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Home Assessment 1
Home Assessment
1234 56th Ave. NW
Any town, FL 34567
Assignment Series #2
Mary Smith
St. Petersburg College
Home Assessment 2
Home Assessment
The aim of this paper is to present an initial assessment for a single family home. Home
energy usage is directly linked to world resource consumption, which affects not only the health
of our planet, but it is also a costly part of our economic and social needs. Much of this energy
usage is based on various factors associated to the design, equipment and appliance selection, as
well as behavioral decisions within the home. This paper will evaluate fifteen areas within the
home using the Energy Star Yardstick Tool and the Florida Green Building Coalition Green
Home Designation Standard.
Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick
The Home Energy Yardstick (Energy Star, n.d.) is a tool that uses your home’s square
footage, energy sources, and electricity bills (12 months) to assess your home’s energy usage and
quantify the equivalent green house gas emissions. By comparing household energy usage to
that of similar sized homes, it results in a score on a ten point scale with ten being the most
energy efficient to zero being the least (Energy Star, n.d.). Figure 1 shows the input data for this
Home Assessment 3
Figure 1. Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick: What you need to know to get started
From this input, you see the results of this electric use along with a score as to the home’s
energy efficiency. For this input, “the annual pollution resulting from energy use in this
household is 30,821 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalence of 3 cars“ (Energy Star,
n.d.). Figure 2 shows the output data for this home. According to these results, while this home
Home Assessment 4
is better than the average similar sized household, it also offered several recommendations for
further improving energy consumption which will be valuable ideas for Assignment Series 2.
Figure 2. Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick: Results
Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) Green Home Designation Standard
The Green Home Designation Standard (Florida Green Building Coalition, 2007) is
“intended to establish a voluntary state-wide standard for Green Home Designation” for new or
existing homes in Florida. To reduce the scope of Assignment Series 1, this assessment will
select 14 key areas to further assess this home and supplement the results from the Home Energy
Home Assessment 5
Yardstick. Table 1 shows the FGBC criteria and points that the standard allocates for each
selected key area and the points achieved by this home.
Table 1. Florida Green Home Designation 15 Key Areas
14 Key Areas
Prerequisite – Swimming Pool
1. Energy – House shaded on
east and west by trees
1. Energy – Washer and dryer
outside of conditioned space
1. Energy – Light Colored
Exterior Walls
1. Energy – Energy Efficient
Clothes Drier
1. Energy – Energy Efficient
1. Energy – Energy Star
Clothes Washer
2. Water – Duel Flush or Low
Flow Toilets
2. Water – Greywater Reuse
System Installed
3. Lot Choice – House within
Certified Green Local Gov’t.
4. Site – Reuse Cleared
Materials for Mulch/Landscape
5. Health – Attached Garage
with Air Barrier to Living Spc.
5. Health – Low VOC Paints,
Stains, and Finishes
5. Health – Install Screens on
All Windows and Doors
Mini-Assessment Sub-Total
needed to meet
Only SW side, 1
pt. for 25% shade
In unconditioned
Light tan
Points Possible
Points Achieved
New HE unit
installed 1/09
No Indication or
Label on it (?)
New HE unit
installed 1/09
Local code does
not support (?)
Local code does
not support (?)
City Yard Waste
Pickup Used
Unsealed and No
Not when painted,
unsure prior owner
All but front door
The complete Green Home Certification requires homes to earn a specific range of points
for each of eight categories with a minimum total of 180 points (Florida Green Building
Coalition, 2007). These selected 14 areas focused on aspects that had readily available
Home Assessment 6
information (have only owned this home four out if it’s 31 year age). As well as, many were key
areas that would help us better understand the energy drivers, as well as other sustainability
considerations for the home. In this mini-assessment, this home fails to meet the pre-requisites
required and only earned 32% of the available points for the selected areas. This result will help
to understand deficiencies in the home to aid in proposing recommendations for improvement in
Assignment Series 2.
In this paper, two different assessment tools were used to evaluate this home. From the
results obtained, it is apparent that this home could be more sustainable. As Kilbert (2007)
highlights, “sustainable development requires a more extensive set of ethical principles to guide
behavior” which fundamentally has shaped these assessment thoughts further. While looking at
the complete FGBC checklist, there are many improvements needed not only within this home,
but also across the neighborhood and community it resides in to support certification.
