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

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

LEED-Certified Green Building Projects Hit 12,000 Mark

USGBCThe U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today announced that the 12,000th commercial project has earned LEED certification. Since its launch in 2000, the LEED green building program has been transforming the way built environments are designed, constructed, operated and maintained.

The 12,000th project is the LEED Gold Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Paid for by the Recovery Act and rebuilt after the original facility was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008, the facility will house new wildlife exhibits, an environmental education center, and National Parks employees.

The wildlife refuge joins a community of more than 137,000 LEED registered and certified projects, homes, communities and neighborhoods around the world.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the leading program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. More than 45,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising 8.4 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. In addition, over 19,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with over 76,500 more homes registered.

Third public comment period for LEED Green Building Program to start March 1

USGBCThe third public comment period for the proposed 2012 update to the USGBC LEED green building program will open Mar. 1, 2012. The comment period, which will close on Mar. 20, marks the start of the LEED 2012 program delivery process.

This third draft of LEED has been refined to address technical stringency and rigor, measurement and performance tools, and an enhanced user experience. The technical changes have been informed by market data, stakeholder-generated ideas, expert engagement and advances in technology. Additional performance-based management features will help projects measure and manage energy and water usage, site and building material selection, and indoor environmental quality.

LEED 2012 includes programs aimed at helping organizations use LEED to benchmark building performance in preparation for certification and for tracking performance of their buildings post-certification provide opportunities for ongoing engagement between project teams and USGBC both before certification and after the plaque is awarded.

For LEED projects outside of the U.S., LEED 2012 will offer a new global perspective. Through modified language, new requirements and options that increase flexibility, LEED 2012 makes it easier for the international community to engage.

In an effort to redefine and enhance the user experience, LEED credit requirements have been rewritten to better align with documentation already required by the architecture and construction fields. Improvements to submittals, documentation paths and LEED Online improve LEED usability.

As the LEED program evolves to address the dynamic needs of the building industry, the development process is based on principles of transparency, openness, and inclusiveness, and includes multiple comment periods where input received is incorporated into LEED. The third public comment documents, including technical refinements, scorecards, and responses to comments from the previous public comment period, will be available on beginning Mar. 1. Members of the public can comment on any substantive changes made since the second public comment period, which ran from Aug. 1 through Sept. 14, 2011.

Once the comment period process concludes, LEED 2012 will be balloted in June and launch in November. To vote in the ballot, USGBC members must opt-in to the Consensus Body beginning Apr. 2. The Consensus Body is made up of employees of USGBC national member organizations in good standing, and ensures ballot participation from the full diversity of members who are using LEED in the marketplace. To be eligible to join the Consensus Body and vote in the LEED 2012 ballot, members must be in good standing by Mar. 1, and be maintained throughout the balloting period.

Top 10 states for LEED green buildings includes DC, CO, and IL

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its 2011 list of top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, based on the U.S. 2010 Census information. The District of Columbia leads the nation, with more than 31 square feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, with Colorado being the leading state, with 2.74 square feet per person in 2011.

Other top states include Illinois, Virginia and Washington, with 2.69, 2.42 and 2.18 square feet of LEED-certified space per person, respectively. The top LEED states per capita, including the District of Columbia:

Sq. ft. of space to earn LEED-
certification in 2011
Per capita
District of Columbia 18,954,022 31.50
Colorado 13,803,113 2.74
Illinois 34,567,585 2.69
Virginia 19,358,193 2.42
Washington 14,667,558 2.18
Maryland 11,970,869 2.07
Massachusetts 13,087,625 2.00
Texas 50,001,476 1.99
California 71,551,296 1.92
New York 36,538,981 1.89
Minnesota 9,591,445 1.81

LEED is the internationally recognized mark of green building excellence, with more than 44,000 projects commercial projects participating, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. In addition, more than 16,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 67,000 more homes registered.

