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Do You Appreciate the Value of Natural Capital?

Earth Day is a perfect time to reflect on the beauty of the world around us, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the immense value of that world and our dependency on the ecosystem services that our planet provides. It’s important to remember that from the bees pollinating our food supply to the trees that keep us healthy, the world has plenty of natural capital to offer. Many consumers and businesses radically underestimate the tremendous value of natural capital. 

What Is Natural Capital?

Natural capital is the term used to describe the natural resources present throughout the globe including air, water, living organisms, soils, geology and more. While it’s easy to assign values to manmade things, it cannot be overemphasized how much “free” service our planet provides for us. A well-maintained river or forest provides the surrounding area with fish, water, energy, lumber and more. Additionally, natural environments, even small urban parks, provide for physical and mental well-being. Many natural resources are renewable but, with abuse and misuse, they can be spoiled and the services they provide can be compromised. Eventually, permanent damage can be done. 

In Baltimore, communities understand the impact of pollution on the health of its neighborhoods, the harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. Pollution affects the availability and safety of the local fish, crabs and oysters that we eat as well as compromising other recreational activities such as swimming and boating. The complexity of the Bay ecosystem is worth its own blog but that’s for another time.

The Give and Take of Natural Capital

One of the many reasons why Earth Day is so vital is to bring awareness to the give and take nature of natural capital. With financial capital, when you overspend, you accumulate debt. If that debt is left unchecked, it could result in bankruptcy. With natural capital, when you take too much away from the natural environment, you also accumulate a debt that needs to be repaid (allowing aquifers time to replenish, replanting forests, etc.). If we constantly withdraw from the value of natural capital without putting anything back in, there is a risk of local, regional, national or even global environmental devastation. 

The Value of Natural Capital 

How does the value of natural capital translate to financial terms? While nature is priceless, it is not valueless. Numerous studies have attempted to quantify the value of natural capital. In 2013, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business Coalition published a landmark report that estimated the world’s current production and processing sectors are responsible for environmental externalities valued at $7.3 trillion every year. In other words, industry is not covering the cost of their emissions, water use, land use, pollution and other natural resource impacts that their operations incur.  Another study in the Journal of Global Environmental Change estimated the total value of the globe’s ecosystem services to be over twice the global aggregate Gross Domestic Product–$124.8 trillion annually. 

Natural Capital in Practice

Comprehending the value of natural capital requires understanding the services that nature provides and how we benefit from them. For example, what if we had to pollinate all of our food producing plants manually? Placing a financial value on ecosystem services is a critical tool for policymakers, stakeholders and decision makers to appreciate the vital role of nature in business and the economy. While many ecosystem services continue to be taken for granted, corporations are increasingly taking responsibility for their environmental and social impacts. Earth Day allows us all a chance to reflect on our use of finite resources and how appreciating their value enables better decision-making. 

Sustainable Development Goals

All About Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by United Nationals Member States in 2015. The 17 goals were drafted and refined in global partnership, and they recognize that the end of poverty and other deprivations must occur alongside strategies to improve health and education, encourage economic growth, and reduce inequality. 

What Are Sustainable Development Goals?

The SDGs were adopted by leaders of 193 countries. Today there is a growing need for private sector businesses, municipalities, and NGOs of every size to act to advance progress toward these goals to transform the world and create a better tomorrow. Each goal contains specific timebound targets and associated metrics that guide organizations through their implementation. The goals include eliminating poverty and hunger; ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, clean, reliable, and affordable energy, decent work and economic growth; reducing inequality and increasing peace, justice, and strong institutions; establishing responsible consumption and production practices, sustainable cities and communities, resilient infrastructure and sustainable industrialization by fostering innovation; and urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and conserve natural resources worldwide. 

How Big Business Utilizes SDGs

The response to the SDGs from municipalities, non-profit NGOs, universities, and the private sector has been encouraging. Currently, there are over 9,500 business participants in the UN’s mission to achieve and exceed the SDGs. Over 66 million employees currently work in those companies, which shows the commitment that many big businesses have made to global health. As part of the Goals, ten principles were outlined in the UN Global Compact to promote corporate sustainability. The Ten Principles are designed to give businesses a practical framework that can be used regardless of size, complexity, or location. 

