There's an interesting backlash against LEED that's underway. If you follow TreeHugger, you'll remember a recent piece about the Sustainable Forest Initiative's movement to get the Federal Government to drop LEED. Now there's coverage of the Plastics industry making similar moves, claiming LEED's 2012 restrictions on PVC will hurt the industry.
According to the Plastics industry, two proposed credits in the 2012 LEED rating system arbitrarily restricts chemicals in the building and uses a European standard called REACH, which the industry claims will hurt US manufacturers and job creation in the long run.
The other side of the argument suggests the Plastics industry is frightened by a safety standard being applied their products and is simply seeking to twist arms to hurt an establish building standard that is only working to keep home and building occupants safer and healthier.
Which side of the fence are you on in this matter?
Home Depot and the USGBC recently announced the launching of an online green home products database. The site is leed.homedepot.com and will be a "microsite" on homedepot.com that will feature products within the green home building family. Some of these products will be the kind that earn LEED points and/or are required when looking to earn LEED certification.
Despite a slow housing market, green homes are expected to increase from last year's 17% of new residential construction to 38% in 2016, according to last week's report by McGraw-Hill Construction.
The new Home Depot/LEED site should help that prediction become reality by making green products more easy to find for homeowners and builders, particularly those looking to achieve LEED certification.
My "green" state of Vermont ranks 13th in the latter and 41st in the former. So we are consuming less energy than most but paying more than most for it. Hmmmm. I guess energy costs are pretty high here.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced its annual LEED for Homes Awards, which recognizes projects, developers and home builders who have "demonstrated leadership in the residential building marketplace."
The Project of the Year was awarded to The GO Home in Belfast, Maine, with was built by GO Logic. At a scant 1,500 square feet, the small footprint home is a three-bedroom, LEED Platinum primary residence that uses minimal energy -- in fact it is both a net zero and passive home, reducing energy usage by about 90 percent.
Maryland placed first out of 19 teams, edging out the runner up (Purdue) by a little under 20 points.
My alma mater, Middlebury, came in a respectable 4th, climbing up from their 8th place ranking last week when points were still being awarded.
As reported in last week's post on the Solar Decathlon, the event pits college teams against each other to build an affordable, sustainable, energy efficient home that gets evaluated in a number of categories, including Architecture, Communications, Appliances, Energy Balance and more. 100 points are the maximum for each category. Maryland scored a perfect 100 in Energy Balance and Hot Water and a near-perfect 99.798 in Appliances.
Check out all the details on the competing teams to learn more about this amazing event. Hopefully we'll see more institutions participate next year.
The EPA just announced that 25 percent of all single-family homes built nationally in 2010 earned EPA's ENERGY STAR. Since 1995 1.2 million new homes have earned that prestigious designation. According to the EPA that's about $350 million save on utility bills and about 450,000 vehicles worth of greenhouse gas emissions cut.
To earn the Energy Star, a home must meet strict energy-efficient standards, which include effective insulation systems, high-performance windows, quality construction to reduce leaks and drafts, efficient heating and cooling equipment and Energy Star qualified lighting and appliances. Sounds easy enough.
To see how your state compares to others in ENERGY STAR qualified new home construction, check out the EPA's New Homes Market Index.
Our good friends over at the Eco News Network are going to be reporting while in Toronto at Greenbuild 2011, the yearly gathering of green-minded manufacturers, builders and consumers.
To prep for Greenbuild, Eco News has been pointing their blog spotlight on some of the exhibitors they'll be visiting at the show. In this post they feature Curava, a countertop option that is made from 70 percent recycled glass. The surface contains glass, cement, sustainable seashells and pottery fragments from kiln waste.
The manufacturing process of Curava saves 180 tons of waste a year from going to landfill and results in a pretty vibrant product, if you ask me. I'm in the market for a new countertop, and this one just made my list of top options.