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Sustainable Development Update
April 13, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

Renewables and efficiency are eating away at America’s fossil fuel demand

Greentech Media - Apr 10 America's energy transition is no longer theoretical. Wind and solar are increasingly the lowest-cost resources getting connected to the grid, changing the investment calculus for utilities and dominating new capacity builds. Electricity demand nationwide continues to fall, even as millions more square feet of buildings are constructed. And in states across the country, distributed solar is decimating load growth. These trends are adding up. According to research conducted by Wood Mackenzie, in the next five years, gross fossil fuel demand is expected to rise by 4 billion to 5 billion cubic feet per day. Largely driven by lighting standards and other state mandates, efficiency alone will cut fossil fuel demand increases by half. Factor wind into the mix, and demand enters negative territory. Together, efficiency, wind, and solar will likely eliminate a couple of billion cubic feet of fossil fuel consumption per day.


More buyers want green homes, real estate agents say

Construction Dive - Apr 7 More than half (56%) of real estate agents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that buyers were interested in sustainability when it came to their properties, according to a February survey by the NAR. Forty-three percent of real estate agents said their multiple listings service included green data fields, and 71% of agents reported that energy efficiency promotion in home listings was "very valuable" or "somewhat valuable." Real estate agents said clients were most interested in sustainable home features such as efficient lighting (50%), smart-home technology (40%), shared amenities such as bike lanes and green space (37%), landscaping for water conservation (32%), and renewable-energy systems (23%).

SunPower begins building large solar installation at new Toyota headquarters

Solar Industry Magazine - Apr 10 Construction has begun on an 8.79-megawatt SunPower solar system at Toyota Motor North America’s new headquarters in Plano, Texas, which the automaker plans to occupy this year. About 1 megawatt larger than originally planned, the project is expected to be the Lone Star State’s largest corporate office on-site solar installation among non-utility companies, according to SunPower. When complete, more than 20,000 solar panels will cover the area equal to 10 football fields, offering shade and protection to vehicles underneath. The system is expected to generate enough clean energy to offset approximately 33% of the headquarters’ energy needs, reducing Toyota’s reliance on traditional electricity from the grid. “We are excited to see this solar power project start to really take shape on our new headquarters campus,” comments Kevin Butt, regional director of Toyota’s North American environmental division. “As a long-standing solar advisor, SunPower is helping us realize Toyota’s 2050 global environmental challenge to eliminate carbon emissions in all operations.” “We’re proud to partner with Toyota on this innovative solar project as the company works to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals,” says Nam Nguyen, SunPower senior vice president. Toyota is integrating a range of energy-efficient technologies and sustainable materials into the design of its state-of-the-art campus, with the intention of achieving LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Inside Kilroy’s sustainability strategy

Commercial Property Executive - Apr 3 Kilroy Realty Corp. began its sustainability journey six years ago, when John Kilroy and the board of directors began seeing that a commitment to sustainability was going to be an increasing issue for investors and tenants. Kilroy’s program provides for both retrofits to existing buildings and new construction. For existing buildings, the sustainability manager conducts a gap analysis to determine the right level of revision for each property, as well as talking to the building team and tenants and benchmarking against typical buildings in the submarket. For example, buildings that are transit oriented will aim for a higher level of certification than buildings that aren’t. The company requires a three-year payback or less on all non-critical building upgrades. Kilroy goes through a similar process for new developments, assessing the proposed plans to figure out the best certification goal. Areas like San Francisco tend to require a Platinum status, whereas another market might have more Silver-level buildings.

Wal-Mart, Advanced Microgrid Solutions to turn big-box stores into hybrid electric buildings

Greentech Media - Apr 11 Advanced Microgrid Solutions has landed the world's largest retailer as a partner: Wal-Mart. On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based startup announced it is working with the retail giant to install behind-the-meter batteries at stores to balance on-site energy and provide megawatts of flexibility to utilities, starting with 40 megawatt-hours of projects at 27 Southern California locations. Under the terms of the deal, “AMS will design, install, and operate advanced energy storage systems" at the stores for no upfront cost, while providing grid services and on-site energy savings. The financing was made possible by partners such as Macquarie Capital, which pledged $200 million to the startup’s pipeline last year. For Wal-Mart, the systems bring the ability to shave expensive peaks, smooth out imbalances in on-site generation and consumption, and help it meet a goal of powering half of its operations with renewable energy by 2025. 

Ford reveals first pursuit-rated hybrid police cruiser as part of $4.5B investment

MLive - Apr 10 As part of the automaker's $4.5 billion investment in electric vehicles, Ford revealed the first pursuit-rated Police Responder Hybrid Sedan in New York and Los Angeles on Monday. The new fully electric police vehicle can be ordered this spring, and is expected to start popping up in departments by summer 2018. Being pursuit-rated means that police agencies have given a vehicle the sign of approval for being strong enough to handle police chases for long periods of time over an assortment of terrain and obstacles.

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