Category Archives: Green Building

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Bold Executive Action to Spur Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing

White House Briefing Room

Historic Actions Include Authorizing Defense Production Act to Lower Energy Costs,
Strengthen Power Grid, and Create Good-Paying Jobs

Today’s clean energy technologies are a critical part of the arsenal we must harness to lower energy costs for families, reduce risks to our power grid, and tackle the urgent crisis of a changing climate. From day one, President Biden has mobilized investment in these critical technologies. Thanks to his clean energy and climate agenda, last year marked the largest deployment of solar, wind, and batteries in United States history, and our nation is now a magnet for investment in clean energy manufacturing.

Since President Biden took office, the private sector has committed over $100 billion in new private capital to make electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. We have made historic investments in clean hydrogen, nuclear, and other cutting-edge technologies. And companies are investing billions more to grow a new domestic offshore wind industry. Continue reading here.

Related: ACP Applauds President Biden’s Bold Action to Reinvigorate the Domestic Solar Industry, American Clean Power Association

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION ANALYSIS

APPA Analysis Examines Regulated, Deregulated State Power Price Trends
Increases in retail electric prices from 1997 to 2021 were about half a cent more in states with deregulated electric markets than in regulated states, though regulated states had a slightly higher percentage increase in prices, according to an American Public Power Association (APPA) analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. APPA’s analysis also found that rates increased significantly in all states from 2020 to 2021, largely attributable to a rise in natural gas prices. 

The full report is available here.

Omaha tiny-house village aims to be final step out of homelessness

By Cindy Gonzalez, The Nebraska Examiner

Nebraska’s first modern-day tiny house village — soon to start sprouting in north downtown Omaha — is expected to do more than add affordable-rent dwellings to the trendy urban core. The 50 stand-alone homes, each about 250 square feet, serve a humanitarian purpose: They’re to be occupied by former homeless people who have thrived in other shelter programs and who are ready to take the next step toward independence. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Arch Icon Development Company, whose business philosophy includes “Sustainable Design and Energy Efficiency best practices.”

Related Reading / Viewing

Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’

By John Vidal, The Guardian

One of the leading advocates of energy conservation explains why this
could be a turning point for climate economics

Temperatures dropped far below freezing this week in Snowmass, Colorado. But Amory Lovins, who lives high up in the mountains at 7,200ft above sea level, did not even turn on the heating. That’s because he has no heating to turn on. His home, a great adobe and glass mountainside eyrie that he designed in the 1980s, collects solar energy and is so well insulated that he grows and harvests bananas and many other tropical fruits there without burning gas, oil or wood. Nicknamed the “Einstein of energy efficiency”, Lovins, an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has been one of the world’s leading advocates and innovators of energy conservation for 50 years. Continue reading here.

Physicist Amory Lovins is Cofounder (1982) and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute, which he served as Chief Scientist 2007–19 and now supports as a contractor and Trustee; energy advisor to major firms and governments in 70+ countries for 45+ years; author of 31 books and more than 700 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. Source: Rocky Mountain Institute

ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESOURCES 

  1. Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE)
    Nebraska Weatherization Assistance Program
    Dollar & Energy Savings Loans
    Nebraska Energy Quarterly 2022 – 1st Quarter Issue
  2. Nebraska Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  3. Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
  4. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)-Nebraska
  5. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)
  6. Energy Saver, Department of Energy 
  7. Heat Pump Systems, Department of Energy 
  8. Advanced Water Heating initiative Fact Sheet, New Buildings Institute
  9. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  10. Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
    Nebraska Initiatives
    Policy

MEEA Webinar: The Value of Energy Efficiency in Buildings for Safety and Wellness
Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 12 p.m.

Over the last two years the focus of building owners and operators has, rightfully so, been on health and safety concerns. Join us for a webinar to learn more about how energy efficiency can help with your health and safety goals while saving money and improving occupant comforts.

UNIQUE TINY HOUSE IN NEBRASKA

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny HomesUniversity of Nebraska Omaha News Center

A living space that can be efficiently heated
by an energy output
equivalent to
16 birthday candles.

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny Homes

University of Nebraska Omaha News Center

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

Over the past two years, Chen, along with students from Metropolitan Community College, have taken the first steps to making his vision a reality. Earlier this year, this multidisciplinary team completed construction of a 400-square-foot prototype of a sustainable, ADA-compliant home that one day could be mass produced and easily transported almost anywhere in the country.

