30 Jan 2010
Bob Herendeen
Gund Institute (located in Johnson House, just across Main St. from Davis Center)
802/656-0380 office (this number will likely change soon)
802/862-5017 home

Students in the project:
Sven Dejean sdejean@uvm.edu
Tyler Lewis tdlewis@uvm.edu
Aaron Rice arice3@uvm.edu

This project will do environmental accounting (bookkeeping) for the Greening of Aiken. We'll compare energy required to construct to energy saved in operation, greenhouses gases released in construction to those not released (relative to an un-greened Aiken), and similarly for water, certain materials.


Resource impacts of construction
Net energy (e.g., solar, biomass)
Net energy of conservation
Net carbon, greenhouse gases
Greenhouse gases from construction
Carbon cost of materials
(e.g., Energy and Buildings, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03787788 )
Rocky Mountain Institute
US Dept. of Energy
Green building construction


What is the question? What should results look like?
Narrative of the process...who, what when?
Source of specifications
Performance specifications...how much is in LEED classification?
Where will materials come from?
Present occupancy–>Aiken is vacated (where do people go temporarily?)–>Final occupancy
Sq. footage now and later
The contractors
Use of recycled materials; how much construction waste is recycled?


Energy cost of building mat'ls:


US Green Building Council

UVM RESENR website on Greening of Aiken:

Maclay Architects Aiken link:

11 February 2010
Bob Herendeen

Here are three links to (the attempts at) zero energy or zero carbon buildings:

16 February 2010
Bob Herendeen

Comparing base case and design energy use by Lewis Ctr at Oberlin College.

Net energy estimate for photovoltaic panels at the Lewis Ctr.

4 March 2010
Bob Herendeen

From the 2009 projects (listed on the WIKI under "past projects") we have some info on present and projected (post-greening) energy use and resulting CO2 production. I have not checked these for up-to-dateness, consistency of approach, legitimacy of sources, appropriate separation/combining of different types of energy, method to get to CO2 impact, etc., but here they are:

Post-greening energy use:
"Explanation" of above:

Graph comparing pre- and post-greening:

Also from Gary Hawley:
Pre-greening energy use:

And (15 March 2010) from Andy Shapiro:
Pre-greening and (rough estimate) post-greening energy use:

14 March 2010
Bob Herendeen

Here is the schematic for environmental benefit-cost analysis. Economists do this in dollars (usually discounting the future, which we leave out-for now); here we do it in energy. It could be water, greenhouse gases, etc The "reference level" is the pre-greening building. Compared with that, the post-greening building saves energy (a benefit) and requires energy for construction (a cost).


Carnegie-Mellon Input-Output Model


To: Gary Hawley
From: Bob Herendeen
Date: 25 March 2010
Re: Information request to contractors, "operational rules"

This builds on a list prepared by Tyler Lewis.


We aim to fully account for materials, fuels, equipment, etc. used in the greening of Aiken, because all of these have an energy, greenhouse gas, etc., impact which we will compare with the parallel savings from the new Aiken's lowered operating requirements. From this information we can determine energy payback time, greenhouse gas payback time, etc.

It is also useful, but not as crucial, to know how much labor is used. We definitely need the $ cost of subcontracted work, though.

Our hope is to establish contact with contractors and others so that we can submit detailed requests, and modify the requests over time, subject to contractors' time constraints and-in all cases-confidentiality concerns. In the meantime, here is a sketch of data we will ask for:

o People-numbers, time spent
o On-site heating, lighting, water-amounts in physical units
o Construction equipment (e.g., fork lift, crane) - cost, hours used, fuel use.
o Materials (e.g. concrete, structural steel, glass, bricks, ducting...a long list)-amounts in physical units (e.g. gallons, cu. ft, tons, barrels)
o Specialized equipment installed (HVAC, electronics, solar glass, pumps, tanks, green roof, eco-machine...)-amounts sometimes in physical units, often in $
o Recycled materials, furniture, composting-amounts in physical units
o Architect's and other design services (including UVM's)-costs/person-hours.


We understand that this is a sensitive area, but we hope some agreement about energy- and resource saving construction practices could be made explicit in contracts. Some of these also improve air quality, etc., on the site and surrounding, for both workers and bystanders: These include:

o Minimize equipment idling
o Minimize water leakage
o Minimize construction waste, recycle where possible
o Use tarpaulins, manage windows and doors, etc., for heat conservation.
o Intentionally manage lighting, fans, and blowers-especially after hours.