Additionally, the LEED for Homes Pilot Rating System (U.S. Green Building Council, 2007) has
different certification levels (certified, silver, gold, platinum) based upon points earned (between
45 and 128 points). With the broad nature of these assessment tools, these different levels might
help someone to better compare how sustainable the home is versus whether or not that home
just meets a minimum requirement like the FGBC standard. However, the FGBC standard may
be more relevant for this home as it is customized for Florida specifically and was selected
accordingly for this assignment..
Home Assessment 7
Energy Star (n.d.). Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from
Florida Green Building Coalition (2007). Green Home Designation Standard, Version 5.0.
Retrieved March 24, 2009 from http://www.floridagreenbuilding.org/db/?q=node/5360
Kilbert, C. (2007). Sustainable Construction Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
U.S. Green Building Council (2007). LEED for Homes Pilot Rating Systems, Version 1.11a.
Retrieved March 26, 2009 from
Assignment Series 2
Community Sustainability Assessment (CSA)
Global Ecovillage Network
Mary Smith
St. Petersburg College
“The Community Sustainability Assessment (CSA) is a comprehensive checklist” that
can give anyone “a basic idea on how sustainable their community is” (Global Ecovillage
Network, 2009). This tool can help communities assess their levels of sustainability and help
keep them to track their progress towards a more sustainable future (Global Ecovillage Network,
Kilbert (2007) refers to the triple bottom line in which organizations are refocusing from
financial needs to more comprehensive needs, which include environmental and social impacts.
The CSA checklist focuses on three main categories: ecological, social, and spiritual (Global
Ecovillage Network, 2009). These categories focus on various overall sustainability needs for a
community and they use a stool as a model (see Figure 1) with each leg representing the three
categories that are needed to support the seat which is the community (Global Ecovillage
Network, 2009). For a stool, the seat must be upheld by its legs in order to be strong and sturdy,
which is no different than what is needed to build a strong and sustainable community (Flint,
Figure 1. CSA Model
A mini-CSA as preformed on my community in Anytown, Anystate. According Global
Ecovillage Network (2009) the CSA is subjective, meaning the person doing the assessment
needs to judge the community to complete the assessment. To get further input in completing
this assessment, family and neighbors provided input to reduce this bias. We did not complete
the entire assessment, but focused on 15 questions in the checklist so I could reduce the scope of
this assessment to something I could manage for this assignment.
The Global Ecovillage Network (2009) suggests that it takes two to three hours to
complete an initial baseline which is used to review the accomplishments to date, as well as to
focus further actions to future improvements. Assignment Series 2 will allow me to create an
initial baseline and I hope to be able to assemble improvement recommendations in the later
assignment that I can take to my community leaders for future considerations. As communities
pursue improvements, they can review the progress they make on the assessment score to track
their progress. A score of 0-165 on the full CSA indicates that actions are needed to undertake
sustainability, while 166-332 implies there is a good start, and 333+ indicates excellent progress
has been made toward sustainability (Global Ecovillage Network, 2009). The following
checklist was created (Global Ecovillage Network, 2009) and the underlined choice is the answer
selected for our community. The number in parenthesis by each answer is how many points
CSA awards for answer. There are several pages of questions; this assignment targeted 20
questions from each of the three categories.
