Thank you Chief Engineers Guild of Minnesota and Macalester College Geven Rabe Minnesota Certified Building Official Minnesota Certified Building Official – Accessibility Specialist Certified by the International Code Council (ICC) International Building Code (IBC) International Residential Code (IRC) I am working toward getting certified in the IGCC (International Green Construction Code). I am not LEED Certified. “Leed” is a design standard. As a Building Official I interpret and enforce the building code. I do not design. I have been asked to come here today to talk about…. What’s up with all this “Green” Stuff? Everywhere you look these days someone is trying to sell you a product or the idea about building, remodeling or just living more “Green.” According to one study, 82% of consumers surveyed said that they would pay at least 5% more for environmentally friendly products, and 70% reported that their purchasing patterns are influenced by environmental messages and labeling. If you have looked into any of this “Green” stuff you may have came away with the same feelings that I did at first. At first glance it would appear the “Green” they are talking about it this! And, surely I’m not the only one to feel that “Green” is one of the most overused words around today. As a matter of fact, LSSU (Lake Superior State University) in issuing it’s 34th annual List of Words to be Banished, it had “Green” as #1 in 2008. Or how about “Carbon Footprint” or “Carbon Offsetting?” It would seem that leaving a carbon footprint is the new politically incorrect. Even when I spoke with the person who invited me here to speak today I was told of his experience with his city’s inspection department about capturing rain water from the roof to use for lawn irrigation. He was told the water would have to be chlorinated before using it for irrigation. So as you can see, the level of understanding of what is involved with “Green” anything by most people connected to the building industry varies a lot. And, it does not help much when the “water marks” for this “new” movement look like this - While these may be an okay reference for the do-it -yourself home owner, I don’t think this is what professionals should be relying on. It would seem that confusion reins supreme as far as what “Green” is really all about. And what, if anything is being done or required by the “Building Codes” that may already be “Green?” It would seem the place to start is by trying to clarify what “Green” building is all about. It would seem the place to start is by trying to clarify what “Green” building is all about. What are the goals? It would seem the place to start is by trying to clarify what “Green” building is all about. What are the goals? What are the benefits? According to Wikipedia, “Green building” is…the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource- efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. Or, to create buildings that… 1. Provide efficient use of energy, water and other resources. Or, to create buildings that… 1. Provide efficient use of energy, water and other resources. 2. Protect occupant health. Or, to create buildings that… 1. Provide efficient use of energy, water & other resources. 2. Protect occupant health. 3. Reduce waste, pollution and environmental degradation. These all sound like good, achievable goals, wouldn’t you agree? However, is this the only way to create truly “Green” buildings? Or This? NO! Do these look like they could be “Green” buildings? Or these? The reality is they are all “Green.” Some are new while some are remodels. Keep this in mind; a “Green” building does not have to be new or small. Another fact that may help bring this whole thing into perspective is that the “Greenest” building you can have is one that already exists. Another fact that may help bring this whole thing into perspective is that the “Greenest” building you can have is one that already exists. How can this be? Another fact that may help bring this whole thing into perspective is that the “Greenest” building you can have is one that already exists. How can this be? It’s really quite simple. All of the energy used to make and transport the materials used to build it and the waste generated while building it does not have be done all over again. We are a throw-away society. And the construction industry is one of the country's largest contributors to landfills. We throw away something like a “Billion” board feet of usable, structural lumber every year. To give you an idea of how much that is, the average new home built in America today is about 2400 sqft. This amount of lumber that we landfill each year could be used to build 62,000 new homes. Today’s building materials industry is awash in Eco- Labeling. Green Labeled Programs range from easy to get and maintain, to difficult to obtain and stay on. This wide range in labeling programs is confusing to builders, Building Inspectors, the public and I’m sure to this group also. But, understand that “Green” products do not have to be new. There are a multitude of resources out there to find good reusable and surplus building material. So what we need to do is educated ourselves and others as to what this “Green” thing is all about. So what are “Green” products? And, who is looking at these items to determine if they are “Green” or not? Through my research I have found