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Sustainable Development Update
May 2, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

How green is your city? Here's how its building practices compare to other U.S. real estate hubs

Orlando Business Journal - May 1 The U.S. saw more than 3,400 properties win LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council over the past year, a surge in energy-efficient construction affecting some 1,324 cities throughout the country. The flurry of activity pushed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designations to a record 28,582 properties as of March 14, with approximately 12 percent of those certifications — 3,442 properties in all — occurring since January 2016. The LEED-certification program has been among the key barometers used to measure energy-efficient building practices globally since 2004. Most of the certifications between January 2016 and mid-March were concentrated along both U.S. coasts. Washington, D.C., and New York topped all U.S. cities with 112 certifications and 108 certifications, respectively, while San Francisco (72) and Los Angeles (59) also ranked among the top five. Chicago, the only non coastal-region city near the top of the stack, ranked third nationally with 75 certifications over that same span.

Laying a road map for states, liberal senators introduce bill to end U.S. fossil fuel use by 2050

Washington Post - Apr 27 Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Thursday that calls on the U.S. to transition off fossil fuels by 2050, hoping to spur action on the state and local level, even as the Trump administration pushes for expanded coal, oil, and natural gas production. The 100×50 Act would impose new federal mandates requiring vehicles in the U.S. to release zero carbon emissions, while barring federal approval of oil and gas pipelines in the country, while also establishing an auction of “climate bonds” that would raise money to support renewable energy projects. The measure would also provide job training for low-income Americans and Americans of color, as well as those in coal communities, to work in the renewable energy sector. 

Sunrun extends partnership with GRID Alternatives for low-income solar

PV-Tech - Apr 28 The trend continues for expanding access for low-income households to go solar, as residential installer Sunrun extends its partnership with GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest non-profit solar installer. The expanded agreement between Sunrun and GRID Alternatives will provide financing for installations in low-income communities across the country. Sunrun will own, operate, maintain, and insure the solar panels; GRID Alternatives will install the solar systems and fund each customer’s prepaid 20-year solar PPA or lease. 

Partners complete microgrid at Native American reservation

Solar Industry Magazine - Apr 27 Blue Lake Rancheria, a century-old Native American reservation in northern California, has launched its low-carbon community microgrid that is helping power government offices, economic enterprises, and critical Red Cross safety shelter-in-place facilities across 100 acres. In collaboration with Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center, Siemens, the Idaho National Laboratory, and additional partners, the microgrid uses decentralized energy resources and intelligent software to provide its residents and economic enterprises with reliable power without interruption. Funded in part through a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge initiative, the system allows the reservation to operate independently of the power grid in coordination with local utility Pacific Gas & Electric. 

Long Beach wins sustainability award for planning document

Long Beach Press-Telegram - Apr 25 Long Beach has earned a sustainability award for an urban planning document that aims to encourage investment along a 1-mile stretch of Long Beach Boulevard. Southern California Council on Governments recognized Long Beach in the Integrated Planning category for its work on the Midtown Specific Plan, which provides a framework for development across the 369-acre area. The City Council adopted the plan in May 2016. The plan emphasizes a need for more mixed-use, transit-oriented development projects along the corridor to stimulate economic activity. It incorporates citywide efforts to encourage the use of mass transit, including the Metro Blue Line. The SCAG Sustainability Award for Integrated Planning recognizes local agencies annually for projects or plans that focus on the integration of land use and transportation planning.

San Diego Convention Center shines in LEED spotlight

Proud Green Building - Apr 28 The San Diego Convention Center has taken its environmental ambitions to the next level by achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. During a public celebration to mark the important milestone for the facility, San Diego Mayor Faulconer praised the venue’s efforts in achieving the benchmark environmental standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. After achieving LEED silver certification in 2011, the facility has been working to reach the gold standard and improve a sustainability business model that began when the venue opened in 1989. In fact, long before “going green” was common, the SDCC was the first facility to install recycling bins in 1990, according to SDCC officials.

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Perry Patrick A Patrick A. Perry
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Elizabeth Clark Elizabeth Clark
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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