The following post is by Jess Foster:
Congratulations on your decision to pursue a LEED Credential. These are the most sought after credentials in the green building industry by employers. A new study by Burning Glass Technologies shows that demand for LEED Green Associates and LEED APs has grown 46% in the last 12 months, so you’ve picked a great time to join in on this growing marketing need.
Your next step is to prepare for the LEED Exam. Here are some basic things you should know before selecting an exam prep program or materials:
1. Decide which credential exam to pursue:
There are several credentials you can earn based on your profession and your goals in the green building industry. I recommend looking at the USGBC site (the creator of LEED) or resources prepared by their recognized Education Partners like GBRI. Make sure to download the candidate handbook to understand eligibility requirements, registration and scheduling details.
2. Decide whether to study by yourself or sign up for an exam prep course:
Studying on your own can be challenging given the amount of material covered on these exams. Or, you can sign up for a LEED prep course. A quick Google search will show plenty of paid exam prep providers. Make sure the provider you choose is approved by USGBC or are USGBC Education Partners.
3. Choose an exam prep provider and course style:
Depending on your availability and schedule, there are several ways to prepare. There are live online classes where you attend for a month or so; on-demand only access courses where you watch sessions at your own pace; and in-person classes where an instructor teaches at a physical location. Make a selection that is right for you and your situation.Since the new LEED v4 test was released recently, you should carefully make a selection when registering for an exam prep program. An ideal exam prep course will include:
- Narrated study materials/tutorial with option to download audio files
- A study guide that you can print
- Flash cards
- Section or category quizzes (look for quizzes with answer explanations)
- Simulated Mock Exams (at least two)
I recommend studying in a group or with a partner if you can. Finding someone to study with for your exam has many benefits. Some exam prep providers also provide group discounts, making it easier for your colleagues to join you in the pursuit of a credential. If you do chose to study independently with the support of a providers prep program, you’ll want to have a roadmap or plan to ensure you are staying on track and are covering all the material efficiently. Some USGBC Education Partners programs will include a recommended roadmap for you, taking even more of the guesswork out of studying.
5. Take MOCK exams:
Make sure you are completely prepared leading up to your LEED exam by using a trusted provider’s mock exams. This is your best gauge to ensure you will successfully pass the exam on your first try. This also gives you a targeted way to complete your studies and preparations based on the areas you find you are most lacking in during the mock exams. Once you successfully pass the mock exams you can feel confident going into the real thing.
Jess Foster, GBRI Blog writer, studied history at Furman University, where she encountered the concepts of green living and sustainability for the first time. In her leisure time, she enjoys photographing the wildlife in her backyard and playing with her two Shetland sheepdogs.
K.B. Industries installed a new material called Flexi-pave around several trees in Seattle to demonstrate its use for trees in business districts. The company has provided the material to the city free of charge to show how it works and train local contractors to install it. Flexi-pave can also be used for trails and sidewalk projects.
Flexi-pave has been installed at eight trees along Pine Street - between Second and Third avenues - and at five trees in McGraw Square.
Here are some of the advantages of using flexible porous material in tree pits:
• A safe, stable surface for pedestrians
• Allows air and water to pass into the soil to keep street trees healthy
• No weed or debris removal
• Cheaper than traditional tree grates
The site is a 65-acre former industrial property in the heart of the port’s 2,300-slip marina, which it says is the largest public marina on the West Coast. The site will become a new mixed-use development with public access, retail, commercial space and housing. Construction is expected to begin on that in 2016.
Between 2006 and 2015, the port has done cleanup projects across the 65-acre site, removing nearly 150,000 tons of contaminated soil, remediating groundwater plumes, dredging sediment from the bay, and removing failing bulkheads and other old creosote-treated wood structures.
Strider Construction did the upland cleanup, and Magnus Pacific did the in-water cleanup.
The port worked with Ecology to divide the 65 acres into six separate cleanup sites, with the ultimate goal of creating a new waterfront destination in Everett. The final, major cleanup at the site will be complete this month.
Port officials say Waterfront Place will unify the marina and surrounding property to create a unique community.
“ALL RISE’s 2421 Miles,” is a new site-specific 52,000-square-foot earthwork by New York artist Molly Dilworth at 1250 Denny Way, the future site of Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation.
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture says it uses over 400 cubic yards of dirt and 182 pounds of wildflower and grass seed to create a living “urban meadow.” There are 14 individual garden beds, each with a specific colorway.
The work is based on pattern studies from national flags, corporate logos and traditional patterns found along the sea trade route between Seattle and New York.
The city said Dilworth has traveled between New York and Seattle as a freelance worker for a global technology company. The work is named for that commute - the number of miles between the airports of Seattle and New York - made possible by modern global trade.
The Office of Arts & Culture said in a press release:
“As shipping and port technologies evolved over the last century, formerly industrial areas such as South Lake Union have been redeveloped. In a short time this lot on Denny will be a power station serving the demands of the new buildings; ALL RISE has used this temporary space to mark a transition between the last century and ours. The geometric edges of the garden will soften and evolve as it grows, just as our built environment and technologies do: imperceptibly, right in front of our eyes and seemingly all at once.
