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USGBC Launches LEED Zero, Makes Other Green Building Announcements

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Glenn Hasek

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), operator of the most widely used green building rating system in the world, released a flurry of announcements in the past month in conjunction with its annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo (held in Chicago November 14 to 16).

First, USGBC launched LEED Zero, a new program that will address net zero operations and resources in buildings. LEED Zero is open to all LEED projects certified under the BD+C, ID+C or O+M rating systems, or projects registered to pursue LEED O+M certification. LEED projects can achieve LEED Zero certification when they demonstrate any or one of the following: net zero carbon emissions, net zero energy use, net zero water use or net zero waste. It will be exciting to see which hotel project will be the first to achieve LEED Zero.

Second, USGBC announced that it will begin offering LEED recertification. All LEED projects—past, present and future—are now eligible for recertification by providing 12 months of data, powered by Arc, that shows consistent or improved performance, using the most recent version of the LEED rating system. This recertification will be valid for three years and is an important step in ensuring that a green building is operating the way it was intended.

The two announcements follow two reports that validate the power of green building. First, according to the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report, to which USGBC is a contributing partner, global green building activity continues to rise, with significant increases expected in 19 countries over the next three years. The study was conducted in 86 countries and surveyed 2,000 building professionals including architects, contractors, consultants, developers, engineering firms and investors. (Today, there are more than 95,600 commercial projects participating in LEED across the globe, with 2.2 million square feet of building space becoming LEED certified every day.) Interestingly, while client demand, and environmental regulations remain top motivators for green building, creating healthier buildings emerged as an important trigger for green building globally. According to the study, improving occupant health ranks first among social drivers for green building, followed by encouraging sustainable business practices and improved worker productivity.

The percentage of owners reporting that new green buildings have an asset value more than 10 percent greater than traditional buildings has nearly doubled since 2012. In addition, most architects and contractors recognize that building green creates a higher asset value.

Employees Happier, Healthier, More Productive

The second report, based on a survey released by USGBC, found that employees who work in LEED certified green buildings are happier, healthier and more productive than employees in conventional and non-LEED buildings. The survey found that most office workers want to work for companies that are value-oriented, take stances on important issues like sustainability, and do their part for making a positive difference in the world. In fact, 84 percent of respondents prefer to work for a company that has a strong, concrete mission and positive values.

“Employees know that green building programs like LEED help companies to develop responsible, sustainable and specific plans for green energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors accountable for the human experience,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC.

The survey showed that a space that provides clean and high-quality indoor air directly contributes to employees feeling happy and fulfilled at work. More than 80 percent of respondents say that being productive on the job and having access to clean, high-quality indoor air contributes to their overall workplace happiness.

In addition, 85 percent of employees in LEED certified buildings also say their access to quality outdoor views and natural sunlight boosts their overall productivity and happiness, and 80 percent say the enhanced air quality improves their physical health and comfort.

The survey, conducted by Porter Novelli on behalf of USGBC, included 1,001 workers in the United States who are employed full-time or part-time, or self-employed but work in an office building setting.

While the survey was focused on office settings, the conclusions can certainly also be applied to hotel environments. Whether one gets LEED certification or not, adhering to LEED building standards has been proven repeatedly to have a significant payoff.

Green Lodging News Adds Quipworks to Green Product & Service Directory

Green Lodging News has added Quipworks Inc. to the “Recycling/Glass Bottle Crushers” category of its Green Product & Service Directory. The GLSand is a compact glass bottle crusher that reduces bottles in volume by 10:1 to a safe to handle sand like product. The machine is designed for waste reduction, cost reduction and sustainability for the food, hospitality, and leisure Industries. The GLSand will provide a positive impact on a property’s waste reduction goals, and create a usable commodity for landscaping, pavement patching, pool filtration and other uses. The GLSand is quiet and easy to operate. It offers a crushing time of three to five seconds per bottle. A total of 160 small beer bottles or 60 wine or spirit bottles will fill a 5-gallon bucket. An optional lift is available for bulk transport of the sand like product. Dimensions: 23″ wide x 19″ deep x 53″ tall. Contact Fred Phillips at (888) 575-7847 or by e-mail at fred@quipworks.com.

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Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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