Thinking Green: 6 easy steps to greening your home further then just recycling:

Greening your home should not be a stressful endeavor. Here are 6 easy ways to do it:

1. Install a rain barrel:
Rain barrels typically hold about 40 to 60 gallons each ― enough to irrigate houseplants or pots on the deck. The best type is made of recycled food-grade plastic or use a recycled wine barrel, with an intake line, spigot, overflow attachment, screen cover to keep out leaves, and removable solid cover. Position the barrel beneath a downspout. To keep the rainwater pure, remove the solid cover an hour or two after rainfall has washed pollen and other pollutants off the roof.

2. Reduce water use:
• Time your showers - take max 10 min. showers, do not keep water running when you are doing something else, use the dishwasher as much as possible, if you don’t have a dishwasher rinse the dishes in a bowl of water and soap down then rinse them off.
• Installing Low-Flow shower heads and faucet aerators is the single most effective water conservation savings you can do for your home. Inexpensive and simple to install, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can reduce your home water consumption as much as 50%, and reduce your energy cost of heating the water also by as much as 50%.

3. Watch the temp:
Almost half a home's energy consumption is due to heating and cooling.
• Turn down the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Each degree below 68°F (20°C) during colder weather saves 3%-5% more heating energy, while keeping your thermostat at 78°F in warmer weather will save you energy and money. A programmable thermostat will make these temperature changes for you automatically.
• Clean your furnace's air filter monthly during heavy usage.
• To keep your cool in warmer weather, shade your east and west windows and delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening.
• Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioners.

4. Green Cleaning products:
Use cleaning products that have eco-friendly ingredients and perform effectively. These include grain alcohol instead of toxic butyl cellosolve, commonly found in carpet cleaner and some window cleaners as a solvent; coconut or other plant oils rather than petroleum in detergents; and plant-oil disinfectants such as eucalyptus, rosemary or sage rather than triclosan, an antifungal agent found in soaps and deodorant. Check out for some products.

5. Energy savers:
• As you need new appliances make sure you are buying them with Energy Star rating
• Change all bulbs to LED bulbs
• Buying outdoor lights and Christmas lights that have the Energy Star label and LED lights are also available

6. Compost wastes:
Composting is when you combine food wastes and yard waste and let them decompose to be used as a natural fertilizer for your yard, garden or potted plants. This not only helps plans grow and provides food for the eco system it also diverts these items from landfills. Composting has become much easier to accomplish with all the products available to purchase on line; from barrels made from recycled plastics to guides on how to.

Thinking Green: First dimmable LED bulb -Pharox60

LED (light emitting diodes) is a form of lighting that does not use a filament such as found in the standard light bulb. They Offer More Efficient Technology than Incandescent Lights and CFLs. According to, LED bulbs are lit solely by the movement of electrons. Unlike incandescents, they have no filament that will burn out; and unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury or other toxic substances. Proponents say LEDs can last some 60 times longer than incandescents and 10 times longer than CFLs. And unlike incandescents, which generate a lot of waste heat, LEDs don’t get especially hot and use a much higher percentage of electricity for directly generating light.

LED bulbs also:
• Long lifetime: 25 years (based on 4 hours average use per day).
• Eco-friendly
• Recyclable
• Have no UV radiation
• Do not produce hazardous waste

The Pharox60, the first true replacement for the incandescent bulb. The design of the Pharox60 bulb resembles a traditional incandescent bulb and fits US residential fixtures, allowing consumers to easily make the shift to more energy efficient lighting without sacrificing light quality or aesthetics. The bulb features technologically advanced dimming capabilities and a warm, soft glow that sets it apart from previous LED bulbs. The Pharox60 is made from non-toxic materials and may be safely recycled with other metals and glass.

This bulb is only sold on line so for more information on a Pharox60 bulb go to

Thinking Green: Local Law 86

Urban Green Council (who is the USGBC New York City’s chapter) has been working hard to educate and make changes to better our environment. It has demonstrated the success of their efforts when New York City's milestone Local Law 86 regulating green building came into effect. This development alone will result in an estimated $12 billion in municipal construction being built to USGBC's LEED standards by 2017.

An interesting variety of green building projects have begun to dot the City including those that have already received actual LEED ratings. And now LL86, known as the “LEED Law” requires construction satisfying various LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) qualifying criteria for many Agency and City-funded projects. The law requires LEED Silver for all the projects.

As of June 26, 2009 the Law has been modified to use the all new LEED 2009 rating systems as before the law only applied to new construction, commercial interiors and existing buildings. In the new revision LEED for Schools, Major renovation and Core and Shell were added into the text. An example of the regulations of Local Law 86 establishes a series of mandates for non-residential municipal construction in New York City:

1. All buildings (or building renovation projects impacting either half the structure’s square footage or two major building systems), costing a minimum of $2 million must be designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Schools and hospitals need only meet a LEED Certified rating. This requirement also applies to all capital projects to which the City provides at least fifty percent of the funds, or projects where the City contributes more than $10 million.

2. Projects costing more than $12 million must exceed New York State energy efficiency standards by twenty percent.

3. Projects costing more than $30 million must exceed New York State energy efficiency standards by twenty-five percent.

4. Projects with plumbing costs exceeding $500,000 must reduce end water use by thirty percent from New York State code (only twenty percent if an application for waterless urinals is rejected).

As we educate the public we will also need to change the laws and create standards for green thinking to become part of our everyday life. As ADA accessibility guidelines have become part of our design thinking and practices so does environmental sustainability.

Check out the Urban Green Council at for information, educational seminars and volunteer opportunities.

Thinking Green: Free Energy Modeling Software

The US department of energy (DOE) developed free energy modeling software that is an information resource on national model energy codes. They are COMcheck, for commercial applications, and Rescheck, for residential applications. The Materials (software, manual code compliance, and reference guides) simplify and clarify commercial, high-rise residential and general residential energy code compliance. Forms and checklists are included for documenting compliance. Example: The COMcheck software simplifies energy code compliance by offering a flexible computer-based alternative to manual calculation.

It is simple download the program, go to the DOE website There you have software, technical support and info about all energy coeds for all the states.

Making sure energy savings are in place will help us reduce our carbon footprint and take a step forward to help reduce our environmental impact. We need to start thinking in all ways to how we can design, build and renovate our surroundings to generate environments that benefit our planet not hinder it and use all the resources we have to help us do so.

Eco Product: NanaWall

Here is a product that is great to design with and is Ideal for Green Design Projects. NanaWall allows natural sunlight to illuminate interiors, saving energy with passive solar, building orientation and reduced demand on artificial lighting. High performance windows are able to also significantly reduce the energy loss through the building envelope.

