USGBC, University of Michigan Study Shows Sustainability Advances Buildings’ Resiliency

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning have released a report describing how green buildings advance resiliency in disasters.

The report describes potential adaptive strategies for green building practitioners that add a new dimension to green building’s focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and the use of renewable and low-carbon energy sources.

The report, which was undertaken in the wake of 2011 disasters such as Hurricane Irene and the East Coast earthquake, identifies connections between green building and resiliency and advances several firsts in the field. The report examines the implications of climate change for green building and opportunities for resilience through building design, construction and operation; analyzes how LEED credits support regional adaptation needs; and demonstrates how consideration of climate resilience in buildings can increase the likelihood of achieving performance goals.

LEED 2012 Introduces New and Updated Credits

LEED 2012, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) upcoming annual update to the LEED green building program includes updates to credits within the LEED Pilot Credit Library, which gathers real-time feedback on credit usability and ability to meet a credit’s intent.

The library was established to facilitate the introduction of new prerequisites and credits to LEED through stakeholder collaboration on the testing and analysis of proposed requirements.

This process allows USGBC to refine credits before introducing them into the LEED program. LEED 2012 focuses on increasing the rating system’s technical rigor, improving user experience and providing new measurement and performance tools. Public comment documents for LEED 2012 include technical refinements, scorecards and responses and are currently available at usgbc.org/pilotcreditlibrary/.

Hearst Tower Upgraded From LEED Gold to Platinum

Hearst Tower is the first New York City commercial office building to be recognized for achieving both LEED Gold for new construction and LEED Platinum for the operations and maintenance of its existing building.

In 2006, Hearst Tower became one of the first green office buildings in the city’s history; with this second certification, Hearst has achieved the highest possible rating for sustainable building operations and best maintenance practices.

Hearst has reduced its total energy consumption by 40 percent, placing the company in the top 10 percent of energy-efficient commercial office buildings in the U.S. Hearst has also reduced total waste going to the landfills by 82 percent and is one of the first commercial office buildings in New York to compost 100 percent of its wet food waste.

Hearst also has 100 percent use of reclaimed non-potable rainwater for sidewalk cleaning and controlled water usage throughout the building that has reduced its water usage more than 30 percent annually.

First Existing High-Rise in Utah Achieves LEED

Salt Lake City’s 28-year-old 170 South Main Street is the first existing high-rise in Utah to achieve LEED certification. The building has also won Energy Star rating and a TOBY Award from the Utah Chapter of BOMA International following a $1 million upgrade of its building equipment and six years of extensive energy-efficient renewal.

The 15-story building features an oval shape clad in glass and Alucobond panels and is a landmark in Salt Lake City’s downtown. Its first-floor atrium houses a national bank and retail stores, and the building’s 25 tenants include commercial real estate, title, gas exploration, wealth management and insurance companies.

The building’s upgrades include chiller plant retrofitting; improved lighting systems, including day lighting controls and plug load occupancy sensors; improved HVAC system and sub-metering; ventilation energy recovery; tenant, Web-based power usage systems; replacement of automated faucets, toilet flush units and paper towel dispensers; optimization of building operating performance to reduce costs and enhance occupant health and comfort.

Hines Atlanta Financial Center Earns LEED Silver

The Atlanta Financial Center has received LEED Silver certification, according to the Atlanta office of Hines, the international real estate firm. Atlanta Financial Center is a 900,000-sq.-ft. office building in the city’s Buckhead area.

Positioned directly over GA 400, the building has a unique black aluminum/glass frame and is composed of three interconnected towers: two 13-story towers and a 19-story centerpiece. Hines acquired the property in 2001. Atlanta Financial Center has an Energy Star rating of 76, saving more than $630,000 in energy costs compared to the average U.S. office building.

Green features include: alternative commuter transportation options; ongoing electronic recycling and comprehensive recycling, including landscape and construction waste; energy-efficient and reduced-mercury content lighting systems; environmentally sensitive cleaning products and practices; low-flow water usage fixtures; and a Green Office for Tenants program, which assists in giving tenants options to reduce their carbon footprint.

EPA Recognizes CBRE With 2012 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded CBRE Group Inc. a 2012 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of the firm’s continued leadership in energy efficiency for the fifth consecutive year.

The awards are given to organizations that have exhibited outstanding leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by achieving aggressive goals, employing innovative approaches and demonstrating what can be achieved through energy efficiency. The awards recognize ongoing leadership across the Energy Star program, including energy-efficient products, services and new buildings in the commercial, industrial, residential and public sectors. Award winners are selected from 20,000 Energy Star program participants.

CBRE is being recognized for its longtime commitment to energy efficiency, demonstrated through the firm’s mandating in 2007 that all office buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. managed by its U.S. Asset Services Group be registered with Energy Star. Today, more than 1,500 CBRE-managed buildings, or 260 million sq. ft., are participating in the program; in 2011, more than 300 of these properties were recognized for exemplary performance by Energy Star.

