November 25, 2013
To all of you, my FGBC friends and family, HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
Articles of Interest:
The Ethanol Investigation
HB243 calls for repeal of the federal renewable fuels production standard.
The Slow Pace of PACE
Where are we now with PACE Funding?
Miami Hits Top 10 Luxury Residential Markets
The real estate arm of the iconic Christie’s auction house publishes a global research report of trends across the world’s prime real estate markets, tracking spending patterns among wealthy buyers.
IKEA to Build South Florida's Largest Solar Array
The array will keep the Swedish furnishings retailer as the largest non-utility owner of solar energy in the Sunshine State
12/1/57 - 10/29/13
FGBC Board member Tom Franz died suddenly from a massive heart attack on October 29, 2013. He was only 56. A good man, gone too soon.
I've known Tom and his wife, Betsy for many years. And all that time, they have faithfully supported FGBC not only as members but also as promoters of our mission. Tom brought a builder's perspective to the FGBC Board, always keeping us attuned to cost implications and practical approaches of green building strategies. He had an opinion, there was no denying that, but he was always kind and gentle in his persuasion.
Tom was a long time resident of Brevard County and has been a respected member of the local construction industry for over 20 years. During that period, he helped many residents achieve their dream of owning a home, including working with Home for Our Troops and Extreme Makeover Home Edition to build homes for two of Brevard's local heroes. Tom's exemplary reputation in the construction industry recently earned him an appointment to the Florida Building Commission.
Tom loved hunting, fishing, spending time in nature and snow skiing, but most of all he loved his family and many close friends.
Farewell our friend. . .we are saddened to have lost you.
Abacoa Achieves Development Certification
The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) has recognized Abacoa as a 'Florida Green' Land Development after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Green Land Development certification program. Abacoa achieved 210 points for the designation, which has a minimum 200-points requirement.
Abacoa excelled at protecting its natural resources and created a great walkable community where nature can coexist with residents. Part of the efforts in protecting ecosystems includes a 260-acre greenway that serves as habitat for gopher tortoises and provides stormwater management. The traditional neighborhood design of the development, combined with incorporating a University campus, stores and parks, have the potential to greatly reduce vehicle use compared to that in typical developments. Signage within the development about the nature in the area provides valuable educational information to residents and visitors. [More]
Dunedin – FGBC’s 1st Platinum Certified Green Local Government!
Congratulations to the city of Dunedin for its five-year recertification as a Florida Green Local Government after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Green Local Government certification program. But the bigger news is Dunedin has become the FIRST local government in the state to achieve PLATINUM-level designation by achieving 71.4 percent of its 252 applicable points.
Low-Cost Strategies to Beat the Dec 31 Deadline For the 30 Percent Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Individuals and entities that are constructing or contemplating construction of renewable energy projects can benefit from valuable 30 percent investment tax credits available for their renewable energy projects. However, to receive benefits from tax credits associated with many renewable technologies, interested individuals and entities need to take key steps now. Specifically, they need to take steps to ensure that they are able to satisfy a critical "begin construction" requirement that must be met by the end of this year.
A variety of renewable energy projects qualify for the 30 percent tax credit. Qualifying facilities include: solar electric, solar thermal, fuel-cell, wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, waste to energy, and hydropower. [More]
Immortalizing the Meaning of Membership
In the 17 years I worked at the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) prior to joining FGBC, what amazed me year after year were the loyalty, commitment and passion the members demonstrated. Last month at FHBA’s annual Leadership Conference, Bill Smock from Sarasota was selected as FHBA Associate of the Year. In his remarks, Bill got right to the heart of what makes an association successful:
“It’s teamwork that gets us where we need to be, but its family that holds us together,” Bill Smock accepting the FHBA “Associate of the Year” award.
