LEED approves credits for resilient building design

A suite of three LEED pilot credits for resilient design were approved in November by the LEED Steering Committee. This follows approval of the credits earlier in the month by the LEED Pilot Credit Committee. The National Concrete Masonry Association and numerous other industry groups have been encouraging such credits within LEED to recognize the sustainable value of resilience. With the approval of these credits, there is now a mechanism in place for specifying that a broad array of resilience features will be addressed in a construction project. To learn more, read this article, or view information about the credit here.

USGBC begins helping manufacturers meet LEED v4 ingredients requirements

On Nov. 12 the U.S. Green Building Council announced the results of its Supply Chain Optimization Working Group, a group that was chartered to develop implementation procedures within option 3 of the LEED v4 Materials and Resources credit (Building Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients).The working group has recommended significant implementation actions to supplement option 3, intended to provide building product manufacturers with a step-by-step process for meeting its requirements. The working group also created a framework for a field test of the guidance with building product manufacturers. Product manufacturers interested in testing the new option 3 guidance are encouraged to register now.


While there are several existing ways project teams can achieve the Materials Ingredients credit, the options currently available focus on finished products. The new option 3 guidance focuses on rewarding manufacturer achievements related to programs that drive the environmental, health and safety management of hazardous ingredients within the supply chain. These systemic opportunities are uniquely available to manufacturers, are designed to spur innovation, and can have substantial co-benefits and synergies across broad segments of manufacturing.


“Over the last 11 months, the Supply Chain Optimization Working Group has demonstrated how communication and collaboration can lead to significant progress,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “The group’s recommendations have the potential to ignite further market transformation and drive more transparency in the product manufacturing industry. I want to thank all the members of the group for their hard work.” The working group has outlined minimum steps for product manufacturers that enables them to offer insight and transparency into their processes.

Fedrizzi resigns as CEO of U.S. Green Building Council

In June 2015, Rick Fedrizzi advised the U.S. Green Building Council Board of Directors that he will be stepping down as CEO of the organization at the end of the 2016 calendar year, paving the way for a leadership transition that would take place in January 2017. The board has already set up a search committee to identify candidates for the CEO position. The goal is to complete the process in a timely way so Fedrizzi will have sufficient time to work with that individual to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of leadership. Fedrizzi co-founded USGBC, served as chair for six years and was then appointed to president and CEO in 2003.

LEED, Living Building programs working together

As part of its efforts to streamline LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council will recognize a project’s energy and water conservation achievements within the rigorous Living Building Challenge program run by the International Living Future Institute. In 2012, the USGBC announced it would recognize energy credits from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method International.

Georgia might ban LEED certification for public buildings

State buildings in Georgia would effectively be banned from using LEED certification under a bill that now awaits the governor’s signature. The state’s timber industry claims that LEED discriminates against the use of local wood products that aren’t registered through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The “Building product disclosure and optimization—sourcing of raw materials” credit in LEED v4 specifies FSC registration. According to the Georgia Forestry Association, only about 32,000 acres (13 000 ha) of the timber industry’s 20 million acres (8 million ha) in Georgia currently are registered, as much of the state’s timber industry uses competing guidelines. The bill does not apply to private construction. The bill was sent to the governor on April 6.

List released of top 10 states for LEED-certified buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council has announced its 2014 top 10 states for LEED. The per capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified throughout 2014. This is the fifth year that USGBC has developed this list. The average per capita square footage among the states that qualified for the top 10 list was 2.24m which is the highest per capita since 2010. Following is the 2014 ranking:

1) Illinois
2) Colorado
3) Maryland
4) Virginia
5) Massachusetts
6) Hawaii
7) California
8) Georgia
9) Minnesota
10) Arizona and New York (tied)

For more information visit usgbc.org

Groups work on integrating green code with performance standard

At the ASHRAE Winter Conference in Chicago an update was given on the collaboration of ICC, ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the U.S. Green Building Council. These groups had signed an agreement in August 2014 to collaborate on the development of the 2018 IgCC, Standard 189.1 and the LEED green building program. AIA, ASHRAE, IES and USGBC were cooperating sponsors of the IgCC development.

ASHRAE President Tom Phoenix said, “We are working to align new versions of Standard 189.1 — the Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings — and the IgCC into one regulatory tool. This agreement also seeks to align the LEED program with the new code to ensure a streamlined, effective set of regulatory and above-code options for jurisdictions across the country.

“Standard 189.1 will continue to be produced as an ANSI consensus standard and then delivered to ICC to wrap into its code-compliance frame and position it for adoption as a building code,” Phoenix continued. Standard 189.1 will provide the entire technical content of the IgCC. A new standard will be produced every three years to complement the three-year code cycle.

UL white paper details shift toward building performance, not sustainability

UL has published a new white paper titled “Dawn of the Building Performance Era” that forecasts changes in sustainable building. The paper predicts a shift toward a focus on building strategies that reduce energy and water consumption and improve indoor air quality, all of which positively impact a building owner’s bottom line. The building industry is evolving from design-driven solutions toward sustainability goals to a greater focus on the performance of buildings on the operations side, the paper claims.

The paper was written by UL Chief Economist Erin Grossi, who predicts the paradigm shift will take place during the next five to ten years. “Recent technology advancements in sensors, dashboards and integrated IP networks make the realization of energy and water savings and improved indoor air quality more financially viable and traceable. Access to more information about how efficiently buildings are being run can significantly reduce costs and slash consumption of resources for building owners,” Grossi says.

The issue of indoor air quality, which perhaps flies under the radar for most people, is addressed by Grossi, who refers to it as a “sleeper issue” as most chemicals used in construction materials are not evaluated in terms of health impact. The growing amount of chemicals (more than 80,000 in international commerce today) in buildings, which come from technology hardware, construction materials, furniture and furnishings, besides cleaning products, are a health hazard, but Grossi is optimistic in terms of what technology will be able to do in the near future.

