ATLANTA – When the first edition of the “ASHRAE GreenGuide” was first published 10 years ago, guidance on how practice green building design was not so readily available.
“Since 2004, the industry has witnessed the continued evolution of green building programs from strictly voluntary to being both more in the industry mainstream as well as being mandatory in jurisdictions that adopted these for their building codes,” Tom Lawrence, a member of ASHRAE’s technical committee (TC 2.8) on building environmental impacts and sustainability, said.
The newly published fourth edition of the “ASHRAE GreenGuide” contains updated guidance that reflects how green building practices as well as the industry have changed, according to Lawrence.
“ASHRAE GreenGuide: Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, 4th Edition,” uses an integrated, building systems perspective to provide need-to-know information on what to do, where to turn, what to suggest, and how to interact with other members of the design team in a productive way.
The release of the Guide was announced today during ASHRAE’s 2014 Winter Conference taking place in New York. For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/greenguide.
Lawrence said the guide contains several changes that will impact green building design.
First is a complete revision of the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) chapter with much of the content based on the Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning.
“While it is challenging as well as important to provide good indoor environmental quality in an energy efficient manner, in some cases the most effective means to improve IEQ can also save energy,” he said. “IEQ should not be sacrificed strictly to obtain energy use reductions. After all, the purpose of such buildings is to support the activities for which the building exists and to do so in a manner that does the least harm to the environment while enhancing the health and well-being of the human occupants.”
Another change is a new chapter on sustainable sites. While site issues may be outside the normal purview of most typical ASHRAE members, Lawrence notes that site sustainability is an important part of the design process of the future sustainable built environment. The chapter provides a summary of the key issues in the following topical areas:
Where to locate the building project
Urban heat island effect
Exterior lighting/light as a pollution source
Storm water management
As in previous editions, the book contains GreenTips, or which are sidebars containing information on techniques, processes, measures or systems. There are 44 GreenTips in this edition, including new ones on topics such as condensing boilers, rain gardens, green roofs and data centers.
The book now also contains figures printed in color, making them easier to read.
The cost of the print book and the e-book is $103 ($87, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 678-539-2129, or visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.
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Dallas has now accepted the first building permit applications under its green building ordinance. Dallas is one of the first major cities in the nation to implement comprehensive mandatory green building standards for both all new residential and commercial construction.
By Resolution 08-1070 adopted unanimously on April 9, 2008 Phase 1 of the law was effective in 2009 and Phase 2 (originally to be effective October 1, 2011) was fully implemented October 1, 2013.
All new projects must either: meet the minimum requirements of the Dallas Green Construction Code or be LEED certifiable or be Green Built Texas certifiable or be certifiable under an equivalent green building standard. Projects need only be “certifiable” and not LEED certified nor Green Built Texas certified.
Expedited review is available for projects that are at a minimum Dallas Green Construction Code compliant, LEED Silver certifiable or ASHRAE 189.1-2011 certifiable.
Projects must reduce water usage by 20%. LEED projects may achieve 1 point under the Water Use Reduction (20% Reduction) Credit or projects may use 20% less water than the baseline under the Plumbing Code.
Single family residential may also meet the minimum requirements of ICC 700. Lots must be designed so that at least 70% of the built environment is permeable. Projects must utilize drip irrigation for all “bedding areas” of landscaping.
Significantly, as one of the optional compliance paths a project may comply with the Dallas Green Construction Code, which is an enactment of the International Green Construction Code with local amendments. Many have noted Dallas deleted Chapter 6 of the IgCC, the energy conservation provision, and elected instead to keep existing energy code requirements. Also deleted are the chapters for commissioning and causing the code to apply to alterations of existing buildings.
Dallas also accepts approved third party plan review and inspection for its green building program.
The successful implementation of green building standards in Dallas has been widely heralded across the environmental industrial complex, including on the USGBC website. Although there are some minor rumblings that LEED certifiable versus actually submitting a project for LEED certification violates the terms of usage of the USGBC rating system.
Make no mistake, the new code remains controversial in broader real estate world, including across Texas, as mandating proprietary green building standards on private construction. However, allowing a developer the option of selecting among alternative compliance paths for achieving green building, here in Dallas, in Washington DC and Baltimore, may well portend the future of a sustainable built environment.
