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  • 11/17/2016 4:13 PM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    November 4th, 2016

    USGBC Central California is now soliciting nominations for election to the Board of Directors.  This is a great way to contribute to help advance USGBC Central California’s mission, to help shape the Chapter’s future and the green building industry in Central California, while creating lasting business relationships.  The Chapter is seeking Directors who are committed to increasing sustainability in our built environment, passionate about making an impact in our community, experienced in leading volunteer organizations, and willing to commit leadership to helping the Chapter serve our community. 

    ELECTION SCHEDULE

              

    Filing Period:                                                      November 4 – November 30, 2016

    Deadline to Submit Application:                 November 30, 2016

    Candidate Notification:                                 December 2, 2016

    Elections:                                                             December 2 – December 18, 2016  

    New Board Members Seated:                    January 1, 2017

    Who can Vote:                                                                  All current paid Chapter members*

     *To join the Chapter and be eligible to vote, click here: www.usgbccc.org/Become-A-Member and follow instructions on Registering for a Chapter Membership link below. 

    TERMS & MEETINGS

    The term of office is for two years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.  Terms of board members are staggered so that half the Board changes each year.  Face to face board meetings occur on a bi-monthly basis.   

                   

    QUALIFICATIONS

    Given the Chapter’s expanding scope of programs and local influence, a number of qualifications are particularly important.  The Board seeks diversity among types of USGBC member companies and leadership qualities needed to assure strong and dynamic local leadership. 

    ·         Candidates will be selected to provide a mix of expertise, potential contributions, leadership, business experience, diversity, and continuity. 

    ·         Candidate must sign the USGBC CC Board of Directors commitment form. 

    GENERAL INFORMATION

                                                             

    ·         Nominations will be accepted for four (4) board seats.

    ·         You may nominate yourself by completing the attached application form or nominate another member by asking them to do so.

    ·         Bios and applications will be posted on Chapter website.  Voting instructions will be sent to all members prior to commencement of voting. 

    ·         Submit the completed Board of Director Application and signed Board of Director Commitment by email to info@usgbccc.org by the deadline above.  Submission of the Board of Director Commitment implies agreement. 

    ·         Direct all questions to info@usgbccc.org


  • 08/30/2016 11:34 AM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    Guest blog by Mark Maxwell, Assistant Director of Construction & LEED Coordinator, and Design & Construction at the University of California, Merced, where he leads LEED Lab (LINK: http://engineeringservicelearning.ucmerced.edu/team-leed-lab).

    LEED Lab is a post-secondary course that uses the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders by learning how to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings. In the course, students facilitate the LEED for Existing Buildings, Operations & Maintenance process with the goal of certifying a new facility each year. Completing the LEED Lab course will give students the skills, knowledge and expertise to manage future certifications and other projects in sustainability. Students who attend and pass this course will also be positioned to sit for the professional certification exams to earn their LEED Green Associates (LEED GA) & LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP). This course also provides the study guide and practice exams for the LEED Green Associates exam.

    At UC Merced, LEED Lab started in the fall of 2015 and allows for a maximum of 15 students under Engineering for Service Learning, bringing together students from all grade levels and disciplines. Each semester has a new group of students, so making a clear hand off of materials and projects timeline from the first semester to the second is crucial for the project’s success.

    In the first semester, stakeholders from various departments were identified (purchasing, energy, recycling, custodial etc.), since students will be collecting and gathering data from these departments. After the students met with the stakeholders, they broke up into three teams and each team was assigned a credit category or categories. Some categories are much easier than others, so some teams could take on more.

    Next, the teams read all the credits in their categories to determine which credits they were going to pursue. They then developed a scorecard for the project of the credits the class was pursing, to come up with the total number of points and certification level they could achieve. I then gave a 15 minute presentation on LEED Online. This presentation explained how to access LEED Online, once they registered with the US Green Building Council and navigate through documenting credits.

    FInally, each team was assigned to put together credit summaries for the next semester class, which allowed the team members to have a basic understanding of every credit the team was going to pursue. Each credit summary would have the name of the credit, the intent, possible points, list of implementations, timeline for documentation, the stakeholder and contact information to coordinate with for data collection and other pertinent information to help the team member document the credit.

    The second semester teams read all the credit summaries and decided when the three month performance period would be so that they could begin to document the credits. Once the performance period started, students began contacting and working with the stakeholders to collect data. Students documented their credits to LEED Online as they were completed.

    Some of the measurable benefits from this class are LEED Certification, lower operating costs, more healthy and productive working environment, reduced waste sent to the landfills, energy and water conservation, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and educating the students and community.

