5 things you need to know about the LEED 2009 registration close on Oct 31, 2016


Five things to know about the upcoming LEED 2009 sunset.

Oct. 31, 2016 is the last day to register LEED® projects under any of the LEED 2009 rating systems. After that date, we will officially transition to LEED v4 as the only version of the rating system available for new LEED projects.

What you need to know

1) The deadline

If you would like to pursue LEED using any of the rating systems below, you must register by October 31, 2016. After that date, registration for the older versions will be closed, and any new LEED projects must use LEED v4.

  • LEED for New Construction (and Italia New Construction) v2009
  • LEED for Core and Shell v2009
  • LEED for Schools v2009
  • LEED for Retail: New Construction v2009
  • LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors v2009
  • LEED for Healthcare v2009
  • LEED for Commercial Interiors v2009
  • LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance v2009
  • LEED for Neighborhood Development v2009
  • LEED for Homes v2008
  • LEED for Homes Midrise Pilot
  • LEED India 2011 (New Construction and Core and Shell)

The next major deadline for LEED 2009 projects is the rating system sunset date in 2021. GBCI® will continue to accept initial applications (for Design or Standard preliminary review) for certification until the LEED 2009 sunset date of June 30, 2021.

View all the LEED registration and certification close dates

2) Next steps

For projects that have not yet registered but want to use a LEED 2009 rating system, visit LEED Online before the October 31 deadline to register your project. To complete your registration, you’ll need your project details, payment and any forms to show you are authorized to act on the project owner’s behalf, if you are not the project owner.

For projects that are already registered, there is nothing additional that you need to do right now, but please note that there are additional deadlines regarding certification.

3) You can upgrade

LEED v4 was launched in November of 2013, providing new strategies for energy, water, materials, waste, performance, human health and other key areas within the built environment.

Over 1,000 projects around the world are using the updated version of the rating system. Connect with GBCI to upgrade your LEED 2009 project to LEED v4. The process is simple and there is no cost.

4) Sunset vs. registration close

Continuous improvement is a critical component built into LEED’s DNA, allowing the system to evolve along with technology and the needs of the marketplace.

As new versions of the rating systems are introduced, earlier versions are phased out, so that we are constantly pushing for the transformation to which we aspire.

At any given point, LEED rating systems are

  • Open for registration and certification,
  • Closed for registration but open for certification, or
  • Closed for registration and certification (sunset).

The Oct. 31, 2016 deadline is for the registration close of the LEED 2009 rating systems. The sunset is set for June 31, 2021.

5) Miss the deadline

Missing the deadline does not mean that your project cannot pursue LEED. LEED registration for LEED v4 is open now, and will remain open until the next evolution of the rating system.

More questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! The expert staff who make up our technical solutions and support team are here to help on everything from choosing the right rating system for your project to helping you ensure that your strategies and documentation meet credit requirements. Contact us via the web or email at any time for more information or to discuss options for your project. Your success is our top priority.

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Are You Overlooking Any of These Fair Housing Laws?


 by  –

In a recent post, I talked about HUD’s new guidelines forrenting to tenants with a criminal history. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the other Fair Housing Laws that property managers may be overlooking.

While all property managers are likely (or should be) familiar with standard Fair Housing Laws, such as the prohibition of discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability, there are also a variety of rules and regulations that have been implemented in the last few years that property managers may not be familiar with. Here is a summary of those recently implemented rules and regulations:

  • Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment. The maximum civil penalty for a first violation of the Fair Housing Act was $55,000. Due to inflation, this has been increased to $75,000. Subsequent violators previously faced a penalty of $110,000, which has now been increased to $150,000.
  • Reasonable Accommodation for those with a disability. While not new, not everyone may be familiar with exactly what falls under the umbrella of reasonable accommodation. Currently, disability is defined by HUD as individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits life activities. These impairments can include visual and hearing impairments, cancer, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, AIDS, mental illness, drug addiction, and chronic alcoholism. These additional protections include making reasonable accommodations in current property rules and policies in order to allow the disabled person to use the housing. Reasonable accommodations can range from assigning a parking space to a resident with a mobility impairment, to making an exception to a “no pets” policy to allow a visually or hearing impaired tenant to have an assistance animal. They also include things such as removing carpeting in a unit where a resident has severe chemical sensitivity. They also include giving mentally ill tenants the ability to seek treatment prior to evicting them due to violating property rules.
  • Newer buildings must abide by a different set of standards. For instance, for any buildings built after 1991 that has four or more units, kitchens and bathrooms must be able to be used by those in a wheelchair. Reinforced bathroom walls are also necessary in order to allow the future installation of grab bars. These requirements are for all 4 unit buildings that have an elevator. For buildings that do not have any elevator, these requirements extend to the ground floor units.

