Cost-Justifying Green Buildings to Skeptics

Many are concerned about what might happen to the green building market when climate change denial is seeing a political resurgence in the US and UK. Yet there is a way to defend green buildings using a business and economics lens palatable even to the biggest green building skeptic. Long used in the world of large-cap infrastructure projects, "cost-benefit analysis" is the gold standard when it comes to weighing different design options for their Net Present Value, Life Cycle Cost, Return on Investment, etc.

Over the past year, two real estate industry leaders, Prologis and San Francisco International Airport, have recently taken that approach and improved upon it, using rigorous economic methodologies from academia and industry alike to also translate into dollar terms the non-financial value of their green building designs, including enhanced occupant health and productivity from improved IEQ and lighting, increased property value and reduced flood risk from green infrastructure, and improved community support from preserving local air and water quality.

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Collaborating for Sustainability in Leased Space

Energy efficiency and sustainability have multiple benefits for commercial building occupants. Now, many forward-thinking corporations are employing sustainability tactics and focusing real estate strategy to attract and retain top talent, minimize operating expenses, and drive occupant comfort, health, and productivity. New technologies, a rapidly developing business case, and increasing research are making it easier for more organizations, across sectors, to leverage sustainability to capitalize on the same trends that are rapidly becoming the norm in top-of-the-market, class-A real estate. However, as tenants progress from site selection to occupancy, it becomes increasingly difficult to invest in sustainability. Tenants and landlords should collaborate early to maximize sustainability throughout the life of the tenant-landlord relationship.

In 2015, Congress passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, which directed several federal agencies, including EPA and DOE to identify and employ appropriate strategies to incentivize and engage commercial landlords and tenants to collaborate towards energy efficiency. This panel will discuss the opportunities that legislation will create for tenants and corporate occupiers to leverage energy efficiency and sustainability to meet corporate social responsibility goals and earn public recognition for their success. Panelists will also introduce a variety of tools and resources that are currently available to the market.

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Green, Complete and Smart: Build Green vs. Grey

Communities are turning to innovative stormwater management solutions to solve local and regional stormwater challenges. For example, in the nation’s capital, DC agencies recently modified a plan that predominately relied on grey infrastructure to instead partially replace the grey infrastructure with green infrastructure in targeted existing impervious areas. These green installations will serve to mitigate flooding and stormwater issues to the same capacity but with many more environmental and community benefits.

The panel will discuss stormwater challenges through several examples located throughout the country, and the impact of vegetated systems to manage stormwater in local and regional jurisdictions. One example that will be discussed is The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) proposed Green Street Demonstration Project in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington D.C. where the ASLA headquarters are based. The project seeks to serve as an example for such green, complete, and smart street design. The plan transforms an underperforming street corridor into a showpiece of both green infrastructure technologies and complete street approaches.

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Occupant Aware Buildings, or Building Aware Occupants?

As technology and intuitive interfaces enable occupants to become more aware about buildings, buildings are becoming more aware of them. Smart buildings leveraging big data collected from thousands of inexpensive sensors and the IoT, promises to improve convenience and comfort, all in a more sustainable manner. Is this a win-win?

High performance buildings with passive design strategies require engaged occupants. Training these occupants for hoped behavioral changes, is both an imperative and a challenge. Even if trained people forget or don't care, or the specific people occupying a building changes.

Does this mean ultimately your building may know more about you than you are comfortable with, even though you are more comfortable in your building? Is the next generation of high performance only possible at the expense of personal privacy? Can we count on this additional layer of systems complexity to be reliable, affordable, maintainable and secure?

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Designing Restrooms for Sustainable Operation (Print Course)

Designing restrooms for sustainable operation requires unique strategies beyond those typically associated with green building. This course does not discuss the details of LEED certification or environmentally responsible materials and related documentation. Instead, the focus of this course will be to educate architects and designers on operational approaches that encourage sustainable restroom project design.

Thoughtful product specification considers energy costs, battery usage, waste, and usage of consumables that in turn allow the architect or designer the opportunity to educate the client on the benefits and incentives that sustainable design creates for both building owners and occupants. While architects and building designers who specify sustainable design products must take into consideration the economical investment necessary from the client, specifying for sustainable operation allows a restroom to operate both sustainably and cost-effectively while retaining the architect’s aesthetic vision.

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Green Building Data: The Map to Avoiding Legal Issues

As an expert on green buildings, you are probably handling large volumes of sensitive data on green buildings & sustainable infrastructure. Some of this data may include sensitive information such as company financials, employee health statistics and building design details to aggregated and non-sensitive information such as, internal energy usage patterns and performance metrics.

What is the route that this data takes? Are there any laws which prevent its sharing? Does this data need to be destroyed at some point? Can this data be published in academic writings or industry reports of the recipient? Is the “processed data” liable to be treated differently?

This course discusses data security needs & challenges across sectors and international boundaries.

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Redefining Sustainable Design: The New AIA COTE Measures

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) is the oldest U.S. program dedicated to sustainable design. In 1997, COTE introduced its annual Top Ten Awards, “the profession's best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence” (AIA), to celebrate exemplary projects and give the industry guidance on how to integrate green building principles. In 2015, to mark its 25th anniversary, COTE embarked on a landmark research initiative to study the first two decades of Top Ten, published in 2016 as Lessons from the Leading Edge. Part of the research was to revisit the program’s criteria of evaluation, known as the COTE Measures of Sustainable Design. The result of this effort was to overhaul the program with a completely new set of principles and metrics. The 2017 Top Ten Awards are the first year to use new criteria such as economic impact and more robust metrics for health and resilience. In this presentation, three members of the COTE Advisory Group will present the new criteria and engage the audience in a lively discussion about what defines sustainable design.

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Propane Tankless Water Heating in Commercial Building Applications, Efficiency and Performance Benefits

Water heating is a major energy end-use in commercial buildings and is very significant in certain commercial building types. Many commercial building owners and operators have a critical need for water heating systems which are reliable, able to meet varying levels of demand, energy efficient, and able to fit within a building’s space constraints in order to maintain their business operations. Propane tankless water heaters are a flexible, energy-efficient technology which provides these attributes in many commercial applications.

This course will explore how commercial buildings use energy and the potential application of propane tankless systems to provide a solution for water heating needs.

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A Model Zoning Code for Resilient Communities

This course will provide learners with an understanding of how land use codes impact resiliency through barriers and incentives. It will help you gain an understanding of the positive impact on health and productivity from codes promoting resiliency, review case studies detailing principals of natural ventilation, daylighting and onsite energy production.

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Clarifying Product Transparencies - Life Cycle Assessment, Environmental and Health Product Declarations (Print Course)

The best route to a sustainable building is knowing what’s in the materials used to build it, but questions remain among manufacturers and buyers about how to evaluate and compare the environmental profiles of similar building products and materials.

Product transparency reports like Environmental Product Declarations, Health Product Declarations and Declare labels help meet this challenge.

This course will discuss how these tools collectively provide information about the environmental performance and impact of products and offer an objective means of comparing similar products.

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