Many homeowners in Louisiana with solar panels can no longer tap into tax credits, since the state has run out of money to fund a tax credit program. This leaves homeowners to cover thousands of dollars in costs they thought would have been covered by the state. Read more from the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
The U.S. Green Building Council added the Material Health Certificate from the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute as a standard under its Building Product Disclosure and Optimization, Material Ingredients credit. As a result, architects will be able to earn credits under LEED v4 by specifying products carrying a Material Health Certificate.
Full Cradle-to-Cradle certification has long been viewed by some as a preferred standard within LEED; the addition now includes products carrying only the Material Health portion of certification, which recently became available as a stand-alone certificate. To leverage the years of expert development and practical application that have supported the Cradle-to-Cradle Certified brand, the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute began offering the new certificate for Material Health in 2015. The requirements for the Material Health Certificate are identical to the Material Health attribute achievement level of full Cradle-to-Cradle certification.
The addition of the Material Health Certificate to LEED increases the flexibility for projects to earn credits for specifying products whose ingredients have been third-party verified, and report human and environmental impacts. With more than 3,000 products in the Cradle-to-Cradle Certified and Material Health registries, this LEED credit is said to be very attainable and easy to document with downloadable certificates for verification.
More than a dozen southern California utilities recently joined forces with local municipalities and organizations to help them reduce their energy consumption. The group is called Conserve Energy SoCal, and it aims to educate consumers on how and why to save energy via mobile app alerts, social media and other channels.
By supporting state energy policies that increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, major California utility Pacific Gas & Electric recently announced it would end all nuclear power production by 2025. The move was the result of a joint proposal the utility submitted with labor and environmental organizations. The utility already has made a voluntary commitment to produce 55 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Smart or learning thermostats could be a boon for energy efficiency, by connecting home and business owners to their energy usage patterns. The thermostats allow users to optimally set temperatures, allow for energy usage feedback, and remote control of heating and cooling systems. A recent report by Navigant forecasts huge growth to come from $1.1 billion in 2016 to $4.4 billion in 2025, predominantly in the U.S. market, but also in Europe.
The Partnership for Quality Care is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and implement energy efficiency best practices in the health care industry, which consumes energy valued at the equivalent of 16.2 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. The goal is to reduce carbon and save hospitals money on their energy bills, since hospitals spend approximately $8.3 billion annually in energy.
According to Thomson Reuters’ “Powering the Planet 2045” report, hydro-wave, nuclear fusion, and solar photovoltaics will be the most “viable and scalable” methods for the planet to generate electricity during the next 30 years. This is a shift, which is fueled by rapidly evolving technologies and reduced costs, as well as growing concerns over climate change.
In 2016, the number of energy storage system deployments in the United States has increased 127 percent from 2015, according to a report by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. Utility-scale energy storage is led by the Northeast part of the country, while California boasts the most commercial energy storage deployments.
In a first-of-its-kind decision, the City of San Francisco recently announced a building ordinance that would require all new commercial buildings to have solar panels installed on them, starting in 2017. The decision was fueled by climate change concerns and the potential impacts it could have on San Francisco as well as the city’s desire to become more energy independent.
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that five new military bases will join the Solar Ready Vets initiative, a green jobs training program that helps former military veterans launch careers in the solar power industry. The DOE will award $10 million to 10 new projects as a next step. This training program builds on the SunShot Initiative, which has trained and certified more than 1,000 solar instructors and more than 30,000 students who now can enter the solar field.