For more information, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development website athttp://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD, or contact your local and state agencies for additional information.

What the Election Means to Your PM Business + Presidential Landscaping Tips


While many property managers may be distracted by and entertained with the political elections in the U.S., now may be an auspicious time to shift our focus. How about two disparate attention targets?

First, how do the presidential elections impact the cost of housing? My research found that residential real estate prices usually falls during a closely contested presidential election year. This is also the case in the final year of a two-term presidency. In fact, if we look at the transitional years of 2000 and 2008 it becomes more obvious that this year may be a housing market depressant.

Despite the lowest interest and mortgage rates ever, housing in the hottest markets like New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest have already cooled down. What’s caused the drop? There are many factors including high prices and fewer qualified buyers. The economies of these ebullient areas helped support strong prices, but are they sustainable?

Also, Presidential elections usually point to big potential changes in economic and housing policies. The uncertainty tends to scare many real estate buyers and dissuade over leveraged investors. The tighter the election, the more investor unease, and buyers often sit on the sidelines until the election is over. This year’s presidential candidates are keeping this “anxiety index” to a boil. When all the votes are tallied, and if the Fed finally continues its interest rate increases, housing prices may actually drop about 2% for 2016 according to a number of industry experts. This isn’t abnormal.

No one that I’m aware of is calling for a housing bust like we experienced in 2007 through 2009. Like so many bubbles, the real estate market may be ready for a systemic pullback. Be ready for opportunities.

Now we’ll shift our attention to ideas about landscaping in autumn. A well-maintained, attractive property will keep and attract residents almost as much as a great location or a fresh coat of paint.
The falling leaves of election season need to be raked and removed. Keep your lawn areas green with a careful sprinkling of a good quality organic fertilizer. Simply said, don’t put off your lawn maintenance.

§ Arborists suggest that pruning trees, especially young ones can be a prudent idea before winter too. Pruning and shaping young trees helps them grow attractively and also promotes robust, good health.

§ Do everyone a favor and reduce the use of those loud, obnoxious lawn blowers that cause clouds of dirty air. Raking is good for grass and sweeping doesn’t take that much more time. Residents will thank you.

§ Empower your landscaping crews with well-maintained equipment. If you hire landscapers, make sure they have the kind of tools that will do a good job. Ask to see a sample of their work at other locations.

§ Although flowers may not grow well during the election season, consider putting down a fresh coat of ground cover or bark chips. Let the emphasis be on mulching tree roots with a light, colorful layer.

§ Let the autumnal period be a reminder to communicate with your clients about plans for next year. Discus the contents and ideas in this article and see what resonates with them. The weekend before the November elections daylight saving time ends. Call your clients the week before and tell them they’ll be gaining an hour on Sunday morning so they can get some extra sleep.

Everyone likes more time and some good news. Shower your clients and residents with as much as possible, and see how your business will grow in the seasons ahead. Be proactive!

New York State makes blower door tests mandatory; Everybody should

by Lloyd Alter

Blower door test

CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ pre-renovation blower door test

When you go to the doctor, you don’t tell him what your blood pressure or pulse is, he tests it. But when you go to your contractor and ask if your new house met code requirements for air tightness, most of the time they will just say sure. But the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (which is American, not even recognized nationally, let alone international) requires that the house gets tested for the building equivalent of blood pressure, which is air tightness. Few states have picked up on this, and as of October 3, New York State has made blower tests mandatory.

The standard adopted in New York is for 3 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of air pressure difference, which is not particularly hard to achieve. But according to 475 High Performance Building Supply,

…even at “just” 3.0ACH50, increasing the airtightness of the building envelope will make a huge difference for the comfort and the energy efficiency of projects built to current code. These minimum code requirements are there to not only warrant the safety of the construction, but also to lower energy usage that will help achieve climate protection goals – while making buildings more comfortable and resilient.

