Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's Official for Chartwell School!

Chartwell School was awarded the LEED Platinum plaque this Monday. This was preceded by an executive briefing on sustainable schools. David Thorman, California State Architect, commended Chartwell School for creating a "landmark." Chartwell presented construction cost data for the first time. They confirmed that the state average cost for school construction is $350/sqft. Chartwell was built at $310/sqft...and by the way, it exceeded the USGBC Platinum standard by 5 points (57 as opposed to 52). The Ausonio Incorporated employees in the audience beamed for a bit after that announcement! Chartwell calculated that there was 9% premium for going 5 points over platinum. They believe the premium for building to Platinum level was only 3%!

The USGBC Monterey Bay Branch will be featuring a Green School Expo, with Chartwell featured. The event is free to the public, and you can sign up here:

Here are the details:

Event Details - Monterey Bay Branch Monthly Program: Green Schools Expo
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 (05:00 PM - 08:00 PM)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories8272 Moss Landing RoadMoss Landing, CA 95039
View Map

The Monterey Bay Branch Monthly Meeting Presents: Green Schools Expo
For those interested in a healthy school environment:
School District Facilities Planners and Construction Directors, School Board Members and District Superintendents, Building Maintenance Managers, Purchasing Officers
Architects, Designers, Construction Managers, School Building Planning & Financial Professionals
School Principals, Teachers, Students, Parents, and Community Members

Explore new techniques and trends in school design
-Get answers to your specific questions from local experts
-Hear from those who have championed the process
-See the best new work in school design
-Learn about new and innovative products

A showcase of exhibitors to provide information about funding and services, and share their stories -Chartwell School, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey College of Law -Ausonio Inc., Blach Construction, Daniels and House Construction
-CHPS, USGBC-NCC, Santa Cruz City Schools Green Schools Committee, UCSC
-The SEE Program, MRWMD -EPA Tools for Schools, PG&E, Office of Public School Construction -Powersmiths, Blue line Power, Forbo, Haworth And More to Come!

Carpooling Options/Parking
Directions: Take Highway 1 to Moss Landing Road. The Marine Lab is directly after the cemetery when coming from the south, and past the Moss Landing School when coming from the north. Go up the hill and park in the lot on the left. At the end of the parking lot walk straight to the building closest to Monterey. Informal Carpool: Participants should arrive no later than 5 p.m. at one of these locations: Santa Cruz County Governmental Office Building, 701 Ocean Street, near the front doors at the visitor parking spaces; Seaside Home Depot parking lot, near the Shell Station.

Space is limited. You must pre-register before noon on May 5, 2008 to guarantee attendance at this event. Those who are not pre-registered will be admitted first-come first-served at the event. The registration fee for this event is free.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Environment 2008 . . . Where do we Grow from Here?

Monterey— The Environment 2008 Forum Series by HECA continues on Wednesday April 16, 2008 at the Steinbeck Forum of the Monterey Conference Center. This second of three forums focuses on new technology and “building green.” The free and open to the public event begins with booth visitation and reception at 5:00 p.m.

Panelists include Rudi Lokhart (Hayward), Joe Piedimonte (Ausonio, Inc.), Bob Brown (CSUMB), Ben Licari (Graniterock) and Don Hall (PG&E). Alan Richmond, Chairman of HECA and Director of Communications and Marketing for the Naval Postgraduate School, will serve as Moderator. These experts will also answer questions from the audience.

The Higher Education Communications Alliance (HECA) serves to foster communication efforts among all higher education institutions in Monterey County, while developing collaborative opportunities for community outreach,” said Alan Richmond, Chairman of HECA. “Bringing information and open dialog on our local and global environment to local residents, in a free and open public forum, is part of our collective institutions’ educational mandate.” HECA’s members include the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey College of Law, the Defense Language Institute, California State University Monterey Bay, Hartnell College, and Monterey Peninsula College.

