Green Is Growing in Retail and Hospitality

According to a new report released today by McGraw Hill Construction in partnership with Waste Management, “Green Retail and Hospitality SmartMarket Report: Capitalizing on the Growth in Green Building Investments,” owners of retail and hotel establishments plan higher levels of green building activity over the next two years. The report is based on a study of 79 retail, 30 hotel and 22 restaurant owners conducted in 2013 by McGraw Hill Construction.

SmartMarket Report graphic

The study defined a green building project as one built to LEED or another recognized green building standard, or one that is energy-efficient, water-efficient, and improves indoor air quality and/or engages in material resource conservation. Notably, by this definition, the percentage of retail owners that have taken a green approach in over half of their building projects rose from 18% in 2011 to 38% this year, and is expected to rise to 52% by 2015. Hotel owners show an even greater investment in green building—the percentage of those owners that have taken a green approach in over half of their building projects rose from 28% in 2011 to 48% in 2013, and is projected to rise to 64% by 2015.

According to the study, owners are also committing to green operations and maintenance (O&M) practices, with nearly two thirds (65%) of retail owners reporting high green O&M activity, and an even stronger 73% of hotel owners reporting the same.

Owners note strong business benefits from green building investments and green O&M practices, helping to drive this growth. Most notably, they report the following when comparing the performance of their green buildings to traditional buildings:

  • Annual operating cost reductions: Reported by 66% of retail owners (at an average reduction of 8%) and by 51% of hotel owners (at an average reduction of 1%)
  • Energy use reductions: Reported by 58% of retail owners and 67% of hotel owners at an average reduction of 15% for both
  • Asset value increases: Reported by 61% of retail owners (at an average increase of 7%) and by 71% of hotel owners (at an average reduction of 11%)
  • ROI increases: Reported by 67% of retail owners (at an average increase of 8%) and by 85% of hotel owners (at an average reduction of 14%)

There are many factors driving these owners toward adoption of green building investments and practices. While operating cost reductions are the most highly reported reason for going green (by 66% of retail owners and 73% of hotel owners), there are several other factors considered highly important in their decision-making process:

  • Utility rebates: according to 63% of retail and 70% of hotel owners
  • Protecting/enhancing brand: according to 51% of retail and 73% of hotel owners (for hotel owners, this is as important as operating cost decreases)
  • Improving ROI: according to 52% of retail and 67% of hotel owners

Business factors alone do not, however, account for the increasing commitment to green building. Forty four percent of retail owners and 50% of hotel owners find that human impact benefits have also been an important factor in encouraging their decision to invest in green building projects. Seventy percent of retail owners see meeting government regulations and standards as a key factor in their decision to do green projects in the future, and 70% of hotel owners consider water use reduction an important factor in that decision. In addition, over half in both sectors report that improved environmental health and well-being has a strong impact on their decision to make future green investments.

Key factors posing challenges to increases in green building investments include higher initial implementation costs for green practices (47% retail, 43% hotel); budgeting challenges (37% retail, 40% hotel); and getting corporate leadership buy-in (30% retail, 50% hotel). However, it is notable that no challenge was reported as having a high impact by more than half the respondents.

While energy efficiency is a key factor behind engagement in green building investments and practices, other aspects of green building also hold weight. For retail owners, 62% report recycling and waste management of critical importance; 63% of hotel owners report the same. These owners are also placing green building requirements on their contractors and suppliers—77% of retail owners and 73% of hotel owners say they require green waste handling practices from their contractors, and nearly the same percentages report requiring recycling and composting from their O&M contractors.

The report also includes opinions from the construction community. In fact, contractors are reporting increased requests from their customers for green projects, reinforcing the findings reported by the owners.

Download the full report.

UL Environment Validates First Landfill Waste Diversion Claim

Underwriters LaboratoriesUL Environment, a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories), announced today that leading North American roofing manufacturer GAF is the first company to achieve UL’s Landfill Waste Diversion claim validation.

Launched in June of 2012, UL Environment’s Zero Waste to Landfill, Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill, and Landfill Waste Diversion claim validations recognize companies that handle waste in innovative and environmentally responsible ways.

