Archives: Codes and Regulations

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Cannabis Cultivation has Growing Environmental Implications

Cannabis Environmental
Cannabis cultivation is not new, but beginning in the 1990s when states began to legalize medical marijuana and recently as state laws evolved, decriminalizing and legalizing recreational use of cannabis, the burgeoning industry has brought with it environmental implications, including of water and energy use. Energy consumption for cannabis cultivation can be incredibly significant and … Continue Reading

PACE Bill Due in Baltimore City

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A public hearing is scheduled tomorrow on a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program ordinance in Baltimore City. I have been quoted saying that PACE “could be bigger than anything in U.S. real estate since the invention of the glass window.” PACE loan programs, where payments for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy … Continue Reading

New Federal Floodplain Regulations Rewrite 100 Year Floodplain

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is proposing to rewrite the longstanding 100 year floodplain standard for federally funded projects such that most building would now have to be 2 feet freeboard. In the name of resilience, reliability and green this proposed regulation will result in significant additional first costs for affected building. FEMA is … Continue Reading

Vancouver Leaving LEED for Zero Emission Building Mandate, But ..

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On July 13, 2016, the Vancouver City Council approved a Zero Emissions Building Plan that is among the most aggressive by any government with the stated purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While much of the media attention has described that Vancouver is the first major city in North America to establish specific actions to achieve … Continue Reading

Is California Going to Ban Cows in the Name of Climate Change?

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The California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board has issued a “Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy” that includes the penultimate statement, California’s dairy and livestock industries account for roughly half of the State’s total methane emissions and about five percent of the State’s overall GHG emissions. About half of the emissions from the State’s … Continue Reading

Historic Church Appeals to Higher Authority in Solar Dispute

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The First Parish in Bedford, Unitarian Universalist church has appealed from a decision of the Historic District Commission of the Town of Bedford that denied First Parish’s application for a certificate of appropriateness to install solar panels on its Meetinghouse roof. The complaint filed Superior Court for the County of Middlesex, Commonwealth of Massachusetts claims … Continue Reading

HUD Jumpstarts PACE Financing for Homes

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Last week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs released new guidance, changing their previous positions, now widely allowing residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. With the guidance, PACE financing, where payments for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy improvements to real estate are made through … Continue Reading

Miami Beach’s New Green Building Tax

Miami Beach Sign
Some years ago an ordinance enacted by the City of Miami Beach received accolades across the globe when it protected endangered sea turtles that nest on the beaches of Miami Beach, by “restricting artificial lighting and other activities that disorient turtle hatchlings, causing them to crawl toward land rather than toward the ocean.” However, a … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decision is Good for Green Globes

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The recent unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, is a win for small businesses and very good for those that work on Green Globes projects. In an effort to encourage small businesses, Congress has mandated that federal agencies restrict competition for some federal contracts.  The Small Business … Continue Reading

You Need to Review a SITES Scorecard, Now

SITES
SITES is a sustainable landscape rating system. SITES is modeled after the LEED green building rating system. And while it is a standalone tool for measuring landscape sustainability, in June 2015, Green Business Certification Inc., the USGBC associated certification body for LEED, announced it had acquired the exclusive rights to the SITES rating system, its … Continue Reading

Federal Government Proposes Greenhouse Gas Disclosures from Certain Vendors

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The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation which will require select government vendors, from landlords to defense contractors, to indicate if and where they publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015, the Obama Administration announced a new target to reduce Federal … Continue Reading

Maryland Vetoes Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Increase

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Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., vetoed an increase in the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard that would have resulted in higher electricity prices across the State. This push back against an ever increasing legislatively mandated subsidized renewable energy ‘market’ portends a national trend. Specifically, Governor Hogan announced he was vetoing House Bill 1106 – … Continue Reading

Solar Panels Mandated for Muscle Beach and ..

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This coming Wednesday the City of Santa Monica will begin mandating the installation of a solar electric photovoltaic system on all new building. Santa Monica joins the California cities of Lancaster and Sebastopol which started requiring rooftop solar installations in 2013, and San Francisco which similar law, for building under 10 stories tall, takes effect … Continue Reading

Sustainable Agriculture Standard Announced

Agriculture
Recent foodborne illness outbreaks at Chipotle despite use of ingredients that are “organic, responsibly raised meats, pasture raised dairy,” and “non GMO” have left consumers looking for better and other standards for agricultural products. Almost on cue (despite being in the works for more than 4 years), Leonardo Academy has announced that its LEO 4000 … Continue Reading

More Robust Enforcement of SEC Climate Change Disclosures

SEC Headquarters
A great deal of attention has been paid in recent days to a 5 year old Securities and Exchange Commission guidance, “Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change,” which seeks to provide transparency to investors on the material risks posed by climate change. Recently The Los Angeles Times reported Exxon Mobil is under investigation … Continue Reading

TSCA on the Cusp of being Overhauled by Congress

LEED Materials and Resources credits LEED Materials and Resources credits
The federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976 to protect the environment and the public’s health against risks posed by chemicals in materials in commerce. Forty years later, there is general agreement that TSCA has not kept pace with the marketplace and Congress is on the cusp of overhauling the law and … Continue Reading

City of Rockville Implementing the IgCC

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The City of Rockville, Maryland has adopted the International Green Construction Code 2012 as mandatory for all commercial and multi family building. But what may be most telling about this enactment is that before the change in law the USGBC listed Rockville as having more LEED projects than any U.S. city with a population below … Continue Reading

PACE Programs are Stepping Up the Pace

PACE
Property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs, where payments for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy improvements to commercial real estate are made through a building owner’s property tax bill are beginning to hit their stride. PACE state enabling statutes generally authorize local governments to work with private sector lenders to provide upfront low interest … Continue Reading

Montgomery County to Abandon LEED Mandating IgCC for All Building

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Montgomery County, Maryland has proposed adopting the International Green Construction Code 2012. At first blush this might sound like a good thing, until one considers that Montgomery County has long had mandatory green building laws for public and private construction, and the County today also offers significant incentives for green building. Many hundreds of LEED … Continue Reading

IgCC will now be Powered by ASHRAE 189.1

Last Friday, the International Code Council and ASHRAE announced that the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), .. scheduled to be released in 2018, .. will be powered by" ASHRAE Standard 189.1. .. Much of the early reaction has been nonplussed given that, today, there are only a handful of IgCC green buildings.… Continue Reading

HUD Adopts 2009 IECC (Not the 2012 or 2015 version) and Why You Care

For all intents and purposes federally assisted housing must now be green. And while such is generally viewed as positive and as advancing green building (.. the big winner may be LEED), some worry about the implications for affordable housing and others about the homogenization of American housing by federal government efforts to save the planet.… Continue Reading
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