News

February 20, 2015

In This Issue:

Recent FGBC Certifications
Appraisal Institute Releases New Commercial Green Addendum
New Energy Star Window Specs In Effect
Green Buildings Get Lower Interest Rates
EPA Releases Stormwater Management Tool
New Floodplain Rules Would Limit Construction
ADA and FHA Accessibility; What You Need to Know
Wind Power Coming to the Sunshine State?
Amendment 1 Funding Requests Pour In for Water Projects
Energy Department Announces $13 Million to Help Communities Go Solar
FGBC Welcomes New Members
Education Opportunities
Funding Opportunities
Job Opportunities
 
Articles of Interest:
 
Relying on Air Conditioning is a Symptom of Bad Design
 
Features:
 

Recent FGBC Certifications
City of Coconut Creek
Coconut Creek achieved 53 percent of its 355 applicable points, earning it a gold-level designation under the FGBC Green Local Government certification program, the highest score of all FGBC certified local governments within Broward County and the fifth highest scoring local government in the state. [More]

Markham Regional Water Treatment Plant has been awarded the Florida Green Commercial Building designation by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Florida Green Commercial Building Certification program. The building was designed to operate 35 percent more efficiently than required by Florida code and reduced its water budget by 40 percent. [More]

Appraisal Institute Releases New
Commercial Green Addendum

The Appraisal Institute's newly released Commercial Green and Energy Efficient Addendum offers a communication tool that lenders can use as part of the scope of work. The addendum also assists investors in communicating the construction features of the property that impact income. Appraisers, builders, energy raters, green certifiers, architects, and investors should use the addendum even if a property is not certified green by a formal certifying organization but does possess green features. The water and energy efficient features are key to a higher net income and appraisers should take care to identify these features. [More] [Download Form]

New Energy Star Window Specs In Effect
Residential windows are advancing along with the rest of the building envelope, and in keeping with the industry's ongoing innovation the ENERGY STAR Windows program has updated its Eligibility Criteria. The revised specs for each Energy Star program are listed below.

For DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes, here are the key takeaways:

  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home - which requires ENERGY STAR windows or an equivalent - has established an 8-month phase in, recognizing the time frame involved to move from design to project permitting.  So, the new Version 6.0 ENERGY STAR Window specs will be in effect for DOE Zero Energy Ready Home projects permitted after 8/31/2015; (except for projects in IECC Climate Zone 5 and higher where the V6.0 Window specs will be required for projects permitted after 8/31/2016).
  • Under the new specs, U-values for ENERGY STAR windows are lower in all climate zones, but stay within the double-pane technology category (see chart above).
  • Keep in mind that DOE Zero Energy Ready Home allows alternatives like area-weighted averaging for U and SHGC and a passive solar design exemption.

Check out the latest   Net Zero-Ready Home Requirements.

Green Buildings Get Lower Interest Rates
The US Federal National Mortgage Association, Fannie Mae, will for the first time provide lower interest rate loans to green multi-residential buildings.

Fannie Mae will grant a 10 basis point reduction in the interest rate of a multifamily refinance, acquisition or supplemental mortgage loan for buildings with a green building certification. For example, if the market interest rate is 4 percent on the multifamily loan, the new rate is 3.9 percent with this pricing break. On a $10 million dollar loan amortizing over 30 years, the owner would save $95,000 in interest payments over a 10-year term.

In addition to having a smaller carbon footprint, green buildings cost 19 percent less to maintain than their conventional counterparts, according to a US General Services Administration study. [More]

EPA Releases Stormwater Management Tool
The EPA has launched the  Climate Adjustment Tool for its  Stormwater Management Model, an online stormwater simulation model. It helps engineers and planners accurately represent any combination of traditional and green infrastructure practices within an area to determine their effectiveness in managing stormwater and combined sewer overflows in their community.

The new tool will enable users to add climate projections based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's climate change scenarios to existing simulations to determine the quality of water traveling through traditional infrastructure: a system of gutters, storm drains, pipes, channels, collection tanks and storage devices. The tool also has the ability to model the performance of green infrastructure practices, including permeable pavement, rain gardens and green roofs.
[More] [US Climate Resilience Toolkit]

EPA also offers the Stormwater Calculator, a tool that can be used by homeowners, landscapers, and developers to estimate the amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff on a specific site based on local soil conditions, land cover, historic rainfall records, and climate change scenarios. [More]

New Floodplain Rules Would Limit Construction
On Jan. 30, President Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13690, part of the Administration's plans to improve climate resiliency as directed by the President's Climate Action Plan.

The Executive Order creates a new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) for all federally approved or funded projects and significantly expands the areas to be protected. And while the Administration has stated that the EO is targeted to federally financed projects, there is concerned that the scope could be much broader:

A strict reading implies it could include homes built under FHA and HUD housing programs and the National Flood Insurance Program. And conceivably it could affect permitting under the Clean Water Act - if all waters in floodplains are subject to federal jurisdiction, if the new Waters of the United States definitions are finalized as proposed - and the Endangered Species Act, because the floodplain is identified as critical habitat for many listed species.

Federal agencies will have three options for establishing the new FFRMS elevation and flood hazard area:

  • Climate-informed Science Approach. Using the best-available data and methods to forecast changes from flooding
  • Freeboard Value Approach - adding an additional 2 or 3 feet to the base flood elevation of the 100-year flood
  • 500-year Elevation Approach. The area subject to flooding by the 0.2%-annual-chance flood  [More]

ADA and FHA Accessibility;
What You Need to Know

There are seven basic requirements for accessibility when constructing an apartment or condominium building of four or more units. In addition, if that building has an elevator, each unit in the building must also comply. If there's no elevator, only the ground-floor units must comply.

