EPA recently posted information on spray polyurethane foam (SPF) on the Design for the Environment (DfE) Web site. This health, safety, and use information will help to educate and ensure that best practices are used when SPF is applied. SPF is a widely used and highly-effective insulator and sealant; however, eye, skin, and inhalation exposures to its key ingredient, isocyanates, and other SPF chemicals in vapors, aerosols, and dusts during SPF installation can cause asthma, respiratory problems, other breathing difficulties, skin irritation, or other potential adverse health effects.
2009 Winners of Lifecycle Building Challenge 3 Announced!
EPA, along with our partners, the American Institute of Architects, West Coast Green, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, and StopWaste.Org, announced the winners of the 2009 Lifecycle Building Challenge (LBC) 3 on October 8, 2009. The LBC 3 invited professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future use of building materials. View the winning entries or learn more about the Lifecycle Building Challenge .
EPA Adopts New Green Building Strategy
EPA adopted a new Green Building Strategy (2 pp, 697KB, About PDF) in 2008 to guide the Agency's green building activities. The goal of the EPA Green Building Strategy is to facilitate the mainstream adoption of effective green building practices. The strategy outlines EPA's two roles in reaching this goal: 1) strengthening the foundations of green building; and 2) raising public awareness of building-related impacts and opportunities.
U.S. EPA, Partners Kick Off Third Annual Green Building Design Challenge
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and partners are inviting the nation's architects, product developers, educators, environmental leaders, and students to submit innovative designs that minimize waste, reuse materials, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The "Lifecycle Building Challenge 3" invites professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas by August 30 that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future reuse of building materials. At the end of the competition, expert judges will determine the best entries in each category and the winners will be recognized in the fall. More information is available at EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge Web site.
Winners of the Second Annual Green Building Design Competition Announced!
View the winning green building designs and project entries of the 2008 Lifecycle Building Challenge (LBC). The U.S. EPA, the American Institute of Architects, and the Building Materials Reuse Association recognized the winners of the 2008 LBC competition at a ceremony during the WasteWise/National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 29, 2008. The LBC, which partners EPA, the Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects, Southface, West Coast Green, and StopWaste.Org, invited professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future use of building materials. More information is available at EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge Web site.
Green Buildings Highlighted in Green Scene
Dr. Bill Sanders, Director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Research, was a guest on EPA's Green Scene. Dr. Sanders discusses the growing field of "Green Building" and what you can do to improve the environmental performance of your home or building. Green Scene is a multimedia way to explore environmental issues with EPA's top experts through the videos, downloadable podcasts, and transcripts. View EPA's Green Scene on Green Building.
Former EPA Administrator Announced New Green Building Approach
Former EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced a new Agency approach to help facilitate the mainstream adoption of green building practices. This strategy offers a multi-faceted approach to reducing the environmental and public health impacts of buildings and building-related products through their complete life span.
The strategy is built around five strategic objectives:
- To inform building decisions with better standards and metrics;
- To advance knowledge and overcome barriers through research;
- To lead by example with the Agency's own facilities;
- To expand public understanding of green building; and
- To increase adoption of green building practices in sectors where progress has been more limited, to date, including homes and existing commercial and public buildings.
The strategy was announced on April 21, 2008 at EPA's National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall.
New Industrial Materials Recycling Web Site
2008 Beneficial Use of Industrial Materials Summit
EPA's Region 8 hosted the 2008 Beneficial Use of Industrial Materials Summit in Denver, Colorado, March 31- April 3, 2008. The Summit featured the reuse and recycling of industrial materials (such as coal combustion products, foundry sands, and construction & demolition materials) in practical applications such as building construction, transportation, and agriculture, along with important tools and resources; issues affecting state environmental programs and regulatory decisions; and how to address barriers to increasing beneficial use. Agenda and speaker presentations are available on the Web site .
EPA at 100% Green Power through March 31, 2009
In July 2008, EPA purchased enough green power to offset 100% of its conventional electric use through March 31, 2009. The purchase was in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC's). The renewable power comes from wind, landfill gas, and biomass facilities across the U.S. The Defense Energy Support Center served as the contracting agent for this purchase. EPA facilities use approximately 270 million kilowatt-hours per year of electricity. EPA has offset 100% of its electric use with green power since September 1, 2006. Please contact EPA's Sustainable Facilities Practice Branch at 202-564-6371 for additional information.
