How Communities of Color are Leading the Sustainability Movement

At the close of Black History Month, I’d like to take a moment to share some observations. If I look at the green building movement that I have experienced, there have been wonderful and influential black leaders at the US Green Building Council and within the movement. Van Jones, Kimberly Lewis, George Bandy, Majora Carter are a few of the people you should know.  If you don’t, look them up. Beyond green buildings, there are others including Jacqui Patterson, who leads the NAACP Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector (CESBS) which is referenced in this blog.

Admittedly, looking at the membership of USGBC, and the attendees of the organization’s annual conference, most of the faces are white. But, communities of color are increasingly aware of the disproportionately increased risks they face resulting from events related to climate change.  Organizations like the NAACP and black leaders in the U.S. have been coming together to take action. We know that when climate disasters strike, communities of color are often hit the hardest. Pollution-producing facilities have been placed in or near black communities, affecting their health, well-being and access to opportunities.

According to The Atlantic, black individuals in the United States are three times more likely to die from air pollution than white individuals. People of color are also exposed to 38% higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, which causes diseases like asthma. Additionally, these communities are more prone to higher temperatures and heat-related deaths due to a lack of green space in their neighborhoods. Black leaders across the nation are taking concentrated steps to mitigate these injustices and forward the sustainability movement.

Encouraging Career Placement and Reversing Climate Gentrification

Making change involves not only teaching others about eco-friendly solutions, but matching people with environmentally-oriented career opportunities. Local nonprofit organizations such as the Green City Force in New York City, for example, are putting this concept into action. Green City Force makes it their mission to guide young people in low-income communities of color towards green careers.

Nonprofits are also helping to mitigate the effects of climate gentrification. When climate disasters occur, destroying valuable waterfront properties, land developers and wealthy residents move towards communities of color. Members of these communities are often forced to vacate their homes and relocate. In cities like Miami, several organizations have united to purchase land and give people of color the chance to stay in their communities. 

The NAACP and the International Code Council  

It should come as no surprise that the NAACP is fully engaged in sustainability and environmental justice. In 2019 the NAACP created Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector (CESBS). Led by Jacqui Patterson, the CESBS seeks to educate, engage with and advocate for communities of color in seeking equitable treatment in sustainable policy, planning and development affecting their communities. They’ve written a Guideline for Equitable Community Involvement in Building and Development Projects and Policies (available at the bottom of the CESBS link).

Recently, the NAACP and the International Code Council have announced a joint effort to protect communities of color by leading a conversation about building regulations. Unfortunately, people of color are much more likely to live in buildings exposed to mold, lead, asbestos, and radon. In addition, these buildings are typically less energy-efficient and don’t have the tools in place to safeguard residents against disasters. The NAACP and ICC webinar, which is set to take place on March 2nd, will be centered on addressing ways to improve building codes. Leading discussions is a great way to help residents understand current challenges and help them make a positive change.

Learn How Your Business Can Participate in the Sustainability Movement

Buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions.* Doo Consulting works in this market sector to help clients reduce those emissions and combat the effects of environmental injustice. Contact us if we can assist in your goal to support the sustainability movement.

*Architecture 2030

Recapping COP26 2021

In our previous blog, we discussed the origins of COP26, who is involved in this year’s climate conference, and what is at stake if these call for actions continue to go unanswered. The event was highly anticipated due to last year’s delay, which was caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As in previous years, many individuals addressed the urgency of the climate crisis and explained how we must act now before it is too late. However, some argue that we are already on the cusp of that threshold and our leaders aren’t doing enough. Now that the event has concluded, we will go over the most significant takeaways.

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Building Electrification: The Key to A Net Zero Future

What is Building Electrification?

In the effort to decarbonize future energy use, building electrification has been highlighted as one of the key ways to achieve the country’s carbon zero goals. The process of building electrification involves either new buildings being built with a completely electric infrastructure or retrofitting old buildings to rely solely on electric power. This includes not only applications such as light, heat and water, but also the installation of electric equipment such as electric cook tops and boilers.

