Monday, April 5, 2010

Green Locales for This Year's Annual Conventions

Image: Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. is hosting the ASLA 2010 Annual Meeting

By Jill Bellenger, ASLA, CPH

With organizations like the US Green Building Council, American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) all gearing up for annual conventions later this year, it’s important to consider the effect that business travel has on our natural resources. Green hotels are not only a sustainable opportunity for business lodging, they are also a common and convenient spot for hosting conventions, corporate meetings, and retreats.

First in June is the AIA National Convention, held in sunny Miami. With the Florida Green Lodging program set forth by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, Miami is not new to the green movement. With well over 600 volunteer lodging members to the program, it is required for each member to commit to a variety of sustainable practices. As for the convention itself, the AIA aims to offset 100% of its emissions with the help of $10 individual donations for every registration.

Washington, D.C. is on the list as well, hosting the ASLA Annual Meeting in September. D.C. is listed as one of the country’s leading examples of sustainability on Sustainlane’s 2008 rankings. It ranks 2nd in the Green Building category, following behind Portland, OR. Specifically, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where the event will take place, has its own Green Initiatives program. The center utilizes natural ventilation, an extensive recycling program, and many others listed on their website.

It’s only fitting that the USGBC Greenbuild is being held this coming November in Chicago, which leads the nation with over 25 Green Hotels in its Green Hotels Initiative program and continues to lead in number and square footage of urban green roofs. Returning after only a few short years, USGBC plans to host a variety of programs allowing folks to experience the city’s most notable sustainable projects and places, for those that can make the time among all other educational programs offered.

USGBC has also put together a helpful tool called the Hotel & Conference Center Environmental Questionnaire inside its Green Venue Selection Guide to assist in identifying proper energy efficient facilities to help business travelers and planners meet their sustainability goals. The questionnaire also covers topics like the overall waste stream of the facility, sustainable and local purchasing, and access and use of alternative transportation. It’s a great way to document a hotel’s level of sustainable commitment.

Integrated Project Delivery : An Interview with Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP

By Ed LeBard, Associate AIA, LEED AP+

American Institute of Architects (AIA) California Council's study on Integrated Project Delivery, compiled by Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP, is an in-depth report on the benefits and issues confronting the IPD process. IPD offers an alternative in design and construction management in which obstacles between project team members are taken down, encouraging open dialogue , and reducing inter-disciplinary conflicts with BIM technology and an open-book approach. As IPD develops, more building owners, architects and contractors are discovering that committing to IPD allows for adjustments to the process itself.

The major IPD principles stated by AIA California Council that are vital to its success are:

• Early Involvement of Key Participants
• Shared Risk and Reward
• Multi-Party Contract
• Collaborative Decision Making and Control
• Liability Waivers Among Key Participants
• Jointly Developed and Validated Project Goals

What Is Integrated Project Delivery?
“Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures, and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.

IPD principles can be applied to a variety of contractual arrangements and IPD teams can include members well beyond the basic triad of owner, architect, and contractor. In all cases, integrated projects are uniquely distinguished by highly effective collaboration among the owner, the prime designer, and the prime constructor, commencing at early design and continuing through to project handover.”
(copyright - AIA and AIA California Council)

Interview with Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP:

EL : The Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) process is relatively new to the A/E industry. What are its weakness and strengths? Where do you see IPD in the future as it develops?

JC: The biggest strength is the increased predictability of cost and schedule, which lowers everyone’s risk. It also eliminates explicit and hidden contingencies thereby saving a lot of money. The weakness is that more effort is required up front so IPD will appeal to owner-operators and not so much to developers who are looking to flip properties and mainly interested in first cost.

EL : Some architects fear that the IPD process is another tool for General Contractors to push them around. Could you expand on this? How can that myth be dispelled?

JC: So far the builders have been much more proactive on this than the architects. They have shown themselves to be more willing to collaborate and innovate on process. If architects would step up to the challenge they could ensure themselves of an expanded role. If they don’t they will be pushed around and marginalized.