The use of NanaWall provides the following health and living/work space benefits:

• Be able to build a smaller building by being able to utilize the outside as part of the living space
• NFRC/Energy Star certified systems with industry leading U-factors and Solar Heat Gain Coefficients
• Weather resistant with excellent air infiltration and water penetration ratings
• Excellent acoustic performance
• Recyclable aluminum frames with 50% recycled content with eco friendly powder coated finishes
• Wood frames with eco friendly water based pretreatment. PEFC certified Douglas fir standard and FSC certified pine, meranti, spruce, and American white oak available on request.
• Natural ventilation
• Daylighting with more natural light
• Innovative Shipping Crates design

NanaWall can achieve 30 points under the USGB’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction and Existing Building. The following credits can be sought after:

• SS CR 8: Light Pollution Reduction
• EA CR 1.1-1.10: Minimum Energy Performance
• MR 2.1,2: Construction Waste Management
• MR 4.1,2 4.1: Recycled content of Materials
• MR 5.1, 2: Regional Materials
• MR 7: Certified Wood
• EQ 2: Increased Ventilation
• EQ 3.2: Construction IAQ Management
• EQ 6.1, 6.2Lighting System & Thermal Comfort Controllability
• EQ 7.1: Thermal Design
• EQ 8.1, 8.2: Daylighting
• ID Cr 1.1: Innovation

NanaWall not only can help a LEED project but is a great tool for a design team. It has a lot of flexibility and can create diverse environments with the products application. This product gives the design team freedom to push beyond the buildings envelop. For more information check out their website at

Eco Product: Trespa - for rain screen cladding and more

Trespa International's main manufacturing facility was one of the first producers of panel material to be awarded ISO 14001 certification. The ISO 14001 standard describes the steps required for setting up, implementing, maintaining and improving a completely integrated environmental management system.

Trespa was one of the first manufacturers of construction products to map the totality of its products effects by means of a life-cycle analysis (LCA), right from the source of the raw materials to the end of the life-cycle. Particularly in the recycling of raw materials and recovering energy, Trespa is one of the most environmentally friendly products for rain screen cladding.

Designing for the Future

• Optimum sizes of panel to reduce waste
• Sawing programes designed to reduce waste
• Preferred panel thicknesses to reduce sub-frames
• Optimum cavity depth and insulation to reduce energy loss
• Methods to reduce cleaning and maintenance

The important environmental characteristics of Trespa’s products are:

• Trespa’s facade system allows for expanded insulation and therefore lower energy costs.
• Meteon is durable and long lasting, allowing the need for fewer products over the life of the building.
• Meteon can be affixed on existing walls, allowing the builder the freedom to redesign the building without demolition.
• Waste of Trespa material can be removed easily: it can be recycled, thermally recycled in a common industrial incinerator with high energy recovery and also landfill is possible. All in accordance with national or local disposal regulations.
• Meteon can contribute to US Green Building Council LEED® credits.

For LEED Certification: Trespa Solid Composite Panels can be evaluated as part of the entire building package, based on weighted average of all materials combined, for possible points, under the following credits:

• Material & Resources MR 1.1, MR 1.2, MR 1.3 MR 2.1, MR 2.2, MR 3.1, and MR 3.2
• Indoor Environmental Quality EQ 4.4.

Materials & Resources:

• MR 1.1 and 1.2 Building Reuse: Maintain 75% or 95% of Existing Walls, Floors, & Roof 2 Points Possible

o Trespa Solid Composite Panels enable the builder to utilize existing walls by providing a means to create a new fa├žade over existing structures. Trespa panels can be affixed to existing walls enabling the builder to create new color and/or texture without altering the sustaining wall. One point can be earned by maintaining 75% of existing walls, floors, and roofs, and an additional point can be earned by maintaining 95% of existing walls, floors, and roofs.

• MR 1.3 Building Reuse: Maintain 50% of Interior Non-Structural Elements 1 Point

o Possible Trespa Solid Composite Panels are individual panels which are a component of a wall assembly and can be removed and reused in other projects. Due to the life expectancy of the panels and the ability to cut them on-site, these panels can be incorporated into various elements either within the same project, or used in other projects as well.

• MR 2.1 and 2.2 Construction Waste Management: Divert 50% or 75% from Disposal 2 Points Possible

o Trespa Solid Composite Panels that remain as demolition and/or construction debris can be diverted from disposal in landfills and incinerators through the process of recycling. Trespa panels can be recycled through raw material recovery or thermal recycling with energy recovery. One point can be earned by diverting 50% of demolition materials from landfills, and an additional point can be earned by diverting 75%.

• MR 3.1 and 3.2 Materials Reuse: 5% or 10% 2 Points Possible

o Trespa Solid Composite Panels can potentially be reused or relocated due to the extensive life of the panel and the ability to cut on-site. Trespa Solid Composite Panels can be salvaged or reused in new construction or renovation of a building. Applications for reuse can be exterior and interior wall panels, decorating accent panels, and furniture made with Trespa material. For 1 point, 5% of the building materials must be reused or salvaged, and an additional point can be earned if 10% is achieved.

Indoor Environmental Quality:

• EQc4.4 Low Emitting Materials: Composite Wood & Agrifiber Products 1 Point Possible.

o The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute has awarded GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification® as well as GREENGUARD Children and Schools CertificationSM to Trespa’s interior Solid Composite Panels. All Trespa panels have been, and continue to be, tested for chemical emissions performance under the stringent GREENGUARD Standard for Low Emitting Products.

Design Process:

Trespa Solid Phenolic Panels can also potentially gain additional points under the Innovation and Design section in IDc 1-1.4. Trespa panel attributes that are not specifically addressed by the LEED® Green Building Rating System can be considered for innovative performance in Green Building categories such as the Life Cycle Analysis of the material with BEES® (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) listing. For more information on BEES® please visit

Check out their website:

Design: The Charles Hostler Student Center

The Charles Hostler Student Center designed by VJAA in Minneapolis is the recipient of AIA COTE (Committee on the Environment) Top Ten Award, 2009. It is located on the campus of the American University of Beirut. The awards recognize projects as examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

Situated on Beirut's seafront the new 204,000 sq ft facility accommodates competitive and recreational athletic facilities for swimming, basketball, handball, volleyball, squash, exercise and weight training. The space also includes an auditorium with associated meeting rooms, cafeteria with study space, and underground parking for 200 cars.