Benefits to Building Electrification

A recent Urban Land Institute article makes the business case for building electrification. All-electric equipment powered by renewable energy is one of the first steps to reducing carbon emissions. This is crucial for both government and private real estate owners aiming for their net-zero goals because of the significant amount of fossil fuels used to keep commercial and residential real estate properties running.

From the initial building process to long term use, all-electric buildings have the potential to save significant amounts of money. Building all-electric from the start has less upfront costs and prevents having to spend money to integrate electric systems with the power grid later on.

In the city of San Francisco’s New Building Electrification ordinance, building electrification is cited as a solution to public health concerns as well. Unknown to many, the burning of fossil fuels indoors through gas cook tops and boilers can have a significant effect on the health of occupants who use them for everyday tasks. The fumes given off are detrimental to indoor air quality and can increase the risk for respiratory disease.

Current Progress in Building Electrification

There are already a few properties in the US turning towards building electrification by either retrofitting older buildings with all-electric equipment or using all-electric from the start. 30 Van Ness in San Francisco, California, is Lendlease’s first all-electric mixed-use development in the United States. E-commerce website Etsy’s 200,000-square-foot headquarters in Brooklyn, New York is powered solely by renewable energy. There is even a border entry center in Columbus, New Mexico that runs on solar power and harvests rainwater through recycled concrete “sponges”. You can see all of this project’s sustainability attributes here. A net-zero emissions future is possible, and building electrification is a necessary piece to make this vision a reality.

Doo Consulting has been ahead of the curve, focusing on the construction of greener buildings since 2007. Contact us if you are also interested in joining the effort to reduce energy use and carbon emissions in buildings.

The 2021 Committee on the Environment Award Winners from the American Institute of Architects

One of the most exciting parts of any year in the green building industry is looking through the projects that were recognized by the American Institute of Architects in the Committee on the Environment (COTE) awards. All of these projects are notable for achieving design excellent and environmental performance while adapting to different scales, climate zones and typologies.

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Exploring Mass Timber Construction

I recently attended a fascinating mass timber session at Greenbuild. Mass timber is gaining traction in the design and construction world because it is beautiful and is now proven to be as safe as other forms of construction. The session brought into focus the growing role that mass timber construction is playing in green building. As the construction and design industries continue to explore ways of building gorgeous, functional structures with lower embodied carbon footprints, it is time to explore the potential of mass timber construction. 

Mass Timber Construction 101

Mass timber construction is characterized by the use of large solid wood panels for floor, wall and roof construction. Terms with which one may be familiar include Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Nail Laminated Timber (NLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (glulam). CLT and NLT can be used as panels for floors, roof decks and walls. Glulam components are typically used for columns and beams. 

Related image
Butler Square, Minneapolis. Photographer: Pete Seiger

This is not an entirely new field. The nine story Butler Square Building in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was built in 1908 and is still in use. Contemporary mass timber buildings have been built in Europe for the last twenty years or more.  Adopted codes in many jurisdictions in the United States are currently behind the curve. Mass timber is not the same as light wood framing and should not be considered as such. In fact, three new Type IV construction classifications have already been approved for the 2021 International Building Code. One of them, Type IV-A, fully protected, provides a 3-hour frame and 2-hour floor for construction up to eighteen stories and 270 feet in height.

The Benefits of Mass Timber Construction

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Mass Timber Construction
  • Predictability of Schedule: Mass timber construction projects are often delivered on time or early due to the efficiency and speed of construction.
  • Streamlined Construction Process: When you choose mass timber construction, crews can work on placed decking immediately. This speeds-up the construction process and removes some of the delays that can occur when you choose other building materials. 
  • Reduced Foundations: Mass timber structures are 25% of the weight of concrete, so foundations can be reduced.
  • Less Waste: Unlike other construction materials that generate and leave behind a great deal of waste, there is little to no job site waste that occurs with timber. Factory waste can be recycled completely.
  • Less Labor: Mass timber construction requires smaller crews which saves money.
  • Less Community Disturbance: Mass timber construction produces less construction traffic and assembly generates less noise than the construction of alternate structural systems. 
  • Carbon Reduction: Mass timber has the potential to sequester carbon but the benefit depends on sustainable forest management, the project’s life cycle and the eventual end of life recycling of the building materials. Mass timber buildings definitely have a smaller carbon footprint than other types of construction but owners and designers interested in this calculation must wade into the weeds to truly quantify the difference.

