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Climate Change Legal Practice, Green Building Lending, Texas Geothermal, + Green Sans LEED (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. The Law Firm of Holland & Hart Announces New Global Climate Change Practice – The firm is the first and only law firm based in the Rocky Mountains to organize a practice group concentrating on this rapidly emerging area of law and policy.  Holland & Hart’s Global Climate Change Practice Group consists of attorneys who counsel clients on the climate change aspects of energy and natural resources development, industrial energy use, regulatory compliance, renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects, corporate disclosure and governance, carbon markets, litigation, and government relations.
  2. New Resource Bank Aims to Make it Easier to Build Green – A new banking program here aims to encourage developers and investors to start green building projects by offering financial incentives like providing more money at a lower cost, higher loan-to value, and lower interest rates.
  3. Texas Issues First Lease for Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development along Gulf Coast – Texas has awarded the state’s first lease for geothermal energy production to Ormat Technologies, Inc., which plans to explore the renewable energy’s potential along seven Gulf Coast counties.  The company paid $55,645, or $5 an acre, for the right to explore 11,129 acres for pockets of hot water and steam under the ocean floor, the General Land Office announced Tuesday.
  4. Building Greener and Cheaper than LEED – While many argue over the costs and benefits of requiring LEED-certification, some affordable housing developers have shown that building green doesn’t require following the program’s recommendations.

LEED-H Silver, Energy Star, Earth Advantage – Dolph Creek Townhomes

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In Portland, Oregon, there’s a sustainable development called The Headwaters at Tryon Creek, which is a 2.88 acre, master-planned, mixed-income community that prioritizes sustainable building practices, energy + water conservation, wildlife habit restoration, and stormwater management.  One portion of the development includes the Dolph Creek Townhomes, which are 14 for sale, attached townhouses that are LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Earth Advantage certified.  Quite the list of certifications!  These luxury townhouses vary in size from 1,585 – 1,695 square feet, and in price from $369,950 – $379,950…purchasers qualify for the State Residential Energy Tax Credit. 

In addition to saving up to 45% on annual energy costs, here are some of the green features:  solar panels with 80 gallon storage tank, energy efficient windows, green label carpet, formaldehyde free cabinetry and wood products, heat recovery ventilators, on-demand gas and solar water heating, polyfoam insulation, exhaust fans in all the garages, drip irrigation system, and low-flow toilets, showers, and water faucets.  Of course, the floors will be bamboo (hopefully not the Chinese import variety) and the patio will have ipe hardwood decking.  From what I’ve seen, this looks like quite the community. 

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Innovative Home – Spring 2007

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This is the best $9.95, I’ve spent in a long time.  I read Innovative Home when it comes out every quarter, but the Spring 2007 edition is unbelievable.  Go get a copy.

The Plenty 20 + Fiberstars' Efficient Fiber Optics

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The February/ March 2007 edition of Plenty Magazine has a really good article called "The Plenty 20" by Danielle Wood.  You won’t find it online, so go pick up a copy.  Generally speaking, magazine lists have a tendency to be contrived, opinionated, and/or incomplete, but I thought The Plenty 20 was rather thorough.  The article profiled an Ohio-based company called Fiberstars (NASDAQ: FBST).  The U.S. government funded the research that became Fiberstars’ Efficient Fiber Optic Technology (EFO) with grants totaling about $13 million.  Now, its lights illuminate the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. 

How efficient are EFO lights?  Their efficiency is analogous to improving gas mileage in your car from 12 MPG to 50 MPG.  That’s efficient.  So efficient, these lights were used in the green Bill Clinton Presidential Library. 

EFO lights do not emit heat or ultraviolet rays, so they are perfect for museum or archival applications.  One 70-watt metal halide lamp, which connects to a fiber optic system, can equal the output of eight 50 watt bulbs.  Specifically in terms of efficiency, the EFO saves up to 80% on energy consumption, saves on maintenance (requires less work due to longer life), and saves one watt of HVAC for every three watts of lighting because the EFOs do not emit heat.  Not bad.  Further, Fiberstars EFO may reduce mercury emissions by up to 75% and their Reuse-Recycle Program allows customers to reuse 97% of the lamp and recycle the rest.  Currently, most of Fiberstars’ customers are commercial entities such as Whole Foods, McDonalds, Trump Tower, Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, Chevron, etc.  Maybe we’re not that far from turn-key consumer applications?

Here are some of the other companies on The Plenty 20: Nanosolar, ECD Ovonics, Greenfuel Technologies, Envirofit International, GE, Organic Valley, Tesla Motors, Southwest Windpower, Domini, Toyota, Whole Foods, Green Mountain Energy, Konarka, Goldman Sachs, Ormat Technologies, Ice Energy, Green Sandwich Technologies, Green Mountain Coffee, and Naturalawn.

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Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Massachusetts Power Plants to Pay Emissions Penalties: State Rejoins a Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.
  2. Green Schools the Hottest Market for Green Building According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Latest Report – MHC found that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building, good news for the industry, given that education construction (at the K-12 and university levels) is the largest construction sector, by value, at $53 billion for 2007.
  3. Wind Farm Building Boom to Continue in 2007: Wind Power Capacity in the U.S. Grew 27% Last Year – The U.S. now has enough installed wind power capacity (11,603 megawatts) to power between 3 million and 3.5 million homes, which reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. The number of homes relying on electricity produced by wind energy will rise to nearly 4.5 million by year’s end if the AWEA’s forecast is accurate.
  4. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership: Big Businesses and Eco-Advantage – The companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, Duke Energy, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, PNM Resources and FPL.  These big businesses have a goal help the U.S. create public policy that would act aggressively and sustainably to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  See also NRDC

Steven Spielberg Movie on William McDonough, FAIA, the "Eco-tect?"

Bill_mcdonough_ecotectI hope so.  When I wrote about Green Sandwich Technologies, true south orientation, and Greenbridge Developments, I was talking about Bill McDonough.  I’ve also mentioned his Cradle to Cradle notion, which is about much more than sustainability, it’s about "waste = food" and what happens to stuff when no one wants to use it anymore (C2C Book).  His ideas are transforming the way companies do business and make money.  And that’s why he’s a big deal.  He’s the "Eco-tect," or the Ecological Architect, but he’s also more than that:  he’s innovating architecture, design, and business all at the same time.  This is the story that Steven Spielberg wants to make a movie about, and I think it will be extremely compelling. 

Right now, McDonough’s company is working with Google on its campus.  He’s also helping to design six cities and one village in China with stringent standards of sustainability.  If you’ve ever been to China, you know how big these cities can get, so we’re talking about sustainability and innovation on a gigantic scale.  The American public could benefit from McDonough’s reservoir of knowledge and experience, so I’m hoping that Spielberg continues with his first impulse and follows through with the film.  Via Business 2.0.   

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