January 22, 2016

In This Issue:

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Lotus on Orange - Josh Wynne Construction
Florida, Texas & California Most At-Risk States; Face Greatest Threat from Natural Disasters
Green Office Environments Linked With Higher Cognitive Function Scores
How to Reduce Water Management Expenses With Green Infrastructure
Solar Installations Raise Property Values According to Lawrence Berkeley Lab Report
2016 Best Product Winners from the IBS
Solar Amendment Showdown Goes to Court
Climate Change Ranked Greater Threat Than Weapons of Mass Destruction
FTC Fines Retailers for Misleading Environmental Claims in Advertising
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Divco Custom Homes - Naples
FGBC Welcomes New Members
Education Opportunities
Funding Opportunities
Job Opportunities
Articles of Interest:
Plastic Microbead Ban Signed into Law
Pantone's 2016 Colors of the Year
Gap Between Appraisal and Homeowner Opinion Tightens
Brain-Tangling Algae Lurks in Florida Waters
Solar Jobs Are Outpacing the U.S. Economy By a Longshot


PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Lotus on Orange - Josh Wynne Construction
Although just recently named as the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) "2015 Best in Green (BIG) Single-Family Custom Home" Award Winner, Lotus on Orange is not new to the spotlight. In March 2015, SRQ Magazine (Sarasota) tapped the project as its "Home of the Year." Just recently it won the Platinum Best In American Living Award (BALA) for Best Custom Home, the Best Green Home, and the Best Project in the South Atlantic Region. With three green building certifications, and a number of design awards, it's another Josh Wynne Construction exceptional project.

The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) certified the home back in 2014 at the platinum level with a score of 201 (out of a 100-point requirement). With a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score of -7, the home also earned an EnergyStar "Net Zero Home" certification. FGBC Certifying Agent Drew Smith from Two Trails, Inc. in Sarasota worked with the project team on the green certification.

Indoor health, energy and water conservation, durable material considerations, and general sustainability were important design considerations. At least 80 percent of the windows, doors and structural components of the home came from locally produced materials (within a 700-mile range).

Zero VOC paints, low VOC sealants and adhesives, minimum use of carpet, and healthy insulation all contributed to creating a healthier indoor air quality (IAQ). Other IAQ approaches included  installation of a controlled mechanical ventilation system, EnergyStar bath fans, whole house positive filtration, and a Manual D duct design.

The large expanses of carefully placed glass allow for natural daylighting throughout the home while large sliders and casement glass allow for passive ventilation throughout the home. The views are centralized to the natural flower pond in the front courtyard as well as the pool and outdoor living areas to the rear.

Polished concrete floors were chosen for their durability, thermal massing effect, and their natural beauty. Cypress wood detailing, terrazzo tiles, and bamboo panels counter-balance the smooth white walls of the homes interior, which serve to provide bouncing light and a frame work for viewing the outdoor spaces. The landscape is 100% Florida friendly and uses reclaimed water for irrigation. [More]

Florida, Texas & California Most At-Risk States;
Face Greatest Threat from Natural Disasters

A new report shows that states across the country are largely unprepared to face the significant and increasing risks posed by changing levels of extreme weather, including extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and flooding.

States at Risk: America's Preparedness Report Card, prepared by the States at Risk Project, a collaboration of ICF International and Climate Central, is the first-ever quantitative assessment of its kind. The report is designed to help provide a benchmark for states to assess risks and build and implement action plans to increase their preparedness levels.

Key findings related to the risks states face from the threats of extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland and coastal flooding include:

  • Florida, Texas, and California are the most at risk states. Florida ranks first for both inland and coastal flooding threats and second in terms of extreme heat. Texas faces four threats and is first in extreme heat, drought, and wildfire.
  • The most pervasive threat to the 48 states in the continental U.S. is that of extreme heat - heat wave days are projected to more than triple by 2050 in every state except Oregon. Only 14 percent are taking strong action to prepare.
    [More] [Resilient Design Principles]

Florida's Report Card:

  • Extreme Heat: "D": Florida is projected to see the biggest increase in its extreme heat threat of any state by 2050 yet the state has not implemented any plans to prepare for its future heat risk.
  • Drought "B+": By 2050, Florida's summer drought threat is projected to double. The state is working to understand its future drought risks but it could be doing more.
  • Wildfires "B+": Florida has one of largest populations at risk of wildfires - 5.3 million people - and the state has done more than most to plan for future wildfires.
  • Inland Flooding "D-": 1.5 million Floridians are at elevated risk for inland flooding but the state has not implemented any plans to address its future inland flooding risks.
  • Coastal Flooding "F": Florida faces the largest coastal flooding threat nationwide. Given its enormous risk, the state needs to do more.

