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  • Friday, August 04, 2017 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    PACE Across Texas
    by Charlene Heydinger

    Across Texas, a voluntary program is being implemented that helps improve the environment, creates jobs and saves Texans money on their utility bills. Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)  is a proven, accessible financial tool that enables Texas building owners to upgrade facility infrastructure with little or no upfront capital outlay. The program is designed so that building owners lower their operating costs and, with the savings generated, pay for eligible water, energy efficiency and distributed generation improvements by taking advantage of affordable, long-term financing. Owners see immediate savings on utility bills by investing in efficiency or generation upgrades, and are cash-flow positive upon completion of the work.

    C-PACE can be used to pay for new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps, insulation and more, for commercial, industrial, agricultural, non-profit and multifamily properties. This program accelerates upgrade investments in existing buildings, empowering owners to use their available capital on revenue-generating items including employees, technology and products.

    C- PACE was identified by Scientific American as one of the top 20 “world changing” ideas as it provides a new source of property-secured financing for energy efficiency and water conservation retrofits that does not affect conventional lending sources and does not compete for capital with other investment opportunities.

    C-PACE is also an economic development tool that creates jobs, improves property values and reduces harmful pollution, all at no cost to the local government treasury. The Texas PACE program has already funded nearly $34 million in energy and water efficiency upgrades over the past year, generating work for the local contracting community that cannot be outsourced. Looking at the economy at a macro level, a recent analysis showed that “energy efficiency is the largest sector within the U.S. clean energy economy, accounting for three in four of its jobs and employing nearly 1.9 million people nationwide.” Even with the oil-and-gas fracking boom, “Texas is seeing strong energy efficiency employment.”

    How does PACE work in Texas?

    The owner of a commercial, industrial, agricultural, non-profit or multifamily property chooses eligible improvements, a contractor and a private lender. The building owner applies to the C-PACE program for confirmation of building type and improvement eligibility. The program administrator provides technical support and administration services. If the project meets all statutory and program best practices, it qualifies as a C-PACE project.  Through the program, the local government allows the property to become responsible for the repayment, via a voluntary senior lien for the cost of the improvements, in exchange for the economic improvement on the property. The lender then provides funds to pay for the project. The property owner installs the eligible upgrades and a project review is conducted by an independent third-party. Owners repay the cost of eligible improvements over a period of up to 20 years or more, with payments secured by voluntary assessments (similar to sidewalk or sewer district assessments) on the property. The energy and/or water savings are structured to exceed the annual assessment payment, resulting in projects that are cash flow positive. As the C-PACE assessment is tied to the property, the assessment automatically transfers to the next owner if the property is sold.


    Image courtesy of Texas PACE Authority

    This straightforward approach encourages commercial building owners to upgrade infrastructure using the most-efficient technologies. Even though a higher up-front investment in a more-efficient product or technology can save operational expenses and reduce emissions over the lifetime of the equipment, many times the least cost replacement option is chosen because of the initial price tag. By selecting the less expensive up-front option, property owners forgo far greater long-term operational savings. As commercial building owners qualify for C-PACE based on the equity in their property and not their income, the base of financeable projects is expanded and new private investment can be brought into communities.

    Where is C-PACE in Texas?

    Local regions must opt into the program in order for building owners to be able to take advantage of C-PACE. Currently available in 13 regions across Texas, that number is growing. To date, the counties of Brazos, Cameron, El Paso, Fort Bend, Hays, Hidalgo, Jefferson, Nueces, Travis, Willacy and Williamson, as well as the cities of Dallas and Houston have established programs.  All are market-based and flexible, allowing property owners to do business with the parties of their choosing at the lowest possible administrative cost. Additionally, a high level of consumer protection is included to ensure that the projects will deliver the anticipated savings and are based on the “PACE in a Box” model, designed by over 130 Texas stakeholders and used in every Texas PACE program. The Texas PACE Authority, a private non-profit, administers this model program in all of the Texas PACE regions.

    C-PACE Benefits

    A typical capital stack falls short of the funds necessary to cover the additional upfront cost of modernizing building infrastructure. Using C-PACE, owners can enjoy immediate positive cash flow with no upfront costs. C-PACE empowers owners to lower utility and operating costs, and increase building comfort and asset value by installing energy and water saving equipment. C-PACE financing replaces more expensive partner equity with low-cost, long-term financing that has many additional benefits:

    • Assessments do not accelerate; if the property is sold, the remaining payments transfer to the new owner
    • Operational savings exceed the cost of repayment
    • 100% financing with no down payment
    • Complements historic grants, economic development incentives, rebates, tax incentives, etc.
    • C-PACE financing for energy and water efficiency measures and distributed generation technologies allow the developer to focus available capital on other parts of the project
    • Improvements will enhance the value and efficiency of existing buildings, enabling some buildings to become LEED certified
    • Reduce demand on the energy grid
    • Support the state’s water plan
    • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • Mitigate split incentive issues between landlords and tenants as to investments in energy efficiency and water conservation improvements

    In the aggregate, PACE improvements will promote long-term economic development in Texas by helping the state obtain energy and water security, grow and retain jobs, improve property values and reduce harmful pollution.

