Sustainable Development Update - June 2017

Allen Matkins
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Sustainable Development Focus

Solar array yields environmental and economic rewards

Urban Land - May 26 The 86,900-square-foot Hanover Page Mill office building in the technology-based Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, which achieved a Platinum rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system devised by the U.S. Green Building Council, demonstrates that building green can benefit all of its participants economically as well as ecologically. The building's benefits include the following: the city of Palo Alto, owner of the local electric and water utilities, adds a 412-kW photovoltaic solar array to its renewable power generation capacity, which is expected to produce 656,000 kWh of electricity annually, and the tenants obtain renewably generated power while paying lower standard electricity rates. Further, the developer, Hanover Page Mill Associates, was able to pre-lease two-thirds of the building’s space before financing while completing its entitlements process from the city in less than a year.

New York plans new microgrid to power Empire State Plaza

The Times Union - May 21 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is planning to announce the development of a new locally-sourced mini power grid to help power the Empire State Plaza and serve as the Plaza's own power supply if needed. The project is expected to begin later this year and to be completed by the end of 2019. The cogeneration plant and microgrid will supply the 98-acre Plaza's power, with ability to produce up to 90 percent of the complex's annual electric energy needs. It is expected to save more than $2.7 million in annual energy costs and remove more than 25,600 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent to taking more than 4,900 cars off the road, according to Cuomo's office.

Berkeley Lab helps California with zero net energy homes

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - May 25 California has established ambitious goals to reduce energy consumption in buildings, including a policy goal for all new residential buildings to be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020. Now the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has launched two projects to help the state meet its ZNE building goals. One project will provide detailed cost and performance modeling of ZNE homes and identify barriers, while the other seeks to ensure acceptable indoor air quality in ZNE homes that use natural gas. The California Energy Commission is providing $2 million in funding for the two projects.

San Francisco Airport aims to achieve zero net energy

USGBC - May 26 In April, San Francisco Airport (SFO) co-hosted an event with USGBC Northern California to welcome guests as passengers on the airport’s journey to become the first “triple zero” airport campus in the world. This five-year strategic plan to achieve zero net energy, carbon neutrality, and zero waste-to-landfill requires new partners to reimagine the way SFO designs, constructs, and operates to obtain deep sustainability outcomes and to revolutionize the passenger experience and the industry at large. Chief Development Officer Geoff Neumayr explained, “We have a 5,000-acre campus with an asset portfolio of over 14.5 million square feet, across nearly 70 buildings that currently consume 440GWh of energy each year. If we can get to zero, what’s stopping others?”

Batteries could be latest clean technology to get California boost

San Francisco Chronicle - May 26 Ten years ago, California started giving homeowners and businesses rebates to go solar, hoping to kick-start an industry. It worked. Now, some state officials want to do the same thing with batteries. Legislation from state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would create a 10-year incentive program for energy storage, handing out rebates to people who want to install batteries in their businesses or basements. The rebates would shrink over time, as the cost of a still-expensive technology declines. That approach mimics the California Solar Initiative, the state rebate program that began in 2007. The bill, SB700, was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee last Thursday and is expected to face a vote of the full Senate soon.

Santa Monica park’s toilets and grass are getting new water source

Next City - May 26 As part of a citywide goal to become water self-sufficient by 2020, Santa Monica unveiled a new water reuse system in a park last week. The rainwater and other city water runoff that naturally makes its way to Los Amigos Park will now be captured, treated onsite, and reused for irrigation and to flush park toilets. While Santa Monica has long been at the forefront of reusing dry weather runoff — water that flows into the streets from sprinkler overflow, car-washing, and uses unrelated to rain — the city hopes this project will pave the way for more distributed water recapture systems.

D.C. launches low-income solar program with GRID

Solar Industry Magazine - May 26 The Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and the Department of Employment Services (DOES) have partnered to develop Solar Works DC, a low-income solar installation and job training program in Washington, D.C. To implement the first year of the program, DOEE and DOES have awarded $950,000 to GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic through a competitive grant process. With this funding, GRID, a nonprofit solar installer, will operate a year-round program to train Washington, D.C., residents in solar installation.

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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