A Message from the Executive Director
Dear CTGBC Community,
Happy Holidays! As we close out 2017, I wanted to spend a few moments reflecting on my first 6 months with CTGBC, and laying out my own objectives for growing our organization further in 2018.
First, I have to say that I've been deeply moved by the support that I've received not only from the CTGBC Board of Directors, but from our membership as a whole. This is a community of talented, motivated people who share the common goal of enabling a sustainable future, and I am proud to stand with you.
When I began at CTGBC in June, I knew I had some very big shoes to fill. Judy Swann did so much for our organization over her ten-year tenure as Executive Director, and taking the reins from her is no small task! I plan to continue to build upon the solid foundation that Judy has laid as CTGBC writes its newest chapter.
In 2018, my goals include ramping up our social media and web presence, expanding our educational offerings and other resources, and ensuring that people across our state recognize CTGBC as the number one resource for all things green building in Connecticut.
You may have been reading our bi-weekly email blasts or seen more Tweets and Facebook posts. These are just a couple examples of how I believe we can reach a wider audience, provide more information to our membership, and position CTGBC to continue to be successful. I would like to encourage anyone in the CTGBC community to share and provide content that they think others in the community would find informational or beneficial. I don't think I'd be going out on a limb to say that many of you joined CTGBC for the opportunities to connect with other like-minded professionals - and I believe the more we help and assist each other, the greater chance of success we all have.
I am truly looking forward to working with all of you. Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-435-8927 if I can be of assistance in any way.
Meet the Board
James Albis is the new Executive Director of the Connecticut Green Building Council, succeeding long-time CTGBC ED Judy Swann in June 2017. A lifelong Connecticut resident, James is currently serving his fourth term as a State Representative from his hometown of East Haven. James was named chairman of the Speaker’s Task Force on Shoreline Preservation after East Haven was devastated by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Through the work of that Task Force he authored the first law in Connecticut history to define sea level rise, requiring that sea level rise be considered during planning for major public projects and long-term plans of conservation and development. James also wrote the law that created the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), which provides technical and financial assistance to municipalities embarking on adaptation projects.
In 2015, James was appointed co-chairman of the legislature’s standing Environment Committee to serve alongside State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. One of their signature accomplishments was enacting the Long Island Sound Blue Plan, designed to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to engage in marine spatial planning efforts for Long Island Sound. Upon beginning his fourth term in January 2017, James was named Deputy Majority Leader, where he plays an important role in policy development and managing operations in the House of Representatives.
James received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from New York University in 2006, and his Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2016. He is a LEED Green Associate and is a published author. His paper “University Sustainability: Assessing College Sustainability Rating Systems” appeared in the 2017 issue of the Journal of Environmental Sustainability.
We had a great turnout at the 2017 CTGBC Green Building Awards in early November! Thanks again to everyone who made the event possible, including our Awards Committee co-chairs Kris Coperine and Sheri Dieso, our incomparable jury (Bruce Becker, Claudia Dinep, Patrick McKenna, Linda Reeder, and Rory Ronan), our host Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and of course our sponsors: Energize Connecticut, Assa Abloy, and Steven Winter Associates.
CTGBC would like to send a special congratulations to the winner of our best-in-show award, known as the Energize Connecticut Award of Excellence. The Sandy Hook Elementary School stood out to our jurors as the most outstanding project submission this year. Congratulations to the project team and the entire Newtown community on this wonderful achievement.
The CTGBC had a table in the Exposition Hall, showcasing our chapter and answering questions for attendees. We were so glad to be a part of the USGBC Conference, and echo their sentiments: "When we come together at Greenbuild, we are one community of professionals, advocates and practitioners, students and teachers, designers and builders, and everything in between. We leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of what’s next — new technology, new ideas and new ways forward. We are dedicated to transforming the market and changing the way the people all over the world experience buildings. WE ARE ALL IN."
CTGBC Holiday Party
We had a wonderful 2017 Holiday Party at the Tiffany Juliet House in Glastonbury, which included a cocktail hour, dinner, and tours of the sustainable upgrades the owners did after purchasing the property. Pictures from the event will be highlighted in the next ebalst!