    C-PACE Success in Texas

    Butler Brothers Building
    In July, the largest C-PACE project to date in Texas, and the third-largest in the nation, closed in the City of Dallas. Alterra International, a Dallas-based global real estate development company, obtained $23.9 million in private capital at advantageous terms for the energy and water saving upgrades to the historic Butler Brothers Building. The 1910 nine-story mercantile warehouse had long been an empty eyesore across from City Hall.  The redevelopment into 238 apartments, a 270-room dual-branded Fairfield Inn/Town Home Suites by Marriott, and retail and office space is expected to spur additional revitalization in the area. 

    Benefits and anticipated savings at the Butler Brothers Building include:

    • Annual electricity use will be reduced by more than 6.6 million Kilowatt hours
    • Annual water savings of almost 700,000 gallons
    • More than 3,500 metric tons per year of Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) will be reduced
    • Over 100 jobs in the Dallas area will be created


    Simon Property Group
    The largest shopping mall operator in America, Simon Property Group, has closed five C-PACE projects throughout Texas over the past year. Using C-PACE financing, Simon funded a number of improvements including interior and exterior LED lighting, HVAC replacement, smart glass, heat reducing awning technology, low-flow faucet upgrades and conservation updates to water features and irrigation technology.

    Combined, benefits and anticipated savings at the five properties will include:

    • Annual electricity use reduction of 3,983,000 Kilowatt hours
    • Annual water savings of over 12,158,000 gallons of water per year
    • Contributing to the creation of nearly 50 jobs across the state.

    The ability of Simon Property Group to close multiple projects in different cities on the same day demonstrates one of many benefits of the uniform Texas “PACE in a Box” model used in every Texas PACE program. 

    The Solution is Here

    Commercial buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies help the state make the most of a limited water supply and develop an electricity grid that is cleaner and more reliable to sustain significant population growth. As the demand for more efficient buildings in Texas increases, a market-driven solution such as C-PACE fills the gap.

    Texas C-PACE answers the question, “How are we going to pay for it?” This voluntary financing tool is transforming how developers, owners and contractors look at projects, proving that there is a clear path forward to operational savings brought about by energy efficiency, distributed generation and water use reduction improvements in existing buildings.

    Visit www.texaspaceauthority.org to get involved and learn more.

    ---
    Charlene Heydinger serves as President for The Texas PACE Authority (TPA), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) third-party administrator for C-PACE programs across Texas.


  • Friday, June 02, 2017 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    Laying the Groundwork for Greener Buildings: The Upshot of Texas’ 85th Legislative Session
    By Anna Clark

    A Q&A with USGBC Texas Advocacy Chair David Matiella, UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, Co-Founder of Green Money Search.

    David, you’re a full-time professor. How did you get this volunteer advocacy gig?

    I began serving on the advocacy committee in 2003 and eventually gained enough experience to become chair of the statewide committee. I’ve now served in this capacity for the past four sessions. It’s exciting, invigorating and always challenging. I take special joy and pride in getting to facilitate conversations among the best building professionals in the state, and then I bring that knowledge to bear in front of people who make or propose policies to impact the built environment. I take special pride in bringing the message of green building and sustainability to those who create public policy. Communicating the social, environmental, and economic benefits of green building is a passion. We help to communicate the potential of what greener buildings can do for the state of Texas.

    You’ve got a great attitude for a guy who must get disappointed a lot. What about this work gives you hope?

    It’s true that last November's election was a tough pill to swallow for those concerned about environmental issues and sustainability. We see recently that the President intends to signal our departure from the Paris Climate Agreement. This is no positive news. But here in Texas, state legislators have an important task to consider legislative decisions that are best for Texas. Regardless of the disarray in Washington, Texas is poised to chart its own course to a sustainable future with good leadership. Whether these leaders are blue-state or red-state, Texas leaders share a deep sense of responsibility on many issues. More than ever, there is a need for us to work together to devise solutions that will take our built environment in a positive direction to benefit Texans, and to do so in a way that’s environmentally sound.

    How do you begin to design green policies that can withstand this environment?

    As with each session, we started back in August trying to take a temperature of what might come across in terms of green building policy. We assessed the headwinds from the previous year in terms of sustainability for issues at the international, national and local levels, and how these may indicate opportunities for sustainable development.

    When the November election did not result in recognition of the issue of climate change, we felt the need to look as closely as ever before at pragmatic solutions, and to focus on the core competencies of the USGBC and our mission-driven organization. We proceeded to do what we always do: we mobilized our boots on the ground to hold important events in Houston and Dallas - thanks to the hard work of fine advocates from around the state, we learned about our leaders’ legislative priorities. 

    By January we were beginning to have some real conversations about policy proposals. Yet again, we realized that we had the opportunity to reaffirm our non-partisan role, our expertise in the professional community, and to look at what makes sense for Texas at the nexus of social, environmental and economic prosperity. From there, we reached out to offices and constructed a legislative agenda that was finalized ahead of our February 28th Advocacy day at the Capitol.

