by Jodi Summers
Los Angeles will soon become the largest city in the country to approve a ban on plastic bags. The decision came down in May, as a standing-room-only crowd packed City Hall as the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to approve a ban on plastic bags and impose a 10-cent charge on paper bags at convenience stores and supermarkets in the nation’s second-largest city.
With the council’s action, Los Angeles and our 3.8 million residents become the largest group in the United States to formally endorse a sweeping ban on single-use plastic shopping bags.
“The Los Angeles City Council took a prudent step to protect our environment and bolster our economy,” said Kirsten James, director of water quality for the Santa Monica-based nonprofit group Heal the Bay. “The vote further emphasizes the fact that the days are numbered for single-use bags in California.”
Nearly 50 other municipalities in California have adopted ordinances in the state banning single-use plastic bags and most also ban or impose fees for paper bags. Cal cities that have passed single-use plastic bag bans include San Francisco, Santa Monica, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Calabasas, Long Beach and Carpinteria. Environmentalists hope the move by the Los Angeles City Council will provide momentum for a statewide ban.
“I’m deliriously excited about the passage of this measure. Ever since I first heard about the floating plastic island in the Pacific, while I was still in the state legislature, I have been trying to move the ball forward on banning plastic bags in this state,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, a chief sponsor of the measure, in a statement.
It is estimated that 1.2 to 2.3 billion single-use plastic carryout bags and 400 million single-use paper bags are used annually in Los Angeles. A report by the Board of Public Works cited studies showing that single-use paper bags have greater greenhouse gas emissions through their production and use tan a single-use plastic bag, prompting paper bags to also be targeted.
This concept became too much too soon, and then the bill stalled until City Councilman Eric Garcetti co-introduced a motion that imposed a 10-cent fee on paper bags instead of an outright ban. The proposal is very similar to what has been working effectively in Santa Monica for the past year. Impressed by the model, Los Angeles City Council voted nearly unanimously to endorse the substitute motion.
The new ordinance will likely be approved before the end of the year. Large retailers can anticipate a six-month phase-out of single-use plastic bags. There will be a one-year grace period for smaller retailers. All retailers would be required to charge 10 cents for a paper bag as an incentive for shoppers to bring reusable bags to the market beginning one year after the program’s enactment.
“City Council approved a motion that will move us one step closer to making Los Angeles a greener, cleaner, more sustainable city,” noted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The little things matter—removing plastic bags that clutter our streets and damage our waterways will go a long way towards protecting Angelenos and Los Angeles wildlife for generations.”
Cathy Browne, general manager of plastic bag maker Crown Poly in Huntington Park, said the council shouldn’t be mandating consumer behavior and should let the market dictate consumer choice.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November 2010 approved a plastic bag ban in unincorporated areas that went into effect July 1, 2011, at large stores and on Jan. 1, 2012, at smaller retailers. A lawsuit claimed the 10-cent fee on paper bags imposed by the county was an illegal tax under Proposition 26, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant in March rejected the argument in a tentative ruling.
By Jodi Summers
The White House issued a challenge to the nation’s utilities > to allow customers more access to their own energy data. California utilities are the first to step up. Welcome the Green Button. This online tool from Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric will allow consumers and businesses to see how much electricity they’re using and to download the data so that we can figure out how to use less.
The Green Button allows customers to download of personalized energy usage data through its secure website, My Energy. Developers and third parties will be able receive energy usage data from customers in machine-readable form
The utilities’ goal is for customers to better understand how their consumption changes over the day, week and seasons. This data, in conjunction with smart meters, which transmit energy usage information in real time, should give .customers the tools to control usage, cut costs and conserve energy…
The Green Button project “is one of many initiatives designed to offer our customers choice, convenience and control,” Ted Reguly, SDG&E’s director of customer programs and assistance, said in a statement.
Here’s how it works: After logging in, customers can click on the Green Button and download up to 13 months of their detailed electricity usage data, which can be segmented down to 15-minute intervals. The three utilities are the first in the nation to adopt the technology, which uses a cloud platform developed by Tendril, a Boulder, Colo.-based company.
