-positioned to increase their share in international markets for sustainable goods and services.

Green trade still represents only a small percentage of the global market, the UNEP says. However, trade in certified products and in environmental goods and services is on the rise in absolute terms.

The report identifies six economic sectors where green trade opportunities exist: agriculture, fisheries, forests, manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism.

The global market for organic food and beverages is projected to grow from $62.9 billion in 2011 to $105 billion by 2015. The total value of seafood that has been farmed according to certified sustainability standards is forecast to increase to $1.25 billion by 2015, up from $300 million in 2008, according to the report.

United Nations Environment Programme Report

  May, 2013  




The Department of Energy has published a new series of protocols for determining savings from energy efficiency upgrades in homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities.

Developed in collaboration with leading technical experts under the Uniform Methods Project (UMP), these protocols offer a straightforward approach for calculating energy savings made possible from common residential and commercial efficiency measures in utility-based energy efficiency programs.

Currently, there are differences in the way public utility commissions, utilities, contractors, and energy efficiency program administrators calculate energy savings in different jurisdictions and regions of the country. These differences reduce the overall credibility of energy efficiency programs. Adopting the new protocols, Methods for Determining Energy Efficiency Savings for Specific Measures, is intended to help increase confidence about reported energy savings from energy efficiency programs.

Department Of Energy (DOE)

  May, 2013  




Al Gore, former U.S. Vice-President and environmentalist is putting his money on the table. According to Gore, capitalism is at a crossroads and the global context for business is clearly changing. He maintains that investors typically focus on a narrow part of the spectrum of value that any company, or economy, produces. Mainstream accounting in that way is like visible light. It’s all that eyes can see but makes up just 2 percent of the complete electromagnetic spectrum, the band of radiation that extends from high-powered gamma and x-rays to microwave and radio frequencies.

In order to invest using the full spectrum of possibilities in the current global context one needs to widen the bands of light that it sees by incorporating sustainability analysis. Essentially this requires doning night-goggles to view the larger spectrum. It’s an approach that values environmental, social and governance criteria (“ESG”) and long-term time horizons, rather than based entirely on short-term quarterly gains. There’s a lot of information that’s material today — water, carbon, working conditions in far-flung suppliers — that hasn’t always been important to investors before that clearly are and will continue to impact businesses.

“If you take the rest of the sustainability factors into account, you can get a fuller and more realistic image of a company's viability", says Gore. "Shareholders will be best served by companies who maximize their financial return by strategically managing their performance in this new economic, social, environmental and ethical context. Sustainable development will be a primary driver of industrial and economic change over the next 25 years."

There are many investment opportunities for investing in the transition from a high-carbon to low-carbon economy, according to Gore, including:

Renewable Energy Generation and Distribution
Energy Efficiency and Demand Destruction
Carbon Markets and Climate-Related Financial Services
Solutions for the Biomass Economy


  May, 2013  




The United Nations warned economic losses linked to natural disasters are out of control, soaring past $100 billion annually for three consecutive years, and will continue to escalate unless risk management becomes a central piece of business investment strategies.

The warning came as the UN released the third edition of its Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, which says direct losses from floods, earthquakes and drought have been underestimated by at least 50 percent. So far this century, direct losses from disasters are at about $2.5 trillion.

Small and medium enterprises are particularly at risk. The 2013 report, which surveyed 1,300 small and medium-sized businesses in six disaster-prone cities in the Americas, found three-quarters have suffered disruptions related to damaged or destroyed power, telecommunications and water utilities, illustrating the inter-dependence between the private and public sectors when it comes to disaster risk management.

Environmental Leader

  May, 2013  




California and Texas might be leading the nation’s rollout of solar and wind power, respectively, but Washington, where hydroelectric dams provide over 60 percent of the state’s energy, was the country’s biggest user of renewable power in 2011, according to new statistics released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Hydro continued to be the overwhelmingly dominant source of renewable power consumed nationwide, accounting for 67 percent of the total, followed by wind with 25 percent, geothermal with 4.5 percent, and solar with 3.5 percent. The new EIA data is the latest official snapshot of how states nationwide make use of renewable power, from industrial-scale generation to rooftop solar panels, and reveals an incredible gulf between leaders like Washington, California, and Oregon, and states like Rhode Island and Mississippi that use hardly any.

The gap is partly explained by the relative size of states’ energy markets, but not entirely: Washington uses less power overall than New York, for example, but far outstrips it on renewables (the exact proportions won’t be available until EIA releases total state consumption figures later this month). Still, the actual availability of resources—how much sun shines or wind blows—is far less important than the marching orders passed down from statehouses to electric utilities, says Rhone Resch, head of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Slate News

  May, 2013  




Global consumers have clear and specific expectations for the role companies should play in addressing social and environmental issues with 93 percent wanting to see more of the products and services they use support corporate social responsibility efforts, according to a survey released this week.

Companies that disregard these demands from consumers risk more than just their reputations. Nine in 10 consumers say they would boycott if they learned of irresponsible behavior, according to the survey.

Environmental Leader

  May, 2013  




At its 2013 Global Conference in Amsterdam, GRI announced their new corporate social resposibility reporting guildinges,G4. The new guildelines encourage companies to provide only disclosures and indicators that are relevant to their business and will allow reporting organizations and users to concentrate on the economic, environmental and social impacts that really matter, resulting in more credible reports.

The sustainability reporting guidelines’ revisions will also help businesses generate material sustainability information for inclusion in integrated reports, GRI says.

The organization says G4 is more “user-friendly” and accessible for those new to sustainability reporting. It’s also synced with other global frameworks including the OECD MNE Guidelines, the United Nations Global Compact Principles and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Global Reporting Initiative

  April, 2013  




This year Green Building Pages is pleased to recognize the change agents of the green building industry as part of the 2013 TOP TEN EARTH DAY AWARDS.  These recipients have led the charge, moved the industry as a whole and continue to set the bar in their respective arenas.

The 2013 TOP TEN EARTH DAY AWARDS recognizes four different types of independent (third-party) product certifications which have set the bar as industry leaders, three non-profit organizations whose work has transformed the building industry, and one government organization whose programs have all made significant contributions toward creating a sustainable world and building industry.

2013 TOP TEN EARTH DAY AWARDS WINNERS - Read about the winners and be inspired!

  March, 2013  





USGBC members can register to ballot on the latest draft version of LEED v.4 April 1-30. One of many changes are those regarding building materials for LEED credits, including product disclosures and optimization (Environmental Product Declarations), supply chain/source materials, and material ingredients disclosures.

Substantially reworked, the Materials & Resources section of LEED v4 is different from LEED 2009 in that it applies lifecycle thinking at the whole-building and product level. Proposed credits reward projects for reusing as much material as possible and optimizing design to use less material overall. LEED 2009 credits were based on single attributes of materials, such as recycled content. This approach only tells part of the story; a product could have higher than average performance on that one attribute but far lower than average performance on others. The LEED v4 approach paints a more complete picture of materials and products, enabling project teams to make more informed decisions that will have greater overall benefit for the environmental, human health, and communities.


More Information on LEED Building Certification :

  More Companies Profit From Sustainability
  February 2013  




Sustainability is paying off for a growing number of companies with 37 percent of surveyed executives reporting a profit from their efforts, a 23 percent rise over last year, according to a global study by the MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group.

The fourth annual study, which is based on a survey of 2,600 executives and managers from companies around the world, found nearly half of the companies have changed their business models as a result of sustainability opportunities, a 20 percent jump over last year.

Early findings from the survey, which were reported late last year, found North American companies are still lagging considerably in the integration of sustainability compared to their peers in other regions of the world.

Environmental Leader

  Office Depot Invests $84 Million In Lighting Efficiency
  March 2013  




Under the leadership of Ed Costa, vice president of construction for Office Depot, the company has chosen to make numerous energy efficiency investments, including de-lamping one out of every three bulbs in tens of thousands of fixtures across more than 1,000 stores, while maintaining similar light output by adding reflectors above the remaining two bulbs.

The $8 million de-lamping/reflectors project garnered an 84 percent internal rate of return. In addition to helping achieve its carbon reduction goal one year ahead of schedule, these efforts helped Office Depot achieve the following results:

  • A reduction in electricity use across all stores in North America from 625,000 MWh in 2007 to 433,000 MWh in 2011 – a drop of 31 percent, while facilities under management dropped just 8 percent
  • A reduction in electricity costs across all stores in North America from $56 million in 2007 to $46 million in 2011
  • A reduction in natural gas use across all stores in North America from 361,000 mmBTUs in 2007 to 326,000 mmBTUs in 2011

Office Depot recently received a Climate Leadership Goal Achievement Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate & Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry.

Energy Manager Today

  National Institute of Building Sciences - 2012 Beyond Green Award Winners
  January 2013  




The Sustainable Building Industry Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences honored the following 2012 Award winners during Building Innovation 2013—The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo.

Beyond Green™ Award of Merit for Distinction in High-Performance Buildings- University of Vermont George D. Aiken Center. The Aiken Center demonstrates the possibilities to transform an existing building to meet current needs. Submitted by Maclay Architects, who led the project team, this building, a renovation with a $13 million project cost, serves as the home for the Rubenstein School for the Environment and Natural Resources. This net-zero energy ready building embraces both its past character and its role as an educational demonstration. Over 200 sensors and meters provide data and the EcoMachine cleans 100% of the building’s wastewater in full view of occupants.