The Potential Obstacles for Mass Timber Construction

  • Plan Review: Because mass timber construction is not as widely accepted by building codes in the United States, you may need to spend more time and money having your plans reviewed and approved than you ordinarily would. Reviewers may require more protection than is necessary. Wrapping mass timber elements in gypsum significantly increases cost and reduces the carbon benefit, not to mention that you can no longer see the beautiful wood structure.
  • Insurance: Check with the owner’s insurance company before going too far into the process. Mass timber isn’t the same as light wood framing but insurance companies sometimes need education. Fire test information and additional studies are available to give to your insurer when negotiating rates. 
  • Experienced Project Teams: Architects undertaking their first mass timber project should work with a structural engineer or another architect with experience. Contractors need experience as well. In one of the case studies presented, the owner required the assembly of a sample bay of the building so the contractor could understand how the components would go together. This aided the contractor in establishing an appropriate price and schedule for the work.
  • Material Availability: With increased interest in mass timber construction, plants capable of producing CLT, NLT and glulam products may be challenged. As with any popular product, check on availability and lead times. 


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Bullitt Center

Mass timber buildings hold much promise, not only for buildings seeking environmental benefits, but for delivering beautiful buildings on time and on budget. Under the 2021 building code, mass timber buildings that are sprinklered can be fully exposed up to nine stories. The biophilic benefits of beautiful wood workplaces cannot be understated. The full potential of mass timber construction is only beginning to be explored.

Net Zero Energy

All About Net Zero Energy in Green Building

Net Zero Energy (NZE) is currently one of the most exciting concepts in green building. Buildings with the zero energy distinction seamlessly combine renewable energy sources with energy efficiency to create a building that generates as much energy as it utilizes over a set time period. Does that sound ambitious? It is! Through an integrative design process, the ambitious can quickly become achievable. 


One of the distinctions available for green buildings with Net Zero Energy is LEED Zero. This program is a complement to the existing LEED certification program for those buildings that are already certified. If you are preparing for the LEED certification process, remember that you are reimagining what a building can be and how your business could signal to the community that you care about the future. Why wouldn’t you shoot for the stars, or at least LEED Zero?

Will Net Zero Energy Cost More? 

One of the most interesting resources published by the US Department of Energy demonstrates that high-performance NZE design is possible on budgets similar to those of traditionally-constructed buildings. What are some of the strategies that can lower costs and ensure NZE?

  • Assemble a qualified project team including the contractor. Use of experienced subcontractors early in the design process can help to ensure that your cost guidelines are being met. 
  • Utilize performance-based procurement to strike a balance between budget, energy savings and other benefits.
  • Consider cost shifting. Money spent on energy efficiency measures can be saved in the reduced size and capacity of the mechanical systems.
  • Consider life cycle cost impacts when designing. 
  • Maximize the usage of repeatable, modular design strategies during the design phase. 
  • Investigate local incentives (utility and tax rebates) and alternative financing options for higher-cost construction projects. 

Understanding LEED Zero: Energy 

The LEED Zero program for energy efficiency is designed to celebrate spaces that have a source energy use balance of zero over a 12-month period. Beyond this aspect of the Zero program, you could also be recognized for Zero Carbon (operating with net zero carbon emissions from energy consumption and occupant transportation to carbon emissions offset over 12 months), Zero Water (potable water use balance of zero over 12 months) or Zero Waste (achieving the Platinum level of certification through GCBI’s True Zero Waste program). 

