Friday, December 20, 2013

Instructor Spotlight: Lisa Teichgraeber

This week on our Instructor Spotlight is Lisa Teichgraeber, GreenEDU's LEED Instructor and Course Developer. Lisa joined GreenEDU in 2011, bringing over a decade of sustainable design, consulting, and public speaking experience to the classroom. As a GreenEDU Instructor, Lisa has trained hundreds of students on green building and LEED concepts, specializing in LEED Exam Prep.

Previously the Sustainable Design Coordinator at HMC Architects, Lisa has extensive field experience planning and implementing green design, and has coordinated successful certification for several LEED projects in southern California. Passionate about sustainability in her community, Lisa is also an appointed member of the City of Redlands Climate Action Task Force (CATF). Lisa earned her Bachelors of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University.

With over 440 reviews on GreenEDU, Lisa has received praise from her previous students. "There is some very technical content in this class and she did very well in delivering it," stated Peter W., a former student. "Lisa managed to kept the class interesting and interactive, yet, cover all materials on time. Overall, the class's experience was excellent and I am very happy to had Lisa as my LEED GA instructor," responded Aaron C.

Lisa teaches a wide variety of LEED Exam Preparation and Continuing Education courses, including:

We had the chance to ask Lisa a few questions about her work at GreenEDU and her teaching experience:

  • Which class is your favorite to teach? Why is it your favorite class to teach?
My favorite classes are the ones that I get to teach in person.  The students seem more willing to ask questions or make comments. That makes the in-person classes more much more dynamic and rewarding.

  • What made you become a teacher? 
In all honesty, the opportunity presented itself.  A few years ago, I had the chance to teach a small group of clients (clients of the firm I was working for) that were interested in passing the LEED exam.  I really enjoyed supporting them through the testing process. When I discovered the opportunity with Green Education Services it seemed like a natural fit.  I applied and have been teaching LEED courses since 2011.

  • What is your favorite thing about teaching?
I really enjoy the opportunity to interact with students.  I consistently find that they are a wealth of information; bringing their professional knowledge to the LEED process that provides an enriching experience for me, the second is that teaching

  • What do you do in your spare time/hobbies/recreational stuff?
I really love the design work that I’m able to do for clients, but the one thing about architectural design is the time it takes to actual realize the results.  I have been working with fabric and yarn since I was a child and it is a great outlet to spend a couple of days on a project, have complete control over the outcome and see it finished.  My other diversion currently involves the free online courses that are offered through sites such as Coursera or Kahn Academy.  I’ve attended classes from issues on climate change to intro to coding - It’s amazing to be able to sign-up for any number of topics – all free of charge. 


To register for a course with Lisa or to view our other webinars, please visit http://www.greenedu.com/webinars for more information!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sherwin-William, NL Industries and ConAgra Required to Pay $1.1 Billion in Court Ruling for Lead Abatement

Today is costly for Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW), NL Industries Inc. (NL) and ConAgra Grocery Products LLC. After a five-week public-nuisance lawsuit, Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg of Santa Clara, CA ruled that the three companies are required to pay $1.1 billion "to replace or contain lead paint in millions of homes."

http://www.orlandopainting.com/lead-paint-removal.php The judge also ruled that charges against the two other defendants, Atlantic Richfield Co. (Arco) and DuPont Co. (DD), are dismissed. Counsel could not "prove that DuPont promoted lead paint in California" and "there was no evidence supporting a conclusion that the company knew in the 1960s, when it last manufactured exterior primer containing a small percentage of lead, that the product was hazardous." Also, the judge felt that "there was no evidence showing its [Arco's] promotion of lead paint caused it to be applied on homes within the cities and counties that sued."

Of the settlement, Los Angeles County will receive $605 million and will use that for lead abatement ventures. This will allow for the County to make sure that children and parents are safe from the dangers of lead. 

Legal counsel member for the plaintiffs, Joe Cotchett, stated that lead poisoning is still an issue for anyone, especially children, who are living in pre-1978 housing--the year of the banning of lead paint. He claimed and proved that lead is a public nuisance. Cotchett made it clear that the companies knew their products were harmful and went to great lengths to disguise the negative effects, which he based off of a 1937 physician conference. The doctors were instructed to not take notes on the harmful ingredients. 

Another counselor for the plaintiff, Nancy Fineman, stated, "We’re extremely excited that there’s going to be abatement of lead in these homes and improve the health of the children. It’s going to have a tremendous impact for society, and it’s time that these defendants who caused this problem help the government and property owners and families abate the nuisance.”

The ruling holds the companies accountable for the types of advertising that went along with the lead paint and for the dishonesty shown throughout an extended period of time. It is also a platform to hold landlords accountable for using products which endangered the lives of children. 

Lanie Friedman of ConAgra stated, "ConAgra Foods was never even in the paint business. As a food maker who employs thousands of people in California, we believe this case is an unfortunate example of extreme overreach.”

The companies have 15 days to "object the ruling." If this moves on to an appeal process, analysts state it may take years for a decision to be rendered. The legal team has decided to object, ask for a mistrial, and then appeal.

We are 35 years removed from the ruling to ban lead paint and it still poses a problem. Hopefully, rulings like this will set into motion ways of abating all buildings containing lead paint. 

At GreenEDU, we offer lead abatement courses to assist workers in these kinds of situations. If you're interested in the field of lead abatement, check out our Lead Abatement Worker Certification-Initial.Abatement is any set of measures designed to permanently eliminate lead-based paint hazards. Abatement work that is not conducted by a Certified Lead Abatement Worker is subject to heavy fines by local governments and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This course is offered in-person, and includes both training and certification for lead abatement workers. Certified abatement firms must have certified Lead Abatement Workers on site who have completed lead abatement training & certification from an approved provider, and have registered and been approved by the EPA or local governing body. Training concludes with the required Lead Worker course certification exam. Visit our website, or call our office at 646-564-3546 to sign up today.

Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Register for the LEED Exams

LEED Exams: How to register for LEED AP and LEED Green Associate Exams

 The registration process for the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP+ exams has changed slightly since the U.S. Green Building Council migrated the exam application and credential maintenance process from GBCI.org to USGBC.org.  Below we have outlined the updated steps for registering for the LEED exams.


