Tag Archives: LEED

Kirkland Breaks Ground On New 7-Story Apartment Building | Kirkland, WA Patch

The new seven-story building was designed to be eco-friendly and promote healthy living, developers said.

The building was developed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold standards and Puget Sound Energy’s Built Smart guidelines, with construction including reclaimed materials from the warehouse that used to occupy the site.

Source: Kirkland Breaks Ground On New 7-Story Apartment Building | Kirkland, WA Patch

Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency? – Yale E360


Analysts call it the “energy performance gap” — the difference between promised energy savings in green buildings and the actual savings delivered. The problem, researchers say, is inept modeling systems that fail to capture how buildings really work.

Source: Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency? – Yale E360

This gorgeous LEED Platinum winery is made of reclaimed wood

long extended building with gabled roof and rows of grapes growing in front of it

The family-owned Silver Oak Cellars winery was established in 1972 and has since become world-renowned for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tucked into the rolling hills of Alexander Valley, the solar-powered Silver Oak winery design, which was made with repurposed materials, has already earned a LEED-Platinum certification and is on track to become the one of the world’s most sustainable wineries.

Source: This gorgeous LEED Platinum winery is made of reclaimed wood

Host to Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium is the sustainable arena of the future | SI.com

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

For LEED certification, the scorecards include decisions made when building—such as the 49ers’ embrace of local public transit, use of recycled materials from the old Moffett Field and sourcing of material locally

Source: Host to Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium is the sustainable arena of the future | SI.com

Introducing ReuseWood.org: The North American Wood Reuse and Recycling Directory

Reuse Wood Web Capture 1

“The demand for reclaimed wood products has been steadily increasing as consumers recognize and value the look, feel, functionality and cost of reused wood in products such as flooring, furniture, structural timbers and more. The North American Wood Reuse and Recycling Directory will connect demand and supply to ensure the continued growth of this reclaimed wood market, while simultaneously keeping thousands of tons of wood out of landfills,” said BMRA Executive Director Anne Nicklin.

Features of ReuseWood.org:

The business directory is accessible via both map and list, with easy sorting capabilities according to target categories (location, services provided, etc).

Individual listing pages show the contact information, location and available services for each business.

The sustainable wood guide includes useful information and articles on the different wood products and the opportunities for wood reuse or recycling.

Reuse Wood Web Capture 2

Canadian Wood Council


Ladders to apartments – Times Union

The former Tilley Ladder factory, right, on Second St. Friday Jan. 16, 2015, in Watervliet, NY.  (John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union) Photo: John Carl D'Annibale / 00030244AThe former Tilley Ladder factory, right, on Second St. Friday Jan. 16, 2015, in Watervliet, NY. (John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union)

“This adaptive reuse of a former industrial facility is not only a perfect example of historic preservation, it goes above and beyond by incorporating solar power and other ‘green’ elements that will make this early 20th century building LEED certified” he said in a prepared statement. “The city will continue to work with the developers to bring this project to fruition as soon as possible.”

via Ladders to apartments – Times Union.

Rammed Earth Made Easy with Watershed Blocks – By Michaela Harms

In the 1970’s David Easton began his innovative work modernizing rammed earth building techniques toMichaela Harms fit into California’s stringent building codes. Despite his success with Rammed Earth Works, David noticed that rammed earth was a hard wide-spread sell because engineers were apprehensive to understand it and upfront cost-focused contractors did not want to wait through the lifecycle for its benefits. He decided to make sustainable impact by focusing on a more familiar and lower cost alternative, which led to the development of the Watershed Block.



Image Credit Jacob Snavely

David’s company, Watershed Materials supplies low-concrete masonry blocks that are used like common CMUs, concrete masonry units, with half the embodied energy. By piggy-backing onto the already known CMU standards and uses, these blocks are an easy-to-sell green alternative. Watershed Blocks have many of the same benefits as rammed earth including long lifespan, high thermal mass, and natural material use at a much lower price.







“I like to believe we are not only reducing carbon in our atmosphere, but saving a time honored building technique” adds Watershed employee, Dan Alvarado. Revitalizing the art of masonry is a great asset of this company as they open up a sustainable job market for these skilled craftspeople. The beauty of the natural colors of the local aggregate that make up Watershed Blocks is apparent in the pixelated masonry walls they create that attract architects and designers. When speaking of his favorite building material, earth, Dan states “there is a character to earth buildings that is hard to define. You feel connected to it, protected by it.” That connection is essential to sustainable structures and truly unique to buildings of natural materials.