    What bills ended up on this year’s agenda?

    When we finished the legislative agenda in early February, the bills included:

    I was excited to be part of Advocacy Day in Austin back in February.  As a North Texas Regional Council Director who lives in a LEED-certified home, I wanted to share my voice. I even like to think I made a difference. Is this just wishful thinking or do they really listen to citizens like me?

    Thanks for attending and yes, it’s very valuable when people show up at the Capitol in person. Personal visits are much more valuable than phone calls, although making the calls matters also. No matter what end of the spectrum you’re on, legislators and their aides will listen to you, especially if you are their constituent. Those visits are never superficial.

    We had more than 40 advocates such as yourself attend the training and office visits for Advocacy Day, which created a strong voice for the Texas chapter. For the volunteers who took time to visit with their representative or senator – the importance of that cannot be overstated. At the end of the day, it comes down to people making decisions, and those people care about the interests of voters and taxpayers in their districts.

    What was the outcome of these bills?

    We saw several of the bills that we threw our support behind make it to the Governor’s desk. Anytime that this happens, it’s a big deal. These included SB 59 Filed by Sen. Zaffirini, a bill to support state agencies and higher education institutions. Also signed by the Governor was HB 1571, filed by Rep. Paddie, which will help facilitate energy-saving projects for local governments by expanding applicability of Energy Savings Performance Contracts. We consider these positive steps toward a sustainable future and a greener built environment.

    USGBC Texas plays a significant role because of our efforts. To achieve this, we had an excellent intern Michelle Mendoza, who I leaned on heavily in the organizing role. The advocacy committee themselves gave us great input and work. Advocates in the Gulf Coast region area such as Natalie Goodman helped organize a December legislative meet and greet in Houston. Letter-writing campaigns in the North Texas region were also critical to our momentum.

    What is the accomplishment you are most proud of from this session?

    Critical to our work this session was the formation of the Green Schools Caucus, which is chaired by Representative J.M. Lozano. As a result of his chairmanship, we were able to hold our first meeting of the Green Schools Caucus on May 18, which was attended by several legislative offices including the Speaker’s office.  That same day, Chairman Lozano read House Resolution 2090 on the floor of the House of Representatives to recognize and support Green Schools.

    Our group of five key presenters were recognized including Sangeetha Karthik and Janah St Luce with Corgan & Associates, who presented a case study of the Lady Bird Johnson Middle School. Their presentation helped us take an abstract idea of “green schools” and make it tangible by walking them through its list of net-zero attributes. Mike Dieterich from RISE industries was also present to show case studies of green schools from an operations and maintenance standpoint. Advocacy Advisor Ken Flippin and I were also present.

    What are your next steps?

    Building on our momentum from the Green Schools Caucus and HR 2090, House Resolution in Support of Green Schools, we are developing a list of interim charges that we will give to Senator Lozano’s office. These interim charges will take the form of proposals for studies that examine the effectiveness of high-performing buildings and schools. These interim charges and studies will be effective tools to build legislative measure for the next session.  With these actions, we believe that we are laying the groundwork for important legislation around green buildings and green schools in particular for years to come.

    Do you see schools could be a gateway to better buildings in Texas?

    They certainly have that potential, yes. Schools are important buildings to all of us, and therefore a priority in terms of building improvements in the state. Creating the buildings that educate our kids with better energy efficiency, performance and indoor air quality also translates into a “living lab” for sustainability education, which is essentially STEM education. Teaching our kids about energy use and technologies while giving them the benefit of well-being is a win-win for everyone.

    What do you need from us now?

    Local engagement is something I want to continue with moving forward. We must continue to communicate the immediacy of climate change, the benefits of sustainability, and explain the role that green building has to play as a solution to these complex issues facing humanity. We have to do that to remain effective. There’s an opportunity here for better dialogue from micro to macro. We must recruit new leaders within USGBC and be prepared to lead with our mission-driven organization. Now more than ever, our advocacy work is important at all levels, local, state, and national.

    Each of us has an opportunity to be leaders for sustainability, but we must be willing to do the necessary work to help achieve these goals. More than ever, we need your knowledge, expertise and your work for USGBC here in Texas.

    JOIN THE ADVOCACY EFFORTS
  • Monday, May 08, 2017 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    Integrative Design
    by Tricia Loe

    There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.  – Peter Drucker

    It’s time to take a new look at the way we build green buildings.

    The green building movement has been around for 20 or 25 years, and has (almost) come into the mainstream in many building markets. We’re getting pretty good at it, right? But real breakthrough in the way we build buildings will only come about with changes like using the Integrative Design Process. 

    For example, many people believe that the best way to build a green building is to add new, usually very expensive, features. Some of these “Gucci” options might include high-end mechanicals or expensive green-labeled finishes. However, adding green technology and products is not always the best way to build a green building. In fact, the added expense may prompt the stakeholders to “value engineer” the green features out completely.

