USGBC – LEED – At Center of Legal Action

USGBC, LEED Targeted by Class-Action Suit

 

Henry Gifford, whose lawyer filed a class-action lawsuit against USGBC, has been an outspoken LEED critic since 2008. 

SOURCE: BUILDINGGREEN.COM

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its founders have been named as defendants in a class action lawsuit filed in federal court. Filed on behalf of mechanical systems designer Henry Gifford, owner of Gifford Fuel Saving, the lawsuit was stamped on October 8, 2010 at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Among other allegations, the suit argues that USGBC is fraudulently misleading consumers and fraudulently misrepresenting energy performance of buildings certified under its LEED rating systems, and that LEED is harming the environment by leading consumers away from using proven energy-saving strategies.

Alleged fraud and deceptive practices

The suit alleges that USGBC’s claim that it verifies efficient design and construction is “false and intended to mislead the consumer and monopolize the market for energy-efficient building design.” To support this allegation Gifford relies heavily on his critique of a 2008 study from New Buildings Institute (NBI) and USGBC that is, to date, the most comprehensive look at the actual energy performance of buildings certified under LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC). While the NBI study makes the case that LEED buildings are, on average, 25%–30% more efficient than the national average, Gifford published his own analysis in 2008 concluding that LEED buildings are, on average, 29% less efficient. A subsequent analysis of the NBI data by National Research Council Canada supported NBI’s findings, if not its methods. (Commentary questioning the respective statistical approaches of both the original study and Gifford’s analysis appears in this BuildingGreen.com blog post by Nadav Malin, president of EBN’s publisher BuildingGreen.)

Using that study and USGBC’s promotion of it, the suit alleges fraud under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, among other statutes. Gifford’s suit demands that USGBC cease deceptive practices and pay $100 million in compensation to victims, in addition to legal fees. Under the Lanham Act, the suit repeats the same concerns in alleging deceptive marketing and unfair competition. Other allegations include deceptive business practices and false advertising under New York State law, as well as wire fraud and unjust enrichment.

Class-action suit

By having his lawyer, Norah Hart of Treuhaft and Zakarin, file a class-action lawsuit, Gifford is not only claiming that he has been harmed by USGBC, but that he is one of a class of plaintiffs that have been harmed. According to the suit, those plaintiffs include owners who paid for LEED certification on false premises, professionals like Gifford whose livelihoods have allegedly been harmed by LEED, and taxpayers whose money has subsidized LEED buildings.

The class action approach may be technically difficult to pursue in this case, says lawyer Shari Shapiro in an article on her green building law blog. Among other things, Shapiro notes that in a class action suit it is relevant whether, among other things, “the plaintiffs are enough alike so that their claims can be adjudicated together” and “whether the lead plaintiffs adequately represent members of the class.” Given the variety of plaintiffs Gifford is trying to represent, that may be hard, she says.

Shapiro, assuming that Gifford has benefited from the green building wave, even questions whether Gifford has even been harmed, as he would have to be to take part in the lawsuit. However, Gifford told EBN that there’s no question about that. “Nobody hires me to fix their buildings,” he said. Though not an engineer, Gifford is respected in energy efficiency circles for his technical knowledge. He told EBN that he has lost out because owners are fixated on earning LEED points, and he doesn’t participate: “Unless you’re a LEED AP you’re not going to get work.” That’s unfair, he claims, because while USGBC says that its product saves energy, it doesn’t. Gifford says that his services actually save energy, and he’s prepared to prove it by sharing energy bills from buildings he has worked on.

Whether many other building professionals feel the way Gifford does, and whether they’re willing to go on the record, will be one aspect of this case to watch. Gifford indicated that the response so far has been mixed. As he told EBN, “Everybody has the same response: thank you, thank you… let me know how it goes.”

Was there fraud?

