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  • Friday, September 02, 2016 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    Houston Launches PACE Program
    By Tim Murray

    Houston formally launched its PACE program on Wednesday in a ceremony lead by Mayor Turner in the Legacy Room of City Hall. PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. The voluntary program allows for buildings to finance energy and water efficiency improvements with private sector funding. The funding is then assessed as a senior lien on the property, which is why the city or county must establish the PACE programs. This allows for longer term loans, up to 20 years. Property owners can make their improvements with no upfront capital and ideally their payments are designed to be less than the anticipated energy or water savings resulting in a positive cash flow.

    Mayor Turner announces the launch of the Houston PACE program, August 3, 2016
    Photo: Tim Murray

    The Texas Legislature passed the bill authorizing taxing entities to establish PACE programs in 2013. Mayor Turner voted for the bill twice while serving as a state representative, so it was fitting that he be able to formally launch the program. Mayor Turner noted that if only 3.5 % of commercial properties in Harris County participated, it could result in a savings of $650 million in energy reduction. Currently $100 million of commercial projects are planned in Houston.

    John Hall, of the Environmental Defense Fund said that Texas has the highest potential of all states for energy reduction in renewables and demand reduction and the PACE program could result in billions in savings.

    Charlene Heydinger is the President of Texas PACE Authority which will administer the program for the city. Charlene has been a tireless promoter and advocate of PACE for years, yet she used her time at the podium to thank Steve Block of Thompson & Knight for establishing Keeping PACE in Texas. This non-profit organized the creation of the “PACE in a Box” toolkit that standardizes the PACE program. This standardization makes for quicker program establishment by local governments and provides consistency for lending institutions.

    Dub Taylor, Director of the State Energy Conservation Office is optimistic about how effective this structure can be for the private sector as he has seen the success of the state’s similar LoanSTAR program for public properties over many years.

    The Houston program represents the sixth PACE program established in Texas.

    City of Houston’s Press Release:

    Mayor Turner’s announcement video:

    PACE in a Box:

    For more information:

    About Tim Murray

    Tim Murray is a Sustainable Design Leader at EYP (WHR Architects) and has been the Project Team Administrator on 28 LEED certified projects. He serves as Secretary of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Texas Chapter and has been on the USGBC-Texas Gulf Coast Region (Chapter) Board of Directors since 2014. He previously served as Chair of the USGBC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter in 2006/2007, served on the USGBC National Chapter Steering Committee, and the national LEED Steering Committee during the development of LEED v4. Tim was the Founding Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Green Building Sub-committee. A registered architect, he graduated from the University of Houston and serves as Treasurer for his son’s Boy Scout Troop.

  • Friday, August 05, 2016 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    Shootin' the Green Breeze
    by Chris Mundell

    Welcome to the inaugural blog for USGBC Texas! We felt it was imperative to share our thoughts and knowledge about sustainable strategies, resources, and tools for our members and their communities and we’ll be using this blog to connect with you on a monthly basis. 

    I'm Chris Mundell, and as the Chair of the North Texas Regional Council, I asked to start with the first blog.  It is hard to believe that 2016 is my ten-year anniversary as a LEED Accredited Professional. Sustainability has been a passion of mine for so long and it has been an honor to be able to incorporate that into my projects.

    In May, my co-worker and I were asked to be on a Radio Show to talk about Gensler’s approach to sustainability.  Speaking on the radio show “Shootin’ the Breeze” (Episode #25), I shared with listeners about sustainable strategies that make sense here in North Texas. The climate in this region is much different that along the US coastlines, for example. Therefore not everything can be accomplished like in those climate zones. Other topics I talked about included renewable energy from wind and solar power, the use of pervious pavers to help with storm-water management, and healthier materials to provide better indoor environments for occupants.

    Texas is one of the largest producers of wind power.  But much of that wind generation comes from West Texas and large wind turbines. A couple years ago, I helped the University of North Texas (UNT) achieve a LEED Platinum certification for its new football stadium. It also became the first Platinum stadium in the US.  Part of the design of the stadium included the use of wind power. UNT received a grant to design and install 3 “community scale” wind turbines. These turbines worked well in their location and continue to help offset the Stadium’s power. Another strategy that we incorporated on the stadium project was the use of pervious pavers for all the new parking lots and drives in lieu of poured concrete or asphalt slabs.  The pavers allow rainwater to seep through into the ground rather than runoff into the storm drains. 

    Lastly, one of the most important topics today is human health.  We are learning that the materials and products used to build our homes, schools, offices, and hospitals have an effect on our health. Research shows that we spend typically 90% of our time indoors, but the concern is that our indoor environments might not be the best spaces for us. So, we’re now looking more closely at how we design these spaces with proper air ventilation and filtration as well as the selection of healthier materials and products.

    I hope you get a chance to hear the radio show for the full conversation. Join us on this blog as we continue to share knowledge, best practices, and exciting project updates in green building.