The design of the space and concepts include:

• Green spaces on the rooftops to allow for a more pleasing physical and visual integration with the upper campus, providing usable green rooftop areas for activities and reducing the amount of exposure to the sun

• Solar panels installed at the site heat the indoor pool and other spaces

• Green plant cover filled with landscaped vegetation maintains the coolness of the entire area during hot summer days

• Created multiple building volumes connecting a continuous field of habitable space with gardens on multiple levels allowing the building forms themselves to redistribute air, activity and shade. This usable program area on the site is increased through shading and ventilation of outdoor spaces

• The east-west orientation of the building forms helps to shade exterior courtyards, reducing the amount of southern exposure. The orientation also directs nighttime breezes and daytime sea breezes to cool outdoor spaces.
• The team also preserved a significant amount of existing landscape (the buildings were sited to maintain existing trees)
• All the teams strategies also focus on reducing the requirements for energy and water consumption

This facility was designed with a lot of the LEED certification concepts and criteria outside the United States by a US firm. As I stated before LEED should be a tool to help you know the first steps to creating green buildings but as an expert in your field you should strive to supersede these requirements and find ways to improve on them.

Thinking Green: One person CAN make a difference in the thinking of an organization

I have been talking to a lot of people in our industry about moving forward to green design and to LEED certification of projects; a lot of the response I have been getting is that I WANT to incorporate that or advise that BUT my company doesn’t do that or my client doesn’t ask for that or it is too expensive to do that.

I would like to say to all those people that one person CAN make a difference in the thinking of an organization, if you are truly passionate about your cause. If you are ready to lead, take on the responsibility and the workload in the beginning, you CAN make a difference.

Start with one project, one client and one green suggestion to see how it will cause a domino effect. All you need to do is take the first step. An example of this is North Shore Long Island Jewish Health systems Facilities Department. Here one man, Neil Rosen, started the first domino piece to fall and changed the thinking of that organization for the betterment of the environment and the health of the employees and patients of that hospital system.

Neil has worked in the industry for over 25 years, he is the father of 3, and he is passionate about sustainable design and is working towards protecting the planet for his children’s future. In mid 2008 he was able to sell the idea to the leadership of one of his projects that the project should be LEED certified. He was not a LEED AP at the time and still pushed in that direction (He has become a LEED AP since then). He took on the lead role, but found that people around him were willing to help and take on responsibility too. There are people out there that have the same passion as us but are not willing to take that first step.

He has proven to NSLIJ that LEED Certifying a project is an insignificant cost to the overall project and only is beneficial to the environment and the health of the employees' and patients' of the hospital system. Also, he has proven that by following the LEED guidelines it has made it easier to manage a project & that it has become the way to do business.

In less than one year, he has had great achievements, by already getting 9 projects to be registered for LEED Certification, while being the lead administrator for 4 of them. The other projects at the moment have LEED consultants. But he has also proven to the leaders of the facilities department the importance of LEED knowledge to going green and now all employees, from Designers, Architects to Project Managers are required to be LEED Accredited Professionals.

All it takes is one person's passion to start the process. You can make a difference, we all can, all you need is the will and you will find a way.

Below is the interview with Neil Rosen, AIA, LEED AP and Project Director at NSLIJ Health Systems. He is also the Chairman of the Healthcare Committee of USGBC LI chapter.

Q: Can I have a brief history on your background and what made you first want to become a LEED AP?
• For more than 25 years I have spent my career building Hospitals. While I started out wanting to build buildings, I quickly became enamored with the building of healing environments. Building sustainably is a natural offshoot from that. Patients while in a Hospital are at their most vulnerable. I take great pride in providing the best environment possible to those people. Extending that concern beyond my primary work to the greater community was an easy jump. It’s actually part of the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm to the community. I plan on taking that to the next level, helping to repair some of the harm that has already been done. I feel that as an Architect and a Builder I can multiply my impact by making the structures that I build and renovate as environmentally responsible as I can. Hopefully, I’m doing a little something to help the greater good.

Q: How did you find the time to study for it with your busy schedule, working full time and being a dad?
• For me it was twofold. Having pushed so hard for the Greening of the Health System, I had to pass just to save face. More important was that I was studying for something that I was, am and will always be doing for the greater good of our environment. How as a dad could I not do everything in my power to give my children everything I can, including a better environment for them to live in, raise their children in etc.?

Q: Did you find it was easier to take the test as you worked on a LEED project before taking it, and do you recommend that?
• I find it a mixed bag. Learning the intent and process is much easier while you are working on a project, however, you tend to dismiss portion of the guide that are not applicable to your project. It’s hard to learn the pieces that don’t fit into the puzzle you are working on.

Q: How did you convince your organization to first register a project, as you were not a LEED AP as of yet? What obstacles did you face in the process, what obstacles are you still facing and how did you sell it to them as more projects are registered to date?
• I took it upon myself to just do it. It’s something I feel is important and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I attribute some of my success to choosing the right project to start with. The first project I registered was The Katz Women’s Hospital at North Shore. Knowing that the demographic for the clientele for this program were interested in Green, it made it easier for me to sell the idea to leadership. The merits of the effort more than overcame the fact that I was not yet accredited. I also believe that the knowledge of the accreditation process by the leadership was limited at that time. The most difficult selling point is the thought that LEED is expensive. More and more I hear that it might make sense to build sustainably but not to go for the certification. My response to this has been that the cost of LEED is almost entirely filling fees, in reality an insignificant cost to the overall project. It is like studying really hard for a test, but not bothering to take the test.

Q: Are all projects registered managed by you or are others on board as well, if so how did that happen?
• For projects that I am personally responsible for I am the Project Team Administrator. Currently that accounts for 4 of the registered projects. The remaining projects are utilizing outsourced LEED consultants. As a system, we are striving to bring all of this work in house. To that end, it has become mandatory that all of the Design staff become accredited. To make it happen, I started with the one’s that were mine and showed that it was achievable. There seems to be an underlying perception that this is too difficult to accomplish. By disproving the perception, I was able to achieve buy in from senior leadership.

Q: What are the projects that are registered, what LEED rating are you trying to achieve, how big are they?
• Currently, there are 9 Registered Projects, ranging from $5 Million to $300 Million. Anticipated rating ranges from Certified to Platinum.

Q: Do you find it more difficult to be working on a LEED certified project then a normal project? What are the differences in your experience?
• All in all it’s about record keeping. In healthcare design and construction we are used to code restrictions and guidelines. If you look at sustainable construction as one of the regulations that you need to follow it simply becomes the way you do business. For me, it would be harder to do a project without following the LEED guidelines than with.

Q: Can you give some advice to others who would want to have their firm start implementing this change?
• The easiest thing is to pick one project, register the project and go for the certification. Take the ball and run with it. At the onset, you will be putting a lot on your own shoulders but you will find that as others see what you’re doing, they will jump in to help. Different folks will help you for different reasons, but accept the help from all comers. You will soon find that once you start to get some momentum there will be no turning back.

Thinking Green: Celebrating Earth Day

Today, more than ever, we need to appreciate what we have and everyone needs to pull together and do what we can to help clean up our planet. Earth day is here for us to celebrate the planet, our home; but we need to be celebrating it every day of the year and seeing how we can help heal what was done.