If the case does move ahead, Stephen Del Percio, a lawyer and author of the blog GreenRealEstateLaw.com, told EBN that it will be challenging to litigate. “You can’t prove fraud just by circumstantial evidence,” he said. Even if the NBI study is false, that may not be enough. “You have to intend to mislead people,” he said. Gifford told EBN that he doesn’t have evidence that anyone at USGBC tried to mislead the public, but if the suit proceeds the discovery process could, in theory, turn up emails or other communications that support Gifford’s case.

USGBC performance initatives

Gifford’s complaints focus on the 2008 study and how USGBC publicized it, but they don’t appear to account for other aspects of LEED. Gifford focuses on buildings certified under LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), but the scope of LEED-NC and other LEED rating systems is clearly distinct. LEED for Existing Buildings, launched in 2004, looks at actual building performance, and in 2006, USGBC announced that buildings certified under LEED-NC would have the option of being enrolled at no charge in LEED for Existing Buildings. In 2007 USGBC launched LEED for Homes. While that system focuses on design and construction of new homes, it requires on-site verification including blower-door testing during construction, helping ensure that construction practices follow the design intent.

Although this final piece may be too late for Gifford and the contentions of his lawsuit, in 2009 USGBC began requiring reporting of energy and water data for new buildings certified under the newer LEED 2009, and it set up infrastructure to invite sharing of information from all LEED-certified buildings (see “USGBC Expands Data Collection from LEED Buildings,” EBN Aug. 2010).

Through this effort, the Building Performance Partnership, USGBC hopes to offer special help to LEED-certified buildings that are not living up to expected performance, according to Brendan Owens, P.E., vice president for LEED technical development at USGBC. Although USGBC has generally played down the possibility because it doesn’t want to discourage participation in LEED, and energy reporting, CEO Rick Fedrizzi has suggested that non-performing buildings may lose LEED certification in one form or another.

Despite these efforts, Gifford complained to EBN that “the green label gives the designer, the developer, the contractor and the owner the right to hold a press conference staying that their building is energy-efficient, while the LEED system guarantees anonymity” when it comes to reporting actual energy use.

Why sue?

Asked by EBN why he was motivated to go to court, Gifford said, “I’m afraid that in a few years somebody really evil will publicize the fact that green buildings don’t save energy and argue that the only solution [to resource constraints] is more guns to shoot at the people who have oil underneath their sand.” In other words, he says he’s hoping to make the green building movement more honest so that it’s not embarrassed down the road.

USGBC told EBN that it was reviewing the litigation and would respond in due course. In addition to USGBC, other named defendants are David Gottfried, a USGBC founder; Rob Watson, who helped start LEED in the 1990s while working for the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Rick Fedrizzi, a co-founder and currently CEO. Responding to EBN’s request for comment, Watson said, “I can’t comment on ongoing litigation except to say that USGBC is examining the complaint. USGBC has confidence in LEED and in our role in stimulating positive market change.”

Michael Italiano, the only key USGBC founder not named as a defendant, told EBN that while he hadn’t reviewed the case, “To me it sounds frivolous and it doesn’t have much chance.” He noted, “LEED doesn’t guarantee anything, and I think LEED gives people the tools to understand that.” Owners who want to verify performance can enroll in LEED for Existing Buildings, monitor their energy bills, and take other actions, he noted. A lawyer and currently CEO of Market Transformation to Sustainability, a nonprofit behind green standards, Italiano said that lawsuits targeting standards that have allegedly constrained trade typically focus on lack of a bona fide consensus process of standard-setting. In the case of LEED, he said, a broad array of stakeholders has been involved in writing and reviewing LEED standards.

Russell Perry, FAIA, of SmithGroup, agreed that if anyone thinks LEED for New Construction guarantees higher energy performance, they have the wrong idea. “LEED-NC is saying that a building has been designed to meet a certain standard, but there are many variables that go into the actual performance, only one of which is design.” Perry also noted that LEED includes a broad array of topics, only one of which is energy. Referring to climate change and other environmental and health issues, Perry added, “I don’t think that this kind of distraction helps us move the ball down the field.”

