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Newsletter: State Chapter News

Awards honor fearless leaders, smooth operators and more

Wednesday, October 09, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joy Allen
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The USGBC North Carolina Chapter presented the Sixth Annual Sustainable Business Awards on September 25 at the 2013 Green Gala. 450 guests attended this year’s Green Gala, which took place at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Charlotte.

Fearless Leaders

Fearless Leader awards were presented in four different categories to individuals and organizations that exemplify outstanding leadership abilities by means of industry related research, innovation, education and volunteer work. Jenny Vallimont received the award for Fearless Leader in the Individual category.

Jenny is a young business professional who has put her passion for sustainability into action – transforming her company and her community. Jenny is the Director of Innovation and Sustainability for Crescent Communities. She is helping Crescent create its corporate sustainability vision with clear metrics. She works with Crescent’s multi-family team to identify a strategy for green certification on 13 multi-family projects. As Chair of ACE (Architecture Construction and Engineering) Mentor Program, she has helped hundreds of high school students learn about careers in these industries through a hands-on competition every spring. Jenny serves on the Envision Charlotte Board of Directors and chairs Envision’s Waste Model Program Committee.

The Fearless Leader Award in the Organization category was given to Everblue, a world-wide sustainability training institute. Everblue offers non-credit, short-term courses approved by ACICS, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Building Performance Institute (BPI), Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), and the North American Technician Excellence (NATE). The institute offers courses in more than 100 worldwide locations, and specializes in providing intense green jobs training. Curriculum offered includes BPI Certification, RESNET HERS Rater, LEED Accredited Professional, Solar PV Installation and others.

The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) received the Fearless Leader/Non-profit award. The NCSEA has played an instrumental role in promoting a prosperous, clean energy future for the state since 1978. Through its work this year, NCSEA has been a highly effective leader in protecting and promoting the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, successfully opposing attempts to repeal the state’s REPS and actively opposing rollbacks to the building code and LEED program. NCSEA also had a hand in increasing regulatory transparency at the Utilities Commission, and it continues to tell the clean energy story in a compelling manner through research, education and collaboration.

6th Annual Sustainable Business Awards

Fearless Leader/Individual: Jenny Vallimont
Finalists: Alicia Ravetto, Nancy Olah

Fearless Leader/Organization: Everblue
Finalists: Optima Engineering, Turner Construction Company, UNCC The Center for Sustainably Integrated Buildings and Sites

Fearless Leader/Non-profit:The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA)
Finalist: The ACE Mentorship Program of Charlotte

Fearless Leader/Young Professional: Susie Westrup
Finalists: Ben Miller, Kelley Hyland

A Green Apple A Day: UNC Coastal Studies Institute
Finalists: Dickson Elementary School, Sandy Grove Middle School

Smooth Operator: Bank of America-Uptown Charlotte Portfolio
Finalists: TIAA-CREF Charlotte Corporate Center, Wells Fargo Duke Energy Building-LEED EBOM Platinum

Talking Walls/Large Commercial: Wells Fargo Securities Charlotte Expansion
Finalists: EMC Center of Excellence Data Center, Durham County Courthouse, Wake Forest Biotech Place

Talking Walls/Small Commercial: Durham County South Regional Library
Finalists: CMPD Steele Creek Division,Turner Construction Company Charlotte office

Talking Walls/Residential: Greenbridge Condominiums
Finalists: Vireo Condos, UNC Asheville Overlook Hall

Talking Walls/Neighborhood Development: Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association
Finalists: Brightwalk at Historic Double Oaks, Commonwealth Morningside Neighborhood Association

Talking Walls/Non-Profit: Strawn Tower
Finalists: The Duke Endowment, St. Martins Episcopal Church Fellowship Courtyard

Thomas Edison: UNC Genome Sciences Building
Finalists: Hunt Library, North Tower vertical expansion/Moses Cone Memorial Hospital

The Fearless Leader/Young Professional Awardee was Susie Westrup. In her role as Balfour Beatty’s Sustainability Specialist, Susie helps embed sustainability in every aspect of the business and on project sites across the nation. Susie’s passion, knowledge, and guidance help Balfour Beatty employees and customers make sustainable choices, which results in enhanced social corporate responsibility, healthier communities, and maximal environmental stewardship. Susie is also making an indelible impact on her community through volunteerism with the Charlotte Region Branch of the USGBC NC, the ACE mentor program, and her church.

"A Green Apple A Day”

The UNC Coastal Studies Institute won the "A Green Apple A Day” award, which recognizes organizations that exemplify leadership by integrating sustainability into their school’s curriculum, culture, operations, and student lifestyles, as well as the surrounding community. The UNC Coastal Studies Institute aims to be a model of sustainability by virtue of its infrastructure, architecture, and research. Located on the banks of Roanoke Island, the 200-acre campus will serve the universities of the UNC system and provide a venue for inter-institutional collaboration, while also serving as a national resource for coastal and ocean studies.