LEED Green Associate Exam
If you are just beginning your LEED accreditation path, you will want to begin with the LEED Green Associate credentialing exam.  Here are the steps for becoming a LEED Green Associate:
  1. Attend a preparatory course and study for the exam (recommended).
  2. Create an account or Login at http://www.usgbc.org/account/credentials.
  3. Confirm that your name on your account exactly matches that on your current photo ID. If you need to make any changes, call USGBC at 1-800-795-1747.
  4. Under "select an exam from the list" choose LEED Green Associate
  5. Complete the application and pay the exam fee, which is $200 for USGBC National members, or $250 for non-members.
  6. Once the application is submitted, USGBC will provide you with an Eligbility ID and a link to schedule your exam with Prometric Testing Centers
  7. Testing locations are available throughout the U.S. and internationally, and the exams are offered year-round by appointment.

LEED AP with Specialty Exam
Note: To be eligible for this exam, you must have experience working on a LEED registered project within the last three years. Also you must have already passed the Green Associate exam, or plan to register for the Combined Exam. The combined exam is comprised of the 2 hour Green Associate Exam, directly followed by the 2 hour LEED AP+ exam.
  1. Earn eligibility through work experience or join an online program to connect you with a real LEED project.
  2. Attend a preparatory course and study for the exam (recommended).
  3. Create an account or login at http://www.usgbc.org/account/credentials.
  4. Confirm that your name on your account exactly matches that on your current photo ID. If you need to make any changes, call 1-800-795-1747.
  5. Under "select an exam from the list" choose LEED AP for the specialty you are interested in achieving. Not sure which LEED AP credential you want to earn? Visit www.greenedu.com/leed-ap to learn more about each specialty.
  6. Complete the application and pay the exam fee, which is $250 for USGBC National members, or $350 for non-members if you're already a Green Associate. If you are taking the Combined Exam, the fee is $400 for members, and $550 for non-members.
  7. Once the application is submitted, USGBC will provide you with an Eligbility ID and a link to schedule your exam with Prometric Testing Centers
  8. Testing locations are available throughout the U.S. and internationally, and the exams are offered year-round by appointment.

LEED Exam Details
Each LEED exam is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions, with a two hour time limit. A passing score is 170 points, and the exam questions are weighted.  The exams are taken at a computer at your local Prometric testing center. You can view available testing center locations at www.prometric.com/gbci. Once you complete your exam, you will be notified of your exam score immediately after submitting it for review at the testing center.

If you pass the LEED exam, you will be issued a certificate from USGBC, and you can begin using the designations on your business cards, email signature, and so on. Remember that LEED GA is not an acceptable format for designating the Green Associate credential - you can choose from "LEED Green Assoc." or "LEED Green Associate". Credential certificates can be obtained by logging in to your online USGBC account and downloading a PDF copy for your records, or requesting a hard copy certificate to be mailed to you.

Once you have earned a LEED credential, you must comply with the LEED Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) which requires the completion of continuing education and a $50 renewal fee every two years to keep your credential current.

If you unfortunately fail either exam, you are allowed to retake the exam up to two more times during a one-year period. After that time, you will need to wait 90 days before reapply and starting a new application period. If you take the combined exam and only pass one section, you will only need to retake that section you failed, however you are not awarded any credential in the interim.


Want to learn more about becoming a LEED Professional? Attend our FREE 1 hour webinar for an introduction to the LEED rating systems and credentials. Register at http://www.greenedu.com/free-intro-to-leed-accreditation-webinar-courses or call GreenEDU at 646-564-3546 to speak with a LEED credential expert!


EPA News Release: EPA Proposes 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EPA Proposes 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards

Proposal Seeks Input to Address “E10 Blend Wall,” Reaffirms Commitment to Biofuels

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed for public comment the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel as required by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Developed with input from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture, the proposal seeks public input on annual volume requirements for renewable fuels in all motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported by the United States in 2014. The proposal seeks to put the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program on a steady path forward – ensuring the continued long-term growth of the renewable fuel industry – while seeking input on different approaches to address the “E10 blend wall.”

“Biofuels are a key part of the Obama Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy, helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution and create jobs,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We have made great progress in recent years, and EPA continues to support the RFS goal of increasing biofuel production and use. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop a final rule that maintains the strength and promise of the RFS program.”

The proposal discusses a variety of approaches for setting the 2014 standards, and includes a number of production and consumption ranges for key categories of biofuel covered by the RFS program. The proposal seeks comment on a range of total renewable fuel volumes for 2014 and proposes a level within that range of 15.21 billion gallons. Specifically, EPA is seeking comment on the following proposed volumes:

Category
Proposed Volume a
Range
Cellulosic biofuel
17 mill gal
8-30 million gallons
Biomass-based diesel
1.28 bill gal
1.28 billion gallons
Advanced biofuel
2.20 bill gal
2.0-2.51 billion gallons
Renewable fuel
15.21 bill gal
15.00-15.52 billion gallons
aAll volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel which is actual

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. is now “E10,” which is fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. Production of renewable fuels has been growing rapidly in recent years. At the same time, advances in vehicle fuel economy and other economic factors have pushed gasoline consumption far lower than what was expected when Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007. As a result, we are now at the “E10 blend wall,” the point at which the E10 fuel pool is saturated with ethanol. If gasoline demand continues to decline, as currently forecast, continuing growth in the use of ethanol will require greater use of higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85.

The Obama Administration has taken a number of steps to allow or encourage the use of these higher ethanol blends. In 2010, EPA approved E15 for use in vehicles newer than model year 2001 and developed labeling rules to enable retailers to market E15. In addition, since 2011, USDA has made funding available through the Rural Energy for America Program to support deployment of “flex-fuel” pumps that can dispense a range of ethanol blends. The 2014 proposal seeks input on what additional actions could be taken by government and industry to help overcome current market challenges, and to minimize the need for adjustments in the statutory renewable fuel volume requirements in the future. Looking forward, the proposal clearly indicates that growth in capacity for ethanol consumption would continuously be reflected in the standards set beyond 2014. EPA looks forward to further engagement and additional information from stakeholders as the agency works in consultation with the Departments of Agriculture and Energy toward the development of a final rule.

The renewable fuels program was developed by Congress in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on foreign oil. The standards determine how much renewable fuel a refiner or importer is responsible for, and are the standards designed to achieve the national volumes for each type of renewable fuel.

In a separate action, EPA is also seeking comment on petitions for a waiver of the renewable fuel standards that would apply in 2014. EPA expects that a determination on the substance of the petitions will be issued at the same time that EPA issues a final rule establishing the 2014 RFS.

Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to a 60-day public comment period.

More information on the standards and regulations: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm


Saturday, December 14, 2013

King County Green Building Policy Tops Nation for Facility Sustainability and Performance

For Immediate Release:

New policy guides construction and renovation projects to ensure County’s continued leadership in resource use, conservation

All King County government construction and major renovation projects must strive to achieve the top national green construction rating under an ordinance proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine and unanimously approved today by the Metropolitan King County Council.

“By embracing the highest green-building standards in the nation, we are taking action to meet our goal of cutting in half the climate impact of County operations,” said Executive Constantine. “At the same time, we will save money on the energy needed to operate our facilities.”

“Building green has great potential to enhance environmental sustainability. With buildings contributing nearly 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and a substantial share of our natural resource consumption, we simply must change how we build and operate our facilities,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee and sponsor of the legislation. “King County’s commitment to green buildings balances two kinds of green, protecting both the environment and tax dollars, by ensuring project costs aren’t substantially increased in order to meet environmental building standards.”

The new green building ordinance advances and improves the County’s green building and sustainable development policy for County-owned operations.

Ordinance highlights include:
  • Requiring all King County government construction and major renovation projects to strive for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation.
  • Improving value and longevity of public infrastructure by ensuring the design, construction, maintenance and operation of any capital project is consistent with the latest green building and sustainable development practices.
  • Ensuring responsible stewardship of public funds through life cycle cost analysis.
  • Building a culture of performance by establishing minimum performance requirements for energy, emissions, stormwater management, and construction and demolition materials diversion.
  • Including green building for King County affordable housing projects that increase equitable access to improved public health, air quality, living and working environments, and walkable communities.
  • Encouraging innovation and supporting flexibility by adding alternative green building rating systems, including Built Green, Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, Salmon Safe and Living Building Challenge.
  • Supporting voluntary green building efforts in the region.

The legislation adopted by the County Council requires that King County building projects comply with environmental standards if they can be achieved within certain cost constraints.

Updating the County’s green building policies was identified as a priority action in the King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan adopted last year.

The newly adopted policy will help King County meet several long-term targets, including cutting in half the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from government operations by 2030, compared to a 2007 baseline, by 50 percent; and reducing by at least 80 percent the overall GHG emissions countywide by 2050, compared to 2007 levels.

Growth in the building industry’s green sector is undeniable – from 2 percent of the market in 2005 to 44 percent today. The green building industry supports or creates nearly eight million jobs nationally and contributes $554 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

LEED and Innovation

Cover to LEED In Motion
There has been much buzz surrounding the new LEED v4. Some say that this new version is going to improve the state of the industry with new features and goals. In the recent report, LEED in Motion, USGBC has a section entitled "Innovation". This section highlights just how groundbreaking the new version is. Their goal has always been to "push the industry surges into the future" and that "LEED has been there every step of the way to reiterate its standards with increase rigor." The positive attitude has propelled this as the industry standard for excellence.

The section of the report is broken up into three sections: Rating System Development, Innovation Credits, and Industry Innovation. The following includes key highlights from the sections.

 Rating System Development
  • Aims to "continuously improve the cycle that enables the rating system" in order to prepare the market for changes
  • The system is purposefully updated every three years so that they may focus on technology and industry improvements
  • This constantly changing standard challenges professionals to remain current and relevant
  • Changes to LEED: public input and then voted on by the members of USGBC

Innovation Credits
  • "Innovation credit 2 is a 'bonus' credit in LEED that rewards points for 'Innovation in Design' or 'Innovation in Operations' efforts, depending on the rating system"
  • "1,181 projects with a total gross square footage of 187,940,909 certified under LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance v2009 achieved a total of 4,051 points for Innovation in Operations credit one"
Industry Innovation
  • As mentioned, technology is key to the success of LEED and updates and are often a catalyst for the innovations and aims to transform the market
  • "The innovations: 
    • Renewable energy: solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, renewable energy offsets 
    • Building automation systems (BAS) 
    • Net-zero/net-positive buildings 
    • LED light bulbs"
LEED has such continued success because of their commitment to technology and creating new practices. The key to their success appears to be in listening to the conversations their members are having about their updates and seeing what direction the industry is going. With skilled discussions and careful voting, the USGBC maintains the standards that all professionals strive. 

GreenEDU offers a variety of LEED prep courses. In order to be competitive in the green building field, becoming LEED certified is a great first step. As the LEED v4 training standards are release, GreenEDU can keep you and your certification updated. To learn more about our courses, visit our website

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sick Building Syndrome and Our Health

http://www.radonss.com/north-alabama-sick-building-syndrome/
Recently, the USGBC released a document discussing the effects buildings can have on our health. The LEED system aims to keep buildings healthy so that the people inside do not become sick. It is estimated that we spend 90% of our time inside, so USGBC states that eliminating harms will improve "the way we perform". When buildings cause medical issues, the EPA states that this is a sign of Sick Building Syndrome.  SBS can be defined as “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” This issue can affect large and small buildings alike, mostly due to "inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants from indoor and outdoor sources and biological contaminants."

LEED is engineered to apply solutions to these kinds of issues, creating a more inhabitable area. Building by the standards of LEED is the best way to avoid SBS. Since most cases come from older buildings, it is important to know how to take care of the issue properly.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC) symptoms of SBS are:

  • headaches
  • eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • a dry cough; dry or itchy 
  • skin; dizziness and nausea
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • fatigue
  • sensitivity to odors. 

They also state that the symptoms can be reduced by leaving the building. However, that is a huge issue, as most work days are eight to ten hours. Buildings need to be suitable all hours of the day so that employees can complete their work days.

To reduce the harms of SBS in office settings, the NSC proposes several solutions:

Evaluate HVAC System
Making sure that there is proper ventilation and air distribution is key; they suggest highly polluted air to be ventilate outside; examples include "restrooms, copy room, and printing facilities"

Maintenance of HVAC Systems

  • "Replacing water-stained ceiling tiles and carpets"
  • "Venting contaminant source emissions to the outdoors"
  • Allowing enough time for remodeled areas to ventilate
  • Supplying air filters
Education
Inform employees about work-place hazards
Have a plan for SBS cases
Effectively communicate expectations and solutions to employee complaints



At GreenEDU, we offer Residential HVACR Certification training. Our class covers the core skills needed for entry level employment in the HVAC/R field. This course will include safety instruction, use of hand and power tools, and hands-on learning with state-of-the-art equipment in a complete lab environment. Instruction includes gas, oil, and electric heating systems, heat pump and air conditioning systems along with learning troubleshooting skills and techniques. Instruction in customer service as it applies to the industry will also be taught. Students will have the opportunity to earn industry credentials including: OSHA 10 Hour Safety, EPA 608, R410A, HVAC Excellence Employment Ready Basic Refrigeration and Charging Procedures, Oil Heat and Gas Heat certifications.

