Archives for category: USGBC

The old half-demolished Bay Bridge that once connected San Francisco to Oakland is about to get a new lease on life. While thousands of tons of steel and concrete will be shipped to China as scrap, a local entrepreneur is planning to recycle big sections of the bridge into a multipurpose building called the Bay Bridge House, which will resemble its original bridge’s form. In a bid to save as much of the National Historic Monument as possible, an architecture contest was launched last fall to help establish the design, which aims to be as green as possible.

Following a whole host of ideas on how to recycle the parts, this winning design was announced. The Bay Bridge House will become a museum and an apartment that will be rented to cover costs.

The design itself is intriguing. The ‘mini-bridge’ concept will use a huge amount of steel – enough to build around 1,600 cars – for the frame, while the floors will be built using the former pavement. Lane markers will still be included, giving it a playful edge that ensures nobody will forget the building’s history. As well as reusing these materials, the design will have an array of sustainable features, such as rainwater recycling, solar energy, and a green roof. In the end, the home is expected to earn a LEED green building certification.

Where the Bay Bridge House will be erected remains unknown. But with so much heavy material to shift, the bridge shouldn’t be going too far from home.

More info on the project to save a piece of history here

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We all want to prevent waste – in our daily lives and on more substantial levels. Diverting waste, being environmentally friendly, and being efficient with time, money, and resources: these are important goals. And that’s what green construction is all about.

Green construction includes diverting waste at construction sites as well as over the life time of a building. Green companies don’t just think about the immediate impact today, they also consider what impact is made tomorrow. There are many factors such as waste prevention, government mandates, cost effectiveness, materials used, constructing methods, environmental threats and more that form the Green Building sector.

Many architects and builders are interested in sustainability and “going green.” It’s rare to find an architect who specializes in green building and also has the necessary background and experience that goes along with the title of being eco-friendly.

Green Halo - Green Planet Architects Website that Connects Green Building Professionals

With the launch of Green Planet Architects those in the sustainability and development sector can connect with one another through the first international network of sustainable architects. The site prides itself in empowering those who prefer to go the eco-minded route, while also making this planet a greener place for all of us to enjoy!

Don’t forget to visit our website to see how you can recycle today’s resources for tomorrow’s generations!
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The USGBC has released the top 10 rankings for states that are setting the pace for LEED certifications.  The data is derived from green building projects that were certified through 2013.

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About the U.S. Green Building Council

Green Halo - United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green
Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. Every day, more than 1.5 million square feet of space is certified using LEED. More than 57,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising 10.5 billion square feet of construction space in 147 countries and territories. In addition, more than 50,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system. Learn more at

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Dallas is one of the first major cities in the nation to pass comprehensive green building standards for both new residential and commercial construction. All projects must meet the Dallas Green Construction Code’s minimum requirements or be certifiable under the LEED, Green Built Texas, or other green building standards.

Green Halo - Dallas Among First U.S. Cities to Mandate Green Building Standards

All new building projects in Dallas are expected to reduce water usage by 20 percent. LEED certified projects may achieve one point under the Water Use Reduction Credit or use 20 percent less water than the minimum stated in the Plumbing Code. In its enactment of the International Green Construction Code, the city of Dallas has deleted Chapter 6, which relates to energy conservation, and chose to keep the existing energy code requirements instead. Among other deleted segments of the code are those relating to alterations of existing buildings. A third party may review the city’s green building program.

Dallas has received praise for its recent implementation of green building standards but has caused a public debate with its treatment of LEED certifiable projects, which, according to some, violates the terms of usage of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system.

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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

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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.

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A living building is a green economy initiative that is defined by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council (CRGBC) as a building that is able to generate all of its energy resources with renewable nontoxic sources. The living building also treats and captures all of its own water.

A living building, to be considered legitimate, must be able to be certified by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), a subsidiary of its Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design (LEED) program. certification can mean that a building is eligible for many tax breaks and other types of parks.The CRGBC, in order to promote the idea of a building that could live on its own, actually launched a challenge to the construction and design communities to pursue adding sustainability in the environment surrounding the building. As of today there are more than 60 different projects spanning North America which are trying to meet the high standards of the LBC group, which are even higher standards than the LEED program.

The first building that was considered for this much higher standard of green sustainability was the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, in Rhinebeck, NY. This building is a 6200 square-foot single-story building which serves many businesses in the area. It features rain gardens that use water runoff in order to irrigate the surrounding plants, solar panels for energy, heating and cooling system that is geothermal, and a 4500 square-foot greenhouse that recycles wastewater.The building also incorporates a design that capitalizes on the natural light flowing into the building, minimizing the need for electric lights. The building is also, most importantly, “net zero,” meaning that the building uses no more energy than it generates. This is the top criteria for certification by the LBC. The building must operate for a full year before it can be considered for this type of certification.

There is one reason above all that the concept of this type of a building has not yet hit the mainstream – the cost. The cost of creating any kind of net zero building that generates only as much energy as it uses is especially high, and there is as of yet no way to bring that cost down. However, the concept of this type of building is definitely possible in the future, as builders begin to source locally for materials and local economies gradually warm themselves to the concept of a green economy which can create jobs.

Many distinguished educational institutions have caught on to the idea of this living kind of building, and are conducting experiments, both thought and actual, which vet the concepts that the current projects are testing in the field. Many studies are expected to be released about this concepts in the coming years.

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