We can make a big difference by transforming our built environment to work with our planet instead of against it; as Designers, Architects, Building owners and end-users, Real estate developers, Facility managers, Engineers, General contractors, Subcontractors, Product and Building system manufacturers and more. It should be part of our design thinking and intent; it should be in our site selection, our product selection, and our vision to how we need to move forward in everything we do.

Green building practices are what we need to start thinking about and implementing:

• Remember that not only do Green building design and construction practices that meet specified standards help resolve much of the negative impact buildings have on the environment but also the building’s occupants. As we design to help the environment we are helping ourselves as well.

• Green building uses resources more wisely and efficiently than conventional approaches. For example proper waste management can decrease trash that would otherwise end up in a landfill and provide an opportunity for recycling.

• The goal of green building is to run a building at peak operational efficiency. The costs to power a building is one the biggest expenses for building management.

• Green building is a growing trend, and having a building LEED certified is going to soon become the norm. LEED buildings have real benefits, real results, and a LEED building is something tenants and consumers are going to increasingly seek.

• A green building is a more comfortable to work in and provides a healthier environment. Because of this, a green-built building will have improved employee retention and reduced absenteeism.

Take this day, as we do starting a new year with a new resolution to Think Green and Happy Earth Day!!!

Thinking Green – Waste Management

As part of thinking green, we need to think about construction waste management. Not only trying to reuse most of the existing materials but also how to dispose of the waste that is produced from the job site. If you are going to try achieve LEED certification for your project or not this subject needs to be thought about.

In LEED the intent of MR Credit 2 Construction Waste Management is to divert construction and demolition debris from disposal in landfills and incinerators. Redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process. Redirect reusable materials to appropriate sites.

The goal of this credit is to divert construction waste from landfills. In many communities, especially in urban areas, recycling opportunities are expanding rapidly. Recycling construction debris reduces the demand for virgin resources; thereby reducing the impact of harvesting new resources from the environment Project teams must also develop and implement a construction waste management plan. At a minimum the plan needs to identify materials that will be diverted from the site, and whether the materials will be sorted on-site or commingled.

Some of the materials your project should consider for waste management include:

-packaging materials
-These include all of the packing materials that new construction materials are shipped in.

You will need to find companies that will handle the recycling/salvaging of construction waste. These can be easier to find in urban areas where recycling plans are well established. In areas where certain materials may not be able to be recycled, weigh the benefits of finding a hauler that is located farther away where more travel is required vs. the benefit of recycling the material.

Construction waste can be diverted to charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity as well.

One company that deals with this topic is Westside TransLoad. They offer their customers full LEED documentation. They are recognized for having extremely high standards, and can help you meet the highest possible LEED criteria. This permits them to provide documentation appropriate for M.R. 2.1 and 2.2 recycling credits, as well as direct documentation to contractors and builders.

All the waste that Westside TransLoad collects is brought back to their state-of-the-art facility, where it is separated and disposed of properly and responsibly. When waste is transported to their fully permitted facility, it is separated and recyclables are removed. The remaining waste is loaded into specialized railcars, right inside the facility. These eco-friendly "Green Way" trains are capable of moving far more waste, use much less energy, reduce traffic on roadways and reduce demand on infrastructure. A single railcar can carry 100 tons of waste, almost five times as much as a long haul truck.

Check out their website: or see my links.

ECO Design – Milliken Contract Showroom NYC – LEED Gold Certified

Floor covering manufacturer Milliken Contract new showroom in New York receives LEED Gold Certified.

The site was selected with LEED criteria in mind, the space offers an abundance of natural light and views of Manhattan. The design team includes design firm Q Studio; architect of record Mancini-Duffy; and LEED administrators Catalyst Partners. To earn LEED-CI certification, special attention is paid to lighting design, the HVAC system, and location (access to public transportation). Bathrooms will be refitted and flooring will consist of adhesive-free Milliken carpet.

Sustainable features include low-energy ceramic metal halide lamps; daylight sensors; formaldehyde-free, 100 percent recovered and recycled wood fiber MDF; and low VOC paint applied throughout. Since Milliken is the leaseholder of the building, the firm was also able to upgrade the plumbing and HVAC system.

Check out this great space at the USGBC NY chapters Spring's Quarterly Member Meeting. This event is a great opportunity to reconnect with your colleagues in the green building community, to hear an update on the Chapter's recent activities, and to see a LEED Commercial Interior up close. Open to USGBC New York current, past, and future members, so bring your friends! Drinks and light snacks will be provided. It is on:

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

For more info check out the USGBC Calendar link.

Green Products - Lists of Indoor Enviromental Products

The GREENGUARD Certification Program is an industry-independent, third-party testing program for low-emitting products and materials. All GREENGUARD Certified products are listed in the GREENGUARD Online Product Guide, an indoor air quality (IAQ) resource that is provided at no charge.

The guide features products, which are regularly tested to ensure that their chemical and particle emissions meet acceptable IAQ pollutant guidelines and standards. GREENGUARD Certification is a valuable tool for architects, designers, product specifiers, and purchasing organizations that want to locate, specify, and purchase off-the-shelf, low-emitting products for indoor environments.

Some product categories that are listed here would be from adhesives / sealants, ceiling systems, flooring, paint, general construction materials, furniture, textiles, window treatments and so much more. You can also pick subcategories based on your original product search to help in your search. Then you can choose from different manufacturers that have low-emitting product. When you pick the product type and the manufacturer then you get the product description, Certification No. and printable Certificate for your records and contact information for the manufacturer. They also have specific products just for children and schools, if you need to narrow your search for these subjects.

For more information check out or check the my links.

Thinking Green: Existing Facilities Programs

At the Salon by the USGBC “High Performance Building Salon: Climate Change in New York” a lot of interesting topics came up; the one that I want to share is the existence of NYSERDA’s “Existing Facilities Program” and the “Flexible Technical Assistance or Flex Tech”. In the Existing Facilities program NYSERDA will work with you on auditing the following for free:

• Lighting
• Commercial Refrigerant & Commercial Kitchen Equipment and Washers
• Gas Efficiency
• Chillers, Motors, Interval Meters & Variable Frequency Drives

From there applicants can receive incentives ($/unit) for pre-qualified energy-efficiency and conservation measures. Projects can receive up to $30,000 through pre-qualified incentives. For national fuel gas, pre-qualified incentives are limited to a cap of $25,000. Also, the cost savings are then passed on to the client in other incentives, for example, in electricity, if all requirements are met and the client’s electric company is a Con Edison, (normal payment to Con Ed is $0.19 kWh), $0.16 would be covered by the incentive and the client would pay the rest, these would create great cost savings for the facility.

