How do you like them Apples?

Apple recently announced it will not certify its products with EPEAT. EPEAT is a non-profit organization that certifies “environmentally preferable products”. It is also a program that is backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPEAT would affect Apple’s sales to some governments and educational institutions which require EPEAT certification as a prerequisite for purchase. But how does this affect Apple? According to the blog Apple and EPEAT: What it means the sale of Apple computers to government and educational institutions is a tiny fraction of Apple’s total sales. The real market lies in the consumer market which demands products like their ultra-thin MacBook Pro. According to a Wall Street Journal blog Apple Removes Green Electronics Certification From Products, this laptop design requires the battery to be glued to the case, making disassembly and recycling difficult. This causes the computer to fall behind EPACTS stringent recycling requirements.

[Read more…]

Bridging the Political Divide on Sustainability

The gulf between conservatives and liberals on the merits of sustainability may be lessened with a little history lesson.  So says SERF Scholar Colin Maguire in his paper American Stewardship:   A Path Already Laid,  which he is presenting at next week’s 2012 Environmental Justice and Global Citizenship Conference at Oxford University in England.

The study traces the Founders’ philosophies on private property rights, a core American principle, with the corresponding responsibility for property owners to be good and proper stewards of their land.  Sustainability is, it seems, not such a new concept in America, and should be embraced as an essential element of our nation’s founding.

My kind of (green) town…

Given the warm reception SERF has received and our growing operations here, it comes as no surprise to us that Chicago recently won the Siemens and U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Sustainability Large Community award.  Leaders from business, real estate and, not least, the City government are clearly unified in making Chicago a global leader in sustainability.

There’s a beautiful symmetry in Chicago’s leadership in sustainable buildings given its preeminent role in the creation of an American architectural style and its endless contributions to the world’s built environment ever since.

How fitting, then, that Chicago’s Soldier Field is now the first NFL stadium to have attained LEED status.  Now that’s putting your money where your mouth is.

LEED Eats its Young

LEED 2012 is just around the corner and, as expected, accessibility will plummet. According to a recent blog LEED 2012: Too much change? , by Allison Beer McKenzie many who were previously committed to LEED have decided to abandon it if the proposed changes are implemented.

What really are the proposed changes? Among the many, here are some I found to be most impractical:

The number of prerequisites will increase from 9 to 15.
SERF ‘s policy is that all of our points are fully fungible. Our applicants select which sections they desire to pursue and which ones make little practical sense to them. Prerequisites also make it practically impossible to perform a compliance evaluation post construction. LEED must now (more than ever) be on the agenda right from the conceptual phase of the project, hence increasing design costs.

[Read more…]