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  • 27 Aug 2015 10:31 AM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)

    Sustainability, STEM and Urban Agriculture

    More than 200 K‐12 Education stakeholders, policy makers, community organizations and green  building industry professionals are expected to attend the inaugural Nevada Green Schools  STEM Summit on the future of education, sustainability and building a healthy, local food system.  All  are key components for realizing what many including Governor Brian Sandoval have called the New  Nevada Economy which will be rooted in science and innovation.   

    Designed to be an annual statewide event, the focus of the 2015 Green Schools STEM Summit will be  on developing strategies to incorporate sustainability into STEM based curriculum that is experiential  and utilizes green classroom environments, school gardens and indoor agriculture to promote  innovative, place‐based learning.  Providing healthy learning environments where students and  teachers can thrive is the reason behind USGBC’s ultimate goal to provide Green Schools For All within  a generation. 

    We are excited to bring this statewide collaborative event to Southern Nevada in 2015 with the  support of numerous key partner organizations including: 

    The Clark County, Carson City and Washoe County School Districts, the US Green Building Council  Nevada Chapter, Desert Research Institute (DRI) Green Power Program, the Nevada STEM Coalition,  the Governor’s Office of Energy, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Green Our Planet,  Create A Change Now, Green Chips, the Conservation District of Southern Nevada, Sustainable Nevada,  The American Institute of Architects Nevada Chapter, and Outside Las Vegas Foundation.     


    Nationally recognized Keynote Speakers and expert Panelists from Nevada and the Western region will  be featured speaking on the latest developments in STEM Education, Sustainability, and Urban  Agriculture. Confirmed Keynote Speakers include:  

    • Opening Keynote Speaker: Dale Erquiaga, Nevada State Superintendent of Public  Instruction
    • Lunch Keynote Speaker: Jenny Wiedower, National K‐12 Manager, US Green Building  Council Center for Green Schools
    • Closing Keynote Speaker: Steven Ritz, founder of the Green Bronx Machine is a Global  Teacher Prize Top 10 Finalist and uses sustainable agriculture to engage and inspire his New  York’s most at‐risk and special needs students. Steven will be speaking on the new National  Health and Wellness Center at PS 55 in the Bronx which was created to build healthy,  equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and  prepare a 21st Century workforce.  


    The Summit will feature three education tracks organized around the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Three Pillars of Education, Environment and Health:  

    I. Sustainability and STEM: Environmental education through STEM based curriculum, project  based learning, and the integration of technology. A technical track is designed with industry  practitioners in mind and dives deeper into the topic identified.  

    II. Green Places To Learn: Greening Nevada School Facilities to improve student and teacher  performance and reduce the environmental impact and operating costs.  A technical track is  designed with building industry practitioners and facility managers in mind and dives deeper  into school design, construction, green retrofits, operations & maintenance. 

    III. Sustainable Urban Agriculture: Using School Gardens and indoor vertical agriculture  technologies to promote health and wellness and teach STEM based topics including business,  health, earth science, and culinary arts.   

    Continental breakfast and lunch prepared with organic local/regional ingredients by Las Vegas  celebrity chefs will be provided.   

    See the current Program Schedule (PDF - work in progress) for more information:

    Program Schedule

    Food / Impact / Credits

    Continental breakfast and lunch prepared with organic local/regional ingredients by Las Vegas celebrity chefs will be provided.

    This event is designed as Zero-carbon and Zero-waste.

    5 CEU’s are available for LEED APs and LEED Green Associates

    Summit Flyer

    The full and latest details on the event can be found on the official information page:

    Green School Summit

  • 04 Jul 2013 7:03 AM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)

    The newest version of the LEED® green building rating system moves toward an official market launch at Greenbuild

    The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced today that its membership has voted to adopt LEED v4, the next update to the world’s premier green building rating system. The final overall vote was 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4. This includes 90 percent approval from the user category of the voting body, 77 percent approval from the general interest category and 89 percent approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7 percent.

    “There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” said Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. “USGBC sets a very high bar for a rating system to be approved. The rating system must earn a significant percentage of the overall vote as well as a majority approval from each of the various LEED stakeholder groups. This ensures that rating system approval represents the full diversity of USGBC’s membership.”
    Over the course of LEED’s development cycle, the program undergoes a series of public comment periods ending with a final ballot, during which USGBC members vote on whether to adopt the changes within the final proposed system.

