Green Building News

Green Building News February 2008

February 4, 2008

Oregon Businesses and Non-Profits Are Among First to Join The Climate Registry

Four local businesses and non-profits have become Founding Reporters of The Climate Registry by being among the first 54 organizations to join. The Climate Registry is a non-profit organization established to measure and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in a common, accurate and transparent manner consistent across industry sectors and borders. Thirty nine U.S. states, five Canadian provinces, three Native American tribes, two Mexican states and the District of Columbia are the founders of the organization.
The four Portland-based Founding Reporters are:

  • Earth Advantage, Inc.: works with builders, developers and industry partners as a primary resource for green building and climate solutions through education, training, consulting and third-party building certifications
  • Ecos Consulting: works with clients to reduce energy use, manage carbon emissions and make operations more environmentally sustainable
  • PacifiCorp: the parent company of Pacific Power, a local electricity producer with a growing renewable energy portfolio
  • Tropical Salvage: a furniture business creating positive change, using 100 percent salvaged tropical hardwood and certified Fair Trade practices

By joining as Founding Reporters, these organizations have demonstrated a commitment to solving global warming by voluntarily committing to measure, independently verify and publicly report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on an annual basis utilizing The Climate Registry General Reporting Protocol, which is based on the internationally recognized GHG measurement standards of the World Resources Institute and World Business Council on Sustainability. Measuring their GHG emissions in this way is the first step in reducing emissions, and enables them to offset their emissions by obtaining GHG offsets in growing “carbon markets.”

"We pride ourselves on aligning our behavior with our progressive thinking,” said Sean Penrith, Executive Director of Earth Advantage, Inc. “Being a Founding Reporter cements our solid commitment to the role of environmental and climate stewardship Earth Advantage advocates. We trust that other firms in the region will join us in charting the path to climate solutions."
Oregon has long been a leader in addressing climate change and environmental sustainability issues. In setting a standard in 2003, Governor Ted Kulongoski spoke about Oregon's ongoing commitment to a healthy environment and its integral relationship with business and the economy. He stated,
"A healthy environment is essential to a livable Oregon and a strong economy... There is a complementary relationship between a clean environment and a robust economy - they exist and support upon each other. Thus, it is important that we keep Oregon's existing environmental standards in place. We cannot lower our environmental bar."
“These Portland institutions have demonstrated exemplary environmental leadership by stepping forward to support The Climate Registry in its preliminary stages. We are deeply grateful for their integral support in helping to address the challenge of climate change,” said Gina McCarthy, Chair of The Climate Registry.
Entities that join before May, 2008 are eligible to receive Founding Reporter status.


NAHB Introduces Certified Green Professional Designation

A new professional designation program from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will soon provide home buyers with additional assurance that the builder or remodeler they’ve chosen is authentically “green.”

The Certified Green Professional™ designation will be unveiled Thursday, Feb. 14 during Green Day at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. Application information will be available at the show.

Builders, remodelers and other industry professionals must have at least two years of building industry experience and be involved in the construction of at least one home in the past 24 months to apply for the Certified Green Professional designation.

The designation is based on the “Green Building for Building Professionals” course, a two-day training and education session that more than 700 builders have already completed since the course was piloted two years ago. Candidates must also complete a University of Housing management course, agree to continuing education requirements and adhere to a code of ethics.

Applicants can take the course work during special pre-conference education sessions before the International Builders’ Show opens on Feb. 13. The business management and Green Building for Building Professionals classes are also offered at other NAHB conferences and by local home building associations throughout the country. The first class of Certified Green Professionals will receive their designations at the 10th annual NAHB National Green Building Conference, May 11-13 in New Orleans.

Applicants can visit to discover additional class locations for courses associated with the Certified Green Professional designation.


Building & Remodeling with FSC Guidebook

Building & Remodeling with FSC - a resource for residential projects - was recently made available by Portland-based Forest Product Solutions. The guide can be downloaded at the FSC House web site.


Challenge to Energy Standards for Home Heating Appliances

The public interest law firm Earthjustice is filing suit on behalf of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), arguing that standards DOE adopted in November are shockingly weak, will cost consumers billions of dollars and fail to reduce global warming emissions.

The City of New York and the States of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York are also challenging DOE's standards in a joint lawsuit filed in January.

Tougher efficiency standards translate into significant economic benefits, especially in northern states where the cost difference between low and high efficiency models can be recovered more quickly through reduced heating bills. Advocates for residents in these regions said the weak national standards disproportionately hurt renters who are stuck paying the higher fuel costs of less efficient models installed by landlords.

