U.S. Political Royalty Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker at Greenbuild 2013. Held at Temple University in Philadelphia Clinton was interviewed by U.S. Green Building Council president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi,
She knows A practitioner of minimizing the carbon footprint, Secretary of State Clinton told the audience that being 15% of carbon emissions and 1/3 of energy worldwide, our buildings need to be more sustainable for security and our future. She summarized the USGBC’s impact over the past 20 years as offered highlights of her personal efforts to promote sustainability.
In 1993 as a new First Lady, she and Bill Clinton took on a “greening of the White House” project which involved replacing windows and other building retrofits to save energy and water.
More recently, as Secretary of State she emphasized that that all future U.S. embassies will build to a minimum LEED Silver standard. “I decided we would call that Greening Diplomacy as part of an initiative we started at the State Department both to conserve resources, and to send a message to the world about America’s priorities and values,”
“We know this works. And over the past 20 years you have seen slow, steady progress. But …we’re at a new level. The work has proven itself, we know what to do. We just have to be better organized and focused…to do more.”
On several subjects, Clinton and the USGBC were of similar mind.
“By 2015, the non-residential market for green construction is estimated to grow between $120 and 145 billion,” she said. “The Council is committed to bringing green buildings to every community. I’d like that even speeded up—maybe half a generation.”
(Some pundits loosely interpreted these words as a campaign promise.)
The former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State encouraged the audience of some 10,000 people to “take what you know works and explain it to anyone who will listen to you…The hope is … that you will be a force for change in the broader world, not just in the green buildings world.”
Some of the highlights of Hill’s speech, in video form:
Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her “smart power” approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. Clinton played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East.
Clinton is officially undeclared for the next presidential election.
As technology has improved it has touched nearly every aspect of our lives. Mobile phones, computers and the internet have changed the way we do everything from talking to friends to meeting deadlines. The home is the next frontier – just take a look at the big screen TV all your furniture is pointing at in the living room and you’ll quickly see the importance of technology in this setting.
Technology is at its best though when it genuinely improves our lives and addresses serious issues for the better. In the future a lot more of our technology is going to be designed to help us use less power and even to end our reliance on fossil fuels. And much of that is going to be found in the homes of tomorrow…
The truly exciting technology of the future though may not be technology in the way we think of it at all: it might be biological. Algae lamps are already being tested for use in street scenarios and work by using genetically modified algae that absorbs CO2 and generates light as a bi-product of this synthesis.
There are problems with using these lamps in public – vandalism being one issue that would have to be addressed (the lamps are like giant lava lamps and might prove to be too much of a temptation for some people). However for use around the home they could be much more viable. And that way you wouldn’t just be reducing your carbon footprint – you’d be actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere as well.
Better yet this kind of algae could also be used in paint and other applications. You may not need street lamps at all in the future – because every house on the street might give off its own luminescence.
Water clinging to your windows and walls looks bad, but it also ‘steels’ heat energy from your rooms for evaporation. Coatings of nano-materials can completely seal surfaces and prevent anything from gripping to them or being absorbed. In the future you’ll be able to throw a bucket of water at your window and it will remain completely dry.
Other uses for nanotechnology may be for power cells in your windows allowing them to generate electricity from outside heat. Eventually your entire home might be one giant solar panel…and we’ll be baking in California.
While automation may seem frivolous, it does have uses other than keeping us sat on the sofa. In your smart home, you can automate your lighting and heating to react in certain ways, allowing you can precisely calculate the amount of energy that you’re going to use in a year – part of the Green Button innovations offered by your utility company. Usage analysis allows the smart home to employ more efficient protocols so that we use precisely the amount of energy we need.
Expect the efficiency of our appliances to improve so that green home to the point where we can have the rooms just as toasty and just as bright but use considerably less energy to do so. As technology improves and engineers come up with smarter and smarter solutions, washing machines may no longer be quite the energy hit that they once were. Energy saving light bulbs, electric showers and double glazing are all examples of technologies that have been adopted in the last few decades and we can only expect more of the same going forward.
Environmentalists began pushing for California to mandate that new homes come with renewable energy systems in the early 2000s, as the technology became more scalable and available. Now there’s no other way.
In 2008, California energy regulators adopted a long-term plan that called for having all new residential buildings achieve zero net energy use by 2020 and having all commercial buildings achieve zero net energy use by 2030.
Expect more and more homes to start adopting alternative methods of generating electricity. The use of solar panels has spread recently thanks to improved product and government incentives. Expect this technology improves too it will become cheaper and more practical. Wind turbines and geothermal piping will also start making its way into more of our homes so that even when there’s a power cut we’ll still have plenty of options to carry on using our appliances.
Our future, efficient, self-sufficient and definitely very green.
This guest post is authored by Gemma Hastings. She specializes in providing informative pieces on environment, ecology, going green, solar power and more. For more information you can visit her website http://www.solarpanelgrants.org.
There’s a lot of emphasis on infill development the adaptive reuse of existing structures.
Sometimes these properties suffer from soil contamination, dubbed Brownfields.
As the Environmental Protection Agency likes to define it, “Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”
Green people and the public at large, you know that cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties is good for the planet. It reduces blight, and takes development pressures off green spaces and working lands.