CTGBC successfully offered free GPRO courses for CEUs from GBCI and AIA, at Eversource in Berlin and Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, in September and October respectively. The GPRO courses, which were created and administered by Urban Green in New York, trains operations managers, plumbers, and other vocational professions in green best practices.
Recently, GBCI announced that it has introduced a new program to its portfolio of rating systems – TRUE (Total Resource Use & Efficiency). The TRUE Zero Waste certification program rates how well facilities perform in minimizing their nonhazardous solid wastes andmaximizing their efficiency in the use of resources. Learn more here.
Updates from the Advocacy Committee
The Advocacy Committee had their hands full in 2017
Between the state's budget issues, following legislative causes, and supporting energy and resiliency policy, the CTGBC had an active year.
Some of the legislation the CTGBC supported in 2017 includes:
C-PACE – HB 7208 clarified lien survivability, financing types, and new construction (passed into law).
R-PACE – SB 973 would have made the CT Green Bank the statewide administrator of an opt-in municipal R-PACE program for residential clean energy installations (died in committee).
RGGI – HB 7107 would have aligned the CT Green Bank use of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI - the regional cap-and-trade program) auction proceeds with its statutory definition of “clean energy” (died in committee).
RPS – A number of bills were introduced to increase CT's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) - the amount of renewable energy electricity distribution companies are required to sell to in-state consumers. For example, SB 630 proposed to increase the Class I RPS to 40% by 2040, while SB 106 did the same and more (no changes to the RPS level passed into law).
RECs/Fuel Cells – HB 7036 extended the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) program for one year, and created a utility-led competitive procurement for 10 MW of fuel cell generation, administered through PURA (passed into law).
Green Building Task Force – HB 6306 would have established task force to study green building requirements (passed House; died in Senate).
CT Green Plan – HB 6547 would have established an advisory committee to draft a CT Land Resource & Use Inventory and the CT Green Plan (died in House). A related proposal, SB 943, required the Siting Council to consider environmental impact when siting renewable energy projects (passed into law).
Green Building Tax Credit – HB 6360 would have broadened the application of available green buildings tax credits (died in committee).
Draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy
The CTGBC voiced their support for thoughtful green building policies in the 2017 Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) as drafted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The goal of the CES is to “create a cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy future for Connecticut’s residents and businesses.” The draft CES includes goals and strategies covering the electric power sector, the building sector, and the transportation sector. While the draft CES supports the goal of energy efficient buildings, CTGBC supports a vision of the future in which the built environment is truly sustainable. Read the full comments from CTGBC here.
While CTGBC, along with a number of partner groups, was relentless in advocating for maintaining important green programs during the prolonged budget deliberations, the final state budget passed in October made significant cuts to both the Energy Efficiency Fund and the CT Green Bank. We are opposed to these cuts because they will have a negative effect on jobs, energy bills, and environmental progress. CTGBC is committed to supporting these programs and the important environmental and economic benefits they provide.
Despite the challenges at the state and federal level, we still have reason to be hopeful. The renewable energy industry is expanding in Connecticut, as seen by increased solar investment and falling prices, and the opening of the first anaerobic digestion facility in the state. Additionally, the launch of the Sustainable CT program in November provides significant opportunities for Connecticut municipalities to engage in sustainable practices by creating a sustainable community rating system for the state.
USGBC Green Schools Conference & Expo registration is now open
Click here for more information on the Green Schools Conference & Expo being held May 3-4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
Check out the following study the positive effects of green schools on kids!
Study Finds That The Greener The School, The Smarter The Kids MBG Planet
News from the Emerging Professionals
On Saturday August 19, members of the Connecticut Green Building Council’s (CTGBC) Emerging Professional (EP) Committee participated in a volunteer build day with Habitat for Humanity of Hartford. The build day was located at 181 South Marshall Street in Hartford, CT.
The CTGBC Emerging Professionals are committed to transforming the way that our buildings are designed, constructed and operated, by implementing high performance strategies aimed at creating more sustainable, equitable, and efficient built environments.
Going into 2018, the Emerging Professionals will host more happy hours and other events, so stay tuned!