Archives: Environmental

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Supreme Court Decision is Good for Green Globes

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 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

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

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 ..

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

Lawsuit Challenging Approval of Genetically Modified Animals

Aquabounty 10 to 12 month old transgenic salmon
Last week a coterie of environmental groups sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approving the first ever genetically engineered animal for human consumption, a salmon engineered to grow quickly. The Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Kennebec Reborn, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Cascadia Wildlands, Center … Continue Reading

Wipe Out Zika Virus Carrying Mosquitoes with Pesticides

“Mosquito borne diseases are among the world’s leading causes of illness and death today. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million clinical cases each year are attributable to mosquito borne illnesses. Despite great strides over the last 50 years, mosquito borne illnesses continue to pose significant risks to parts of the population … Continue Reading

Sustainable Agriculture Standard Announced

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

LEED Buildings and the Zika Virus

Owners of LEED buildings should evaluate the need to apply insecticides, killing mosquitoes to protect occupants from the Zika virus. Zika virus has been sweeping through South and Central America, with more than a million suspected cases during the past few months, along with a substantial increase in reporting of infants born with microcephaly. Although … Continue Reading

More Robust Enforcement of SEC Climate Change Disclosures

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
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

USGBC Certifying Green Parking Garages Déjà Vu

Last month the U.S. Green Building Council announced that its certification body, the Green Business Certification Inc. will now administer the Green Garage Certification Program with its acquisition of the Green Parking Council. In spite of the speculation over whether Uber means more car miles or less and what impact Zipcar and other car sharing … Continue Reading

City of Rockville Implementing the IgCC

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

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

Nevada Stops Subsidizing Net Metering

Photovoltaic panels provide electricity at yak herder's house in Bhutan
In the final days of 2015, Nevada became the front line in the nationwide debate over energy policy when the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada cut rates for net metering impacting homeowners with rooftop photovoltaic panels. The 113 page draft order found that under existing net metering rates other ratepayers were subsidizing net metering customers … Continue Reading

GRESB is Huge with $2.3 Trillion in Real Estate so Follow the Money

GRESB at Greenbuild 2015
Representing a huge share of the market capitalization of real estate across the globe, this year, 707 real estate companies and funds, with over 61,000 properties, having an aggregate value of $2.3 Trillion reported their environmental, social and governance information to Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). To appreciate the order of magnitude of those … Continue Reading

Lawsuit over First LEED Platinum Building is Over

Image David Harp/ Chesapeake Bay Foundation
With an Order Of Judgment, in favor of Permapost Products Company against Weyerhaeuser Company filed on November 17, 2015, resolving the final third party claims, the more than 15 year old disputes and differences over the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center, in Annapolis, Maryland, are over. There is much to … Continue Reading

Montgomery County to Abandon LEED Mandating IgCC for All Building

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
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