As part of the UN initiative, many high profile companies have invested in The SDGs including:

  • General Mills giving meals and food to food banks in vulnerable communities (Zero Hunger)
  • Siemens encouraging communities to invest in sustainable and green economic solutions (Sustainable Cities and Communities)
  • Nike utilizing recycled materials in its gear (Responsible Consumption and Production)
  • Discovery Channel supporting clean oceans and reducing plastic in the water (Life Below Water)

The Value of SDGs to Small Businesses 

Unfortunately, some small businesses see the involvement of big businesses in the SDGs and assume it means a great deal of money and other resources are needed to participate. While big business participation in sustainable development goals is excellent, small businesses have a critical role in supporting their local and global economies and communities. Many small businesses need to approach The Goals in a different manner, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make significant contributions to addressing the global environmental and social crises we face.

Sustainable development goals present an excellent business opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to a study from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, sustainable business models are projected to open up economic opportunities worth $12 trillion by 2030. By aligning their focus with The Sustainable Development Goals, small and mid-sized businesses could create an international boom of productivity and investments in sustainable infrastructure. 

How Doo Consulting Utilizes SDGs into CSR Reports 

Within every small business CSR report that Doo Consulting assembles, report results and recommendations are aligned with the relevant SDGs to which they contribute. This allows small business leaders to easily see how their actions impact global progress toward improving the lives of people and the health of the Earth. SMEs have a substantial role in transforming our global future and we acknowledge our role in educating and equipping small businesses with information on the greater impacts and potential benefits of considering the Sustainable Development Goals in their business strategy. We can all enjoy a better future if we all work together to create one. 

LEED-Like

The State of LEED: Is Being “LEED-like” Enough?

Some owners and project teams believe that being “LEED-like” is the same as achieving LEED certification, but that isn’t the case. Frequently we receive requests from clients who want to create a “LEED-like” building. This is where the project team follows a LEED checklist and declares their project equivalent to a level of LEED certification without actually registering or certifying the project. While you might think “LEED-like” buildings are more cost-effective and lead to the same result, that is seldom the case. 

LEED-like Isn’t the Same as LEED Certified

Someone recently said, “When there is a scoreboard and a referee, the game is played differently.” This can apply to many things in life but in relationship to LEED, or any other compliance requirement, this is absolutely true. “LEED-like” buildings are not the same as LEED-certified buildings. If a project team is going through the same design effort to create a non-certified-LEED-compliant building, all consultants are expending the same energy they would if the project was certified. In the end, the costs saved are the project registration fees, certification fees and some of the documentation costs. For large projects, registration and certification fees can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, but as a percent of project costs, it is small; $.05 – $.063 per square foot where the project costs are hundreds of dollars per square foot. For these few cents, one gets a strong motivator for sustainable design excellence. 

Knowing that documentation is required and will be reviewed encourages project team members to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. Having achieved LEED certification, recognition of that fact is something that can be substantiated and promoted. As an investor, buyer or simply a building tenant, what can or should one assume when an owner says that a building is “LEED-equivalent”? For LEED certified projects one knows that documentation has been submitted and reviewed to validate the building’s credential. Documentation is also available to the building facilities team to monitor building operations, guide enhanced or recommissioning activities, and guide future renovations of the project. 

LEED Is Imperfect

Some critics of LEED and proponents of “LEED-like” buildings choose to highlight perceived flaws in the system as a justification of creating their own green building process. One thing we hear repeatedly is the fact that a bike rack and a 2% energy reduction have the same point value (LEEDv3). The implication is that a point can be bought with the installation of a shower stall and a locker. Critics note that these things should not be considered equivalent and suggest that LEED is too easily “gamed”. The LEED standard is not perfect, but it is well considered and nuanced. One can make a strong argument for the environmental benefits of bicycle usage if people actually do it. Owners and architects are equally guilty for spending money and resources on points that produce no economic or environmental benefit, if that is what they are doing. It is certainly not sustainable to install a shower stall to be used as a closet. To some extent, the system can be manipulated by clever building designers and owners, but the intention and point distribution of the rating system has been established by committees of subject-matter experts doing the best they can to create meaningful criteria to define what a “green building” is. 

