Back in December, Starbucks became the first retailer to cross the 1,000 LEED-certified building barrier when its Ames, Iowa store opened near the Iowa State University campus.

The 2,000-sq.-ft. coffee shop was awarded LEED Silver status under the Interior Design and Construction rating system, the United States Green Building Council noted. The USGBC also reports Starbucks stores make up 20% of all LEED-certified retail space around the world, with certified locations in 20 countries and U.S. territories.

This is an impressive number and I have to give kudos to Starbucks and the USGBC for forging and maintaining a strong partnership throughout the last 15 years. I applaud Starbucks for its forward thinking when it comes to saving resources.

With industry projections calling for more nonresidential construction it would be wise for the USGBC to forge more partnerships with retailers to develop even more LEED-certified new-construction buildings. Some companies, such as department store Kohl’s, have this in place. The more of these partnerships that pop up, the better for the industry and the environment.


Thoughts about the new year

As we are all back into the swing of things after the holidays, 2017 is setting up to be one with a lot of intrigue and adjustments. In my Dec. 2015 Editor’s Note, I laid out some goals I had for pme in 2016. I always am willing to make sure I am fact-checked so let’s take a look at those goals.

  • Start a pme podcast: Mission accomplished. In 2016, I put together two podcasts available at The first was with 2016 pme Plumbing Engineer of the Year, Eric Knauth, P.E. The other was with for AIM/R President Stew Chaffee from the 2016 AIM/R Conference. Two podcasts is a decent start. I promise to do significantly more in 2017.

  • The second goal was to attend more industry events and I believe I accomplished that with more room to grow. I was onsite at the 2016 AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla., the 2016 Uponor Convention in Las Vegas and the aforementioned AIM/R conference. I also traveled to Phoenix for the 2016 ASPE Expo and Nashville for the Water Quality Association Conference.

In 2017, I’m looking forward to more events. If there is something you believe I should attend, please email me at I will do my best to fit it into the schedule.

  • The last goal I had for 2016 was to get down to 210 pounds. The less said about that the better, but that doesn’t mean it is not a goal for 2017.

New goals for pme in 2017 include creating more video content for you on our website and social media outlets. I have made preliminary plans for videos to accompany our annual Manufacturers Rep of the Year in June, Plumbing Engineer of the Year in September and Mechanical Engineer of the Year in November.

My final goal for 2017 is to connect with you, the reader, more. I get the occasional letter to the editor, but there has to be more ways for us to interact. Maybe a Facebook Live Q&A session would work? We will work out the details in the coming weeks and months, but it will happen.

Let’s all work hard — together whenever possible — to make 2017 an excellent year for the industry. 


This article was originally titled “Making inroads” in the January 2017 print edition of PM Engineer.