Green Office Environments Linked
With Higher Cognitive Function Scores

The indoor built environment plays a critical role in our overall well-being, both due to the amount of time we spend indoors (~90%) and the ability of buildings to positively or negatively influence our health. The advent of sustainable design or green building strategies reinvigorated questions regarding the specific factors in buildings that lead to optimized conditions for health and productivity.

People who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores-in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy-than those who work in offices with typical levels, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.

The researchers looked at people's experiences in "green" vs. "non-green" buildings in a double-blind study, in which both the participants and the analysts were blinded to test conditions to avoid biased results. The findings suggest that the indoor environments in which many people work daily could be adversely affecting cognitive function-and that, conversely, improved air quality could greatly increase the cognitive function performance of workers. The study was published October 26, 2015 in Environmental Health Perspectives. [More]

How to Reduce Water Management Expenses
With Green Infrastructure

Utilizing green infrastructure in water management and water treatment systems can help companies achieve economic and environmental benefits. And yet these ecosystem-based management approaches haven't gone mainstream.

Green infrastructure employs elements of natural systems such as reed beds that treat industrial wastewater, green roofs and permeable pavements that allow water to infiltrate, be filtered and replenish groundwater supplies. Traditional gray infrastructure is man-made.

The Case for Green Infrastructure recommends that green infrastructure become part of the standard toolkit for engineers. In the white paper, Dow Chemical, Shell, Swiss Re and Unilever, working with The Nature Conservancy, concluded that hybrid approaches, utilizing a combination of green and gray infrastructure, may provide an optimum solution to a variety of shocks and improve the overall business resilience.

In addition to primary water management benefits - regulatory compliance, water quality regulation and extreme weather and flood mitigation - green infrastructure can generate significant co-benefits, the document says. These include provision of food, recreation and erosion control, as well as cost savings in operations and in avoiding costly investments in new or expanded grey water infrastructure.

But while becoming increasingly recognized as solution to water management challenges, barriers to green infrastructure systems still exist, according to the Green Infrastructure: Guide for Water Management guide. The guide says one of the main barriers is a lack of awareness about green infrastructure solutions and the associated cost-benefits.  [More

Solar Installations Raise Property Values
According to Lawrence Berkeley Lab Report

Most people already know that solar energy is good for the environment and can help home and business owners save on their electricity bill. New research from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory recently confirmed yet another benefit of solar - It raises the real estate value of the property that it's on. The results indicated that the appraised value of homes with solar was generally three to six percent higher than the appraisal of non-solar homes, which translated into a price boost of $10,000-$22,000, dependent upon the region.

The fact that solar installations raise property values is something that has been noted in the housing market in the last several years. This new research confirms that the added-value aspect of solar is a continuing trend.  Simply put, a home or property with a solar installation is extremely likely to be appraised at a higher value than those without solar. Interestingly, the increased appraisal value was true for homes with both customer-owned and leased solar systems. Regardless of the financing, solar is seen as perk, or even a selling point for a home. [More]

2016 Best Product Winners from the IBS
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) named the winning products in its fourth annual Best of IBS Awards during the NAHB International Builders' Show® (IBS) in Las Vegas. The awards were presented during a ceremony on the final day of the show.

This year's Best of IBS Awards received over 325 entries, submitted by over 130 exhibitors. Decided by a panel of independent judges made up of attending reporters and building professionals, the awards were given in nine categories, plus an overall Best in Show award.

