Unleashing the Power of Green

Climate Change, Leadership and Juggling

As we start the New Year, our elected leaders and thought leaders continue to face challenges as they juggle limited resources that must be allocated to competing issues. Here's our synopsis on two public sector leaders and one private sector leader and their stance on climate change and the built environment. Let us know what you think of their juggling skills when it comes to these issues.

Obama's Second Term: What's In Store
on the Climate Change Front?
 

Yesterday President Obama gave his second inaugural address and vowed to "respond to the threat of climate change" and lead, rather than resist, the path to green energy sources. We applaud Mr. Obama's focus on the need to take action to reduce our nation's carbon footprint in his remarks yesterday and look forward to his second term with cautious optimism. Although many of us have been disappointed with his climate change report card so far, I'd like to point out two areas where progress has been made with respect to the built environment. 

Since the Better Buildings Challenge was launched in 2011, over 100 building owners, municipalities, manufacturers, financial institutions and utilities have committed 2 billion square feet of property to the Challenge's 20% by 2020 goal, as well as $2 billion in private sector capital. Leading industrial giants including GE, 3M, Alcoa and Schneider Electric, as well as Intercontinental Hotels, Walgreens, Starbucks, Forest City, Kohl's, PNC Bank and Staples are participating in the Challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge is a public-private partnership launched by Obama to improve the efficiency of U.S. buildings 20% by 2020.  

During Obama's first term, the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program (BTP) cleared up a decades-old backlog in issuing standards for energy efficient appliances. As a result, energy efficiency requirements for over 50 categories of appliances were updated. According to the BTP website, the new standards enabled U.S. consumers to save about $40 billion on their utility bills in 2010 and a projected $1.6 trillion by 2030. The commensurate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is projected to be equal to the annual GHG of 1.4 billion cars. 

What's in Store for New York State?


In Governor Cuomo's recent State of the State address, New Yorkers were treated to an interesting agenda of proposed climate change mitigation initiatives. Here are the highlights:
  • Creation of a cabinet level Energy Czar position to coordinate NY's clean tech agenda
  • Spurring $1B of investment in a clean economy with the NY Green Bank
  • Investing in a state-wide network of electric car charging stations
  • Extending the NY Sun Solar Jobs program to increase solar panel installations
  • Lowering the regional greenhouse gas emissions cap for Northeast utilities to reduce current emission levels
  • Increasing decentralized generation of electricity through renewables, natural gas and energy storage
  • Enhanced training of skilled energy workers
  • Updating the State Building Code to promote smarter, more resilient buildings
First Wind's Cohocton farm in Western New York powers 50,000 homes with clean, renewable energy. 

 

A Thought Leader Who is Not Thinking... about Climate Change

Last week I attended a 2013 economic forecast sponsored by a real estate think tank. The world-renowned economist who addressed the audience frequently testifies before Congress, advises policy makers, appears on news shows and has authored books on the state of the U.S. and world economies, one of which was described by the New York Times as the "clearest guide" to the recent financial crisis. At the end of his presentation, he was asked the following question:
 
How are you modeling the long-term threat from climate change?
 
His answer, somewhat apologetically, was that he is NOT incorporating the long-term threat from climate change into his economic forecasts because he doesn't know how to do it. 

While his answer doesn't surprise me and I appreciate his honesty, HONESTLY, if he can predict the future of the U.S. economy and claim to be able to help us avoid the next global financial meltdown, is it possible that he can't figure out how to factor the long-term threat of climate change into his economic models?

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We Look Forward to Hearing from You

 

If you have questions about anything you've read in this newsletter or if you are wondering how to meet your own green challenges, contact us and we will be happy to respond via email. 

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Happy New Year!

 

I love starting a New Year ---- for me it's a calendar-induced shot of adrenalin. 

Looking ahead, as the U.S. economy continues its glacial recovery, organizations should show an increasing interest in investing in the value creation opportunities that green strategies offer.  

 

Although the hurdle of justifying the upfront cost will continue to be high, we predict it will be less and less insurmountable. 

 

This month we focus our sustainability lens on leadership. We have not come up empty-handed, but we have a long way to go. 

 

As always, I welcome your input and look forward to working with you to make our world a greener place.  

 

Happy Winter,   

 

Some Fast Facts about New York City's Zone Green   



Last year New York City amended its zoning regulations to encourage the adoption of green building features. 
 
Here are some highlights.
 
Adding insulation to the outside of a building will no longer constitute a potential violation of size restrictions.
 
Strict building height limitations have been loosened to permit solar systems, greenhouses, skylights, storm water management, efficient boilers and cogeneration facilities and in some cases, small wind turbines. 
 
Sun control devices that project out from a building are now allowed to project over required open areas.
 
Additional provisions permit permeable pavement and car charging stations. Contact us for more details. 
Green is the 2013 Color
of the Year




Pantone, which provides color resources for the design industry, has selected
green as the 2013 color of the year.
  
According to the executive director of Pantone's Color Institute, green is all about growth, renewal and prosperity and it promotes balance and harmony.  
Right on Pantone ---- we agree!
 
Let Green Edge help your company achieve the growth, renewal, prosperity, balance and harmony that come with going green --- you can't afford not to.
Green Edge Opportunity:
Greening Your Real Estate 

Don't miss out on the greatest business opportunity of our time ---- sustainability.

Let Green Edge help you identify and leverage green building opportunities to transform your bottom line, strengthen brand reputation, attract positive media coverage, increase market share, reduce operating expenses and mitigate risk. 


Our services include: 
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Green Edge Newsletter

If you'd like your company to be featured in one of the next issues of the Green Edge Newsletter, we'd love to hear from you. We are always looking for great green stories to share with our community of clients, colleagues and friends.   

 

If you missed our previous issues, link to our archives home page or our blog

 

The Green Edge Newsletter is published monthly by Green Edge, LLC.

 

EDITOR: Ellen Sinreich

DESIGN DIRECTOR: Sara Mears 

 

Copyright 2013 Green Edge, LLC