launches Leedspeed Software
A new software program will make it easier for companies interested
in green building to reach their goals. Leedspeed™, a Web-based
software application hosted at www.leedspeed.com, navigates the user
through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems, simplifying
the building certification process. The software was developed by
Johnson Controls, Inc., which has utilized the program in hundreds
of buildings for the past three years. Johnson Controls specializes
in interior experience, building efficiency and power solutions.
“Johnson Controls is the premier partner for forward-thinking companies
that want to achieve the financial, social and environmental benefits of green
buildings,” said Paul von Paumgartten, director of energy and environmental
affairs for building efficiency at Johnson Controls. “This software program
takes our best practices and helps facility owners assess multiple buildings,
evaluate return on investment, manage green building projects, and prepare and
submit the LEED certification application.”
He added that the timing of the new software is in line with the growing trend
of corporate environmental responsibility, as businesses are starting to fully
realize the power of green buildings and sustainability. “So far, more
than 300 building owners have achieved LEED certification, and they’re
reaping benefits such as lower operating costs, better indoor air quality, increased
employee productivity and enhanced corporate or organizational image,” von
audits now used to save companies money
Some recent advice from the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center
at the University of Louisville will save at least 250 jobs at a
Leggett & Platt plant. Leggett & Platt—which has been
in the Louisville area since the 1970s, and makes and paints the
metal frames that wind up in reclining chairs—was poised to
close down and relocate overseas due to labor and materials costs,
but will remain in Kentucky thanks to the Pollution Prevention Center’s
The Center conducts audits of Kentucky businesses to help reduce
pollution and improve energy efficiency; saving companies money is
an added benefit. The cost
of the audits is paid for by state grants. The Center found that by modifying
a heated washing unit, energy costs at the Leggett & Platt plant would be
greatly reduced. The Center also recommended that Leggett & Platt switch
to a different type of paint that dried at a lower temperature; this new paint
not only contains few chemical pollutants, but further reduced energy costs.
As result of the audit, Leggett & Platt stands to save about $200,000 in
energy costs after spending about $2,000 to make the recommended modifications—and
the plant will continue to support the nation’s economy.
Interface continues march to sustainability
Interface Fabrics recently announced its contributions to a green
power initiative that will fund new solar projects in the state of
Maine, while Interface Flooring Systems stated that they have achieved
100-percent renewable electricity for the production of all products
in Troup County, Ga. The two announcements are the latest in a string
of recent environmental initiatives from Interface, Inc.
“ Interface has raised the bar within the commercial interiors industry
with renewable energy purchases, and it is important to note that we have done
so with the bigger picture in mind,” said Mike Bertolucci, senior vice
president of Interface, Inc., which is a charter member of the World Resources
Institute’s (WRI) Green Power Market Development Group and the U.S. EPA’s
Green Power Partnership. “We have an obligation to help shape the future
for green energy markets in the United States.”
“Our goal to become sustainable exceeds the technology available to us
today,” added John Wells, president of Interface Flooring Systems. “But
what we can do is invest in the growth of the green energy market, so that we
support the development of clean energy sources all over the country.”
colleges increasing green building practices
Traditionally, colleges have used perks such as a top-10 football
team, famous alumni, study-abroad programs and the number of national
scholars they have attending their institution to recruit new students.
Now, add one more to the list: their use of green buildings. Schools
across the country are increasingly touting their green credentials
as a way to entice students into attending. So far, more than 110
colleges in the United States have met construction and design standards
to become certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
At Portland State University’s Broadway dorm complex, the roof made up
of grass, gravel and plants is not the only green characteristic.
the mechanics of the 10-story building pump electricity and water to the 400
residents with maximum efficiency and little waste to
speak of.Students are taking note of this trend. The University of South Carolina
boasts the largest green dorm in the world—and the waiting list to live
in this building is so long that since its opening in 2004, students wishing
to reside here are required to write an essay explaining why.
Green buildings are not without educational merits, either. Students at Carnegie
Mellon University in Pittsburgh not only study the ecosystem of the grass, dirt
and insects that make the top of the living roof at Hamerschlag Hall their home,
but they learn how building design can reduce stormwater drainage and improve
water quality. Experts say this trend will continue to grow.
Paper adds Earth-friendliness to its paper line
Wausau Paper recently announced the addition of Exact DigitalTM,
an environmentally sensible line of coated and uncoated digital paper,
to its line of printing and writing papers.
Exact Digital high-brightness papers—specially formulated for optimal performance
in digital printing applications including copiers, inkjet and laser printers,
and commercial digital presses—are acid-free and lignin-free, and contain
30 percent post-consumer fiber.
“Our customers indicated a preference for a bright line of digital papers
that features significant recycled fiber content,” said Thomas J. Howatt,
president and CEO of Wausau. “This new line reflects our key growth strategy
of providing value-added products.”
