The LEED AP Certification

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:07
Posted in category Uncategorized

We recently described what the LEED Green Associate certification was and how valuable and important it was, as an entry gate on your way to get LEED certified. Indeed, this certification is just the first one of a long list, and gives the opportunity to obtain one of the several LEED Accredited Professional certification or LEED AP. So what is exactly this certification and why is it important? Read the rest of this entry »

Should Lawyers Get LEED Certification?

Friday, October 26, 2012 10:55
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

Lawyers already have to slog their way through contracts, torts, criminal and constitutional law… but maybe it’s time to add “green building law” to the list?

An emerging new trend among attorneys is appending “LEED AP” to the “JD” already behind their name. The acronym stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional”, and a LEED AP is an individual who is certified by the Green Building Certification Institute as having demonstrated expert knowledge of green buildings and the LEED rating systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Secretary Chu Announces $450 Million Program

Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:05
Posted in category Uncategorized

by Robert Gluck

In September U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a new, whopping $450 million program designed to catalyze a nationwide energy upgrade.

Experts estimate the program could save $100 million annually in utility bills for households and businesses. 

Dubbed The Recovery Act’s “Retrofit Ramp-Up”, the program pioneers innovative models for rolling out energy efficiency to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in a variety of communities.

Much like past roll-outs for cable TV or the Internet, the Department Of Energy (DOE) intends to create models that, when undertaken nationally,  save consumers billions of dollars on their utility bills and make the huge savings of energy efficiency available to everyone.

According to Chu, energy efficiency isn’t just low-hanging fruit; it’s fruit lying on the ground.

“We have the tools to reduce energy use at home and at work and to provide huge savings to families and businesses on their energy bills.

But use of these technologies has been far too limited because we lack the simple and effective ways for people to access them,” said Chu.

Chu said the ‘Retrofit Ramp-Up’ program supports large-scale models that can open new energy efficiency opportunities to whole neighborhoods, towns, and, eventually, entire states.

The Recovery Act, the Secretary added, allows innovative communities to demonstrate a variety of sustainable business models that can be replicated across the country.

The Request For Information (RFI) issued in September is for competitively selected local energy efficiency projects.

This competitive portion of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program targets community-scale retrofit projects that make significant, long-term impacts on energy use and can serve as national role models for grassroot energy efficiency efforts.

According to the DOE, the agency is accepting feedback on both the competitively-selected portion of the EECBG program for up to $390 million for neighborhood-scale building retrofits, as well as up to $64 million for local governments that were not eligible to receive the formula grants announced earlier this year.

The EECBG program empowers local communities to make strategic investments to meet the nation’s long-term goals for energy independence and leadership on climate change.

In other words, more green jobs and better green jobs training.

This first topic area under the funding solicitation will target a select number of innovative programs that are structured to provide whole-neighborhood building energy retrofits.

These will be projects that demonstrate a sustainable business model for providing cost-effective energy upgrades for a large percentage of the residential, commercial, and public buildings in a specific community.

Possible approaches could include innovative partnerships between the public and private sector, utility retrofit and audit programs, alternative financing, retail partnerships, and others.

More green efforts could include LEED AP certification for homes and buildings and energy audits by certified professionals to obtain maximum benefits from the project.

The DOE will award up to $390 million for these projects

The second topic area for up to $64 million is reserved for cities, counties and state-recognized Indian tribes that were not eligible to receive population-based formula grant allocations from DOE under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.

These funds are intended to help expand local energy efficiency efforts and reduce energy use in the commercial, residential, transportation, manufacturing, or industrial sectors.

Chu said the aim of the ‘Retrofit Ramp-Up’ program is to jump-start an industry that makes energy efficiency savings easy to access and available to everyone.

“By encouraging partnerships between local governments and effective private enterprises, we hope tune-ups for buildings will become as accepted as tune-ups for cars.

