Monday, February 22, 2010

Electrical Contractors Need Green Skills for Future

Guest post by Houston Neal

We are nearing a renaissance of electrical contracting. Software Advice, a website that reviews electrical estimating software, thinks the electrician will soon transition into an "energy contractor" to meet demand of the growing green construction market. This growth is being fueled by increased adoption of green and renewable energy technologies among homeowners and corporations.

Who will be there to retrofit these buildings? Electrical contractors will play a major role in these upgrades. However, they'll need to "green" their skill set in order to take advantage of opportunities.

To get started, electricians must gain the skills and knowledge to take on green projects. Both the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) offer education programs for green electrical work. Second, they should get versed on electric- and energy-related LEED credits. LEED projects are growing just as fast as the rest of the green construction market, so this is one of the areas where electricians will be able to "cash in."

To read more, visit: The Coming Renaissance of Electrical Contracting.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Golden State Warriors Hook Up with The Solar Company to Green Practice Facility

Guest post by Denise Rogers

The Golden State Warriors and The Solar Company have the first solar installation basketball practice facility in the NBA. They cut the ribbon on January 21, 2010 on the facility that will be powered with renewable energy. The facility will be downtown Oakland, CA and is expected to save the team $36,000 in energy costs during the first year of operation and $2,094,000 over the next 25 years. The Warrior's President Robert Rowell, Solar Company President Mark Danenhower, and the rookie guard Stephen Curry will show the system that will be made of 143.5kW-system.

That will consist of 537 SunPower SPR-305-WHT-U modules and 23 SunPower SPR-6000m (277V) inverters. Average daily production of the system is estimated at 758.9kWH and annual production is projected at 277,008kWH. The system will supply the equivalent of 26 percent of electricity that is currently being used at the site. It didn't take long to build this facility at all, it was announced by the Warriors and the Solar Company in November, they started on it in December, and was finish by January.

Roswell stated, "This solar installation project is a very important component of the green initiatives of the Golden State Warriors organization."

North American pro sports teams are increasingly adopting environmentally friendly practices and working towards greening up their facilities with recycling and rainwater harvesting to retrofitting venues with waterless urinals.

In April, last year the Warrior's planted trees and gave away reusable grocery bags. The Warrior's did this the week that they held their inaugural Green Week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Construction Begins on Plastic Railroad Bridges

Guest post by Donna Mantione

Axion International, a company which manufactures building components made from post consumer and industrial plastics, is set to begin construction on two new Recycled Structural Composite (RSC) railroad bridges at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. The new bridges, one spanning 40 feet and the other spanning 80 feet, will replace two wooden bridges that had been taken out of service because of deteriorating conditions. These new bridges will be completed in less time than it would take using conventional construction materials. All components in this construction are from recycled materials with the exception of the steel connectors used to connect the plastic components and the rubber plates placed between the girders and pile caps to reduce the strain and vibration. In addition to faster project completion, the cost will be less than using wood and steel and the environmental impact is substantial because of the diversion of plastics from landfills.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ridding the World of Toxic Emissions and Non-Disposable Waste

Guest post by Paula Cook

There are many large corporations today that are leading the way in making their operations greener and one of them is, in fact, the largest poultry company in the United States. Located in Lumber Bridge, NC, Mountaire Farms is one corporation that has taken a giant step to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions our country releases annually. The boxes that this and other corporations use to transport food have traditionally been those that have a wax coating, thus making them harder to dispose of and creating more carbon dioxide emissions. The new recyclable boxes that Mountaire Farms is using are smaller and compostable. Using a smaller box will cut down on materials and being compostable helps the environment tremendously.

The new boxes are produced by Interstate Container and together with Mountaire Farms they conducted a pilot program testing the new recyclable boxes at one of their distribution centers in New York. They found these new recyclable boxes to be very efficient and allowed the company to also cut down on their water usage. They previously used the wax-covered boxes for ice-pack shipments; whereas, with the new recyclable boxes, they no longer needed the ice thereby cutting down on their water usage by millions of gallons.