 Image Credit Jacob Snavely

Living roomoImage Credit Jacob Snavely

KitchenImage Credit Jacob Snavely

Watershed Blocks are still a little more expensive than their CMU counterparts but the company projects that improvement in production and inevitable larger market adoption will lower retail prices. If more companies consider full life cycle costs, the savings are apparent even now. Green materials that supply LEED points are already desirable and Watershed is clearly getting noticed, recently being selected as a finalist for SXSW’s Eco Startup Showcase Competition.  As more companies like Watershed modernize and familiarize natural building techniques the beauty and health of our built environment will benefit.


WatershedMaterials-Factory-2013-03Image Credit Jacob Snavely


PascaleImage Credit Mark Lutaringer

Redlands Conservancy visits adaptively reused buildings in Portland

First Regiment Armory Annex, built in 1891 in Portland

Points are awarded for salvaging and reusing materials deconstructed from the original building and for careful waste management during construction; in this case, 95 percent of the materials involved in the project were recycled.

First Regiment Armory Annex, built in 1891 in Portland

via Redlands Conservancy visits adaptively reused buildings in Portland.

Retiring to a European vineyard estate in Dundee: Why leave the country? | OregonLive.com

Inside, a stately limestone fireplace surround sits under a ceiling crossed by lightly white washed wood beams. Reclaimed walnut was used for the dark wood floors. Throughout the house are art pieces they have collected while traveling: Her folk and modern pieces and his classic and European-style works.

The couple did not set out to receive LEED platinum, the highest level of environmentally responsible construction recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. Their decisions of design, quality and efficiency, however, contributed to the outcome.

via Retiring to a European vineyard estate in Dundee: Why leave the country? | OregonLive.com.

Waiting for Take-Back Programs for Building Materials – EBN: 22:11

Among building products, carpet rules the EPR game

Interface, the largest producer of modular carpet in the world, says it has reclaimed more than 220 million pounds of carpet since 1994 through its “ReEntry” take-back program. “Carpet retains its value, so from the very beginning, throwing it into a landfill didn’t make any sense,” according to Eric Nelson, Interface’s vice president of strategic alliances. The company accepts any brand of carpet, whether the owner is buying new carpet from Interface or not. Its facility focuses on recycling backing, but it has also moved into recovering nylon fiber—sending any materials that do not work well with its remanufacturing process to other facilities it partners with.

The company benefits by being less dependent on unstable prices of the raw material used to make carpet—oil. “We know that recycling used carpet into new products brings us cost savings by distancing us from the cost-volatility of petroleum,” Nelson told EBN. “49% of our global footprint is now non-virgin petroleum-based.”

Other take-back programs, such as the one at Milliken & Company, promise that if carpet can’t be recycled, it will be donated to charity or incinerated at a waste-to-energy facility. Tandus even offers financial incentives for vinyl-backed carpet.

What about other building materials?

Gaining traction and realizing cost savings have been more difficult for other building product manufacturers. CertainTeed, for example, has take-back programs for its vinyl siding, roofing shingles, and ceiling panels, but “logistics” make the programs cost neutral for the company, marketing manager Brian Kirn told EBN. “The re-manufacturing process is a no-brainer. It’s getting enough participation that’s the challenging part.” In the case of vinyl siding, contractors have to be willing to place a dedicated dumpster on the jobsite, and although they avoid paying a fee for landfill disposal, they incur costs in transportation that have to be justified by volume.

via Waiting for Take-Back Programs for Building Materials – EBN: 22:11.

LEED brings Cradle to Cradle into green building certification | GreenBiz.com

Members of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) voted overwhelmingly (85 percent) to include Cradle to Cradle certification in LEED V4, which will even more stringently enforce the environmental qualities of materials used in green buildings, the opposite of what industry interests want.

Developed by preeminent architect Bill McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle certification begins as part of LEED in November.

“We salute the USGBC’s courageous leadership in making material health a priority in the face of immense challenge from industry,” says McDonough. “The stand they have taken will help continue their meaningful input as an agent of market transformation.”

Those seeking LEED certification will get credits for Materials & Resources for disclosing and optimizing where building materials are sourced and purchased.

via LEED brings Cradle to Cradle into green building certification | GreenBiz.com.

Waterfront Toronto Diverts 86% of Construction Waste · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader

For construction-related waste, Waterfront Toronto requires that all construction and demolition projects divert a minimum of 50% of waste, with a target of 75%, according to the sustainability report. This requirement is included in the Environmental Management Plan and is a credit achieved as part of its LEED for Neighbourhood Development Gold certification.

“With landfill space at a premium, waste management is a critical issue for the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto has addressed this in several ways,”



via Waterfront Toronto Diverts 86% of Construction Waste · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader.

Bill targeting green building projects overhauled :: WRAL.com

This is just an excerpt from the entire article.

Under an amendment offered by Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, the bill would allow state and local government agencies to pursue LEED certification if an analysis shows that it would save them money in construction or in the first 10 years of operating costs. Also, buildings could use such ratings systems if they don’t “put North Carolina materials at a disadvantage.”

