Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Green Building’s Top Ten Trends for 2011

Green building and sustainability consultant Jerry Yudelson says that the green building industry will rebound in 2011 in spite of the continuing economic difficulties in most developed countries, citing 10 major trends.

Speaking about his annual “Top Ten” list of green building trends, the green building expert and author said, “What we’re seeing is that more people are going green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend.” Yudelson, who is the principal of Tucson-based green building consulting company, Yudelson Associates continued, “However, in 2010, the slowdown in commercial real estate put a crimp in the start up rate for new green building projects.” He added, “In putting together my Top Ten trends for 2011, I’m taking advantage of conversations I’ve had with green building industry leaders in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia as I have given green building keynotes and presentations all over the world during the past year.”

Jerry Yudelson’s Top Ten Green Building Trends for 2011 include:
1.    The worldwide green building movement will continue to accelerate, as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and developing their own Green Building Councils. More than 70 countries, on all continents, will show considerable green building growth in 2010.

2.    Green building will rebound in 2011, as measured by the new LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth. “The reduction in commercial real estate building in many countries,” he said, “was not offset by other sectors such as government, and so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically in 2010.”

3.    The focus of the green building industry will continue to switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. “The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2010 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this trend to continue in 2011,” said Yudelson. “My 2009 book, Greening Existing Buildings, documents the strategic components of this trend.”

4.    Blue will become the New Green. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will continue to grow, leading building designers and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption to increase sustainability. This will be done in buildings through the use of more conservation-oriented fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new water technologies. “My latest book, Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis, shows how to do this in green buildings all over the world.”

5.    Green building in the U.S. will continue to benefit from the Obama presidency with a continued focus on greening the executive branch. New announcements of a commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations confirm and highlight this macro-trend.
6.    Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings become increasingly commonplace, in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and ENERGY STAR ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage.

7.    Performance Disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California and other states. Commercial building owners will have to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers.

8.    Certified Green Schools will grow rapidly as part the LEED System. This trend will accelerate as understanding of the health and educational benefits of green schools grows. Already by mid-year 2010, green schools represented nearly 40% of all new LEED projects in the U.S.

9.    Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector. We’ll see at least 20 major new cities with commercial sector green building mandates. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.

10.    Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. This trend will be enhanced by the increasing focus of municipal utilities as they need to comply with state-level renewable power standards (RPS) for 2015 and 2020. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop systems such as on warehouses. However, we may very well see a slowing of large solar and wind systems, as federal grant support, in lieu of tax credits, is phased out.

Yudelson added two “bonus picks” to his list: “First, there will be a continually growing use of software and the Internet “cloud” in green building design, construction and operations; S Second, the revolution in sustainable building materials is gaining momentum each year, one that gives higher performance at ever lower costs.”

About Yudelson Associates
Yudelson Associates is a leading international firm in sustainability planning and green building consulting. The founder, Jerry Yudelson, is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading green building and sustainability consultants and keynote speakers. He is the author of 12 green building books and served for two years as Research Scholar for Real Estate Sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 70,000-member international trade organization. He is a frequent green building speaker at industry and professional conferences and chaired the country’s largest annual show, Greenbuild, for six years from 2004 through 2009.
For more information please contact Jerry Yudelson, 520-207-9759, or visit

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Green Cleaners for Concrete Floors

Daimer Industries Inc.®, recognized for its biodegradable Eco-Green® cleaning formulations, has now shipped a duo of concrete cleaners for floors. The first product, Multi-Purpose Hard Surface Cleaner, has been formulated for use on finished and polished surfaces, while the other, Concrete Cleaner with Rust Stain Remover, was designed for use on unfinished concrete and stain cleaning. The products are manufactured for both commercial and industrial environments.
“These two concrete cleaners offer earth-safe alternatives for tough cleaning jobs on heavily trafficked floors,” explained Matthew Baratta, a sustainable stone cleaning products spokesman. “These new green formulations utilize the same plant-derived, proprietary chemistry that forms the basis for all Eco-Green® cleaners and preparations.”
Concrete Cleaners without Toxic Additives
The two new green concrete cleaners were designed for use on a variety common concrete floor surfaces.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New LEED Program Allows for Certification of Multiple Buildings

Brad Pease had a master’s degree in architecture and a specialty in designing energy-efficient buildings when executives at PNC Bank came to him with a daunting assignment.
They wanted to build 100 branches in the next several years. They wanted each building to be just like the others, assembled from a standard kit of parts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Green Home Made From Concrete Converted to Live Classroom

