Construction materials can carry significant environmental impacts. Certain materials can deplete natural resources and contribute to habitat destruction. The extraction and acquisition of raw materials can also lead to serious environmental harm.

Sustainable materials are often broken out into three categories: 

Natural Materials

These are materials that occur naturally and can generally be safely disposed of. Examples include wood, clay, and metals. 

Renewable Materials

For something to be renewable, it must be able to naturally replenish at a rate that allows for the resource to be maintained and not depleted over time. The most common example is bamboo.

Harmless and Non-toxic Materials

Many modern materials are manufactured or treated with chemicals that can be harmful to people, animals, and the environment. Yet, there are man-made non-toxic alternatives such as non-toxic paint, drywall, and plaster.

Architects and engineers will design with these materials in mind or renovate and update using sustainable building materials. Selecting environmentally sensitive materials can be the most challenging and rewarding part of the design process. Some of the most common sustainable building materials include:

  • Recycled metal
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Bamboo
  • Cork

Building with sustainable materials not only supports the environment, but it leads to healthier humans through the reduction of respiratory diseases, allergens, and asthma. Choosing construction materials and interior finish products with zero or low emissions also contribute to improved indoor air quality. 

What about cement?

The cement industry is responsible for about a quarter of all industry CO2 emissions. They are also one of the world’s most difficult-to-abate sources of CO2 emissions.

Concrete is the most consumed construction material because of its availability, workability, and durability. In 2019, their production, transport, use, and demolition were estimated to account for roughly 9-10% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, including carbonate decomposition, fuel combustion, and electricity use.

Across the country, new ordinances are being implemented that limit carbon on concrete. So how do we decarbonize cement material? In recent years, the cement sector has progressed significantly in regard to energy efficiency and CO2 mitigation by adopting conventional technology options targeting the thermal efficiency, electrical efficiency, and low-carbon fuel utilization of cement kilns.

Reducing the clinker-to-cement ratio is another conventional low-carbon lever, which has historically been pursued for economic reasons since clinker substitutes cost less than pyro-processed clinker or can enhance concrete’s properties.

Monitoring and Compliance

In California, we have explicit guidelines around what materials can be used in new build and renovation projects for both residential and commercial properties. CALGreen or the California Green Building Standards Code outlines the requirements for sustainable materials and serves as a guideline in the context of code enforcement.

At ID360, we work with those on both sides of sustainable building materials- the architects and engineers designing and building greener buildings as well as those responsible for enforcing CALGreen and other local green code ordinances.

Sustainable building materials and the inspection process under CALGreen can be highly complex but by increasing awareness of logistical impacts regarding plans, specs, permitting, documentation, inspection, and local enforcement we can make the best choices in sustainable building materials.

Committing to use the most sustainable materials available benefits us all. The choices and regulations can seem overwhelming, but at ID360 we are here to help architects, plan checkers, building officials, and engineers navigate the options and make the most sustainable choices for people and the environment. 

Menlo Park, CA, June 07, 2022. ID360, a leading sustainability consulting company, announced today they have been selected by the City of Agoura Hills to support the design and implementation of a local green building ordinance focused on electrification.  

The City of Agoura Hills is in a continued state of economic growth and development opportunity with a focus on innovation, technology, and sustainable development. ID360’s work will support the city’s commitment to adopting policies to meet the energy reach code goal.  

“Agoura Hills is committed to environmental sustainability and climate action planning,” said Melanie Jacobson, Principal, and Founder, ID360. “We look forward to supporting city staff to implement a local Energy Reach Code to meet the Climate Action Plan goals.”

ID360 has a long history of supporting California communities with reach code design and implementation. Most recently they supported the Clean Energy Choice Program in San Luis Obispo, Energy Reach Code development in the City of South San Francisco, and the Green Building Program for the City of Palo Alto.

The City of Agoura Hills has adopted a local Climate Action Plan with goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ID360’s work will align, support, and further this work.

In addition to their role with city government and city building officials, ID360 supports continuing education for professionals in the industry through their on-demand training via ID360 Academy.

To learn more about ID360’s work, ID360 Academy, or other green code design services please visit

Working on the demolition of structures in California built between 1950 and 1980 requires careful attention to Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs. PCBs are considered a legacy pollutant and consist of materials such as caulk, thermal or fiberglass insulation, adhesive mastics, and rubber window gaskets.

PCBs are extremely harmful to our environment and historically stormwater serves as a significant pathway for PCBs to travel to water sources. 