“Green Button marks the beginning of a new era of consumer control over energy use, and local empowerment to cut waste and save money,” observes Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer. “With the benefits of open data standards, American app developers and other innovators can apply their creativity to bring the smart grid to life for families—not only in California but in communities all across the Nation.”
Standardizing and freeing the data can create an ecosystem for developers to use that data to create apps that can deliver new services and products. The line of thinking is > the internet has thrived because of open data and standardized information systems. Delivering that energy data directly back to consumers is expected to lead to energy-efficiency measures that may change a consumers’ energy-consumption behavior.
The Green Button project “is one of many initiatives designed to offer our customers choice, convenience and control,” notes Ted Reguly, SDG&E’s director of customer programs and assistance.
The three utilities are the first in the nation to adopt the technology, which uses a cloud platform developed by Tendril, a Boulder, Colo.-based company. The Green Button was inspired by the government’s success with its Blue Button initiative, which allows veterans instant access to their health care data.”
The objective 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.
The energy to operate commercial buildings costs about $200 billion every year. And 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.”
CALIFORNIA + IKEA BAN 100 WATT BULBS –> Potential savings: $35.6 million in electricity and 10.5 million incandescent bulbsNovember 19, 2011 on 12:01 am | In Green, Market Snapshot, New Developments, Of Local Importance, Problem Solving, Uncategorized | 4 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
In the future, big buildings are not going to be called skyscrapers, they’re going to be known as eco-towers. This new breed of buildings are utilizing green technologies on an entirely new scale. And, like the elliptical shape our new Marriott hotel downtown, they will not look like those box-shaped structures that have become familiar to world skylines. Let us share with you 10 of the world’s most unique green eco-towers;
1.The Bahrain World Trade Center Towers, Kingdom of Bahrain
There is a lot of land in developing nations, and space allows for tremendous innovation. The Bahrain World Trade Center, located in the capital city of Manama, is a 50-story eco-tower, the second tallest building in Bahrain, and the firstskyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design. Bridges between the buildings house 3 96-foot suspended between the towers house propellers which supply the spires with over 1100 megawatts per year. These towers face north to capture the winds from the Persian Gulf, and the sail shape of the building was designed to to maximize the airflow for the jumbo blades. The “S” shape flow is ideal because it ensures that any wind coming within a 45 degree angle to either side will create a wind stream that is perpendicular to the turbines. These turbines are intended to provide 11% to 15% of the towers total power consumption.
2. The Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China
The China Green Building Council offers basic energy efficiency rules for building, and features a 5-star labeling system as a market-based incentive. The Pearl River Tower exemplifies China’s green push, as this eco-tower is designed to harness winds at lofty heights, using internal wind turbines for lighting. Fashioned like a giant wing, the tower pushes air through wind tunnels on two of the building’s 71 stories. Other green features on the Pearl River Tower include geothermal heat sinks, ventilated facades, waterless urinals, integrated photovoltaics and daylight responsive controls. The skyscraper has net zero energy goals, and anticipates generating enough power to meet its energy demands. Pearl River Tower is a self-sustaining, environmentally intelligent building that is a stunning new icon for the future of the region.
3. Bank of America Tower, New York City
The Bank of America Tower is Manhattan’s 2nd tallest building and 1st LEED Platinum eco-tower. The designers of, Cook + Fox Architects have incorporated rainwater capture and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural lighting, natural gas fuel cells for on-site electricity and sunlight-sensing LED lights maximize efficiency.
4.The Lighthouse Tower, Dubai
The Dubai International Financial Centre Lighthouse Tower incorporates 4,000 photovoltaic panels on the south facing facade as well as three mega 225 kilowatt wind turbines to meet its electricity needs.
Designed by the Atkins Group, the 66-floor Lighthouse Tower is designed to produce the smallest carbon footprint possible. It is structured as two separate towers connected by a bridge at level 10, and features numerous sky gardens. The tower hopes to reduce energy consumption by 65% and its water consumption by 40% when matched against similar structures.
