Posts Taged leed

2010 Greenbuild Conference and Expo

plants for clean air message is spreading around the world

By Plant Solutions |  December 27, 2010  |  topics: Green Plants For Green Buildings, GreenBuild Conference

Again this year Green Plants For Green Buildings had the opportunity to spread its message at the GreenBuild Conference and expo in Chicago. GPGB along with FNGLA (Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association) and NFF (National Foliage Foundation) shared a booth in the expo gallery at McCormick Place.

The conference and expo, as always, was well attended. USGBC reports 28,000 attendees from 114 different countries along with some 1800 booths. “Clearly our plants for clean air message is being heard around the world” said conference attendee and GPGB representative Joe Zazzera. “We continue to solidify our place in the green building industry. There is no doubt, plants belong in healthy, green buildings”

During the GreenBuild conference, Zazzera, along with Viridian representatives April Ambrose and Matt Bell had a scheduled informal meeting with USGBC manager of LEED technical development Batya Metalitz. The group discussed the current proposed GPGB LEED pilot credit and the process under which it will now flow through the USGBC.

With new process changes being made to LEED, the actual submittal may not be reviewed until the second part of 2011. The new piloting process is not yet fully formed or complete by the USGBC. This has led to some minor delays in its formal review. “Although this delays our process slightly, the weighting factors for credits will be more defined and known”. Said Zazzera. “This should give us a clearer definition of how many points may be possible for indoor plants, atria and living walls”.

If accepted by the USGBC, the LEED pilot credit will award points under the LEED category IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality). There is a substantial body of research and evidence that proves that living indoor plants provide better air quality, lower absenteeism, higher employee productivity as well as significant improvement to the quality of the indoor environment. The Interiorscape Industry Coalition (ICC) funded the LEED pilot credit program, for development early last year.

In the interim, Batya and the USGBC have recommended that as a group, we continue to look for projects that will or have received credits through LEED in the ID (Innovation In Design) Category. Projects such as The WESST building in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Ecology and Environment (E & E) Headquarters in Lancaster, New York will help build the case for the credit.

“It has been a seemingly slow process”, said Zazzera “but I believe we have a solid, quality credit that, even if it doesn’t make it into LEED, will give us the template we need to guide our clients.

Impressions of Greenbuild 2009

By: Joe Zazzera, LEED AP, GRP |  November 17, 2009 | topics: GreenBuild

Its 5 am on the Saturday morning following GreenBuild 2009. For the last 6 days I have been fully immersed in the GreenBuild experience.  Next to me sits 3 (one for each of the expo days) stacks of follow-up business cards that require some sort of action or follow-up. Our company provided plant material and deliveries for 4 different booths for the event all of which are members of Green Plants For Green Buildings. Since we were the local company, material for their booths was shipped into our facility where it was stored prior to delivery.  We had a target installation of 6 am Sunday morning, two days before the opening of the EXPO. 1100 vendors and booths, I have never seen such a conference event. On the downstairs level, I am told that some of the booths cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to construct. Incredible.

Our booth came with 75 free expo passes, all of which had to be assigned electronically. I worked hard through marketing efforts to make sure that all passes got assigned and used. Many were assigned and used by civic leaders, university decision makers, construction project managers, non-profit trustees and the like. I knew that if I could get them assigned, I could have 75 new impressions for GPGB. The best part was that their badges when printed said “Green Plants For Green Buildings” along the bottom.

The last number I heard on attendance was just under 28,000 actual attendance. Many times during the expo there were people shoulder to shoulder.  For the expo, I brought in 2 additional people for the booth to discuss GPGB, our mission and distribute literature. Often, each of us was talking to someone different at the same time. The crowd was full of decision makers and people who are steering sustainability goals for their companies and designs. Many were from Government, EPA, researchers, scientists, architects, designers, builders and list goes on

Having attended many of the conference presentations. The common theme seemed to be focused on the Biophilic nature of green building and the further incorporation of it into building design. LEED has spent many years on numbers and science to prove out energy and water savings but a lot less on the human component integration.  This, I believe is changing.

