U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL: Government Update

Government owned or occupied LEED buildings make up 31% of all LEED projects
Government LEED Projects:     761 Certified  |  7,649 Registered  |  36% Federal  |  26% State  |  39% Local

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From The Field
New York DEC: Mission-Oriented Green Building
By Jeremy Cohen, USGBC Government Sector Associate
From an interview with State of New York Associate Building Engineer Anna P. Campas


New York DEC: Mission-Oriented Green BuildingThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has completed its first of 11 planned green building projects, achieving a LEED Gold rating for its Region 5 Office building in Warrensburg, N.Y. The Warrensburg project entailed an 8,000-square-foot addition and major renovation of an existing 13,000-square-foot office building. In Warrensburg, as in its other green building projects, DEC is targeting the green strategies within LEED that help fulfill the department’s mission and the environmental performance imperatives from several Executive Orders.

The Region 5 Office building was designed for energy performance that exceeds New York State Building Code by nearly 30%, and 100% of the needed electricity is being purchased from renewable sources. These measures have helped DEC surpass Executive Orders requiring agencies to make 20% of total electricity purchases from renewable sources and requiring facilities to be 20% more energy efficient than code. To demonstrate DEC’s commitment to conservation, the facility was built to retain and infiltrate 100% of site stormwater runoff and received exemplary performance credit within LEED for extensive use of recycled-content material.

Construction waste management was another target performance category for DEC, but it was one that proved to be a challenge for the project managers from the New York Office of General Services (OGS). New York’s Wicks Law requires that state construction projects be bid through four separate prime contracts: construction, heating, plumbing, and electric. For the Warrensburg project, one of the first LEED projects for OGS, each of the prime contractors brought in their own bins and collected their own receipts for waste diversion. In the end, the project recycled or salvaged an impressive 78% of construction waste, but the process of collecting and coordinating all of the different receipts proved cumbersome. To streamline future projects, the OGS now includes specification language stipulating that the construction contractor will collect and track the total construction waste for all four trades.

LEED challenges governments to prioritize their sustainability goals and to overcome barriers to changing standard practice. Working together, DEC and OGS are showing that big strides in environmental and energy performance are achievable and they are developing best practices to pave the way for other government projects in New York and beyond. To read more about green building at the New York Office of General Services, visit http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/dnc/generalInfo/leed.html , or contact:

Anna P. Campas, AIA, P.E., LEED AP
Associate Building Structural Engineer
New York State Office of General Services
Albany, New York
[email protected]


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From The Desk Of
Bonnie Richardson, Transportation Planner
City of Tempe, Ariz.

Green Building Momentum in Arizona


Given the increasing number of meetings focusing on reduced funding, declining sales tax revenue, layoffs and reorganizations, I'm ready to spend a little time looking for some good news. Is there anything we can find to remind us that we're still moving forward?

I think there is! Arizona has been quietly engaged in the new green economy since 2001 when a handful of people joined together to spur innovation and ingenuity in the design and construction of green buildings. And it's really paying off for our state. In just eight years, our Arizona chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council has grown to more than 1,200 members, and we've established four branches to support the expanding commitment to green building.

Our cities are helping drive this change. In 2005, Scottsdale was the first city in the nation to adopt a policy of LEED Gold certification for municipal buildings. We now find cities large and small across the state are engaging in the process of promoting sustainable practices in their communities, rewriting codes and restructuring operations. The need to develop techniques that respond to the unrelenting summer heat, the sporadic monsoons, the limited water resources and an expanding population spurred local governments to work together.

The cluster of cities that make up the Metro Phoenix area have long been competitive in their drive for new development. The result: low-density sprawl and two (or three, or four) cars in every driveway. However, a refreshing shift to a more cooperative model is under way, spearheaded by an energetic group of government representatives looking to implement strategies that benefit the environmental, social and economic health of our region.

City, county and tribal leaders and the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University have launched the Sustainable Cities Network. As a vehicle for sharing knowledge and coordinating efforts to understand and solve problems, the SCN will foster partnerships, identify best practices for desert cities, provide training and information, and create a bridge between ASU's research and the front-line challenges of sustainability. Through the Network, governments will work together to streamline and green city and county operations, advance solar energy, mitigate the urban heat island, design sustainable neighborhoods, and secure water supplies in a changing climate.

This November will be a milestone for Arizona as we host Greenbuild 2009. Our plan is to present a spectacular conference and the largest expo in Greenbuild history, showing you some of the best examples of green projects in the desert, conducting workshops on regional and national issues and inviting you to experience the beauty and variety of our state. Of course there will be no shortage of inspirational speakers and world-class leaders in sustainability, and the evening celebrations will certainly make you smile. In short, an energizing reprieve from the disheartening aspects of this economy and an opportunity to resurrect the optimism of the long view.