To sign up for the HVAC course, visit our website or call our office at 646-564-3546 and one of our team members will be happy to assist you. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

News Release: EPA Releases Updated Sustainability Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM THE USEPA
December 5, 2013

EPA Releases Updated Sustainability Plan
WASHINGTON – As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and lead in clean energy, EPA today released its 2013 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that outlines actions planned over the next year to cut energy use and waste in agency operations. President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in October 2009, setting aggressive targets for reducing waste and pollution in Federal operations by 2020. EPA’s 2013 Sustainability Plan builds on four years of progress under the Executive Order and provides an overview of how the agency is saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, and saving energy.

The 2013 Sustainability Plan will also help guide EPA’s actions to meet the new goal President Obama set today with a Presidential Memorandum directing the Federal Government to consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 – more than double the current level. Meeting this renewable energy goal will reduce pollution in our communities, promote American energy independence, and support homegrown energy produced by American workers.

Since 2009, EPA has:

- Reduced energy use by almost 8%; allowing EPA to avoid $1.5 million in utility costs annually. Compared to the 2003 baseline, EPA has reduced energy by more than 25%
- Used renewable energy and purchased Green Power Renewable Energy Credits equal to 100% of its conventional electricity use. Use of Green Power, coupled with energy conservation and fleet management efforts, reduce EPA Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions by nearly half from FY 2008 levels.
- Reduced annual water use by more than 25% – that’s more than 30 million gallons per year.

The 2013 Sustainability Plan outlines actions planned for the upcoming year to continue progress in meeting the President’s goals, including:

- Pursuing reconstruction of key EPA research infrastructure. Projects completed at the Cincinnati, OH, A.W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, EPA’s second largest research center, have already reduced energy use by more than 30%.
- Consolidating the Research Toxicology Laboratory in Durham, NC into the Main laboratory at Research Triangle Park, NC. This project will reduce agency rent costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and result in a net reduction in EPA space without impacting research capacity.
- Continuing work on EPA’s award winning water conservation program.

Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans are available now at http://sustainability.performance.gov

--

Learn how you can integrate sustainability into your organization's mission and daily processes through the Corporate Sustainability Manager Program, now available on GreenEDU.com

Rochester's Bergmann Associates Celebrates 100 LEED-Certified Buildings

Business Wire
The Crocs store at Destiny USA mall

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is becoming more popular, especially when it comes to renovating old structures. People want to make the most of their building efforts and more are choosing to build by the LEED certification standards. 

Evidence of the increasing popularity and what is predicted to be necessity can been seen through the efforts of the architecture and engineering firm, Bergmann Associates of Rochester, NY. The Destiny USA mall's Crocs store, located in Syracuse, is Bergmann's 100th LEED-certified project. This is a great accomplishment and adds to the go green attitude. The firm has also completed the Unity at Ridgeway medical building and one of Rochester’s fire stations on Hudson Avenue.

The Crocs store, which received Silver Certification in September features:
-use of rainwater to flush toilets
-energy-efficient lighting
-use of paint containing no volatile organic compounds

Charles Bertuch, office manager and Professional Engineer, states people want to know up front, "Where can you save money, where can you save energy, where can you reduce contaminants?” He states that very few people do not include that in their bottom line before starting a project. This kind of mentality adds to the success of green building initiatives. 

The Destiny USA mall contains several projects from Bergmann including the firm's consultation on the recent LEED-gold structure addition. The firm aims to assist in the creation of a Puma shoe and sports store for which they want to gain LEED-platinum. 

Another firm, Pathfinder Engineers & Architects LLP, has 25 LEED-certifications under their belt and gave kuddos to Bergmann for completing the task of 100. 

Rochester is a booming area of LEED-certification. There are 42 LEED-certified buildings, including a Frito-Lay service center which received a gold rating in 2005. New York state as a whole is becoming a LEED-certification state. Of more than 1,100 project in the state, roughly 70% have been certified within the last two years.

This is great news for our environment as well as our economy. By understanding the resources needed and correctly building a structure the first time around, this allows for limited wasted resources. GreenEDU proudly offers LEED Exam Prep courses. 


Created by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as a voluntary, consensus-based, and quantifiable rating system for green building, LEED has become the most widely recognized green building rating system in the world. LEED Exam Prep is the best way to make sure you pass the challenging LEED certification exams on your first try. With GreenEDU, you will learn from the LEED instructors through simple to follow educational materials, excellent presentations, and real-world examples that will help you understand the complex concepts.

We offer a number of courses, so visit our website to sign up today for the course that best fits your needs or cal our office at  646-564-3546 and one of our team members will be happy to assist you.

Image: Business Wire
Source:Democrat and Chronicle

Thursday, December 5, 2013

UK Companies Bring Green Building Know How to North American Market

For Immediate Release

The United Kingdom showcased its experience and leadership in green building and design through a UK Trade & Investment-led delegation at the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo. The delegate companies represent the UK's diverse set of capabilities and services in sustainable building practices ranging from innovative products and building materials to energy efficiency and overall consumption and waste reduction services.

"The UK has established ambitious and innovative carbon reduction policies that are fostering the development of low carbon solutions to create sustainably built environments," said Michael Rosenfeld, UK Trade & Investment, Vice Consul – US Clean Technology Sector Lead. "The UK's expertise in green building and energy efficiency is recognized around the world as a valuable resource to draw upon and collaborate with." 

Great Britain's low carbon policies are framed by its goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050. The Green Deal, a UK government initiative to energy retrofit 26 million British buildings, is positioning the UK as a hub of green building and energy efficiency expertise. More than 1,000 households in the UK have already begun installing Green Deal improvements and the numbers are growing. 

This experience in the UK market has propelled British companies to expand their offerings and services to other regions like North America. London-based IOBAC, for example, has formed a strategic partnership with Minnesota-based 3M to pioneer a magnetic flooring system that allows tiles to be easily replaced, stored, cleaned and reused, reducing overall waste.