UL Environment’s landfill waste diversion criteria include a variety of methods that companies may use to minimize the amount of waste they send to landfills, from energy creation through waste incineration to reuse, recycling, and composting. Companies that achieve a landfill diversion rate of 100 percent qualify for the Zero Waste to Landfill validation. Companies that achieve a diversion rate of 98 percent or greater qualify for the Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill validation. Those that achieve a diversion rate of 80 percent or greater qualify for the Landfill Waste Diversion validation.

GAF’s Mt. Vernon, Indiana plant, which spans 55,000 square feet and employs 40 people, achieved the certification.  The specific claim is worded, “GAF’s EverGuard TPO manufacturing facility, located in Mt. Vernon, IN, has achieved a landfill diversion rate of 90%.

To earn a Zero Waste to Landfill claim validation mark, a Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill claim validation mark, or a Landfill Waste Diversion claim validation mark, companies must undergo an extensive, two-part, UL-led audit, which includes document evaluation and onsite visits. Each claim validation mark clearly indicates the facility’s specific rate of landfill diversion. Facilities whose landfill waste diversion claims have been validated by UL Environment are audited annually and featured in UL Environment’s Sustainable Products Database.

To learn more about UL Environment’s Zero Waste to Landfill, Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill, and Landfill Waste Diversion claim validations, visit the UL Environment website.

IL #5 on USGBC’s 2012 List of Top 10 States for LEED

USGBCIllinois is #5 on the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012. The per-capita list, which recognizes those states that are leading the way in transforming their buildings and communities and includes Washington, D.C., is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and reflects certifications for commercial and institutional buildings.

With 140,137,525 total square feet of LEED-certified space through 2012, Illinois certified 1.94 square feet per resident in 2012, standing behind Massachusetts, with 2.05 square feet, and in front of Maryland, with 1.90 square feet. The District of Columbia tops the list.

The District of Columbia tops the USGBC's annual list of the top ten states for new LEED certifications in 2012.

The District of Columbia tops the USGBC’s annual list of the top ten states for new LEED certifications in 2012.

Notable projects that certified in 2012 in Illinois include:

  • KONE Centre in Moline, the first project in the state to achieve Platinum under the LEED: Core & Shell rating system
  • The Chicago Center for Green Technology, the first municipal project in the country to receive LEED Platinum (2002), recertifying at Platinum under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system
  • Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, LEED Gold
  • Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Champaign, LEED for Schools Gold
  • G&W Electric Co. in Bolingbrook, a supplier of electrical power equipment, LEED Gold
  • Rush University Medical Center Tower in Chicago, LEED Gold

Worldwide, more than 15,000 commercial projects have certified under LEED, with more than 35,000 additional projects in the pipeline, totaling more than 10.3 billion square feet of space.

Better green metrics needed, says McGraw-Hill

McGraw-Hill ConstructionMcGraw-Hill Construction recently released its latest SmartMarket Executive Brief: Determining the Value of Green Building Investments: A Perspective From Industry Leaders on Triple Bottom Line Decision Making, in partnership with URS, at the White House’s 2012 GreenGov Symposium. The report provides the findings of qualitative research conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction through interviews with sustainability leaders in the education, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and federal government sectors on their perspectives about decision making for green building investments.

The report reveals that in order for green building to continue to gain market share at a comparable rate to the past decade, more far-reaching benefits need to be documented and demonstrated to organizational leadership for them to increase their level of green investments. These include benefits across the spectrum of financial, environmental and social benefits—often referred to as the “triple bottom line.”

The study includes recommendations on actions needed in the industry in order to accelerate green investments across the built environment:

  • Evaluate social, environmental and financial goals together when making decisions on green building investments;
  • Create green building benchmarks through standardization and disclosure of operational building costs;
  • Compile data and case studies that establish the value of nonfinancial benefits of green building;
  • Create better tools using a more thorough, industry-consensus definition of lifecycle costing based on impacts across the triple bottom line;
  • Assemble a public database of green project measures across the triple bottom line.

Through in-depth interviews with sustainability leaders, the report finds that organizations are using lifecycle cost analysis of operational savings to demonstrate the ROI of green and to justify green building projects. However, most respondents report there is a need for more data about the non-financial benefits of green to encourage their organizations to increase their investment in green building. This report also reveals the need for standardized measures that can fully capture the impact of green building across the triple bottom line.