LEED Certification Still Remains Relevant 

LEED is a tool and, like any tool, it can be used masterfully by a craftsman or used by an amateur with predictably less refined results. Well-designed LEED buildings created by experienced project teams deliver on the promises of the rating system—resource conservation, lower operational costs, restorative site development, healthier indoor environments, and lower carbon emissions. LEED remains an important certification standard for owners, builders and designers. In light of the recent reports from the International Panel on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment report to Congress and the President, the demand for high-performance, healthy buildings has never been greater. 

Certification matters and LEED continues to be the dominant green building certification program in the US and beyond. LEED project registrations in the US were up 14% in 2018 over 2017*. One can expect that certifications will remain important measures of green building performance as we continue to pursue more environmentally benign and healthier buildings while meeting the challenges of climate change.

*Source: Green Building Information Gateway, www.gbig.org

Is LEED Still Relevant?

This is the final blog in a four-part series on the LEED rating system. All four parts of this series can be found on our website, www.DooConsulting.net. Doo Consulting provides consulting services for LEED and many other green and healthy building rating systems. 

LEED-Challenges

The State of LEED: LEED, IgCC, and the IECC.

While Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has remained the leading green building certification system for decades, competing certification systems are challenging the pre-eminence of LEED. In our last blog, we highlighted some of the new challengers to LEED. Today, we compare LEED to its code cousins, the International Green Conservation Code (IgCC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)

One of the primary challenges for LEED today is the perception that many local building codes are catching up to or exceeding the energy requirements of this building rating system. As energy conservation is one of the primary benefits of the LEED process, this has become an issue. Green building certifications like LEED feel like “one more thing” for owners to contend with when they are placed on top of already-strict local codes. Locally, Maryland and Washington, DC routinely adopt current versions of the building codes, including the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Additionally, both jurisdictions have adopted the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), as have other local jurisdictions. 

The IgCC is an overlay code and acts similarly to LEED in addressing site, water, energy, materials and indoor environmental quality without the fees associated with LEED registration and certification review. Currently, many States use the 2015 code set and some are about to adopt the 2018 codes. The requirements of the 2015 IECC exceed the energy prerequisite requirements under LEED v4, contributing to a perception that LEED is falling behind. While USGBC is likely to make an adjustment to the energy credit requirement when adoption of the 2018 code set begins to occur, a disparity is likely to remain.

One argument we hear for not certifying a project under LEED is that, since the building code exceeds the LEED energy prerequisite, LEED is unnecessary. While codes that exceed LEED minimum is true in some regions, it isn’t the case everywhere in the United States (see map). Some jurisdictions throughout the United States reference older building and energy codes, some as far back as 2006. The current LEED energy prerequisite for New Construction, Version 4 is a 5% energy use reduction over ASHRAE 90.1-2010. The current Energy Conservation Code 2015 references ASHRAE 90.1-2013 which can demand greater energy efficiency than the LEED prerequisite for some building types. As mentioned above, state and local jurisdictions are about to upgrade to the IECC 2018, which pushes code-compliant energy performance requirements even higher for locations where these codes are adopted. 

Through the LEED rating system the US Green Building Council (USGBC) aims to provide an entry point for green building design and construction nationally and internationally. We have mentioned that not all locations have adopted the current version of the energy code and international codes vary widely as well. In locations with lower energy standards, LEED energy prerequisites are still above code requirements but not so much as to deter participation in pursuing a green building certification. Also, no one is keeping anyone from exceeding minimum energy requirements, which is the beauty of LEED. LEED rewards exceptional energy performance with additional points; up to 18 for 50% energy reduction in new buildings. 

Commercial Buildings

In most cases, high energy scores can lead to a Gold certification. Exceptional energy performance provides the same result whether the project is pursuing a certification or not however, LEED provides an incentive through its assignment of points for increasing levels of energy performance. Higher energy scores may also lead to a higher final certification level. Anyone who has worked on a LEED project can attest to owners and team members asking, “What will it take to get the next energy point?” or “What will it take to get to the next LEED level?”

