State ‘net energy’ proposal raises static among developers
A proposal that would require new commercial construction projects in Massachusetts to use only renewable energy has opponents and proponents drawing a line in the sand.
Supporters say the net zero net energy proposal is needed to address global warming more quickly. Opponents argue that there is not sufficient technology and capacity to increase electrification to meet the demand.
Opponents also say the proposal would greatly diminish housing development during the state’s housing crisis and that electricity bills for tenants would skyrocket.
“As housing costs continue to skyrocket, we need more housing. To add an additional cost to housing production is essentially a barrier ... We’ll see a slowdown in housing production,” said Tamara Small, CEO of Needham-based NAIOP, the state’s commercial real estate development association. NAIOP has about 1,700 members in Massachusetts.
The proposal basically requires new commercial construction and significant commercial renovations to generate as much renewable energy as needed on-site. What can’t be generated on-site can be purchased off-site.
Only energy from solar, wind and hydro would be allowed. The use of all fossil fuels, including natural gas, propane, oil, coal and wood pellets, would be banned. While the proposal is primarily for commercial construction, it would affect some housing as well. The exemptions are single-family houses, multifamily homes of three stories or less, and mobile and modular homes.
The proposal was written by the American Institute of Architects and submitted to the International Code Council to be considered for codes being compiled for 2021. All 50 states adopt some version of ICC’s residential, commercial and other codes.
The AIA’s Massachusetts Chapter in November also submitted the proposal to the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards for consideration for inclusion in the 10th edition of the state’s building code.
Massachusetts in 2009 became the first state to adopt a “stretch code,” an enhancement to its base building energy code that provides for more energy-efficient construction. To be designated as a Green Community, municipalities have to comply with the stretch code. While the stretch code initially resulted in a 10% jump in energy efficiency, that has decreased after two subsequent editions of the code, in part because the base energy code has gotten more efficient.
“Now about 80% of the 351 cities and towns have become designated as Green Communities. A good majority are saying we need to take the next step, which is net zero,” Nunnari said. This would be another tool in their quest toward mandating a higher level of energy efficiency, he added.
The hope, he said, is if ICC agrees to include the proposal in its 2021 documents, all 50 states would have the opportunity to adopt the net zero regulation or amend it to their liking. California, he noted, has already imposed a net zero energy requirement for new residential and commercial buildings by 2030. Similar regulations are being considered by several other states and regions, he said.
The proposal has the backing of several hundred organizations.
(Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 28 Dec., 2019)
Biden's Climate Plan in a Nutshell (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
US Democratic former V.P. and 2020 presidental hopeful Joe Biden, like every candidate, has released his plan to address the climate change crisis.
Biden's $1.7 trillion plan calls for a $400 billion over ten years investment in R&D targeted at: grid-scale storage; small modular nuclear reactors; zero net energy buildings; using renewables to produce carbon-free hydrogen; decarbonizing industrial heat needed to make steel, concrete, and chemicals; leveraging agriculture to remove carbon dioxide from the air; and sequestering carbon dioxide from power plants deep underground.
A climate adaptation agenda.
Biden's plan has all the usual "shoutouts to climate justice and protection for fossil-fuel workers who lose their jobs" and a program to "rally the world" to address climate change and reach zero-emissions by 2050.
See the former Vice-President's website for details.
(Source: Mother Jones, 24 Aug., 2019) Contact: Joe Biden, www.joebiden.com/climate
More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,
CA Vehicle Emissions Test Center Touted (Ind. Report)
California Department of General Services
In Sacramento, the California Department of General Services (DGS) reports it has awarded the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) new Southern California Consolidation vehicle emissions testing and research facility to the design-build team of Hensel Phelps, ZGF, and Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
The $368 million, 19-acre project in Riverside near the University of California, Riverside campus, will be one of the largest and most advanced vehicle emissions testing and research facilities in the world. It will also be the world's largest true zero net energy facilities and is being built to US Green Building Council LEED Platinum specifications.
The facility will include test cells for analysis of heavy-duty vehicles, an advanced chemistry laboratory, workspace for accommodating new test methods for future generations of vehicles, space for developing enhanced onboard diagnostics and portable emissions measurement systems, education areas, a media center, flexible conference areas, and a large public auditorium.
The facility and campus will be designed and built to reach the highest possible levels of measured sustainability, with the intention to achieve LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council and will also meet the state's CALGreen Tier 2 threshold for overall sustainability and energy efficiency.
(Source: California Department of General Services, Automotive Testing Technology, March 1, 2018)
Contact: California Department of General Services, (916) 376-5000, www.dgs.ca.gov/dgs/home.aspx; USGBC, Mahesh Ramanujam, Pres., CEO, (202) 552-1500, www.usgbc.org;
CARB, (800) 242-4450, email@example.com, www.arb.ca.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News US Green Building Council, Vehicle Emissions, California Air Resources Board,
Promise Delivers First L.A. Zero-Net Energy Multifamily Development (Ind. Report)
In the Golden State, Promise Energy reports that , Silver Star Apartments is the first Zero Net Energy multifamily affordable housing development in Los Angeles. The 49-unit LEED and ENERGY STAR certified building was developed by A Community of Friends (ACOF), a local nonprofit that provides homes and supportive services for formerly homeless veterans.
For the all electric apartment complex, Promise Energy designed and installed a vertical rooftop solar PV system , a battery storage and advanced Energy monitoring system; a solar water heating system to offset 70 pct of the energy needed for water heating; quality air sealing and insulation to reduce envelope leakage and HVAC loads; phase-change material in the walls to reduce heat gain; and a proposed grey-water system to reduce potable water demand for the project by 40 pct.
(Source: Promise Energy, PR, 28 Nov., 2017) Contact: Promise Energy, Jonas Villalba, VP Business Development , (888) 444-7911, www.promiseenergy.com: Community of Friends , www.acog.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Net Zeron Energy, Energy Efficiency, Promise Energy,
Biodico Touts Community Design Technology (New Prod & Tech)
Ventura, California-based renewable energy company Biodico is touting its internet-based Master Community Design technology that enables farms and communities in California's Central Valley identify on-site renewable sources of clean energy and then create a plan to convert those resources into electricity and liquid biofuels.
Biodico's Zero Net Energy Farm (ZNEF) is partially funded by the California Energy Commission and is the world's first fully sustainable liquid biofuel facility to help address energy needs and climate goals in California's Central Valley.
Privately held Biodico builds, owns and operates sustainable biofuel and renewable energy facilities; conducts R&D with the U.S. Navy; and collaborates with strategic joint venture partners to patent and commercialize proprietary technologies for the sustainable multi-feedstock modular production of next-generation biofuels. (Source: Biodico, Inc., PR, 7 Nov., 2017) Contact: Biodico, Trey Teall, VP Operations, (805) 683-8103, www.biodico.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodico,
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