David MacKay, "Sustainable Energy-Without the Hot Air". Excellent book on energy, fairly technical. See pp 322-326 for energy intensities of building materials.

Energy payback calculation for a new house. Has some energy intensities of building materials. In this case an old house (1300 sq ft) is razed and a new, larger one (2600 sq ft) is built. The builders work hard to use low embodied energy materials and calculate a pay back time of ca 6 years. If they had upgraded the old house, 20 yrs. It they used standard materials in the new house, ca 50 yrs.
video: http://www.ted.com/talks/catherine_mohr_builds_green.html
spreadsheet details: http://www.301monroe.com/?p=291

Poster Presentation for Earth Day 40, 22 April 2010:

31 August 2010
Bob Herendeen
Cover page and Excel file containing scheme for data collection (late April 2010)

13 Sept 2010
Bob Herendeen
NY Times Op-Ed on limitations of LEED Certification:

Op-Ed Contributor

Don’t LEED Us Astray

Published: May 19, 2010

TODAY Al Gore is expected to join some of the city’s top developers and bankers for the grand opening of the luminous office tower known as 1 Bryant Park — the second-tallest building in New York City and, with a handsome foyer and a roster of prominent tenants, a ray of hope in a gloomy commercial real estate market.
But beyond its height and tenancy rates, 1 Bryant Park is slated to be the only office tower in the nation to draw the United States Green Building Council’s highest level of certification — platinum — in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, the most widely used green-building measure in the country.
The LEED program, which awards points for incorporating eco-friendly material and practices into buildings’ design and construction, has led to a sea change in the industry, introducing environmental awareness into everything from regulatory processes to rents.
But while the standard is well-intentioned, it is also greatly misunderstood. Put simply, a building’s LEED rating is more like a snapshot taken at its opening, not a promise of performance. Unless local, state and federal agencies do their part to ensure long-term compliance with the program’s ideals, it could end up putting a shiny green stamp on a generation of unsustainable buildings.
To be fair, the council never meant for its system to be a seal of green approval. Rather it was to be a set of guidelines for architects, engineers and others who want to make buildings less wasteful. However, developers quickly realized that its ratings — certified, silver, gold or platinum — were great marketing tools, allowing them to charge a premium on rents.
Such market-driven motives wouldn’t matter — if LEED in fact measured energy performance. But it can’t: some certified buildings end up using much more energy than the evaluators predicted, because the buildings are more popular than expected or busy at different times than developers forecast, or because tenants ignore or misuse green features. Bike racks merely encourage cycling to work, and operable windows merely offer the opportunity to use less air-conditioning.
The Green Building Council reformed the system last year to reflect actual energy use by having owners report annual performance data. But that’s not enough detail to measure energy consumption accurately, and there’s no clear way to repeal certification if tenants or owners miss their energy-saving targets. As a result, a five-year-old building can turn into an energy hog and still carry its LEED designation.
The solution, though, isn’t to replace the system, but to supplement it. A number of local, state and federal agencies require LEED certification for their new buildings — so why not have them institute follow-up requirements as well?
Government agencies could establish incentives to promote the proper and sustained use of eco-friendly building characteristics. Buildings that get a rating above the most basic level of LEED should qualify for subsidies. Buildings that efficiently generate on-site power, as 1 Bryant Park does, should be able to claim tax credits. Tenants who reuse paper or install efficient lighting could claim rebates.
At the same time, agencies should conduct regular energy-use checkups to ensure that landlords and tenants live up to the promise of their LEED certification — and those that don’t should lose their subsidy.
The result wouldn’t just mean fulfilling the promise of LEED. It would also mean unleashing innovations in building management, as landlords seek out new ways to lower taxes through environmentally friendly measures. Vornado Realty Trust, a rival to 1 Bryant Park’s owner, places monitors in tenants’ offices to track, and then reduce, energy use.
There are plenty of buildings that boast of being “built to LEED standards” but might then leak excessive carbon once in operation. With so many developers, municipalities and federal agencies embracing environmental awareness, the government needs to make sure that a green building doesn’t go gray after its grand opening.

Alec Appelbaum writes about urban design and development.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on May 20, 2010, on page A27 of the New York edition.

13 Sept 2010
Bob Herendeen
1 Sept 2010 projections of energy use of greened Aiken.