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Green Rating Systems Changes Can Benefit Manufacturers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 11:59

Whenever new standards are adopted in the building industry they can represent challenges for building project teams, and that spells opportunities for product manufacturers, especially those making products with an impact on renewable energy generation and energy-efficiency.

The EnergyStar program will become more stringent next year and the LEED Green Building Rating System is set for an update in 2012 with public comment coming sooner. Public comment gives U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members a chance to influence the new version of LEED for its rating systems on both the residential and commercial side of the business.

In January 2011, Energy Star will be changing from the current version to v3.0. One of the changes includes measuring residential buildings from a fixed benchmark of 85 on the HERS Index. The resulting HERS Index will then be adjusted by a Size Adjustment Factor -- or size penalty -- and that becomes the target HERS Index for the building.

According to one LEED Homes Provider in Florida, E3 Building Sciences, modeling under the new requirements for Energy Star can cost between $1,200 and $6,000 depending on the complexity of the design, which means about a 66% increase in costs under the coming Energy Star 3.0 version. Product manufacturers with solutions to help lower energy consumption in buildings can gain market share and increase sales.

As with all project teams trying to be more energy efficient, greater attention to the building envelope, lighting and HVAC will help project teams achieve the coming stricter Energy Star requirements. However, it's not just solar panel makers or insulation manufacturers that can gain by the coming changes in LEED and Energy Star. Manufacturers of water conservation products can also assist with not only the water use reduction program, WaterStar, but also the new Energy Star requirements because any hot water saved is energy saved, as it takes energy to heat water.

Check back with the Green Apple Group Blog for more updates and the impact LEED and EnergyStar on product manufacturers, as well as insights on the various other 1000s of green product rating programs out there in the market today.


TAGS: green marketing, branding, advertising, public relations, sustainability consulting, green consultants, LEED, USGBC, CHPS, WaterSense, EnergyStar, water conservation, energy-efficient, energy reduction, green building, green products, HERS Rating, HERS Index, solar panels, renewable energy, insulation, HVAC, lighting, Green Apple Group

GreenBuild Offers Green Social Events PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Monday, 25 October 2010 12:03

GreenBuild offers more than just serious stuff, including after-hours social events. Some are hosted by the trade show organizers and some of the exhibitors have their own parties. I've found in years past at these events, you'll meet some of the hipest, greenest people in the design community.

Here are a few of my favorite parties which are not included in a GreenBuild ticket:

Johnston Controls, Green Tie Event (You must have a tie to get in.)

Siemens (invitation only)

Environmental Design + Construction (Friendliest people!!!)

USGBC Host Chapter Party (Chicago USGBC)

Most of these are invitation only but if you go to the organizer's booth and befriend someone in charge of the events, they are usually very nice about getting you in.

Not sure if I'm actually going to any this year as I've stopped by all of the above in years past and had my fill. Call me on my cell (407-579-8683) if you hear of any other parties and I'll help spread the word.


TAGS: GreenBuild, LEED, USGBC, CHPS, GreenGlobes, green marketing, green advertising agency, public relations, trade show, branding, advertising, Web development, Web hosting, Green Apple Group, sustainability consulting, energy efficiency, interactive media, social media

Architectural Billings Index is Positive for First Time in over Two Years PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 11:45
For the first time since January 2008, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicated a growth in design activity in September, increasing for the fourth straight month. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 50.4, up from a reading of 48.2 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was also up sharply, moving from 54.6 to 62.3 – the highest mark since July 2007.

“This is certainly encouraging news, but we will need to see consistent improvement over the next few months in order to feel comfortable about the state of the design and construction industry,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While there has been increasing demand for design services, it is happening at a slow rate and there continue to be other obstacles that are preventing a more accelerated recovery. Still, the strong upturn in design activity in the commercial and industrial sector certainly suggests that this upturn can possibly be sustained.”

Key September ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Northeast (56.7), Midwest (51.0), South (47.0), West (44.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (56.3), institutional (47.9), multi-family residential (47.0), mixed practice (44.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 62.3

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month. The regional and sector data is formulated using a three-month moving average.


Green marketing, architectural news, architectural sales, LEED, advertising, public relations, USGBC, AIA, CSI, green consultants, sustainability consulting, architecture, design build, project management, CAD, Building Information Modeling, BIM, Home Star, Cash for Caulkers, jobs report, solar energy, renewable energy, solar power, architect, branding, AIA Provider, CEU, continuing education

New LEED Regional Credits Coming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 12:27

There are many reasons product manufacturers should get involved in the U.S. Green Building Council's local Chapters, but especially now with a new version of LEED coming out in 2012. The development of the new version of the green building rating system is an ongoing process and the chance to provide input will be starting soon. Click here to download the existing version of LEED. The current version of LEED 2009 was the first time since the initial development of the rating system that Regional Environmental Priorities (REPs) were included to encourage project teams to address geographically specific environmental issues when it comes to the design, construction and operations of buildings.

