Last year, the EPA released its Clean Power Plan, which aimed to decrease the use of coal and increase the use of natural gas and renewables. The goal was to have coal provide about 27% of generation while natural gas provided about 33% by the year 2030, turning the tables on the coal vs. natural gas competition for once.Read More
A few months ago in October, Governor Jerry Brown of California launched an ambitious effort to enact the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. With an overarching goal of changing the foundation of California's industrial economy, the legislation aims to increase energy efficiency use by requiring that at least 50% of all energy be supplied by renewable energy sources by 2030.Read More
State financial incentives are an important instrument for increasing the use of technologies that provide benefits to both residents and the state overall. In California, the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) projects have an incentive of $440/KW. Applicable systems receive 50% on startup and the remainder in equal installments over five years.Read More
Investors of CHP (Combined Heat and Power) find that the investment comes with great benefits, such as tax credits, accelerated depreciation, self generation incentives, and sustainability metrics. These create a worthy purchase. In California, a Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) provides incentives to support all sorts of energy resources, including CHP sources. The SGIP provides rebates for qualifying distributed energy systems installed on the customer's side of the utility meter.Read More
As water demands soar to new levels, the constant pressure to find a good solution to creating cheaper and cleaner usable water increases as well. In California specifically, as predicted by the EPA back in 2010, the amount of population growth and water usage would lead to an all time high demand of 6.2 million acre-feet of water (during drought years) by 2020. However, with the current shortage of water and 5 years left to go, it is apparent that the current demand will surpass the predicted amount much sooner, leading to impending price increases and quality control issues for all of surface water, groundwater, and potable water.Read More
Americans love the Fourth of July; picnics, patriotic celebrations, and beloved fireworks. However, studies show that the collective party creates the highest annual spike in air pollution. For fourteen years, (1999-2013), US researchers studied the amount of fine particulate matter (small particles that we breathe in and can cause multiple health problems) from hundreds of air quality monitoring sites.Read More
CHP, combined heat and power, is a way of creating efficient energy and power from one single fuel source. Located on-site, it provides both environmental advantages and financial benefits. CHP creates an enhanced portfolio, gives a financial payback within five years, and uses new and improving sustainable technology that reduces that rate of carbon emissions. It also provides reliability and safety during times of power outages, and avoids transmission and distribution losses.Read More
Recently, an increasingly large number of reports have been sent out alerting all nations of major changes in the earth due to climate change. The warning signs from some of the most well known researchers and scientists are clear, and their evidence cannot be denied; rapidly raising global temperatures are among us and are steadily increasing without bounds. It is proven that if we are to save the well-being of the earth, our economy, and our lives from future catastrophes, then the average global temperature rises must not raise above 2°C. This is a far, yet attainable, stretch for us all if we take drastic action immediately.Read More
As 2014 gets left behind, there is much to look forward to in the corporate world for year 2015. With internet technology growing in universal usage, another corporate concept is popularized along with it: Corporate Sustainability (CS). Coming from a branch of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), corporate sustainability zooms in on environmental stewardship. CSR ,as the overarching umbrella, is defined as “the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large” according to theWorld Business Council for Sustainable Development.Read More
Distributed energy are “small, modular, decentralized, grid-connected or off-grid energy systems located in or near the place where energy is used”(U.S. DOE). For example, cogeneration, also known as Combined Heat and Power (CHP), is a type of distributed energy resource system and generates on-site energy that is practical and compact. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Combined Heat and Power Installation Database found that California and New York are the nation’s leaders in the total CHP capacity.Read More
According to a 2012 survey by TripAdvisor, 71% of travelers said they plan on making green choices and half were willing to pay extra to stay at a green hotel. Many hotels have reacted to the demand. Their goals are not simply saving money or water; hotels are trying to “send the right message,” said Steve Choe, general manager of the Intercontinental LA Century City Hotel. Intercontinental Hotels Group aims to provide 4,700 of its hotels a web based tool to help managers track the energy and water use.
Similarly, Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City completed a $7 million retrofit. The plan was to install short payback projects but the hotel took note of the opportunity to expand its improvements by aiming for LEED certification. Hilton replaced 12,000 light bulbs with efficient LED lighting which is predicted to save the hotel $800,000 annually in its energy bill.Read More
As the US economy expands, so does the need for a constant supply of energy to support it. Predictions made by theInternational Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2011 report sees an upward trend in energy demand due to population and world GDP growth.
