Thursday, April 14, 2011

Green Building Codes for Navajo Nation

Green building, sustainability and the Navajo Nation seem to fit together perfectly. We at are very happy to read and share this news.
First tribal community in the nation adopts international green building code
EPA applauds Kayenta, located on the Navajo Nation
SAN FRANCISCO– Kayenta Township (Ariz.) is the first tribal community in the U.S. to adopt the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), a building code designed to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects while keeping safety measures intact and enforceable. 
EPA's Pacific Southwest Green Building Team worked with Kayenta and works with other tribes and federal agencies to support the development of sustainable building codes that meet tribal priorities.  In addition, Kayenta will be working with EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities to pilot community Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development.
"As one of the first communities to adopt this code, Kayenta Township is forging a path for sustainable development," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  "Their commitment to green building design will not only protect the public health, but water and energy savings means precious local resources will be preserved."
 "The IGCC is put in place for the community to save on energy costs, encouraging wise use of the water supply, safeguarding the depletion of natural resources, and the energy codes will be used to regulate future development practices," said Philbert Tso, Building Official for the Township.  
KayentaTownship, a political subdivision of the Navajo Nation with about 5,000 residents, is located south of Monument Valley.  Kayenta has been designated as a growth center of the Navajo Nation and hosts restaurants, shops, hotels and other businesses. Kayenta is also the future site of the Northeast Arizona Technical Institute for Vocational Education (N.A.T.I.V.E.) campus. The N.A.T.I.V.E. campus will provide quality career and technical education to tribal students upon its completion in September 2011.  This campus will also be the first project built using the IGCC code.
The IGCC Public Version 2.0, which will be a published as a model code next year, was adopted on a voluntary basis and may be incorporated into the community's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.  Kayenta adopted the code with specific requirements related to protecting greenfields, conservation areas, and agricultural land.

Follow the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest region on Twitter: join the LinkedIn group:

R9 Tribal Green Building Resources
EPA Smart Growth Guidelines
Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149,
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Top Green Projects Selected by Architects

The American Institute of Architects select the 2011 COTE Top Ten Green Projects 

Projects showcase excellence in sustainable design principles and reduced energy consumption  

For immediate release:
Washington, D.C. – April 14, 2011 –The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment.  The projects will be honored at the AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans.

You can see this press release online here:

The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program, now in its 15th year, is the profession's best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence.  The program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology.  They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

The 2011 COTE Top Ten Green Projects jury includes: Joshua W. Aidlin, AIA, Aidlin Darling Design; Mary Guzowski, University of Minnesota School of Architecture; Kevin Kampschroer, General Services Administration, Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings; Mary Ann Lazarus, AIA LEED AP, HOK; Jennifer Sanguinetti, P.E. LEED AP, Smart Buildings & Energy Management, BC Housing; and Lauren Yarmuth, LEED AP, YRG New York.

The descriptions below give a brief summary of the projects. You can learn more about these projects by clicking on the name of the project/firm name. If you are interested in obtaining high resolution images, please contact Matt Tinder at

Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)

This urban infill, mixed-use, market-rate housing project was designed to incorporate green design as a way of marketing a green lifestyle.  The design maximizes the opportunities of the mild, Southern California climate with a passive cooling strategy.  Together with high-efficiency LED and electric lighting, photo and occupancy sensors, and natural daylighting - energy use was minimized.  100% of the total regularly occupied building area is day lit and can be ventilated with operable windows.  A combination of cool roof covered in solar panels, green roof, and blown-in cellulose insulation complete an efficient building shell exceeding California Title 24 by 47%.

First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, WI
The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.

The 20,000-square-foot addition to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed national historic landmark Meeting House is approximately 40% more efficient than a comparable base case facility. The new building design features recycled-content and locally-sourced materials.  CO2 sensors trigger a ventilation system that provide energy savings when spaces are unoccupied.  91% of regularly occupied areas are daylit though Individual lighting controls are contained in all building areas.  The addition nearly doubles the building footprint but a vegetated roof and a reduction in parking spaces actually increases the percentage of pervious vegetated surface on the property.

Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, KS
BNIM Architects

Following the devastating tornado that destroyed their town and schools, USD 422 chose a bold strategy to combine their schools into a single K-12 facility that would align with the town's sustainable comprehensive master plan.  The facilities design optimizes daylighting and natural ventilation in all classrooms, which increases student academic performance/potential and focus.  The site and building design reduce the urban heat island effect on Greensburg through open area allocation and diverse landscaping.  A 50-kilowatt wind turbine provides a portion of the electricity needs while the remaining power is generated at the wind farm located outside of town.

