Friday Round-Up – 5/10/2013

Friday, May 10, 2013 13:51
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    This ‘Monumental Shift’ in the US Buildings Sector May Surprise You 

    Sustainable Building Makes Huge Strides in Efficiency

    Conventional wisdom says that buildings are a sprawling, untamable black hole for energy. But a new analysis of federal data shows that the U.S. buildings sector has made enormous strides in efficiency over the last six years — potentially eliminating the need to build any new power plants to support growth in the sector through 2030.

    When sustainable architecture guru Edward Mazria looked at the EIA’s latest Annual Energy Outlook, he noticed two surprising things: one, that 2030 projections for building energy consumption continue their steep decline; and two, that America plans to add over 60 billion square feet of new buildings by then. So even as a huge portfolio of new buildings is constructed in the next two decades, the energy needs in those buildings will be low enough to prevent the need for any new power plants to service them, concluded Mazria.

    “There is no longer any need to build power plants to meet growth in the buildings sector,” said Mazria. “This is a monumental shift.”

    Read More at Green Tech Media

    With Carbon Dioxide Approaching a New High, Scientists Sound the Alarm

    400-ppm of Carbon is a sobering milestone

    If uncertainty runs rampant in the global-warming debate, it is in part because scientific data is often too complex to be well understood by anyone but climate scientists.

    This month, however, the world is likely to reach a scientific milestone that appears impressively scary even to those with only a cursory knowledge of climate science.

    For the first time in human history, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will surpass 400 parts per million, according Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which has been measuring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii since 1958.

    “The 400-ppm threshold is a sobering milestone, and should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to support clean energy technology and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, before it’s too late for our children and grandchildren.”

    Read more at IHT Rendezvous NY Times Blog

    LEED Passes First Green Light En Route To Federal Government-wide Use


    “Those doing business with the federal government, civilian and military, should be cognizant that the GSA is on track to continue pursuing LEED certification.”

    Last week, the Green Building Advisory Committee recommended to the U.S. General Services Administration that “GSA strongly encourage the use of the LEED standard across the government.”

    This is huge, not only because the federal government operates a portfolio of almost one milli

    on facilities (429,000 buildings and 482,000 other structures), making it the largest owner of improved property in North America, but it is also the owner of more LEED® certified buildings than anyone else. The federal government is also the largest tenant in LEED certified buildings on the planet.

    Possibly most significant, the federal government has become an important agent of disruptive innovation improving the knowledge base on high performance buildings and leading the way in installation of cutting edge energy efficiency and sustainability technologies, that then find their way to the private sector.

    Read more on GreenWizard

    Solar Incentives Are Dead, Long Live Solar

    Solar Install
    PV incentives for California homeowners are effectively gone, and it won’t cause even a blip in California’s solar growth rates.

    From the start, it was all about energy, jobs and the environment. The CSI program has been a rousing success in every one of these dimensions. As of the beginning of May 2013, California had installed 148,989 solar projects (including both the CSI and earlier California Energy Commission incentive programs) and 1,548 megawatts of solar, at an average cost per watt of $5.40 per watt (DC). And these figures do not include the state’s utility-scale solar, which has 1,190 megawatts of operating capacity and 3,063 megawatts of capacity under construction.

    Continued price declines in the cost of installed PV systems were the single most important factor in the success of the CSI program. These price declines were expected when the CSI program was established, and, although the declines did not arrive in the nice smooth line that was anticipated, the effect was the same. When both home-owners and business owners realize that it’s cheaper to make their own power than to buy utility power, adoption accelerates. It’s an electricity paradigm shift — just like the transition from landline phones to cell phones and from horses to cars.

    Read more at the Green Tech Media

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