Keywords: LEED; Green buildings; Spatial distribution; Sustainable development; Urban redevelopment
Green building has emerged over the past decade as a robust movement to create high-performance, energy-efficient structures that improve occupant comfort and well-being while minimizing environmental impacts. Supported by organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council and its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, both public and private entities are increasingly pursuing green buildings in the institutional, commercial, and residential sectors. While this progress is impressive, for a number of reasons it has not included significant numbers of affordable housing projects. These reasons, several of which are unique to affordable housing, include: an almost exclusive focus on "first costs," the existence of per unit cost caps, regulatory rigidity that limits green innovation, and a finance system that fails to recognize the long-term value of green investments.
One of the most important attempts to reduce the environmental impacts of the built environment is through the construction of green buildings. This article examines the geography of the emerging green building industry through a study of the spatial distribution of two different elements of that industry. The first element is the location and diffusion of green buildings themselves as certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) through their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. There is a clear shift from an original concentration in major coastal cities to a more even distribution across the country, with broad representation across commercial, public, and nonprofit owners. The second area of study is the spatial distribution of LEED-accredited professionals, who are accredited by the USGBC to oversee the certification process. The distribution of these professionals matches existing concentrations of population, suggesting two different geographies of building green.
Given the increasing interest in sustainability within the academy, government, and the private sector, it is important to know the extent to which steps currently being taken towards sustainability differ from place to place. Namely, this paper seeks to determine the existence of a spatial pattern in the implementation of the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. For example, is green energy used more often in one part of the country, or is water conservation practiced more heavily in one region? Variation among the implementation of various LEED certification categories and variation across space were both considered and found to be statistically significant. Variation among categories is more pronounced than variation among regions, especially when the most spatially specific subcategories are isolated and considered. Altogether, this study underscores the importance of place in the growing green building field, and underlines the need for more spatially sensitive certification standards.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the non-profit US Green Building Council have become the accepted benchmark for designating “green buildings” in the USA and many other countries. Throughout their 10-year history, the standards have remained flexible, changing with input from designers, builders, environmentalists, and others to incorporate new types of buildings and modify the existing standards to make them more geographically, economically, and functionally sensitive. In this article, I examine through an urban political ecology lens how the LEED standards help to produce a particular kind of built environment. Political ecology has broadened from its origins in the cultural ecology of the developing world to include urban and industrialised environments. In recent years, work in this area has focused on hybridity and socio-nature to explore the ways that urban environments are constructed and maintained through biological, political, and economic processes. In this article, I show how the LEED standards and the green buildings and built environments they help to produce are hybrids of material objects and human practices. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Local Environment is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
The Childe thesis is fundamental to the urban ecology theoretical framework, explaining the development of communities as a result of the interplay between the dynamics of population, organization, environment, and technology. This perspective is consistent with sustainability, ecosystem, and bioregional principles that recognize the importance of local response to local conditions. In the face of globalizing forces that enable communities to expand their range of exploitation beyond local carrying capacity, how relevant are these concepts? This study provides evidence that communities in the US do respond to local signals and that such response is conditioned by levels of education and political mobilization. It also identifies factors that are related to increased levels of adoption of sustainable development policies. [Copyright 2007 Elsevier]doi:10.1016/j.cities.2007.07.001
The United States has almost 90 million residential structures. While few have been built in a sustainable manner, we are nevertheless beginning to see more interest in green or environmentally sustainable housing. Most discussions of sustainable housing focus on the environmental and economic aspects, overlooking the social dimension. Achieving sustainable housing requires a holistic framework, incorporating the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability in equal parts. Planners must help ensure that social equity is given equal attention during discussions of sustainable housing.
Call#: Fine Arts Library Fine Arts HT167 .B43 1997
Green Options Media’s rapidly growing network of environmentally-focused blogs provides users with a broad spectrum of information for making sustainable choices. Launched in February, 2007, Green Options Media has grown into a leader among “green” news and information sources aimed at general audiences.
Shari Shapiro is an attorney and LEED Accredited Professional. Ms. Shapiro focuses her practice on green building law, which includes sustainable project financing, regulatory drafting, land use approvals, contracts, and conflict resolution. Ms. Shapiro is the Sustainability Coordinator for Obermayer’s Sustainability Initiative.