several different sources for information on “Green” products. One resource I use for all kind of building materials is the ICC’s (International Code Council – the building code people) “ES (Evaluation Services) Report” system. ICC-Evaluation Services has developed their own “SAVE” (Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation) program that evaluates products to see if they meet claims made by the manufacturer. This is an example of a reports for Icynene low density spray foam insulation. To see more of these reports go to www.saveprog ram.icc-es.org and select “Directory of Reports.” Underwriters Laboratories (UL) also has a new Green Verification service. According to UL…”this service is aimed at providing validation for environmentally sustainable product claims by means of independent testing and assessments.” UL Green Verification Service (www.ulenvironment.com) “Green-e” is yet another independent consumer protection program that offers certification and verification of renewable energy and greenhouse gas mitigation products. www.green-e.org But even with these to help us get informed about what may or may not be “Green,” common sense needs to be applied when deciding what is really “Green.” For example, a very popular “Green” product is anything made from Bamboo. But, consider this…. Where is most of the Bamboo in the world grown? Southeast Asia. So to put this into perspective, we’re over here some place. Most of the Bamboo in the world grown here. How much energy is used to harvest and process bamboo into boards and shipped to Minnesota? Now, compare that to … let’s say… red oak boards; grown, harvested and processed somewhat locally then shipped to Minnesota. Now, compare that to … let’s say… red oak boards; grown, harvested and processed somewhat locally then shipped to Minnesota. Get the point? You can’t really start talking about “Green” building without including “Leed.” The “Leed” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program was developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). The “Leed” program provides designers and builders with standards for environmentally sustainable designs, construction methods, operation of buildings and neighborhoods. However, “Leed” does NOT certify products. Rather, any “Green” products or designs used in a building or development maybe considered if applying for a “Leed” Certification for a building. The “Leed” program provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance, protecting occupant health, reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation. In researching this topic, what I have found is a lot of things in the Minnesota State Building and Energy Codes that seem to support the ideas and goals of Green Building & Remodeling. To help make this point I’m going to switch into the residential building area to show how things relate to “Green” building and remodeling and some things the Minnesota Building Code already requires. You have probably heard of “Energy Star.” This program was started in 1992 by the EPA and the U.S. Department Of Energy that addresses energy saving practices and designs for appliances, home building and remodeling. Energy Star Homes are ones that have earned a rating for their energy efficient design and the appliances used in them. But what is the measure of savings of an Energy Star home when compared across the board? In 2006, RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) a national association of home energy raters, started developing the HERS Index (Home Energy Rating System). This is an upside-down scale of 0 to 150 with the national code-minimum new house set at 100 and a net-zero-energy house set at 0. This an upside-down scale of 0 to 150 with the national code-minimum new house set at 100 and a net-zero- energy house set at 0. So, the lower the number score the lower the energy consumption. An “Energy Star” home is about an 80 on this scale. According to BAM (Builders Association of Minnesota) the average home built in Minnesota under the old energy code (chapter 7672 - issued June 2000) is about a 61 on this scale. And, again according to BAM (Builders Association of Minnesota), the best new house in Minnesota (built under 7672) would be a 48 on the HERS Index. Notice in this example that Minnesota has been addressing energy efficiency in home building for some time. And, if energy efficiency and indoor air quality are key factors in “Green” building, we seem to be on the right track. So far we seem to have defined to some degree what “Green” building and remodeling is and what part the Minnesota Building Codes play in that process. However, by Minnesota State Law, a community can not enact a local ordinance or code that is more restrictive than the state building code. So for now we only have guidelines, suggestions and good practices to go by for Green building or remodeling. So what are some examples of these guidelines, suggestions and best practices? One reference is the ICC (International Code Council) International Green Construction Code (IGCC). The purpose of the IGCC is to…”safeguard the environment, public health, safety and general welfare through the establishment of requirements to reduce the negative potential impacts and increase the positive potential impacts of the built environment on the natural environment …” “…and building occupants