Doo Consulting’s Net Zero Energy Projects

Our team has been fortunate enough to assist with numerous Net Zero Energy projects in our community. We are currently working with two Baltimore City Public Schools, Graceland Park and Holabird Academy, that will be the flagship NZE schools for the City. In this project, we are auditing the LEED process on behalf of the owner. At the same time, we are creating compelling stories for the students and the greater school community that showcase the energy efficiency strategies used to achieve net zero. Watch for these!

THEARC Bike Racks

Doo Consulting Recognized at the 2019 USGBCNCR Awards

July 18, 2019, Washington, D.C.: Doo Consulting proudly accepted the U.S. Green Building Council – National Capital Region’s (USGBCNCR) 2019 Innovative Project of the Year Award for New Construction – Commercial on behalf of the project team for the Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Campus  West (THEARC West). The award was presented at the USGBCNRC’s annual Midsummer Night’s Green event at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Southwest 

Applicants were judged based on the project’s innovation beyond certification; degree of difficulty; integrative process; design flexibility and life cycle impact reduction; community engagement; health and wellness integration; as well as the overall quality of the application. The USGBC National Capital Region includes the District of Columbia; Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; and northern Virginia, including Frederick, Loudon, Shenandoah, Prince William, Stafford, Fairfax and Arlington counties. 

THEARC West Project Team

Our project team included: 

Owner: Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR)

Developer: WC Smith

Architect: Sanchez Palmer Architects

LEED & Sustainability Consultant: Doo Consulting, LLC

MEP Engineers: Potomac Energy GroupPandagy, LLC

Civil/Landscape Engineer: VIKA

Contractor: WCS Construction, LLC


“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” 
                                                                                    ― Frederick Douglass

The Town Hall Education, Arts & Recreation Campus (THEARC) was constructed to serve the underserved. Through a collaboration of partner organizations, the most recent campus expansion, the LEED Certified Gold®THEARC West, provides access to high quality educational, health, cultural, recreation and social service programs to the Anacostia River community in Washington, DC. The nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) is the brainchild of Chris Smith, the CEO of DC-based developer WC Smith. Chris runs THEARC and many of its programs with the mission to improve the quality of life for children and adults who reside east of the Anacostia River by providing leadership, management and financial oversight of THEARC, 11th Street Bridge Park, THEARC Farm, THEARC Theater & Skyland Workforce Center

Through these projects, BBAR uses a multi-sector approach to address significant social, health, environmental and economic disparities that exist in DC. It is the largest social service, multi-sector, nonprofit collaboration in America.BBAR’s approach to community building through collaboration in an area vulnerable to gentrification and displacement is a truly innovative path to urban revitalization. Building resilient, equitable and prosperous communities is the key to achieving a truly sustainable world both socially and environmentally. 

THEARC is a home away from home for the many underserved children and adults of East of the River. With the help of the non-profit resident partners, the community is able to participate in dance classes, music, fine arts, academics, continuing education, mentoring, tutoring, recreation, medical care and other services at a substantially reduced cost or no cost at all. THEARC facilitates measurable positive social impact for one of the most historically-underserved areas of Washington, DC. 

THEARC West’s design and construction team focused on creating an environment where occupants, especially children, can thrive. THEARC is, perhaps, the most valuable neighborhood asset in Southeast Washington, DC; enriching this dense, underserved community with a multitude of opportunities. The campus is located centrally within the residential area of focus allowing ease of access for youth and community members without vehicles. The site provides neighborhood residents and occupants with opportunities to directly connect with nature in a manner they may rarely encounter otherwise. The THEARC Farm is both a teaching tool and a resource that provides fresh produce to the community at a low cost through theCommunity Supported Agriculture program, Community Raised Inspired & Sourced Produce (CRISP), while engaging neighbors in hands-on cultivation activities and supporting a weekly onsite farmer’s market. 

