To LEED or not to LEED, that is the question. The government wants your green opinion > through April 6th. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is seeking public comments on a long-awaited recommendation regarding green building rating systems. Go to www.gsa.gov/gbcertificationreview and share your opinion.
In 2006, GSA first evaluated certification systems focusing on new construction and major renovation. Based on this 2006 review, GSA identified the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system for use in the Federal sector.
Now the GSA is considering polytheistic practices encouraging each federal agency to make its own decisions about whether to use LEED, Green Globes, or the Living Building Challenge.
They are also looking for input into which optional credits or points must be achieved in a rating system, and whether one rating system should be used across their entire building portfolio, and should work with rating system developers to improve alignment between certifications and federal green building needs.
The comment period will be open through April 8, 2013. For more information, visit www.gsa.gov/gbcertificationreview.
by Jodi Summers
Old meets new. The century-old Santa Monica Pier has new millennium lighting. The City of Santa Monica recently updated all bulbs that light the Pier to LED versions, which are heralded as being more energy efficient, last longer and provide more focused beams than their counterparts.
Nearly 1,600 fixtures on the carousel, “necklace” lights that surround the structure, flood lights, street lamps and globe lights will get the upgrade, saving 216,000 kilowatt hours per year compared to the traditional bulbs. A portion of the new LED lights will be replacing incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs that burned out some time ago, bringing new life to the pier.
“We will be making this jewel of the city brighter and more sustainable,” praised pier manager Rod Merl.
City Hall received $114,370 for the Pier Lighting Retrofit project and another $554,000 for the wider LED Street lighting project, which served to replace streetlights throughout the city with new bulbs. Savings on the Pier project work out to roughly $39,466 saved per year in energy costs, according to the Office of Sustainability and the Environment. In addition to saving electricity, the new fixtures are expected pier staff a lot of time….particularly when it comes to maintaining the necklace lights that loop around the pier deck, where the globe lights would burn out regularly.
LED lights are more expensive by the piece, but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a high-powered white LED light can last between 35,000 and 50,000 hours. By comparison, the average incandescent light lasts between 720 and 2,000 hours, a compact fluorescent usually runs between 8,000 and 10,000 hours.
If the new LED lights were on 24 hours a day, they would last 5.7 years, calculated Carlos Rosales, an engineer with the public works department. “Since they only turn on at night, they should last 10 years,”
And they should all need to be replaced at about the same time.
Another benefit to the lights in the eyes of City Hall is how they project their beams.
“The old-fashioned kind of lights tends to cast a wide area,” Merl observed. “One of the things with the new lighting heads, the light pools where you want it to rather than dispersing in all directions.”
Shine on you crazy pearl necklace….
by Jodi Summers
Rumor floating around Sacramento has it that California regulators are ready to approve energy standards that would require new homes and commercial buildings to have “solar-ready roofs,” among other energy-efficient standards.
The new regulations would not require commercial or residential property owners to install solar systems, but the roofs of new properties would be built to easily accommodate solar installation.
The new standards being kicked around also include common-sense measures such as insulating hot-water pipes and ensuring air conditioning systems are inspected for air flow. More to come….
Have you gawked at the morning line of traffic waiting to get off the 10W freeway at Cloverfield? The jobs came to the beach before the mass transit. Think of how much easier the commute will be when the Bergamot Station stop on the Expo Line opens in 2015…
Nationally, more than three-quarters of all jobs in the 100 largest metropolitan areas are in neighborhoods with transit service.
Western metro areas like Los Angeles and Seattle exhibit the highest coverage rates. When combining bus and rail service, they exhibit near ubiquitous transit coverage rates and enable their jobs to access over half of their local labor pools. Los Angeles is better than average? Just imagine trying to take the bus to work in Arkansas….
Pundits say that the typical job is accessible to only about 27% of its metropolitan workforce by transit in 90 minutes or less. Labor access varies from the high of 64% in metropolitan Salt Lake City to a low of 6% in metropolitan Palm Bay, Florida. Studies conclude that city jobs are consistently accessible to larger shares of metropolitan labor pools than suburban jobs, reinforcing cities’ geographic advantage relative to transit routing.
Sucking sound continues as frustrated businesses leave California for friendlier climes….and there’s another measure to make doing business in California even more difficult.
An environmental coalition called “Californians to Close the Out-of-State Corporate Tax Loophole” has submitted more than 900,000 signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot. The initiative is to raise more than a billion dollars from companies headquartered outside of California, but doing business in our state. It’s like not being allowed to drive the family car because your brother had an accident.
For the first five years, the initiative is projected to raise about a billion dollars per year, with about half going toward energy conservation efforts at schools and other public buildings. The remainder would go toward the state’s general fund. After five years, however, the entire amount would be directed to the State’s General Fund.
The measure can easily discourage investment in California by national companies. The measure offers a short term benefit to the real estate industry, but, it’s a bit of “bait-and-switch,” as it ultimately directs any gain from the tax to the state’s General Fund coffers.
We evolve and we learn. When it comes to building efficiency, we are advancing at warp speed. The Department of Energy has revealed that buildings meeting the new 2010 energy efficiency standard will conserve 18.5% more energy than structures using the previous 2007 DOE standard. It’s like making the jump to hyperspace.
The DOE did some pretty serious study to come up with the new codes. For its findings, DOE simulated 16 representative building types in 15 U.S. climate locations. In addition, they analyzed the energy codes published by the American National Standards Institute/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
The evolved 2010 standard covers a wide spectrum of the energy-related components and systems in buildings ranging from simple storage units to complex energy usage locations like hospitals and laboratories. The size of the structures also ranged from under 1,000 square feet to the largest buildings in the world.
States are expected to review Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings and update their building code to meet or exceed the energy efficiency of the new standard within two years. Certification statements by the states are due October 18, 2013.
California requires our state-developed commercial code the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, comprising Title 24, Parts 1 and 6, of the California Code of Regulations.
The DOE boasts that the newer version of the standard contains 19 positive impacts on energy efficiency. Among the modifications are new requirements for daylighting controls under skylights; increased use of heat recovery; cool roofs in hot climates; skylights and daylighting in some building types; reduced ventilation energy; supply air temperature reset for non-peak conditions; efficiency requirements for data centers; control of exterior lighting; and occupancy sensors for many specific applications.
Over a 20-year span, green buildings can $53 to $71 per square foot back on investment. LEED and Energy Star certified buildings achieve significantly higher rents, sale prices and occupancy rates as well as lower capitalization rates potentially reflecting lower investment risk…and green buildings make the world a better place.
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