Fifth Public Comment Period Open for Update to USGBC’s LEED Program

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced the opening of the fifth public comment period for proposed updates to its LEED green building program. The comment period, which closes on Dec. 10, enables the building community to view the most recent draft of the rating systems and provide comments where any substantive changes have been made.

LEED v4 continues to push the envelope on energy efficiency, allocating almost 20 percent of all points to optimize energy performance over the stringent ASHRAE 90.1-2010, which would do more to help curb CO2 emissions than any LEED rating system in its 12-year history. In this draft, using fewer, better materials will result in up to 9 LEED points, incentivizing product manufacturers that voluntarily report on their product makeup and those who reduce the negative impacts from extraction of raw material through the manufacturing process. When fully launched in 2013, LEED v4 will offer an improved user experience that will make the certification review and documentation process more intuitive and efficient.

New Energy Company Launched by Dibachi and Clark

Farid Dibachi and Kraig Clark, two veteran technology entrepreneurs, have joined forces to start an energy technology company, JLM Energy Inc. Launched in 2011, the Rocklin, Calif.-based company has since developed groundbreaking technology focused on providing customers with comprehensive energy products and solutions. The focus is to develop and market innovative products that save customers money. As energy is a major expenditure for businesses, Dibachi and Clark see the approach of providing a portfolio of products specifically suited to the needs of their customers to be compelling.

ACEEE: Massachusetts Still Top State for Energy Efficiency

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its sixth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The 2012 Scorecard names the top 10 energy efficiency states as Massachusetts (for the second consecutive year), followed by California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Minnesota.

The states that are most in need of improvement (starting with last) are Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana and Nebraska.

The three most improved states are Oklahoma, Montana and South Carolina, each of which significantly increased their budgets for electric efficiency programs in 2011. Oklahoma also launched natural gas efficiency programs in 2011 and Montana increased its budgets for those programs. The other states making significant progress this year include Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, all of which increased budgets for energy efficiency.

California Best Buildings Challenge Rises to 13 Companies

Thirteen companies in California have committed to the California Best Buildings Challenge, launched by the U.S. Green Building Council and its Northern California Chapter, totaling more than 6 million sq. ft. of collective building space. Bayer, Integral Group, Lockheed Martin, Method, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Webcore Builders and XL Construction have joined existing Challenge participants Adobe, Genentech, Google, Prudential Real Estate Investors, SAP and Zynga. Inspired by the White House’s Better Buildings Challenge that seeks 20 percent energy reductions by 2020, participating companies of the California Best Buildings Challenge commit to pursue 20 percent reductions in energy, water and waste in their existing commercial buildings in just two years.

Marietta Medical Center Awarded LEED Silver

Ackerman & Co. has achieved LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings for Marietta Medical Center. The 98,534-sq.-ft. five-story, class-A property, located at 790 Church Street in Marietta, Ga., is the first and only medical office building to receive LEED certification in that city.

The building features a dramatic two-story glass and concrete atrium, and is also certified Net Zero by Offsets, meaning that 100 percent of the energy consumed there has been offset with wind power purchased off-site. Water usage was cut by 44 percent; electricity consumption was cut by 11 percent. Existing HAVC components have been replaced and eco-friendly cleaning produce use increased by 60 percent.

$45M Mixed-Use Project Under Construction Near Salt Lake City

Construction has begun on Birkhill on Main Apartment Homes, a new upscale, eco-friendly transit-oriented apartment community in Murray, Utah, 8 miles south of Salt Lake City. The 6.2-acre, multiphase, $45 million mixed-use development, designed by KTGY Group Inc., will offer 311 luxury apartments plus a three-story office building. Phase I will feature 137 apartments and include 41 market rate and 96 affordable housing units in a five story building. The $17 million project is being constructed using sustainable building methods. Floor plans range from 664 to 1,119 sq. ft. and rents from $335 to $811 per month. There is a landscaped courtyard, barbecues and seating, basketball court, swimming pool and fitness center, as well as a paved walking trail to connect with Jordan River Parkway’s 40 miles of trails and a $1.7 million parking garage structure. The projects Phases II and III, which will add an additional 174 units, will be completed by 2016; Phase IV’s timing is based on preleasing.