In addition, Armourcoat, a UK manufacturer of polished plaster and high performance surface finishes, has found a receptive market in the US over the past decade with clients including Carnegie Hall, Fed Ex and Fidelity Investments. In 2009 the company established a formal office in Las Vegas, Nevada to serve as a base for its US operations.

"Armourcoat is excited to offer our global perspective and cutting edge technology with a focus on sustainable architecture and design to the US market," said Daniel Nevitt, Marketing Director at Armourcoat. "With established operations in Las Vegas, we look forward to the opportunity to connect with other leaders in this space to further grow our North America presence." 

The UK's strong green building market also offers opportunities for US companies to expand their businesses across the pond. Philadelphia-based Environmental Construction Services recently travelled with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on a trade mission to the UK to promote trade ties between the two regions. The company, which is a full service HVAC construction company with a focus on energy efficient retrofit projects, is aiming to grow quickly over the next five years, and is considering expanding overseas as part of that growth plan.

"Both the UK and the US are working hard to promote sustainability in the built environment, and the opportunities for collaboration between the two countries will only grow as the global green building industry continues to mature," added Rosenfeld of UK Trade & Investment.

The green building industry is on the rise globally as well, with estimates that the market may increase from $156 billion in 2012 to $275 billion in 2020.

In addition to IOBAC and Armourcoat, the UK delegation includes BMPR Offsite Consultancy Services, Conport Structures, Ergohome, MagmaTech, Origin Frames, Riva Global, and Unic International. The delegation is located at booth #2713 during Greenbuild 2013. For more information contact Rebecca Lewis, Vice Consul Energy & Environment at (646) 247-6239 or rebecca.lewis@fco.gov.uk.

UK Trade & Investment will also be providing insights and interaction from Greenbuild 2013 through its Twitter account @UKTI_cleantech.

About UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the British Government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. It also helps overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK's economy – acknowledged as Europe's best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. It provides companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit www.ukti.gov.uk. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Greenbuild 2013 Recap: GreenEDU On The Scene in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA--The U.S. Green Building Council's 12th annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo took place November 20th - 22nd in Philadelphia, PA, and the GreenEDU team was on the scene! The conference featured over 100 educational sessions, 700 exhibitors, and almost 25,000 industry professionals. 

Greenbuild is a green building and sustainable design conference
Greenbuild Entrance at the Philadelphia Convention Center
Greenbuild was hosted at the Philadelphia Convention Center this year, with green building education and networking events taking place across the city throughout the week.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker for the event, discussing what she referred to as "greening diplomacy" as well as "accessible" green building. You can check out the keynote events and her remarks here.

Greenbuild conference floor exhibitors 2013

The exhibit hall hosted all of the usual big industry names and some exciting new companies and products as well. Booths lined literally miles of walkways in the hall, featuring green building services, products, organizations, and education.

Greenbuild Conference 2013 exhibit Emerge Alliance

It was hard to miss the highly entertaining EMerge Alliance exhibit hosted by "Austin DC Power" who discussed the benefits of adopting safe DC power distribution in commercial buildings. Groovy baby!

Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia   Greenbuild exhibit hall convention Philadelphia

All in all it was a highly successful convention and we look forward to next year when Greenbuild 2014 moves to New Orleans! 

New Release: USDA and EPA Partnership Supports Water Quality Trading To Benefit Environment, Economy

News Release from the U.S. EPA: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced an expanded partnership to support water quality trading and other market-based approaches that provide benefits to the environment and economy.

“New water quality trading markets hold incredible potential to benefit rural America by providing new income opportunities and enhancing conservation of water and wildlife habitat,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Additionally, these efforts will strengthen businesses across the nation by providing a new pathway to comply with regulatory requirements.”

“EPA is committed to finding collaborative solutions that protect and restore our nation’s waterways and the health of the communities that depend on them,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We’re excited about partnering with USDA to expand support for water quality trading, which shows that environmental improvements can mean a better bottom line for farmers and ranchers.”

Water quality trading provides a cost-effective approach for regulated entities to comply with EPA Clean Water Act requirements, including water quality-based effluent limits in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Trading would allow regulated entities to purchase and use pollutant reduction credits generated by other sources in a watershed. Cost savings and other economic incentives are key motivators for parties engaged in trading. Water quality trading can also provide additional environmental and economic benefits, such as air quality improvements, enhanced wildlife habitat, carbon capture and storage, and new income and employment opportunities for rural America.

EPA and USDA are working together to implement and coordinate policies and programs that encourage water quality trading. The Department and the Agency will identify opportunities to work collaboratively to help improve water quality trading programs across the country. Cooperative management and technical assistance will improve resource management and public services, and accelerate implementation.

USDA and EPA will:

- Coordinate and enhance communications and outreach to states, agricultural producers, regulated sources, and interested third parties on water quality trading;
- Engage expertise across agencies in the review of grants, loans or technical assistance programs focused on water quality trading;
- Share information on the development of rules and guidance that have the potential to affect water quality trading;
- Collaborate on developing tools and information resources for states and credit generators to guide decision making, reduce costs in program design and implementation, improve environmental performance, and foster consistency and integrity across regional initiatives;
- Co-host a workshop by 2015 to share tools and resources available to assist in stakeholder decision making and opportunities.

The purpose of this policy is to support states, interstate agencies and tribes as they develop and implement water quality trading programs for nutrients, sediments and other pollutants where opportunities exist to achieve water quality improvements at reduced costs.

CONTACT:
EPA:
Alison Davis
(202) 564-0835
(202) 564-4355

USDA:
Office of Communications
(202)720-4623

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Asbestos Bill Under Hot Debate



Asbestos is a hot topic in the news, especially in Washington, D.C. A few weeks ago, on Tuesday, November 12, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) President Linda Reinstein spoke in opposition to Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act (H.R. 982). The bill would require asbestos trusts to issue quarterly reporters that discloses individuals who ask for funds related to asbestos disease and injury. According to ADAO, the bill will invade privacy, deny justice and delay compensation for asbestos victims.

ADAO and supports believes the bill will make it more difficult for asbestos victims to receive justice in court and hold asbestos corporations responsible for the harm their products have caused by creating new barriers and delays for victims receiving compensation.

The is also concerned about the privacy of asbestos victims: the law will post the last four digits of asbestos victims’ Social Security numbers on a public website; reveals victim financial information related to a case; publicly lists “the name and exposure history of, a claimant and the basis for any payment from the trust made to such claimant”. Opponents also feel that this could act as a sort of "black list" for the victims and their families.