Sounds like a pretty nice way to remember that we are all making a difference and we are all definitely moving forward!

For more information, see www.usgbcaz.org or contact:

Bonnie Richardson, AIA, LEED A.P.
Architect/Principal Planner, City of Tempe Transportation, Tempe Arizona
[email protected]


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Government Committee News
Government Strategy Session: Policies and Incentives for Private-Sector Green Building


Governments have been leading by example in the green building movement. To date, 31% of all LEED projects are owned or occupied by a federal, state or local government entity. Now, governments are increasingly considering incentives and regulations to encourage more private-sector green development in their jurisdictions. The second quarterly Government Community Strategy Session webcast attracted 45 participants from across the nation to discuss challenges, opportunities and strategies for designing and implementing effective private-sector green building programs.

The webcast featured diverse panelists who introduced their experience with these programs and then fielded questions in a moderated discussion. Please view the agenda (http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=5986) for the complete list of panelists and the jurisdictions that they represent. The discussion was prefaced with a brief analysis of green building policies across the nation. There are currently 111 jurisdictions with green building policies for commercial buildings. 95 of these policies are based-on or reference the LEED Rating System. 71 of these policies create an incentive for green building and 38 require third-party certification through the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

The panel discussed the involvement of commercial developer representatives in the design of the green building policy, the reaction of developers to the new requirements or incentives, and the demands on government staff to implement or enforce programs. The panelists all had different experiences and advice to offer on each of these topics. The following bullets summarize the major takeaways from this discussion:

  • Program Design
    • Bring in industry representatives early to shape the process, not just to react to proposals.
    • Create an atmosphere of information sharing among developers, among public agencies, and between private and public representatives.
    • Make clear timelines and requirements based on national standards.
    • Regional coordination on minimum standards is desirable.
  • Program Implementation
    • Promote peer-to-peer education. Resistance to green building is often based on misconceptions of impacts on costs and timelines.
    • Reevaluate program and requirements as developers gain experience and market develops.
    • Be prepared to support program launch through marketing, education and technical support.
  • Program Administration
    • Coordination among public agencies will often be necessary.
    • Relying on third-party certification reduces demands on government staff.
    • Green building training for government staff enables clearer communication with developers.
    • Creating specific titles or a department for the green building program increases its visibility and perceived authority.

The USGBC Government Committee is a member-elected group working to find solutions to the most pressing issues facing the government community. The committee will host one additional Strategy Session webcast this year to facilitate deeper and more consistent communication among government employees nationwide working to promote green building policies and ensure their effective implementation. For a full schedule of upcoming Strategy Sessions and to view an archive of this webcast, visit www.usgbc.org/government and click the link to “COMMUNITY.”

Join the USGBC Government Committee for the next Strategy Session webcast: First Steps after a Green Building Policy Adoption, scheduled for Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. EDT.


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USGBC Update
Free Webcast: The Roadmap to Sustainable Government Buildings


Roadmap to Sustainable BuildingsThe Roadmap to Sustainable Government Buildings is a collection of resources and strategies from government green building programs across the country. By sharing experiences, governments are rapidly spreading the best practices that can help advance green building programs at any level. Created through the joint efforts of USGBC and the National Association of State Facilities Administrators (NASFA), the Roadmap guides government staff and officials in developing and implementing green building programs based on the LEED rating systems.

The introductory webcast is a guided tour to this new resource hosted by USGBC staff and featuring Roadmap contributors Stuart Simpson from the State of Washington General Administration and Patricia Chaput from the State of Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management. View the archive of this webcast to learn more about how to use this tool, what resources are included, and how your experiences can help evolve this set of best practices in government green building.

See the Archived Webcast »

Download the Roadmap to Sustainable Government Buildings »

Share your experiences, comments, and questions by sending an email to: [email protected]


Introducing the USGBC’s Green Office Guide


On August 17th, the USGBC’s Green Office Guide was made available for sale on the USGBC website at www.usgbc.org/publications. The guide is priced at $40 for USGBC members and $55 for non-USGBC members.

This Green Office Guide is a practical resource for project teams and real estate executives, providing tools that teams can utilize to manage the project to successful completion in addition to discussing the business and environmental drivers behind green buildings and the nuances of the tenant-landlord relationship. Focused on helping tenants and landlords collaborate, the guide helps office tenants integrate green decision-making throughout the leasing process — encompassing team selection, site selection, negotiations, lease language, build-out and the tenant’s ongoing operations within the leased space.

The USGBC will also be hosting an informative 1 hour webcast highlighting the main content of Green Office Guide featuring its three authors; Mychele Lord of Lord Green Real Estate Services, Shannon Sentman of Sol Vista Consulting, and Holley Henderson of H2 Ecodesign Inc. The webcast will be held on 9/23/09 at 1pm EST, and is free for all those that are interested. Register today »


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