It certainly is not as low as the Passivhaus people would want (they go for only 0.6 air changes) but building science expert Joseph Lstiburek makes a persuasive case that it is a reasonable and achievable number. (See his hilarious take on it here). Joe calls blower door tests “a quality control thing.” Which is exactly what we need.

blower testLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Blower door tests cost a couple of hundred bucks and take a few hours of preparation, so it is no wonder that builders complain and that they are not required everywhere. Getting to 3.0ACH50 requires some care; 475 notes (and lists some of their products in this):

We know that building to 3.0ACH50 is possible for contractors that pay sufficient attention to details, such as using gaskets around pipes and cables, taping sheathing, using good quality weather resistive barriers with taped overlaps, connecting all window openings with the right tape, and using INTELLO Plus as an interior air barrier. Last but not least, the floors and ceilings must be continuously connected to the air barrier. If these steps are taken, houses should easily pass this code requirement.

It’s not so hard to hit the standard and it is not so onerous to ensure that the work is done right; as Ronald Reagan used to say: “Trust, but verify.” Good advice. Every state and province should require this and if they don’t, the home buyers should.

UPDATE: Here is a great explanation from the Urban Green Council.

Successful coworking spaces should be built like ‘intentional communities’

by Kimberley Mok

Friends Work Here

© Friends Work Here

The changing nature of work and the workplace has led to the booming growth ofcoworking spaces around the world, catering to the self-employed, remote workers and innovation-minded entrepreneurs. For instance, in a city like New York, there are over 70 coworking spaces in Manhattan alone, and more than 50 in Brooklyn according toCrain’s.

But that proliferation has resulted in what some are calling “sterile” coworking spaces that provide the basic amenities, but don’t offer much by the way of intangibles like community building and professional development, laments Amanda Schnieders over atEntrepreneurship:

There’s been a growing resurgence of working areas of long tables with copious amounts of white boards. They call them co-working spaces. Since the coining of the phrase in early 2000s, they’ve grown into warehouse size places with cubical conference rooms and modern furniture, becoming a hip thing for entrepreneurial ecosystems and startups across the globe. But recently, I’ve come to a realization: Co-working spaces are lame.

How are vibrant coworking spaces created?

But there are exceptions, and Core77 highlights one example, namely Brooklyn’sFriends Work Here. Founded by NYC-based Swiss-born designer and entrepreneur Tina Roth-Eisenberg, who’s also behind the international lecture series CreativeMorningsand Tattly, the space came as a response to Roth-Eisenberg’s negative experiences in “soulless” coworking places that are more focused on making money than cultivating inspiration among its members.

Friends Work Here© Friends Work Here

Roth-Eisenberg’s secret? “I don’t run Friends like a business,” she says. “I need to cover my costs, but my ultimate goal is not to make money; my goal is to create what I call my ‘happy place’, the environment that keeps me creatively excited and stimulated.”

To create this kind of inspirational coworking community space, Roth-Eisenberg says that Friends does have a preliminary screening process — the reason being that one needs to surround oneself with inspiring people if one is to become inspired:

Their goals become your goals, their measures become your measures. So we want to make sure the people are super talented in here. It sounds elitist, but you know, I want to look up to the person who sits across from me. So there’s that, and then it just comes down to personality. Like humility: people who are kind, resourceful, helpful. I look at Friends as a community, a very intentional work community.

Coworking space as intentional community

The most intriguing point here is that a successful coworking space is envisioned as an intentional community of sorts, embedded in the city. Whether they take the form ofcohousing communities, ecovillages, cooperatives or tiny house pocket neighbourhoods, intentional communities are just that: a group of people who have come together under a common vision, sharing resources and developing communal cohesion through mutual aid and teamwork.Friends Work Here© Friends Work Here

It’s fitting too how an outstanding coworking community is described with terms we might be more familiar in the sustainability movement: Roth-Eisenberg also adds that sharing a workspace is also about having members take care of each other in an “ecosystem” that values beneficial interactions, whether it’s networking or sharing skills. Monthly potlucks certainly help, ensuring members get to know each other informally. Size matters too, as Roth-Eisenberg points out in another interview:

Unlike most co-working spaces, I believe in keeping things small. Small community, small space. I don’t believe in looking at it like a business. A co-working space should have a value system in place that everyone understands, that creates a kind, safe, supportive environment where people feel at home. In our workspace agreement, we have a line that says, Don’t be a douche. And I’m serious about that.

