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Sustainable Development Update
July 21, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

Shading and lighting retrofits slash energy use in office demonstration - Jul 11 By using advanced lighting and automated shades, scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that occupants on one floor of a high-rise office building in New York City were able to reduce lighting energy usage by nearly 80 percent in some areas. The dramatic results emerged at a "living laboratory" demonstration to test four sets of technologies on one 40,000-square-foot floor of a building. Berkeley Lab partnered with the Building Energy Exchange, an independent nonprofit, to demonstrate that even in relatively modern office buildings, installing the latest generation of smart, actively controlled energy efficient lighting and shading can dramatically lower energy costs, and enhance the quality of the work environment.

100% renewables bill takes another step forward in California

North American Windpower - Jul 13 With the approval of SB 100 by the California Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee, the Golden State has taken a step closer to establishing a 100 percent clean energy goal. The bill, which has already been approved by the Senate, was passed last Wednesday by a 10-4 vote. Sponsored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, the legislation would speed up the state’s current renewables mandate of 50 percent by 2030 to 50 percent by 2026, as well as establish goals of 60 percent by 2030 and, ultimately, 100 percent by 2045. If it becomes law, SB 100 would put California on par with Hawaii, the only other state with a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard, according to the Sierra Club.

California Assembly yanks major storage bill, pushing it to 2018

Greentech Media - Jul 13 A long-term energy storage rebate that cleared the California Senate came to a sudden halt in the Assembly last week. Modeled after the successful California Solar Initiative, SB 700 would create a 10-year rebate program that steps down in phases as storage penetration increases. It was slated for a hearing last Wednesday in the Assembly's Utilities and Energy Committee, but the committee chair took it off the agenda despite objections from the bill's author. The bill is still alive, but it can't be passed until the legislative session next year due to Assembly rules.

SF to install rooftop solar array on War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Examiner - Jul 14 San Francisco has reached an agreement to install a $1.5 million rooftop solar panel system on the War Memorial Opera House in the Civic Center area across from City Hall. The planned 92-kilowatt solar electric system for the War Memorial’s rooftop is the third solar electric project in the Civic Center Sustainable Utilities District, an area designated as such in 2008 by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, joining two other projects at Davies Symphony Hall and City Hall. The solar array will supply about 5 percent of the War Memorial’s energy needs. The remainder of the power is supplied by hydroelectric energy produced from the Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir.

South Miami passes law requiring solar panels on new homes

The Real Deal - Jul 19 South Miami is officially the first city in Florida to require solar panels on all new homes. The South Miami city commission late Thursday evening voted 4-1 to approve the legislation, which also applies to existing properties whose owners increase the square footage of a home by 75 percent or more. In addition to South Miami, only San Francisco and two other California cities mandate the installation of solar panels on new homes.

Toyota completes Texas’ largest commercial rooftop PV array at new headquarters

PV-Tech - Jul 11 Toyota Motor North America celebrated the completion of its new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, with a new building featuring Texas’ largest commercial solar array. The new headquarters, which required an investment of $1 billion to develop, features an 8.79-megawatt array consisting of over 20,000 solar panels designed and developed by SunPower. 

Green homes in Texas add $25,000 to resale value, study finds

UT News - Jul 11 A new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) finds that new homes in Texas built to meet green building standards such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system, are worth an average of $25,000 more in resale value than conventional homes. The study found that homes built to LEED standards between 2008 and 2016 showed an 8 percent boost in value, while homes built to a wider range of green standards saw a 6 percent increase in value. The Green Homes study looked at more than 3,800 green-certified homes, including LEED-certified homes, built in Texas between 2008 and 2016 to determine whether certification raised the resale value of homes. 

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