Day: November 1, 2012

Greening the Bottom Line 2012

Download the document. The goal of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge is to encourage colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements.

Greening the Bottom Line 2012 continues research into the rapid growth of green revolving funds (GRFs), a sustainability financing mechanism that colleges, universities, and nonprofits have increasingly adopted as a means to fund sustainability initiatives inside their buildings and operations. These initiatives typically reduce energy and resource use which result in decreased operating costs and an improved environmental impact. Though many of these GRFs are young- there have been 36 new funds created since 2010- their portfolios have already begun to post impressive returns, with a median reported return on investment of 28 percent.

Implementing efficiency measures can benefit not only the institution itself, but also the students, faculty, staff, and community members that call the campus their home. Greening the Bottom Line 2012 found that a growing number of schools are seeking to implement efficiency projects by reaching into the campus community for inspiration, research, and volunteers. Greening the Bottom Line 2012 also reports on the project- and fund-specific energy savings, cost savings, and fund structures of GRFs across North America.

Other trends featured in the 2012 report include:

  • A 60% increase in the number of GRFs in operation between 2010 and 2012;
  • More than $111 million in capital collectively committed among established GRFs;
  • Over 900 energy efficiency projects initiated with the support of GRF funding;
  • GRFs launched in 31 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces;
  • Reported return on investment between 20 percent (Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and 57 percent (Boston University).

Energy policy by constitutional amendment debated

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Voters will determine this November if Michigan will be the first to insert a clean energy requirement into its state constitution.

If approved, Proposal 3 will mandate that 25 percent of electricity sold in Michigan comes from renewable energy by the year 2025. The initiative’s nickname is 25 by 25.

It is one of six proposals on this fall’s Michigan ballot, and among the five that aim to amend the state constitution. That constitutional mechanism to require such the energy provision is as controversial as the proposal itself.

Developing an Energy Performance Modeling Startup Kit

Download the document.

In 2011, the NAHB Research Center began the first part of the multi-year effort by assessing the needs and motivations of residential remodelers regarding energy performance remodeling. The scope is multifaceted – all perspectives will be sought related to remodeling firms ranging in size from small-scale, sole proprietor to national. This will allow the Research Center to gain a deeper understanding of the remodeling and energy retrofit business and the needs of contractors when offering energy upgrade services. To determine the gaps and the motivation for energy performance remodeling, the NAHB Research Center conducted (1) an initial series of focus groups with remodelers at the 2011 International Builders’ Show, (2) a second series of focus groups with remodelers at the NAHB Research Center in conjunction with the NAHB Spring Board meeting in DC, and (3) quantitative market research with remodelers based on the findings from the focus groups. The goal was threefold, to: Understand the current remodeling industry and the role of energy efficiency; Identify the gaps and barriers to adding energy efficiency into remodeling; and Quantify and prioritize the support needs of professional remodelers to increase sales and projects involving improving home energy efficiency. This report outlines all three of these tasks with remodelers.

Measure Guideline: Basement Insulation Basics

Download the document.

This guideline is intended to describe good practices for insulating basements in new and existing homes, and is intended to be a practical resources for building contractors, designers, and also to homeowners.

Festival spotlights trash-to-art transformations

When artists and designers take discarded materials destined for the landfill – everything from bottle caps to rusty machine parts – and add their imagination, vision and talent, what hatches from all that is something fresh. The results may be whimsical, or even practical, but are always decidedly, delightfully different and unexpected.

The I.D.E.A. Store will take that concept of reinvention and reimagination to a whole new level next spring with “Hatch,” a creative-reuse art festival expecthatch logoed to draw participants from throughout Central Illinois and beyond.

The festival will take place March 1-3, 2013, in and near downtown Champaign, and will include a juried art exhibition and juried art fair.

They are currently are seeking creative-reuse artists and designers who wish to be considered for entry into the art exhibition and/or art fair. Artist information and applications are available on the festival website, www.AboutHatch.org. The deadline for applying for entry is Jan. 11, 2013.

The festival will kick off from 5-7 p.m. on March 1 with an opening reception at the exhibition venue, Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave., in downtown Champaign. During the festival, the exhibitoin will be on view from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 2 and 1-5 p.m. March 3. The show will remain on view beyond the festival dates, through March 17.

Exhibited work – which must consist of at least 75 percent recycled or reused materials – is expected to range from assemblage, collage, jewelry, fiber and paper arts to reimagined decor for home and garden.

The festival’s art fair, set for 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on March 2 in the McKinley Fitness Center gym, 500 W. Church St., Champaign, is expected to host more than 30 creative-reuse artist-vendors who will be selling one-of-a-kind artwork and functional design such as jewelry, wearable art and accessories, collage, mixed media and sculptural work.

They also are hoping to add other activities – possibly a lecture and gallery talk – to the festival schedule as well. So, stay tuned and see what develops in the coming months!

“Right now, we’re hitting the ground running – focusing our priorities on attracting some of the most imaginative, top-shelf creative-reuse artists and designers around to the festival, and hope to fill in a few more auxiliary events as we go,” said The I.D.E.A. Store Manager Gail Rost.

“We’re excited to be able to expand on the work we’ve accomplished at The I.D.E.A. Store in our first two years of operation,” Rost said. “Plus, we’re thrilled to be continuing what we started our first year in business with the “Trash 2011″ exhibition at Indi Go.

Atlas of health and climate

The Atlas of Health and Climate is a product of a unique collaboration between the meteorological and public health communities. It provides sound scientific information on the connections between weather and climate and major health challenges. These range from diseases of poverty to emergencies arising from extreme weather events and disease outbreaks. They also include environmental degradation, the increasing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases and the universal trend of demographic ageing.

A focus on sustainable building

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

Today’s smart architects and contractors know that whenever possible buildings should be designed and built green, but not everyone knows what determines a “green” space. How do you sustain a focus on sustainable building in a still-weakened economy? Here are the necessary steps and best practices for maintaining the momentum and keeping the sustainable building movement growing strong.