Blog Archives

It’s Easy to Make Your Summer Party Energy-Efficient

Summer is the best time for get-togethers with family and friends. So, if it’s your turn to host…don’t miss out on energy savings opportunities that are as close as your deck or backyard.

Give your oven a break and fire up the grill – Your oven uses more energy and heats up the kitchen, which means the A/C will be working overtime. Have a cookout to help cut your energy costs – and keep your home more comfortable.

Load up those coolers – Keep the party outside. Stock those drinks and snacks in coolers on your deck or patio. Less foot traffic in and out of the house will help keep the cool air where it’s supposed to be – in your home and in the refrigerator.

Illuminate with LEDs – They use 90 percent less energy, last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and are available in a range of shapes and styles for outdoor use, including pool lights, string lights, spotlights and lanterns. Look for the Energize Connecticut logo when you shop for light bulbs - an instant discount has been applied to many ENERGY STAR®-certified LEDs.

Maintain an energy-efficient pool – While pool maintenance can be a major expense, energy-efficient upgrades and good habits can help you save energy and money in the long run:

  • Automation systems –Easily set and control your pool’s temperature, pH level, cleaning and filtration so you won’t have to worry about checking everything while hosting your party. An automated system ensures that items run only when they need to, and that can also help you save.
  • Heating – Did you know that each degree you turn up the pool heater results in 10 to 30 percent more in energy costs?  Remember to turn off the heating system and use a cover when the pool isn’t in use.
  • High efficiency pumps – Standard pool pumps use the most energy out of the entire swimming pool system, adding nearly $500 every year to your energy bills. ENERGY STAR®-certified pool pumps use 70 percent less energy than standard pumps and can save you up to $350 annually.

To learn more energy efficient ways to save at home, go to Eversource.com and the Energy Savings Plan page. This interactive planning tool is free and provides a detailed analysis of your energy usage, a customized savings plan for your home, and available incentives to help you better manage your energy consumption.

Enoch Lenge is Eversource’s energy efficiency spokesman.

Read More

CIRCA Receives Award for CT Coastal Resilience Planning

The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) recently announced a contract awarding just over $8 million to UConn from the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) for administration of a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDR).  UConn submitted a proposal to DOH in June 2017 for the project, “Development of the Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan” (C3RP).

CIRCA, with the support from faculty at the Urban Ecology and Design Laboratory of Yale University and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will use this $8 million NDR award to develop the C3RP.  The planning process will involve extensive public input and coordination with state agencies and regional Councils of Governments and municipalities.

Through these partnerships, CIRCA will develop a resilience planning framework and assessments, develop implementation plans, assess flood risk, evaluate adaptation options, and engage stakeholders in New Haven and Fairfield counties to address vulnerabilities to future climate change and sea level rise.  The C3RP project will run through May 2022 and will extend activities from an initial 2016 award from HUD to implement pilot projects in Bridgeport.  This 2016 award led to a vulnerability assessment that includes maps of flood risk and social vulnerability and a conceptual resilience framework for the Connecticut coast.  More on these products can be found here: https://circa.uconn.edu/projects/safr-ndrc/.  In addition to the recent $8 million award to UConn CIRCA, additional funding will go to continue the pilot projects in Bridgeport.

In their announcement of this $8 million award, HUD highlighted the priority to “extend the existing planning effort to more communities in New Haven and Fairfield Counties with the goal of providing accessible downscaled inland and coastal flooding information at the watershed scale for inland and coastal municipalities.” When referring to the C3RP specifically, HUD said the award would “support the State’s efforts to bring these approaches to other at-risk communities along the I-95 corridor by contributing to planning efforts, including economic and climate modeling.”

Check back for project updates.

Read More

U.S. Green Building Council Announces 2017 LEED Homes Award Recipients

Crescent Crossings, winner of the 2017 CTGBC Green Building Awards' Residential Award of Honor, has just been announced as this year's winner of USGBC LEED Homes Award for Outstanding Affordable Project. CTGBC wishes to extend its congratualtions to the entire Crescent Crossings team! This is a well deserved award and helps to put Connecticut on the green building map!

 

 

Click here to read about all of the 2017 LEED Homes Award recipients.

Read More

Health & Safety Funding Available for Multifamily Property Owners

Announcing second round of the EnergizeCT Health & Safety Revolving Loan Fund

The Connecticut Green Bank seeks proposals from qualified applicants to fund health and safety improvements in multifamily affordable housing under the EnergizeCT Health & Safety Revolving Loan Fund. Obtained from the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), this Fund consists of $1.5 million available as "gap funding" loans and limited grants that permit owners of multifamily housing, serving primarily low income residents, to remediate health and safety issues that must be completed in conjunction with energy upgrades.

Applicants must submit proposals by Friday, July 20, 2018, at 12 pm. Requests for clarification are due Friday, June 22, 2018 at 12 pm, and will be addressed during a webinar on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12 pm.

To access the Request for Proposals, please click here.

To register for the webinar, please click here.

Read More

LEED must be updated to address climate change

This article by Greg Kats originally appeared on GreenBiz.

Leed certification on building

This is part one in a pair of stories, adapted from a set of comments published by the author on an online discussion group from October to April. Part one is here.