    After talking with several students about the class, they felt they had a broader knowledge of sustainability and the built environment. Once student told me that he got an internship at Fritto Lay, because of this class that he took. This class really engaged different majors and not just ones they would typically take an engineering class. When I asked several students who were majoring in History, English or Economics, why they took this class, they said because we want to learn more about sustainability.

    If you think about it, sustainability touches on everything we do as well as every major. Not just buildings, but how we operate buildings our lives and the day to day things we do that impact our environment.

    If you are interested in volunteering or supporting LEED Lab at UC Merced, please contact USGBC Central California info@usgbccc.org.  


  • 05/10/2016 8:50 AM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    From Rodrigo Alcantar, Fresno State Construction Management Student

    USGBC Central California has teamed up with Fresno State Construction Management Students to help with the project to build a Zero Net Energy Tiny House. The Construction Management Senior Capstone (CM 180A & B) classes are responsible for coordinating; communicating and managing of the project to successfully work with both staff and students of other disciplines here at Fresno State. The students are building a zero net energy portable tiny home from scratch for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The tiny house that our class will construct will be a prototype for the following year Senior Capstone class who will be representing Fresno State in Sacramento. USGBC Central California members and local green building organizations are supporting the project with donations and mentorships.

    The tiny house project requires skills to be used which have been taught throughout the entire Construction Management program. It requires architectural and structural drawings to be made using design software, which ultimately have to be approved by a licensed structural engineer. A detailed estimate and schedule will be required to be made in order to carry out the project. Also, the Tiny House will comply with current building code, requiring inspections to be done by qualified inspectors in the construction industry. The tiny house will be a zero net energy structure, meaning it will need to be self sustainable, which is a major topic that has been incorporated in nearly every construction management course. Finally, building the tiny home will require our class to work as a team, not only with each other, but with other students in the engineering, business, and interior design majors, and members in the community as well. Ultimately, this project will require our students to apply our skills and knowledge, which we have obtained throughout the Construction Management program, and apply it directly to a project which will pose similar challenges that can be seen in real world construction projects.

    Although tiny houses are becoming more popular throughout the nation, they are not very well known in the Central Valley. The tiny house project will allow the community to see that a tiny house, which can simply be transported with just a pick-up truck, can provide both comfort and sustainability. Since our Tiny House will be a net zero energy house, it will show members of the community that it is possible, and practical to live in a home which is essentially self sustainable, inexpensive, comfortable, and easy to transport.

    This project will not only have an impact on the environment, but also on the social aspect of the entire community. We believe that this project will bring awareness to the new age of zero net energy housing movement that is still in its prime. If people are aware of zero net houses, the total carbon footprint emission will be decreased significantly over a long period of time. Awareness to the general public will make purchasing zero net energy houses more affordable due to the increase in demand. USGBC Central California and Fresno State students have been able to start the conversation with the community during different outreach events including the CSI product show and Earth Day Fresno. 

    Facebook: Fresno State Tiny House

    Instagram: @FSTinyHouse

    Twitter: @FSTinyHouse

    #FSTinyHouse


  • 11/10/2015 11:05 AM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    USGBC Central California’s “Summer 2015 Water Conservation Challenge” has a very worthy winner: Stan Ruiz reduced his water usage from July 2014 to July 2015 by a whopping 86%! We congratulate Stan to this great achievement, well done!

    You may think: I can get to that number too if I eliminate all outdoor watering. Well, actually Stan did something different: He took out all his front and back lawn and replaced it with climate appropriate plants, drip irrigation and 4 to 5 inches of wood chips. “After the roots established I reduced the water supply by another 30% and it looks great.” 

    Ruiz has done most of the work himself and did not spend more than $1,200 on his project. “I am just an average guy who loves to work in his garden and make it pretty”, says Ruiz. “If I can save this much, everybody can.” Stan wins a smart controller to help fine tune his irrigation system to ensure maximum water efficiency in his outdoor watering.

    This is just one example of amazing individual residential impacts that is happening around Central California to increasing water efficiency, conservation and sustainability. We congratulate all other water savers that met the Water Conservation Challenge criteria of reducing water usage by 25% and submitted their water water bills. 

    To find out more how you can reduce your water usage and how to convert to climate appropriate landscaping, visit the Water Conservation section on our website.

    Thank you to our challenge sponsors Toro and Home Depot for providing prizes for our challenge winners and the Fresno Bee to help our outreach efforts with a media partnership.


  • 10/27/2015 12:01 PM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    October 27, 2015

    USGBC Central California is now soliciting nominations for election to the Board of Directors.  We hope you will consider this opportunity to contribute at the leadership level and to help shape the Chapter’s future and the green building industry in Central California, while creating lasting business relationships.  The Chapter is seeking Directors who are committed to increasing sustainability in our built environment, passionate about making an impact in our community, experienced in leading volunteer organizations, and willing to commit leadership to helping the Chapter serve our community. 