The new DOE standards for gas-fired furnaces - the most common home heating appliance - represent a miniscule increase: from 78 to 80 percent efficiency. Adopting a 90 percent efficiency standard nationwide would maximize consumer value, saving $11 billion over a 24-year period, while also preventing the emission of 141 million tons of carbon dioxide over the same span. But DOE opted for a standard that 99 percent of furnaces sold already meet, resulting in much less cost savings and virtually no reduction in CO2 emissions.

The lawsuits challenge serious flaws in DOE's economic analysis that led the department to undervalue the benefits of stronger standards. For example, a stronger standard would most likely drive down the cost of natural gas, but the DOE failed to consider this factor in making its decision. The DOE also failed to place a dollar value on the decreased carbon dioxide emissions that would result from a stronger efficiency standard.


Energy Star Light Bulbs are Helping to Change the World

Americans are more than making good on their pledges to help fight climate change by replacing their lights with Energy Star qualified CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). EPA estimates that Energy Star CFL sales for 2007 were nearly double those in 2006, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the light bulb market in the U.S.

According to market data, sales of Energy Star qualified CFLs have risen dramatically over the last two years. In 2006, it is estimated that the market share jumped to about 11 percent, compared to a market share consistently under 5 percent in the early part of the decade. Sales in 2007 totaled approximately 290 million bulbs. Energy Star retail partners such as Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Costco, Menards, Ace Hardware and Sams Club have played an important role in educating consumers about the importance of saving energy and the value of these products.

Energy Star qualified CFLs use about 75 percent less energy and last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. It is important for consumers to look for CFLs that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR label in order to ensure the best performance. Energy Star qualified models have a minimum lifetime of 6,000 hours, maintain their light output over time, and are more energy efficient than standard CFLs.

One Energy Star qualified bulb can save about $30 or more in energy costs over its lifetime. The average home has approximately 30 light fixtures. If every U.S. household replaced just one light bulb or fixture with an Energy Star, our country would save more than $600 million each year in energy costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars.

To date, the national Energy Star Change a Light campaign has received more than one million pledges from Americans across the country to change nearly four million light bulbs to Energy Star CFLs, equating to potential savings of more than $100 million in energy costs and the prevention of more than 1.5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Winners of the Beyond Green™  2007 High Performance Building Awards

The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC), along with their sponsors, has announced the winners of the Beyond Green™ 2007 High Performance Building Awards Program. Three first place winners presented their projects in January in conjunction with the  U.S. Department of Energy's Building for the 21st Century monthly lecture series.

This year, the Council gave awards in two categories: High Performance Buildings and High Performance Initiatives. The Beyond Green™  awards recognize initiatives that shape and catalyze the high performance building market, as well as the real-world application of high performance design and construction practices.

Applicants were challenged to demonstrate the successful application of the whole building approach and show how they maintained the proper balance of eight design objectives (accessible, aesthetic, cost effective, functional, historic, productive, safe/secure and sustainable) that make up a high performance building. All building design professionals, including SBIC members and nonmembers, were eligible to compete. 

The winners in each category are described below.
Beyond Green™ 2007 High Performance Building Awards
Category A - High Performance Buildings

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - The Molecular Foundry
SmithGroup, Inc

Award Winners:

Bronx Library Center
Dattner Architects
Desert Living Center and Gardens
Lucchesi Galati
Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center
Lord, Aeck, Sargent Architecture
The Most Energy Efficient Conservatory in the World
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Inc.
Northern Guilford Middle School
Innovative Design, Inc.
University of California Merced, Central Plant
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Water + Life Museums Campus
Lehrer + Gangi Design + Build

Beyond Green™ 2007 High Performance Building Awards
Category B - High Performance Initiatives

High Performance Building: Perspectives and Practice
Rocky Mountain Institute
Educational Initiative
The Athena® EcoCalculator for Assemblies
Athena Institute
Innovative Initiative

Award Winners:

21st Century Schools Policy Initiative and Design Manual
NJIT for the New Jersey Schools Development Authority
Policy Initiative
Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Program Development Initiative

Sponsors for the awards program include BASF, SKANSKA, BOMA, CertainTeed, eco-structure magazine and the Whole Building Design Guide.

Ecobuild: Innovations for the Built Environment - Feb. 26-28

Conference and seminar sessions held in London, UK, most of which are free. In excess of 500 exhibitors and 500 speakers. Visit web site for more information: Ecobuild: Innovations for the Built Environment


BUILDING ENERGY 08 - March 11-13

Trade show, with debates on a range of green building and renewable energy needs. Held in Boston. Visit web site for more information: BUILDING ENERGY 08


Greenprints - March 13-14

Annual Green Building Conference and Trade Show in Atlanta, GA will address environmental issues and the growing sustainable building development marketplace. Visit web site for more information: Greenprints

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