Never before has there been such a public commitment towards solving a social issue. Cities, towns and local communities are making efforts to becoming more environmentally responsible or simply more "green". Twenty-seven cities across the United States have established legislation requiring real estate owners to establish energy benchmarks for their properties. Seattle and New York are two such cities.
A town in Massachusetts called Granby, approved two environmentally friendly measures at their recent Town Meeting, Granby is on the way to becoming a so called green community. Town Administrator Christopher Martin said the application will be complete and in the hands of the state’s Department of Energy Resources by the June 10 deadline. The green communities program in Massachusetts, passed into law in 2008, is designed to reduce waste and promote renewable and “clean” energy. A town must fulfill five requirements to become a green community, eligible for certain energy-related grants. The two pertinent measures in Town Meeting concerned zoning and building. In one case, Granby voted to open its industrial district to businesses involved in energy-saving research and manufacture.
In other areas of green:
▪ The New York gas fracking law will be extended for another year.
▪ Scientist determine that the rate of carbon being released into the atmosphere is 10 times more than in the past.
▪ Krispy Kreme donut corporation switches to cage-free eggs as part of a corporate effort to be more environmentally friendly.
▪ The City of Bellevue Utilities located in the state of Washington, is the winner of an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Education Outreach category for its Community Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program.
▪ The Supreme Court said yesterday that it would not take up a case in which General Electric had challenged how the Environmental Protection Agency orders companies to clean up Superfund sites.
▪ The owner of an oil refinery near Rawlins, Wyoming with a raft of pollution problems in recent years has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement with state regulators regarding a 2010 incident that killed dozens of birds.
Benchmarking How and What
Energy Star - Quick Facts
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy performance.
ENERGY STAR is an influential and trusted brand recognized by over 75 percent of the public. The commercial buildings program has helped over 200,000 buildings benchmark their energy performance and more than 12,600 have earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.
EPA’s energy performance score system offers building managers a standardized, comparable metric for building energy efficiency. EPA's proprietary software; Portfolio Manager, calculates greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) and aligns its methodology with the requirements for most inventory and reporting programs.
Building managers can enter building operating characteristics and a year of utility bills into EPA’s online benchmarking tool, Portfolio Manager, (however the most effective way to accomplish this is to hire a benchmarking expert), to receive a 1-to-100 score to indicate how the building compares to similar buildings nationwide – similar to the miles per gallon rating for automobiles. A score of 50 indicates that the building is performing at the industry average. A building with a score of 75 or higher is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label.
Energy performance scores are available for the following 15 space types representing over 50% of the commercial building space nationwide:
Hospital (acute care and children’s)
House of Worship
Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant
Warehouse (refrigerated and non-refrigerated)
Buildings with space types not in these categories, listed under “other,” can still use Portfolio Manager for emissions data and to benchmark using a weather-normalized energy intensity (kBtu per sq. ft.).
Increasingly state and local governments are incorporating ENERGY STAR benchmarking into energy disclosure policies and voluntary benchmarking campaigns.
Automated benchmarking enables the transfer of data from energy service providers into Portfolio Manager over the Internet using web services and XML. It facilitates an easy initial upload of all building and energy data into Portfolio Manager and can eliminate the need for manual data input into Portfolio Manager. Providers can also map to and update or edit existing buildings in Portfolio Manager and export data for existing buildings in Portfolio Manager. Energy performance scores can be updated automatically on a monthly basis to keep benchmarking data current and can be viewed in the energy service provider’s energy information product and Portfolio Manager.
Benchmarking a building portfolio can help clients prioritize portfolio-wide improvements and identify opportunities for recognition.
Click here to contact a benchmarking expert today!
Hotel Skyler - Syracuse, New York
It dates from 1921 and originally served as the Temple Adath Yeshurun before turning into the Salt City Theatre. Now, Syracuse’s Hotel Skyler could live out the rest of its third life as the country’s third LEED Platinum-certified hotel.
Developed by Syracuse-based real estate firm the Woodbine Group, the $7 million project opened its doors earlier this month after just 8 months of construction. The 58-room hotel boats a geothermal heating and cooling system in addition to the usual LEED-driven green design elements, which include reclaimed and reused wood paneling, locally sourced construction materials, and priority parking for hybrid vehicles. Its pursuit of a formal LEED Platinum rating from USGBC continues.