I have never been more excited about the potential of our industry, I believe that our role and industry will change and plants and planted systems will become more integrated into the building system and have a more specific function in addition to the aesthetics.

Plants WILL become a part of the LEED rating system; I had several conversations with employees of the USGBC including their creative director, who state their support for plants and what we do. In fact the new USBGC offices (designed and installed buy Ambius), had originally specified a living plant wall within their new DC office space but was put on hold due to budgetary reasons, sad it has not been built yet but great that we are in their radar.

The first day of the conference I played the Authentically green PowerPoint  (edited for GreenBuild). We had 2 people say that they had received credit points for plants under the ID section of LEED. I am following up on the research of the scorecards and verifying the point awards but if this is so, it removes one more obstacle on our quest. The second day I did away with the PowerPoint (people generally didn’t read it anyway) and on the screen simply put “LEED AP’s- Have you received credit points for plants under ID in LEED? – Please let us know” The prior day had been so fruitful talking to the LEED AP’s that It became obvious that was who we needed to talk to, I decided, if there were more we needed to know so we can make a database.  I am following up on all of these and will report what I find but it looks encouraging so far. During the expo, I only had one objection and question about mold.

Based on my experience at GreenBuild, I am very hopeful for our industry, I believe the growth will be explosive in the future and will lead to additional competition.  Since we are established players, we will be in excellent positions to adapt and grow.

Indoor Environmental Quality and LEED

indoor plants and indoor environmental quality (IEQ)

By: Joe Zazzera, LEED AP, GRP |  March 31, 2010 | topics: US Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System

Under the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system there is a credit category for Indoor Environmental Quality or IEQ. Within the system a building owner can submit to receive credit points for using materials that are low VOC,  (volatile organic compound) emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpet systems, composite woods, laminate adhesives and furniture. In addition to several prerequisites, there are credits available for air monitoring and delivery, having construction management plans to deal with and filter air during construction and prior to occupancy, as well as chemical source controls.  The general idea is to avoid sick building problems before they arise by using products that are low or no VOC emitting and have monitoring and control devices in place during and after construction.

This category deals specifically with increased occupant comfort, well-being and productivity. Let me repeat that…well-being, comfort and productivity! Nearly every credit within this category references those three words in its intent, yet despite the research, findings and science proving the benefits of indoor plants on the human experience, the increase in productivity and removal of toxins and VOC’s, there is no credit category for plants indoors.

The Green Building Council of Australia has an equivalent building rating system known as “Green Star”.  In their system they aim to encourage and recognize the installation of indoor plants that improve environmental quality. Points are awarded when plants are included in the office build out or tenant improvement.

The criteria for compliance must have the following:

  • Plant species selected on suitability to indoors
  • Two-year horticultural maintenance plan
  • Minimum density of one 300mm (12”) plant or two 200mm (8”) plants per two work settings
  • Additional points can be added for increased plant density (double density=double points)

Beyond the criteria there are also compliance requirement submittals and documentation, which I encourage you to review (Green Star- Office interiors v1.1 IEQ-15 Indoor Plants)

This past month there was some good news published by press release from the USGBC.  Australia’s Green Star, the UK’s BREEAM rating system and USGBC’s LEED system have agreed to work together to develop metrics and alignment tools to create consistency in measuring and reporting. Although this in and of itself may not seem like a very big deal, in my opinion it is huge because it indicates mutual respect between these three entities and gets them working together toward a common goal. I believe this cohesive approach will eventually give live plants their correct place within the LEED rating system, but only if we push for the change.

I encourage Interiorscapers everywhere to learn as much as you can about the Green Star requirements and talk about it with your current and potential clients. Additionally, join your local USGBC chapter and talk to anyone there who will listen about the system and why indoor plants should be in the LEED rating system. It is these kinds of grass roots effort that will get us recognized and get green plants in green buildings.

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