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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VG’s Emily Hand Discusses the LABBC 2016 Tech Showcase

With the rapid rate at which sustainable building technologies surface into the market, how can building owners and property managers possibly know what to choose from? Where can busy engineers, facility managers, and real estate professionals get a quick download of the latest energy and water efficiency building products? The annual Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge (LABBC) Building Technology Showcase is the answer to these questions and more. VG’s Project Manager Emily Hand, who planned and managed this “Real Estate & Technology Event” was asked a few questions regarding their 4th Annual Tech Showcase on August 26th.
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Let There Be (Natural) Light

Photo credit: Solatube

There is a huge movement afoot that, unless you are in the building industry, might pass right under your nose without you even noticing it. If you walk into a newly built home, office building, or by some off-chance a Macy’s warehouse, and happen to notice the great lighting that has been installed—the probability that the sun is beaming through those light fixtures is steadily increasing. Designed to look like normal commercial ceiling lights (unbeknownst to the average person), Solatube’s “Tubular Daylighting Devices” (TDD’s) are gradually becoming the norm for high-performance green buildings. From research alone that continually shows how beneficial natural daylight is for humans, it wouldn’t be crazy to think all new construction in 10 years will come equipped with some form of TDD’s. As Michael Sather recently told Verdical Group at a Lunch & Learn held in our office, “For us, energy savings is just the ice on the cake. The cake is really human performance.” Read more

Building Product Manufacturing Done Right

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

If you’re creating sustainable building products for some of the most progressive green buildings in the world, it makes sense for your own company office or studio to be certified in an equally ultra-green rating system. Surprisingly, there is only one building product manufacturer in the world that has received Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification. Mohawk Group, a leader in the sustainable commercial flooring industry, has recently announced that their Light Lab—a renovated design studio in Georgia—achieved the prestigious Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). This specific type of certification requires that a project fulfill the requirements in at least three categories of the Living Building Challenge, with at least one being from the water, energy, or materials category.

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Leaders in Cradle to Cradle Design

Photo credit: C2C Certified

Cradle to Cradle design, or C2C, is something of a revolution in the way we design and manufacture products. Initially started by William McDonough and Michael Braungart with the release of their immensely popular book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things,” this new way of designing uses nature itself as a model. The authors observed how there is no concept of “waste” in nature, and wondered why we ourselves consider things to be “waste” when we are “done” with them. When a tree dies, it decomposes and supplies nutrients for everything else around it—providing abundance even after its dead. So, why can’t our products or buildings do the same? Read more