60 Bragg Hill, is Chester County, Pennsylvania’s newest green home currently under construction. The barn-inspired design is being built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), a highly efficient, sustainable system that uses site-poured concrete sandwiched between firm insulated foam. The onsite seminar was entitled “Demystifying Concrete Design and Construction” and enabled the trade professionals to interact with industry experts on ICF techniques and best practices.
Rich Jones, general manager of Foam Form Technologies, provider of the ICF wall forms and Lite-Deck insulated stay-in-place concrete deck forms for 60 Bragg Hill, sponsored the event for trade professionals. Jones spoke to the assembled group and offered them a unique first person exposure to concrete form construction. “For over 40 years, insulated form construction concrete has been available for residential as an alternative to traditional stick construction. Due to the advances in ICF design and manufacturing, we can build smarter, stronger, green homes with concrete than ever before,” said Jones.
Matthew Moger, the architect of 60 Bragg Hill discussed how the ICF system is comprised of concrete and steel, the basic building blocks of the modern architectural movement. “For me,” Mr. Moger added, “ICF construction offers a unique opportunity to design houses that are liberated from residential conventions, i.e. entire corners can be removed and infilled with non-structural glass curtain walls. Floors can be set at any height without breaking the contiguous super insulated shell.” In summary, ICFs allows the designer to create more compelling architecture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gen. Colin Powell's Speech at GreenBuild Now Available On-Line

General Colin Powell delivered an inspiring speech at the USGBC's Green Build Conference and Expo in Chicago yesterday. Powell, a former Secretary of State and Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff addressed an audience of over 10,000 people at the annual green building event.
“Leadership has to be passionate. Each person involved must believe they have a purpose,”  said Powell.
In addition to Powell's keynote, the morning session included a discussion between political pundits and husband and wife Mary Matalin and James Carville. USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi also addressed the group.
According to Fedrizzi, “The leadership of the green building community is at the heart of Greenbuild,” said Fedrizzi. “This year us all about Generation Green: Redefining Our Future – and today, I see that we are collectively the most important catalysts for the change that will result in the greatest consumer, cultural and market revolution in America."
"Together we deliver through the built environment immediate and measurable improvements in our overall quality of life,” Fedrizzi added.
If you were not at Green Build, you can watch the speech from the USGBC site.
To view Powell's speech, click here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Top 50 Green Construction Companies Revealed

New List by Construction Digital Reveals the Top Green Firms

Construction Digital reveals the top 50 green construction companies.

Who are the top 50 global green construction companies? It is revealed in a list of the 50 leaders in green and profile the top five.

Skanska wrote the book on green—literally. The company published Green Thinking, which outlines its green initiative, provides global case studies, delves into the concept of a ‘Green Society’ and provides ways to conserve energy and water and reduce carbon emissions. The Swedish company’s green initiative focuses on three points: 1. Technology is currently available to pursue green construction, 2. It’s the right thing to do and is good for business, and 3. It’s possible to save money by building green. The company provides an interactive view of a Green City, while providing specific case studies of how certain green technologies—from construction materials recycling to green roofs—were incorporated to each project. To improve the overall sustainability of the projects, managers work with local stakeholders and decision makers from concept to completion. With offices in the United States, Europe and South America, Skanska is positioned as the global leader in green construction.

Based in the United Kingdom, Balfour Beatty has created a global presence in the construction industry and infrastructure sector over the last century. The company has devised a 2020 Vision to implement its sustainability strategy throughout its global operations by 2020. According to the 2020 Vision, “We believe that profitable markets, healthy communities and environmental limits are not competing interests; they are shared outcomes that closely align with one another. In order to be a successful and profitable company, we need to realise that alignment.” Balfour Beatty sees green building and sustainability as a value-added service to its stakeholders. It has devised a plan to work together with customers, investors and local project stakeholders to ensure that its sustainability vision becomes a reality.

The largest green builder in America, Turner is has a long-standing commitment to the environment and sustainability. The company has over 1100 LEED Accredited Professionals on staff and has completed well over $3.1 billion in projects that have been LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Additionally, Turner uses an online Construction Waste Recycling Reporting System that not only creates a paperless reporting environment, but has also diverted over 250,000 tons of construction waste from jobsites since 2005.

One of the first members of the United States Green Building Council at its inception in 2000, Haskell has become a leader in the green building industry in all sectors of the business. The company has completed projects at every level of LEED, from base certification to Platinum and employs over 160 LEED Accredited Professionals (APs). Haskell has maintained the top spot as a green industrial and manufacturing design firm and contractor on several lists for multiple consecutive years.

As Australia’s leading construction services contractor, Thiess takes sustainability and the triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—to heart. With a commitment to energy efficiency, the company signed onto the Australian Greenhouse Challenge Plus program. Though Thiess faces a unique challenge as a construction and mining contractor, it remains committed to reducing its footprint while maintaining its role as an environmental steward, carefully monitoring energy, water, waste, noise and air quality.

