New USGBC report: more than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED-certified buildings

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The U.S. Green Building Council has released its  LEED in Motion: People and Progress report this month. Highlights from the report:

  • USGBC estimates that more than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED-certified buildings, with more than 6.2 million people experiencing a LEED-certified project each day.
  • USGBC estimates that there are 93,120 bedrooms in the 10,714 LEED-certified single-family homes and 1,236 LEED-certified multifamily buildings.
  • Global presence of LEED Professionals: Outside the U.S., Canada leads in LEED credentials held (6,361) followed by South Korea (874) and China (779).

LEED in Motion is a series of reports about the green building movement nationally and internationally, available exclusively to USGBC members, and “equipping readers with the numbers and insight they need to build a strong case for sustainability.”

2013 State of Our Schools Report from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC

U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL 2013 STATE OF OUR SCHOOLS

"2013 State of Our Schools" Report from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC Calls for Immediate Examination of America's School Facilities (via PR Newswire)

Download image Report includes foreword from former President Bill Clinton and highlights $271 billion deficit to bring school facilities up to working order WASHINGTON, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today released…

An Evening at the Palms Hotel & Spa – USGBC Miami

This past Wednesday, I joined my fellow members of the US Green Building Council – Miami chapter – for “An Evening at the Palms Hotel & Spa”. Beginning the evening at the on-site Organic Chef’s Garden for a tour and tasting, we then convened in Queen Palm (one of nine meeting rooms available at the hotel) for the “Inspired by Nature” program. We ended with a tour of the hotel and spa.

The Palms, located at 3025 Collins Avenue on Miami Beach, was originally built in the 1960’s and purchased by Hans-Joachim and Ursula Krause in the early 1990’s, going through several name changes over the years. Still owned and operated by the Krause’s and their daughters, Nicola Meyer and Katja Janzon, the Palms underwent a 20 million dollar renovation in 2008 – 2009 that incorporated green features and a shift to green operational practices.

Their philosophy statement says, “Nature is what inspires everything we do at The Palms Hotel & Spa, from the décor to products & services offered to our core company values. Our commitment to preserving the environment and to care for the world we live is expressed in all elements of our guest experience, and beyond into the local community.” Tanja Morariu’s presentation illustrated how the philosophy is applied throughout the hotel.

Currently, 85% of the lighting has been retro-fitted to LED and they expect to have 95% completed by the end of 2013. They have also installed motion sensors for the lighting in administrative offices and other non-guest areas plus centralized lighting/heating efficiency controls. Next year, the east windows will be replaced with energy-saving engineered glass.

So far, one-third of their toilets are dual-flush and using grey water. The eco-friendly commodes have sinks on top of the tanks for hand washing. The used water then drains into the toilet tank for the next flush. The luxurious “rain” shower heads and faucets are low flow at 1.5 GPM. Guests also have the option to re-use their towels and linens during their stay, thereby conserving approximately 7 gallons of water plus electricity from extra laundering.

The hotel has recycling bins available throughout the hotel, including in all guests rooms, allowing for cardboard, plastic, paper and metal to be recycled. Batteries and light bulbs are kept out of the landfills; and the hotel allows employees to bring these types of items from home for proper disposal through the hotel.

The staff cafeteria uses no disposable items. When an employee is hired, they are given their own beverage bottle (which are also for sale in the gift shop). This initiative alone saves the hotel about $10,000 per year in addition to being great for the environment.

Hotel staff uses Green Seal cleaning supplies, no aerosol at all, and 100% post-consumer recycled paper with soy ink when available. Even the pens provided in the meeting room were partly made of recycled cardboard. Dry cleaning and laundry services are all green certified as well.

Attesting to their commitment to community as well as the environment, the Palms donates “mildly used” soaps, shampoos, towels, linens and paper items to Camillus House and http://www.cleantheworld.org/
The Palms also maintains the stretch of beach in front of the hotel through the Adopt-A-Beach program sponsored by the City of Miami Beach and ECOMB (Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches), and participates in coastal clean-up projects throughout the year. http://ecomb.org/programs/litter-prevention/adopt-a-beach-program/

In 2011, the Palms Hotel & Spa won the Miami Chamber of Commerce Sustainable South Florida Award in the Green Practices Category. They have also been recognized as one of only 17 Miami Beach hotels to receive Florida’s Green Lodging Program designation and have achieved a 3-key rating through the Canadian-based International Green Key Eco-Rating Program. http://www.greenkeyglobal.com/default.asp

Tomorrow: The Palms Essensia Restaurant, Chef Julie Frans and her wonderful organic garden

Fairchild Garden’s Butterfly Conservatory And Science Village Seeks USGBC LEED Certification

Fairchild Garden's World Class Butterfly Conservatory And Science Village To Open On Saturday, December 1, 2012 (via PR Newswire)

Download image CORAL GABLES, Fla., Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s state-of-the-art DiMare Science Village, covering more than 25,000 square feet and featuring The Clinton Family Conservatory featuring a splendid butterfly exhibit, the Glasshouse Cafe, Windows…

Miami Culinary Institute – great food, great fun and green!

