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Posts tagged 'Green Buildings'

Want to learn more about Biophilic design?

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The International Living Future Institute offers an online collection of programs and information. Their mission is to drive transformation in communities that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. They are offering several online webinars on the topic of Biophilic Design that you may want to check out.

We often design cities and urban areas in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. Biophilic Design is a new way of naturally designing the spaces where we learn, live and work.


The next one is in a few days – Introduction to Biophilic Design

October, 20th 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

Leading with a Vision: Could Biophilic design, the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environments and communities, be our most promising pathway to a restorative future, and the key to achieving Living Buildings? Hear from one of the foremost experts on the topic, and current CEO at International Living Future Institute as she offers an overview, and shares her vision for the future of Biophilic design. Learn about current developments for the newly formingBiophilic Design Initiative (BDI), and its objectives for achieving broad adoption of Biophilic design among the design community, building owners and cities. Listen as the speaker’s visions will encourage and inspire you to see the world, and the way we design – differently.

Learning Objectives:

– Understand a brief historical overview of Biophilic design, and current related developments in the topic.
– Learn some of the leading reasons to integrate Biophilic design in projects.
– Identify some of the leading resources for the successful implementation of Biophilic design.
– Explore opportunities to engage in a Biophilic design conversation and community.

There are many more on the website. Click here to find out more.

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#Interface at #Consense – The sustainable building trade fair

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Consense - The sustainable building trade fairConsense – The international trade fair and congress for sustainable building, investment, operations and maintenance exhibited over the last few days in Stuttgart.

It’s a chance to meet the leaders from across the world of sustainability. The joint offer of trade fair and congress makes Consense a cross-sector knowledge platform. Companies present the latest materials, products and construction systems. Experts discuss current issues regarding sustainable building, investment, operation and maintenance.

Interface had a stand with a novel way of getting our message across! What better way to take the transparency message to our customers and opinion leaders than having the EPD results of various products inside real ice? This is EPDs on the rocks!

Consense Sustainable Building Ice 2 Consense Sustainable Building Ice Consense Interface Sustainable Building Ice Consense Sustainable Building Ice 1

Of course the message of transparency is all very well on its own but much stronger when accompanied by a real world product to prove performance.  So we previewed Microsfera, our product with the lowest carbon footprint in the market (by far) – 3kgCO2/m2 cradle to gate.

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U.S. Green Building Council earns LEED® certification around the globe

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced last week that 3 billion square feet of green construction space has earned LEED® certification around the globe.


“This milestone is the result of leaders across our industry making the business and environmental case for healthy, sustainable buildings,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “More than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED buildings. As our numbers continue to gain momentum, the impact is significant — jobs are created, revenue is generated and well-being is prioritized — proving every day that LEED works.”

Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time: McGraw-Hill estimates that it will comprise half of U.S. construction and be worth up to $248 billion by 2016. LEED is the most widely recognized and used green building program across the globe, with more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial building space LEED certifying each day in more than 140 countries and territories.

In the U.S. alone, buildings account for 41 percent of energy use, 73 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all CO2 emissions. Globally, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials, or 3 billion tons annually. LEED is designed to minimize the adverse effects of constructing, operating and maintaining buildings, while maximizing sustainability and health-related features. By encouraging the careful sourcing and selection of building materials, reducing energy use and waste, conserving water and ensuring a healthy and safe indoor environment, LEED is being used to optimize building projects in new construction, retrofits and ongoing building operations across the commercial and residential sectors, as well as neighborhood developments.

“Some of the best-designed and well-maintained buildings of the green movement utilize LEED, which is defined by innovation and imagination,” added Fedrizzi.

Some of the most well-known LEED buildings include The World Bank in Washington, D.C.; the Fifth Avenue Tiffany & Co., the Time Life Building and the Empire State Building in New York, N.Y.; the Merchandise Mart in Chicago; and Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, in Taipei, Taiwan.

Recently certified LEED buildings that helped tip the scales to 3 billion square feet include the Hilmar Cheese Company’s LEED Platinum Headquarters and Innovation Center. Certified in February 2014, this 55,000-square-foot building in Hilmar, Calif., utilizes daylighting strategies and occupancy sensors and employs solar energy to provide about 25 percent of the overall building energy demand.

Other recent certifications include the LEED Platinum Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore.; Hines’ LEED Gold recertification of the One and Two Shell Plazas in Houston; Jones Lang LaSalle’s LEED Platinum Aon Center in Chicago; and the LEED Gold Kv. Jublet building in Stockholm.

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit, explore the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) and connect on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

About LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. Every day, 1.7 million square feet of space is certified using LEED. More than 58,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising 10.7 billion square feet of construction space in more than 140 countries and territories. In addition, more than 50,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system. Learn more at

Contact: Jacob Kriss
Media Specialist, USGBC

SOURCE U.S. Green Building Council

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Green Buildings – Some Facts and Figures

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Here are some really interesting facts from multiple sources about Green Buildings and their impact on us.

