Friday, March 18, 2011

Energy Audits for Salvation Army Sites

GZA GeoEnvironmental to Provide Energy Audit and Conservation Analysis for the Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Command Sites

MANCHESTER, NH AND NORWOOD, MA…ISSUED March 17, 2011…GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc., a leading environmental & geotechnical consulting firm, has been retained by The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Command to perform Energy Audit and Conservation Analysis (EACA) at twenty Sites throughout the Salvation Army's Eastern Territory.

The EACA Services will include an evaluation of the existing buildings and will identify conservation and efficiency improvement opportunities for major energy using systems. The objective will be to identify conservation measures, develop order of magnitude costs, and quantify potential cost savings benefits to the Salvation Army.

GZA will also be evaluating existing site conditions to generally evaluate site potential for sustainable energy opportunities such as Photovoltaic (Solar) power, and geothermal heat exchange. John C. Murphy of the Manchester, NH office will oversee the project as a Principal-in-Charge and Eric Nelson, P.E., LEED AP, CEA of the Hammonton, NJ office will serve as technical lead on the project.

"We are pleased to work with this outstanding community organization to provide technical expertise that will assist them in running a more efficient organization," said William R. Beloff, President and CEO of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. "With a not for profit organization every cost savings measure allows them to allocate more resources towards their mission and we are privileged to have the opportunity to assist them."

About GZA
Founded in 1964, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. is a multi-disciplined firm providing environmental consulting, geotechnical and geo-civil engineering, environmental remediation, regulatory compliance, litigation support, air quality, solid waste services, specialty construction, occupational health and safety, and site development services. GZA maintains corporate offices at One Edgewater Drive, Norwood, MA 02062. The firm has 550 employees and operates 24 offices in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes Regions of the United States. For additional information, please call William R. Beloff, CEO at 781-278-3801 or visit the company's website at

CONTACT: Colleen Cimini, PR First, 781-982-5557,

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New Water Sustainability Solutions Tool Under Development

GEMI Begins Development of New Water Sustainability Solutions Tool, The GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT)

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has announced that it is beginning to develop a new solution tool, the GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT), in cooperation with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  This tool, when completed, will be a free, publically available tool which will help companies to understand their local water challenges.

GEMI's Chair Keith Miller, Manager, Environmental Initiatives and Sustainability, 3M, stated, "I am pleased to announce that GEMI, in cooperation with WBCSD, has started to develop a new environmental sustainability tool, the GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT) which, when used in conjunction with WBCSD's Global Water Tool© (GWT), will become a major solution tool for companies around the world to address water sustainability challenges and opportunities.  The focus of this cooperation is to ensure that the tools are fully compatible to enable users to achieve full value from use of both tools."  Miller continued, "In addition, the LWT and GWT are a resource of best practices for sustainable water management at the global, regional, national and local levels.  It is anticipated that this new solution tool will be made be available to the public by early 2012," said Miller.

The new GEMI LWT™ is being led by three co-chairs: Karl Fennessey, Director of Water and Biodiversity, ConocoPhillips; Bill Lechner, Vice President, Global Environment Health and Safety & Security, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; and Maurice (Moe) Bechard, Vice President, Global Environment Health and Safety, Diversey, Inc.

"If companies today expect to compete and succeed in an increasingly water-constrained world, proactive water management must become a core competency," said Bjorn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  "It is a fundamental truism that you can't manage what you can't measure.  That is why we have partnered with GEMI to ensure that companies have access to a variety of tools that can be integrated into a comprehensive water management solution.  For example, our Global Water Tool© allows for a comprehensive water risk assessment across a company's global portfolio while GEMI's Local Water Tool™ will provide guidance on local, site-specific water risks and opportunities," Stigson concluded.

"GEMI is expanding the information and learnings of GEMI's two existing water sustainability solution tools, Connecting the Drops (2002) and Collecting the Drops (2007), with new risk assessment and reporting features to create a new tool," said Karl Fennessey. "This new tool is being designed to encourage businesses to conduct systematic local assessments of their relationship to water, identify specific opportunities and risks associated with this relationship and report key indicators to stakeholders," Fennessey stated.

Bechard stated, "The new GEMI LWT™ will be a free interactive, downloadable module, and include new functionality, which will help companies evaluate specific sites for water impacts and risks in order to devise site-specific sustainable water management strategies." "CH2M HILL, who helped in the creation of the WBCSD Global Water Tool©, is assisting GEMI in the development of the new GEMI Local Water Tool™," Bechard added.

"We are excited about the development of this tool because the purpose and functionality of the GEMI and WBCSD tools are mutually supportive," said Lechner. He added, "Companies can utilize the WBCSD GWT© to identify and prioritize risks in their portfolios.  Companies can then employ the GEMI LWT™ to further evaluate the high risk locations and plan actions to manage the risks."

"Unique to this GEMI project is that for the first time, non-member companies are able to participate in the development of a GEMI solution tool as a Project Participant," said Steve Hellem, Executive Director of GEMI.  "GEMI is pleased that the following companies have become GEMI LWT™ Project Participants:  AkzoNobel; BP; Chesapeake Energy; Chevron; ENI; ExxonMobil; Greif; Intel; ITT; Maersk Oil & Gas; Nexen Inc.; Shell; Statoil; Suncor Energy Inc.; Talisman Energy Inc.; and TOTAL," said Hellem.

