ACEEE Comments on Florida's (Pathetic) Energy Policy
Every 5 years, the Florida Public Service Commission is required by the Florida Energy Efficiency Conservation Act to evaluate its energy savings goals and select programs for inclusion in its next 10-year plan. These reviews offer an opportunity for Florida to look back at the past, and forward to the future, and determine just how much energy their programs can save. In recent years, states all over the country have bulked up their energy savings goals, planning for affordable, reliable, clean energy. But Florida seems to be sliding in the opposite direction, as the state’s four primary investor-owned utilities have pushed to significantly scale back their energy savings goals. Highlights from the ACEEE commentary include:
- In last year’s State Scorecard, two-thirds of states saved more energy than Florida.
- While Florida utilities reported annual savings equivalent to 0.25% of electricity sold, states that truly prioritized energy efficiency saved at least six times as much energy.
- A recent ACEEE report finds that energy efficiency programs cost utilities only about three cents per kilowatt-hour, while generating the same amount of electricity from fossil fuels can cost two to three times more.
- To protect both consumers and utilities from price fluctuations, utility portfolios should be balanced.
- Purchasing natural gas from wells outside of Florida, only spurs economic growth in other states. Investing in energy efficiency would instead spur economic growth within Florida. [More]
Is the PSC Chair Art Graham Guilty of Biased and Misleading Remarks
Regarding Florida's Solar Energy Potential? You Decide.
At the recent Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA) goal-setting conference, goals for energy efficiency and for the promotion of demand-side renewables like rooftop solar were being set. During the conference, PSC Chairman Art Graham decided to parrot a few utility solar talking points for a few moments while PSC staff stumbled to answer a question from a fellow commissioner. [More] [NREL Report]
Tampa, Tamarac, & Palm Bay Earn Florida Green
Local Government 5-Year Recertification
The Florida Green Building Coalition has recertified the cities of Tampa, Tamarac and Palm Bay as Florida Green Local Governments after each successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Green Local Government Certification program.
The criteria included evaluations of energy and water usage, air quality, health issues, land use, recycling and waste disposal, maintenance policies, educational programs, purchasing practices, regulatory policies, and many others. From there teams used FGBC’s program tools to identify methods to improve the sustainability of their business practices and operations. Through this process, there were significant and tangible accomplishments that will benefit taxpayers and the environment.
Congratulations to Tampa, Tamarac & Palm Bay for their sustainability achievements. When communities like these commit to environmental goals, the entire state of Florida benefits.
- Cost & Stringency Comparison of NGBS to LEED-H Released
- Green Survey: Greater Focus on Improving Health, Wellbeing, and Productivity of Building Occupants
- Productivity, Health & Well-Being The Next Chapter in Green Building
- Preventing Asthma Through Building Material Selection
- Construction Jobs to Grow 10 Percent
- Auto Dealers Attack Tesla
Perceived Value of Green Claims
What do consumers really value when it comes to home improvement products? In a study conducted for Underwriters Laboratory-Environments division (UL), consumers were asked to select any green claim or certification that would persuade them to pay 10% more.
- Certifications rose to the top of the list. Eight of the top 10 claims that consumers thought were worth a price premium were certified claims.
- Legitimate but uncertified claims didn’t have much traction.
- Willingness to pay 10% more was most influenced by claims about air quality/VOCs/chemical exposure
What’s Become of the Recession’s Zombie Developments
Empty lots can cause wildfires and flooding contamination, and can bring down the property values of nearby homes. They can also cost local governments money that they don't necessarily have, since the municipalities may have to provide public safety to far-flung suburban areas, without the benefit of the property taxes that had been expected.
It's unclear just how to 'fix' these zombie subdivisions. While some will be completed as the economy recovers, others may lie dormant for a long time. That’s especially true now that many young people and boomers want to live in walkable, urban environments, rather than subdivisions where they have to drive to everything.
But if roads have been paved or a developer has installed infrastructure improvements, it’s very hard to just revert the space back to farmland. Local governments who try to stop building–even if there is little demand–can be sued for preventing development where it had once been approved. [More]
Certified Green Homes in Florida
Tops 15,000 Units - FGBC #1
Clean Energy Jobs in Florida
Threatened by Lack of Policy
Tens of thousands of Florida's clean energy jobs could be at risk if state regulators approve proposals by investor-owned utilities to gut their energy savings goals. The "Clean Jobs Florida" report indicates there are 130,000 clean energy jobs in Florida, about 75,000 in the energy efficiency field, which ranges from LED bulbs to solar hot water heaters. That could make the clean energy sector vulnerable if cuts are approved.
Florida ranks No. 3 in the nation for solar potential and could generate 25 times its electricity needs with clean, renewable sources. That could save homeowners and businesses billions of dollars, the report states.
Florida's investor-owned utilities see it differently. They have told state regulators that energy efficiency programs are more expensive than generating electricity at one of their plants. As such, the investor-owned utilities — Tampa Electric, Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light — want to cut their energy efficiency goals by more than 90 percent.
Instead of the energy efficiency measures they say have become too costly, the utilities favor building power plants that they control. Even when the projects are solar power plants or other renewable energy sources, the utilities want to build and operate them rather than see individual customers installing solar panels on the roofs of their homes or businesses. [More]
Clean Jobs Report
Solar Policy Symposium Planned
FlaSEIA to Host Dec. 5 in Orlando
Gearing up for the 2015 Legislative session, the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) is hosting a solar policy symposium to engage stakeholders for setting the strategy and direction of solar policy in Florida. Solar advocates, including businesses, associations, interested groups, and other stakeholders, are invited to participated in the planning session and collaborative event scheduled for Friday, December 5, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Cost is $75 and includes a reception and dinner with keynote. Learn More
FGBC Background and Mission
The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) is a nonprofit 501(C)3 Florida corporation dedicated to improving the built environment. Our mission is to lead and promote sustainability with environmental, economic, and social benefits through regional education and certification programs.
FGBC was conceived and founded in the belief that green building programs will be most successful if there are clear and meaningful principles on which "green" qualification and marketing are based. We are a membership-based organization governed by a Board of Directors and corporate officers who are elected by the general membership.
The FGBC is continually finding new and innovative ways to educate builders, developers, local governments, and consumers about how to achieve a healthier, more environmentally sustainable future.
The purposes of the Florida Green Building Coalition are:
- To administer certification programs based upon the green building standards
- To award its certification mark to qualified projects
- To educate the general public, businesses, institutional and governmental bodies of the long term benefits of sustainable development and green building practices
- To encourage housing affordability by increasing building sustainability
- To stimulate statewide acquaintance and fellowship among members and others interested in green building practices
- To provide opportunities for members and other interested parties to increase their knowledge of green building practices.
2004 - Sustainable Florida 'Best Practices' Award
2013 - American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) Exemplary Water-Energy Program