6. McCarthy Building Companies
8. Taisei Corporation
9. The Yates Companies
10. Gilbane Building Co
11. Bechtel Corporation
12. Odebrecht
13. Hunt Construction Group
14. Tutor Perini Corp
15. Webcor Builders
16. Hochtief Construction
17. Mortenson Construction
18. Austin Industries
19. Suffolk construction
20. Kraus-Anderson Construction Co
21. DPR Construction
22. Bovis Lend Lease
23. JE Dunn Construction Group
24. Laing O'Rourke (BMC)
25. Holder Construction Co
26. Structure Tone
27. Swinerton Incorporated
28. Walbridge
29. Manhattan Construction Group
30. The Walsh Group
31. Forrester construction Company
32. McGough Construction
33. Clark Group
34. Hensel Phelps Construction
35. Whiting-Turner Contracting
36. PCL Construction Enterprises
37. HITT Contracting Inc.
38. Hathaway Dinwiddie
39. BAM Construct UK
40. Willmot Dixon Group
41. Carillion PLC
42. Broad Construction Services
43. Hoffman Construction Company
44. Harper Construction
45. Walton Construction
46. WDS Construction, Inc.
47. Mascaro Construction
48. Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc.
49. Nabholz Construction Corp
50. Linbeck Group LLC

Monday, November 08, 2010

Proposed LEED Update Open For Public Comment

Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) opened up the proposed update to the LEED green building rating system for its first public comment. The public comment period, which will close on December 31, 2010, is the next step in the continuous improvement process and the on-going development cycle of the LEED program.
“Continuous improvement of LEED is in the DNA of USGBC and its regular evolution is necessary to continue to move market transformation forward.” said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED, USGBC. “As green building expertise advances and practice evolves, so does LEED, providing innovative solutions to the challenges and opportunities in the building industry. LEED continues to be the catalyst for immediate and measureable improvement.”
The proposed update builds on the foundation of LEED 2009, including the alignment and weighting of credits and further advances the “bookshelf” framework where credits are applied to specific building types. In addition to the continued evolution of ideas, many of which were first captured even as LEED 2009 was being finalized, the draft of LEED that is opening for public comment places increased emphasis on integrated process and building performance.
“Additionally USGBC is enhancing the process we use to collect and respond to stakeholder feedback on the ideas presented in the public comment drafts of LEED,” added Horst.
Besides the usual public comment web pages at, USGBC will also take feedback from projects testing pilot credits, use input from the from a moderated forum dedicated to discussing evolution of LEED, and comments from various webinars that will be held with key stakeholders. USGBC intends for this public comment process to be much more generative in nature, and expects a wide-ranging dialog throughout the process.
USGBC will be holding a webcast for media to learn more on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010, at 3 p.m. EST.
To participate:
1. Go to
2. If requested, enter your name and e-mail address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: Building10
4. Click "Join".
To join the audio conference only
Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-866-469-3239; Access code: 757 604 841
U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.
With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 16,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 155,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.
Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system has transformed commercial and residential building practices by providing the leading tool to create buildings that are environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous. Over 36,000 commercial projects are currently participating in LEED rating systems for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, comprising over 7.1 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries. In addition, some 8,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with nearly 30,000 more homes registered. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

Read More

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret.) to Give Keynote Address at the Greenbuild Conference

The U.S. Green Building Council announced that former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Colin L. Powell will give the keynote address at USGBC’s annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo being held Nov.17-19, 2010, in Chicago, Ill.

“General Powell has made another career of sharing his lessons of leadership.” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “His keen insights and global perspective are especially relevant to our movement in these times of great challenge and change. He exemplifies that leadership is about more than a title: It’s about taking charge during times of great crisis.”

General Powell is a retired four-star general. He previously served as National Security Advisor under President Ronald Regan and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed General Powell to be Secretary of State, a position he held until 2005. In addition, for the past decade, General Powell has committed his time, energy and leadership to improving the lives of America’s young people as founding Chairman of America’s Promise Alliance — an organization that works with over 400 partner organizations to provide
needed resources that build better lives for America’s youth.

General Powell has demonstrated his exemplary leadership through his public service and private life. He has broken racial barriers as the first African-American Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has received several distinguished military and civilian honors including two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and the Soldier’s Medal. General Powell also founded the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at his alma mater, the City College of New York and has served on the boards of various non-profits.

As a sign of General Powell’s wide-ranging leadership and the powerful message he will bring as Greenbuild’s opening keynote speaker, a LEED Platinum affordable housing building in his childhood neighborhood bears his name. The General Colin L. Powell Apartments in the South Bronx, N.Y., is a cutting-edge 50-unit multifamily project resulting from a partnership between Habitat for Humanity-New York City and Blue Sea Development. General Powell participated in the LEED certification ceremony.

In addition to General Powell’s keynote address, Greenbuild 2010 will feature an array of inspiring speakers and more than 100 education sessions and the world's largest exhibit hall devoted to green building with over 900 exhibiting companies with over 1,800 booths showcasing the latest in innovative, cutting-edge products and services

For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

GREENGUARD's Exhibit at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.10 to Help Architects and Designers Specify Healthier Products

Architects and designers who visit the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute's first-ever HEALTHCARE DESIGN.10 exhibit next week will have the opportunity to learn how low-emitting products and materials can help create healthier, more sustainable healing environments.

The GREENGUARD exhibit, which draws attention to the potential health hazards of product emissions and invisible indoor air contaminants, will also identify ways that architects and designers can more easily and efficiently specify low-emitting products.