Friends Work Here© Friends Work Here

It’s an interesting way to look at this growing trend; there’s more to coworking than just “sharing desks”. To make a coworking space actually work, there has to be a common vision, a shared identity of sorts, allowing for deeper connections between its members to happen, and a desire to develop an underlying support system that keeps people engaged and makes them feel like they belong. We might be used to hearing this in regards to alternative communities of all stripes, but it’s refreshing to hear it too to describe the new workplaces that we now see emerging.

Read the rest over at Core77 and Friends Work Here.

Rent control backers filing complaints over opponent’s mailers

by Bryce Druzin –

Silicon Valley rent control activists are crying foul over an anti-rent control mailer, but the group that sent the mailer said it’s done nothing wrong.

One mailer in question (see first photo) was sent by the California Apartment Association Issues Committee to San Mateo residents, who will vote on a rent control initiative this November. The mailer’s front page, referring to a February report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s office, states that “California’s Legislative Analyst Shows that Measure Q Hurts Renters & San Mateo.”

At the top of the mailer is a banner design almost identical to that found on theLAO’s website, while disclosure information about the source of the mailer is located at the bottom.

Tony Samara, a San Mateo resident and rent control activist with the nonprofit Urban Habitat, sent a complaint dated Oct. 11 to California’s Fair Political Practices Commission. The complaint alleges that the mailer misleads readers to believe that the mailer was sent by the LAO, and that the LAO opposes Measure Q, which it does not.

In an interview, Samara said the CAA was “impersonating a state agency.”

CAA Senior Vice President Joshua Howard called the complaint a “publicity stunt” and rejected the accusation.

“We would encourage voters to read the entire mailer, because it says very clearly that it’s paid for by the California Apartment Association,” he said.

Working against the complaint is the fact that complain form from the FPPC, which regulates disclosure requirements for political ads, explicitly states that it does not regulate the content of political advertising.

Similar mailers from the CAA were sent to other Bay Area cities with rent control initiatives on the ballot, including Mountain View (see second photo), Burlingame and Alameda. A New York Times article reported that East Bay rent control activists protested outside a CAA office in Hayward and were planning to also send complaints.

In the campaign fights up and down the Bay Area, property owners have a huge financial edge over rent control activist. In Mountain View, property owner interests had spent $478,000 as of Oct. 3, while the pro-rent control Mountain View Tenants Coalition spent $15,400 as of Sept. 24.

According to the Times, landlords have raised over $1 million in total to fight the region’s initiatives, five or six times the amount rent control backers have raised.

With new discovery, Winchester Mystery House now has 161 rooms

94 years after her death, the home of ghost-plagued rifle heiress Sarah Winchester is still full of surprises.

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California, exterior

A hidden attic room at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is discovered conveniently (perhaps too conveniently) in the weeks leading up to Halloween. (Photo: Naotake Murayama/flickr)

No matter how many shiny, starchitect-helmed tech campuses you cram into it, the Silicon Valley’s most remarkable architectural landmark will forever be a rambling Victorian mansion continuously built over a 38-year span by a very rich, very paranoid widow.

Functioning as a sort of Hearst Castle of the Uncanny, San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House stands as a National Register of Historic Places-listed testament to the fractured psyche of firearms heiress Sarah Pardee Winchester. Spanning 24,000 square feet, the labyrinthine residence is architecturally stunning despite its not-so-subtle eccentricities. Features such as forced-air heating and push-bottom gas lighting were considered state-of-the-art during the time of its nonstop construction from 1884 to Winchester’s death in 1922.

That being said, the home is really quite something to behold: 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 fireplaces, 47 staircases, 52 skylights, six kitchens, three elevators, two basements and 13 bathrooms. Naturally, the 13th bathroom has 13 windows and 13 stairs leading up to it. There’s only one lonely shower in the entire joint, which is actually rather surprising given that you’d assume Winchester didn’t have the time for leisurely baths. After all, she spent nearly half her life overseeing a team of 13 (!) dutiful carpenters and, as legend has it, fleeing from the antagonistic spirits of those killed by rifles manufactured by the company founded by her late’s husband’s father.