Notable newly certified projects in 2011 include the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., which is distinguished as the oldest LEED-certified project in the world; the LEED-Platinum Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colo.; the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, Ill.; Frito-Lay in Lynchburg, Va., which earned LEED Gold for the operations and maintenance of an existing building; the LEED Silver Hard Rock Café in Seattle, Wash.; Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.; Yawkey Distribution Center of The Greater Boston Food Bank in Mass.; the LEED Gold Austin Convention Center in TX; SFO’s LEED Gold Terminal 2 in San Francisco, Calif.; the LEED-Platinum Hotel Skylar in Syracuse, N.Y.; and the LEED Platinum Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minn.

In December 2011, USGBC announced that LEED-certified existing buildings outpaced their newly built counterparts by 15 million square feet on a cumulative basis. A focus on heightened building performance through green operations and maintenance is essential to cost-effectively driving improvements in the economy and the environment.

Carrier to Help Brazilians Go Green

As Brazil prepares to host two worldwide sporting events in the next five years, training is already underway – but not just for athletes. Focused on protecting the natural environment around the globe, Carrier Corp. is training building designers and owners on how to incorporate green building practices into their projects by offering the company’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) licensed training event in Brazil.

Carrier’s workshop, entitled LEED 101: Green Building Basics and LEED, attracted more than 40 customers and industry professionals to learn about the LEED rating system, key sustainability terms and concepts, green building best practices, and cost considerations of green buildings. Green building principles were introduced as well as current building trends such as climate change; motivators for green building; and conventional versus integrative approaches to building design, construction, and operations.

Carrier offers a number of tools to help its customers worldwide be environmentally responsible. In addition to being a founding member of the USGBC, Carrier is a founding member of the Argentina, China, India, Singapore and France Green Building Councils. The company is a U.S. Green Building Council Education Provider and is the first company to license USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) curriculum.

Carrier also leverages the Carrier University Institute for Sustainability to provide ongoing professional development, technical training and application tools to the industry. Additionally, customer events, such as Green Done Easy and the Global Engineering Conference, provide commercial customers with training on key topics and challenges in the industry today.

For more information and its sustainability initiatives, visit the Carrier website.

Bayer Invests $17 Million to Create “Workspace of the Future”

Bayer's New Facility

Bayer Corporation recently announced a $17 million “Workspace of the Future” renovation project at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh. The planned improvements focus on two buildings which house the largest number of employees, approximately 825 of the 1,500 employees at the suburban Robinson Township campus. After completion, expected by June 2013, the buildings will feature open-area workspaces designed to boost employee collaboration and environmental sustainability.

The new working environment will integrate and showcase Bayer MaterialScience products in the design. For example, Bayer invented polycarbonate, a synthetic thermoplastic resin used in a wide range of products. Bayer MaterialScience’s Makrolon MAK clear polycarbonate will be used at the workstations, allowing natural light to filter throughout the workplace. LED (light-emitting diode) light fixture lenses will be made of the polycarbonate material, as will lobby architectural panels displaying the Bayer logo.

Additional energy-efficient design features include: Energy Star-rated heating and cooling systems, low-flow plumbing to reduce water usage by 20 to 40 percent and GThurm windows, a line of energy-efficient windows, recently launched by Graham Architectural Products. The windows feature Graham glass-reinforced polyurethane technology, which employs a unique polyurethane resin supplied by Bayer MaterialScience LLC. In addition to stability and durability, the windows offer thermal insulation and environmental friendliness.

Bayer is pursuing LEED-CI (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Commercial Interior) gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the project. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system. It provides official verification that building designs meet high energy efficiency and environmental standards.

Experts Team Up to Enhance Demand Response LEED Pilot Credit

Skipping Stone, Schneider Electric and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently announced the formation of a committee tasked with enhancing the current Demand Response LEED Pilot Credit. The team, led by Skipping Stone and composed of Schneider Electric and the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will collaborate on enhancing the credit to enable commercial building owners and LEED green building projects to earn credits in LEED for enrolling in utility or wholesale market demand response programs.