"Given that many people in healthcare environments suffer from weakened immune systems and/or debilitating respiratory conditions, such as asthma, the need to address indoor air quality in healthcare environments is more critical now than ever before," says Paul Bates, market outreach manager for the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute.  "There's no doubt that airborne chemical exposure from product emissions can exacerbate existing health conditions and can even trigger new problems. If the goal of a healthcare environment is to promote healing, it is incumbent upon architects, designers, and facility managers to ensure that the products they use in those environments are low-emitting."

Hazardous airborne chemicals commonly found in healthcare environments include formaldehyde, benzene, methyl methacrylate, and hexane—all of which can off-gas from healthcare-related products. Many are known or suspected carcinogens, reproductive toxins, developmental toxins, and/or physical irritants, and can be particularly harmful to the sick and the elderly.

Products that have achieved GREENGUARD Certification have been independently, scientifically tested to evaluate their chemical emissions and ensure that they meet some of the world's most stringent health-based requirements. As a result, they're recognized in the Green Guide for Healthcare, the healthcare sector's first quantifiable, sustainable design toolkit that integrates environmental and health-based practices into the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of healthcare facilities.

"Why risk exposing patients, doctors, nurses, and staff to potentially dangerous contaminants in a place where they're supposed to be healing?" Bates says. "By choosing the right products—those that have been independently assessed for their impact on indoor air quality—you can be certain that the healing environment you're creating is healthier for everyone involved."

To learn more about GREENGUARD Certified products at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.10, visit Booth Number 258. HCD.10 runs Nov. 13 through Nov. 16. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ABC to Host Green Building Symposium

ABC is holding a Green Building Symposium in conjunction with Ecobuild America on Dec. 7. The one-day conference takes place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. 

The conference will include several sessions on green building topics including; “Green Building Outlook: Trends and Opportunities for Sustainable Design and Construction During Economic Recovery;” “Best Practice: Using Pervious Concrete for Managing Storm Water;” “Chicken or the Egg: Using the IPD Process to Drive Cultural/Generational Evolution;” and “Green Building: Codes, Regulations, Process and Legal Exposure.” The conference will conclude with a reception for networking opportunities. 

ABC members can register for this event at . Members will need to register for the Tuesday day pass in order to attend ABC’s conference. The cost of registration is $245 with a 15 percent discount for ABC members. In order to obtain the 15 percent discount, ABC members must enter discount code ABC15TEX.   For more information on ABC’s Green Building Symposium, please visit  

For any further questions, please contact Jen Huber,  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Code for Sustainable Construction

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) have developed High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability 2.0. The criteria are written in mandatory language that amends and appends the International Code Council International Building Code (IBC).

Download High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability 2.0 

Download Power Point Presentation 

Download White Paper

Experts Join for Green Building Round Table Discussion at Balsam Mountain Preserve

D&J Properties, a green consultancy group, is bringing together a panel of green building experts from a variety of disciplines to discuss green building practices and options in a Trust Talk, Thursday October 28 starting at 5:30 at the Balsam Mountain Boarding House. Additionally, D &J Properties will host an open house Saturday, October 30, between 2:00 - 6:00 pm at their Balsam Mountain Preserve residence and office.

To attend either the Trust Talk or the Open House, please contact D&J Properties Atlanta office: 770-564-9737.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Designing Out Waste: ‘Pre-cycling’ to Eliminate Waste in Design Phase New

By: Tom Hardiman
Modular Building Institute

The impact of construction and demolition debris on the environment is staggering. More than 135 million tons of debris from construction sites is brought to U.S. landfills every year, making it the single largest source in the waste stream (Source: USGBC White Paper –Planning for Construction Waste). Reducing the amount of waste in a project is an important part of sustainable building and begins with the design process. Choosing alternative methods of construction such as prefabrication, preassembly, modularization, and off-site fabrication techniques is an effective way to design out waste.

Example of waste on a construction site that gets
sent to landfills
. Image courtesy WRAP

According to the Whole Building Design Guide provided by the National Institute of Building Sciences, construction waste reduction is measured by material diverted by the waste stream divided by the total potential waste:

Quantity of materials diverted from the waste stream / Total potential waste quantity
Most efforts by the green building community, however, have focused on recovery, reuse, recycling or diversion of the waste post-construction, rather than reducing waste on the front end, through better management, procurement, and construction practices.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating program recognizes and rewards points for waste that is diverted post-construction, but does not address the issue of waste minimization during construction.
In its LEED NC Version 3.0 under MR Credit 2 it says:
Intent: to divert construction and demolition debris from disposal in landfills and incineration facilities. The LEED rating system awards points for diversion of (recycled or salvaged) 50% of debris (1 point) or 75% of the debris (2 points).

This system ignores and potentially punishes a contractor who actually generates less waste to begin with, and some could argue it rewards contractors for generating large amounts of waste to achieve the goal of diverting 50% of waste.

Consider a typical 2,000 sq. ft. home that generates about 8,000 pounds of waste, or about 4 pounds per square foot - roughly 15% total waste (Source: National Association of Home Builders Deconstruction Series).

