Newsletter managed by Becky Bishop, LEED Green Associate with GPE Companies
Arizona launches new statewide energy plan 02/19/14 - Phoenix Business Journal Gov. Jan Brewer has approved an Arizona master energy plan designed to address the state’s energy consumption and look ahead to future challenges.
After a collaboration more than a year in the making, Gov. Jan Brewer approved the plan Tuesday via executive order. It’s designed to be a working document of sorts that will be continually updated. Full article available online at www.bizjournals.com.
Smith College Building is Fifth Certified Living Building in the World 02/04/14 - EDC Magazine.com Smith College's newest building, a 2,300-square-foot learning center at its nearby field station, has achieved top honors for environmental sustainability by meeting the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, a green building standard overseen by the International Living Future Institute. The Living Building Challenge is considered one of the most comprehensive design- and performance-based building standard related to the environment. The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, as Smith College’s building is known, is only the fifth Certified Living Building in the world, and the first such building in New England.
Supported by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and located at Smith's MacLeish Field Station in Whately, Mass., the Bechtel Classroom was completed in 2012. The single-story, wood-framed building was designed by Coldham & Hartman Architects, a firm based in Amherst, Mass., and built by the Deerfield, Mass. contractor Scapes Builders. The building comprises a seminar space, a multipurpose room and an instructional lab. An outdoor gathering space offers visitors a view of the Holyoke Range. Full article available online at www.edcmag.com.
Sustainability saves money for city 02/11/14 - Peoria Times Lisa Estrada, intergovernmental affairs coordinator for the city, was in her element Jan. 28, when she gave an update on sustainability on a city-wide scale. She has worked in the intergovernmental affairs department nine years, but has made sustainability her focus the past four.
She has a “green” MBA (long title: Masters in Business Administraton in Sustainable Development) from Marylhurst College in Portland, Ore, what Estrada calls “the heart and soul of sustainability.” Full article available online at www.peoriatimes.com.
Half of US energy-neutral buildings also show leadership with LEED 01/15/14 - USGBC Website Yesterday, the New Buildings Institute (NBI) redefined the landscape of top performers in building energy efficiency in North America. NBI’s new report, “2014 Getting to Zero Status Update,” reveals 213 commercial buildings that are doing the unthinkable: building a legacy of an annual footprint of zero operational energy.
A subset of the 213 buildings tracking ultra-low net energy usage is a group of 32 buildings that the institute has verified to have already achieved zero-net-energy performance. About half of these top-performer buildings (15) are LEED Gold- or Platinum-certified buildings. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting one of these stellar buildings, DPR Construction’s San Diego headquarters, which is also home to a local USGBC chapter, the San Diego Green Building Council. Full article available online at www.usgbc.org.
Report: 32 U.S. buildings have been verified as net-zero energy performers 01/15/14 - Building Design & Costruction Website Growth in numbers, locations, types and sizes all mark progress on the state of commercial zero net energy (ZNE) buildings—ultra-efficient buildings that generate as much power from onsite renewable energy sources as they consume in a year, according to a report from New Buildings Institute (NBI).
Of buildings surveyed across North America, the report finds the number of buildings achieving or pursuing ZNE have more than doubled since the last study was released in 2012. Full article available online at www.bdcnetwork.com.
Five Reasons The Cleantech Industry Is Stronger Than Ever 01/08/14 - Solar Industry Magazine As a cleantech CEO who has received $12 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), I feel compelled to assure the public that U.S. tax money has not been wasted. The cleantech industry has not crashed - as a recent "60 Minutes" piece asserts - but rather, is stronger than ever. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
1. More Americans use clean energy than ever before.
The infamous crash of Solyndra was actually sign of a positive trend for solar consumers: a dramatic decrease in the cost per kWh. The majority of U.S. solar jobs are concentrated in financing and installation, not manufacturing. Cheaper panels have led to a boom in the U.S. solar sector, making 2013 a record year for solar installations. Wind energy now powers over 15 million American homes. During the first six months of 2013, America bought twice as many plug-in electric vehicles as in the first half of 2012. Full article available online at www.solarindustrymag.com.
Slowly, Asia’s Factories Begin to Turn Green 01/08/14 - The New York Times Vietnam — When Intel went about setting up its chip factory in Vietnam, it found an oddity: Local laws did not govern every aspect of the building.
The government had no comprehensive standards, for instance, on refrigerant chemicals, which in the United States are typically regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, officials asked Intel whether the company had any ideas on the subject that might be useful to other manufacturers operating in the country. Full article online at www.nytimes.com.