The enhanced program will provide LEED projects with demand response definitions, participation options for buildings, and implementation and documentation requirement guidelines. The team will also develop a robust market research agenda to study participation across markets, adoption criteria, load reduction scenarios, utility service territory benchmarking and implementation technology drivers. To assist buildings in identifying existing demand response programs, Skipping Stone will provide U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members with a searchable national database of programs.

The revised Demand Response LEED Pilot Credit will be published later this spring. Based on feedback from participating buildings, the market research generated in the market pilots and input from pilot sponsors, recommendations will be made for eventual integration of the Demand Response Credit into the Energy & Atmosphere Credits in the next version of the LEED rating system, LEED 2012.

To propel building community adoption of both demand response and the revised LEED credit, USGBC will be launching a series of utility service territory market pilots. Skipping Stone has been named as the market pilot manager and is currently developing stakeholder support with potential host utilities, market operators, regulators, enabling technology and services providers and other interested parties.

Georgia-Pacific Launches Online Toolbox

Georgia Pacific GypsumGeorgia-Pacific Gypsum’s online architectural toolbox is a collection of utilities and information assembled to support Division 7 and Division 9 architects as they specify and select Georgia-Pacific Gypsum products.

The architectural toolbox provides easy access to the Georgia-Pacific Design Studio, which, the company claims, can help increase an architect’s expertise in the world of building information modeling (BIM). The Georgia-Pacific Design Studio is an easy-to-use resource for creating wall assemblies, which can then be exported to AutoDesk® Revit® Architecture and other two- and three-dimensional modeling software.

Another tool available to architects is the Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LEED Calculator, which provides immediate access to concise information about a product’s potential LEED credit contribution. This includes specific data regarding recycled content and regional materials.

Other toolbox tools now available are:

AIA supports Mayors support of IGCC

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, applauded the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ endorsement (click here and view p. 89 of the pdf) of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), a comprehensive set of requirements intended to reduce the negative impact of buildings on the natural environment, while maintaining safety standards and increasing long-term peak performance.
   According to the AIA statement, “The Mayors’ Conference endorsement today of the IGCC at its annual meeting is a major expression of support from an organization outside of the building and construction industry. Such resolutions document support for a policy and represent ways for mayors to learn about and support policies nationally that they are free to adopt in their communities.”
   “The IGCC needs the backing of leadership within local jurisdictions if it is to have any impact on the carbon footprint of the nation’s building sector, which accounts for almost 40% of America’s energy consumption and 72% of its electricity use,” said George H. Miller, FAIA, president of the AIA. “This resolution, by America’s mayors, is a huge step in that direction.”
   The Mayors Conference resolution calls on local governments “wishing to take a more holistic approach to incorporating energy efficiency, sustainable community planning, and healthy and safe building practices into the codes to adopt the IGCC and consider its Standard 189.1 compliance path as base code in their jurisdiction.”
   According to the AIA, “The IGCC is a document that can be readily used by design professionals, builders, and others in the industry. It was created with the intent to be administered by code officials and adopted by governmental units at any level as a tool to establish a green ‘floor’ above which voluntary rating systems can continue to drive the cutting edge of sustainable and safe design.”
   The IGCC was developed by the International Code Council (ICC), Washington, in association with cooperating sponsors ASTM International (ASTM), West Conshohocken, PA, and the AIA. Other organizations have joined the effort, including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Washington, producers of the LEED green building rating systems; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Atlanta; responsible for developing the Standard 189.1; and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), New York.
   Version 1.0 of the IGCC was publicly released, in Washington, on March 15, 2010. Comments received and testimony presented at the August 14-to-22 hearings in Chicago will be the basis for Public Version 2.0 of the IGCC, scheduled for release in November 2010.—Gary L. Parr