Smooth Operators

The Smooth Operator award recognizes excellence in operations and maintenance by honoring individuals or organizations that exemplify leadership in and commitment to operating buildings with environmental sensitivity, resource efficiency and longevity.

The award was given to Bank of America-Uptown Charlotte Portfolio. Bank of America and Lincoln Harris are creating a strong business case for sustainability that shows financial savings while reducing environmental impacts from Bank of America’s Uptown Charlotte operations. Excellence in the efficient, sustainable maintenance and operations of these facilities is demonstrated by these numbers: 79% of the 5.1 million square feet owned and/or operated by Bank of America is LEED certified, conservation projects implemented since 2009 have saved 13 million gallons water annually, 100% of the portfolio is cleaned using green cleaning practices and 187 tons of cardboard, cans and bottles were recycled in 2012 alone.


Talking Walls

The Talking Walls Award recognizes five different sectors for best building design or constructed projects demonstrating the systematic integration of sustainability and LEED certification standards.

The Talking Walls Award in the Large Commercial category was given to Wells Fargo Securities Charlotte Expansion. Wells Fargo Securities needed space capable of long term growth to meet their current and future needs. The result is a highly functional workspace and trading floor that will attract and retain employees, opens the space to daylight and offers views to the uptown area. Every design decision of this 240,000 square foot LEED Platinum certified space focused on sustainability. Sustainable features include: highly efficient LED lighting, under-floor air delivery systems, daylight harvesting blinds, motion-activated lighting, water harvesting for cooling, and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures. As a result, water-use reduction has exceeded 39%, and there has been a 25% reduction in lighting power. All qualifying appliances and computers are Energy Star rated.

Durham County South Regional Library won the award for Talking Walls/Small Commercial. This LEED Gold library maximizes the use of daylighting and exterior views targeting 51% saving in energy cost. The one-story structure is elongated on east-west axis and has high building insulation level, occupancy sensors and high-efficiency equipment. Potable water use was reduced by 44% and over 80% of the construction waste was recycled. Landscaping includes drought resistant plants that do not require irrigation. An integrative design process was used in the design.

In the Residential category, the Talking Walls award went to Greenbridge Condominiums. Located in downtown Chapel Hill, Greenbridge Condominiums offer quality residential space with plenty of environmentally friendly features. This green, energy-conscious facility sports ultra high performance recycled window glass from floor to ceiling, other recycled and local building materials, allergen-purified central air, dual flush toilets, low VOC paints, LED recessed lighting, water-saving fixtures, solar and thermal heated water, automated lighting, shade and audio control, and Energy Star appliances. Three living rooftops help cool the building and control runoff.

Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association received the Talking Walls/Neighborhood Development Award. Plaza Midwood is a historic streetcar suburb of uptown Charlotte, but a significant part of Plaza Midwood's modern identity is defined by the work of the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association's "green" projects. In recent years, PMNA has won grants for tree planting, energy retrofits for historic homes, energy efficient products for residents, bike racks and the City's only public bicycle maintenance station. This is coupled with long-term commitments to protecting the existing tree canopy, support of community nonprofit organizations and the encouragement of sustainable building and environmentally-friendly practices by neighborhood businesses. PMNA's Volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals working to improve the area for all residents.

In the Non-Profit category, Strawn Tower was the recipient of the Talking Walls Award.Strawn Tower embodies many of the qualities ambitious architecture strives for. It sets an example of sustainability through energy-efficiency, community outreach and inspiring architecture for the Charlotte community. Axiom Architecture transformed the aging building into 170 fully renovated apartments and numerous amenity spaces for Charlotte’s low-income seniors. Charlotte Housing Authority placed a focus on sustainability and created a healthier living environment for the residents and a high standard for the community. This project is a true representation of what results from a project team combining a concern for people and the environment while maintaining a diligence for financial responsibility.


Thomas Edison

The UNC Genome Sciences Building received the Thomas Edison Award, which recognizes an innovative solution to a green building problem, including existing, new or renovated buildings, systems or operations. The new University of North Carolina Genome Sciences Building (GSB) is the centerpiece of the SOM designed Bell Tower District mater plan. The project establishes a vital link between the historic north campus and the medical school to the south, and serves as a land reclamation effort, transforming a surface parking lot and back alley service area into a series of new science quadrangles, a park and an expansion of Coker Woods. The LEED Certified Gold GSB is highly sustainable, featuring energy efficient lighting, high-performance glazing, special concrete for thermal performance, integrated shading devices, reclaimed storm water for all flush fixtures, chilled beams in the laboratories and a green roof.

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