Developing Green Building Programs: A Step-By-Step Guide for Local Governments
A green building program is an innovative and effective way to improve local quality of life and create a more efficient City Hall.
Why Build Green?
Conventional building construction, use and demolition, together with the manufacturing of building materials, has multiple impacts on the local, regional, and global environment. In the United States, buildings account for:
- 65% of electricity consumption
- 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
- 30% of raw materials use
- 30% of landfill waste
- 12% of potable water consumption
In addition, numerous studies have shown a correlation between poor indoor air quality and respiratory health problems, leading to reduced productivity and increased absenteeism.
Green building is a proactive way to address these issues by creating buildings that:
- Minimize the use of resources
- Are healthier for people
- Reduce harm to the environment
The Green Umbrella
A green building program can be the “umbrella” that brings your city’s programs together in a coordinated and streamlined way so that staff are working toward common goals.
Green building is a holistic process that addresses a broad range of issues including community and site design, energy efficiency, water conservation, resource-efficient material selection, indoor environmental quality, construction management, and building maintenance.
A green building program should build on a municipality’s existing efforts in recycling, water conservation, and stormwater management and promote coordination among departmentals. By integrating and enhancing your agency’s existing activities, green building programs stretch local tax dollars and create a more effective and efficient delivery of services.
Show Environmental Leadership
As awareness of environmental issues continues to grow, being a good steward of the environment plays a major role in attracting progressive businesses and new residents. Establishing a green building program allows your city or county to showcase its environmental leadership and demonstrate that it is contributing to larger efforts to reduce resource consumption and waste generation, improve air and water quality, preserve natural resources, and create sustainable communities.
Green existing buildings is easier (and cheaper) than you think
Commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential buildings are the most significant users of energy in the United States. Almost 70% of all generated electricity and about 12% of available potable water goes to support use and occupancy of buildings. Buildings play a major role in the quality of life for the 307 million people who go in and out of them every day and have a significant environmental and carbon footprint. About half of United States’ atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are associated...
Chemical composition of residue from cereal crops and cultivars in dryland ecosystems
Cropping systems in the dryland farming region of eastern Washington State are dominated by winter and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Excessive levels of residue may be an obstacle in the adoption of conservation farming systems. Decomposition of cereal crop residues is associated with fiber and nutrient content, and growers have observed differences in decomposition among cultivars; however, little information exists on their residue characteristics. Cultivars of...
Mathematical modelling of lead assimilation by printing press operators in a poor indoor air ...
Most printing presses in developing countries are located in buildings with inadequate natural and mechanical ventilation such that the press operators work for major hours in poor indoor air quality buildings, which expose them to a wide range of health hazards such as lead poisoning. Understanding how poor air quality affects the operator's body system is studied using a methodology involving the principle of diffusion and the law of mass action. A hypothetical press in Nigeria is used as a case study to...
How Can TO-15 Help You Solve Your Next IAQ Problem?
Untitled Document Have you ever been asked to investigate unpleasant odors in a home or at the workplace? Are occupants developing headaches or a feeling of nausea? It may be prudent for you to include a general volatile organic compound (VOC) scan in your sampling strategy. The best way to sample the widest range of compounds with the greatest of ease is TO-15. VOCs have been shown to emanate from many building materials including wood, linoleum, paint, plastics, PVC floor covering,...
Award Winning Pulp & Paper Company Uses Essential AirTM
Untitled Document The Challenge: A U.S. pulp and paper company that has earned more than 60 environmental awards from government agencies, professional associations and environmental organizations for its outstanding forestry management, habitat improvement, soil erosion control and water conservation efforts was looking for a software solution that its seven paper mills and five specialty chemical plants in the United States and abroad could use to more effectively...
Integrating LCA Tools in Green Building Rating Systems
Green building rating and certification systems are intended to foster more sustainable building design, construction and operations by promoting and making possible a better integration of environmental concerns with cost and other traditional decision criteria. Different building assessment systems approach this task from somewhat different perspectives, but they have certain elements in common. Most, if not all, deal in one way or another with site selection criteria, the efficient use of energy and water...
Integrated Site Closure Achieves Business and Regulatory Goals
A new concept for cleanup of contaminated properties and hazardous waste sites applicable under federal and state regulatory programs is helping clients achieve both business and regulatory goals at their sites. The concept, called `Integrated Site Closure`, is the seamless integration and delivery of services necessary to reach regulatory closure of contaminated properties. Regulatory closure means fulfilling the regulatory agency requirements to obtain a declaration of No Further Action or limited action (e.g....
California Strives to Reach 50 Percent
IN 1989, California passed historic legislation that sought to radically decrease the amount of materials deposited in the state’s landfills. Authored by State Senator Byron Sher, Assembly Bill 939 mandated that municipalities and counties divert 25 percent of their waste from landfilling by 1995, and 50 percent by the end of 2000. Coupled with significant amounts of financial support, the legislation has pushed California toward tremendous levels of progress in recycling over the past decade, including a...