– Tristan Roberts

October 14, 2010

Sustainability and Federal Government Facilties – A Candid Survey of Federal Executives – GBC and Deloitte – September 2010

Federal agencies and public companies share sustainability challenges, however, JOC / Job Order Contracting provides an efficient Construction Delivery Method to deploy associated renovation, renovation projects for existing buildings.

Unfortunately…

Many respondents believe the level of  effort and resources put towards sustainability by their agency is lacking.  Over half  of  them call the sustainability effort “inadequate.” 

Many of  the roadblocks to sustainability are strategic or cultural.”

A majority (54 percent) of  respondents anticipate the level of  effort put towards sustainability will remain constant.”

www.4clicks.com

 

Executive Summary

 
 Federal executives surveyed have taken significant steps to “go green” in their personal lives.  A strong majority (81percent) say they now turn off  lights when not in use.  Almost as many print less, turn off  electronics, use more energy efficient products, or recycle. 
 Federal executives believe they have a responsibility to promote sustainability in their agency as well.  Nine in ten of  those surveyed agree with the idea that they have such a responsibility.  Nearly as many of  them say that they have personally taken action to promote sustainability. 
 Respondents almost universally agree that it is important that their agency implements sustainable practices.  Over 95 percent call it very or somewhat important.  When presented with a list of  three elements of  sustainability and asked to rank their importance, most viewed all three as critical.
 While a “sense of  obligation” is the top reason for going green on a personal level, it ranks fourth among reasons agencies make changes.  Agencies’ moves towards sustainability tend to result from different motivators including fulfilling a mandate or reducing costs.
 Almost all respondents believe it is important to increase sustainability, but most report their agency has taken few actions
to do so.  In fact, on average, those surveyed know of  less than three things their agency has done
Many respondents believe the level of  effort and resources put towards sustainability by their agency is lacking.  Over half 
of  them call the sustainability effort “inadequate.”
  In contrast, four percent say the effort has been “excessive.”  
 Many of  the roadblocks to sustainability are strategic or cultural.  Over a quarter say that sustainability is not an agency
priority, or that there is a lack of  coordination.  Almost as many claim there is a lack of  involvement, enthusiasm, and engagement in “going green” among agency employees.
 Respondents recognize ways in which their agencies could become more sustainable.  Almost 60 percent say that better
education, training, and engagement can help their agency implement more sustainable practices.
A majority (54 percent) of  respondents anticipate the level of  effort put towards sustainability will remain constant.  A significant portion (39 percent) anticipate their agency will be more dedicated to sustainability in the future, while almost
none expect that their agency will be less committed to it.  
 Almost all federal executives (86 percent) say that a primary force driving them to be more sustainable is a sense of 
obligation.  Many also behave more sustainably to save money, while far fewer do so to follow a trend, or because of  social
pressure.

REPORT

Reasons for Agency Action to Increase Sustainability

Executive Order 13514

Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans

Most Important Sustainability Related Goals

LEED and ROI

While LEED is not for everyone, nor is it likely the “best” high performance building approach, it would appear that ROI can be significant for this and similar approachs.

The below is from –  Series: Green Corporate Climate, Source: http://www.facilitiesnet.com – via http://www.4clicks.com

the-roi-of-leed-ci

LEED For Commercial Interiors Can Result In Productivity Gains, Energy Savings

By Rod Vickroy and Rob Moylan

Green buildings have long been called high-performance buildings in Europe and in segments of the U.S. facilities market. The idea is that, while environmental responsibility is noble, sustainable design also should support better human comfort and business results.

Experience — and related research — bears out this thinking. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, for example, is widely seen as a way to improve a building’s environmental profile and energy use. Yet research indicates that it improves workplace effectiveness and return on investment (ROI). A 2009 Michigan State study, Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Occupant Well-being and Productivity in LEED Offices, found that groups moving to LEED office buildings missed less work and put in almost 39 hours more per person annually. According to the study, the total bottom-line benefits from gains related to fewer allergic reactions and reduced stress. The productivity boost ranged from $69,601 to more than $250,000 per year, the study showed.

