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October 18, 2010
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Topics Green

GSA logoLance Davis, director of the sustainability office for the General Services Administration, announced that moving forward, GSA will require all projects to achieve a LEED Gold certification level from through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The announcement occurred at the Green Legal Matters conference in New Orleans on Oct. 15.

July 20, 2010
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ABC-VA HeadquartersAssociated Builders & Contractors Virginia Chapter (ABC-VA) has officially opened its quite impressive new headquarters location.  The building project was managed by J.J. McCarthy as owner's representative, head of its green building committee.  The project featured numerous ABC member contractors and design professionals, including BE&K Building Group as general contractor and Morgan Gick McBeath & Associates, P.C. as architects.

April 2, 2010
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Darwin Very Gradual Change We Can Believe InThe official word is now circulating that GBCI and USGBC are dramatically altering the inspection and certification process for LEED certifications.  Last week, I posted the very surprising information that major changes were potentially in the works for GBCI certifications based on a comment at a seminar I attended.  GBCI's initial comments on the blog post appeared to reflect that the initial information was slightly off, but the thrust of problems and resulting changes to the third party inspection protocol appeared accurate.

yo-yos In 2008, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) announced it was planning to shift its internally run certification of buildings to independent certifiers administered by a sister non-profit, the Greeen Building Certification Institute (GBCI).  A speaker at an USGBC - National Capital Region event declared last Wednesday that USGBC was taking steps to reverse this direction and bring the LEED certification process back in house to USGBC.

USGBC Logo on GlassWading through the various layers of requirements, enticements, incentives and regulations that apply to green building can be overwhelming to anyone, let alone the uninitiated.  This process is made far more complicated by adding the layering of federal, state, and local government efforts in this field.

The United States Green Building Council has this effort very easy with regards to LEED related public policy searches.  USGBC has a search engine with multiple selectable criteria to sift through the oceans of regulations to find what you are looking for.  I cannot say the entire database is perfect, but I can say that it appeared that the Virginia state and local discussion was basically accurate, including the status of the green building ordinances in Arlington County, Fairfax County, and the City of Alexandria.

January 12, 2010
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Topics Green

LEED Green Building Bellevue Washington I am pleased to invite everyone to attend the upcoming Trends in Building Green Seminar on January 21, 2010. 

Date:       January 21, 2010

Time:       9:00 am - 12:00 pm (breakfast 8:30 am)

Location: National Rural Electric Cooperative Ass'n

                  4301 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22203

A full listing of speakers and information is available, but the main topic is on green buildings and energy.  I will be speaking on some of the historical energy related issues with LEED structures, the attention they have received, and what this may translate to in the future both for LEED and liability exposure;  these topics have received a lot of interest and commentary generally, and we have also commented on them frequently here.

Anyone interested in attending should RSVP to Nancy Shipley of Rutherfoord by Tuesday, January, 19 at 703-813-6575, or nancy.shipley@rutherfoord.com.

Image by Wonderlane

January 4, 2010
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Topics Green

Back to the Future RideAs we kick off 2010, it is a good time to make some predictions on the future of green building. While these predictions anticipate a longer time horizon than just the coming year, my bet is we will see some of these trends manifest during 2010. We can also expect that some of these topics will be the subject of a lot of discussion here and elsewhere over the coming year.

November 13, 2009
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Mark TwainThere are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Mark Twain, paraphrasing Benjamin Disraeli

We have a new and very interesting recent report on green building to examine, the Regional Green Building Case Study Project: A post-occupancy study of LEED projects in Illinois. The Illinois report studied a mix of projects of various certifications levels, certified under various versions of LEED, with various applications, that used various baselines, and that used various reporting methods for utilities. The small sample and disparate projects involved lends itself towards a scattershot of data.

November 2, 2009
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Topics Green
Tags Green LEED

A post this weekend by our friend Andrea Goldman raises the interesting question of “why bother with LEED certification”? The post highlights a recent profile on the highly sustainable Hutton Hotel project in Nashville which elected to forego seeking LEED registration and certification. In particular, Hutton Hotel representatives are quoted as saying:

Doing the government documents alone cost $50,000. Also, the paperwork is so complicated you have to hire an expert to do it. They make the certification a little onerous so everyone won’t pile on. You also need engineers that do testing. It’s a whole process.

October 30, 2009
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The New York times reported this week that the "Coalition for Fair Forest Certification" has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission claiming that the Forest Stewardship Council has engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices. According to the report, the main thrust of the complaint centered on FSC's higher levels of preserved land in the United States compared to other areas of the world placing the US at a disadvantage. The complaint further alleges that the USGBC LEED system is anticompetitive because it currently only accepts FSC certified wood products as approved for the LEED program applicable credit. While the Coalition does not have a website, it is widely believe that the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) and other timber industry players are part of the coalition.