Greener Product – a green building resource

One of the most challenging things about working on a LEED or other green building project can be sourcing materials and specifying products that will not only gain points in a certification program but also represent the level of sustainability desired.  If there are limited LEED experts in a given area, that challenge only grows for builders, architects, homeowners and contractors.  That’s why when I first stumbled across Greener Product, I thought it was a perfect solution for these resource problems.   Greener Product’s online provides architects, builders and the public a quick and easy online platform for searching and evaluating “green” products according to the Internationally recognized United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

The database can search by location and determine if the product meets the 500 miles radius requirement that LEED often provides for products used in a project. It will also give the user a checklist of the products in each search, letting them know if the product has recycled content, low VOCs, certified wood and if it’s rapidly renewable.  Maybe one of the most useful features, Greener Product shows the number of points that can be achieved by using a product.

From the Greener Product website:

Greener Product, LLC identified this problem and over the past year has developed a “game changing” web based platform designed specifically for LEED AP’s, architects and builders to identify green building products. This free service platform allows for the building specifiers to quickly search for green building products and then once identified evaluate those product against the LEED standards.

The online service is a platform for manufacturers to “tell their green story” directly to the largest group of American building specifiers. The products are registered on the Greener Product, LLC web site and presented to the LEED community for final consideration. Then the products are evaluated (against the LEED standards) and  the information is prepared in a report supported by copies of independent 3rd party certificates (FSC, CARB, Greenguard, Blue Angel, etc), laboratory testing reports, product environmental attributes, LEED credit and inserted into a comprehensive report ready for submission into the architects project file.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

Green Life Smart Life Founder On Panel At Greener Gadgets Conference

Kimberly Lancaster, Founder of the Green Life Smart Life (GLSL) project, will be a speaker at this year’s Greener Gadget’s Conference on Feb. 25th in New York City.  Speaking on the “Green Living Begins at Home” panel, she and four other industry experts will discuss sustainable design strategies and tips for creating plans for a home that is both high-tech and green.

The GLSL project was designed to demonstrate the implementation of green building techniques and smart home technologies to achieve LEED® for Homes certification. Not only did the project achieve LEED® for Homes certification, but was rated by the US Green Building Council as Gold certified. The Narragansett, RI 4529 sq/ft home scored 92.5 out of 136 points and is the first LEED-H Gold home in RI and only the second completed LEED-H project in the entire state.

“Every day we make choices about what we are going to reuse, recharge and recycle in our home. By being aware of the impact of the choices you make, whether it is the amount of energy a device consumes or where it ends up at end of life, we can all minimize our environmental footprint,” stated Lancaster.

Lancaster is also the founder of Caster Communications, a full service public relations firm specializing in consumer electronics, clean technology and sustainable design. Caster Communications was the development and marketing team for the Green Life Smart Life project.

The Greener Gadgets Conference, sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will cover issues on energy efficiency and sustainable design, along with innovative advances in packaging and product manufacturing to end-of-life recycling solutions. It will emphasize ways in which electronics make a major impact by utilizing renewable energy in developing nations.

LEED for Homes Point by Point – Awareness and Education

Awareness and Education – 2 points achieved out of 3 points available::

So if you’ve been following our project then you know what we’ve done for both education and awareness. But we did go through extensive trainings with each of our key subcontractors like Newport Geothermal for our HVAC system and Robert Saglio Audio Video for our home, lighting, entertainment, irrigation and energy systems. I spent hours with John Carter understanding what it would take to keep our lawn healthy by minimizing water, eliminating chemicals and using organic fertilizers and treatments.

Our homeowners manual is more than 6” thick and covers every system and subsystem in our house, outlines the warranties and maintenance programs and lets us know who to call for help.

Our public awareness, well, you be the judge. We have blogged about the project or a topic relating to green building every single day since October 2008. We have had more than 60,000 people to our blog during that time and even earned an AllTop rating for best green blogs. We’ve been covered in local, regional and national media. We’ve always had signage on the home, and on December 12th we hosted our fourth and final open house on the project.

With a final rating of LEED-H GOLD, with a score of 92.5, I am proud of what we accomplished. I hope you enjoyed our project as much as we did and know that our goal now is to follow and find other projects, cover other case studies and help homeowners find the best products for their project. Feel free to submit your ideas!