Bathroom Sink Faucets to Bear WaterSense Label
EPA released the final specification for high-performance, water-efficient bathroom sink faucets. In order to earn the WaterSense label, faucets must be independently tested and certified by a licensed certifying body to meet EPA's water-efficiency and performance criteria. Working with stakeholders, EPA chose a flow rate that ensures both water savings and that the faucet flow rate will continue to meet the needs of the user. WaterSense labeled faucets will use approximately 30 percent less water than conventional models. Consumers can already find the WaterSense label on more than 60 high-efficiency toilets. Working with EPA, retailers are starting to feature WaterSense labeled toilets in their plumbing sections, and bathroom sink faucets should be close behind in 2008. Bathrooms are, by far, the largest use of water in the home-responsible for about half of total indoor water use. By installing a WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilet and faucet or aerator, American homes can save more than 11,000 gallons each year. WaterSense is a voluntary public-private partnership that recognizes high-performance products and processes. The WaterSense program also seeks to promote consumer use of water-efficient products, certification for water industry professionals, and innovation in water-efficient product manufacturing.
Winners of 2007 Lifecycle Building Challenge Announced!
View the winning green building designs and project entries of the 2007 Lifecycle Building Challenge. The awards were presented by the U.S. EPA, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) at the West Coast Green Conference + Expo. The Lifecycle Building Challenge was developed by the U.S. EPA, the AIA, the BMRA, and West Coast Green. The national competition for students and professionals, sponsored by GreenBuildingBlocks.com, collected building and building component ideas that encourage the reuse of building materials by making them easy to disassemble and recover. Lifecycle building creates stocks of resources for future buildings, and the designs from the competition will keep materials at their highest value to minimize energy and resource consumption. More information is available at EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge Web site.
High-Efficiency Toilets to Get WaterSense Nod
EPA has released a final specification for the latest generation of water-saving, high-efficiency toilets. Those that use less than 1.3 gallons per flush and meet performance standards for quality will qualify for EPA's WaterSense label to help consumers make informed buying decisions about water-efficient products. The new toilets are the product of extensive research in fluid dynamics conducted over the last six years. While the exterior differs little from traditional toilets, interior redesign and new mechanical approaches significantly improve flow and reduce water usage. Replacing older, inefficient toilets could save more than 900 billion gallons of water a year - enough to supply almost 10 million households. WaterSense is a voluntary public-private partnership that recognizes high-performance products and processes. The WaterSense program also seeks to promote consumer use of water-efficient products, certification for water industry professionals, and innovation in water-efficient product manufacturing.
EPA and American Institute of Architects Sign Memorandum of Understanding
On February 10th, 2005, then Acting Administrator Steve Johnson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) [PDF] (366KB, 3 pages) (also available in an HTML version of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Institute of Architects (AIA)) with the goal of advancing sustainable development by partnering on key smart growth and green building activities. Developed by EPA's Green Building Workgroup and AIA's Committee on the Environment, the MOU identifies opportunities for collaboration such as:
Fostering green building and site design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction;
Developing and sharing strategies for planning and development of environmentally sound, attractive, affordable communities;
Advancing indoor environmental quality, occupant well-being, and productivity;
Developing case studies and best practice demonstrations and advancing and developing guidance on the state of the art in green building and sustainable development; and
Promoting collaboration between EPA Regions and AIA Components in education, outreach, research, and demonstrations of best practice.
For more information, please contact Ken Sandler, Co-Chair of EPA's Green Building Workgroup at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-343-9607.
EPA's Office of Site Remediation Enforcement Seeking Partners in the Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse (ER3) Initiative
EPA's Office of Site Remediation Enforcement invites developers, states, municipalities, or other entities interested in incorporating sustainability concepts into the redevelopment of contaminated property, to submit a sustainable development proposal to EPA's Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse (ER3) Network. ER3 seeks to encourage the sustainable reuse and redevelopment of contaminated and formerly-contaminated sites through enforcement and other Agency incentives. One important component of ER3, in addition to the internal Agency network, is an external network of resources to educate and otherwise assist developers with incorporating those concepts into particular projects.