Obama seeks new path to environmental goals Facing a Congress that is more hostile to environmental regulation, President Barack Obama is moderating


Obama seeks new path to environmental goals

Facing a Congress that is more hostile to environmental regulation, President Barack Obama is moderating his environmental goals: a clean energy standard that mixes nuclear, natural gas and "clean coal" with wind, solar and other renewable sources.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama called for 80 percent of the nation's electricity to come from clean sources by 2035. That goal represents a new strategy to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for global warming, following the death of cap-and-trade legislation that Obama pushed in Congress for the last two years.
The new target would double the percentage of electricity that comes from clean energy sources, according to a White House fact sheet. Clean coal, which would be produced by an experimental technology not yet available commercially, and "efficient natural gas" would be given only partial credits toward the goal.
The clean energy standard represents a second fallback position to cap and trade. Under the cap-and-trade system, government places a limit on pollution and allows companies to buy and sell pollution permits under that ceiling. Companies that can reduce their emissions cheaply can then sell their unused credits to those that cannot afford the costs of emission controls.
Last year, a powerful coalition of renewable energy producers, environmental groups, governors and even some utilities couldn't push a renewable electricity standard of 15 percent across the finish line, in part because of regional resistance. In the Southeast, for example, it was argued that the region lacks renewable sources like abundant levels of wind.
The nuclear industry soon touted the idea of a broader clean energy standard, which got a nod from Energy Secretary Steven Chu last month. Chu said a goal of 50 percent by 2050 would be "about right" — but it turned out to be much less than Obama is proposing. The energy secretary told reporters Wednesday that he had been responding to a suggested level.
"Now, since that time, we have gone back and looked at it and it depends on how you define it," Chu said after an online clean energy town hall. The U.S., he said, already gets about 40 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources and more than 30 percent from carbon-free sources.
Chu called the new proposal "a recognition that solutions can be different in different parts of the United States, but ... this is the goal we're looking for and depending on the region, you have different options of getting to that eventual goal."
Whether the administration can win over many Republicans isn't clear yet. Rep. Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, said Obama "needs to embrace a robust plan to produce all types of American energy — from renewable to American-made oil and natural gas — and it has to be done without harmful government subsidies or unrealistic mandates"...read on



The Deadline is coming!

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.

Like the rest of the industry, here at TCG we have also seen a peak in the interest of building benchmarking. Our practice is to set up a free consultation with the client and review the process. We also "hold their hand" to effectually complete the benchmark. Our experience so far has been positive and we estimate that as the deadline in May approaches inquiries will start to increase. In the short future please look for an interactive tool on our website which will significantly expedite the benchmarking process. For know you can email us in order to find out more information about our unique benchmarking services.

Checkout NYC Local Law 84 here

Spotlight LEED Project of the Week

555 Madison Avenue

Situated between 55th and 56th Streets, 555 Madison Avenue can certainly be described as four-star prime New York City commercial real estate. The building faces the new Sony headquarters and is diagonally across from the striking black granite headquarters recently sold by IBM. Talk about good neighbors! Built in 1961, 555 Madison is near completion of a multi-million dollar renovation plan which includes new elevator and air-conditioning systems, new, double-story lobby/entrance area brought out to the property line, concierge desk, external signage and re-cladding, and a complete lobby re-design featuring resurfaced French limestone, a water wall and a high-relief sculpture by Robert Perless.

Actually, the renovation of 555 Madison Avenue has been over 2 years in the making. That’s when Philip D. Restifo, executive director of Galbreath/Riverbank, was first brought in as a consultant to evaluate the re-positioning of this Class A property. Due to market conditions at the time, however, it was determined that the moment was not right to begin the renovation, but the Rodney Company proceeded with the development of the renovation plan and waited for the market to turn.

This major renovation plan includes:

Potential LEED® Silver Certification
Awarded ENERGY STAR Label
$373K in utility company subsidy
23% reduction in energy costs
Solar Thermal Incentives:
8.75% or NO R/E Taxes (4YRS)
29% Fed. Energy Grant
27% NYSERDA rebate
$45K NYC vegetated roof subsidy


Green News

Green Tide Turning: 545 Madison Avenue Now Half-Filled with Tenants - Certified Gold back in September of 2009 by USGBC under the LEED for Core and Shell rating system, the 17-story building reopened in 2008 with the intention of targeting 17 or fewer boutique financial services and law firms, according to developer LCOR. The great recession put a crimp in those plans, and LCOR signed deals with whomever it could – including the Home Shopping Channel – at asking rents in the mid-$60s per square foot...read on

BIG Unveils a Ski Slope Waste Incinerator for Copenhagen - Bjarke Ingels Group just announced their winning design for an entirely new kind of building — a waste-to-energy plant that doubles as a ski slope and recreation center. Dubbed Amagerforbraending, the project is tucked between the industrial and residential sectors of Copenhagen and will act as a link between the two. The award came as a bit of surprise to the cutting-edge design firm, but given the poetic and functional nature of the project, it may be even more forward-thinking than they thought...read on

Clean Energy Can Power the World in 20-40 Years: New Study - That's the finding of a new study just published in Energy Policy; we've already developed advanced enough technology to power the world with clean power -- it's just a matter of finding the social and political will to deploy it. Stanford University News reports: "[The researchers'] plan calls for using wind, water and solar energy to generate power, with wind and solar power contributing 90 percent of the needed energy. Geothermal and hydroelectric sources would each contribute about 4 percent in their plan (70 percent of the hydroelectric is already in place), with the remaining 2 percent from wave and tidal power"...read on

Greenland ice melt sets a record — and could set the stage for sea level rise - Greenland’s ice sheet melted at a record rate in 2010, and this could be a major contributor to sea level rise in coming decades...read on


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 info@thecotocongroup.com

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