    I’m all for new technologies, energy-efficient mechanicals, and sustainably sourced materials. And this strategy is certainly one way to earn a LEED certification. However, in some cases it’s just throwing new features into outmoded building designs. Isn’t it time for a breakthrough in the way we design and build buildings in the first place?

    Let’s imagine the alternative. What if the project team designed the building with an energy-efficient envelope, passive design features, and waste energy recovery? And what if these measures reduced the size of the HVAC equipment needed in the first place? Then the project could afford energy-efficient mechanicals because the equipment needed is not so large.

    What if the project team rethought the way materials were used, creating a building with simpler finishes that were naturally greener and less expensive?

    True Integrative Process takes building systems into account and finds new ways to create buildings. It evaluates the building using new process and tools, early in the design phase, processes and tools that can lead to a better building. The end result is a building that is built right…without skyrocketing costs.

    The Integrative Process will be the topic of our upcoming NTX Sustainable Showcase. We invite you to register for Sustainable Showcase and come learn more about designing and building using the Integrative Design Process. Our workshop presenter will be Bill Reed, founding board member of the US Green Building Council and co-author of “The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability”.

    If you’re looking for a whole new way of looking at sustainable building design and construction, then Sustainable Showcase and the Integrative Design Process can help you get there.

    Interested? Sign up below.

    REGISTER
  • Friday, April 07, 2017 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    How Can We Combat Climate Change? Education!
    By Mike Brown

    America is in the midst of one of the most profound and rapid societal shifts in history. Today's generation of children is the first to grow up indoors. Their plugged-in lives are largely devoid of exploring the natural world and we are just beginning to understand the ramifications of their virtual world.

    This movement indoors is not benign; there are costs to the health of our children: attention difficulties, hyperactivity, childhood obesity, diminished use of senses, disconnect from things that are real. Additionally, if children are detached from nature, how will they learn about, understand, and value nature? How will the next generation care about the land and be stewards of its resources? Did you know that environmental education can help children perform better in social studies, science, language arts, and math?

    Our children deserve the best education, and with proposed budget cuts to national programs that support energy & water conservation, our mission to promote sustainability is now more important than ever. April is Earth Month and with Earth Day Texas right around the corner we have the opportunity to re-engage the community and local industry professionals about the modern environmental movement; inspiring citizens around the world to demonstrate their commitment to a healthy and sustainable world. One way that the local U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Texas Chapter is doing this is through educational outreach with its Mobile Experience Center (MEC).


    MOBILE EXPERIENCE CENTER (MEC)
    It’s no Tiny Home, but something even better! The Mobile Experience Center is a 24-foot enclosed trailer that includes an interactive multimedia space – so that visitors can actually see, feel, touch and learn about green building design, construction, as well as building operation and maintenance strategies.  Through videos, touch-screen applications, and real-world demonstrations of energy-efficient lighting, appliances and plumbing fixtures, the Mobile Experience Center makes the concept of “sustainability” tangible to thousands of visitors. 

    What’s unique about the Mobile Experience Center is its portability.  It is truly a learning and experience center on wheels.  Instead of inviting groups to come see our green exhibit at a fixed location or even a temporary installation, we are able to bring this learning and experience center to them – whether it’s a tradeshow floor, a street fair, a city building, a public parking lot, or a school playground.  It just takes a few minutes to set up (i.e. -- we position the trailer, extend the entry ramp, flip up the solar panels, and switch on the inverter).  Voila!  An instant green building demonstration platform that’s fun and interactive! Some of these exciting exhibits include:

    • 500W Solar Photovoltaic System by Axiom Solar
    • High Efficiency Plumbing Fixtures by American Standard
    • LED Lighting Panels by RAB Lighting
    • EZ-H20 Water Bottle Filling Station by Elkay
    • Green Cleaning Products (Commercial & Residential) by Staples
    • Car Charging Station by NRG
    • And even insulation made from Recycled Blue Jeans! by Bonded Logic

    Sponsors benefit from creating, developing and enhancing credibility, engaging in highly targeted marketing, leveraging word-of-mouth potential, increase brand recognition, and give back to the community.

    Since the trailer has both residential and commercial products, local business owners can also learn about strategies and equipment that can be used improve their bottom line. Many of our volunteers are engineers, architects or contractors and are knowledgeable about various green building practices and methods for reducing operational costs. Data collected from last year's travels across North Texas estimated that the solar panels generated about 1,300 kWh electrical over the course of the entire year (equivalent to 2,190 miles driven by a car or preventing 1 metric ton of CO2 emissions). Now that the USBGC Texas Chapters are united, the MEC has the potential to travel across the vast state of Texas to various trade shows, conferences, and schools. Upcoming appearances include events like GRO El Paso, the USGBC Texas Energy Summit (Houston), and the North Texas Sustainable Showcase.

    Interested in having the MEC at one of your events, schools, or social? Visit our website here for more details on event requests.

