It’s a first for the U.S. > a national green building code. Thing is, we’ve yet to see the estimates of what it’s going to add to the balance sheet. In development for more than two years, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) applies to all new and renovated commercial buildings and residential buildings over three stories high.
“It represents a change in the standard of construction,” says Jessyca Henderson Director of Sustainability Advocacy at the American Institute of Architects. “It will affect everyone that touches buildings…it will be a big leap.”
To develop the code, the International Code Council collaborated with the American Institute of Architects, US Green Building Council, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), among other appropriate agencies.
The new code creates a mandatory “floor” – enforceable minimum standards on every aspect of building design and construction that now must be reached. These new minimum standards apply to all aspects of building design and construction, including energy and water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, and materials.
Here are some of the new rules of property development as set forth by the new ICC green building code:
Site Development, Land Use: In a big move toward environmental preservation, development on Greenfields (undeveloped land) is no longer acceptable, although there are exceptions based on existing infrastructure. There are new guidelines for site disturbance, irrigation, erosion control, transportation, heat island mitigation, graywater systems, habitat protection, and site restoration…so you too can help save the Round-tailed Ground Squirrel.
Materials: As with California codes, the ICC code requires a minimum of 50% of construction waste must be diverted from landfills, and at least 55% of building materials must be salvaged, recycled-content, recyclable, biobased, or indigenous. Buildings must be designed for at least 60 years of life, and must have a service plan that justifies that. If 600 years ago they built properties that have lasted 600 years, using modern technology for new construction to last 1/10th that time should be easy.
Energy Efficiency: total efficiency must be “51% of the energy allowable in the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code” (IECC), and building envelope performance must exceed that by 10%. It sets minimum standards for lighting and mechanical systems, and requires certain levels of submetering and demand-response automation.
Water Efficiency: The ICC code establishes maximum consumption of fixtures and appliances and sets standards for rainwater storage and graywater systems.
Indoor Air Quality: As you would expect, the new code addresses radon, asbestos, VOCs, sound transmission, and daylight.
Here’s a cute perk…every project is also required to choose an additional “elective,” which pushes the envelope for the developer further. There’s a sexy menu of elective choices, like whole-building life-cycle assessment to more stringent recycled-content.
Local governments and states have the choice of adopting the code – many California cities like West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Berkeley have already implemented their own codes. But, once a city chooses the ICC codes – which require no additional budget – it’s enforceable…but does allow for flexibility within the rules depending upon location and size of building. Also, it’s customizable. Municipalities can add their own requirements on top of the code that address local concerns such as stormwater management or lighting pollution control.
No information was shared on how these new rules will affect cost…we await that information with bated checkbooks. Expect the final code to reach the public late in 1Q 2012.
Let’s start by saying “Better Building Challenge benefits” 3x fast…The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to make American buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020. It is estimated that the energy to operate the buildings in which we work, shop, and go to school costs the U.S. about $200 billion annually, and on average, 30% of this energy is wasted. More efficient commercial buildings reduces the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, protects the environment, and saves billions of dollars in energy costs that can be spent growing businesses, investing in new technologies, and creating American jobs.
The Better Buildings Challenge asks corporate chief executive officers, university presidents, and state and local leaders to make a public commitment to energy efficiency. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is highlighting leaders that have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio, and providing their energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow.
What kind of organizations can join?
The Better Buildings Challenge involves a network of Partners and Allies that demonstrate national leadership in energy efficiency:
* Partners are commercial businesses, industrial corporations, universities, and other building owners that make a public commitment to reduce energy consumption in their facilities
* Community Based Partners are municipalities and States that work with local businesses and universities to assess opportunities and take action
* Allies are financial institutions, service providers, technology firms, and program administrators that commit to supporting the energy efficiency marketplace.
What does an organization commit to?
* Publically pledge an organization-wide energy savings goal over a 2 to 5 year period within 6 months of joining, and develop an organization-wide plan and schedule,
* Announce an initial showcase project and initiate the project,
* Share information about their progress against their pledge goal, and about the energy efficiency implementation models (including the tools, technologies, and processes) they used to reach their pledge goal.