The legislation has been passed in the House as of November 13, and according to The Hill blogger, Pete Kasperowicz, which was vehemently opposed by the majority of Democrats. In his post, he states that the main reason the bill was drawn up was to make fraudulent claims less likely to happen, so that the real victims can receive the proper attention. Making reporting mandatory assists in the system of checks and balances. 

Regardless of the bill, we can all agree that asbestos is dangerous. At GreenEDU, we offer education training on and about asbestos. Owing to its strength and resistance, asbestos has been used extensively in the construction industry for decades. Unfortunately, it is a highly hazardous material and a great potential health risk for those exposed to the substance. Therefore, per local and federal standards, any contractor involved with asbestos abatement projects must attend an accredited training program and get certified, or else face serious fines. GreenEDU is here to assist you and your company in finding the best class for your asbestos training. 

About The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization:
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos-related diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Small Business Owners, Grateful for Helpful Tools

Here's a great article from Group
https://www.grouponworks.com/merchant-blog/small-business/small-business-owners-grateful-for-helpful-tools/
Merchant Blog, which includes input from our CEO, Zachary Rose:

To help celebrate November as a month of gratitude we’ve been asking small business owners to share things for which they’re thankful. We recently asked small business owners to tell us which tools make them say “thanks.”

Predictably, many business owners mentioned social media, specific social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and specific social media tools such as Hootsuite in their thanks. As Kyle James, owner of Rather Be Shopping.com put it, “[Hootsuite] frees up A TON of time to do the day-to-day operations of running Rather-Be-Shopping.com … as a small online business owner, life would suck a little bit without it.”

Of course, at Groupon, we’re grateful that so many business owners are grateful for our services, and our products, including our POS system, Breadcrumb.

Many business owners are grateful for inventory management, content management, and project management tools such as Teambox. As Zachary Rose, owner of Green Education Services says, Gone are the days where sticky notes and crumpled lists are cluttering my desk, thankfully.” But, Reuben Yonatan of GetVOIP.com has a competing tool for which he’s thankful, “Post it notes, real and computer post it notes are my most favorite and most used tool for writing down important information immediately, like phone numbers, and reminders and keeping them handy/visible at all times.”

Cloud storage and video conferencing earn the thanks of small business owners with far-flung staff, or busy traveling schedules. As Dana Marlowe of Accessibility Partners says, “I am so grateful for cloud computing and mobile file storage! [Now] distance doesn’t mean our business files and work projects are also at the mercy of cross-country geography.”

Steven Sashen of Xero Shoes, has a decidedly different idea about what he’s grateful for, “I’m most thankful for our TV (and the couch we lie on to watch it). Seriously. My wife and I work long, hard hours, 6 days a week. And having an hour or two of down time with a movie or one of the TV shows we love, is a welcome break. Literally, every time we plop onto the couch we let out a sigh of gratitude, give each other a kiss to appreciate each other, and click ON!”

Marta Segal Block is a social media and content marketing consultant specializing in small-service businesses. You can read more of her work and random thoughts on Advice from Marta and Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

This is a re-blog; the original can be found at here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Haworth's Beijing Showroom Receives First LEED v4 Certification

http://www.haworth.com/bottom-nav/company-info/media-room/2013/10/23/haworth-inc.-announces-world-s-first-leedv4-certified-project
Haworth's Beijing Showroom 

With the USGBC's LEED v4 program launch right around the corner, Haworth, a global creator and supplier of office furniture, has made news around the world. USGBC recognized their Beijing showroom as being the world's first certified LEED CI project, as it pertains to the LEED v4 criteria. This is an impressive accomplishment not only because of their design, but also because the LEED v4 program will launch in a few weeks on November 22 at the Green Build International Conference.

Haworth enlisted the help of international engineering consultancy, Bisagni Environmental Enterprise (BEE). Through their positive working relationship, the two companies made sure that they met the LEE v4 guidelines. Haworth can also be proud of the fact that not only are they the first to obtain this certification, they also achieved LEED v4 Gold for Commercial Interiors (CI) certification, earning 71 credits.

“While LEED version 4 raises the bar on green building leadership and requires a new level of commitment to building sustainably, it was important for us to go beyond the prestigious LEED certification to ensure that we created a space that is not only environmentally-friendly and open to the community, but a project that will stand as a model for future workspaces,” said Meehan.

An important piece is of this accomplishment is their goal of making sure they had a low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) indoor environment, which improves indoor air quality, thus making the work environment more comfortable. In order to do this, 93% of the furniture used is either came from another show room or is Greenguard certified.
BEE focused on the environment and adapted green habits by achieving the following:
  • By utilizing green design and construction, they reduced water usage by 53%
  • Reduced energy consumption by 59% by optimizing lighting design and fixtures 
  • Reduced lighting use by using daylight and occupancy sensors for controls 
  • Of appliances and equipment used, 90% is Energy Star-rated
  • Of the interior features, 60% are reused elements, 
  • Able to recycle 83% of waste rather than being taken to a landfill
  • Plan included ergonomic features like shared and flexible working spaces

The two companies have much to celebrate. The two have also worked together on Haworth's Sinapore, Shangahi, and Hong Kong showrooms.


There is still time to become LEED AP certified before the update in a few weeks. GreenEDU offers several courses to prepare you and your team for success in the LEED industry. Our coursework aims to have you pass your exam on the first try. With excellent instructors and valuable material, you and your team will be on your way to a successful career. Check out our courses on our website or contact our office to register today at 646-564-3546.

EPA Removes Hyde Park Landfill in Niagara Falls, NY from Superfund List

https://plus.google.com/+EPAgov/posts
For Immediate Release:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its decision to remove the Hyde Park Landfill site in Niagara Falls, New York from the Superfund National Priorities List of hazardous waste sites after a successful cleanup. The ground water and the sediment in Bloody Run Creek and Niagara Gorge Face were contaminated with volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious harm to people’s health. The EPA concluded that the work to reduce contamination in ground water and creek sediment has eliminated the threat to public health and the environment. Monitoring conducted over the past 20 years and continuing today confirms the effectiveness of those actions.