Ecological Checklist
1) Sense of Place – community location and scale; restoration & preservation of nature
a) How many people in the community would you describe as being connected with and
living harmoniously within the place in which they live:
all – very few exceptions (5)
most (3)
some (1)
few/none (-1)
2) Food Availability, Production & Distribution
a) Food is – estimated % (points) – (If less than the lowest %, count as 0 points) produced
within community:
12% (1) 13-25% (3) 26-40% or more (5)
b) Pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers are used in the community’s food production:
commonly (-3) some (-1)
minimally (1)
never (6)
3) Physical Infrastructure, Building & Transportation – ecological materials, methods & designs
a) The extent to which pre-existing buildings are retrofitted for sustainability/aesthetics:
most (6)
some (3)
few/none (0)
b) How well the community is designed to minimize motor vehicle use inside the
community (for example, clustering of buildings):
very well (4)
adequately (2) minimally (2) inadequately (-1)
4) Consumption Patterns & Solid Waste Management
a) The extent to which the community’s needs are met by local marketplaces (shortening the
gap between producers and consumers):
great (5) somewhat (3) very little (1) not at all (-1)
b) An estimate of how many people in the community know the location and method of
managing trash from the community (garbage removal, landfill site, etc.):
all – very few exceptions (5) most (3) some (1) few/none (0)
5) Water – sources, quality & use patterns:
a) An estimate of how many people in the community know, respect, and protect the water
all – very few exceptions (6) most (3) some (1) few/none (-1)
6) Waste Water & Water Pollution Management
a) An estimate of how many people in the community know the location and method of
sewage treatment used by the community:
all – very few exceptions (6) most (3) some (1) few/none (-1)
7) Energy Sources & Uses
a) The amount of energy that is generated from renewable energy sources (solar, wind,
hydro, biomass, or geothermal) located in the community is:
all (7) most (5) some (3) little (1) none (0)
Ecological Total: 3 (out of 55 available)
The Miami Herald columnist Al Burt (1985) once described many Florida residents as
having absentee hearts. I believe that this is the problem that my community is facing. We have
a lot of turnover in our population and it leads to a feeling that no one really belongs here. It
seems like people come here to live and last only a few years. This leads to a lack of ownership
in the community and little motivation to give attention to the areas described for sustainability.
Social Checklist
1) Openness, Trust & Safety; Communal Space
a) The extent to which there is a basic sense of safety and trust within the community:
mostly (6) some (3) little (0) not at all (-1)
2) Communication – the flow of ideas & information
a) The community’s system to provide members with opportunities to regularly share
information, exchange ideas and announce needs is:
excellent (15) adequate (5) minimal (1) inadequate (-5)
b) Community members make use of this system:
often (10) sometimes (3) very little (1) not at all (0)
3) Social Sustainability – diversity & tolerance; decision making; conflict resolution
a) An estimate of how many community members value diversity and practice tolerance
(within the community):
all – very few exceptions (3) most (2) some (1) few/none (-1)
4) Education
a) The extent to which educational systems and teaching methods promote individual selfrealization:
great (6) somewhat (3) in small part (1) not at all (-2)
5) Health care
a) Deaths from preventable causes in the community are:
rare (6) occasional (3) common (-1) frequent (-3)
Social Total: 10 (out of 40 available)
Leadership in our law enforcement, government, education, etc. has traditionally been in the
hands of long term residents. This has helped some aspects of community, but with an
increasing immigrant population, as well as a lack of revenue or time, it seems there is little
investment that can be impacting this social aspect.
Spiritual Checklist
1) Cultural Sustainability
a) Cultural programs, festivals and celebrations, open to anyone, are offered: Check as
many as apply within the community (10) within bioregion (5) none nearby (-5)
2) Arts & Leisure
a) Opportunities are available for community members to develop artistic talents (classes,
apprenticeships, and support for individual artistic pursuits):
almost always (6) usually (4) sometimes (2) rarely (0) never (-2)
3) Spiritual Sustainability – rituals & celebrations; support for inner development & spiritual
a) Community members are free to worship the creator/creation, and celebrate their
connection with the divine, through devotional practices of their choice:
yes (10) no (-5)
4) Community Glue
a) Most community members would agree that the quality of life in the community is best
described as:
excellent (5) good (3) adequate (1) inadequate (0) poor (-2)
Spiritual Total: 25 (out of 31 available)
This area did very well because our residents enjoy and have the benefit of many of these
aspects. I think that the score may be slightly misleading because they are so many social
gatherings and places of worship. There are other categories under this checklist that the
community does quite poor in, but since I already covered more than asked and this was getting
long, I did not add them to my mini-assessment.
The more I looked at this assessment tool, the more I want to include. I think I will
provide my community leaders with a copy of the complete assessment. My community seems
to be suffering from a majority of the residents really having no real ties to the community. This
also affects other areas, many I omitted here. I guess if people do not feel at home in a place and
do not plan to stay long, they are less motivated to act in the best interest of the community.