    EARTH DAY TEXAS 2017
    The MEC is scheduled as an exhibit for this year’s Earth Day Texas event to be held Friday, April 21st – Sunday, April 23rd at Fair Park in Dallas. Event hours are 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. This three-day free event is held in April to celebrate progress, hope, and innovation and is the largest event in the world of its kind. Earth Day Texas brings together environmental organizations, businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, speakers, interactive programming, and subject matter experts along with live music and sustainable beer and food pavilions. Earth Day Texas creates a fun and engaging atmosphere for thought and experiential learning while encouraging attendees to be the change they wish to see in the world. In 2016, Earth Day Texas hosted over 130,000 attendees, 700+ exhibitors and 250+ speakers
    , becoming the largest annual environmental exhibition and programming initiative in the world.

      

    ENGAGING YOUTH TO BE FUTURE CONSERVATION LEADERS
    The MEC not only offers the community an opportunity to learn about existing technologies that conserve water and energy, but it also gives them the tools and resources to apply in their everyday lives. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, USGBC recognizes the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and natural resources.

    Teaching the community to become environmental stewards would not be possible without the help of our MEC Leadership Team and dedicated volunteers throughout the year.

    If you would like to volunteer at an upcoming event or join the development of bringing this amazing initiative all together, send a request below. You can also support by following or sharing on social media.

    ·        Like the USGBC Texas Facebook page

    ·        Follow USGBC Texas Twitter

    ·        Follow USGBC Texas on LinkedIn

    VOLUNTEER


  • Friday, March 03, 2017 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    The Business of Water: North Texas Water Symposium 2017
    By David Rodriguez

    Don't be deceived just because the lakes are full. Water will be an on-going concern for Texas businesses and homes as the population increases and temperatures rise. What do business owners, managers, and homeowners need to know about the current and long-term costs and availability of this quintessential natural resource? Find out on March 29th when USGBC Texas hosts its third annual North Texas Water Symposium.

    This symposium will focus on water security confidence, which the public and private sector need to continue making North Texas a viable place to invest in and conduct business. The intent of the North Texas Water Symposium is to inform and engage the public in dialogue on the state of water in North Texas. This year’s theme is “The Business of Water,“ so speakers will emphasize the business component with its many derivatives.

    Household decision makers and building professionals working with the residential sector will also benefit from understanding the statewide concerns around this critical natural resource that is both renewable and exhaustible.  The average household uses 400 gallons per day for indoor and outdoor domestic uses, spending about $500 annually on water and sewage utility costs. In 2009, it was projected 22% of US households would spend more than 4% of their household income on water and wastewater fees.  

    As water utility rates continue to rise faster than household income, water conservation must increase to improve the economic situation for our nation’s low-income households as well. All stakeholders should be present in order to understand the challenges as well as opportunities that will arise as water issues escalate in importance.

    Event Details
    THE NORTH TEXAS WATER SYMPOSIUM: THE BUSINESS OF WATER
    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2017
    Bill Priest Institute, Hoblitzelle Auditorium
    1402 Corinth Street, Dallas, Texas 75215
    9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

    Register Now


    Speakers-to-date include:

    • Sapna Mulki, Director, Water, Hahn Public
    • Jake Spicer, Enterprise Sustainability Manager, DFW Airport

    More speakers coming soon!

    The USGBC Texas has been pleased at the range and depth of water issues explored by the distinguished speakers who have participated in this series. Topics in our water symposium series have included: water stewardship; current historical and future impact of watershed, water quality, and water management issues on North Texas; long-term investment and planning for watersheds and the recent decreasing levels of North Texas reservoir storage; the impact of water on economic development in North Texas; property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing; and various options for water management.

    Previous speakers at our water symposiums have included:

    • Jonathan Radtke, North America Water Resource Manager at Coca-Cola
    • Mike Bastian, Vice President for CH2M Hill and Chairman of the Greater Dallas Planning Council’s Water Task Force
    • Robert Mace,  Texas Water Development Board
    • Jack Tidwell, formerly with North Central Texas Council of Governments
    • Mikel Wilkins , Verdunity Sustainable Design
    • Russell Laughlin, Senior Vice President of Hillwood Properties
    • Frank Bliss, President - Cooper and Stebbins
    • Robert Kent formerly with the North Texas Commission
    • Bech Bruun, Chair- Texas Water Development Board
    • Dr. Andrew Schoolmaster, Dean, AddRan College of Liberal Arts
    • Walter “Buzz” Piskur, Director of Water Utilities, City of Arlington
    • Linda Christie, Community and Government Relations, Tarrant Regional Water District
    • Glenn Clingenpeel , Planning and Environmental Services, Trinity River Authority of Texas  
    • John Robert Carman, Water Director, City of Fort Worth
    • Jay Chapa, City of Fort Worth, Economic Development
    • Lairy Johnson, Environmental Engineer - Miller-Coors
    • Todd Waldvogel, PE, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities & Campus Planning - Texas Christian University
    • Steve Sassman , Water and Energy Conservation Engineer- General Motors
    • Jody Puckett, Director- City of Dallas Water Utilities
    • Frank Crum, former Water Director, City of Fort Worth, Public Infrastructure at Halff Associates

    Any questions? Contact David Rodriguez, Program Chairman, USGBC Texas, Water Symposium Series at davidroyrodriguez@gmail.com.