“This hotel is about as green as you can get,” said owner Norm Swanson in a press release. “It’s also a high-styled luxury hotel that will be a joy to stay in. We’ve reused an almost 100-year-old building, so the rooms aren’t your typical hotel rectangle—many of them have very interesting shapes, with French-style attic windows and other features.”
The Hotel Skyler is located at 601 South Crouse Avenue, about a half-mile from the Carrier Dome. Rooms start at $199/night.
Under Stricter Rules, Dredges Return to Hudson - General Electric began the second phase of its cleanup of the Hudson River on Monday under tightened federal requirements, including a limit on how much contamination could be sealed on the riverbed rather than removed...read on
Maxximus LNG 2000 is the World’s First Natural Gas-Powered Supercar - The Maxximus LNG 2000 is the second generation of the company’s original supercar, the G-Force, which claims to be “the world’s fastest street-legal supercar” with none of the green pretentions of the LNG 2000. Also in the works is the Prodigy, another LNG vehicle for the consumer market said to have a 2000-horsepower engine and a million-dollar price tag...read on
Perception vs Reality: What the Environmental Movement could Learn from Rolling Stone - Terry O'Reilly tells the story of Rolling Stone Magazine. 25 years ago they were having trouble selling advertising; the buyers thought that the market for the magazine was aging stoned hippies, not worth chasing. But Minneapolis agency Fallon McElligott developed a campaign that ran for seven years, consistently showing that in fact Rolling Stone readers were professionals who owned houses and cars and were more into health food than hash brownies...read on
Two-Mile Solar Tunnel Built on Belgian High-Speed Rail Line - A European high-speed rail network has begun generating electricity from 16,000 solar panels installed atop a two-mile rail tunnel on the line running from Paris to Amsterdam. The panels, built by the Belgian renewable energy company Enfinity, will provide about 50 percent of the power needed for a nearby station in Antwerp and will also produce electricity equivalent to that needed to power all the trains in Belgium for one day per year...read on
Local Law 84
All buildings in New York City over 50,000 square feet are required to submit an annual energy benchmark. We're here to help make it as easy as possible for you to meet this requirement, while putting a valuable financial evaluation tool in your hands.
Building owners and operators are growing more concerned with the upcoming deadline to have their properties properly benchmarked. Professionals in the industry are reporting a sharp increase in the RFQ's for building benchmarking. What surprises most industry professionals is how easily and quickly these buildings can be benchmarked - assuming of course you hire the correct professionals.
Benchmarking is easy-to-do, inexpensive, and accessible. In addition to supporting the requirement, we can provide intuitive monthly reports on your energy usage and spotlight opportunities for energy savings. The first benchmark report is due to the city on May 1, 2011 (grace period instituted, please see below), but there are benefits to starting as soon as possible so that you can take control of your energy usage sooner.
The grace period for penalties only applies for May 1 to August 1, 2011 while owners get used to the new requirements; (however, the city doesn't expect extensions in future years). Russell Unger, Executive Director of the Urban Green Council, sees the extension as a smart move. While some owners have already been benchmarking, for the vast majority, especially residential coops, this is totally new. Given that 16,000 buildings are impacted by the law, and the fact that the final rules were only issued last month, an grace period for the fines will make the transition to the reporting less painful.
Own buildings in New York City? Let us help you comply with NYC's new mandatory benchmarking requirement (Local Law 84).
Click here to find out more information about benchmarking and complying with the LAW!
The LEED'r is a green newsletter owned by The Cotocon Group that is written and published by Daryl Dworkin. The Leed'r is a weekly publication which reports on a wide range of environmental interests. In future newsletters, we will continue to provide compelling information, relevant news, interviews with industry professionals, and a whole lot of other interesting material. Please enjoy and feel free to contact us with any comments, questions, or ideas that you may have regarding green building or any environmental issues at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have an idea for a story? Email Daryl Dworkin
Disclaimer - All the information in this journal is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on our journal is strictly at your own risk. and we will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our journal. From our journal, you can visit other websites by following hyperlinks to these sites. While we strive to provide only links to useful and ethical websites, we have no control over the content and nature of these sites and the links to other websites do not imply a recommendation for all the content found on these sites. Please be also aware that when you leave our journal, other sites may have different privacy policies and terms which are beyond our control. This document contains confidential information regarding The Cotocon Group, LTD and its associated entities. By accepting such information, the recipient agrees to use such information only to evaluate Cotocon’s proposals and will not reproduce or divulge any such information to any other party. Although efforts have been made to assure the accuracy of the information in this document, the authors make no express or implied warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of such information.
LEED® and related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council® and is used with permission.