New Eco-Friendly Rental Opens in Jersey City

Fields Development Group has opened Madox, a new upscale, eco-friendly rental building at 198 Van Vorst Street in downtown Jersey City’s historic Paulus Hook neighborhood. Leasing also began this month, with occupancy scheduled for early November. Designed as the first LEED-certified residential building in Jersey City, the seven-story building features 131 luxury apartments. Monthly rents are expected to begin at $1,800 for the units, which range from 480 to 1,312 sq. ft.

Green Cross International: Geneva Should Host Green Climate Fund

Green Cross International and the Climate Change Task Force are backing the candidacy of Geneva, Switzerland to become the future host city of the Green Climate Fund, launched at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and a key tool in the global fight against climate change. Geneva is an ideal candidate due to its experience in hosting international bodies and its own pro-green credentials, Alexander Likhotal, Green Cross International president and Task Force member, said in a statement. Geneva is also considered common ground for governments and businesses from around the world.

Jones Lang LaSalle and Royal Philips Launch Global Lighting Partnership

Jones Lang LaSalle has entered into a partnership agreement with Royal Philips Electronics to deliver energy-efficient lighting and energy management solutions to all JLL clients. This is the first time two leaders in the corporate real estate and lighting industries are uniting to change the way commercial and industrial interiors are illuminated with energy-efficient solutions. The global agreement starts in Asia Pacific and will be scaled up to cover the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The agreement can offer energy savings of up to $100 millio a year for JLL clients in Asia Pacific. There alone, JLL manages more than 70 million light points for over 150 corporate clients. Given the global scale of the partnership, this has the potential to drive energy savings significantly since 40 percent of electricity consumption in buildings is related to lighting.

BOMA Joins Industry Groups to Launch Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking Campaign

Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) has launched a Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) campaign to encourage commercial building and parking facility owners and managers to save energy and costs by using high-efficiency lighting technology. Participating building owners and managers must agree to evaluate their portfolio to identify potential lots or structures that can apply high-efficiency lighting technology and use high efficiency lighting wherever feasible and cost-effective. Both retrofit and new construction projects are eligible to participate. Existing sites that have been built or retrofitted with energy-efficient technology are also eligible if they were built or retrofitted after January 2010. LEEP’s goal is to have 100 million sq. ft. of parking structure and space to use one-third less energy than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010. These savings equal more than 51 million kW hours.

Lettire Construction Celebrates Building Brooklyn Award for Dumont Green

Dumont Green, a 176-unit affordable multifamily housing development built by Lettire Construction Corporation, won the National Grid Award for Energy Efficiency at the 2012 Building Brooklyn Awards. The development, which was completed in November, 2010, was designed by MHG Architects PC and developed by The Hudson Companies.

Dumont Green transformed a 24-year vacant lot into an eight-story green building in East New York and features the largest solar voltaic energy system in a multifamily building in New York State and the first in an affordable apartment project. The system provides 80 percent of the building’s common area power. The building is 26 percent more energy-efficient than code compliance requires.

SLCC Student Built Habitat for Humanity Home Is LEED Platinum

The newest home completed in Park City, Utah by Habitat for Humanity has won LEED Platinum certification. This is the third LEED Platinum residential project in Utah. Students from Salt Lake Community College’s building and construction program volunteered their time to help Habitat for Humanity build the home.

University of Iowa Technology Facility Earns LEED Platinum

The University of Iowa’s new 43,000-sq.-ft. $30 million technology facility has been awarded LEED Platinum certification. Completed in December 2011 after three years of construction and seven years of planning, the facility houses and protects computing and network equipment that is vital to the university’s operations and its hospitals and clinics.