    “This update of LEED builds on the past while offering new requirements, preparing all LEED projects to achieve higher levels of building performance and positive environmental outcomes,” said Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED, USGBC. “This newest version of LEED challenges the market to make the next leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings. I am confident that people will also notice the improved usability of the system with an improved documentation process and more resources and tools to assist and support positive action.”
    Starting this summer, USGBC will offer education on LEED v4 in the form of webinar suites, and the full program, along with reference guides, will be unveiled at this year's Greenbuild International Conference & Expo. Currently, there are more 100 projects pursuing certification through the LEED v4 beta program. With projects currently in the review phase, some will certify as early as this summer. Enrollment for the beta program is still open. Download the LEED v4 User Guide for details.
  • 07 May 2013 5:12 PM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)

    Last Tuesday was an active day for the USGBC Nevada chapter (USGBCNV) at the state capitol in Carson City. USGBCNV members Kelly Thomas, Louis Helton and myself, along with USGBC Legislative Director Bryan Howard, engaged our state legislators and elected officials to advance legislative solutions that would equip Nevada businesses with the opportunity to invigorate Nevada's building and construction economy, all while reducing operating expenses.

    USGBCNV joined other members of the Nevada Sustainable Energy Coalition (NSEC) for lunch with state leaders, including Stacey Crowley, executive director of the Nevada State Office of Energy, and State Sen. Ruben J. Kihuen. The NSEC is a broad, nonpartisan coalition of businesses and organizations that represent the green building industry in Nevada. NSEC and USGBCNV delivered a clear message to our representatives: Encourage investment in businesses and support policies throughout the state that advance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation, like AB33.

    "By the end of the day, USGBCNV and NSEC had visited nearly every legislative office in the capitol, advancing the win-win proposition of job creation and utility saving through such measures as AB33," said Howard. "The coalition should be commended for such a proactive effort."USGBCNV sees AB33 as a twofold opportunity:

    1. As we continue to work toward revitalizing the economy in Southern Nevada, this legislation will put several industries back to work — from laborers to skilled trades. More broadly, investment in energy efficiency creates demand for efficient products, thus positively influencing additional industries, like distribution and manufacturing.
    2. A property tax abatement policy will help commercial property owners, still affected by the market downturn, take steps to make necessary investments in energy efficiency by providing the needed capital.

    Our USGBC chapter and NSEC look forward to continuing to foster relationships with our elected leaders and the green building industry as we all work toward an energy diverse, energy efficient and sustainable future for Nevada.

    Dave Ray,

  • 19 Apr 2013 7:19 PM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)
    Today Show
    NBC’s TODAY Show is scheduled to celebrate Earth Day (Monday, April 22) by building six green living walls on Rockefeller Plaza with local students from Bronx public schools. The segment will highlight the Center for Green Schools and the Green Apple Day of Service.

    Rachel Gutter, along with our friend Stephen Ritz and his Green Bronx Machine students, will join TODAY Show hosts Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales, as well as celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis and others, to build the walls and participate in Earth Day activities throughout the morning.

    Spread the word and show your support!

    If you'll be in the New York area, get out to Rockefeller Center and show your support! (First arrivals will get Green Apple t-shirts.) Aim to be there by 7a ET. For the rest of us across the USGBC community, spread the word and be sure to tune in! This is an exciting opportunity for the Center for Green Schools, our community, and the broader sustainability movement.

    Spread the word on Twitter with hashtag #greenapple.

    For more information on Green Apple, visit
  • 17 Apr 2013 2:51 PM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)
    Tom Herron of the National Fenestration Rating Council has contributed several helpful articles to our newsletter. Now you can put a face with the name by watching this video interview. Tom explains how you can find objective information about the performance of windows, doors and skylights.
  • 05 Feb 2013 11:21 AM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)
    The Las Vegas Review Journal notes the progress of LEED in Nevada and the fact that we're one of the top ten states for 2012.

    "Nevada has been at the forefront of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design projects with support from municipalities and state agencies such as the Office of Energy, said Jennifer Turchin, consultant for Sellen Sustainability and president of the USGBC Nevada chapter."