  • Monday, February 06, 2017 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    Join USGBC Texas in Austin for Advocacy Day
    By Anna Clark

    The 85th Legislative Session began on January 10th. and advocacy efforts are underway to promote favorable policies for greener building in the Lone Star state. Green building is projected to see positive growth for years to come, with its influence reaching across the U.S. economy and generating significant environmental, economic and social benefits. If you are eager to learn how to encourage your legislators to support sustainable building practices in Texas, join us in Austin for USGBC Texas State Advocacy Day.

    On February 28th volunteer advocates will convene at the Capitol in Austin for an advocacy training session where we will review the Chapter’s advocacy priorities and legislative agenda.  Following this session, attendees will make legislative visits to offices in the Capitol during the afternoon.

    “Instead of walking in with big agenda, we have the advantage of walking in as educators on what can become positive and non-partisan legislation,” said David Matiella, Chair of the USGBC Texas Statewide Advocacy Committee.

    USGBC Texas is also pursuing a Green Schools Caucus during this legislative session and will target several legislators to co-chair this caucus. Green Schools Caucus will center around three pillars of a green school, including 1) reduced environmental impact & costs, 2) improved occupant health & wellness, and 3) effective environmental & sustainability education

    The state’s advocacy efforts complement USGBC National’s legislative priorities, which include:

    •        Government Leadership by example
    •        Private Sector market transformation
    •        Raising the bar on codes and regulations and
    •        Community-wide sustainability

    For details on the Chapter’s priorities for these impact areas, check out the Narrative of Priorities, the Advocacy & Policy section at http://www.usgbc.org/about, and review the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study.

    To participate in USGBC Advocacy Day, please meet at the Mitte Foundation Carriage House on February 28th at 11:00 am at 1008 West Ave, Austin, TX 78701. The event will conclude with a reception at Google Fiber Space located in downtown Austin at 201 Colorado St., Austin, TX 78701. Representative Mark Strama will speak. RSVP for the event below.

    For information, contact advocacy@usgbctexas.org.

    RSVP for Advocacy


  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 3:00 PM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    U.S. Green Building Council Announces Texas is

    10th State in the Nation for LEED Green Building in 2016

    Washington, D.C. — (Jan 25, 2017) — Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its national ranking of the top states in the country for LEED green building and Texas is the 10th state in the nation for 2016.  The annual list highlights states throughout the country that made significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation over the past year.  With a total of 211 LEED certified projects representing 1.67 square feet of certified space per resident, Texas is leading the charge in the green building movement in the United States.

    “Texas has been a phenomenal trailblazer in green building and LEED certifications and is leading the way toward a more sustainable future for generations to come,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC. “The success of LEED could not happen without support from states likes Texas that believe in being environmentally and socially responsible and have committed to transforming the built environment. With each new LEED certification, we are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment, driving economic growth and prioritizing sustainable practices that will positively impact the way residents, communities and cities live, work and play.”

    According to USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, LEED construction is expected to support 244,000 jobs and impact GDP by $21.39 billion from 2015- 2018 in Texas.

    “Our ranking in the Top 10 States for LEED shows the continued success of the green building market in Texas,” said Jonathan Kraatz, executive director of USGBC – Texas Chapter. “Companies and business owners across the state have embraced LEED and green building practices in all sectors from a fiscally — as well as socially — responsible perspective, and are realizing the benefits of LEED on both their occupants and facilities. We’ve made a great start and look forward to continuing our work creating prosperous sustainable built environment that improves life for all Texans."

    Now in its seventh year, the ranking assesses the total square feet of LEED-certified space per resident based on U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified during 2016. The full ranking is as follows:

    2016 Top 10 State for LEED

    Rank

    State

    Certified Gross Square Footage (GSF)

    Per-capita Certified GSF

    Total No. Projects

    1

    MA*

    24,398,765

    3.73

    136

    2

    CO*

    15,921,457

    3.17

    92

    3

    IL*

    36,188,485

    2.82

    151

    4

    NY

    48,405,204

    2.5

    211

    5

    CA*

    88,891,641

    2.39

    632

    6

    NV*

    6,397,602

    2.37

    22

    7

    MD*

    13,426,623

    2.33

    104

    8

    VA*

    18,444,309

    2.31

    155

    9

    WA*

    15,103,478

    2.25

    105

    10

    TX*

    41,942,393

    1.67

    211

    **

    DC

    17,476,447

    29.04

    120

    *Included in 2015 Top 10 States for LEED list
    **Washington, D.C. is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state

    A few notable projects that certified in Texas in 2016 include:  

    •    Skanska West Memorial Place Phase I in Houston; LEED Platinum
    •    Bank of America Plaza 901 Main in Dallas; LEED Gold
    •    Baylor Medical Waxahachie; LEED Silver

    Collectively, 1,819 commercial and institutional projects achieved LEED certification within the Top 10 States for LEED in 2016, representing 309.12 gross square feet of real estate. Across the United States, 3,366 projects were certified in 2016, representing 470.39 million square feet.

