• The United Association launched a new Green Awareness Certification for its members. HVAC Excellence and Ferris State University developed the course, “Green Mechanical Systems, Awareness of Fundamental and Emerging Green Technologies,” which covers topics such as energy efficiency, energy management, alternative energy, HVAC systems, solar systems and plumbing.
    The Green Awareness Certification has been a joint effort between the UA, HVAC Excellence, the Green Mechanical Council and Ferris State’s College of Technology.  The certification examinations will be delivered and administered for the UA by the National Inspection Testing and Certification Corp. in coordination with HVAC Excellence.

    NITC will make the certification available to UA members via the traditional pencil-and-paper method and by computer-based testing, said Mike Massey, NITC executive vice president. NITC will work with HVAC Excellence to ensure the exam is accessible to UA members. The price per person is $75, which includes the training materials and the test itself.
    NITC is an accredited certification body by ANSI to the ISO/IEC 17024 conformance standard. Visit www.nationalitc.com for more information.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy launched a new Energy Star program for residential water heaters. The program, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2009, will cover gas-fired storage, gas-fired tankless, heat pump and solar water heaters. The Energy Star program for gas-fired storage water heaters will take effect in two phases. For the first 19 months of the program, these water heaters must achieve an Energy Factor of .62 to qualify for the Energy Star label, but on Sept. 1, 2010, the program criteria requirement changes to require an Energy Factor of 0.67 to qualify.
    Certified equipment and efficiency ratings are listed in the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute’s certification directory at www.gamapower.org/water.php.

  • Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry has built a functioning, three-story modular and sustainable “green” home in its own backyard to showcase the ways that people can make eco-friendly living a part of their lives, as well as to highlight unique home technologies for the 21st century.
    The home - which was designed by Michelle Kaufmann Designs and built by All American Homes - will be the basis for the original Museum of Science and Industry exhibit “Smart Home: Green + Wired,” which runs from May 8 through Jan. 4, 2009. This marks the first time that a museum has built a fully functioning exhibit home of this kind on its grounds.

  • CompressedSchedule.com, an industry portal sponsored by Victaulic Co., released its latest edition of the Radio Victaulic podcast series. This edition focus on green building and sustainable design.
    The podcast, “Shades of Green,” features John Sommers of Henderson Engineers, who provides information on some key Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-rated projects and his extensive experience working in sustainable building construction.
    Another podcast with Pat Cornelison, associate principal architect at Arrowstreet, gives insight into the Artists for Humanity Epicenter, a LEED platinum-rated building located in Boston.

  • Greensburg, Kan., is the first U.S. city to pass a resolution to certify all city-owned buildings LEED Platinum. In 2007, 95 percent of Greensburg was destroyed by a tornado. City officials then envisioned rebuilding “an economic, social and environmentally sustainable community.” While the entire state of Kansas has six LEED-certified buildings, 10 commercial and public buildings in Greensburg already have committed to becoming LEED-certified.

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development unveiled its new vision for a sustainable, hurricane-resistant and energy-efficient home at the International Builders’ Show. The Concept Home demonstration project is to be built in Charleston, S.C., at Poplar Grove, a 6,000-acre nature conservation community, and is expected to be completed by this fall.
    Concept Home Charleston will incorporate the most advanced products and systems from leading manufacturers to demonstrate and educate both industry and consumers alike how design and technology innovations can create a sustainable, efficient and durable home that’s also cost-effective to build and high in quality.
    The design and technical specifications will meet the following standards: LEED for Homes, Energy Star, EarthCraft House, and the new National Green Building Standard.

  • Georgia Power recently signed an agreement with Atlanta-based Toto USA to begin providing the company with Green Energy, an environmentally friendly electricity generated from sources like the sun, wind, water, landfill methane and biomass.. Under the terms of the agreement, Toto has agreed to purchase 480,000 kilowatt-hours of Green Energy.