    Read the full article here:
  • 29 Jan 2013 10:10 AM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)
    Once again, Nevada is among the top ten states for new LEED certification in 2012 according to the latest annual list released by the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, D.C. Nevada was at the top of all states on the list in 2010, an exceptional year for LEED certifications with many large projects achieving the goal.

    The per-capita list, which recognizes those states that are leading the way in transforming their buildings and communities and includes Washington, D.C., is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and reflects certifications for commercial and institutional buildings.

    With 44,396,223 total square feet of LEED-certified space through 2012, Nevada certified 1.39 square feet per resident last year, standing just slightly behind Texas, with 1.43 square feet, and California, with 1.46 square feet.

    “By making this list, Nevada has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “I applaud the extraordinary leadership of everyone undefined designers, architects, chapter advocates, and everyday citizens undefined who is working in Nevada to address the challenges of our age and create the healthiest possible environments for citizens to work, live and play.”

    “Nevada has been on the forefront of LEED development not only due to the perseverance of the developers, the foresight of our State Office of Energy, support and dedication from municipalities, and a forward-thinking hospitality industry, but also due to the strength and talent of the leaders in our green building industry,” said Jennifer Turchin, 2013 President, USGBC Nevada Chapter. “Contrary to popular belief, ‘what happens here’ doesn’t have to stay here undefined it can be done anywhere, and we are showing that with our dedication to sustainability and green building, Nevada can help lead the way.”

    “In a state that is still reeling from the economic downturn, it is a great pleasure to see Nevada ranked among the top states for LEED-certified projects,” said Dave Ray, 2012 President, USGBC Nevada Chapter. “The diversity of the state’s 2012 projects is impressive, with not only municipalities, casinos, and convention centers participating, but small businesses, utilities and transportation hubs as well. These projects demonstrate how and why LEED certification can save money and provide a better environment for the occupants.”

    Notable projects that certified in 2012 in Nevada include:

    • Bonneville Transit Center in Las Vegas, LEED Platinum
    • North Las Vegas City Hall, LEED Gold
    • Green Flag Facility at Nellis Air Force Base, which provides office, training, and break room space for combat pilots, LEED Silver
    • The Lake Mead National Recreation Area Interagency Communication Center in Boulder City, LEED Gold
    • Schluter Systems in McCarran, a manufacturer of installation systems for tile and stone, LEED Gold
    • NOW Foods distribution center in Sparks, LEED Silver
    Worldwide, more than 15,000 commercial projects have certified under LEED, with more than 35,000 additional projects in the pipeline, totaling more than 10.3 billion square feet of space.

  • 16 Nov 2012 10:48 AM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)

    Web-based tool provides real time green building data, maps, analytics and insights

    Nov. 16, 2012 (San Francisco, Calif.) - At its Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the launch of the Green Building Information Gateway. Coined GBIG, the web-based tool will accelerate market transformation by providing greater transparency and understanding of the green dimensions of the built environment.

    GBIG provides a transparent view of places, projects, collections and credits, detailing the actions and activities of LEED building owners and project teams over time. The tool provides maps, analytics and insights that reveal trends, patterns and processes in green building practice.

    • GBIG is a global platform for innovation and insights.
    • GBIG seeks to use data-driven insights to create value and competitive advantage for high performing green building projects around the world.

    "The launch of GBIG represents years of research, information gathering and testing, and has been a true labor of love," said Chris Pyke, Vice President, Research, USGBC. "Green building has gone from an era of firsts, to a global movement, connected by data."

    Users can search and explore green building activity around the world, analyze trends and patterns in green building practice and discover connections between projects, people, products and services. For more information, visit

  • 18 Jun 2012 8:30 PM | Steve Rypka (Administrator)

    LEED for Homes surpasses 20,000 certified home milestone

    Washington, DC - (June 13, 2012) - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today announced that more than 20,000 homes across the U.S. have earned certification through the LEED for Homes program. LEED for Homes is a national voluntary certification system that provides guidance and verification that homes are designed and built to be energy- and resource-efficient and healthy for occupants.

    "There are green homes, and then there are LEED homes. This milestone is evidence that the residential market is increasingly recognizing this fact," said Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development, USGBC. "LEED for Homes is moving the residential market further and faster towards high-performing, healthy homes that save residents money."