There are several methods to manage PCBs containing building materials during demolition:

  • True Source Controls focuses on the original source or use of a potential pollutant with regulations and laws to minimize risk.
  • Source Controls intercepts the pollutant before it is discharged to a receiving water body.
  • Treatment Controls remove pollutants via physical, biological, or chemical processes.

At ID360 we work with many local officials, architects, and engineers to understand and enforce compliance regarding PCBs. We closely adhere to the protocol developed and managed by Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). BASMAA is a nonprofit organization representing 103 agencies, including 88 cities and towns, 8 counties, and 7 special districts. BASMAA focuses on opportunities to improve the quality of stormwater flowing to local creeks, the Delta, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.

We have found the biggest key to success in PCBs projects is to begin communications early! We review materials with appropriate departments, support regulation compliance, and engage municipal leaders early and often. 

Significant progress has been made to better understand and control PCBs in the last couple of decades mainly due to BASMAA and other organizations committed to keeping California waterways clean. This area of green building is constantly changing. It is critical for those working in building construction and demolition management, city code enforcement, design, and engineering to stay current in their understanding of the construction impacts of PCBs abatement. 

For more information about our work in PCBs building regulation in California, to take our PCBs course via ID360 Academy, or for information regarding any of our other green consulting services visit

Construction and demolition (C&D) materials are generated when new buildings are constructed or when existing buildings are renovated or demolished. C&D materials often contain bulky, heavy materials such as concrete, asphalt, metals, and bricks. 

600 million tons of C&D debris were generated in the United States in 2018 and demolition represents more than 90 percent of total C&D debris generation. This waste has profound implications for climate change by contributing to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. 

What can be done?

Local government officials, architects, contractors, and engineers play a key role in mitigating the impact of C&D. The design phase is the best opportunity to address waste management. Resilient design will not only take into consideration the impact of the materials now but also future scenarios if the structures were to be dismantled. 

In our work at ID360, we help local government officials, architects, contractors, and engineers navigate the complex Construction Waste Management requirements within the California Green Building Code. Local ordinances can greatly change the requirements of a project. If not prepared, projects can be significantly set back in terms of time and budget. We work with teams to increase knowledge of the logistical impacts of C&D and how this impacts a typical construction schedule.

Where to turn for more information?

The Environmental Protection Agency has resources for sustainable management of construction and demolition waste. You can also learn more specifically about regulations in California by participating in our course: Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Compliance at ID360 Academy. 

C&D waste and material management can greatly impact climate change. Through smart, sustainable choices and thorough planning, we can mitigate some of these effects.

Resiliency means the ability to endure. In green building, this translates to designing and building for longevity, withstanding extreme weather, and consideration for social equity. 

In recent years, resilient building has become the response to major environmental stressors. It is about building in harmony with the environment but also about how community wellness is affected. Resilient design is the process of designing buildings, landscapes and entire communities to mitigate the impact of extreme weather and other external threats.

Resilient design focuses on practical and realistic solutions with
  • Robustness
  • Resourcefulness
  • Rapid Recovery
  • Redundancy

Climate change and extreme weather have propelled resilient building design to the forefront of green building conversations. Extreme weather events such as power outages and wildfires are fueling the resilient design movement.

Resilient building design applies to projects of all scales and is best when synched with local climate action plans and disaster preparedness. What is unique about resilient building design is the anticipation of challenges and the careful consideration for the use of locally available, renewable, or reclaimed resources. 

Where to turn for more information

The movement to resilient design is exciting and complex. Best practices for a successful resilient design project include designing for flexibility and future adaptability, designing for disassembly, and always remember to consider risk and vulnerabilities. For more information about resilient building design check out our webinar: Resilient Building Design Strategies.

We recently attended the League of California Cities annual City Managers Conference. There were many topics on the agenda, however, conversations steered to preparedness and concern for municipalities’ ability to deploy and manage the influx of funding from the massive national infrastructure package. In particular, the expansive vehicle charging infrastructure. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $5 billion in funding for states with a goal to build a national charging network. The total amount available to states this year is $615M. Additionally, 

  • 10% is set-aside each year for grants to states to help fill gaps in the network
  • $2.5 billion is available for communities through a competitive grant program

At ID360, we have worked with cities to structure and deploy complex local EV Charging Policies. Here are a few things to keep in mind for this upcoming influx of funding:

  • EV Infrastructure Deployment Plans must be submitted at the state level before funds become available
  • California is slated to receive the second highest amount of state funding for 2022
  • More green jobs and knowledge of green codes will be necessary to successfully implement these projects

The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is providing data, tools, and technical assistance to city and state officials via For those interested in getting current at the state and local level, we offer several online, on-demand courses through ID360 Academy. 