For more information cut and paste this link or go to my links:

The Flex Tech program is for Customers with electric utility bills less than $75,000 annually that may be eligible for the energy Audit Program which provides low-cost, walk-through energy audits. This program is for New York State (NYS) industrial and commercial facilities, State and local governments, not-for-profit and private institutions, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and health care facilities.

For more info on this program go to:

If your client is in LIPA territory you might have better options. LIPA is paying 100% for the energy model, 50% of commissioning and up to 25K for getting LEED points. It is good to look at what your electric company will cover for energy savings as well as it depends on you location and who is your provider.

I encourage more involvement in the USGBC salons as you can get great information like this.

Thinking Green: Energy – NYSRDA

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation. They funded the creation of New York Energy SmartSM which helps to maintain momentum for the State’s efforts to develop competitive markets for energy efficiency; demand management; outreach and education services; research, development, and demonstration; low-income services; and to provide direct economic and environmental benefits to New Yorkers.

NYSERDA will help pay for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects. For example they will pay about $10,000 for Energy Modeling of a building system. And now under the new federal economic stimulus funding here are some things they will help out with:

State Energy Program:
• Energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy capital projects
• Building and facility energy audits
• EE in residential housing
• Transportation EE and alternative Fuels

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants:
• Building energy audits
• Financial incentives for EE retrofits
• Transportation EE programs
• Building code services
• Energy distribution technologies
• Material conservation programs
• Technologies to reduce or capture greenhouse gases from landfills
• Replacement of traffic signals and street lighting with EE technologies
• On-site renewable energy technology that generates electricity for government buildings

Alternative Fueled Vehicles Pilot Grants:
• Alternative fueled vehicles, hybrid vehicles, or fuel cell vehicles
• Fueling infrastructure
• Operation and maintenance

Transportation Electrification:
• Projects that encourage the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles
• Truck-stop electrification, electric truck refrigeration, electric rail

Also please note that these items are also tax deductible, as well as, they can help you sell LEED to you client. Not only can this save them money, help the environment but also encourage you to shoot for some LEED points, such as:

EA Credit 1: Optimized Energy Performance
EA Credit 2: On-Site Renewable Energy
EA Credit 5: Measurement and Verification
EA Credit 6: Green Power
SS Credit 4.3: Alternative Transportation: Low emission & fuel efficient vehicles.

These are just some areas to think about but if you look into it at their website,, or follow the link on my site, you can get more ideas and see what saving can be brought to your project.

Eco Products: Enviroglas, product made from recycled glass, sinks, tubs and toilets.

This is a beautiful product, it gives the design team great options in creativity and is environmentally healthy. They have different products from:

EnviroMODE is a new terrazzo surface made from recycled tubs, sinks and toilets. It’s easy to maintain, durable, eco-friendly and beautiful! Available in hundreds of resin colors, the bone-colored porcelain looks fantastic in neutral and earth-toned resins, and really pops in bold resin colors like black, yellow, blue and red.

EnviroGLAS Terrazzo is made of post-consumer and post-industrial recycled glass. Each EnviroGLAS product is about 75% recycled glass and 25% binder by volume. EnviroGLAS Terrazzo is a seamless solid surface that safeguards the health of the indoor environment because it does not stain, chip or burn and is resistant to chemicals and bacterial growth. The thin set epoxy binder is a 100% solid formula, with absolutely no Volatile Organic Compounds and negligible emissions. EnviroGLAS Terrazzo odorless hard surface systems require no harsh chemicals to maintain. Cured EnviroGLAS is VOC-free so occupants can move immediately in after application with no indoor air quality issues. In many renovation projects of centuries-old buildings, original terrazzo flooring has been restored to its original luster after minimal repairs and refinishing. If desired, EnviroGLAS Terrazzo can be ground up and reconstituted into a new floor.

They also carry EnviroSLAB for countertops that aare 1" thick, 27" deep and 84" long (nominal), EnviroPLANK recycled glass and porcelain Terrazzo floor tiles that measure 6" x 36" x 3/8" (nominal) and EnviroSCAPE that is eco-friendly and sustainable landscaping product.

This product can achieve points in the following LEED categories:


For more information visit or go to my links.

Design: Frontier Project

The Frontier Project is a 14,000 square foot demonstration building that will be open to the public. The building will feature the latest in sustainable design, systems, products, and technologies. The goal of the Project is to educate residential consumers, commercial builders, and sustainable design advocates regarding the latest methods and technologies in water, energy and site conservation. The Project architect is HMC Architects and the builder is Turner Construction Company. The target completion date is summer of 2009.

The Frontier Project will feature the latest, innovative technology, systems and products. Featured technology will include Photovoltaics, a Green Roof System, Rapidly Renewable Materials, a Sustainable Demonstration Garden, a Cool Tower and Solar Chimney, and an onsite stormwater management Cistern. The Frontier Project will both utilize and display new technologies that are available or in development for both the residential and commercial consumers. The facility is to meet LEED Platinum standards.

Check out the website:, you can see a webcam of the construction site and get more information about the project.

Thinking Green: Flooring Materials

Thinking green needs to extend to all aspects of our design and life choices. So, as we move forward to change the flooring in our living spaces or designing them for others, we need to start thinking of what materials to use and why. Some ideas to think about as you are researching your flooring are:

• All carpet installed should meet the Carpet & Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus Program (The Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label Plus Testing Program is an independent testing program that identifies carpets with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
• All carpet cushion installed should meet the Carpet & Rug Institute’s Green Label Program (note there is no Plus, just the Green Label Program for carpet cushions).
• All carpet adhesives used on the interior of the building must meet SCAQMD Rule #1168.
• When researching carpet the test results of the carpet used should not be older than 2 years.
• When looking at wood floors look for woods that are certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) Principles and Criteria.

Here are some other things to consider:

Recycled content:

Approximately five billion pounds of carpet are replaced each year in the U.S. Much of the old carpet, along with plastic soda bottles and other textiles, can be woven into new carpet fibers. Recycled content carpet has a similar look, feel, and price as virgin fiber (typically polyester, nylon, and olefin) carpet, but takes advantage of post-consumer recycled materials. Recycled carpet can be made from recycled polyethelene terephthalate (PET) or from recovered textile fibers. PET plastic is usually found in plastic soda bottles. About 40 two-liter soda bottles are recycled per square yard of carpeting. The backing used for recycled content carpet is the same as traditional carpets. Recycled content carpet fiber is said to be more resilient and colorfast than virgin fiber carpet. Recycled carpet usually comes with the same warranties for colorfastness, static control, and resistance to stain, crushing, and matting as virgin synthetic fiber carpets. We need to increase the demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials.

