Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ultra-Green Building Visionary Jeffrey Baker Recieves Award

Greetings! We thought you might be interested in the following news from McGraw-Hill Construction and Engineering News-Record (ENR), announcing that Jeffrey M. Baker, environmental engineer and director of laboratory operations for the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Golden, Colo., has received the 46th annual Award of Excellence at a black-tie awards gala today in New York City. For more information, view the press release below or contact Lisa Jaycox at +1 212-512-3272 or or Kathy Malangone at +1 212-904-4376 or Thank you for your time. 

For Release: April 7, 2011, 5 p.m.

Engineering News-Record Presents Award of Excellence to Ultra-Green Building Visionary Jeffrey M. Baker

New York, NY – April 7, 2011– Engineering News-Record (ENR), McGraw-Hill Construction’s industry-leading publication and website and part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), today announced that Jeffrey M. Baker, environmental engineer and director of laboratory operations for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Golden, Colo., has received the 46th annual Award of Excellence, its highest honor. Mr. Baker received the award in front of 1,000 peers today at a black-tie awards gala in New York City. He was among ENR’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2011, who were also honored for industry-impacting achievements last year.

The editors of ENR selected Mr. Baker as this year’s Award of Excellence winner for creating a model for affordable, ultra-green buildings that can be replicated anywhere and for triggering a transformation in how the nation can maximize energy performance through sustainable design.

“Mr. Baker’s tenacity and drive for energy efficiency led him on a crusade to build a living laboratory for research into sustainable commercial buildings. It took 12 years of swimming upstream, but his dream was fully realized last June, when the Department of Energy’s Research Support Facility in Golden, Colo. opened,” said Janice L. Tuchman, editor-in-chief of ENR. “ENR is thrilled to honor his work through the Award of Excellence. Our future is brighter thanks to his contributions.”

This innovative DOE facility is on course to become the nation’s largest net-zero energy-use building. Using proven systems and standard materials, the structure slashed energy use by half compared to new code-complying buildings without adding cost. DOE is replicating its design and construction on three other agency building projects, and it is spreading elsewhere in the federal government. 

Jeffrey M. Baker’s story will be featured in the April 11 issue of ENR. For more details on the Top 25 Newsmakers, visit

Sponsors of the 46th Annual Award of Excellence include AECOM, The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), CMAA, CMiC, EarthCam, FIGG, HDR Inc., Hill International, Houlihan Lokey, MBP (McDonough, Bolyard, Peck), Parsons, Shaw Group, Inc., and United Rentals, Inc.

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 global construction industry through Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, Engineering News-Record, GreenSource, and SNAP. To learn more, visit or follow @mhconstruction on Twitter.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. Leading brands include Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at

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Media Contacts:
Lisa Jaycox, Manager, External Communications,
The McGraw-Hill Companies Information & Media, +1 212-512-3272,

Kathy Malangone, Senior Director, Marketing Communications,
McGraw-Hill Construction, +1 212-904-4376,

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Tips for Urban Tree Growth - White Paper

Dear readers,

With Spring comes rain…. and this white paper on the lifecycle costs and benefits of enabling long-term urban tree growth.

The paper, entitled "Lifecycle Cost Analysis: Investment vs. Returns for Healthy Urban Trees," has been provided by Deep Root Partners and The Kestrel Design Group. The white paper offers effective stormwater and urban forest planning strategies to ensure the community is getting the most from its investment.

As a tree matures, the environmental benefits it provides increase exponentially. The average tree in urban environments dies within 13 years due to insufficient soil volumes for root growth. Consequently, they are never able to make a significant ecological contribution to their community, and are replaced constantly. This white paper provides information and tips for gaining more value on long-term urban tree investments and benefits. 

Feel free to utilize the information. If you would like to talk with the researchers or learn more about the sponsoring companies, please contact me.

Thank you for your interest,
Julie Metea
On behalf of Deep Root Partners
313-320-3937 cell 

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Fast Food Goes Green

This is a very promising story about McDonald’s going green. I like the concept of making fast food chains super energy efficient if nothing else! If we are going to enjoy the mostly unhealthy food at least we can feel socially responsible knowing that it was marketed and prepared in a sustainable way.

QA Graphics Helps Green McDonald’s Tell its Story

April 6, 2011 – Ankeny, Iowa – Owners of the latest green McDonald’s® located in Riverside, California, are using an interactive display created by QA Graphics® to show customers why the new restaurant is sustainable and energy efficient. 