DuPont recognized for environmental leadership

DuPont was named recently to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 500 Leadership Index, which comprises 51 companies from the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (Global 500).  Companies are selected based on analysis of their performance across sustainability metrics focused on greenhouse gas emissions, emissions reduction targets and the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

CDP’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index highlights the constituent companies within the Global 500 which have displayed a strong approach to transparency of information regarding climate change.  Companies are scored based on their climate change disclosure, with high scores indicating strong internal data management and understanding of material climate change-related issues.  DuPont received an index score of 94.

The Global 500 report including names of companies featured in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index can be found at  To see DuPont’s full CDP report for 2011. go to

In related news, DuPont has been named to the 2012 North America Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), one of the most respected socially responsible investment indices on the market.

The DJSI measures the performance of the world’s publicly traded sustainability leaders.  Companies are selected based on a comprehensive assessment of long-term economic, environmental and social criteria that account for general as well as industry-specific sustainability trends.

Philadelphia youth group completes first LEED Platinum-certified housing rehabilitation project

YouthBuild PhillyA comprehensive package of sustainable building products and building science expertise from CertainTeed helped achieve a whole-home approach to sustainability in what is set to be YouthBuild Philadelphia’s first LEED® Platinum-certified housing rehabilitation. The recent rehabilitation of 4620 Greene Street benefited from CertainTeed insulation, gypsum, roofing, siding, fence and railing products — all of which contributed to the lofty certification.

The Philadelphia rehab project is the first to be completed under a three-year national partnership between YouthBuild USA and CertainTeed’s parent company, Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company.  As part of YouthBuild USA’s “Green Initiative,” YouthBuild students are provided the opportunity to transform their lives through building green, energy-efficient, and healthy homes, by learning sustainable building skills, earning industry-recognized credentials, and developing environmentally focused leadership skills.

In addition, Sustainable Solutions Corporation (SSC) of Royersford, Pa. facilitated the LEED certification process, integrated green building practices into the renovation project, and provided green building training to YouthBuild students — services in which a large portion were donated.

The multifamily home will be sold to a low- or moderate-income family that has fulfilled eligibility requirements of the Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services and Philadelphia Housing Authority, and that family will have the option of renting the second portion of the house.

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School provides out-of-school youth in Philadelphia with the broadest range of tools, supports and opportunities available to become self-sufficient, responsible and productive citizens. YouthBuild Philadelphia is an innovative alternative education program that blends a rigorous academic curriculum with on-the-job training through community service. Students at YouthBuild Philadelphia earn their high school diplomas and make successful transitions to full-time jobs and post-secondary educational programs. For more information, visit

Entries now being accepted for student architectural design competition

Kingspan Insulated PanelsKingspan Insulated Panels North America is now accepting entries for its Generation Kingspan Architectural Student Contest.

The contest encourages U.S. and Canadian students to create an innovative, Net-Zero Energy, and low-impact environmentally designed to be a possible Kingspan corporate office building using Kingspan’s Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) and reflecting its sustainable corporate philosophy.

The entry submissions and online design community voting phase of the competition starts today. Competitors who submit their entry early stand the best chance at gaining the most online design community votes.

The competition merges the benefits of a juried expert panel review with the wisdom of the crowd — with one winner determined by the judging panel and another winner determined by voting on the Generation Kingspan on-line design community. Both winners will receive an internship at an architecture firm, a $5,000 scholarship and a $1,000 cash prize.

The Generation Kingspan competition will culminate with a Grand Prize winner selection in November at the Greenbuild 2012 International Conference and Exposition in San Francisco. The top designs will compete for exhibit floor votes to determine the grand prize winner, who will be awarded an additional $5,000 toward their scholarship and a high spec laptop with a design software package valued at $5,000.

All submissions will be reviewed first by online voters visiting and participating on the contest website. Online reviewers will have the ability to assign badges to designs based on the three key elements of the design competition: 1. Design/Vision, 2. Sustainability, and 3. Energy Efficiency. In addition, commenting capabilities will enable students, expert voters and entrants to discuss the designs for crowd-sourced learning opportunities. The online community winner will be based on the design that accumulates the most badges.

