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Category Archives: sustainable design

Just a couple weeks ago the GBCI announced the final deadline to register for the LEED 2.2 exam.

Now is an excellent time to get this done as the construction industry slows down, there’s a huge opportunity with the new stimulus package that is pending to green government buildings. Whether it’s schools, or infrastructure, health-care, etc. There’s a good chance that these new government projects are going to be green.

Be sure to take the exam now while there are lots of resources for study material out there. Here’s your chance to stand out in the crowd. Here is a previous post with an excellent list of what to study:

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Deadline for LEED NC and LEED CI Exam Registration March 31, 2009

Deadline for LEED NC and LEED CI Exam Registration March 31, 2009

(WASHINGTON – JANUARY 29, 2009) – March 31, 2009 will be the last date that candidates will be able to register for the current LEED for New Construction (NC) v2.2 and LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) v 2.0 LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) credentialing exams. As part of the changes to the accreditation process announced at the end of 2008 the LEED NC designation will be replaced with the LEED Building Design and Construction (BD&C) designation and the LEED CI designation will be replaced by LEED Interior Design and Construction (ID&C). Read the FAQs for more information about these changes. In order to maintain alignment with the new LEED 2009 Ratings System for BD&C and ID&C, new exam registrations will not be accepted by GBCI to take the current LEED CI and LEED NC exams after March 31, 2009 (11:59 PM, Eastern Time). Prometric’s scheduling and rescheduling services for the current LEED NC and LEED CI version 2.0 AP exam registrations will still be available after the March 31, 2009 registration deadline with more specific information to announced later in 2009.

About GBCI
GBCI was created to administer certification and credentialing programs related to green building practice and to ensure that the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) program continues to be developed in accordance with best practices for credentialing programs. To underscore this commitment, GBCI will undergo the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation process for personnel certification agencies complying with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 17024. Beginning in 2009, GBCI will begin administering the LEED certification process for buildings. For more information, please visit


News came last month of Autodesk in the process of acquiring Green Building Studio, an energy modeling application used in conjunction with Revit to perform energy analysis modeling.  Hopefully the acquisition will better implement GBS’s energy modeling tools into Revit making energy modeling more mainstream.  Ideally as architects we should be thinking more and more about energy modeling as part of our design process, as it will become more and more important in the years to come.  Let’s just hope they continue developing the application as while it’s a great tool now, it still has a ways to go.  But my hat goes off to Autodesk for investing in a strong sustainable design application in efforts to get it into the mainstream.

Synergies Benefit Carbon Neutral Design
After nearly 10 years of market changing innovation, Green Building Studio is delighted to announce we have signed an agreement for Autodesk, Inc. to acquire our assets. In other words, our Green Building Studio (GBS) web service will soon join the Autodesk product family. Please be assured that our talented team will continue to sell software and train and support architects as they use our web service to design carbon neutral buildings today and in the future.

“Autodesk is committed to providing technology that makes sustainable design easier and more efficient,” said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, Autodesk AEC Solutions. “We look forward to adding the Green Building Studio technologies to the Autodesk portfolio and helping our customers more easily leverage the coordinated, reliable data created in the Revit® platform for building information modeling (BIM) to help predict performance and design buildings with reduced environmental impact.”

After closing this deal, Autodesk also plans to continue support for the Green Building Studio web service, carbon neutral building design training, and to strengthen the web service’s integration with its BIM software. The gbXML schema will remain an open industry standard, and the GBS web service will continue to be available to any other BIM software.

“We have partnered with Autodesk for many years, and commend their ongoing support for sustainability,” said John Kennedy, President & CTO, Green Building Studio. “We are eager to contribute our industry expertise in green buildings to drive mainstream adoption of sustainability and accelerate the AEC industry’s transition to carbon neutral buildings.”

We expect to finalize the acquisition in the next few months. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

[ Green Building Studio: Press Release ]

USGBC MemberI’ve always been concerned and aware of the consequences our buildings have on our environment, but never taken the time to really study it. Well during the last 2 weeks or so I’ve sat down and studied. Monday was a great day as I passed the latest version of the LEED-NC exam. I can now say I am a LEED accredited professional, qualified to guide clients through the LEED process if they choose to pursue certification, and better equipped to implement sustainable initiatives into all of my projects.

So if you are planning on taking the LEED-NC 2.2 exam anytime soon, let me know I have put together a good collection of notes about the exam (from what I can remember) that I jotted down the day of the exam.

LEED – Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design

LEED information:

Fun facts for today:
Buildings use 1/3 of all the nation’s energy
Buildings use 2/3 of all the nation’s electricity
Buildings use 1/8 of all the nation’s water.

This truly is ideal, the best of digital home meets the best of green living…

Panasonic (Eco&Ud) House Website

Video after the jump:

Eco home of the future built by Panasonic

The Eco & UD House at Panasonic’s technology showcase in Tokyo is a prototype of a home the company said could start being built by 2010. Using the appliances displayed there, a typical family of four could reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, and knock heating bills down some 60 percent, according to the company.

The Genkiyoku bathtub, for instance, is an upscale spa-tub that emits thousands of microbubbles (with a 30 percent oxygen content) for relaxation. The tub, however, also contains layers of a highly efficient type of insulation that can keep the bathtub warm for six hours.

A heating system converts natural gas to hydrogen. Electrons stripped from the hydrogen go to heat the home. Meanwhile, the heat generated by the chemical reactions needed to produce the electrons heat the water used in the home.

Around the corner in the kitchen and laundry rooms, motorized dish racks rise out of countertops while clothes racks descend from the ceiling. Both devices actually consume more electricity than plain, unmotorized dish racks found at Ikea. Economizing space, however, arguably gives the home the sensation of more space and marginally cuts down on its overall footprint, which can have an environmental benefit.