GreenBiz.com™ is the flagship website of Greener World Media, the world's first and only mainstream media company focused exclusively on sustainability and the competitive edge it brings to businesses. Founded by green business pioneer Joel Makower and B-to-B publishing veteran Pete May, Greener World Media also produces:
The Hennepin County Board has set policies and goals for the county to lead by example in the areas of Integrated Vegetation and Pest Management (IPM), toxicity and waste reduction, recycling, and environmentally preferable purchasing. By being good environmental stewards in the way we conduct our day-to-day operations, the county can set a positive example for our businesses and residents.
Gov. Rendell is pushing for Pennsylvania's legislature to enact a state building code that would require environmentally friendly, energy-efficient construction. Whether he wants both residential and commercial development included is not yet known.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.
The LEED(TM) system awards points for prescriptive and performance
based environmental strategies; rightly giving more weight to decisions affecting
building operations, since environmental impacts over the life of a building exceed
the one-time environmental impacts affected by the building s construction.
The environmental benefits of LEED(TM) strategies are considered implicit and
the point system is not a metric of environmental performance. Thus, guideline
strategies that achieve the same points may not have analogous environmental
performance. This paper draws from our LEED(TM) project experience
as certified consultants to a number of design teams. We applied analysis to
those experiences and argue that -The relative environmental value of the same
LEED(TM) strategy may vary by geographical region and by building type.
-Scoring successive LEED(TM) points beyond a ‘standard practice design’ significantly
increases design effort and capital costs for construction. -Without
comparative analysis of the costs of alternate LEED(TM) strategies and their
corresponding environmental benefit, designers will not necessarily invest capital
in strategies that most profoundly minimize the environmental impacts of
a building. -For design teams and owners interested in the least expensive
LEED(TM) certification, gaming the point system could drive investment away
from sound environmental performance strategies such as energy efficiency. Using
these arguments, this paper makes a case to enhance the LEED(TM) system
by -Categorizing LEED(TM) strategies by their direct or indirect value
towards Environmental Benefit, Healthy Buildings (Places), and Profitability.
-Reformulating prescriptive requirements into performance based requirements
wherever possible. -Customizing LEED(TM) guidelines by region.
Livagreen is a design consortium for achitects, urban designers, environmentalists, planners, and citizens intended to: provide information to those interested in land use and transportation planning; and build bridges between academia and professional practice using theoretical and practical frameworks of sustainable, systems-oriented environmental design. Thank you for your interest. Feel free to contact us if you have inquiries, suggestions, thoughts, or creative ideas.
Philadelphia, PA — A comprehensive plan to make our nation’s buildings more efficient could save enough energy by 2030 to power all of the nation’s cars, homes and businesses for a year and a half, while saving Americans more than $500 billion, according to a new report by PennEnvironment. These findings offer a preview of what Pennsylvania could achieve by adopting green building policies, such as the statewide green building code proposed by Governor Rendell in February, and the many policies being pushed by state and local officials who joined PennEnvironment in releasing the report.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) released a new report, Building Green: Overcoming Barriers in Philadelphia, that identifies obstacles to green building in Philadelphia and recommends solutions to dissolving those barriers.
Large-scale shifts in dominant technologies are the necessary components of a transition toward sustainability. Such shifts are difficult because, in addition to technological innovation, they require changes in the existing institutions, professional norms, belief systems and, in some cases, also lifestyles. In the languages of cognitive and policy sciences, higher order learning on a scale ranging from individuals to professional and business communities, to the society at large, is needed. Higher order learning is especially crucial in the types of innovations that depend mainly on synthesis of existing technologies and know-how to achieve radical reductions in energy and material consumption, as is the case with high performance buildings. One way to facilitate this type of learning is through experimentation with new technologies and services. Drawing on our earlier concept of a Bounded Socio-Technical Experiment, in this paper we propose a four-level conceptual framework for mapping and monitoring the learning processes taking place in a BSTE, and apply it to an empirical case study of a zero-fossil-fuel residential building in Boston. Three major conclusions are that: learning took place both on the individual and team level, that individual learning primarily (but not exclusively) involved changes in problem definitions; and that team learning consisted of participant turnover until congruence in worldviews and interpretive frames was achieved. This case study also shows that we must think of innovating in building design as both a process and a product, and that both must be considered in the future efforts to replicate this building. This study highlights that technological innovation about technology as much as about people, their perceptions, and their interactions with each other and with the material world. Sustainability will not be reached by technology alone, but by deep learning by individuals, groups, professional societies and other institutions. © 2007.