Notable Sustainable Design Features 

Some of the most notable sustainable design features of the project include:

  • A rooftop photovoltaic solar array estimated to generate 63,416 kWh of electricity annually.
  • 5424 ftof permeable parking pavers and 15,796 ft2vegetated roof (89% of total roof) help manage stormwater and mitigate the heat island effect that causes increased temperatures resulting from concentrated development in urban areas.
  • Responsibly-sourced and healthy construction materials as well as the diversion of 92% of waste from the landfill through salvage and recycling efforts.
  • A focus on natural light and design that fosters increased physical activity.
  • The 418,233ft2site boasts 93.51% open space with 94% of that being vegetated and 305,350 ftof which is protected from development. A reduction energy cost savings by 29.64% and potable water use by 30.92% with the purchase of renewable energy credits to support the expansion of clean green energy for the building’s remaining energy use.
  • Safe bike parking, staff showers, and a partnership with DC Department of Transportation’sCapital Bikeshare that furnishes short term bike rental stations on campus encourage bicycle use.
Green Warriors

Green Warriors (Peacefully) Collaborate at the Living Future Unconference

The 13th Living Future Unconference did not fail to provide its annual re-charge with this year’s theme of Collaboration and Abundance. As always, there was a plethora of inspiration from every Plenary, “15 Minutes of Brilliance,” the many interactive sessions and the tours and workshops.  

Climate Change and Social Justice 

Climate change and social justice were a common thread in all presentations this year, as this group is clear that #timeisrunningout and that action from every sector is the only option.  The Living Future Institute and many seasoned green warriors have been working tirelessly for years to get the message out about the reality and urgency of climate change (or whatever term works for you). This year’s conference was focused on how we can continue to collaborate on our trajectory.  We are at risk for more imminent and dramatic global crises. Inequities to disadvantaged populations continue unchecked – intensifying issues of poverty, poor health, inadequate education, housing, and harmful biases.  

Hope in the Midst of Trying Times

The unconference provided a respite and an abundance of spirit.  We were wowed by @jamie_margolin, one of the youngest presenters for “15 Minutes of Brilliance” on the first day.  At 17, Jamie is the co-founder of the #ThisIsZeroHour movement for students.  She has been taking time off school each week to strike on behalf of climate change, and every weekend, she goes to a different community to talk about her vision for a better future.  In her future world, climate change is not something she, her friends and their children want to have to worry about.  She talks about it, writes about it, lobbies for appropriate policies, gets other students involved in it and fully expects to be successful. With her inspiring passion and confidence, she will be.  She and her friends are organizing a youth climate action summit in Miami Florida on July 12 – 14. If you are nearby, you should go.  Learn more at:

We had another 15 Minutes of Brilliance with Mark Chambers, Director of Sustainability for New York City (@growacity).  Mark kicked off our last day describing some of the initiatives in the #GreenNewDeal announced by Mayor De Blasio to address climate change. One of these policies, now in place in New York City, mandates that buildings over 25,000 square feet cut their carbon emissions by 40% by 2030; and curtail them by 80% by 2050. While the requirement is controversial, buildings in New York City are responsible for 70% of the city’s carbon emissions. Nationally, buildings represent nearly 40% of total carbon emissions.  These emissions must be reduced if we are going to prevent global temperature rise from exceeding 1.5°C (2.7°F).  

There are a host of other policies in the OneNYC2050 plan that cross every aspect of life in the City. Mark said that, in developing their plan, one of the most important lessons was that “If you want people to fight alongside you, you have to fight alongside them.”  In the spirit of the unconference theme of collaboration, this was a powerful message. The OneNYC2050plan is a massive undertaking, and could only have been accomplished through community engagement, collaboration and communication. It will certainly bring abundance to the city in time. If you have been to NYC recently, you can feel a new energy related to this plan and can feel their sustainability and equity efforts taking root.  The strategy to “building a strong and fair city” weaves a set of actions to address climate, equity and social issues into an extraordinarily comprehensive strategic plan.  The topics within the plan range from housing to jobs to education, health care and voting rights.  Take the time to look at it to appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness that went into its development and creation. 