If you have been complaining that your product's green attributes are not addressed in the current LEED v.3.0, now is the time to get involved. The USGBC announced to its chapter leaders yesterday (Oct. 20, 2010) that the chapters will be involved in identifying what Regional Environmental Priorities are needed within their climate zone or Zip Code.

The best way to explain what an REP LEED Credit is to provide a few examples. The desert southwest for example might want an REP for water conservation, since water shortages are a big deal in that climate. In New York City, there are issues with landfills that are too full or space is limited. That region would want to give LEED projects extra credit for addressing waste management credits or recycled or reuse credits, among some others within the LEED Materials and Resouces section. If you have a building product or service that addresses either of these areas or perhaps energy efficiency but currently the benefits are not reflected in the LEED rating system, here is a chance for change.

By participating in the process of determining the weight of LEED Credits within the REP section, a product manufacturer can undo some unfair treatment of its product benefits in past versions of the rating system. This can be accomplished by more than just local participation. The USGBC has Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), which meet regularly to discusss LEED and other technical issues. These committees meet at the national level and changes to the LEED program are typically the brainchild of the TAGs. Some credentials are needed to gain a seat at the table, but are worth pursuing if your product is green but ignored by LEED.

Once the LEED 2010 rating system has been drafted, there will be other ways to participate in shaping the debate about your products benefits to sustainable building project teams. Because the USGBC develops LEED by a consensus-based process, the latest version of the rating system will go out for public comment, probably in the summer or fall of 2011. The public comments will be collected and changes incorporated to the final draft before the full membership votes to adopt the new version of LEED.

Both the LEED for Homes and LEED for New Construction rating systems will be revised for 2012, so product manufacturers targeting residential and commercial segments of the building industry would benefit from getting more involved in the process. Sometimes being a good corporate citizen means more than just improvements in your own business practices and the process in place at the USGBC is one way to make positive changes for the green building industry.


LEED, green marketing, sustainablity consultants, public relations, advertising, branding, Green Apple Group, green advertising agency, USGBC, Construction Specifications Institute, Technical Advisory Group, consensus, Regional Environmental Priorities

GreenBuild Requies "Greener" Booths PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 11:58

Starting with the 2010 Greenbuild conference in Chicago, exhibitors at the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual conference must meet the Greenbuild Mandatory Exhibition Green Guidelines (GMEGG).

Failure to satisfy these guidelines could make companies ineligible to exhibit the following year. Documentation was due to USGBC on October 13, 2010, but an extended deadline expires today (Oct. 19). Specific measures include:

Reporting of materials used in booth construction;

Indoor air quality provisions for booths with compliance either by avoiding new materials (flooring, signage, counters, paneling) or using only zero-VOC or low-VOC paints, varnishes, and glues;

Either avoiding added flooring or using sustainable elements in the flooring (salvaged, recycled-content, or recyclable materials);

Signage made from sustainable elements (salvaged, recycled-content, or recyclable materials);

Satisfying at least one of the following with collateral (literature and other handouts): eliminating print and promotional giveaways; limiting the quantity of handouts and giveaways to 5,000 combined; or providing collateral made from prescribed sustainable materials;

Restrictions on shipping that include at least one of the following: avoidance of polystyrene; reuse of padding material; consolidation of shipments; exhibit crates made from certified sustainable material; exhibitor providing direct carbon offsets; or selection of a logistics partner that participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay partnership program or a similar program from another country;

Water reclamation for any exhibitor using water in its booth; and

Required education of booth staff using materials that will be distributed by USGBC.

Product manufacturers can comply by reusing the booth they assembled last year even if it contains elements that are not very green as reuse is one of the tenants of sustainability. Still, a better option is to start planning a booth with greener materials and offsetting of its carbon footprint, especially in the area of shipping and transportation as well as a minimalist approach to the booth's design.

Details of the GMEGG are available through the online Exhibitor Resource Center. USGBC says that 10% of exhibitors will be randomly audited for compliance with the new guidelines.

For more information:

Greenbuild Exhibitor Resource Center


TAGS: GreenBuild, booth graphics, trade show, green marketing, advertising, branding, public relations, marketing consultant, sustainability consulting

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