Beyond Green™ Award of Merit for Distinction for High-Performance Buildings- Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "The jury appreciated the desire on the part of the owner and the design and construction team to reflect the work being done in the building to advance clean energy sciences,” said Jury Member and Program Manager for Design Excellence Architecture+Sustainability in the Chief Architect’s Office at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Public Buildings Service (PBS) Lance Davis, AIA. "The incorporation of daylighting and natural ventilation in the lab space, and the attention to grouping spaces of similar needs together, is testament to the importance of having the design team work toward a common goal and cooperate toward that end.”

Beyond Green™ Honor Award-First Place for High-Performance Buildings-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle Headquarters. "The twin challenges of making a high-performance building and a secure federal facility are met elegantly and efficiently, to the significant benefit of the client and the public,” said SBIC Jury Member and Curator of the National Building Museum Susan Piedmont-Palladino.

Beyond Green™ Award of Merit for Distinction in High-Performance Initiatives - Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes Synergy Rewards Program. "The ability to engage over 4,000 residents in an incentive-based program to achieve energy savings in military housing is impressive,” said SBIC Jury Member and Director of Stanford’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering Martin Fischer. "The jury recognized the work of Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes in communicating opportunities to reduce energy consumption through simple, everyday activities. Lessons learned from this program can be applied across the country and should help inform future initiatives aimed at reducing community energy use.”

Detailed project information can be found for these and many other previous Beyond Green winners as well as many other case studies of High Performance Buildings.

National Institute of Building Sciences

  Google's New Green




November 2012

Google has propelled itself to the forefront of the shift to the green frontier, requiring in all new of its new offices which is roughly 40,000 s.f. of new space each week, that all of its vendors to provide comprehensive information on each product ingredient from every point in the supply chain. Google began conducting international pilot projects this year as part of its plans to expand the requirements to its global facilities.






October, 2012

Largely as the result of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED building certification, green construction has grown from $3 billion in 2005 to $58 billion in 2011. Green construction is expected to reach $122 billion by 2015 as developers incorporate low-cost options to make buildings more environmentally friendly and earn tax breaks.

Green design generates another $4 billion a year for architects and engineers. LEED has not only expanded dramatically within the U.S., but world-wide into 139 countries as a way to win environmental approval and to boost profits.

USA Today

  IKEA Targets Energy Independence by 2020




October, 2012

Ikea has announced its plan, called People & Planet Positive, to become energy and resource independent by 2020, including construction of $2.4 billion of wind and solar projects and increase energy efficiency of its operations by at least 20%. In addition it aims to inspire and enable its customers to live sustainably at home using more efficient appliances, lighting and products that are made from renewable, recycled materials and are themselves recyclable. This year Ikea achieved 51% of its energy from renewables.

Environmental Leader





September, 2012


Architecture 2030 has extended its 2030 Challenge to building products. Product manufacturers signing onto this challenge have agreed to reduce their carbon footprint by 30% below the product category average. This reduction will be increased incrementally every five years to 50% or better in 2030.

2030 Challenge For Products





August 2012

2030 District are forming in great American cities to meet the energy, water, andtransportation emissions reduction targets call for by Architecture 2030 inthe 2030 Challenge for Planning.

Pittsburgh has joined Cleveland and Seattle, launching a Pittsburgh 2030 District, transitioning from an industrial past to a lively, low-carbon metropolis. The new district, containing 61 properties and over 23 million s.f. of downtown space, is a significant step in its efforts to build a reputation as a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable American city.

2030 Challenge E-News





August 2012

U.C. Davis is ranked #1 in Green Colleges. earning 709.17 out of 894.5 possible points on the Sierra Club ranking. To place high, schools had to rock on every one of the categories including waging war on emissions to serving sustainable foods and offering a green curriculum.

To view the overall rankings

To view slideshow of Top Ten

Environmental Leader





August 2012

Climate change has become embroiled in the the culture war debates. Political affiliation is now one of the strongest correlations with individual uncertainabout climate change, not scientific knowledge, states Andrew J. Hoffman in his recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. "The public debate around climate change is no longer about science--it's about values, culture, and ideology."

Stanford Social Innovation Review





August 2012

The CEOs of 37 major financial institutions announced that they would be integrating natural capital considerations as a result of their commitment to the UN backed Natural Capital Declaration. The focus is shifting from environmental impacts of banking operations (1%) tothe impact in their investments. When valued, the scale of the environmental impacts are usually startling. A report comissioned by UNEP and UNPRI found that the world's largest 3,000 companies create environmental damage calued at $2.2 trillion or 11% of GDP.

Environmental Leader





August 2012

The 2012 Beyond Green High Performance Building Awards program will recognize excellence in three award categories this year: High-Performance Buildings, High-Performance Initiatives, and High-Performance Products. Architects, engineers, consultants, builders, building owners (public & private), developers, universities, trade associations, researchers, educators, product manufacturers & suppliers , marketing & media experts, utilities and municipalities are encouraged to enter. Submittals must have been completed withint the last three years.

For more information:

National Institute of Building Sciences





June 2012

It's easy to take nature for granted.

But rivers, forests, oceans, and other intact ecosystems all have enormous value — and when we don't account for that value, bad things can happen. Nature doesn't give us a free lunch.

In this three-minute video clip, Sandra Bessudo — Colombia's high presidential advisor for environmental policy, biodiversity, water and climate change, brings this idea to life in a clever, fun way. Watch the clip to see how!

Conservation International





June 2012

Although the majority of consumers state they are more likely to buy products with green seals, only around one-third or less recognize and understand specific seals. Recognition and understanding is higher in developing countries. The oldest environmental seal, the recycled logo, is globally recognized by over 75% of consumers and thus has a substantial positive impact on purchasing decisions. With the growing number of certifications and green seals, it is important that consumers are educated about what these represent is critical in driving purchasing decisions.

Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)

  EPA's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations Remain




April 2012

The parties agreed on broad terms to fund the government for the next six months, and Democrats said that the agreement did not include Republicans’ sought-after provision to limit EPA regulations on greenhouse gases (GHGs), the New York Times reported. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, obliged the EPA to determine whether carbon dioxide emissions endanger human health and welfare. In 2009, the EPA declared that GHGs do indeed pose that threat. The agency has since ordered states to begin issuing GHG permits to big emitters such as oil refineries, coal-burning power plants, cement factories and glass makers. Those rules took effect January 2, although the EPA decided to defer application of the GHG rules to biomass facilities for three years, and states have struggled with the federal government over the permitting process..

Environmental Leader

  Newsweek's Releases Green Companies List




April 2012

The goal was to assess each company’s actual environmental footprint and management of that footprint (including policies and strategies), along with its reputation among environmental experts. Companies on each list—the U.S. 500 and the Global 100—are ranked by their overall Green Score. This score is derived from three component scores: the Environmental Impact Score (EIS), the Green Policies Score (GPS), and the Reputation Survey Score (RSS), weighted at 45 percent, 45 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The Green Score, as well as each component score, is published on a scale from 100 (highest performing) to one (lowest performing).


  EU May Bring Shipping Companies into Carbon Market; WWL Cuts CO2 21%




March 2012

GRI Logo

Shippers may be required to limit their carbon emissions, possibly through participation in carbon markets, under proposals being considered by the European Union. The EU is crafting tools to limit emissions from maritime transport because the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been unable to agree on such measures for over a decade.


  Architecture 2030 Issues 2030 Challenge for Products




March 2012

GRI Logo

The 2030 Challenge for Products specifically asks the global architecture, planning, design and building community to specify, design and manufacture products for new developments, buildings and renovations to meet a maximum carbon-equivalent footprint of 30 percent below the product category average through 2014. The embodied carbon-equivalent footprint reduction will be increased to 35 percent in 2015, 40 percent in 2020, 45 percent in 2025, and 50 percent by 2030. A two-year period, from 2011 to 2013, has been established for the development of industry standards and product averages, and for product manufacturers to move to meet the 30 percent reduction based on a Life Cycle Assessment.

Interiors & Sources

  Global Reporting Initiative Updates Sustainability Reporting Guidelines




March 2012

The G3.1 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines feature expanded guidance on issues including local community impacts, human rights and gender, as well as environmental, product responsibility, labor, governance and other existing GRI categories. "Together, the Protocol and the new guidance in G3.1 will enable all organizations to be transparent about a wide range of important, but often neglected, issues," said GRI deputy chief executive Nelmara Arbex.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  Seventh Generation Co-Founder Touts “Radical Transparency”




July 16, 2011

Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation, presents his philosophy of radical transparency. After Hollender posted a list critiquing Seventh Generation’s products on the company’s website, he says, customers responded favorably and asked for the same from Seventh Generation’s competitors.

Check out the video!

Environmental Leader News

  Burt’s Bees, Whole Foods Perceived Greenest US Brands





June 9, 2010

A global study on consumer perceptions of green brands and corporate environmental behavior reveals global differences about their top environmental concerns. A key finding shows that while climate change is important across most countries, 30 percent of Brazilians and 26 percent of Indians cite deforestation as the top issue, and in Australia, 68 percent of consumers say it’s important that companies manage water efficiently.

In the United States, energy use is the biggest green issue or problem, although economic concerns are taking precedence over environmental ones with 79 percent of those polled citing greater distress about the economy. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they will spend more on green in the coming year, which is down slightly from last year.

The top ten perceived greenest brands: Burt’s Bees, Whole Foods, Tom’s of Maine, Trader Joe’s, Google, Aveeno, SC Johnson, Publix, Microsoft, and Ikea.

