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.
Baltimore SmartCEO Honored Fast-Growth Companies at its 2017 Future 50 Awards Ceremony
Baltimore SmartCEO honored the 2017 Future 50 Award winners at a Hawaii-themed awards celebration on January 19, 2017 at the Hunt Valley Inn. In all, 50 mid-sized Future 50 companies and 10 Emerging Growth companies were recognized in the program for their fast growth, determined by a three-year average of employee and revenue numbers. The 2017 Future 50 winners collectively generate more than $800 million in annual revenue and employ 7,604 individuals in the Greater Baltimore area.
Neal Fiorelli, Principal of Lorax Partnerships, supported by many Lorax team members, was honored in the Emerging Growth category at the 2017 Future 50 Awards Ceremony. Read Neal’s story here: http://www.smartceo.com/2017-baltimore-future-50-lorax-partnerships-llc/. Neal reminds us that, “The really good leaders I’ve experienced in my career know how to articulate the purpose of their vision, clearly state the objectives, and then step aside and let the right talent lead the charge.” See the full list of 2017 Emerging Growth Winners below.
“Ask any CEO and they’ll tell you that leading a fast-growing company is one of the most exhilarating and challenging endeavors an entrepreneur can experience. From growing a startup to scaling an established organization, this year’s Future 50 winners have executed their growth strategies year after year. More impressively, they have created job opportunities and fueled economic prosperity in our region,” says Jaime Nespor-Zawmon, President of SmartCEO.
“These passionate and driven entrepreneurs embody the true definition of leadership. We honor them for their unwavering commitment to building their businesses, shaping our communities and making our region a better place to work and live.”
2017 Emerging Growth Winners
Ainsley & Co.
The Beliveau Group
Capital Services, Inc.
Continental Clinical Solutions, LLC
Evolve Consulting Group, Inc.
L&H Business Consulting, LLC
About the Future 50 Awards
The Future 50 Awards program is the largest and most anticipated SmartCEO awards program of the year. This program recognizes 50 of the region’s fastest growing, mid-sized companies. These companies represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the entrepreneurial spirit critical for leadership and success.
SmartCEO’s mission is to educate and inspire the business community through its award winning magazine, connections at C-level events and access to valuable online resources.
In December, Lorax’s very own Andrea Shoaf was named an NGBS Green Partner of Excellence for 2016. NGBS Green, which is based on the National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS), is a rigorous third-party certification program for single and multifamily residential projects. Andrea joins an elite group of program partners — one of 18 verifiers identified — who have been recognized for their dedication to customers, providing increased value, professionalism, and relevance in the marketplace through third-party verification services.
This recognition was awarded to those who display leadership in innovation in building science, dedication to the residential construction industry, and significant commitment to green certification over the past year. Lorax Partnerships is committed to building an inventory of healthier homes that cost less to operate, are more comfortable to live in, and are part of a more sustainable lifestyle for their residents.
Lorax has certified more than 200 residential units under NGBS, and is currently working with design and construction teams on 2,000 new residential units as regional demand for sustainable multifamily development ramps up. 300 St. Paul Place, 2 Hopkins Plaza, The Woodberry, and The Enclave at Box Hill are some of the newest Baltimore City projects pursuing NGBS certification with Lorax’s accredited NGBS verifiers.
300 St. Paul Place
300 St. Paul Place is a residential conversion of an existing office building in the heart of downtown Baltimore by developer PMC Property Group. The building was constructed in 1957 by Commercial Credit Corporation and has served as office space for a number of financial institutions since then, including Citigroup Inc. The new design will preserve the iconic façade while modernizing the interior spaces and adding amenities for tenants.
2 Hopkins Plaza
2 Hopkins Plaza is a mixed-use conversion by Berman Enterprises of the existing PNC Bank office tower in downtown Baltimore. The renovations will turn the top 11 floors to apartments and bottom floors to office space for several hundred employees of the Army Corp of Engineers. The building is home to one of the City’s new bike share stations and has direct access to new bike lanes that run from 29th street at Johns Hopkins University to Pratt Street downtown.
Lorax employees were excited to attend Engineering Green 2016 at Johns Hopkins University last week. The morning started with a presentation from the JHU Office of Sustainability. They detailed their efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions among all campuses and facilities. As a leading research university with extensive laboratory space, they’ve been working on innovative solutions to mitigate the high process loads and indoor air quality challenges associated with lab space. We had an opportunity to tour the brand new Undergraduate Teaching Labs which included chilled beam cooling, underfloor air distribution, and energy recovery systems, along with beautiful rain gardens and bioretention facilities. It was an impressive demonstration of JHU’s ability to blend cutting edge technology into the campus’s scenic landscape.