Yet there are even greater returns. Today, leading companies and institutions are using LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) — which certifies the sustainability of tenant improvements and interior renovations — as an opportunity to transform their business cultures and even enhance their brands. Add to that gains in energy efficiency and the market value of a space, and it becomes hard to imagine not building green.

The key to linking LEED to ROI and other valuable measures of organizational effectiveness is to plan early and strategically. The experience of several leading office tenants across the country demonstrates how implementing a LEED-CI-based plan can create measurable value through green interiors. What’s more, the following six tactical solutions are surprisingly achievable and economical when LEED-CI is viewed as integral to project planning rather than as an “add-on” to interiors projects (see “Debunking LEED-CI Myths on page 28). The examples show how these organizations thought performance could be improved, why they chose LEED-CI as part of the answer, and what it has delivered.

1. Corporate brand performance. Viewed as critical to competitiveness, branding has practically become its own industry in recent years. For many organizations, environmental stewardship is seen as central to brand identity: It’s the right thing to do, for their own people and society at large. So a workplace build-out to LEED standards simply reinforces these core values.

The power plant engineering firm Sargent & Lundy saw a 2008 relocation of their Phoenix regional office as a way to symbolize their expertise and forward-thinking attitude on global energy issues. Not surprisingly, the LEED-CI Silver build-out features energy-efficient lighting and systems. But more than that, the 14,000-square-foot open environment appears collaborative and interactive, reflecting the firm’s consulting approach. Wall-free clusters of sun-drenched workstations with mobile components encourage flexibility and communication, while designated “quiet rooms” allow privacy behind closed doors. Glass, light-toned wood and stone give tactile evidence of Sargent & Lundy’s green streak.

Similarly, health care software developer Burgess Group, based in Alexandria, Va., saw LEED-CI as another way to reinforce its image as a large, stable company — both for employees and for customers. As in the case of Sargent & Lundy, corporate goals intimately connected to the company’s brand drove project decisions as much as energy efficiency or workplace comfort. The result is a statement to the outside world and to employees that resonates with the tenant’s identity and mission.

2. Human performance. Among the benefits of LEED cited in studies like the Michigan State report are direct gains in overall health for office workers. These improvements come from better indoor air quality (IAQ), increased daylighting, and other changes seen to enhance morale or reduce stress. The bottom line: Happier, healthier, more relaxed employees tend to produce better work.

This thinking informed the planning of a 68,000-square-foot headquarters for an office furniture manufacturer. The company chose to renovate its 100-year-old former window sash factory, reaffirming its commitment to the local community and business line in the process. Using exposed brick and timber with new interior construction, the company created a clean, contemporary look in flexible and open loft-like spaces. The effect on employees working in the renovated space, who report gains in output and work enjoyment, quickly validated the approach. The facility, targeting LEED-CI Silver, was designed to be “open, productive and approachable,” according to executives.

The headquarters of Burgess Group (targeting Gold certification) was installed in a well-located new building with a green roof and bicycle facilities. Glass-walled offices and open workstations allow daylight deep inside office areas. Recycled materials, low-flow fixtures and GreenGuard-certified finishes are often touted by employees of this health care software developer. Beyond pride of place, Burgess Group workers are now more effective and efficient, says the company.

3. Organizational performance. By exploiting a LEED-CI renovation as a means for strategically reconfiguring the workplace, savvy occupants have improved organizational functioning, too. In this case, the bottom-line gains go beyond productivity to measures of work satisfaction such as reduced employee turnover and improved recruitment. Anecdotal and measurable improvements to organizational effectiveness include increased interaction, reduced e-mail volume, and shorter product development cycles.

For a Microsoft sales office in Chevy Chase, Md., LEED-CI strategies were integral to designing a space that would entice road warriors to spend more time with colleagues in the home office. The interiors needed a timeless aesthetic appeal that would suit a broad demographic spectrum, from retired generals to recent college grads. Company executives say the LEED-CI features — and the label itself — have helped galvanize the team.

