" Sustainability should be second nature to our business practices and intent. " M3D strives to help others achieve this goal. That's our vocation and our expertise.

Blue Roofs: What are they and what are some design strategies for Implementation?

Blue roofs are an attractive idea for cities that have issues with controlling rain water drainage volumes and have combined sewer systems still in service such as New York City (NYC). Blue roofs are used as a strategy for slowing the drainage of water from roofs while avoiding some of the extra costs associated with green roofs. They can also provide evaporated cooling as part of the design. Combined with a grey water system blue roofs can capture water for irrigation and within the building to help with water conservation. Most of the research on this is being done on the government level.  NYC is leading this research as we have major drainage problems, as of 2012 they are part of the green infrastructure plan.

For further reading on NYC’s policy and planning check the following link NYC Green Infrastructure plan.

When combined with other roofing strategies they can be used in creative ways to develop beautiful spaces. Green Infrastructure Feasibility study – Check out this feasibility scan for Bridgeport and New Haven CT for further reading on strategies with cost and cost effective designs.

Blue roofs offer more precise control, are less expensive then green roofs and are less weight on roof so that existing roofs might not need reinforcement. Blue roofs can:

  • Helps control Stormwater runoff
  • May provide evaporated cooling
  • Helps with water conservation.

Blue roofs are used only on flat roofs, where ponding can happen and causes roof leaks. Ponding needs to be a consideration as part of the system design. How do you prevent ponding on blue roofs? The Design team must design the roof to drain in 24hr rain event and need to look at roof membrane erosion. A Blue roof must be designed with the following in mind to prevent full-blown ponding by:

  • Controlling the flow of water
  • Placing the drains at real structure low points
  • Designing the roof to drain within 24hrs of a rain event
  • Not creating sites where the flow of water will damage the roof membrane through erosion

Blue roofs can also be called “roof ponds.” There are existing technology that aids in the design of blue roofs, such items are called flow regulators, roof drain governor, roof drain with weir, or flow control roof drains.

Design will need environmental engineers to estimate water volume and flow rate and structural engineer to make sure that the loads are safe for the  existing or new roofs.

Blue roofs strategies have a lot of possibility for innovation and can be put into practice on new and existing roofs. Some strategies are:

  Using Check Dams, slow water down. A Check Dam a system of barriers that would slow water down. 
  Detention berms, like check dames’ detention berms may require roof structural reinforcement. They are areas where water is detained for a short period of time.   
  Trays for existing roofs, this is the easiest type of blue roof to install and most flexible. They do not collect water from surroundings like the other strategies. They do add weight to the roof so structural considerations will need to be thought of in the design phase. 

Some blue roof design parameters to consider are:

  • Design should be based on Drainage rate, Drainage volume and Climatic data
  • Design should be depending on Structural capacity, Location of water storage vs. structural elements, roof slope, detention volume / overflow volume, rate of evaporation, Drain capacity, Roof geometry.
  • Redundancy of certain elements in the design such as Roof membrane and Drainage capacity.

If projects are going after LEED certification, Blue Roofs might be used for – SS Credit: Stormwater Management where a blue roof is used to control stormwater runoff. This process can also find LEED Credit Synergies in:

WE Credit – Water Efficient Landscaping

EA Credit/ Prerequisite Commissioning

EA Credit Measure and Verification

MR Credits Environmentally Preferable Materials

Blue roofs can be a great addition for any project that is looking for lower cost sustainability measures as well as be implemented in urban areas where there is a high risk of flooding and combined sewer systems.

LEED V4 – Next steps in LEED Certification

LEED V4 is identified as the most significant overhaul in LEED certification to date.  It had gone through 6 public comments period from 2010 to 2013 and was approved by 86% of the USGBC body. It is a robust step forward from the 1998 pilot and its release in 2000. The USGBC is challenging industry leaders and is pushing the needle to greener building. LEED V4 is technologically stringent as it seeks alignment of design and performance through expanding commissioning and verifications as well as transparency in production of building materials. It is the next step in the evaluation to sustainable design. USGBC is looking to sift industry thinking from “Do less bad to do more good mentality” which would lead to Net Zero goals to reduce impact of buildings and development on global climate change.

LEED goals:

* Enhance individual human health and well being
* Protect and restore water resources
* Protect, enhance, restore bio-diversity and eco systems services
* Promote sustainable and regenerative material resource cycle
* Build a greener economy
* Enhance social equity, environmental justice, and community quality of life.

