USGBC Central Pennsylvania | U.S. Green Building Council
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USGBC Central Pennsylvania is working to inspire sustainable transformation in Central Pennsylvania through the built environment.

USGBC Central Pennsylvania — through its members, board and committees — focuses its work in three main areas: education, advocacy and outreach. We represent 34 counties in the central part of the state, including the state capital and a population of over 4.2 million people. Our efforts include regular educational and networking programs, GreenCon, numerous service projects, and an annual awards program honoring innovative sustainable design.

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In Community 05.10.2016

Energy code compliance 101 (USGBC Central Pennsylvania)

USGBC Central Pennsylvania is sharing with our community the tips on energy code compliance prepared by the Pennsylvania Energy Code Compliance Collaborative and facilitated by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships.

Building energy codes exist to protect consumers

The energy code requires minimum insulation, equipment, and lighting efficiencies to

  • Minimize health risks and improve the comfort and productivity of tenants.
  • Prevent inflated energy bills and ensure cost-effective improvements are installed.
  • Create jobs in the local economy and drive technology and design innovation.
  • Improve community resiliency and durability against storms and disasters.
  • Reduce unnecessary pollution while increasing grid reliability and energy security.

However, most buildings do not fully comply with these minimum standards.

What is the cost of energy code noncompliance?

A 2015 study analyzing over 170 new Pennsylvania homes found that new homes waste over $2.5 million in energy each year due to noncompliance with the energy code. That’s $39 million by 2020, before accounting for additional losses in renovations and retrofits! No compliance data is available for Pennsylvania’s commercial buildings, but estimating a compliance rate of 70 percent (typical of other states), projects about $82 million by 2040 in energy costs that could be avoided just by meeting current energy code requirements. Full compliance would save our families and businesses millions each year.

Improving code compliance can start right now

  • Building professionals can use free tools and training materials (see Resources below).
  • Design professionals can receive support and help others through ASHRAE, AIA, etc.
  • Cities and towns can support local building departments, over 90 percent of which enforce the code themselves (the rest have no formal enforcement of the residential energy code).
  • Legislators can fund a commercial energy code assessment to pinpoint compliance gaps.
  • More support from elected officials is necessary to achieve full code compliance.

Resources

1. Penn. Residential Energy Code Toolkit (educational videos, inspection forms, etc.)
2. Penn. Energy Code Training Opportunities
3. Penn. Residential Building Energy Code Field Study
4. Code Savings Calculator

In Community 04.26.2016

A week with YouthBuild (USGBC Central Pennsylvania)

USGBC Central Pennsylvania is proud of their partnership with YouthBuild of Greater Harrisburg. Twice a year, UGSBC staff, board members and volunteers pull together to host a week of green building education for YouthBuild students. 

YouthBuild was formed to create positive energy and break the cycle of poverty in low-income communities by providing opportunities for young people to learn skills and unleash their full potential. YouthBuild focuses on achieving quality of life and developing communities through education, training and leadership for young people ages 18–24, preparing them for future employment opportunities. The core values of respect, cooperation, love, diversity, courage, commitment, integrity, responsibility and community open up opportunities for leadership development, community service and the creation of a thriving community. 

YouthBuild of Greater Harrisburg is a prime example of how the program educates and inspires individuals to pursue their full potential in their community. Part of the Harrisburg YouthBuild green education involves attending GreenCon 2016 and one week of education that focuses on green buildings, green technology, environmental sustainability and job opportunities within the region.

During the week of March 28–31, Harrisburg YouthBuild and USGBC Central Pennsylvania were in full swing with the spring green education week. 

Monday

Volunteer Bill Sutton conducted an informational introductory class on LEED. He shared videos, slideshows and examples of green building. After learning about LEED, the class broke up into teams to design their own LEED building. They were able to apply what they had learned in a hands-on setting. 

Tuesday

The students were given a tour of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC). There, Deputy Director Andy Gavin discussed what SRBC was responsible for in regard to managing water. The students of YouthBuild were able to gain a better understanding of SRBC’s responsibilities on water supply, water quality, flooding, ecosystems, the Chesapeake Bay and the importance of coordination and cooperation in public information.

The students were then able to learn more about SRBC’s green building by viewing blueprints provided by Pyramid Construction Project Manager Phil Crouthamel. After a tour of the building from SRBC Manager Gordon Lauger, they were shown rain gardens and bioswales to better understand the importance of reducing runoff water. The end of the day was followed up with a tour from Andrew Bliss on the services and role that Capital Region Water plays for the Harrisburg area.

Wednesday

Dickinson College was the third location for YouthBuild week. The students were able to experience full sustainability measures that have been taken by the college. On-site farming, composting, solar panels and the use of biogas for tractors all contributed to the campus’s reduced carbon footprint, which the students were able to witness. This provided a chance for the YouthBuild participants to witness food production and the environment that a farm provides, including chickens and a rural landscape.

For lunch, the students sat down with the dining hall staff and discussed the importance of food prep, as well as how on-site farming benefits the college and reduces its carbon footprint. Seeing the composting of food scraps and organic material and the use of biofuel for the tractors made it easy to understand how Dickinson College has done this. Later that afternoon, the students assisted in a street cleanup in Allison Hill on Derry Street, where they collected nearly 30 bags of trash. 

Thursday

The last day of the program, the students returned to the classroom. The students went through a community design exercise in which they created a community that had all of the amenities the students thought would be beneficial. The next topic addressed was the importance of a comprehensive plan. Participants were able to discuss what assets would be important to incorporate in the plan, particularly the Harrisburg comprehensive plan, beHBG. The day was followed by a video on Tiny Houses, a discussion on American consumption and a time of reflection on the week’s events. 

Empowering youth through sustainability

This empowering week of events gave YouthBuild participants a sense of appreciation for the importance of green infrastructure and practices in community development. Through think tanks, lectures and hands-on experiences, what they learned will positively impact the Harrisburg community's future.

USGBC Central Pennsylvania greatly appreciates those who shared their expertise and knowledge with YouthBuild. Thank you to our volunteer coordinator, Greg Dice of K&W Engineers, and to all of our volunteer teachers: Bill Sutton (R.S. Mowery & Sons), Andy Gavin (SRBC), Phil Crouthamel (Pyramid Construction), Gordon Lauger (SRBC), Tyler Shenk (SRBC), Jamie Shallenberger (SRBC), Andrew Bliss (Capital Region Water), Madison Beehler (Dickinson College) and Ken Shultes (Dickinson College). 

The best way to get the involvement of the community’s youth is to provide the opportunity to be engaged in the community. If you are interested in being a future YouthBuild mentor, please reach out to Eileen Reavey

In Community 04.25.2016

Be part of a movement (USGBC Central Pennsylvania)

Be part of the green building movement in Central Pennsylvania. USGBC Central Pennsylvania is working to inspire sustainable transformation in our area through the built environment, and we are searching for motivated individuals committed to making a difference within our region and beyond. Due to the inherent nature of our work, you’ll be volunteering with a group of individuals whose impact stretches far beyond our region. We’re all committed to reversing the impact of climate change and understand you have to start where you are. 

There are several opportunities for students and professors to get involved with green building initiatives throughout central Pennsyvania:

  • Advocacy
  • Community outreach
  • Educational programs
  • Green building research
  • Green schools
  • Internships
  • Marketing and communications

This is a great opportunity for students to network with leaders in the green building industry in our region and to learn how green buildings play a positive role in all aspects of our lives.

Learn how you can get involved by emailing us or calling 717.903.9818. We would love to discuss these opportunities with you.

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