Illinois, America’s Green Building LEED-Certified Leader

by Silvio Marcacci.

America’s got a new number one when it comes to green building among the top states for LEED-certified construction, and this year’s winner may surprise you.

Illinois jumped from fifth to first in this year’s Top 10 States for LEED ranking from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), supplanting perennial winner Washington, D.C.

The list is based on a per-capita basis of 2010 U.S. Census data combined with commercial and institutional green building projects certified through the LEED certification program across 2013 – a whopping 1,777 projects and 22.8 million square feet across the top ten states.

Renewable Energy. USGBC Top 10 States for LEED chart via US Green Building Council.
Renewable Energy. USGBC Top 10 States for LEED chart via US Green Building Council

Illinois Places First, With An Asterisk

Illinois ranked fifth in 2013 and placed third in 2012, so while its ascension isn’t shocking and shows a steady increase in green building projects, this year’s top rank is largely due to a technical change in how USGBC ranks states – namely dropping Washington, D.C. from the top 10 list.

171 LEED projects encompassing 29,415,284 square feet of space were certified in Illinois during 2013, good for 2.29 square feet of per-capita LEED-certified space. Those totals were good enough to beat out all other states, but would have been swamped by D.C.’s 32.45 per-capita square footage if it had been included.

“The public and private sectors in Illinois recognize that long-term investments in 21st century infrastructure should be done in ways that reduce energy consumption and protect the environment,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “Illinois is proud to be the nation’s green buildings leader, and we are proof that smaller environmental footprint can help us step toward energy independence.”

Metro DC, New York, and California Round Out The Ranks

While Illinois may sit atop the ranks in 2013 due to D.C.’s exclusion, the nation’s capital (and federal government’s green building efforts) had a spillover effect on neighboring states, boosting Maryland and Virginia into the top three, with 119 and 160 projects representing 12,696,429 and 16,868,693 square feet for 2.20 and 2.11 per-capita square feet, all respectively.

The nation’s overall leaders in certified square footage and total certified projects, New York and California, tied for fifth in the LEED rankings due to their large populations driving down per-capita square footage.

Renewable Energy. Green building image via CleanTechnica
Renewable Energy. Green building image via CleanTechnica

This twist is due to USGBC calculating the list using per-capita figures to create a fair comparison of green building activity taking place among states with significant differences in population and overall buildings.

Interestingly, USGBC notes the continued trend toward LEED certifications of existing buildings through retrofit projects. 48 percent of all square footage in 2013 was certified under LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance, while 43 percent was certified under LEED for Building Design and Construction.

Every Green Building Boosts the Economy

Regardless of if green building projects are happening on new or existing buildings, they’re having a big economic impact. 35 percent of all US construction jobs today are in green building, according to a 2013 estimate, and industry revenue could top $248 billion by 2016.

“As the economy recovers, green buildings continue to provide jobs at every professional level and skill set from carpenters to architects,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of USGBC.

Beyond creating green jobs, green buildings are also saving businesses money while making their assets more valuable. A recent analysis showed 58 percent of corporate America had green buildings in their business portfolios with 30 percent building green to lower operating costs.  Additionally, McGraw Hill research has shown building values jump up to 11 percent with an up-to 14 percent return on investment for green building projects.

That’s all great news, but the best may still be yet to come. USGBC notes 37,000 projects representing 7.6 billion square feet of space are in the certification pipeline worldwide, and LEED v4 has raised the bar with increased requirements for certification, meaning our buildings will continue to get greener and greener – just like our economy.

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This article, Illinois Jumps To Top Of US Green Building LEED-Certified Ranks, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy. Silvio MarcacciSilvio Marcacci Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.