In V4 USGBC took these goals and assigned the highest value to the credits that would make the greatest impact to these goals. They placed the credits in priority order to help teams in this process. LEED V4 has addressed these goals and has made some of the following changes:

* Energy is given 20% of the points of certification. In 2009 ASHRAE 2007 plus a 20% increase on that had to be made, in V4 ASHRAE 2010 is to be used plus 5% increase on this standard. For projects located in NYC, ASHRAE 2010 is already a code requirement and should not be difficult to achieve as the design teams have to develop to this standard to date.

* Water efficiency is a priority and with the analysis of over 40,000 case studies USGBC has found changes that needed to be developed in this credit.  Energy consumption and domestic metering is needed. An example is they looked at the duel flushing systems and took to improvements to a one time flush system as they have found that they utilize more water. They changed the term storm water to rain water management and the need to address 95% of rainwater management to be addresses at all times of the year.

*Advanced metering credit was added to address on-going building performance and maintenance

* Plug loads are also addressed as 70% of electric use is accountable to these.

* Building product lifecycle impact categories were added. Here 20 different products have to be chosen from 5 different manufacturers that have the extraction / manufacturing / product use and end of life cycle information supplied. This is not only done for environmental impact but to also help bring smaller manufacturers into the conversation that are already manufacturing to these standards.

* A life cycle assessment credit is given 3 points where a site / building or project will lower impact on global warming and two other areas by 10%.

* Product transparency is a renewed focus and teams can get 6 points for using products that have simplified labels.  There are products that would could be found for this on sites like www.Declareproducts.com, here manufactures that have already declared the ingredients of their products can be found.

* Integrative Process credit is added to help integrate an ongoing design and evaluation process for the project to continue beyond occupancy. This brings on the integrative life cycle approach early into the discussion.

* V4 addresses lighting / new metrics / new lighting controls to a higher level.

* Acoustic design is also addressed and will have to be planed into the design process.

* Demand response is added to the energy management part of LEED. Design will need to be addressed to incorporate a demand response programs.  This is developed to encourage communication between building management and utilities.

* In IEQ where view had to be to the outside, now views are specified that it needs to be substantial views and not brick walls.

* A carbon offset credit was increased – 5 years of green power not 2 only 2 years and has to be 50% of the power.

LEED V4 includes new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects. For more information visit USGBC website at http://www.usgbc.org/v4.



New Lower Fee – Push Your Company’s Sustainability to the next level – Few Seats Left


NYIT  -  October 2014Mondays & Wednesdays: October 27, 29, November 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, December 1; 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.



Push Your Company’s Sustainability to the next level.

Join NYIT’s Extended Education this fall for our new certificate in Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility.

Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 

Class will help attendees understand the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) 26000 Social Responsibility and G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.  It will be broken down to two 5 week 10hr programs.  First 5 week session will cover ISO 26000. Participants will receive a CSR Certified Professional.  For a CSR Advanced Certified Professional the 2nd part of the program will need to be taken and this 5 week program will cover G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI Certificate will be offered in the spring 2015 semester.

Attendees will:

  •   APPRECIATE  the complexity of CSR
  •   CONSIDER the evolution of CSR from margin to mainstream
  •   ARTICULATE an understanding of CSR
  •   INTEGRATE  CSR into strategic planning
  •   ACQUIRE skills and techniques for leading organizational change
  •   BECOME part of a community of ongoing learning

Who Should attend:

  • Directors and business development executives from companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations and consultancies
  • CSR & sustainability managers
  • Key strategic staff
  • Sustainability consultants
  • Accountants and lawyers

For more information, please call 800.886.NYIT or email exted@nyit.edu or visit http://www.nyit.edu/extended_education



Section: M01 (Manhattan)

Mondays & Wednesdays: October 27, 29, November 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, December 1; 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Fee: $1,950, 2 or more registrants from  the same company $950 each.

Leading Retail Businesses Recognize Benefits of Sustainable Environments: CSR & LEED go hand in hand

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is on the rise and companies from all walks of life are seeing the benefit of following this path. Today we will be looking at the Retail sector and how some companies are using these to grow their Brand and reducing their footprint.