High Tech High Chula Vista, Chula Vista, CA
Studio E Architects

This public charter school serving 550 students in grades 9-12 with an approach rooted in project-based learning uses a building management system which integrates a weather station, and monitors and controls the lighting and mechanical systems of the facilities, in addition to the irrigation and domestic water systems.  This optimizes thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting levels, and conserves energy and water.  The facilities reflect the school's guiding principles of personalization, adult-world connection, and common intellectual mission.  These principles permeate every aspect of life at HTH: the small school and class sizes, the openness and transparency, sustainable design attributes, and showcasing of student work in-progress.

LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, TX
Lake|Flato Architects

The adaptive reuse of a 1950's built warehouse transformed the concrete tilt-wall building to provide a multi-functional office space for the staff of 62.  88% of the materials from the demolition of the dilapidated warehouse were recycled and used in the new design.  In order to allow for the most engaging open office environment, the team replaced the roof's center bays with north facing clerestory windows that harvest ample diffused daylight for the core workspace.  No toxic chemicals are used in or around the building in accordance with green housekeeping and landscape procedures adopted by the Foundation.   Achieving LEED Gold certification, the project reflects the LiveStrong mission "to inspire and empower people affected by cancer."

LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, WA
The Miller | Hull Partnership

While most sewage treatment plants are invisible to their communities and separated by a chain link fence, the LOTT Clean Water Alliance Regional Service Center is a visible and active participant in the public life of Olympia.  Different strategies were utilized to control solar heat gain, improve the energy performance of the building, and introduce daylight and provide views.  Methane generated from the plant's waste treatment process is used in a cogeneration plant to generate electricity and heat.  The heat is used directly in the building through a low temperature water loop connected to water source heat pumps, thus eliminating the need for a boiler, cooling tower, or geothermal field.

OS House, Racine, WI
Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Occupying a narrow infill lot in an old city neighborhood at the edge of Lake Michigan, this LEED Platinum home demonstrates how a small residence built with a moderate budget can become a confident, new urban constituent.  The local climate, with its very cold winters and hot, humid summers, required a careful mix of active and passive design strategies to ensure proper interior conditioning.  Taking advantage of the lake breeze and the site's solar exposure, outdoor rooms were created to reduce the house's depth, allowing for maximum natural cross-ventilation and daylight to wash the inside.  The house features a compact structured plumbing system with low-flow fixtures throughout and an on-demand hot water circulating pump, significantly reducing water consumption.

Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO
RNL Design

With the goal of creating the largest commercial net-zero energy structure in the country, the building is meant to serve as a blueprint for a net-zero energy future and influence others in the building industry to pursue low energy and net-zero energy performance.  NREL and Department of Energy's goal is to transform innovative research in renewable energy and energy efficiency into market-viable technologies and practices.  Many of the integrated passive design strategies such as daylighting and natural ventilation strongly support both energy and human performance.  An open office plan resulted in a higher density workplace reducing the building footprint per person.

Step Up on 5th, Santa Monica, CA
BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)

This mixed-use project provides 46 studio apartments of permanent affordable housing and supportive services for the homeless and mentally disabled population in the heart of downtown Santa Monica.  The density of the project is 258 dwelling units/acre, which exceeds the average density of the Manhattan borough of New York City by more than 10%.  The building is located in a transit-oriented location with access to community resources and services, providing a healthy living environment for residents and using resources efficiently.  Based on California Title 24-2005 published by USGBC on this building is nearly 50% more efficient than a conventionally designed structure of this type.

Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia
Design Architect: LMN Architects, Prime Architects: DA/MCM

As the world's first LEED Platinum convention center, this project is designed to bring together the complex ecology, vibrant local culture and urban environment, embellishing their inter-relationships through architectural form and materiality.  The living roof, at 6 acres it is the largest in Canada, hosting some 400,000 indigenous plants.  Free cooling economizers can provide cooling for most of the busy seasons for the convention centre. The heating and cooling is provided by very high efficiency, sea water heat pumps powered by renewable hydro electricity.  The interior is fitted throughout with CO2, VOC, and humidity sensors, which can be monitored in conjunction with airflow, temperature, and lighting controls to optimize air quality on a room-by-room basis.

 About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

City Planners and Urban Trees

U.S. Forest Service Funds Tree Inventory For Urban Planners

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011– New research funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help city planners make better decisions about their urban trees for a range of benefits, including energy savings and improved access to nature. 

