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  • USGBC Central Ohio Chapter Investigates Relationship Between Educational Performance and LEED

    What if sustainably built schools were not only good for the environment, but also for students, and ultimately, communities?

    With the goal of quantifying the advantages of green building practices, the U.S. Green Building Council Central Ohio Chapter is working with Battelle to investigate the effect of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification on educational outcomes.

    "We want to quantify the value of LEED, and one way to do that is to look at how building occupants perform in green buildings," said Ian MacGregor, Director of Research Programs at the USGBC Central Ohio Chapter. "The whole idea is to try and quantify the benefit, ultimately in dollars and cents."

    The Central Ohio USGBC Chapter has been awarded the 2014 Malcolm Lewis IMPACT! grant to continue this research, which began in January 2013, led by the Chapter’s first Green Schools Research Fellow, Shanell Davis, a graduate student at the Ohio State University. The Chapter recently hired Battelle researchers to examine educational outcomes in Ohio's more than 130 LEED-certified schools, focusing specifically on student test scores, student and teacher attendance, and rates of disciplinary actions.

    In addition to Battelle, the Chapter is looking to partner with University of Dayton and Otterbein, and to hire new Research Fellows in Education and Energy in the next month.

    MacGregor said he expects results from the study in the summer. The research will eventually be made available to public policy makers, both on a state and national level.

    The Chapter is also exploring opportunities with organizations like the Ohio Public Health Association for future phases of the research, Chapter Board Chair Jeremy Cohen said.

    "Green building has such broad reaching impacts, and we are excited to see the research process reflect that," he said.

    The Chapter is eager to get started on the future phases of this research, which they hope will show the far-reaching impacts of green buildings.

  •  

    Position Announcements for the  US Green Building Council Central Ohio Chapter’s  2014-2015 Green Schools Research Fellow for Education  and  2014-2015 Green Schools Research Fellow for Energy

    The US Green Building Council (USGBC) Central Ohio Chapter (COH) seeks candidates for two different research fellowship positions. USGBC COH is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to transforming the Central Ohio built environment to be more healthy, prosperous and sustainable. Ohio already leads the nation in the construction of green schools, with over 125 schools certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. In the past several years, USGBC COH has won several grants to fund research to study this unique dataset of green schools, with the overall objective being to define quantitatively the impact of sustainable design on building, and building occupant, performance. Thus far, the research has explored the impact of sustainable building design on educational outcomes, such as student attendance and test scores. USGBC COH is continuing its education-focused research program, and is also initiating an energy-focused research effort, one that seeks to determine whether LEED school buildings are in fact more energy efficient than traditionally- constructed school buildings.

    Over the past 15 months, the present Green Schools Research Fellow in Education (GSRF-Ed) has compiled a substantial database of demographics, socioeconomics, and educational outcomes data for students attending Ohio’s schools. By way of statistical data analysis techniques, the GSRF-Ed investigated whether LEED certification – a proxy for sustainable building design – was associated with educational outcomes. This work is summarized in the report The Impact of Sustainable Design on Educational Outcomes in Ohio’s K-12 Public Schools: A Working Paper and was presented as a poster at GreenBuild 2013. Building off this previous work, the current GSRF-Ed is developing a longitudinal study that includes data from additional school years and will consider each building’s patterns of LEED credit achievement in order to assess the association, if any, between sustainable design and educational outcomes.

    USGBC COH is looking for the next GSRF-Ed who will continue our innovative educational research in order to more clearly articulate and define how sustainable design is impacting educational outcomes in Ohio’s schools. The next GSRF-Ed will compile additional data on demographics, socioeconomics, and educational outcomes, as well as on school building operations and maintenance, and will work to determine, via statistical analysis, whether sustainable design is associated with improved educational outcomes and higher building, and building occupant, performance.

    The new Green Schools Research Fellow in Energy (GSRF-En) will be tasked with compiling energy data (electricity and natural gas demand) and building characteristics for Ohio’s traditional and LEED school buildings. In addition, the GSRF-En will conduct energy modeling and statistical analyses to also determine whether Ohio’s LEED school buildings conserve energy compared to traditionally constructed school buildings in Ohio, and if so, what is the financial impact of any such energy savings.

    The USGBC-COH’s Research Director, a professional environmental scientist, will oversee and coordinate the Fellows’ work, with additional guidance provided by a professional statistician, and other subject matter experts, as needed.