Contractor A is able to divert 50% of that waste from the landfill and as a reward, receives 1 LEED point for only sending 4,000 pounds to the landfill.

Suppose Contractor B is resource-efficient and generates 10% waste or 5,333 pounds of waste from the same 2,000 sq. ft. home, but is only able to divert 45% from the landfill. Contractor B sends only 2,933 pounds to the landfill, but LEED does not recognize this effort within its rating system – despite the fact that the contractor sent 26.7% less waste to the landfill on the same home.

Post construction recycling is just one method of reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. Waste avoidance through lean construction processes and minimization of waste through prefabrication and the use of building information modeling are much more effective techniques.

Modular construction by nature is material and resource-efficient. One of the great economies of modular construction is the ability to assemble repetitive units in controlled conditions. Another is to minimize material waste associated with conventional construction due to weather intrusion and construction site theft. Whole modular units – largely finished prior to arriving at the construction site – can significantly limit construction waste generated at the site and contribute directly to construction site waste management.

Modular construction capitalizes on the ability to move product in controlled manufacturing conditions, and on tight inventory control and project schedules. It is inherently waste conscious and can have minimum site impact if delivered carefully and strategically with respect to site constraints. In addition, since modular builders work in factory controlled environment, they can have many construction projects underway simultaneously in one location, so they are better able to re-inventory materials that may have been allocated to one project, for use in another. With site built construction, a general contractor would send any overage to the recycle or to the dump.

Off-Site Construction offers significant potential to minimize construction waste. Images courtesy Britco Structures.

Modular buildings arrive to a site between 60% to 90% complete and are built of the same materials and to the same codes as buildings constructed by conventional, on-site methods. Further, once assembled, modular buildings are virtually indistinguishable from their typical site-built counterparts. Pictured is High Tech High in Chula Vista, CA by Williams Scotsman. The school is LEED® Gold certified and made of renewable and recycled materials such as sealed lightweight concrete floors and high-density fiberboards.

A report published by the U.K. group, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) supports the fact that off-site manufacturing processes can help the construction industry reduce waste. Off site manufacture already offers the construction industry benefits in terms of time and cost predictability, health and safety and skills. However, this work shows that there is the potential to make a significant difference to the amount of waste the industry produces (Source: Current Practices and Future Potential in Modern Methods of Construction).
Some of the biggest waste streams in traditional construction are packaging (up to 5%), timber (up to 25%) and plasterboard (up to 36%). Up to a 90% reduction can be achieved by reducing wastes such as wood pallets, shrink wrap, cardboard, plasterboard, timber, concrete, bricks and cement by increasing the use of off-site manufacture and modular construction. WRAP has developed an excellent resource, the “Designing out Waste: A design team guide for buildings” report to help owners and contractors.

Estimates of the levels of site waste reduced using modular construction. Data courtesy WRAP

For example, modular manufacturers have materials delivered to the factory on pallets frequently. However, rather than disposing of the pallets as is common with on site construction, many manufacturers use companies that remove the pallets and even pay a few pennies to makes them available to supplier companies for reuse as is. This direct reuse results in very low embodied energy versus recycling. For modular manufacturers, pallets do not represent part of the waste stream, just a reusable delivery mechanism.
If we as a construction industry are to be serious about waste reduction, doesn’t it make sense to look at both parts of the equation? Why can’t we design out waste to simultaneously minimize the amount of waste generated during construction as well as managing post-construction waste?

About the Author

Tom Hardiman is the Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute (MBI). MBI is the international non-profit trade association representing commercial modular contractors. For more information, visit

Where are the World's Greenest Buildings

Green building industry leader Jerry Yudelson says that green building has continued to grow worldwide in spite of the global economic crisis and the ongoing credit issues in most countries. The green building consultant is now looking to document how well these projects are doing by looking at ongoing performance data, especially those rated at the highest levels in the various national green building rating systems (e.g., LEED Platinum, BREEAM Outstanding, Six-Star Green Star). “What we’re seeing is that more projects are going green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend,” explains Jerry Yudelson, the principal of Tucson-based green building consultancy, Yudelson Associates, “but the bigger issue is: how are they performing?” An upcoming book from Yudelson and Ulf Meyer, “The World’s Greenest Buildings: Promise vs. Performance in Sustainable Design,” will be published in Spring 2012 by Routledge Taylor & Francis, a leading global publisher based in London. Yudelson and his co-author, Professor Ulf Meyer (currently teaching at the University of Nebraska), are asking for submissions of top-rated green projects (such as LEED® Platinum in the U.S.) worldwide that are willing to release at least a year’s worth of documented energy and water use.

Projects must be at least 5,000 square meters (or 50,000 square feet) in floor area and have been completed no later than the beginning of 2004. “We want to establish metrics of contemporary practice for building teams to aim at. For example, one possible benchmark might be100-kilowatt hours per square meter per year of primary or source energy use,” said Yudelson. “Only when we know what to aim at can we begin to confidently start reducing carbon emissions from new buildings.” Yudelson has prepared a simple online survey that project owners, managers and architects can use to submit buildings for the authors’ consideration. The survey can be accessed at: Submission deadline is October 31, 2010.