"With the leadership of the three co-chairs, combined knowledge, insights and support of the GEMI member companies and LWT project participants, and the WBCSD as well as the technical and development support of CH2M Hill, the results of the completed GEMI LWT™ will be an extraordinarily valuable public tool for use by many companies and organizations in the future, as water continues to become a more valued resource," Miller concluded.

GEMI members include: 3M; Abbott; Biogen Idec; BNSF Railway Company; Cargill, Inc.; Carnival Corporation & plc; ConAgra Foods; ConocoPhillips; CSX Transportation; Diversey, Inc.; DuPont; FedEx; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson Controls, Inc.; Kraft Foods Inc.; Legrand; MedImmune; Merck & Company, Inc.; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Perdue Incorporated.; The Procter & Gamble Company; The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Smithfield Foods, Inc.; Southern Company; and, Union Pacific Railroad.

For more information about GEMI please visit GEMI's website at

CONTACT: Amy Goldman, GEMI, 202-296-7449

PR Newswire Association LLC, Distribution Services Department, 350 Hudson Street, Suite 300, New York, NY 10014-4504


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Green is In: New California Green Building Company Reports Compo Clay in High Demand

Many residents of the San Francisco Bay Area and people around the World are very concerned with the impact humans are having on the planet. Unfortunately, it often takes a terrible tragedy to draw proper attention to the myriad ways we are harming our environment. A big part of the problem is that those looking to “go green” are finding there aren’t the types of Earth-friendly products to give people a chance to really make a difference.
Unlike so many products on the market today, CompoClay strives to eliminate deforestation, harmful mining practices, high energy consumption, and dangerous use of chemicals, and begin the process of restoring our world to its natural, healthy state.
CompoClay, a new, cutting-edge, eco-friendly manufacturing company opened in late 2010, in Alameda, CA, and has really hit the ground running. “The response to our new product has been overwhelming,” says COO Andy Choi. “Not only are customers coming from all over Northern California, but we’ve already been asked to make products for several national distributors, cities, and even a hotel and casino.”
In addition to being completely sustainable, the beauty of CompoClay is that it is very versatile for design. CompoClay has already taken on a city signage project and is supplying crown molding for the Venetian Hotel in Macao and exterior hanging planters on a Hong Kong high-rise. The company is currently developing several new lines for a handful of national pottery, interior design and fountain companies.
CompoClay’s beautiful Alameda showroom on Santa Clara Street displays its diverse line that consists of garden, home d├ęcor, statuary, and building design products. Be warned, however, that this is just the beginning! “With CompoClay, you can really let your imagination run wild,” explains Alex Khan of operations. “I tell our clients they are not limited by what they see here. If you can dream it, we can probably make it.”
CompoClay offers over a hundred different finishes, and creates eco-friendly construction materials that look like stone, wood, metal, porcelain, cement, and other mediums, replacing harmful products on the market with its own healthy products. Its versatility and the strong support it is attracting has launched CompoClay well on its way to reaching this goal.    
For more information, contact Alex Khan at (415) 877-4123, visit them on the web at or drop by their showroom located at 2536 Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda.
About CompoClay:
CompoClay is committed to putting its products into small and large stores that believe in the values of sustainability and green products. CompoClay products can already be found at Potter Green & co. ( in Sonoma, CA, and will soon be available all over California. CompoClay is also available online on http://www.uniquegiftsanddecor.com, and
CompoClay is opening a San Francisco showroom and green resource-center in late April. The space, in the heart of the city’s Financial District, will serve as a hub for green products, businesses and ideas.

Undercover Green: As Homeowners Make Green Living a Goal for 2011, Hi-Tech Building Systems Makes NetZero Houses Comfortable

As sustainability and energy efficiency become the hallmarks of responsible homeownership and a priority in 2011, families are striving to balance their goal of green living and their desire for traditional home design. ThermaSteel SSIP distributor, Hi-Tech Building Systems, has been chosen by Chicago Workshop Architects to provide the building envelope used to meet the desire for Midwestern comfort in the first Zero Net Energy home located in Twin Lakes, WI.

Hi-Tech Building Systems has been chosen by Chicago Workshop Architects to provide ThermaSteel steel structural insulated panels (SSIPs) for construction of one of the first custom net zero energy homes in southeastern Wisconsin. Slated to be built at Majestic Estates, the only green development in Twin Lakes Wisconsin, this home will exude luxury and traditional beauty while at the same time approaching net zero energy efficiency through design tweaks, SSIPs -- steel structural insulated panels, geo-thermal heating and solar panels. These same elements will also improve safety, health, durability, and comfort for the family living there.
The average single family home in Wisconsin costs nearly $2500 in electricity and natural gas each year, to heat and power. Over a 20 year period, with an estimated annual increase of only 8%, a Net Zero Energy Home can save this same homeowner over $120,000. By definition a Net Zero Home generates as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. Of course, energy conservation is a key element in this equation since less energy used means less energy needed.

With a combined benefit to the wallet and the environment, what why haven't more area homeowners taken the plunge into the world of net zero energy efficient home design? For many, it's the negative perception of a sterile, boxy structure that comes to mind when they think of the ultimate green commitment.

Hi-Tech Building Systems, a company with roots in northern Illinois, understands this hesitation. "We find that homeowners, particularly in the Midwest, are more willing to embrace high-performance building technologies when they are able to marry them with the traditional architectural styles they are used to."

