Posts Tagged ‘Green IQ’

LEED v4 Postponed Until 2013

By Green Experts Team

LEED logo 2 300x300 LEED v4 Postponed Until 2013 The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced that it will postpone plans to ballot the next version of LEED, LEED v4, until 2013. The announcement was made due to the growing concerns of architects and building industry professionals. These concerns included:

  • The proposed changes in the rating systems were too drastic (particularly during such a weak real estate market).
  • Some of the changes needed to be further developed.
  • Tools and resources necessary to obtain the credits would not be widely available until after the new LEED system would be launched in November 2012.

Although the delay frustrated many LEED volunteers who had spent years working on the proposed draft, the extra time allows building professionals time to test out the new ideas presented in LEED v4 and ensure their success in the market. Several LEED members praised the organization for being flexible in their policies and listening to the concerns of members.

The results from this plan will help to create a fifth public comment draft, which is scheduled to run from Oct. 2 to Dec. 10, 2012. USGBC assert that LEED will continue to support the highest standards of certification and promotion for transparency and avoidance of questionable chemicals will not be lessened during this extended process.

What do you think about the postponement of LEED v4? Does this affect your products or services? Do you think the U.S. is in a position to delay environmental efforts?

By Green Experts Team

Although the term “green building” tends to bring to mind images of clean, modern structures or even iconic edifices like the Empire State Building, a growing trend recognizes the importance of the effects of buildings and their materials on the people who live and work within them. As the IMRE Green IQ Team found at Greenbuild 2011, the intersection of sustainable building and human health has never been more important or recognized in the industry.

In part, this trend can be accredited to highly publicized cases of disease and health problems caused by exposure to chemicals in building materials like asbestos, which have drawn public attention to the danger of such toxins in recent decades. From production to use and disposal, some building materials emit dangerous chemicals that, over time, make their way into the bodies of the people who live and work around them. The Healthy Building Network identifies a number of chemicals in commonly used building materials, such as formaldehyde, PVC, polyurethane, mercury, lead and even substances in preserved wood, that have detrimental health effects and are increasingly found within human bodies.

Today, the movement toward chemical-free buildings is being advanced by three parties in the building arena: certification systems that provide incentives for reducing harmful chemicals in buildings, architects and designers who create demand for products that meet the specifications of the certification systems, and building product manufacturers that develop the materials to fit the bill.

Certification Systems: As part of the update to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system in 2012, the system will offer a pilot credit for avoiding chemicals of concern when specifying building materials. The Safer Chemistry pilot credit is worth one point toward LEED certification and can currently be used in new construction, schools, healthcare and commercial interiors. Pending the success of this pilot credit, the reduction of harsh chemicals in building projects may be integrated in a future edition of the LEED rating system.

KC Lab1 300x218 Green Building – What Lies Within

The Science and Technology Center includes both office and laboratory space for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 7 is LEED 2.0 Gold certified.

Architects & Designers: Architects and designers are becoming educated and empowered by resources like the Precautionary List, a database of chemicals commonly used in building products that have potential to harm human or environmental health. The list was launched by the architectural design firm Perkins+Will in 2009, and serves as a resource for architects and designers who wish to eliminate building products and materials with harmful chemicals from their projects. The firm has since expanded the list into a larger Transparency Site that also includes a list of asthma-inducing substances and flame-retardants with toxic ingredients.

Building Product Manufacturers: Driven by the incentives of certification systems and demand among architects and designers, building product manufacturers are innovating new products and developing technology that helps to not only reduce the harsh chemical content of building products, but also make them more sustainable overall. Take, for example, Iowa-based manufacturing company ReWall, which manufacturers building materials made from 100 percent recycled products while eliminating glue, water and chemicals from the manufacturing process. ReWall recycles some 2 million tons of polyethylene-coated cups and cartons that would otherwise enter U.S. landfills every year, and employs a manufacturing process that uses 86 percent less energy than the process used to create its competitor product, drywall. With the incentive of specification by green-minded architects and designers, companies like ReWall will continue to push the bounds of technology to improve product performance and reducing negative impacts, driving green building to new heights.

