May 19, 2015

In This Issue:

FGBC Mid-Year Conference Set for June 18
Warning: Energy Codes Are About to Get Tougher
Tesla Unveils Batteries to Power Homes
DOE Zero Energy Ready Revisions Hit May 11
Improper Disposal of Mercury Content Lamps Has Lifelong Liability to Owner
Passive House-US Standard Develops Climate Zone Performance Targets
Sea Rise Threatens Florida Coast but Still No Statewide Plan
Sustainable Florida Best Practice Awards Nomination Deadline Extended to May 29
USDA Develops GMO-Free Product Label
Tallahassee Receives Walkable City Award
Atlanta Passes Energy Benchmarking Legislation
Here's A Chance to Get Your Sustainability Efforts Recognized
$235 Million Available for Water Conservation Projects
FGBC Welcomes New Members
Education Opportunities
Funding Opportunities
Job Opportunities
Articles of Interest:
Presidential Politics: Green Groups Get Their Man in Bernie Sanders
PCBC Parade of Products Winners
Drew Smith Appointed to NAHB Energy & Green Codes & Standards Sub-Committee
If You're Not Doing Home Automation, You're Archaic
Bungalow Courts. Density Reborn

FGBC Mid-Year Conference Set for June 18

You're invited to attend the Florida Green Building Coalition's Mid-Year Conference on June 18 at the Plantation Inn in Crystal River, FL. The annual gathering is an excellent opportunity to get involved, share best practices, and shape the future of green building in Florida.

We'll use this time to review our organization's focus and strategic goals, to adapt our certification programs to reflect advancing technologies and regulations, and to offer invaluable networking opportunities for sustainability and green building professionals.

The conference offers something for the industry novice, the seasoned expert and everyone in between. Every attendee has the opportunity to get involved, to teach, to learn, and to take away valuable information.

Join your kindred spirits on June 18, strengthen important business connections, learn by participation, and enjoy all that the Plantation Inn on Crystal River has to offer. Swim with manatees, rent a kayak to explore the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, or fish for Tarpon, Redfish or Speckled Trout. There's no better place to understand the importance of sustainability. Register Today!

Conference Fee: $75
Room Rate: $95
Deadline for hotel discount is May 31, 2015. Discount code will be provided upon conference registration.


Gables Ponce Phase II

Gables Ponce Phase II, a luxury apartment community developed by Gables Residential in Coral Gables, has earned green building certification by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Florida Green High-Rise Residential Building certification program. The project achieved 67 points of its 50 minimum required, making it the highest scoring high-rise in FGBC history.

The designation represents achievements in a number of categories, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, site preservation, indoor air quality, materials, and durability, including disaster mitigation. 

FGBC-certified projects complete a technically rigorous building assessment and construction process to promote design and construction practices that reduce the negative environmental impacts of the building, improve occupant health and well-being, and reduce operating costs for the owner.

Phase II of Gables Ponce offers 119 apartment homes and 24,000 square feet of office space. It also includes an expansive pool deck and community spaces for gatherings and relaxation, such as the lounge-like Café de Ponce and Club Ponce, a gaming room complete with ping-pong and billiards. The mixed-use community is steps away from the shopping hub of the Village at Merrick Park, and has close proximity to the bustling retail, fashion, dining and business offerings of Miracle Mile and downtown Coral Gables.

The project was designed to be 25 percent more energy efficient than typical code-compliant buildings and will purchase at least 75 percent of its energy needs for two years through green power agreements. Water conservation efforts include the use of drought-tolerant plants for 75 percent of its landscaping, reduction of potable water use for irrigation on 75 percent of area irrigated, installation of ultra-low-flow toilets, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and water-efficient washing machines.

For improved indoor air quality, healthy building materials were used, such as low VOC paints, stains, and adhesives; carpet and composite wood products free of harmful formaldehyde; and insulation products that do not give off gas toxic chemicals.

A construction waste management plan was implemented that diverted a minimum of 75 percent of the waste from the landfill. To minimize the parking area footprint, vertical parking lifts were installed. [More]


Warning: Energy Codes Are About to Get Tougher
Al LaPera, a Tampa-based senior energy performance consultant for TLC Engineering for Architecture, is working to spread the word: Many energy-related codes for commercial real estate buildings around the country are about to get tougher. In fact, Florida's energy codes will become much more stringent this summer, while other Southeast states are expected to be close behind.