Ryan Companies US Inc. has managed the preconstruction and construction of the university’s new data center, which is a “hardened” facility, designed to withstand an EF3 tornado, covered by a multilayered roof that stands up to a snow load of 30 lbs. per sq. ft. and equipped with concurrently maintainable building operation systems.

Shorenstein Receives LEED Gold Certification for Oregon Bank Plaza

Shorenstein Properties has received LEED Gold certification for Umpqua Bank Plaza, a 281,000-sq.-ft. class-A office building at One SW Columbia Street in downtown Portland, Ore. This brings the number of LEED Silver-certified Shorenstein-owned and -managed properties to 10. Shorenstein owns 19 LEED-Existing Building Operations and Maintenance certified properties, and this is Shorenstein’s third LEED-ceritified building in Portland.

The Umpqua Bank Plaza’s sustainability program included maximizing energy efficiency to meet an Energy Star score of 88; using lighting control systems; making efficient use of natural light; exceeding fresh air ventilation standards by more than 30 percent; deploying submeter technology to minimize water use in cooling systems and irrigation; diverting 100 percent of durable goods from the waste stream; reducing mercury content in lamps to less than 50 picograms per lumen hour and having 100 percent of the building’s parking under cover to reduce urban heat island effect.

CBRE Launches Worldwide Real Green Research Challenge

CBRE Group Inc. has launched the Real Green Research Challenge, a four-year $1 million commitment to fund leading-edge sustainability research and innovation relating to commercial real estate. CBRE is accepting submissions for research proposals with the goal of developing solutions to the industry’s critical environmental challenges. Over the next four years, the firm will award up to $1 million to fund independent academic research into sustainable real estate practices. Selected applicants will receive up to $250,000 for basic research and implementation with initial funding in February 2013. In addition to monetary funds, projects will have access to CBRE’s global market data and resources. Judges for the project include members of academia, non-governmental organizations and industry.

Hartz Mountain Industries Among Top 20 Largest Commercial Solar Power Users

A report by the Solar Energy Industry Association and the Vote Solar Initiative lists Hartz Mountain Industries, a Secaucus, N.J.-based commercial property owner and manager, among the top 20 commercial solar power users in the U.S. with big businesses like WalMart Stores, Kohl’s and IKEA. Harta ranked 19th in the report based on its five solar systems for which the firm is the direct user of the electricity generated. In addition, there are 10 systems for which Hartz’s tenants are the direct users, and Hartz owns an 8.5-MW Solar Farm in Hamilton, N.J.

Mixed-Use Development Earns First LEED Silver for Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Swanson Companies’ new The Gateway Village in Murfreesboro, Tenn. has earned LEED Silver certification, becoming the city’s first LEED-certified building. Murfreesboro is located 30 miles south of Nashville. The 62-residential-unit and 42-commercial-unit structure was built using products with little or no VOCs and using as much recycled content as possible. High-efficiency lighting, controls, mechanical ventilation equipment, windows and roof and wall insulation used in the project work together to contribute to a 14 percent to 17 percent energy savings beyond the LEED green building standard. Developer Joe Swanson Jr. says obtaining LEED Silver certification only increased the cost of construction by 2.5 percent.

Miami Tower’s New LED Lighting Adds Drama to Skyline

Miami Tower, a 47-story iconic symbol of the city, adopted state-of-the-art exterior LED lighting. The advanced system will reduce related lighting energy usage by 92 percent, representing $260,000 in annual savings and reducing CO2 emissions by 1.2 million pounds. The LED lighting, which replaced 382 metal halide lights that consumed 1,000 watts each with 216 LED fixtures, also allows for custom light shows, with the ability to produce 16 million colors and hundreds of lighting effects with one keystroke in real time. The team of Jones Lang LaSalle, Philips Color Kinetics and LED Source identified the optimal LED lighting solution based on long-term operational savings for the 623,000-sq.-ft. commercial building.