Future-of-energy report: Increased supplies means less reliance on foreign sources 01/08/14 - Crains Detroit Business Last spring, I wrote about ExxonMobil's Outlook for Energy in which the energy company prognosticates about what the world's energy mix will look like to the year 2040. Well, ExxonMobil is not alone in trying to predict the future of energy. The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) also prepares an annual report that looks to the United States' energy markets through to 2040 and it recently issued its early release of its final report (to be issued in the spring 2014). The report says that we should expect increased supplies of domestically produced oil and gas, less reliance on coal and energy from renewable sources exceeding that of nuclear power. With the discussion of Gov. Rick Snyder's energy proposals, Michigan may be on track with the EIA's forecasts.
The report looks at future energy outlook through a variety of viewpoints: production, usage by sector, generation, and fuel-specific analysis. As the report is based on an assumption of static conditions over the term of analysis, changes in policy, economic condition and even population growth could result in a very different world than that the report anticipates. Yet, this exercise helps identify trends and movement towards future policy upon which policymakers, investors and developers can rely. Full article available online at www.carinsdetroit.com.
Solar units could be reclassified 12/30/13 - AZ Central.com Utility regulators recently debated whether to provide incentives to Arizona Public Service Co. customers who install solar water heaters.
The utility is already exceeding its state-mandated renewable-energy goals, so it’s questionable whether APS needs to provide rebates for the appliances, despite the fact that the heaters are seen as a cost-effective way for customers to cut their bills and save energy. Full article available online at www.azcentral.com.
What Happened to Going Green? Are Companies Saving and Is the Industry Booming? 12/04/13 - In Business Magazine Green is good, we all agree. That is, it’s better as a business to be more resource efficient, less polluting, and generally more thoughtful about our impact on the environment. But how much is all this green goodwill really accomplishing when it comes to protecting our environment, combating global warming and, yes, producing profits?
The Phoenix Suns have been fairly good corporate citizens. In recent years, the Suns replaced all office and parking garage lighting with energy-efficient lighting, and they installed a 966-panel solar structure, which produces roughly 378,000 kilowatt-hours per year. This is enough energy to power 20 Suns home games each season. That’s great, but as basketball fans know, this is only about half the home games. Full article available online at www.inbusinessmag.com.
Al Bahr Towers revolutionises sustainable design 11/21/13 - Design Mena The award winning Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi – created by British architectural practice, Aedas – have pioneered a new technique that could revolutionise the approach to building in extreme climates.
The project – voted Commercial Project of the Year and Best Overall Project in the Middle East at the Middle East Architect Awards 2013 – saw the first large-scale commercial project in the world to feature a dynamic, intelligent façade that cools or insulates the interior in response to the sun’s movement. Full article available online at www.designmena.com.
Greenbuild Special Report: Learning from LEED’s Critics 11/21/13 - MHN Online Philadelphia—The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system is not without its share of criticism. While the program has yielded the largest push towards the sustainable design, construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment, many feel the program does not do enough. Others feel it has gone too far. A panel of experts with direct experience developing LEED sat down at Greenbuild in Philadelphia yesterday and addressed some of the biggest concerns.
First, it is important to note that LEED critics are committed to the mission of creating a more sustainable space, according to Tristan Roberts, editorial director of BuildingGreen Inc. Roberts, who is best known for launching and managing the LEEDuser tool, says that the major meta criticisms of LEED fall into three categories: the LEED process is broken; LEED is not rigorous enough; or LEED is too complex and expensive. Full article available online at www.multihousingnews.com.
New type of solar array planned for UA tech park 11/20/13 - Arizona Daily Star The University of Arizona Tech Park will add a new solar-farm design to its solar-technology demonstration area next year, with the addition of a one-megawatt concentrating photovoltaic array.
Virginia-based Washington Gas Energy Systems Inc. said Wednesday it has signed a contract to build the utility-scale solar power plant at the UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone to serve Tucson Electric Power Co. The project is expected to be completed in April. Full article available online at www.azstarnet.com.
The dirtiest battle in clean energy heats up 11/15/13 - CNBC Across the U.S., utilities are squaring off against solar in what may be the dirtiest fight in clean energy. In one corner is the industry behind the electrical grid as we've known it, more or less, for a century. The challenger, still a pipsqueak in terms of market share—less than 1 percent of U.S. power—is rooftop solar.