Rapidly renewable materials:

Rapidly renewable materials are considered to be an agricultural product that take 10 years or less to grow or raise, and can be harvested in an ongoing and sustainable fashion. You’re probably already familiar with bamboo, one of the most prevalent and well known rapidly renewable. Most conventional buildings and homes use large quantities of land and natural resources. Oak trees might take 30 years to grow, which makes them a finite resource. Rapidly renewable materials require less land and time to grow, making them more environmentally responsible. Bamboo is an excellent example of flooring that is a highly renewable resource, harvestable only four to six years after being planted. Its low moisture absorption properties make it ideal for humid climates and applications where moisture might pose a challenge for other types of flooring.

Regional Materials:

Buying regional materials helps support the use of indigenous resources and reducing the environmental impacts resulting from transportation. Buying regionally manufactured building materials supports the local economy, transportation costs are minimized, and the environmental impacts are minimized by reducing the distance between the point of extraction and the point of manufacture. An example of this is The Mohawk Group, which is the only carpet manufacturer in the world that produces carpet tile with a 500 mile radius of the New York Metro area (404 Anderson St., Glasgow, VA 24555), thus qualifying for the LEED 5.1 Regional Materials Credit, 20% of the buildings materials/products must be manufactured within a 500 mile radius.

There are manufactures that are working hard to make sustainability a big part of their products and company philosophy. The Mohawk Group is a good example of this. They created a LEED Plus Calculator with Eco Scorecard that is found on their website The LEED Plus Calculator, calculates the LEED carpet contribution of their product. This is a great tool as it will let you know what the product(s) is made of; gives you the product(s) specific documentation, as well as, what LEED points the product (s) will qualify for.

They also provide lunch and learn seminars to educate the industry that are a one hour power point presentation about Sustainable Interior Environments that also count as AIA & IIDA Accredited, with one learning credit earned. If you are interested in this lunch and learn seminar, contact Robert S. Martin at The Mohawk Group via email or call him at 917-282-5552. He is a LEED expert on Sustainable Interior Environments, so you can contact him if you also have any questions.

Links to Mohawk Group and the LEED Plus Calculator are available on my links.

Design: Cradle-to-Cradle Philosophy

William A. McDonough’s “Cradle-to-Cradle” Design Philosophy is basically calling for us to start designing product, spaces, Architecture and more with the thought of how it is produced to how will it affect the environment and then how will it decompose or how will we be able to reuse it at the end of its life cycle.

William McDonough's writes the book "Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the Way We Make Things" with his colleague, the German chemist Michael Braungart. Through historical sketches on the roots of the industrial revolution; commentary on science, nature and society; descriptions of key design principles; and compelling examples of innovative products and business strategies already reshaping the marketplace, McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that "takes, makes and wastes" can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.

The Philosophy starts with the following basics:

• 1. Insist on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition.
• 2. Recognize interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend upon the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Expand design considerations to recognizing even distant effects.
• 3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement including community, dwelling, industry and trade in terms of existing and evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.
• 4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems, and their right to co-exist.
• 5. Create safe objects of long-term value. Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance of vigilant administration of potential danger due to the careless creation of products, processes or standards.
• 6. Eliminate the concept of waste. Evaluate and optimize the full life-cycle of products and processes, to approach the state of natural systems, in which there is no waste.
• 7. Rely on natural energy flows. Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative forces from perpetual solar income. Incorporate the energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.
• 8. Understand the limitations of design. No human creation lasts forever and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not and inconvenience to be evaded or controlled.
• 9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long term sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility, and re-establish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

His book is designed to show that this process is possible. It is printed on a synthetic 'paper,' made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This 'treeless' book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle to cradle cycles.

This philosophy is spreading in the design industry. William McDonough's is working hard to make this a norm way of thinking. He is teaming up with two other organizations to try to make this a reality. On Sept. 2008, Material ConneXion Inc., McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) and the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) announced a groundbreaking strategic collaboration to create a global platform for developing innovative sustainable materials and products. Together, they will provide services that will help companies expand their ability to innovate and create higher quality, more sustainable products and processes, while increasing their profitability. The relationship will help to promote and disseminate Cradle to Cradle(SM) design principles by providing greater global access to Cradle to Cradle material information, certification and product development. As of January 2008, Material ConneXion's libraries in New York, Milan, Cologne and Bangkok will feature Cradle to Cradle Assessed and Certified materials, and, in collaboration with MBDC and EPEA, Material ConneXion will offer Cradle to Cradle Certification, and Cradle to Cradle product development.

I recommend this book and here is a link to check out:, (check out the Material Library Login) or go to my links.

LEED 2009 Updates

Yesterday the USGBC chapter held an informative lecture about the changes that are coming in LEED 2009. The Lecture was “LEED 2009: Everything You Need to Know Hosted by Bloomberg LP“

It was an overview of what to expect from LEED 2009 detailed by Brendan Owens, Vice-President of Technical Development at USGBC National. I recommend you check out these events, they usually serve food and drinks before the presentations that are great for networking. The website is ttp:// or check out my links.

Here are some of the changes that are on their way in April 2009:
• Starting this year, the LEED system will be updated every 2 years and will be called by the year it is updated, example, LEED 2009, LEED 2011, etc.
• Point system is changed – now the total you can get for certification is a 100 point scale – Building with: 40 points = Certified, 50 points = Silver, 60 points = Gold, 80+ points = Platinum
• Total points on each LEED subject have changed. This was done by researching what are the most important sections and these sections have the extra points. (Example – NC – SS: 26 points, WE: 10 points, EA: 35 points, MR: 14 points, IEQ: 15 points, ID: 5 points, LEED AP: 1 point and RP: 4 Points – to total 100 points + 10 for ID, LEED & RP)
• USGBC will have to be given information on the performance of all LEED buildings 1 year after certification (example would be energy performance, water conservation and more). This is to verify the level of the building performance and make sure the LEED is working.
• Regional Credits were added, these would be part of Innovation credits.
On Feb 23rd the new versions of the reference guides will be available on line in PDF non printable format on the USGBC website.
Get involved, learn what is happening and how you can be part of the change.

Thinking Green: Free Solar Energy Calculator

We need to start thinking of new ways to produce electricity and heat for our homes and offices that are safe for our environment. Solar energy is clean energy that can be easily generated and help your buildings or homes become carbon neutral and self sufficient. It is a powerful source of energy. In fact, the sunlight that shines on the Earth in just one hour could meet world energy demand for an entire year! As designers, architects, contractors and homeowners we need to understand the options that are out there and the tools that are available to help us in our planning.

We can use solar power in two different ways: as a heat source, and as an energy source. People have used the sun as a heat source for thousands of years. Families in ancient Greece built their homes to get the most sunlight during the cold winter months.

You can use clean electricity from photovoltaic panels on your home or business to replace power produced by coal, oil, and nuclear power plants. A solar power system ties into your current utility connection, turning your electric meter backwards when the sun shines. Also, if your home or building produces more energy than you need, there are programs in place that you could sell that energy back to the grid and get money for it.