Liberty Property Trust Named 2012 Energy Star Partner of the Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Liberty Property Trust a 012 Energy Star Partner of the Year for managing and improving the energy efficiency of its entire office and industrial portfolio.

Liberty has certified more than 89 buildings with Energy Star, developed more than 34 LEED buildings and innovated and implemented proprietary technology such as building wide area networks (BWAN) that track and display energy use in real time for property managers. Over the past three years alone, Liberty’s approach has saved the company $4 million, which has been passed directly to its tenants, Liberty’s Sustainability Manager Marla Thalheimer said in a statement.

USGBC, Home Depot Launch New Database of Green Building Products

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in partnership with The Home Depot, has launched an online green home products database.

The database (leed.homedepot.com) is a microsite that features products geared toward green home building, many of which could contribute toward earning LEED points.

Currently, more than 2,500 products sold at The Home Depot are listed on the website. USGBC notes that the green housing market has tripled since 2008. Green homes, which comprised 17 percent of new residential construction in 2011, are expected to increase by 29 to 38 percent of the market by 2016, according to a recent report by McGraw-Hill Construction.

Solar Power Technologies Receives ETL Certification for Clarity Monitoring System

Solar Power Technologies Inc.’s solar monitoring system has received ETL certification and will be listed in the Intertek database of certified products for use in the U.S. and Canada.

Intertek, the issuing organization of the ETL Mark, engages in extensive system testing to validate compliance with all applicable regulatory standards. The certification covers the range of Clarity panel monitors for crystalline and thin-film solar panels and the Clarity wireless mess network that enables system deployments up to utility scale.

With the ability to be deployed at string or panel level, the Austin, Texas-based Solar Power Technologies Inc.’s Clarity system uses new technology to maximize energy harvest, enabling a new level of operations and maintenance efficiency driven by financial business rules. The system pinpoint array performance problems down to the panel level with an accuracy of 0.5 percent, providing 10 times more accuracy and granularity than large-scale monitoring systems.

BuildingWise Opens Second California Location

Global sustainable building consultancy BuildingWise has opened a second California location in San Francisco to accommodate the growing Monterey, Calif.-based company.

BuildingWise’s new office, located in San Francisco’s Financial District at class-A 50 California Street, allows the firm’s team to be in close proximity to new and existing clients. Since its founding in 2007, BuildingWise has consulted on over 25 million sq. ft. of space, helping clients ranging from individual property owners to global corporations to run their buildings at their lowest efficiency levels and operating costs with optimized return on investment. BuildingWise most recently facilitated San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid in earning LEED-EB Platinum certification.

Principal Solar Appoints Investment Banker and Renewable Energy Expert to Advisory Board

Principal Solar Inc. has appointed J. Peter Lynch to its advisory board. Lynch, a pioneer in renewables in the investment banking industry and a renewable energy expert with more than 35 years of experience as a Wall Street security analyst and investor, and a former contributing editor to the Photovoltaic Insider Report, will provide fundraising expertise and thought leadership to the Dallas-based publicly traded renewable energy holding company.

A contributing editor to Photovoltaic Insider Report for 17 years, Lynch has served as a financial and technology consultant to renewable energy companies in the solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind and biomass industries, and currently spearheads the development of several commercial-scale solar projects in the Northeast U.S.

Newark Office of McCarter & English LLP Certified LEED Gold and Silver

Law firm McCarter & English LLP has been awarded LEED Gold and Silver certification for the renovation of its Newark, N.J. offices.

The firm earned certification for the renovation of its practice floors and the build-out of its conference center, achieving points for water efficiency, green power, low-VOC paints and coatings, utilization of a construction management system, paper recycling, furniture and material reuse and advanced lighting technology. McCarter & English is currently seeking LEED Silver certification for its Stamford, Conn. office.

Tufts School of Dental Medicine Is Certified LEED Gold

The first phase of a comprehensive renovation of pre-doctoral clinics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston has received LEED Gold certification. ARC/Architectural Resources, a Cambridge, Mass.-based planning and interior design firm, completed the 20,000-sq.-ft. first phase of a comprehensive renovation plan totaling 60,000 sq. ft. of clinic, office and support space last fall.

The full renovation plan spans across three floors of the school, located at Tufts University’s health sciences campus at One Kneeland Street in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. The Phase 1 renovation included improvements in water efficiency, energy use, building materials and recycling, indoor environmental quality, green design innovation and sustainability of the site. Increased ventilation and localized temperature controls were also installed. More than 23 percent of the building materials were manufactured using recycled content and more than 84 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. In 2009, ARC completed a five-story, 105,000-sq.-ft. vertical addition to the dental school’s 10-story building, which received LEED Silver certification, as well as design awards from the Boston Society of Architects, the New England Chapter of International Interior Design Association and the Boston Chapter of the International Facilities Management Association.