As an example, Florida has adopted the International Energy Conservation Code 2012, which is based on ASHRAE 90.1-2010. The new code requires buildings to be at least 19% more efficient than our current standards. It also mandates commissioning for all buildings with air conditioning systems over 40 tons.

One big change is that buildings will be required to have daylight harvesting systems, which are internal sensors that monitor the amount of sunlight in a room and adjust the internal lighting, reducing artificial lighting and the associated demand on HVAC systems.

[More] [How Should Developers Respond]

Tesla Unveils Batteries to Power Homes
US electric carmaker Tesla Motors has unveiled batteries that can power homes and businesses as it attempts to expand beyond its vehicle business. Chief executive Elon Musk announced the firm would build batteries that store solar energy and serve as a back-up system for consumers during blackouts.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery unit will be built using the same batteries Tesla produces for its electric vehicles.

The smallest battery, known as Powerwall, is housed in a six-inch-wide container that is meant to be hung inside a garage or on the outside wall of a house. Tesla will sell the 7kWh unit for $3,000, while the 10kWh unit will retail for $3,500 to installers. Tesla's lead installation partner for the home battery will be SolarCity Corp.

Tesla plans to start shipping the units to installers in the US by this summer. [More BBC, Reuters]

What the critics are saying 

DOE Zero Energy Ready Revisions Hit May 11
Revision 5 of the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home National Program Requirements will go live on May 11, 2015. The updated specs:

  • Explains how the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program works in states with the 2012 IECC
  • Defines an extended phase-in period for the new ENERGY STAR windows specs
  • Adds clarifications to the efficient hot water distribution provisions

Perhaps most significant is that Rev05 establishes the solar hot water-ready provisions as encouraged, rather than a mandatory specification. The PV-ready provisions will still apply (subject to the exceptions already found in the program specs).

The Rev05 specs go into effect for homes permitted on or after August 11, 2015. Any updates in the Rev05 specs that are advantageous to a builder, such as the change to the solar hot water-ready provisions, can be implemented immediately.

Improper Disposal of Mercury Content Lamps
Has Lifelong Liability to Owner

High intensity discharge lamps, neon/argon lamps, and fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps all contain small amounts of mercury, which the EPA classifies as a universal hazardous waste. Although the EPA's Universal Waste Rule (UWR) requires the handler of mercury-containing equipment to dispose of it in a way that prevents the release mercury into the environment, the EPA estimates that most mercury-containing lamps sold in the US are not disposed of properly.

The owner of the lamp is liable forever, regardless of where the lamp ends up, so it's important to understand federal and local policies surrounding the proper disposal of mercury-containing lamps. Buildings magazine online provides some best practices for developing an environmentally responsible recycling program for spent lamps containing mercury. [More]

Passive House-US Standard Develops
Climate Zone Performance Targets

In cooperation with Building Science Corporation under a U.S. DOE Building America grant, the Passive House Institute-US (PHIUS) has developed passive building standards that account for the broad range of climate conditions, market conditions, and other variables in North American climate zones. The new standard - PHIUS+ 2015: Passive Building Standard - North America-will be used as criteria for PHIUS+2015 project certification and quality assurance beginning March 16, 2015.

PHIUS + 2015 provides the climate-specific sweet spot where aggressive energy and carbon reduction overlap with cost effectiveness. It accounts for a full range of variables including climate zone, source energy, and costs. [More]

Sea Rise Threatens Florida Coast
But Still No Statewide Plan

America's oldest city is slowly drowning. St. Augustine is one of many chronically flooded communities along Florida's coast, and officials in these diverse places share a concern: They're afraid their buildings and economies will be further inundated by rising seas in just a couple of decades. The effects are a daily reality in much of Florida. Drinking water wells are fouled by seawater. Higher tides and storm surges make for more frequent road flooding from Jacksonville to Key West, and they're overburdening aging flood-control systems.