The Power of Collaboration 

Author and green warrior Bill McKibben gave an amazing opening plenary about his experience with the power of collaboration.  Bill described the history of his organization,  The term “350” means 350 parts per million — the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  In 2008, CO2 levels were already 358 ppm. We are currently around 410 ppm.  Bill and his colleagues decided that they had to do something about the climate crisis, and they had to do it immediately!  He and a group of interns and university friends divided up the seven continents, one per person, and began to “get the word out.” They emailed individuals on each continent and asked if they would help them promote the problem with “350.” They were told that they could do it however they chose.  Visit the website to see the results!  After that simple task, he and his friends wrote a book on global warming, and now there are several in print.

Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Causes

On the second day of the unconference, former Irish President, Mary Robinson did not fail to impress or keep us inspired.  Ms. Robinson has  been a green warrior for decades, and has been a member of the global Council of Elders, founded by Nelson Mandela, since 2007. This groupprovides guidance on peacemaking and human rights.  Ms. Robinson said all countries must be committed to doing what they can to sustain the planet – and countries whose use of fossil fuels is impacting other countries must do what is right to change their dependence; and maintain the agreements to keep the world below 2°C of warming (remember our magic number?).  This is the temperature considered ‘safe’ by scientists. We are nearing that mark today, so we are not safe. Learn more about her work now at the Mary Robinson Climate Justice foundation.  Also, read this report on cities that are doing the most to address climate issues here: Cities doing the most to combat global warming.

During the Q&A, former President Robinson was asked by a young high school student in the audience how to respond to friends who did not believe him when he talked about climate change, and how not to be discouraged in the face of doubt. She challenged him to keep going by reminding him of the life, hardship and work of Archbishop Tutu.  Sharing a story, she told of when Archbishop Tutu was asked by a reporter why he was such an optimist, he responded, “I am not an optimist, I’m a prisoner of hope.”  As a prisoner of hope, you have no choice but to work for a better future.  After her presentation, Ms. Robinson, leaving the hall, came specifically to the young man who had asked the question and shook his hand.  It was a beautiful and touching gesture, and one I know he will not soon forget. 

Moving Forward to a Better Future Together

Many sessions were specifically focused on collaboration exercises and showcased different strategies for working with diverse communities to take on elusive challenges – whether a particular part of a project, a design issue, or a big topic, such as housing the homeless in a community. These techniques were helpful in focusing on shared foundational ideals first, clarifying needs, sharing ideas, asking questions, and formulating solutions together. This is the kind of activity that makes the Living Future unconference so unique and special – engaging with a diverse group of people who are focused on making positive, constructive change in and for our larger environment.

At Doo Consulting, we remain prisoners of hope.  We recognize that there are financial imperatives for every project. But, there are also opportunities. Through collaboration, we seek to find beneficial solutions for our clients and owners. 


The Stagehouse at Merriweather Post Pavilion is a Maryland highlight for USGBC Top 10 States for LEED®

In 2018, Maryland was among the top ten states for LEED®-certified buildings. Doo Consulting was proud to work on one of the most notable projects, the new Stagehouse at Merriweather Post Pavilion. This unique 25,897 ft2new construction project was recently highlighted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC®). 

The USGBC List

This month, the USGBC announced their annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED. Maryland weighs in at number 10 with 113 certified buildings and nearly 17 million SF of construction. Washington, D.C. was awarded an honorable mention because it is not a state, however it is the leader on the basis of SF per capita. Washington, D.C. has more than ten times the square feet of certified building per capita than Illinois, the number one leader! Together, the top 10 states are home to 128 million Americans and have constructed over 468 million gross square feet of LEED-certified space in 2018.

