The green building industry is a new and rapidly growing part of the US economy, and a recent study by US Green Building Council and Booz Allen Hamilton clearly shows that green construction is an economic stimulus with tremendous potential for growth. Green construction creates jobs, contributes the GDP, saves money, and is outpacing construction growth as a whole in the US.[1]

Annual green construction spending as whole is projected to grow 15.1% between 2015 and 2018, increasing from $150.6 billion to a projected $224.4 billion. Residential green construction is growing particularly fast with a year over year growth rate of 24.5% and is projected to make up 44.75% of all green construction by 2018.

Green construction is also no slouch when it comes to creating jobs. The green construction industry directly contributed 796,000 jobs and $53.6 billion in wages in 2015, and that is projected to increase to 1.1 million jobs, a projected 38% of all construction jobs, and $75.6 billion in wages by 2018.

Green buildings also provide very real, tangible savings. Green construction can save money in operational costs and in the construction phase. The USGBC’s report analyzes four categories of savings – water, trash, energy, and maintenance labor – as well as savings across different LEED certification levels. Green construction will generate $4.8 billion in savings from 2015 to 2018, LEED-certified buildings accounting for $2.2 billion out of that total. Although not addressed by this particular report, there is also substantial evidence that suggests that green buildings save money through improved worker health and productivity.[2]

Why is green construction growing? A 2013 study of green construction around the world found that the top reason for building green changed from “doing the right thing” in 2008 to direct and tangible business benefits such as lower operating costs in 2012.[3] Going green is, in fact, the right thing to do, but continued savings and economic contributions are the key to the green construction industry’s growth and survival.




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Melanie Jacobson Accepts Sub-Committee Chair position on the CHPS Technical Committee

ID360’s Melanie Jacobson has accepted a position on the CHPS National Technical Committee as the Chair of the Materials Sub Committee.

Melanie is a longtime supporter of CHPS and the green building initiatives of the organization. Melanie has worked as a technical consultant to manage the integrated design practices for the CHPS Designed project, H. Allen Hight Learning Center in Sacramento, CA and the CHPS Verified project, American Canyon High School in American Canyon, CA.

Melanie has written green material requirements into more than thirty non-residential projects. She has participated in public speaking events on the subject of CHPS including the 2008 California Green Schools Summit and the Green Tools for Healthy Schools Conference Eco-Charrette in 2007.

Integrated Design 360 looks forward to the collaboration with CHPS and furthering the mission of the organization.

About the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools is a national non-profit organization based in Sacramento, CA.  CHPS works to help facilitate and inspire change in our educational system. The goals of CHPS are to protect student and staff health and enhance the learning environment and conserve energy, water, and other resources. More than eighty schools have been built using the CHPS high performance school standards. For more information or to become a CHPS Member, please visit the CHPS website.

Non-Residential San Francisco building owners have begun to receive notices in the mail regarding the new Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance.  The ordinance requires ENERGY STAR benchmarking and energy audits for commercial buildings in the city.  The ordinance is the result of the recommendations made by the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings regarding AB 1103.

California Assembly Bill (AB) 1103 – The Commercial Building Benchmarking Law

The Commercial Building Benchmarking Law, AB 1103, was signed into law by the Governor in 2007.  AB 1103 requires that buildings must buildings eligible to receive an EPA Energy Star score of 1 to 100 must disclose that a score.  Buildings that are unable to receive an Energy Star score, must disclose the energy use intensity level in (kBtu/sf-yr).

Phase One of the bill required that utilities statewide would need to provide consumption data upon request from a customer no later than January 1, 2009.  Phase two of the AB1103 requires that non-residential building owners must disclose benchmarking data for sale, lease, or refinancing of an entire building by July 1st, 2012.

The Governor signed AB531 in October of 2009 granting the California Energy Commission (CEC) the authority to establish the schedule to implement AB1103.  As a result of the schedule, the city of San Francisco has played a leadership role by developing the Energy Performance Ordinance.

San Francisco – Existing Commercial Building Energy Performance Ordinance

The ordinance has two requirements.  The first portion is benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online software. The effort involves entering a building’s physical characteristics into the software and linking the local utility data with the building in Portfolio Manager. The online software then compares that building’s performance with like buildings throughout the country in similar climate zones.  Once the information is tracked in Energy Star, a report is sent to city of San Francisco annually.

The second portion of the ordinance is performing an energy audit by a qualified professional. For buildings over 50k square foot, an ASHRAE Level 2 Audit is required. For buildings under 50k square feet, an ASHRAE Level 1 Audit is required. For more information, visit San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Incorporating building science into the building design process has always been limited by the expertise and availability of talented consultants.  Much of what the industry defines as “green building” relates to designing for the region or climate in which the building is built.  We have recently come across a great tool that could enable the average to quickly integrate climate responsive design into the building design process: Climate Consultant 5.  Climate Consultant is a free tool that was developed by the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design.

Psychrometric Chart

The beauty of Climate Consultant is that it covers all the main components that relate to climate responsive design but maintains an incredibly user-friendly interface.  Some of the analysis components include temperatures, humidity, wind velocity, sky cover, and solar radiation.

The U.S. Green Building Council has recently closed the second public comment period for LEED 2012. LEED 2012 has retained the same LEED rating systems as LEED 2009, which include include Building Design + Construction, Interior Design + Construction, Operations + Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, and LEED for Homes.

The most notable additions to the rating systems are the new credit categories. The Integrative Process (IP) category will grants points to projects using an iterative and collaborative green project management process. The Location and Transportation (LT) category relocates the credits related to transportation, project location, and planning into a separate category.  The third new category, Performance (PF), relocates credits related to on-going operational performance and measurement into a new category.  The scope of this category relates to metering, commissioning, and utility consumption date reporting.

The 2012 Rating System will feature new requirement for additional building types, including Data Centers and Warehouses. The energy measurement for data centers has been proposed to include Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE).  PUE is the ratio of the total power being used by a data center facility to the power being delivered to the computing equipment. This will enable data centers to more accurate reflection of the predicted energy savings.