LEED Changes Game with New Dynamic Plaque

July 29, 2014 by

LEED Dynamic PlaqueWhen the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced its newest system at Greenbuild 2013, the industry took notice. And according to a recent GreenBiz.com article, the new LEED Dynamic Plaque has the potential to affect green building for years to come.

Why is it such a game changer? Because it introduces an ongoing performance element to the traditionally static LEED scheme, promotes a competitive environment that drives innovation and change, and creates awareness of the direct affect of actions on a building’s sustainability performance level.

As you know, LEED is the gold standard rating system for sustainable building in the U.S. The new LEED Dynamic Plaque is not a new accreditation but an add-on to existing LEED certifications. It is about comparing post-occupancy building performance and is designed to help property owners monitor, benchmark, and update their LEED scores in five areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste diversion, transportation impact, and occupant experience.

While a building’s official LEED score is recorded just once a year based on a recertification schedule, the new Dynamic Plaque updates as frequently as it receives new information. For example, if a building has a LEED score of 72 but the owner thinks it could be higher, they might send out transportation and occupant experience surveys and perform a waste audit to look for potential improvements. After improvements are made, they can provide the platform with new data and the LEED score will be recalculated instantly.

The LEED Dynamic Plaque makes the invisible actionable by providing a simple building performance context for operational data. The plaque itself is a freestanding and digital scoreboard that is displayed on an existing project’s site, and provides a method for ongoing performance feedback in the form of an up-to-date LEED performance score. Visitors can see performance in real time, occupants can provide feedback on their experience, and building owners and managers can view trends and gather data for informed decision-making.

Sustainability is key to building investors today. The new LEED Dynamic Plaque can minimize investor risk and improve their returns, help property managers adopt green improvements faster, engage building occupants in the LEED process, and motivate other players to participate.

For more information, read the complete GreenBiz.com article or visit the USGBC site.




DOE Invests $14M in Building Efficiency Projects

July 17, 2014 by

The U.S. Energy Department is set to fund up to $14 million to support energy-efficient solutions for buildings and homes. These projects will help building managers and homeowners reduce energy demand, save money, and accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies.

Seven incubator projects will be funded with nearly $6 million to improve heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), water heating, sensors and controls, and building energy modeling. Additionally, eight frontier projects will receive $8 million to address energy efficiency in advanced clothes dryers, windows, and building thermal insulation. Frontier projects seek to improve the efficiency of existing technologies by incorporating new, innovative materials or components.DOE Investment

“Investments in advanced energy-efficient technologies will help families and businesses reduce energy costs, while reducing carbon emissions,” said Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. “These innovative approaches will improve smart-building technologies, including lighting, lighting controls, highly insulated walls and windows, as well as increase efficiency measures that complement a building’s entire energy management system.”

For the full list of projects selected for funding, read the complete announcement.

California Energy Commission Awards Grant for Bay Area Charge Ahead Project

July 11, 2014 by

EV sign2According to the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco currently has more than 20,000 electric vehicle (EV)  drivers and 40% of the total number of plug-in cars in all of California. Pacific Gas & Electric predicts that as many as 800,000 EVs will be on the road in Northern California by the end of 2020!

Looking at these statistics, it’s clear the demand for more charging stations exceeds the supply since there are currently a little over 800 publicly available charging stations in the Bay Area according to the SF Gate.

To help correct this imbalance, the California Energy Commission recently awarded an EV charging infrastructure grant of almost $500,000, and a consortium of EV industry leaders developed the Bay Area Charge Ahead Project to  deploy 29 new public charging stations. The consortium, led by the Bay Area Climate Collaborative (BACC),  includes ChargePoint, ABM, the EV Communities Alliance, and 9 site hosts.

ABM will be installing the new ChargePoint stations — totaling nearly 80 individual charge ports — across 17 locations in 10 municipalities in the Bay Area. ABM has currently installed more than 300 EV charging stations in Northern California — and more than 1,000 nationwide — and is eager to bring more charging options to the San Francisco community. ChargePoint is the established national leader in EV charging station design and manufacturing, while ABM is a North American  leader in charge station installation.

“This deployment is a major step forward towards widespread public charging, making it easier than ever to drive electric throughout the Bay,” according to the BACC Executive Director, Rafael Reyes. “Reaching our target of 100,000 EVs on the road by 2020 not only will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas pollutants but also support the economy by ensuring $120 million or more is in people’s pockets instead of going out the door for fuel.”

Over 10 years, this phase of the Bay Area Charge Ahead Project is expected to result in net reductions of more than 10 million kilograms of CO2, compared to the global warming pollution of regular gas vehicles.

“Our residents and businesses are early adopters of alternative and cleaner transportation, so this program is another great way for us to support those initiatives,” said Mayor Chris Clark of Mountain View. “Adding a new public charging area to our downtown and in civic centers throughout the region is beneficial for everyone.”

Read more about the Bay Area Charge Ahead Project here.


Center for Green Schools Releases State of Our Schools Report

July 2, 2014 by

State of Our Schools Infographic

K-12 public schools are at the center of nearly 100,000 communities across the United States. While innovation and technology are at the forefront of education principles, many schools are faced with choosing between funding facilities or educational advancements.

According to the Center for Green Schools’ first annual State of Our Schools report, $542B is required over the next 10 years just to modernize our pre-K through 12th grade educational infrastructure. The estimate does not include the funding required for technology upgrades in classrooms or new construction to cover the average daily attendance growth.

The report also notes that schools are spending approximately $8B a year on energy and other utilities, which is 30% more than necessary according to ENERGY STAR reports. This expense exceeds what is spent on computers, textbooks, and other educational materials!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) estimate that by improving energy efficiency, K-12 schools can save $2B annually. As a result, school districts across the country are taking dramatic steps to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings, with the most innovative turning their wasted energy into funding for mission-critical facility improvements. Through creative energy retrofit packages, such as ABM’s Bundled Energy Solutions program, schools are able to fund major technical infrastructure upgrades, reduce energy use and operating costs, and meet their sustainability goals and requirements — without any negative impact on the education budget or increasing the burden on taxpayers.

This approach is ideal for schools starving for capital because it packages the equipment, installation, and ongoing maintenance costs into a single turnkey project that produces guaranteed energy savings and often times general fund relief. The creation of general fund relief allows schools to use this newly created funding as a way to plug budget gaps or pay for other educational programs.

Read the complete State of Our Schools report for more facts on school facilities, as well as recommendations to help communities, states, and the nation invest more efficiently, effectively, and equitably. For more information on ABM’s Bundled Energy Solutions and the schools who are leading the charge on transforming wasted energy into facility upgrades, click here.


Parking Industry Follows LEED’s Lead with Green Garage Certification

June 27, 2014 by

green parkingThe Green Parking Council (GPC) has launched the Green Garage Certification program. According to a recent edc Magazine article, the program is equivalent to the LEED certification program for buildings and “recognizes and inspires high standards in sustainable parking facility design, technology, operations, and management.”

The program is in response to the trend toward more livable communities and social responsibility, and demonstrates the parking industry’s commitment to a greener future.

“Green Garage Certification provides both a roadmap and assessment tool for real estate owners, developers, planners, architects, tenants, parking operators and others to strive toward a more environmentally and economically sustainable future,” says GPC Executive Director Paul Wessel.

If you are interested in Green Garage Certification, read the complete article or go to greenparkingcouncil.org/certification to get more information – including a free program guide and application, requirements, and case studies.