We're rounding the corner on Greenbuild 2011, with the event closing up shop on Friday. In addition to Leslie Guevarra's report from the show floor yesterday, and our coverage of Microsoft's building IT retrofit, a number of other stories hit the wires, including the following:
• Marriott Gets LEED Volume Certs for Three Brands: Green Lodging News reported that Marriott has edged closer to its goal of 300 LEED-certified hotels by 2015 with its announcement that its Courtyard, TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn have all earned LEED Volume pre-certification. The prototype for the Courtyard hotels expects each building to save $100,000 in upfront costs and will pay for itself in less than six years.
• Enviros Slam USGBC for Weaseling on Wood: Four environmental advocacy groups -- Forest Ethics, the Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and the National Wildlife Federation -- ran a full-page ad in the Toronto Star today calling the U.S. Green Building Council's proposed changes to wood certification policies "greenwash." The proposed changes expand the types of certified wood products beyond just FSC-certified wood, which the groups say would make it possible to use wood from clearcuts or illegally harvested rainforest wood in projects that still earn LEED certification. The ad is the latest volley in an ongoing dispute about the quality of wood certifications for green building projects.
• Gates Foundation Campus Lands LEED Platinum The Seattle headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (pictured above) today announced that it had earned LEED Platinum certification for New Construction, making it "the largest, non-profit LEED-NC Platinum building in the world." The project has reduced the building's overall energy use by almost 40 percent; the foundation made an upfront investment in what it calls "a 100-year, energy-efficient building" and expects to earn its money back in 30 years.
• Ygrene Energy to Manage Sacramento's PACE Program: Following on a project announced during Climate Week NYC in September, Ygrene Energy today was unanimously selected by the Sacramento (Calif.) city council to provide the management of the city's first-ever property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program. PACE programs are now in place in 25 states and the District of Columbia and allow building energy retrofits to be financed over long-term repayments with the cost offset by savings in energy bills. Programs are widely viewed as a way to spread energy efficiency in existing buildings the biggest orchard of low-hanging fruit in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.