Lorax Partnerships, LLC
Just last month, Fitwel was introduced by the Center for Active Design (CfAD). Marketed as “a fresh approach to certification systems,” their strategies prove unique compared to what we are used to seeing from a LEED or WELL project. As the concept of occupant health and wellness continues to rise as a priority for building owners and operators, it is no surprise that this new rating system is already being utilized on so many properties.
Prior to their public launch, the GSA piloted Fitwel across the country on several different buildings, further solidifying the evidence of employee health and productivity improvements as well as healthcare cost reductions. Notable projects have been accomplished by ‘Fitwel Champions’ – leading companies that are early adopters of the Fitwel approach and strong believers in tenant wellbeing. From government entities to architect and engineering firms, the range of champions showcases the wide applicability and feasibility on all different project and client types.
What sets Fitwel apart is the simplicity of the process. Utilizing their digital scorecard (think less tedious paperwork) you can assess your property based on seven Health Impact Categories, across twelve overarching design and operation sections. Each category offers a unique point count totaling your Fitwel score as 1, 2, or 3 star rating, ranging from a basic to exemplary level of health promotion. And even if you didn’t quite make it to the first star, it can be used as a benchmarking tool regardless of any level of achievement. But the best part? This process is free from any prerequisites! …therefore eliminating a road block projects commonly face pursuing other rating systems.
Interested in learning more about Fitwel? Lorax is too – Katie is studying up to become a Fitwel Ambassador this summer! Once she’s passed the course she will be recognized as a leader and active participant in Fitwel’s healthy building movement. To see if Fitwel is the right approach for your next project, visit their website or give us a call and join the industry leaders in occupant health and wellness today!
* The Fitwel service marks (word and logos) are owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Participation by the Center for Active Design and other associated entities does not imply endorsement by HHS.
Baltimore Food Hub
Owner: Baltimore Food Hub, Inc.
A 3.5-acre campus of food ventures in East Baltimore that incorporates the old Eastern Pumping Station, the Baltimore Food Hub will bring new life to a disinvested neighborhood while providing opportunities for microenterprise, job creation, and community education. The campus will cluster synergistic uses to capitalize on the potential of the food industry — one of the top growth sectors nationally — to foster entrepreneurship and economic opportunity. We are creating a place where entrepreneurs can collaborate, food businesses can scale up, and neighbors can learn what it takes to make a career in the kitchen.
LEED has updated to version 4, and that means the ASHRAE referenced standard has some updates as well. For your convenience, we have summarized the major changes below.
- ASHRAE 90.1-2007 has been updated to ASHRAE 90.1-2010
- Process energy no longer has to make up 25% of the overall building energy for your baseline and proposed simulation models
- USGBC now requires you to achieve prerequisite compliance without accounting for the cost of generating renewable energy onsite
- For data centers, USGBC requires that building power and cooling infrastructure provides 2% of the required 5% energy cost reductions
- For Option 2, LEED now includes a prerequisite that the standard for compliance uses the 50% savings version of the Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDG) instead of the 30% savings version of the AEDG. This represents an expected savings of 50% over ASHRAE 90.1-2004.
- To achieve the prerequisites for Options 2 and 3, your project must follow ASHRAE 90.1-2010 mandatory and prescriptive requirements
- Unregulated loads should be modeled accurately to reflect the actual expected energy consumption of the building.
Chapter 5: Building Envelope
- Continuous Air Barriers are now required (except in semi-heated spaces)
- Air Leakage in entrance vestibules for climate zone 4 (MD , DC, and PA) in buildings larger than 1000SF must have self-closing doors, interior and exterior doors not open at the same time, distance between the interior and exterior door not less than 7ft when in closed position. (doors from dwelling units are except from this requirement)
- Fenestration and door air leakage has been expanded upon and testing methods have been updated with stricter requirements
- Skylights are REQUIRED for buildings that are 4 stories or less, and 5000SF, >15ft ceiling height, and are one of the following spaces types
- Gymnasium/Exercise Center
- Convention Center
- Automotive Services
- Non-refrigerated Warehouse
- Distribution/Sorting Area
Chapter 8: Power
- Automatic receptacle controls must be installed on at least 50% of the 120V receptacles in office and computer classrooms
Chapter 9: Lighting
- Most of the interior and exterior lighting power allowances have been reduced
- However the allowance for corridors went from 0.5 (ASHRAE 90.1-2007) to 0.66 (ASHRAE 90.1-2010)
- Open Office went from 1.1 (ASHRAE 90.1-2007) to 1.11 (ASHRAE 90.1-2010)
- Stairways went from 0.6 (ASHRAE 90.1-2007) to 0.69 (ASHRAE 90.1-2010)
- Daylighting is required if the building has 250SF or more side lighting… Continue reading
Salvation Army DMG Grocery Store
Owner: The Salvation Army
DMG Foods, named after The Salvation Army motto Doing The Most Good, will be a 6,000 sq. ft. non-profit grocery store that will provide healthy and affordable food in east Baltimore for families and individuals already receiving SNAP benefits.