Environmental Leader News

  Home Star energy retrofit bill passes House; is backed by broad coalition; rules





May 7, 2010

The House passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5019) by a bipartisan vote of 246-161. Home Star will provide homeowners with rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades -- a total of $6 billion over two years.

Unlike some other energy-related policies, which can have unpredictable effects, the net social benefit of Home Star is all but guaranteed. Home energy retrofits are one of the rare investments that provide returns both substantial and completely reliable.

The coalition is optimistic about the bill's fate. They expect a Senate vote, conference committee, appropriations, and a presidential signature by Memorial Day.

  Businesses Fail To Engage Consumers on Environmental Issues





May 20, 2010

Eighty-four percent of Americans say they can help companies create products and services that benefit consumers, business and society but only 53 percent feel that companies are engaging with them on corporate social/environmental practices and products, according to the 2010 Cone Shared Responsibility Study. (Fact Sheet)

The survey also finds that the majority of consumers want to be involved at all levels: how a company conducts its business (85 percent), products and packaging (83 percent), social and environmental issues (81 percent) and marketing and advertising (74 percent).

A key finding reveals that if a company incorporated their ideas, consumers would be more likely to buy its products and services (60 percent), be more loyal (54 percent) and more likely to recommend the company (51 percent).

Environmental Leader News

  Emissions Reductions is Top Environmental Concern for U.S. Businesses





May 21, 2010

This article discusses PricewaterhouseCooper's Appetite for Change global survey. The top concern of U.S. businesses for climate change and environmental issues is reducing carbon emissions, followed by new regulation, energy efficiency, and legislation/new laws.

“The Obama Administration recently announced that the federal government would reduce its own carbon footprint by 28 percent by 2020. If the government were to push down that requirement through its supply chain to all government contractors and suppliers, the impact on U.S. business would be quite significant,” says Kathy Nieland, leader of the Sustainability and Climate Change practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Eighty-seven percent of U.S. survey respondents say change is likely over the next few years as a result of the climate change and environmental debate. Twenty-eight percent believe these changes could be significant.

Environmental Leader News

  Energy efficiency codes mean lower utility bills, but not all builders are sold





May 15, 2010

Many builders contest that increasing the engergy efficiency of a household will price many buyers out of purchasing new homes. In the past, this may have been the case, but no longer. In many areas, a 12-15% increase in efficiency can be met by using materials that are already available. This is especially important for low income families where a large chunk of their monthly budget goes to paying utilities.

Washington Post

  EPA Finalizes GHG Emissions Rule, Targets Largest Emitters





May 14, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its rulings to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the largest stationary sources at facilities such as power plants and oil refineries that are responsible for 70 percent of GHG emissions.

The article discusses who are required to have permits for their GHG emissions, as well as several lawsuits that threaten the EPA's authority on climate.

Environmental Leader News

  Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California's Green Jobs





December 10, 2010

This report from Next 10 tracks the growth of green jobs in the Golden State over the last 14 years, and finds big growth and regional hotspots for different types of environmentally oriented careers. Some highlights are:

-Between 1995-2008, green businesses increased 45 percent, green jobs grew 36 percent while total jobs in the state grew only 13 percent.

-Between 2007-2008, green jobs grew 5 percent while total jobs dropped one percent.

-From 1995-2008, Energy Generation employment expanded 61 percent by nearly 10,000 jobs. Solar makes up the largest portion, and strongest growth (63 percent).



Wallboard: No Longer a Dry Subject






April 28, 2010

Thousands of complaints have erupted, and many people in Florida and Luouisiana have moved out of their homes. They say that newly installed wallboard is corroding their air conditioning coils, metal pipes and fixtures, and wiring. They blame an egg-like sulfurous odor emanating from the boards for an array of health symptoms, from respiratory distress to heart disease. This drywall is from mostly from a manufacturer in China, though recent federal lawsuits include inquiries into US companies.

Healthy Building Network

  Climate Change Indicators in the United States





April, 2010

Collecting and interpreting environmental indicators play a critical role in our understanding of climate change and its causes. An indicator represents the state of certain environmental conditions over a given area and a specified period of time. Examples of climate change indicators include temperature, precipitation, sea level, and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

These indicators will be used to better understand climate change. It mainly focuses on the United States. Download PDF

Enironmental Protection Agency

  AIA Names COTE Top Ten Projects





April 23, 2010

Every year the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) invites electronic submission of built projects, and this year is no exception to their high standards in environmental design. Click on the link to view the projects.


  DOE Unveils Net-Zero 220,000 Square Foot Office Space





March 19, 2010

This 220,000 square-foot office space is designed with performance as the ultimate priority. The building is a rather unusual “H” shape, with the lobby area connecting two wings. The project’s engineers determined that shape would maximize daylight and thus reduce energy needs. The building is meant to be a national showcase and a teaching tool, in addition to serving its primary function as office space for National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

Solve Climate

  Standard 189 Integrated into New Green Construction Code





March 15, 2010

After a year-long development process, the International Code Council (ICC) released its International Green Construction Code (IGCC) on March 15, 2010. Developed in partnership with The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International, the IGCC had been anticipated to provide competition to Standard 189—the code-ready green building standard modeled on LEED that was launched in January.

Link to International Code Council

  Smart2BeGreen Top 10 Green Heroes of 2009





March 2, 2010

This year the list was voted on by the readers who subscribe to the Smart2BeGreen newsletter and green philosophy. Readers chose leaders in environmental awareness that have inspired us by demonstrating that small steps can yield great results towards a greener future.


  Colorado Renewable Energy Bill Passes Another Hurdle





March 2, 2010

Colorado is one step closer to increasing requirements for electricity generation from renewable sources, like wind and solar energy.House Bill 1001 would require large utilities in Colorado to generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. T

Environment Colorado estimates the legislation would deploy 700 megawatts of solar generation by 2020. The organization's new report, “Investing in the Sun,” concludes that 1,000 megawatts of distributed solar energy would create more than 33,000 jobs, generate enough electricity to power 146,000 homes, save 6.8 billion gallons of water and obviate 30 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the systems.

Vail Daily

  3M Shares Tips for Managing Energy Use





March 4, 2010

3M reveals its strategies for managing energy usage in the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Energy Matters” newsletter. The centerpiece of 3M’s plan includes establishing a new set of corporate environmental goals every five years and tracking individual plants on a quarterly basis and again annually to evaluate their progress toward meeting energy-reduction goals.

Environmental Leader News

  Energy Management Systems Hold 14% Market Penetration





March 2, 2010

So far, just 14 percent of the market potential for energy management systems is being realized, meaning there is room for growth, according to the report on “Energy Management Systems for Commercial Buildings” from Pike Research.

Pike Research predicts that the market could grow nearly $8 billion between 2010 and 2020.

Environmental Leader News

  ENERGY STAR® Certification for Buildings





March 1, 2010

Initiated in 1999 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE), the ENERGY STAR program for buildings was developed to help businesses improve energy management through recognition of energy efficiency and cost-effective measures. Much like LEED, the intent is to spur all parties involved in the design, construction and maintenance of buildings to work together to find energy solutions that are both financially beneficial yet minimize negative impact on the environment.

Reed Construction Data

  Energy Management Systems for Commercial Buildings






This Pike Research report analyzes the emerging market for commercial building Energy Management Systems in depth, including a focus on energy efficiency, advanced building management systems, and the commercial demand response sector. Based on extensive supply-side and demand-side analysis, the report provides a comprehensive examination of business models and market drivers, technology issues, and the competitive landscape within this dynamic space. The report includes detailed market forecasts through 2020 along with profiles of key industry players.


  EPA Waits for 2013 on Carbon Emissions of 50,000 Tons a Year





March 3, 2010

U.S. regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions won’t target stationary sources emitting 50,000 to 75,000 tons a year until at least 2013. The EPA paved the way for new regulations by declaring carbon dioxide a health hazard in December. Republican lawmakers and some Democrats have said they will move legislatively to block or delay EPA action.


  Feds Launch $130 Million Building Energy Efficiency Effort





February 12, 2010

Seven federal agencies have issued a combined funding opportunity announcement of up to $129.7 million over five years to create an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) centered around an Energy Innovation Hub focused on developing new technologies to improve the design of energy-efficient building systems. The regional research center will develop new building efficiency technologies and work with local partners to implement the technologies in area buildings.

Environmental Leader News

  55 Nations Set 2020 Carbon Goals Since Copenhagen





February 1, 2010

Fifty-five nations accounting for almost 80 per cent of world greenhouse gas emissions have set national goals for fighting climate change by a deadline in the "Copenhagen Accord."

The Copenhagen Accord seeks to limit a rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and sets a goal of $100 billion a year in aid for developing nations from 2020 to help confront climate change.

The Gazette

  Safeway Becomes First Grocer to be Founding Member of The Sustainability Consortium






March 1, 2010

Safeway Inc. has become the first U.S.-based retail grocery chain and manufacturer of private label merchandise to join The Sustainability Consortium in support of the organization’s science-based work toward a more sustainable global supply chain. The company joins other retailers and consumer product manufacturers that have become members of the Consortium and its product “life cycle” mission including social and environmental considerations.

Business Wire

  Google Launches PowerMeter API






March 4, 2010

Google has released a new PowerMeter API to encourage integration of its technology by home developers. The code is intended for manufacturers of electrical devices, from refrigerators and washing machines to other appliances, that have built-in energy monitoring technology. It also works with other smart meter devices.