The trend in new construction and retrofits can only be described as “extreme green” or “net zero.” Venture capitalists have plowed more than $4 billion into the development of sustainably designed, energy efficient buildings. Now, they are looking at ground-breaking technologies to further develop this space, according to a report just released by Boston-based Lux Research.
To understand investment activity in the green buildings space, Lux Research analysts have followed 332 venture transactions— amounting to $4.06 billion in 160 companies— since 2000. Of the 332 investment rounds in companies that offer technology and materials for green buildings, 152 were series A investments and 83 were series B. Start-ups from North America have attracted 77 percent—or $3.1 billion— of the green building VC invested so far.
Last year, however, nearly 50 percent of the funding—totaling $445 million—went into 15 late-stage investments, signaling the maturation of the first wave of green building start-ups.
Meanwhile, new opportunities are emerging in a number of leading-edge areas, including integrated design, on-site power generation, energy services and the advanced building envelope.
Exterior shot of Blu Homes’ Breezehouse
“Early VC investors are looking for exits for the first wave of successful green buildings start-ups and the seeds of the next crop are being sown in on-site generation and sustainable materials,” said Lux Research Analyst Ryan Castilloux, the lead author of the report, titled, “Building a Green 21st Century: Tracking Venture Investments in Green Buildings to Uncover New Opportunities.”
Among their findings:
• Integrated design is the future. Driven by the European Union’s aggressive energy efficiency targets, as well as similar long-term targets in the United States and elsewhere, “integrated design” will attain key importance. Innovative start-ups in this area – including Project Frog (San Francisco) and Blu Homes (Waltham, Massachusetts) – have received $84 million in VC funding since 2008.
• On-site generation is a growth area. On-site generation materials and systems have become a hotbed for investment, raking in a combined $983 million. This sector —represented by the likes of fuel cell company Bloom Energy (Sunnyvale, California) and solar heating company Himin Solar Energy Group (Shandong, China) — has taken in $585 million, just since 2006. A new framework of incentives for on-site power generation and combined heating and energy is pushing more investment. Companies to watch include Baxi Group ((Derby, England), and WhisperGen ((Union, New Jersey),which both make micro-generators, as well as companies with systems that convert waste heat to electricity, such as ElectraTherm (Carson City, Nevada) and TAS Energy Houston).
• Low-carbon concrete and cement: The concrete production industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of all global carbon emissions annually. Since 2005, venture capitalists have poured $114 million into seven developers. Lux expects these materials to become the norm in geographies where urban building booms are taking place, such as the BRIC nations.
To the best of my research, Mr. Gifford is not a LEED AP, and indeed, from his website and publications, he has outspokenly denounced the USGBC and LEED. Mr. Gifford does not appear to own any property certified LEED. In short–the USGBC’s actions have not harmed him His career, if anything, has been enhanced by the USGBC’s position.
When Gifford filed his amended lawsuit, I questioned how he would prove he was harmed by the alleged false advertising. It turns out that this was one of the lawsuit’s fatal flaws. A plaintiff that brings a lawsuit must show standing in order to prove that the right person is bringing the lawsuit. Since Gifford’s allegations of false advertising fell under the Latham Act, he had to satisfy two tests to show standing:(1) The Strong Categorical Test
“The strong categorical test provides that ‘the plaintiff must be a competitor of the defendant and allege a competitive injury.’” The court held that Gifford, a building energy efficient consultant, and the USGBC, which certifies buildings, were not competitors because Gifford does not certify buidings.
(2) The Reasonable Commercial Interest Test
Under the reasonable commercial interest approach, a plaintiff must demonstrate “both likely injury and a causal nexus to the false advertising.” Perosnally, I always believed this test would be Gifford’s downfall. In holding that Gifford failed this test, the court explained that owners could hire any consultant they wanted for a LEED building. Furthermore, the court posited that even if Gifford could show one owner that would only hire a LEED Accredited Professional consultant, it could not be proven that the owner’s decision was based on the alleged false advertising.
In short, the court deemed the lawsuit too speculative. I think the court got it right.