The use of steel structural insulated panels (SSIPs)enables designers to achieve virtually any look while tight construction, improved air quality, and superior thermal properties combine to create a healthier and more efficient home. As a distributor of ThermaSteel SSIPs, Hi-Tech is committed to working with custom builders and architects to meet the green home design needs of even the most discerning homeowner.

ThermaSteel panels, for example, are engineered to withstand hurricane force winds while remaining impervious to water, mold and insects, creating a cleaner environment with better air quality for the home's inhabitants. The panels' design enables them to fit together tightly on a track for a virtually airtight building envelope. The panels' unique design eliminates thermal bridging and increases the insulating (R) factor by as much as 70% over alternatives, making steel SIPs the logical technology to use for the utmost in energy efficiency.

But what about the aesthetics? Homeowners need not worry. For projects like this, Hi-Tech Building Systems will take a standard set of architectural prints and create a working set of prints, customized for use with the ThermaSteel panels. The SSIPs, created from recyclable materials, are then cut at the factory to the exact dimensions, including door and window openings, thus reducing the amount of jobsite waste. Panels will be used for walls, roofs, and floors. Standard drywall will be used on the interior and natural stone will be used for the exterior finish. Once completed, this zero energy home will set the standard for performance in this neighborhood. It could, however, be built on any street in small-town America and no one would be the wiser. No ultra modern, "out of place” structures here; just a wise and comfortable homeowner, loving his or her beautiful and efficient home.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Energy Savings From the Ground Up

Money-conscious homeowners are constantly seeking out ways to reduce their energy bills. Those people fortunate enough to be considering building a new home have a way to potentially save up to 50 percent of total heat loss in a home simply by constructing with the right foundation system.

"Homeowners should be actively involved in the product decisions that go into the construction of a new home," says Jim Costello, president of Superior Walls®. "Consumers can build value from the bottom up in their new homes by using energy-efficient foundation systems.

"The steel-reinforced concrete panels created by our company are matched up in the manufacturing process with DOW® StyrofoamTM boards, which provide excellent rigid foam insulation. The resulting XiTM wall panels provide an exceptionally energy efficient foundation for a home."

According to the "Residential Foundation Insulation" report issued by Kansas State University with support of the U.S. Department of Energy, the benefits of foundation insulation are often overlooked. The study says: "heat loss from an uninsulated, conditioned basement may represent up to 50 percent of a home's total heat loss in a tightly sealed, well-insulated home."

The pre-cast insulated foundation systems provided by Superior Walls help homeowners save on energy bills and allow them to fully utilize their basement space as functioning and comfortable living areas in the home. The steel reinforced concrete walls create a permanent barrier against sidewall water penetration, making the home damp proof.

"These foundation systems are very popular with homeowners because you can create door and window openings in them to access natural light," says Costello. "By making the right decisions at the time of construction to use pre-cast insulated foundation systems, homeowners are making a long-term investment in their family's happiness and in the resale value of their house."

Superior Walls products are the first and only foundation systems to have attained the Green Approved Product designation by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center. For more information visit

Inergy Homes Initiates A New Era In Green Construction

A new revolution in green home building has arrived, due to the efforts of Bruce Carpenter, owner and CEO of Inergy Homes. Carpenter has developed a proprietary building method that’s 259 percent more energy efficient than Energy Star requirements and reduces utility bills by as much as 60 percent.
“Smart green construction starts by recycling and doing something good for the long-term,” said Carpenter. Inergy Homes are energy efficient and use recycled materials, with the potential to save thousands of acres of timber.”
Inergy Homes are certified by Energy Star, Earth Advantage and the Oregon Department of Energy. Carpenter also won first place in an international competition for his use of reflective materials in a home during the RIMA International competition in 2010. The green home built for the competition was all electric and had a utility bill of just $74 in November 2009.
The energy efficient and eco-friendly homes are constructed by combining steel framing with radiant barrier sheathing and continuous exterior ridged insulation. The procedure relies on the radiant barrier sheathing, which blocks 85 percent of heat loss during winter months and prevents 97 percent of heat transfer from the sun in the summer. The radiant barrier insulation creates homes that are 17.2 percent more energy efficient than required by building codes.
These green homes are extremely energy efficient and they’re also good for the environment. Carpenter’s homes reduce CO2 emissions by 76 percent when compared with traditional construction. The galvanized steel with which the houses are framed is made from 90+ percent recycled steel from junk vehicles. The average green home uses the equivalent of 3.8 junk cars in recycled steel and save 3.5 truckloads of logs from being harvested.
The steel construction provides the houses with superior strength and the ability to withstand the elements. The structures require zero maintenance and they’re fireproof. Steel construction is lightweight and doesn’t warp, bend, twist, split or rot like wood. A healthier living environment within the home is achieved by blocking air that typically enters a home that leads to fungus, mold, mildew and dry rot. The structures provide low-cost affordable housing that lasts.
“It’s up to all of us,” said Carpenter. “We can make a difference. It’s time we all build quality affordable energy-efficient homes.”
Your green homes can be built from floor plans Carpenter has already developed, or custom designs and plans can be created to suit individual clients. The firm can construct green custom housing up to four floors in height. Sample floor plans can be downloaded from the website. All metal is precision cut by computer for the highest quality control and elimination of end-waste.
Carpenter also provides buildings suitable for use as storage units or home offices. Structures can be erected in a day and customized for windows and doors, or for use as a garage. All parts and instructions are included, and feature the energy saving construction for which Inergy Homes has become famous.