GreenWare`s Greenhouse Gas Performance Software.
In December 1997, member countries of the United Nations reached agreement to reduce their total greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. By 2005, all member countries will have to report on their progress. Such international action reflects the immediate need to tackle the issue of greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on climate change. As the world looks to the new millennium, government agencies are starting to implement guidelines and procedures for business to measure, reduce and report on...
Environmental Quality and Management of Construction and Demolition Waste in Flanders, Belgium
Abstract The Flemish Government has defined a sectoral implementation strategy for construction and demolition waste (CDW). This implies a maximisation of the valorisation, the aim is to reuse at least 75% of the CDW by the year 2000. One of the important topics in this strategic plan is the study on environmental impact and regulation. In this study the technical quality and leaching characteristics of various types of CDW were assessed. Waste from buildings as well as from road construction was studied.The...
A Global Mechanism for Sustainable Management of the Tropical Forest
Abstract The article explains the reasons for currently spoliation of the tropical forest. Based on this diagnostic it presents a new mechanism aimed at the conservation and sustainable management of the resources in the tropical forest. This mechanism includes new tendencies in the macro-economic system while it promotes integral development of the covered regions. A pilot project to test the mechanism has been identified and is described. Introduction Nowadays globalization is a frequently used word....
Backyard Composting Evaluated in New York City
Diversion data following distribution of bins indicate that home composting probably won’t make a significant dent in New York City’s waste stream, but can more than pay its way and boost recycling awareness. New York City may not normally be associated with yards and gardens, but there are good reasons to study backyard composting’s effect on waste diversion, especially because the impending closure of the city’s last landfill in 2001 means that nearly 12,000 tons/day of residential waste will have to be...
Performance-Based Measurement Systems
Many of the Environmental Protection Agency`s (EPA`s) methods used to monitor air, water and soil for environmental contaminants prescribe step-by-step details on how the chemical analysis must be conducted and prohibit any deviations or variations. The EPA has recognized that monitoring equipment and technology have improved tremendously over the last few years; that environmental media do not always act the same way for each analysis; and that the matrix may affect the analysis and results. The EPA has been...
Photovoltaic Applications and Policy Initiatives
Issue: The world photovoltaic (PV) market has grown significantly in recent years. Although this trend is expected to continue in the future, estimates cannot be given with any real certainty. Relevance: In this context the question that arises is the role that public and private funding plays in market development and how this funding should be used to ensure the best results. Although current EU energy policy favours PVs and renewables in general, additional measures oriented towards facilitating further market...
Anaerobic Digestion at Dairy Farms
The need to upgrade dairy waste management practices to overcome pollution problems is leading more farmers to seek solutions with anaerobic digestion technology. Two recent examples of this trend are underway at California sites. The Cal Poly Dairy is located adjacent to the California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo. The dairy milks 180 cows with a total population of over 350 animals, including heifers and calves. Most of the herd is housed in freestall barns. About 90 percent of the...
Cart-Based Organics Collection. Citizens Drive 65 Percent Diversion System
For better or worse, citizens opposing waste management projects usually end up being labeled as NIMBYs — not in my backyard. This could have been the case in Halifax, Nova Scotia but instead, the citizens took their opposition one step further, basically taking the design for an acceptable waste management system into their own hands. In the process, they laid out the foundation for an integrated strategy for the four municipalities that now make up the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) that was adopted and...
Environmental Situation in Africa
Abstract Africa The economic and social needs of Africa depends more on its environmental resources but these natural resources are seriously declining and that is really effecting the entire region. Sustainable development in this rapidly changing region has become an imperative, and must take place in the complex context of a diverse and changing ecosystem, political transition and evolution toward market economies. The region is heading towards integrating environmental components into sectors like...
Minimising Risks to Air Quality and Regulatory Compliance With Total Filter Management
It has been shown in recent studies that as much as 25% of the total site operating budget (excluding raw material costs) for a typical medium-large dosage-form manufacturing facility will be spent on compliance measures for internal quality systems and external regulatory activities. (1) Market realities indicate that the pharmaceutical companies will need to address the overall cost of compliance if they are to remain competitive. A number of techniques have been developed to help pharmaceutical companies...
Management Systems in Taiwan
To assist industry in Taiwan to implement the ISO 14001 EMS standard, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of Ministry of Economic Affair has launched a program to encourage industries that are willing to implement an environmental management system (EMS) this year. For the last 3 years, Taiwan`s federal government has been carrying out a similar pilot plan. Starting from this year, the government will extend the scope of the program to let over 50 companies of 20 different industries participate. It is...
Privatization and Outsourcing Storm Water Discharge Requirements: Simplification Through Automated ...