MetLife Stadium, Solar Powered and Home of the ‘Green’ Super Bowl

by Zachary Shahan

MetLife Stadium, home to the Super Bowl XLVIII is one of the greenest and most technologically advanced stadiums in professional sports. It includes solar panels, energy-efficient windows, native plants, low-flush toilets, waterless urinals, and is made of recycled steel and plastic. MetLife Stadium also an open-air stadium, so there are huge savings on (lack of) air conditioning and heating.

MetLife Stadium is still a ginormous stadium (seats 82,500!) used for purely recreational purposes, but hey, that’s part of society.

Passed on to me by someone representing Skanska (which built the stadium), below is an infographic with a lot more details on the MetLife Stadium, including more notes regarding green building aspects of the building process and stadium as a whole.

However, before sharing that, I’ll note one quite ungreen thing related to Super Bowl XLVIII: you can’t walk to the game! You also can’t bike to the game. Oy.

On the plus side (when it comes to transportation), however, the mass transit will be good and heavily promoted/utilized, while driving to the stadium is also greatly limited.

Anyway, on to this Skanska MetLife Stadium infographic:

Skanska MetLife Stadium infographic
Renewable Energy gridiron. MetLife Stadium Super Bowl XLVIII.

This article, MetLife Stadium – Solar Powered, Home Of “Super Green” Super Bowl, But… is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy by Zachary Shahan.Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

LEED Platinum Siemens Headquarters Opens in Masdar City

by Zachary Shahan.

Siemens new headquarters building at Masdar City, UAE
Siemens new headquarters building at Masdar City, UAE, is a LEED Certified Platinum building.

Masdar and Siemens just opened another cornerstone to young and exciting Masdar City. The LEED Platinum Siemens headquarters is an amazing example of how energy efficiency and quality design can offer huge benefits to the environment as well as the personnel working in the building.

An initial requirement of the building was that it not cost more than the average Siemens office building of its size. That target was achieved, while also cutting energy use ~50% compared to a conventional building of its size.

The building’s facade is very carefully designed to prevent heat gain from excess light while still bringing in enough daylight to prevent the need for artificial lighting during much of the day. The building is oriented and designed to maximize the flow of cool air, especially in the public space under the building, something very helpful in Abu Dhabi’s extremely hot climate. Lighting, cooling, and other building needs are automated using Siemens’ state-of-the-art building automation technologies. Building materials aimed at maximizing energy efficiency and comfort are used throughout the building. The building is designed to minimize the use of unnecessary materials. And a tremendous amount more has gone into making this building extremely efficient, cost competitive, and very comfortable for its tenants. It would probably take days or weeks to go through everything.

Masdar City actually contracted the architecture firm and developer of this project, and is leasing the building to Siemens. However, Masdar City, Siemens, and the architects designing the build worked very closely to make sure the building achieved requirements on everyone’s end. Here an exclusive video for a little more info on the building as well as some inner and outer view:

Siemens will house employees ~800 employees in this Middle East headquarters. Along with dignitaries from the region, Siemens executives, and Masdar executives, I was able to enjoy the unveiling of the building yesterday. Sometime in the coming days, I’ll publish another video about the high-tech insides building (an interview with some high-level Siemens employees), but for now, here are some images and quotes from today’s event:

Siemens new headquarters building at Masdar City, UAE
Siemens LEED Certified Platinum building in Masdar City, UAE 1
Siemens new headquarters building at Masdar City, UAE
Siemens LEED Certified Platinum building in Masdar City, UAE 2

“This LEED Platinum certified building demonstrates that resource efficiency can be cost competitive in our market and represents the standard of buildings that need to be more widely adopted across the UAE and the region,” said H.E Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

The building is the first LEED Platinum building in the region, and the most efficient.

This Masdar City anchor building “has won 16 prestigious awards, including the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards 2012 in the Offices Category and the International Property Award Winners – Arabia 2012 for Best Office Architecture,” Siemens and Masdar noted in a joint press release.

*Full disclosure: My trip to Abu Dhabi  for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was provided by Masdar. Nonetheless, I was not required to write on any particular topics and am free to voice my genuine opinions on everything I cover — which I do.

