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LEED certification: gold standard or gold star

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Since its launch by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has been postured as the "gold standard" for environmentally conscious, sustainable building design, construction and operations. However, as a "living measurement", one

Since its launch by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has been postured as the "gold standard" for environmentally conscious, sustainable building design, construction and operations. However, as a "living measurement", one which requires ongoing evaluation and reporting of attainment and compliance with LEED certification requirements, there is none. Once awarded, LEED certification does not have a required reporting component to effectively track continued adherence to LEED standards. In addition, there is no expiry tied to the certification; once obtained, a LEED certification rating is presumed to be a valid representation of project certification status. Therefore, LEED lacks a requirement to demonstrate environmental impact of construction materials and building systems over the entire life of the project. Consequently, LEED certification is merely a label rather than a true representation of ongoing adherence to program performance requirements over time. Without continued monitoring and reporting of building design and construction features, and in the absence of recertification requirements, LEED is, in reality, a gold star rather than a gold standard. This thesis examines the lack of required ongoing monitoring, reporting, or recertification requirements following the award by the USGBC of LEED certification; compares LEED with other international programs which do have ongoing reporting or recertification requirements; demonstrates the need and benefit of ongoing reporting or recertification requirements; and explores possible methods for implementation of mandatory reporting requirements within the program.

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2013

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The potential of coastal marine filtration as a feedstock source for biodiesel

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Second-generation biofuel feedstocks are currently grown in land-based systems that use valuable resources like water, electricity and fertilizer. This study investigates the potential of near-shore marine (ocean) seawater filtration as a source of planktonic biomass for biofuel production. Mixed marine

Second-generation biofuel feedstocks are currently grown in land-based systems that use valuable resources like water, electricity and fertilizer. This study investigates the potential of near-shore marine (ocean) seawater filtration as a source of planktonic biomass for biofuel production. Mixed marine organisms in the size range of 20µm to 500µm were isolated from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) seawater filtration system during weekly backwash events between the months of April and August, 2011. The quantity of organic material produced was determined by sample combustion and calculation of ash-free dry weights. Qualitative investigation required density gradient separation with the heavy liquid sodium metatungstate followed by direct transesterification and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) of the fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) produced. A maximum of 0.083g/L of dried organic material was produced in a single backwash event and a study average of 0.036g/L was calculated. This equates to an average weekly value of 7,674.75g of dried organic material produced from the filtration of approximately 24,417,792 liters of seawater. Temporal variations were limited. Organic quantities decreased over the course of the study. Bio-fouling effects from mussel overgrowth inexplicably increased production values when compared to un-fouled seawater supply lines. FAMEs (biodiesel) averaged 0.004% of the dried organic material with 0.36ml of biodiesel produced per week, on average. C16:0 and C22:6n3 fatty acids comprised the majority of the fatty acids in the samples. Saturated fatty acids made up 30.71% to 44.09% and unsaturated forms comprised 55.90% to 66.32% of the total chemical composition. Both quantities and qualities of organics and FAMEs were unrealistic for use as biodiesel but sample size limitations, system design, geographic and temporal factors may have impacted study results.

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2011

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A Six Sigma-based approach to leadership in energy and environmental design for existing buildings: operations and maintenance

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With increasing interest in sustainability and green building, organizations are implementing programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB) in order to focus corporate sustainability goals on the operations of a facility

With increasing interest in sustainability and green building, organizations are implementing programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB) in order to focus corporate sustainability goals on the operations of a facility and the practices of the building occupants. Green building programs help reduce the impact of a facility and bring about several environmental benefits including but not limited to energy conservation, water conservation and material conservation. In addition to various environmental benefits, green building programs can help companies become more efficient. The problem is that organizations are not always successful in their pursuits to achieve sustainability goals. It frequently take years to implement a program, and in many cases the goals for sustainability never come to fruition, when in the mean time resources are wasted, money is spent needlessly and opportunities are lost forever. This thesis addresses how the Six Sigma methodologies used by so many to implement change in their organizations could be applied to the LEED-EB program to help companies achieve sustainability results. A qualitative analysis of the Six Sigma methodologies was performed to determine if and how a LEED-EB program might utilize such methods. The two programs were found to be compatible and several areas for improvements to implementing a LEED-EB program were identified.

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2010

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Geochemical analysis of the leachate generated after zero valent metals addition to municipal solid waste

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Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals,

Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals, and odorous sulfides. Addition of ZVI has also been proved in enhancing the methane gas generation in anaerobic digestion of activated sludge. However, no studies have been conducted regarding the effect of ZVM stimulation to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) degradation. Therefore, a collaborative study was developed to manipulate microbial activity in the landfill bioreactors to favor methane production by adding ZVMs. This study focuses on evaluating the effects of added ZVM on the leachate generated from replicated lab scale landfill bioreactors. The specific objective was to investigate the effects of ZVMs addition on the organic and inorganic pollutants in leachate. The hypothesis here evaluated was that adding ZVM including ZVI and Zero Valent Manganese (ZVMn) will enhance the removal rates of the organic pollutants present in the leachate, likely by a putative higher rate of microbial metabolism. Test with six (4.23 gallons) bioreactors assembled with MSW collected from the Salt River Landfill and Southwest Regional Landfill showed that under 5 grams /liter of ZVI and 0.625 grams/liter of ZVMn additions, no significant difference was observed in the pH and temperature data of the leachate generated from these reactors. The conductivity data suggested the steady rise across all reactors over the period of time. The removal efficiency of sCOD was highest (27.112 mg/lit/day) for the reactors added with ZVMn at the end of 150 days for bottom layer, however the removal rate was highest (16.955 mg/lit/day) for ZVI after the end of 150 days of the middle layer. Similar trends in the results was observed in TC analysis. HPLC study indicated the dominance of the concentration of heptanoate and isovalerate were leachate generated from the bottom layer across all reactors. Heptanoate continued to dominate in the ZVMn added leachate even after middle layer injection. IC analysis concluded the chloride was dominant in the leachate generated from all the reactors and there was a steady increase in the chloride content over the period of time. Along with chloride, fluoride, bromide, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and sulfate were also detected in considerable concentrations. In the summary, the addition of the zero valent metals has proved to be efficient in removal of the organics present in the leachate.

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2019