5.The CIS Tower, Manchester England
The CIS Tower is the second-tallest building in Manchester, England. Measuring 387 feet tall, the glass roofed building is home to Co-operative Financial Services. The Tower was built in 1962, and is a fine example of green retrofitting. The new and improved CIS Tower may be considered the ultimate is solar, with more than 7,000 panels on the façade provide a weatherproof barrier, and generate about 390kW of power for the building. In total, 7,244 Sharp 80W modules are used to cover the entire service tower (but apparently only 4898 of these modules are “live” the others are “dummy modules”). Additionally, there are 24 wind turbines on the roof, and the ability to produce 10% of its energy needs.
The £5.5 million ($10.1 million) solar project was supported by a £885,000 (US$1.64 million) grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and a £175,000 (US$ 324,435) grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
6. The Hearst Tower, New York City
The Hearst Tower was the first skyscraper in Manhattan to achieve LEED Gold accreditation. Built atop the existing Hearst building, this innovative addition hsed 80% of the steel was recycled, as well as the floors and ceiling tiles are made from recycled materials. Architect was Norman Foster designed a “diagrid” triangular framing pattern required fewer steel beams to achieve the same rigidity as a conventional skyscraper. Rainwater is collected on the roof and is funneled into a 14,000-gallon tank in the basement, and accounts for 50% of the tower’s usage. It’s pumped into the cooling system, used for irrigating plants in communal spaces called “sky gardens” and to power the 3-story waterfall which cools and humidifies the lobby air (like NYC needs more humidity). The building also boasts a smart elevator system, which retains memory and optimizes paths based on previous data, headcounts, and floor requests.
7.The Burj al-Taqa (Energy Tower), Dubai
Unlike most of the U.S. and Europe, Dubai has the issue of extreme heat. The Burj al-Taqa is 68-story super eco-tower has a cylindrical shape that is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thanks to a façade built from a new generation of vacuum glazing. A protective solar shield reaches from the ground to the roof and covers 60% of the building. It protects the side most affected from the sun’s glaring rays, making sure that none of the rooms are exposed to direct sunlight. The remaining 40% of the structure has diffused light that is tempered by a mineral coating on the windows. This objective is to shield the building from outside heat, keeping the temperatures inside at a low, comfortable temperature.
“Such a building has to work like a thermos flask,” says DS-Plan’s energy manager Peter Mösle. “It has to have a cooling effect in the summer and retain heat in the winter.”
Burj al-Taqa also has a natural air conditioning system. Lateral openings in the towers suck in cool air like a chimney. The heavier cool air sinks downward, displacing the lighter air; therefore creating a temperature that is ideal for the working environment. Additional fresh air, cooled by sea water, is pumped into the interior of the building by means of a duct system at the same time. There are three large cooling units in the cellar of the skyscraper, also lowering the inside temperature.
Burj al-Taqa was modeled after ancient Persian architectural features. It is #22 on the list of the tallest buildings in the world thanks to the 200-foot wind turbine that will sit atop the building. The turbine, accompanied by two photovoltaic facilities produce the electricity to meet the needs of the building. Additional energy is provided by an island of solar panels that drift in the sea within viewing distance of the tower.
8.Waugh Thistleton Residential Tower, London
This eco-residential building employs 4 helical wind turbines attached to one side of the tower have the potential to generate 40,000kW hrs a year, more than 15% of its energy needs.
9. 340 on the Park, Chicago
If you have $700K to throw down on a 1,600 square-foot condo in this tower designed by archtiectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, you can enjoy low utility bills thanks to the building’s fully insulated windows and rainwater capture system. The building was designed Post-Tensioning in order improve the floor-to-ceiling height for residents.There is also a multi-story winter garden starting on the 25th floor and it is connected to the Chicago pedway system. 340 on the Park is the first residential tower in the Mid-West America to achieve Silver LEED certification.
10. The Urban Cactus, Rotterdam
Designed by UCX Architects, the Urban Cactus is a residential project in the Netherlands that offers 98 residential units on 19 floors. The staggered design and curvy balconies which looked like a stacked set of rotated, swoopy plates allow each unit’s outdoor space to get plenty of light from the sun. This also affords greater angles of natural sunlight to penetrate into the interior of the units themselves. While this tower may lack in the technology department, its carbon-mitigation potential is high thanks to all the photosynthesis happening on the porch gardens. Additionally, the building is white to mitigate the urban heat island effect.