One furniture manufacturer’s workplace offers similar conclusions. The company’s transparency and openness is reflected in open perimeter areas, sunlit atriums and light wells, and even a glass-enclosed boardroom. Employees — called “members” — enjoy casual meeting areas and a café during the workday.

4. Cultural performance. The precepts of green building have been shown to support such intangibles as customer relations, internal camaraderie and personal work satisfaction. The Michigan State study shows that IAQ, daylighting and views to the outdoors correlate with the highest post-move increases in employee satisfaction.

The law firm Bowman and Brooke took advantage of this cultural aspect in creating its Minneapolis headquarters. First, the firm takes pride in not seeming like a typical buttoned-down litigator, and it saw LEED-CI certification as a chance to be the first of its kind to differentiate from competitors. Second, the firm’s directors wanted a fresh, bright feel, not the dark, wood-paneled foxholes so common in the legal field. Third, LEED-CI would be another reminder that Bowman and Brooke does what’s right for their clients, employees and community. The resulting renovation — with its three-story open stair and innovative materials — ties into the firm’s brand identity while also supporting its personality and cultural uniqueness.

5. Energy performance. Another significant and highly tangible performance gain for LEED-CI projects is reduced utility costs. Energy savings can be reinvested immediately into the business, and the reduced carbon footprint benefits the community and environment as a whole. The power plant designers at Sargent & Lundy were especially motivated to showcase energy-saving technologies. From simple ideas such as passive solar daylighting integration to “seamless electronic interfacing with staff and resources” at their Chicago headquarters, which cuts travel expense and waste, the design spared few energy-saving ideas.

Similarly, construction and real estate development firm The Christman Co. in Lansing, Mich., transformed a former power plant into an energy-efficient headquarters, earning dual-Platinum LEED certification with CI and LEED for Core and Shell (LEED-CS). The building beats minimum requirements for energy efficiency significantly, cutting carbon dioxide emissions. A T5 fluorescent lighting system on occupancy sensors and daylight-regulated dimming are important elements of the energy- efficient design. According to Christman, a Web-based building management system tracks power use at the sub-tenant level to encourage conservation, but even the power is green: Every kilowatt-hour of electricity for the headquarters is offset by renewable wind energy certificates.

6. Facility performance. Add it all up, and the gains that accrue to the brand, to individual and collective work, and to operating costs speak to the multifaceted power of great facilities. The workplace is a platform for serving business needs on a daily basis, and LEED-CI makes it a stronger and more agile infrastructure. Leading organizations are jumping on this opportunity, including the charitable group Easter Seals for its low-cost, LEED-CI Silver headquarters in Chicago and the consultancy Deloitte for the firm’s global “workplace of the future” project.

The Deloitte office in San Diego encapsulates how LEED-CI will shape facilities as the United States climbs out of a recession.

Recognizing the need to balance cost and effectiveness, the firm targeted low to moderate build-out costs, quick turnaround times, and LEED-CI ratings as key components of their facilities strategy. The result combines space layouts using “neighborhood planning” with more open-systems furniture and more natural light to produce gains in productivity and employee wellness. LEED-CI, as it turns out, is a good model and a neutral checklist for developing progressive workplace criteria.

There’s one more thread connecting many of these case studies where LEED-CI led to so many performance rewards: Most came about as the result of a move. Clearly, there is no better time to reinforce one’s brand and revamp organizational performance goals than when the company is fitting out a new space. That’s the time to ask big questions and to remember one overriding idea that links LEED and business goals — that organizations are valuable because of their people, and LEED-CI helps make the most of who they are.

Rod Vickroy, IIDA, LEED AP is a principal and design director for Chicago’s workplace studio at SmithGroup. Rob Moylan, IIDA, LEED AP, Associate AIA, serves as one of SmithGroup’s sustainable design leaders specializing in commercial interiors. Vickroy and Moylan participate in the firm’s collaborative workplace practice. The firm specializes in the workplace, health, learning, and science and technology markets.