Burt, A. (1985). Florida’s Broken Heart. Miami Herald, February 17, 1985
Global Ecovillage Network (2009). Community Sustainability Assessment. Retrieved on April,
04 2009 at: http://gen.ecovillage.org/activities/csa/English/
Flint, Dr. R. Warren. (2008, February 1). “Community Sustainability Assessment.” SN Home
Page. Retrieved April 4, 2009 from http://www.sustainability-now.org/csa.htm
Kilbert, C. (2007). Sustainable Construction Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Mary Smith
St. Petersburg College
The commercial building located at 801 West Bay Drive is an existing 95,000 sq. ft.
Class B building in Pinellas County, Florida owned by LL Holdings of Tampa Bay. The building
consists of eight stories which contain multiple executive suites, conference rooms, and a
community kitchen. There are two elevators and one stairway in this building. Each floor in this
building has a minimum of two bathroom facilities. The office space, including the executive
suites, range from 100 to 9,000 sq. ft. Outside of this building is an asphalt parking area which
covers 18,354 sq. ft. and there is minimal landscaping. The building was conventionally
constructed in 1973 and is located in a shopping plaza. A mini-sustainability assessment of this
building will be conducted using the U.S. Green Building Council and the Eco-Advantage
Figure 1. Location
The U.S. Green Building Coalition has the Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) rating system for existing buildings (EB) which focuses on “maximizing
operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impact” (U.S. Green Building Council,
2009). The LEED-EB checklist main categories are; sustainable sites, water, efficiency, energy
and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in
operations, and regional priority (U.S. Green Building Council, 2009). An existing building may
earn up to 100 base points with different levels of certification awarded based upon the total
points earned (note this is for the updated rating system that what is covered in our textbook,
U.S. Green Building Council, 2009):
Certified: 40-49 points
Silver: 50-59 points
Gold: 60-79 points
Platinum: 80 points and above
This mini-assessment will use 9 sub-categories on this checklist. According to Kilbert
(2007), teams can now use an online system for registering and applying for this certification.
The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) as established to support this process for
project certification, as well as professional certifications in this rating system (Green Building
Certification Institute,2009).
Eco-Advantage Toolkit
In Green To Gold (2006) they talk about how business strategies in leading companies
are integrating the environment. They also provide a self-assessment tool to use to support ecotracking, eco-design, and culture (Esty & Winston, 2006). Furthermore, they use DfE as a term
for “design for environment” which “thinks about the entire value chain impact of the product,
from supplier components to customer use and disposal” (Esty & Winston, 2006). Esty and
Winston (2006) also then connect this to life-cycle analysis to track progress to improvements in
the organization’s footprint by using a structured environmental management system.
This mini-assessment will attempt a brief AUDIO assessment (Esty & Winston, 2006).
AUDIO is an acronym for aspects, upstream, downstream, issues and opportunities (AUDIO)
that use used to “trace the environmental footprint of a business, as well highlight the
environmental factors that may impinge on the business” (Esty Environmental Partners, 2009).
“It is often used as a starting point to identify areas for further focus” by looking upstream at
customers and downstream to suppliers for “directly-controlled business activities to ensure all
environmental challenges and opportunities are identified (Esty Environmental Partners, 2009).
This analysis will focus on the following areas of concern identified in the eco-advantage selfassessment tool:
Energy efficient appliances and equipment
Occupant Awareness
Material Toxicity
Process, Challenges, and Assumptions
This assessment will be completed by observations, interviews, and public records
searches. The main challenge was the inability to access specific information, including
electricity and water usage records, which could have provided a more in-depth assessment. As a
result, this mini-assessment had to focus on only the categories in which needed information was
accessible. Some potential assumptions include correct public records information, non-bias on
the part of participants who offered their opinions in interviews, as well as accurate observation
of the conditions in the building. Table 1 and 2 highlight the results of this mini-assessment.
