Edited by Jodi Summers
The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines rehabilitate as: “To repair a structure and make it usable again while preserving those portions or features of the property that are historically and culturally significant.”
To successfully rehabilitate a historic building, they are offering us 10 basic principles to keep in mind when undertaking a rehabilitation project. Making it energy efficient is an additional slide show or two.
When undertaking the green rehabbing of your property, understand that every project is different and will have different needs and solutions. But this handy reference guide is a great way to get you started.
by Jodi Summers
Los Angeles will soon become the largest city in the country to approve a ban on plastic bags. The decision came down in May, as a standing-room-only crowd packed City Hall as the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to approve a ban on plastic bags and impose a 10-cent charge on paper bags at convenience stores and supermarkets in the nation’s second-largest city.
With the council’s action, Los Angeles and our 3.8 million residents become the largest group in the United States to formally endorse a sweeping ban on single-use plastic shopping bags.
“The Los Angeles City Council took a prudent step to protect our environment and bolster our economy,” said Kirsten James, director of water quality for the Santa Monica-based nonprofit group Heal the Bay. “The vote further emphasizes the fact that the days are numbered for single-use bags in California.”
Nearly 50 other municipalities in California have adopted ordinances in the state banning single-use plastic bags and most also ban or impose fees for paper bags. Cal cities that have passed single-use plastic bag bans include San Francisco, Santa Monica, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Calabasas, Long Beach and Carpinteria. Environmentalists hope the move by the Los Angeles City Council will provide momentum for a statewide ban.
“I’m deliriously excited about the passage of this measure. Ever since I first heard about the floating plastic island in the Pacific, while I was still in the state legislature, I have been trying to move the ball forward on banning plastic bags in this state,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, a chief sponsor of the measure, in a statement.
It is estimated that 1.2 to 2.3 billion single-use plastic carryout bags and 400 million single-use paper bags are used annually in Los Angeles. A report by the Board of Public Works cited studies showing that single-use paper bags have greater greenhouse gas emissions through their production and use tan a single-use plastic bag, prompting paper bags to also be targeted.
This concept became too much too soon, and then the bill stalled until City Councilman Eric Garcetti co-introduced a motion that imposed a 10-cent fee on paper bags instead of an outright ban. The proposal is very similar to what has been working effectively in Santa Monica for the past year. Impressed by the model, Los Angeles City Council voted nearly unanimously to endorse the substitute motion.
The new ordinance will likely be approved before the end of the year. Large retailers can anticipate a six-month phase-out of single-use plastic bags. There will be a one-year grace period for smaller retailers. All retailers would be required to charge 10 cents for a paper bag as an incentive for shoppers to bring reusable bags to the market beginning one year after the program’s enactment.
“City Council approved a motion that will move us one step closer to making Los Angeles a greener, cleaner, more sustainable city,” noted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The little things matter—removing plastic bags that clutter our streets and damage our waterways will go a long way towards protecting Angelenos and Los Angeles wildlife for generations.”
Cathy Browne, general manager of plastic bag maker Crown Poly in Huntington Park, said the council shouldn’t be mandating consumer behavior and should let the market dictate consumer choice.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November 2010 approved a plastic bag ban in unincorporated areas that went into effect July 1, 2011, at large stores and on Jan. 1, 2012, at smaller retailers. A lawsuit claimed the 10-cent fee on paper bags imposed by the county was an illegal tax under Proposition 26, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant in March rejected the argument in a tentative ruling.
With the light rail coming down Olympic Blvd. and then switching over to Colorado, you know there ‘s a whole lot of new construction going on in downtown Santa Monica. All this new construction means a whole lot of old buildings have to come down before the new buildings can be built and with all our deconstruction that means a while lot of waste.
As of 2011, the Cal Green Building Codes requires all structures built in California recycle 50% of the waste generated by construction. Santa Monica, green haven that we be, requires 65% of waste from construction and demolition sites to be diverted from landfills. That will move to 70% in the near future.
For the records, waste includes anything you discard from the site; wood scraps, cardboard, flashing, paint and finishing products, tools, drywall, concrete, asphalt, plastic bags, remnants of insulation, etc.