    Qualifications for the GSRF-Ed: Senior year of Bachelor’s program in an applied quantitative field (e.g. statistics, physical sciences, engineering, economics) with statistical coursework beyond the introductory level; candidate pursuing Master’s degree or PhD in Statistics or Public Policy strongly preferred; 3.0 or higher GPA

    Qualifications for the GSRF-En: Senior year of Bachelor’s program in engineering (mechanical or electrical preferred) with statistical coursework beyond the introductory level; candidate pursuing Master’s degree or PhD in an engineering discipline strongly preferred; 3.0 or higher GPA.

    For both GSRF-E and GSRF-En

    • Required commitment: 400 hours over approximately 12 months, approximately 10 hours/week. The preferred candidate will be able to make a 2 year commitment.
    • Term to begin: May 1, 2014.
    • Compensation: $15/hour

    To apply: Prepare a one-page resume detailing your qualifications, relevant course work, work and research experience, a description of your previous work on green and sustainable initiatives, and references. Write a cover letter (no more than 500 words) describing why you want this position, your background in the technical areas (including green and sustainable initiatives), your ideas on how to complete the work, and your ability and commitment to complete the work.

    Applications due date: midnight April 11, 2014.

    Direct questions and completed applications to the USGBC-COH’s Research Director, Ian MacGregor, at macgregori@battelle.org

  • Today, chemical lobbyists came one step closer to their goal of keeping healthy, sustainable buildings out of Ohio. Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 (S.C.R. 25), an effort backed by special interests to ban the use of the LEED green building rating system in public buildings, including schools, was pushed through the Ohio State Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senators Joe Uecker (R) and Tim Schaffer (R), sponsors of the resolution, are both members of the committee.

     

    “We’re very disappointed to see Ohio state senators listening to powerful, high-paid special interest groups and not Ohio citizens – hundreds of whom have voiced their concerns and opposition to S.C.R. 25 since it was introduced last fall,” said Tyler Steele, vice chair, Board of Directors at the USGBC Central Ohio Chapter. “Governor Kasich reminded us last night in his state of the state address that change is difficult, but once it starts happening it creates exciting opportunities. The market is changing and it is moving toward efficiency, transparency and better materials in our buildings.

     

    “Ohio is a leader in building better, healthier, more efficient buildings and schools. We will not stand to let a small group of special interest lobbyists push our government around by telling them to abandon successful, market-driven programs. It's not too late for the full Senate to listen to their constituents,” continued Steele.

     

    LEED, the world’s premier green building rating system, is a voluntary, transparent and consensus-based program that incorporates all facets of building construction and materials. Ohio has more green schools than any other state, with more than 120 LEED-certified schools and hundreds more in the pipeline.

     

    S.C.R. 25 will stall the job creation that LEED’s success has fostered, especially during the state’s economic recovery. In a hearing earlier this month, Neil Beup, manager of State Government Relations for United Technologies Corporation (UTC), submitted testimony stating, “On behalf of United Technologies Corporation and the over 1,400 UTC employees and their families in Ohio, I am here today to voice strong support for the LEED green building program and our opposition to S.C.R. 25, which would stifle Ohio’s ability to achieve two critical goals in any school project: improved student performance and lower costs.”

    In her testimony, Brenda Schultz of Nucor Steel in Marion, Ohio said, “Ohio must not abandon its use of LEED certification. The system promotes energy efficiency, preservation of our natural resources, and encourages state projects funded by state taxpayers to use locally-sourced materials, thereby benefitting Ohio-based businesses like Nucor.”

    In total, 21 Ohio-based businesses, professionals, and constituents submitted testimony in opposition to S.C.R. 25 including Owens Corning, United Technologies Corporation, and a student of a Dayton-area high school. In addition, a letter adamantly opposing SCR25 was signed and submitted to leadership of the Ohio state legislature by 20 organizations that invest in Ohio including Johnson Controls, Ingersoll Rand, GAF, Siemens and Saint-Gobain.

    As of now there is no schedule set for consideration of SCR25 on the Senate Floor.

  • Ohioans deserve better public buildings for our tax dollars.  The opposite would result from Ohio Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 (SCR25), a special interest-backed effort to ban use of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system by state agencies.

    SCR25, which faces a committee vote this Tuesday, February 25, is opposed by a diverse array of multinational corporations, small business owners, educators, construction professionals, students, parents, and others who explained to the Ohio Senate why LEED is the preeminent world standard for third-party verified high-performance construction.

    Ohio’s nation-leading array of LEED certified schools are 34% more energy efficient, use 37% less water, diverted almost 200,000 tons of construction waste from landfills, and got 35% of materials from regional sources, demonstrating prudent use of taxpayers’ money and benefitting Ohio’s economy.