  • An accessible building entrance on an accessible route. Not every door needs to be accessible by wheelchair, but at least one public entrance must be easily accessed.
  • Accessible common and public use areas.
  • Doors that are easily operable by a person sitting in a wheelchair.
  • An accessible route into and through the dwelling unit: in other words, hallways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
  • Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls that can be operated from a wheelchair.
  • Reinforced bathroom walls so that grab bars can be installed later, if necessary.
  • Bathrooms and kitchens that allow a wheelchair user to be able to move around and access the fixtures.

It's important to understand that the FHA may not apply to re-purposed buildings: a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse converted into loft apartments, for example. The FHA's accessibility requirements only apply to buildings designed and constructed for "first occupancy" after March 31, 1991. 

While the FHA includes specific requirements for multifamily housing, single-family homes don't need be accessible, unless, for instance, a model home is also used as a sales office. In that circumstance. the portion of the model home used for the sales office becomes a "public accommodation" and is subject to the ADA. [More]

Wind Power Coming to the Sunshine State?
Gulf Power of Pensacola is hoping to harness the power of wind for Florida by importing it from Oklahoma. The utility company is seeking permission from the Florida Public Service Commission to purchase the wind energy produced on a turbine farm in the Sooner State and brought directly to the Sunshine State.

Supplying power in this manner has never been done before in Florida, and environmental activists are applauding the move. Sierra Club spokesperson Kelly Martin says the timing is right.

"It's cost-effective. The cost of clean energy has plummeted to the point where it is cheaper to bring in wind from out of state to benefit Florida consumers," she says.

The electricity will be brought in via transmission lines from the Kingfisher Wind Farm in Piedmont, Oklahoma. If approved by state energy regulators at the Public Service Commission, it could be used to power more than 50,000 homes in northwest Florida. The agreement would also make Gulf Power the leading utility purchaser of wind energy in the state. [More]

Amendment 1 Funding Requests
Pour In for Water Projects

Water-related projects totaling nearly $1.2 billion have been proposed as state lawmakers decide how to carve up a pot of money that voters want for land and water conservation and management.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee has posted on its webpage a summary list of 475 requested water projects from across the state that would far surpass anticipated first-year funding from a constitutional amendment voters approved in November.

The proposals range from $96.8 million for phase two of the Yankee Lake Surface Water Plant in Seminole County to $15,000 for the replacement of sewage flowmeters in Miami-Dade County.

Other requested big-ticket items include $65 million for reclaimed water systems in Broward County; $53 million for a water-management project along the Halifax River and Nova Canal basins in Volusia County; $50 million for wastewater improvements in the Florida Keys; $20 million for regional stormwater work in Wakulla County; and $15 million for the East Milton Water Reclamation and Effluent Disposal Facility in Santa Rosa County. [More]

Energy Department Announces $13 Million
To Help Communities Go Solar

The Energy Department has announced $13 million in funding to help communities across the country
reduce market and policy barriers to solar deployment and recognize communities for taking the initiative to go solar. The Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) funding opportunity will establish a national recognition and technical assistance program for local governments-driving greater solar deployment and making it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Funding recipients will establish and administer a national recognition program and also provide technical assistance and share best practices with communities seeking national recognition for cutting red tape and improving local solar market conditions. The submission deadline for concept papers is March 5. [More]

Shared Solar Programs Finding Success
Rather than limiting solar energy options to homeowners with ample roof space, shared solar programs enable renters, neighbors, and even small businesses, local nonprofits, and other entities to benefit from the solar energy generated by panels in one array.

A major draw of shared solar is its potential for flexibility. For example, programs can be designed to encourage participation by low-income urban customers, to stabilize energy bills for mom-and-pop shops on Main Street, and to create partnerships between rural communities with available land and nearby cities with high electricity demand. Strategically-located shared solar arrays can help cities boost local economic development and help utilities by providing electric grid benefits, such as responding to and meeting increased demand.
[Case Studies]

New Members:

FGBC Welcomes New Members & Certifying Agents

Jennifer Duffala Hagen
City of Bonita Springs, Community Development Dept.
Bonita Springs

Chris Whittaker
City of North Port, Neighborhood Development Services
North Port

Tanya Wilson-Sejour
City of North Miami
North Miami

Jerry Compton
Bowman Consulting Group, Ltd.
Stuart

David Ederer (Rejoin)
Navo Builders LLC
Vero Beach

Clay Chandler
The Klein Company
Philadelphia, PA

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 26, 2015
Florida Water StarSM Certifier
Annual Update Training

Tampa Service Center
Tampa, FL
[Register]

March 4, 2015 (Free)
Florida Water StarSM Certifier
Annual Update Training

Fort Lauderdale, FL
[Register]

March 4-5, 2015
Florida Water StarSM Accredited Professional Training

Ewing Irrigation
Clearwater, FL
4 CEUS for FNGLA AP & Irrigation Assn
[More]

March 26, 2015
FGBC Certifying Agent
Annual Verification Course

Tallahassee, FL
[Register]

April 14-15, 2015
FGBC Certifying Agent Designation Course

Cocoa, FL
[Register]

Building America Webinars

Job Opportunities:

APA Florida Job Board
Green Dream Jobs
Florida Facility Managers Assn Job Board
City of Sunrise Internship opportunity