Key to repurposing old materials is the concept of “embodied energy,” or maintaining the resources needed to make the product in the first place, offers Brenden McEneaney, a green building program advisor with the Office of Sustainability and the Environment. “If you make a brick, clay had to get dug out of the ground and brought to a manufacturing facility kiln,” he elaborates. “A lot of carbon was expended to make that product in the first place, and a lot would be expended to make a new product.”
Reuse is a vital new business model, employing nearly 170,000 workers at an annual payroll of $2.7 billion and generates $14.1 billion in revenue, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Failure to achieve the CalGreen recycling goals could result in delays in receiving Final Inspection Approval and a penalty equal to 2% of your project’s value. All penalties must be paid before Final Building Inspector Approval, so there’s no way around it.
In Santa Monica, one can find recycling solutions at locations like Bourget Brothers and the Reuse People’s program > who claim to be able to get between 80 and 90% of the construction and demolition waste diverted.
The Reuse People reach their recycling numbers by working with contractors to carefully take apart buildings to reclaim as much of the original materials as possible. They then transport them to local warehouses where they sell the products below market costs.
Locally, Bourget Brothers Building Materials has gotten into the business of selling recycled materials > be they doors, cabinets, or even old railroad ties. John Bourget has taken to scavenging the building site for desirable recyclables, like old bricks or railroad times.
Didja know A reclaimed brick can be resold for almost the same price as a new one, somewhere between 80 cents and $1.25 in Bourget’s estimation, and it prevents a brand new structural brick from being used unnecessarily.
What with the light rail under construction on the West Side, there is surplus material around everywhere. As city like Santa Monica as a prime market for recycling because builders, homeowners and other businesses have embraced the idea of adaptive reuse.
by Jodi Summers
It’s a first for the U.S. > a national green building code. In development for more than two years, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) applies to all new and renovated commercial buildings and residential buildings over three stories high.
“It represents a change in the standard of construction,” says Jessyca Henderson Director of Sustainability Advocacy at the American Institute of Architects. “It will affect everyone that touches buildings…it will be a big leap.”
To develop the code, the International Code Council collaborated with the American Institute of Architects, US Green Building Council, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), among other appropriate agencies.
The new code creates a mandatory “floor” – enforceable minimum standards on every aspect of building design and construction that now must be reached. These new minimum standards apply to all aspects of building design and construction, including energy and water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, and materials.
Here are some of the new rules of property development as set forth by the new ICC green building code:
Site Development, Land Use: In a big move toward environmental preservation, development on Greenfields (undeveloped land) is no longer acceptable, although there are exceptions based on existing infrastructure. There are new guidelines for site disturbance, irrigation, erosion control, transportation, heat island mitigation, graywater systems, habitat protection, and site restoration…so you too can help save the Round-tailed Ground Squirrel.
Materials: As with California codes, the ICC code requires a minimum of 50% of construction waste must be diverted from landfills, and at least 55% of building materials must be salvaged, recycled-content, recyclable, biobased, or indigenous. Buildings must be designed for at least 60 years of life, and must have a service plan that justifies that. If 600 years ago they built properties that have lasted 600 years, using modern technology for new construction to last 1/10th that time should be easy.
Energy Efficiency: total efficiency must be “51% of the energy allowable in the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code” (IECC), and building envelope performance must exceed that by 10%. It sets minimum standards for lighting and mechanical systems, and requires certain levels of submetering and demand-response automation.
Water Efficiency: The ICC code establishes maximum consumption of fixtures and appliances and sets standards for rainwater storage and graywater systems.
Indoor Air Quality: As you would expect, the new code addresses radon, asbestos, VOCs, sound transmission, and daylight.
Here’s a cute perk…every project is also required to choose an additional “elective,” which pushes the envelope for the developer further. There’s a sexy menu of elective choices, like whole-building life-cycle assessment to more stringent recycled-content.
Local governments and states have the choice of adopting the code – many California cities like West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Berkeley have already implemented their own codes. But, once a city chooses the ICC codes – which require no additional budget – it’s enforceable…but does allow for flexibility within the rules depending upon location and size of building. Also, it’s customizable. Municipalities can add their own requirements on top of the code that address local concerns such as stormwater management or lighting pollution control.