“Technology companies like Cisco, Pacific Controls, Siemens, Schneider Electric and others are driving visibility to the performance of buildings by creating better monitoring tools to evaluate energy and water usage, as well as technology products like dashboards and networks to connect building systems that can engage people more on these topics,” she says.

One of the report’s findings is that interior air quality has emerged as an issue that goes beyond traditional green goals. Air quality is directly tied to the sustainability of the building, and is part of the regular system hygiene and maintenance that can save buildings from having to be torn down and re-built or to be rehabbed extensively, the paper states. “The human health issues associated with IAQ tend to be the ones that get more attention in the press, but there are significant asset protection benefits associated with IAQ as well, particularly in preventing mold and moisture problems or HVAC system failures, that help building owners, operators and investors manage their assets more effectively and control costs,” Grossi notes.

Monitoring technology for indoor air quality still has some way to go before it reaches a mature stage and can detect VOCs and particles at the appropriate levels, but the market is already seeing an influx of air quality detectors. “UL’s air quality scientists believe we are easily within three years of having effective IAQ monitors available in the market. When that happens, the once invisible air will become visible for building occupants and we will be able to have real-time information about various chemicals and particles that we are breathing in each day, and be able take actions to limit chemical emissions or improve filtration as a result,” she predicts.

To download the white paper, follow this link to UL’s library​.

U.S. Green Building Council Announces Extension of LEED 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 29, 2014) – The U.S. Green Building Council announced today it will allow LEED users to register projects under the LEED 2009 rating system until Oct. 31, 2016. The original closing date for LEED 2009 registration was June 15, 2015. Extending to October 2016 gives LEED users and members of the green building industry additional time to prepare for LEED v4, the latest version of LEED, which features increased rigor and multiple updates.

“When USGBC launched LEED v4 last year, we set out with one goal in mind – to raise the bar in a way that challenges the building industry to reach higher than ever before. This is our nature and USGBC and its members’ collective mission,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “However, the market has requested additional time to prepare for LEED v4, so we are responding.”

In a survey conducted at last week’s Greenbuild conference, 61 percent of respondents said they are “not ready” or “unsure” if they are ready to pursue LEED v4 and require additional time to prepare. Extending LEED 2009’s availability enables USGBC to work with the broader industry within a longer time frame to drive meaningful and comprehensive change.

“Our international LEED users, which account for some 50 percent of new LEED registrations, have also indicated they would like to have more time to move onto the new rating system,” Fedrizzi noted.  “This extension will be especially helpful to them.”

LEED v4 has been in the market for nearly one year and will remain available for those market leaders who are ready.

“LEED v4 wasn’t designed to be easy. It is the next generation of green building, and we are confident the market will meet us there as they have in years past,” added Fedrizzi. “When USGBC first pilot tested LEED in 1998, there weren’t many buildings that could qualify for LEED certification at the Platinum level. Now, more than 1,000 buildings have achieved it. With LEED, we have a responsibility to set a high bar and we know that many leaders are capable of reaching it, presently or in the very near future. We want to support our LEED users as they move the market forward with us, and allowing them to utilize the LEED 2009 rating system for a little longer will help facilitate that.”

“USGBC continues to develop new resources that support the market’s adoption of LEED,” added Fedrizzi. “The LEED Dynamic Plaque provides a vivid, real-time visualization of building performance data spanning water, energy, occupant satisfaction and more, giving building owners critical insight into how their building is performing. Every day, LEED is contributing to scores of new, innovative building technologies in the design, manufacturing and construction process, and has brought new, healthier building materials to market.”

LEED has facilitated spectacular advances in building technologies, integrated design and operating practices. LEED is also largely responsible for the explosive growth of the green building sector, which supports or creates 7.9 million jobs across all 50 states and contributes $554 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

This news release and other USGBC news can be found here can be found here.

International Well Building Institute launch phase two

The International Well Building Institute launched the second phase of the peer review process for the Well Building Standard. Phase two will consist of a comprehensive review of the standard by leading building and design practitioners, including among the world’s foremost experts in the field of sustainable design. The full peer review process includes three phases – scientific, practitioner and medical reviews – and will culminate in the public release of v1.0 of the Well Building Standard at the inaugural 2014 Well Building Symposium in New Orleans on Oct. 20, 2014. During this phase, leading building practitioners from organizations including SERA Architects, Skanska, Gensler and CBRE will review and respond specifically to design criteria set by the Well Building Standard. During this phase, the standard is also being reviewed by subject matter experts from the U.S. Green Building Council’s technical development team and the Green Building Certification Institute’s certification review team, which are responsible for the development and implementation of the LEED Green Building Rating System. Following its launch, the Well Building Standard will be third-party certified by GBCI, the same organization that certifies LEED buildings. Together, their work will enable green building practitioners to integrate human health and well-being harmoniously with sustainability, creating buildings that optimize occupant health as well as environmental outcomes.

The Well Building Standard is an evidence-based standard created through six years of research and development working with researchers and physicians from leading medical institutions and expert practitioners from the building industry. Currently in pilot phase, the Well Building Standard sets performance requirements in seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Administered by the International Well Building Institute and committed to third-party certification through GBCI, the Well Building Standard applies to commercial and institutional projects. Potential pilot projects are encouraged to contact IWBI through http://www.WellBuildingInstitute.com. Current Well pilot projects include the William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and CBRE Group’s new Global Corporate Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Unveiled in November 2013, CBRE’s new headquarters is the world’s first commercial office building to be both LEED Gold and Well certified.