Laboratories : Facilities : High-Performance Buildings – Sustainability

Laboratory facilities represent an ever-expanding growth opportunity for advanced, environmentally preferred, building technologies. The typical laboratory uses far more energy and water per square foot than the typical office building due to intensive ventilation requirements and other health and safety concerns. Because the requirements of laboratory facilities differ so dramatically from those of other buildings, a clear need exists for an initiative exclusively targeting these facilities.

Key Areas of Research:

1. Characterize baseline energy use and savings potentials

Develop scenarios of energy savings potential in California high-tech industries

2. Benchmark laboratories and develop best practices

Perform detailed benchmarking of actual laboratories

Compile quantitative results in Labs21 laboratory benchmarking tool

Record best practices in the Laboratory Design Guide and elsewhere

Promulgate best practices through the EPA-DOE Labs21 program

3. Develop high-performance fume hoods

Develop high-performance laboratory fume hood website and summary article

Develop technical and testing plan to overcome institutional barriers and obtain a variance from CAL/OSHA

Conduct side-by-side tests with conventional hoods

Perform industrial field demonstrations

4. Showcase best practices at LBNL’s own facilities

LBNL’s in-house energy managers have worked with LBNL researchers for several decades on improving energy efficiency in our own high-tech facilities

Implement best practices in LBNL’s Molecular Foundry, a $65-million, 6-story building housing labs, a cleanroom, and a data center – received LEED Gold Rating

Benchmarking: Laboratories

Laboratory owners and operators rarely know how their building operating costs compare to similar facilities. Benchmarks provide this measure of performance, helping personnel to identify potential cost-saving opportunities. However, laboratories are difficult to assess because many have unique characteristics. TheLaboratory Energy Benchmarking Tool allows laboratory owners to compare the performance of their laboratory facilities to similar facilities and thereby help identify potential energy cost savings opportunities.

This self-benchmarking guide lists metrics and benchmarks for laboratories.

Publications

  1. Rumsey Engineers. 2004. “Site K Benchmarking Report” (Southern California Laboratory) (August)
  2. P. Mathew, D. Sartor, O. van Geet, and S. Reilly. 2004. “Rating Laboratories: Results from the Labs21 Program,” Proceedings of the 2004 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Asilomar, CA.

Presentations

Laboratory owners and operators rarely know how their building operating costs compare to similar facilities. Energy Benchmarking allows laboratory owners to compare the performance of their laboratory facilities to similar facilities and thereby help identify potential energy cost savings opportunities.

The Labs21 Energy Benchmarking ToolExit is a Web-based database tool that contains energy use information from more than 200 laboratory facilities. It allows users to benchmark energy performance in terms of whole-building metrics (e.g., BTU/sf-yr) as well as system-level metrics (e.g., ventilation W/cfm).

For more information on the benchmarking tool and its principles, see this conference paper: Rating Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Laboratories (Adobe PDF. Click for more information. 13 pp., 372 KB, about PDF).

For more information, contact:

Paul Mathew
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Phone: 510 486-5116
Fax: 510 486-4089
E-mail: pamathew@lbl.gov

Design Guide for Energy-Efficient Research Laboratories – Version 4.0- is intended to assist facility owners, architects, engineers, designers, facility managers, and utility demand-side management specialists in identifying and applying advanced energy-efficiency features in laboratory-type environments.

This Guide focuses comprehensively on laboratory energy design issues with a “systems” design approach. Although a laboratory-type facility includes many sub-system designs, e.g., the heating system, we believe that a comprehensive design approach should view the entire building as the essential “system.” This means the larger, macro energy-efficiency considerations during architectural programming come before the smaller, micro component selection such as an energy-efficient fan.

