Friday, April 17, 2015

GBCI Changes Name to Green Business Certification Inc.

Washington, DC -- In a recent press release, the GBCI Board of Directors announced a new meaning behind the GBCI acronym. Formerly known as the Green Building Certification Institute, it will now operate under the new name Green Business Certification Inc. 

This name change reflects the continued growth and expansion of the certification and credential services offered by the GBCI. Previously, GBCI was best known for administering the LEED certification and credentialing programs for USGBC.

Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of GBCI, championed the name change and recognized the continued expansion of the organizations core goals of advancing green businesses and sustainability efforts. The GBCI is the only organization that is authorized to administer project certifications and professional credentials for the US Green Building Council (USGBC). As well, they are the only company able to provide credentials for PEER, WELL, and the GRESB benchmark. 

The relationship between and roles of USGBC and GBCI has been somewhat complicated in the past.  USGBC previously described GBCI as it's sister organization, yet impressed that they were two separate organizations. In 2013, USGBC moved the credentialing exam registration from GBCI to its own website,, further blurring the lines. This move, however, seems to be a way to separate the two again, and allow GBCI to be more flexible to dip into other green building certification programs.

For more information on GBCI, visit

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

EPA News Release: Property Management Firm to Pay Fine and Take Measures to Protect Children from Lead-Based Paint in EPA Settlement

For immediate release from the New England Regional OfficeApril 15, 2015
Contact: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

Stamford, Conn. Property Management Firm to Pay Fine and Take Measures to Protect Children from Lead-Based Paint in EPA Settlement

BOSTON – EPA has reached a settlement with Garden Homes Management Corp. of Stamford, Conn. for alleged violations of EPA’s Lead Paint Disclosure and Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rules.

The Lead Paint Disclosure Rule requires landlords and property management firms to provide information about lead-based paint to their tenants upon leasing pre-1978 housing. The RRP rule is designed to ensure that painting and home renovation contractors comply with requirements designed to protect children and workers from exposure to lead-based paint during painting and other renovation activities at pre-1978 housing.

In a complaint, EPA alleged that Garden Homes failed to comply with lead disclosure requirements when it leased 18 residential units at nine Conn. properties. The complaint also alleged that Garden Homes performed at least one renovation in a Naugatuck, Conn. property in violation of RRP Rule requirements for certifying renovation firms, providing lead hazard information to tenants, using only RRP-certified workers, and keeping records of compliance. The violations are alleged to have occurred from Sept. 2010 to Nov. 2012, based on records obtained by EPA during two separate inspections.

Under the terms of the settlement, Garden Homes will pay a $54,644 civil penalty, as well as complete a $20,000 lead risk mitigation project to remove and replace approximately 24 original, lead-paint containing windows from a 1961 Garden Homes property located in a historically-disadvantaged Bridgeport, Conn. neighborhood.

“Infants’ and children’s developing bodies are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead exposure, which can include lifelong impacts such as developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The disclosure requirements, and the safe work practices found in the RRP rule, are designed to help ensure that people are protecting their kids from suffering serious, lifelong health impacts from lead exposure.”

EPA’s Disclosure and RRP Rules are designed to prevent childhood exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards. The Disclosure Rule requires landlords and property management firms to:

- Provide a lead hazard information pamphlet to inform renters about the dangers associated with lead paint;
- Include lead hazard notification language in rental forms;
- Disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the living unit and provide available reports to renters; and
- Maintain records certifying compliance with federal laws for a period of three years.

The RRP rule requires individuals performing renovations for compensation at most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities to be properly trained. There are certification and training requirements for individual renovators and firms performing renovations to ensure that safe work practices are followed during renovations. EPA’s RRP Rule became effective on April 22, 2010 and allows for the assessment of penalties that may reach up to a maximum of $37,500 per violation per day.

Since 2012, EPA has pursued 18 actions in New England to enforce the RRP Rule. Continued enforcement of the lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule ensures both that children are being protected from avoidable exposure to lead, as well as there being a “level playing field” for contractors following the health-protective work practices in the regulation.

More information on lead health hazards and how EPA is working to reduce risk of lead exposure:

Learn More about the Latest EPA News & Events in New England (

Get EPA Lead Certified and Avoid EPA Fines! Learn more and find a course near you at

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Guest Post: City SpeakEZ and the “Experience-Based” System to Learning a New Language

Today we welcome a guest contributor, John Matthews, co-founder of City Speakeasy. City Speakeasy is part of the GreenEDU training network.