Electricity rates from the grid are predicted to climb as well due to updated emission standards. Coal and natural gas updated regulations.
Energy and water have become serious economic, as well as an environmental issues. As electricity and water prices increase due to the unstable supply of non-renewable resources and water shortages, businesses are paying much more for these commodities when compared to recent years. By investing in efficiencies, a business should be more profitable.
The LEED verification program may be another incentive for building owners to increase energy and water efficiency, building construction improvements, and innovative design. The program was established in 1998 and has progressed through several evolutions. It provides four certification categories labeled certified, silver, gold, and platinum. Is LEED still relevant to the built environment today?Read More
Did you know that the average human being will spend about 90% of their time indoors on an average day? Our interaction with buildings have become a significant part of our daily lives. Going from home to work, we find ourselves sitting indoors most of the time. Therefore, it is no surprise that buildings utilize a substantial amount of energy. With heating, cooling, lighting, and turning on appliances, it creates a lot of carbon dioxide emissions as byproduct. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, US heating and cooling for commercial and residential sectors contributed nearly 9% of the total carbon dioxide emissions. This 9% only accounts for emissions caused by heating and cooling, not including electricity usage. Electricity usage alone is such a large number that it has its own sector, making up 38% of carbon emissions, according to the EPA. To better understand why carbon dioxide emissions cause climate change, please visit here.Read More
As the world quickly shifts into an environmentally conscious movement, the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors are being struck hard by increasing electricity prices. Electricity prices may be going up for good, according to the LA Times, and reflect 2-3% annually compounded rate increases, over inflation.
Large facilities, like hotels and senior care homes, depend on a lot of electrical energy from the grid, powering hundreds of rooms to accommodate a lot of people. The increases in electricity rates are due to U.S. government’s stringent energy policies being implemented to address rising greenhouse gases that are endangering our global climate.Read More
On May 30, 2013 the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 595 and the NorCal Chapter NECA will celebrate the Grand Opening of the first Zero Net Energy Training Center in the nation. The ZNE Center will be the educational and training facility for hundreds of apprentice and journey-level electricians, training for sustainable careers in the union electrical industry.
Located in San Leandro, California, the 46,000 sq. ft. tenant improvement project will be the largest zero net energy building in California and the third largest in the U.SRead More
BETTER BUILDINGS MEANS BETTER BUSINESS
High performance buildings are an indicator of a high performance corporation, so better buildings means better business. Retrofitting buildings for high performance lowers operating costs to improve the bottom line and in many cases it can do much more, even if buildings are not the focus of the corporation. Many stories of deep retrofits have demonstrated such value, including the now famously “green” Empire State Building.Read More
The San Diego region’s green office buildings are outperforming their less environmentally friendly counterparts, posting lower vacancy and commanding higher rents so far in 2012, according to a new report by the brokerage firm CBRE.
The overall vacancy rate for green buildings was 4 percent lower than for non-green properties — 11.7 percent, compared to 15.7 percent at the midpoint of 2012. Green buildings commanded an average $2.42 per square foot in gross asking rent, compared with $2.04 for non-green buildings.Read More
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on March 22 announced that 30 of its federal buildings, totaling nearly 117 million square feet, are participating in a challenge to achieve deep energy savings. The Deep Retrofit Challenge is asking energy service companies to make these buildings more energy efficient using energy service performance contracts (ESPCs). Retrofit projects at these buildings will contribute to the goals of a presidential memorandum on implementing energy savings projects and performance-based contracting. In December 2011, President Obama directed federal agencies to enter into at least $2 billion in performance-based contracts over the next two years to achieve substantial energy savings and create jobs.Read More
Michael Haviland, construction and maintenance superintendent for the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), calls retrofitting the agency’s 50-year-old headquarters building in downtown Sacramento the “ultimate recycling project.”
The $130-million renovation is adding “smart” features like a buildingwide energy management system, interior modifications that allow more natural light to flow throughout each floor, new double-glazed windows with an air space between internal and external glass that improves the building’s thermal performance, updated heating and cooling equipment, LED lighting, and a half-megawatt solar array on the rooftop.Read More