ABSTRACT Kelly Air Force Base (KAFB) is a large industrial complex that is currently undergoing a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. Privatization is occurring concurrently with the base closure and realignment. The base maintains both two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and two Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) storm water discharge permits. Kelly AFB installed a system of automated storm water monitoring samplers...
Mercury Emissions From The Disposal of Fluorescent Lamps
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available to the public a study containing information relating to its Proposed Rule addressing the management of mercury-containing lamps under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle C hazardous waste management system published in the Federal Register on July 27, 1994, 59 FR 39288. The study consists of an electronic model and report that provides an assessment of mercury emissions from the management of mercury-containing lamps under different...
Common Treatment Technologies for Halogenated SVOCs in Soil, Sediment, and Sludge
Common treatment technologies for halogenated SVOCs in soil, sediment, and sludge include biodegradation, dehalogenation, incineration, and excavation with off-site disposal. All types of biodegradation, both in situ or ex situ, can be considered to remediate soils: in situ bioremediation, bioventing, composting, controlled solid phase, or landfarming. Slurry phase biological treatment is also applicable but is less widely used. Treatability studies should be conducted to evaluate design parameters, such as...
Common Treatment Technologies for Radionuclides in Soil, Sediment, and Sludge
Unlike organic contaminants (and similar to metals), radionuclides cannot be destroyed or degraded; therefore, remediation technologies applicable to radionuclides involve separation, concentration/volume reduction, and/or immobilization. The most commonly used treatment technology for radionuclides in soil, sediment, and sludge is solidification/stabilization (S/S). This treatment technology is described briefly below. Solidification processes produce monolithic blocks of waste with high structural integrity....
Containment for Soil, Sediment, and Sludge
Containment treatments are often performed to prevent, or significantly reduce, the migration of contaminants in soils or ground water. Containment is necessary whenever contaminated materials are to be buried or left in place at a site. In general, containment is performed when extensive subsurface contamination at a site precludes excavation and removal of wastes because of potential hazards, unrealistic cost, or lack of adequate treatment technologies. Containment treatments offer quick installation times and...
Ex Situ Thermal Treatment for Soil, Sediment, and Sludge
The main advantage of ex situ treatments is that they generally require shorter time periods, and there is more certainty about the uniformity of treatment because of the ability to screen, homogenize, and continuously mix the soils. Ex situ processes, however, require excavation of soils leading to increased costs and engineering for equipment, possible permitting, and materials handling worker safety issues. Thermal treatments offer quick cleanup times but are typically the most costly treatment group. This...
Sydney´s Sustainable House
Introduction Sustainability or `sustainable development` has become a term which is frequently applied to land use and social planning and resource issues. Sustainability is a concept which draws attention to development practices which can degrade natural ecosystems and deplete natural resources. If development is defined broadly to include any cultural activity, then sustainable development may be defined as any practice that meets the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future...
Water Quality Models
` In order to determine the impacts of a particular discharge on ambient water quality, it is usually necessary to model the diffusion and dispersion of the discharge in the relevant water body. The approach applies both to new discharges and to upgrading of existing sources. This note provides guidance on models that may be applicable in the context of typical Bank projects.` Introduction Mathematical models can be used to predict changes in ambient water quality due to changes in discharges of wastewater. In...
Common Treatment Technologies for Inorganics in Ground Water, Surface Water, and Leachate
It may be necessary to know other subsurface information to remediate inorganics in ground water, surface water, and leachate. Treatability studies are usually necessary to ensure that the contaminated ground water can be treated effectively at the design flow. A subsurface geologic characterization would be particularly important to characterize the effects of adsorption and other processes of attenuation. Ground water models are also often needed to predict flow characteristics, changes in contaminant mixes and...
Comparative Risk Assessment
` Comparative risk assessment provides a systematic way to compare environmental problems that pose different types and degrees of health risk. It combines information on the inherent hazards of pollutants, exposure levels and population characteristics to predict the resulting health effects. Using data from available sources, rapid, inexpensive comparative risk assessments can identify the most significant health problems. Together with consideration of costs, technical feasibility and other factors, the...
Energy Efficiency, Pollution Prevention, and the Bottom Line
Introduction For many years, efforts to promote energy efficiency and pollution prevention (P2) traveled on parallel paths. Most energy efficiency advocates considered only the energy savings aspects of their projects and most proponents of P2 did not include energy on their list of sources of pollution. More recently, the two groups promoting energy efficiency and P2 have begun to realize the synergies of working together. Energy efficiency projects often have non-energy P2 benefits and P2 projects often save...
Application of Membrane Technology for the Recovery and Reuse of Water
Abstract As water and sewer costs are expected to increase over the next decade, membrane technology will continue to be a viable and economical option in the recovery and reuse of water. This paper describes the mechanism of membrane effected separation (specifically reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration and microfiltration), membranes commercially available, membrane element configurations, and how complete membrane systems are designed. The paper also discusses case histories of a variety of proven applications,...