What kind of technical assistance will DOE provide? What kind of recognition?
DOE, in collaboration with its federal partners such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Treasury, and the Small Business Administration (SBA), will:
* Establish a marketplace of energy efficiency stakeholders, such as government, industry, service providers, financial institutions, and technology companies, in order to transform the market and realize the full economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency,
* Insure integrity in the reported results through quality assurance standards,
* Recognize Partners and Allies for their progress in achieving milestones and reaching goals.
DOE will also profile the innovative and cost effective energy efficiency implementation models of this leadership group for others to use.
Organizations are asked to report publicly on their energy savings across their organization and at the individual facility/building level on a quarterly basis. They are also asked to share information about the best practice implementation models that they used to achieve their pledge targets. These requirements will be refined in coordination with the initial program Partners and Allies.
What data will be required to demonstrate energy savings?
Baseline energy intensity data will be required at the portfolio and individual facility level to demonstrate energy savings. These requirements will be refined in coordination with the initial program Partners and Allies.
DOE, in collaboration with its federal partners, will offer energy efficiency technical assistance and best practice implementation models to the Challenge Partners to encourage investment in energy efficiency. Technical and informational resources under development include:
* Tools that support use of tax and utility credits
* Assessment tools for evaluating energy efficiency measures
* Financial modeling tools
* Model high-efficiency technology specifications
* A process for identifying qualified service companies
* Financing opportunities through the Small Business Administration
In addition, the Better Buildings Challenge will connect Partners that commit to and demonstrate sound implementation approaches for investing in the cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities in their facilities with Financial, Technology, and Service Allies that commit to provide best practice services for deep energy savings and to transparency in results.
What are the commitments for financial allies?
* Assign a senior-level liaison who is committed to allocating the necessary resources to pursue all potential projects resulting from the Better Buildings Challenge
* Invest in or lend at least $50 million in commercial building energy efficiency projects or collaborate with industry leaders and stakeholder to create at least a $50 million market for each financial product
* Provide information on financial performance and structure information
What type of financial performance and structure information are Financial Allies asked to share?
Financial Allies are asked to share information about their products and services, such as loan packages, values, interest rates, and cash flow information allowing for Discounted Cash Flow and Net Present Value analyses.
How does the Better Buildings Challenge fit into the larger Better Buildings Program?
The Better Buildings Challenge is part of a larger Better Buildings Program, an effort to make American commercial, residential, and industrial buildings more energy efficient through innovative action and real world solutions.
For example, the Better Buildings Challenge will complement the efforts of the Better Buildings Neighborhood program—a three year, $500 million grant program managed by DOE, which is primarily focused on residential buildings at the state and local level.
Through Better Buildings, DOE is also working to increase and accelerate better financing opportunities for building upgrades, better workforce training in energy audits and building operation, and better tax incentives to encourage more energy efficiency upgrades.
Didja know? The energy to operate commercial buildings costs about $200 billion every year. ..and furthermore… on average, 30% of this energy is wasted. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge aims to engage building operators nationwide in improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.
>> The brilliant part of this initiative, announced by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, is that it was been achieved through strategic partnership and does not require the approval of the Republican Congress.
“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now,” observed President Obama. “But we can’t wait for Congress to act. So today, I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next 2 years – at no up-front cost to the taxpayer. Coupled with today’s extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step towards the competitive, clean energy economy it will take to win the future.”
1.6 Billion Square Feet Committed
$2 Billion in Financing through Allies
+300 Manufacturing Facilities
The $4 billion challenge is the latest move the Obama administration has made as part of its “We Can’t Wait” campaign to bypass a deadlocked Congress and spur job creation, even as the President pushes lawmakers to pass a $447 billion jobs bill.
We’re proud to say that Los Angeles is one of an elite group of communities, companies, universities and organizations working to improve their bottom line by saving energy.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City of Los Angeles have launched the Los Angeles Commercial Building Performance Partnership to support development and financing of comprehensive energy efficiency and water efficiency upgrades in commercial buildings.