Environmental Leader News

Google PowerMeter API

  Investors File a Record 95 Climate Change-Related Resolutions: a 40% Increase Over 2009 Proxy Season






March 4, 2010

Record Filings Follow SEC Calls for Stronger Corporate Attention to Climate Change. The 40 percent increase in climate-change resolutions filed over last year is a first sign of the growing pressure on companies to disclose climate risks and opportunities in the wake of the recent Securities and Exchange Commission’s climate disclosure guidance and other recent policy developments.

Investor Network on Climate Risk

  GSA Reorganizes to Better Green the Government





Feb 22, 2010

The General Services Administration is reorganizing how it provides green services to the rest of government. "As part of Governmentwide Policy, the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings will broaden its reach to provide federal agencies with the necessary measurement tools and policies they need to meet their own sustainability mandates under the Executive Order," reported GSA administrator Martha Johnson. She went on to say "PBS's Chief Greening Officer will aggressively pursue sustainable practices within GSA's large portfolio of government-owned and leased buildings to ensure that we are enabled to better meet our mandates."

President Obama issued an executive order in October requiring agencies to reduce the amount of energy they use.

Federal News Radio

  Three Keys to Understanding Sustainability Rankings






February 15, 2010

This article written by Amelia Timbers examins why sustainability metrics differ and whose metircs to trust. She discusses methodology, disclosure, and motive as being keys to understanding sustainability metrics.


  In China, Wal-Mart presses suppliers on labor, environmental standards





February 28, 2010

As a result of China's growth being negatively impacted by pollution, awareness of climate change and energy security has spread in China. Wal-Mart is asking their suppliers to consider environmental and energy saving details ; not just low prices, but low greenhouse gas emissions. Many of Wal-Mart's suppliers have heard that you need to be an environmentally friendly company to work with Wal-Mart in the future, so suppliers are changing their production process.

Washington Post

  Smart Windows: Energy Efficient with a View






January 22, 2010

NREL researchers are trying to do the high-tech equivalent of putting sunglasses on buildings with a new generation of insulated "dynamic windows" that change color to modulate interior temperatures and lighting.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

  SBIC's 2009 Beyond Green High Performance Building Awards









February 25, 2010

The awards distinguish the initiatives that shape and catalyze the high performance building market, as well as the real-world application of high performance design and contruction practices.

Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Congresswomen Judy Biggert (D-IL), co-chairs of the High Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus, were on hand for the event and praised the winners for their work.

Catagory A - High-Performance Buildings

First Place:

Empire State Building, Integrated Energy Efficiency Retrofit, New York, NY


Emerson's Energy-Efficient Global Data Center, St. Louis, MO

Charlotte Vermont House, Charlotte, VT

Kroon Hall, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Yale University, New Haven, CT

Catagory B - High-Performance Initiatives


Water Independence in Oregon's Buildings, Portland, OR

Link to SBIC's 2009 Beyond Green Awrads PDF

Link to SBIC Beyond Green Awards Case Studies

  EPA's Endangerment Finding Under Fire by States Lawmakers and Industry Groups





February 18, 2010

A legal battle is brewing for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gasses after several industry groups, conservative think tanks, lawmakers and three states filed 16 court challenges before yesterday’s (Feb. 16) deadline, reports the New York Times.

The lawsuits filed in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals request a review of EPA’s determination that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. The finding allows the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

In response, the EPA and environmentalists say the agency is required by law to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and is finalizing new greenhouse gas rules for automobiles and large stationary sources next month, reports the New York Times.

Environmental Leader News

  EPA's Energy Star Leaders Quadruple Energy Savings in One Year





February 2, 2010

In 2009, EPA’s Energy Star Leaders prevented the equivalent of more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and saved more than $48 million across their commercial building portfolios. These savings have quadrupled since 2008 and represent the single greatest year of savings since EPA recognized the first Energy Star Leaders in 2004. Over the past five years, Energy Star Leaders are saving money and helping our environment by preventing greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions from the electricity use of nearly 39,000 homes annually.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

  Nike, Starbucks Lead Push in Oregon for Clean Energy Economy





February 17, 2010

Kicking off a race to jumpstart American jobs in a clean economy, Nike, Starbucks, and other businesses, unions and youth groups in Oregon are urging Congress to approve a comprehensive climate change legislation this year, reports The Oregonian.

The group was joined by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., at a news conference, where they announced a “Race for American Jobs” campaign to help persuade the Senate to pass climate change legislation similar to the one passed in the House in June last year, reports The Oregonian.

The group is pushing for a low-carbon economy that will create jobs, reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil suppliers and promote technological innovation in an economic arms race with China, reports The Oregonian.

Environmental Leader News

  U.S. Businesses Lag on Carbon Emissions Reporting





February 4, 2010

Carbon emissions management is becoming an increasingly important business objective for U.S. companies; however, outstanding questions about accounting, reporting and tax considerations have led to inconsistent practices, according to a report by Ernst & Young LLP.

The new report, “Carbon market readiness: accounting, compliance, reporting and tax considerations under state and national carbon emissions programs”, concludes that companies should consider carbon emissions requirements as part of their businesses and financial management strategies now despite the uncertainty over the scope of climate change legislation in the U.S. The study also finds that many countries as well as states have some type of regulatory program to manage carbon emissions.

Out of 1,000 U.S. registrants, only 29 companies disclosed an accounting policy related to emissions credits or allowances in their financial statements.

Environmental Leader News

  California Adopts First Statewide Green Building Code





January 15, 2010

California continues to take the national lead in environmental protection. The California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously this week to approve the first statewide green building code.

Taking effect January 2011, the nation's first mandatory green building code – dubbed “CalGreen” – lays out specific constraints for newly constructed buildings. It requires builders to install plumbing that cuts indoor water use by as much as 20 percent, to divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills to recycling, and to use low-pollutant paints, carpets, and floors. It also mandates inspection of energy systems to ensure that heaters, air conditioners, and other mechanical equipment are working efficiently. And for non-residential buildings, it requires the installation of water meters for different uses.

The Christian Science Monitor

  Georgia Tech Requires LEED Gold for All New Buildings and Renovations





February 16, 2010

The Georgia Institute of Technology is once again taking a leadership position in the area of sustainable design and energy management. Georgia Tech is currently updating its Facilities Design Standards to meet LEED Gold standards as set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Energy Ace, Inc., an Atlanta-based sustainability consulting firm helping architects, engineers, construction managers, building owners and developers design, create and operate energy efficient, sustainable environments assisted Tech in preparing the Standards upgrade.

Building Design and Construction

  For Green Ansewrs, Look Inside





February 17, 2010

Businesses today generally understand they need to do as much as possible to conserve energy and water, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize their environmental impact overall.

But as they look outward for solutions, they may be missing the best source of intelligence and insight in addressing green and sustainability issues – their own employees. These are, after all, the people who help them run their businesses every day – they know the processes, products, properties and operations inside and out. And many would be thrilled with the opportunity to improve their company’s efficiency and environmental impact.

This article discusses two projects that demonstrate what can happen when you engage employees in green and sustainability efforts.

Environmental Leader News

  Energy Disclosure Ordinances





February 9, 2010

Seattle’s mayor today announced a new ordinance which requires large commercial and multi-family property owners in Seattle to annually measure, or benchmark, energy use and provide the City with ratings to allow comparison across different buildings. Building owners will also be required to share energy usage and ratings with prospective buyers, tenants and lenders during the sale, lease or financing of properties.


The Building Advisor

  Task Force to Mayor Newsom: "Your 7 keys to existing building efficiency in San Francisco"





December 14, 2009

Mayor Newsom of San Francisco announced new legislation aimed at improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings in San Francisco. The goal is to cut energy use by 50% in existing buildings by 2030. The Task Force created by the mayor boiled down its research into 7 key ways to achieve this goal. A few of them are: Idintify cost-effective savings in every commercial building, disclose energy performance information, and educate, train, mentor and market existing building efficiency.

For more information, check out the article.

Galley Eco Capital: Our Green Journey

  Executive Order Commits Federal Agencies to Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions





October 5, 2009

President Obama signed an Executive Order that sets sustainability goals for Federal agencies and focuses on making improvements in their environmental, energy and economic performance. The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target within 90 days; increase energy efficiency; reduce fleet petroleum consumption; conserve water; reduce waste; support sustainable communities; and leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.

The White House

  SEC: Traded Firms May Have to Disclose Climate Change Risks

Climate Change Disclosure for Investors





October 29, 2009

U.S.-traded companies may have to disclose their exposure to financial risks relating to climate change and emerging policies under a new U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) staff guidance, reports Nasdaq (via Dow Jones Newswires).

The Staff Legal Guidance said it’s changing how it analyzes companies’ “no-action” requests on shareholder proposals relating to environmental, financial or health risks, according to Nasdaq.

The decision, outlined in SEC Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14E (CF), reverses an SEC rule that prevented investors from directly asking companies about the impacts of climate change and other issues on their financial bottom lines, according to Ceres, a network of investors and environmental organizations that represent around $8 trillion in assets.

Environmental Leader News

  Wal-Mart Is Edging Into Green

Wal-Mart Responds to Consumer Sustainable Demands





October, 2009

Wal-Mart has granted $420,000 to World Resources Institute (WRI) to develop a Green Standards Guide to rate various eco-labels and decide on which ones they will recognize in the consumer market. This follows the July announcement that they are launching a new sustainability index that will grade various suppliers and products by asking fifteen general sustainability questions. This signals an intent to lead manufacturers to provide labels that will allow consumers to understand more clearly the sustainability of a product and inform future Wal-Mart purchasing decisions.