As the details of building products become more accessible and transparent, especially through resources like Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), the building community will be emboldened with the knowledge necessary to make informed product selections that support healthier buildings and environments. The buildings of the future will support a healthier environment and healthier people, all while reducing negative impacts on both.

By greeniq

Earlier this month, we highlighted the importance of reducing job site waste, and one of the most effective ways to do so is by recycling building materials from construction projects. According to The Construction Materials and Recycling Association (CMRA), approximately 350 tons of construction and demolition debris is generated and disposed of in the United States each year. What does this shocking statistic mean to building professionals and the greater sustainability movement? Aside from the obvious detrimental effects on the environment, construction waste disposal leads to the loss of useful property, resources and energy. To make matters worse, this cycle repeats itself as new building materials are produced, causing greater environmental stress. By implementing job site recycling programs, builders have the ability to slow the rate of construction waste generation.

Not sure where to start? Though the thought of recycling building materials may be a daunting for some, fortunately there are several associations and organizations in place to help builders and manufacturers recycle their unwanted (yet salvageable) materials. Following are three reputable organizations currently advocating for job site recycling while providing the resources to help us do so.

· Construction Materials and Recycling Association (CMRA) – The mission of the CMRA is to provide positive support and representation to the building industry in all matters impacting the recycling business. This non-profit organization acts as an advocate to promote construction recycling and to serve as a liaison between its members and legislators as well as member recycling companies and agencies. As a member, you’re able to interact with groups that touch the recycling at every stage in the process from waste generators, haulers and even end users of recycled products. With the CMRA, you have access to an unlimited network of groups whose end-recycling goal mirrors your own.

· Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) – The WBDG’s Construction Waste Management Database (http://www.wbdg.org/tools/cwm.php) is a national, online network of companies that haul, collect and process recyclable building materials from construction sites. This database allows free and unlimited online searches for construction recycling companies by state, zip code and even down to the materials you would like to be recycled. In addition, the site offers a construction waste management resource page with best practices and considerations for implementing your own effective construction recycling program.

· The Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) – The BMRA is another non-profit whose goal is to facilitate the reuse of recycled building materials in a manner that is financially and sustainably sound. The organization firmly believes that through recycling and reusing building materials, not only will we benefit the environment but stimulate the economy through new markets and job creation.

We put these tools to the test, in search of organizations across the country doing innovative work in recycling. Here’s what we found:

logoevergreenrecycling If You Build It, You Can Recycle It: Job Site Waste Part 2

· Evergreen Recycling is a full service recycling company based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, whose services include construction waste planning, post construction recycling for new and existing buildings and recycling management plans to fit your needs. An innovative feature of the company is its roll off bin service for all recyclable materials. No need to sort and separate building materials on site, Evergreen Recycling does the work for you and processes everything from concrete to carpeting. For more information visit http://evergreenlv.com/ContactUs.asp

logo If You Build It, You Can Recycle It: Job Site Waste Part 2

· We’re all aware of the tremendous work Habitat for Humanity has done to provide shelter for countless deserving individuals over the years, but the organization also contributes to our recycling efforts through the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Network. Organizations are encouraged to donate recycled building materials that are then sold to the public at a fraction of the price. Through their efforts, ReStores keep reusable materials out of landfills and into the construction of Habitat homes. To find a Habitat ReStore in your area visit http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx.

logo If You Build It, You Can Recycle It: Job Site Waste Part 2


· The Loading Dock in Baltimore, MD is an example of an organization using recycled materials not only to benefit the environment, but the community as a whole. The company obtains usable building materials from contractors, retailers, manufacturers, and even directly from landfills. Through its efforts, The Loading Dock has been able to rehabilitate low-income housing in Baltimore City using materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Visit http://www.loadingdock.org/stock/feature/index.html for a glimpse at some of the items available at The Loading Dock.


Based on our findings, we at Build Intel see great opportunity in recycling for builders and manufacturers alike. As the green building movement continues to grow, so does the need for better recycling practices. For example, under the LEED program, projects earn construction waste points by developing a waste management plan, establishing quantifiable recycling goals. With LEED standards and other building certification programs as a top priority among the industry, building professionals must implement and live up to their recycling claims. With the desire to be green, recycling is sure to follow.

 

greenintel imre If You Build It, You Can Recycle It: Job Site Waste Part 2


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