Sustainability ENews Vol 10 #12 Beyond Status Quo

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The Masonry Society



Sustainability E-News

Going Beyond Status Quo



June 30, 2018                                    

Volume 10, Number 12





From the Editor

I just returned from the meeting of the ASHRAE Standard 189.1 Project Committee. Standard 189.1 is a consensus standard for high-performing green buildings, and it forms the technical content of the soon-to-be-published 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC). One of recent undertakings of the 189.1 Project Committee is to consider how to broaden the adoption of the IgCC/189.1 standard. As many of the articles featured this time note, widespread use of resilient and sustainable building techniques is still lacking. And while many would argue cost and complexity play a factor, I believe that in many cases when one considers life cycle costs, many sustainable building strategies have a short payback period. Of course that is not true of all measures and complexity in codes and standards certainly plays a role in limiting use. However despite, or perhaps in some cases, because of the slow adoption of these measures, some are advocating for new, innovative approaches that go beyond green building approaches we have today. Check out the stories below, and let me know what you think.


Christine "Tina" Subasic, PE, LEED AP


NOTE: Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of the products and materials featured, nor have these products been evaluated by TMS or the editor. Furthermore, the views expressed in the articles featured are those of the article authors.




Though LEED and RELi are rating systems and technically not standards, we have included updates about these programs below as well as one that is new to the U.S. BREEAM is a program that has been around for decades in the UK and will now be available here. ~Tina


New Construction Green Certification Program Coming to US

Architecture and engineering firm HOK and the Building Research Establishment in the UK have partnered to bring a new-construction green building certification program to the US: Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM. The certification has been available outside the US since 1990, and a pilot project is expected to start here this summer. Read more here.


RELi Rating System Improves Project Resiliency at Every Level

USGBC is further refining the RELi rating system to synthesize LEED Resilient Design credits with RELi Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation credits. Read more


Call for Volunteers for 2018 LEED Committees

Apply by August 24 to join one of 10 LEED committees in search of volunteers. Ideal candidates are familiar with the LEED rating system and have one or more of the specific areas of expertise sought by a particular committee. All LEED committee volunteers must be employees of USGBC member organizations. Each volunteer position will be for a first one-year term beginning January 1, 2019. Click here to learn more. 



The articles below are a "call to arms" to change the way we are building our buildings. We have many of the needed tools, but too often they are not being used. Read more in the links below. ~Tina


Adoption of Disaster-Resistant Homes Has Been Too Slow

Design and safety features that can help homes withstand hurricanes, flooding and other extreme weather are not being embraced quickly enough within the housing market, experts say in this article. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides reduced rates for flood insurance in communities that exceed local building codes, and insurers are encouraging builders to meet the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety's enhanced standards to protect homes from hurricane damage. 


New Brief Highlights Resilience of LEED Projects

This USGBC Brief shares LEED-certified projects that have shown exemplary resilience. The projects include an office space in San Juan, Puerto Rico; a corporate headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey; a cold climate research facility in Fairbanks, Alaska; and an apartment complex in Los Angeles, California. Even though their needs and approaches varied, each project pursued enhanced resilience while meeting LEED requirements.


AIA President Calls for Carbon-Neutral Built Environment

According to this article, American Institute of Architects (AIA) President Carl Elefante recently called on architects, industries and governments to do more to achieve a carbon-neutral built environment by 2050. "The United States and Europe have made significant strides when it comes to designing high-performance buildings, but we face real challenges in retrofitting the existing building stock," said Elefante. "Overcoming this is critical to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050." 


Q&A: Net-Positive Sustainability is the Future


The next step in corporate responsibility is for companies to work toward a net-positive environmental impact, says Josh Prigge, founder and CEO of Sustridge. "Rather than just minimizing our negative impacts, regenerative development is about eliminating those negative impacts and actively creating positive impacts -- regenerating, restoring and revitalizing ecosystems and communities," he says.


Green Building that Cleans the Air


According to this blog post, today's green building standards, rating systems and codes are stale, largely based in decades old science and do not go far enough to be efficacious for most business to invest in. Today the debate about building has shifting away from a discussion of risk toward the question of "how to capitalize on exciting opportunities." Companies and investors are quickly realizing that environmental matters are social, political and moral issues, but also economic and business opportunities as well.




It's not too late! To submit an abstract for the 13th North American Masonry Conference that is! The event to be held next year is looking for papers on sustainability, energy efficiency, case studies and more. Check out the link below for more information. ~Tina


Call for Abstracts: 13th North American Masonry Conference

The 13th North American Masonry Conference will be held June 16-19, 2019, at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT. The Conference is hosted by Brigham Young University and is the latest in the series of quadrennial conferences sponsored by The Masonry Society. The conference seeks to provide a forum to professionals from around the world for networking and sharing the latest advances in masonry knowledge and practice. More than 150 papers from more than 20 countries are anticipated to be presented at the conference and included in the final proceedings. Authors are invited to submit abstracts describing proposed papers no later than July 31, 2018. Instructions and requirements for abstract and manuscript submissions are available at



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