“The project was realized with the design assistance of Walker Macy (Portland and Seattle) as well as expertise and custom mixes from ProTime Lawn Seed, and the advice of SunMark Seeds.
ALL RISE is a series of temporary artworks at 1250 Denny Way. The goal is to provide a platform for artists to consider “the many iterations of land and space: residential, political, commercial, agricultural, spiritual, intellectual, utopian.” It is funded by Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds, and administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
The project will stay through mid-June. You can view online webcams at www.allriseseattle.org.
Herrera is testing to see whether new soil mixes can remove
more heavy metals and other pollutants from stormwater.
With all the cranes towering overhead in downtown Seattle, it’s easy to forget the important work going on below to manage and protect our water as the region grows.
To keep pace with this growth, Washington State is pioneering the use of new and innovative approaches for stormwater management. As of next year all development projects must use low impact development (LID) techniques or green stormwater infrastructure where feasible. Rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, and permeable pavement will become the norm rather than the exception.
As the region makes this new investment to protect our water, everyone - regulators, project owners, designers, and the general public included - will want to be confident these technologies are providing the intended benefit.
Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. is conducting groundbreaking research to assess and optimize the performance of these systems.
For example, with grant funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Herrera is currently implementing two research projects to develop a more effective soil media for use in bioretention systems.
In partnership with Kitsap County, one of these projects has involved numerous pilot scale tests of soil media components and blends to optimize their removal of heavy metals and other harmful pollutants from stormwater.
Herrera has also partnered with the City of Redmond to construct a state-of-the-art research facility for evaluating pollutant removal and plant growth in bioretention systems at full-scale.
Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. is an employee-owned engineering and scientific firm focused on restoration, water, and sustainable development. Herrera is committed to working with our clients to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for infrastructure, natural resources, and stormwater projects. Herrera was recently featured as “favorite green collar company” by the Seattle Times.
For more information:
Melissa Buttin, Senior Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org 206.787.8248
A new website offers plans, advice and a community of container home fans.
I’m Tom Woods. I run Container Home Plans along with my assistant Claire. I have a background in construction and studied sustainable development at Yale. Whilst studying, I developed my passion for sustainable buildings and this is what caused me to come across the idea of making homes out of recycled shipping containers. Earlier last year, I was browsing online to try and find more information on how to build shipping container homes and was frustrated because I couldn’t find much information out there. This is how Container Home Plans was born.
So I made the site to act as a central online resource for shipping container homes and to help people who are looking for detailed information on how to build their own. We feature on our site case studies of other people who have built their own container homes and go in detail, outlining the materials they used, the length of time it took them and the cost of the build. We also run a feature called container home of the week, where we show off the very best shipping container homes as inspiration for people! It’s our hope that Container Home Plans will act as a hub for the community of container home enthusiasts so they can share their experiences with other enthusiasts and help each other as they build their own.
We run the site because we believe that using shipping containers can be not only environmentally friendly but it can also be a very affordable option that allows people to make homes they otherwise couldn’t afford to if they used conventional building materials.
I’d be delighted to hear from people, so feel free to send any questions to me at: email@example.com.
The following post is by Oregon BEST:
A unique modeling tool developed at Portland State University with support from Oregon BEST is helping local green roof manufacturer Columbia Green Technologies speed adoption of green roofs to meet legislation aimed at reducing combined sewer overflows during heavy rains and thereby grow the Portland based start-up's national market share.
The new tool is the result of a research project funded by Oregon BEST and led by Graig Spolek, a PSU professor and director of the Green Roof Design and Test Lab. Columbia Green uses the tool when working with civil engineers and architects who need accurate, quantitative data about how much stormwater a green roof in a specific geographical location will both retain and detain.
"This new tool has been very helpful; it's helped us open doors to some of the best engineering and architecture firms in the country," said Elaine Kearney, Technical Director at Columbia Green. "Being able to generate this kind of data bolsters our reputation as being innovative and technologically very forward looking."
Eric Zickler, an associate principal at Aecom, one of largest engineering firms in the world, said his firm uses many different tools to measure performance of their stormwater management infrastructure designs, but the Columbia Green tool stands out.
"Generally the calculators and modeling modules are generic and do not provide a high level of confidence in predicted performance," Zickler said. "The green roof stormwater management tool developed by Columbia Green is specific to green roofs and developed using both theory and empirical data for multiple geographies across varying storm intensities, making it a valuable resource in building our confidence in the stormwater management benefits of green roofs."
The new tool, which can generate data specific to geographic areas and weather patterns, gives Columbia Green a competitive advantage when the company interacts with potential clients.
"The ability to quantify our performance with this degree of accuracy is unique, so it's a significant advantage for us," said Robin Schneider, marketing director at Columbia Green.
This strategic funding exemplifies how Oregon BEST, a state-funded organization that fosters technology-based economic development, helps clean-technology companies collaborate with universities to advance and commercialize products to grow Oregon's green economy.
