Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green Ordinance Wins in Los Angeles

Today Los Angeles became the largest city in America to adopt green building standards for private building development.

It was quite an Earth Day in City Hall’s Council Chambers, a real victory for the environment and those who support green causes in the region. The new ordinance becomes law in November, and will “reduce the city’s planet-warming carbon emissions by more than 80,000 metric tons annually by 2012, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times’ story on the new green law goes on:

"Tens of millions of square feet in city buildings will be going green. Two-thirds of everything built by 2050 will be affected by this ordinance.The ordinance would affect buildings 50,000 square feet and more, and require that they meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington-based nonprofit group.The City Council ordered staff to report back in six months to advise on whether the standards should be stiffened to include buildings of at least 25,000 square feet, and to require more environmental features, as a pending ordinance in San Francisco would do.”

PIPE and its staff were strong supporters of the City’s new ordinance from the start, maintaining strong links with environmental and community groups to make the whole thing come together. Expect more from this coalition in the future.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Gas Company Offers Building Rebates

The Southern California Gas Company now offers up to $1 million in incentives to private businesses that engage in projects to conserve energy. This program is intended to promote energy efficient retrofitting and process improvements. More information is available from the Gas Company at: http://www.socalgas.com/business/efficiency/docs/programoverview.pdf

Michael McGrorty

San Mateo County Greens Up

San Mateo County has approved new requirements for construction of buildings in the unincorporated areas of that California County. Later this year new rules will take effect, mandating that industrial buildings be scored under the LEED system, while homes are rated on Build it Green’s certification plan. The changes will affect all new residential projects and residential remodels of 50 percent or greater, as well as all new commercial and industrial buildings of 3,000 square feet or more.

According to the San Mateo County Times,

“Under the new regulations, a home or industrial construction project will be required to earn a minimum of 50 "green points," or achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating, and pass muster with an outside green building inspector. The county will offer the incentive of a faster turnaround time for a building permit and a quicker visit from a building inspector on projects that earn 75 to 100 green points.”

Michael McGrorty

Los Angeles Goes Green

On February 15th, the Planning and Land Use Committee of the Los Angeles City Council approved a landmark Green building ordinance whose rules require that all major commercial and residential developments cut energy and water use. Buildings of 50,000 square feet in floor space would be covered, and would have to incorporate a schedule of Green practices into their design.

The measure had been supported by a variety of local environmental groups, including the PIPE labor-management trust. PIPE has been a strong supporter of Green efforts on the local level and expects to encourage more cities to enact rules promoting conservation of resources.

The new ordinance will use the LEED standard of the U.S. Green Building Council as a guideline for its provisions.

This new measure makes Los Angeles the largest American city to enact Green building standards for private-sector construction; other local cities with Green standards include Pasadena, Santa Monica, Long Beach and West Hollywood.

Michael McGrorty

Monday, December 3, 2007

Los Angeles Community College District Sustainability Conference 2007

On November 30th, the Los Angeles Community College District held its annual Sustainability Conference at the Biltmore Hotel. The conference was well attended, with over 500 guests visiting the exhibit booths and taking part in the proceedings.

PIPE’s Mike Massey delivered a keynote address at the event. Taking note of the remarkable progress of the green movement, Massey stressed the opportunity for young people to take advantage of the Green Revolution in its early stages. Assessing the construction industry over the past two decades and examining the difference between the old ways and the new, Massey said,

“This time the adjustments aren’t just about changes in codes or materials. Green construction means a permanent change in thinking; there is a philosophical change driving these technologies. The message is that the changes aren’t going to stop but will continue as the philosophy matures. In other words, Green is now, and the future, but only the ‘now’ is knowable for certain.”

Massey stressed that the work of the piping industry always left an indelible footprint upon the air, water and land, and that the industry of the future would have to work as hard to reduce that footprint as it did at its original calling. During the conference, PIPE staffers made showed a video presentation and offered materials to recruit students into its various apprenticeship programs.

The audience was very pleasantly surprised when author Gore Vidal made an unscheduled but very welcome appearance; the venerable writer and social commentator spoke for half an hour about the effect of contemporary politics on the local Green movement and departed to warm applause.

Michael McGrorty
PIPEGreen editor

Friday, November 16, 2007

Los Angeles takes the LEED

The Los Angeles Times reports:

L.A. panel approves ambitious green building plan

November 16, 2007

The Los Angeles Planning Commission on Thursday approved one of the most ambitious green building programs of any big city in the nation, requiring large new developments to be 15% more energy efficient. The new rules, which also restrict water use, aim to cut the city's emissions of greenhouse gases.Cities have no power over vehicle tailpipe emissions, which are ultimately controlled by the federal government. And power plants, another major source of greenhouse gases, are mostly regulated by state government, except in the case of cities that own utilities, such as Los Angeles.

Under the L.A. rules, new buildings with more than 50 units or 50,000 square feet of floor area would be required to meet national standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that is working with cities across the country. The measure is expected to come before the City Council early next year.The standards -- known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED -- would reduce the amount of energy used in large developments to well below what is required by California's building code, the strictest in the nation.

In addition to setting new rules for big developments, the city will establish a "green team" of experts from various departments -- including Planning, Building and Safety, and Water and Power -- to improve the environmental impact of the basic code for all buildings, including single-family homes and small commercial developments. The first recommended measures include wiring buildings for solar-energy systems, using high-efficiency heating and air conditioning units, and installing toilets and shower heads that use less water. In addition, half of demolition and construction waste would have to be recycled, and low-irrigation landscaping would be mandated for lots greater than 1,000 square feet.

The U.S. Green Building Council has a tiered system of measures: the basic LEED certification, which Los Angeles is planning to adopt for large buildings, and LEED silver, gold and platinum. For developers willing to submit their projects to the council for silver certification, the commission Thursday approved a measure to expedite permits that could save builders from two months to a year.

Michael McGrorty
PIPEGreen editor

LEED Certification and Jobs

Is LEED certification important? An online search of job openings at monster.com revealed over 350 positions which required or preferred candidates with LEED professional certification. These were jobs in engineering, design, and construction management at all levels. If you are interested in being part of the employed Green future, find out about LEED certification at www.usgbc.org.

Michael McGrorty
PIPEGreen editor