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Sustainable Development Update
June 15, 2017
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Sustainable Development Focus

California and New York just sued to protect Obama’s final energy rules

Washington Post - Jun 14 Eleven states, led by California and New York, have sued the Trump administration for failing to finalize energy-efficiency regulations for portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers, and other products. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, represents the latest front in an escalating legal battle over the remaining pieces of Obama’s climate change legacy — led by a coalition of blue states, which are also fighting attempts to roll back Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The current lawsuit involves the final five in a large batch of rules issued by the Obama administration’s Energy Department, which were left in a curious state of limbo after Trump’s inauguration. The regulations cover air compressors, commercial boilers, portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, and walk-in freezers. The rules require manufacturers to improve the energy efficiency of their products over time, so as to consume less energy for the same level of performance.


New L.A. electric car-sharing service aims to serve low-income neighborhoods

Los Angeles Times - Jun 9 A new car-sharing service launching in Los Angeles is aimed at lower-income families who can’t afford eco-friendly cars. The BlueLA Electric Car Sharing Program will bring 100 electric cars and 200 electric vehicle-charging stations to Westlake, Pico-Union, Koreatown, Echo Park, and downtown Los Angeles starting this summer. The cars will be available 24/7 at self-service kiosks and can be rented by the minute or via a monthly subscription. BlueLA is a partnership between Blue Solutions, a division of the Bollore group of France, and the L.A. Department of Transportation. It is being funded by a $1.7-million grant through California Climate Investments, a statewide program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health in disadvantaged communities.

Casa Aguila receives San Diego County’s first Passive House certification

San Diego Union-Tribune - Jun 7 A recently-completed Ramona home, one of the most advanced ever constructed in San Diego County, has been recognized for achieving some “firsts” in the region. Casa Aguila received the first Passive House certification in Southern California, according to Jeff Adams with Alliance Green Builders, which built the house. The property also received the U.S. Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Home certification and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the San Diego Green Building Council. The home strives for eventual grid-disconnection by using battery power, a solar photovoltaic system, and a vertical-axis wind turbine. Also incorporated in the home are highly efficient appliances, a large rooftop solar water heating system that provides hot water for domestic use, a greywater and a blackwater reclamation system to irrigate the “food forest,” and environmentally-friendly building materials.

Texas businesses aren't waiting on President Trump to fight climate change

Dallas Morning News - Jun 12 The White House is dropping out of the international effort to limit global warming. But in Texas, candy and pet food giant Mars is not slowing its climate change plans designed to protect Waco-made Snickers from West African drought and shield pet food production in Temple from failed wheat harvests. Mars is not alone. For years, companies say they have been reducing their carbon footprints and embracing renewable energy to cut costs and appeal to a younger workforce and customers. And that will continue with or without government leadership, they say. Other corporate giants operating in Texas, including newly-arrived Toyota, are pushing forward aggressively on climate-change mitigation. The Japanese company’s new U.S. headquarters in Plano has a 7.75-megawatt solar array, enough to supply a fourth of the building’s electricity. 

Why hotels are getting on board with sustainable development

Hospitality Net - Jun 8 The U.S. Green Building Council estimates hospitality's annual footprint to total around $4 billion in energy use, 1.2 trillion gallons of water, and millions of tons of waste. The global hotel sector, comprising some 175,000 hotels, offering 16.4 million rooms worldwide and generating revenue in the region of $550 billion last year, accounts for around 1 percent of global emissions, on its own. While hotel chains from Hilton to Marriott are upping their green efforts, new eco-resorts are also grabbing headlines. For example, Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio is aiming to create the 'greenest luxury development ever built,' with the first Living Building standard Restorative Island scheme at Blackadore Caye, off the coast of Belize. The business travel market is also embracing sustainability – particularly on the conventions circuit, says Dan Fenton, Executive Vice President with JLL's Hotels & Hospitality Group. Food waste, for example, has become a talking point in the hospitality industry amid growing interest in redistributing surplus food from hotel restaurants and convention centers to people in need. 

Smart cities promise a new way of living

Urban Land - Jun 12 The $500 million Peña Station Next development in Denver is at the forefront of the smart-cities movement. Advances such as the internet of things (IoT), in which devices communicate with each other via internet connections; sophisticated sensing technology; wireless broadband; “big data” analysis; and automation are converging to improve how cities use energy, water, and other resources; how they manage traffic and monitor environmental quality; and how they provide basic services such as policing and snow removal. That promise is so alluring that Colorado-based Navigant Research predicts that the market for smart cities technology will grow to $27.5 billion worldwide by 2023.

Marcus Garvey microgrid begins operating as a first for NYC affordable housing

Microgrid Knowledge - Jun 9 New York last week unveiled the first microgrid installed in the city’s affordable housing stock, with the $190 million refinancing and renovation of Brooklyn’s Marcus Garvey Apartments. A 10-city block complex, Marcus Garvey Apartments was an architectural innovation when it was built in the mid-1970s. Its designers abandoned the monolithic high-rise that then characterized affordable housing in favor of 32 low-rise buildings designed as a neighborhood. Now 21 of its rooftops have solar panels that make up a 400-kW array, coupled with a 400-kW fuel cell and a 300-kW lithium battery. The project also marks a first for lithium battery use under new rules in New York City, which has been slow to allow their use because of fire concerns. Funding for the microgrid comes partly from Consolidated Edison’s Brooklyn-Queens Neighborhood Program, a utility program to avert construction of a $1 billion substation with less expensive distributed energy.

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