GreenBuild 2015 Session Spotlight - Health & Sustainability in the Built Environment

Master Speaker Series - Dr. Donald Schwarz (Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) - http://www.greenbuildexpo.com/Attendee/Schedule/SessionDetails/35138

Photo of Bamboo 'Forest Therapy' in Japan -Creative Commons

Photo of Bamboo 'Forest Therapy' in Japan -Creative Commons

On Thursday morning of the GreenBuild 2015 conference, after a long search through the mis-labeled convention center in DC (literally a flood of about 50 people all walking from one corner “Hall D” to the other corner “Ballroom D” for this session), I sat down for a Master Series session on public health. Dr. Donald Schwarz, a former commissioner on public health for Philadelphia, now working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shared stories and data further proving the nexus between our built environment and public health. Big surprise – most of the strategies we talk about for New Urbanism or Smart Growth, and sustainability at the community scale – achieve both sustainability and health goals!

The session started off with a set of images and word-play about Italy’s cultural and financial relationship with tomatoes. (As a side-note, who knew that tomatoes didn’t come to Italy until the mid-1800’s, originating from Peru?!) Interestingly, after becoming central to Italian culture, Schwarz noted, tomatoes became a driving force for the way agriculture is done in the country. Specifically, he talked about how much small-scale farming there is in Italy(best tomatoes come from), compared to only a few industrial farms in the country. Then came the really exciting conversation; how the economy, built environment, and food culture in Italy all drive each other as a system. In context then, our culture of health management in the US, our built environment, and associated economy, can influence each other in many ways – and that community health can be a driver of sustainability and social equity (triple bottom line!).

Probably the most shocking graphics from this session included maps of income levels, mortality, chronic disease, and education levels across LA County. Super-imposed on each other, it is astounding how closely demographic boundaries overlap in each of these scenarios. The data shows a very close nexus between culture, our community structure (design for accessibility and planning strategies), and our health and wellbeing.

This plays off of a favorite session from last year as well, a session about biomimicry, urban planning, and public health – a trend we hope will give us the momentum and public support we need as sustainability advocates. If we can’t push ourselves to live more sustainably just for long-term environmental benefits, maybe it’s the immediate public health opportunities, and the dollars we’ll save in so doing, that’ll get us one step closer to a sustainable future. As Bob Berkebile has said in his presentations, "what will our children see in 2020, the year of perfect vision?" Seemingly far away, as that blurred future comes into focus over the next five years, I know I personally hope to see a healthy, bio-diverse community in San Diego – one rooted in ecological, financial, and social resilience.

Building upon this inspiration and data, the San Diego Green Building Council will be hosting a handful of sessions in 2016, focused on the nexus of health and sustainability and our built environment, as well as on the WELL building standard. Check out our Events Calendar for more info!

 

For more information, please reach out to:

Ravi Bajaj, LEED AP BD+C, O_M, ID+C

Education Manager, San Diego Green Building Council

ravi@usgbc-sd.org | 805-368-7670

Green Assistance Program - Two More LEED O+M Projects Submitted!

The GAP Project Teams for the Old Globe Theatre and Federal Building (Hall of Champions) in Balboa Park have been hard at work documenting all the LEED O+M credits and prerequisites.  With our volunteers’ enormous effort and dedication from Old Globe and Federal Building staff, we have officially submitted each project for LEED Review! The Old Globe was submitted for 52 points and the Federal Building was submitted for 51 points under the LEED O+M rating system.  If all points are approved, both projects will achieve LEED Silver certification!  

The San Diego Green Building Council would like to thank our numerous volunteers and facilities staff for the countless hours of work they all put in on both projects!  We could not have completed these without your continuous work.  We would also like to thank our partners for making these projects possible; Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, San Diego Gas and Electric and the City of San Diego!

With the two projects coming to an end, we are happy to announce the beginning of two new GAP Projects.  We have partnered with two new non-profit organizations to help in the greening of their facility and educating participants in the field of sustainability/green building.  The two new organizations include the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI) and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank (Food Bank).  The JCNI project will be a hands-on/educational learning series about sustainability and green buildings concluding with a feasibility study on the JCNI facility.  The Food Bank project will be a project-based education program to help the facility in their pursuit of LEED O+M certification. We are excited to kick off both projects in October of this year! Please follow this link http://usgbc-sd.org/GAP to sign up on our interest list.  Further details regarding each project will be released soon on our GAP page.

Josh has professional experience working in the real estate, sustainability and construction industries. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Construction Management from Southern Polytechnic State University, a Green Building Certificate from Colorado State University, and is a LEED Accredited Professional in O+M. He has been involved in the Existing Buildings Committee and Green Assistance Program at SDGBC since 2013, and he has worked on LEED EBOM and energy projects throughout Balboa Park in San Diego.

