• Mechanical contractor Harris Cos. announced that its 25th employee has received the designation of LEED Accredited Professional. This marks the achievement of St. Paul, Minn.-based Harris’ 2008 goal of having 25 employees with the designation of LEED AP by the end of the year. In addition, three Harris employees have their Certified Energy Manager designations, with several more pursuing this certification, which focuses specifically on energy efficiency and the economic value of those efforts.

  • Dual-flush toilet manufacturer Caroma donated another 250 high-efficiency toilets, urinals and sinks to Greensburg GreenTown, a nonprofit organization established to provide residents of Greensburg, Kan., with resources, information and support to rebuild the city as a model green community. Greensburg was devastated by an EF5 tornado May 4, 2007. Nearly 95 percent of homes and businesses were destroyed by the two-mile-wide tornado.

    Greensburg now has more than 450 high-efficiency toilets from Caroma and is projected to save at least 4,600 gallons of water per person per year. (Many of the city’s buildings were built in the 1960s or earlier, so many toilets were either 3.5 gallons per flush or 5 gpf toilets.)

  • The Pasadena EcoHouse may become the first concrete LEED Platinum home in the United States. Currently in construction, the Pasadena EcoHouse, designed by StudioRMA, will be a three-bedroom, single-level home perched upon a rocky hillside in San Rafael, Calif., on a 1,975-square-foot lot. It will consist of recycled glass and concrete countertops, solar generation, a rainwater and greywater catchment system, and sustainable wood kitchen cabinets. The homeowners - James Copelan and Jancie Kapanski - would like to be the first homeowners to earn Platinum certification for water and energy efficiency by the U.S Green Building Council. 

  • Tankless water heater maker Rinnai Corp. was recently awarded the Super Nova Star Award by the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide. The Super Nova Star Award is given to organizations with less than $150 million in annual revenue that have shown leadership in energy efficiency.

    The Alliance to Save Energy estimates that the average U.S. household spent about $2,350 last year on home energy, and the U.S. Department of Energy says 45 percent of home energy goes toward home heating and cooling costs.

  • Chapel Hill, N.C., is the site of the first new home completed and certified to the WaterSense draft specification for water-efficient, single- family new homes, announced EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. Built by Vanguard Homes, the home is designed to use 20 percent less water than similar new homes by incorporating WaterSense-labeled products, Energy Star-qualified appliances, and other water-efficient features and systems. 

  • NAHBGreen verification is now available for modular homes, bringing the green building certification process to the industry that produces a fifth of the nation’s housing stock. The Modular Green Approved program is a new service offered by the NAHB Research Center, which also administers the National Green Building Certification program for traditionally built homes.

    Because they are factory-built, modular homes can take advantage of resource efficiencies that make them less expensive to produce. That involves less waste, which makes it green as well as more affordable.

    While a modular or systems-built home is built to the same codes as a traditional, site-built home, the inspector can’t see behind the walls when it arrives at the building site, making the verification process more difficult. By ensuring that the house and its components meet green requirements in the factory through this new program, the rest of the inspection can be conducted onsite.

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