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National Sustainable Buildings Workshop

A Workshop held at the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems, and sponsored by Region V of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Huron Valley Chapter of the The American Institute of Architects

Date: 8-9 October, 1999
Venue: University of Michigan


Workshop Objectives and Participants Contact Information
Rationale and Focus Concurrent events, open to the public
Workshop Format and Products Schedule
Presentations Steering Committee
(pre-workshop-) Tentative List of Indicators Registration / Continuing Ed / Accommodation
Proceedings (download file): -Sustainability indicators; -Obstacles; -Implementation strategies .

Workshop Objectives

The Center for Sustainable Systems CSS (formerly the National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education, established by the U.S. EPA in 1991) works towards educating college students, faculty, and professionals about Sustainable Development in order to integrate such ideas into all branches of higher education. One of NPPC's main activities was the development of Pollution Prevention curricula in a variety of disciplines. Since fall 1994, NPPC has published 14 such curricula in engineering, science and business. The compendium on Sustainable Architecture, developed under the leadership of Jong-Jin Kim at the University of Michigan's School of Architecture and Urban Planning, is available online.

CSS is beginning the next phase of its Sustainable Development education program in 1999 with a series of workshops based on the completed compendia. The Sustainable Buildings Workshop to take place in October is the second in this series. The CSS workshops will bring together key stakeholders to discuss critical issues facing Sustainable Development in each field. Each workshop will be a forum to develop life cycle indicators to measure progress towards Sustainability, and to also develop strategies to overcome systemic barriers to sustainable practices, while helping to establish an environment enriched with effective incentives and tools for such practices.

In a small-group workshop setting, the Sustainable Buildings workshop will:

In order to adequately address the complex workshop objectives, representatives of diverse stakeholder groups are invited. It is essential for the success of the effort to draw on the collective expertise and experience of architects and other designers, building owners and users, code officials, bankers, educators, policy makers, and non-governmental organizations and independent research organizations.

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Rationale and Focus

The construction and operation of buildings consumes a major portion of the world's natural resources and energy, and generates a significant quantity of landfill waste. The World Watch Institute estimates that construction and maintenance accounts for 40% of the world's resources and energy use. Institutional buildings are a major contributor. Office buildings in the United States, for instance, consumed in 1993 about 27% of the national electricity supply (DOE, 1993). Building construction and renovation is also a major economic sector in the U.S., which contributes about $800 billion annually (National Science and Technology Council, 1994) annually to the GDP.

Based on similarities in occupancy patterns, building types, operation/maintenance issues, and financing, the workshop will focus on buildings of colleges/universities, and on large institutional office buildings. Both, new construction and renovation will be addressed. Rather than dealing with the specific technical approaches used in "sustainable buildings", which already receive substantial attention among the "green building community," this workshop concerns the broader environment in which such activities are nested. For the purpose of concentrating our efforts, the following focus areas have been established:

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Workshop Format and Products


1: Short opening session with general introduction
(background, current state of GB, future outlook; presentation of two case studies each day, briefly addressing all five focus areas with their successes and failures)

2: Break-out into five parallel working groups (approx. 10 people)
(a) environmental performance assessment, b) economics, c) code requirements, d) organizational conditions, e) educational conditions)

Friday, October 8:
1) Visioning section ("The ideal Sustainable Buildings world")
2) Establishment of Sustainability indicators, perhaps based on the attached working document "Tentative List of Indicators"

Saturday, October 9:
3) Identification of specific barriers to more sustainable practices (in each issue area)
4) Development of strategies to overcome those barriers, and establish an environment that promotes sustainable building practices

3: Daily summarizing sessions
(break-out groups reporting back to all participants, followed by Q&As and discussion)

Workshop tasks description for participants (click here)

Post-workshop tasks (to be carried out by workshop organizers):

- Production, publication (book/CD), and dissemination of Critical Indicators Handbook
- Production, publication and submission of Implementation Strategies to the appropriate stakeholders, authorities or trade associations
- Production, and publication (book/CD) of Case Studies book

The Three Products

1: Critical indicators handbook
(for professional use by target audience, see below)

2: Implementation strategies for overcoming barriers
(to be taken to appropriate institutions, authorities and trade associations)

3: Scholarly product
(book and CD with case studies from various authors presenting successes and failures of Green-Building projects, while applying the indicators developed during the workshops; might also include the critical indicators list and a Best Practices Compendium)

Both, the critical indicators handbook and the implementation strategies will be categorized by the following five focus areas:
a) Environmental performance assessment, b) Economics, c) Code requirements, d) Organizational conditions, e) Educational conditions

Target Audience includes:
- Architects, engineers, interior designers - Environmental Protection Agency, EPA - Universities/commercial institutions (for planning purposes) - Universities (for curriculums) - Code authorities - Local, state and federal governments - Trade organizations - Environmental organizations - Lending institutions - American Institute of Architects, AIA - U.S. Green Building Council, USGBC - U.S. Department of Energy - American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM - Public utility organizations - American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, ACEEE - American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning, ASHRAE

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Contact Information

For additional information, please contact:

Peter Reppe, Workshop Coordinator… 734-936-2542….fax: 734-647-5841….E-mail:

Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan
S.T. Dana Bldg. 430 E. University
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1115

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Location of workshop activities: University of Michigan Alumni Center (directions), 200 Fletcher Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1007, phones 800-847-4764 and 734-764-0384
Right on Central Campus, between Huron St. and Washington St.; only 5 minutes by foot from either of the hotels.