And let’s not forget the EMIT Suimin sleep system, which dims lights, lowers the upward tilt on the bed and plays soothing images on a plasma TV to induce slumber. Or the soundproofed home theater next to the kid’s bedroom. (Video)…/_3-6129160.html (Article)

Starting March 15th All IKEA U.S. Stores will Charge Five Cents for Plastic Bags and Endorse Purchase of Reusable ‘Big Blue’ IKEA Bag.

After last years announcement that their UK stores would be charging for the big blue plastic bags, IKEA finally made it so in their US stores this month. Treehugger reports that IKEA US stores will follow suit and now charge for the big blue bags in an effort to get people to reuse their bags when they go shopping. Another bonus is that IKEA has offered to donate the proceeds from the bag campaign to American Forests, the nation’s oldest non-profit citizens conservation organization, to plant trees to restore forests and offset CO2 emissions.”

Ikea Big Blue BagTo help alter customer behavior and endorse environmentally responsible habits, IKEA will be selling its reusable ‘Big Blue Bag’ for 59 cents, reduced from 99 cents. “We realize that our ‘Bag the Plastic Bag Program’ is a small step. But we know our customers want to help and support the sustainability of our planet – for today – and for the future of our children. This program lets our customers know we have our stake in the ground and are committed to continuing to be an environmentally responsible company,” says Pernille Spiers-Lopez, president of IKEA North America. IKEA projects that the number of plastic bags used by their U.S. customers will be reduced by at least 50% from 70 million to 35 million in the first year. This program was launched in IKEA stores in the UK in late Spring 2006, and reduction has been an impressive 95 percent. Read more about IKEA’s environmental and social reports here, and don’t forget your own bag the next time you go.

IKEA US via CSRwire

[Source:…/ikea_us_to_bag.php ]

The vegetated green roof on the Arlington County Government CenterI’m not even a fan of the term “green” but I use it here to explain what exactly it means in the design community. Right now the term “green” is a buzz word associated with everything and anything that’s supposedly better for our environment. Whether it’s a 2o Watt lamp instead of a 60 Watt lamp, or whether it is a material that comes from a local source instead of an international one… it’s considered “green”. Does it mean that you’re a tree hugger because you design green? Absolutely not, but it does mean that you care about the world you live in… and that is what’s important here.

Here’s a short description of sustainable design and how it helps create environments that help replenish themselves and become “producers” rather than “consumers.” This isn’t just good practice, it’s smart design.

The Concept of Sustainability

The concept of sustainable design has come to the forefront in the last 20 years. It is a concept that recognizes that human civilization is an integral part of the natural world and that nature must be preserved and perpetuated if the human community itself is to survive. Sustainable design articulates this idea through developments that exemplify the principles of conservation and encourage the application of those principles in our daily lives.

A corollary concept, and one that supports sustainable design, is that of bioregionalism – the idea that all life is established and maintained on a functional community basis and that all of these distinctive communities (bioregions) have mutually supporting life systems that are generally self-sustaining. The concept of sustainable design holds that future technologies must function primarily within bioregional patterns and scales. They must maintain biological diversity and environmental integrity, contribute to the health of air, water, and soils, incorporate design and construction that reflect bioregional conditions, and reduce the impacts of human use.

Sustainable design, sustainable development, design with nature, environmentally sensitive design, holistic resource management – regardless of what it’s called, “sustainability,” the capability of natural and cultural systems being continued over time, is key.

[Source: ]

The Hannover Principles
1. Insist on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist
2. Recognize interdependence.
3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter.
4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design.
5. Create safe objects of long-term value.
6. Eliminate the concept of waste.
7. Rely on natural energy flows.
8. Understand the limitations of design.
9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge.”

[Source: ]

So next time you’re designing something, think about what you’re doing and how you can benefit the environment. Be thinking about things like how your design can work with nature. Learn to take responsibility for your design and to design with long-term benefits in mind. Remove the word “waste” from your dictionary. Improve upon what’s already been done and take it to the next level.

Don’t worry, designing green doesn’t mean you’re a tree hugger, but it does leave a statement about yourself that you care about the world you live in. We have the resources to design and build smarter, the question comes down to why don’t we? We are already seeing the financial benefits from designing more sustainable buildings, why should the ‘first cost’ be the driving factor anymore?

I’ll leave you with this, as for investors and developers, sometimes numbers speak louder than words.

“Reaping More Green From Green
Significant sales premiums are also possible. In
Chicago, the John Buck Company spent $270 million
constructing 111 South Wacker Drive, a LEED-gold-certified
51-story tower in the Loop district. Completed in
late 2005 when the Loop market was struggling with an
18% vacancy rate for Class A office space, the building
leased quickly to prestigious tenants. In January 2006, it
was sold to a German investment fund for $386 million,
a $116 million profit.

For more information check out U.S. Green Building Council:

Read more on the financial benefits of designing green:

Learn more about sustainable design:

Want to look into what YOUR carbon footprint is? The following websites will help you determine what your impact is and how you can offset its effects. Mine is estimated at 11 tonnes of CO2/year, whereas the national average is near 18 tonnes. Environmentalists believe that to stop global warming every person needs to reduce their emissions to roughly 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.

We all contribute to global warming every day. You may be surprised by how much Co2 you are emitting each year. Calculate your personal impact and learn how you can take action to reduce or even eliminate your emissions of carbon dioxide.

BP Global – Environment and society – Carbon Footprint Calculator

Conservation International – Carbon Footprint Calculator

Safe Climate – Carbon Footprint Calculator

Wondering what is carbon footprint?

Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

Wondering how to reduce your carbon footprint?