About Yudelson Associates and Jerry Yudelson Yudelson Associates is a leading international firm in sustainability planning and green building consulting. The founder, Jerry Yudelson, is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading green building and sustainability consultants. He is the author of 12 green building books and served for two years as Research Scholar for Real Estate Sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 70,000-member international trade organization. He is a frequent green building keynote speaker at industry and professional conferences around the world. He chaired the industry’s largest annual show, Greenbuild, from 2004 through 2009. For more information please contact Jerry Yudelson, 520-207-9759, or visit the Yudelson Associates website,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Building Code for Sustainable Concrete Construction Emphasize ‘Functional Resilience’

Building requirements developed by PCA, IBHS stress durability as well as energy efficiency and other green building requirements

Quote startA sustainable building with a higher degree of durability can decrease the amount of materials going to landfills and use of community resources when disasters occurQuote end
September 20, 2010
Each year in the United States, more than $35 billion in direct property loss is caused by natural disasters. Yet, while states and municipalities are seeking to adopt ordinances that require “green” or “sustainable” construction, they are overlooking disaster-resistance construction.
To allow local governments to adopt green building codes that address high performance as well as conventional sustainable features, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) have developed High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability 2.0. The criteria are written in mandatory language that amends and appends the International Code Council International Building Code (IBC).
The document includes the concepts in most other sustainability or green standards like energy, water and material resource conservation, and indoor air quality while enhancing disaster resistance and setting more stringent durability requirements.
“Using these requirements will give forward-thinking communities not just more efficient buildings, but more sustainable communities that have the ability to resist and recover from disasters when they occur,” said Wanda D. Edwards, PE, IBHS director of building code development.
PCA and IBHS have aligned the provisions with the concepts of both the Whole Building Design Guide ( and High Performance Building Council. Enacting and enforcing these provisions provides the basis for designers and owners to obtain certification as a US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (LEED-NC).
The criteria are organized by chapter and section consistent with the IBC format and is intentionally limited to issues typically within the purview of the building code and zoning and land use officials. There are no requirements for sole source certification or fees that increase the initial project design cost.
“A sustainable building with a higher degree of durability can decrease the amount of materials going to landfills and use of community resources when disasters occur,” Steve Szoke, PCA director of codes and standards, said. “After Hurricane Katrina, more than 44 million cubic yards of building materials and contents were disposed of in landfills. The PCA/IHBS ordinance provides mandatory requirements for increased resistance to natural disasters with the goal of reducing the number of destroyed buildings and protecting property, and saving human life.”
About the IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.
About PCA
Based in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at

Return On Investment in LEED® with Sustainable Designs and Green Buildings

    Stanley Chow, AIA, PP, LEED AP BD+C
    Stanley Chow, AIA, PP, LEED AP BD+C
    Quote startOur diversity allows us to innovate with the different facets of sustainability, architecture, engineering, and construction to deliver integrative environments that will be healthy for people and environmentally sustainable for future generations.Quote end
    Washington, DC (PRWEB) September 20, 2010
    Stanley Chow, AIA, PP, LEED AP BD+C, former Director of LEED® Resource Development at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), announces the launch of CHOW & Company, LLC. The Washington DC-based consulting firm provides professional services in environmental sustainability, LEED implementation, green architecture, construction management, sustainable land-use development, and retail design. CHOW & Company works closely with developers, architects, engineers, planners, and constructors to manage integrated project delivery teams.
    With a background deeply rooted in real estate development, Chow recognized the one thing that would make a difference to building owners, real estate developers, tenants, and financial lenders was proving the Return On Investment for green initiatives and LEED certifications.
    CHOW & Company is focused on finding the green benefits at every stage of the design, development, and construction process and delivering clients with real ROI opportunities through leading edge integrative and strategic greening.
    Chow says “Our diversity allows us to innovate with the different facets of sustainability, architecture, engineering, and construction to deliver integrative environments that will be healthy for people and environmentally sustainable for future generations. As buildings account for a major portion of the energy, resources, and materials depletion on this planet, we can help minimize the environmental damage and reduce carbon footprints, while ensuring the appropriate ROI.” Chow explains that “the investment portion of the ROI is analyzed and presented in financial and environmental terms so clients can be better informed to make critical decisions.”
    Chow is a Registered Architect, Professional Planner, and LEED AP BD+C with almost 30 years of diverse experience in sustainability, architecture, construction, and real estate development. While at USGBC, Chow led a specialized team of LEED Accredited Professionals in the development, improvement and maintenance of LEED tools and resources.
    Chow was also Vice President of Development at a major real estate investment and development firm in Washington DC, Vice President of Construction at an international retail/entertainment development company based in Baltimore, MD and Director of Development at a McLean, VA development firm.
    Chow has managed mixed-use development projects with construction values upwards of $1.2 billion. He is a recognized specialist in retail design, store planning and construction and has held senior leadership positions with national retailers Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Party City, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Best Buy.
    CHOW & Company is an active member firm of the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Institute of Architects, and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Learn more at or contact Marcia Karasek at 202.618.0080.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Johnson Controls Awarded LEED Platinum Certification for Sustainability Improvements at Corporate Campus

    Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) has been awarded LEED® Platinum certification -- the highest such recognition -- by the U.S. Green Building Council, for its efforts to make its Glendale corporate campus a model of energy efficiency and sustainability. This represents the largest concentration of LEED Platinum buildings -- four -- on one site ever awarded.
    Hundreds of wireless controllers and sensors communicating throughout buildings on the 33-acre site feed information to the company's Metasys® building management system which provides continuous monitoring of energy consumed per square foot. Variances can be detected and the systems adjusted automatically or with hand-held devices from any location via the Internet. Numerous other Johnson Controls energy efficiency technologies are in use as well.
    "As a company that's been in the energy efficiency business for 125 years, we believe it was important to set an example and demonstrate the benefits of incorporating the latest green technologies, including many of our own,  into a multi-building campus setting," said Stephen A. Roell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Controls. "We're delighted that the U.S. Green Building Council has recognized our efforts with its highest award of LEED Platinum certification. Hopefully, it will encourage others to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of their properties, be it for one building or several."
    The company's energy usage has been reduced by 21 percent, despite the recent doubling of space by adding 160,000 square feet.  Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced, annually, by more than 827,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent due to the on-site solar electricity generation.   Water usage has been reduced by 595,000 gallons annually by collecting and recycling rain water and the addition of low-flow fixtures.
    Each employee has desktop control of workspace temperature, lighting, airflow volume, and can introduce white noise to mask sound. The environmental systems turn off in a workspace when an employee is gone for more than 10 minutes, reducing air conditioning and electrical loads.
    "We have made significant strides in improving the working environment for our employees at the Corporate and Power Solutions headquarters," said Roell. "Not only are our employees more comfortable, but our engagement scores have improved as well. We believe that the working environment is a major contributing factor to employee engagement."
    "Since its pioneering LEED Silver certification of the Brengel Technology Center in 2001, Johnson Controls has demonstrated unparalleled green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. "The Johnson Controls corporate campus takes this commitment to a new level and sets an example for other organizations considering the implementation of sustainability initiatives in their facilities."
    "As a USGBC member, Johnson Controls has been instrumental from very early on in helping develop the LEED rating system," said Rob Watson, Chairman, CEO & Chief Scientist of the EcoTech International Group.  "I'm very impressed with the project's Platinum achievement, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the broad range of sustainable technologies and practices the company used that can be implemented by its customers worldwide.  Their commitment to ongoing performance measurement, verification and optimization will ensure that the campus will continue to perform at an optimal level for many years to come."
    The company expects to recoup its spend on making the campus energy-efficient within eight years, using the savings realized. The project is attracting wide-spread attention with more than 6,000 interested visitors from around the world who have toured the campus over the last few years.
    Additional energy efficiency features at the Johnson Controls Corporate headquarters include:
    • A geo-thermal heat pump--linked to 272 wells, each 300 feet deep--uses moderate subsurface  temperatures and mass to improve the efficiency of heating and cooling.
    • 31,115 square-foot ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array and 14,335 square-foot of solar film on the roof produces electricity and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Solar thermal water heating technology is in place as well.
    • Skylights and increased window area reduce use of energy for lighting.
    • Window shades adjust automatically to the path of the sun.
    • Lighting controls include ballasts that are intelligent, addressable and controllable for reducing artificial lighting and harvesting natural daylight.
    • 3-acre parking lot resurfaced with permeable paving blocks allowing rainwater and snowmelt to be collected and retained on-site.
    • Rooftop rain water collection, filtering and storage for use in flushing water closets and urinals.

    For a video, photos and additional details about the sustainability efforts on Johnson Controls corporate campus visit
    About Johnson Controls
    Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in over 150 countries. Our 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. To learn more, visit
    About U.S. Green Building Council
    The USGBC community is transforming the way we build, design and operate our buildings for healthier places that save precious resources for people to live, work, learn and play in.  UGSBC is helping create buildings and communities that regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Council is the driving force of the green building industry, which is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product by 2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials, concerned citizens, teachers and students.  The USGBC community comprises 80 local chapters, 17,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 150,000 individuals who have earned LEED Professional Credentials.  Visit for more information.
    SOURCE Johnson Controls, Inc.

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    Growth in Green Building Use Expected to Drive Use of BIM Tools

    The growth of the green building market will drive adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, according to a new SmartMarket Report, Green BIM: How Building Information Modeling is Contributing to Green Design and Construction, released today by McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). Produced in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Autodesk, and 13 other prominent industry organizations, the report provides new insights on the convergence of two important construction industry trends: green building and BIM, known simply as "Green BIM."

