Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rob B OPI Concept Salon Awarded Prestigious LEED® Green Building Certification

Rob B OPI Concept Salon Awarded Prestigious LEED® Green Building Certification
Another feather in the Eco-Cap of Los Angeles architect Richard Best

Studio City California, December 15, 2011 – American architect Richard Best and his architecture firm Richard Best Architect, Inc. announced today that one of their projects, the ROB B OPI Concept Salon, has been awarded LEED® Silver Certification, as established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED® is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

“Building operations are nearly 40% of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like ROB B OPI Concept Salon are addressing it through local solutions.”

In fact, Richard Best Architect, Inc. has crafted the world’s first LEED® Silver Certified nail salon – an extraordinary new building. Achieving LEED® Silver Certification is no easy design task. This design was further complicated by having to provide treatment sterility while overcoming the noxious fumes of nail polish and exposure to potentially harmful cleaning chemicals that are typical of the nail salon industry. The architects quickly realized that this project could only become ecologically sound and a truly healthy human environment with a dedicated effort of both the architects and the ownership team.

Environmental design and stewardship are not new to Best and his practice – Mr. Best first began designing eco-friendly buildings while still in college studying architecture in 1979, before it was the “chic thing to do”. In June of 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, Best received a “Best Practices Award” from the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization (a multi-national Treaty sanctioned renewable energy organization), for his career-long commitment to sustainable building design.

Eco-conscious buildings were also familiar turf to Rob B Salon and GS & MS Properties (the owners of the building). Both companies were keenly aware of corporate social/environmental responsibility – both having a vision of the future that recognized the need for corporations and businesses to behave differently – to provide for better human health, conserve natural resources, reduce risks and ultimately increase their profits by doing so.

An architect with sustainable design expertise and an ownership willing to walk-the-talk of green design and operations … An Eco-Dream Team was borne. In this case there was no need for the architect to educate the ownership regarding the resultant costs savings, marketing benefits and increased revenues of going green with the design of their new facility.

As a first step, the team considered a myriad of sustainability options – site opportunities such as access to local mass transit and encouraging alternate modes of transportation – bicycles and SMART Cars, installing low-water consumption plumbing fixtures and landscaping, using high-efficiency heating/air-conditioning systems with added fresh air ventilation, using construction materials with recycled content and materials which are absent of volitle organic compounds, employing dimmer systems and programmable thermostats for easily adjustable heating/cooling and lighting.

Next, the team formed a LEED® strategy by prioritizing selected options based on operational effectiveness, ecological synergistic benefits cost/schedule impacts and aesthetics. The team actually invented some new strategies such as an Alternative Company Textiles Program - discouraging the use rayons and nylons and encouraging use of bamboo and a Green Cleaning Program to reduce employee and client exposure to potentially harmful cleaning chemicals.

“We’ve created an eco-friendly Zen-like oasis respecting the environment and making people feel good,” says Best, Principal of Richard Best Architect, Inc. Best goes continues – “you can feel the difference when you cross the threshold … the freshness of the air, the balance of humidity and temperature, the calming of elegant natural materials and the acoustic privacy of a home.”

The ROB B OPI Concept Salon achieved LEED® Silver Certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies, including: 1) Reducing pollution, saving energy and reducing energy costs – by using high efficiency energy saving heating/cooling systems coupled with abundant fresh air ventilation, high efficiency lighting – LED (light-emitting diode) lamps and abundant daylighting and by using SMART Cars; 2) Improving human health – by implementing a Green Cleaning Program to reduce exposure to noxious chemicals; and 3) Conserving natural resources – by using rapidly renewable bamboo wood for cabinets & furniture and saving water by using drought tolerant landscaping and building with recycled construction materials

“It’s all in the Synergies,” says Best –“making single eco-conscious choices that when combined, yield multiple benefits … The whole being worth more than the simple sum of its parts” (Aristotle, Wertheimer, Fuller, etal). By using less energy and water, LEED certified building save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

“And, its good business”, Best postulates. Forward-looking corporations and business owners – like The Rob B OPI Concept Salon and GS & MS Properties recognize the fiscal benefits of choosing to “go green” with their buildings and operations, and they capitalize on green business branding which appeals to many of their clients and makes for happier, more productive workers.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most-important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The work of innovative building projects such as ROB B OPI Concept Salon is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