Smock is the owner of Gator Plumbing and an FHBA Past Second Vice President. He guided FHBA’s landmark victory in the 2013 session of the Florida Legislature in cracking down on unlicensed activity. Congratulations to Bill. –Suzanne Cook, FGBC Executive Director
PACE Funding Updates
Broward County Approves PACE Program
The Broward County Commission unanimously voted to move forward with an innovative “open market” approach to financing for residential and commercial energy retrofits for its more than 1.8 million county residents. Broward’s vote signals a shift towards using multiple providers that compete to offer the best solutions to constituents—a shift away from programs that would limit participants to a single lender.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program adopted by the County lets property owners voluntarily and cost-effectively fund energy-saving retrofits of their homes and businesses. Financing is available for solar panels, LED lighting, HVAC and wind-resistance improvements. Interest rates are competitive because repayment is collected as an assessment on the owners’ property tax bill. Currently, 29 states and Washington D.C. have passed legislation allowing PACE financing. [More]
Pinellas County Approves Commercial PACE But Excludes Residential Green Loans
Pinellas County business owners, but not homeowners, will soon be able to apply for loans for solar panels and other green technologies that are paid back through property taxes. Pinellas County commissioners voted down a proposal to include homeowners in the energy-saving program. [More]
Florida Regional PACE Programs
FPL Solar Rebate Programs Available
FPL offers solar rebate programs to customers who install photovoltaic (PV) and solar water heating systems in their homes and businesses. The solar rebate programs are part of a five-year pilot program authorized by the Florida Public Service Commission to promote clean solar power and reduce energy consumption.
Residential customers may receive a rebate of $1,000 for installing new solar water heating systems, and up to $20,000 for installing a photovoltaic (PV) system and interconnecting to FPL's grid. The website indicates $1.3 million is still available for solar water heaters, but all of the 2014 residential PV funding has been reserved, with a standby list available.
FPL is also partnering with not-for-profit low-income-housing builders under the Solar Water Heating Low-Income New Construction Program to install 1,000 solar water heaters in low-income housing units over the next five years.
Business customers may receive rebates up to $50,000 per site for installing a new solar water heating system and up to $50,000 per site for installing a PV system and interconnecting to FPL's grid. Customers with multiple locations can receive up to $150,000 per funding year for solar water heaters. The website indicates $941,990 is still available for solar water heaters, but the PV funding for 2014 is completely reserved, with a standby list available. [More]
How Does Your Community's Energy Efficiency Stack Up – Take the Test
Using the scoring methodology of the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the downloadable Self-Scoring Tool gives you the ability to score the energy efficiency efforts of your community and compare it against its peers. By answering a series of questions, you’ll obtain a numerical score indicative of your community’s progress toward enacting and implementing sound energy programs and policies. In addition to the score, the tool also allows for analysis of the score through:
- A comparison to other communities’ scores to put numerical scores in perspective and introduce your community to innovative energy practices that have been implemented and successful in other communities
- A customized assessment indicating where your community is doing well when it comes to energy efficiency, where your community can improve, and specific metrics for your community to target for improvement
- Aggregation of scores by policy type to provide a flexible framework through which communities in different stages of energy policy implementation can view their progress
And who can use this tool, you might wonder? Anyone interested in knowing how energy efficient their community is—from the local policymaker to the informed citizen. [More]
St. Joe Company Sells 382,834 Acres in Florida Panhandle
The St. Joe Co. announced it has sold 382,834 acres in the Florida Panhandle, including thousands of acres targeted by the state for purchase, to AgReserves Inc., an affiliate of the Mormon Church. St. Joe said the land to be sold for $565 million includes the majority of the company's timberland land in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties.
This proposed transaction does not include land within the Company's existing residential or commercial real estate segments or its resorts, leisure or leasing segment, nor include any land for which the Company had plans to develop or use in these types of operations in the foreseeable future.
"AgReserves has demonstrated its commitment to wise land stewardship and prudent resource management during more than 60 years of ranching and agricultural operations in east central Florida," Paul Genho, board chairman for AgReserves, said in the St. Joe Co. statement. "We will apply that same commitment and expertise to managing the property we are acquiring in Florida's panhandle," he said. [More]
DOE Launches Alternative Fueling Station Locator App
The U.S. Department of Energy has launched a new mobile app to help drivers find stations that provide alternative fuel for vehicles.
The Alternative Fueling Station Locator app provides information on more than 15,000 stations across the country. Users can search for stations that offer electricity, biodiesel (B20), natural gas (compressed and liquefied), ethanol (E85), hydrogen, and propane. After the user selects a fuel, the app maps the stations closest to his or her current location. The app also includes the stations' addresses, phone numbers, and operating hours. Using the app's filters, drivers can also search for stations that meet certain parameters, such as whether the station is open to the public and what payment methods it accepts. The Alternative Fueling Station Locator app is available for the iPhone and iPad at no cost from the Apple App Store.
FGBC Welcomes New Members & Certifying Agents
- Fred Kelley, Tampa Bay Builders, Hudson, FL
- Paula Paxton, Tampa Bay Builders, Hudson, FL
- Jennifer Smith, Tampa Bay Builders, Hudson, FL