These efforts will save Americans millions of dollars, reduce carbon pollution, and create new green jobs,” Chu concluded.

Well, we could do with as many green jobs as can be possibly created for the well-being of our planet and for greener future generations.

PNC’S GREEN MONSTER: Largest Green Wall In North America

Monday, January 18, 2010 3:56
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

by Robert Gluck

Once again PNC is making news in the green building (LEED certified) sector.

Ever hear of the “Green Monster” at Boston’s Fenway Park?

That big green wall in the outfield?

Well, PNC decided to get their own living, breathing green monster; only a lot more bigger and greener!

Consequently PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. constructed its own green wall and claims it to be the “largest green wall in North America.”

According to an article titled “Green Walls Taking Root in Green Building Design” written by Dan Nephin of the Associated Press and published in the ‘Buffalo News’, the next big thing in green building design might be to turn an existing idea on its side.

Nephin reported that PNC Financial Services Group Inc. recently installed a gargantuan, soil-based green wall, the size of two tennis courts on one side of its headquarters.

“Like green roofs – their perpendicular counterparts – green walls are covered in vegetation and provide the benefits of natural insulation and removal of air pollutants,” Nephin wrote.

“PNC, which provides banking and wealth management services, estimates it will be 25 percent cooler behind the wall than the ambient summer temperatures.”

Green walls also can be visually engaging.

The PNC wall features more than 15,000 ferns, sedums, brass buttons and other plants that create a swirling pattern of varying hues of green above the company’s logo.

They are divided among hundreds of 2-by-2-foot aluminum panels that were anchored onto the building’s frame after part of the granite facade was removed.

According to Gary Saulson, head of corporate real estate for PNC, this wall is the right thing to do.

We all heartily agree and kudos to PNC for major environment-conserving efforts like being at the very top when it comes to the maximum number of newly constructed LEED-certified green buildings than any other company in the world.

What’s more – about 20 more ecologically-efficient branches and two other major buildings are under construction or in queue for a LEED certification.

“We think it’s the right thing to do for our community, for our customers and our shareholders,” Saulson told Nephin. “We wanted to add greenery to an area that didn’t have any. We really view the green wall as public art.”

Green Living™ Technologies (GLT), of Rochester, N.Y., designed the wall at PNC which is mounted with a stainless steel bracketing and panel.

Chief Executive George Irwin told Nephin that the company also has installed walls in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.

PNC bills its green wall as the largest in North America. The wall covers nearly 2,400 square feet.

Although PNC officials declined to give a precise estimate of its cost, Irwin told Nephin that on average green walls cost about $100 to $125 a square foot.

The structure at PNC requires only 15 minutes a week of watering during peak growing season – less in winter – provided through the building’s plumbing system.

PNC has a contract with the installer to prune the plants and replace dead ones if necessary.

Joanne Westphal, a landscape architecture professor at Michigan State University and part of the school’s Green Roof Research Program, told Nephin that the biggest benefit to green walls is their ability to help cool buildings through shading. “They also help capture rainwater and release it more slowly into the atmosphere and storm water systems,” she said.

According to Irwin, each of the roughly 600 panels at the PNC headquarters can offset the carbon output of one person a day.

Green Living got into the market several years ago after trying to devise a solution for a customer who wanted a green roof on a steeply pitched building. The walls can also be installed inside buildings.

Irwin said green walls aren’t exactly a new idea.  “The Romans planted grape vines along building walls, resulting in faster growing and sweeter grapes for wine. The structures are also prevalent in Europe, where modern-day green roofs first took off.”

Near ground level of the building where PNC’s wall is located, at 1 PNC Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh, a small panel holds some of the plants and a plaque tells passers-by about the wall.

“I think they want to believe its real,” PNC’s Saulson said, “and it is.”

