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Winter 2011

Featured Stories

Tell Your Story: Opportunities to Earn GBCI CEs?

Coming Soon – Green Retail Guide: Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process

The Seattle 2030 District – the NEXT big thing in green building

Tell Your Story: Opportunities to Earn GBCI CEs

USGBC's new LEED Stories from Practice offers you the opportunity to contribute and learn from real-life LEED project experiences. The beta online LEED project library features stories told by diverse project stakeholders about lessons learned, challenges, successes, best practices, strategies, ROI, and more.

Get involved:
Share Your Own LEED Stories from Practice.
Share your stories to have your project, your company, and yourself featured in the new and improved online library. Contribute by December 9 for your project(s) to be launched in early 2012.
Review LEED Stories from Practice.
Green building subject matter experts are needed to serve as volunteer reviewers for the online library. Earn GBCI CEs while gaining new knowledge of LEED, first-hand from other practitioners. Learn more and apply.

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Coming Soon – Green Retail Guide: Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process

USGBC's Green Retail Guide: Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process assists retail tenants, their real estate departments, store planning and construction teams, and service providers to better understand how sustainability strategies affect real estate decisions. The guide also contains useful tools to help green the leasing process, and explains approaches to green team selection, negotiations, and lease language. The Green Retail Guide: Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process will be available for purchase in the USGBC Online Store in early 2012.

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From the Desks of Brett Phillips
and Brian Geller:

The Seattle 2030 District – the NEXT big thing in green building

The green building movement has made great strides in recent years, but it's not enough. In order to put up a good fight against ever-increasing environmental and economic pressures, we need a united front of the public and private sector, and to approach issues on the city – or district – scale.

District sustainability currently experiences the same limited level of awareness that individual green buildings did a decade ago, when the U.S. Green Building Council announced its first 12 LEED Certified projects, of which there are now over 11,000.

Get ready for a paradigm shift.

The Seattle 2030 District is an innovative, private-sector led project attempting to create a groundbreaking high performance building district in downtown Seattle. The project is already gaining national attention; earlier this year, the 2030 District was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to represent Seattle – along with the cities of Los Angeles and Atlanta – Better Buildings Challenge. By 2020, this program aims to reduce commercial building energy consumption by 20 percent nationwide.

The 2030 District model of private-sector engagement and aggregated goals is unique among the three selected cities, and will serve as a guide for other cities to follow. The District has key support and partnership from the City of Seattle and King County, but is being led largely by the private sector: property owners, managers, developers, engineers and design professionals who believe that setting aggressive energy performance targets at the district level is the key to elevating our region's economic and environmental potential.

Working together civic leaders adopted the goals from the 2030 Challenge for Planners, which adds reductions in water consumption and vehicle miles traveled, to the energy and fossil fuel building reduction targets of the 2030 Challenge. These goals, to be met by 2030, include aggregated district-wide reduction targets of 60% reduction in energy from new construction, 50 % reduction in energy from existing buildings, 50% reduction in water, and 50% reduction in carbon emissions from auto and freight.

These voluntary commitments are not empty promises. District members are required to share, under proprietary agreements, building energy, water, and transportation data, join the Seattle Climate Partnership, enlist in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and enroll LEED buildings in USGBC's Building Performance Partnership. In return, the Seattle 2030 District is delivering innovative financing vehicles, sharing critical industry tools and best practices, and creating joint education opportunities to participating property owners and developers.

Improvement districts are not new – but the Seattle 2030 District takes a novel approach to the concept. District-wide reduction goals for energy use, water use, and CO2 emissions translates directly to using less power, water and fuel. While this may be hard to conceptualize, it yields tangible results: less traffic, better indoor and outdoor air quality, a more pleasant and desirable urban environment, a healthier Puget Sound and greater economic activity. These are the changes that Seattle and other growing urban areas must make in order to maintain vibrant and competitive cities in an era of population growth and resource overconsumption.

But don't environmental priorities run counter to economic ones? Not always.

Take energy use, for example. Buildings use approximately half of all energy consumed in this country. Reducing that use will take human energy: conservation managers, building auditors, manufacturers and installers of more efficient equipment – in other words the green jobs we've all been hearing about.

For decades, it's been cheaper to displace human labor with fossil fuel energy in the U.S., and we've followed that trend to its logical economic conclusion: high unemployment and rising energy prices. Yet thanks to those rising energy prices, projects to make buildings resource-efficient can more convincingly provide faster financial paybacks and higher asset values for building owners and investors. These conditions, paired with the right partnerships, technologies and financing solutions increases our ability to scale efficiency projects more broadly. The Seattle 2030 District aims to be the catalyst to make that scale reality.

There is no one-size-fits-all prescription to achieve the performance goals necessary to survive and thrive. Property owners and managers should be free to pursue the most innovative solutions to generate the best financial returns or other desired benefits for their property.

The bottom line is that the private sector must take the lead in transforming our economy away from fossil fuel dependency. More than 60 organizations, and over 23 million square feet of building space (30 percent of downtown Seattle) are participating in the Seattle 2030 District, a model that can lead the country in that transformation. It's time to join forces; 2030 is right around the corner.

Brett Phillips
Director of Sustainability, Unico Properties
Board Chairman, Seattle 2030 District

Brian Geller
Executive Director, Seattle 2030 District

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