Saturday, December 26, 2009

Green Talk Radio

We enjoyed a very Green Christmas Eve by joining hosts Katie Duncan and Maurice Showers on Green Talk Radio 1230 KLAV. The free-flowing conversation covered topics including:
  • Tips for greening your own home
  • What's involved with a "green" design consultation
  • Local green happenings
  • Green community design projects including the Ward 5 "Model Green Demonstration Home" and Marble Manor
Click here to play streaming audio (MP3 file) from the show...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ongoing Needs at Marble Manor

Marble Manor is a local housing community with ongoing donation needs for their Family Self Sufficiency center and adult education programming.  Please feel free to share this update with anyone that may be interested in investing in-kind or cash donations for the ongoing projects.

The Community Center's transformation has continued to roll ahead.  On September 16th, the Career Training and Adult Learning Center had its Grand Opening.  The original plan to locate a Children's Reading Area in the Community Center was altered to meet the urgent need for adult education, job search assistance, computer skills training and GED support. The Computer Lab, sponsored by Bechtel SAIC, now provides five workstations and computer training in partnership with UNLV.

The Children's area will instead be located in Marble Manor's Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) center on J Street. Stacey Bostwick at (702) 922-7016 or can provide additional details.

We have lists for the needs for both centers, and ongoing exterior improvements to the playground.  Please ask for a copy!

Exterior Improvements - Shade Structure, Exterior Benches, Decomposed Granite.
Adult Learning Center - Computer Lab Chairs, Training Tables & Chairs, Exterior Signage, Bulletin Boards.
Family Self Sufficiency Center - Children's Seating and Book Stands (9' x 12' area)

Cash donations can be received through The Housing Authority's 501(c)3 R.O.S.E. Foundation.
Call (702) 922-6060 for more information.

Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 Green Building Snapshots & Trends

Although limited by its restriction to the LEED rating system standard, the latest Green Building Market & Impact Report 2009 by Rob Watson is a useful snapshot of current status and projections for the green construction industry.  USGBC's Green Jobs Study, prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton, evaluates the economic impact of green buildings in terms of the "total number of direct, indirect, and induced jobs created from green building expenditures."

GBCI currently has over 20,156 LEED registered projects totaling 322 million square feet, and that's great news for improving our industry's impact on the environment.  As champions of green building, we'd welcome a total green square footage estimate that takes LEED, Green Globes, and other local Green ratings systems into account.  Although not a comprehensive solution, we still see the investment in LEED certification as being valuable for long-term value and as a road map to green performance outcomes.

The latest studies are also investigating the interconnection of green building and our economy.  Moving from a "triple bottom line" (ecological, social and economic responsibility), the trend is an "integrated bottom line," with environmental and social concerns enhancing profitability.    USGBC's study projecting over 7.9 million jobs and $396 billion in labor earnings from green construction for 2009 through 2013 is encouraging for our industry and nation's economic recovery.

LEED's requirements are useful guidelines for sustainable design and construction whether certification is pursued or not.

Owners and developers must carefully weigh the value of green construction and LEED certification in terms of immediate financial and PR returns, as well as long-term risk versus reward.  One example of this balance is the LEED v3 requirement to provide performance data for a five-year period following construction, or risk revocation of LEED status.  The building team's commitment to five years post-construction must be sufficient to ensure adequate performance, and may need to be contractually defined to protect the Owner's investment.  LEED's requirements are useful guidelines for sustainable design and construction whether certification is pursued or not.  For a thoughtful discussion of economic pluses and minuses of using the LEED system, in the context of university campus development, read Peter W. Bardaglio's "To LEED or not to LEED." 

Eventually we anticipate a broader, consumer-driven ratings approach that draws upon proven life-cycle data from constructed green buildings. A recent article on explores this possibility, and the growing demand for transparency of information in green building. Energy Star's work with home performance and new homes moves the residential sector in this direction of proven results, while its Building and Manufacturing Plants program addresses the commercial sector. However, Energy Star's ratings still reflect a thin slice of ecological impact with its energy-centric ratings system.  Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) is already starting to inform LEED's next generation, and will continue to shift the industry, and consumers, to consider our built and consumable environment in regenerative (C2C or Cradle to Cradle) terms by addressing impact before and after the use stage. 

Report downloads:
Green Building Market & Impact Report 2009
USGBC Green Jobs Study 2009

See our 2009 Green Building Reports article for some highlights from the above reports.