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

LEED for Homes Point by Point – Location & Linkages

Location and Linkages :: 7 points achieved out of 10 points available::

This section of the application was a little tougher than it sounds. Applicants get the automatic ten points of they are in a LEED for Neighborhood Development, but seeing as how we live in a coastal, mainly vacation community that is more than 60 years old, so that was out. We did however pick up points for our site selection including not building with 100 feet of the water or on habitats of threatened or endangered species, among other things. We also received points for building on previously developed land. We did not get points on either infrastructure nor community transit and resources because we are more than ½ mile to all of the basics but, for the record, we are less than a mile to anything we would need and bikeable to my office and we have lots and lots of access to Open Space.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

LEED for Homes Point by Point: Innovation & Design

Innovation & Design :: 9 points achieved out of 11 points available ::

We achieved 9 out of the 11 available points in this category. ID 1.3 Professional Credentialed with respect to LEED for Homes is apparently not available yet although we are using one (I believe this is in effect for applications made since mid-2009).  We also missed ID 1.5 which is building orientation for solar design because of the number of east facing windows (it faces Narragansett Bay and the Newport Bridge) – I make no excuses for our choice.

One of the most important aspects of ID is the quality management and durability planning. From the very beginning of our project, we created a Durability Checklist; we then used that as a working document to assign Scope of Works and as a checklist to make sure things were getting done as planned. Incorporated into our building contract, the checklist did evolve as the house was built taking into account any in field changes, additions or deletions.

The third portion is ID 3 which are Innovative Design – four points that are based on truly innovative or regional practices implemented on our project. We’ve been working on 3 of these points from the very beginning. The first point is Energy Management and involves the installation of a system that provides us as the homeowner’s automated control over various loads in the house. Having installed Control4 for home automation and Lutron for lighting control, our system is comprehensive, managing both individual loads and grouped system loads. The Control4 system controls the five-zone Geothermal HVAC system. We can access, control and manage any of the five zones from any of the access points in the house. Control4 includes pre programmed set scenes, timed programming, shutdown, individual temperature control and management of every zone.

The Control4 user interface has multiple options which includes ten touch screens located in each of the following rooms (front entry, kitchen (plus on wall tablet), guest room, children’s rooms (2), master bedroom, unfinished bonus room); remote controls in the living room, master and guest room, side table tablets in the master bedroom and on any PC in the house which includes the office. The interface displays information by the top eight monitored loads broken down to primary categories including: (1) lighting control system, (2) HVAC system, (3) entertainment system rack, (4) televisions, (5) kitchen refrigerator (6) pantry refrigerator (7) entertainment system rack, and (8) charging station. The energy management point takes into account al of the access and control from above and then measures how well the information is supplied to the homeowner. In our case, Control4 aggregates energy usage hour-by-hour, day-by-day, month-by-month. Information can be reported in graphs by time or by load. The system can also recognize and communicate areas of consumption that can be lowered to conserve energy and save money. These two points we won’t officially know the decision of the USGBC technical review committee for approximately another 90 days.

The third point we applied for was our “Wiring for a Green Home” plan, which saved us 52% of the materials used on a comparable project of size, scope and system requirements as determined by our electrical systems contractor. When we were told we’d have to wait 90 days to hear about the here open ID points, we said, well go ahead and submit anyway but what else can we do and we applied for 1.5 points for exemplary performance in MR 2.2 which was our use of environmentally preferred products.

The fourth ID point we applied for was for our high performance washing machine which required both an Energy Star rating and a water factor of 3.5 . Our Whirlpool Duet washing machine helped us achieve 1.5 points for reducing water usage by 74% and energy usage by 80% over washing machines manufactured before 2004. We also received one point for exemplary performance in Sustainable Sites (SS2.5) for attaining the full six points for our conservation and our irrigation system.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

The Marriot Courtyard Hotels get a makeover

Marriott, one of the largest hotel chains in the US, has started down the path to being green.  Every small step this huge hotel chain makes is going to be a big impact with hopefully more hotels will following in their footsteps.  Marriot is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions close to 100 million tons by 2010, what an impact.  So they started in Washing D.C. where their headquarters is located.