    Seeking to drag Ohio backward is small but well-funded set of industry special interests.  They claim (without any supporting data) that the newest version of LEED might dent their profits by encouraging use of building materials that disclose what they’re made of.  Why are these special interests so scared of people knowing what’s in their products?

    Ohioans deserve better than to ban a successful building rating system at the whim of a small but powerful group of special interest lobbies who offer no data to back up their scare tactics.

    Ohio’s leading association of sustainability-minded construction professionals implores our leaders to reject SCR25 and any other resolution that could jeopardize our efforts to continue transforming Central Ohio's built environment to be more healthy, prosperous, and sustainable.

    Sincerely,

    Tyler J. Steele, Vice-Chair, USGBC-Central Ohio Chapter

  • Senate Hears from Business and Education Advocates about Ohio's Success with LEED

    Columbus, OH - On Tuesday, February 11th, the Ohio Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a third hearing to allow more testimony from USGBC Ohio members and other stakeholders against Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR 25). If passed, the Resolution will ban Ohio's state agencies and government entities from using the LEED green building rating system.

    Business, industry and education leaders testified today against SCR 25 and in favor of retaining Ohio’s place as a leader in the fight to make public buildings healthier and more energy efficient.

    Dan Roberts, retired superintendent of Miami Trace Local School District, explained the impact the passage of SCR 25 and banning of LEED would have on the state. In his testimony he stated, “it would be saying to the public, ‘no, we don’t want the best buildings for our kids anymore.’ It would be an incredible disservice to our students and our constituents to take away such a strong, effective and proven program.”

    While powerful chemical lobby groups seek to rollback broadly supported green building standards for Ohio public buildings, the grassroots opposition is growing and aligning its efforts—as was demonstrated in the hearing on Tuesday.

    Tyrone Hissong, a Dayton area parent, farmer, and local businessman, outlined why LEED has been successful for his school district, saying LEED has “significantly increased our energy savings which in turn has saved our district valuable tax payer dollars. This operating money is being used to better educate our students.”

    Karen Joslin, a Columbus area green building expert, clarified for the record that “there are no new prohibitions on products of any composition in the LEED v4 update. Early draft credits proposed a variety of avoidance or chemicals of concern restrictions, but these were all completely removed.”

    LEED, the world’s premier green building rating system, is a voluntary, transparent and consensus-based program that incorporates all facets of building construction and materials. Ohio has more green schools than any other state, with more than 115 LEED-certified schools and hundreds more in the pipeline.

    “LEED was developed in an open and transparent way, through a robust procedure involving literally tens of thousands of members and non-members,” said Dayton area business leader Nadja Turek, who testified as to why LEED has proven success with businesses in Ohio. “I am a green job,” she added.

    “I can confidently say, I know of no other means that has been as effective in our industry in accomplishing energy and resource savings as has the impact been from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System,” concluded another Dayton area business leader, Michael J. Berning. “Banning LEED is not good business. To continue to be the state leading the nation in cost saving building design, to help stop the ‘brain drain’ of college graduates leaving our great state and to continue to raise the bar for energy efficient, people friendly buildings, I strongly urge you to vote no on SCR 25.”

    This strong testimony built on testimony from other USGBC members last week.

  • The Fight to Protect Ohio’s Green Schools

    Contact: Tyler Steele
    Tel.: 614-638-3477
    Email: tylerjsteele@gmail.com

    Columbus, OH -- On Tuesday, February 4th, a diverse group of Ohioans stood up to special interest lobbyists at the Ohio Statehouse to protect a state policy that prudently invests tax dollars into public school buildings that are 35% more efficient, use 37% less water than
    buildings built to previous standards, diverted over 188,000 tons of construction waste
    from landfills, and sourced 35% of their materials from regional sources, benefitting the
    region’s economy while curbing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

    "Ohioans need to be aware of the better buildings, engaged students and Ohio jobs being created by our successful LEED schools program. We will not stand by as our responsible stewardship of tax dollars is cast aside by powerful, well-funded special interests,” explains Tyler Steele, Vice-Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Central Ohio Chapter.