Indoor Plumbing Fixture and Fitting Efficiency
Reduced Mercury in lamps
Ongoing Consumables
(Sustainable Purchasing)
Solid waste management
Sustainable Cleaning products and equipment
Reduce particulates in air distribution
Thermal Comfort Monitoring
Renewable Energy
Occupant controlled lighting
traditional flush toilets (no low flow)
manual turn on/off faucets
Standard Incandescent and linear
fluorescent throughout
paper, postage supplies, printer, fax,
copier and typewriter ink cartridges,
paper cups, plastic silver, coffee and
filters, creamer, sugar, paper towels,
toilet tissue, hand and dish soap
standard pick-up by Waste Management
no recycling policy
complex cleaned by contract cleaning
company, non-green
visible mold on vent covers
average daytime temperature 69°F
night-time temperature 69°F – 78°F
depending on whether or not the unit
has been turned off
yes, all switches publicly accessible
except inside elevators
* O = Determined by observation, I = Determined by interview, PR = Determined by Public
Record information
Table 2. Eco-Advantage Toolkit: AUDIO
Energy star
and equipment
Rising energy
costs and CO2
Cost passed
on to tenants,
bldg occupancy
Cost burden,
Reduce CO2,
save energy
costs, keep
rents competitive
Quantity of
Waste from
suppliers of
Disposal by
contract cleaning
Buy bulk, tenant
approval, potential
partnership w/
nearby businesses
with staff and
Increased public
awareness, more
Rising disposal
costs, adding
excessively to
waste stream
higher operating
Occupant health-
purchase chemical
hazards, environmental hazards
improper disposal
liability, effect
free alternatives
Use of passenger
Effects on
Vehicle emissions
Ride Sharing
Size of parking
businesses may
Material Toxicity
Use of harmful
chemicals in
in products
How tenants
get to the office
Building appeal
Demands of
parking lot size
approval, reduced
on occupancy
lot, pavement,
cost factors
Summary of Results
As highlighted in Table 1 and 2, the building uses traditional plumbing fixtures in all
bathroom and kitchen facilities that have not been upgraded since 1973. The building consists of
offices with windows along outside walls and “internal” offices which have no windows. The
building has light switches publicly accessible for all areas, except in elevators. But only some of
the tenants turn off their lights when not needed in the building. Additionally, some tenants use
lights in the offices that have natural light from windows during the day. Public areas, such as
the reception area, mail room, kitchen, bathrooms, and hallways, are frequently left lit when not
needed and no effort has been made to increase occupant awareness. Furthermore less than 50%
of shared appliances and equipment in the building are Energy Star certified and there is no
renewable energy sources used. Heating and cooling is centrally controlled with an average
daytime temperature of 69°F and it is infrequently turned off overnight. Ceiling duct vents show
visible bacterial growth and/or potential mold.
Consumables purchased by building management show no sustainable purchasing
policies. Paper products contain between 0-30% post consumer recycled content. Waste
Management, Inc. provides solid waste pick-up and tenants are provided with one trash can per
office room. All trash is collected and emptied each night by a cleaning company. There is no
recycling available. Recently Waste Management’s “Green Squad” has been contacted to
implement a business waste reduction program. A contracted cleaning company provides
janitorial services and their supplies are traditional commercial cleaning solutions and their trash
bags are not biodegradable. Executive suites are leased on month-to-month terms and when
turned over, each suite is painted with traditional flat paint. Carpet is changed on an as-needed
basis. No consideration is given to the usage of alternative non-toxic materials.
The building’s parking area extends over 18,354 sq. ft. and is never fully utilized. The
ratio of cars to tenants reveals that occupants drive to the office alone and interviews with tenants
confirmed this calculation. A survey of twenty-four occupants discovered that all lived within the
city limits, but carpooling or alternative transportation was not used. Landscaping surrounding
the building is scarce. Public records (Pinellas County, 2009) revealed this building is in a
designated Community Redevelopment District.
In conclusion, the mini-assessment found no indication of sustainable processes or
systems. However, there are a large number of opportunities for improvement. Various
stakeholders will need to be involved in this project (i.e. internal building management, staff, and
occupants, as well as external parties such as the cleaning company, construction contractors,
suppliers of consumables, Waste Management Inc., and potentially the City of Largo). In
addition to increasing operating efficiency of the building, such improvements would greatly
impact the health and comfort of occupants, increase community approval and awareness, and
positively affect the environment.
Esty, D. C. and Winston, A. S. (2006). Green To Gold. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from
Esty Environmental Partners (2009). Services. Retrieved July 28, 2009 at:
Green Building Certification Institute (2009). Project Certification. Retrieved July 28, 2009 at:
Kilbert, C. (2007). Sustainable Construction Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Pinellas County (2009). The Pinellas County Database Search. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from
Pinellas County Property Appraiser:
U.S. Green Building Council (2009). USGBC: LEED for Existing Buildings (v3). Retrieved July
28, 2009, from U.S. Green Building Council:

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