Backed by Wausau Paper’s Performance Guarantee, Exact Digital papers are
stocked in all of the company’s regional warehouses, making the product
available to environmentally conscious businesses within 24 hours to most locations
throughout the United States. To learn more, visit www.wausau.com.
aiming to reduce petroleum use
In the state of New York, there are more than 200,000 vehicles in
operation that have the ability to run on corn-based ethanol fuel
rather than gasoline—but most owners of these flex-fuel vehicles
are unaware of this ability (see page 20 to read more). And those
that do know are out of luck, as the nearest station to the state
of New York that carries ethanol is in Ottawa. But N.Y. Gov. George
Pataki (R) wants this to change, and is planning to make ethanol
and biodiesel fuels available in the 27 service stations on the New
York Thruway and in 100 more stations throughout the state. If he
has his way, the changes could come as early as this year.
This plan could put New York at the forefront of alternative-fuel use as the
only other state beside Minnesota that utilizes an ethanol fuel blend known as
E85 (85 percent ethanol). Nationwide, biodiesel is found in only a few hundred
of the country’s stations.
Since its inception, E85 has become a strong competitor to gasoline due to its
price. In Iowa, E85 has been selling for $1.73 per gallon, as opposed to $2.19
per gallon for gasoline. The lowered cost of E85 is due in part to subsidies
received for its use.
Not all vehicles on the road can utilize flex fuels. Consumers can find out if
their car has this capability by cross-checking their car’s vehicle identification
number (VIN) against a database found at www.E85fuel.com.
motorists embracing hybrids
In 2005, Toyota sold 107,897 of its hybrid Prius models in the
United States alone—double the amount of Hummers sold. And
now other automobile manufacturers are looking to capitalize on
this growing trend as well.
Alongside the hybrid Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner (a Ford subsidy), Ford is
looking to introduce a concept vehicle that combines a diesel engine with an
electric motor. If this model goes into production, it would be the first hybrid
to use diesel rather than gasoline. Piggybacking on the success of Toyota, Ford
expects to sell 250,000 hybrids by the year 2010 by making the hybrid option
available on up to half of its fleet.
Not to be outdone, Chevrolet expects a hybrid Tahoe for 2008 and Saturn is looking
to release the Vue Green Line Hybrid in 2007. The most impressive appears to
be Audi’s seven-passenger SUV hybrid that boasts a 350-horsepower, V8 engine
that can accelerate from zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds. Although fuel savings won’t
be nearly that of smaller vehicles, Audi hybrid SUV owners can still look forward
to a 13-percent fuel-cost reduction.
There are considerations to purchasing a hybrid. The initial cost of the car
is generally higher, batteries need to be replaced, and they still have deficiencies
as a long- distance vehicle. These costs and inconveniences are offset by the
many benefits. In addition to cost savings at the pump, hybrid owners also receive
tax incentives, a virtually silent motor while driving in the city, and the knowledge
that their vehicle is helping to greatly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
and other pollutants.
Hybrid school buses look to be
on U.S. roads in two years
The State Technolo-gies Advancement Collaborative (STAC) recently
announced that it will fund the Advanced Energy’s Hybrid
Electric School Bus (HESB) project with $840,000—which will
help put the United States two years away from seeing cleaner,
more fuel-efficient buses on highways. The project is one of 11
to receive funding as part of the Energy Efficiency, Research,
Demonstration, Deployment and Rebuild America Projects Solicitation.
The 11 projects are valued at $11.5 million and cover five technical
Advanced Energy’s HESB project offers many significant benefits for improving
the air quality of North Carolina and the United States. The project will help
further the development and commercialization of plug-in hybrid vehicle technology
and, if appropriate, promote the adoption of plug-in hybrid school buses throughout
“STAC’s funding will be used to help purchase 20 hybrid electric
school buses from one of three major bus manufacturers,” said Ewan Pritchard,
HESB program manager. “We look to have these buses on the road within two
years. These buses will run in 11 states throughout the country.”
STAC funding also makes it possible for the project to gather operational data
from buses running in school districts around the country, and provide an updated
economic feasibility study with real-world data.
STAC is a five-year pilot program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and
directed by an executive committee. The committee includes representatives from
the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Association of State
Energy Research and Technology Transfer Institutions, the U.S. Department of
Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office
of Fossil Energy and an independent member.
For more information about the Hybrid Electric School Bus project, visit www.advancedenergy.org/hybridbus.
Joins with National Arbor Day Foundation
As part of a unique program to help educational institutions reduce
wastefuland unnecessary printing, Plantation, Fla.-based Equitrac
will donate a native tree for planting through The National Arbor
for every college or university administrator or IT professional
who views a brief presentation about Equitrac Express, Equitrac’s
higher education print-tracking and cost recovery solution, and registers
online at www.endprintwaste.com through April 1.
“ We believe it’s important to promote tree planting as a meansof
improving air quality and conserving water and soil resources, and that’s
why we’re pleased to be partnering with The National Arbor Day Foundation,” said
Michael Rich, CEO of Equitrac, which specializes in intelligent cost recovery
and print management solutions.