Complementing the above, the competition also supports a winner, reviewed by an expert jury. The 2012 jury includes:

  • Kingspan Insulated PanelsAP, Professor and Senior Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University

Submissions for Generation Kingspan must be received by October 31, 2012. To learn more about the competition, register online and download materials, visit

U.S. Green Building Council Announces Changes to LEED 2012


“LEED pushes the envelope to bring transformation to the market – that’s what we do,” said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President, LEED. “We remain committed to that, and to making sure that what we deliver is complete and can be successfully implemented.”

In addition to the ballot date change, other actions include:

  • Keeping LEED 2009 open for registration for three years
  • Continuing to ask for the market’s assistance in “test driving” LEED v4 to gain important insight during a time when improvements in usability infrastructure can be made
  • Committing to a fifth public comment that will open on Oct. 2, 2012, and run through Dec. 10, 2012 to take advantage of Greenbuild where USGBC will hold public forums and educational sessions on site in San Francisco. This will help stakeholders better understand requirements as well as any final changes that may appear in the new draft. Greenbuild will also serve as a platform to debut new forms, submittal documents and LEED Online enhancements that will help improve and enhance the user experience

Said USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi,  “This is 100% in response to our members’ desire that we give them a bit more time to absorb the changes in this next version of the rating system.  We want to do everything we can to ensure that the market can fully embrace LEED v4 because it represents significant progress on carbon reduction and human health. Greenbuild will provide us the perfect venue to experience the look and feel of the new system as an integrated package. Then we can take the first part of 2013 to make sure the consensus body has everything it needs for a successful ballot.”

For more information please visit

GSA releases green building certification systems review

GSAThe General Services Administration (GSA) recently released its review of the Green Building Certification Systems.  Three certification systems passed GSA screening criteria: Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the International Living Building Challenge.

Five years ago, only LEED passed the screening process.  In its most recent review, GSA determined Green Globes best advanced federal policies in new buildings and recommended LEED for existing buildings.  Out of more than 180 green building certification systems, GSA narrowed its consideration to whole building systems with a third party verification process.

The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (Center) has been an outspoken advocate of the federal government’s use of science and consensus-based green building certification systems.  In November 2011, the Center filed comments with GSA recommending the agency approve Green Globes based on the certification system’s “more economical approach to building certification and the implementation of a true accredited national standard using the ANSI process.”

On Wednesday, May 9th, the Center’s president Craig Silvertooth delivered testimony at a GSA sponsored meeting on the Green Building Certification Systems review in which he highlighted the potential opportunity and challenges involved in the GSA review process.

GSA oversees the leasing and construction of over 9,600 buildings in the federal building portfolio.  The agency is required under the Energy Independence and Security Act to evaluate green building certification systems every five years to ensure the federal government is using the most appropriate programs to promote its own initiatives.  A copy of the review is available on the GSA website.

AIA Selects 2012 Top Ten Green Projects

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 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.

The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program, now in its 16th year, celebrates projects that integrate 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.

1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA

1315 Peachtree St. is a civic-focused adaptive reuse of a 1986 office structure transformed into a living laboratory and educational tool for sustainable design.

1315 Peachtree Street/Perkins+Will; Atlanta, GA
This project is a civic-focused adaptive reuse of a 1986 office structure transformed into a living laboratory and educational tool for sustainable design.  Rainwater from the roof and the 5th floor terrace is captured and stored in an underground cistern which is then filtered, treated with ultraviolet light, then pumped to all flush fixtures in the building. Solar studies and energy modeling informed design decisions regarding daylighting, glazing replacement, glazing materials and shading systems.  Pervious paving was replaced by permeable paving and landscaping to help recharge the region’s aquifer.

ASU Polytechnic Academic District; Mesa, AZ
RSP Architects and Lake Flato Architects
The design for the Arizona State University Polytechnic Academic Distric transformed a decommissioned airbase into an inviting pedestrian campus that includes five high-performance LEED Gold rated buildings.  The design for the new campus creates a new identity that responds to its desert climate and context by using a dense network of linear buildings that maximizes shade and creates a vibrant pedestrian environment.  The building typology grew from the same objective by extroverting the circulation which also served to minimize the air-conditioned square footage and electricity for lighting.

Chandler City Hall; Chandler, AZ
This project is a low to mid-rise government complex that responds to the harsh desert climate and at the same time provides for appropriate outdoor spaces that introduced much needed green space.  The building takes a comprehensive approach to reducing potable water use by employing interior and exterior strategies.  Passive shading strategies along with a high performance glazing were utilized to knock out as much of the solar heat gain as possible.  This allowed mechanical systems to be appropriately sized and varied depending on building function.