    The LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. More than 59,000 commercial, neighborhood and residential projects are currently LEED certified, comprising more than 6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 164 countries and territories globally. 


  • Thursday, November 17, 2016 2:00 PM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    What an exciting time it is to be a part of our USGBC Texas community! One of the key opportunities for Chapter members in guiding USGBC Texas' strategic direction is with the nomination and election of the 2017 Regional Councils.

    The Election will be open from December 1 - December 14, 2016. Voting is conducted online and only members of the Chapter may vote. Chapter Members will receive an invitation to vote via the e-mail on record - login to ensure your e-mail is up-to-date or e-mail chapter@usgbctexas.org for assistance.

    Not a member of the Chapter? Join or renew here.

    Below are your candidates for the 2017 Regional Councils.

    NORTH TEXAS


    Debby Moore Baker

    Vice President of Sales

    Moore Disposal Corporation & 
    Moore Recycling Incorporated


    Susan Flanagan
    , LEED AP ID+C
    Southwest Regional Manager
    Solatube, International

    Brandon Kenney
    Vice President
    Fischer & Company


    Tricia Loe

    President
    Sustainable Concepts, LLC


    GULF COAST


    Brent Farrell

    Founder & Owner
    ReCraft Construction Services, LLC


    Tim Murray

    Sustainable Design Leader
    EYP, Inc.


    Maria Perez
    , AIA, LEED Fellow
    Architect
    Gensler

    Kapil Upadhyaya
    Senior Associate/Building Performance Analyst
    Kirksey Architecture


    CENTRAL TEXAS


    Andrew Clements
    Architect
    Self-employed


    Lisa Storer

    Project Manager
    Benz Resource Group

    Andre Suissa, MAI
    Principal
    Titan Commercial Valuation, LLC


    Amy Tasch
    , LEED AP ID+C
    Treehouse, Inc
    Assistant Store Director


    Allison Wilson
    , AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Associate
    Ayers Saint Gross


    WEST TEXAS


    Lauren Baldwin

    Sustainability Program Specialist
    City of El Paso


    Nicole Ferrini
    Chief Resilience Officer
    City of El Paso


    Ryan Green

    Seeing Green Sales & Consulting, Inc.


    Thea Gudonis

    Solar City


    Joseph Riccillo
    Sundt Construction


    SOUTH TEXAS

    Michael Britt
    Project Architect
    Lake Flato Architects

    John Sullivan
    Architectural Specifier
    InterCeramic USA

  • Friday, November 04, 2016 8:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    Greenbuild is the most exciting week of the year for USGBC when industry professionals converge to share ideas and celebrate the accomplishments of the past year. This year, members of the green building community and beyond gathered in Los Angeles, California on October 5-7 for the industry’s premier event. 

    Didn’t have the opportunity to attend Grenbuild 2016? Check out the recaps from your fellow Texas Chapter members below, from first-time Greenbuild newbies to Emerging Professionals to seasoned conference goers.

    "The two big USGBC announcements from Greenbuild were the "arc" platform that bridges all the GBCI certifications using big data and LEED for Cities (no details yet!). The expo was as informative as ever and featured several tiny houses. The two big electrochromic glazing competitors tried to outdo each other with View offering a virtual product experience at their booth while Sage glass gave tours of the 71 Above restaurant outfitted with their product in L.A.'s tallest building. The educational sessions were decidedly more technical than in the past and I left each one with new ideas and tools to implement them. I took two tours that were uniquely L.A.. The first showed the polar opposites of the Hollywood neighborhood with a new housing project for homeless and then a Class A+ residential tower incorporating historical buildings of the old CBS radio / TV studio. That tour ended at Morphosis' Emerson College, a dorm and classroom building for the student's L.A. internships, overlooking the Hollywood sign. The second tour was of UCLA with its 30 LEED certified projects on campus and its system wide goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Keynote Speakers Bjarke Ingels shared his latest projects while Sebastian Junger told us of war-time loyalties that tapped into our instinctive need for tribal belonging and how these groups can make true change possible. Fun was had too, from Pokemon hunting on Santa Monica Pier to Celebration performances by X Ambassadors and Aloe Blacc." - Tim Murray, USGBC Texas Board of Directors - Secretary

    "When I first learned about Greenbuild, it was described to me as “Disney World for people in our industry”. It most definitely did not disappoint.

    My Greenbuild days looked like this: I reached my daily 10,000 step goal by lunchtime, jumped from one interesting education session to another learning about what new projects and technologies are changing our industry, and was exposed to the most innovative green products on today’s market. However, as amazing as all that was, what really made it “Disney World” for me was being surrounded by thousands of people who genuinely cared about the environment, interacting with leaders that were paving the way so we could all make a difference, and having the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas across all areas of sustainable design." - Marianna Verlage, First Time Greenbuild Attendee

    "It was great to attend Greenbuild this year in LA. I always enjoying going to Greenbuild to see new sustainable and innovate products, attending great educational sessions and networking with other sustainable leaders from around the world!