Several people spoke in favor of the amendment, including representatives of the U.S. Green Building Council, steel manufacturer Nucor, the Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association and the American Institute of Architects.

However, some criticized the lack of definition for the term “disadvantage,” and some said the 10-year limit when calculating cost savings would adversely affect contracts that major firms like Honeywell and Johnson Controls enter, where cost savings are calculated over 15 to 20 years.

Tucker said he understood that “disadvantage” means using specifications that would preclude North Carolina products from being used. He added that he is willing to work with the industry on possibly adjusting the 10-year limit before the bill goes to the Senate floor.

But House sponsor Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Yancey, balked at extending the limit.

The amended bill passed on a voice vote.

via Bill targeting green building projects overhauled :: WRAL.com.

States Fight Green-Building Leader Over Local Wood – ABC News

This is just an excerpt. Please read the entire article here.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal last year used an executive order to ban state government construction projects from seeking LEED certification. Alabama, Maine and Mississippi also enacted bans, while a similar measure has passed the North Carolina House and awaits a Senate vote. South Carolina stopped short of prohibiting LEED certification, instead banning state projects from earning points for sustainable wood. Florida passed a bill, awaiting the governor’s signature, requiring use of local wood when possible.

Deal used a speech to the Southern Group of State Foresters meeting in Savannah last week to urge foresters from government agencies across the Southeast to push the issue with their own governors back home.

“Prior to my executive order, some 99 percent of Georgia’s forests were unfairly excluded from consideration as being an appropriate green material for building,” Deal told the group.

The state backlash comes as LEED stakeholders are voting this month on a revised version of its green-building standards, which are voluntary but have become increasingly desirable for private companies and government agencies looking to burnish their environmental credentials.

The Green Building Council says the ruckus has been drummed up by industry groups trying to pressure it into giving LEED sustainability credits for wood that hasn’t earned them. The push is being led by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, or SFI, which certifies more than 60 million acres of U.S. timberland including forests owned by corporate giants such as Weyerhaeuser and Rayonier. The group and its standards were created by the timber industry, though SFI says it’s been independently governed for the past decade.

via States Fight Green-Building Leader Over Local Wood – ABC News.

Construction & Demolition Waste Panel « USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter

Construction & Demolition Waste Panel

LEEDv4, Diversion Best Practices, and Deconstruction, Oh My!

Presented by USGBC-Missouri Gateway and Associated General Contractors of St. Louis

The St. Louis Region and the Midwest are blessed with open space and low tipping fees, which means that it is easy to overlook where our generated residential and commercial waste ends up. Despite this, many contractors and owners are looking for ways to divert materials from our landfills – through reuse, recycling and smart planning. With support from St. Louis Jefferson Solid Waste Management, USGBC-Missouri Gateway recently conducted two small research projects to learn more about the C&D credits in the next version of the LEED Green Building Rating System (LEEDv4) and to study some of the more difficult to C&D materials to reuse and recycle.

Join us for a free educational panel on Construction & Demolition Materials hosted by USGBC-Missouri Gateway and the Associated General Contractors of St. Louis on the State of Construction & Demolition Recycling in St. Louis. The panel will include a discussion of the recent USGBC-Missouri Gateway research projects as well as two local case studies – one on opportunities for C&D diversion on a Washington University project and the second on Deconstruction as an alternative to demolition.

via Construction & Demolition Waste Panel « USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter.

AR News, March 2013 | LEED change impacts C&D recycling

A new rule expected from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) this summer will stop giving construction and demolition recyclers credit for the recycling technique most widely used to win green certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system.

“That’s thrown our industry into a tizzy,” said Jason Haus, chief executive officer of Dem-Con Companies, a Shakopee, Minnesota, recycling and disposal company. Haus said the new draft of LEED has some improvements. However, he is concerned that less material will be recycled as a result.

The new USGBC rule is part of a recent revision of the LEED ratings system. The revision was supposed to have been issued last year. But after critical response to an early draft from the recycling community and other stakeholders, it was delayed.

Recyclers still aren’t happy. “We disputed it but it doesn’t do any good,” said William Turley, executive director of the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), a national industry group based in Aurora, Illinois. Turley said the result of the rule change will be that some recyclers and some projects will be unable to claim the LEED credits they could have in the past.

Continue reading AR News, March 2013 | LEED change impacts C&D recycling

Recycled wood: the green key to a sustainable built environment | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional

Redwood trees in sequoia national forest

Valuable wood sourced from redwood trees is being routinely wasted in the US. Photograph: Graham Whitby-Boot /Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

Home building has long been one of the most important industries in the US, with economists viewing statistics concerning new homes as a barometer for the countrys economic performance.