We encourage readers to consider the following points when utilizing the Guide:

  • Since the Guide’s design recommendations focus upon energy efficiency, it is best used in conjunction with other design resources, manuals, handbooks, and guides. This Guide is not meant to supplant these resources but rather to augment them by facilitating the integration of energy-efficiency considerations into the overall design process.
  • Though the Guide may seem to push the envelope of traditional engineering design practice, its recommendations are widely used in actual installations in the United States and abroad. We believe that successful design teams build from the members’ combined experience and feedback from previous work. Each team should incorporate energy efficiency improvements, as appropriate, by considering their interactions and life-cycle costs. We also recognize that there is no single design solution for all situations; thus, the Guide focuses on conceptual approaches rather than prescriptive measures.
  • We have performed an extensive literature search and present brief excerpts from many excellent publications. We encourage readers to obtain the full citation of interesting and pertinent documents.

The Molecular Foundry

Recognition:

  • Winner of LEED Gold Rating!
  • First-place winner of the Sustainable Industry Buildings Council “Beyond Green 2007 High Performance Building Award”
  • The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter, 2008 AIA San Francisco Design Awards program. The Smith Group was a merit winner in the “Energy + Sustainability” category for their design of Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry.

The Molecular Foundry: 94,500 square feet, six stories, $67 million construction cost. Note native redwood trees in foreground.

  • Sustainability: Candidate for LEED Silver rating
  • Energy: 35% reduced demand compared to ASHRAE 90.1 standards; 92% of electricity provided by renewable power purchases.
  • Emissions Reductions – NOx: 1,434 pounds/year, SOx: 1,153 pounds/year, CO2: 2,256,674 pounds/year
  • Non-energy benefits: improved indoor environment, enhanced safety

The Molecular Foundry is a state-of-the-art 6-story, 94,500 square-foot, $67 million (plus $18 million for research equipment) User Facility for Nanoscale Materials, dedicated to supporting research in nanoscience by researchers from institutions around the world. The facility—completed in early 2006—supports users in nanolithography, organic nanostructures, inorganic nanostructures, biological nanostructures, the theory and simulation of nanostructures, and the imaging and manipulation of nanostructures.  Users from academia, government and industrial laboratories with funded projects may write proposals requesting free access to the state-of-the-art instruments or techniques housed in the Foundry or to the highly skilled staff. From an energy- and water-management standpoint, this is a remarkable project in that it embodies best practices in the three major “high-tech” facility types, specifically wet and dry laboratories, a cleanroom, and a data center.  Each of these spaces is highly resource-intensive and poses greater sustainability challenges than ordinary spaces, and it is rare to find all three facility types under one roof. This project is the most comprehensive “Green” buildingconstructed in LBNL’s site’s 75-year history, and the first to achieve a U.S. Green Building Council “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) certification (Gold). The facility has among the lowest electricity intensities of 56 projects currently included in the Labs21 benchmarking database. The facility produces 85% fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than a conventional facility meeting the ASHRAE 90.1 energy standards. Thanks to right-sizing of the mechanical systems, all of this was achieved at no net cost compared to typical practice.

Download the Poster and see our outreach efforts.

Popular article summary.

Labs21 overview of LEED features


via Laboratories : Facilities : High-Performance Buildings for High-Tech Industries.

The Benefits of High Performance Buildings and HPBMS ( High Performance Building Management Systems )

What is a High Performance  Building?

A high performance building, sometimes referred to as a ” green building “, has reduced impact on its environment.  As much as possible, existing or new buildings in this category take advantage of natural daylight,  utilize materials and systems to provide excellent indoor air quality, conserve energy, and reduce the overall carbon footprint.   As a result, high performance buildings provide superior working conditions, reduce sick time and increase both productivity and morale.

Sustainable planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance,  impact quality for users, reduce environmental impacts, and deliver financial rewards through reduced energy and turnover costs.

Key principles of high performance building design, operations, and management  include:

  • Sustainable Site Design
  • Water conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Low-impact building materials   ( recycled –  sustainable )
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Lower CO2 emissions
  • Stewardship of resources

What is LEED?

Most importantly, LEED is a component of high performance building design, operations, and management, but not the entire solution, not the only approach.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving environmental quality and human health.

It is a voluntary program that addresses most building types, and focuses on principles and strategies rather than specific technologies, which often vary from project to project. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council USGBC, LEED provides building owners and operators an initial  framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.