About Richard Best Architect, Inc.
After apprenticing under world renowned architect, Charles W. Moore, Richard Best became a California licensed architect in 1986, then he became nationally registered by NCARB in 1989 and a LEED® Accredited Professional in 2010 (BD+C). In 1988, with a full breadth of professional experience behind him and believing it incumbent upon architects to continuously strive to improve the human condition and respect the natural environment, Mr. Best established Richard Best Architect, Inc., in Los Angeles, California. As a seasoned professional practice with a deep understanding of sustainability concepts and technology in energy, waste, carbon emissions, green building and other areas, the firm is able to identify tools, capitalize upon opportunities and mobilize resources for sustainability planning and implementation. Richard Best Architect, Inc. specializes in sustainable design and corporate sustainability visioning, culture building, strategic program creation and implementation to leverage the social, branding, and financial values of sustainability into profit-driven initiatives, operational cost reductions and risk diminution. Richard Best Architect, Inc. provides their clients with homogenous real-time sustainability solutions for short-term business needs and long-term corporate sustainability success. Read more about Mr. Best and Richard Best Architect, Inc, at and

About the Rob B OPI Concept Salon
In March of 2009, The Rob B OPI Concept Salon was established to provide high-end manicure/pedicure and massage services using OPI Products, providing a comfortable atmosphere to enhance client’s physical appearance and soothe their souls within a “green” retail environment. The salon is filled with the most comfortable furnishings, and the most talented, experienced professionals stand by, waiting to serve you. At ROB B your well-being is our first priority.  The salon is committed to providing a healthy, safe salon environment and proudly uses the latest in salon sanitation procedures to ensure that the most stringent salon regulations are exceeded.

About U.S. Green Building Council & LEED
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED® Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED® rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Introduction to Richard Best Sustainability Executive

Letter of Introduction

The Face of Sustainability for corporations.

Refined over the course of a 30 year professional career in sustainability as CEO, Architect, and Philanthropic Innovator, I am a passionate, persuasive and deeply informed champion for corporations seeking to enhance their profits by engaging corporate sustainability as an integrated component of their corporate culture, operations and policies.

Successful Corporate Sustainability is borne from creative, open-minded strategic planning and the courage to change – to posture sustainability as a core corporate value.

For corporations willing to recognize and engage the branding, financial and social values of sustainability, I position sustainability as a strategic business priority based upon the triple bottom line … People-Planet-Profit. This approach synergistically leverages sustainability options of human capital, natural capital and economic prosperity into profit centers, expense reductions and risk reduction.

Using a ten-step process, I create greater profitability, reduced operating expenses and reduced risk through practical sustainability implantation. Functioning as a Corporate Officer or as a Consultant, my team and I build relationships to garner the trust of officers, employees, clients and customers motivating them to embrace the value of sustainability by soliciting pride in their own actions to promote a general sense of well-being as they “walk the talk” of sustainability.

As a LEED Accredited Professional (BD+C), I am seasoned with a deep understanding of sustainability concepts and technology in energy, waste, carbon emissions, green building and other areas. Armed with such understanding, I am able to identify tools, capitalize upon opportunities and mobilize resources for sustainability planning and implementation. I am financially astute and able to develop, comprehend and translate long and short-term sustainability efforts into meaningful performance metrics for tracking and measuring success.

I am an excellent communicator with advanced oral and written abilities to influence, educate and persuade at all levels and functions, internal and external. As a credible and highly approachable leader with a natural, transparent and disarming style, I inspire people to action - promoting a climate of innovation, collaboration and participation - up, down and across corporate organizational strata.

Please consider me a resource for your Corporate Sustainability leadership needs.


Richard A. Best, Jr.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sustainable Corporate Facilities: Design and Operation Techniques & Synergies

Sustainable Facilities – Techniques & Synergies

In the broad context, sustainable facilities are environmentally-conscious buildings which utilizes natural, technical and configuration to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space. Sustainable facilities are an integral part of the larger discussion of sustainability - pressing environmental, economic and political issues of our world. Most simply stated, corporate facilities construction and operation must be implemented in a manner to ensure that meeting these need of today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations to meet the same needs.