Americans affinity for newer and bigger homes, however, comes with a huge environmental cost. The recent foreclosure crisis is just a reminder of all the resources waste on millions of homes that have been abandoned and, yet again, remodelled. One precious resource used for these buildings that often goes unnoticed and is then lost forever is wood.

The remodelling and demolishing of homes in the US results in the equivalent of 250,000 single-family homes being interred in landfills or incinerated each year. Among the dry wall, plastic and concrete that are disposed of is lumber sourced from Americas forests. Within this lumber, there is also wood from older homes. This is especially valuable because it is of higher quality than material used in most new construction projects.

Wood in homes built 50 years ago or earlier was often sourced from first-growth forests. Whether a small, older home being destroyed for a larger, more modern home, or a historic beach-front house being targeted for removal and upgrade by a presidential candidate, these houses are a treasure trove of sturdy wood that builders should reclaim. Entrepreneurs can find lucrative business opportunities as salvaged or rediscovered wood is in high demand.

Current construction and demolition C&D techniques, however, are destructive and render most wood completely useless. Too much wood enters the C&D waste stream and then disappears forever. Of the approximate 70m tons of wood sent to landfill annually, the US government estimates 30m tons of it could have been reused.

Currently about 10% to 20% of wood discarded during construction projects is prevented from entering landfills. Pallets, however, account for most of that material, and hence that lower-quality wood is often shredded and used for mulch. But while aluminium, glass, paper and plastic are often culled for recycling from construction sites prior to final disposal, wood is overlooked and is about 17% of the waste that ends up in municipal dumps.

Meanwhile, valuable woods including Douglas fir and redwood, which could be repurposed for several more decades of use, are wasted. Evidence suggests that more tactical demolition practices can actually save and generate money for construction projects from reduced landfill fees and the sale of salvaged wood.

The national trade group for companies tasked with tearing down buildings, the National Demolition Association, has long claimed its member companies have been “environmentally responsible”. Rhetoric aside, however, the association now cajoles companies to consider the smarter reuse of materials and increased diversion of waste from landfill, both of which can give builders more points if they are building a LEED-certified project.

Smarter demolition can also create good business opportunities for companies that undertake such projects at a lower cost in return for the rights to all recyclable materials. Careful deconstruction of old structures also creates business for local companies that cater to consumers who want their homes to become more eco-friendly.

Read the entire article via Recycled wood: the green key to a sustainable built environment | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional.

Salvaged oak Wine Vats Find new Life as Podium in FLCC’s Student Center

I love it when folks are blown away by reclaimed design. You can see the Frank Loyd Wright influence in the podium (I read that in the original article). More reuse of wine barrels – enjoy!

“We wanted a piece of furniture, not a library book stand; a podium, not a lectern. We were looking for a piece that would combine contemporary design and antique materials…something fitting for our new Student Center,” explained Amy Pauley, the executive director of the FLCC Foundation. Upon seeing the completed piece for the first time, Amy exclaimed, “It’s awesome!”

Crafted of white oak staves reclaimed from wine vats used at a Finger Lakes winery, the FLCC Student Center podium meets environmentally conscious requirements and offers rich history.

via Salvaged oak Wine Vats Find new Life as Podium in FLCC’s Student Center.

Architecture’s afterlife – SalvoNews.com

Dist. of Col. (Washington DC), USA – Ian Volner is a writer for Architect, the magazine for the American Institute of Architects. His article ‘Architecture’s afterlife’ discusses the ongoing obsession of recycling obsolete building materials over reclamation and salvage, and the processes and costs involved in getting into the reuse game.

Volner begins by painting a picture of the building industry today in the US, with forty percent of solid waste attributed to construction, he says ‘not only rubble and rotting beams, but also countless odds and ends from new construction such as cast off nails and packaging’.

Buildings Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) executive director Ann Niklin adds ‘ “We say it [recycling] is all very well and good, but we also say many of these [materials] could simply be salvaged”.’

There is a positive statement from architects who are using reclaimed materials consistently in their projects.

‘ “We’re really starting to get plugged into, in a much more architectural way, the stream of these materials,” says David Dowell, AIA, a principal of El Dorado Architects, also of Kansas City, Mo. Since expanding to include general contracting services, the firm has been working reuse deeper into its practice.’

Continue reading Architecture’s afterlife – SalvoNews.com

New Study Shows That It Can Be Better to Renovate Existing Green Buildings Than Build New Ones | Ecocentric | TIME.com

Phil Ashley


 A study by the Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation shows building reuse almost always has fewer environmental impacts than new construction—which means we’d be smart to spend at least as much time renovating existing buildings as we do lionizing fancy new green construction.


via New Study Shows That It Can Be Better to Renovate Existing Green Buildings Than Build New Ones | Ecocentric | TIME.com.