“The construction and maintenance of buildings, and other structures, is responsible for about half of British CO2 emissions”

Green Buildings

(Apologies, the infographic is a little grainy and hard to read in places, so if I find a better copy I will post.)

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2degrees checks in on our sustainability strategy

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2degrees‘ editor Tom Idle interviewed me live from our London showroom to find out how we’re advancing our sustainability strategy.

Watch the interview session to learn:

– About lifecycle analysis and how it can help you understand the environmental impacts of your product or service
– How you can find the hotspots that should drive your sustainability strategy
– Why I feel sustainability labels are unnecessary “‘fluff”
– Why industries need to move from corporate social responsibility to full transparency of products

This is a recording of the live interactive session.

Many thanks to Tom and the 2degrees team.

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Did you know Nantes was the 2013 European Green Capital ?

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By the way… What is a European Green Capital ?

Everybody knows or has heard something around the title “Capital of Culture” which is attributed every year to one European town based on its cultural programme. It’s quite famous and trendy and it was launched nearly 30 years ago !

But very few people know about the concept of European Green Capital. In this world of hyper communication and sustainability “overcommunication”, how many of you have heard of it? Well, ok, the concept is very new: it was born in 2006 and the first Green Capital award was attributed in 2010 to Stockholm. (2010 : Stockholm,  2011 : Hambourg, 2012 : Vitoria-Gasteiz)

With the building sector accounting for 40% of the global CO2 emissions and with four out of five Europeans living in towns or cities by 2050, I think this action of “Green Capital” needs some highlighting and so this is why I’ve decided to share a few thoughts on it.


 Developing a green city and the sustainable community that goes inside, involves completely rethinking the rhythm of urban life, travel habits, resource management and urban planning in order to reduce the carbon footprint, as well as create urban environments where inhabitants can live and breathe better. As such, the “European Green Capital” title rewards an overall environmental approach based on new technologies, collective governance and citizen involvement.

The Green Capital award encourages cities in the European Union to develop environmental policies and improve the quality of urban life. Working towards ambitious environmental targets, the winners act as role models and share their best practices with other cities.

The concept of the award is based on a simple question : in what sort of city will we live in the future? To deal with the issues of climate change, cities must come up with imaginative ideas in order to adapt their practices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while providing a high-quality living environment.

With four out of five Europeans living in towns or cities by 2050, the challenge is to reconcile urban development and the protection of natural resources. Local authorities are faced with complex environmental and social challenges, such as transport and mobility, waste and water management, the protection of eco-systems, housing and air quality to name a few.


The “European Green Capital” award is open to all European cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants, or to the largest city in countries with small populations.  All the candidate towns are assessed by an independent group of experts, who establish the final rankings according to twelve technical criteria:

1/ Local transport, 2/ Green urban areas and sustainable land use, 3/ Nature and biodiversity, 4/Local air quality, 5/ Quality of the acoustic environment, 6/ Waste Production and management, 7/ Water consumption, 8/ Waste water treatment, 9/Eco-innovation and sustainable employment, 10/ Environmental management of the local authority, 11/ Energy performance, 12/ Climate change

Long-term impact and commitment are also considered. The expert panel rewards the city with the best overall performance. The “European Green Capital” acts as a catalyst for change and must develop a programme and communication tools to raise awareness among European citizens and cities.



Nantes – Station Gourmande

For the 2013 award, Nantes’ application stood out among the short-list of finalists: Barcelona (Spain), Malmö (Sweden), Nuremberg (Germany) and Reykjavik (Iceland). Nantes won over the judges thanks to its innovative and collaborative public policies. In the expert panel’s view, Nantes’ major assets are its transport and mobility policy, its Climate Plan (which aims to halve the city’s CO2 emissions by 2025), its water policy and the management of its natural areas. As part of its second Regional Climate Plan, Nantes has set ambitious targets for 2025 in terms of energy-efficiency, citizen involvement and transport infrastructures.

Nantes has also set up an ambitious programme of conferences and events around sustainability all through the year, you can find the complete agenda on :

Writing these lines, I just want to applaud this great “Green Capital” initiative, congratulate towns playing the game and spread the word as much as I can. Well done to Nantes and looking forward to celebrating Copenhagen as 2014 European Green Capital.


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TacTiles – Glue free carpet tile installation

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Why would you install a ‘sustainable’ carpet tile sticking it to the floor with glue? Get rid of VOCs and ease the recycling process.

Tac Tiles - Innovative, Sustainable, Flexible

TacTiles™ present a whole new way of installing Interface carpet tiles without the need for glue. If you’ve ever wished for a more innovative, sustainable, flexible and cleaner way of fitting flooring, TacTiles™ is what you’ve been waiting for.

A little more about TacTiles™

Clear 75mm x 75mm polyester adhesive squares with coloured print
Made from PET Polyester (the same material as plastic bottles)
Developed for carpet tiles with GlasBac® and Graphlex® backings
Available in sheets of 6 or rolls of 500 connectors
Versatile and effective, with only 4-5 TacTiles™ required per m2
The perfect solution for the installation of flooring across all sectors
Suitable for all Interface carpet tiles and installation methods

TacTiles™ can contribute to Green Building certification schemes such as LEED, BREEAM, HQE and DGNB.