The USGBC is cracking open the biodynamic local bubbly tonight; Rick Fedrizzi said in a press release:
The Court dismissed the federal false advertising claims “with prejudice,” meaning that the Court’s dismissal of those claims is final and that plaintiffs are barred from filing a new suit based on those claims. The Court’s ruling simultaneously dismissed plaintiffs’ state law false advertising claims.”This successful outcome is a testament to our process and to our commitment to do what is right,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Thousands of people around the world use LEED because it’s a proven tool for achieving our mission of transforming the built environment. We’re grateful that the Court found in our favor so we can give our full attention to the important work before us.”
We are just over four months away from January 1, 2012. On that date, the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006 requires that all new construction of non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet be LEED certified. While there are many technical problems with the Green Buildling Act, the very premise of the law is fundamentally flawed. Thankfully, there is a very obvious solution to the Act’s flaws and technical deficiencies.
Why is the D.C. Green Building Act Fundamentally Flawed?
How can I make this claim? Because the D.C. Government does not understand what a LEED mandate actually entails.
Do you see the problem with this slide? The DDOE views the Green Building Act LEED mandate as a “ceiling.” If the D.C. Government believes it has passed a ceiling then it truly does not understand how the Green Building Act and its LEED mandate will function.
A LEED mandate is not a ceiling. Rather, a LEED mandate is a floor. Because the GBA requires all buildings to obtain LEED certification, it functions as a quasi building code. In other words, LEED certification is a minimum requirement, the very definition of a so-called “floor.”
Furthermore, the very premise of putting a “ceiling” on the green building industry is a terrible and nonsensical idea. A ceiling would actually prohibit buildings from being built to be greener or more efficient than LEED. The GBA requires buildings to meet LEED certification and yet there are numerous LEED Platinum buildings in Washington, D.C.. Does DDOE imagine that the GBA will serve as a cap and prevent future buildings from seeking LEED Gold or Platinum certification?
The intent of the Green Building Act is to “raise the performance of the District’s buildings so that they are environmentally sustainable, healthy, and more efficient to operate” and to “make the District of Columbia a national leader for green building.” The solution to the problems with the Green Building Act seems obvious to me and ensures the intent of the Act is satisfied.
First, the District needs more time to correct the many problems with the Green Building Act. The deadline for implementation of the LEED mandate should be extended to 2013 or later. It is very unlikely that all of the Green Building Act’s deficiencies, which will be discussed in a later post, can be corrected in the remaining four months.
Second, all of the D.C. government’s green building resources need to be applied to green building codes. The International Green Construction Code will be released sometime in 2012. D.C. can be one of the first cities to adopt a mandatory green building code if it starts reviewing IgCC public version 2.0 now. Adopting and implementing this code will raise the performance of District buildings and shine a spotlight on the city as the first to adopt the code.
For those of you interested in learning more about the D.C. Green Building Act, I would recommend that you attend a D.C. Green Codes Working Group meeting next Wednesday, August 24 at 9:30 am.
Original Post by Chris Cheatham, Green Building Law Update
Every year, as the calendar turns over, a host of new regulations take effect. In California, January 1, 2011 marked the introduction of CALGreen, the California green building code. The California government has produced a guide to CalGreen, which I found informative:
“The 2010 California Green Building Standards Code is a code with mandatory requirements for new residential and nonresidential buildings (including buildings for retail, office, public schools and hospitals) throughout California beginning on January 1, 2011. The code is Part 11 of the California Building Standards Code in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations and is also known as the CALGreen Code.”
If you are interested in a more thorough review of CALGreen, I would recommend Imad Naffa’s post on the subject. Here are some quick thoughts I have on CALGreen:
Whenever I read about new building codes, I always wonder whether code officials will be prepared to enforce them. This question is specifically addressed in the guide: “Chapter 7 of the CALGreen Code provides a guideline for minimum inspector qualification criteria.”
I noted that CALGreen requires commissioning of new buildings. Commissioning involves calibrating the building’s systems to make sure they are running as designed. Commissioning is often cited as one of the more expensive aspects of a green building; but it can also ensure a green building works properly. It will be interesting to see how the California real estate industry responds to mandatory commissioning.
California is often a bell-weather state for new green building trends. Will statewide building codes become more common?
This is as confusing and sordid as any green building dispute I have seen. Consider yourself warned.
Over the holidays, Michael Anschel informed me that the the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) had sued Minnesota GreenStar and filed a restraining order against using a green building standard.
Despite that simple statement, there is a lot more to this story. Here is the best summary I can come up with after reviewing the lawsuit filed by the BATC and a blog post by Anschel on the subject.