Environmental Leader News

  Green Pathways Institute, Linking Curriculum to Green Careers

Green Pathways Institute, Linking Curriculum to Green Careers





September, 2009

According to the UNEP, by the year 2020 the world's green economy will be worth roughly $3 trillion. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes $50 billion for green jobs. Will our students have the knowledge and skills required to meet this need?

With the U.S. facing economic and environmental challenges, teachers are increasingly eager to find ways to give their students the keys to meaningful careers and lives of environmental stewardship. At the first-ever Pathways to the Future Teacher Institute, held at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, educators and curriculum specialists joined professionals from green businesses to explore how school curricula can inspire students to embrace a sustainable future and green jobs.


Green Technology Magazine

  American Institute of Architects Committee On The Environment Top Ten Green Projects

Portola Valley Town Center, Goring & Straja Architects
Siegel & Strain Architects





April 16, 2009 - Washington, DC

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The 2009 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects were announced celebrating beautiful, efficient building designs. The program recognizes projects that make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

These winning entries will be displayed at the upcoming AIA national convention in San Francisco, April 30-May 2 at the Moscone Convention Center.



  2009 TOP TEN Green Products Earth Day Awards

2009 TOP TEN Green Product Earth Day Awards





April, 2009 - Green Building Pages Earth Day Awards

Raising the bar, rewarding transparency and product manufacturers' achievements in reducing the global environmental impacts of their products, and creating a more sustainable world, every Earth Day the Green Building Pages announces it's top ten products.

This year's lineup ranges from one-man-shops to international manufacturing. These product manufacturers have achieved exemplary performance against comprehensive Green Building Pages Benchmarking Sustainability evaluation criteria, in alignment with the ASTM-E2129 and the Sustainable Materials Rating Technology (SMaRT) building product consensus standard recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council.

For more information:

2009 Green Building Pages Top Ten Earth Day Awards

  Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) Honors 2008 Beyond Green High-Performance Buildings

SBIC 2008 Beyond Green Awards - Nationals Park





February 26 , 2009 - Washington, DC

The winners of the 2008 Beyond GreenTM High-Performance Building Awards presented their projects on Capitol Hill on February 26, 2009, as part of an educational briefing for lawmakers and the public. Through a series of presentations and a poster session, the winners addressed the challenges and opportunities for delivering better buildings. The briefing was held in conjunction with the High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus (HPBCC).

SBIC delivered the message to the more than 100 attendees from the House of Representatives, architectural firms, and many other organizations, that buildings that are energy efficient, safe, cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, and very productive places to work and live, are possible now.

For more information:

Sustainable Buildings Industry Council

  LACCD's Sustainable Building Program Honored

Green California Summit, Sacramento




March 17, 2009 - Los Angeles, CA

Green Technology magazine has awarded the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) its 2009 Green California Leadership Award for Green Building. The project cited by the magazine is the new Allied Health and Science Center at Los Angeles Valley College.

The award, given to LACCD officials at a ceremony in Sacramento, marks another significant honor the District has received for its $5.7 billion green building program, one of the nation's largest sustainable construction efforts.

The $49 million Allied Health and Science Center is a 100,000 square foot, three-story facility with an advanced laboratory, classrooms, and a rooftop solar farm with 300 power-generating panels. It also has a greenhouse, an animal habitat facility, a botanical research area, and four retention ponds included in the landscaping.

The project has achieved the U.S. Green Building Council's Gold LEED rating.

Green Building Pages Blog

Green California Summit

  Senate Committee Calls on Edward Mazria to Testify on Building Energy Efficiency

Architecture 2030




February 26, 2009

Edward Mazria was called before the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to give expert testimony on reducing energy consumption in buildings.

"The situation we find ourselves in today, with three major crises converging at the same time - foreign energy dependence, climate change, and a deep economic recession - is very different from anything we have ever experienced before." -Mazria

He states that to truely promote energy efficiency, business and industry need to look to innovate and deliver alternatives to the marketplace, while governments deliver market incentives, new building codes, and fund R&D and technology transfer through universities, research institutions and national laboratories.

He goes to discuss the success of the 2030 challenge and other green strategies.

Download Mazria's full Testimony - complete with charts and graphs

Architecture 2030

  2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan Hits Capitol Hill

Architecture 2030




The Two-Year, Nine-Million-Jobs Investment Plan

President-elect Obama has committed to economic recovery, energy independence, carbon-neutral buildings by 2030 and an 80% reduction in US greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

This powerful and comprehensive Plan benefits all Americans, no matter what income level or location in the country. The new demand for energy efficiency upgrades and infusion of capital will create over 9 million new jobs, including a new $1.77 trillion renovation market that will put the construction industry back to work immediately.

In addition, the $132 to 208 billion in consumer mortage and energy savings will provide much-needed disposable income to fuel economic growth. Also, the reductions in energy consumption, CO2 emissions, natural gas, and oil will put the country on the path to energy independence and signal our commitment to addressing climate change.

Architecture 2030

  Buildings Without (Environmental) Footprints

U.S. Department of Energy





What do you get when you combine the nation's top scientists with 11 commercial property firms and more than $1 billion in federal funds?

The Zero-Net Energy Commercial Building Initiative (CBI), a Department of Energy (DOE) program that was launched this year to accelerate the development of cost-effective, zero-net engery buildings -- those that produce as much energy as they consume.

The program will examine new approaches to renewable energy, which can be difficult and costly for building owners to employ but is essential to net-zero energy buildings.

Commercial Buildings Initiative

  High-Performance Buildings: Award Winning Case Studies

Sustianable Buildings Industry Council





High-performance buildings are healthy and productive places to live and work, cost-effective to operate and maintain, and good for the environment.

At this educational briefing, the winners of SBIC's Beyond Green High-Performance Building Awards presented selected projects that describe challenges and opportunities.

The case studies, which represent a wide variety of building types from across the country, address the successful integration of sustainability and energy-efficiency with cost effectiveness, safety and security, accessibility, historic preservation, and aesthetics.

SBIC Beyond Green Awards

  U.S. Conference of Mayors Unanimously Approved CMP Sustainable Investment Initiative

U.S. Conference of Mayors





The U.S. conference of Mayors adopted Resolution of Support for the Sustainable Investment Initiative of the Capital markets Partnership (CMP) at the June 2008, 76th annual meeting. CMP unanimously approved its Green Building Underwriting Standards.

The Sustainable Investment Initiative is facilitating both equity and debt investment opportunities in certified green buildings and sustainable products through these Underwriting Standards and green building financing with the Council of Development Financing Agencies.

The Initiative's concensus standards cover buildings and products across the global supply chain.

U.S. Conference of Mayors

  Get zero-energy classrooms faster than a dog can eat homework.









Project FROG unveiled at Greenbuild, Boston, Nov., 2008

FROG Zero -- The Classroom of the Future -- incorporates the ideal learning environment into the greenest, most sustainable commercial building solution available. Ever. The 1,280-sf smart building features 75 percent energy demand reduction, abundant natural light and glare control, superior air quality, fungible user technology, microclimate customization and advanced climate controls in an easy to configure package. Constructed of renewable or recyclable materials, the FROG Zero generates more energy within its footprint than is required to operate its systems.

More Information:

  Green Schools: The Moment is Now!

Green Technology Magazine





A growing body of research shows that a poor school environment is detrimental to a children's health and learning. Chilrdren in the U.S. now spend approximately 90% of their time indoors - and a large portion of that at school.

American schools get very poor grades in environmental toxicity, indoor air quality, sustainable resource use, and nutrition. All of these are linked to soaring asthma and childhood obesity rates, exposure to carcinogens, and broader community environmental problems.

The Green Schools Initiative uses a comprehensive framework to define a "green" school, which focuses on four interrelated "pillars." Their four pillars encourage schools to: strive to be toxic free; use resources sustainability; create green school yards and healthy lunches; and teach stewardship.

Green Technology Magazine

  Conservation Program Delivers for Murrieta Schools

Green Technology Magazine





Who would have thought that simple measures, such as turning off lights and equipment at night and on weekends, could save so much money?

In nine months, the District, which serves 21,000 students in 18 schools, shaved $145,000 off its electric bill. Normally, electricity costs the District just under $3 million per year, so this represents a savings of about 6.5 percent. According to Jeff Boone, energy resource manager at the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, they are only getting started with ferreting out the unnecessary watts.

A green team of teachers, custodial staff, administrators and students cary out the program. They create a plan for saving energy at the school level, teach about energy and create school-wide energy awareness campaigns. This awareness is expected to also impact students' homes and communities. Typically, schools participating in the Green Schools program save between 5 and 15 percent on electric costs.

Powerful Savings from Green Technology Magazine

  Western Governors Push Obama for Immediate Clean Energy Plan

Western Governors Association





November 20, 2008

The Western Governors Association (WGA) wrote a letter to President-elect Barack Obama urging him to quickly adopt and implement an energy plan that will provide affordable, clean energy and reduce greenhoue gas emissions, among other goals.

The letter states that "We must have the collective will and resolve to create and implement a long-term comprehensive energy policy despite short-term political and market fluctuations. The future of our nation depends upon it."

