Green Building News

Green Building News November 2006

November 16, 2006

Fireman’s Fund® Introduces Green Building Coverage
Customizable Coverage Insures Risks Unique to Sustainable Buildings

In response to commercial real estate’s green building movement evolving from the benefits to the environment and building owner’s bottom line, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company has announced Certified Green Building Replacement and Green Upgrade coverages. Fireman’s Fund® offers coverage specifically for green commercial buildings and addresses the unique risks that are acquired with sustainable building practices.

This offering of coverages protects buildings that are green-certified as well as buildings and facilities whose owners would like to capture green benefits. The coverage for LEED® certified buildings offers a discount due to lower risk factors. Conventional insurance policies only cover the cost to restore a building to its original condition. Under Fireman’s Fund Green Building Replacement, Green Upgrade, and Commissioning coverages commercial property owners and managers are able to rebuild and replace with green alternatives such as:

• Non-toxic, low-odor paints and carpeting
• Energy Star®-rated electrical equipment
• Interior lighting systems that meet LEED or Green Globe requirements
• Water efficient interior plumbing
• Energy Star-qualified roof and insulation materials
• Commissioning – Engineering inspection of systems such as HVAC

“The real estate industry is generally aware of the benefits of ‘going green’ but building owners and managers should also be aware of the risks that are unique to sustainable design,” said Steve Bushnell, product director at Fireman’s Fund. “Green building owners have an evolving set of ‘green risks’ that are specific to the sustainable building industry. At Fireman’s Fund we support and financially cover property owners who are green or would like to go green.”

Fireman’s Fund has worked closely with the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED program as well as the Green Building Initiative’s (GBI) Green Globes program to ensure that its coverage and upgrade options align with the industry’s major green certification processes. As part of the product, Fireman’s Fund will pay for the application process for the building to become certified by these organizations.

For buildings that are green certified by the USGBC or the GBI, Fireman’s Fund will cover sustainable building elements such as vegetated roofs and alternative energy and water systems. In case of a total loss, Fireman’s Fund will cover for the rebuilding to also be green certified.

For buildings that aren’t quite there yet, but are looking to go green, Fireman’s Fund provides an upgrade package as part of its green product. For example, if there is a fire in the building, Fireman’s Fund will pay for the upgrade to replace the carpet with green certified carpet and Energy Star office equipment. Here again, if there is a total loss, Fireman’s Fund will cover for the entire rebuild to be green certified.

Commissioning is offered for both types of buildings. Engineers are commissioned to inspect systems such as HVAC after they are installed to ensure that they are running properly and truly energy efficient.


King County Offering New Green-building Incentives
Funds, permitting assistance available to commercial, residential developers

Commercial and residential developers who want to “build green” in King County, Washington could be eligible to receive financial assistance as well as free technical assistance through a new program from the King County Green Building Program in the county’s Solid Waste Division.

The incentives are part of King County's efforts to support more green-building practices, said Katie Spataro, program manager for the Solid Waste Division.

“We are continuing to look for ways to promote and encourage residential builders and commercial developers to design projects in ways that have minimal negative impact on our environment,” Spataro said.

Under the new program, commercial developers across King County (excluding Seattle) could be eligible to receive up to $25,000 in funds to help encourage higher performance green buildings.

In addition, residential developers who want to build green in unincorporated King County are now eligible to receive free project management and expedited permitting review from the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services.

“Green buildings can have lower energy and water consumption rates, and offer occupants excellent comfort and functionality. These new incentives provide terrific opportunities to stimulate and support green building throughout King County,” Spataro said.

Funding is available for developers who are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED® is a rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The grant provides funding of $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the LEED certification level that the project achieves. The funds are intended to help offset the up-front costs of green buildings, such as added early design or modeling costs, plus LEED registration and certification fees.

The LEED rating system is a national standard for developing high-performance, environmentally-friendly buildings. The system assigns credits for satisfying a variety of criteria such as preserving habitat, increasing energy efficiency, reducing potable water use and using recycled-content building materials. Spataro said 31 of the 46 LEED-certified buildings in Washington state are located within Seattle and King County.

Residential projects in King County are also eligible for green building incentives available immediately. For projects in unincorporated King County seeking the highest certification under the Master Builders Association’s Built Green program, incentives include expedited permit review, free project management through permitting and free technical assistance. The incentives are administered by King County’s Department of Development and Environmental Services and the Department of Natural Resources and Parks.


North Carolina LEED Workshops - December 8

These workshops, sponsored in part by the NC Solar Center and the Triangle Chapter of the US Green Building Council, will teach participants how to incorporate LEED in project specifications and how to understand LEED project costs and returns. The workshop is offered by the US Green Building Council.


Illinois Solar Energy Association Membership Meeting - December 9
Held at the Chicago Center for Green Technology

The CCGT is a LEED Platinum rated building and highly solar energized! Come early or stay late to tour the grounds.
You don't have to be a member to attend.


Harvesting Clean Energy 2007 - January 28-30

The 7th Annual Harvesting Clean Energy Conference will be held in Boise, Idaho. This is the Northwest's premiere gathering of agriculture and energy interests working to create new opportunities for rural economic development through clean energy production. Features major keynote addresses, numerous workshops, dynamic exhibits and tours, and ample networking opportunities. Farmers, ranchers rural residents, utilities, and public and private agencies can learn firsthand from those who have already harnessed clean energy technologies like windpower, biofuels, solar, and geothermal.

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