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White House LEED, Green, WHAT!?

In another bold move by the president, he recently uttered the words LEED when referring to a Certification for the White House.  Is this even possible?  I mean I realize it is, but can we just take a step back for a minute and reflect on where we came from and what was happening in this country two years ago?090914 whitehouse w White House LEED, Green,  WHAT!?

The test below is republished from who posted the news on Sept 14th 2009.  It’s funny… I didn’t see the Wall Street Journal mention anything about it…

“Going far beyond the organic vegetable garden and playground made from recycled materials, President Barack Obama intends to get the White House LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

That’s the word from an article on Sierra Club’s Green Home website. From the article:

White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) spokesperson, Christine Glunz, says the effort to get the White House to LEED certification includes energy and water systems as well as waste. She believes it is vital to consider toxicity and life-cycle when making purchases for facilities. CEQ is looking to reduce the carbon footprint of the White House by implementing computerized energy management systems, automatic light sensors that turn off in unoccupied rooms and low-flow water valves. Paints and sealers with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), biodegradable cleaners and recycled equipment will all be used by White House groundskeepers and engineers, according to a White House spokesperson. Window films that will lower UV rays and save energy will also be added.

According to an article on the National Geographic website, any leftover materials from White House renovations and demolitions will be donated to local reuse organizations. If President Obama continues to enforce such eco-friendly changes throughout his term, he will be on the right track to making the White House more of a “green house,” proving with a LEED certification that he can lead Americans to a greener world.

We regularly report on the benefits and importance of retrofitting existing buildings as one of the keys to cutting the country’s energy dependence. Even if greening the White House itself would have just a small impact on the nation’s capital, its symbolic importance would be considerably greater.”

The EBS Team

LED Lighting Calculator – Just switch out those bulbs would ya!

So I never like to give away trade secrets but it isn’t like this puppy should be locked away in some vault – it really isn’t all that secretive. And besides our proprietary information involves a much much more conclusive approach to sustainability (just kidding we use this calculator all the time!)
led spotlights LED Lighting Calculator   Just switch out those bulbs would ya!
You wouldn’t believe it but there are so many tools out there people can use to analyze what “greening” strategies can do for your life, health and bank account. Below is just one of those strategies … oh and several of my opinions of course

LED ROI Calculator

This tool is quite powerful and here is why:
1. LED’s are better than CFL’s – especially for new construction. When implementing a lighting plan for your new office, building or home you need to be spec’ing for LED. Below are a few links that may be helpful when trying to understand how incadescent, CFL, and LED’s work. They are quite different and you should read up on the differences. Financially they make sense over the long term – big time sense!

2. CFL’s are terrible choices in the long run but like everything we need a game changer – the government implemented the ban of incandescent bulbs which is great -we are going to save bundles and gobbles of money but destroy our oceans and poison our children in the meantime. This law is about as smart as the government saying lets all put lead paint on our walls or lets insulate with asbestos. The fact is that mercury has been phased out of thermostats yet we’ve all the sudden decided its ok to re-implement its use in every lighting fixture in America. Sounds good to me!

3. LED’s last for over 6 years – that is if you leave them on 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week – THAT IS SIX times longer than CFL’s are rated for. Did I forget to mention they use half the energy a CFL does.
Another quick note we often forget – 94% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses is lost as heat. LED’s don’t get hot!

Seriously take a look at this calculator and tell me they are fiscally irresponsible and I’ll tell you your crazy.

The numbers make sense, the color rendering and lumen output make sense, the dim ability (not all CFL’s can dim) features and spotting possibilities make sense yet our government mandates something that doesn’t. What a f–ing surprise – although it was the Heckuva Job, Bushie guy who designed the ingenious plan. I mean you can’t blame a Texan for trying right. . .

Until next time – change out those incandescent s already would ya!

The EBS Team

What if we painted the world white?

I recently learned a few things that I was a little shaky on.

This article talks alot about one of those things.

That is the power of WHITE – and yes I mean the color. globewhite What if we painted the world white?

For the majority of people out there we understand the ability of light colors. They reflect while dark colors absorb. And we are talking about heat for those of you just joining the conversation.

And a majority of us have heard of the concept of cool roofs. That is you paint or put some sort of white membrane on a roof and it dramitically reduces the cooling loads of a building because the temperature of the roof surface drops by 50+ degrees.