Wednesday night’s monthly meeting of the US Green Building Council Miami branch combined virtually all of my passions – urban Miami, real estate, green building, sustainability & environmental consciousness, great food, and bubbly champagne. We met at the Miami Culinary Institute, located at 415 NE 2 AV in downtown Miami, for a short presentation by Chef John Richards, director of MCI. While we sipped our champagne, Chef John talked about the history and purpose of the Miami Culinary Institute.

MCI is part of Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus and was designed by Atkins North America. “A model of sustainability and urban stewardship, Miami Dade College’s eight-story Miami Culinary Institute has achieved LEED Gold certification. Atkins’ environmentally conscious approach to the building’s design included unique features such as rainwater harvesting, greywater harvesting from dishwashers, recycled solid composting for the institute’s vegetable gardens, low-consumption plumbing fixtures, and numerous recycled-content material selections—including high-end finishes.”

In addition to programs for degree-seeking MDC students and professional development courses for those in the industry, MCI also offers a wide variety of classes for anyone interested in improving their culinary skills, and that is what we did last night. Breaking into groups of four, each group prepared one course of the dinner that we ultimately enjoyed eating. With much laughter , my group learned how to prepare poached pear with champagne sabayon. Between separating the egg yolks with our hands and having a whisking race to finish the sauce, hilarity was the prime ingredient. (Did I mention we were sipping on champagne?)

With lessons and supervision provided by the ever-patient Chef Travis Jameson Starwalt, we also learned how MCI sources much of their food locally (within 350 miles), as well as minimizing, recycling and/or composting the waste. Many of the greens are grown in MCI’s on-site garden, while the delicious pork tenderloins came from Niman Ranch – described by Chef Travis as “a farm co-op that is raising and treating their animals with the utmost care and respect!”

The Miami Culinary Institute is also home to Tuyo, an award winning fusion restaurant on the top floor overlooking downtown Miami and the bay. Tuyo’ vision statement includes “embracing farm-to-table and sustainability practices that safeguard the health of the people and the planet.”

From the design of the structure to its on-going operation; from the Tuyo restaurant to the chefs teaching classes – the passion driving those involved with the Miami Culinary Institute was neatly expressed by Chef Travis when he told me, “It’s up to our generation to lead the charge in the war against commercialization and convenience.”

The Green Giant – Can a 10,000 Square Foot Home Be “Green”?

Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL - LEED Platinum
2020 Alton Road, Miami Beach – LEED Platinum

There is a green controversy brewing in Berkeley, California. Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corp and an international philanthropist, wants  to build a 10,000-square-foot house complete with a 10-car garage. Under Berkeley’s current green point system the house would qualify for Berkeley’s “green” designation despite its size, and that has neighbors and local environmentalists upset.

According to the New York Times: Berkeley’s green point system was developed by a nonprofit group called Built It Green and adopted by the city government. Items on the checklist include: tightly seal the air barrier between the garage and living area; insulate hot water pipes; use Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood; use paint low in volatile organic compounds. About 70 local governments in California have ordinances based on the Build It Green checklist, according to Bruce Mast, an executive of the organization.
The article also correctly notes that the United States Green Building Council’s LEED program does reduce points for larger than average homes. Those points must then be regained with additional “green” features and building practices in order to achieve a LEED designation.

Lighthouse Point, FL - LEED Silver
Lighthouse Point, FL – LEED Silver
While virtually everyone agrees that smaller footprint homes are better for our environment, not everyone is going to give up their large luxury homes – nor do I think they should have to. Those who can afford to build a luxury home are also the people who can best afford to include cutting edge “green” materials and techniques, which will in turn benefit all green building at all price levels. We should continue to encourage this type of “green” investment with a sensible point system like the LEED program that addresses the size of the home as well as the sustainability of its design.

Neighbors Susan and Chuck Fadley were quoted in the article as saying that “green building begins with using ‘just enough’ and preserving what already exists. Clearly the idea of ‘just enough’ is not part of the design concept.”  And as an ideal, I agree. But in our idealism, we must not make this or any aspect of sustainable living seem so austere that its achievement feels like a punishment. A luxury home that is also a genuinely “green” home should be showcased because it allows the general public to see that “green building” doesn’t just mean living in a yurt anymore.

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC and a member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter. She is a designated Eco-Broker and holds her level one Green Leadership (GCREP-GL) certificate among many other certifications and awards.

Park(ing) Day in Coconut Grove This Friday

The US Green Building Council’s South Florida Chapter Emerging Professionals will be participating in this Friday’s “Park(ing) Day,” a worldwide event that inspires city dwellers everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks.  Started in 2005, Park(ing) Day is a way to draw attention to the need for more public parks in urban areas. This year’s local event is scheduled to take place between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. along McFarlane Road in Coconut Grove. Donations and support will be provided by Pie Studio, Home Depot, AFH, the City of Miami, Coconut Grove community organizers, the NET, the BID and the Miami Parking Authority. The MPA has designated 10 metered parking spaces along McFarlane Road which will be transformed into temporary urban parks for the day. Commissioners Sarnoff and Suarez are scheduled to appear, and the public is invited to attend.