Over the last 20 years, LEED has become the dominant U.S. green building design standard and is the most influential standard of its kind globally. This is an extraordinary achievement and has made for healthier, more productive and greener homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals and public spaces for tens of millions of families, students and workers.

But LEED has not kept up with the accelerating urgency of climate change or the availability of low and no-cost ways to deeply cut carbon — particularly from steep declines in the cost of clean energy options (such as the 60 percent cost reduction of residential solar since 2010) — that make these now the cheapest electricity source in most states. The rapid growth in the ability to buy onsite and offsite solar and wind under a power purchase agreement (PPA) structure allows LEED building owners to buy carbon-free power at a fixed price at or below conventional utility rates. These onsite and offsite wind and solar options allow most LEED buildings to switch to 100-percent, zero-carbon power at low or no cost — and in many cases can reduce the future cost of electricity (PDF).

However, in a world of accelerating climate change and fossil-fuel-funded denial, LEED has failed to maintain a carbon leadership role. LEED v4, the current version of LEED launched in 2013, was not stringent enough for 2013 — let alone for 2018. Many buildings receiving LEED Silver, Gold and even Platinum ratings deliver an anemic 15 or 20 percent lower energy use and CO2 reduction. Science dictates that serious green building standards today must deliver large reductions in CO2, and LEED must step up to this.

To address this urgent need, Kevin Hydes of the Integral Group, Emma Stewart of WRI, Mary Ann Lazarus of the Cameron MacAllister Group and I developed a proposal, "LEEDing on Climate Change," for adoption in the current LEED V4.1 upgrade process. The proposal would enable LEED to take a leadership role on climate change. It has been signed by more than 150 longtime green building leaders including David Gottfried, founder of both the USGBC and World Green Building Council, and LEED founder Rob Watson, and has been endorsed by groups including National Grid, Amalgamated Bank and HOK.

The proposal, submitted to USGBC in support of USGBC, has broad support on the LEED steering and advisory committees, as well as among USGBC staff. It sets out minimum levels of carbon reduction by level of LEED, reflecting the growing scientific urgency of climate change.

As the "LEEDing on Climate Change Proposal" noted:

 

A 2017 Scientific American article entitled 'The Window Is Closing to Avoid Dangerous Global Warming' warns that 'Deadly climate change could threaten most of the world's human population by the end of this century without efforts well beyond those captured in the Paris Agreement.' The Scientific American article quotes from a 2017 report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that states that; 'We are quickly running out of time to prevent hugely dangerous, expensive and perhaps unmanageable climate change.'

The moral, as well as the scientific, dimensions of climate change, have their deniers. Some deny the science. Others argue that responsibility for global warming can be left to future generations who will experience the largest costs of climate change but may have more money or technologies to manage or mitigate climate change. The moral or ethical aspects of when we take on responsibility for our own contamination of the earth has been spoken to directly by leading moral figures.

At the end of 2016, Pope Francis stated, "Every year the problems are getting worse. We are at the limits. If I may use a strong word, I would say that we are at the limits of suicide." Francis warned, "There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emissions of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gasses can be drastically reduced."

Current LEED CO2 requirements do not meet the call of scientists or the pope. But LEED has been able to change before and must do so again.

A LEED building that cuts CO2 or energy consumption by 15 or 20 percent is not a material step toward decarbonization. Buildings represent over 40 percent of energy use and almost half of the emissions changing our climate. They are central to any realistic rapid transition to a low carbon economy. And LEED — as the standard bearer for high-performance buildings — must be central to this transition. To lead, LEED must be a leader on climate change.

LEED immediately should be revised to require substantial minimum carbon reductions for each level of LEED certification, both for new LEED buildings and for LEED rating renewals.


For many or most LEED buildings, a combination of energy efficiency, onsite renewable energy (primarily solar PV) and direct long-term purchase of renewable energy can cost-effectively deliver large reductions of CO2 from building energy use. Like renewable energy, energy efficiency technologies such as LED lights, ground-source heat pumps and battery storage have over the last decade experienced deep and sustained cost reductions, making zero net carbon buildings increasingly viable. Onsite energy efficiency and renewable energy combined with power purchase agreement contracts to buy carbon-free electricity under long-term fixed-price contracts make net-zero-carbon building operations the lowest cost option today in a growing number of cities and states.

Deep cost reductions in energy efficiency and renewable energy also have made more aggressive green building standards such as the Living Building Challenge increasingly viable. But these newer standards effect less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of buildings. They lack the scale to rapidly drive deep carbon reductions in buildings necessary to limit the worst effects of global warming.

LEED can and must step up to this essential role.

If LEED fails to incorporate deep CO2 reductions as a requirement at higher levels of LEED, it will become increasingly irrelevant. Worse, by enabling buildings that are only marginally better on CO2 to claim a green mantle, LEED could impede the rapid, deep decarbonization we must achieve if we are to heed scientific consensus and the pope’s moral call to pull back from "the limits of suicide."

USGBC is considering adopting these minimum carbon reductions in LEED in its current upgrade process. It should be strongly encouraged to do so and applauded for its leadership if it leads on this. Stepping up to this role is both a scientific and moral necessity as well as an opportunity for LEED to fulfill its potential to be truly transformative.

You may find the proposal discussed above here.

Read More