The 15-acre site was used from 1953 to 1975 to dispose of approximately 80,000 tons of chemical waste, including dioxin. The site was added to the Superfund list in 1983.
The cleanup included capping the landfill and areas around its perimeter to prevent water from flowing through it and constructing a system to collect and treat the contaminated oily substance leaching out of the landfill. In addition, ground water is pumped inwards toward the landfill and then treated to prevent contamination from spreading to surrounding bodies of water. The ground water, which continues to be treated to reduce contamination, is not used for drinking water. The contaminated sediment in Bloody Run Creek and Niagara Gorge Face was removed and the cleanup work at the site was completed in September 2003. The cleanup work was conducted by the Occidental Chemical Corporation, the company responsible for the contamination, with EPA oversight to ensure that the actions taken were effective and protective of people’s health.

Ground water is sampled quarterly and the EPA reviews quarterly and annual sampling reports to determine that the cleanup goals have been met. An environmental easement that imposes restrictions on the use of the property to prohibit building or any other activity that could potentially damage the cap was placed on the property in 2010. The EPA has concluded that the cleanup work has been effective and that the site can now be taken off of the Superfund list.

The Hyde Park Landfill will continue to be monitored by EPA and remains eligible for cleanup work in the event that a change in site conditions should warrant such an action.

A Notice of Deletion was published in the Federal Register on October 23, 2013. The deletion of Hyde Park makes a total of four sites in Niagara County that have been deleted from the Superfund list. Previously, the Love Canal, 102nd Street landfill, and Niagara County Refuse sites were removed from the list after successful cleanups were conducted.

Information on the Hyde Park Landfill site can be found at the EPA’s website for the project at http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/hookerhydepark/.

If residents have questions about the site, they can contact Community Involvement Coordinator Michael Basile at (716) 551-4410 or at basile.michael @epa.gov.
Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

Friday, November 15, 2013

BPI Releases New Standard For Multifamily Energy Performance


The Building Performance Institute, Inc (BRI) released BPI-1105-S-201x: Standard Practice for Multifamily Energy Auditing to help identify weaknesses in energy efficiency. The audit defines the minimum criteria for conducting a building-science-based evaluation of existing multifamily buildings. This provides specific technical procedures to conduct a multifamily building energy audit.

Created by BPI's Multifamily Standards Technical Committee (MSTC), this new standard reflects the best practices and advances in technology, according Andrew Brooks, chair of the group who developed the tool. The group is comprised of experts with different specialities located is various locations.

"The new Multifamily Energy Auditing Standard builds upon the strong foundation of the Multifamily Building Analyst Standard, but is far more expansive in scope and aims to address building types and systems that are found in every region of the country," stated Brooks.

The energy audit includes:
  • on-site evaluation of the residential units
  • common area public spaces 
  • all central building systems affecting energy use in residential space, 
  • will address energy usage and limited aspects of building durability
  • used as a tool to evaluate occupant health and safety. 

A comprehensive report with prioritized recommendations on how to improve the building. It will also include a cost-benefit analysis of all proposed measures.

This standard is currently undergoing American National Standards Institute (ANSI) review, which includes a 45-day public comment period as defined under BPI's standards development process. Comments are being solicited from stakeholders and the general public. 

The standard is currently under review and and for more information and to comment, please visit Standards Under Review and Formal Public Comment Process


About the Building Performance Institute
BPI is the nation's premier building performance credentialing, quality assurance and standards setting organization. BPI develops technical standards using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. BPI is approved by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as an accredited developer of American National Standards and as a certifying body for personnel credentials. For more information on BPI, visit www.bpi.org.

GreenEdu offers a Home Energy Auditing course. Students learn about home energy auditing techniques and how to apply the skills in a real-world scenario. Against a backdrop of degree day theory, concepts behind calculating by measure, saving paybacks, building science, infiltration theory, and approved retrofits, class participants will learn home energy auditing techniques and apply them in a field exercise. Techniques include blower door guided air leakage tests, heat systems testing and analysis, material estimation, measuring and working with a field data collection form.

To sign up for this class, please visit www.greenedu.com or give us a call at 646-564-3546 and one of our team members will be happy to help you. 

EPA Awards $1.65 Million in Research Fellowships to Undergraduates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM THE U.S. EPA

EPA Awards $1.65 Million in Research Fellowships to UndergraduatesEPA’s GRO Fellowships have supported students for more than 30 years

environmental science training coursesWashington, DC – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $1.65 million in research fellowships to 33 students pursuing degrees in environmental science and related fields through its Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship program. This year marks the 30th anniversary of EPA’s undergraduate grant program.

“For 30 years, EPA’s GRO program has nurtured and supported new generations of America’s workforce as they prepare to enter the environmental science and public health fields,” Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This year’s GRO recipients truly reflect EPA’s commitment to research that promotes a sustainable and healthy nation.”

The 2013 GRO recipients are eligible to receive a fellowship of up to $50,000 for their studies in natural and life sciences, environmental sciences and interdisciplinary programs, engineering, social sciences, physical and earth sciences, and mathematics and computer sciences. EPA’s GRO program also supplements the students’ education with an EPA internship.

Past GRO winners continue to make a significant impact in their field of study and local communities. A past GRO fellow, Dr. Sacoby Wilson, Director, Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health at the University of Maryland is working to address environmental injustice and environmental health disparities in the Washington, DC region. Dr. Wilson’s work is a great illustration of how science, community organizing, and civic engagement can be used to address environmental health issues at the local level. The GRO Fellowship, created in 1982, has funded more than 395 undergraduates’ education over the past 30 years as they pursue degrees related to the environmental science and public health fields.

The 2013 GRO has awarded fellowships to students at:

Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Calif.
University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif.
Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.
University of New Haven, West Haven, Conn.
Howard University, Washington, DC
American University, Washington, DC
University of Hawaii, Hilo, Hawaii
Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Ky
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.
Smith College, Northhampton, Mass.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Md.
University of Maine, Orono, Maine
Lake Superior State University, Marie, Mich.
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich.
Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich.
St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn.
Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Mo.
Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.
University of Nevada, Reno, Nev.
Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.
LaFayette College, Easton, Pa.
Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Va.
Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash.
University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

For more information on the 2013 GRO awardees: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/gro13

For information about the GRO Program: http://epa.gov/ncer/fellow/

For more information on student opportunities: http://www.epa.gov/careers/internships/

CONTACT:

Cathy Milbourn
milbourn.cathy@epa.gov
202-564-7849
202-564-4355

Thursday, November 14, 2013

EPA Administrator Testifies Before House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

US Environmental Protection Agency EPA
Earlier today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee at a hearing to discuss strengthening transparency and accountability within EPA. Below is a copy of her transcript, provided by the EPA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2013


EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Testimony Before House Committee on Science, Space and Technology:

Contact: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, press@epa.gov

WASHINGTON – As prepared for delivery.

