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Grocery Stores and Fast Food Restaurants Striving for Net Zero

Photo Credit: Building Design + Construction

The number of verified zero net energy (ZNE) buildings has increased dramatically in recent years. Back in 2012, the New Buildings Institute (NBI) published their first ever list of verified zero net energy buildings, with only 21 making the list. NBI has continued to publish this list annually and in 2016 the number of verified zero net energy buildings had nearly tripled. Even more promising is the increase in the number of emerging projects with a net zero goal in mind – what was once 39 total projects in 2012 is now approaching 300 in 2017. This is no small feat, as achieving net zero status requires a steep learning curve for design teams, higher investment costs up front, and picking apart many of the current energy systems we have used for decades. Despite their complexity, zero net energy buildings are the real deal with regards to the massive increase in energy cost savings and decrease in environmental impact. To be considered “zero net energy,” these high performance buildings must produce enough renewable energy to power themselves over the course of a year. Read more

A Growing Impact – Verdical Group’s Journey to Illustrate Corporate Good

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Since Verdical Group’s inception in 2012, our company has been a leading provider of LEED certification services. LEED is a green building rating system that certifies the highest performing buildings in the built environment. At Verdical Group, it’s our job to enhance the environmental performance of every project we touch. Our team is passionate about the great outdoors, so we love making a positive environmental impact on our projects. VG buildings use less energy, less water, and create less waste than conventional buildings, and we get to feel good about our contributions to the world every day.
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Innovation Modeled from Nature

Photo Credit: Biomimicry Institute

In today’s world, technological innovations are rapidly taking place with no intention of slowing down. The innovation process typically consists of companies either reformulating their existing products for improvement or emulating a competitor’s product. While this has proved effective to date, an increasingly prominent method, termed bioinspired innovation, offers a new opportunity for these companies to create products and processes inspired by the proven designs of nature. While there are different forms of bioinspired innovation (biomimicry, bioutilization, etc.), they all look to nature’s processes as inspiration. The organisms of the natural world have consistently faced challenges throughout Earth’s 3.8 billion year lifespan. In order to stick around and adapt to these challenges, organisms are required to innovate—this makes them the experts, not us. Companies employing bioinspired innovation study these natural processes attentively with the intent of replicating them into a new and innovative product or process.

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Los Angeles Sustainable Business Programs

Photo Credit: Coalition for Clean Air

Recognizing the importance of achieving city-wide sustainability goals, the city of Los Angeles has created various programs designed to both enhance current environmental efforts and assist organizations in taking the next step towards sustainable development. These programs provide increased business opportunities as well as resources for organizations to analyze how improvement can be made to their environmental practices and policy.

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Corporate Social Responsibility Programs: B-Corps, 1% for the Planet, JUST

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly changing the way that companies work and handle business. Greater value is placed on companies that commit themselves to doing business within the Triple-Bottom-Line framework, successfully balancing economic, social, and environmental expectations of stakeholders. Increased development of CSR programs has allowed for businesses to select one that matches their structure and values. Discussed below are three examples of these programs that have very different models but all strive to grow today’s most well-known companies into impactful leaders of change.

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Interview with Pick My Solar

One of Verdical Group’s offices are located in the inspirational Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) in Downtown, Los Angeles. This sustainable business hub is filled with dozens of start-ups, non-profits, and established companies working to create a better world. We were recently fortunate enough to catch up with one of LACI’s major players — Pick My Solar. This blog post covers the interview we conducted with Kyle Cherrick, Head of Business Development at Pick My Solar. Pick My Solar is one of the best solar companies in the county and we are very excited to have had the opportunity to speak with Kyle. Read more

How Building Energy Modeling is Used

Photo Credit: Glumac Engineering

When reviewing a high-performance building, it is instantly apparent how much time, effort, and resources went into making the project so efficient. Knowing that nearly every aspect of building operation requires extensive amounts of energy, do you ever find yourself wondering how architects design such efficient buildings? A tool known as Whole-Building Energy Modeling (BEM) is where it all begins.

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Living Walls: Putting the Green in Green Building

The green wall in our Verdical Group office at the LA Cleantech Incubator, Downtown Los Angeles. Photo credit: Dezeen

Living walls, or green walls, are self-sufficient vertical gardens that are attached to the exterior or interior of a building. They can be free-standing or secured to walls and designed to fit both new building projects and retrofits. While being aesthetically pleasing is an obvious benefit, living walls also help LEED project teams earn credits in various categories such as Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

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Looking further into LEED v4: Environmental Product Declarations

Photo credit: Michael Bednar

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) are commonly referred to as the “nutrition labels” of the green building industry. Instead of showing fats, carbohydrates, and calories, EPD’s provide information on the environmental impacts of a certain product, such as global warming potential, water consumption, and smog formation. EPD’s take the nitty gritty of a product’s life-cycle analysis and condense it into one document. While it can take up to a year to produce an EPD, more manufacturers are releasing them as demand increases from building architects, consultants, and designers.

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LEED and the WELL Building Standard

Photo credit: International Well Building Institute

Everyone might know what is trending on social media, but do you know what is trending in the world of building design? While LEED is still the frontrunner of green building rating systems, a new standard is increasingly becoming all the rage among designers. The WELL building standard was developed by the real estate firm Delos in 2013 and takes a human-centered approach to the process of designing a building. Like LEED, the standard has various credits that projects must achieve to become certified. The seven aspects of the WELL standard are: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. These are centered around the concept of improving human wellness and how the office environment shapes our physical and mental health. While WELL certification may seem like just another trend to boost an organization’s brand, recent studies have shown that our office environment affects us much more then we know.

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