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.