Retailers that are focusing on sustainability can realize a number of benefits, including improved customer sentiment, great employee engagement and lower costs. An example of such a retailer is PUMA (Luxury brand owned by Kering) who won the Guardian Sustainable Business Award in 2012. The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards (GSBAs) reward best practice in sustainable business, showcasing innovative corporate initiatives that tackle the most pressing environmental and social challenges businesses face and that are part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy. [1] Kering who also owns other brands, including iconic luxury houses Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta has committed these brands to complete an annual environmental profit and loss account by 2015 and follow the path of PUMA.  These companies have seen that within CSR the building environment also needs to be a major target to help in this change and see the benefits of utilizing LEED, as well as, other sustainable and social measures. According to the USGBC there are only 17 Platinum level projects in the LEED ID+C Retail category in the U.S.  Recently, PUMA has become one of those member companies. The newest PUMA outlet location, at Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, New York, was the latest store to be formally recognized with LEED Platinum certification. Formally PPR and seeing CSR benefits PPR changed its name in 2013 to Kering a label meant to signify the company’s ‘caring’ approach to cultivating its brands as well as acknowledging the roots of the company in France’s Brittany region. ‘Ker’ means home in Breton.[2]  As they have recognized the importance of CSR, Kering is pushing their brands in the green market on all fronts. In Feb 2014 they announced that Luxury Goods International (LGI), the Swiss-based company that manages the distribution and logistics platform for most of Kering’s luxury brands (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, McQ, Stella McCartney and Brioni), has gained LEED certification for its center in Sant’Antonino, Canton Ticino. Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs, Kering, commented that “LEED certification of our subsidiary LGI is a great accomplishment, and contributes to the global commitment and work that our brands are doing on a daily basis to reach our Kering sustainability targets.” [3]

Other Luxury brands are recognizing the benefits of going green, and are starting to talk about it. In 2010 Louis Vuitton opened its first eco-friendly LEED-certified Louis Vuitton store in the world, located in Santa Monica, CA.  In 2011 Tiffany launched its own sustainability website, detailing the responsible business practices that have made it a sector leader.  On this website they are talking about their CSR leadership “we are taking important steps to evolve our workspaces to reduce climate change impacts. In our hometown of New York City, our corporate offices were consolidated according to the LEED® green building certification program. The offices are LEED certified to the Platinum level, the highest level possible, recognizing our efforts to reduce energy use and other environmental impacts.”

Other retail stores such as Starbucks have pushed beyond a one location certification and have created standards for other locations to follow. Starbucks has currently certified 452 stores in 18 countries. 16 of their stores are in Thailand, including Porto Chino which is the first LEED Gold store for Starbucks in all of Asia. This store includes the use of recycled coffee grounds in table tops, low emitting materials for adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and flooring, over 10% of materials extracted within 500 miles and over 45% lighting power savings through the use of efficient LED fixtures.[4]

Target Corporation has 1,781 stores across the United States and at Target.com. The company has opened 124 stores in Canada and has implemented LEED Certification into all the stores that have opened in 2013. “We take our role as good corporate citizen very seriously, and we’re proud that Target is making a firm commitment to sustainability in Canada,” said Tony Fisher, president, Target Canada. “Striving for LEED certification at our 124 stores opening in 2013 is important as we seek to use our resources responsibly and maintain the health of our communities.”[5]

There are many other retailers that are seeing the benefits of LEED and following these companies, some of them are listed on the following page.[6]

U.S. Retailers With New Construction Buildings, LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council: U.S. Retailers With Commercial Interiors, LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council:
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Gurnee Mills
Gurnee, IL
Platinum LEED Rating
August, ME
Platinum LEED Rating

Joliet, IL
Gold LEED Rating

Cary, NC
Gold LEED Rating

Chicago, IL
Gold LEED Rating

Office Depot, Anderson Lane
Austin, TX
Gold LEED Rating

San Rafael, CA
Gold LEED Rating

Best Buy, Stafford Township
Manahawkin, NJ
Silver LEED Rating

Burlington, WI
Silver LEED Rating
Linden, NJ
Silver LEED Rating

L.L. Bean Data Center
Freeport, ME
Silver LEED Rating

Retail Pilot Supermarket
Boulder, CO
Silver LEED Rating

BP, 29th & J St.
Sacramento, CA
Certified LEED Rating

Gibsonia, PA
Certified LEED Rating

Chapel Hill, NC
Certified LEED Rating

Lake Buena Vista, FL
Certified LEED Rating


Coldwater Creek
Austin, TX
Gold LEED Rating
Coldwater Creek
Gig Harbor, WA
Gold LEED Rating

