Sustainability ENews Vol11 #1 LEED v4.1

The Masonry Society
Sustainability E-News
LEED v4.1 
January 15, 2019                                   
Volume 11, Number 1
From the Editor
Happy New Year! A new year always seems to bring changes, and 2019 is no different. We reported previously on the recently published 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), and now we have new updates to LEED available in what USGBC is calling beta versions. USGBC is taking a more responsive approach this time around by rolling out draft versions of the rating systems, recognizing that when LEED v4 came out it was too much, too soon, and many requirements demanded documentation that could not be met. LEED v4.1 includes updates to many credits that clarifies requirements and makes them more achievable. You can read more about these changes in the links below.
While green building certifications may be lagging, green building is continuing to grow according to a recent Dodge Data & Analytics' survey. What has your experience been? I expect that green building practices will continue and evolve as more design professionals begin to consider resilience and human health in their designs.
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.
The big news this month is the new versions of LEED v4.1 have been released. Read more below. ~Tina
LEED v4.1 Beta Edition is Here
The LEED v4.1 evolution for the design and construction of full buildings (LEED BD+C) focuses on accessibility, the most current standards and real-world project experiences.
  • Energy metrics include both cost and greenhouse gas emissions (a first for LEED)
  • Upgrade to ASHRAE 90.1-2016
  • Applicable and achievable credit requirements throughout the rating system
    • For example, updated Rainwater Management requirements with a lower minimum percentile storm events and added guidance for zero-lot-line projects
    • And a new Renewable Energy credit that better addresses diverse methods of renewables procurement and evolving global renewables markets
    • Restructured Materials and Resources credits that include options acknowledging efforts at varying levels, bridging the gap from where the market is currently to the goals identified in LEED v4 and carried into LEED v4.1
For a preview of the changes in LEED v4.1, click here, or check out the new rating systems
RELi Could be Standard Practice in Nearly Every Real Estate Transaction
RELi 2.0, a comprehensive rating system that provides strategies and tools for resilient building and design, was recently launched. RELi 2.0 is significant because it is widely suggested, just as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is now standard practice in nearly every commercial real estate transaction in this country, that in the future the same will be true of a resilience assessment. Continue reading.
Rethinking Building Codes Can Increase Resilience After Major Hurricanes
Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana-which had no uniform building codes prior to the storm-determined that best practice includes an intense focus on systems, from management and operational to service delivery. These systems improve when open communication and relationships are nurtured between enforcement, builders and contractors with an emphasis on knowledge-brokering about the law and best practice. The need for training of these three groups-and homeowners-in the benefits of codes and their application proves key for these relationships to remain productive and for the systems to work, especially post-disaster. To read more, click here
ACEEE Publishes 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. For the second year in a row, Massachusetts is ranked number one and California number two. ACEEE developed the scorecards to "give state-level policymakers a road map for building stronger and more resilient communities." The scorecards are a great resource, providing a benchmark of state energy policy and progress. The scorecard uses a 50-point scale across six categories, helping the reader drill down into areas where a given state can benefit from improvements, as well as highlighting areas in which the state is a top performer. Read more.
The first article below discusses acoustics - something that is often overlooked even in sustainable design. One helpful resource is the recently published updated TMS Standard on Determining Sound Transmission Ratings for Masonry Assemblies. On a different note, I've often written in this newsletter that there is no Holy Grail when it comes to sustainability. Everything has advantages as well as disadvantages. The challenge is that we often only hear the positive side of a story. The second link below discusses some of the drawbacks of utilizing renewable energy. ~Tina
Acoustics and Sustainable Design
A recent letter to the editor in High Performing Buildings magazine makes the point that "a discussion of noise is one key missing element in almost all articles describing sustainable design concepts and practices. In the pursuit of energy efficiency and similar goals, little or no consideration is being given to acoustical issues. Certainly there are LEED points to be gained in some cases for acoustical performance, but acoustics are often given second-class status compared to reducing material use and energy consumption, and other priorities." 
Renewable Energy Impacts - Balancing Challenges in Transitioning to a Low Carbon Future
Renewable energy sources also have environmental impacts. This article discusses two studies that emphasize the importance of developing a deeper understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy sources before embarking on employing them on large-scales. The authors encourage further research on the impacts of offshore wind power and other renewable technologies on the environment. 
Survey: Green Building Gaining Ground
Dodge Data & Analytics' new survey of 2,000 construction industry professionals shows that 47% of respondents believe that more than 60% of their projects will be green in the next three years, although challenges will include higher first costs, affordability and not enough political support and incentives. According to this article, the study also found that client demands, regulatory compliance and the social preference for healthier structures are driving the shift to greener building.  
Startup Helps AEC Companies with Sustainable Design
Atlanta-based startup Cove.Tool is helping architecture, engineering and construction firms more easily meet the requirements of sustainable design by using data and "energy modeling" automation to identify the most efficient methods. The company's platform provides customized recommendations based on each project's particular parameters. Read more.
USGBC publishes several year-end news reviews. Links to two are found below. ~Tina
Here's a link to USGBC's most popular articles in 2018.
Here's a link to an article on World Green Building Trends by USGBC.

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