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California, exteriorCurrently topping out at four stories, sections of millionaire occult-dabbler Sarah Winchester’s disorienting funhouse of a mansion reached seven-stories-high prior to an earthquake that rocked the Bay Area in 1906. (Photo: San Jose Library /flickr)

Until recently, it was also believed that this habitable maze complete with trap doors, false passageways and upside down columns— you’ve got to confuse those malevolent spirits somehow, right? — had a total of 160 rooms spread out across its six-acre footprint.

Well, they’ve just found another.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, preservationists at the private home-turned-tourist attraction have unearthed a previously unknown and unexplored attic room that Winchester allegedly took refuge in during the historic earthquake that rattled the Bay Area in 1906. Winchester, rumored to who have believed that the same pesky poltergeists populated her home were also responsible for the tremor, subsequently boarded up the room and never entered it again. This may seem like an exceedingly odd action for a homeowner to take but keep in mind that this was a homeowner who had a penchant for both exquisite Tiffany stained glass and doors that open onto walls. Sealing up entire sections of the mansion were as routine for Winchester’s staff as waxing the parquet floors.


To play skeptic for a moment, it is peculiar that it took this long for the hidden attic room to be discovered considering the tireless preservation work that has been carried out at the mansion, open to the public since 1932, for decades now. Impossible, no — but implausible, sure, and more than just a bit considering that the Winchester Mystery House is one of San Jose’s top tourist attraction and Halloween isjust around the corner.

What’s more, some sources claim that Winchester sought shelter during the earthquake in a different room altogether.

As noted by the Smithsonian earlier this year, delayed discoveries of hidden rooms within the enigmatic mansion aren’t totally unprecedented. In 1975, restoration workers unearthed a room containing nothing more than a couple of chairs and a turn-of-the-century speaker. Apparently, Winchester had forgotten about it during the frenzy of building that went on 24/7 for 38 years straight.

Whatever the case, the 161st room is currently not open for public tours although frequent visitors with “Skeleton Key” memberships will be able to access the attic area and take a peek at the freshly disinterred chamber. As for the items reportedly discovered in the hidden room — a dress form, pump organ, artwork, sewing machines, Victorian couch and, from the looks of it, at least one creepy doll — they’ve been relocated to a more accessible area of the mansion’s grounds where they’ll be on display as part of a new attraction dubbed Sarah’s Attic Shooting Gallery.

Sarah Winchester portraitConnecticut-born Sarah Winchester herself is the subject of anupcoming supernatural thriller that will star Helen Mirren as the planchette-toting rifle heiress who, unfortunately for historians, never kept a journal and employed notoriously tight-lipped staff. The biopic will reportedly be shot on location at the mansion, which is currently offering seasonal Halloween Candlelight Tours and remains an inexplicably popular spot for kids’ birthday parties.

It should be pointed out that many believe the legend of kooky old Sarah Winchester to be just that — a tourist dollar-generating legend that’s been masterfully honed over the decades. Some argue that actual paranormal activity had little to no role in the decidedly bonkers design of the home and that Winchester, noted just as much for her philanthropy as her obsessiveness, was simply a brilliant yet misunderstood millionaire spinster that perhaps suffered from some form of mental illness.

In her myth-dispelling 2012 book “Captive of the Labyrinth,” writer Mary Jo Ignoffo theorizes that some of the mansion’s more perplexing architectural features such as a staircase leading up to a ceiling and a skylight installed into a floor are the result of uncompleted repairs undertaken following the 1906 earthquake.

Those in the pro-ghost camp, however, are convinced that the nonstop home-building/renovating/redecorating (estimated total price tag: $5.5 million) wasn’t just a way for Winchester to confuse and evade the irate spirits of gun violence victims. As the Winchester Mystery House website elaborates, Winchester also strived to accommodate non-vengeful supernatural entities and held nightly séances to commune with them. In a sense, these spirits served as the unofficial architects of the master plan-less home.

If anything, Winchester’s need to appease “good” spirits does help to explain the staggering size of the property. After all, during her lifetime, Winchester rifles — the so-called “Gun That Won the West” — were responsible for the deaths of legions of people. And so, the eccentric and extraordinarily wealthy woman whose married name appeared on these firearms made it her life mission to provide displaced benevolent ghosts with a place to call home sweet home.

And what a home it is.

Sarah Winchester portrait: Public domain