By switching over to compostable plates and silverware they will be significantly helping the environment.  What a great way to leave a positive footprint in the ground!  They even went a step further by supplying their employees with re-usable coffee mugs and water bottles, to cut down the usage of paper ones.

Marriot headquarters even made an office model to how a green office should run.  With bubble cut outs in a carton like effect they showed which containers recycled what.  They even placed signs to show how shutting of a lamp that isn’t needed will save energy as well as their printers and monitors when not in use.

In the next five years Marriot plans to have their Marriot Courtyard hotels be LEED certified, they currently have more than 160 hotels in development.    The Courtyard Settler’s Ridge in Pittsburgh, Penn., will open next summer.  It will be the first hotel structured and designed with these standards. More than 30 of their hotels are being designed to receive LEED certification as of now – very impressive.

For a dollar a day Marriot is also offering their guest the ability to green their stay.  They have adopted a creative saying, “Green Your Marriott Hotel Stay for $1/Day.”  It is only offered to guests who book online and the $1 a day will go towards the preservation of a Brazilian rainforest.  By doing this it allows the guest to offset his/her carbon they generated throughout their stay.  What a fun an innovative idea!

By Kate Kiselka /  Follow me on Twitter

Environmentally Responsible Windows Feature Recycled Materials and with SmartSun Glass Offer Energy Efficiency

The Andersen 100 Series WIndowf features environmentally responsible and third-party-certified construction, economical price, and energy-saving performance.

Recycled content is an important component in the construction of 100 Series products.  The overall amount of recycled content is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and ranges from a minimum of 18% – 24% pre-consumer recycled glass and wood fiber content based on the National Fenestration Rating Council-rated standard window size in single-hung, casement, awning, picture and gliding window styles.

Andersen achieves this by manufacturing the 100 Series from the company’s patented Fibrex® material.  Fibrex material is a highly sustainable structural composite that blends the best attributes of sawdust and polymer – much of it reclaimed directly from Andersen’s manufacturing plant operations. It combines the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl.  Independent testing has found that Fibrex material has a low thermal expansion and contraction rate, is resistant to rotting and termites, and retains its rigidity and stability in high temperatures.

Andersen 100 Series products also have received SCS Indoor Advantage™ Gold certification for indoor air quality.  This level of certification meets North America’s strictest indoor air emission criteria, namely the California Section 01350 Specification, the strictest emission standard in the U.S.

“There’s a lot of engineering that goes into Andersen products and you really notice it in our new 100 Series windows and patio doors,” said Blaine Verdoorn, marketing manager at Andersen.   “This product line is tailored to the likes and needs of builders in the West, and we know they and their customers will appreciate its sustainable design.”

Andersen 100 Series windows feature a clean, contemporary design and are available in single-hung, gliding, casement, awning and specialty fixed styles in more than 1,200 sizes and can be specified in more than 20,000 combinations.  There are four exterior color options available: White, Sandtone, Terratone®, and Cocoa Bean.  All have matte finishes and white interiors.

There are 48 glass options including the new Andersen SmartSun™ Low-E glass, standard Low-E glass, dual-pane and specialty glass.  Finelight™ grilles-between-the-glass are available, with a sculpted profile and duplex color capability, so the interior and exterior colors match those of the window.

Windows with SmartSun glass can also help homeowners save money with a tax credit.  As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009, the legislation allows for significant federal tax credits for “qualified energy efficient improvements,” which includes windows, doors and skylights.  Just visit our website at to find a link to the tax credit information. Or, visit the Energy Star Web site for more information,

Builders and architects will appreciate that 100 Series windows can help earn up to 17 LEED points in the Energy & Atmosphere category, up to 13 LEED points in the Materials & Resources category, and up to 15 LEED points in the Indoor Environmental Quality category.  Andersen® 100 Series windows meet ENERGY STAR® qualifications in all climate zones.

As a charter member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Andersen has designed the 100 Series product line to last and reduce future waste streams.  Fibrex® material is durable, long-lasting and can be reclaimed to make new windows, and the products are protected by minimal packaging to help reduce cardboard usage, jobsite waste, and shipping costs.  Andersen also is committed to using only wood from sources certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative or similar organizations.