    ELECTION SCHEDULE

              

    Filing Period:                                                      October 27 – November 17, 2015

    Deadline to Submit Application:                 November 17, 2015

    Candidate Notification:                                 November 19, 2015

    Elections:                                                             November 23 – December 18, 2015  

    New Board Members Seated:                    January 1, 2016

    Who can Vote:                                                                  All current paid Chapter members*

     *To join the Chapter and be eligible to vote, click here: www.usgbccc.org/Become-A-Member and follow instructions on Registering for a Chapter Membership link below. 

    TERMS & MEETINGS

    The term of office is for two years from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017.  Terms of board members are staggered so that half the Board changes each year.  Face to face board meetings occur on a bi-monthly basis.   

                   

    QUALIFICATIONS

    Given the Chapter’s expanding scope of programs and local influence, a number of qualifications are particularly important.  The Board seeks diversity among types of USGBC member companies and leadership qualities needed to assure strong and dynamic local leadership. 

    ·         Candidates will be selected to provide a mix of expertise, potential contributions, leadership, business experience, diversity, and continuity. 

    ·         Candidate must sign the USGBC CC Board of Directors commitment form. 

    GENERAL INFORMATION

                                                             

    ·         Nominations will be accepted for four (4) board seats.

    ·         You may nominate yourself by completing the attached application form or nominate another member by asking them to do so.

    ·         Bios and applications will be posted on Chapter website.  Voting instructions will be sent to all members prior to commencement of voting. 

    ·         Submit the completed Board of Director Application and signed Board of Director Commitment by email to info@usgbccc.org by the deadline above.  Submission of the Board of Director Commitment implies agreement. 

    ·         Direct all questions to info@usgbccc.org



  • 07/02/2015 4:44 AM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    Fresno, CA, April 30, 2015 – With the current drought conditions, USGBC Central California challenges residential water users to be the change to reduce water usage. USGBC Central California announces the Summer 2015 Water Conservation Challenge to encourage residential water users to use their creativity to do their part to conserve water during the present drought and beyond. Metered residential water users in Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Kern, Kings, Tulare, Mono and Inyo counties who reduce their water usage between 2014 and 2015 by at least 25% are eligible to participate. Residents must submit their water bills from 2015 and 2014 which contain at least 15 days for the month of July. The gallons for each cycle must be indicated on the documents. The winners will be determined by the greatest percentage decrease from 2014 to 2015. Last day to submit the water bills is August 31st, 2015.

    “Water conservation is an essential element of green building and is especially relevant in California,” says Laura Gromis, Executive Director of USGBC Central California. “Our current drought situation requires everybody to be water smart this summer. With water being the central resource management challenge in Central California, this crisis provides the opportunity to make lasting changes to make our region more resilient to changing precipitation patterns.” USGBC Central California provides a vast amount of resources on its water conservation portal at www.usgbccc.org/waterconservation to help residents with their efforts to be part of the change. USGBC Central California has developed an overview of water conservation requirements and rebates provided by local water districts which will be updated throughout the summer. Additionally, the water conservation portal hosts links to relevant resources about water conservation, irrigation efficiency and climate appropriate landscaping.

    “I am excited to participate in the Summer 2015 Water Conservation Challenge.  This will be a fun competition to be part of,” says Kingsburg resident Stan Ruiz. “I wanted to do the right thing to help conserve water and took out all my front and back lawn and replaced it with climate appropriate plants, drip irrigation and 4 to 5 inches of wood chips. After the roots established I reduced the water supply by another 30% and it looks great. So far I have saved more than 50% in comparison to the same month of last year’s water usage.” Ruiz has done most of the work himself and did not spend more than $1,200 on his project. “I am just an average guy who loves to work in his garden and make it pretty”, says Ruiz. “If I can save this much, everybody can. The challenge is on.”  This is just one example of individual residential impacts that the USGBC is looking to highlight through the challenge of increasing water efficiency, conservation and sustainability.

    More info at www.usgbccc.org/waterconservation.


  • 05/26/2015 10:52 AM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    USGBC Central California announced the winners of the Most Outstanding Green Building Innovator Awards at the semi-annual Spring Into LEED award dinner and fundraiser on April 28th. Honored were the leaders in the Green Building Movement that were instrumental in designing and building LEED buildings in Central California. To date, 107 projects received LEED certification in Central California, creating over 5.5 million square feet of green building space. UC Merced received the award of Owner with Most LEED Buildings with 15 LEED buildings at their campus. Teter Architects and Engineers received the award for Contractor with Most LEED Buildings with 9 LEED projects. 907 Windsor Remodel in Tulare, a single family house in Tulare, received the award for LEED Project with Highest Points Achieved, for earning 97.5 points of 100 for their LEED for Homes Platinum project.

