Posts filed under ‘Environment’

Cities Taking The Lead On Climate Change

With the incoming Trump Administration signaling a change away from climate change research and green projects and improvements it is falling to the cities across our country to take up the banner.   In an article from Sustainable Business it is clear that many cities including locally, Los Angeles are ready. It is quite an interesting group and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table.

Especially in the face of publicly traded companies not having to disclose as much of the potential downside of climate change on their operations and profits (Green Building Law Update 12/11/2016) it is heartening to see the broad support for a new ordinance in the City of Los Angeles (My News LA 12/20/2016).  The ordinance is in response to  an analysis by the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA and the City Energy Project suggest that 4% of the city’s buildings are responsible for possibly 50% of the energy and water use. Talk about a defined target for efficiency improvement!

The ordinance  basically requires annual reporting for all buildings larger than 20,000 square feet to the Department of Building and Safety and for buildings over 15,000 square feet that every five years that the building will be required to take steps to reduce its total resource footprint.It will be very interesting to see what incentives and penalties are attached to this program eventually to aid building owners to comply.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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December 20, 2016 at 9:53 pm Leave a comment

Energy Efficient Windows – Retrofit Opportunity?

I am an energy efficiency consultant out here in California and there has been a great deal of emphasis on  replacing older single pane windows with dual pane, usually vinyl models.  I many cases where a building is being remodeled the building owner has no choice but to install them in order to comply with the 2013 energy related code sections.  This is especially problematic if the building has some historic value to the city.  Now the Federal government in the form of Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) is sponsoring research into methods to retrofit these older windows through its SHIELD program.

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The full story is here on Green Building Elements (http://greenbuildingelements.com/2015/10/09/doe-announces-shield-program-for-energy-efficient-windows/). The DOE website with detail on the program can be found here: https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Default.aspx#FoaId038dc107-a7de-407a-8253-86e3bc99ae00

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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October 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm 1 comment

Better Permeable Paving?

This new version of permeable paving looks pretty impressive in the video, i just hope that it is cost comparable with typical paving solutions.

Permeable Concrete Video

 

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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September 27, 2015 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

Solar Power A Requirement For New Construction

It is looking like the wave of the future is increasing requirements to include renewable energy for newly constructed homes and commercial buildings.

The most interesting new story is somewhat local to me here in Southern California where the City of Lancaster now requires 1 kilowatt of solar power for all newly constructed single family homes.  The ordinance that passed last March went into effect in Jan. 1, 2014.  Here is the link to an article that covers it more in depth. (http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/04/lancaster-home-solar-mandate-1st-us-world-leads-city-2014/).

This is a significant escalation on the Californian mandate of net zero homes by 2020.  The City of Los Angeles has been requiring that the conduit and wiring be put in place in all new home construction to make adding solar panels easier in the future for the homeowner.

I certainly hope that more cities follow Lancaster’s lead and make similar requirements as it can only help the environment and speed the transition to the renewable energy economy.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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January 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

The Dark Side of Efficiency

We have all been bombarded with the need to live more efficiently and have less of an impact on our planet.  The problem comes when we possibly make our homes unsafe in the pursuit of this efficiency.

There has been a notable upswing in reports of moisture related problems in recent years.  A large portion of the cause for this is the tightening of the building envelope without regard to proper ventilation. Typically homes built 25 or more years ago allowed a significant amount of  air to leak both in and out. This not only increased our cost to heat and cool our homes but allowed for sufficient air circulation albeit by accident!

The other possible issue is one of safety. By tightening the building envelope we may create a situation where carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can build up to unsafe levels.  Possible improvements that plug those worrisome air leaks or replace windows should include combustion safety testing both before and after completion.

Here are my suggestions for safely pursuing any energy efficiency project for your home:

  • Have a reputable energy consultant evaluate your current conditions and create a prioritized by return on possible investment list of options.
  • Work with a licensed and certified Building Performance Contractor
  • Acquire applicable permits for all work so that it is properly inspected
  • Have the energy consultant come back at the end of the project to inspect the work and to make sure it is working properly so that you get the maximum return on your investment

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

August 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

Walkable Neighborhoods Prefered?

It seems that we have finally gotten to the place where downtown is preferred to suburbia and I for one think it is about time.  The only thing keeping me from doing more walking and biking is this weekend’s heatwave in Southern California.  I live in a portion of suburbia where I am actually close enough to walk to the market or drop my car off at a local shop and walk home and I consider myself very fortunate.

In a great report on BuildingGreen.com (http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2012/9/11/Walkable-Neighborhoods-Replace-Suburbs-as-Preferred-Real-Estate/) you can read the report.

There is a disappointing report on a main feature of our current downtown’s not keeping up with their neighbors on the green front.  New hotels are actually worse power guzzlers than some built 50 years ago.  In the story on Ecogeek.org via Metropolitan Magazine (http://www.ecogeek.org/architecture/3807-hotels-not-getting-greener-even-the-green-ones?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29) it seems it is time top rethink the whole process.

But there is always hope and the next story for tonight re-purposes something we see a lot  of in Southern California since we host one of the world’s largest port, shipping containers!  From the pages of Inhabitat .com (http://inhabitat.com/koma-modulars-live-work-store-in-luneburg-germany-is-made-from-recycled-shipping-containers/) we have a cool looking and very functional live/work space.

Lastly we have a couple of articles concerning one of the most enjoyable parts of a walkable community, creative landscape.  We have a great article on the other not so obvious benefits of community gardens from Sustainablog.org (http://sustainablog.org/2012/09/community-gardens-provide-more-than-food-in-dc/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IM-sustainablog+%28Sustainablog%29). Also a fun thought about fitting our mass transit buses with green roofs from Ecogeek.org (http://www.ecogeek.org/ecogeeks/3809-green-roofs-for-buses?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29)
As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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September 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Hard to be Green….

I know that we are all trying our best to be green, but it seems sometimes that life throws us under the bus despite our best efforts.

Our first story tonight is about the confusion that all of the ecolabels are causing in the marketplace. From the article on IMD.org (http://www.imd.org/research/challenges/sustainability-ecolabels-effectiveness-ralf-seifert-joana-comas.cfm)

” In a nutshell, ecolabels have been useful in increasing sustainability awareness and performance, but there are also credibility concerns given the proliferation and fragmentation of such labels. And indeed, by now the Ecolabel Index lists 431 ecolabels in 246 countries and across 25 industries. [1]”

This proliferation leads to little or no consistency and the consumers at large will simply throw up their hands in confusion.

Next we have bad news for homeowners because the Federal Home Finance Authority (FHFA) has proposed making the rules permanent that will most probably kill the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.  This is a wonderful tool used by local governments to provide a method of financing for energy upgrades for homeowners that are in turn paid back through and assessment  on their yearly property taxes.

This rule would prohibit Fannie-Mae or Freddie-Mac from financing a home with a PACE loan.  Many cities have had PACE programs in place for some time and this rule will adversely affect many consumers throughout the country.

The full story is here at: Green Building Law (http://www.greenbuildinglawblog.com/2012/07/articles/pace-1/even-after-installing-extra-insulation-the-fhfa-proposed-rule-on-pace-leaves-homeowners-out-in-the-cold/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GreenBuildingLawBlog+%28Green+Building+Law+Blog%29)

Lastly we have a study out of New York warning us that the Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL) in your desk lamp  may be harmful to your health.  The good news is that you have to be really close (less than 8 inches or 20cm) for a long time.  A very good reason to upgrade the bulb in your task lighting on your desk to that LED bulb you have been thinking about.

The full story is here at: BuildingGreen.com (http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2012/8/7/Damaged-CFLs-Could-Make-Your-Desk-a-Tanning-Bed/)

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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August 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

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