The Riverside McDonald’s is the fourth McDonald’s restaurant in the U.S. to seek LEED® certification. This restaurant is one of nine owned and operated by Tom and Candace Spiel of McSpi, Inc. The restaurant reopened its doors in October, replacing the original McDonald’s of 44 years. It’s anticipated that the restaurant will achieve LEED® Gold status within the next year as part of the U.S. Green Building Council’s® (USGBC) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Retail New Construction. 

“We were inspired to rebuild our original restaurant according to the USGBC’s LEED-Gold standard to encourage and educate our customers on the importance of environmental sustainability,” said Tom Spiel, McDonald's owner/operator.   “For us, this is a way to give back to our community,” he adds.  “We hope that what we learn from this restaurant can be utilized to build more efficient and environmentally friendly restaurants in the future, which will then benefit more communities.” 

As part of this certification, the Spiels looked to QA Graphics® for a fun and interactive way for their customers and team members to learn about the sustainable initiatives that make this McDonald’s restaurant ‘green’.  QA Graphics, a Midwest creative firm, provided their Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard®, which is anticipated to help attain the Innovation in Design green education credit.   The
Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard is an interactive application similar to a website, used to display real-time energy efficiency information and educate about sustainable initiatives. 

“We were impressed with the solution QA Graphics provided, including the ability to link the display to our solar photovoltaic array and provide real-time data of the energy generated from the solar array,” said Candace Spiel, McDonald's owner/operator.

As customers walk into the lobby of the McDonald’s they see the Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard displayed on a 42-inch LCD touchscreen, which they can interact with to learn more about the sustainable features used in the construction of the restaurant.  A virtual tour provides a 3D view of the outside of the restaurant, and then takes viewers inside, moving through the dining area, restrooms and back to the outside of the restaurant.   During the tour, different icons can be selected to learn about the sustainable features implemented at the restaurant.

For example, visitors can see that there are photovoltaic panels located on the carports outside, and watch a demonstration to understand how the photovoltaic system works.  Real-time data is also provided to show how much energy is being output by the system.   Other demos explain how Solatubes, solar hot water panels and porous pavers function at the restaurant. Also shown is education about the LED lighting and signage, recycled glass tile, EcoResin panels and rapidly renewable bamboo used throughout the dining area, as well as explaining what materials are made from recycled items, like  the countertops, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles. 

The reaction at the restaurant has been well received.  “From small children to senior citizens, this interactive display is used frequently,” said Candace Spiel, McDonald’s owner/operator. “Because it is easy to use and navigate, whatever the level of our customers’ computer skills, they are able to use the display to learn more about this McDonald’s and how they can be green in their personal lives.” 

When visitors have learned about the different sustainable features, they can test their ‘green’ knowledge with a quiz.  Information for the local community is also provided, including a weather forecast and local maps identifying area schools, bus routes, bike paths and the Metro Rail. The Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard application for this McDonald’s can be viewed online at    

This is the second McDonald’s that QA Graphics has worked with to help engage restaurant patrons and educate about the restaurant’s sustainable features. The Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard is also utilized by the third U.S. LEED-certified McDonald’s in Cary, North Carolina.  QA Graphics’ solution has been named a 2010 top green building product by Environmental Design + Construction and Sustainable Facility magazines’ annual Readers Choice Awards as well as a 2010 top 10 green building product by award-winning independent news source Sustainable Industries. Learn more at

About QA Graphics
QA Graphics is an innovative graphic development company specializing in the green building industry.  The company is an industry leader in the design of award-winning energy education dashboards used to showcase organizations’ building performance and sustainable initiatives.  QA Graphics also provides comprehensive creative services including graphic outsourcing, 3D design/animation, drafting, virtual tours, multimedia solutions and other interactive content. Visit to learn more. 

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Brick as a Sustainable Building Material

Brick is a very sustainable building material and with the amount of brick found in demolition it is easily recycled and reused for new projects. The people an firms being honored in the event below have completed some very green building projects worth plenty of press!
BrickStainable Award Winners Honored During Ceremony at National Building Museum
Cambridge Professor Alan Short delivers "world tour" keynote address
ROCKVILLE, MD—April 6, 2011— Innovative thinkers from across the globe gathered in Washington, DC to recognize the winners of the 2nd Annual BrickStainable International Design Competition.
Competition winners created sustainable architectural designs using brick as the primary material. Potomac Valley Brick hosted the Awards Ceremony at the National Building Museum, an apropos location, given it is constructed with over 15 million bricks. Among nearly 200 guests included representatives from the EPA Energy Star Program, Integrated Environmental Solutions, Enterprise Green Communities, and the Brick Industry Association.
The night's festivities included a Keynote Address delivered by one of the industry's foremost minds on sustainable heavy construction, University of Cambridge Professor of Architecture, Alan Short, MA DipArch RIBA FRSA. Short took the audience on a riveting world tour of buildings his firm, Short & Associations, have designed that maintain a temperate interior atmosphere using minimal or no mechanical systems.  They've worked in various climates, from the desert of Malta to the fluctuating hot and cold of Chicago.
Video presentation clips from the jury deliberation revealed a little bit about why the four jurors selected each winning entry as the winners were called to the stage to receive with their awards.
The BrickStainable Competition was broken into two categories, integrated building design, where entrants were tasked with creating a sustainable building in an urban Baltimore setting, and technical design, where entrants explored specific aspects and assemblies of a brick.  Winners in the two categories include:
Integrated Building Design Grand Prize
·         Jamillah Muhammad, Ronald Moore, Dindo Mabana, Tou Boran Pek, Kathleen Stover, Boryana Fileva, a team from Perkowitz & Ruth in Virginia (USA) for Net Zero in Baltimore