The Infrastructure Law also includes funding for many areas of green building and sustainability. To stay current on changes impacting California subscribe to our newsletter The Green Scene or contact us for more information.

Melanie Jacobson is sworn in as Secretary for the Northern California Chapter

MENLO PARK, CA. January 26, 2022  — ID360, a green consulting firm, announces their Founder and Principal has been named Secretary of the International Code Council’s Peninsula chapter. The International Code Council is the world’s leading source of model codes and standards and building safety solutions. The ICC Peninsula Chapter provides members an opportunity to keep up to date on the activities of the ICC as well as a forum to discuss code changes, interpretations, and updates. 

“I am honored to serve as Secretary of the ICC’s Peninsula chapter,” said Melanie Jacobson, Founder and Principal, ID360. “I have been involved with ICC for nearly a decade. I have built my career in sustainability and energy efficiency. After spending 15 years working in green building and energy policy, plan check, and inspection, taking a board position with the ICC is a natural next step.”

The ICC Peninsula Chapter provides unique networking opportunities and access to the latest updates and changes relative to the area. The chapter has a packed calendar for 2022 including collaborations with several other ICC Chapters in Northern California.  

To learn more about the ICC Peninsula Chapter visit To learn more about ID360 visit

We take a look back at 2021 and offer predictions for what will be key themes in 2022.

2021 proved to be a big year for our industry and for ID360. Major climate gatherings such as COP 26 took place. As well as localized convenings like Verge21 and Greenbuild. Sustainability leaders and experts made climate action planning mainstream conversation. Most recently we also welcomed historic legislation with the passing of the Infrastructure bill.

Here at ID360, 2021 brought the launch of our ID360 Academy. This online, on-demand resource is now available for those working in green building, design, and implementation. We also played a significant role in many projects including Climate Action Plan implementation for the City of Foster City, California.

Looking to 2022, four key themes emerge: resilience, decarbonization, infrastructure and education.


Extreme weather events have shown that resilience is an essential piece of any climate action plan. In 2021 extreme weather was commonplace here in California. The ability to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to impacts from extreme weather will be a central theme in 2022. Particularly fueled by the Infrastructure bill, local municipalities, states, and regions will be better equipped to develop plans that support resilience.


The world is transforming its energy system from one dominated by fossil fuels to one with net-zero emissions. This transition is critical to mitigating climate change. In 2022, we will continue to see cities create and adopt aggressive Climate Action plans that center on a net-zero goal. Cities are positioned to lead on this. Those who can focus on plan implementation will be successful.


2021 might have been the year of the passing of the historic Infrastructure bill, but 2022 will mark the beginning of many years of implementation. 2022 will see big investments in clean energy, technology to fight extreme weather, and green jobs. Cities will buckle down on their Climate Action Plans, EV infrastructure requirements, Electrification requirements and revaluate how they advance progress to net zero.


The green building and sustainability industry is constantly changing. Codes change, policies change, technology changes. In 2022, continuing education will be particularly critical for architects, construction professionals, and city officials. Anyone who wants to stay current will benefit from continued education. In California, AB 1010 was signed in September of 2021 by Governor Newsome. The regulation will require California architects to complete 5 hours of continuing education (CE) in net-zero carbon design every 2 years. This will be in effect for the 2023 renewal cycle.

LEED certification, and other green rating systems, powered by the Infrastructure bill, will be of particular interest in 2022. LEED will serve as a key measure for sustainability moving forward. We developed ID360 Academy for those working professionals who want to take their career to the next level and be able to speak with confidence about these complex issues. Courses are available on LEED certification as well as other elements of green building and design that will be critical in 2022.

What it Means for Green Building and Design

In November, President Biden signed into a law a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or “Infrastructure bill” is a game-changer for the green building, electrification and sustainability. Much has been packed into this legislation, with sustainability and climate provisions woven throughout. We take a closer look at three of these areas: Clean Energy, Extreme Weather, and Jobs.

Clean Energy

The Infrastructure bill commits to upgrading our power infrastructure to “deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future.” This includes a commitment to upgrade our nation’s power infrastructure by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines facilitation the expansion of renewables and clean energy all while lowering costs. The bill will also support the development and implementation of clean energy technologies to accelerate transition to a zero-emission economy. 

Additional clean energy highlights:

Extreme Weather

This year was one of the worst on record for California with crippling wildfires plaguing our state. The Infrastructure bill commits significant resources to support communities plagued by extreme weather as well as and Jobs Act commits $8.3B for water and drought resilience.