There are many different sustainability related codes, rating systems, and standards in the marketplace today, and even more project types out there! Suffice it to say, Lorax has the ability and know-how to help you with your sustainability goals! We’ve got an AP for that!
Constructing a new building or renovating an old one? LEED BD+C is the perfect rating system for a whole variety of building types including schools, core and shell, offices, warehouses, apartments, and more. If you’re ready to get started on your project, There’s An AP for That! Krystal, Andrea, and Tim can tell you everything you need to know about LEED BD+C, they’d love to talk to you about the changes in LEED v4!
Is your building already complete? Want to monitor your operations and make sure your building is working the way it is supposed to? If this sounds like something you might be interested in, There’s an AP for That! Our resident LEED EB O+M experts, Kristy, Katie F, and Katie S will tell you all about how you can certify your existing building. And don’t forget to ask them about a very exciting Existing Building project, M&T Bank Stadium, Home of the Baltimore Ravens!
Do you have a big project? A huge project? Maybe you want a way to get the community involved in your project, or find a way to get the most benefit for the surrounding neighborhood. If this seems like a description of something you’ve got in the works, There’s an AP for That! Call Hailee and ask her about LEED for Neighborhood Development. This rating system focuses on larger, community scale projects, and involves a lot more community involvement than traditional rating systems to get a LEED Certification for the whole neighborhood!
Want to design the healthiest, happiest, most productive building for your tenants? There’s An AP for That. Call Katie F and ask her about the WELL Building Standard. WELL focuses on concepts like air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind, to create a healthy space where people spend the majority of their time. The WELL Building Standard uses innovative, research-backed strategies to advance health, happiness, mindfulness, and productivity in our buildings and communities.
They may be called Verifiers… Continue reading
East Run Health Center
Owner: Cherry Cove
Scheduled to open in early 2017, the new East Run Health Center will provide local residents with additional options for medical care at a single location. This innovative community health center, developed by The Cherry Cove Group, includes an integrated design that will foster all treatment needs. Upon design and construction of this project, various community studies identified Lexington Park as an underserved area in terms of local healthcare needs. This new health center will help keep the surrounding neighborhoods happy and healthy, while also offering local employment opportunities.
Last week Krystal and the Katie duo attended the Good Design = Good Health: AIA Baltimore Health & Wellness 2nd Annual Showcase, hosted by Marshall Craft Associates at their beautiful new Clipper Mill office!
We knew the exciting project exhibits and networking opportunities could not be missed, but what drew us to this particular event was its alignment with Lorax’s 2017 goal to broaden our knowledge and experience in occupant health and wellness.
The AIA showcase did not disappoint, highlighting a range of projects from community centers to hospitals, grade schools, higher education, assisted living centers, and many more. By discussing such a variety of buildings, the event allowed different innovate design features to stand out and demonstrate the specific health and wellness attributes it could offer. As we listened to the teams’ presentations we were impressed by the calming roof top gardens, active bike paths, and open learning spaces.
Although none were specifically certified under the IWBI WELL building standard, Katie Fink, Lorax’s newest WELL AP, noticed the synergies between the project strategies with many of WELL’s comprehensive concepts- nourishment, fitness, comfort, and mind, to name a few. We also stumbled upon a few of our own projects, including BrightView Senior Living of Bethesda and the research facility at 2 Hopkins Plaza!
As the green building industry continues to grow, we have seen more clients shifting focusing from the traditional design for efficiency to a greater incorporation of the physical and mental wellbeing of the life inside it. All of the incredible projects we saw last week are embodying this trend and leading by example throughout the Baltimore area.
The Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building is always an exciting evening for the Lorax crew; new and sustainable venues to explore, interesting projects to learn from, excellent networking and mingling, and the nervous anticipation of the award ceremony. Every year, it warms our collective hearts to see our partners and clients honored and feel many of our projects lauded. We even had the opportunity to learn from the sustainable choices made throughout the design and construction of the new Exelon Building in Harbor Point. But this year at the 12th Anniversary Wintergreen Awards ceremony, Lorax Partnerships had a lot to celebrate!