LEED Silver for UC Riverside Research Building

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Friday marks the official unveiling of a building at the University of California, Riverside that will not only house the first public medical school in California in more than 40 years but also serve as model for sustainable design.
The three-story, 58,000 square foot School of Medicine Research Building is designed to meet the LEED Silver standards of the U.S. Green Building Council.
The building has cloud cover sensors that activate motorized shades which deploy during peak sun hours to keep the building cool in Riverside's desert climate. With this system, it's estimated that lighting won't be needed 80 percent of the time.
Also, through a process called "night flushing," air is filtered into the building at night to cool the concrete slab the building sits on. The slab remains cool into the day, limiting the need for air conditioning during summer days when triple-digit temperatures are common.
"The building is smart enough to be run by its own weather station," said Don Caskey, campus architect at UC Riverside.The goal is to cut energy use to one-third of a typical lab building, Caskey said.

Within the building, water use is expected to cut 30 percent and outside, through water-efficient landscaping, irrigation use is expected to be cut 50 percent.
The building was designed by SRG Partnerships, Inc. and built by Barnhart Balfour Beatty.

University Of California, Riverside, 900 University Avenue University Village 204B, Riverside, CA 92521 United States

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Chicago Magazine Announces Fifth Annual Green Awards

Chicago magazine is pleased to announce the recipients of its fifth annual Green Awards, honoring Chicagoans who are pioneering smart, new environmental ideas. This year's honorees are architect Nathan Kipnis, restaurateurs Dan Rosenthal and Ina Pinkney, fashion designer Lara Miller, activist Kimberly Wasserman, and city worker Matthew Stewart. The six winners are profiled in the magazine's April 2011 issue, which hits newsstands Thursday, March 17th.

These remarkable Green Awards honorees were selected from more than 150 nominees suggested by readers, community leaders, and Chicago magazine staff. They will be congratulated at a reception at the Shedd Aquarium on March 30th.

"We are delighted to recognize such an illustrious group for our fifth annual Green Awards," said Richard Babcock, the editor of Chicago magazine. "This year's winners are truly changing Chicago and beyond for the better. They have big ideas, and are making an even bigger impact."

Nathan Kipnis: Architect Nathan Kipnis has earned the praise of fellow architects for rooting his aesthetic in sustainable principles. Using wisdom of the pre-light-bulb-era, Kipnis designed a home with two roofs that mimic a funnel, collecting rainwater that can nurture a roof garden below. Meanwhile, solar thermal panels harness energy when the sun is at its height. Kipnis's homes boast contemporary touches, too, such as high-efficiency furnaces, radiant floors, and low- to no-emission finishes, which don't give off harmful fumes. For the past few years, Kipnis has been laying the groundwork for the first Midwest offshore wind farm. The proposal has sparked controversy, but Kipnis, working pro bono with Citizens' Greener Evanston, thinks the farm's potential to passively power every household in Evanston, and then some, offers a monumental opportunity.

Dan Rosenthal and Ina Pinkney: He is a 40-year veteran of Chicago restaurants and she is the proprietor of Ina's in the West Loop, and together they formed the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op. The open-membership collective helps makes green purchases affordable and includes nearly 450 restaurants and suppliers. In just a few years, The Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op has become an information clearing-house and vetting agency for goods and services and a buyers' club that negotiates deep discounts for members looking to stock green products or replace equipment and appliances with energy-efficient models. Education is a growing part of its mission, too. Last year the co-op introduced Guaranteed Green, a local stamp of recognition for restaurants that have been certified as environmentally responsible through one of two national organizations (Green Restaurant Association and Green Seal). Today, there are 23 Guaranteed Green establishments, and Rosenthal and Pinkney hope to double that number by the end of the year.

Lara Miller: Lara Miller is a School of the Art Institute grad and internationally recognized fashion designer whose stylish and sustainable garments have been worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and Emily Deschanel. She meticulously traces the origins of her raw material and employs a trusted local knitter to handcraft every garment in her Wrigleyville studio. Focusing solely on knitwear, Miller designs architecturally inventive cardigans and dresses that can be reversed or rewrapped to create more than one look per garment. The lifelong Chicagoan also serves as executive director of the Chicago Fashion Incubator, a Mayor Daley-backed endeavor created to foster emerging local talent and keep them in Chicago.

Kimberly Wasserman: Kimberly Wasserman is a pioneering member of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition. The alliance, which now has over 50 participating organizations, is the result of grass-roots environmentalists coming together to lobby for shuttering a pair of outdated coal plants that are having a detrimental effect on our health. With the support of Alderman Joe Moore, the coalition introduced an ordinance in April 2010 calling for an emissions reduction at the coal plants. Despite the backing of 17 aldermen, the ordinance has now stalled in City Council, but the coalition anticipates a fresh start following February's council election.

Matthew Stewart: Matthew Stewart is leading the city's efforts to minimize the carbon footprint of its municipal fleet. In 2010—with millions in additional federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—Stewart bought more than 300 new police SUVs that run on ethanol. Stewart also applied Recovery Act grants to retrofit 200 garbage trucks and salt spreaders with a supplemental engine and heating devices to help reduce fuel usage. This year, Stewart seeks to boost the number of alternative-fuel cars and trucks and pieces of heavy equipment in the fleet, either by buying new or retrofitting the old with clean exhaust control systems and idle-shutdown timers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

KeyBank Renovated Office Space in Higbee Building Earns Gold LEED® Certification

KeyBank's renovation of three floors in the historic Higbee Building on Public Square has been awarded LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  The project's progressive workspace features a number of sustainability features, from automated lighting and ventilation systems to a design that maintains the building's historic charm.

