Sustainable Development Update - July 2016

by Allen Matkins

Sustainable Development Focus

What does the future hold for green bonds and solar investment?

PV-Tech - Jul 5 Green bonds first appeared in the market in 2007, with initial issuance from development banks, including the European Investment Bank and the World Bank. Some $2.6 billion was issued in 2012, $11.5 billion in 2013, $37 billion in 2014, and $41.8 billion in 2015. While still small in the context of the $100 trillion global debt markets, green bonds are firmly on the post-COP21 Paris agenda looking at climate finance options and a vastly increased role for the private sector. Predictions for what 2016 will bring vary, with Climate Bonds Initiative forecasting $100 billion-plus of issuance, Swedish bank and green bond issuer SEB predicting from $80-100 billion, and Moody’s and HSBC weighing in with more conservative estimates of $70 billion and $55-80 billion respectively. Whichever estimate you look at, it is clear green bonds are on the up. They have huge potential to help fund the necessary transition to a low carbon economy, be it clean energy, efficient water management, green buildings, climate-friendly transport, and other low-carbon infrastructure.

Data centers continue to proliferate while their energy use plateaus

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Jun 27 As the number of data centers continues to increase in the U.S., the good news is that they are becoming much more energy efficient. A new report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that electricity consumption by data centers nationwide, after rising rapidly for more than a decade, started to plateau in 2010 and has remained steady since, at just under 2 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. Furthermore electricity consumption is projected to maintain a low growth rate through 2020 while the total server installed base is projected to increase by 40 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the report.

Former labor camp in Monterey County transformed into affordable housing

Multi-Housing News - Jul 5 Camphora Apartments, a development by Eden Housing and South County Housing built on the site of a run-down former labor camp, will now be a home for farmworker residents and provide an environmentally responsible community with onsite management and supportive services. Monterey County has been working for more than 20 years to find a way to rehabilitate this run-down facility that was built in 1960 as part of the Bracero program. Camphora Apartments received USGBC’s LEED-H Platinum certification, and it was designed to exceed California energy efficiency thresholds by 38 percent.

North Carolina Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. facility earns LEED Platinum certification

Mountain Express - Jun 29 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Mills River, North Carolina production facility was recently awarded the USGBC’s LEED Platinum certification. The Mills River facility is one of only two breweries in the country to have received LEED Platinum certification, and the only dedicated production brewery to do so. Sierra Nevada implemented a number of creative measures that were rewarded in the scoring process, including the installation of two Capstone microturbines. The machines harness the methane produced by the brewery’s on-site wastewater treatment plant for electricity generation to complement that produced by solar arrays in the public parking area and across two-thirds of the packaging facility’s roof.

Oakland gets DOT for a new kind of transportation planning

Next City - Jul 1 Until this summer, like many other midsize cities, Oakland has had no Department of Transportation (DOT). Decisions about streets have fallen under the jurisdiction of public works or planning instead. Now, nearly a year after Mayor Libby Schaaf announced its creation as part of the city’s 2015-2017 budget, Oakland’s first DOT is taking shape. Earlier this month, the city announced that the transition would be led by Jeff Tumlin, a transportation consultant and director of strategy with planning firm Nelson/Nygaard. The department’s creation couldn’t come at a better time. The city is considering putting a $600 million infrastructure bond on the November ballot, which could yield $350 million for transportation if approved.

Kings, Sacramento to host 'green sports' summit next June

Sacramento Business Journal - Jun 29

Sacramento will host the Green Sports Alliance Summit, a conference on the ties between sports and sustainability, next summer, with what organizers hope is a first-class example to showcase. The conference will take place nine months after Golden 1 Center, which is touted as the most environmentally sustainable arena ever built, is set to open in downtown Sacramento. Arena features include a solar power system that will provide 100 percent of the arena's electricity, cooling fans in the lower bowl with passive climate control, and the sourcing of 90 percent of arena concessions from within 150 miles.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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