    - Chris

    Chris is an architect at Gensler, where he serves as a Senior Project Manager, the South Central Defense and Aerospace Practice Area Leader, a Community-Flex Studio Operations Leader and a South Central Region Design Performance Leader. He has been involved in a wide range of architecture projects for the past 20 years for government, healthcare, commercial, educational and multifamily residential clients. In addition to his work roles, he is actively involved in the local chapters of AIA, CSI, and USGBC. Chris is the current Chair for the USGBC North Texas Regional Council, serves on the 2030 Dallas District Leadership Council, and is a past-president for the CSI Dallas Chapter. 

  • Friday, July 01, 2016 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Resilience is a concept that is grabbing attention, especially with those who shape the world around us. The increasingly severe weather—flooding, droughts, and other natural disasters—teamed with power outages, threats of terrorism, and disease outbreaks, all increase the need for systems that can respond to these shocks and stresses.

    The AIA Dallas Committee on the Environment (COTE), USGBC Texas Chapter, and CSI Dallas have joined forces to present the 2016 North Texas Sustainable Showcase focusing on the importance of Resilience. A line-up of nationally known speakers and local experts will make the implications of designing for resilience clear to attendees.

    Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, will be the initial keynote speaker. A founder of the sustainable design initiative at HOK, she will introduce, define and expand the concept of resilience for the crowd.  Lazarus recently led the team that created the Resilience Pilot Credits for the LEED systems.

    Dr. Z Smith of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple in New Orleans, will provide the lunch keynote presentation. He will present some of EDR’s excellent work as case studies of designing for resilience.

    Jim Newman, of Linnean Solutions in Boston, will lead an interactive exercise to bring home an understanding of resilience in each person’s community and practice.

    All three speakers will gather for a panel discussion, moderated by Betsy del Monte, FAIA, about the implications for design professionals working on the built environment. Does resilience change anything? Does it change everything?

    The day will also include a discussion of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program with Theresa O’Donnell, Dallas’ Chief Resilient Officer, and Nicole Ferrini, Chief Resilience Officer for El Paso.

    Those who attend will come away with a firm understanding about how resilience will affect our region, and how to craft an optimistic approach to include it.

    Register for the North Texas Sustainable Showcase here.

  • Wednesday, June 08, 2016 11:34 AM | Deleted user

    Dear Friends,

    This has been a monumental year for the USGBC Texas Chapter. On Earth Day (appropriately) we were notified by the State of Texas that our Chapter merger had been officially completed and the USGBC Texas Chapter had been officially recognized.

    The success of our merger is based in the positive support from each of the original Chapters and this predicts that consolidating into one Chapter will truly strengthen our organization’s ability to escalate green building to a whole new level in the State of Texas.

    We know from experience that when we unite, we have a stronger voice especially in fundraising and advocacy. The Chapter also benefits from greater collaboration and administrative efficiencies giving us a stronger foundation.

    One of the first tasks set for the USGBC Texas Board of Directors was the creation of Strategic Plan.  The following key focus areas will steer our efforts over next several years:


    Develop and implement programs to engage communities across Texas through individual and partner outreach, advocacy, education, marketing and communications in ways that promote local experts and successful projects.


    Texans depend on the natural environment for clean air, water and energy. Development, construction, and building operations have a significant impact those resources and on the world around us. As significant increases in the population of Texas continue alongside expanded development and resource exploration, USGBC Texas has the opportunity and responsibility to forward the conversation surrounding these important issues.


    Use education, outreach and advocacy to increase the demand for sustainably developed buildings and communities, and to generally promote economic activity in the green building and jobs sector in Texas.

    Organizational Excellence

    The formation of USGBC Texas is an opportunity to establish the model for USGBC chapters across the nation with regard to coming together in the name of service, stewardship, collaboration and leadership. We exist to provide an opportunity for service to the community, but also to provide service to our membership. We are committed to the tenets of transparency, accountability and partnership. We are the catalysts of change responsible for building the next generation of green leaders.

    The five regions of USGBC Texas – Texas Gulf Coast, based in Houston; South Texas, based in San Antonio; Central Texas, based in Austin; West Texas based in El Paso, and North Texas, based in Dallas – focus on gaining support for and involvement in green building activities within their communities through advocacy, community outreach and education.  Each Region has many ways for you get involved from speaking at middle school career days and Green Apple Day of Service projects to major symposiums on building energy use and water issues.

    Each of these helps us achieve our mission:

    To transform the way buildings, homes and communities are designed, built, maintained and operated in Texas through outreach, education, advocacy and partnerships, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life in Texas.

    As a non-profit organization, our mission is only possible because of the generous donations of our stakeholders and the work of our volunteers. In that spirit, I invite you to join us at the USGBC Texas Chapter to share a vision of the future of our state. 

    Sign Up to Be a Volunteer
    Get More Information on Becoming a Partner

    Best Regards,

    Keith Lindemulder
    Chairman, USGBC Texas
    Environmental Business Development, NuCor Corporation

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USGBC Texas Chapter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 1801 Royal Lane, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75229

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