POSITIONED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The dictionary defines a building as "a relatively permanent enclosed construction over a plot of land, having a roof and usually windows and often more than one level." That definition is correct as far it goes, but doesn't come close to addressing the true significance of the "enclosed constructions" in which we spend 90 percent of our lives. Buildings are inextricable from the infrastructure of our society; they make up the world in which we live. Recognizing and addressing buildings within this larger context is the foundation for U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) work in 2007 and beyond, and it is alsothe future of green building.
Perhaps the most important issue of our time is global climate change. Because the built environment is responsible for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, we are uniquely positioned to make a difference. Recognizing the need--and the potential--for action, USGBC has made climate change a major focus of our agenda. Chief among our efforts is a partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a program of the Clinton Foundation that is committed to practical, measurable solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As apartner in CCI, we will be engaging the World Green Building Councilto implement comprehensive green building programs in the world's 40largest cities.
Closer to home, USGBC is working with the City of Seattle, the City of Grand Rapids, and Enterprise Community Partners to create a "Green Print" toolkit for the cities that have signed the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. The agreement, which was launched by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels in February 2005, challenges cities to reduce their emissions to Kyoto Protocol levels; more than 300 have acceptedthe challenge so far. And "home" will be a literal focus in 2007 as we roll out LEED for Homes (LEED-H) and launch the pilot of LEED for Neighborhood Development rating systems, which address buildings within the larger context of landscapes and communities.
We are also focusing on the future of the LEED rating system itself. One of our most important initiatives for the coming year is the development of LEED "Version 3.0," which will harmonize and align the different versions of the LEED rating system and incorporate advancessuch as lifecycle assessment and bioregional weighting. LEED v3 willalso introduce a continuous improvement process that will enable us to quickly and seamlessly incorporate the latest science and technology, while maintaining the rigor LEED is known for. Concurrent with the v3 effort, we are co-sponsoring with ASHRAE and IESNA (the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) the development of Standard 189, a new minimum standard for high-performance building that willhelp to drive green building practice into the mainstream.
As green building becomes more mainstream, USGBC is also expandingour educational programs to reflect the growing diversity of the green building industry. Our new Education Providers Program will expandthe menu of available courses for professionals in all disciplines, and we've launched new LEED Professional Accreditation "tracks" for interior design and facility management. Via partnerships with Turner Construction, Adobe and others, we have also developed new online courses to make green building education even more accessible.
One of our primary educational programs is the Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which this year brought the entire industry together in Denver. As I looked out over the audience during the opening plenary,and throughout the week as I talked with our exhibitors, listened toour presenters, and celebrated with you all at the Leadership Awards, I was blown away by the passion and energy. Not a single person wasinterested in talking about the past, or resting on their considerable laurels. Instead, the focus was on seizing the unprecedented opportunities we have before us. Green building is about the future--and Ihave no doubt that our future is bright.
Rick Fedrizzi is founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council (
), and was appointed president and CEO of the USGBCin April 2004.
BY RICK FEDRIZZI
HELPING TO TIP THE WORLD BACK INTO BALANCE.
I recently read an article that said most Americans now believe inglobal warming but don't believe they can do anything about it. While it's easy to feel overwhelmed, architects, designers, and engineersare in the unique position to take action that can help tip the world back into balance.
When we founded Integrated Architecture in 1988 we embraced GeorgeBernard Shaw's vision: "You see things as they are and ask, 'Why'? Idream things as they never were and ask, 'Why not?'" Practicing 'Whynot?' architecture, we wrote a mission statement that focused on stimulating and positively affecting the community and the built environment.
Back before green was vogue, we shared our passion for sustainability with architects, realtors, students, business clubs, and anybody who would listen through presentations, lectures and case studies. Wealso practiced sustainable design, (then and now) whether the clientasked for it or not. Our mindset is not to treat sustainability as acapability we can apply if you want, but more importantly an obligation and a responsibility that we integrate into our practice.