Integrated Building Design Honorable Mentions

·         Robert Kane, a student in San Casciano (Italy) for in BRICK, of BRICK, for BRICK, & by BRICK
·         Heather Santos and Jillian Schroettinger, students at Cal Poly Pomona in California (USA) for MassEnergy Science Center
·         Shane Valentine, a student at University of Texas San Antonio, Texas (USA) for Cultivating Energy

Technical Design Grand Prize

·         Jason Vollen and Kelly Winn, of CASE New York (USA) for EcoCeramic Masonry Systems

Technical Design Honorable Mentions

·         Rizal Muslimin, a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Massachusetts (USA) for BrickBead
·         Jason Vollen, Kelly Winn and Ted Ngai, of CASE New York (USA) for Climate Camouflage
Potomac Valley Brick's President and BrickStainable Founder, Alan Richardson spoke of the global attention the competition has received, citing the 21,000 website visits from 128 countries.

"We set out to achieve greater awareness of the role brick can play in the green movement and with the support of our growing list of sponsors and endorsers it's starting to happen in a big way. This year total registrations were from 62 countries."

The Competition also offset carbon emissions through the Enterprise Green Communities, who attended the event and spoke about its efforts to provide affordable green housing through its carbon offset fund.  To see all of the winning designs, visit

About BrickStainable

BrickStainable is a design competition seeking integrative design solutions that promote the use of clay brick to achieve sustainability goals. The competition explores the potential of brick construction in the creation of energy efficient building and challenges designers to maximize the physical characteristics of brick. The competition was created by Potomac Valley Brick in 2009. It is sponsored by Belden, Boral, Carolina Ceramics, Cloud Ceramics, Continental Brick, Endicott Clay, Essroc Italcementi Group, Genco Masonry, Hanson, Hohmann and Barnard, Hyload, Integrated Environmental Solutions, KaRon Masonry, Lehigh-Heidelberg Cement Group, LF Jennings, Mason Contractors Association of America, Masonry Institute of Maryland, Merritt Construction Services, Mortar Net, Owens-Corning, Pavestone, Palmetto Brick Company, Redland Brick, Riverside Brick, Taylor Clay Products, Triangle Brick, United Masonry, Wells & Associates, and York Building Products. More information is available at and on Twitter @pvbrick.
This release is available at
Photo Caption:  Alan Richardson, president of Potomac Valley Brick & Supply, gives opening remarks to the BrickStainable Awards Program attendees.
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Monday, April 04, 2011

Yes to Wood as a Green Building Material

This release is promising news for the green building materials business. I’d like to see the actual lifecycle analysis for wood products referenced below.

SCMA Backs New USDA Green Building Policy

PITTSBURGH, April 04, 2011 –The Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association (SCMA) today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to promote wood as a green building material.

In making the announcement last week, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, said the USDA would preferentially select wood in the agency’s new construction projects, enhance green building material research and development, and demonstrate the use of wood in non-residential structures.  

SCMA president Frank Vallot said, “Our industry has consistently spread the message that wood is the ultimate green building material because it’s renewable, sustainable, carbon-neutral, and can be locally sourced and repurposed at the end of a building’s life. 

In addition, science-based research confirms that wood outperforms other building materials in lifecycle analysis, which examines the total environmental impact of building products through harvesting, transportation, manufacture, and end-of-life scenarios.  New studies show that wood products are among the most energy efficient to produce, and yield fewer air emissions than other building products. 

The USDA’s efforts will not only encourage the use of American-grown wood and improve the health of America’s forests, but also will help retain and create jobs in our country.  We look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack and his agency to spread the positive environmental and economical messages associated with the increased use of wood products.”

The Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sustainable cypress building products to trade professionals and consumers. For more information, visit

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