FRIDAY, October 8. .
8:00 a.m.9:00 a.m. Registration and breakfast
9:00 a.m.10:15 a.m. Welcome address
Russell Perry, William McDonough + Partners

Presentation of two case studies
-Miller SQA Building, Holland, MI, by Judi Heerwagen
-ETC building, Sonoma State University, Sonoma, CA, by George Beeler

10:15 a.m.10:30 a.m. Coffee/tea/juice/chat break
10:30 a.m.12:00 noon Break-out into working groups;
Visioning (and start with the establishment of sustainability indicators)
12:00 noon1:30 p.m. Lunch (Michigan League, Hussey room)
1:30 p.m.3:00 p.m. (Continuation of working group activities)
Establishment of sustainability indicators
3:00 p.m.3:30 p.m. Coffee/tea/juice/snack break
3:30 p.m.4:30 p.m. (Continuation of working group activities)
Establishment of sustainability indicators / Wrap-up of findings
4:30 p.m.5:30 p.m. Reporting of findings to all participants / Discussion
.. .
SATURDAY, October 9. .
8:00 a.m.9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.10:15 a.m. Opening session with presentation of two case studies
-Ridgehaven Green Building Demonstration Project, San Diego, CA, by Adam Saling
-EPICenter, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, by Kath Williams
10:15 a.m.10:30 a.m. Coffee/tea/juice/chat break
10:30 a.m.12:00 noon Break-out into working groups;
Identification of specific barriers to more sustainable practices
12:00 noon1:30 p.m. Lunch (at the Michigan Union, Kuenzel room)
1:30 p.m.3:00 p.m. (Continuation of working group activities)
Development of strategies for overcoming barriers, and for establishing an environment that promotes sustainable building practices
3:00 p.m.3:30 p.m. Coffee/tea/juice/snack break
3:30 p.m.4:30 p.m. (Continuation of working group activities)
Strategies to overcome barriers… / Wrap-up of work
4:30 p.m.5:30 p.m. Reporting of findings to all participants / Discussion

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Workshop Steering Committee

James Christenson, University of Michigan, Director Plant Operations, Ann Arbor, MI
Jean Lupinacci, U.S. EPA (ENERGY STAR Buildings program), Branch chief for ES Buildings technology and implementation, Washington, D.C.
David Orr, Oberlin College, Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin, OH
Russell Perry, William McDonough + Partners, Managing Partner, Charlottesville, VA
Kath Williams, U.S. Green Building Council, Montana State University, Assistant to the Vice President of Research, Creativity, and Technology Transfer for Special Projects, Bozeman, MT
Ramsey Zimmerman, Recycle Ann Arbor, Director Commercial Recycling, Ann Arbor, MI

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Please fill out the on-line Registration Form at (registration deadline Sept. 19th, 1999)

Other administrative issues


A sufficient number of hotel rooms have been reserved for participants for October 7th, 8th and 9th at the University of Michigan's Cambridge House and the Campus Inn. …..ATTENTION….. Participants need to register with the hotel by September 1st, and will be asked to pay upon arrival. Registration for the workshop is independent of the hotel room registration.

Cambridge House (directions)
541 Thompson, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1360
phone: (734) 764-5297
fax: (734) 764-1557

Single or Double: $92 plus tax (10 rooms reserved)
Campus Inn (directions)
615 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
phone: (800) 666-8693 (reservations only), (734) 769-2200
fax: (734) 769-6222

Single: $ 106 plus tax (13 rooms reserved)
Penthouse single: $147 plus tax (23 rooms reserved)

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Tentative List of Indicators

a) Environmental Performance Assessment

b) Economics

1) Lending Institutions and Building Owners

2) Lender and Planner

3.) State or Federal Government, and Public Utility Commission (?)

c) Code Requirements

  1. annual air emissions (by HVAC, lighting, plug loads etc.) (note the focus on emission, not on R-values or energy consumption)
  2. Indoor Pollution
  3. Embodied energy and resource consumption
  4. Recycleability (including disassembleability, reusability)

d) Organizational Conditions

1) Owner/Architecture Firm/Contractor

2) Local, State and Federal Governments

3) Trade Organizations

e) Educational Conditions

1) K-12

2) Trade education (manufacturing, construction, demolition)

3) Colleges/Universities

4) Commissioning and Maintenance Force

5) Building Users

6) Building Owners

7) Architects/Designers/Planners

  1. building-related environmental impacts
  2. new "greener" technologies/approaches/materials and code requirements
  3. IAQ, electromagnetic fields, and other well-being issues (e.g., daylight, outside view, operable windows, human-scale buildings, noise)
  4. integrated design software
  5. performance based contracts
  6. commissioning and monitoring

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last revised: Nov. 29th, 1999.

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