Iowa Utilities Board Office of Consumer Advocate Office Building; Des Moines, IA
This project is an infill development on the 6-acre site of a former landfill. The project captures and infiltrates 100% of the stormwater from the average annual rainfall event and diverts stormwater from 6-acres of adjacent streets for on-site treatment. Thermal mass captures “free heating”, modulates temperatures and, thus, reduces loads. A year after opening, the project is performing at 68% energy savings beyond the energy code baseline (ASHRAE 90.1-2004). The geothermal well field uses the earth’s constant temperature to offset heating and cooling loads. High performance glass is tuned to the characteristics of each elevation’s exposures. Over 95% of the regularly occupied spaces in the building have daylight.

Mercy Corps Global Headquarters; Portland, OR
THA Architecture
This project is comprised of the restoration of a 42,000 square foot neglected historical landmark.  The project includes a 3,800 square foot green roof, which not only filters water and slows stormwater discharge but contributes to better air quality in this area of the downtown.  Potable water use was reduced by 40% by installing water saving plumbing fixtures such as low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets.  Landscape plants are xeriscaped to eliminate the need for irrigation water, resulting in a more than 50% reduction of potable water consumption for irrigation.  On-site paving is pervious to encourage direct ground infiltration during rainfall.

Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts; Philadelphia, PA
SMP Architects (in collaboration w/ SRK Architects)
The design team concentrated on making this project as transparent and inviting as possible.  Since completion truancy has dropped from 35% to 0%, tests scores have quadrupled and graduation has gone from 29% to 69% – in one year.  The faculty has embraced many of the visible sustainability features and used them as teaching tool for students.  A high percentage of recycled and rapidly renewable materials were incorporated into the project design and construction waste management achieved 82%.  The Design Team put special emphasis on orienting classrooms for optimal daylighting, reducing artificial lighting and HVAC loads.

Music and Science Building; Hood River, OR
Opsis Architecture
The goal of this project was to create a public building that truly fuses sustainable design with sustainability curriculum, and carefully integrate the facility into the existing National Historic Landmark site.  The project team worked closely with the school’s teachers to include and enhance building components that will be incorporated into the curriculum.  From the science classroom, the students have access to the heart of the building’s geothermal and water system, the pump room, labeled and metered specifically to be used for classroom demonstration and instruction.

Portland Community College (PCC) Newberg Center; Newberg, OR
Hennebery Eddy Architects
Designed to be the first net zero energy, higher education building in Oregon, this project supports PCC’s sustainable mission to reduce green house gas emissions by 80% by 2050.  Overall water use was reduced by 49.2% through the use of low-flow faucets and toilets.  A weather-based irrigation system controller, drip irrigation and high efficiency spray heads reduced irrigation water use by more than 50%.  Stretched out along the east-west axis, the design maximizes the north and south building exposures.  Taking advantage of the Pacific Northwest’s climate, the building incorporates natural ventilation and passive cooling articulated by the ventilation stacks that organize the circulation spine.

University of Minnesota Duluth – Bagley Classroom Building; Duluth, MN
Salmela Architect
Serving eight different departments, this project incorporated the German Passiv Haus system in the design process to meet all the performance goals set forth by the client. Educational and pedagogical innovations were paramount throughout the design, construction and operation of the building.  The vegetative roof provides additional habitat, the chives and flowering sedum attract butterflies and bees. It also keeps the building and surrounding area cool.  Building orientation eliminates artificial cooling and the building is cooled by shading with existing tree cover in the summer towards the South as well as shading devices designed for the building.

University of California, Merced 2009 Long Range Development Plan; Merced, CA
UC Merced
This projects approach embraces economic, social and environmental sustainability in all aspects of its built environment, operations and approach to programming.  The plan’s design standards include daylighting in 75% of interior spaces.  The building includes energy efficient lighting, daylighting controls, and carbon dioxide sensors that adjust airflow depending on occupancy.  Under the plan’s zero net energy approach, the campus generates as much electricity as it uses through a portfolio of solar, wind, waste to energy and energy efficiencies.  To design for longevity, spaces and building shells are oriented for flexible re-use wherever possible.