LEEDv4: Panacea or More Headache?

In its first three years on the market, LEEDv4 registered less than 5% of all new LEED projects, with the balance going to the cheaper and easier-to-understand LEED 2009. This does not bode well for the future of new project registrations, now that LEEDv4 is the only LEED system available for project registrations.

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2016: LEED in (Slow) Motion - Part 4

LEED project certifications in commercial interiors increased in 2016 after falling in 2014 and 2015. Retail project certifications also increased. Still, both totals are very small compared to the huge size of both 86 billion sq.ft. of nonresidential floor space and 1.1 million retail buildings.

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LEED, Trump, the #Resistance, and Alternative Facts

LEED, Trump, Alternative Facts, and the Resistance: The truth behind LEED's propaganda piece from last week is something quite different than what the US Green Building Council says, in these very expensive ads running in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Of course, in the new political climate anyone can claim anything with very little in the way of response. But I do think some of the claims are so preposterous that they warrant a little response. Take a look!

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2016: LEED in (Reverse) Motion - Part 2

While the trend in US certifications of existing nonresidential buildings is up quite modestly the past three years, the numbers are still shockingly low: less than 700 projects certified annually since 2010. This number represents each year only slightly more than one in 10,000 (0.01%) of the 5.8 million US nonresidential buildings.

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2016: LEED in (Reverse) Motion - Part 1

In 2016 LEED use in US higher education projects fell precipitously, declining more than 50% from 2015 levels. Talking to one higher education facility manager last month, he indicated that while the campus was going to continue to build to green building standards embodied in LEED, he saw no benefit to further certifications on future construction projects. He also said it had become a "hard sell" to campus administrators. So in one sense, LEED has succeeded in having its standards used; in another sense, it has failed to communicate enough value for the cost to get campus officials to use it.

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What is a Zero Net Energy Building?

Everyone's talking about zero net energy buildings as the next frontier in green building. But what does "zero" really mean? What about retrofits - is it even possible to renovate existing buildings to be "Zero Net" energy? For example, Alphabet/Google reports that in 2017 they will be a zero net energy/100% renewable energy company, for all of their buildings and data centers, using purchased green power. But shouldn't we hold them to a more stringent definition.

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10 Green Building Megatrends for 2020 - Part Two

Part 2 of my discussion of 10 green building megatrends for 2017 to 2020. Green building megatrends are firmly in place for the next 5 years. Read this week and last week about my specific predictions for the leading trends of 2017. Then prepare your business to succeed by taking advantage of these trends to restructure your consulting, marketing and product offerings to follow these trends.

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Sustainable Building Operations: A New Way Forward

In a recent presentation to a business audience in Eugene, Oregon, I showcased a new opportunity: use the power of Big Data analytics, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things to leapfrog the impasse, by cutting costs dramatically and radically simplifying the list of things that we should care about. What I advocate is that we need to develop a new set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help us achieve our overall sustainability goals.

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Five Action Steps for Sustainable Cities

With the results of the 2016 presidential election now in the books and the prospect of a new administration and Congress in Washington with little expressed interest in green building or sustainability, where should we turn our attention in the next year? I recently gave a presentation to a graduate seminar on sustainability hosted by Professor Alison Kwok at the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon and presented five action steps we all can take right now to promote sustainable cities. 

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Green Building after the shocking Presidential election Result - Where Do We Go From Here?

Green building after the presidential election -- now what? It's tempting to write of a diminished green building future after the Trump victory, with a reduced focus on climate change and a reset by the US Government in implementing the global warming accord. But with Congress and the White House held by Republicans, it's clear that the action on responding to climate change now shifts to the state and local levels of government. But more importantly, the strong corporate  and institutional support for sustainability and for green building is not going to go away, but only to strengthen.

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Reinventing Green Building - Review and Appreciation

Green building has grown in the past 25 years from a marginal practice by a few avant-garde architect and engineers to a global phenomenon that has resulted in tens of thousands of buildings certified by dozens of rating systems. But the mass market has continued to evade the use of established rating systems. Isn't it time to "reinvent green building" for more widespread use?

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The Great Convergence: Real Estate, IT, Energy and Sustainability

Given technology’s constant and rapid change, along with the development of algorithms for doing things that we never expected, such as driving a car, what’s happening with the built environment and building operations? Neglecting for a moment the digital revolutions in architectural design and building construction, it’s easy to see how this revolution is reordering building operations, through the convergence of IT, Real Estate, Energy and Sustainability on building dashboards and cloud platforms.

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Massive & Immediate Carbon Reductions: The Case for Continuous Improvement

Which is better for massive and immediate carbon reductions: A handful of Net Zero new buildings or a 5% reduction in energy use by 50% of all buildings? In this post, I make the case for a carbon-reduction strategy that focuses on continuous improvement in resource use, especially on the part of owners of large portfolios of buildings, such as government, university, health care, etc.

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Cost vs. Value - Implications for Green Building Rating Systems

The lesson everyone learns in the building industry is that costs matter—a lot. Return on investment, “payback” and “total cost of ownership” are nice concepts for sellers, but for most buyers upfront costs matter most. In the US economy for the past 30 years, sellers have relentlessly worked to cut costs and improve product quality. Why should buildings and building certification systems be exempted from the same logic?

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Creating New Green Building Rating Systems Using Big Data Platforms

Central to the argument in Reinventing Green Building is that we need to design a new approach to green building rating systems that relies on readily accessible data. We can radically transform green building certification by starting with a data set that every business needs (and acquires) on a regular basis for managing ongoing operations.

This data set includes:

  1. Electricity use, including onsite solar and wind power generation.
  2. Gas and diesel purchases.
  3. Water consumption.
  4. Waste sent to landfill and percentage collected for recycling.
  5. Ecological purchases as a percentage of total purchases.
  6. Weather and occupancy data, for normalizing energy use, readily accessible from many global weather services.

 

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LEEDv4 Falters - Check the Numbers

LEEDv4 registrations have faltered in the first half of 2016, falling from about 6% of total LEED project registrations since it was introduced in 2013, to about 5% of the total since then. For the first half of 2016, LEEDv4 new project registrations have been less than 4% of all new LEED registrations. It's clear that the green building community is NOT embracing this new system and will have to be forced into it in three months when it becomes mandatory. 

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