The BATC worked with other associations to create a green building standard, called the Green Homebuilding Guidelines. BATC and the other entities then created a new entity, Minnesota GreenStar, to run the green building standard (much like the Green Building Certification Institute runs LEED). At some point, BATC became disenchanted with either Minnesota GreenStar and/or the Green Homebuilding Guidelines, and decided to file a lawsuit to essentially take over administration of the Guidelines. If you believe the complaint, the reason for BATC’s disenchantment was Minnesota GreenStar’s failure to repay a loan and GreenStar’s intent to license the green building standard to other states. If you believe Anschel’s post, BATC’s reasons are more sinister and have to do with weakening the Green Homebuilding Guidelines.
Lets start with the lawsuit itself.
On December 9, 2010, the BATC filed a restraining order and lawsuit against Minnesota GreenStar. BATC claims that in 2006, it developed the Green Homebuilding Guidelines and further asserts it owns the intellectual property rights to the Guidelines. BATC also points out it that it contributed $50,000 to develop the Guidelines.
In 2007, BATC, along with two other entities, formed Minnesota GreenStar, which began using the Green Homebuilding Guidelines. At some point in 2008, GreenStar filed registered copyrights for the Green Homebuilding Guidelines, which would give GreenStar intellectual property rights to the Guidelines.
This is where events get a bit confusing. BATC alleges that in 2010, it provided an additional loan to GreenStar. Despite this additional loan, BATC claims that GreenStar ran into financial trouble:
“On September 15, 2010, GreenStar conducted a meeting of its Board of Directors and disseminated its Business Plan . . . in which GreenStar relied on continued sponsorships, a one-year deferment on its Promissory Note obligations to BATC, and significant additional funding from BATC. . . . GreenStar also indicated its intent to license the Green Homebuilding Guidelines developed and owned by BATC to other states to raise revenue for GreenStar.”
BATC goes on to ask the Court for four things:
1. Judgment of $50,000 for an alleged breach of the loan;
2. Judgment declaring that BATC owns the intellectual property rights to GreenStar and GreenStar is restricted from using or licensing the Guidelines;
3. Temporary and permanent injunction against GreenStar from using the Guidelines; and
4. Attorneys fees.
Taken at its face, the complaint suggests that BATC is concerned about the prospect of licensing the Green Homebuilding Guidelines to other states. But why would a builders association be concerned about this?
According to Anschel, BATC’s motives are more complicated. In a blog post at Construction Law Musings, Anschel explains that BATC actually intends to develop a new green building certification program that allows for self certification. Anschel believes BATC’s move is a step backwards for green building in Minnesota. If BATC intends to create a new green building standard in Minnesota, then it certainly makes sense why it would want to take over and limit Minnesota GreenStar and the existing Green Homebuilding Guidelines.
ATLANTA—Knowing what to do is not the same as knowing how. A new User’s Manual educates industry professionals on how to meet the requirements of a green building standard published by three leading industry organizations.
Standard 189.1-2009, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, was published earlier this year by ASHRAE in conjunction with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The standard provides a long-needed green building foundation for those who strive to design, build and operate green buildings.
A newly published User’s Manual is now available.
“Because of the breadth of the key topic areas covered in the standard – site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources – it is important for users to have a thorough understanding of how they come together to create a sustainable building,” Kent Peterson, former chair of the Standard 189.1 committee, said. “The User’s Manual aids architects and engineers in applying the standard to design; general and specialty contractors in constructing buildings that are in compliance; and plan examiners and field inspectors in enforcing the standard where adopted into code.”
The new User’s Manual provides explanations of the standard’s requirements and examples of its application. It contains sample calculations, forms to demonstrate compliance and references to helpful resources and websites. This User’s Manual can also be suitable for use in educational programs.
Standard 189.1 also serves as jurisdictional compliance option to the International Green Construction Code authored by the International Code Council, ASTM International and the American Institute of Architects.
To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Service at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 404-321-5478, or visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore. The cost of the Standard 189.1 User’s Manual is $93 ($79, ASHRAE members)
VISITING British expert Roderic Bunn has a sobering message for the ”green” building industry: most buildings with high environmental ratings don’t function as well as promised.