    Ohio is #1 in the U.S. in green school construction thanks to state policy for new public school buildings to earn minimum LEED silver certification. A small but well-funded faction of vinyl, plastic, chemical, and other carbon-intensive industries argue that the latest evolution of LEED, called “v4,” puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

    They complained that LEED v4 creates a “blacklist” of certain products that unfairly discriminates against their stuff. The only problem: The blacklist doesn’t exist. Michael Huff, an architect from Ruetschle Architects of Dayton, testified, “If I were designing a project to be certified under LEED V4, I would be free to choose the best available products to fit the owner’s needs and budget. If vinyl flooring and windows are the best option to meet the owner’s needs then that is what we specify… There is no mandate or prohibition for any product. Installing specific products does not prevent a building from achieving LEED certification.” Huff designed the 217,000 sq. ft, PK-12 LEED Gold building for Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools—a school that uses only $0.84 per square foot per year (a 40 percent improvement over typical energy use for buildings of similar size and shape).

    The industry groups complain that LEED v4 doesn’t meet “American National Standards Institute voluntary consensus standard procedures.”  However, an independent, multi- year study commissioned by the United States General Services Administration and prepared by division of Battelle, confirms that LEED is indeed a “consensus” standard. David Brehm, a principal architect from NBBJ in Ohio, testified on behalf of the American Institute of Architects in Ohio, “In response to the claim in SCR 25 that LEED is not science-based, we point to our own expertise and experience – expertise that has been appropriately represented in LEED’s consensus development process – and also to the National Academy of Sciences which, in a 2013 study, endorsed the use of LEED for public buildings and military facilities.”

    The special interests from Washington also complained that their concerns weren’t heard during the LEED v4 development process.  In reality, their own literature details their extensive input into LEED v4, which was approved only after an unprecedented six comment periods resulting in over 22,000 public comments, with 86% of overall membership in favor of adoption, including majority approval from each major stakeholder group (89% of producers/contractors/builders, 90% of users, and 77% in the general interest category of utilities, manufacturers and organizations).

    Additional testimony came from David Scott, Board Member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); Brendan Owens from USGBC National; Dr. Virginia Rammel, Superintendent of Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools; Jessica Ferguson, student and upcoming valedictorian for Milton-Union; Karen Joslin from Ohio-based Joslin Construction Consulting; Neil Beup from United Technologies Corporation (representing “the over 1400 UTC employees and their families in Ohio”); and Tim Conway from Shaw Floors.

  • Ohio's anti-LEED legislation, Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 (SCR25), has been fast-tracked and set for hearing next Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

    In a brazen display of political favoritism, the chemical and plastics lobby was invited to join the Senate sponsor in offering testimony this past Tuesday (Jan. 28), and they are invited to once again testify for SCR25 this coming Tuesday.
    The only opportunity for USGBC-COH, or anybody else, to offer testimony against SCR25 is also next Tuesday.
    WHAT YOU CAN DO: Call you Senator (complete directory at this link) and implore him/her not to take away something good for Ohio without offering anything better.

    Points you can make to your Senator include the following:

    1. LEED is good for Ohio (the #1 state in the U.S. in green school construction)
      • Ohio's 100+ LEED schools average 35% more energy efficiency & use 37% less water than buildings built to previous standards (more efficient), they obtain 35% of material from regional sources (benefitting Ohio's economy) and diverted over 188,114 tons & 57,000 cu. yds. of construction waste from Ohio landfills (less waste). http://ofcc.ohio.gov/Portals/0/Documents/MediaCtr/20131211_Media-Release_OSFC_100th-LEED-certification.pdf
      • LEED is designed to push the envelope & make buildings better (Ohio boasts 61MM sq ft of LEED-certified space; 4,800 LEED AP's; 374 member organizations employ thousands of Ohioans)
      • Pro-SCR25 groups urge that LEED v.4 be banned, without offering any alternative
    2. LEED v.4 encourages innovation without unfairly penalizing any product, material, or industry
      • the LEED v.4 MR credits that so upset the chemical/plastic groups merely "encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts," and "reward raw material manufacturers who produce products verified to have improved life-cycle impacts."
    3. LEED v.4 is the product of broad industry consensus
      • v.4 was only approved after 22,000 public comments across 6 public comment periods
        • v4 was approved by 85% of USGBC members
      • GSA-commissioned report by division of Battelle defines LEED as a "consensus" standard http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/ogp/Cert_Sys_Review.pdf
      • v.4 projects could earn LEED Platinum without obtaining any of the credits they complain about

     

    To urge that LEED be banned at the whim of a small but well-funded industry sector would be short-sighted and wrong. Please join us in opposing SCR25, and continuing to transform Central Ohio's built environment to be more healthy, prosperous, and sustainable!

USGBC Resources

USGBC national has a large collection of resources available on their web site. Click to view.