Category Archives: Green Building

The $9 trillion dollar man

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

A presidential candidate is pushing $300 billion per year of U.S. government investment – with hopes to pull in a complementary $600 billion per year in private investment – to aim for $9 trillion in investment over the course of a decade. Sounds like a lot of money until we think about the United States subsidizing fossils to the tune of $649 billion a year, and estimates that the U.S. gross domestic product could fall by 10% – more than $2 trillion per year – due to costs associated with climate change. Jay Inslee has introduced his Evergreen Economy Plan as part of his presidential election campaign. The plan has five major planks that include many individual legislative actions. Read more here.

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

U.S. Green Bank Act of 2019 Would Provide $10 Billion+ of Capital to State and Local Green Banks, Coalition for Green Capital. The Green Bank Act of 2019 would inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy to accelerate clean energy deployment, grow clean energy businesses, and deliver affordable clean energy to all Americans. The members of the global Green Bank Network and the American Green Bank Consortium have already shown that public investment in clean energy deployment drives greater total investment, job growth and lower energy costs. The bill creates a new USGB as a wholly owned corporation of the U.S. government, housed within Treasury. It would be capitalized through the issuance of federal Green Bonds.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

RESEARCH

GREEN BUILDING

Cambria Hotel Omaha Downtown: Cambria Hotels Celebrates Its First Hotel To Open In The Cornhusker State, Choice Hotels International Announcement. The LEED Silver Certified hotel incorporates a number of eco-friendly features throughout the building, including a solar array on the roof, a salt water pool that reduces chemical usage, Tesla and electric vehicle charging stations, and locally-sourced, recycled building materials.

Additional Nebraska LEED Certified Projects, US Green Building Council

Building the tiny house of the future

Written by Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Dr. Bing Chen, Ph.D., UNL Professor of electrical and computer engineering, is “developing the area’s first sustainable small house.”

It is a project the former chair of the computer and electronics department feels will be a disruptive technology. Chen said it will change the way he and other baby boomers find alternative housing solutions during their golden years.

Dr. Chen is partnering with OPPD and other groups on the Small Sustainable House.
Construction will begin this summer on UNO’s main campus. With so many baby boomers
ready to enter their next phase, Chen said, good affordable housing is a growing need all over the country. Read more here.

Prototype Image: Chen said the home is well-insulated and can be heated with just 16 candles. The home will have 32 PV solar collectors on the roof to generate electricity and have a whole-house battery storage system.

Final hurdle cleared in California’s solar mandate for new homes

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In the words of Kelly Knutsen, it’s officially official. Today the California Building Standards Commission unanimously voted to confirm a change to the state’s building code which will require that all newly built low-rise (three stories or less) residential units in the state either incorporate rooftop solar or hold a community solar contract, starting in 2020.

“These highly energy efficient and solar-powered homes will save families money on their energy bills from the moment they walk through their front door,” stated Knutsen, the director of technology advancement for the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA). Knutsen also notes that this will include a solar plus storage option. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln, Nebraska-based GRNE Solar, “The Sun Haven.”

 

News Release: California Solar Building Requirement Crosses Finish Line, Solar Energy Industries Association

 

Morrissey Engineering

Inside Business, Omaha World-Herald

Morrissey Engineering announced that its headquarters, the 4940 Building, has been awarded LEED Platinum certification under the v4.1 O+M beta rating system. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

This is the second LEED Platinum certification for the 4940 Building, which became the first Platinum certified project in the state of Nebraska in 2009 as part of original construction. The certification is also the first of its kind in the U.S. Continue reading here.

www.morrisseyengineering.com

Note: Jared Friesen, NABCEP-Certified Renewable Energy Specialist with Morrissey Engineering, is Nebraskans for Solar’s immediate Past President, having served as President in 2017. Nebraskans for Solar’s board has the governance structure of President, President-Elect and Past President.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Henry Doorly Zoo Solar Shade Canopy Utilizing Bifacial Solar Panels

  • OPPD, UNMC partner on state’s largest rooftop solar array, The Wire, OPPD Blog
    The UNMC campus will soon house 1,487 solar panels in a rooftop solar installation atop three campus buildings: the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, Truhlsen Eye Institute, and the Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health. The panels will generate up to 500 kilowatts of solar-powered electricity to help power UNMC, beginning in 2019. Morrissey Engineering also provided design services and project management for solar installations at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium’s Skyfari station at the Africa Grasslands exhibit, Lincoln Electric System’s Service Center, the Bellevue Public Safety building, and several Baxter auto dealerships in Lincoln and Omaha.
  • Five ‘Solar-Ready’ Building Preparation Tips, written by Jared Friesen

CCC center in Kearney showcases technology

Kearney Hub 

One year ago we raved when Central Community College opened its 63,000-square-foot center in southwest Kearney. The structure at 11th Street and 30th Avenue employs numerous strategies for energy efficiency. Among the strategies are innovative skylights, solar-powered lights in the parking lot, walls that seal out heat and cold, and windows that can darken like sunglasses to reduce the greenhouse effect to rein in air conditioning costs.

The CCC Kearney Center also is purchasing power from the SoCore solar array at TechoNE Crossing, Nebraska’s largest solar array. Combined with the many efficiencies, adding the solar power boosts the center’s green rating and makes it a model of modern eco-friendly engineering, construction and facility operations. Continue reading here.

Top Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

KEARNEY’S COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM

Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. To date, the array is Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.
Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
Kearney Community Solar Q&A
Kearney NPPD customers can purchase shares here.