    USGBC Central California congratulate the leaders of the leaders in the Green Building industry in Central California. Within the last two year, the number of LEED buildings in Central California nearly doubled and demand for sustainability in building is increasing. People are more concerned about the impact buildings have on their health, productivity and the environment. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work, learn, play and worship. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, with nearly 30,000 LEED certified commercial buildings in more than 150 countries and territories globally. LEED-certified buildings offer lower operating costs and better indoor environmental quality, making them attractive to a growing group of corporate, public and individual buyers. High-performing building features increasingly enter into tenants' decisions about leasing space and into buyers' decisions about purchasing properties and homes. California is amongst the top 10 states with LEED building per capita in the Nation.

    A big thank you to all that contributed to Spring Into LEED, Harris Construction for hosting us at their beautiful LEED Silver office building, our donors of raffle items, Mecho Systems, Nora Systems, Landscape Forms, Innovation Commercial Flooring, National Office Furniture, Mohawk, Western Building Materials, Patcraft, Tenaya Lodge, Marlite, Coalesse and 3-Form, and all our great volunteers that helped put the event together.

    Check out the Fresno Bee article about the award winners.



  • 05/07/2015 3:37 PM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    This opinion article was submitted by Jeffrey T. Janes, M.S., C.B.O.

    The story behind alternate materials and methods (AMM) in the building code go back to when I first needed to understand them as an apprentice architect and then later as a government official charged with approving or denying such applications.  What I have seen over the years, are many good and well thought out ‘green’ products and sustainable materials that were sound in concept but lacked the correct process flow to step through our modern day building codes.  Does this mean unless you have lots of money and access to a fancy research laboratory you should not even bother?  No.  But it does mean you need to understand what a code official is looking for when evaluating AMM of construction to be sure the minimum code standards are met. 
    Are all materials approved in the building code or through alternative methods safe for the environment?  Certainly not.  In fact, an argument can be made that many of the currently ‘approved’ materials can be more toxic and harmful to people and the environment than not.  So how can this be?  If the job of the code official for each city or county is to protect people, how do these materials get approved in the first place?  Yes, you may not like the answer, but big business, profits, and cheap processes do play a role in this decision making process through approval.  So what is the point?  The point is, as responsible ecological designers, we need to figure out the AMM approval process in the local jurisdictions where we do business so we can have smarter and healthier materials approved for use in the built environment. 
    In the end, once an AMM product is approved within a jurisdiction by a building official, that approval is like a gold standard that can be used to start the dialogue about that product within other jurisdictions.  I believe this is one strategy in bringing forth smarter and healthier materials for use in the built environment.


  • 03/24/2015 12:10 PM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    PolicyPalooza is USGBC California’s annual two-day Rite of Spring gathering in Sacramento devoted to state policy and innovative ideas. Ask around: those who’ve attended past events rank it as one of the highlights of the year. Held in conjunction with activities at the Green California Summit, PolicyPalooza 2015 consists of the April 7th Day at the Capitol, where USGBC members from around the state gather and meet with their local legislators and their staffs about making our shared transformative vision the new normal. In between meetings, you can visit our Summit exhibit booth, regroup and share experiences at our Advocates’ Luncheon and toast our policy champions at our Green Hard Hat Awards reception. PolicyPalooza Day 2 shifts to the USGBC California track of panel sessions at the Green Summit devoted to LEED & CALGreen, data & building performance, and water reuse.

    USGBC members comprise a big tent collection of people from a variety of business and professions united in their desire to build a more sustainable, prosperous and equitable world. We need to make our voices heard in Sacramento and we very much welcome and appreciate your participation. Extra credit for Southern California members. Act now! Sign up at http://tinyurl.com/policypalooza-2015. We’ll posting updates on hotel, schedule and other information at http://tinyurl.com/policypalooza-details.


  • 03/23/2015 10:18 AM | Laura Gromis (Administrator)

    About 650 students in grades 6-12 competed in the 62nd Annual Central California Regional Science, Mathematics and Engineering Fair on March 16th-19th. Joshuan Donnelly from Buchanan High School won the special recognition from the Central Valley Water Awareness Committee for water related projects with his work on “Aquatic Plants in Wastewater Treatment”. He compared the ability of different common aquatic plants to remove fertilizers from water.  His experiment demonstrated that the Egeria Densa plant removed nitrogen the fastest, however, the Java Fern was able to withstand the high ammonia concentrations in the second and third trials of the experiment. USGBC Central California’s Water Conservation Committee had the honor to be part of the Central Valley Water Awareness Committee judging team. Congratulations to all students who participated in this year’s science fair!

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