Green Building News

Green Building News January 2009

January 5, 2009

Partners in Sustainable Building—National Green Building Effort

Habitat for Humanity International and The Home Depot Foundation undertake a national green building initiative, Partners in Sustainable Building. The program will provide funding and resources to assist in making at least 5,000 homes built by Habitat affiliates more energy efficient and sustainable according to nationally recognized green building standards. Sustainable homes cost less to operate and maintain and have less of an impact on the environment. The Home Depot Foundation is providing $30 million in financial and in-kind support, technical resources and training to establish a foundation of green building expertise that will impact Habitat builds for years to come.

The Home Depot Foundation’s Partners in Sustainable Building program will provide energy-efficient and sustainable building resources for approximately 17 percent of all single- and multi-family homes built by Habitat for Humanity over the next five years. Building a home to these standards can create significant savings in annual energy bills for Habitat partner families.

The five-year partnership begins with a one-year pilot program with approximately 30 Habitat affiliates in a variety of climates and in rural and urban areas to best gauge the impact of the program. Future components of the program will include educational and scholarship programs. Partners in Sustainable Building is an opt-in program, which will be available across the United States early this year. Funds and resources provided by the Foundation will help Habitat affiliates expand their use of energy-efficient equipment, install more water-conserving fixtures and ensure good indoor air quality. The funding will also help Habitat affiliates secure third-party verification of nationally recognized green building standards.

The Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity have worked together in many ways over the years, including individual store donations and new home builds completed locally by Home Depot store associates and various affiliate partnerships. This is the first formal partnership between the two organizations at the national level in the United States. In Canada, The Home Depot has been the largest supporter of Habitat for Humanity Canada since 1996, donating more than $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions to affordable housing projects each year.


USGBC Announces Winners of First-ever Green Homebuilder’s Day Awards

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) closed-out its first-ever Green Homebuilder’s Day at the 2008 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Boston, Mass. with an awards ceremony and reception that recognized excellence in residential green building. Green Homebuilder’s Day Awards celebrated homebuilders and projects that best executed innovation in technology, construction and design while reinforcing the value of responsible and sustainable homebuilding techniques.

The builders and projects were nominated by local LEED for Homes Providers in seven various categories, including Outstanding Multi-Family Project; Innovation Project; Outstanding Custom Project; Production Builder; Outstanding Affordable Project; Pilot Builder; and Outstanding Program Contribution. Winners were determined by USGBC staff, based-upon merits presented in the nominations.

“This year, we’ve seen tremendous growth within the residential green building sector, as green homes become much more of a household name than ever before,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development, USGBC. “The winners of the first annual awards have helped propel green home building into the mainstream and deserve to be recognized for their outstanding work.”

The award for the Outstanding Multi-Family Project recognizes an exceptional multi-family
LEED for Homes project which has contributed to both green home building in its community, and the LEED for Homes program overall. Avesta Housing’s Pearl Place Development in Portland, Maine is this year’s recipient. Pearl Place provides 60 affordable housing rental units in downtown Portland and is the first mid-rise project in the country to be certified.

The Innovative Project Recognition Award recognizes a LEED for Homes project for innovation in design, process, approach and/or technology. This year’s winner is Bazzani Associates for their project at 4057 Ronalds Road in Dorr, Michigan and its innovative water efficiency efforts.

The award for the Outstanding Custom Project recognizes a project and its builder for an
exceptional Custom Single Family project which showcases how a custom home can utilize the LEED for Homes rating system to the greatest extent. The winner of the award is The
Sustainable House, by Live Green, Live Smart, built in Minnetonka, Minnesota, for their work transforming an existing1940’s era single family home into a model of sustainability.

The Outstanding Production Builder Award recognizes a builder for outstanding certified
production homes. Artistic Homes in New Mexico is the recipient of the Production Builder
Award this year. The builder is committed to certifying 100 percent of its projects through LEED for Homes, and has already certified 89 projects to date.

The Outstanding Affordable Project Award recognizes a project and its builder for an affordable project that has contributed to green home building and the affordable housing community. The recipient of this year’s award is the Gish Apartments, built by First Community Housing in San Jose, California. Gish Apartments is a 35-unit, transit-oriented family apartment complex, with 13 of the units set aside for residents with developmental disabilities. Residents have access to a computer learning center and are provided with services tailored to support low income families, such as financial literacy training, computer literacy and after-school programs.