Los Angeles expects approximately 30 million square feet of commercial property to be audited, using $3.2 million in Recovery Act funds with the goal of driving at least $25 million in total investment during their partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge.
The initiative is part of the California Energy Commission’s Energy Upgrade California program, a statewide effort to roll out a network of utility-incentive packages, pilot innovative financing approaches.
Since June 2011 LA County has imitated energy audits for more than 25 million square feet of commercial space — from small neighborhood retailers to downtown skyscrapers. Additionally we are developing a directory of capital providers to facilitate access to project funding options.
“Investments in building retrofits and energy efficiency can make a real difference in the American economy, by creating jobs, growing our industries, improving businesses’ bottom lines, reducing our energy bills and consumption, and preserving our planet for future generations,” concludes President Clinton. “I am proud so many members of the Clinton Global Initiative have joined this Challenge. Working together, I am pleased the commitments to the BBC have grown from the initial $500 million and 300 million square feet that we announced in June at CGI America, to the $2 billion investment with over 1 billion square feet of retrofitted space.”
Bill Gunderson knows what rich people own. What they buy and sell. And what they pay in property taxes. As one of America’s top wealth managers, he’s seen it all.
And without a doubt, he says the easiest way for property owners to make money is to reassess the value of their homes to reduce property taxes.
“People all over America are paying way too much in property taxes,” Gunderson said. “And it is easy to see why: Property values have crashed, in many cases by 50% and more. But many are still paying taxes on the former value of their homes.”
The owner of a commercial building in Southern California, for example, recently received a property tax bill based on an assessed value of $2.6 million, But the property has been listed for half of that for almost a year — and still no takers.
“That person is paying tens of thousands a year too much,” Gunderson says. “In many states more.”
Many do not notice that because their property taxes are paid automatically as part of their mortgage payment. “It is the most expensive and common mistake I see,” Gunderson said. “And the most important and easiest to fix.”
Examples are easy to find. And easy to understand. But Gunderson says the real challenge is filing the application to have your assessment reduced. It is not that hard.
Some companies will charge you a few hundred dollars to perform this service, and that can be the most productive investment you will make all year.
In Utah, the deadline is 45 days after receipt of your assessment, which is mailed out in July. In California you have from Apil through the deadline of November 30.
But usually that is for taxes due next year. So if you have a bill based on an unrealistic assessment, you still have to pay that. Fair or not.
“That is ridiculous,” Gunderson said. “These property tax bills should go down automatically. But they don’t. So you have to pay attention and present evidence from comparable values or recent appraisals that show you property is over-valued.”
“It’s not that hard to do. You just download a form from your local tax assessor’s office then send it in.”
Even some of the big shot accountants for very wealthy people do not pay enough attention to this, Gunderson said. And it is not just for homes, it is also for commercial properties, rentals, and other tax-paying entities.
Gunderson is a frequent guest on national news and financial shows, including America Live with Megyn Kelly, America’s Nighty Scoreboard with David Asman, Bloomberg News, Barron’s, and dozens of others.
He is also the author of the Best Stocks Now app. “It is good to know all about earnings and stock reports and new products and other things that are important to an investment portfolio,” Gunderson said. “But making sure the county assessor has the correct value for your property is for many people found money, free money. But first you have to read your property tax bill and compare it to what your property is worth. The rest is easy.”
CALIFORNIA + IKEA BAN 100 WATT BULBS –> Potential savings: $35.6 million in electricity and 10.5 million incandescent bulbsMay 23, 2011 on 12:17 am | In Fascinating Information, Government, Green, New Developments, Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
by Jodi Summers
In California, we have always been ahead of the curve when it comes being progressive. We are proud of the fact that we are way ahead of the pack when it comes to CalGreen and alternative power. Once again, we’ve gone one step beyond by rolling the ban on 100-watt incandescent light bulbs early…and the big box retailer IKEA is in tandem with state goals.