The winners were:

  • Best Kitchen Product (Tie): Lowe's Holoroom by Marxent  and Culinary Preservation Centers by Thermador
  • Best Bath Product: Alterna Engineered Stone by Armstrong Flooring
  • Best Energy Efficient Product:  ZIP System Sheathing and Tape by Huber Engineered Woods
  • Best Green Building Product: Wisy WFF 150 Vortex Filter by Rainwater Management Solutions
  • Best Home Technology Product: FreshBrix by FreshBrix. This home intelligence platform connects homeowners to builders, manufacturers, and retailers. Homeowners have access to Freshbrix massive home product database that contains up-to-date owner's manuals, spec sheets, warranty details, do-it-yourselfer tips, etc.
  • Best Indoor Living Product: Halo and Halo+ by Halo Smart Labs. Halo+ is the only smoke alarm to deliver to your smart phone weather and disaster alerts, including tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.
  • Best Outdoor Living Product: Aluminum Batten System by Knotwood
  • Best Window and Door Product: Next-Generation Z-Articulating Cap Sill by Endura Products
  • Most Innovative Building Product: WINBAG by Red Horse USA, Inc. Precise leveling for installation of windows, doors, appliances, etc.
  • Best in Show: WINBAG by Red Horse USA, Inc.

Solar Amendment Showdown Goes to Court
Floridians for Solar Choice, supported by the solar industry and business and consumer interests, on Monday filed its opposition brief against the utility-backed Consumers for Smart Solar.

Among other requirements, proposed amendments to the state constitution must be OK'd by the Florida Supreme Court to ensure they cover only one subject and that their ballot title and summary aren't misleading.

The opposition brief's summary of argument says Consumers for Smart Solar's amendment should be denied ballot placement, in part because its ballot title and summary "confuse and mislead voters by suggesting the amendment somehow relates to the ability of the consumer to exercise a right to make a 'solar energy choice' when none is granted."

The amendment from Floridians for Solar Choice has already been approved by the court, but its backers are saving it for the 2018 ballot, concerned they won't reach the requisite 683,149 signatures by Feb. 1. That amendment reported 274,582 valid signatures as of Monday and current signatures will remain valid until the next statewide ballot. [More]

Climate Change Ranked Greater Threat
Than Weapons of Mass Destruction

The World Economic Forum began ranking global risks just over a decade ago. And this year, the environment has reached the top of the list.

The failure to mitigate climate change and adapt to it was named as the risk with the greatest potential impact in 2016 in the survey of nearly 750 experts, who assessed 29 separate global dangers for both impact and likelihood over a 10-year horizon.

Environmental risk was viewed as having greater potential damage than weapons of mass destruction, which ranked second; water crises, which placed third; large-scale involuntary migration, which came in fourth; and severe energy price shocks, which came in fifth. [More]

Related Article: Climate Change Could Cost Jobs in South Florida, Says White House Advisor

FTC Fines Retailers for Misleading
Environmental Claims in Advertising

Retailers Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, JC Penney and have been fined $1.3 million by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading environmental claims.

"It's misleading to call bamboo that has been chemically processed into rayon simply 'bamboo,'" said Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. "It's important for [consumers] to know that textiles marketed as environmentally friendly alternatives may not be as 'green' as they were led to believe." [More]

Member Spotlight:

Divco Custom Homes - Naples

Divco Leadership (L-R): Ron Glace, COO,
Mark Eastman, President, Stephen Kauffman, CEO
Alan Foster, V.P. Sales & Marketing

Divco Custom Homes is one of Southwest Florida's oldest, most experienced homebuilders committed to creating superior homes at a competitive and reasonable price. Divco owner, Stephen Kauffman, and a core group of senior management executives oversee the building, financing and design team. This team of professionals, from administration to construction and financing, has decades of experience and a common corporate-wide dedication to customer service.

Partnerships with the region's top architects, residential designers, engineers, and subcontractors who meet our rigid protocols for quality, integrity and expertise ensure clients receive a superior quality home.

At Divco Custom Homes, we do our part to take care of the environment, realizing that using green building techniques will help ensure a wonderful future for our children and grandchildren. From windows and doors to roof and air-conditioning, Divco has energy efficiency covered. The foam insulation Divco uses in its homes helps improve air quality, both outside and inside the home. The use of mildew resistant drywall on all exterior walls mitigates mold and mildew formation within the home. Divco uses fiberglass insulation in most interiors walls, which provides for sound reduction and air temperature control.

Divco's 2-10 warranty is rated among the best in the business, ensuring peace of mind for the homeowner. Awarded only to builders that demonstrate financial stability, quality construction and dedication to warranty performance, our affiliation guarantees each of our Gold level homes includes one- and two-year normal warranty coverage plus a 10-year transferable structural warranty. [More]

New Members:

FGBC Welcomes New Members & Certifying Agents

Tommy Spain

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:

February 2-3, 2016
Florida Water StarSM Accredited

Professional Training and Exam
Gainesville, FL

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)