Global Green USA is trying to encourage other large corporations to make the switch to using wax-free products for their shipping needs. They estimated that 1.5 million tons of non-recyclable materials are dumped annually. By simply using these recyclable shipping containers rather than the wax-covered ones, corporations like Mountaire Farms can help save not only our country but our world from toxic emissions and non-disposable waste.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Move Toward Electric Work Trucks Looks More Promising

Guest post by Karen Rutherford

2010 may be the year for many companies to upgrade company trucks for the future. Eliminating CO2 emissions and pollution may come with enough incentives from the federal and state governments this year that organizations could be on the waiting list for delivery of electric work trucks. There are work trucks on backorder now from companies like Coco-Cola, AT&T, and Frito Lay.

Developing hybrid diesel -electric drive trains and all electric delivery vans is being tackled and accomplished from major truck manufacturers. In the past, there have been several obstacles to the manufacture and purchase of electric trucks. One of the most pressing is the comparably high cost to purchase the more environmentally friendly trucks. 2010 will expose at least four points to help offset the high purchase costs:

1. Government subsidies and tax breaks

2. Lower operating costs

3. Competitive market will drive cost down

4. Low fuel and maintenance costs

It is estimated that the total cost to payback the electric truck is approximately five years. Another show of support from Congress is a pending bill that would provide $65 million for the U.S. Postal Service to purchase electric delivery trucks in the near future.

DYMAC Northwest is just one example of the hundreds of companies that offer all electric utility trucks for personal and organizational uses. They offer AC and DC powered vans, trucks, trams, and shuttles. DYMAC electric vehicles meet Type E OSHA requirements for personnel and burden carriers, making them attractive for college campuses, military bases, and airports.

I think as our society becomes smarter about our environment and taking more time to pursue intelligent ways to live with nature, the market for electric vehicles will grow rapidly in our future. The costs are becoming more affordable and the kinks that turned many people away for years are all being addressed and overcome. Manufacturers are realizing the demands are out growing the supply for electric work trucks and personal vehicles. The environment is important to many people who feel they can make a difference without it being so painful.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ICLEI Launches Sustainability Planning Toolkit to Accelerate Movement of Sustainable Cities and Counties

Press Release

ICLEI Launches Sustainability Planning Toolkit to Accelerate Movement of Sustainable Cities and Counties

Local governments can now access comprehensive guidance—based on the model pioneered by City of New York’s PlaNYC—to develop sustainability plans that improve quality of life in their communities

A new Sustainability Planning Toolkit released by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA establishes for the first time the best practices to develop a local sustainability plan. This toolkit fills a major need: Across the United States, a rapidly growing number of cities, towns, and counties are eager to create sustainability plans or expand the scope of existing plans, but find the task daunting and disorganized, and lacking standardized methods and metrics.

With ICLEI’s toolkit, jurisdictions of all sizes can now follow a proven, straightforward, and flexible process to create long-term sustainability plans that bring together their individual environmental, economic, and social initiatives under one holistic vision.

The toolkit, which has been developed for ICLEI’s 600 U.S. local government members, is based on the planning model pioneered by City of New York for its renowned PlaNYC sustainability plan. The toolkit was authored by ICLEI and developed through a close collaboration between ICLEI and the City of New York’s Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

ICLEI launched the first global initiative to develop the methods and tools for local sustainability planning in 1992 at the United Nations’ “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. Since that time, ICLEI has supported thousands of local governments in scores of countries to develop their customized approaches for putting the complex goal of sustainability into local practice,” said Jeb Brugmann, ICLEI Global’s founder and current Executive Director of ICLEI USA. “This toolkit draws from the most recent best practices in the United States to help cities and counties take their sustainability planning efforts to the next level. With a sustainability plan to guide their actions, cities like New York, Minneapolis, Santa Monica, and many others have shown that they can more effectively combat climate change, green their buildings, update infrastructure, invigorate their local economies, and improve public health and quality of life for their community members.”