Those rooting for solar were historically environmentally conscious consumers willing to spend more to reduce their carbon footprint, but solar is now economically attractive to a broader base. Some utilities maintain this is because solar customers enjoy benefits at the expense of everyone else on the grid, and they're lobbying to have solar-incentivizing regulations eliminated or replaced. Full article available online at www.cnbc.com.
USGBC's 2013 Leadership awards honor innovation and dedication in sustainability movement 11/21/13 - REImonitor Awards will be presented at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announces the recipients of its 2013 Leadership Awards, which celebrate the individuals and groups at the forefront of sustainability in the built environment. The awards will be presented at the Leadership Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 21, during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia.
'Without visionaries, the green building movement would not be the global phenomenon that it is today, and these honorees have proven their commitment to the green building community,' said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. 'Innovation is what will propel this movement into the future. We are excited to recognize these innovative individuals and organizations at this year's Leadership Awards Luncheon.' Full article available online at www.reimonitor.com.
Common mistakes when pitching building efficiency 11/06/13 - Green Biz.com Technology vendors are frustrated because building owners don't greenlight excellent sustainability proposals. Owners are frustrated because vendors present programs no CFO could accept.
But the problem often isn’t the technology; it’s the pitch. Full article available online at www.greenbiz.com.
Energy Efficiency Is The World’s Most Important “Fuel,” IEA Says In New Report 11/04/13 - Clean Technica Energy efficiency is the world’s most important “fuel,” according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Investments in energy efficiency provide such massive savings that the energy saved actually completely eclipses the energy generated by most forms of generation. This “first fuel” is incredibly important to the world’s efforts to reduce fossil fuel use and carbon emissions and should be focused on even more, the new report argues.
The Energy Efficiency Market Report, as its known, states that “the scale of recent investment in energy efficiency worldwide makes it as significant in its contribution to energy demand as investment in renewable energy or fossil fuel generation.” Full article available online at www.cleantechnica.com.
South Korea Unveils Plans for Sustainable Mini-City in World’s Best Airport 10/17/13 - Inhabitat.com South Korea is upping the ante for airports worldwide by announcing plans to build a sustainable mini-city within Incheon International Airport. Consistently ranked the best airport in the world by Airports Council International, Incheon's new Terminal 2 sets the bar even higher with expansive lush gardens, luxury shopping, and energy-efficient design. Architecture firm Gensler and HMGY Consortium unveiled their designs for the sustainable upgrade late last month.
To distinguish Terminal 2 from its predecessor, Gensler Architects and HMGY emphasize energy efficiency in their design, such as the optimization of natural ventilation and lighting as well as large-scale installation of photovoltaic cells. Full article available online at www.inhabitat.com.
Calif. governor signs major incentives for renewable energy measure 10/09/13 - Rose Law Group Reporter The California Solar Energy Industry Association (CALSEIA) was quick to applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for signing into law legislation that he expects will protect existing solar customers while continuing to encourage more consumers to invest in rooftop solar through continued robust incentives for renewable energy.
The legislation, AB 327 (Perea), began life as a rate-reform bill and evolved into what has been described as one of the largest solar energy bills in the state’s history. It was the subject of much wrangling between solar sector advocates and the state’s public electric utilities. Full article available online at www.roselawpgroup.com.
Net-zero energy home prototypes emerging in Valley 09/30/13 - AzCentral.com One of Austin Trautman’s heroes is Joseph Eichler, a midcentury California developer who brought beautiful architecture to the masses.
Eichler, however, didn’t bear the burden of knowing how energy inefficient all those expansive glass walls, skylights and atriums could be. Ful article available online at www.azcentral.com.
What’s Next in Green Building? 09/16/13 - EDC Magazine Products from ten companies have been selected as finalists for the Cradle-to-Cradle Product Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Dutch Postcode Lottery. Three winners will be selected from this group and will share a cash prize of $250,000.
The Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make It Right, launched its first ever Cradle-to-Cradle Product Innovation Challenge in November 2012. By June, more than 100 products had been entered in the challenge. Full article available online at www.edcmag.com.
ULI Greenprint Report Shows Progress in Reducing Energy and Emissions 09/09/13 - Urban Land Volume 4 of the Greenprint Performance Report™, which measures and tracks the performance of 3,232 buildings owned by Greenprint’s members, demonstrates a year-over-year reduction of 3.2 percent in energy consumption and 3.4 percent in carbon emissions.
Among the reports highlights:
•Greenhouse gas emissions decreased 3.4 percent from 2011 to 2012 on a like-for-like portfolio basis. This is equivalent to removing more than 24,000 cars from the road or planting nearly 3 million trees. Full article available online at www.urbanland.org.