In the US, the warning shots have already been fired, with a $US5 million lawsuit launched against the US Green Building Council. ”Property organisations have accused the GBC of selling green certification,” says Bunn. ”Some people are waking up to the fact they believe they have been miss-sold a rating system that guarantees performance, and the construction industry hasn’t been quick to disabuse them of that notion.
”I’m not saying it [a lawsuit] will happen here or in the UK,” says Bunn, principal consultant of Britain’s Building Services Research and Information Association for 10 years, but he maintains Australian commercial and public sector buildings are suffering the same problems as those in Britain.
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”We are piling in often unmanageable complexity into these buildings, so the consequence is unmanageable complexity. It’s the enemy of good performance,” he told BusinessDay during a visit to Melbourne.
”In new buildings, we are trying to drive down energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, and concentrate on the wrong things.
”We are often trying to do it with innovative technology that requires far more attention in design and construction, and needs aftercare support that it does not get.”
It’s not that the buildings are not well maintained. ”However, the premises’ management often does not understand what it’s been given. The building is rarely finished off property,” he says. ”As buildings get more complex, the commissioning of them is squeezed.”
Bunn was for 16 years editor of the Building Services Journal,the official journal of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers. In this capacity, he received funding from the British government to conduct research into Britain’s most prestigious ”green” buildings.
”We found their energy consumption was far too high, systems were not finished off properly, no one knew how to use them and they were misfiring on a whole range of criteria,” he says.
”We did full energy audits, we knew exactly where the energy was going, such as lighting. Office satisfaction was compromised … occupant surveys showed the buildings were not delivering the comfort, usability and productivity that was assumed.”
Bunn says the construction industries in Britain and Australia take the view that a building is finished on the day of practical completion – ”cut the tape and run away”.
When a client needs professional support in the handover period, it is not there. Some defects are noticed, such as water leaking, a door not hanging properly, or lights that go on and off when they shouldn’t.
”But other shortcomings over time become chronic because nobody notices them and nobody fixes them. The consequence is often energy use that is higher than it should be and poor morale,” he says.
Bunn says there are things the engineer has not thought of – what the client plugs in the wall, communication rooms – and wasteful running. For example, British research showed schools where the lights were on all night. ”It’s not been fine-tuned, so they stay on. No one knows it until they get their electricity bill,” he says.
”We have been seduced by the often false promises of new technologies,” says Bunn, who is sceptical about some of the alleged benefits of renewable energy.
”A building can be mounted with wind turbines or photovoltaics, but they don’t contribute nearly as much as designers think they do because they haven’t driven down the energy requirement to begin with.
”We tend to glue these things on to the outside of building before we have actually reduced the loads of the building as far as we can go.
”The mantra should be, ‘Half the loads, double the efficiencies’. Halve the carbon in the fuel supply before we go anywhere near on-site renewables.
”They are often expensive, small, very complex, and maintenance hungry, and the maintainability of these things is rarely taken into account.”
Also, ”just because energy is renewable doesn’t mean you’re allowed to waste it”.
Bunn’s experiences have led him to set up a company, Soft Landings, a professional service for construction industries around the world. ”The project team should remain engaged for a period of time to tune up the building and get as close to the design targets as they can get. Finish it off properly, follow through,” he says.
”The construction industry is very good at designing dreams but crafting nightmares – and it’s the managers who inherit the nightmares … We can’t afford to have sustainable building not delivering what they are supposed to deliver.
”Builders should be appointed on the basis they will stay engaged for a significant period after occupation to fine tune and perform, monitor the energy use to optimum satisfaction.
”On the basis of that, make changes to the building. If you do that up to three years, then it’s a good idea to have set some real targets in the design stage.
”There is a need for more feedback on how buildings really work. I’ve seen lots of sustainable designs but very few sustainable buildings.”
In Australia, Bunn says NABERS, the energy rating tool for office buildings, and the new mandatory disclosure law will start to reveal the gap between design intention and delivery.
There are very few ”get out of jail for free” sustainable technologies.
”Smart glass, highly insulated cladding systems that allow daylight without the solar heat, are one, if they are designed properly, but they are expensive,” Bunn says. Low-energy light-emitting diodes are another.
”It won’t be long before we have general lighting powered by LEDs. There will be revenge effects we haven’t thought of, but energy consumption for lighting is one of the biggest problems for buildings.”