    The collection of LEED-certified homes is as varied as the whole of the residential market - from multi- to single-family, from market rate to affordable housing. Since the launch of LEED for Homes in 2008, more than 20,000 residential units have certified with nearly 79,000 additional units in the pipeline. Over half of all LEED-certified homes are in the affordable housing category.

    Recently-certified projects include:

    • Eight LEED Platinum certified affordable homes in the Coconut Cove development in Cape Coral, Florida, developed by Southwest Florida Affordable Housing Choice Foundation, Inc. and built by Owen-Ames-Kimball Company
    • AMLI at Escena, the first two LEED Gold low-rise multifamily buildings in Texas, built by AMLI Residential
    • KAPSARC Villa B-19 in Riyadh, one of the first LEED for Homes International Pilot projects to certify - located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the LEED Silver home is one of 191 single family production homes built by SK Engineering and Construction as part of Phase I for KAPSARC

    Green homes are expected to grow to between 29% to 38% of the residential construction market by 2016, equating to $87-$114 billion, according to a 2012 McGraw Hill Construction study. To learn more about LEED for Homes, visit

  • 07 Mar 2012 10:53 AM | Steve Rypka (Administrator) offers information on products that may contribute to the requirements of the LEED® for Homes program

    (Washington, D.C.) Mar. 7, 2012 - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in conjunction with The Home Depot®, has launched an online green home products database. The database: is a special microsite within that features products geared toward green home building, many of which may contribute towards earning LEED® points and prerequisites for the LEED for Homes program, making it easier for homeowners and builders to find the products they need.

    Currently, more than 2,500 products sold at The Home Depot are listed on the website.

    “The LEED green building program helps homeowners measure green home performance across a range of categories, and products play an important role in achieving certification,” said Nate Kredich, vice president of Residential Development at USGBC. “This database represents just one of the many ways in which The Home Depot is advancing sustainable, efficient and healthy homes by supporting green building and green products.” 
    “As the world’s largest home improvement retailer, we want to show our customers that building green can be easy and affordable,” said Lindsay Chason, senior manager of Environmental Innovation at The Home Depot.  “We have innovative, environmentally-friendly products that make LEED certification simpler.  Now through our partnership with U.S. Green Building Council and their LEED for Homes program, we are simplifying the process of bringing healthier, greener homes to reality.”

    The green housing market is growing rapidly, having tripled since 2008. Green homes, which comprised 17% of new residential construction last year, are expected to increase by 29% to 38% of the market by 2016, according to a report last week by McGraw-Hill Construction, a part of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

    LEED-certified homes are energy efficient, conserve water and vital resources, and integrate environmentally preferred products into the design and construction of a home. Nearly 18,000 housing units have received LEED for Homes certification, a number that has seen significant growth in recent years. Fifty percent of LEED for Homes projects are classified in the affordable housing sector, echoing a trend found in last week’s report from The National Association of Home Builders and the Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). The data shows that nationwide housing affordability rose to a record level during the fourth quarter of 2011.

    The USGBC and The Home Depot product database was a subject of intense interest during Modernism Week in California last month and debuted as part of the TED Conference during which Steve Glenn, CEO of LivingHomes, a LEED home builder since 2006 and the builder of the first LEED Platinum home in the nation, showcased LivingHome C6. C6 is the first affordable housing line from the pre-fabricated builder. Once sited in their final locations, C6 homes are designed to meet the requirements of the LEED for Homes rating system. The home was designed as part of a new partnership with Make It Right, a nonprofit founded by Brad Pitt and renowned architect William McDonough to build 150, Cradle to Cradle® inspired LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each C6 will help support the efforts of Make It Right.

    USGBC strives to integrate the principles and practices of social and economic justice within those of sustainable building - ensuring that low-income families will maintain access to decent, safe, and affordable housing, even as society’s standards for what is decent and safe continue to rise.

    Green building offers opportunities to reduce energy and resource consumption, enabling lower utility costs and critical savings for owners, funding agencies and residents alike. Green developments are also designed to offer superior indoor air quality to protect residents’ health and reduce health-care costs, and often provide better access to public transit and local amenities, decreasing the financial burden of transportation. The green home product database released with Home Depot will assist homeowners and green building professional to achieve these tenants of sustainability, health and affordability in their housing projects.

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