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Sustainable Development Update
February 7, 2017
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Sustainable Development Focus

Why build green? Lowered operational costs, increased staff productivity, and higher asset values

Environmental Leader - Feb 2 Green building continues to play a growing role in the construction industry, with building industry professionals forecasting that more than 60 percent of their projects will be “green” by 2018. According to the World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, a survey released by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation, this shows the rising global demand for green building, which the report says continues to double every three years. Respondents, which included more than 1,000 participants from 69 countries, said they expect a 14 percent savings in operational costs over five-years for new green buildings and 13 percent savings in operational costs over five years for green retrofits and renovations. Additionally, building owners report that green buildings, both new and renovated, command a 7 percent increase in asset value over traditional buildings.


NRG Energy powered Super Bowl with renewable energy

Electric Light & Power - Feb 3 NRG Energy Inc. and its Texas retail electricity provider unit Reliant teamed up with the NFL to provide 100 percent Green-e certified renewable energy to NRG Stadium, site of Super Bowl LI, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, location of the NFL Experience and other NFL celebrations in Houston. For a period leading up to, during, and following the game, for every megawatt hour of electricity used to power these events, NRG and Reliant purchased and retired one Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) on behalf of Super Bowl LI. The RECs account for the electricity used at NRG Stadium and the George R. Brown Convention Center, supporting renewable energy and the over one hundred thousand fans visiting Houston to celebrate the Super Bowl. Sustainability solutions at NRG Stadium also include 65,000 energy-efficient LED field lights, which use 60 percent less energy than the stadium’s previous lighting system. 

NYC Carbon Challenge expansion heralds a greener Big Apple

Commercial Property Executive - Jan 30 Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Real Estate Board of New York have officially launched the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants, a public-private partnership aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from commercial buildings throughout the city over the next 10 years. Commercial buildings account for roughly 30 percent of New York City’s GHG emissions, and the energy used in the leased office spaces accounts for 40 to 60 percent of the total energy consumption in a typical office building. As many as 22 commercial owners and tenants have already joined the challenge, and will work together to identify unique and creative solutions to implement better energy efficiency and sustainability projects in their buildings. 

Alcatraz one of the largest microgrids in U.S.

Proud Green Building - Jan 30 Each year, more than 1.5 million people tour Alcatraz Island to visit its iconic prison. Most people don’t realize that the 22-acre site, in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, is also home to one of the nation’s largest microgrids, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The island is equipped with a solar-diesel hybrid power system that most visitors probably won’t notice. Its 305-kilowatt solar array sits on top of the main prison building and is hidden from public view to preserve its historical integrity. The solar panels connect to a battery bank and power inverters that help power the island instead of relying solely on diesel generators. This $7.1 million project, originally funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has reduced the island’s fuel consumption by 45 percent since its 2012 installation.

How will you get to work in 2050?

San Diego Union-Tribune - Feb 3 While San Diegans would desperately like to see shorter commute times and less highway congestion, voters in the county have disagreed on the best way to do that. Many want to prioritize highway expansions. Others favor putting more resources into buses, trains, and trolleys. In November, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, who serves as the board chair of the region’s top transportation agency, the San Diego Association of Governments, and others with the regional agency failed to pass a sales tax increase that would have funded both highways and public transit projects, coming up short of a needed two-thirds vote. Officials are now looking to update their strategy to respond to emerging technologies and appeal to commuters of all stripes. One option being explored would include drafting two separate tax measures, one focused on highway improvements for North County and another boosting transit in and around the city of San Diego to the south. The proposal would need approval from the state legislature.

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