"It's been very rewarding to see Columbia Green leverage our investment in research and transform that into expanded distribution and sales opportunities," said David Kenney, president and executive director of Oregon BEST.
Green roofs and other green infrastructure approaches are gaining visibility at all levels of government, both in the United States and abroad, as officials try to implement policies to address aging public infrastructure.
Two years ago, Vanessa Keitges, CEO of Columbia Green, was selected to sit on the President's Export Council at the White House.
"We greatly appreciate the Oregon BEST support that allowed us to take advantage of the PSU rain lab and develop a tool that's helping us succeed," Keitges said. "Local cooperation between industries and academia is recognized as a model for innovation to solve global problems."
Oregon BEST is a state agency that nurtures clean technology innovation by transforming new ideas, research, and products into green-collar jobs, greater sustainability, and economic prosperity for Oregon.
The following post is by Jasmine McDermott:
Z Living Systems installed a water-saving, living wall crafted of 6,000 individual plants on a new resident activity club in Los Angeles. The building, which implements a number of sustainable features, achieving LEED Platinum, ultimately creates an “oasis in the middle of a city.” The 1,200 sq. ft. living wall, featured both indoors and outdoors, stretches the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool while only requiring less than half the amount of water an individual would use showering in one week.
In response to California’s severe drought, Governor Brown’s office released regulations surrounding water conservation and is encouraging a number of water conservation practices. Z Living Systems incorporates a number of these practices into their living walls creating a sustainable alternative for landscaping.
Z Living Systems' proprietary system takes plants, hardy drought-tolerant native species, which are first transplanted into the company's living wall pots from their original nursery pots, delivers them onsite, and then hangs them onto a prefabricated structure. The system allows for first day, full coverage of vegetation. Following the installation, the company utilizes an irrigation controller that allows the control of irrigation remotely in response to weather conditions. In collaboration with Rios Clementi Hale Studios, there was an effort to blur the lines of indoor and outdoor by continuing the living wall through the exterior and interior of the building.
- Architect- Rios Clementi Hale Studios
- Contractor- Fassberg
- Builder- Brookfield Residential
Water Conservation Practices Utilized by Z Living Systems Living Wall
- Smart irrigation controller
- Drip irrigation
- Drought tolerant or native plants
- Watering once a week
- Preventing runoff
Jasmine McDermott is a co-founder of Z Living Systems, a living-wall provider based in San Luis Obispo, California.
The following post is from Washington State University:
More than one-third of new commercial building space includes energy-saving features, but without training or an operator’s manual many occupants are in the dark about how to use them.
Julia Day recently published a paper in Building and Environment that for the first time shows that occupants who had effective training in using the features of their high-performance buildings were more satisfied with their work environments. Day did the work as a doctoral student at Washington State University; she is now an assistant professor at Kansas State University.
She was a WSU graduate student in interior design when she walked into an office supposedly designed for energy efficiency and noticed that the blinds were all closed and numerous lights were turned on. The building had been designed to use daylighting strategies to save energy from electric lighting.
After inquiring, Day learned that cabinetry and systems furniture throughout the building blocked nearly half of the occupants from access to the blind controls. Only a few determined folks would climb on or under their desks to operate the blinds.
“People couldn’t turn off their lights, and that was the whole point of implementing daylighting in the first place,” she said. “The whole experience started me on my path.”
Working with David Gunderson, professor in the WSU School of Design and Construction, Day looked at more than 50 high-performance buildings across the U.S. She gathered data, including their architectural and engineering plans, and did interviews and surveys of building occupants.
She examined how people were being trained in the buildings and whether their training was effective. Sometimes, she learned, the features were simply mentioned in a meeting or a quick email was sent to everyone, and people did not truly understand how their actions could affect the building’s overall energy use.
One LEED gold building had lights throughout to indicate the best times of day to open and close windows to take advantage of natural ventilation. A green light indicated it was time to open windows.
“I asked 15 people if they knew what the light meant, and they all thought it was part of the fire alarm system,” she said. “There’s a gap, and people do not really understand these buildings.”
According to CBRE Research, the amount of commercial space that is certified as high-performance in energy efficiency through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star or U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED has grown from 5.6 percent of commercial space in 2005 to 39.3 percent at the end of 2013.
Yet in many cases, the corporate culture of energy use in buildings hasn’t caught up. While at home our mothers nagged us to turn off the lights when we left a room or to shut the door because “you don’t live in a barn,” office culture has often ignored and even discouraged common-sense energy saving.
Day found that making the best use of a highly efficient building means carefully creating a culture focused on conservation. In buildings with an energy-focused culture, workers were engaged, participated and were satisfied with their building environment.
“If they received good training, they were more satisfied and happier with their work environment,” she said.
She is working to develop an energy lab and would like to develop occupant training programs to take advantage of high-performance buildings.
“With stricter energy codes, the expectations are that buildings will be more energy efficient and sustainable,” she said. “But we have to get out of the mindset where we are not actively engaged in our environments. That shift takes a lot of education, and there is a huge gap right now.”