Looking for AIA or GBCI CEU's? - a message from your local Education Provider

Did you know that almost all SDGBC monthly events count for LEED or GBCI continuing education? The San Diego Green Building Council can help maintain your professional credentials. As an official USGBC Education Partner, and AIA Continuing Education Provider, we can deliver GBCI- and AIA-approved education to our local professionals.

LEED Green Associates need 15 hours of continuing education every 2 years, 3 of which must be LEED-Specific. LEED AP's need twice as much, 30 hours every 2 years (6 LEED-Specific). And registered architects must complete 18 hours of AIA CES every year, 12 of which must be Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW).

Lucky for us, all sustainability education counts as HSW. Little known fact, every one of our Lunch+LEEDs counts for 1 hour of 'General' GBCI education. Each all-day LEED workshop we host at the Energy Innovation Center counts for 7 hours of both AIA CES and LEED-Specific continuing education. Other workshops will be listed if the hours of direct education count for either AIA or GBCI.

So - look out for the USGBC Education Partner Logo and AIA CES logo on our upcoming events and Events Calendar - and always feel free to reach out with any questions, we are happy to help!

Ravi Bajaj is the Education Manager at the San Diego Green Building Council, and has professional experience as a green building consultant with an emphasis on education and training.  He holds a degree in Earth Science from the University of California at San Diego and is a LEED Accredited Professional with specialty in Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance, Interior Design and Construction, and Building Design and Construction (LEED AP O+M, ID+C, and BD+C).
Phone: 805-368-7670
Email: Ravi@usgbc-sd.org

Green Home Value - show your support for Greening the MLS in San Diego

Sign up with your support today! - http://energycenter.org/mls

Image from http://www.greenthemls.org/

Image from http://www.greenthemls.org/

SDGBC Residential Green Building Committee volunteers have been committed to 'greening the MLS' for some time, and most recently some have joined the CSE-led local effort to produce a formal list of suggestions for Sandicor (San Diego's regional association of realtors). A formal presentation to STUG (Sandicor Technical User's Group) is scheduled for Wednesday July 28th, to detail the suggested data points, their implementation, and their importance. Check out the suggested list of values and sign your support here: http://energycenter.org/mls

How do we value a green home? This is a simple question with a complex response. We know there are benefits to strategies like daylighting, low-water and low-energy fixtures, rated appliances, good insulation, healthy materials, etc. For some, a cost-benefit analysis can be completed, for others it's hard to value long-term benefits to health. Either way, we'll pay for what we value in our homes. What makes this so complex then, is at time of sale - how do we convey the whole-house value to prospective buyers?

San Diego’s property valuation service, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) currently appraises homes based on a variety of features including location, home size, and amenities. What is missing – and is currently being debated – is the addition of home water and energy efficiency in the MLS.

While currently not a field, the addition of both water and energy efficiency in pricing homes only has positive effects on the market for both owners and sellers. More efficient systems lead to higher demand of these properties, resulting in a higher valuation. According to UCLA and UC Berkeley, homes certified or labeled as ENERGYSTAR, LEED for homes or GreenPoint sell for nine percent more that comparable homes; a substantial amount and one of importance for appraisers. 

Including water and energy efficiency fields in MLS allows prospective buyers to tailor their home buying experience to precisely what they want in today’s market. According to NAR’s 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 86% of buyers greatly value the property’s heating and cooling costs. These buyers – the vast majority of all buyers – should have the ability to easily make informed choices with these criteria as a major factor. 

Furthermore, reducing ones impact on the environment while living in a sustainable home should be a source of pride for San Diegans and homeowners. Incorporating energy and water efficiency fields in MLS will empower future owners and appraisers with making important decisions in the home buying process. 

Look for more information and show your support here: http://energycenter.org/mls (the group will present this formally to Sandicor on July 29th, any signatures before then will help deliver this important message!)