While not every project we create will achieve LEED certification,we do educate every client (and potential client) about the benefitsof sustainable design, lifecycle cost and the positive influence of abundant natural light and fresh air. Granted, not everyone is as passionate about the environment as we are, but it doesn't matter. The paint we spec, the carpet we choose and the basics of the design are equally green. It strikes me as strange when other architects remark on how many green projects we do, and lament on how they cannot convince their clients to let them do green projects.
As we design, we educate, and we make a difference. As an example,when we were hired to design the Forest Hills Public School Fine Arts Center, we discussed the opportunity to pursue a LEED-certified building. Forest Hills already had a LEED-certified 5/6 environmental school in operation, and were familiar with LEED. They simply hadn't thought about it in a larger context, never considering that it could, or should, be applied across the district. By advocating the concept of mainstream sustainable design, we were able to influence the design of every new building in the district, not just the Fine Arts Center. The result is a school district that now has the distinction of being a forerunner in "green building," and a positive environmental ripple effect that will be felt by generations of children educated with the understanding that sustainable design is the norm, not the exception.
Described as 'taking sustainable design out of Popular Mechanics and into the real world,' the Herman Miller MarketPlace, a 2003 AIA COTE winner, was built for $89 per square foot; 33 percent below HermanMiller's typical reference points with documented operational costs 41 percent lower than Herman Miller's other facilities. Filled with what I describe as the new luxuries of the 21st Century--natural light, fresh air and space--MarketPlace illustrates our approach to green design: simple, cost effective sustainable materials within an environmentally sensitive envelope.
Sustainability is more than counting the number of LEED points andLEED APs on staff. It is more than specifying green carpet and paint. It is larger than the debate of standards and minimums. It is the attitude that embraces the concept that fresh air, sunlight and healthy buildings belong to the community, because it is simply the right thing to do ... and it's not an option we can apply when we want--it'sa responsibility that we must not avoid.
Architect Michael C. Corby, AIA, LEED AP, is design principal of Integrated Architecture, a firm he helped found in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. One of Michigan's first LEED Accredited Professionals, Mike is helping to mainstream sustainable design by featuring whathe terms the affordable new luxuries for the 21st Century: natural light, fresh air and space.
BY MICHAEL C. CORBY, AIA, LEED AP
THE GLOWING--AND GROWING--STATE OF GREEN BUILDING.
I was asked to write a short piece on the state of green building in 2006. It happens to be a glowing state. Many of us know the numbers by now: 600 LEED-certified projects, 4,600 registered LEED projects, 27,000 LEED accredited professionals, and so on. Things are going so well that there is even competition from other systems. These impressive numbers not only signify real reduction in environmental impact, but most importantly represent a growing movement that says we can do better as we build and grow.
Tom Hicks, the VP of LEED at USGBC, recently pointed out to me that we add approximately 1 billion square feet of new commercial officespace to the existing building stock every year in the U.S. He showed that if all of these new buildings were to reduce energy consumption by 75 percent, it would equal just a 1 percent change in the existing building stock. Of course, only a small fraction of these new buildings are reducing energy consumption to this extent. It reminds me of Bruce Springsteen's refrain, "One step up and two steps back."
We need to address the existing building stock more closely, and address communities and even cities. We're doing this with LEED for Existing Buildings and Neighborhood Development. An exciting new initiative led by USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi is addressing global cities through the Clinton Climate Initiative.
But I do not write to tell you that all is well and to overwhelm you with the numbers of progress on the front of lowered impact. Instead, I want to tell you that LEED is a highly-effective tool for getting people involved, but it is really only a beginning to a new way ofthinking.