New light bulb options include LED – light-emitting diode bulbs and CFL – compact fluorescent bulbs (which are rumored to contain mercury).
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, calls for a ban on the traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb. The law goes into effect in all states starting in 2012.
By implementing the law one year earlier, the California Energy Commission concludes that consumers will save $35.6 million in electricity bills and 10.5 million incandescent bulbs will not be sold. We have yet to see the statistics on its impact on our carbon footprint…
IKEA has stopped selling and stocking incandescent bulbs, the first retailer to halt the sale of all such lights. This decision came from the results of an IKEA consumer survey conducted in December 2010, which found that 59% of Americans have already changed to energy-saving lights. 79% know that the bulbs will save money, although
61% are not aware of the legislation.
The phase-out of 100-watt bulbs does not currently affect lower wattage incandescent bulbs…but get ready…the CEC notes that over the next couple of years, similar efficiency standards will be applied to 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs.
The IKEA survey found that 62% are not concerned about the disposal of old bulbs… which can easily be recycled via mail or pickup through sites like http://www.ecycleenvironmental.com.
by Jodi Summers
A recent report by McKinsey & Company notes that the U.S. economy has the potential to reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by roughly 23% by 2020, eliminating more than $1.2 trillion in waste.
There are a variety of ways of reducing our environmental excess.
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Since 1998, the USGBC has blessed more than 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries covering 1.062 billion square feet (99 km²) of development area.
CalGreen the newly-mandatory building code provisions developed by the California Building Standards Commission are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) by 3 million metric tons in 2020. Additionally, the provisions will reduce water use by 20% and divert 50% of construction waste from landfills.
Here are the official documents comparing the two codes:
“The fact that California will develop an actual code and implement the code so that building inspectors can enforce the code is a giant leap forward for developers and municipalities. However, where does this leave LEED?” inquires Brad N. Mondschein, Esq. of Pullman & Comley, LLC. “The code still allows municipalities to implement “stricter” guidelines. But, when a developer builds in the next town over because LEED is not required and the development is still “green, LEED will look less attractive. My prediction is that LEED will not go away. Instead, it will revert back to the USGBC’s original intention. It will be an aspirational standard that is difficult to achieve and in some instances valuable to have.”
CalGreen is our state version of LEED. CalGreen has a tiered structure, not unlike LEED as Silver, Gold + Platinum levels. Having a mandatory code with additional layers of green allows California’s contractor to build to a certifiable green standard without having to pay fees for third-party programs.
Throughout California, CalGreen is being viewed as an efficient alternative to LEED construction standards. Sites Sandra Boyle, an executive vice president at Glenborough developers, “The cost for owners to go through this rating system is astronomical — in a very challenging real estate market.”
“You will have a whole bunch of cities that never would have included this in their building doing it, and doing it in a way that won’t kill the economy,” observes Matthew Hargrove, a vice president with the California Business Properties Association. “Outside the coastal areas it will be helpful – like in West Sacramento, where they looked into creating a green building code but balked because it’s cumbersome to develop and they didn’t have the resources.”
“Having a code in place that raises the bar is a good thing,” confirms Malcolm Lewis, of sustainability consultants CTG Energetics, “What you want to do is bring up the bottom as you’re raising the top. LEED has always been a voluntary standard with the idea that it’s going to keep raising the bar.”
Buildings currently account for about one-quarter of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. CalGreen is applauded as an important step in helping California meet its goal in reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020.
LEED is aiming for 2018.
Think of CalGreen as ubiquitous, like McDonald’s; while LEED is more like dining at the Palm.
“As the gap gets bigger and bigger between the basic code and the voluntary, you get fewer and fewer people going for the voluntary code. CalGreen offers us is that there is a convergence between the two,” summarizes Malcolm Lewis.
Green is good for all. Building Code creators should embrace all legitimate players able to improve existing codes and conditions -> LEED, CalGreen, Build It Green, etc… Research and application should evolve into best practices. That way the whole world wins.
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