Energy was high at NEEP’s Multi-Family Regional Leadership Group meeting, held February 27 in the “Civil Action” Court Room at EPA Region One’s Federal McCormack Building and via webinar. Stakeholders from Maine to Pennsylvania to Washington State came together to learn and share knowledge about multi-family energy efficiency opportunities and barriers. Speakers included Efficiency Maine Trust’s Rick Meinking, HR&A Advisor’s Candace Damon, and NYSERDA’s Mike Colgrove. It didn’t end there though.
Break-out sessions on Building Energy Rating, Market Barriers, and Funding and Financing encouraged discussion and brainstorming, which were shared with the rest of the 58 attendees. Dave Carey of Harcourt Brown & Carey Energy & Finance, for example, developed a great visualization that showed us what financing was available and to whom. MIT’s Alex Marks explained the benefits of building energy rating and disclosure, sharing the Peter Drucker quote, “things that are measured, are improved.”
On February 22, the Boston Globe published an article on Boston’s new building energy disclosure ordinance. Here is NEEP’s response, submitted as a letter to the editor:
“We, at NEEP, were delighted to see the article regarding Mayor Menino’s proposed building energy reporting ordinance [Menino takes on Boston buildings' energy use, 2.22.2013] featured on the front page of the Globe. We couldn’t agree more with the mayor’s commitment to high performance buildings and building energy disclosure as a means to tackle aggressive energy and GHG reduction goals. This law is a huge win for everyone and will make Boston’s real estate portfolio even more attractive and lucrative to investors. Continue reading
Wellesley High School. Photo: SMMA
Roll up those sleeves and join the Green Schools Committee of USGBC MA for one (or three!) Green Apple Service projects over the next two weeks. Tour a newly built high performance MA-CHPS school or join us at Boston Latin Academy for some green rejuvenation! Help our communities support healthy, sustainable schools by participating in these free events. Continue reading
NEEP and CHPS staff outside the entrance to Lebanon Middle School
NEEP’s Regional High Performance Schools Working Group hit the road this July to gather at the newly constructed Lebanon Middle School in New Hampshire for their annual in-person meeting. Working group members got a sneak peak of the high performance school, which was designed to the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) protocol. The grand opening of the middle school is scheduled for August 25th. Continue reading
Developed by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships and informed by stakeholders from around the region, the “Roadmap to Zero Net Energy Pubic Buildings” presents 5 steps states and municipalities can do now to make zero net energy public buildings (ZNEBs) a reality across the region within 15 years.
Mass Gov. Deval Patrick at this May's dedication of the John Olver Transit Center in Greenfield, Ma - the country's first zero-net transit facility.
These critical steps are:
- Develop a Path to Highest Performance of Exemplary Public Buildings – A comprehensive public campaign is needed to convey a consistent message to the broadest public audience.
- Promote the Continued Development of Exemplary Public Buildings – States should continue to construct ZNE buildings each year.
- Prioritize Measurement and Reporting of Public Building Energy Performance – The region needs to establish a standardized system for measuring and reporting building energy performance.
- Implement Stretch Building Energy Codes – States should establish a performance –based stretch energy code for public buildings.
- Create a Mechanism to Provide Capital for Energy Investments – Lack of capital funding is probably the single most important financial barrier to greater investment in efficiency and renewable energy.
The roadmap calls on the public sector to lead the charge toward ZNEB specifically because of its unique longer investment horizon outlook. ZNE investments provide the greatest opportunity for immediate action with the added benefit of substantial long term energy and costs savings. As the market for higher performance buildings matures, the public sector can serve as an incubator for new technologies and alternative design and construction prices.
For additional resources on zero net energy public buildings, click here.
Imagine if your school saved thousands of dollars on utility costs by cutting down on energy, harvested vegetables from its “lasagna garden” for school lunch, or fueled its buses with discarded cooking oils from local restaurants. Schools across the US are doing this and more – and have been honored for the first time by the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School Awards program for their innovative “green” approach to education.
Secretary of Ed. Arne Duncan and students at Green Ribbon Schools Winners Announcement
On a morning visit to a DC school this Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the first ever winners of the Green Ribbon School Awards. Schools received Green Ribbons for implementing a strong, holistic approach to being “green” – these schools save energy, foster healthy school environments, and have strong environmental education programs. Nineteen of the 78 winning schools came from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
City Hall Annex - Cambridge's first high performance municipal building Photo: City of Cambridge and Blind Dog Photo, Inc.
Naturally, I waited until the last possible day of the year to apply for my resident parking permit at the City Hall Annex in Cambridge, Mass. When I entered the lobby, the line of permit-seekers was at least a hundred people deep, winding around the entire first floor of the building, up the staircase and back down again. What I expected to be a high-anxiety situation filled with people sighing loudly and making rude comments under their breath turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant experience. People waited patiently, read their books, chatted with their neighbors, and played games on their cell phones until it was their time at the window. Why such a pleasant atmosphere?
I’d like to think that the vibe had something to do with the fact that we were all waiting inside Cambridge’s first municipal “green” building. The building is a historic renovation of an 1871 schoolhouse—with big windows, an upgraded ventilation system, non-toxic paint and finishes, and geothermal heating. The walls of the lobby are covered in nature-inspired murals depicting the City’s commitment to the environment. Cambridge taxpayers pay less for utilities to power this building – and procrastinators like me now have a beautiful place to wait in line to get a permit. Continue reading
For champions of the green schools movement, the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award program –now in its pilot year—is an exciting opportunity to gain national recognition for years of hard work transforming the way we design, build, and operate schools. Thirty three states, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education have opted into the program and plan to nominate schools this January with a goal of announcing winners in April. The Mid Atlantic is strongly represented in this pack vying for an award; states such as Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and New York plan to participate.
In New England, however, Rhode Island is currently the only state to step forward as a contender. Continue reading
Over the past six months, the Northeast has been hammered with unexpected and extreme weather. Tornadoes tore through Western Massachusetts in June and Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc throughout the entire region in August, devastating Vermont with the worst flooding they’ve seen in 84 years. We also felt the strongest earthquake to rattle the region since World War II, and last month’s October snowstorm left a reported three million on the East Coast without power. The image below of Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P)’s power outage map, taken on the morning of October 30, begins to illustrate the stark and extensive aftereffects of these storms. During the peak of the outage 830,000 customers were left in the dark: no lights, no heat, no water…and in some towns for as long as 10 days. These events force communities and government to seriously grapple with, and possibly rethink, emergency preparedness plans. Continue reading