I was recently invited to a wonderful dinner with some new friends. They were concerned about LEED and especially wanted me to know that the next version of LEED should accomplish some very specific things. Someone asked, "Why can't we get LEED to do that?" I was struck bythe question, and indeed have asked it myself many times before. I couldn't help but think that we have a tendency to confuse the tool with the user. Perhaps the question should have been, "How can we do that?" My message to all of the leaders of the green building communityis that the burden of passage to a new way of building and growing is not just on LEED, it is on us.
LEED is an entry to a new way of thinking. It is not the answer toour problems. We are the answer to our problems. Our issues are human, not technological. LEED can help us involve more people with the issues that we need to address in order to survive as a species. Our tendency however, is to objectify our tool in order to have it accomplish our work, and in doing so we remove our own culpability in makingour world, our environment--our shared external circumstances--a better place.
Finding our place in the world is not easy. We are swayed by all that is in front of us, to take and to get. We're trained to build ourcareers, to purchase what we can, to make the most of our moneymaking years and to make sure we can keep our present lifestyle in retirement. We've done such a good job at taking and getting that the rest of the world wants exactly the same thing.
The reality is that we will only find what we're looking for--a place where we can continue to grow and develop--once we begin working toward a common good. Today, we are planning, designing, engineering,building and managing our common demise, yet the wonderful opportunity before us is to realize that what is good for all is good for eachof us. This opportunity is in front of us today and we can make our daily decisions to work toward overcoming the challenges in front of us today.
This is what I love about LEED: it is a tool to help us in our daily decisions. Global warming, war, the threat of nuclear annihilation, terrorist threats; these are not in the future. They are today We don't have to look far to see strife, famine, extreme environmental degradation and human squalor of all type and kind. Our hope lies in how we engage them this very day and every day.
David Orr, the great writer and teacher at Oberlin College, pointsout that "We have a contract with our children." We also have a contract with all our fellow human family in all parts of the globe. And,we have an implicit contract with dust since it is what we come fromand to which we will return--this is our contract with the Earth. Itis this recognition that will alter the way we act, the way we work,the type of work we do and the way we build.
For us, who have and take the most, transformation begins with giving. This means building better and taking less. This transformation also manifests itself in the way we treat others, in what we give to the greater community, and in how we work to equalize the tremendous inequities that exist on this globe. This represents a fuller understanding of a common good, and acting on it is the realization of our human potential. As we each find this for ourselves, perhaps initiallyled by the certification of small and sometimes flawed credit intents, requirements and submittals, we're likely to find a new freedom, anew creativity and a new way of being that just might help us find out who we are while we spend our precious hours, described by Bob Dylan as "more frailer than the flowers," on this beautiful Earth.
Scot Horst serves as chair of the USGBC's LEED Steering Committee.In 1992, Horst started Horst, Inc., a sustainable materials consulting firm, where he develops innovative programs relating to materials and their environmental impacts. Horst co-founded 7group, a multi-service green building consulting LLC, where he serves as president. He also serves as vice president of Athena Institute International.
BY SCOT HORST, LEED AP
THE GREEN HOME MARKET IS READY TO SURGE.
Twelve reasons detailing how the sustainable home market is nearing its boiling point:
1 The commercial and institutional green building market continuesto grow at more than 50 percent per year (see Figure 1). In 2005, cumulative LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) registered projects and project area grew by more than 50 percent, and LEED-NC certified projects grew by nearly 100 percent. Through August, 2006, cumulative LEED-NC registrations had grown 27 percent over 2005, and cumulative LEED-NC certifications had grown 38 percent, indicating that LEED project growth is continuing at a fast pace. As a surrogate for the green home market, LEED-NC statistics indicate considerable growth potentialahead (some of the LEED-NC projects are in fact mid-rise to high-rise multi-family residential units, both rental and for sale).
In 2005, the USGBC's LEED green building rating system registered more than 1,000 projects for the first time, totaling more than 130 million square feet of space. The author predicts that the total number of LEED-registered projects will increase more than four-fold through 2010, continuing to increase at more than 25 percent per year, even in 2010. The number of LEED-certified projects will exceed 500 by the end of 2006, according to my projections. This means that homeowners and homebuyers everywhere will continue to see more information about green buildings in their cities and towns; we believe this will translate into significantly increased activity in the home energy markets, both for new homes and conservation retrofits.