Some interesting features of the eco-friendly ‘Green Wall’ –

  • Will require only 15 minutes of watering once a week.
  • Looks like a painting made up of regional plants at first glance.
  • Will provide shade to sidewalks nearby, absorb sounds and cool the surface of the south wall by 70 to 80 degrees.
  • At the present moment, the wall is visually appealing as it has mixed shades of green to bring out the company logo.
  • There are 8 varieties of plants – some will bloom in spring which will make the wall a scenic delight for all eyes.

Penn State Professor Honored For ‘Green’ Building

Sunday, January 17, 2010 21:08
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

by Robert Gluck

Penn State gave us the distinctive, brilliant football legend – Joe Paterno and now they’ve given us a ‘green’ gem - C. Timothy Baird.

An associate professor of landscape architecture, Baird was honored for his ‘green’ work with Landworks Studio Inc., a Boston-based firm for which he serves as consultant and adjunct principal.

Landworks Studio’s landscape design for the Macallen Building in South Boston received an Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in recognition of being Boston’s first green residential structure.

The Macallen Building was featured in the film “The Greening of Southie”, a documentary directed by Ian Cheney and produced by Bullfrog Films.

The project also received a 2009 Award of Excellence from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, and received Merit Awards from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

Awarded a gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDgreen building ratings system, the project continues to rack up honors and awards for the Macallen project.

Landworks isn’t done yet with its majorly ‘green’ & LEED certified enterprises.

One of the firm’s other projects, the ‘Blackstone Steam Plant’ renovation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently received a LEED platinum rating.

Baird and members of the firm developed and led a design charrette–an intense period of collaborative design activities in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem.

The charrette, called “Making the Matrix: an Exercise in Material Space-Making,” was for the 2009 International Landscape Architecture Student Conference held at Penn State.

More than 30 students participated in the daylong ecological endeavor to design and build an interior spatial exploration installation.

On the faculty at Penn State since 2000, Baird teaches design, implementation, and the history of landscape architecture beyond Modernism. His research focuses on environmental art as land reclamation, sustainable designed landscape form, and the memorial landscape.

While with Landworks Studio he has played a pivotal role in developing the firm’s evolving body of earth-friendly work that reflects a commitment to proto-urban, strategic renewal efforts with aggressive ecological agendas.

According to Joel Bittle of, the film “The Greening of Southie” is worth watching.

“I cannot recommend this film enough to anyone who is or wants to be part of green building,” Bittle said.

At the film’s website, you’ll find this description: “In the traditionally Irish-American working-class neighborhood of South Boston, MA, a new kind of building has taken shape.

From wheatboard cabinetry to recycled steel, bamboo flooring to dual-flush toilets, the Macallen building is something different: a leader in the emerging field of environmentally friendly design. But Boston’s steel-toed union workers aren’t sure they like it.

And when things on the building start to go wrong, the young developer has to keep the project from unraveling.

Building Boston’s first LEED Gold certified building turns out to be harder than anyone thought. Yet among the I-beams and brickwork emerges a small cadre of unlikely environmentalists who come to connect their work with the future of their children.”

What Makes A Building Green?

Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:55
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

by Robert Gluck

Building designs that are green minimize environmental impacts as well as the impacts on people.

But this may be a definition that’s too broad.

In her article titled “Modern Building Design-Is it Green Yet?”, freelance writer Mary Smith says that when buildings are designed with the “green” ideals in mind, the amount of energy spent constructing the building and operating the building during its lifetime can be minimized.

“The past few decades has witnessed the development of a wide variety of building practices, hi-tech materials and innovative techniques needed to fulfill these ‘green’ goals,” Smith says.

“The use of sustainable materials is one important characteristic of a green building design. Materials that qualify as sustainable include those that are available locally or those that are recyclable. Non-toxic materials as well as those that are reusable or renewable are often chosen as well.”

“Orientation of the building on a site is another common characteristic of a green design or basically a characteristic of a LEED AP building design and construction. Building orientation can minimize unfavorable local weather conditions or take advantage of the sun (solar certification or solar training can make a difference here) to save a considerable amount of energy over the lifetime of the building.”