The  Residential Green Building Committee  (ResGB) meets monthly to discuss sustainability in the residential built environment, and volunteer support for education and advocacy events through the  San Diego Green Building Council . The ResGB committee leads and delivers our annual Green Homes Tour, a one-day program with access to around 8-10 local homes that have completed green strategies to be shared. Please feel free to email the committee chairs for more information: resgb@usgbc-sd.org    - For more information about the 2015 Green Homes Tour, please visit our events calendar at usgbc-sd.org/Calendar

The Residential Green Building Committee (ResGB) meets monthly to discuss sustainability in the residential built environment, and volunteer support for education and advocacy events through the San Diego Green Building Council. The ResGB committee leads and delivers our annual Green Homes Tour, a one-day program with access to around 8-10 local homes that have completed green strategies to be shared. Please feel free to email the committee chairs for more information: resgb@usgbc-sd.org

- For more information about the 2015 Green Homes Tour, please visit our events calendar at usgbc-sd.org/Calendar

Green Assistance Program - Going Strong to support Balboa Park Centennial Sustainability Goals

The Green Assistance Program (GAP) aims to both increase community involvement in green building operations and develop an individual’s skills in sustainable projects, while promoting ecological and sustainable design and awareness for the betterment of the overall community.
The vision we have for the future is that our buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation.  If we can help other non-profits lighten the burden of designing, constructing, or operating their buildings, then they can better focus on their mission--while we focus on ours: to inspire, educate and collaborate within our community to transform our built environment towards true sustainability.

GAP volunteers and USGBC chapter reps led by expert facilitator Keith Schneringer, at the first-ever LEED O+M "Hack-A-Thon" for Museum of Man, taken during the 2015 USGBC mid-year meeting. Photo credit Josh Dean.

GAP volunteers and USGBC chapter reps led by expert facilitator Keith Schneringer, at the first-ever LEED O+M "Hack-A-Thon" for Museum of Man, taken during the 2015 USGBC mid-year meeting. Photo credit Josh Dean.


GAP volunteers have been super busy in 2015:

  • During the first part of the year, the Old Globe GAP team wrapped up all LEED Online documentation, and is ready to submit for GBCI review.
  • A team was also established to begin the performance period for the Federal Building, which is home to the San Diego Hall of Champions.  The Federal Building GAP team has completed most of the LEED documentation and is wrapping up final ventilation calculations.  This project is on track to be submitted for review by the end of July. 
  • With the help and expertise of our GAP volunteers, both facilities were able to institute building operating plans and preventative maintenance measures.  By having these sort of plans and policies in place, the facility managers are able to operate their buildings more efficiently and stay on track with ongoing maintenance. 

GAP Volunteer Carlo Rivera taking outdoor air delivery readings for ventilations calculations. Photo credit Josh Dean.

Major achievements from Old Globe GAP Team:

  • Installed 0.35 GPM aerators throughout the buildings and 1.5 GPM shower heads to reduce the overall water usage by over 31%
  • Performed waste audit and helped institute new recycling program within the buildings
  • Completed indoor ventilation testing and calculations to ensure proper outdoor air delivery within the building. Through the testing, the team found areas needing an increase in outdoor air ventilation, allowing the facility to take advantage of the San Diego climate to cool/ventilate the indoor spaces.
GAP Volunteers replacing low-flow faucet aerators on a project. Photo credit Josh Dean

GAP Volunteers replacing low-flow faucet aerators on a project. Photo credit Josh Dean

Major achievements from Federal Building GAP Team:

  • Installed 0.35 GPM aerators throughout the building and 1.5 GPM shower heads.  With help from our partner Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the toilets and urinals were replaced with high efficient fixtures to reduce the overall water usage by 40%
  • Preventative Maintenance and Building Operating Plans were established to help the facility track and maintain HVAC system performance.  
  • Performed waste audit to identify areas of improvement for the facility and when large events are held. After the audit, the facility manager established new protocols for collecting waste and recyclables during events. 

We are very excited to have the support of our volunteers on all of our GAP projects, and we would not be able to complete these projects without their many hours of dedicated work.  Stay tuned for our upcoming projects set to kick off in August and September 2015! 

Learn more about past projects and view public resources on our GAP page: usgbc-sd.org/GAP. If you are interested in one of our upcoming projects, please sign up on our GAP Interest List here, or contact Josh Dean, Program Manager, at josh@usgbc-sd.org.

Josh has professional experience working in the real estate, sustainability and construction industries. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Construction Management from Southern Polytechnic State University, a Green Building Certificate from Colorado State University, and is a LEED Accredited Professional in O+M. He has been involved in the Existing Buildings Committee and Green Assistance Program at SDGBC since 2013, and he has worked on LEED EBOM and energy projects throughout Balboa Park in San Diego.

Josh has professional experience working in the real estate, sustainability and construction industries. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Construction Management from Southern Polytechnic State University, a Green Building Certificate from Colorado State University, and is a LEED Accredited Professional in O+M. He has been involved in the Existing Buildings Committee and Green Assistance Program at SDGBC since 2013, and he has worked on LEED EBOM and energy projects throughout Balboa Park in San Diego.