The process of converting this energy is called photovoltaics. If you have a solar-powered watch or calculator, you’re using photovoltaics!

There is a free program that can help you calculate the amount of energy production you can have for your project. It is Version 1 of the PVWattsTM. You will need the following information to calculate the amount of energy your proposed system can produce.

1. The size of the system
2. The angle of the array
3. The orientation of the array
4. The Cost of energy for the potential project

Version 1 of the PVWattsTM calculator allows users to select a photovoltaic (PV) system location from a defined list of options. For locations within the United States and its territories, users select a location from a map of 239 options. For international locations, users select a location from a drop-down menu of options. The calculator determines the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, installers, manufacturers, and researchers to easily develop estimates of the performance of hypothetical PV installations.

For more information and access to PVWattsTM solar energy calculator go to or follow the Link on my links.

Thinking Green: Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is attempting to raise the bar and define the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment, using a benchmark of what is currently possible and given the best knowledge available today.

Started by the Cascadia Building Counsel in 2006, it is comprised of 16 prerequisites and six areas of concentration. It takes LEED and pushes it to the next level. There are no points to be achieved just prerequisites.

The rules are simple:

1. There are no credits – just prerequisites.

2. There are 15 prerequisites; and all must be met to achieve Living Site and
Infrastructure status. Many of the prerequisites have “exceptions” that show up in
the footnotes and that are intended to acknowledge market realities. The standard
needs to be challenging – but not impossible to obtain. These exceptions are
temporary, and will be removed as the market evolves.

3. As with the Living Building Challenge, leadership in any category will be rewarded
by ‘Petal’ recognition. For example, a project that succeeds in Net-Zero Water and
Sustainable Water Discharge will earn the ‘Water Petal.’ All Petals must be earned
for a project to achieve Living Site and Infrastructure status.

Living Buildings have their own ‘utility,’ generating their own energy and processing their own waste. They more appropriately match scale to technology and end use, and result in greater self-sufficiency and security. Yet, the ideal scale for solutions is not always at the level of a single building. Depending on the
technology, the optimal scale can vary when considering environmental impact, first cost and operating costs. To address these realities, the Living Building Challenge has inserted the concept of Scale-Jumping to allow multiple buildings or projects to operate in a symbiotic state – sharing green infrastructure as appropriate and allowing for Living Building status to be achieved as elegantly and efficiently as possible.

For more information go to - or follow the link my links.

Design: SOLAR 2 - Green Energy, Arts and Education Center

Solar 2 is designed to achieve PLATINUM LEED* certification. It will be opening the fall of 2010 as New York City’s Green Energy, Arts and Education Center.

Solar 2 will generate more clean energy than it consumes and will be New York City’s first carbon-neutral building, using solar power and advanced mechanical systems to prevent the production and emission of carbon dioxide.

Some of the features that will make this building special include:

1. Recycled and renewable materials will be used in the building structure and interior furnishings.

2. A roof with photovoltaic panels will utilize the energy of the sun to generate even more electrical power than the building will require.

3. Geothermal wells will keep SOLAR 2 warm during the winter months using a technology that conducts heat from the Earth’s interior.

4. Green screens – exterior walls that provide a trellis-like structure for vegetation — will supply natural shading and filtered sunlight.

5. A living green roof will provide many benefits, including: reducing heating and cooling loads on the building; filtering carbon dioxide and other pollutants out of the air; combatting the urban heat effect, which makes cities measurably hotter than surrounding areas; and reducing stormwater runoff, helping to alleviate the load on New York City’s wastewater management system and thereby preventing the flow of raw sewage into our natural waterways.

6. The building’s efficient use of daylight and natural ventilation will save energy and money.

7. Rainwater collection will provide all non-potable water, conserving the municipal water supply.

Check out the website to see Floor plans, renderings and more information on this innovative and well designed building at

As Designers, Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Developers, Corporations, Homeowners and Individuals this represents the type of space we should strive to create and live in for our future and for the future of our children.

Thinking Green – Material Reuse

As part of Thinking Green we need to start looking into reusing salvaged materials for our designs, building and homes. For example: In NY city alone 16,500 tons of building materials are thrown out every day. These materials are clogging our landfills, releasing carbon into the atmosphere, and creating a need for more materials to be manufactured.

Build It Green! NYC is New York City's only non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. Their warehouse has everything from panel doors to high end refrigerators and shutters to movie props. Their mission is to keep these materials out of the landfill, while offering deep discounts on their resale.

You can find great items here that have been taken from buildings that were about to be demolished or remodeled in NYC, as well as materials that were donated. This organization would be great to achieve LEED points for both MR Credit 3.1 & 2 – Material Reuse and MR Credit 2.1 & 2 – Construction Waste Management.

Buying Salvaged products not only saves the environment but is great for your pocketbook as well. You can also go and visit their 18,000 sq ft warehouse at 3-17 26th Ave in Astoria for great design ideas and solutions. Also check out their website at for great items and pricing.

Another note is that after operating expenses, all profits, from Build It Green! NYC, are used to augment the funding of Solar One. Solar One’s is an environmental educational organization that has programs - facilitating energy conservation, promoting renewable energy use, and educating the general public on ecological issues that will immensely benefit our communities, our city and our world.

Check out Solar One at their website:

LEED - 2009 Test and Accreditations

LEED AP exam and accreditation requirements are changing. Here is how:

You will only be able to register to take the current exam till March 31st,2009. That means you can register to take LEED NC, LEED CI and other tests till then, example, you can still take the original test in April if you are registered before March 31st 2009. Then the format and accreditations will change. Here is what this means:

As of April 2009, you will have to see what accreditation you want to achieve. Here is the brake down:

There are 3 Levels or Tiers of expertise to be achieved:

Tier I – LEED Green Associate: This would be a person that knows the basics of LEED information. Before the changes of 2009 - if you become a LEED AP, you can be a LEED AP on any project as all LEED exams and reference guides (example, NC, CI, EB, etc) have the same basic body of knowledge that is needed to be a LEED AP (SS,WE,EA,MR,EQ, & ID). So if you took LEED CI, you would be classified as an expert in NC as well, as no distinctions were made between tests taken after the test. Choosing to take this part only will let people know that you have general knowledge of sustainable design and environments.

On this level your exam will be 2.5 hours of computer based multiple choice questions.

NOTE: If you chose to go to Tier II, this test will be the first part of your test that is in 2 parts, see below for more information.

Tier II – LEED AP + Specialty Track: What this means is that a title will be given to LEED AP with the specialty test they are taking, here are the changes:
Example: LEED NC – Before when you took this test you became a LEED AP – Now when choosing to take this test you will become a LEED AP Building Design and Construction (BD&C) – The specialty track will be known.