“Our message to all local governments is that the secret to a successful sustainability plan is a rigorous planning process,” added Brugmann, “and this toolkit walks local governments through what can be a very complex process.”

To reach their chosen sustainability goals, local governments can follow ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Sustainability process, which is the foundation of the toolkit:

Milestone One: Conduct a sustainability assessment

Milestone Two: Establish sustainability goals

Milestone Three: Develop a local sustainability plan

Milestone Four: Implement policies and measures

Milestone Five: Evaluate progress and report results

By following this process, local governments can create plans with strong, measurable goals that can be tracked over time. The ability to measure performance has been a key to the success of PlaNYC.

“PlaNYC is not a report. It is an implementation tool that was the outcome of a comprehensive planning process to create a greener, greater New York,” said Rohit T. Aggarwala, Director, City of New York Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “We hope our model is useful to other cities and provides a framework to create sustainability plans with measurable goals and objectives.”

In order to ensure the PlaNYC model was replicable for a range of large and small communities, ICLEI partnered with New Rochelle, NY and Miami-Dade County, FL to pilot the guidelines in the toolkit. “The Sustainability Planning Toolkit provided us with a proven process for developing a sustainability plan, and helped us to understand how New York’s planning process could work in a city of our size,” said Mayor Noam Bramson of New Rochelle, NY.

Inside the toolkit, local government staff will find guidance on how to structure their planning process, what types of strategies and measures to include in their plan, step-by-step guidelines to achieve each of the Five Milestones, best-practice examples, checklists, templates, and guidelines for organizing a team to develop the plan.

The Sustainability Planning Toolkit is the first of two major sustainability resources offered by ICLEI USA. The STAR Community Index, to be launched in 2011, is a national, consensus-based framework for gauging the sustainability and livability of U.S. communities. STAR will build on the Five Milestones for Sustainability by providing a comprehensive set of goals and measures that standardize how we plan and manage for sustainability at the local level. A soft launch of the set of municipal goals that will comprise this new framework is set for early 2010. It is being developed through a robust stakeholder process of more than 165 volunteers representing 135 organizations, including 60 cities and 10 counties.


Don Knapp, Senior Communications Officer
(510) 206-1011 (cell)

Annie Strickler, Communications Director
(510) 599-3021

Downtown Little Rock Welcomes Affordable, Sustainable Home, Designed and Built by U of A Architecture Students

Press Release

Downtown Little Rock Welcomes Affordable, Sustainable Home, Designed and Built by U of A Architecture Students

WHO: The City of Little Rock, the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation and the Fay Jones School of Architecture, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

WHAT: Groundbreaking for Little Rock’s first Design/Build home by students in the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture, led by associate professor Michael Hughes

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WHERE: 1519 S. Commerce Street, Little Rock

BACKGROUND: The City of Little Rock and the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation are pleased to announce the groundbreaking for a sustainably designed and built modular home, to be located in the historic Pettaway neighborhood of downtown Little Rock. The home is the first of several Design/Build projects planned by the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture in cooperation with the DLRCDC.

The home, to be located at 1519 S. Commerce St., has been designed, and is being constructed by 4th and 5th year students in the Fay Jones School of Architecture in Fayetteville. This home is being constructed in modules at a warehouse in Fayetteville. Upon its completion in mid-April, the units will be shipped to the site. This home is part of a collaborative effort to revitalize the South Main neighborhood, and showcases materials and construction alternatives for affordable, energy-efficient and sustainable housing in inner-city Little Rock.

About the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation

Incorporated in 1992, the DLRCDC is a nonprofit organization that strives to improve the quality of life for people living in Downtown Little Rock, with a focus east of Main Street and south of I-630. The DLRCDC has recently joined forces with other downtown Little Rock organizations to form the Heart of the City Coalition, a group dedicated to more effectively promoting “a varied, vibrant, and livable downtown Little Rock.”

The City of Little Rock provides operating support to the Downtown Little Rock CDC through its Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).

For more information about the DLRCDC, please visit the website at, contact Executive Director Scott Grummer at (501) 372-0148, or email

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