Photo Credit: SoCore Energy, LLC

New Example: Solar Pergola

Project: This residential project involved building a solar pergola consisting of fifteen LG solar panels with integrated Enphase IQ6+ microinverters (LG-330E1C-A5). The 4.35-kilowatt system is grid tied and serves to both generate electricity for the residence and provide shade for the south-facing deck.
Installers: Homeowner Scott Schaub and Nebraska Wind and Solar LLC Owner Larry Cooper

Setting the stage for solar + storage

PV Magazine

In this op-ed for pv magazine, Camron Barati explores the trend towards what increasing state-level renewable power and storage targets mean for the U.S. market. The company projects 73 GW of solar PV systems will be installed in the United States from 2018 to 2022. Read more here.

Camron Barati is a Senior Analyst with IHS Markit Technology. Camron is part of the IHS Markit Technology Solar and Energy Storage Group and responsible for researching solar PV and energy storage markets in North America, covering supply chain trends and downstream market dynamics. He is based in Austin, TX. Prior to joining IHS Markit, Camron worked as an associate with GTM Research as part of their solar analyst team. He also has experience working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Enphase Energy.

Photo Credit: Recurrent Energy

MORE NATIONAL NEWS & AN INTERVIEW 

NEBRASKA NEWS

Solar cars to travel around Fremont as part of challenge, Fremont Tribune

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

How solar energy helps Mennonites with their mission of global relief

GREEN BUILDING NEWS

Tim O’Brien Homes gears up for construction in zero-energy neighborhood, Milwaukee Business Journal

Nebraska-based GRNE Solar installs 3,510 solar panels at Delta County Airport in Michigan

By Jordan Beck, Escanaba Daily Press

ESCANABA — The installation of solar panels for a solar energy farm at the Delta County Airport was recently completed, officials involved with the project said. “All the racking and all the panels are installed,” City of Escanaba Electric Superintendent Mike Furmanski said. The facility includes a total of 3,510 solar panels . . . Furmanski said he appreciated the work GRNE Solar has done to make this project a reality. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Jordan Beck

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

In Michigan, unwanted properties could see new life with solar projects

FROM SOLAR EXAMPLES: RECENTLY-COMPLETED GRNE SOLAR PROJECT IN NEBRASKA

The Sun Haven: Solar-Powered Net-Zero Energy Home 

GRNE Solar teamed up with Wilderness Construction to build this net-zero energy home, with solar on the roof and outlets for electric vehicles in the garage. The home, called The Sun Haven, is located at 6077 Chartwell Lane in Lincoln. Through the use of solar power this home will produce as much energy as it consumes. GRNE Solar featured the home on the 2018 Home Builders Association of Lincoln’s Spring Parade of Homes.
YouTube Video: Drone View of The Sun Haven

OPPD Blog: Prime time for “peakers “

 By Jason Kuiper, The Wire  

May 2018 – one of the hottest Mays in years – kept OPPD’s generating stations running overtime to keep up with the air conditioners. OPPD’s two baseload facilities – Nebraska City and North Omaha stations – were at the forefront of that generation. But so were OPPD’s peaking stations at Cass and Sarpy counties as well as Jones Street Station, one of OPPD’s oldest stations. Continue reading here.

Photo: Telesis Inc’s Net-Zero Energy Business Complex in Lincoln’s Haymarket.
J-Tech’s thirteen-member installation crew worked closely with restoration contractors to integrate the 300-kilowatt system into existing and historical structures. Federal tax incentives, rebates from Lincoln Electric System and the steady rise in the cost of electricity were driving factors in the owner’s decision to complete such a large project. Also, the price of solar systems has decreased more than 62% since 2009. News Story: Telesis going for net-zero energy use in Dairy House complex, by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING AND VIEWING

  • Using Solar to Reduce Peak Loads: Evaluating Rhode Island’s Distributed Solar Pilot – Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) Webinar, July 12, 2018, 12 to 1 pm CDT. Register here.
  • Replacing Peaker Plants with Battery Storage: Clean Energy Group Webinar, July 19, 2018,
    1 to 2 pm CDT. Register here. 
  • How to Estimate Demand Charge Savings from PV on Commercial Buildings, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • 4 Peak Demand Reduction Strategies, by Jeff Gorrie, Energy Manager Today
    Due to the complexity of energy pricing, two identical buildings can consume the same amount of energy and have profoundly different utility bills. Demand charges are a reality for every building but with the right data it is possible to identify and solve the issues that cause high peak demand and expensive utility bills. – Jeff Gorrie is an energy efficiency professional who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University. Jeff works at a national energy efficiency consulting firm and has completed over 1,000 commercial energy assessments. Jeff is certified as an Energy Manager (CEM), Building Analyst (BPI BA), and Envelope Professional (BPI ENV).

‘Bringing back an icon’: $75 million plan to revive Blackstone Hotel, a former hangout for Gold Coast elite

By Cindy Gonzalez, Omaha World-Herald

In addition to TIF [Tax-Increment Financing], the developers seek “enhanced employment area occupation tax financing” amounting to nearly $10 million. Overall, the bulk of funding would come from a construction loan and investor equity, but also helping to fund the project would be about $6.5 million in federal and state historic tax credits and $3.5 million in Property Assessed Clean Energy financing (PACE is a new financing tool used to upgrade energy, water and utility systems in commercial properties).  Read more here.

Photo by Pat Hawks, Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

BEATRICE – The City of Omaha is the first to adopt an ordinance allowing its use in Nebraska. The City of Lincoln is considering the same.  Now, Beatrice is being asked to consider Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, or PACE, as another tool for economic development.  It’s described as a low-cost, long-term financing mechanism for energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. Chris Peterson, Managing Partner for Pace Sage Capital in Nebraska, worked as a Legislative Aide to former State Senator Heath Mello when PACE was enabled through state law, making Nebraska the 34th state to enact it.

MORE ABOUT PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY (PACE) 

PACE was named one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas by Scientific American magazine.
– 
PACE Nation