Sustainable Facilities & Planning Principals

To achieve sustainability in our building designs, I employ a host of natural and technological design measures which I define as Passive and Active. Combined and integrated, these synergistic measures not only provide high-level aesthetics, but also promote human health, energy conservation and natural resources conservation – in-parallel with LEED and other international sustainability disciplines.

Passive measures are generally non-technological design aspects of building which acknowledge the natural features of a project’s site and capitalize on them through building orientation and the shaping of the building’s form. For example in the northern hemisphere – orienting roof surfaces to the south to best collect solar energy, and sculpting a faced to catch prevailing breezes.

Active measures are those measures which can be classified as technological. These measures acknowledge the natural features of a project’s site and then modify the natural features of the site through mechanical or scientific practices. Active measures are wide ranging - from photovoltaic solar collection cells to site bio-swales.

The following section provides a cursory description of ways in which passive and active sustainability techniques may be integrated into corporate facilities and demonstrates the resultant synergistic benefits.

Project Sites & Building Orientation

Passive technique – Reduce energy cost/consumption - use the form and solar orientation of buildings to reduce public utilities demand/cost – design building to accept/reject solar radiant energy, prevailing breezes, sunlight for daylighting of interior spaces and geo-thermal energy as appropriate for augmenting heating and cooling systems on a seasonal basis.
Passive technique – Maximize exterior open spaces and reduce construction costs by avoiding the use of undisturbed lands for new facilities - select previously developed building sites and locate facilities away from habitats, water bodies, forests, farmlands and parks.
Passive technique – Reduce transportation related energy cost/consumption and the creation of associated pollution – choose to encourage the use of public transportation and reduced use of automobiles by selecting a facility site which is near or in an urban or other previously developed area.
Active technique – Reduce facility site stormwater runoff and water utility costs – Install catch basins, cisterns, and ponds to collect rainwater onsite and reuse this water for landscape irrigation.

The Synergy – lower public utility costs +increased human health & productivity
Choose facility sites with an eye toward conservation of energy, water, virgin lands and natural habitats. These site/facility techniques reduce energy and water consumption, protect habitats/species and promote employee productivity. Reduced demand on public utilities and reduced onsite energy use provide life-cycle and operating costs reductions to building owners and operators. Additionally, the water and air pollution caused by the generation of public energy is reduced, and the raw natural resources used in energy generation are conserved. Reduced air and water pollution contribute to reduced healthcare costs – and studies show that employees work harder when they are happier at work in a healthy pleasant environment.

Water Use & Facility Design

Passive technique – Reduce water utility demand and costs of facilities operations and landscape maintenance – integrate rainwater collection into the design of facilities such that the building’s roof, for example, acts as a rain-catcher. Site collected rainwater can be use for irrigation and in some cases graywater plumbing fixture supply.
Passive technique – Reduce water utility demand and costs of facilities operations and landscape maintenance – choose to use drought-resistant and location/geographically appropriate landscaping design to reduce unnecessary irrigation demand.
Active technique – Reduce water utility demand and costs of facilities operations and landscape maintenance – install mulch landscaping where possible to assist with onsite water retention and reduce irrigation evaporation by installing high-efficiency drip irrigation systems.
Active technique – Reduce water utility demand and costs of facilities operations and landscape maintenance - Install low-flow and ultra low-flow interior plumbing fixtures such as water closets, faucets and urinals.

The Synergy – water cost reductions + natural habitat protection
Conserve natural aquifers and other fresh water source while reducing water utility demand and reduce water costs for facility owners. These passive and active water saving techniques reduce water utility consumption which translates into building life-cycle and operational cost reductions, while simultaneously preserving/protecting natural habitats. For example, native plantings are parts of natural habitats, and they require little or no supplemental irrigation - so maintaining natural habitats reduces landscape irrigation needs therefore reducing the need and cost of public utility water for irrigation. In the larger view – onsite water retention/conservation also reduces the demand on natural aquifers which supply our rivers and streams – a rapidly depleting and vital resource.