It cannot be stressed enough that energy is not the only measure of a green building, and in this regard, LEED shines. Having established the five major categories of site, water, energy, materials, and indoor environmental quality, LEED creates a balanced assessment of a project’s environmental and health impacts. While the IgCC address these categories as well, the ability of local jurisdictions to modify the code when they adopt it provides varying definitions of green building according to each of those jurisdictions. Review and enforcement of the code by each jurisdiction varies widely further muddying the measure of a code compliant green building. LEED is a standard set of credits and requirements. Yes, we have heard and have participated in complaints over the inconsistencies between review teams. Though onerous, these can be dealt with through a defined process of appeals. Though not perfect, LEED remains the most consistent measure of a green building and the US Green Building Council is constantly seeking to improve the standard and the administration of that standard.

Is LEED Still Relevant?

This is Part-Two in a four-part series on LEED. In our next blog in this series, we’ll be discussing some common mis-perceptions of the LEED rating system.   

Alternative Certifications

The State of LEED: The Rise of Alternative Certifications and Codes

Since 1993, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has served as the premier green building certification system. In the decades since its creation, other certifications have risen; some to challenge LEED’s dominance, others to compliment LEED’s success. What is the role of LEED as we look ahead?

The Popularity of Alternative Certifications

As environmental concerns have become more of a priority for many state and local governments, many jurisdictions continue to support green building standards in their communities. Some have chosen to adopt alternative green building standards while retaining LEED as an alternate compliance path. The International Green Construction Code (IgCC), an overlay to the Building Code designed to create buildings with a smaller environmental footprint, is currently the standard in many states including Maryland, Rhode Island, Wyoming and 11 others. Green Globes continues to gain acceptance and BREEAM, a rating system originating in Britain, is emerging in the US. For residential projects, ICC700 and Enterprise Green Communities join LEED for Homes as compliant green building approaches. The good news is that green building is alive and well and that LEED is a part of the compliance equation. In the US, LEED remains the preeminent green building standard in the market.

The Emergence of Alternative Certification Standards

With the success of LEED, organizations have sought to expand the checklist of building qualities that affect occupants and their communities. In the process, new rating systems have emerged. For example, RELiis a building standard focused on designing resilient buildings that can avoid or more easily recover from environmental calamities inherent in a changing climate. Events over the past 20 years in the United States, including Hurricane Isabel, Hurricane Katrina, prolonged droughts, wildfires ravaging California and flooding in Ellicott City locally, have all shown the increased importance of resiliency planning. 

WELL and Fitwel are standards for buildings that focus on occupant health and well-being. The criteria are different but complementary to the LEED requirements for site, water, energy, materials and indoor environmental quality. The requirements of these rating systems build on the healthy building aspects of LEED to further enhance occupant health and wellbeing. Encouraging people to use the stairs instead of the elevators, providing access to healthy foods, eliminating material contaminants, providing quality views and energy-efficient lighting are among the various topics addressed under these standards. While there are some new elements introduced, much of what is included are deeper dives into the credits existing within the various LEED rating systems. 

How Many Systems Is Too Many Systems?

There are currently nearly a dozen alternative certification systems for buildings, more if you count the ratings for individual building types within each system. This does not include certifications available for products, sites, infrastructure and other non-building pieces and parts of our built environment. With so many codes, certifications and standards available, it is understandable that there is confusion over which is best for a given project. Many owners are re-evaluating the best way to build responsibly. At Doo Consulting, we believe there are still advantages to LEED certification which we will discuss in our upcoming LEED blogs.

Is LEED Still Relevant?

This is the first in a four-part series on the state of the LEED rating system as viewed by Doo Consulting. In our next blog in this series, we’ll be delving into the relationship between LEED, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

C40

50×30? C40? 1,000 in 2040? The Initiatives Shaping Our Future

With so many exciting initiatives taking place on a global level to reduce carbon emissions and slow the effects of global warming, it’s easy to get things confused. Beyond statewide missions like 50×30 to go green, the commitment to use 50% renewables by the year 2030, there are many bold commitments being made on a city level. C40 cities are those who are paving the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future.

