Archives: Sustainability

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Cannabis Cultivation has Growing Environmental Implications

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

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

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

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

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

Attend Greenbuild – The Best Way To Grow Your Green Building Business

I am often asked, “how can I expand my green building business?” My answer is simple and the same response I have offered for years, attend the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. This year Greenbuild is in Los Angeles from October 5 – 7. I do not claim any particular business marketing prowess, but Greenbuild … Continue Reading

Historic Church Appeals to Higher Authority in Solar Dispute

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

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

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

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

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

Now is the Time to Revise your Green Building Contracts

Today is the day to revise your contracts for sustainable projects. With the U.S. Green Building Council’s recent announcement that all new projects registering for LEED 2009 beginning later this week, on April 8, 2016, will need to satisfy increased minimum energy performance thresholds, everyone involved with LEED projects should promptly review their contract documents … 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
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