*Source: USGBC

Merriweather Post Pavilion Stagehouse Project

The Stagehouse at Merriweather Post Pavilion was the featured Maryland project of the official USGBC Top 10 Campaign. Merriweather Post Pavilion is a musical institution that has hosted some of the greatest artists in music history including Elton John, The Grateful Dead, The Doors and Janis Joplin. Today, the venue hosts top-notch talent including Florence & the Machine, Jason Aldean, Phish, and Pentatonix. The non-profit owner, the Downtown Columbia Arts & Culture Commission (DCACC), and the independent venue-runner, I.M.P., are both dedicated to environmental sustainability. Singer song-writer Jack Johnson said, “We love coming back to Merriweather Post. This is one of those venues, I’d say probably number one, that not only did they make the (environmentally responsible) changes but they didn’t make us feel bad about having to make the changes and even made us feel good about asking to make the changes.”

The LEED Silver®Stagehouse at Merriweather Post Pavilion is designed to be a home away from home for touring artists. The sustainable design elements include touches that are unnoticeable to the untrained eye, like a white roof with a high-solar reflective index and building materials with no or low volatile organic compounds (VOC). 

The Stagehouse design allows for a 26% reduction in energy costs and a 44% reduction in water use compared to a similar baseline building. Together with JP2 Architects, B&R Consulting Engineers,  the Merriweather team, and construction contractors, we were able to reduce the project’s environmental footprint by utilizing materials with high-recycled content and products extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. A whopping 96% of the waste from the Stagehouse construction and demolition was diverted from landfills using salvage and recycling programs. 

Merriweather Post Pavilion engages in a robust ongoing waste management program for their operations, composting food scraps onsite and recycling several waste streams.      

The Little Things Make a Big Difference

It’s the little things, too. It’s the convenience of the bottle filling stations, the cool wallpaper made from discarded newspapers, and the creative reuse of old concert banners for just about any purpose behind-the-scenes. It’s about the fact that everyone’s in. The owners, the producers, the staff, and the artists are all in. Everyone’s on-board and speaking the same language, and they’re all saying, “this is how we do it now.” And these efforts are not lost on the 20,000 music fans that fill the seats and lawn for a sold out performance. Believe me – I’m often one of them. After all, music is about inspiring community – finding others to share in the groove. Merriweather Post Pavilion helps us do that. Now they help us do it more responsibly.

LEED v4.1

The State of LEED: Epilogue-LEED v4 and v4.1

On January 22, 2019, LEED published the update to LEED version4. Along with other clarifications and changes, LEED version 4.1 updates the referenced energy standard that we discussed in our “State of LEED – LEED, IgCC and the IECC”.  LEED v4.1 is a significant improvement over LEED v4 and I thought a brief epilogue was justified.

In our recent State of LEED series, I tried to stay focused on the value of LEED and to address some of the misconceptions and criticisms about the rating system. One of the criticisms of LEED has been its energy standard which has lagged behind many building and energy codes. LEED v4.1 updates the referenced energy code to ASHRAE 90.1, 2016. This is the latest energy standard and means that LEED is now up to date and aheadof many locally adopted energy codes around the country. In addition to updated energy performance requirements, LEED v4.1 provides many overdue updates and clarifications to v4 credits including renewable energy, rainwater management and much more.

For now, USGBC is allowing project teams to cherry-pick LEED v4.1 credits that are advantageous to their project. If your project is registered under LEED v4, you do not have to upgrade the entire rating to LEED v4.1. If the LEED v4.1 transit credit allows your project to earn a point where LEED v4 would not (The number of trips has been revised.), you may use the LEED v4.1 criteria for that credit without changing other LEED v4 credit documentation which you may have completed.

There is much excitement in the green building community around the updates embodied in LEED v4.1. A more detailed review of those changes are presented in a LEED v4.1 blog by Josh Radoff of WSP so I will not repeat that assessment. One hopes that building owners will be as excited about these updates and the increased clarity and relevance of LEED v4.1 as we are. 

Additionally, USGBC has now created LEED Zero that verifies the achievement of net zero goals including energy, water, waste and carbon.

We think that LEED v4.1 is more straight forward and, along with LEED Zero, brings the rating system up to date with green building practices and expectations within the industry. Should you have any questions about updating your project or pursuing a LEED certification under the new LEED version 4.1 protocol, contact us here.