    "Green building is already transforming design and construction in the United States, and BIM has the  potential to increase innovation—and design and construction efficiency," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, global thought leadership and business development, McGraw-Hill Construction. "Therefore, the intersection of BIM tool use with sustainability goals is a powerful practice that can be truly transformative in increasing industry productivity."

    The industry agrees that they are just beginning to tap the full potential of BIM to achieve their green objectives. Only 17% of Green BIM practitioners are currently realizing more than 50% of BIM's potential for their green goals, but a sharp increase in Green BIM use is expected in the near future.

    "The report reveals the share of activity where BIM is being applied to help achieve sustainability goals, showing the fact that this is still a nascent emerging trend," Bernstein added. "However, the future outlook is dramatic: 78% of the survey respondents who aren't currently using BIM on green building projects expect to do so within just three years. That's a significant increase."

    The report captures perspectives on the future of Green BIM from a wide range of experts, as well as case studies that demonstrate Green BIM's contributions to achieving sustainable outcomes. According to the report, as green building becomes a larger share of construction, the benefits provided by BIM will also be more widely recognized, and the use of BIM as a whole will increase.

    "Green and BIM have been the two most dynamic trends in our industry," said Steve Jones, who leads McGraw-Hill Construction's BIM initiatives. "Although they have been growing independently, it was inevitable that they would converge because the analysis and simulation capabilities of modeling are such a natural fit with the objectives of green building. This report establishes a baseline for the state of that evolution and points the way towards further exciting developments."

    Robert T. Armistead, president of MCAA, agrees, "MCAA and our foundation, the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation, have been working extremely hard over the past five years to provide our members with the highest levels of green and BIM education possible. Until recently, these efforts have been proceeding on separate tracks, but this [Green BIM] study validates what we've seen—or at least suspected—that these two mega-trends are coalescing. Green construction, like everything else in our society, is now highly information-rich and dependent, and that makes it ripe for modeling."

    BIM offers an efficient way to create and leverage digital models for the design, construction and operation of projects, and it is revolutionizing the way firms communicate, solve problems and achieve better outcomes. Current users who practice Green BIM also report intensive use of BIM. Nearly half (49%) of Green BIM practitioners use BIM on over 50% of their projects, compared to approximately one quarter (28%) of non-Green BIM companies. Green BIM practitioners are also more intensive users of the software since they both create and analyze models more frequently than non-Green BIM companies.

    "Autodesk BIM solutions enable our customers to use the rich, intelligent information from the design model to conduct whole-building energy analysis by accessing local weather data to simulate performance and visualize appearance, all from right within the design palette," said Rick Rundell, senior director of AEC Simulation Products, Autodesk. "This leads to better-informed decision-making, much earlier in the design process. As the McGraw-Hill Construction Green BIM research shows, more and more projects are being completed with BIM to meet goals for sustainability, and we continue to deliver solutions that help put sustainable design decision-making in the hands of architects, engineers and contractors to support industry demands for greater visibility and predictability."

    According to prior McGraw-Hill Construction studies, energy efficiency is the most often cited green building benefit, yielding significant cost-savings over a building's full lifecycle, and Green BIM is no exception. The study expects strong growth for energy performance simulation tools in particular: 95% of firms practicing BIM for green projects will do energy performance simulations within two years, compared with 73% now; and 79% of firms using BIM (but not focused on green projects) will conduct the simulations, compared to 21% currently. Energy efficiency is also an important tenet of the USGBC's LEED certification, a sought-after distinction for many green builders.

    "At the core of every successful LEED project is a project team that practices integrated design," said Brendan Owens, vice president of LEED Technical Development, USGBC. "BIM provides an essential tool that supports integrated design, and to that end, will be extremely helpful in advancing this important concept. The ability to integrate BIM with LEED Online will move that idea faster and further."

    Data presented in the report are drawn from a McGraw-Hill Construction survey of design firms, contractors and other major construction industry players in the U.S. who already use BIM. The report aims to determine how often, when and why they are using BIM on green projects, and provides a portrait of firms that are already Green BIM practitioners in contrast to typical BIM users, as well as insights into how they use BIM to achieve their green goals and what they anticipate the future to hold.

    To download the free report, visit

    Premier association partners include U.S. Green Building Council and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America. The premier corporate partner is Autodesk. Corporate contributors include Balfour Beatty, Chicago Faucets, Graphisoft, Johnson Controls, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The association partners are the American Institute of Architects, the Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Owners Association of America, Design-Build Institute of America, National Association of Women in Construction, National Electrical Contractors Association, National Institute of Building Sciences, and buildingSMART alliance.

    About McGraw-Hill Construction:

    McGraw-Hill Construction connects people, projects and products across the construction industry. For more than a century, it has remained North America's leading provider of project and product information, plans and specifications, and industry news, trends and forecasts. McGraw-Hill Construction serves more than one million customers in the $5.6 trillion global construction industry through Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, Engineering News-Record, GreenSource, and 10 regional publications. To learn more, visit or follow @mhconstruction on Twitter.

    About The McGraw-Hill Companies:

    Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at