EL : Your case study of the Encircle Health Ambulatory Care Center required a minimum of LEED Silver rating and the project team was confident in achieving LEED Gold despite the fast paced IPD process. Does the inclusion of IPD translate to smoother LEED coordination between all team members?

JC: Yes, since LEED points are awarded for both design and construction, an integrated team can better prepare for LEED and predict costs and projected savings. IPD is very helpful to sustainability in buildings.

EL : With the Federal Government now requiring a minimum of LEED Silver rating on all new construction and renovation projects, what are your thoughts on implementing the IPD process here?

JC: The federal government should adjust its procurement process to take advantage of IPD because it delivers the best value. I don’t know enough about federal contracting to have an opinion about how that might take place and what impediments there are. Many state and local government agencies are seriously looking at IPD and in some cases writing new contracts or seeking legislative authority to implement.

For more information on AIA California Council's IPD Case Studies:
For more information on Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP:

Green Guest Expert

As a daily contributor to the NRDC's online Switchboard, Kaid Benfield educates and informs the public about local green initiatives in the D.C. area and beyond. He provides an inside look into everything from Urban Green Infrastructure to Walkable Communities to the defenders of true conservation, sometimes all in the same week.

A local lessen in transit orientation, walkability and supermarket economics

Several weeks ago, I ran a post making the case that transit-oriented development requires more than just transit and development. As the phrase implies, it also requires orientation: the development must relate to and be convenient to the transit. There is also a body of practice and research on the closely linked subject of walkable neighborhoods, which require more than just sidewalks and places you might want to go within theoretical walking distance.

Full story...

Sustainability in the News

Proposed Standard 189.1 Begins Third Public Review with Increased Energy Savings:
Architectural Record, Recession & Recovery Reports:
2010 Energy Star Award Winners for energy efficiency:

April 19, Earth Day (40th Anniversary) on the National Mall:
May 18-19, USGBC 2010 Federal Summit:
June 8-12, American Institute of Architects Annual Convention, Miami:

GreenSource Calendar of Events:

New Feature: Green Building Photo Album

Every quarter, see a photo album created by the partners that showcases advances in Green Design. This quarter, see shots of our recent trip to Syracuse, NY and the many new initiatives created by the City of Syracuse, Syracuse University, and the Syracuse Center of Excellence!

We had the opportunity to tour not only the brand new Center of Excellence headquarters, but we also got an in depth look at some amazing new buildings and renovations going on in Syracuse's Near West Side neighborhood, home to one of the first LEED-ND neighborhoods in the country.

Special thanks to Ana Fernandez, Brian Key, Dan Queri, Jacob Brown, and Mike Hughes.

Photo courtesy of the Syracuse Center of Excellence. The building is located just north of Interstate 81, convenient to downtown Syracuse amenities as well as Syracuse University. Is is home to not only the CoE, but several other tenants with local green initiatives.

Syracuse CoE

Syracuse CoE interiors

Interior of Near West Side home under construction in the new LEED neighborhood.

Interior of another Near West Side home under construction in the new LEED neighborhood.

Interior of Near West Side home under construction in the new LEED neighborhood.

The newly renovated Lincoln Supply Warehouse is designed to acheive a LEED Gold rating. While the project requires removing the majority of the 100-year old structural beams, many are being reused to create one of a kind benches elsewhere in the city. The project is slated to be completed in summer 2010.

A view inside the top floor of the Lincoln Supply Warehouse with its newly installed steel beams.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New: Sustainability Quarterly!

The former montly e-newsletter of 3 Design Consulting has now become a quarterly piece, aimed at serving our community better with the most up to date information on what matters most. Our Sustainability Quarterly Report covers various topics relating to sustainable architecture, conservation landscaping, LEED / sustainable products, LEED in specifications, industry related financial and business news, and green tips.