C40 101

C40 is a formal network of over 90 of the world’s biggest and greatest cities who are united in a commitment to addressing climate change in a meaningful fashion. The cities involved include:

  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Beijing, China
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Toyko, Japan
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Milan, Italy
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Lima, Peru
  • Los Angeles, United States
  • New York City, United States
  • Vancouver, Canada

Cities are often hubs of innovation and change, and every city in the C40 network is aiming to create a sustainable future from the top down. The impressive roster of cities includes locales that make up 25% of the global GDP and 1 in 12 people worldwide. Collectively, the cities have completed over 10,000 actions to combat the spread of climate change. With impressive results like those, it’s clear why more cities are looking to get on board.

The Goals

While 10,000 actions have currently been completed, the member cities must complete at least 14,000 by 2020 to determine whether or not cities can meet the Paris Agreement benchmarks on time. Each member city is placed in a network where they can find opportunities to work on mutually-beneficial projects with other cities. Thanks to the well-developed networks, cities can also learn techniques that worked elsewhere and get ideas for implementation. Through data-driven collaboration, all C40 cities are dedicated to sustainability.

Green Building is Leading the Way

The C40 cities are all utilizing different Green Building techniques and ideas to make greener and healthier cities. Out of the cities participating, almost 75% are implementing incentives for businesses to invest in green buildings. 61% have municipal green building policies in place, and 73% have green school policies in place. Half are also currently implementing sustainable community policies. Please visit the C40 website to see if your city is a member. If it is, see what they are doing and support their efforts. If you are a developer, architect, engineer or contractor, there are great resources here. Planning, design and constructing the built environment play a big role in addressing the climate challenge.  If your city is not a member, encourage them to join! The shared resources and the city-to-city networking are invaluable.

Net Zero Buildings Contribute to Climate Change Solution

Over the past several months at Doo Consulting, we’ve been working on two zero-net-energy (ZNE) schools in the City of Baltimore and have been asked to submit proposals for two more ZNE projects. We have already completed two small zero-net-energy projects and have facilitated design workshops on two others. With the recent new requests, I’m sensing the beginning of a very positive trend of ultra-high performance and net zero buildings becoming increasingly attainable.

During the same period of time, the news has presented the impacts of hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, super typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines, and the summer wildfires raging throughout the West. As I write this blog, hurricane Michael is bearing down on the Gulf Coast. Earlier this week, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stern warning on the consequences of allowing global warming to exceed 1.5° Celsius. According to this recently published report, temperatures have already risen 1° C. Specific measures need to be taken by 2030, 12 years from now, to provide the best chance to avoid exceeding the 1.5° target.

How are these things related? Scientists maintain that the extreme weather we are experiencing is the result of human-caused climate change. A recent New York Times Magazine (issued August 5, 2018) recounts the efforts of scientists and politicians to raise the alarm about the dangers of climate change beginning in the early 1970’s. As it turns out, much of what scientists predicted forty years ago is coming true just as they said it would. Consequently, I take the warnings of the IPCC seriously. If we don’t act to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°, the world that we leave our children and grandchildren will be considerably less hospitable than the present.

Admittedly, it’s difficult to wrap one’s head around, “what can I do about it?” Even if one subscribes fully to human caused climate impacts. It’s been forty years since warnings were first presented to the public and to governments around the world. In aggregate, impacts have been significant from the events previously mentioned to melting ice caps, rising sea levels, regional droughts and other subtle changes like the small temperature rise that is wreaking all of this havoc. In the US alone, the cumulative value of climate and weather related disasters since 1980 exceeds $1.5 trillion. But, to most of us, we can still get the food we need, even though farmers may experience floods or droughts. We are still comfortable in our homes even though our region may be experiencing extreme heat. We can change our vacation plans if a prediction threatens the comfort or safety of our trip. Though we may recognize that others are experiencing climate related stress, ours is limited or non-existent.

For these reasons, I’m glad that policy makers are telling us what we should do. I’m grateful for mileage standards for vehicles and emission standards for pollutants. While we may argue about the effectiveness of individual regulations, I am generally in favor science-based and purposeful regulation. Thirty years ago, governments agreed to phase-out ozone depleting substances. The ozone layer prevents harmful ultra-violet rays from reaching the surface of the planet. By 2032, the ozone layer is predicted to be restored to its 1980 levels. Success!