First two images courtesy Siemens & Masdar. Other images by CleanTechnica / Zachary Shahan.

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This article, Siemens & Masdar Open LEED Platinum Building In Masdar City (Exclusive Video), is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

 

Zachary ShahanZachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

Home Automation Benefits (Infographic)

by Zachary Shahan

The folks at My Alarm Center recently put together a pretty spiffy infographic on some of the awesome benefits of home automation, and what home automation technologies can do.

.home automation infographics facts

Some of the facts that surprised me:

  1. A light bulb can last 2.28 years (or 20 times) longer when dimmed 50%.
  2. 56% of the average home energy bill comes from heating and cooling.

Of course, beyond the potential energy benefits, the other noted uses and benefits are also very cool. As far as other cool stats, I was also struck by the fact that:

  1. People with home automation see home insurance savings of 20% (on average) or $1,154 a year.
  2. 1.8 million home automation systems were installed in the US last year (far more than I would have guessed).
  3. 12 million home automation systems are expected to be installed in the US by 2016.

It all makes sense. With the growth of smartphones and tablets, people are feeling more comfortable with such remote and sophisticated technologies. They are even coming to expect them. I can definitely see the home automation growth trend increasing fast in the coming years.

Any of you have experience with home automation technology, or any further thoughts on this side of cleantech?

Also see:

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This article, Home Automation Benefits (Infographic), is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

Dallas Goes ‘All-In’ On Green Buildings With Mandatory Regulations

by Silvio Marcacci

Dallas skyline image via Shutterstock
Dallas skyline image via Shutterstock

Looks like America has a new contender for “Greenest City” – at least when it comes to green buildings – and it’s probably not where you’d expect.

Dallas, Texas implemented mandatory minimum green building regulations on October 1st in an aggressive effort to cut citywide power and water consumption en route to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

The regulations are the final step in a five-year implementation of the Dallas Green Building Construction Ordinance, cover all new residential and commercial buildings, and create a comprehensive green building standard across the city.

Green Building Tackles Energy, Water, Building Waste

All new construction projects proposed in Dallas must now meet minimum certification requirements from one of three established standards: Green Built Texas, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), or the International Green Construction Code (IGCC).

Since drought is such an important issue in Texas, the new regulations focus on water preservation – especially when it comes to single-family homes. At least 70% of the built area for homes (excluding areas under a roof) must be permeable or capture water runoff, homes must use drip irrigation for bedding areas of landscaping, and must include high-efficiency fixtures.

Commercial buildings are also expected to do their part, with a 20% water use reduction goal, restrictions on outdoor lighting to prevent light pollution, and cool roof or green roofs requirement to cut urban heat island effects.

The construction process is also getting a lot greener with requirements to divert a 50% minimum percentage of waste material is from landfills as well as source 45% of building components from recycled, recyclable, bio-based, or local materials. In addition, developers will have to attend training classes and pass a certification exam to receive green builder certification.

While the new regulations may be comprehensive, green buildings aren’t new to Dallas. The city is already home to over 140 LEED-certified buildings, including 23 LEED-certified municipal government facilities, has 59 million square feet of Energy Star-certified buildings, and Texas placed second with over 36 million square feet of LEED-certified buildings in the US Green Building Council’s 2012 state rankings.

Green Business Too?

But even though green building will help improve Dallas’ environment, the new regulations could also help boost the regional economy. Green building is expected to top $248 billion in revenue nationwide by 2016, and the green home-building market could be worth $114 billion by 2016.

Considering Texas now has the third-largest concentration of LEED professionals in America and building asset values rise when builders make sustainable investments, Dallas’ green building mandate isn’t just an environmentally friendly move – it might just be an incredibly savvy green business push, too.

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This article, Dallas Goes All-In On Green Building With Mandatory Regulations, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Silvio Marcacci Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.

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