"This renovation represents KeyBank's commitment to strengthen our community's core in the most environmentally responsible ways possible," said Henry Meyer, KeyCorp CEO. "It enhances one of the most historic buildings in the heart of downtown, it leverages Tower City Center's existing transportation hub and it allows hundreds of our employees to enjoy the growing sense of excitement connected to the area's ongoing economic development.

"We're very proud to have earned this recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council," Meyer said.
KeyBank hired local architects from VOCON to incorporate sustainable technologies and construction practices consistent with a LEED certification. The 221,000-square-foot renovation features a high percentage of recycled building materials, enhanced natural lighting, personal lighting control systems, CO2 sensors, outdoor air monitoring systems and more. (For more features, see project Fact Sheet.)
"KeyBank's decision to create a workspace that is LEED Gold Certified places the company among the industry leaders in sustainable renovation," said Michelle Thomas, a LEED-accredited professional and project manager with VOCON in Cleveland. "KeyBank embraced an innovative interior layout that allows all employees to share in the natural light that flows through work areas."

The Green Building Council's LEED certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment.
KeyBank's Higbee project joins a growing number of LEED certified projects in Northeast Ohio. The local chapter of the USGBC recognizes 62 certified projects in the region, including a Gold certification Forest City Enterprises earned for its restoration of the Higbee Building's core and shell.  Key's technology and operations center on Tiedeman Road earlier received LEED certification.

The project's LEED certification aspects complement the modern workspace KeyBank created. The space provides standard offices as well as work areas where staff can temporarily touch down, plug in and meet in small groups. The renovated floors include "huddle rooms" and casual meeting areas with flat-screen TVs for online access and presentations.

"KeyBank is pleased to join a growing number of sustainable building and restoration efforts in Northeast Ohio," Meyer said. "We are committed to the ongoing improvement of Northeast Ohio's economy and quality of life."

Cleveland-based KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $92 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally.  For more information, visit
Fact Sheet
KeyBank Higbee Building LEED Certification

KeyBank’s renovation of three floors in the historic Higbee Building in downtown Cleveland earned LEED Gold certification. Here are some of the sustainability highlights the U.S. Green Building Council recognized:
  • Systems and design reduces overall artificial light utilization.  

  • Controls in all regularly occupied workspaces within 15 feet of perimeter windows automatically reduce lighting use during daylight hours.

  • Lighting systems give a majority of occupants the ability to control task lighting at their work stations, reducing the need for overall, ambient lighting.

  • The project team recycled more than 95% of on-site generated construction waste and diverted it from landfills.

  • A significant portion of the building materials used was manufactured from recycled items.

  • A significant portion of the building materials used was manufactured within 500 miles of the project.

  • Ventilation system includes CO2 sensors and outdoor air monitoring systems.

  • Workers flushed the HVAC system prior to occupancy to remove contaminants resulting from the construction process.

  • The project team utilized paints, adhesives, sealants, carpet, wood and other materials that have no volatile organic compounds, thus reducing indoor air contaminants.

  • Work-area thermostats allow for localized control, reducing heating and cooling demand in common areas

  • An automated power management system powers down audiovisual systems when not in use.

Seven Simple Steps to 'Go Green' on St. Patrick's Day

While for some, St. Patrick's Day invokes thoughts of shamrocks and leprechauns, one ever-present theme for all is the color green. This year, SCA's Tork® brand is encouraging you to embrace another type of green by giving our planet a bit o' Irish good luck and making more environmentally responsible choices leading up to Earth Day, and beyond.

Joshua Radoff, Tork® Green Hygiene Council Member and founder of YRG Sustainability, encourages individuals to make their household more sustainable starting on St. Patrick's Day, the most famous green holiday of the year.

"Our lifestyle choices, methods of transportation and everyday routines play an important role in the condition of the environment," Radoff said.

Radoff suggests the following easy steps to "Erin Go Green!" your routine and support the effort to recycle, reuse and conserve for a lifetime of sustainable living.  

Erin Go Green! Your Routine: 7 Steps to a Greener Life
  1. Reduce waste at home Hopefully you're already recycling at home, but how about being more proactive by buying fewer items that you can't either recycle or compost? You can go green by buying products that can be recycled and feature minimal packaging, or bringing your own reusable bags to the store. For those who already have the basics of recycling down, try out a compost bin and start keeping your food waste out of the landfill as well.
  2. Kick plastic water bottles to the curb Although plastic bottles can be recycled, they typically end up in landfills. And even when they are recycled, it takes enormous amounts of energy and water to convert them back to a usable plastic. Fortunately, we have municipal water that is safe to drink. In fact, some studies have shown that municipal water has less bacteria content than bottled water. Go green by using reusable metal water bottles, which are cheaper and can be healthier than purchasing expensive bottled water.
  3. Re-think "green" when it comes to your lawn This spring, give your lawn a makeover. Turf grass is both water and fertilizer hungry, and lawn irrigation is one of the leading uses of water in certain regions. Consequently, water scarcity is becoming a major problem. So, as you plan for and develop your home's landscape, look for region-specific plants that don't need as much irrigation or start a vegetable garden that will use water more efficiently.
  4. Warmer weather means less car time What is good for you is usually good for the planet. Walking, biking, ride-sharing, taking public transportation are some of the most impactful ways to lessen your footprint. As gas prices continue to rise, using the above methods to get from place to place should become a better alternative.
  5. Buy local! St. Patrick's Day means that springtime is around the corner and local farmers will have more goods for you to enjoy. Try buying 50 percent of your produce, dairy and meat from local sources either direct from a local farmer, a farmers market or even grocery stores that carry local produce in season. Go to to find a local food resource near you. Also, when going out to eat, look for restaurants that source local, organic food. Meals are likely to be tastier and healthier.
  6. Do you know where your home's energy comes from? It takes quite a bit of energy to keep all of your electronics running, your lights on, and your appliances working. Be conscious of when you're using your heat, air conditioner and energy-sucking appliances. There are a myriad of ways to go green and lessen your ecological imprint by responsibly limiting energy consumption.  For example, use cold water to wash your clothes or unplug appliances when not in use.
  7. Understand your footprint Want to learn more about your own impact? Visit the Global Footprint Network to use the Footprint Calculator and determine how your choices are affecting the planet. This helpful tool allows you to input details about daily habits and routine to evaluate how your lifestyle or business decisions are impacting the environment.  

