Why the next wave of green buildings will focus on net zero

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

As the green buildings movement matures, the next wave of venture capital will center on startups that make net-zero operations possible.

Net-zero buildings produce as much energy as they consume, requiring investments in both energy efficiency measures and in renewable energy generation.

Bright idea: How LED technology is key to future smart buildings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Cost and functionality have traditionally been two big hurdles for the widespread use of LED lighting technology in commercial buildings. With technical improvements and increasing awareness of LED energy efficiency beneits, there has been some limited adoption in parking and exterior applications.

But the convergence of building automation and information technology that is transforming the facilities management industry — and helping define the smart buildings market — presents a significant opportunity for deployments in LED (light emitting diode) applications.

EU amps up e-waste collection rules for companies, consumers

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Stringent new EU e-waste rules officially came into effect yesterday, paving the way for a fundamental overhaul of how technology companies, retailers, recycling firms, and consumers handle waste electronic equipment and devices.

The updating of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which first came into effect in 2003, will impose a series of ambitious new e-waste recovery and recycling targets on the IT and electronics industry while also introducing stringent new penalties for companies and member states who fail to comply with the rules.

Webinar: Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Financing Renewable Energy Projects

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM CDT
Register at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/860983582

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will be presenting a live webinar, Tuesday, August 21, 2012, from 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time on the challenges and successes of financing mechanisms for a solar project in Knoxville, Tennessee, and one of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) CommRE projects.  Learn more about the projects below.

Renewables and Sector Partnerships: Leveraging Incentives to Work for You

In September 2009, the City of Knoxville was awarded more than $2 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding. The City obtained approval to use $250,000 of that funding for initial investment to support the installation of a high-quality, 90-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system using third-party of other innovative financing models. The City of Knoxville successfully used power purchase agreements to build the PV project and save money—all in an area of the country that isn’t allowed to have power purchase agreements.

Challenges With SMUD’s Community Renewable Energy Project

SMUD is tapping into multiple financing sources to successfully develop an anaerobic digester project as part of its overall CommRE project. The challenges and successes SMUD has experienced to date will be covered as well the banking sector’s perspective on financing renewable energy projects and how to help communities understand and navigate financing complexities.

Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support Manufacturing Innovation, Encourage Investment in America

Today, the Energy Department joined with the Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and NASA to announce the $45 million investment in the pilot institute of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation.

The pilot institute announced today will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new additive manufacturing technology and products in order to become a global center of excellence for additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing. This pilot institute will bridge the gap between basic research and product development for additive manufacturing; provide shared assets to help companies, particularly small manufacturers, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment; and create an environment to educate and train workers in advanced additive manufacturing skills.

Initially committing $5 million to the project, with plans to contribute an additional $5 million next year, the Energy Department is building on its continuing efforts to help America’s manufacturers become more competitive in the global marketplace. Learn more about the Energy Department’s advancement of additive manufacturing by visiting our blog to see photos and a fact sheet. See the press release.

Associations and Sustainability

Read the full post from the Iowa Waste Reduction Center.

We have been talking a lot about environmental sustainability lately. While generally it still seems like a new concept, it has definitely cemented its place in business to encompass all of your environmental initiatives. A simple Google search for ‘sustainable business practices’ gives hundreds of thousands of websites about becoming more sustainable and businesses that are trying to reach this goal. However, a majority of the examples that I have come across are big business and large corporations who have extensive resources and funds to commit to these efforts. But what about small businesses? How do you learn about and implement these practices?

Submissions Invited for Smart Growth Ideas and an Update on EPA’s Green Power Communities

National Smart Growth Conversation: Call for Blog Posts

The Smart Growth Network’s National Conversation blog, devoted to ongoing conversations about the future of America’s communities, invites photos, videos, presentations, and written content for the blog. Submissions may focus on topics such as envisioning future communities; innovative current activities; and new directions for development, transportation, or public health.

Please submit blog post(s) to the National Conversations blog by August 29, 2012, to help launch the conversation nationwide. The Smart Growth Network will review and get back to you about your submission. Written blog posts are limited to 500 words, and attachments are limited to 30 MB. If you would like to send a bigger file, please submit it by email. For more information about the National Conversation, please visit the blog.

Update on EPA’s Green Power Communities Initiative

EPA’s Green Power Communities initiative welcomes its newest members: Oak Park, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Wellesley, Massachusetts. Green Power Communities are towns, villages, cities, counties, or tribal governments in which the local government, businesses, and residents collectively buy green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements.
The program now has 34 member communities, which together are purchasing more than 4.2 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year, avoiding carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to those from the annual electricity use of more than 367,000 American homes.

To learn how to become a Green Power Community, please visit the program’s website.