Slide 1 - Minnesota Chief Engineers Guild

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					     Thank you

 Chief Engineers
Guild of Minnesota
 and Macalester
     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
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
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
  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
  responsible and resource-
    efficient throughout a
     building's life-cycle.
Or, to create buildings that…

1. Provide efficient use of
energy, water and other
Or, to create buildings that…
1. Provide efficient use of energy, water and other

2. Protect occupant
Or, to create buildings that…
1. Provide efficient use of energy, water & other
2. Protect occupant health.

3. Reduce waste, pollution
and environmental
 These all sound
   like good,
achievable goals,
  wouldn’t you
However, is this
the only way to
create truly
Or This?
Do these look like
they could be
“Green” buildings?
The reality
is they are
all “Green.”
Some are new
while some are
Keep this in
mind; a “Green”
building does not
have to be new or
 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
 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
Today’s building materials
 industry is awash in Eco-
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
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
This is an
example of a
reports for
Icynene low
density spray
To see more of
these reports
go to
and select
“Directory of
Laboratories (UL)
 also has a new
Green Verification
  According to UL…”this
     service is aimed at
  providing validation for
sustainable product claims
 by means of independent
 testing and assessments.”
UL Green Verification Service
 “Green-e” is yet another
  independent consumer
 protection program that
  offers certification and
 verification of renewable
energy and greenhouse gas
   mitigation products.
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
For example, a very
 popular “Green”
product is anything
made from Bamboo.
But, consider this….
Where is most
of the Bamboo
 in the world
Southeast Asia.
                   So to put this
                   we’re over
                   here some

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
The “Leed” (Leadership
     in Energy and
Environmental Design)
program was developed
by the USGBC (United
 States Green Building
  The “Leed” program
 provides designers and
 builders with standards
   for environmentally
   sustainable designs,
  construction methods,
operation of buildings and
 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
  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
      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
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
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
So what are some
examples of these
 suggestions and
  best practices?
One reference
  is the ICC
Code Council)
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
reference is the
 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
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
    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
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
called “Topic
   Brief 7:
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
So, what are some of
 the things that can
be done to help make
    our existing
   buildings more
 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
The use of insulation on hot
   water piping and the
  addition of solar water
    heating equipment.
 Replacing rooftop HVAC
systems with high efficiency
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
      Being aware of
 formaldehyde and other
VOC emissions present in
materials used for interior
    finishes like paints,
 varnishes, pressed wood
products like plywood and
  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!

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