The EPA’s Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, and environmental job training. To facilitate the leveraging of public resources, EPA’s Brownfields Program collaborates with other EPA programs, other federal partners, and state agencies to identify and make available resources that can be used for brownfields activities.
You can find out about getting funding to clean up a contaminated site by checking out
Grants & Funding on the EPA website -~ http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/grant_info/index.htm
The Government would like these contaminated sites to be cleaned up so the property can be used again. They are already helping clean out a long and hearty list of locations http://www.epa.gov/region9/cleanup/california.html.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. More than 20,000 properties have been assessed, and more than 850 properties have been cleaned up through EPA’s Brownfields program. EPA’s Brownfields investments have also leveraged more than $19 billion in overall cleanup and redevelopment funding from public and private sources. On average, $17.79 is leveraged for every EPA Brownfields grant dollar spent. These investments resulted in approximately 87,000 jobs nationwide.
The EPA recently announced the selection of 240 recipients recommended to receive $62.5 million in grants to protect people’s health and the environment in local communities. These new investments, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants, provide communities with funding necessary to assess, cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.
City of Brea got $200,000 for Cleanup, while the Yuba River Charter received $600,000 for the same. The Environmental Health Coalition got an undisclosed amount for Area-Wide Planning. Grass Valley got $200,000.00 for an Assessment and the cities of Oxnard and Richmond got Job Training monies.
“Brownfield sites are community assets and a key… to provide tools to sustainably revitalize communities and foster economic development,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Through these grant resources, local communities can continue to assess, clean up and redevelop properties to meet local needs for jobs, housing and recreation while protecting people’s health and the local environment.”
When Brownfields are addressed, nearby property values can increase 2 to 3%. A 2011 pilot study indicated Brownfields site redevelopment increases location efficiency, which means that residents live closer to where they work and play reducing their commute times and greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s preliminary research has also shown that redeveloping Brownfield sites results in an efficient reuse of existing infrastructure and decreasing instances of stormwater runoff. These projects can have a positive impact on community revitalization by leveraging jobs, producing clean energy, and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods.
Woohoo! The U.S. has more green LEED certified building space than anyone else in the world. Curiously, although we have the most, and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system was conceived in the United States, LEED space is measured in meters…so for record, 1 square meter = 1.196 square yards = 10.764 square feet.
Now that you have the power, be proud. North America leads the world with 611.6 gross square meters (GSM) LEED certified or registered (1,000,000 sq.ft. +/-) as part of some 44,998 projects, according to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Rapidly developing East Asia had the second highest amount of building space certified or registered under LEED, with 107.3 GSM from1, 995 projects. Latin America and the Caribbean had the least, with 39.5 GSM and 1,704 projects.
Here are the top 10 countries with the most LEED certified or registered space as of April 2013:
United States (44,270 certified or registered projects)
United Arab Emirates (808)
Republic of Korea (188)
As the LEED rating system was founded in the U.S. one benefit we do get is a jump on the game…but watch China grow. Pundits predict that by 2015, half of the world’s new construction will be in China. It is also the leader for the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (Beijing already has significant air quality issues), which makes it the perfect candidate for green building.
It is also not surprising that India made the list, largely due to decreasing premiums for building green and high energy costs.
The stringent new mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants, factories and other industrial sources is being heralded as the greatest environmental initiative of Barack Obama’s presidency,
“We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and arsenic and sulfur in our air and water,” declares President Obama. “But power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”
Industrial facilitates currently account for around 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. This latest addendum to the host of green 2020 initiatives is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4% below 1990 levels.
Residential properties benefits by this new initiative as it encourages the Department of Interior to approve enough renewable energy projects on public lands to power 6,000,000 homes by 2020. The Initiative also offers $8 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency and advanced fossil fuel projects.
“This is the change Americans have been waiting for on climate,” praises Sierra Club president Michael Brune. “President Obama is finally putting action behind his words.”
Already President Obama has been praised for his first term green triumph > steering automakers to double gas mileage standards for daily driver vehicles. Now, the President is requiring stricter standards for heavy duty truck models introduced in 2018 and after…and he can do it all without congressional approval.
In 2007, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency-part of the executive branch under the White House-can regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act – just like it does with soot, lead and other types of air pollution. Thus, Obama’s new plan does not need Congressional approval, but expect congressional input in determining just how the emissions cuts are implemented.
“It’s clearly time to act,” Gene Karpinski of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) adds, “and [Obama is] setting out a bold, ambitious, comprehensive plan for what he can do without needing to rely upon Congress.”
They’ve controlled smoking, now on to controlling water use…soon the City may be monitoring every time you take a shower, flush the toilet, and water the lawn. In 2010, the last time that Santa Monica participated in the Urban Water Management Plan required by the state, SM city officials saddled themselves with a stringent goal committing the city to consume only 123 gallons per person, per day by 2020.
Come 2013, even in the face of major improvements to both public and private facilities, our town of 90,000 residents and upwards of 200,000 workers and visitors goes through 134 gallons per person per day. Getting down to the 123 figure is more than daunting — it may very well be impossible without making life uncomfortable for residents and businesses alike, said Gil Borboa, water resources manager for Santa Monica City Hall.
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