Welcome to the Smart Communities Network Web site. We are in the process of re-designing our Web site, so please bear with us as we make changes to enhance the design and utility of the site. While we are are in the process of making changes, we will not be featuring breaking news, current funding opportunities, nor a calendar of sustainability events.
In communities across the nation, there is a growing concern that current development patterns -- dominated by what some call "sprawl" -- are no longer in the long-term interest of our cities, existing suburbs, small towns, rural communities, or wilderness areas. Though supportive of growth, communities are questioning the economic costs of abandoning infrastructure in the city, only to rebuild it further out.
Alexander, Don; Tomalty, Ray. Local Environment, Nov2002, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p397-409, 13p
In this paper, we focus on the issues related to development densities that emerged from our study of sprawl and development issues in three regions of British Columbia, Canada. We chose to focus on this aspect of the Smart Growth agenda because, while many of its other elements enjoy wide support across social interests, the goal of achieving a higher density urban fabric is highly controversial. We proceeded by collecting data on development densities and 13 indicators of community sustainability in 26 municipalities. The results suggest that the density of communities is associated with efficiencies in infrastructure and with reduced automobile dependence, with the ecological and economic implications which flow from that. However, it does not necessarily correlate with greater affordability of housing or more access to green space. In fact, if anything, we discovered a negative relationship between housing affordability and green space per capita and higher land-use densities. In a second stage of the research, we conducted a qualitative analysis of a subset of six municipalities and identified key policy issues for moving ahead with the Smart Growth agenda. The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy issues that emerged from these case studies.
[ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Builders covet LEED certification — it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — as a way to gain tax credits, attract tenants, charge premium rents and project an image of environmental responsibility. But the gap between design and construction, which LEED certifies, and how some buildings actually perform led the program last week to announce that it would begin collecting information about energy use from all the buildings it certifies.
“Sustainable Community Development Code Reform” Initiative
This initiative seeks to bring sustainability to the forefront as a land use issue and understand how local governments can support sustainable communities through innovative land use codes.
Late last week, Councilman Curtis Jones and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced legislation that would modify the 10-year property tax abatement of new constructions, conversions and big improvements so that it would be contingent upon obtaining LEED certification.
The Adoption of Sustainable Development Policies and Techniques in U.S. Cities How Wide, How Deep, and What Role for Planners? Edward J. Jepson, Jr. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Tennessee–Knoxville. In this article, sustainable development is defined in terms of thirty-nine policies and techniques. In October 2001, a survey was sent to U.S. cities that (1) measures the extent to which actions are being taken relative to these policies and techniques and to local planning offices being involved in the taking of such actions and (2) identifies the principal impediments to the taking of action. Among the findings were that communities of all sizes and in all parts of the country are active in a wide range of policies and techniques, planning offices are playing an important leadership role with respect to the adoption of such policies and techniques, and impediments to such adoption are less related to politics and institutional capacity and more to motivation and knowledge.
Key Words: sustainable development • local planning • impediments
Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 23, No. 3, 229-241 (2004)
Greener World Media's Web sites and newsletters, led by GreenBiz.com®, are designed to serve professionals and opinion leaders across a broad range of industries and job functions. We aim to provide clear, concise, accurate, and balanced information, resources, and learning opportunities to help companies of all sizes and sectors integrate environmental responsibility into their operations in a manner that supports profitable business practices.
Two concepts that provide new directions for public policy, environmental justice and sustainability, are both highly contested. Each has tremendous potential to effect long-lasting change. Despite the historically different origins of these two concepts and their attendant movements, there exists an area of theoretical compatibility between them. This conceptual overlap is a critical nexus for a broad social movement to create livable, sustainable communities for all people in the future. The goal of this articleis to illustrate the nexus in the United States. The authors do this by presenting a range of local or regionally based practical models in five areas of common concern to both environmental justice and sustainability: land use planning, solid waste, toxic chemical use, residential energy use, and transportation. These models address both environmental justice principles while working toward greater sustainability in urbanized areas.
Call#: Fine Arts Library Fine Arts HT166 .R68 2005
The LEED green building certification system is the preeminent program for rating the design, construction and operation of green buildings. 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system, comprising over 4.5 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries.
The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development's location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration among USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Willets Point Redevelopment Plan has been designed to include exciting retail and entertainment offerings, a hotel and convention center, thousands of mixed-income residential units and new public open spaces and other community amenities. The mixed-use program will create thousands of new permanent jobs and construction jobs, transforming Willets Point into a dynamic regional destination.