2 The new federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2005 (EPACT), with increased incentives for residential solar electric and solar water-heating systems, along with prolonged oil prices, have changed the psychology of the consumer and the business for the first time in a generation, since the oil price shocks of the late 1970s. New credits of up to $2,000 per unit for homebuilders should spur more investment in energy-efficient homes.
3 In November 2005, the federal Energy Information Administration raised its projected 2025 oil prices, in today's dollars, from $33 (2004 forecast) to $54 per barrel; a 65 percent increase (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2006,
). Over time, this will likely translate into higher electricity and gas prices for residential applications and more interest on the part of homebuyers and homeowners in investing in conservation. For example, market studies for the King-Snohomish Master Builders Association (Seattle area) in 2003, well before the current rise in energy prices, showed a willingness by homebuyers to pay 1 percent more-about $2,500 on a $250,000 newhome--for a home energy package. Isn't it likely that the willingness to pay will increase to more like $5,000, especially with the new $2,000 homebuilders' incentive?
4 The continued movement of boomers back into urban cores will bring more discriminating buyers to condo developments, requiring builders to have a green point of differentiation. Companies employing these knowledgeable workers will want to offer greener buildings to builda recruitment and retention edge. What people learn from working in green office buildings will also translate to their choices at home. The "rise of the creative class," first chronicled by Richard Floridain 2002 in the book by the same name, has the potential to change American demographic geographic patterns in as dramatic a way as the rise of Levittown and the suburban lifestyle did after World War II, a pattern that has begun to reverse itself dramatically. People want connectedness, they want the amenities of urban living, and they DON'T want to commute for hours each day for the privilege of mowing a patch of grass on Saturdays. This trend will by itself lead to more energy-efficient homes and remodels, with a heavy focus on already existing urban landscapes.
5 These same boomers will want to upgrade their single-family homes to be energy efficient, both to save on future utility costs and toshow a concern for such issues as global warming and environmental protection. In particular, with new state and federal solar PV incentives, look for a rapid rise in small (1-kW to 2.5-kW) solar electric as well as solar water-heating systems, among the most visible ways toshow that a homeowner is doing something to save energy. The strong role of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's solar initiatives in California should have a role in "kick-starting" the solar industry in California, for example.
A growing body of successful green home developments with a strongfocus on solar and conservation features, in all major growth regions, including Florida, California and the rest of the Sunbelt, will give developers confidence in their ability to deliver a high-performance green development on a conventional budget.
A good example is Shea Homes in San Diego. Shea is the country's 10th largest builder, and in 2001 developed a good package of energy conservation and solar technologies. Shea's product line, the "High-Performance Home," meets the requirements of an ENERGY STAR Home, meaning it is designed to expend 30 percent less energy on heating, cooling, and water heating than would the same footprint built to 1993 National Model Energy Code standards. (For a PATH evaluation report, see the Toolbase website,
6 A rising trend for boomers and the new creative class is to relocate into the top 30 major metropolitan areas, where there is a more sophisticated builder who will understand the need for green homes, condos and apartments. For example, we're already seeing this trend inAtlanta, Chicago, Boston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland. This group is especially well represented in the LOHAS--Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability--psychographic market grouping, said to encompass up to 30 percent of the U.S. population (about 55 to 60 percent of this group are women.) (See, for example,
, The Natural Marketing Institute.).
7 The LEED for Homes (LEED-H) program, now in its pilot phase, with 125 projects and about 650 homes, expects to roll out version 2.0 in 2007. Given the success of the LEED-NC program and the growing recognition of the LEED brand name, LEED-H should begin to affect the residential market in significant numbers by 2008. Other local programs such as the homebuilders' "Built Green" programs (in seven states now) and certain local utilities' programs, as well as the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) voluntary certification should also keep the new home energy-efficiency market growing rapidly. By one count (reported to the author), there are 85 green home certification programs available around the country.
