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Sustainable Development Update
February 15, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

Building apartments near transit brings in more money for cities and counties

Greater Greater Washington - Feb 2 In the Washington, DC region, apartments near train stops and bus routes bring in more tax money for cities and counties than apartments farther away from the same resources, according to a new report that shows that cities and counties have a lot to gain from building apartments near public transportation. The report, released by the Urban Land Institute, looked at 10,000 apartments across the Baltimore-Washington DC region to see whether units near transit bring in more revenue and put less demand on public services than apartments farther away from these amenities. Thanks to things like real estate taxes, property taxes, permits, and fees, apartments near transit brought in between $1.13 and $2.20 per year in government revenue for every $1 spent on public services for residents. If these apartments had been farther away from transportation, the study found, they would have generated less revenue—between $0.77 and $1.35 for every $1 spent.


L.A.’s mayor wants to lower the city’s temperature. These scientists are figuring out how to do it

Los Angeles Times - Feb 9 As part of a sweeping plan to help L.A. live within its environmental means, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has pledged to reduce the average temperature in the metropolis by 3 degrees over the next 20 years. Climate change is primarily responsible for the warming trend, but it’s not the only force at work. Angelenos are also contending with an additional layer of misery caused by what’s known as the “urban heat island effect.” It means that cities — with their asphalt streets, dark roofs, sparse vegetation, and car-clogged roads — are almost always a few degrees warmer than the more rural areas that surround them. In early July, Matt Petersen, chief sustainability officer for the office of the mayor convened a group of about 20 civil servants and university scientists to determine how to bring the city’s temperature more in line with what it would have been if Los Angeles had never been developed. One way to combat this heat sink is to replace the city’s streets and sidewalks with high-tech materials that reflect more sunlight and stay cooler during the day and at night. Scientists and policymakers are also investigating “cool roofs” and their potential to reduce the overall temperature of the city. 

Construction begins on the largest solar PV glass skylight in the U.S.

SolarServer - Feb 13 Real estate developer Somerset Development, headquartered in New Jersey, announced that construction has begun on the largest photovoltaic (PV) glass skylight in the U.S. at Bell Works, the complete revitalization of the two-million-square-foot former Bell Labs facility into the iconic mixed-use metroburb located in Holmdel, NJ. Spearheaded by Onyx Solar, the installation will total 3,200 skylights that will span across the quarter-mile-long atrium roof, covering 60,000 square feet. Upon completion, the PV skylight will naturally illuminate the complex while generating free, clean electricity from the sun. Bell Works is also planning to provide electric vehicle charging stations in its outdoor parking lots, which will utilize the solar power produced by the newly installed photovoltaic glass.

Federal data center energy efficiency bill passes House vote

The Stack - Feb 3 A new bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives proposes a set of energy efficiency standards directed at federal data centers, requiring agencies to improve and develop strategies in an attempt to reduce their energy consumption. The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (HR 306) was sponsored by representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and was passed unanimously by voice vote. The bill now awaits a Senate vote. HR 306 includes clauses requiring each federal agency to compile a report describing their efforts and results to improve energy efficiency in their data centers and computing infrastructure.

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