Smith says the specific techniques and methods of construction chosen by the building designer can minimize the impact of the construction process on the environment; in other words a LEED AP certification or a BPI standards building design (by a BPI analyst training certified professional) will take care of all ‘green’concerns of your building

Use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power (solar courses or solar certification and wind energy certification – professionals with these qualifications can aid you immensely with the correct environment-friendly choices) may be part of a green building design or a LEED certified building.

High efficiency water, waste and energy systems can reduce both the energy required, and lead to an environmental impact over the lifetime of the building.

A BPI certification usually provides ‘green’ minded home/building owners with a peace of mind as certified professionals work on it accurately and perfectly.

In spite of the recent global economic problems, sustainable building is projected to increase.

In part the ‘green’ growth or the ‘green building’ revolution is fueled by a growing number of government initiatives and by increasing public demand for green products and services.

More and more often the public prefers, and even expects, to do business with “green” companies. Hence the popularity of LEED courses and LEED training.

Dozens of green building standards currently exist due to the public demand for everything green. The best known of these standards, created by the US Green Building Council, is of course LEED (for the uninitiated LEED stands for – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

But more is necessary.

“The problem is that there is no national standard yet,” Smith says.

“The lack of a strong national green building standard has led to some problems. Some buildings that claim to be green are in fact not green at all. Some companies feel they cannot compete without a claim to one standard or the other. In the worst cases, the issue of sustainable or green practices and materials has never even been considered, much less implemented.”
The importance of green building design has taken many years to catch on.

But the question is – what happens next?

As a writer who follows green building & the building sciences closely, Smith knows it has now become an important global trend.

“Some experts believe the trend towards green buildings will continue to grow. Others say green building design and practices will become less discretionary and more mandated. I think it will become standard practice. We’re not there yet, but governments and the building industries are moving quickly in the right direction,” she concludes.

If you’re interested to know much more about ‘green’ buildings (a building science course or a BPI training maybe) or be a LEED green associate, then just come to our website –


Friday, January 15, 2010 3:59
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

by Robert Gluck

Things seem to be moving quickly in the green building industry, but then again, for some, they may not be moving fast enough; especially when it comes to government funds.

According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, the nation’s green-building industry is awaiting billions of dollars in economic-stimulus funding earmarked to make government buildings more energy efficient. But based on the slow pace of allocations thus far, it could take months or even years for spending to trickle down to contractors.

In her article “Green Builders Await the Green” writer Christina Lewis said the General Services Administration, which oversees the federal government’s property, was allocated $ 5.5 billion as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February, of which $ 2 billion should be allocated before Dec. 31.

The initiative is designed to create jobs and to pioneer cutting-edge technology in construction that is environmentally friendly.

“At a time when construction on private projects has stalled, advocates of green building hope the GSA, which is America’s largest landlord with a 1,500-building portfolio, can use its purchasing power and nationwide reach to lower costs, test emerging products and educate the industry,” Lewis wrote.

Lewis quoted Jason Hartke, vice-president of national policy for the USGBC. “The value of having the government lead the industry on such projects is priceless,” Hartke told Lewis.

But so far, the agency has allocated just $ 1.5 billion, or 75%, of the funds it was appropriated for 2009 and is racing to allot an additional $ 500 million by the end of the year, just two weeks away.

The agency said bids for work are coming in under budget; a good thing, but one that slows them down from meeting its benchmark.

In addition, the GSA has paid out only $ 89 million.

“What we’ve got now is a lot of architects working overtime to get the work done,” Bob Peck, the agency’s commissioner of public buildings, told Lewis.

Peck said the delay in spending reflects the long lead time required to draw up building plans, which can take a minimum of six to nine months.

Economists said the delays in putting the funds to work illustrate the challenges of trying to quickly create new jobs in an industry that traditionally moves slowly.

And government planners tend to move more slowly than private industry, according to developers.

