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


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


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 .

50x30 club

The 50×30 Club

New Jersey is the newest state to join the exclusive 50×30 club. Earlier this summer, Governor Murphy signed a landmark clean energy bill into law cementing its status as a state at the forefront of environmental innovation. In addition to the bill, another executive order was signed to develop a new Energy Master Plan (EMP) for the State of New Jersey to achieve 100% clean, renewable energy by the year 2050.

The 50×30 Club

The 50×30 club is composed of states pledging to source 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030. Currently, the states in the club are New York, Hawaii, California and Vermont. Two additional states, Iowa and Colorado, could reach the goal anyway as a result of utility company actions in their states. However, New Jersey is the most ambitious state of the bunch thanks to the new bill. As a result of environmentally-friendly legal provisions, many of the states in the 50×30 club have experienced tremendous economic growth and developed some of the largest clean energy job workforces per capita in the country.

New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Bill

The energy bill, A-3723, includes a wide range of steps designed to create new renewable energy programs and expand ones already in existence. Some of the notable programs include:

  • Renewable Energy Standard: This aggressive standard requires that 21% of the energy in the state be purchased from Class I renewable sources by 2020, 35% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. This standard also provides a cap for costs to prevent residents and business owners from being financially impacted.
  • Solar Energy: New Jersey will be expanding the solar program so that it is more sustainable. The state will also be adding a community program so that all residents can benefit from the positive effects of solar energy.
  • Offshore Wind Energy: The current goal of reaching 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030 is cemented in this bill, along with a previously-expired program offering tax credits for offshore wind manufacturing.
  • Efficiency: Every utility must implement measures to reduce total electricity usage by 2% and natural gas usage by 0.75%.
  • Energy Storage: The bill also cements New Jersey’s goal of reaching 600MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000MW by 2030.

The Economic Benefits Anticipated in New Jersey

New Jersey’s new bill falls in line with record-low solar energy and wind power costs. Two of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States are solar installers and wind turbine technicians, creating a new workforce ready for the 50×30 club. The aggressive wind power goal will also generate billions in new investments and create over 36,000 full-time jobs in the greater region.

The Latest 50×30 Club News 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. 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.

Happy 40th Birthday EPA - Doo Consulting Blog

Happy 40th Birthday EPA!

Happy New Year To You and Happy 40th Birthday to the EPA.

As I reflect on 2010, I am aware that December 2, 2010, was the 40th birthday of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The turn of the year is a time of reflection as is the fortieth birthday of an organization. In spite of the challenging economy of the last few years, the rising attention to the environment and the business response has been astounding. The term “LOHAS” (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability), describes a group of consumers attracted to a marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. An estimate of this market in 2008 was $290 billion and growing. This year, the total volume of LEED certified buildings exceeded one billion square feet globally. People are increasingly aware of the environmental challenges before us and are clearly voting with their wallets.

Given this, the New Year seems a good time to celebrate the 40th birthday of the EPA and to reflect on its creation, accomplishments and future goals.

In the 1960’s the cumulative effects of our false presumption that our environment was limitless and self-cleaning; that we could dump our waste into our air, water and land and that it would “flush” itself, were brought sharply to our attention.

In 1962 Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring”, documenting the effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly birds. Becoming a best-seller, this book raised public concern about pollution in our environment and its effects on animals and man. DDT sprayed into the air and on plants to kill mosquitoes and other insects, poisoned the food supply for birds and other creatures. The question was, “Could it poison us?”

In 1969 the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire, and not for the first time. Filled with sludge and debris, river fires in the Cuyahoga had become a regular occurrence beginning in 1868. A river fire in 1952 caused over 1.5 million dollars in damage. The 1969 fire caused Congress to pass the Clean Water Act and inspired the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In April of 1970 the first Earth Day was held. Originally focusing on the United States, Earth Day is now celebrated in over 175 countries every year.

On December 2, of 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was founded. One of its first acts was to ban DDT, the chemical pesticide that was the subject of Rachel Carson’s book in 1962. Growing public concern about the state of the environment, reinforced by the first Earth Day celebration in April 1970, led President Richard M. Nixon to call on Congress to reorganize the federal government’s approach to the environment by “pulling together into one agency a variety of research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities now scattered through several departments and agencies.”

In his special message to Congress which he transmitted in July 1970, Nixon wrote, “Our national government today is not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which debase the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that grows our food…. Despite its complexity, for pollution control purposes the environment must be perceived as a single, interrelated system.”

10 of EPA’s Accomplishments

The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization, recently published a report [pdf] that details 10 ways the EPA has strengthened America over the past 40 years. Those accomplishments include:

  1. Banning the widespread use of DDT
  2. Removing the acid from acid rain
  3. Rethinking waste as materials (drawing energy from waste streams and reusing materials to get more value from them before their final disposal)
  4. Removing lead from gasoline–and from the air
  5. Clearing secondhand smoke (by classifying secondhand smoke as a known cause of cancer in humans, and banning smoking in indoor public spaces
  6. Increasing vehicle efficiency and controlling emissions
  7. Working for environmental justice and a cleaner environment for all Americans
  8. Controlling toxic substances
  9. Achieving cleaner water
  10. Enforcing community right-to-know laws and improving public information about the chemicals and/or pollutants to which Americans may be exposed in their daily lives

Today, the EPA continues in its mission to protect our environment.


Seven Priorities for EPA’s Future

In the next 40 years and beyond, EPA commits to making strides in those issues that most affect the environment and communities we live in:

  1. Taking action on climate change
  2. Improving air quality
  3. Assuring the safety of chemicals
  4. Cleaning up our communities
  5. Protecting America’s waters
  6. Expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice
  7. Building strong state and tribal partnerships

It is interesting to point out that the environment has never been the partisan issue it seems to have become. Strong leadership for environmental protection from both parties is evident in past legislation. Under Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, and a Democratic Congress, the United States government created the National Parks system.  Again, under a Republican President, Richard Nixon, and a Democratic Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency was born. As someone once said, “Conservation is conservative,” and that is a conservative notion that, I’m confident, liberals can live with.

Challenges to our environment must continue to be addressed on a bipartisan basis. The challenges before us and the potential costs or benefits to our communities will not recognize State or national borders or political party. The EPA’s agenda for the future targets those challenges that have the broadest affect on our communities. The stated priorities of the EPA are built around their mission to protect human health and the environment for all Americans. We now understand that protecting the environment and protecting our health are one and the same. For those who would suggest that “It costs too much” or “It will cost American jobs,” it is clear that all that we have comes, in one way or another, from the Earth. There is no economy without the environment. Let’s keep it healthy for our jobs, ourselves and our children.

Happy Birthday EPA and keep up the good work!

Healthy Environment for Everyone - Doo Consulting Blog

Aspiring to a Healthy Environment for Everyone

Two local health care organizations dedicated to serving a vast constituency in the Baltimore area, including indigent and low income communities, have achieved high levels of LEED certification in 2010.  Doo Consulting LLC acted as the LEED consultant to Baltimore Medical System and Maryland Health Care for the Homeless as each owner pursued their project goals.

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