Other sponsors of the forums include the City of Monterey, Hayward, PG&E, AT&T, Ausonio Inc., Graniterock, the Monterey County Herald, Schipper Design, KWAV97FM Radio, and Magic63AM Radio.

The program is also endorsed by the Monterey County Business Council and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG).

The series concludes on Thursday, May 15, 2008 with a final forum geared for the every day consumer, entitled “Go Green, It Makes Cents.”

WHAT: Free forum on Building Green and New Technology

WHERE: Monterey Conference Center, Steinbeck Forum

WHEN: Wednesday, April 16. Reception at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m.

WHO: Presented by The Higher Education Communications Alliance

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Business Week: Green buildings do boost sales, rental and occupancy rates

It was just a matter of time. We knew that green buildings would have to be more valuable than standard construction. Yet, when clients would try to convince their lenders to help them build green, the appraisals did not support the improvements. The best one could have hoped for is that your loan underwiter would be savy enough to consider the lowered operating costs to qualify for a higher loan amount.

Here is the text in the event the article is permanently archived:

It's true: Green buildings do boost sales, rental and occupancy rates
Posted by: Adam Aston on April 03
Call it green magic. According a pair of studies that offer the first broad-scope examination of the economics of green buildings, they really do it all: lower operating costs, boost rental rates, increase sales values and even improve occupancy rates.

I’ve been skeptical. As much ink -- or e-ink -- has been spilled repeating the virtues of green buildings, there’s been woefully little hard data on how high-tech, high-efficiency buildings actually help the bottom line. “Trust us,” the green building industry seemed to be saying in recent years: “Build green and you will see rewards.” Such claims are instinctively believable, of course, because it makes sense that using less energy should lower building costs and make them more attractive both to tenants and future owners. Less rationally, green buildings embody the promise that very advanced technology can help solve our climate problems.

But the data has been scant, till now, because the vast bulk of green buildings are just a few years old, so data on their resale value, rental rates, and occupancy has been statistically slim. The results are in, and all those green building developers have reason to crow. A pair of studies released this week -- one by the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and one by CoStar Group-- support the claims. Amidst softening real estate markets, the news will be especially welcome. The data suggest that developers who abide by green standards put out by the US Green Building Council or the EPA’s Energy Star program will be able to fill their buildings fuller, and rent and sell them for more money than a conventional structure. The industry's next great challenge: to deliver similar metrics for the improvement of existing buildings, where the great bulk of the nation's energy is used, and wasted.

Here’s how two building standards programs cut the energy use and enhance the finances of newly built green commercial buildings

LEED certified

Energy savings 25-30%*
Rent premium, per sq. ft. $11.24
Increase in occupancy rates 3.8%
Sales premium, per sq. ft. $171

* 25-30% for all LEED buildings, including certified, silver, gold and platinum grades. For gold and platinum, the savings approach 50%.

Methodology: Using CoStar’s commercial property database of roughly 44 billion square feet, the study analyzed over 1,300 LEED Certified and ENERGY STAR buildings that totaled about 351 million sq ft. These were compared with non-green properties with similar size, location, class, tenancy and year-built characteristics to generate the results.

The NBI study was funded by USGBC with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and can be accessed here:

View more information on the CoStar Group study:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Welcome to the Ausonio Greenbuilding Blog!

I am Joe Piedimonte. I am a LEED Accredited Professional at Ausonio Inc. I have passed the LEED Exam for Existing Buildings as well as New Construction.

I am actively working at transforming the Ausonio Offices to a LEED Silver Existing Building. I am also working on the second phase of Monterey College of Law, which has the objective of achieving Platinum level. Last year I was part of the Chartwell School Platinum LEED team.

This blog is dedicated to advancing green building in the Central Coast area. I will be sharing my perspective of how green building is progressing in our area. I will discuss the challenges of building green with in the cost range of standard construction. This will be a blog for ideas and thoughts to making green construction mainstream in this area.