Researchers, led by U.S. Forest Service scientists, will hire field crews to gather information on the condition of forests from approximately 1,000 sites in five western states - Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington - to compile data for a comparative study on the health of trees in urban areas. The result will be a network of permanently located plots in urbanized areas that can be monitored to obtain information on their health and resiliency.

"This project will help city planners improve the quality of life in American cities," said project leader John Mills of the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station's Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program. "Urban trees are the hardest working trees in America – they beautify our neighborhoods and reduce pollution."

This is the first time in the Pacific states that systematic information is being collected on the health of trees in urban areas. Determining the current health and extent of specific urban forests will help forest managers better understand how urban forests adapt to climate change and other issues. Urban trees cool cities, save energy, improve air quality, strengthen local economies, reduce storm water runoff and enliven neighborhoods.

The study supports President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) by helping planners determine where to establish urban parks and green spaces and how to maintain them. AGO takes as its premise that the protection of our natural heritage is an objective shared by all Americans. Parks and green spaces improve a community's economy, health, quality of life and social cohesion. In cities and towns across the country, parks can generate tourism and recreation dollars and improve investment and renewal. Time spent in nature also improves the emotional and physical well-being of children and adults alike.

Urban forests will change as the climate changes -- shifts in species composition, growth rates, mortality and susceptibility to pests are all possible.  Having a baseline of urban forest conditions will help local resource managers and planners understand and articulate the contributions urban forests make, such as carbon sequestration, water retention, energy savings and quality of life for residents. Over the longer term, monitoring will help to determine if and how urban forests are adapting to changing conditions, and could shed some light on potential mitigations.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Forestry, California Polytechnic State University, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Hawaii Urban Forestry Council.

Work on the initial plot installation will continue through 2013, with a large amount of data gathering planned for 2012.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

 USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C.  20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202-720-6382 (TDD).

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AIA Develops Sustainable Design and Construction Guide

This is a timely release from the American Institute of Architects. I am particularly interested in seeing the content about legislation that directly affects sustainable design and construction for schools and hospitals.

AIA Guide for Sustainable Projects to Provide Design and Construction Industry with Roadmap for Working on Sustainable Projects 

For immediate release:
Washington, DC – April 12, 2011 –The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced that it will release AIA Document D503™-2011, Guide for Sustainable Projects, including Agreement Amendments and Supplementary Conditions("Guide"), in May 2011. The Guide is free and was developed to assist users of AIA Contract Documents in understanding contractual considerations unique to sustainable design and construction projects. The Guide also provides model language that can be used to amend or supplement key AIA Contract Documents in the A201 Family for use in these types of projects. Developed by the AIA's Contract Documents Committee, with input from industry stakeholders, theGuide provides AIA Contract Documents users with a valuable tool for creating versions of AIA standard contract documents for sustainable projects.

You can see this press release online here:

"The AIA Contract Documents program continues to revise existing documents and develop new documents and guides, as necessary, to remain current with trends and changes in the industry and law," said Ken Cobleigh, Managing Director and Counsel for AIA Contract Documents content. "The development of theGuide reflects the shifting landscape in the industry and addresses key issues of interest to all parties involved in these types of projects."

The Guide addresses the current state of sustainable design and construction, discussing issues and concepts including:

·         Certification systems, codes and legislation affecting sustainable design and construction projects,

·         Risks and responsibilities faced by owners, contractors and architects on sustainable design and construction projects, and

·         Recommendations for model language to assist the architect in developing a scope of services and to assist all project participants in appropriately allocating risks and responsibilities.

In addition to providing model language that may be used to amend or supplement documents in the AIA Contract Documents A201 Family for design-bid-build projects, the Guide discusses the applicability of key concepts to other delivery models such as design-build, construction management and integrated project delivery.

Because the AIA believes theGuide is an important resource for the design and construction industry, it will be available in May as a free download at

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Content From A Green Building Friend

This video is a must watch for readers involved with residential energy efficiency.

Here's the link to the video:

Earth Advantage's Energy Performance Score
The Energy Performance Score (EPS) is a home energy rating system similar to the miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating for the auto industry. Conceptualized by Earth Advantage Institute and supported by funding from the Energy Trust of Oregon, the EPS provides an estimate of actual home energy consumption as well as related carbon emissions, and shows homeowners where they rank in energy use on a regional and national scale.

Click Here to watch the video at