The WGA urged President-elect Obama to implement seven key policy initiatives within the first 100 days of his administration.

WGA call for Immediate Enery Plan

  "Fifty for Fifty" Initiative to Engage State Legislators to Develop Green School Caucuses

Build Green Schools





September 4, 2008 - Washington, DC

Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) kicked off its "Fifty for Fifty" initiative working with state lawmakers in all 50 states to promote green school buildings. The Council's goal is for every state legislature in the nation to have its own caucus or working group of lawmakers advancing green schools for kids. Inspired by the sucessess of the Congressional Green Schools Caucus, the initiative will build on widespread participation in USGBC's LEED for schools program, which has over 1,000 green schools registered across the U.S.

The "Fifty for Fifty Initiative provides state legislatures with:

  • Up-to-date information and developments in green building, including trends, cost benifit studies and incentives offered by localities to advance and promote green building
  • Networking opportunities with like-minded legislators across the country
  • Opportunities for partnerships with experts in their communities, from architects to engineers to contractors
  • Opportunities to present best practices and successes in regional and national forums

USGBC Launches Nationwide Green Schools Effort

  LACCD Builds Green - Over $6 Billion Green

Photo provided by LACCD





November 7, 2008

With the passing of Measure J (for jobs) in the past election, LA Community College District (LACCD) added $3.5 billion to the bonds the school already had from previous years to bring the total budget up to $6.5 billion. The money will go towards 50 new buildings and modernizing hundreds of others up to LEED Platnum standards.

LACCD is the largest community college district in the nation, serving 226,000 students annually. The creation of these buildings brings purpose and mission together. Students learning about sustainable practices for their green job classes can touch and experience the very products that they may be working with later after they graduate.

Green Building Pages has joined this exciting effort. It will provide the evaluation system for the buyers and specifiers of the building materials used in these buildings. It is a unique site that is free to the public, comprehensive in its sustainable information, and rewards performance vs. advertising dollars.

More in greenbuildingproductsblog & LACCD BlipTV

  Mayor's Alliance for Green Schools Announced - Influential mayors partner with USGBC to advance green schools

Picture provided by





October 16, 2008 - Washington, DC

Mayor Manny Diaz of Miami and Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle today announced the formation of the Mayor's Alliance for Green Schools, a coalition of mayors seeking to strategically harness the leadership and creativity of mayors accross the country to promote the benifits of green schools in their communities.

Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the alliance will work to accelerate implementation of programs supporting the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) resolution calling for green schools for all children within a generation.

For more information, visit USGBC

  CoStar Study: LEED & Energy Star Buildings Top Performers

CoStar Group Demand in Marketplace for Sustainability Creates Higher Occupancy Rates, Stronger Rents and Sale Prices in 'Green' Buildings





March 26, 2008 - CoStar Study Finds Energy Star, LEED Bldgs. Outperform Peers

A new study by CoStar Group has found that sustainable "green" buildings outperform their non-green peer assets in key areas such as occupancy, sale price and rental rates, sometimes by wide margins.

The results indicate a broader demand by property investors and tenants for buildings that have earned either LEED® certification or the Energy Star® label and strengthen the "business case" for green buildings, which proponents have increasingly cast as financially sound investments.

According to the CoStar study, LEED buildings command rent premiums of $11.33 per square foot over their non-LEED peers and have 4.1 percent higher occupancy. Rental rates in Energy Star buildings represent a $2.40 per square foot premium over comparable non-Energy Star buildings and have 3.6 percent higher occupancy.

USGBC In The News

  National Association of Home Builders Develops New Green Building Standard

NAHB Green Building Guidelines





ORLANDO, FL--The new National Green Building Standard will maintain the flexibility of green building practices while providing a common national benchmark for builders, remodelers and developers - another big step for the green building movement, said panelists at a news conference at the International Builder's Show.

The first and only true consensus-based standard for residential green building is in its final comment period and almost ready for prime time, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The National Green Building Standard is expected to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and published by NAHB and the International Code Council (ICC) early this spring, a panel of builders and those involved in the standards process told reporters. The ANSI process
ensures that the best technical reviews were used to create the standard.


NAHB Green Building Standards

  Eco Scenarios - See For Yourself




YALE University - 2007

The average surface temperature of the world rose by about 1 degree Fahrenheit during the last century. The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a further increase of 2 to 6 degrees in this century, even if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are stabilized at twice the pre-industrial level. This warming would be accompanied by rising sea levels, more intense storms and droughts, heat waves, melting glaciers and other effects. , the potential cost of such policies to the American economy again becomes a critical issue.

Robert Repetto has developed a website where users can test various assumptions and scenarios for the effects of global warming.

See for yourself!

  Benchmarking Sustainability 2007 Building Product Awards

Benchmarking Sustainability 2007 Awards-RainTube
Photo Credit: Jacob Feldman



GREENBUILD, Chicago - November 7, 2007. Green Building Pages announced the Benchmarking Sustainability 2007 Building Product Awards recognizing products and manufacturers for achievements in minimizing global environmental impacts creating a more sustainable building industry and world.

Twenty building products were recognized in 7 product lifecycle award categories. GLI Systems RainTube received the highest Sustainable Product Award achieving 554/800 Benchmarking Sustainability credits, also receiving the first Gold Shade of Green designation.

View all Benchmarking Sustainability 2007 Product Awards

  Greenbuild Chicago - Green Goes Mainstream

U.S. Green Building Council Greenbuild 365 Website





GREENBUILD, Chicago - November 2007. With record numbers in attendance and distinguished dignataries such as former President Bill Clinton and visionary Paul Hawkin addressing the green building industry, green is clearly mainstream. The USGBC officially launched its LEED for Homes certification program, announced its 'No Child Left Behind' support for the new Green Schools Caucus and unveiled its new website Greenbuild 365, making conference proceedings, including keynote speeches available to the public.

The Playbook, another website unveiled at Greenbuild, provides strategies, tips, and tools that cities and counties can use to take immediate action on climate change through green building, green neighborhoods, and sustainable infrastructure.

For more information visit:

  EPA Energy Tracking Tool Offers Look at Carbon Footprints of Buildings

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency





ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Washington, D.C. September, 2007. Estimating the carbon footprint of commercial buildings has just become easier. EPA's on-line energy rating system for commercial buildings has been updated to include greenhouse gas emission factors, enabling users to estimate the carbon footprint of their commercial buildings. The updated rating-system (Portfolio Manager) shows that ENERGY STAR buildings not only use 35% less energy than their typical counterparts but also contribute 35% less carbon dioxide emissions.

For more information:
EPA Press Release
More information on Portfolio Manager

  USGBC Offering Free Registration and Certifications in 2007

U.S. Green Building Council
Photo Credit: U.S. Green Building Council





As of January 1, 2007, USGBC will fully rebate the certification fees for any project that earns LEED Platinum certification. The rebate currently applies to projects that certify using LEED for New Construction, LEED for Existing Buildings, LEED for Commercial Interiors or LEED for Core and Shell. Projects that certify under future versions of the LEED rating system (excluding pilot projects) will also be eligible.

LEED Platinum buildings are highly energy and resource efficient; provide superior indoor comfort for the building's occupants; and dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

For more information on LEED rebates visit:

  Buying Into the Green Movement -Alex Williams, New York Times, July 1, 2007

Buying Into the Green Movement
Alex Williams
New York Times, July 1, 2007




Some 35 million Americans regularly buy products that claim to be earth-friendly, according to one report, everything from organic beeswax lipstick from the west Zambian rain forest to Toyota Priuses. With baby steps, more and more shoppers browse among the 60,000 products available under Home Depot's new Eco Options program.

Such choices are rendered fashionable as celebrities worried about global warming appear on the cover of Vanity Fair's "green issue," and pop stars like Kelly Clarkson and Lenny Kravitz prepare to be headline acts on July 7 at the Live Earth concerts at sites around the world.

Consumers have embraced living green, and for the most part the mainstream green movement has embraced green consumerism. But even at this moment of high visibility and impact for environmental activists, a splinter wing of the movement has begun to critique what is sometimes calls "light greens."

Read the full New York Times article

  Green Rebates and Incentives

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy


Are you aware of the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) website? This is a great resource describing federal, state, and local incentives applying to commercial, utility and residential categories. Check to make sure you are taking advantage of all of the incentives available to you and increase your energy efficiency!


  A Greener and Healthier Future for California Schools - Ariel Dekovic, Green Technology Magazine

A Greener and Healthier Future for California Schools
Ariel Dekovic
Green Technology Magazine






Created in 1999 in response to skyrocketing energy rates and rolling blackouts, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools has since expanded beyond energy efficiency to address an array of issues that make up healthy and environmentally conscious school environments. Involving a diverse group of 150 government agencies, utility companies, school districts, non-profit organizations and private companies, as well as seven other states, in 2002, CHPS published the CHPS Criteria, establishing the nation's first building rating program created to specifically facilitate the design of school learning environments that are healthy, comfortable, energy, resource and water efficient, safe, secure, adaptable, and easy to operate and maintain.

CHPS has a six volume Best Practices Manual that supports the CHPS Criteria as well as a recently introduced new third-party verification program, called CHPS Verified, which adds project management and an independent review to the process.

These days, convincing school boards and facilities managers of the benefits of green schools is not hard. In his "Greening America's Schools" report, Greg Katz found that although the average cost premium was about per square foot, the total energy cost savings from a green school as compared with a conventional school ranged from $7 to $9 per square foot.