Energy Use & Facility Design

Passive technique – Reduce energy utility demand and costs – choose to provide renewable energy systems - integrate solar energy collection into facilities such that the facility’s roof, for example, acts as a solar collector. Onsite collected solar energy can be converted directly into water heating and/or into electricity through photovoltaic processes – electricity, both of which can be used for facility operations purposes and reduce these costs.
Passive technique – Reduce energy utility demand and costs – choose to include “Trombe wall” design into the form of buildings. These thermally absorptive exterior walls collect solar radiant heat and use the temperature differential to either add heat to a building’s interior or evacuate heat when cooling is needed. 
Passive technique – Reduce energy utility demand and costs of the facility – choose to foster the development of alternative energies by purchasing your public energy supply from sustainably managed sources – buy “Green Power” for your building.
Active technique – Reduce energy utility demand and costs – reduce electricity consumption by eliminating unnecessary lighting of unoccupied spaces by installing occupancy sensor switching for interior and exterior lighting.
Active technique – Reduce energy utility demand and costs - Install high-efficiency heating/cooling and water heating equipment and systems.

The Synergy – energy cost reductions + human comfort
Use less public energy, reduce operational and life cycle energy costs and provide increased user comfort. These passive and active energy saving techniques reduce energy utility consumption which translates into building life-cycle and operations cost reductions, while simultaneously reducing air pollution (caused by power generation) and preserving unused natural resources. By reducing public energy demand I reduce public energy production which reduces the need to use natural resources like water and fossil fuels for the production of energy. Also this reduction contributes to the survival of human and other species relative to the reduction of need to construct additional nuclear facilities which produce hazardous uranium production bi-products extremely dangerous to human life.

Construction Materials & Building Design

Passive technique – Reduce construction costs and keep zoning rights – choose to reuse existing buildings in favor of constructing new facilities.
Passive technique – Reduce construction costs and reduce pollution - choose regionally made materials made wit
Active technique – Reduce construction costs and decrease materials in the waste stream - recycle construction waste during constru
Active technique – Preserve natural habitats and reduce pollution – install materials containing recycled content and choose materials 
Active technique – Increase human comfort - install materials having high insulation values for thermal energy savings and thermal comfort.

The Synergy – energy cost reductions + indoor spatial quality
Materials synergies are mostly related to reducing the use of virgin natural resources and reducing construction costs for facility owners. Facility owners may reap the financial benefits of re-using existing buildings - their existing utility connections, structural systems and sometimes otherwise unattainable zoning rights. By reusing existing buildings, owners can save construction costs by not having to build new structural systems, floors and interior/exterior walls. Also, often municipalities allow “grand-fathered” existing/historic zoning right to remodeling facilities, which are less stringent than newer zoning regulations and unavailable to new construction projects. Facility owners can benefit from the reduced cost of construction materials by selecting and installing materials produced within a 500 mile radius of facilities. Using regional materials reduces the quantity of materials in the waste stream and reduces energies used and pollution create to extract, fabricate and transport construction materials to a building project. The environment benefits from these techniques are many - reduced air pollution created by the manufacturing and transporting of new construction materials, natural resources (raw materials) are conserved as they are replaced by recycled materials to make construction materials. By installing well insulated materials, a higher degree of human comfort is achieved as heating, cooling and acoustic performance are easier to control. Happier, more comfortable employees are more productive.

Healthy Spaces & Building Design

Passive technique – Increase human health, comfort and productivity – design facilities which capture prevailing breezes and use them for facility ventilation.
Passive technique – Increase human health, comfort and productivity – design interior spaces which are naturally lit by the sun (daylighting).
Passive technique – Increase human health, comfort and productivitydesign interior spaces with views to the out of doors and without glare.
Active technique – Increase human health, comfort and productivity - install low-voc (volatile organic compounds) construction materials and finishes.
Active technique – Increase human health, comfort and productivity – install lighting controls which allow for adjustability based on room occupancy/use.
Active technique – Increase human health, comfort and productivity – Install heating/cooling systems which have a high degree of control and adjustability based on room occupancy/use.

The Synergy – energy cost reductions + indoor spatial quality
The synergy in this section is primarily centered on the human condition as facility occupants use their buildings. Fresh outside air and air free of volatile organic compounds is often easier for heating/cooling equipment to process and contributes to the well-being of building occupants which lowers health maintenance costs. Controlled heating/cooling and artificial lighting leads to building owners achieving life-cycle energy cost reduction and simultaneously conserves natural resource due to reduction in energy used for heating/cooling and lighting of unoccupied spaces. Visual access – views to the outdoors has been shown to improve worker productivity and is usually coupled with daylight previously mentioned. Healthier more comfortable working environments encourage more productive building occupants – healthy and happier building users have been shown to be more productive workers – out performing the discontent. This translates into more profit for corporations.