However in the above mentioned article you can read about the actual effects of a study that was conducted. This study has the audacity (a good audacity) to claim that adopting a cool roof and cool pavement strategy would change the climate drastically – drastically like 44 billion tons of CO2-
“That is more than all the countries on Earth emit in a single year. And, with global climate negotiators focused on limiting a rapid increase in emissions, installing cool roofs and pavements would offset more than 10 years of emissions growth, even without slashing industrial pollution.”

Pretty incredible! I also learned this weekend that shiny metal (which tends to reflect more than white surfaces) is not a good roofing strategy (actually it can be you just need to be aware of how to install it). This is because using a shiny metal as a “radiant barrier needs to have an air space accompanying it. Metal is a conductor and if it is placed next to another surface (i.e. you covering your roof with shiny metal) it will conduct that heat through the surface it is touching.

So what this means for you is – don’t get suckered into buying a foil faced foam board insulation to put on your roof. When you lay roofing shingles on top of it (or whatever you roof it with) you have eliminated the purpose of the radiant barrier all together. Hope this helps!

The EBS Team

Every Building should have these!

While gearing up for the new presidency and getting excited about him closing Guantanamo, I also think now is the time to actually get things done. President Obama to me seems like the type of man who is no bullshit, real, and measurable.
Exterior Night Every Building should have these!
This means several things for us as peons. It means we will actually see things happen in the United States instead of that wait and react feeling we’ve had for the last several years (oh wait, let me correct myself and say last 8 years!). The good news is we’ve already see it.

Our last post revolved around the idea of Obama and energy efficiency for government buildings. Thats great and I’m happy for the government. Maybe they will set the example for the rest of us so we can actually look up to our leaders instead of following in their footsteps (look to American debt vs. other countries like Japan if you don’t agree – classic example).

With that said, you are probably wondering how you can contribute.

Well below is from the Organic Architect’s website.

EVERY Project should include these!!
1. Every project should be a Passive Solar design, orient to the sun and incorporate passive cooling.
2. Double the minimum amount of insulation required. Use only non-toxic or recycled content
3. Use Low/No-VOC and Formaldehyde-Free Paint. Use Solvent-Free Adhesives.
4. Use Low VOC, Water-Based Wood Finishes.
5. Use certified wood or finger-jointed wood for all finish trim.
6. Expose the structure to avoid the need for additional finishes.
7. Avoid wall to wall carpet, or use carpet tiles with a company with a take back program.
8. If you must use drywall, use recycled content drywall. Try other natural wall finishes.
9. Use composite lumber for all exterior decks.
10. Replace up to 35% of the Portland Cement in the concrete with Fly Ash.
11. Avoid vinyl products. Alternatives include rubber, turned up carpet, linoleum, etc. As an
alternative to vinyl flooring consider linoleum, made from wood flour, resins and linseed oil. It’s
available in a variety of colors and can be cut and pieced in to any pattern you can dream up.
12. Specify a light color roof in warm regions; a non asphalt roof allows for future water catchment.
13. Avoid standard particle board cabinets and use formaldehyde-free medium density fiberboard,
plywood or wheat board for cabinet boxes.
14. Consider bamboo, reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood, and wheatboard for cabinet doors
and drawers, and sealed with a no- or low-volatile organic compound clear finish.
15. On-demand hot water pumping system rather than a whole house re-circulating hot water loop,
which has proven to be inefficient for delivering hot water quickly.
16. Any new toilets should be dual flush type. For $20, EcoFlush makes a kit to retrofit existing
toilets to dual flush.
17. Recycle Job Site Construction and Demolition Waste. Change your general demolition notes to
salvage all removed doors and windows for possible salvage or reuse.
18. Use treated wood that does not contain Chromium, CCA or Arsenic for decking and sill plates.
19. Landscaping uses drip irrigation system to save water and indigenous xeriscaping plants that
require little water.
20. Incorporate permeable paving at all driveways and exterior surfaces.
21. Reuse concrete form boards, or reusable slip forms.
22. Insulate foundation before backfill.
23. Substitute solid sawn lumber with engineered lumber.
24. Use OSB for subfloor and sheathing
25. If you are going to use stucco siding, use integrally colored stucco.
26. Install a whole house water filter.
27. Provide conduit for future solar addition.
28. Provide dimmers on all light switches. (Wattstopper)
29. South and west facing walls to have a high thermal mass material (concrete, or earthen).
30. All appliances to be high level EnergyStar models.
31. Pre-plumb for solar water heating.
32. On demand, tankless water heaters
33. Provide heat reclaimation GFX exchangers at all high use showers.

If you don’t understand what this stuff means then look it up and do your homework. This is real, its now and it needs to be known.

The EBS Team

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