Read the full Green Technology article

  Cost of Green Revisited - Davis Langdon

Davis Langdon, July 2007




The Cost of Green Revisited examines the recent developments in the cost of incorporating sustainable design features into projects, building upon the 2004 report "Costing Green: A Comprehensive Cost Database and Budget Methodology." This paper looks at a larger sampling of buildings and building types, using the USGBC's LEED rating system as a parameter for determining level of sustainable design. The study shows that there is no significant difference in average costs of green buildings as compared to non-green buildings.

View full report: (0.5 MB PDF)

  Saving the Planet

Time Magazine, June 14, 2007




The New Action Heroes - TIME Magazine

Mayors of more than 30 of world's largest cities pledge "to enlist their 250 million constituents in the fight against global warming." "Cities can't wait any longer for national governments to act," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced, highlighting his plan to cut New York's carbon emissions 30% by 2030. Meanwhile on the other coast, Governor Schwarzenegger, leading California's 36.5 million people, has signed the first U.S. cap on greenhouse gases, leading the nation in enacting fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.

To read entire article go to:

  Neighborood Developments Selected For LEED-ND Pilot

U.S. Green Building Council
Photo Credit: U.S. Green Building Council




The U.S. Green Building Council is will announce the selection of 120 participants for the pilot program of the LEED for Neighborhood Developments (LEED-ND) rating system from 370 applications received. LEED-ND was created through collaboration between USGBC, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). A final rating system is expected to be launched in 2009, after the conclusion of the pilot program in 2008.

For more information on LEED-ND please visit:

  Call for Entries: Sustainable Building Challenge 2008

iiSBE Sustainable Building Challenge for 2007-2008




(USGBC, May 7, 2007) - Call for Expressions of Interest closes on September 15, 2007! "The Sustainable Building Challenge is a process that forms an integral part of the Sixth World Sustainable Building Conference (SB08), which is to be held in Melbourne Australia in September 2008 ( The SB08 conference will include oral presentatons and display space for assessed case studies, in addition to normal technical paper presentations. The SBC08Challenge will enhance the development of an international co-operative process to compare existing performance assessment tools, guide the development of new ones, and promote innovative sustainable builing design concepts and techniques."

To read the full announcement please visit: (

  Banks Cut Ecological Impacts of Doing Business




(, May 4, 2007) - Wachovia and Bank of America's Charlotte banks are seeking green building status for new construction projects and are greening existing buildings to gain certification as environmentally freindly. "While companies and building managers say they are striving to do the right thing for the environment, they also see business advantages, such as energy savings and improved employee productivity."

To read the full article please visit: (

  Healthy Building News reports "Investigation Finds PVC for Vinyl Flooring Killed Workers"

Healthy Building Network,
Photo Credit: The State Journal-Register




(March 23, 2007) - the federal Chemical Safety Board (CSB) found vinyl chloride killed 5 workers for a Formosa Plastics PVC factory in Illiopolis, Illinois. Workers were killed by an explosion set by a discharge of the substance on April 23, 2004. Healthy Building News points out the significance of the findings due to the recent release of the "USGBC Technical Science Advisory Committee determined that the PVC was one of the most unhealthy building materials..."

To read the full article please visit: (

  Step It Up!

New York Times, March 14, 2007
Photo Credit: Chris Pilaro




Communities Uniting for Climate Action Now!
Let April 14th, 2007 be an inspiration for you and your community to call for action on climate change. Bill McKibben invites communities to join his nationwide movement to "reshape the future" by cutting carbon 80% by 2050. (

Visit the Step It Up website and join an action or start your own call for action. The Step It Up Headquarters documents actions nationwide stating the same quote "Step it up, Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050."

Visit the website for more information.

  AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards Announced

Photo credit: Peter Aaron / Esto Photographics





The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The projects will be honored on May 3rd at the AIA 2007 National Convention and Design Exposition in San Antonio.

For more information: AIA/COTE

  "Lifecycle Building Challenge" Launched by EPA and Partners

EPA Announces new building industry challenge




The Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects and West Coast Green partner with EPA to challenge the building industry to facilitate reuse and reduction of waste

"The purpose of the Challenge is to change how people think about, design, and construct and deconstruct buildings. By contributing to a library of strategies that maximize materials recovery and reduce environmental and economic costs, contestants can advance building industry lifecycle planning, inspiring the green building movement to look beyond a single iteration of a building. Because buildings take a major toll on the environment, the Challenge calls upon its contestants to address real world issues." (

Applicants must register by April 15th, 2007. Please visit the challenge website:

  California Implements Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) Model Helps Evaluate Energy Consumption

California Green Building Initiative (Executive Order S-20-04) creates goals for reducing energy consumption




California Adopts LCCA Model for Green Products

"The Governor's Green Building Initiative (Executive Order S-20-04) requires that the state of California implement all cost effective energy conservation measures (ECM) as identified to achieve the goal of reducing energy consumption 20 percent by the year 2015."

For more information:

For more information on measures for greening the golden state, attend the upcoming Green California Summit, March 13 & 14, 2007. "The Green California Summit and Exposition was created to support efforts made by state and local government to implement to implement effective and innovative services, products and solutions."

  National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) & International Code Council (ICC) Form Consensus Committee

NAHB & ICC announce collaboration for green building standards




NAHB & ICC Opens Application Process for Consensus Committee Membership

ORLANDO, FL. (February 7, 2007) - In order to advance the Green Home Building Guidelines voluntary program set forth by the NAHB, the NAHB & ICC groups announced a joint collaboration to standardize green building practices. A Consensus Committee is forming for further development of these guidelines into the ANSI green building standards.

Applications for consideration are due by March 10, 2007. Please visit the NAHB website

  2010 Imperative Global Emergency Teach-in Reaches Tens of Thousands
  Global Emergency Teach-In

Ecological literacy must become a central tenet of design education.




2010 Imperative offers actions for public and private sectors

People from all over the world logged into the 2010 Imperative Web-cast on Friday, February 20, 2007. Susan Szenasy, Dr. James Hansen, Edward Mazria, Chris Luebkeman spoke addressed the urgency to take action on global warming.

To listen to the archived web-cast:

For more information on the 2010 Imperative and 2030 Challenge, read the interview with Edward Mazria, AIA, founder of the Architecture 2030: Edward Mazria, AIA

  Green Building Initiative (GBI) Announces Life Cycle Assessment Software

GBI becomes first to develop LCA for public




GBI makes LCA software available to public

PORTLAND, OR.(February 27, 2007) - "Last month, the Green Building Initiative (GBI) became the first organization in North America to develop a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool for integrating the evaluation of building assemblies in green building rating systems. Today, GBI is announcing its intention to grant permission to its consulting team to offer a generic version, free of charge, to the entire sustainable construction community." Green Building Initiative Press Release

For more information:

  4 families 'Go Green'
  Downsizing their energy bills

Kennedy Family downsized to a green 2,400-square-foot custom home.
Photo Credit:




4 families 'Go Green': how these homeowners got a little more eco-friendly

Downsizing their energy bills, improving their air quailty, and protecting the planet are just a few of the reasons these families went 'Green'.

Read on to see if going green would work for you: Your Home: Is 'going green' worth the cost? (Money Magazine)

  USGBC Launches Climate Change Plan of Action



The USGBC, in response to the current global climate change urgency, developed a Climate Change Action Plan to reduce the organizations negative contribution. The plan incorporates eight strategies to focus their impact on the environment. By the end of 2007 the USGBC, as an organization, will be carbon neutral. The USGBC hosted Greenbuild Expo and Conference just completed it's fifth year of carbon neutrality.

"Eliminating the built environment's negative contribtuion to climate change is not just a strategic priority; it's our collective responsibility to generations to come...urgent action is required." USGBC Press Release, December 1, 2006

For more information please visit the USGBC press release:

  “Architecture 2030” Web Site Takes on Global Warming
Sea Level 1979
Sea Level 2003

Side by side comparisons of sea ice from 1979 and 2003. Arctic perennial sea ice has been decreasing at a rate of 9% per decade. NASA

  In an open letter to the architecture, planning and building community Edward Mazria AIA, a Santa Fe architect, warns about the effects of global warming and proposes meeting a number of targets in order to prevent a disaster.

"We are in a race against time. Global warming, caused by a man-made blanket of greenhouse gasses (mainly carbon dioxide) that surrounds the earth and traps in heat, is well underway and if allowed to intensify over the coming years will seriously threaten our planet" (Edward Mazria AIA).

Specially created Architecture 2030 "web site will report on the activities and progress in the building sector around the globe and critical information will be updated regularly" (AIArchitect).

  Bush Signs Executive Order on Efficiency, Renewable Energy

President Bush
Photo Credit: White House photo by Eric Draper



Executive Order 13423.

President Bush signed an executive order on January 24th that mandates an increased use of energy efficiency and renewable fuels throughout the federal government. Executive Order 13423 calls for federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by cutting their energy intensity 30 percent, relative to their energy use in 2003, by 2015.(Executive Order 13423)

Visit the U.S. Department of Energy Daily News Archives for more information: (January 31, 2007)

  Two Timber Firms Pretending To Be 'Green' Groups Allege

Spotted Owl

The Seattle Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Council of Maine have demanded the Sustainable Forestry Board revoke SFI certification from two companies until they comply with standards.

