Institute, DOE to develop Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines

Natl Inst of Building ScienceToday, the National Institute of Building Sciences (Institute) announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to coordinate an industry-driven process to develop voluntary national guidelines for commercial building workforce credentials, known as the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines.

Improving the operational performance of commercial buildings requires highly skilled and qualified workers, particularly as building technologies become more advanced. Yet the lack of national guidelines for energy-related professional credentials represents a major barrier to the quality, consistency and scalability of this workforce. The Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines will initially address commercial building workforce training and certification programs for five key energy-related jobs: energy auditor, commissioning professional, building/stationary engineer, facility manager and energy manager.

The purpose of the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines is to reduce the confusion and uncertainty around workforce credentialing; lower costs; and support better credentials, better workers and better buildings. The guidelines will set an industry-validated Job Task Analysis (JTA) for each job title, as well as certification schemes (blueprints) and learning objectives for training programs.

The Institute established the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC), which will consist of private and public sector industry stakeholders, to lead development of the Guidelines. By spring of 2015, the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines are scheduled to be available to the U.S. commercial building industry, including professional certification bodies, labor union training funds or apprenticeship program sponsors; private training providers; and career and technical higher education programs.

Get Involved in the CWCC
The Institute invites industry stakeholders, including building owners, industry trade associations, credentialing bodies, energy efficiency advocates, utility program administrators, labor unions, the real estate community, and state, local and federal officials to join the CWCC. If you’re already a member of the Institute, you may join the CWCC by emailing us at with “Join CWCC” in the subject line. Non-members may join the  Institute and the Council using the discount code “CWCCJ13″ for a free one-year membership. Sign up now to become a CWCC member.Register for the Informational Webinar

DOE will host a live webinar on October 17, 2013, from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EDT, for industry professionals to learn more about the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines and the CWCC. A live question and answer period will occur at approximately 3:00 pm, following the presentation. Space is limited. Register now. For those unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and made available on the CWCC website.

Learn about the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines
For more information on the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines, visit the DOE website.

USGBC says more than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED-certified buildings

USGBCThe U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its inaugural LEED in Motion report, a holistic statistical snapshot of the green building movement aimed at equipping its members with the insight to make a strong case for sustainable building activity.

The first of three reports in the LEED in Motion series, available exclusively to USGBC member companies, LEED in Motion: People and Progress examines the individuals and organizations that are driving and benefitting from green building, utilizing graphics, charts and other tools to demonstrate the breadth of the community intent on creating buildings that are better for the environment and the people who utilize them every day.

The first section of the report, Occupants and Industry, examines the broad community that engages with green buildings as residents and tenants — as much a part of the movement as industry practitioners. Currently, USGBC estimates that more than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED-certified buildings, while more than 6.2 million people experience a LEED-certified project every day.

The LEED Professionals section of the report considers the community of more than 186,000 LEED credential holders who are actively applying their specialized knowledge of LEED to advance the green building rating system while adding value to the firms that employ them. In particular, the report notes the top 10 U.S. states for LEED Professionals, as well as the top 10 industries in which they are employed.

The report also examines the nearly 13,000 USGBC member organizations, ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to small neighborhood businesses, representing 13 million employees and $1.8 trillion in combined revenue. People and Progress reports on the location and market sectors of these geographically and professionally diverse organizations, which are advancing green building with activities such as LEED certifications and participation on LEED development committees.

Additionally, the report features USGBC’s network of 77 chapters and nearly 30,000 chapter members, explaining how the network’s educational, advocacy-related and community-based activities are proving pivotal to the expansion of green building in local communities around the nation.

The report also features several project spotlights, highlighting sustainable features and achievements at projects in the medical, education and commercial real estate sectors, in addition to interviews with green building leaders.

USGBC will release the next two LEED in Motion reports, Places and Policies and Impacts and Innovation, later this year.

USGBC members can download LEED in Motion: People and Progress, by visiting the USGBC website.

USGBC and Green Sports Align to Promote Healthy, Sustainable Sporting Venues and Programs

USGBCWith millions of sports fans visiting LEED-certified green sports venues every year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is proud to announce a collaboration with the Green Sports Alliance, a prominent nonprofit organization supporting the development and promotion of green building initiatives in professional and collegiate sports.

USGBC will support the Alliance to accelerate the green sports movement by exploring LEED certification of sports stadiums across the country. Currently, 25 professional sports venues are LEED-certified, including Nationals ParkAmerican Airlines Arena and Soldier Field to name a few. The partnership will also explore additional engagement opportunities such as USGBC’s Green Apple Day of Service, a day for people across the globe to participate in green school service projects.

USGBC and the Alliance have jointly developed a toolkit focused on advancing green schools through sports, which encourages sports organizations to engage their communities in environmental stewardship through local projects.

The Alliance highlights USGBC initiatives at professional and collegiate sports venues through member resources including webinars, toolkits, best practice sharing and social media events.

USGBC first collaborated with the Alliance last August when the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders and Storm collaborated on a school garden project for the inaugural Green Apple Day of Service. 2013 Green Apple Day of Service projects are currently being planned by sports teams in cities such as San Francisco, Kansas City, Seattle and Philadelphia, host of USGBC’s 2013Greenbuild Conference and Expo in November, where the Alliance will have a presence in the Center for Green Schools booth.

To continue engaging the sports industry around its programs, USGBC will be joining the Green Sports Alliance at the 2013 Green Sports Alliance Summit in NYC, August 26-28.

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