For more sustainability tips from Joshua Radoff and the Tork Green Hygiene Council, please visit For more information on Tork products, visit

Wellmark Building Receives LEED® Platinum Environmental Rating

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s corporate office in Des Moines has received LEED® Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which makes it the only LEED Platinum certified office building of its size in the world.

“Achieving LEED Platinum is a tremendous accomplishment for both Wellmark and the entire state of Iowa. Companies like Wellmark that achieve LEED certification prove that there is good reason to build to this level of energy efficiency,” says Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad. “Wellmark’s headquarters is a comfortable and efficient building, and a welcome addition to the landscape. LEED certified buildings represent a significant economic development opportunity for Iowa workers and companies.”
“At a time when health care costs continue to rise, which results in higher premiums for our members, it is a business imperative to continue to manage and reduce administrative expenses. Our building was designed from the start to lower administrative costs, be environmentally responsible, promote wellness, and improve productivity,” says John D. Forsyth, Wellmark’s Chairman and CEO. “Even more important, moving from five buildings, where we rented space, to this building, is a long-term investment that will save money for our members in the future.”

Building will pay for itself in 10 years through administrative savings
Wellmark set a goal to reduce administrative expenses by five percent on an ongoing basis, as a direct result of efficiencies gained by moving to this building.

“Cost and paybacks were heavily weighted in every decision concerning Wellmark’s building,” says Dave Southwell, Wellmark Chief Financial Officer. “Without convincing calculations to back them up, this building would not have been built. We expect the building will pay for itself in approximately 10 years. We’ve already realized $10 million in savings, which is halfway to our five percent goal.”

Estimated Environmental savings include:
    • Over 20 percent savings in energy costs per year
    • Maximum daylight harvesting reduces need for artificial lighting and minimizes heat gain from lights
    • The ventilation system provides fresh air without an increase in energy use
  • WATER:
    • 55 percent reduction in overall water use, saving 2.4 million gallons of drinkable water or enough to fill a bathtub 67,000 times
    • Recycled rainwater collection in the underground cistern used for irrigation of landscaping and toilet flushing
    • Moved two existing buildings from construction site to new location
    • Nearly 2.5 million pounds of construction waste was recycled and kept out of the landfill
    • Products such as carpet, chairs and furniture are made from recycled materials, or from elements that are recyclable
    • 40 percent less copy and fax machines. Saving 800 boxes of paper (an entire truckload), 200 toner cartridges and $200,000 per year
A win for the community
LEED Platinum certification is a community-wide effort that required multiple groups to unite toward a common goal. Wellmark’s positive working relationships with the state, the city, and the construction team played a major role in the building’s success. Receiving Platinum certification is a tribute to over 1100 construction trade workers, contractors and architects who made it a reality.
“Wellmark’s headquarters is a great example of how businesses and the city can work together to create a win for the entire community,” says Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. “We’re pleased Wellmark chose to stay in downtown Des Moines, and thrilled their facility has achieved the highest environmental standards.
“The Central Iowa Building and Construction Trade Council – comprised of 19 affiliated trade unions representing over 5000 skilled tradesman throughout Central Iowa – appreciated the opportunity to showcase our craftsmanship in this landmark facility,” says Robert Gilmore, Secretary Treasurer of the Council. “This project put food on the table for many local families in a rough economy, and we hope it’s just the beginning of a green revolution in Iowa construction.”
What does it mean to be “LEED certified?”
To gauge just how "green" organizations' buildings are, USGBC established the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program, which provides a third-party tool for validating a construction project’s green features, while also verifying that a structure is operating as efficiently as possible based on its design.
LEED designation works on a point system where projects earn points for satisfying specific green building criteria that fall into one of six categories:
  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Innovation in Design
The number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification the project receives. The four levels are Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Wellmark earned all of its submitted points to attain Platinum status.