KFC/Taco Bell
Northampton, MA
Gold LEED Rating

L.L. Bean
Colonie, NY
Gold LEED Rating

Pizza Fusion
Weston, FL
Gold LEED Rating

Boulder, CO
Gold LEED Rating

Timberland, Northshore
Peabody, MA
Gold LEED Rating

Coldwater Creek
Bee Cave, TX
Silver LEED Rating

Coldwater Creek
San Antonio, TX
Silver LEED Rating
 L.L. Bean
Mansfield, MA
Silver LEED Rating

L.L. Bean
South Windsor, CT
Silver LEED Rating

Pittsburgh, PA
Silver LEED Rating

Timberland, Rockingham
Salem, NH
Silver LEED Rating

Coldwater Creek
Boulder, CO
Certified LEED Rating

Pizza Fusion
Wellington, FL
Certified LEED Rating




Green buildings provide immediate and measurable results for building managers and occupants. LEED enables a project to benchmark energy and water, which is a critical tactic that is saving companies and government millions of dollars, year over year, simply by reducing costs through saved energy, water and other resources.

Kohl’s is one retail giant that has seen the benefits of LEED to its bottom line.  They have committed to certify every new ground-up store.  They also have 84 stores certified LEED for retail new construction, 1 store Gold Certified LEED for Retail Commercial Interiors and 108 certified under LEED stores Existing Building: Operation & Maintenance. Following this path of LEED not only helped improve building systems and processes, it also contributed measurably to each of the company’s existing environmental initiatives: Maximize energy efficiency, minimize waste, improve building design, reduce emissions and encourage stakeholder engagement.[7]

Overall Buildings meeting LEED’s standards have been shown to have numerous benefits to employees, public image and a company’s bottom line.

Public Image
Green technology is a popular way of improving public image, and for good reason: people want to know that local businesses are committed to good environmental practices, and nothing demonstrates this commitment like LEED certification. Although many companies consider LEED certification purely for the environmental benefits, the improved publicity and public image are another reason to consider LEED-certified construction.

Lower Operating Costs
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of LEED-certification, and it ranks high on the list of any corporation considering new construction. LEED-certified projects do typically have a higher initial investment because of the need for stricter standards for construction, materials and labor, but this initial investment can be recovered in short order. Various studies have been done to measure increased efficiency among LEED buildings, but the largest of these studies was conducted by the New Building Institute in 2008 and found an average decrease in energy consumption of approximately 24 percent. This sort of savings can easily translate into millions of dollars per year.

Community Benefits
Having a green building or site that is recognized by LEED certification is a dramatic and public way of demonstrating a strong commitment to green practices and improving the environment. LEED-certified construction projects also stimulate the local economy, since one of LEED’s best practices is utilizing local materials and labor wherever possible.

Happier Employees
LEED-certified buildings have large windows, open spaces, and are generally built with employee or occupant comfort in mind as much as energy savings. Besides offering increased sunlight, LEED buildings also have significantly higher air quality and more comfortable work space for employees. By making work a place where employees feel comfortable and happy, productivity will also increase.

Why Choose LEED?
At the end of the day, LEED certification is the badge of a business that cares strongly about good environmental practices and is willing to spend significant resources pursuing them. Although the upfront costs are significant, LEED projects will save money for businesses in the long term and can significantly improve their public image. As the move to increase environmental awareness continues, more and more businesses will make the commitment.

Looking to build your CSR Vision, Add to your understanding of CSR or Green Building Development, M3D is the partner you need to achieve your goals.


[1] Puma.com “PUMA wins Guardian Sustainable Business Award 2012”

[2] Businessoffashion.com “Why Did PPR Change Its Name to Kering”

[3] Kering.com “Luxury Goods International Attains the Highest Level (Platinum) of LEED Certification”

[4] Starbucks.com “Global Responsibility Report Goals & Progress 2013”

[5] Target.com “Target® Seeks LEED Certification for All 2013 Canadian Store Locations”

[6] AboutMoney.com  article “Top U.S. Retail Companies With LEED Certified Stores, Buildings and Facilities”

[7] USGBC.org “Case Study, Kohl’s Department Stores, 143 Certified Stores and Counting”