Sustainability ENews Vol 11 #8 The Full Picture

Sustainability E-News
Seeing the Full Picture
April 30, 2019
Volume 11, Number 8
From The Editor
recent study from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) found that many of the assumptions used in life cycle assessments (LCA) are not accurate, particularly those related to the carbon neutrality of wood products. Among the many valuable take-aways from the report, I especially found this one to ring true: “In an energy-efficient, long-service-life structure, the GHG [greenhouse gas] impacts of building material choice remain negligible, suggesting that embodied emission reductions should not be pursued at the expense of operational efficiency.” This statement is consistent with other research that indicates more should be done to focus on operational and equipment energy use over the life of the building.
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.
Assessing the true environmental impact of construction remains an elusive goal. Whether using a rating system like LEED or conducting an LCA, outcomes are based on assumptions and many times we are limited in seeing the true, or whole picture. The article below highlights one area where recent research calls into question commonly held assumptions. ~Tina
New Report Questions Wood Sustainability Assumptions
A recent study from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has found that many life cycle assessments (LCAs) that show wood construction lowers carbon emissions often overlook several important factors. Most notably, the Winnipeg-based think tank said typical LCAs do not track or account for “biogenic” carbon — a category that includes carbon losses related to soil disturbances, imperfect reforestation efforts and the conversion of old-growth primary forests to less productive secondary forests. These sources can account for up to 70 per cent of total lifecycle emissions and “challenge the prevailing assumption wood construction materials are less carbon intensive than steel or concrete and should be favoured.” To read more, click here
California Towns Rebuild After Wildfires With Resilience in Mind
Communities are asking how to rebuild back better after suffering devastating wildfires. This story is the first chapter of Hazards Ahead, a series about resilience from ENR.
Column: Green Building Helps Structures Exceed Minimum Requirements
Green building requirements have a positive effect on construction because they encourage developers and contractors to exceed minimum building standards, Joe Snider writes. The US Green Building Council's LEED program was meant to be a higher standard than codes and improve over time while emphasizing sustainability, he says in this article.
USGBC Issues Report on Public Opinion
The U.S. Green Building Council commissioned an in-depth national qualitative and quantitative research to listen to people’s views of the environment—a study whose breadth and detail that went much further than the familiar audience for LEED. This is the first publicLiving Standard research report of an ongoing series where USGBC set out to better understand how the public feels about the issues at the core of the green building community’s mission—sustainability, green buildings, and the environment—and the power of storytelling to further our work in sustainability.
On Earth Day 2019, AIA Names COTE Top Ten Winners
The Committee on the Environment (COTE) has recognized 10 projects that integrate design excellence and sustainable performance. Read about the winners.
NYC is taking the lead on addressing energy efficiency of existing buildings. The latest act continues the trend. Read more below. ~Tina
NYC Aims to Reduce Large Building Emissions
New York City is expected to pass the Climate Mobilization Act, which would require reducing emissions of large buildings by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Although buildings larger than 25,000 square feet account for just 2% of New York City's real estate, they make up half the city's building emissions. Read more here or here.

Analysis: How WELL Standards Differ From LEED
The main difference between LEED certification and the WELL Building Standard is that LEED focuses on buildings and WELL emphasizes people, Mike Watt writes. For example, WELL requires high indoor air quality, filtered drinking water, insulation from surrounding noises for workers and more.
A few things to try in your own work place. ~Tina
Simple Strategies to Make Your Business a Little Greener
On Earth Day columnist Steve Strauss explained what small-business owners can do to help save the planet. Stop offering plastic bags, provide incentives to employees who use alternative transportation, purchase renewable energy, and source goods and other services from sustainable, local providers. Read more.
Register Now for The Masonry Society Spring Meetings
Registration is now open for the TMS Spring Meetings to be held in Salt Lake City, UT June 14-16, 2019. For more information on the upcoming meeting and TMS Committee activities, check out this linkor listen to a recording of the recent Virtual Town Hall and review the Presentation pdf.
Registration Open for 13th North American Masonry Conference
The 13th North American Masonry Conference will be held June 16–19, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Conference is hosted by Brigham Young University and is the latest in a series of quadrennial conferences sponsored by The Masonry Society. More than 150 papers from more than 20 countries are anticipated to be presented on a wide array of masonry topics. For more information and to register visit the conference website.
LEED v4.1 Updates
For links to free education on LEED v4.1, scroll down to the bottom of this page
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