by means of minimum requirements related to: conservation of natural resources, materials and energy; the employment of renewable energy technologies, indoor and outdoor air quality and building operations and maintenance.” While IGCC deals mostly with site development, commercial building design, construction, operation and remodeling, it does apply to some residential. And, while the IGCC has been adopted by several states around the country, Minnesota has not. We may in the future but for now it is only a reference manual. Another reference is the ICC’s International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The intent of the IECC is to …”regulate the design and construction of buildings for the effective use of energy. This code is intended to provide flexibility to permit the use of innovative approaches and techniques to achieve the effective use of energy.” While this is the model upon which the current State of Minnesota Energy Code is based the state has not adopted the IECC yet. However, according to some sources it may be possibly as soon as 2012. This is yet another document that is actually part of the existing code. This is an engineer’s design manual that provides a “…standard…” that “…provide minimum requirements for the energy- efficient design of buildings…” including the mechanical systems. It provides the minimum energy- efficient requirements for the design and construction of new buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems along with new systems and equipment installed in existing buildings. As you may have noticed in the information presented there seems to be a very high emphasis on designs that address conserving energy, renewable energy, air quality, building operations and maintenance. So what’s the big deal with all of this stuff???? To start out with you have to understand that buildings use approximately 70% of the fossil fuel used in the US. In 2008 the 30% solution was introduced. This proposal set as a goal for all buildings, new and existing, to be 30% more energy efficient than they are now by the year 2012. The United States Department Of Energy has gotten behind this proposal and it is now going to be included in the next version of the codes due out in 2012. Now I don’t mean to scare you with all this gloom and doom about how much extra its going to cost to meet these new requirements to make existing and new buildings 30% more energy efficient. Believe it or not the government is doing something to help! In December 2009 DOE issued a document called “Topic Brief 7: Compliance Roadmap.” It explains that this is part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” and will help to achieve compliance with building energy codes in at least 90% of the new and renovated residential and commercial building space within 8 years. As you can see, building new or remodeling existing buildings to be more energy efficient, durable, making better use of what already there along with making them healthier buildings already is and should be a big deal. So, if the goal is to be more energy efficient, more environmentally responsible and making our buildings healthier for the occupants, then acting on the concepts presented here today must become a larger part of the regular maintenance, repair and remodeling of any building. So, what are some of the things that can be done to help make our existing buildings more “Green?” One mentioned earlier is to manage storm-water runoff by collection, filtration, evaporation or to use it for the irrigation of landscaping. Or the use of permeable pavers or similar materials for parking lots & walkways. Another would be when reroofing existing buildings consider roof solar reflectance and thermal emittance in the selection of material used. And there are energy code requirements for insulation “R” value when reroofing. The control of light pollution when lighting parking and walking areas along with the type of lighting used either outdoor or indoor such as LED where possible & other high efficiency lighting products. The use of insulation on hot water piping and the addition of solar water heating equipment. Replacing rooftop HVAC systems with high efficiency units. The use of renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic systems or wind generation on or around your buildings. The use of water conserving plumbing fixtures and appliances. Being aware of formaldehyde and other VOC emissions present in materials used for interior finishes like paints, varnishes, pressed wood products like plywood and particleboard. There are many areas to address when it comes to the remodeling of an existing building such as the exterior wall insulation, air barriers, drainage planes and window/door “U” values and Solar Heat Gain. This is just a short list of item that can and in some cases have to be done that not only conserve energy, create a healthier interior environment but will add to the durability and performance of the building. And if done correctly, the end result will be that you are being more “Green.” Achieving any goal as to making a better building whether is has a “Leed” or any other “Green” certification or not, is not a destination, but rather a on-going journey. But keep in mind that chasing points to be “Green” is not being Green and may not make a building energy efficient or durable. Thank You!