No information was shared on how these new rules will affect cost…we await that information with bated checkbooks. Expect the final code to reach the public late in 1Q 2012.
By Jodi Summers
New York City is routinely voted as one of the greenest cities in the country. Why? You ask, confused by the smells, the noise and the trash tornadoes you get on windy nights. But look at the upside, brilliant mass transit, shared resources, maximum land use.
Experts have concluded several reasons why urban living is more environmentally friendly than the house in the suburbs…
DENSITY = BETTER LAND USE
Playa Vista or Santa Monica is a fine example of dense mixed use. You’ve got residential and commercial mixed with green space, and people are out of their cars. When populated areas have an efficient mixed-use design, they become more desirable. Think of how vibrant Los Angeles’ downtown office district has become since it’s been transformed to a lofty mixed-use environment. Brilliant buildings like that stood vacant are now teaming with life. The abandoned banking district on Spring Street or the depressed theater row on Broadway are now vibrant with fresh of school employees with big dreams, inspiring the adaptive reuse of historic properties. (Get a clue Indianapolis.)
Parks and plazas that were previously heavily populated by toothless vagrants (think Pershing Square or McArthur Park) have become places for picnic lunches and Frisbee games.
Compare a square mile of a suburb and a square mile of a city. Which has a better use of space? There are more activities in a city square mile, making it more efficient and more fun.
There are many native New Yorkers who don’t drive. They don’t need to. Between subways, trains and buses and the occasional taxi, they can get everywhere they need to be. From an economic standpoint, traveling by bus, subway, light rail or train, saves money on insurance, gas, parking and car repairs…and gives you some luxury time to read or listen to anything you choose. From a broader perspective, mass transit allows for fewer emissions. L.A. is trying…
If you’re not fortunate enough to have people picking through your trash doing your recycling for you, you can get involved in recycling through L.A. County’s many recycling programs. For local recycling phone numbers check out: http://www.socalgreenrealestateblog.com/?p=907
Did you hear about Santa Monica’s $46.1 million Palisades Garden Walk park? Santa Monica can get a bit over the top on their projects, but they have the right idea. NYC requires that all new buildings have an aesthetic public space. Cities are wising up to the need for green public spaces. Parks, nature preserves, botanical gardens, waterways and greenbelts soften the harshness of a city, reconnect people to nature and become social gathering places, and offer psychological well being. From an environmental standpoint, green spaces also absorb rainwater runoff, prevent soil erosion, cool the city, and turn CO2 into oxygen….and they’re far easier to maintain than your garden.
GREEN WALLS, URBAN GARDENS, FARMER’S MARKETS
Follow Michelle Obama’s lead and plant a victory garden. City codes have been altered allowing inhabitants to grow food and keep livestock, or have a plot in a community garden. ..or just go to the farmers market and get locally grown food which is easier on the environment.
FUN @ YOUR FINGERTIPS
One of the best things about urban living is everything is close @ hand – restaurants, games, theater, museums, night clubs, Los Angeles has so much for its inhabitants to take advantage of. It’s a lot sexier than outlying suburbs like Palmdale.
Edited by Jodi Summers
Do you know the most recycled man-made material on the planet? Steel. Steel is made when iron ore and other minerals, known as fluxes, are melted together in a very hot fire. The molten steel is then poured into whatever mold you want.
The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new–growth opportunities in emerging steel markets. For more news or information, visit www.smdisteel.org.
• Steel construction products are represented in all major green building standards and rating programs, including the National Green Building Standard (ICC-700) for residential buildings, ASHRAE Standard 189.1 for commercial construction, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.
• Using cold-formed steel framing reduces the amount of construction waste generated at a job site. The small amount of waste generated at the site is fully recyclable into other steel construction products.
• Lightly colored, more reflective metal roofs save up to 40% in cooling energy. Highly emissive metal roofs can lower urban air temperatures, resulting in reduced smog formation.
• The installation of modular prefabricated short span steel bridges allows for faster construction, smaller crews, lighter equipment and less impact on the environment.
• Steel utility distribution poles can increase the reliability of a utility’s distribution system while offering lower overall life cycle costs.
• Highways constructed with steel-reinforced concrete pavement provide a rigid surface that reduces rolling resistance, resulting in better fuel economy for motorists.
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