Good morning Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Johnson, and other distinguished members of the Committee. I am pleased to be here to talk about the central role science plays at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Let me begin by stating that science is and has always been the backbone of the EPA's decision-making. The Agency’s ability to pursue its mission to protect human health and the environment depends upon the integrity of the science upon which it relies. I firmly believe that environmental policies, decisions, guidance, and regulations that impact the lives of all Americans must be grounded, at a most fundamental level, in sound, high quality, transparent, science.

Because we rely so heavily on science to meet our mission on behalf of the American people, it must be conducted in ways that are transparent, free from bias and conflicts of interest, and of the highest quality, integrity, and credibility. These qualities are important not just within our own organization and the federal government, but across the scientific community, with its long established and highly honorable commitment to maintaining strict adherence to ethical investigation and research. That’s why the agency has established—and embraced—a Scientific Integrity Policy that builds upon existing Agency and government-wide policies and guidance documents, explicitly outlining the EPA’s commitment to the highest standards of scientific integrity. And that commitment extends to any scientist or organization who wishes to contribute to our efforts. All EPA-funded research projects, whether conducted by EPA scientists or outside grantees and collaborators, must comply with the agency’s rigorous quality assurance requirements.

To ensure that we have the best possible science, we are committed to rigorous, independent peer review of the scientific data, models and analyses that support our decisions. Peer review can take a number of forms, ranging from external reviews by the National Academy of Sciences or the EPA’s federal advisory committees to contractor-coordinated reviews. Consistent with OMB guidance, we require peer review for all EPA research products and for all influential scientific information and highly influential scientific assessments.

Among the external advisory committees is the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). SAB reviews are conducted by groups of independent non-EPA scientists with the range of expertise required for the particular advisory topic. We invite the public to nominate experts for SAB panels and to comment on candidates being considered by the EPA for SAB panels. The EPA evaluates public comments and information submitted about SAB nominees. The EPA reviews experts’ confidential financial information to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest.

SAB peer reviews are conducted in public sessions in compliance with the open-government requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The public is invited to attend and to provide oral and written comments for consideration by the SAB. Public comments help to ensure that all relevant scientific and technical issues are available to the SAB as it reviews the science that will support our environmental decisions.

Another example is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) which provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on the science that supports the EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The CASAC reviews the EPA’s Integrated Science Assessments which deliver science in support of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks to the science behind the implementation of the Clean Air Act, we have made significant and far-reaching improvements in the health and well-being of the American public. In 2010 alone, EPA estimates that programs implemented pursuant to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 avoided 160,000 premature deaths millions of cases of respiratory problems such as acute bronchitis and asthma attacks; 45,000 cardiovascular hospitalizations; and 41,000 hospital admissions. These improvements have all occurred during a period of economic growth; between1970 and 2012 the Gross Domestic Product increased by 219 percent.

Through a transparent and open process, we have also committed to enhancing the Agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment program. A strong, scientifically rigorous IRIS Program is of critical importance, and the EPA is in the process of: 1) enhancing the scientific integrity of assessments; 2) enhancing the productivity of the Program; and 3) increasing transparency so that issues are identified and debated early in the process. In 2009, the EPA made significant enhancements to IRIS by announcing a new 7-step assessment development process. Since that time, the National Research Council (NRC) has made recommendations related to enhancing the development of IRIS assessments. The EPA is making changes to the IRIS Program to implement the NRC recommendations. These changes will help the EPA produce more high quality IRIS assessments each year in a timely and transparent manner to meet the needs of the Agency and the public. A newly released NRC report is largely supportive of the enhanced approach the EPA is taking to develop the IRIS assessment for inorganic arsenic.

As I mentioned in my opening statement, science is the backbone of our decision-making and our work is based on the principles of scientific integrity and transparency that are both expected and deserved by the American people. I am proud of the EPA’s research efforts and the sound use of science and technology to fulfill the EPA’s mission to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. I am happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.

Updates in California with Title 24



spanginator;http://goo.gl/gqJLa5 Flickr Creative CommonsThe state of California announced that it will begin implementing new building code revisions in the Spring of 2014. The revisions are called, "Title 24," and aim to improve the state's infrastructure and to continue to build sustainably. It will bring innovation to design and aim to make the buildings more energy efficient. One of the last phases includes solar panel installation. 

The purpose behind the update is to achieve Zero Net Energy (ZNE) classification. According to journalist Bill Roth, "in ZNE buildings, the annual energy consumption is equal to its annual production of renewable energy." Title 24 has two deadlines for all buildings to be considered ZNE: 2020 for all residential units and 2030 for all commercial buildings. This is a huge, positive step for construction and architecture in California.

To encourage businesses and builders to get started as soon as possible, CA Governor Jerry Brown has requested and entered into legislation that 50% of state-owned infrastructures reach ZNE by 2025.

Some highlights of Title 24 include:
  • Influence on Current CA Codes
  • Updated financial perks for participants
  • Controlling 120-volt plug-ins
  • Automatic lighting
  • Solar power initiatives 
  • Benefits for Californians 
Outlooks on Title 24 are positive. These new codes will put energy efficiency at the forefront of the goals. It shows how going green benefits everyone in the end. Although 2020 seems far away, there is much work to be done in order to achieve this undertaking. 

One resource available to those looking to get involved in the green building industry is GreenEDU's Solar Training. We provide accelerated training classes developed specifically for contractors, electricians, engineers, solar energy entrepreneurs and sales people. Our introductory courses are for anyone considering a career change in the growing solar industry. The advanced level courses are designed as turnkey solutions to help you succeed in today's rapidly growing green collar workforce. Based on NABCEP task analysis, our solar training programs are structured to help you break into the solar industry as quickly as possible.

We also offer many courses in Energy Efficiency. With training and certification courses that cover both the residential and corporate sectors, GreenEDU is your source for the highest quality energy efficiency and green jobs training. Most of the courses below even include an industry-acknowledged certification, so you will leave class as a certified professional. As Title 24 continues, these kinds of training courses will become another tool in the belt of green education.

Check out GreenEDU and look through the various courses we have to suit your every green training need.

You can review the updated standards provided by the state of California here.
For more information about the process, please visit the state's website.
Visit Triple Pundit for the full story.