Inventiveness & Building Design
Beyond simply providing shelter, corporations must continually “raise the bar” of facilities design & operation. It is incumbent upon corporations to strive to improve the human condition and respect the natural environment  while generating maximum profitability. Human comfort/health, environmental stewardship and prosperity must belie all corporate facilities …. A creed to innovate.

Eco BEST Ten-Step Sustainability Process

Ten-Step Sustainability Program Process

This is a systematic team oriented process for forming a corporate sustainability culture complete with policy, services, products and procedures/operations for human health, environmental stewardship and enhanced corporate prosperity.

1)    Industry-specific Research: Prior to assessing the corporation’s sustainability status, gather publicly available information pertinent to the corporation’s industry. Consider local, state, national, and international issues and related data in the areas of Environmental Conditions, Government Incentives/Regulations, Politics, Social Concerns, Sales Market, Economic Trends and Supply Chain Materials Sourcing.

2)    Sustainability Assessment Phase: Perform a holistic and systemic examination of the current state of the corporation to identify opportunities and constraints for integrating sustainability into the fabric of the corporation. Focus on the corporation’s policies, locations, governance, staff, operations, facilities, marketing, products, sales, manufacturing relative to sustainability, profit, expense and risk.

3)    Establish a Sustainability Task Force: Form a working focus-group of decision makers within the corporation to provide critical input, central to the creation of a Sustainability Plan. Prioritize this work and adjust t the corporation’s work schedule accordingly.

4)    Create a Sustainability Ideology: Using teaming & workshop techniques create a Sustainability Ideology complete with Purpose, Core Values, Mission and Methodology. Establish ideological alignment and appropriate expectations within the corporation’s leadership and the Task Force.

5)    Sustainability Plan Phase: Based upon the Industry Research, Sustainability Ideology and Sustainability Assessment data, work closely with the Task Force and coordinate with the Corporate Social Responsibility Program to formulate a Corporate Sustainability Plan. Set the specific goals and actions of the Plan Begin by considering the typical areas of sustainability:

§  Facilities Site – habitat protection, remediation, location selection, transportation, open space, erosion/run-off, ground coverings, and light pollution;
§  Water use reduction – operations, manufacturing and landscape;
§  Energy use reduction and pollution reduction;
§  Materials sourcing, transport/delivery systems, reuse, recycling and waste streams;
§  Indoor environmental Quality – Tobacco smoke control, fresh air ventilation, construction/remodeling air quality management, materials off-gases – volatile organic compounds, allergens, toxic chemicals, etc, artificial & natural lighting conditions, heating & cooling conditions, visual access to the out-of-doors;
§  Industry specific innovation opportunities;
§  Determine who will administer and manage the Plan and which departments and personnel will be responsible for its implementation;
§  Identify the specific actions required for implementation of the plan on a departmental basis and account for operational, sales, and safety implementation effects;
§  Set the schedule for creation and implementation of the Plan, set goals, budgets, and measureable metrics;
§  Identify which locations and facilities are effected by the Plan;
§  Set the budget and funding sources for creating and implementing the Plan.

6)    Implement the Sustainability Plan: Put the Sustainability Plan into action by revising the organization’s daily, weekly, monthly and annual procedures and practices to include action items identified in the Sustainability Plan.

7)    Staff the Sustainability Plan: Assign appropriate staff to execute specific portions of the plan according to their area of management within the corporation. Make these individuals responsible to monitor progress and provide scheduled reporting.

8)    Establish Continuing Education and Training: Provide internal & external learning about sustainability. Provide LEED Accreditation training for the organization’s staff.

9)    Communicate: Obtain third-party awards/certifications./accreditations for programs, facilities and individuals. Create an annual Sustainability Report and make it publically accessible. Use modern media and the organization’s marketing & operations departments.

10) Measure and Improve: Utilize programs like ISO 14001 to monitor/check implementation of the plan against the original Plan and re-engineer the Plan and expectations as needed for success.