TacTiles™ – innovative, sustainable, flexible, clean.

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The Cambridge Econometrics wind report for WWF and Greenpeace: modern environmental campaigning

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I loved the way WWF and Greenpeace have campaigned on the wind versus gas debate in the UK. This is modern campaigning and shows how sophisticated the environmental movement is becoming. It’s not just telling mum to save the tigers or making a scene at Westminster, it’s proper public policy debate.

Here is some analysis of what I think went well and why I think it’s a recipe for the future:

1. Commission a proper, authoritative piece of research by a reputable consultant. 

In this case, a 70 page report from Cambridge Econometrics, has been written illustrating being transparent with the scenarios, as well as showing real macroeconomic figures with a proper sensitivity analysis. Download the full report here. It’s worth it!

2. Partnership. NGOs working together, sharing resources and rewords.

3. Wider alliance.

They got the Green Alliance involved, the Aldersgate Group, and quotes from several businesses.

The same week the report was published, The Green Alliance wrote the report The Future of Gas Power.

4. Engage businesses.

WWF asked several businesses to provide quotes to support the research. 11 people from key businesses contributed.

The Green Alliance asked Jim Watson, Director of the Sussex Energy Group, to talk about why gas can’t solve the UK’s energy woes. Here is their blog.

5. Brilliant findings bring brilliant PR

The Guardian:  Substantial deployment of offshore wind by 2030 would boost growth and create 70,000 more jobs than gas.



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Green Building Industry Picks Up in Africa

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Just came across this article in All Africa c/o my colleague in India Makesh.

It is difficult for developing economies to drive the green building sustainable agenda for all of the obvious reasons, so I was warmed by this progress and will keep you posted:

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) recently awarded Millennia Park office building in Western Cape Province of South Africa a Green Star SA Certification. The accolade is significant: the 29-year-old building located in Stellenbosch is the first refurbished building in the country to receive the rating.

The refurbishment of Millennia Park set precedent for how existing buildings can be turned green. The market for green buildings is increasingly expanding in South Africa, as indicated by the membership of the GBCSA, with many companies adopting sustainability in businesses and property development.

“Green technologies are fast becoming mainstream globally, and even though South Africa is lagging behind compared to countries such as the UK, the country is transitioning from an early adopter stage to green building practices becoming the standard,” says Graham Peters, the managing director of GJP Consulting Engineering.

According to the GBCSA, more existing buildings will be refurbished in the short to medium-term, as economic and environmental factors continue to be a challenge.

“Property developers and home owners are keen to green existing buildings, and there are many ways of tackling such projects. One of the cheapest and quickest ways to realise savings is through lighting. Compact fluorescents are now commonplace and LED lighting is emerging as a new technology, which uses even less energy. Daylight and motion sensors can also easily be retro fitted to control lighting. If the building has an air conditioning or heating system, insulation is the first step to better efficiency. Blinds can be easily fitted to windows to reduce solar gain, as this makes air conditioning systems work much harder,” says Peters, whose company offers sustainable design service to the property sector.

The GBCSA says there is now a growing and wider market base for green buildings, following its marketing and education campaigns that highlight the need for change in the South Africa’s built environment.

However, due to conflicting interests of investors in the built environment, more commitment would be required to grow the green building market further.

“One of our greatest challenges is changing the mind-sets. People often believe that the temperature of a building’s air conditioning system should be constant throughout the year. However, by varying the set point between summer and winter (23°C in summer and 21°C in winter) a great deal of energy can be saved throughout the year.

Further challenges are encountered in the engineers themselves. In addition, engineers need to educate themselves on global best practices in systems design. What worked several years ago may not be appropriate now,” says Peters.

As South Africa’s industry develops, attention has turned to other African countries such as Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya and Namibia, with a view of supporting the green building industry.

Founded in 1999, South Africa- based GJP Consulting Engineering, focuses on all aspects of commercial property such as shopping malls, airport buildings, office blocks, schools, prisons and data centres. The company has international experience covering projects in the UK and Malaysia.

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Biosfera – Our Most Sustainable Product To Date

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Giant steps towards Mission Zero! Where less means so much more.
With Biosfera I, we use only 100% recycled yarn, and as little yarn as possible. This means we use far fewer raw materials, too. You might think this compromises quality or longevity, but it doesn’t. In fact, we’ve discovered that a low-weight, well-constructed dense surface performs just as well, as the traditional tiles with higher yarn content.

By reducing the amount of yarn to the minimum and only using recycled yarn in Biosfera I, we are tackling the single largest contributor to environmental impact among all the raw materials in a carpet tile; the nylon yarn.

This makes Biosfera I our most sustainable collection of carpet tiles to date.

View more documents from Ramon Arratia

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