the professionals blog

Be Green: 10 Steps to Keep Your Employees Healthy

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Article written by Barbara O’Brien,  20 July, 2011

Being an employer is more than just providing an energetic and productive work atmosphere; it is setting an example.

The environment in which your employee’s work is actually more important than the type of job they are doing. Regardless of whether your company is in a high-tech, eco-friendly industry, providing a healthy work environment is more important than any output.

Being green is more than just providing an eco-conscious product but ensuring that those staffers working in your offices remain healthy. Beyond your company’s output, it is critical to ensure that your office is as eco-friendly.

The health impacts of these important changes are partially short-term: they provide an environment that ensures the long-term health of employees but also the relative impact on the Earth.

Ultimately, by being a role model, by providing an environmentally conscious work atmosphere has more influence than just producing low-impact products. Continue Reading →

LEED Green Associate Test Prep Resources

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“Whether or not you’ve taken or are planning to take a LEED Green Associate test prep course, the following steps are essential for preparing to ace the exam.”

Over the past several years many have written advice on preparing for LEED exams, including here on this website. However, few sources provide a more professional service, with unequaled content, to aspiring or practicing LEED professionals than LEEDuser. Continue Reading →

Environmental Release of Mercury from Broken Compact Fluorescent Lamps

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WARNING: Mercury vapor released from broken compact fluorescent light bulbs can exceed safe exposure levels!

One of the websites I visit frequently is Watts Up with That? – commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology and recent news. The site is hosted by Anthony Watts, a former television meteorologist who spent 25 years on the air and also operates a weather technology and content business.

Perhaps it’s coincidence that I ran across his 06 July, 2011 article, Gee, ya think? Proof of what many have said for years, that provides his analysis of a study by Mary Ann Liebert reported in Environmental Engineering Science. Coincidence because I was recently challenged when I mentioned to several of my piers the potential health issues caused by mercury contained in Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).

In summary, the study states:

However, the TCLP results do not fully reflect the potential hazards of CFLs because the CFLs continuously release Hg vapor once broken. The emission can last weeks even months and the total amount of Hg that can be released in vapor from new CFLs can often exceed 1.0 mg. Since vapor Hg can be readily inhaled by people, rapid removal of broken CFLs and sufficient ventilation of rooms by fresh air are critical to prevent people from potential harms. Effective packaging for preventing the breakage of CFLs and retaining the Hg vapor from broken CFLs is another way to reduce exposure to Hg in transportation, handling, and storage.  Continue Reading →

LEED 2012: Update #1

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According to LEEDuser , USGBC has pushed back the second comment period on LEED 2012 to later in July.

Per the USGBC website:


1st Public Comment has closed: Period was open Nov. 8 through Jan. 19, 2011

2nd Public Comment: Open July 2011

Additional public comment periods will be held as needed.

Rating system ballot: Projected for Aug. 1 – 31, 2012

Rating system release: Projected for Nov. 7, 2012 Continue Reading →

Green Demolition: Building Green from the Ground Up

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via The Green Economy Post: Green Demolition: Building Green from the Ground Up – A Vital Side of Sustainable Development

The conventional way to bring down a building is the good ol’ wrecking ball. The building is collapsed into a huge pile of rubble and then transferred to commingled debris dumpsters. All materials are lumped together, many of which take several generations to decompose. Steel – 100 years. Aluminum – 300 years. Plastic – 450 years. Glass never decomposes. Then there is the hazardous waste – – who knows that harm is lurking there. Regardless, this conventional, commingled trash heap isn’t going anywhere soon because, no matter the nature of the material, it is all going to the same place – landfill.

There is a better way.

Thankfully, the easy alternative is “green” site preparation. Sure it takes a little more planning and coordination but really it just comes down to thoughtful deconstruction, site-sorting, and mindful demolition. With some foresight and creativity, landfill becomes the last option for site preparation by-products. Instead, the life cycle of the by-products is extended… and everyone wins… and you might even get a tax break for your green efforts.

This life-cycle extension is at the core of one facet of sustainability that we strive to practice in all we do… cradle to cradle construction. The materials that are “born” to build one structure are recaptured via mindful demolition and “reborn” by reuse or recycling.

Deconstruction has two distinct phases. First is the soft-strip where the structural interior and exterior are scoured for reusable and recyclable materials. Reuse should always be the paramount goal, whether the materials are to be reused on-site as part of the new project or integrated somewhere off-site. During this phase, items like reclaimed wood, brick, and rock and reusable or recyclable fixtures and furniture are extracted. By the time this first phase is complete, there should be nothing much left but the structural envelope i.e, walls, roof, and foundation and supporting members. Continue Reading →

Green Groups Blast U.N. Climate Panel for Alarmism

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via Forbes: Green Groups Blast U.N. Climate Panel for Alarmism

If you haven’t yet heard, hell froze over last week. Oddly enough, this is likely to be bad news for a warming planet.

Last Monday, more than 125 environmental groups sent a scathing letter to Rajendra Pachauri, the Nobel prize-winning head of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the institutional nerve center within the United Nations’ global-warming juggernaut.

The letter accused the IPCC of taking climate change ‘too’ seriously. In particular, the letter argued that the IPCC had no authority to sponsor a small meeting of climate scientists taking place tomorrow in Lima, Peru. The meeting will consider so-called “geo-engineering” options for responding to worst-case scenarios of catastrophic climate change.

By attacking the IPCC for responding to the risks of climate change too aggressively, the letter marks a major pivot in the politics of climate change, which have officially crossed into the twilight zone. Continue Reading →

Autodesk Revit Products for BIM-Enabled Sustainable Design

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View this free screencast and learn how to use Autodesk® Revit® software to improve your sustainable design process and increase ROI.

There are five (5) tabs on the left side of the video viewer for indivdual segments: Introduction, Site Selection, Energy Analysis, Lighting Analysis and Conclusion

The dangers of bone-headed beliefs

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From The Sydney Morning Herald, The Dangers of bone-headed beliefs

Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies…so their grandchildren could say, ”Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?”

Continue Reading →

Building Green on a Budget: Advice from Leading Architects

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What are the best ways to build sustainably within budget constraints? Writing for, Lisa Taylor asked several leading architects for insight on this timely issue. Their collective advice on building green on a budget is to return to the fundamentals of good design and choose climate-appropriate materials that offer a quick payback.

Back to Basics

…building green on a budget is as simple as returning to the roots of good architectural design. When you build things with a sense of craft and purpose, they are more frequently cared for and looked after, which makes them last longers. “Good, beautiful design is a large part of sustainability.

Site Matters Continue Reading →

How to Install a Branched-Drain Greywater System in a Green Home

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Although many communities regulate and/or prohibit private treatment of wastewater, this installation may be a suitable option where public sewers are not available or on-site greywater treatment is permitted. This is a very well documented installation, complete with photos and a downloadable greywater system proposal used to submit for permitting. From the Energy Vanguard Blog,  follow me »

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