Here are the tracks to date:

LEED EB – Changes to Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
LEED HOMES – changes to Residential Design and construction (HOMES)
LEED NC – changes to Building Design and Construction (BD&C)
LEED CI – changes to Interior Design and Construction (ID&C)

On this level exam you have 4 hours to take a 2 part test – first part is the same Tier I exam, the second part will be a specialty exam depending on the track you chose to follow. If you fail one part of the exam, you have one year to take it 3 times to pass – if you do not pass, then you will have to take both parts again.

Tier III – LEED AP Fellow: This would be the elite class of leading professionals that have years of experience and undergo peer review. The credentials for this level are still being developed.

*** If you are a LEED AP like me or will be taking the original version of the test to become a LEED AP - here is what you will need to know:

You will be known as “Legacy” LEED APs and beginning June 2009 you will have 2 years to choose to Opt In or Out. To Opt In - you will have to sign disciplinary policy and agree to credential maintenance. If you choose to Opt Out, you will be a LEED AP as inactive in the system till 2011 but after that you will have to retake the tests if you want to Opt In.

If you choose to Opt In – you will have to maintain credential requirements and get to use the LEED AP + Designation (Example – I took LEED NC – so I would be LEED AP BD&C) and be listed in the active registry.

If you are a LEED AP and took the test LEED NC but would also like to get an additional specialty, then you would only have to take that portion of the test.

If you want more information on this topic go to

Eco Product - Henna Baby

I tagged this site as part of my Eco Products for the great design and eco friendliness of it. The Artist is an Architect that is taking her creative eye and talent to create a great designed eco friendly product. Her designs are based on henna designs that she has been creating for over 15 years.

These eco friendly products are for babies and adults. The artist created all the designs and paints them all by hand; it makes all the pieces original works of art. All the onesies are made from high quality 100% organic cotton (SKAL certified) and dyed with non-toxic free dyes. All are painted with non toxic soft fabric paint.

Her motto is Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. So all the packaging has been reused or made from recycled materials to ease up on the environment.

These would be great gifts for new born babies, matching tops for little ones and parents / grandparents, and much more. Check out the website

Thinking Green – Pollution Prevention

Thinking green on how to best control soil erosion and storm water runoff at job sites, office building and in your own homes. Here is a great item that needs to be looked into.

Coir is a 100% organic fiber, from a renewable source…the coconut husk. Naturally resistant to rot, moulds and moisture, it needs no chemical treatment. Hard and strong, it can be spun and woven into matting. It also has the right strength and durability to protect the slopes from erosion, while allowing vegetation to flourish. It can dissipate the energy of flowing water and absorb the excess solar radiation. It is a great product for LEED NC – Sustainable Sites prerequisite 1.

Coir geotextiles provide good support on slopes for about 5 years. It is resistant to saline water. Its greatest advantage is that it provides an ecological niche for a rapid re-establishment of the vegetation cover. Coir resembles natural soil in its capacity to absorb solar radiation. This means that there is no risk of excessive heating as happens sometimes in the case of synthetics.

Coir geotextiles come in various forms like woven netting and meshes woven coir blankets, coir logs, coir rolls, coir pillows, coir mulch and coir mattes. It can be used in both commercial and residential applications.

Thinking Green: Paint

Thinking Green for your home, office or living space needs to start with looking into the health to your family, your workers and the environment. Here are some things you can think about moving forward.

Paint: According to the to the EPA, paint is considered to be one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Paints and finishes are among the leading causes. Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint.

New environmental regulations, and consumer demand, have led to the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes. Most paint manufacturers now produce one or more non-VOC variety of paint. These new paints are durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.

Here are two types of paints that have I have tagged on my eco friendly links:

Myrthic ( ) their paints are VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) free and exceed the Green Seal GS-11 environmental criteria for coatings used in LEED- certified buildings. I like any company that tries to exceed the LEED standards as they are minimums that should be achieved.

Green Planet Paint ( their paints are fundamentally unique. While there are many zero VOC paints on the market today, Green Planet Paints® is the first to move beyond petroleum toward a truly sustainable paint based on plant resins and mineral pigments.

Here are other safe Paints that can be used from popular manufacturers recommended by the Green Seal website (

Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore's EcoSpec Interior line (Latex Primer Sealer, Flat, Eggshell Enamel, and Semi-Gloss Enamel) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Color Wheel Paint & Coatings EnviroKote Interior Low Odor Acrylic Interior line (Primer, Flat, Eggshell, and Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Cloverdale Paint Horizon Interior line (Latex Primer, Flat, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Dutch Boy Dutch Boy Clarity Interior Latex line (Primer Sealer, Flat Wall & Ceiling Paint, Satin Wall & Trim Enamel and Semi-Gloss Wall & Trim Enamel) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Frazee Paint EnviroKote Interior Low Odor Acrylic Interior line (Primer, Flat, Eggshell, and Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

General Paint EnviroKote Interior Low Odor Acrylic Interior line (Primer, Flat, Eggshell, and Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

MAB Paints Enviro-Pure Interior Latex Zero VOC line (Primer, Flat, Eggshell and Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Metro MetroPaint Interior/Exterior Low-Sheen Recycled Latex Paint GS-43 Recycled-Content Latex Paint

Miller Paint Co. Acro Pure Interior Acrylic line (Primer, Flat, Eggshell, Satin, and Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Olympic Paint and Stain Zero-VOC Olympic Premium Interior line (Flat, Flat Enamel, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, Kitchen & Bath) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Parker Paint EnviroKote Interior Low Odor Acrylic Interior line (Primer, Flat, Eggshell, and Semi-Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. Pittsburgh Paints Pure Performance line (primer, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Rodda Paint Company Horizon Exterior line(Latex Primer, Flat, Velvet Flat, Satin, Lowgloss Enamel, and Semigloss Enamel) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Rust-Oleum Corporation Metalmax DTM Acrylic Urethane
S40 System Gloss Concrete Epoxy Floor Coating
S42 System Medium Build Satin Concrete Epoxy Floor Coating GS-11 Paints (1993)

Sico Inc. Crown Diamond Perfection line (Absolute Mat and Soft Gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Southern Diversified Products American Pride line (primer, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, ceiling)
Mother's Touch line (flat, satin-eggshell, semi-gloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)

Visions Recycling Workhorse Interior (Latex Flat, Latex Eggshell, Latex Semi-Gloss)
Workhorse Exterior (Latex Flat, Latex Low Sheen) GS-43 Recycled-Content Latex Paint

YOLO Colorhouse Earth's Color Collection Interior line (Primer, Transitional Primer, Flat, Eggshell, Semigloss, Cabinet and Trim Paint), Earth's Color Collection Exterior line (Primer, Velvet Flat, Satin, Semigloss) GS-11 Paints (1993)