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LEED Lawsuit Dismissed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Thursday, 18 August 2011 17:17

A lawsuit filed in October 2010 against the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its LEED rating systems has been dismissed in a strongly worded ruling issued August 16. Following a motion by USGBC to dismiss the case and a court hearing of oral arguments in July 2011 a judge in federal court in New York City ruled against Henry Gifford and the other plaintiffs, throwing out the case.

The suit, brought by Gifford, a New York-based mechanical systems consultant, centers around his critique that USGBC falsely advertises that LEED guarantees energy savings in LEED-certified buildings. Rather than issuing an opinion on that critique, however, the court focused on flaws in Gifford’s logic in bringing the case.

To read the full story visit:

Tags: green marketing, LEED, Sustainability, Green Building.

UK Releases Anti-GreenWashing Guide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 17:54

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has promised a crackdown on companies that are greenwashing but in England a new guide could put that country ahead of U.S. officials trying to stop misleading environmental claims by marketers.

Greenwashing is the practice of wrongly claiming non-green products or services are sustainable. The United Kingdom has taken a step toward addressing the avoidance of greenwashing with the release of the Green Claims Guidance report. This report – an update of guidelines released in 2003, is a toolkit to help companies avoid greenwashing.

Published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), this important guide was developed in partnership with the Office of Fair Trading and representatives from the retail and advertising industries to ensure that product environmental claims can be verified as accurate.

DEFRA based these guidelines on research that showed consumers were able to grasp the terms “energy efficient” and “recycling” more easily  than some others such as “negative carbon footprint”.

With what is hoped will result in similarly clear guidelines, the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. last fall proposed several revisions to its ”Green Guides” to help companies avoid making misleading environmental claims. Public comment on these proposals ended mid-December, so no word yet as to how quickly or fully these revisions would be implemented.

With growing public concern about misleading labels and outright inaccurate advertising, it’s hoped that definitive guidelines will be available soon.

(Portions of this report first appeared at

Tags: greenwashing, LEED, green marketing, green public relations, green products, sustainability, GreenGlobes,

Green Building Red Hot PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Thursday, 09 December 2010 11:54

Green building remains red hot despite a sluggish economy that has curtailed new development, New York-based McGraw-Hill Construction reported.

Green construction grew 50 percent during the last two years from $42 billion up to $71 billion, the report said. It will account for about 25 percent of all new building activity in 2010, the report added.

McGraw-Hill Construction projected market spending for green building will reach $135 billion by 2015.

A third of all new nonresidential construction is green -- a $54 billion market. In five years, McGraw-Hill Construction projects, nonresidential green building activity will triple, reaching up to $145 billion in new construction for a 48 percent market share.

Health care construction is expected to grow its green share up to 40 percent in 2010, representing up to $9 billion in spending, the company said. Education, meanwhile, is valued at between $13 billion to $16 billion, while green office construction is represents a $7 billion to $8 billion market.

Bigger projects are increasingly going green, with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environment Design specification being mentioned in 71 percent of all developments valued at more than $50 million.

"It's an amazing area of opportunity at time when the construction market is extremely challenged," McGraw-Hill Vice President Harvey Bernstein said. "In today's economy, firms that specialize in green or serve this market are seeing a tremendous advantage -- and they're doing well at the same time. Green building leads to healthier places for us to live and work in, lower energy and water use, and better profitability."

McGraw-Hill Construction attributes green building's rapid expansion to owners' desire for market differentiation, growing public awareness and an increase in ecoconscious local and federal government regulations. Green building also reduces operating costs 13.6 percent on average in new buildings, while boosting building values 10.9 percent, the company said.

Going green can also boost return on investments by 9.9 percent for new buildings and 19.2 percent for retrofits, the company said.

Twelve federal agencies and 33 states had a green building mandate as of September, McGraw-Hill Construction reported. Local government green initiatives have gone from 156 localities in 2008 to 384 localities in 2010, the company added.

(Portions of this report originally appeared in the Las Vegas Business Press)

TAGS: Green Building, Green Marketing, Sustainability, LEED, Solar Energy, Renewable Energy, Building Product Marketing


GSA: LEED Gold on All Federal Projects PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Thursday, 02 December 2010 14:19

By most measurements, the U.S. General Services Adminstration is the largest "landlord" in the world with responsibilities for designing, building and rennovating more than 361 million square feet of space in 9,600 federal properties, both owned and leased.