Now check out archived issues of the newsletter at our blog:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

LEED for Neighborhood Development: The New Kid on the Block

Images: (left) The Yards, Washington DC; (middle) Benedict Park Place, Denver, CO; (right) Mueller neighborhood, Austin, TX.

By Jill Bellenger, ASLA | CPH

Forget about keeping up with the Jones', it was the Green's that dominated residential trends in 2009. With about two dozen pilot projects now certified at various levels in the LEED for Neighborhood Development as of December 2009, the future of neighborhood design and planning is looking even greener.

In a way, it's an attempt to return to the days before the automobile ruled the road and became the most influential component in city and regional planning. Way before it was possible for a New Yorker to sample fruit from South America, spices from India, and fish from the Pacific Ocean without leaving their town. The LEED-ND program is championing the effort to revive concepts of community connectivity, living and purchasing locally, and working where you live.

Whether you call the East coast or West coast home, or somewhere in between, there are LEED-ND neighborhoods taking shape somewhere near you.

The Yards, located in southeast DC along the Anacostia River, is the district's newest riverfront destination. Earning its LEED-ND Gold certification and currently in development, The Yards is a 42-acre mixed-use neighborhood complete with retail, restaurants, housing, office space, and parks. And it's all within walking distance of some of D.C.'s biggest landmarks, like Nationals Ballpark and Capitol Hill.

"We are thrilled to be included in the LEED ND program and were very happy when we achieved our Stage 2 Gold certification," says Ramsey Meiser, Senior Vice President of Development at Forest City Washington. "We believe this accomplishment will be helpful as we market The Yards to our office, retail, and residential users."

The Mueller neighborhood in Austin, Texas is the largest of the certified LEED-ND projects, at 704-acres comprised of residential, retail, and the first hospital in the world to receive a LEED Platinum certification, all located on the site of the former Austin airport.

In a recent press release, Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president, CEO & founding chair stated, "LEED for Neighborhood Development goes beyond individual green buildings and focuses on community-wide design and development. By achieving stage-2 LEED Silver certification for its plans, the Mueller community has designated itself as a community leading the way for the development of smarter and healthier communities throughout the U.S., saving families money while nurturing their health."

Catellus Developing Group joined the City of Austin to manage the development of Mueller. "Sustainable design, whether in stores, offices, homes or parks, must incorporate environmental, economic and lifestyle considerations in order to be successful in this day and age," said Greg Weaver, managing director for Catellus. "These considerations are plentiful throughout Mueller as it exists today, and we're just getting started."

Affordable housing is also raising the green standard with neighborhoods such as the Benedict Park Place in Denver, Colorado, earning its LEED Gold certification. The neighborhood is an award-winning residential complex that succeeds in connecting working-class residents to downtown Denver, midtown and other neighborhoods while providing a safe and sustainable atmosphere.

"The LEED-ND Pilot program has proven to be a very rewarding process for us that was complementary to our development of affordable housing," says Ryan G. Tobin, Esq., Development Program Manager at the Denver Housing Authority and the Owner's Rep for Benedict Park Place. "It has served as a resource and framework by which we have embraced and will continue to utilize in our planning efforts now and in the future."

In a statement from USGBC, Meghan Bogaerts explains, "USGBC is very pleased with the results of the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) pilot program, which has provided us with a wealth of information about the pilot system's real world application over the last few years. The soon to be released LEED-ND 2009 rating system, which is posted publicly on our website, is undeniably stronger than the previous version because of the invaluable feedback we received from pilot project teams.

"With regards to what the future will hold for the program, Bogaert continues, "We expect to open project registration for the rating system in 2010, and have already received a steady stream of inquiries from project teams eager to register. Moreover, 2010 is shaping up to be an exciting year as we develop additional resources for project teams and local governments, enabling them to accomplish their sustainability goals through LEED for Neighborhood Development."

For more information on these and more LEED-ND certified neighborhoods:,,

Send suggestions of case study projects to Jill Bellenger at