I’m glad that many in the professions with whom my company is involved take climate science seriously as well; architects, developers, engineers, manufacturers, government and others. How we plan our communities and design and build our buildings can contribute significantly toward mitigating climate change. The International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and others have been developing regulatory standards targeting zero net energy building requirements by 2030.The chart above shows how far energy codes have come since 1975, the period of the first oil embargo and America’s first energy crisis. During the 70’s, North American architects and builders began to explore concepts of passive design. Lessons learned were used to develop Passive House standards in Europe and have now migrated back to the US. For a while, from the mid 80’s until 2006, building codes were not demanding very much from building professionals. But, things have changed and with not a moment to spare, according to the IPCC. In 2030, the building code will require net zero energy buildings by regulation. How broadly this code will be adopted and how it will be applied across project types will be interesting to watch. My earlier mention of the zero net energy building projects is to present a hopeful trend that we hope others in the building community are sharing. We are ready for the challenge and look forward to doing our part.

Learn More About Green Building at These Upcoming Events

This fall, we have the honor of participating in two local events centered around environmentally-friendly construction, living and green building techniques. We hope to see you there!

WTMD’s B’More Green Happy Hour

LINK: https://wtmd.org/radio/2018/08/23/bmore-green-happy-hour-sept-20-at-wtmd/

On September 20th from 5:00 PM-7:30 PM, WTMD is hosting a B’More Green Happy Hour featuring Doo Consulting and over a dozen other organizations dedicated to making green living more accessible. The event will have local craft brews, complimentary food and other refreshments. Stop by 1 Olympic Place in downtown Towson to learn more about lowering your environmental impact and making your business and home more energy efficient. What other businesses will be there?

  • B’More Trash Talk
  • Chesapeake Farm to Table
  • Civic Works Real Food Farm
  • Clean Choice Energy
  • Clean Water Action
  • E Fynch
  • Echotopia
  • Home Land Environmental
  • Hungry Harvest
  • McClintock Distillery
  • North Calvert Green
  • Pure Water Maryland
  • Sprout
  • Towson University Office of Sustainability
  • Veteran Compost
  • And more!

In an effort to make Living Building Challenge projects more affordable, Peter Doo, FAIA, is co-presenting “Gaddy House Redux: A Living Building Revisited” at DesignDC

LINK: https://www.aiadc.com/designdc2018

DesignDC 2018 is DC’s premier conference examining the role of architects, engineers, contractors, planners, interior designers, landscape architects and developers in making sustainable and efficient places to live, work and play in the greater Washington, DC area. The 3-day conference will take place from October 2-4, and Peter Doo will be giving a presentation on October 3rd from 11:00 AM-12:30 PM. This presentation will revisit the Gaddy House, a Living Building Challenge certified project. During the presentation, we will be reconstruct this unique project with affordability in mind. Peter Doo will be speaking alongside the architect, Miche Booz, and the energy modeler, Morteza Kasmai. Attendees will be eligible to earn 1.5 AIA HSW LUs or 1.5 LACES CEUs at the conclusion of the presentation.

Learn More About Green Building from Doo Consulting

Doo Consulting offers a comprehensive range of green building design services as part of our commitment to advancing sustainable green building practices across industries. We look forward to working with cities throughout the area to achieve a sustainable future through green building practices. If you are interested in learning more about sustainability and building practices, please contact us using the form below or by calling (443) 653-3792.

1,000 Cities in 2040

All About the 1,000 Cities in 2040 Initiative

A bold new initiative is aiming to recruit 1,000 cities around the world to cease fossil fuel use and utilize 100% renewable energy by 2040. The 1,000 Cities in 2040 project wants to encourage cities to exceed the benchmarks set by the Paris Agreement by harnessing the power of citizens petitioning elected officials.

The 1,000 Cities in 2040 Project

This inspiring effort encourages citizens to sign an online petition to city leaders to stop the use of fossil fuels and commit to using renewable energy sources. Pathway to Paris, the overarching non-profit, connects artists, musicians, activists, academics, innovators, scientists and mayors around the central goal of combating climate change through unified action. Through the central program, there are resources to evaluate city plans, learn more about Green Building, understand environmental benchmarks and keep a list of cities who are working towards meeting the goals of the 1,000 Cities in 2040 mission. On an annual basis, there will be recognition of the cities working toward the target at a special concert.