“Obviously, the funds would have to be outlaid for it to create jobs,” Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects, told Lewis.  “But once companies feel that money is coming through the pipeline, it’ll have a dramatic effect.”

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The projects that are furthest along are those that already were in the works, but put on hold due to lack of funding.

For example, the agency broke ground on a federal courthouse in Austin, Texas, in September; planning began eight years ago.

Some projects also are complex, requiring long planning periods.

The central federal office in Portland, Ore., the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Building, was allocated $133 million to modernize the 30-year-old, 510,000-square-foot building, including a daylight-adaptive lighting system that will reduce consumption 50%; and new mechanical, electrical and elevator systems.

The GSA plans to hire a construction manager to oversee the project.

With training on Solar Energy Training, solar courses, solar training, Energy Audit Training, solar energy training, solar energy classes, solar pv training, Nabcep education, irec course, irec training, BPI Heating Specialist, BPI training, geothermal classes, geothermal training, igshpa, course, igshpa training, igshpa education, igshpa, program, igshpa classes, solar boot camp, solar pv boot camp, Thermography Training and Weatherization Training and certification, a job like that could be yours someday.

GREENING NEW JERSEY – Hopewell Changes Its Land Usage Ordinances

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 2:36
Posted in category LEED Certification Articles

By Robert Gluck

Hopewell is going green, with as the Beatles have succinctly put it – a little help from its friends at Rutgers University. 

According to an article titled “Hopewell Changes Local Laws to Be Environmentally Friendly”, published in New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger, if the officials in this Mercer County town are interested in showing off the central New Jersey borough’s brand new green-conscious land usage laws, they need only wait until it rains!

The borough’s pavement is composed of a porous material that absorbs rainwater effortlessly, while also conveniently preventing runoff and recharging the water supply at the same time.

 Well, that’s how LEED certified buildings work – healthier work, better utilization of resources, increased productivity and of course, much better (read – greener) lifestyle choices.

Now the question that arises is – are they pursuing a LEED certification yet?

Any strenuous efforts from their end to score the maximum LEED points/ratings or strain for a LEED exam prep?

While we wait with bated breath on those crucial queries, let’s talk about the major innovative (very green-focused) design & structure changes taking place at Hopewell.

Basically a rural ‘upper middleclass’ town, Hopewell, redesigned its land-use ordinances and adopted other environmentally-friendly rules with the helping hand of the Rutgers Center for Green Building and a grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions.

The Rutgers’s website puts across these viewpoints about the Center’s programs: “The Rutgers Center for Green Building, housed at the E.J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, forms a common umbrella for existing and proposed initiatives being carried out through separate Centers at the Bloustein School, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (formerly Cook College), the School of Engineering and other Rutgers units that are integral to developing and implementing innovative green building strategies.

The Center conducts applied research utilizing planned and existing green building projects, works with industry and government to promote these concepts, and develops undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs.

Initial funding was provided by the Rutgers University Academic Excellence Fund and subsequently by our strategic partners and clients and through various grants.

The Rutgers Center for Green Building seeks to establish itself as the pre-eminent interdisciplinary center for green building excellence in the Northeast, while serving as a single accessible locus for fostering collaboration among green building practitioners and policymakers.

 For more vital ‘green’ information on Rutgers, follow this link –

 Hopewell’s administrator and engineer Paul Pogorzelski believes that working with Rutgers helped immensely. 

“They worked with us on creating a package for land-use criteria, like recycling, building design, pedestrian circulation, bike ways and pedestrian ways,” Pogorzelski informed. “It’s a big deal to change our land-use ordinances.”

Since March, 227 of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities have taken part in the Sustainable Jersey program, which teaches local leaders how to go green.

Hopewell has also installed solar panels on its public works building and is planning to purchase alternative-fuel vehicles.

Now, a LEED AP certification would just about make Hopewell’s precious green efforts truly green!