Prior to the Wintergreen Awards this year, unbeknownst to us, a longtime friend and partner, nominated Lorax Partnerships for the USGBC MD Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership in sustainable design, environmental impact, social benefit, community involvement, and achievement within green building rating systems. Simultaneously, we nominated Baltimore City Public Schools, our partner in the Baltimore City Schools Construction Program, for the very same Leadership Award. When the list of finalists was published, we realized we were competing against them in the Leadership Category. Nothing like a little friendly competition!
Shock and Disbelief
As Sabrina Bachman, the Executive Director of the USGBC MD Community, began the award ceremony, Lorax settled in for a potential loss to our friend and competitor, Baltimore City Public Schools. Sabrina kicked off the award ceremony with the President’s Choice Award, the most competitive award, as all of the nominees – project and leadership – are eligible to receive it. We were all stunned when Sabrina announced “Lorax Partnerships!” We all looked at each other in shock as we were cajoled to the podium to accept the plaque and honor of receiving the President’s Choice Award!
Below is an excerpt from the award address:
“Let me share a little bit about Lorax Partnerships:
- Since its inception, Lorax has helped clients reach their sustainability goals, including through the completion of 188 green building projects.
- Lorax is deeply involved in USGBC Maryland as members, committee volunteers, and through past service on our local board of directors. Their expertise has benefited our USGBC network and other organizations and agencies looking to analyze the best use of rating systems and codes.
- Locally owned and operated from its base in Baltimore, Lorax provides sustainability and green building consulting… Continue reading
In Late January, the US Green Building Council released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED; the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. The list ranks states in terms of square feet of LEED space per state resident. LEED certified buildings use less energy and water resources, save money, reduce carbon emissions, and create a healthier environment for building occupants.
In 2016, Maryland ranked seventh in the country by the US Green Building Council. Maryland certified 104 projects representing 13,426,623 square feet of real estate, which corresponds to 2.33 LEED certified square feet per resident, in 2016.
“I’m always proud to see Maryland on the list of top 10 states for LEED,” said Sabrina Bachman, director of community, USGBC Maryland. “I have the honor of seeing many of our exemplary sustainable building projects first-hand, and it’s wonderful for this local work to be recognized nationally, and even globally.”
- 7880 Milestone Parkway AP#9 in Hanover, MD – LEED Gold
- Cinemark at Towson Square in Towson, MD – LEED Silver
- Holiday Inn Express in California, MD – LEED Silver
- Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD – LEED Gold
- NIST – NCCoE in Rockville, MD – LEED Silver
- Royal Farms 173 in Randallstown, MD – LEED Certified
- Royal Farms 217 in Frederick, MD – LEED Certified
- Towson Fire Station in Towson, MD – LEED Silver
- Towson University Health & Counseling Center in Towson, MD – LEED Silver
2017 is well on its way to being another great year for LEED certified space in Maryland and for Lorax! For more information on the ranking, please see the USGBC Press Release.
Last week Katie and Tim attended the DC Sustainable Energy Utility office’s presentation on Discovering and Financing Energy-Saving Opportunities in Your Building. The facilitators of the forum were representatives from Urban Ingenuity, a DC based Financial Services Organization that “provides innovative solutions to develop and finance advanced energy projects, building retrofits, and state of the art clean energy infrastructure.” Urban Ingenuity focused on the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing method, specifically its usage throughout the District of Columbia and the many opportunities for the program’s expansion.
Tim is already an expert on Maryland’s adoption of PACE (read more here!), but these Loraxians wanted to learn how DC’s more established program was operating and how it could apply to our current and future DC projects.
Eligibility remains the same across state borders- both new construction and existing buildings qualify, but it applies only to commercial (office, institutional, multifamily, industrial, or non-profit), with government and single-family residential projects excluded. Many case studies that are currently financing building upgrades with DC PACE were discussed, and the presenters noted that PACE funding has been used on a wide range of project sizes, from $100k up to $2 million.
PACE helps take the ever-present question of financially prioritizing sustainability out of the equation. With its proven benefits for both long and short term owners (think: increased property value, decreased utility bills and lower operations and maintenance costs) PACE allows them to stay relevant in today’s competitive market.
As many of our projects pursue rating system certifications, we were excited to learn that standard PACE improvements and upgrades align well with many of the rating systems requirements of LEED, IgCC, and several others, therefore streamlining the application process for the PACE assessors. But, note that the program is adaptable to assess projects independent of green building certifications.
Contractors interested in working on PACE projects must be registered with the program, but the process is very straightforward- simply fill out an application here.