The Pilot Builder Award recognizes a builder whose achievements during the LEED for Homes Pilot program contributed greatly to the development of the program itself. Taggart Construction of Freeport, Maine is this year’s recipient and is the first LEED for Homes project certified in the country. Additionally, Taggart Construction President Peter Taggart has been instrumental in promoting the LEED for Homes program, not only as a builder but also as a local advocate.

The Outstanding Program Contribution Award recognizes the dedication of builders on the local and national scale alike, to pursue a more sustainable future for the residential building sector. Habitat for Humanity International was recognized this year for their commitment to the LEED for Homes program, and along with their affiliates, Habitat has brought more than 40 affordable LEED certified homes to families nationwide. As of today, over 80 Habitat homes are registered for LEED certification.

The first annual Green Homebuilder’s Day was comprised of panel discussions and educational sessions addressing the changing housing market, green affordable housing, ways to address the aging housing stock, the costs of going green and high-performance renovations.


Green Building Could Triple by 2013, Says McGraw-Hill Construction

The U.S. green building market is accelerating at a dramatic rate, says McGraw-Hill Construction's Green Outlook 2009: Trends Driving Change report. The value of green building construction starts was up five-fold from 2005 to 2008 (from $10 billion to $36-$49 billion), and could triple by 2013, reaching $96-$140 billion.

McGraw-Hill Construction's Green Outlook 2009 estimates the value of the U.S. green building market over the next five years, providing the comprehensive insight into the future of this fast-growing segment of the construction industry, based on data found in the McGraw-Hill Construction Network -- powered by the Dodge database, construction industry surveys, data analysis and analysis of other indicators, including increases in LEED certification and government regulation.

"Green growth is phenomenal across the globe," said Harvey M. Bernstein, Vice President of Industry Analytics, Alliances and Strategic Initiatives, McGraw-Hill Construction. "The business opportunities afforded by green building, even in the midst of a global economic crisis, are real and recognized by industry players. Furthermore, green building has great potential to help tackle unemployment through green jobs, and can address other societal issues, such as creating healthier places where we live and work."

Green building is the bright spot in an otherwise tough economy. U.S. Green Building Council members report green building to be less affected by the down market compared to non-green building, and homebuyers are willing to pay more for a green home. Perceived economic benefits are driving green building, including higher revenues, lower lifecycle costs and lower operating costs, but builders and buyers are also motivated by health benefits, new government regulation and pressure from global competition.

McGraw-Hill Construction attributes green building's rapid expansion to growing public awareness, an increase in government regulations and recognition of bottom-line advantages. Since 2005, the perceived benefits of green building have increased and differentiated as people become more knowledgeable about green building. The decrease in operating costs is the most often cited benefit (13.6 percent, up from 8-9 percent in 2005), followed by the increase in building values (10.9 percent, up from 7.5 percent in 2005).

International Green Building/Green Cities Expo Exhibitor Deadline - Jan. 15

A high level, heavily promoted showcase for environmental products, technologies and services from around the world. The Expo will be a featured side by side event with the Ministry of Construction’s 14th Annual Construction & Urban Services Expo, taking place June 18-20, 2009 at the Beijing International Exhibition Center. The MOC event is the premiere industry trade show and conference in China, with 30,000 sq. meters of exhibit space and a professional attendance of  50,000.

Northeast Green Building Conference 2009 - Feb. 12-13

The United States Green Building Council New York Upstate Chapter (USGBC NYUC), the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS) and U.W. Marx Construction Company are pleased to announce their collaborative effort to bring the Northeast Green Building Conference 2009 to Albany, NY. The two-day conference will bring together sustainable building advocates, construction industry associations, design professionals, higher education and private business in a unique sharing of knowledge and application of sustainable "green" building practices, as well as LEED® Contractor Training. Key individuals involved in the USGBC and the LEED® certification process will also be featured speakers. The conference will include training sessions, sustainable design seminars and a vendor trade show highlighting the availability and cost-effectiveness of 'green' products and building materials for residential and commercial construction.


2009 RESNET Building Performance Conference - Feb. 16-18

The 2009 RESNET Building Performance Conference will take place in New Orleans, LA. The conference is the premier national forum on home energy ratings, residential energy efficiency financing and building performance business development. More information.

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