For more information see
Washington Post Article by Blaine Harden



  The requests mark the first time that mainstream environmental groups have publicly attempted to turn the forest industry's green certification process against big timber companies by insisting that they be suspended from the program, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), said William H. Banzhaf, president of the forestry board, which oversees certification.

Green labeling is a major marketing tool in the timber industry. It allows companies to reach a bigger marketplace while assuring increasingly sophisticated consumers that their purchases are not harming the environment. The competing certification regimes are usually referred to by initialisms -- SFI and FSC -- that can be easily confused. Unlike the industry-created SFI program, FSC rules allow virtually no cutting of old-growth forests, nor do they allow operators to log off a diverse stand of trees and replace it with a plantation forest dominated by a single species, which is often done to enhance the commercial value of forestland. Home Depot, Ikea and Williams-Sonoma are among the major retailers that have announced their preference for FSC-certified lumber or paper. The U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees green standards for construction in the District and Montgomery County, among other places, credits only builders that use FSC lumber.

  ED+C's 2006 Excellence in Design Awards
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Lewis and Clark State Office Building

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Lewis and Clark State Office Building

BNIM Architects
Photo Credit: Mike Sinclair
  "Environmental Design + Construction magazine’s Fourth Annual Excellence in Design Awards recognize commercial spaces and offices, institutional facilities, government buildings, multi-use residential buildings and single-family residential homes that clearly demonstrate a commitment to green building and sustainable design." (ED+C).

Read ED+C's cover story
  Accumulation of Toxins in the Body
chemical coctail article 1st page
  "Harmful buildup of toxic chemicals in humans is a real and growing problem. A 2003 CDC study found an average of 91 (of 116 tested) toxic chemicals in the human body, and recent research points to the overlooked danger and adverse health effects that can result from combined chemicals that are otherwise considered to have low toxicity. Read what simple steps you can take to help detox your projects" (Stefani Hines).

Green Builder Magazine October 2006 p. 16-17.
  UNECE Forest Products Annual Market Review
Forest Product Annual Market Review
  "The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently published this year's Annual Market Review, 2005-2006. The publication provides general statistical information on forest product markets and related policies in Europe, North America and the Commonwealth of Independent States. It also includes interesting information on FSC certification. These are the highlights:

FSC is the world's fastest growing forest certification scheme. Over the last year it increased by one third. In comparison, PEFC grew by 5% over the same period of time. In real numbers this equals a growth of 20 million hectares for FSC and 10 million hectares for PEFC" (FSC News).

FSC News

Forest Products Annual Market Review
  Sustainable Building Rating Systems Summary Released
  A document prepared by an independent research laboratory for General Services Administration (GSA) provides "a summary of the information found for each sustainable building rating system" (report's summary).

read more

download Sustainable Building Rating Systems Summary
  $13 Million to Expand Solar Energy Technologies
The BigHorn Home Improvement Center

The BigHorn Home Improvement Center,
Silverthorne, Colo.
  "U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced more than $13 million to fund new research in solar technologies. This funding, part of President Bush's $148 million Solar America Initiative, will support the development of more efficient solar panels, known as photovoltaic devices" (

For more information, visit:

"The BigHorn Center is one of the nation's first commercial buildings to integrate extensive high-performance design into a retail space. It is expected to reduce energy costs by 62% compared to similar conventionally designed retail buildings" (

Read more about BigHorn Center.
  Building Greener: Building Better: The Quiet Revolution
Building Greener cover
  "Green building, one of the most significant developments in new home construction in the past three decades, is nothing less than a quiet revolution in the way that new homes and communities are planned and constructed" (NAHB).

NAHB's free publication Building Greener: Building Better: The Quiet Revolution is available for download as PDF (Acrobat Reader required).
  High-Performance Green Buildings - Congressional Briefing

  On July 20, 2006 the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) presented a Congressional briefing on the value of incorporating high-performance “green” design in buildings.

read more: High-Performance Green Buildings: A Look at Their Benefits and the Role of Federal Policy
  RIBA-USA Competition

The Royal Institute of British Architects - USA
  Building A Sustainable World:
Life in the Balance

The Royal Institute of British Architects - USA announces a new international competition ‘Building A Sustainable World: Life in the Balance.’ First Prize $10,000. Main Sponsor Autodesk, Special prize for best use of Autodesk BIM software although entries may use any appropriate medium including freehand and collage.

read more about RIBA-USA Competition

Call For Concept Proposals:
Deadline 12 noon Pacific Time, February 1st 2007
  Urban Energy Generation
micro-generation of energy

Photo Credit: Marks Barfield Architects
  A new concept design for micro-generation could allow for energy to be created directly in cities. Creating energy where its most needed could result in saving the energy which is currently lost through transmission (estimated 30% to 50%). The concept has been developed by Marks Barfield Architects with XCO2.

read more about micro-generation

Quiet Revolution
Marks Barfield Architects
  Low-emitting Materials Criteria
CHPS Best Practices Manual Volume III
  GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) announced that its Children & Schools certification has been officially recognized in the CHPS Best Practices Manual Volume III as criteria for low-emitting materials (EQ2.2). "The CHPS EQ2.2 criteria addresses the following types of products: all flooring, adhesives, sealants, and concrete sealants; carpet; resilient flooring; wood flooring; paints; thermal insulation; gypsum board; acoustical ceilings and wall panels; cabinetry; desk and chairs; and composite wood products" ( news release).


The Collaborative for High Performance Schools
  "Green House" Exhibition
Leslie Shao-Ming Sun Field Station, Woodside, California

Solar Tube House
photo: James Morris
  The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design

An Exhibition at the National Building Museum
May 20, 2006–June 3, 2007

"Stacked three floors high on a small wooded lot, the Solar Tube has special glazing that allows warm sunlight to enter while deflecting damaging UV rays. The house’s central core of reinforced concrete absorbs and stores the sun’s warmth, keeping the temperature of the living spaces within a comfortable range ("

For more building green examples visit the exhibition website: "Green House" Exhibition
  2006 Top Ten Green Projects Announced
Leslie Shao-Ming Sun Field Station, Woodside, California

2006 Top Ten: Alberici Corporate Headquarters, Overland, MO
Photo Credit: Debbie Franke
  "In celebration of Earth Day 2006, April 22, the AIA and its Committee on the Environment announced their selection of the top 10 examples of green design that protects and enhances the environment." (

For the list and full description of 2006 Top Ten Green Projects visit the AIA COTE website at:
competition winners



The AIA Chicago Young Architect's Forum announced winners for its reThink/reDesign/reCycle, a two-phase juried competition that saught proposals for an ecologically intelligent, urban recycling receptacle.

  AIAS/ICPF Chair Affair 2006 Design Competition
Leslie Shao-Ming Sun Field Station, Woodside, California

Second Place: reConstructing Cardboard Comfort: Joseph Lyman, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo
  The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) announced the winners of the 2006 corrugated cardboard chair design competition. This event was sponsored by the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF).

"The program is intended to challenge students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of issues related to the use of corrugated cardboard (a non-traditional building material) in design and construction ("

For the list and images of winning designs visit the AIAS website at:
  California Creates Groundbreaking Solar Initiative
  On Jan. 12, 2006, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) "approved the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a a comprehensive $2.8 billion program that provides incentives toward solar development over 11 years. It also develops complementary policies and rules, sets new incentive levels, and addresses program administration" (   For more information visit California Solar Incentive Program.
  Architects Call for 50% Reduction by 2010 of Fossil Fuel Used to Construct and Operate Buildings

On "December 19, 2005 - Through its Board of Directors, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has adopted position statements to promote sustainable design and resource conservation to achieve a minimum reduction of fifty percent of the current consumption level of fossil fuels used to construct and operate buildings by the year 2010" (

See the PDF of High Performance Building Position Statements.

  What does sustainable construction mean to you?



(PDF, 1.3MB)

During the first Holcim Forum, held in Zurich, Switzerland this last July, over 100 prominent engineers, business leaders, and architects responded to "What does sustainable construction mean to you?" Find out what they said.

  Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time
Green Remodeling
  Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time

David Johnston and Kim Master

"David Johnston was named one of the top 50 remodelers in the U.S. in 1990. He developed the first green remodeling program in the U.S. and is creating a national green certification program for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Kim Master is a green building consultant. Both are from Boulder, Colorado." ( listing
  Making the Case for Green Building
So why would anyone want to build green?

The article examines reasons and provides explanations for 46 benefits for building green.

Read the article
  High-Performance School Guide
High-Performance School Buildings
  A resource for anyone "advocating for school buildings that are cost-effective, sustainable, and "healthy and productive" for students, teachers, and staff" (SBIC).

Read more about high-performance schools.
  More on the Cost of Green: Why Green Building is Good Business
Learn more about the economics of building green in this article by Gil Friend.

Read the article
  More green news at:
  NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines
International Builders' Show


The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the one of the nation’s largest and most powerful building industry trade organization, unveiled their new NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines at its International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando Florida. A new organization, the Green Building Initiative (GBI), was also created to help implement the guidelines in markets across the country.

With more than 220,000 members nationwide, and over 95,000 in attendance in Orlando, this represents about 80% of the more than 1.84 million new housing units projected for 2005. Ray Tonjes, a home builder from Austin, Texas and chair of NAHB’s Green Building Subcommittee, stated that “NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines are a milestone in our efforts to provide safe, decent, affordable housing for all Americans and to help conserve our environment” and “are revolutionary because they will help all builders, not just niche builders, construct more energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive new homes in different price ranges and climate conditions.”

NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines are available online at

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