There were a variety of informational sessions that we enjoyed as well. Tim attended a presentation on home energy efficiency hosted by a JHU Post-Doctoral researcher. He learned about energy saving strategies that employ integration of smart home appliances with the grid that he will be applying to his projects and his own house! Hailee attended a session hosted by BioHabitats and the Waterfront Partnership that included a case study about the Growing Green Initiative effort to transform vacant lots in the city. The goal is to turn unused lots into community amenities that give residents a green space to enjoy and can offer walking paths, community gardens, and nice views. We also learned more about the SITES v4 rating system to help create sustainable, functioning landscapes.
Overall we had a great day at Engineering Green! We learned a lot and got to interface with industry leaders and professionals who were happy to share their knowledge.
This June, Lorax had decided to participate in the 30×30 Nature Challenge. The 30×30 Nature Challenge was originated by the Wisconsin Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage people to live healthier lives, however, we were challenged by the Maryland Chapter of the USGBC to participate and drive each other to get outside! And we are hitting the ground running!
The challenge is to spend 30 minutes in nature, each day, for 30 days in June. The 30×30 Nature Challenge starts today, June 1st!
We thought that the challenge would be a good excuse to soak up the sun and the nice weather in June, but it turns out there are so many more benefits to being outside than just getting a tan!
We learned that average Americans spend more than 90% of their time indoors and more than 6 hours per day in front of screens. This mass indoor epidemic has caused many symptoms both personal and professional, including stress, obesity, heart disease, asthma, depression, reduced productivity, lower job satisfaction, and higher rates of absenteeism. But how do we undo these ailments? The answer is simple: get outside! We have learned that just being outside has a whole range of benefits.
Did you know:
- Nature breaks and green time reduces stress.
- One hour in nature can boost attention span by 20%
- Four days away from electronic devices can increase creativity by 50%
- Just two minutes in nature can reduce stress, muscle tension, and blood pressure.
- One hour in nature can improve memory and attention span by 20%.
- More than two days in nature can boost cancer fighting white blood cells by 50%
- Gardening reduces the stress hormone cortisol.
How do we plan to meet the challenge?
The 30×30 Nature Challenge is a great opportunity to examine your daily routine- some people may find they’re getting 30 minutes of outdoor activity each day without realizing it, perhaps walking or biking to work, taking the dog out, gardening, or running errands. Others may use it as a chance to rethink their schedule, swapping an episode of the latest Netflix series for some quality time in the great outdoors. At Lorax, we have each developed a plan to achieve our goal!
On April 15, 2016, Andrea Shoaf, one of our Senior Project Managers and our Energy Services Manager, was invited to speak at South Carroll High School about sustainability and green building design. After her speaking engagement, we asked her a few questions about the event.
Katie: Hey Andrea, we heard you had a speaking engagement last week. Why were you asked to speak at South Carroll High School?
Andrea: A friend of mine, Kim Johnson, is the media specialist for South Carroll High School and is working with one of their talented educators who is teaching an elective class called Advanced Design Applications. One of the teaching modules they are learning about is Sustainable Building Design.
K: Who did you speak to?
A: The class elective consists of 13 high school students, sophomores through seniors.
K: We heard the students are working on a big sustainability project. What is the assignment and how are they addressing the challenge?
A: They will be spending 3 to 4 weeks learning about Sustainability, different applicable rating systems, and current sustainable technologies. The module will culminate with the students pairing up and designing their own sustainable house.
K: What were some of the most interesting questions the students posed?
A: The students were very interested in the mechanical/HVAC side of sustainability, which was right up my alley. They asked great questions like, “what are typical mechanical systems we see in design?” They also were very interested in renewable energy and its applications.
K: How long have you worked in the sustainable design and construction industry?
A: I have worked in the construction/sustainable design field for over 10 years. I started off on the construction side before switching over to sustainability consulting.
K: How has your career path taken you to this point as a senior project manager and energy analyst at Lorax Partnerships?
A: Having a BS in Mechanical Engineering, I have always loved the principles of building, physics, and material science. That combined with how powerful of a tool Energy Modeling is for Sustainable design has really shaped where I am now. I love working with teams to help refine and shape their designs around efficiency and energy savings. The best part is that most of these decisions… Continue reading
Lorax Partnerships is now 100% LEED Accredited!
Today, our three newest employees each passed their LEED v4 Accredited Professional exams with flying colors!
