BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management



The DOE has announced the release of the first Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG), designed to assist architects and engineers in the design of energy efficient office buildings.  The guide is part of the 50% series; named as such with the goal of achieving 50% energy savings compared to standard commercial building energy codes.


U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that a group of environmental, industry, and state regulatory experts will be behind recommendations to improve safety and performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations. 

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” has become increasingly more visible in the public spotlight due to health concerns over potentially unsafe drinking water.


The race to develop biofuels is on, and an article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy is taking a look at ethical issues and questions surrounding the rapid rise of this emerging energy.


Green careers that support sustainability goals and initiatives may have been harder to acquire in the past, but the Alliance Green Campus program is starting a new trend.


Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., recently hosted a webinar titled “Certifiably Green. LEED Solutions from Staples Advantage.” 
This webinar provided key strategies and tips to bring your building into the sustainable fold of LEED certification.   Below are some key takeaways from the event. 


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have announced that BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. will pay a sum of $25 million in civil penalties for spilling more than 5,000 barrels of crude oil on the North Slope of Alaska.


The EPA is proposing stronger air toxics standards for secondary lead smelters, with the intention of improving air quality and protecting people from dangerous emissions.  These new standards take aim at lead and arsenic emissions, and would also require facilities to control emissions of dioxins for the first time in history.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new strategy to promote the use of green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes streams, creeks, rivers, lakes and coastal waters.


The DOE has announced a $213 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with the FDA’s White Oak Campus.  This task is the largest ever awarded to the ESPC, designed to save more than 5.5 trillion BTU over the twenty-year life of the project. 


ASHRAE and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) are revising ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 100-2006, Energy Conservation in Existing Buildings, to provide greater guidance and a more comprehensive approach to the retrofit of existing buildings for increased energy efficiency.

The EPA has announced a new category under commercial fryers that can earn the ENERGY STAR label.  Going into effect this month, the EPA has expanded eligible models to include large vat gas and electric fryers, with  ENERGY STAR qualified large vat fryers 10-35% more energy efficient than standard models.

A survey commissioned by Cintas Corporation has revealed that a staggering 84% of adults in the United States prefer to do business with companies that use green cleaning products and practices. 


Staples Advantage, the B2B division of Staples, Inc., has released a document containing tips and tricks for moving your office and staff into spring. 

Office productivity is often a topic of concern for facility managers and professionals, and these broad stroke bullet points can help guide initiatives and operations leading into the spring season.


Researchers at MIT have found a significant way to improve solar-cell efficiency, utilizing the aid of tiny genetically modified viruses to perform assembly work at the microscopic level.  It may sound like a bad sci-fi story, but these viral improvements have allowed the effective use of nanotubes in solar power technology.


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the Top Ten Green Projects of 2011, examples of sustainable architecture and green design excellence.   These projects will be recognized at the AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans.


The EPA has released its FY2010 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance, revealing that it has met or exceeded all federal goals to decrease energy use per square foot; reduce potable water use per square foot; lessen fleet petroleum use; establish inventories of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions; incorporate sustainable building practices; and increase renewable energy use.


U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced an offer of conditional commitment for a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to support Units 1 and 2 of the Blythe Solar Power Project, sponsored by Solar Trust of America, LLC.  This California solar thermal power plant will be built adjacent to the City of Blythe in Riverside County, California and is expected to create over 1,000 construction jobs and approximately 80 operations jobs.


An ASHRAE project grant is funding the development of a net zero energy design toolkit designed to help facilitate the understanding of building construction impacts and net zero energy targets.

The EPA has proposed stronger standards that would require facilities that produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to reduce emissions of harmful toxics, with the goal of improving air quality and protecting community health.

The USGBC has introduced its latest green building rating system, LEED for Healthcare.  Debuting at the CleanMed conference, the rating system is intended to guide the design and construction of new buildings and major renovations.

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