What Cities Are Participating?

The list of cities participating in the 1,000 Cities by 2040 project is growing every year. Some of the highest-profile locales involved include:

  • Seattle
  • London
  • Halifax
  • Calgary
  • San Francisco
  • Vancouver
  • Edmonton

Aggressive Changes Already in Progress

Beyond the 1,000 Cities in 2040 project, there are many other cities taking aggressive steps to limit fossil fuel use. 12 major cities, including London, have pledged to remove fossil fuels from the streets by 2030. A whopping 33% of greenhouse gas emissions from C40 cities come as a result of traffic and transportation, and the cars and buses lining the roads are the main culprits. Starting in 2025, participating cities will only purchase zero-emissions buses. In 2030, cities will have a significant portion of the city designated as a zero emissions area. London is leading the way with new public transportation options, radical measures to clean up the existing bus fleet and creating new bicycle lanes throughout the city.

Green Building initiatives are also taking aim at the impacts that traditional commercial buildings have on the environment. Buildings account for a whopping 39% of all primary energy consumption and 72% of all domestically-consumed energy in the United States. Electricity is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and by following efficiency standards and established Green Building techniques, the cities of tomorrow will be more sustainable from the ground up.

A Greener Future with Doo Consulting

Doo Consulting offers a comprehensive range of green building design services as part of our commitment to advancing sustainable Green Building practices across industries. We look forward to working with cities throughout the area to achieve a sustainable future through Green Building practices. If you are interested in learning more about sustainability and building practices, please contact us using the form below or by calling (443) 653-3792.

Green Schools with Doo Consulting

Back to ‘Green’ School

When students return to Baltimore City Public Schools this fall, many of them will be entering modernized school buildings designed with Green Building techniques in mind. Through the 21st Century School Buildings Program, 5 new school buildings are greeting students this fall, with a total of 28 expected over the course of the program.

New Green Schools in Baltimore City Public Schools

The 5 buildings welcoming students this fall include Pimlico Elementary & Middle School, Arundel Elementary & Middle School, Cherry Hill Elementary & Middle School, Forest Park High School and the Robert Poole Building, home to the Academy for College and Career Exploration and Independence High.

These schools are being opened just in time, as last winter about half of the district’s schools had heating issues or burst pipes. These new engaging spaces include technology labs, art studios and media rooms where students can learn and flourish.

Safe for Students

Another motivation behind the new school initiative was updating the weathered infrastructure supporting the schools. The new buildings have advanced water filtration systems so that students can drink from fountains without worrying about the high levels of lead in the water that prevented use of the fountains previously.

Maryland Green Schools Award

Many of these schools are also expected to receive the Maryland Green Schools Award from the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE). The Maryland Green Schools Award Program is designed to recognize schools dedicated to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. The schools who participate in the program demonstrate environmental leadership to increase awareness about the importance of a green future.

Major Changes from the 21st Century School Buildings Program

This innovative program seeks to create inspiring learning environments that are filled with clean air and natural light, have excellent acoustics, are temperature-controlled and have plenty of outdoor activity space, all while responsibly using resources, especially energy and water. All new and renovated schools in Baltimore City are required to achieve the Silver level of certification of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standard for schools. Many have achieved a Gold certification. Throughout the City, 21st Century schools are encouraged to:

  • Create physical environments that support teaching and learning
  • Achieve LEED® certification
  • Demonstrate good environmental stewardship
  • Support environmental literacy
  • Create outdoor educational opportunities on school grounds
  • Encourage responsible transportation
  • Foster a healthy school environment
  • Build and strengthen community partnerships
  • Serve and educate students about healthy food
  • Support Career and Technology Education (CTE) Pathways

Green School Consulting from Doo Consulting

Doo Consulting offers a comprehensive range of green school and green building design services as part of our commitment to advancing sustainable Green Building practices across industries. If you are interested in learning more about the relationship between buildings and health, please contact us using the form below or by calling (443) 653-3792 .