Additional extreme weather provisions include:


Analysts predict the Infrastructure bill will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years. Many of these will be “green” jobs. Those working in the fields of construction and design are predicted to find themselves in higher demand as certifications such as LEED will play a more prominent role. Here at ID360 we are working to stay ahead of demand by offering our ID360 Academy coursework entirely online and on-demand. Our courses cover the most recent statewide code changes as well as prepare individuals for LEED. Connect with us about our coursework, the changes we foresee coming with the Infrastructure bill, or any of your climate action planning needs.

World leaders gathered last week in Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. Conversations included country negotiations and commitments for a better planet. The data, statistics and country testimonial can be overwhelming. At ID360 we work with city governments to develop, implement and manage their climate action plans so we took a closer look at the information coming out of Cop 26 to ask: What role do cities play?

Transition from Fossil Fuels

In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030, the world needs to cut the rate of greenhouse gas emissions by almost 27 billion metric tons a year.

Cities have a real opportunity to lead in this area. City governments are more nimble than state or national governments. They can set time-bound aggressive targets to transition to sustainable policies and implement local reach codes. Cities also have a direct line to community stakeholders. Community support is critical to the success of any climate action plan.

California cities are at the forefront with 35 cities banning the use of fossil fuels in new residential buildings.

Financing change

Much of the conversation coming out of Scotland was related to the cost of transitioning to renewable energy. The good news is we have seen a deceleration of costs for clean technologies as more businesses have entered the space and more technologies are now available. According to a recent Market Watch Report, wind has gotten 45% cheaper, with the cost of solar down 85% and batteries, such as for electric vehicles and solar storage, down 89%.

Additionally, with the introduction of the Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act there will be federal subsidies available for much of the work at the city and state level.

Cities account for 55% of the global population, but contribute 75% of carbon dioxide emissions. They can do better. They are positioned to lead. And we are here to support.

Top takeaways from Verge 21

Verge 21 is an annual climate tech event with more than 10,000 leaders online from all sectors working to advance solutions to address the climate crisis. We heard from many great speakers and participated in thought-provoking working sessions. Here at ID360, the event raised the question: What is the future of sustainable business?

With our 360 degree approach, we have the unique ability to tackle this question from every angle. At ID360 we see the future of sustainable business centering on three key areas: Decarbonization, Education and Climate Action Planning.


According to a recent McKinsey report, “23 states have plans to decarbonize either their power sectors or their entire economies by at least 80 percent by 2050.”

Decarbonization is one of the best ways for businesses to demonstrate leadership in the community. We work with those in the public and private sectors to decarbonize built environments leading to healthier buildings for all.


Education plays a key role in the future of sustainable business. Educating future green professionals, educating the current workforce to enforce reach codes, and educating those designing built environments to support use of the best materials and design for healthy, sustainable buildings.

That is why here at ID360 we launched our ID360 Academy earlier this year. Catering to working professionals, all of our courses are online and on-demand. Our students work at their pace to complete courses and earn CEUs in areas such as LEED, fundamentals of sustainable design and construction, and CALGreen.

Climate Action Planning

Climate Action Planning is an intricate and often complicated process. The future of sustainable business demands vested community stakeholders who take a 360 approach to planning, management and implementation of their climate action plans.

Our team works with these communities balancing goals with practical solutions. And where we shine is implementation and management.

In conclusion, the future of sustainable business is ever-changing. We are here to support. Contact us to learn more!

WELL Building Standard a healthier built environment

The WELL Building Standard has been applied to more than 30,000 projects across 98 countries. WELL is seen as a tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally. At its core, WELL is a green building standard that puts health first.

SDE4, located within the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) School of Design and Environment, WELL Gold certified.

What does WELL measure?

The requirements for WELL look at how buildings impact humans’ health and well-being through water, air, light, comfort, nourishment, mind, and fitness. The basis of WELL is extensive and in-depth medical research that establishes that there is a direct relationship between the health and wellness of building occupants to their environment. These built environments lead to things like better sleep and mental health. Sounds like a no-brainer right?

Why aren’t all built environments WELL certified?

WELL is more than a certification. The health of building occupants is at its core. The tools that WELL offers measure 108 features and 10 concepts so it can be very difficult to navigate. International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation, manages and administers WELL. The Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI), which also administers the LEED professional credentialing and certification programs, provides certification for the WELL Building Standard. As a result, it is a long and rigorous process requiring knowledge of both design and construction.

How We Help

At ID360, we work with you to identify, integrate, and execute viable building design strategies into your new or existing structures. Plus, we find synergies between other rating systems to apply to your project and the various phases of verification. Our experts support you from idea to construction through to building occupancy. We also help prepare and organize documents to submit for WELL certification. To have a healthy built environment is well worth it!

Contact us about our WELL Building Services.