Because of their size, it matters in a big way that the GSA now requires a minimum LEED Gold certifications of its properties through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) sustainable building program. The GSA had formerly required LEED Silver certification so this change will substantially improve the energy performance and environmental impact of the federal portfolio.

In fact, property owners counting on renewals of leases with GSA in the coming years will have some major renovations to do, especially if they wait for the much stricter LEED 2012 program to come out. Now is the time to register projects before LEED 2009 expires. Either way, product manufacturers who are already producing green products or will be launching new products can benefit greatly by this joint government and non-governmental organization (NGO) push for greener buildings. Some manufacturers that typically relied on government procurements for business that do not offer green options within their product line could be in a "sunset" segment of the market or they will have to innovate among other possible options. Still, well positioned manufacturers could capitalize on the changes as many of those property owners with non-LEED properties will be purchasing materials for upgrades to their facilities.

The GSA required certification level change can be immediate. For federal projects funded prior to FY 2010 that are in design, GSA is requireing that LEED Gold be incorporated into ongoing designs where possible, after considering budget and schedule constraints on the current design and construction contracts, according to a report from Oikos ( earlier this week. GSA's Facilities Standards will be updated to reflect these changes by the end of calendar year 2010. For GSA's leased properties, the requirement remains at the LEED Silver certificaton for new construction lease projects of 10,000 square feet or more. For leases in existing buildings, LEED for Commercial Interiors is optional, at the request of the tenant agencies, the Oikos report stated.


TAGS: U.S. General Services Administration, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED 2012, LEED 2009, LEED Gold certified, LEED Silver, LEED Commercial Interiors, GSA Facility Standard


GreenBuild 2010 A Big Success PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 14:26

The enthusiasm was infectious for all the green products and sustainable building information at the 2010 GreenBuild International Conference and Expo held last week in Chicago. The attendees were upbeat about their prospects moving forward and so were all the manufacturers hoping to see some growth in the construction sector during 2011.

Prior to the show McGraw Hill had predicted a rise of 8% in construction starts with a majority of the projects being residential. However, airports, transportation infrastructure and schools all seem to be very active sectors now and into next year from what I'm hearing.

The next GreenBuild will be held in Toronto next year and will be held a month earlier than usual from October 4-7. The Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) will host the event, which is the first one held outside the United States.

Other noteworthy announcements during GreenBuild this year was the strategic partnership announced between GreenBuilding (GreenSpec) and the Green Building Network (PharosProject). The move is expected to provide architects, designers and specifiers with an authoritative source of independent information about building products, as neither organization accepts advertising and operates on a subscription basis. I've always considered these two green product sources to be the Consumer Reports of green product information for building project teams. The new site will provide access to the combined product research of both organizations. That means a great resource for project teams and maunfacturers need to get their product information in front of the product reviewers at both organizations. Alex Wilson and Nadav Mailin at GreenBuilding are also the main editorial contributors for GreenSource magazine, the print publications that arrives monthly to all of the U.S. Green Building Council members.

Another subject of talk during the show was the Construction Specifications Institute's new Corporate Partner Program. The CPP is geared toward companies who want to take advantage of value pricing on multiple CSI membership, certification, education, CSI Academies and advertising and sponsorship opportunities.  Joining CSI and taking advantage of the networking opportunities at the chapter level has proven to stimulate business connections and opportunities in the commercial construction markets. Current CPP members include: Kingspan, Morin, ATAS, LG Hausys and Glidden Professional.  For more information on CSI’s Corporate Partner Program, please contact: Green Apple Group's president Paul Nutcher, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released a draft of the next version of the LEED rating systems, and has opened the first public comment period for that draft. The comment period will run from Nov. 8, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2010. According to USGBC’s website, a second public comment period is expected in mid-2011, and the rating system itself is expected to be released in November 2012. Although it had been dubbed “LEED 2012” informally during development, after the current “LEED 2009” system, the new version of the rating system is officially unnamed. We would encourage product manufacturers to look over the LEED credits relevant to their products and provide the USGBC with comments, concerns and issues regarding the impact the changes might have on your product and its inclusion on LEED projects. Here is the Web site for posting public comments:



TAGS: LEED, Constructon Specifications Institute, CSI Corporate Partner Program, CSI Academies, U.S. Green Building Council, GreenSource magazine, Pharos Project, GreenBuilding, Green Building Network, Canadian Green Building Council, Solar Decathlon, GreenSpec, GreenBuild, McGraw Hill, green marketing, green building, sustainability consulting, sustainable, Living Building Challenge, CHPS, Collaborative for High Performance Schools, LEED 2012, public comment


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