USGBC Emerging Professionalsare the energetic and dynamic leaders of tomorrow’s green building movement. The program is geared toward individuals out of school and under 30, but does not exclude anyone who may be interested. USGBC Emerging Professionals seek to engage all those who are interested in learning about and advocating for sustainable building practices. So who are Emerging Professionals? Certainly many are young architects and engineers, but they also include young lawyers, education and healthcare professionals, sustainability consultants, and anyone else interested in the future of green building.”

News From Sebastian Eilert Architecture, Inc

Every month I look forward to reading Sebastian Eilert’s newletter to keep up to date on his latest LEED projects in South Florida. Sebastian, a local architect with international training and experience, is dedicated to sustainable architecture. From his website:

With S.E.A. as part of your project team, spaces will be better, healthier and have economic saving, in energy, water, and resources, which also reduce the burden on this planet. S.E.A. helps to set yourself apart as a leader in your community and to know that you are doing the right thing!

Tetris-1And this month from his newsletter:

Eurohabitat “Living Tetris” project has gone through some changes since its first submittal for permit and is ready to move forward. The now smaller house still features cutting edge design including a unique custom pool and native as well as regionally appropriate landscaping designed by Southern Blossoms. Some of the more hidden features include a manifold plumbing system, high efficient water fixtures and appliances and LED lighting. The house is PV ready. The team and the Village are excited to see the first LEED certified home for the Village of Pinecrest start construction soon.

 

Nearing construction completion is the Glantz remodel at The Balmoral in Bal Harbour. The renovation of a spectacular corner unit added a bedroom and updated the kitchen and master suite. Lookout for a picture of the month from this amazing project in a future newsletter.

The GSA Trades Shop Facility, the first LEED Silver certified project for Miami Dade County. We are eagerly awaiting comments from the USGBC.

 

Design on the Pinecrest Gardens lower Bathroom project has been completed and SEA has moved to the construction document phase detailing the structure and the water filter system that will be installed instead of traditional sewer system.

 

SEA is proud to team up with New Orleans based FuturProof. The LEED H M+M LEED Homes residence by Upstairs Studio in Coconut Grove has been awarded the AIA award and is already a Energy Star home. The LEED certification is eagerly awaited by the team.

‘News From Sebastian Eilert Architecture, Inc’

The Art of Sustainable Luxury

“The Art of Sustainable Luxury” was how the event was billed and on March 25th I was privileged to tour the first LEED for Homes Silver Certified Luxury Residence in Miami-Dade County. What this magnificent 5200 square foot waterfront home shows is that luxury does not need to be sacrificed to low-impact sustainable living.

LEED Silver Home 400x300When the owners first discovered the land parcel for their future home many years ago, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System) for Homes was still being developed. But by the time they acquired the property, the owners knew they wanted to integrate energy efficiency and environmentally sound elements into their home’s striking design. To help them achieve their goal, they partnered with KZ Architecture; Bell-Aqui, Inc landscape architects; Arbab Engineering, Inc; LNI Engineering; Gary G. Bloom PE civil engineer; and Alejandro Vargas at Visual Lighting. And to supervise the various certifications, the team brought in Gary Shlifer of Green Building Florida; Banks Clark of Environment, Safety and Health LC; and Eric Martin of Florida Solar Energy Center.

In addition to creating a home of breath-taking beauty, the team achieved an impressive set of green certifications:

• LEED for Homes Silver with 78 points
• FGBC Green Home Standard Gold 184 Points
• Energy Star for Homes HERS 72
• Florida Yards & Neighborhoods 226 Points

One of my favorite features of the home is the rainwater harvesting system with a 2500 gallon cistern located under the house and 83% of the roof area dedicated to rainwater capture. The system provides approximately 80% of their annual irrigation needs. Ninety two percent of the home’s finishes (paints, adhesives, etc) were no VOC (Volatile organic compounds) and the home was built with a wood-free insect resistant structure. In Florida, with our termites, carpenter ants and humidity, wood-free construction seems like such an obvious choice, doesn’t it?

The list of sustainable elements incorporated into this home was several pages long and included everything from dual-flush toilets to an exterior ceramic coating that insulates the home the way ceramic tiles insulates the space shuttle for re-entry. With all of the amazing attention to detail, the homeowners will realize almost 30% improved energy efficiency over similar new construction homes built to Florida Code in the same time period. In addition, they diverted 88% of the construction waste away from our landfills. Without a doubt, this home provides a model for what other luxury home developers and owners can accomplish.

For more information and photos of the home, visit KZ Architecture online. And for more information about Miami real estate, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 305-801-3133 or visit my website at http://www.melanieinmiami.com.

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC, is a proud member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter and a designated Eco-Broker. She also holds her level one Green Leadership (GCREP-GL) certificate among many other certifications and awards.