"Experienced-Based" System to Learning

Right away you are probably asking yourself, “What exactly is this guy talking about when he says ‘experience-based’ learning system?” Well I’m glad you asked and let me answer by giving some real world examples, then I’ll explain how this relates directly to learning a new language.

Real-World Example of “Experience-Based” Learning

Picture for a moment: You and your friend are out rock climbing and your friend is just about to start the ascent while you are on the belay (the job associated with making sure if your friend falls he/she doesn’t fall to the ground and go splat!) Now, an instructor shows you the all-important knot to tie to your friend’s harness, allows you to practice several times, and then has you tie the knot.

Well right now your friend’s life is in your hands and it’s safe to assume that not only will you pay attention, but you will have to really learn this knot and will arguably remember how to do it for weeks, months, or years later. This is because you truly experienced the knot. You were forced out of your comfort zone, put under some pressure with professional guidance, and came out completely knowing the skill.

Now imagine that you just learned how to tie the knot by reading it from a book with descriptions and pictures. You don’t even have a rope in your hands and you’ve never actually tied the knot. Which method do you think is more efficient, long lasting, and easier to learn?

Most would say the experienced based method. This same method applies with every single type of learning on any subject. You can’t learn to paint by simply looking at paintings. You have to get your hands dirty, make mistakes, and learn through action.

That’s precisely what we do at City Speakeasy and how we teach our students foreign languages in New York City. Before I get more into the process of our system, allow me to introduce myself further and how this concept came to be. 

How it All Started

My friends and I live in New York City, and we had two objectives on the mind: learn French and meet new friends outside of the bar scene. We knew we didn’t want just another French course that resembled a high school language class with memorization activities and mundane worksheets. So we scoured the internet for a class that sounded fun, hip, and for adults.

We didn’t find exactly what we were looking for but we chose the closest thing we could find. Week one was alright, week two was….meh, week three and we were bored out of our minds! It was high school all over again. We had fun people in the class, but the class itself would bore you to tears. So we suggested that the whole group go out to happy hour after class and practice French. I asked the company if they would like to fund a round or two for their valued customers but received a very negative response. Ouch!

So it hit us! People like to have fun, meet new people and want to learn new languages. Why not combine all of this into an organized course that blends learning the fundamentals of a language with real life application? The City Speakeasy “Experience-Based” learning system does just that.

How Our Proprietary City Speakeasy “Experience-Based” Learning System Works

We strike the absolute perfect balance between interactive in-class lessons with out of class ‘Social Events’. Think wine tastings while learning French, cooking class while learning Spanish, dancing, dining out, happy hours, and more. You will journey through this course with 11 other awesome language lovers just like you and will come out with a solid understanding of the language all while doing amazing, fun events.

Arguably one of the hardest aspects of learning a foreign language is creating original thoughts in a social situation. Over time, anyone can accurately fill out worksheets, or memorize a large amount of vocabulary or even speak a memorized script. But very few have the ability to put together their own sentences when it counts!

Why is this? It’s because people have very few opportunities to practice in a controlled, safe, but very real and social situation. Usually it’s when talking to locals for the first time or speaking with people who are already fluent. It can be very nerve wracking, stressful, and embarrassing if you make a mistake. It’s such a shame because that’s exactly where the most learning occurs!

The Benefits to the Student Learning Through Action

Students benefit dramatically from our learning system because we provide that controlled environment with a professional instructor while you can confidently and safely practice your language in front of your (new) friends. The result is a dramatically shortened learning curve and a much higher level of retention. 

Here’s an example of one of our favorite classes: wine tasting with a professional sommelier. It’s a two hour course where the first hour is spent learning relevant wine vocab such as colors, flavors, types of fruit, smells. You’ll also learn nouns such as bottle, glass, cork, etc….and finally learn common wine related phrases such as “this wine tastes like______”, I prefer this wine because ______” or I smell _____, _____ and ______ in this wine”. Even conversational phrases such as “may I pour you another glass?” “Which wine is your favorite?” or “I think I’ve had too much!”

The second hour is then spent with a professional sommelier that will then take you on a tour of French wines where you are given the opportunity to describe the wines, all in French. By conversing with your fellow students about the wine, you will be solidifying the knowledge through experience and real world application. Not to mention that you will have a blast doing it, which is very important when learning a new language.

Through interactive, fun and real world scenarios you can dramatically speed up your language development while retaining far more information than traditional methods of learning. 

Join a City Speakeasy experience today! View available programs at

Matthews is Co-founder of City SpeakEZ, language lover and social event planner based in NYC. Twitter: @cityspeakez. For Awesome tips on how you can learn through action, check this out!