Rapid City Report: What Does Green Mean? 08/28/13 - The Atlantic.com In late 2009, my husband and I returned from more than 3 years of living in China. I quickly realized that we had missed some shifts in American culture, language, and trends. One of those was the meaning and ubiquity of the word “green.”
In American vernacular, the use of green, previously familiar, had exploded. Everyone was saying “green”; everything was labeled “green”. I was having trouble getting a clear, native-speaker sense of its new boundaries of meaning. Full article available online at www.theatlantic.com.
We must protect nature to conserve peoples' wellbeing 08/30/13 - Guardian Professional While for several decades the environmental agenda has been predicated on the goal of protecting nature from people, there is a new and very powerful body of material suggesting that a new storyline is needed: one based on the notion of protecting nature to conserve the wellbeing of people.
Research demonstrating how human health can benefit from exposure to green environments, nature and wildlife, both in relation to both physical and psychological wellbeing, is now very substantial. Some dates back a few decades. Full article available online at www.theguardian.com.
Green Office Design Enhancing the office environment 08/27/13 - The Balance Sheet A new generation of highly-efficient buildings, focused on carbon reduction and livability, demonstrate that smart living calls for tech and green combined.
The green building movement is not limited to new construction projects; green principles can be easily incorporated into existing environments as well by overhauling interiors, using eco-friendly materials and supplies, and educating on green practices. Full article available online at www.yardi.com.
London’s living wall designed to reduce flood risk and improve air quality 08/22/13 - Office Insight The UK’s largest living wall, designed to reduce urban flooding, has been unveiled in London’s Victoria district. Standing at 350 square metres with over 10,000 ferns, herbaceous plants and 16 tons of soil, the wall, at the Rubens at the Palace Hotel near Buckingham Palace reaches over 21 metres high. The wall’s unique design enables it to capture rainwater from the roof of the building in dedicated storage tanks. Flooding is a key environmental challenge in Victoria during periods of heavy rain, due to the low absorbency of urban surfaces. According to the Environment Agency, there are now around 534,000 properties in London on the Thames floodplain, and one in four in London are at risk of flooding. Full article avaiable online at www.officeinsight.org.
How Can Green Buildings Save You Money? 08/05/13 - KW Commercial SA Our impact on the environment is a serious issue requiring global awareness and responsibility.
It has also resulted in standards and guidelines to govern construction projects and limit their environmental impact. Full article available online at www.kwcommercialsa.com.
1440 Broadway: Lessons in Energy Conservation and Efficiency
What to do when tenants control energy usage 07/26/13 - Buildings.com In the age of non-traditional working hours, when companies have round-the-clock and weekend staffing to serve a global customer base, it is not unusual for an office tenant to negotiate a non-traditional leasing arrangement in which the tenant, rather than the building owner, has direct control over HVAC and energy usage in its space.
For building owners – especially those who strive to be energy efficient – this can become a vexing problem in balancing efficiency with flexible tenant operations. Full article available online at www.buildings.com.
Top 6 Cities Leading The Green Building Revolution 07/29/13 - Earthtechling.com Unless they’re from Kansas or North Carolina, most people agree that green building makes sense–environmentally and financially. Instead of nagging people to unplug their appliances after use or use air conditioning sparingly, we’re now designing buildings with materials and technologies that conserve energy automatically.
Although we may all agree that building green is smart, not everyone embraces it with the same enthusiasm. Some people even see “sustainable development” as part of a world domination plot hatched by business-hating hippies. Thankfully, there are some places where such claims are ignored, along with inefficient windows and toxic paint. Full article available online at www.earthtechling.com.
Businesses Find Benefits in Going Green 07/07/13 - Entrepreneur.com Incentives to go green have moved way beyond lowering utility bills.
"Cost savings are evolving into revenue generation," says Lauren Kelley Koopman, a director for PwC's Sustainable Business Solutions practice. "Sustainability is next-generation business thinking because it creates value, attracts customers, retains employees and improves capital and funding." Full article available online at www.entrepreneur.com.
Green building rises in retail, hospitality 07/03/13 - Eco-Business.com Green building is taking off in the hospitality and retail industries, says McGraw Hill in a new study.
This year, retail owners that are building green for over half of their projects rose to 38 percent, up from just 18 percent in 2011. That’s expected to rise to 52 percent by 2015. Fullo article available online at www.eco-business.com.
USGBC's LEED v4 Passes Ballot and Will Launch This Fall 07/02/13 - Facilitiesnet The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced today that its membership has voted to adopt LEED v4, the next update to the world’s premier green building rating system. The final overall vote was 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4. This includes 90 percent approval from the user category of the voting body, 77 percent approval from the general interest category and 89 percent approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7 percent.