U.S. Concrete Precast Group Completes the Production of High Strength, Green Concrete U-Beams for the Phoenix Sky Train Project

U.S. Concrete Precast Group has completed the production of 130 pre-stressed, green concrete U-beams for the Sky Train Project at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. U.S. Concrete Precast Group secured the project in 2009 with Hensel Phelps Construction Company. Production of high strength U-beams began at U.S. Concrete Precast Group’s manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona in February of 2010 utilizing environmentally friendly concrete mix designs, EF Technology®, which can have a carbon footprint 30 percent lower than standard concrete mix designs. This proprietary technology not only provides enhanced performance of the concrete products and a reduced environmental footprint, but can also provide credits toward LEED certification. The U-beams are an integral part of Phase One of the Sky Train project and are designed as the platform for the future elevated people mover at Sky Harbor International Airport, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

The Sky Train is projected to reduce the number of vehicles per day at the Airport by nearly 20 percent or 20,000 vehicles, and significantly reduce congestion and pollution. Phase One of the Sky Train will transport passengers and employees between METRO light rail stations, parking lots, and Terminal 4, which serves 80 percent of Sky Harbor International Airport’s passengers.

A total of 130 pre-stressed U-beams were used in Phase One of the project, ranging in length from 58 feet to 100 feet. Each beam requires up to 47 pre-stressing strands and can weigh up to 72 tons. Over 3,723 cubic yards of green concrete was utilized by U.S. Concrete Precast Group in Phase One of this project.

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BASF to Showcase Sustainable Products at ConExpo ConAgg Show

BASF, the Chemical Company, will showcase its latest technology innovations for sustainable concrete construction and proprietary concrete tools at booth S-9033 during the ConExpo-Con/Agg show, March, 22 – 26, 2011 in Las Vegas.

The booth will feature product and technology solutions for Commercial, Residential, Infrastructure and Sustainable Concrete applications. Admixture chemistry and fiber technology from BASF assists in manufacturing cost-effective concrete that enhances performance characteristics, improves aesthetics, increases the durability of structures and extends service life, and reduces the overall environmental impact.
In addition to technologies that enhance the properties of concrete, BASF will showcase four of its proprietary electronic tools that have been developed by the business to help concrete producers, architects, engineers, and building owners recognize the benefits of using concrete on their projects.
• Integrated Durability-Sustainability Wizard – This Wizard is intended to assist engineers, architects and specifiers in selecting admixture products and technologies to address various durability issues as well as to identify concrete technologies that may potentially contribute to earning LEED Credits for a building.
• Eco-Efficiency Analysis (EEA) Program –The innovative Eco-Efficiency Analysis program examines the environmental life cycle of concrete mixtures, beginning with the extraction of raw materials through the production of concrete. This analysis quantifies the economic and ecological benefits of concrete.
• Macro-Polymetric Fiber Dosage Wizard – The Wizard helps engineers, contractors, and concrete producers determine the amount of macrosynthetic fibers required to replace either welded-wire reinforcement (WWR) or small diameter bars used as shrinkage and temperature reinforcement and the potential savings.
• Surface Evaporation Calculator – This calculator gives an indication, based on a few simple inputs, of whether or not the weather conditions on the day of a concrete placement create a higher chance of plastic shrinkage cracking due to an increase in the rate of surface evaporation.
Each of these tools was custom designed and developed by BASF and is intended to further promote the use of concrete in construction while quantifying its ecological and environmental impact, calculating cost savings for the producer, the owner and the architect, increasing durability and service life, and assisting with project planning. Live demonstrations of the tools will take place in the booth.

In addition, BASF is hosting a Concrete Trivia Smackdown in the booth during the show. Each day the highest scoring player will receive a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad. The games will occur at the top and bottom of the hour, with three players per game challenged with questions in areas that revolve around concrete and construction, admixture technology, sustainability, industry acronyms, and some fun trivia facts just to name a few. Stop by the BASF booth S-9033 during the show to play.

To learn more about these technologies, please click here or stop by the BASF booth S-9033 at the 2011 ConExpo-Con/Agg. For more information about BASF’s sustainable construction solutions, please visit

About the Construction Chemicals division
BASF’s Construction Chemicals division is the leading supplier of chemical systems and formulations for the construction industry. Continuous innovation and tailor-made solutions ensure its customers are more successful. Its Admixture Systems business unit specifically helps customers in the ready-mix, precast, manufactured concrete and underground construction industries. The Construction Systems unit offers a wide range of products for sports and industrial flooring, external renders and wall insulation, expansion joints, wood preservatives as well as specialist repair mortars, tile adhesives and waterproofing membranes. The division operates production sites and sales centers in more than 50 countries and achieved sales of about €2.1 billion with approximately 6,900 employees in 2010.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Credit Union members request solar power

Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union Members request solar to be installed on their main office

March 15 (San Francisco) – Unlike most financial institutions that are owned by stockholders, who own a part of the institution and intend on making money from their investment, credit unions are owned by their members who own one “share” of the organization. The user of credit union services is also an owner, and is even entitled to vote on important issues, such as the election of member representatives to serve on the board of directors.

Recently, at the request of the members and owners of the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union in Berkeley, (CCFCU) chose to go solar with a 29.7 kW DC photovoltaic solar system being installed by their Berkeley neighbor and industry pioneer, Sun Light & Power.

The solar installation is comprised of 108 Suntech 275 modules that are expected to produce at least 42,028 kWh each year. That equates to the emissions from 6 cars or the electricity to power 4 homes.

A Web-based monitoring Data Acquisition System will help keep track of daily-weekly-yearly and lifetime system production.

In the words of the Co-op to their members: “Once completed, the system will represent your genuine commitment to responsible energy consumption and sustainability. It will also result in lowered operating costs for the Credit Union! “

About the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union
The Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union was chartered on April 20, 1942 to serve the employees and members of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, Inc. (Co-op Market Chain). The Co-op Credit Union continues to serve members from their original group, even though the Co-op Market Chain is no longer in business. These members see the Credit Union as their primary financial institution. This inherently stable "core" membership has provided a solid foundation from which to build.

