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Greenbuild Roundup, Day 2: School Survey, FSC Awards, CalStar Bricks

Here is the latest news from the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, taking place in San Francisco this week:

A McGraw-Hill Construction study, released in conjunction with Greenbuild, said K-12 schools and universities plan to continue investments in green buildings, largely driven by financial and social benefits. The New & Retrofit Green School study found more than 75 percent of respondents consider improving indoor air quality and enhancing health and well being as key drivers to invest in green schools, nearly the same percentage that cited financial benefits such as lower operating costs and reduced energy use. The interest in green building is particularly great in higher education with 86 percent of respondents reporting doing at least some new green building in the last three years.

The Bullitt Center, the first heavy-timber commercial building in Seattle since the 1920s, was chosen as the commercial/institutional winner of the 8th Annual Design & Build with Forest Stewardship Council Awards. Hotel et Geos Spa Sacacomie in Quebec received honorable mention. The judges’ choice award in the commercial or institutional category went to Woodtech, an Oakland, Calif. company that manufactured wood tables for Cisco Systems’ telecommunications products. A traditional West Indian cottage in the US Virgin Islands won in the residential category.

The US Green Building Council says a sample survey of LEED buildings performed in the top 11th percentile for energy performance in the nation. The average Energy Star score for the 195 LEED buildings sampled was 89 out of a possible 100 possible points. The analysis was based on LEED projects that have submitted data to USGBC both voluntarily and as required by LEED 2009. The buildings analyzed in the sample were a mix of office and retail and ranged in size from 2,000 to 3 million square feet, with the average 254,000 square feet.

A months-long life cycle assessment conducted by architecture firm Perkins+Will found CalStar Products’ non-fired brick has significant environmental benefits. Data show the cradle-to-gate (from raw material extraction and transportation to manufacturing) carbon emissions for a single CalStar brick is 0.13 pounds, versus 0.81 pounds for a single clay brick. For cradle-to-gate embodied energy, the life cycle assessment show a single CalStar brick requires 1,203 BTUs of energy compared to the 6,251 BTUs the traditional process requires.

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