These individual achievements contribute to Lorax’s overall accreditations. All Lorax Partnerships Project Managers are now LEED Accredited Professionals, and some even hold two or more green building professional qualifications.
While the two-hour 100-question exam was definitely a challenge, our crew passed without a hitch. For those beginning the accreditation process, our experts have a few words of wisdom!
Guidance for studying:
- Katie advises, “The materials for the existing buildings exam may seem overwhelming, but taking a big picture approach to indoor, outdoor, and water metering credits as well as the differentiation between the various commissioning credits make all the difference! Metering and Commissioning questions are biggies on the test!”
- Hailee says, “For the LEED AP ND exam, make sure you know the thresholds, especially between the prerequisites and the credits that earn you points. Be prepared to apply those thresholds to do calculations, not just memorize a percentage!”
- Tim recommends, “For the BD+C exam, practice exams are your best friend. And don’t forget, BD+C in v4 is targeting new market sectors: data centers, warehouses/distribution centers, and hospitality… each with their own quirks for credit compliance. Read up on all the exceptions in the reference guide.”
With a diversity of LEED Rating System accreditations under our belt, Lorax is prepared to take on any green building project!
And the winner is…
7880 Milestone Parkway at Arundel Preserve, a project by COPT, won one of the prestigious USGBC Maryland Wintergreen Excellence in Green Building Awards!
The first of four buildings to be built in this location at Arundel Preserve, 7880 Milestone Parkway is a distinctive Class A office building on wooded site with easy access to MD Route 295 and MD Route 175. The Park will feature abundant landscaping and outdoor gathering areas. All buildings in the Park feature various sustainable design elements, but the office space at 7800 Milestone Parkway will go above and beyond by achieving LEED Gold in early 2016. The project has documented a 29.7% energy cost savings as well as a 42% potable water use reduction to contribute to the LEED Certification.
Kudos to Jacqueline Lusk on her management of this highly efficient and successful project!
The Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building is always a blast for the Lorax crew, but this year at the 11th Anniversary awards ceremony, Lorax Partnerships had a lot to celebrate! Some of our partners were honored, and many of our most sustainable projects were celebrated. We had the opportunity to learn from the sustainable design choices made throughout the renovation of the Green Street Academy, in order to help implement similar strategies on future projects.
Other Award Winners
A hearty congratulation is in order for the other Project Award winners, Leader Awards winners, People’s Choice Award Winner, and the President’s Award Winner! We are so proud of our partners, friends, clients, and especially of our project managers who worked so diligently to make these awards a possibility.
With more brains and bodies representing Lorax at this year’s GreenBuild International Conference and Expo, Lorax was able to soak up more information and garner more resources than ever before. While GreenBuild Monumental Green was held just a stone’s throw away in our nation’s capital, we were also able to promote the achievements of our local clients and network with friends, both new and old.
The main thrust of this year’s conference was around the rollout of GBCI’s partner relationships with new rating systems and certifications like GRESB, PEER, SITES, and WELL. Lorax took the opportunity to dive deeper into these alternative rating systems in order to better serve the needs of our clients in all sectors of building development, design, construction, and operations.
We learned that Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) is a powerful tool used to assess the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios; perfect for our real estate investment trust clients. With Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) we found that we can support power grids gain competitive advantage by differentiating their performance, documenting the value produced, and demonstrating meaningful outcomes.
By diving deeper into the Sustainable SITES Initiative, we can help our clients align land development and management with innovative sustainable design in order to distinguish their sustainable landscapes, measure their performance, and elevate their value. And through the WELL Building Standard we can assist our clients in achieving greater levels of human health and wellness in their building by marrying best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research.
While no GreenBuild is complete without taking a tour around the Expo Hall floor or visiting our favorite reviewers at the GBCI Certification Work Zones and Meet the Expert sessions, the Lorax delegation was able to expand our depth of understanding in LEED and Green Building while also growing our breadth of knowledge in related building standards, rating systems, and certifications this year at GreenBuild.
And then there were ten!
Wading through piles of resumes, Lorax spent months of 2015 evaluating nearly 100 applicants. And we found three great ones!
As of September 28, 2015, Tim Barranco joined the squad as our new Assistant Project Manager! With 3 years of experience in environmental engineering design and construction, Tim is the perfect fit for our expanding company. When he isn’t at work, Tim spends much of his free time running, biking, and kayaking around the city. Help us welcome Tim to the team!
You can see, we are settled into our new space, and all three new Assistant Project Managers, Katie, Hailee, and Tim, are quickly becoming key players on some of our most successful green building and sustainability projects. Come stop by to check out our new digs and meet our new faces!