Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Minnesota Climate Change Initiatives

Taking steps for climate change has reached the local level in a big way. Mayors and cities councils in Minnesota (and across the world) have declared their intentions of working with a number of programs, which are going to have some impacts on how buildings are built in Minnesota.

Below is the list of Minnesota cities and counties that have formally declared their intent through the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the Sierra Club's Cool Counties or Cool Cities, and/or Cities for Climate Protection in an effort to lessen their local contribution to global climate change:

Apple Valley
Eden Prairie
Hennepin County
International Falls
Lake City
Mountain Iron
Ramsey County
Red Wing
Sauk Rapids
St. Paul
Sunfish Lake
Turtle River
White Bear Lake

In addition, Minnesota also recently became the seventh state to pass the “Next Generation Energy Act of 2007” into policy, which sets a state goal of certifying 100 commercial buildings to the Green Globes or U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standard by December 31, 2010. The bill also mandates utilities to include in their conservation improvement plans programs that facilitate professional engineering verification to qualify a building as Green Globes-certified, Energy Star-labeled or LEED-certified.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more great Minnesota initiatives, and if you can, attend the Mayors' Forum on Green Initiatives on November 27, 2007, 3:45 - 6:00 p.m. at the University of Minnesota to see more on what is happening in the Twin Cities regarding green initiatives. Click here for more information.

Do you know of any local climate change initiatives not mentioned here? Let me know!

And great job, Minnesota!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Building Materials and LEED

I wanted to pass this great information along; it is not new information but sometimes it helps to see it all in one place.

Salvaged Wood from Minnesota

Inhabitat has a great comprehensive working list of what one should look for when choosing building materials. Be sure to check out Part One for specifics on LEED-Homes and material selection.

Green Building 101: Materials and Resources Part One
Green Building 101: Materials and Resources Part Two

And don't forget about the option of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). While definitely not the most simple way to choose materials, it is the most complete way to ensure that your structure will use the least amount of embodied energy via materials.

And if all else fails and everything seems too complicated, remember that choosing something locally is always a good choice.