“There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” said Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. “USGBC sets a very high bar for a rating system to be approved. The rating system must earn a significant percentage of the overall vote as well as a majority approval from each of the various LEED stakeholder groups. This ensures that rating system approval represents the full diversity of USGBC’s membership.” Full article available online at www.facilitiesnet.com.
MGM Resorts raises stakes with giant Vegas solar system 07/10/13 - GreenBiz.com In Las Vegas, everything is on a grander scale, so it should come as no surprise the gambling capital of the world soon will be home to one of the world's largest rooftop solar systems.
NRG Energy last week announced plans to install a 6.2 megawatt (MW) installation on top of the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center. At peak production, the array should produce enough electricity to meet around a fifth of the building's energy demand, while reducing pressure on the grid at the hottest time of the day. Full article available online at www.greenbiz.com.
The World's Greenest Office Building Opens in Munich 07/02/13 - Inhabitat.com Munich, Germany now boasts the greenest office building in the world. NuOffice is off the charts in all sustainability metrics, easily achieving LEED platinum status. European research project DIRECTION and scientists from Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics banded together to help design the über-green building, hoping it will serve as a model for future new construction across the globe.
In order to raise the bar on the building’s energy efficiency, the science and research team sought to maximize the building’s passive energy use, driving down energy consumption and introducing renewable energy sources as main suppliers to the building. NuOffice’s roof alternates between lush, insulating greenery and a powerful photovoltaic array that adds to the building’s power needs. Full article available online at www.inhabitat.com.
New Chinese City Goes Green For The Health Benefits 06/27/13 - Earth Techling Newsletter Where you live can have a big impact on your health. Bad air quality, a lack of green space, or too much soul-crushing traffic, and your physical and emotional health can take a nosedive. The terrible thing is, we’re so used to these problems, that we consider them normal, and completely ignore the way they make us feel.
A new project by Peter Ruge Architekten aims to find out if changing the very layout and construction of a city can alleviate those problems instead of making them worse. The firm is planning a city in China’s Hainan Province. It will be called ‘Green Health City‘ and could eventually serve as a sustainable urban prototype. Full article available online at www.earthtechling.com.
Energy Star Portfolio Tool Upgrade Delayed 07/03/13 - EnergyStar We regret to inform you that release of the upgraded Portfolio Manager tool, which was originally scheduled for July 10, is being postponed to allow EPA to conduct additional checks to verify correct and complete data migration. The new tool will now be released on Wednesday, July 17.
We are excited to let you know that the new Portfolio Manager tool is fully functional and all data and account records have been migrated over from the old tool. However, our first priority continues to be ensuring that the tens of millions of data points contained within Portfolio Manager's 70,000 active accounts have been migrated correctly and completely by the time of launch. To that end, EPA has decided to postpone the release for one week.
We appreciate your understanding and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. More information at www.energystar.gov.
LEED v4 Passes Ballot, Will Launch This Fall 07/02/13 - EDC Magazine The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that its membership has voted to adopt LEED v4, the next update to the world’s premier green building rating system. The final overall vote was 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4. This includes 90 percent approval from the user category of the voting body, 77 percent approval from the general interest category and 89 percent approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7 percent.
“There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” said Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. “USGBC sets a very high bar for a rating system to be approved. The rating system must earn a significant percentage of the overall vote as well as a majority approval from each of the various LEED stakeholder groups. This ensures that rating system approval represents the full diversity of USGBC’s membership.” Full article available online at www.edcmag.com.
New Pilot Unlocks Deep Energy Efficiency in Buildings 06/20/13 - EC&M.com For the first time, an electric utility is testing a 20-year model to purchase metered energy-efficiency savings. The agreement between Seattle City Light and the Bullitt Foundation is designed to make deep energy efficiency in new and existing commercial buildings economically feasible.
“This is a great partnership between the City and the private sector to encourage energy efficiency,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “I hope this project can serve as a model for others to save money, reduce energy usage, and cut our carbon emissions.” Full article available online at www.ecmweb.com.
Industrial Still Fights for Full Seat at LEED Table 06/24/13 - National Real Estate Investor The industrial sector, as a whole, with massive expanses of indoor space, has been the last property type to jump fully on to the sustainability bandwagon, in part because professional green certification processes haven’t caught up to the sector’s unique needs.
However, due to tenant and customer demand, more new construction and retrofit indu
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