During the 1980s Cooperative Center became the survivor of a series of mergers with other credit unions in the area. Two of these were the Cal Berkley Credit Union and Alta Bates Credit Union. These, two along with our original Co-op Markets, continue to make up our largest field of membership.

Today, the CCFCU continues to expand their membership base by accepting qualified private companies, organizations and associations. To this day they continue to bring in other groups. This careful expansion has helped build a uniquely diversified membership around the stable core of original members.

The Credit Union has over $80 million in assets and over 10,000 members, offering a full range of services from their main office at 2001 Ashby Ave. office and their branch on the UC Berkeley Campus.

About Sun Light & PowerSun Light & Power is a design/build solar firm based in Berkeley, CA with 34 years of leadership in alternative energy systems and innovative designs for homes and businesses. The company is committed to creating living environments that serve people's intrinsic needs, supporting the human spirit and preserving the planet’s resources for future generations.

Founded in 1976 by Gary Gerber (who is also the 2008-2011 President of the California Solar Energy Industries Association - CALSEIA), Sun Light & Power is the first renewable energy contractor to be certified by the Alameda County Green Business Program, and among the first in the nation to qualify as a B Corporation.

The company’s professional staff includes specialists in engineering, system installation, project management, electrical system design, financing and contract administration, including: 5 Professional Engineers, 7 LEED AP Green Building professionals, 3 Electrical Contractors (C-10) and 7 NABCEP Certified Professionals. Sun Light & Power is licensed as both a General Contractor (B) and Solar Contractor (C-46).

More information is available at:

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Rooftop Solar Panels for PSS Distribution

PSS Distribution Services Replaces Annual Electricity Consumption With Rooftop Solar Panels
Leading logistics/supply chain management company, PSS Distribution Services, takes warehousing and transportation to a new level of environmental responsibility as its Dayton, NJ headquarters undergoes construction for the installation of solar powered rooftop panels.
Dayton, NJ – March 15, 2011 – PSS Distribution Services aims to replace its annual headquarters’ electricity consumption with clean energy generated by rooftop solar panels during a six-month project consisting of a 200,000 square foot operation on the roof of the company’s Dayton, NJ facility.
The goal of PSS Distribution Services’ solar energy project is to replace its annual electricity consumption of 550,000 kWh with clean solar power. Successful completion of the project will be equivalent to eliminating 2 million miles driven in a car per year or preventing the production of 750,000 lbs of carbon dioxide. To accomplish this goal, more than 2,000 230-watt solar panels are currently being installed on a rooftop mounted non-penetrating self-ballasting racking system.  The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2011.
The solar panels will utilize power inverters to convert DC power to AC power.  Because the building will still be connected to the grid through a Net Meter, the solar panel system will be able to generate more power than the building uses during sunny times, in order to draw that power back during non-sun times.
According to officials at PSS Distribution Services, the company is committed to demonstrating environmental awareness through corporate example because PSS understands its environmental responsibility as a leader in logistics, warehousing and transportation.
“This solar energy project is a big step for PSS in its commitment to environmental awareness,” says Gary Borne, President of PSS Distribution Services. “As we proudly make this transition to solar energy, we look forward to dramatically reducing our environmental impact while maintaining high levels of productivity.”
PSS Distribution Services provides third party logistics services throughout the Northeast.

For more information, visit

About PSS Warehousing & Transportation
PSS Warehousing & Transportation is the Northeast's premier services provider and a leader in warehousing, storage, transportation and distribution since 1983. PSS is an industry-leading third party distribution services provider whom Fortune 500 companies have come to rely on for their expertise in consumer product distribution, reverse logistics, transportation and packaging services. The company's state-of-the-art Warehouse Management and Road Transportation Systems offer applications that include: EDI, Radio Frequency and Bar-coding, Comprehensive Inventory Control and Activity Reports, Lot Code and Shelf Life Management and Monitoring, Document Imaging, Product Recall Program and our Net View Internet Enabled Access.
For more information, visit PSS Warehousing &; Transportation online at

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Monday, March 14, 2011

LEED home in Freeport, Maine

I thought you might be interested in Melissa Coleman, a writer for Maine Home +  Design and an author/blogger whose LEED-certified home in Freeport, Maine was  created in partnership with Robbie George of Colorado.  Cranberry Ridge  is the fourth home in the country to receive Platinum LEED designation and the  first in the Northeast. It’s located near Wolfe's Neck State Park in Freeport,  Maine.

The house's green features include:2.4 kW photovoltaic  solar electric array, a 90 Apricus evacuated tube solar hot water system,  low-flow fixtures and appliances, cabinet door panels made of pressed  sunflower seeds, local Maine granite used for the counters, wood floors made  from Forest Stewardship Council certified birch, doors with compressed wheat  hull cores, ceramic floor and bath tiles made from recycled car windshields,  south-facing triple glazed windows and siting for passive solar, sprayed-on  recycled newspaper insulation and rock wool instead of fiberglass, radiant  heat floors and efficient Buderus boiler, glass-doored fireplace with fan,  Lifebreath air treatment and ventilation system, furniture from local  companies, patios made from flagstone instead of treated wood and low impact  landscaping.  

There is lots more information on Melissa’s blog  here:  

Coleman chose Thos. Moser’s hand-crafted wood furniture as a  complement to the home, and there is more info (and images) here: