News

November 22, 2016

In This Issue:

US National Electric Vehicle Charging Network to Span 25,000 miles
Nano Concrete Could Hugely Impact Housing
Sounding the Alarm on Code Compliance Costs
Solving the Problem Between Climate Change Debate and Actions
TECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Flexible Solar Tiles Making Move Inside to Capture & Recycle Artificial Light
How to Get Home Buyers to Go Green
Making Older Condo Buildings More Eco-Friendly
Will Florida Have Enough Water by 2070?
AIA COTE Overhauls Its Top Ten Awards Criteria
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: VBA Design, Panama City, FL
FGBC Welcomes New Members
Education Opportunities
Funding Opportunities
Job Opportunities
 
Articles of Interest:
 
LED Lights Powered by Living Organisms
What Will A Trump Presidency Mean for Florida’s Environment?
 
Features
 

US National Electric Vehicle Charging 
Network To Span 25,000 miles

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will create 48 charging corridors running along 55 interstate highways . When it's fully established, the DOT is hoping its expanded charging infrastructure will cover almost 25,000 miles of highway. The plan calls for charging stations every 50 miles along the corridors. Those stations will be identified by standard Federal Highway Administration signs, just like gas stations and rest stops.

Along with the electric charging corridor, the push to get people behind the wheel of electric cars has extended to state government fleets. Twenty-four state and local governments have committed to the electrification of their fleets, which will bring about around 2,500 new electric car purchases in 2017 alone. [More] [Map]

Nano Concrete Could Hugely Impact Housing
A group of scientists focused on nanocrystals were brought together by the National Science Foundation and Purdue University. They discovered a stronger, more flexible alternative to concrete. The group proved that the use of cellulose nanocrystals can increase the flexural strength of concrete by 30%. Their discovery outperforms alternatives in strength, impact resistance, and flexibility.

"It's well known that concrete is the second most used material by mankind behind water," Youngblood explains. "To prepare cement, you use limestone in a giant furnace, and the furnace produces a lot of CO2. Which means that there is a lot of impact in the environment. If you could improve the strength and use less cement, then you are reducing the impact on the environment. If you have 30% stronger concrete, then you may be able to use 30% less and move the needle that far on the impact."

The group also notes that cement contributes to 5% of the world's CO2, so any improvement would have a massive and lasting impact on the health of the environment. [More

Sounding the Alarm on Code Compliance Costs
Most multifamily owners are familiar with reserve requirements for items such as fire alarms and alarm replacement. Yet those owners may be surprised to learn that complying with the latest fire code changes can jeopardize statutory caps on property tax increases.  In fact, recent changes to the International Fire Code (IFC) could substantially increase fire safety requirements, trigger loan defaults and escalate repair and property tax costs for apartment owners. [More]

Solving the Problem Between
Climate Change Debate and Actions

By Dr. Deborah Brosnan, Arlington, VA

The disconnect between the climate change "debate" in politics and climate change "action" on main street couldn't be greater.

Amid political disinterest and denial, I flew to Florida to address the annual convention of the Florida Green Building Coalition. When I got to the convention, nobody was debating climate change. But for a different reason. They were too busy dealing with it.

Knowledge that can help those engaged in this work is frequently not communicated to them. Three kinds of information that can help them to shape their innovations and actions are:  

  1. Knowledge of the existing or upcoming treaties, laws and policies that are likely to affect them. For instance, CoP21 and a recent US Appeals court ruling pave the way for Carbon taxes and Carbon offsets.
  2. Awareness of the incentives and ordinances that are emerging locally across the country.
  3. Understanding of the local and science-based climate-change projections that can lead to workable solutions. 

Climate change has become a bottom-up issue. Individuals and the private sector are no longer waiting for Washington to decide whether it is real or important. They are taking the lead. [More

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE:

Flexible Solar Tiles Making Move Inside
To Capture & Recycle Artificial Light

Roofs have long been the realm of solar panels, right up to Tesla's announcement a few weeks ago of energy-harvesting roofing tiles, but solar panels can also be hiding in windows and walls, and soon, might make their way indoors too. A Virginia Tech team is developing low-cost, flexible solar tiles that could be incorporated into curtains and wallpaper to capture natural sunlight and artificial light.

Flexible and less than half a millimeter thick, the researchers' new solar panels are each palm-sized and can generate about 75 mW of power, but can be scaled up in rolls to be used in curtains, window shades and wallpaper. They're made using a screen-printing process that adheres a layer of titanium oxide paste onto a thin, flexible base, making them fairly cheap to produce. [More

How to Get Home Buyers to Go Green

What does green mean to the average home buyer? And how can they qualify it?

Manny Gonzalez, principal at KTGY and architect on the Greenbuild KB Home ProjeKt, says that the most digestible way for home buyers to understand green is in cost savings. He advocates for the HERS Index, which is a measurement of a home's energy efficiency that values the energy features in terms of their efficiency and in terms of the expected cost of utility bills.

Now, that's something a home buyer will understand. Plus, it will allow them to compare two same-priced homes side by side along with each home's utility costs to see which is the better long-term purchase.

KB Home produces an annual sustainability report showing the measures of sustainability incorporated into their homes and the impacts of those measures as it relates to cost savings for homeowners. It's an impressive read. [More] [Sustainability Report]

Making Older Condo Buildings More Eco-Friendly
Condos produce some of the highest levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States each year, experts say. Of course, constructing a building using sustainable energy sources is probably the most sensible way to go to try to reduce a carbon footprint. But what do you do if you're in an old building with antiquated infrastructure?

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, commercial and residential buildings account for more than 39 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States each year. Other statistics show that buildings account for almost half of carbon dioxide emissions. Most of these emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels to provide heating, cooling and lighting, as well as appliances and electrical equipment.

Several condo associations are introducing eco-friendly features as they retrofit their older buildings. Some of the energy efficiency improvements include replacing older laundry machines with highly efficient models, installing solar thermal panels on the roof and swapping out inefficient lightbulbs for energy saving bulbs.

To avoid upfront costs for a building, HOAs can turn to energy management investor firms that cover the initial costs and customize energy savings plans for businesses and buildings. [More

Will Florida Have Enough Water by 2070?

During the next half century, urban sprawl across Florida could double the water consumption of cities and suburbs, according to a new study released.

It's a thirst Florida will be hard pressed to quench without putting natural resources at risk or making big improvements in conservation, water reuse technology and landscaping practices.

How do we move this discussion from the theoretical to what steps actually should be taken? Below are a series of recommendations to more effectively manage Florida's water supply for the benefit of residents, agriculture and the environment alike:

Expand Public Water Conservation Efforts

Reduce Personal Water Use

[More] [Study

AIA COTE Overhauls Its Top Ten Awards Criteria
With the increasingly higher performance expectations for buildings, the AIA Committee on the Environment upped the ante on its Measures of Sustainable Design for its annual Top 10 awards recognition program.

AIA's "Measures of Sustainable Design" offer a very specific vision for what "sustainable" means in the context of design. This has been quite different from green certification frameworks such as the FGBC Florida Green and LEED, which focus on technical performance, not design excellence.

Until 2017, the COTE Top Ten award recognized 10 projects based largely on predicted performance, while award recipients from previous years were eligible to submit post-occupancy data and narratives to be recognized with a single COTE Top Ten Plus award.

In 2017, these separate tracks are merged: The 'Plus' designation will denote projects with exemplary actual performance and post-occupancy lessons. There will be only ten award recipients total, and previous Top Ten award recipients are ineligible to submit.

Project teams are strongly encouraged to submit projects for which performance and occupant satisfaction data are available a period of 12 months or more with at least 75% occupancy. There is no time limit for submission after project completion.
[More] [New Top Ten Measures

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:

VBA Design, Panama City, FL

Victoria Williams President

VBA Design is a certified Woman Owned Small Business formed in 2012 that provides superior architectural and interior design services to the private sector and Public/Governmental clients with high level design quality. We do this with LEED Certified Professionals, knowledgeable construction cost estimations and high client involvement. VBA Design is licensed in four (4) states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana with a host of credentials including FDOT DBE Certified, WOSB Certification in the state of Florida, LEED AP BD+C and over 20+ years' experience. Recent projects include hospital renovations, K-12 campus planning and facility design, warehouse and manufacturing, worship assemblies, homeland security and restaurants. We believe that design is the poetry of the soul that should engage, nurture and delight those it serves. By truly listening to our clients and engaging them throughout the design process, VBA Design is privileged to be  designing a better experience for our clients.

New Members:
 

FGBC Welcomes New Members & Certifying Agents

Mariellen Calabro
City of DeLand
DeLand

Lara Kuleshova
City of Tallahassee
Tallahassee

Ashantae Green
Jacksonville

Ren Carotti
Carotti Engineering
Oneco

Mary Flynn
Keys Affordable Development
Merritt Island

Jessica McPhillips
Keys Affordable Development
Merritt Island

Will Dunn
Davis Dunn Construction
Destin

Donna Waldrep
Sod Solutions
Mr. Pleasant, SC

Brianne Heffner
Southport Development
Tampa

Funding Opportunities:

FHFC Multifamily Energy Retrofit Program
National & State Green Building Funding Opportunities
St. Johns River WMD
South Florida WMD Water Programs
Southwest Florida WMD Water Programs

Education Opportunities:

January 10, 2017
Florida Water Star AP Training
Miami-Dade County Extension Office
Homestead, FL
[More]

February 9, 2017
FGBC Certifying Agent
Annual Verification Class
Orlando, FL
[Register]

May 11, 2017
FGBC Certifying Agent
Annual Verification Class
Fort Myers, FL
[Register]

Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) Course Listings
Building America Webinars
Energy Star Webinars

Job Opportunities:

APA Florida Job Board
Florida Facility Managers Assn Job Board
Green Dream Jobs
Institute for Market Transition (IMT)
Build Your Future Scholarships