    This year, I noticed a continued emphasis on Health and Wellness. We are still learning just how important our buildings and spaces can have a big impact on human health.  We need to focus on improving the environment that we live in." - Chris Mundell, North Texas Regional Council - Chairman

    "Greenbuild this year offered a lot of LEED v4 informational sessions.  There was concern expressed by many conference attendees about how project teams will handle the new challenges and how the market will accept the new standards.  There was also a subtle transition in the USGBC’s vision and focus with a new CEO taking over for Rick Fedrizzi, Mahesh Ramanujam.  Mahesh gave an official acceptance speech at the Closing Plenary session where he expressed concerns about growing social issues facing the world.  He originally comes from India and is personally touched by the extreme poverty many people live in and the unequal access to sustainable living environments.  I think in the future we’re going to see a lot more advocacy for gripping social issues from the USGBC… or at least more edgier Master Speaker Sessions at Greenbuild!" Courtney Brinegar, ADVANCE Ambassador

    Thank you, Los Angeles – it was definitely an Iconic Green event! For those of you who missed out this year, mark your calendars for Greenbuild 2017 in Boston on November 8-10, 2017.

    Did you attend Greenbuild 2016? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below! (You must be logged in to leave a comment).


  • Monday, October 10, 2016 9:00 AM | Michelle McEuen (Administrator)

    A Green Apple for Our Teachers
    by Stacia Peese

    September has passed and our children are settling in for another year of reading, writing and arithmetic.

    The past several months, I’ve been learning about challenges and opportunities in the education community. How are the students being prepared for the 21st century? What type of tools do they need? How are facilities supporting these progressive learning styles? And how can we pay for it all?  Each of these questions has complex answers. In this blog post, I’m focusing on the maintenance and operation numbers.

    This past spring, USGBC’s Center for Green Schools released a study entitled State of Our Schools: America’s K-12 Facilities. The study highlights that many of our school facilities are struggling to provide 21st learning environments because many essential maintenance and capital improvement programs are underfunded.    

    According to the study, on every school day, nearly 50 million students and 6 million adults occupy close to 100,000 buildings. This equates to an estimated 7.5 billion gross square feet and 2 million acres of land. That’s huge! In fact, state and local governments invest more capital in K-12 public school facilities than in any other infrastructure sector outside of the highways. 

    Nationally, between the years of 1994-2013, states and districts spent a total of $925 billion in 2014 dollars on maintenance and operations (M&O), including: daily cleaning, grounds keeping maintenance, utilities, and security of facilities.  This averages to $46 billion per year over those 20 years. In order to keep pace with the projected increase in student enrollment from 2012-2024, M&O spending will need to increase another by another $8M. 

    In 2013, Texas K-12 Public School facilities consisted of 8,731 schools amounting to 602 million gross square feet. Enrollment was set at 4,897,523.  In the period from 1994-2013, Texas public school districts spent $4,598M maintaining and operating its facilities. That is roughly 11% of their total operating funds. The study stated that based on historic rates of spending, the State of Texas will need to increase its spend an additional $2M per year to accommodate the additional 688,641 students projected to enroll in classes between 2012 and 2024. Most of that increase will go toward capital construction and new facilities as Texas’ historic spending on M&O is above the National average.  Since the study was conducted, this may be a challenge to maintain with the declining oil and gas revenues that have been enjoyed by the State. 

    The report’s executive summary provides four key strategies for addressing our challenges.

    1) Understand your community’s public school facilities.
    A key requirement is to have better data on public school infrastructure.
    2) Engage in education facilities planning.
    Education leaders must communicate to the general public the value of safer and healthier environments for learning. Provide a plan.
    3) Support new public funding.  
    Relying primarily on local property taxes will not allow for improvements.  We need to be creative not only on state and local levels.  We need to explore, too, how the federal government may assist. 
    4) “Finally, leverage public and private resources in new ways to assist states and districts in providing healthy, safe, educationally appropriate and environmentally responsible facilities for their communities.” 

    Practicing sustainability in schools can make a big impact in managing our maintenance and operations resources.  A few activities that fall within these categories include daily cleaning, campus waste audits, grounds-keeping, campus beautification, security and school lighting.

    If an educator is interested in going green or know of one that you would like to support, consider the Green Apple Day of Service, a global movement to put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future. Events can be hosted year round. To plan an event, visit:  http://mygreenapple.org/

    May we always learn new things in order to better support ourselves in the future.  May we always have an environment available to test new skills and theories. That’s what I’m doing here with my first ever blog post as a proud Regional Council member of USGBC Texas, whose mission is to educate all Texans about the benefits of sustainable building. 

    School is never out for the pro, so if you’re interested in opportunities to grow and learn in sustainability, join us!  Here’s how:  https://usgbctexas.wildapricot.org/join-us.


    Stacia Peese, LEED AP
    Staples Business Advantage



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