8 Related green buying habits should begin to affect the home buying and retrofitting market. Look at the LOHAS market--a $228 billion market--and its impact on organic foods, hybrid vehicles, ecotourism and organic cotton markets, just to name a few. If home energy conservation can be marketed as more of a consumer product than a technicalproduct, it can also benefit from these trends. Imagine how green homes could fit into this growing consumer trend of $80 billion for ecological lifestyles (according to
). By another count reported to the author, there are now 75 "eco-home improvement" stores around the country.
9 Cities subscribing to climate change initiatives (and there willshortly be 100 in the U.S.) will begin to require green buildings from residential projects, especially those large developments with major infrastructure impacts. These requirements and policy directions will spill over into the homebuilding market over the next half-decade. By mid-2006, 16 states and nearly 50 cities began to require LEED Silver (or better) certifications from their own capital construction programs. One can view the increasing use of voluntary certification programs by the NAHB as a way to forestall legislative action by states and cities, and one can predict that the green building trend willoverwhelm these efforts over the next five years. The success of LEED-H will begin to make itself felt in the 2008 to 2010 timeframe, as a tool for green building advocates to use in persuading local governments to adopt mandatory green building requirements in all new homes.
10 Look for ENERGY STAR to marry with LEED-H to promote energy efficient and zero-net-energy, or "carbon neutral" buildings. We will begin seeing buildings routinely cut energy use to 50 percent or more below current state standards through integrated design and innovativetechnological approaches. With the growing awareness of the "carbon problem," especially promoted by Al Gore's movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth, and the contribution of buildings and urban settlement patterns to global warming, architects and others in the design and construction industry will begin to face up to their responsibilities to propose positive actions. One sign of this is the position statement adopted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in December 2005, calling for a minimum 50 percent reduction in current rates of building energy consumption by 2010 (
). In its statement, the AIA supported "the development and use of rating systems and standards that promote the design and construction" of more resource-efficient communities. The increasing attention to the dramatic energy-usereduction position of Architecture 2030 (
) will also affect homebuilding in the next five years.
11 As public companies, the major homebuilders will have to acceptthe burden of more socially responsible activities to get projects permitted, built and sold, as well as to attract top talent to their organiztions, to keep growing revenues and profits. Look for the corporate governance and socially responsible investing movements to beginto influence how large homebuilders (the top 10 builders now accountfor 30 percent of all new homes in the country) plan, design and market their homes. This movement has already begun to influence the commercial building sector in 2006, and it won't be long before it focuses attention on the major homebuilders.
12 The pronounced slowdown in the home-building market in 2006--likely to last for several years--will spur more builders toward building green homes, to find a point of differentiation that will resonatewith an increasingly picky consumer base. People are already responding to the idea of "low energy" homes, both for economic and social reasons. It won't be long before major homebuilders start retooling their models to be lower energy using, and certified as such by some reputable (to the consumer) organization.
Jerry Yudelson, PE, MS, MBA, principal of Yudelson Associates, Tucson, AZ, is reachable at
. He is the author of "The Insider's Guide to Marketing Green Buildings" and "Developing Green: Strategies for Success," from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (
). He is also chair ofthe 2004 to 2007 Greenbuild conferences. Since 2001, he has trained nearly 3,000 building industry professionals in the LEED system.
BY JERRY YUDELSON, PE, MS, MBA, LEED AP
1 2 3 4 5 6
Cum. LEED Reg. x 10% 4.5 27.5 62 107.7 179.2 281
Cum. LEED Gert's 1 5 24 68 167 323
Cum. LEED Area, MMSF 8.4 51 80 141 217 350
Figure 1: LEED Registered and Certified Projects, 2000-2005.
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