But the state has yet to offer a clear plan or coordination to address what local officials across Florida's coast see as a slow-moving emergency. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is skeptical of man-made climate change and has put aside the task of preparing for sea level rise, an Associated Press review of thousands of emails and documents pertaining to the state's preparations for rising seas found. [More]

Sustainable Florida Best Practice Awards
Nomination Deadline Extended to May 29

The Best Practice Award recognizes businesses, organizations and individuals for their dynamic work in helping to create a sustainable Florida.  Previous Sustainable Florida Best Practice award recipients have been rewarded for their efforts to demonstrably conserve water; revitalize coastlines; implement cleaner, more efficient processes for air and water; preserve and promote agricultural practices; create green developments that reduce energy and water usage and save residents money; adopt and implement practices to create sustainable communities, companies and campuses; and many more.

A new category this year will focus on Community Engagement. This category recognizes individuals or organizations that have successfully brought together stakeholders, constituents, partners, vendors or customers, etc., to engage in and practice more sustainable practices. Deadline has been extended to Friday, May 29th. [Nomination Form]

USDA Develops GMO-Free Product Label
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.

USDA's move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of the genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The certification is the first of its kind and would be voluntary - and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a "USDA Process Verified" label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.

Genetically modified foods come from seeds that are originally engineered in laboratories to have certain traits, like resistance to herbicides. The majority of the country's corn and soybean crop is now genetically modified, with much of that going to animal feed. GMO corn and soybeans are also made into popular processed food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil. [More]

Tallahassee Receives Walkable City Award
Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program developed to encourage towns and cities across the U.S. to establish or recommit to a high priority for supporting safer walking environments.

Tallahassee is designated as a Silver-level Walk Friendly Community due to its excellent engineering practices, targeted enforcement activities, ordinances that promote density, and variety of outreach techniques used to collect input from diverse segments of the community. Highlights of Tallahassee's application include: [More]

Other Florida cities receiving recognition were:
Gainesville - Bronze
Lakeland - Bronze
Temple Terrace - Honorable Mention

Atlanta Passes Energy Benchmarking Legislation
Atlanta has become the first Southeast city to pass energy benchmarking and transparency legislation, which was unanimously voted into law on April 20 by the Atlanta City Council. Atlanta is the 12th U.S. city to pass a benchmarking ordinance for private buildings, and the sixth to require building owners to perform energy audits.

The new law, referred to as the Atlanta Commercial Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance, will be phased in, starting with municipal buildings in 2015 and expanding to include private buildings in 2016. Private and city-owned buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to report their energy use. Owners of the designated buildings will be required to annually benchmark and report to the city their properties' energy use. Building off of this data, building owners will then be asked to complete an energy audit once every 10 years. [More]

Here's A Chance to Get Your
Sustainability Efforts Recognized

Environmental Leader invites you to share what you learned from a sustainability, environmental, or energy initiative you took part in during the past year or so for its 5th Annual Insider Knowledge Report.

There is no fee to submit your story or to have your story published in the report.

Last year, over 600 people submitted stories and thousands of Environmental, Sustainability and Energy Managers downloaded the report.

The best 100-or-so stories received will be used in the complimentary report - which will be distributed across a number of media outlets.

Don't worry, your submission can be as short as a couple of paragraphs (or as long as 600 words). You don't have to write a novel to share your success! Deadline is May 22 [Submit]

$235 Million Available for
Water Conservation Projects

The US Department of Agriculture has announced up to $235 million available for water conservation partnerships.

The funding, which aims to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability, is being made available through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, part of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The initiative allows private companies, local and tribal governments, universities, nonprofits and other non-government partners, along with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to design solutions that work best for their region, the department says. [More]

New Members:

FGBC Welcomes New Members & Certifying Agents

Daniel Thall
TGD Orlando, LLC

Eric Gimson (Rejoin)
Land O Lakes

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:

May 21, 2015
12 p.m.
ZERH Lighting Efficiency

Topic: Builder integration of LEDs including specification, costs, design approaches, energy-related benefits, and consumer reactions.

June 17, 2015
FGBC Certifying Agent Annual Verification Class

Plantation Inn
Crystal River

October 13-14, 2015
FGBC Certifying Agent Destination Class


Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
Course Listings

Building America Webinars
Energy Star Webinars

Job Opportunities:

APA Florida Job Board
Green Dream Jobs
Florida Facility Managers Assn Job Board