Archives for the month of: December, 2013

San Jose, CA. – This year at Christmas in the park the Green Halo staff took pictures of the Zero Waste Event, Christmas in the Park. The annual festivity attracts nearly half a million people each year and racks in an estimated $13 million as an economic generator. Per the San Jose Municipal Code, large events with more than 1,000 attendees on City property are required to submit material management plans for waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting. To learn more about how Green Halo can assist, please visit http://www.greenhalosystems.com

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(Zero Waste Event Containers which sort Recycling, Compost, and Landfill materials at Christmas in the Park – San Jose, CA)

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After extensive review and discussion, USGBC members have approved major changes in LEED v4, which includes a focus on performance in the Materials & Resources category.  Are you ready?

leed v4

 

 

Key Changes in LEED v4….

Alternative Daily Cover:

Projects will still receive 1 and 2 points for 50% and 75% diversion from landfill; however, Alternative Daily Cover has been specifically excluded from diversion from landfill calculations.

Pilot 3rd Point:

An additional point from the LEED Pilot Credit Library may be awarded to projects using a C&D recycling facility whose recycling rates have been verified by an authorized third-party.  This pilot point is currently in-progress with USGBC and is anticipated to be available in about a month.

Why is Third-Party Certification Important?

With LEED v4’s emphasis on performance it is important that recycling rates claimed by C&D recycling facilities are accurate and verified.  In addition to the Pilot 3rd Point under LEED v4, government agencies across the nation are implementing C&D recycling programs and many require accurate reporting of recycling rates.

RCI’s CORR program provides credible, ISO-level third-party certification of C&D facilities’ recycling rates and we look forward to USGBC’s implementation of the Pilot 3rd Point.

To learn more please visit http://www.recyclingcertification.org

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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PORTLAND, Ore. — An eco-friendly building rating system that has powered a green arms race across the nation now faces a challenge from policymakers and an upstart rival.

LEED, the longstanding king of green construction and renovation projects, has become a de facto brand in cities such as Portland, Ore., where sustainable growth has been the rage for years.

But that could change as legislation and executive orders in several states have all but banned Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design from public contracts, and a new system known as Green Globes has emerged and marketed itself as a simpler, less expensive alternative.

green globes“LEED is a good process,” said Byron Courts, director of engineering services for Portland’s Melvin Mark Companies. But it represents “a huge bureaucracy that’s extremely complex and costs quite a bit.”

Courts has used both LEED and Green Globes, which has issued about 850 building certifications in the past few years and has recently picked up support from the federal government.

LEED supporters say the emerging opposition comes from lobbyists seeking to damage the industry leader and increase the prominence of Portland-based Green Globes.

The timber, plastics and chemical industries support “Green Globes because it does not represent a threat to them, it’s their way of having a green building without having to change their practices,” said Scot Horst, a Green Building Council senior vice president who oversees LEED.

From Seattle to Chicago, LEED has certified thousands of buildings and provided a marketing tool, tax breaks and other incentives to contractors eager to cash in on the sustainability craze.

In Portland, LEED adorns everything from the arena where the NBA’s Trail Blazers play to condos in a trendy warehouse district.

Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., LEED aims to reduce the use of energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions in new construction and renovation projects.

Though it’s voluntary and market-based, more than 30 states, multiple cities and the federal government either require LEED construction or incentivize its use in public buildings. LEED has 44,270 U.S. projects, many of which are federal, state and local government buildings.

Critics say it’s a cumbersome monopoly that doesn’t always deliver what it promises. But supporters counter that opponents are pushing the alternative system to redefine the meaning of “green” and skirt LEED’s stringent environmental standards, which were updated last month.

As the debate spreads, lobby groups are asking Congress to ban the use of LEED in federal projects. In several states, including Maine, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, LEED standards have essentially been banned in public construction. North Carolina, Florida and, most recently, Ohio also have seen anti-LEED legislation.

Even in eco-friendly Oregon, the governor has ordered officials to examine how green building rating systems benefit the state, though no ban has been put in place.

While most of the orders, amendments and bills don’t mention LEED by name, several ban rating systems that they say discriminate against American wood products.

That’s a direct stab at LEED, which recognizes a single, stringent forest certification system — one that’s opposed by timber industry giants such as Weyerhaeuser, because it does not certify some of U.S. timber. Green Globes accepts less stringent forest certification programs.

Other bans target green building rating systems that don’t use the American National Standards Institute consensus process. Green Globes does, but LEED uses a different process.

Groups such as the American Chemistry Council say LEED lacks true consensus building and its latest requirements discourage “certain products without adequate input from technical experts.” Such statements are a reaction to LEED’s rejection of certain toxic materials.

Some critics are calling Green Globes is an effort at “green-washing,” founded by a former timber executive and overseen by a board of directors that includes the American Chemistry Council, the American Wood Council, DOW Chemical, and the Vinyl Institute.

Its administrator, the Green Building Initiative, says Green Globes should be judged on merit. And though most experts agree the alternative is less strict than LEED, it does offer some advantages.

Just like LEED, Green Globes offers a point-based rating system. But unlike LEED, Green Globes applicants fill out an online questionnaire and get an on-site visit and feedback during the process. The system cuts down on the price of hiring certified consultants who usually complete a LEED application, Courts said.

Green Building Rivals

LEED certification for retrofitting Portland’s Columbia Square building, for example, would have cost about $100,000, Courts said. A Green Globes verification cost only about $20,000. The building was one of nine Green Globes projects completed recently in the Portland area.


That might soon change, however. In late October, the federal government gave Green Globes a stamp of approval.
On new construction projects, LEED certification is still a must, Courts said, otherwise “you might have a problem marketing the building.”Though Green Globes is less stringent in some ways, especially when it comes to the types of materials permitted, Courts said, both rating systems use the same yardstick for energy use in existing building renovations.

And for the first time, the U.S. General Services Administration recommended that Green Globes can be used alongside LEED for new construction and renovation projects.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Hazardous air pollution forced schools to shut or suspend outdoor activities in at least two cities in eastern China, where residents complained of the yellow skies and foul smells that are symptomatic of the country’s crippling smog crisis.

Smog 2

China’s stability-obsessed leadership has become increasingly concerned by the abysmal air quality in cities, as it plays into popular resentment over political privilege and rising inequality in the world’s second-largest economy.

In Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, the sun was the color of “salted egg yolk” on Wednesday as the government raised the “red alert” for poor air quality for the first time, state-run news media reported.

Smog 3

The city saw levels of PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers, reach a reading of 354 on Wednesday, said Nanjing-based news portal news.longhoo.net.

Levels above 300 are considered hazardous, while the World Health Organization recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong province, was also shrouded in smog as PM2.5 levels of over 300 were recorded, said Peninsula Metropolis Daily, a Qingdao newspaper.

Smog 5

Nanjing suspended classes in primary and secondary schools and Qingdao banned outdoor activities, said the official Xinhua news agency. Qingdao also banned the burning of leaves and rubbish and restricted the use of government vehicles, while Nanjing said it would strengthen control on industrial sources of pollutants.

Both cities predicted the severe pollution would continue, indicating the measures will not be lifted soon, said Xinhua.

Residents in both cities took to China’s popular Twitter-like Weibo site to describe desolate streets and the apocalyptic environment. “The sky is pale yellow and the air is full of a choking smell,” one user wrote.

The smog follows reports in October of pollution all but shutting down Harbin, one of northeastern China’s largest cities. Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters (33 feet).

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
 Follow Green Halo on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greenhalousa