The construction students framed the home, created the floor, erected side walls, wired the home for electricity and installed heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The finished 20-foot x 20-foot home, which was built on MCC’s campus, will be moved on a flatbed trailer to a location near UNO’s Baxter Arena this coming spring. Learn more here.

Read the UNO Magazine online as a Flipbook or download a PDF.

Previously Posted

City of Greensburg offers advice, assistance to Mayfield, Ky. following deadly tornado

By Shawn Loging, KWCH, Greensburg, Kansas

After the Greensburg tornado, the small Kansas town committed to the goal of sustainability in the build-back process, and the municipal utility became 100 percent renewable. Bob Dixon is the former mayor of Greensburg. He saw and directed this city’s return, but he says in these early days, after a disaster, you have to remember those who lost their lives.

“You need to make sure you honor the lives lost, but at the time, realize that there’s some success being made,” said Dixon.

Bob’s daughter and current city administrator Stacy Barnes and current mayor Matt Christenson both grew up in Greensburg but had moved away when the tornado hit. Both moved back to watch the town come back from its defining moment. Read more or watch the video here.

Related 

Photo: Aerial view of Mayfield, Kentucky on December 12, 2021. Credit: State Farm via Wiki Commons

UNITED POWER & TRI-STATE G&T

United Power Files Notice Of Intent To Leave Tri-State Generation and Transmission, United Power News Release, December 14, 2021

Brighton, Colorado/Washington D.C. — United Power, a rural electric cooperative based in Brighton, Colorado, today filed its Notice of Intent to withdraw from the membership of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, D.C., effective January 1, 2024. The two-year notice period was accepted by FERC in an October 29, 2021 ruling. United Power is the largest member of Tri-State and accounts for nearly 20% of the G&T’s annual revenue.

Additional Recommended Reading: Will Tri-State’s exit fee dispute at FERC shake up the cooperative utility model?, by Ethan Howland, Utility Dive

Nebraska Tri-State members seeking exit fees: Wheat Belt Public Power District and the Northwest Rural Public Power District.

FEATURED NEBRASKA WIND & SOLAR CONFERENCE VIDEO

Tri-State G&T – Responsible Energy Plan
Duane Highley, CEO, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
Moderator: Ken Curry, Vice President, Nebraska Public Power District

NEBRASKA DED PROGRAM

Village of Hemingford Fosters Entrepreneurial Growth to Launch Solar, Social Development, Nebraska Department of Economic Development News Release, EIN Presswire

Ongoing business development and efforts to expand renewable energy opportunities in the village of Hemingford (pop. 806) have earned continued recognition from the State of Nebraska. This week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced Hemingford’s recertification in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. Gov. Pete Ricketts’ West Central Director and Western Nebraska Development Consultant for DED, Brittany Hardin, honored local leaders during a special presentation on December 14. Hemingford is one of 31 Nebraska LCC’s, and was western Nebraska’s first community to qualify for the program, which was created in 2011 to help villages and municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development.

NATIONAL EV CHARGING ACTION PLAN

FACT SHEET: The Biden-⁠Harris Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan, December 13, 2021
Today, the Biden-Harris-Administration is releasing an EV Charging Action Plan to outline steps federal agencies are taking to support developing and deploying chargers in American communities across the country. As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation focused on deploying EV infrastructure, working hand-in-hand to collect input and guidance from industry leaders, manufacturers, workers, and other stakeholders that will ensure the national network provides convenient charging for all. The initial focus will be building a convenient, reliable public charging network that can build public confidence, with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Careers in Green Building & Other STEM Rising Resources

The U.S. Department of Energy’s newsletter, STEM Rising, includes DOE and partnering agencies and organizations’ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) news and resources. Visit the STEM Rising website to learn more about this initiative and subscribe to the newsletter.

The following resources on careers in green building are among those in the latest issue:

Also Included in the STEM Rising Newsletter:

Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Pushes For Diversity In STEM

“The data makes it clear that we need diversity in science, technology, engineering and math,” Secretary Granholm said at a roundtable discussion on racial disparities in STEM fields held at Howard University May 3. “We really want to see a diverse pipeline of our future workforce and our problem-solvers and scientists.” The Secretary’s remarks came with an announcement of a $17.3 million investment in research and internship opportunities, with a focus on increasing diversity in STEM. Read more about it here, and watch the roundtable discussion here.

Free Virtual Event for High School Girls Interested in Technology

GirlCon is an event for high school girls organized entirely by students for the fourth year running. At this virtual event June 27-30, panelists from the National Nuclear Security Association, DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, and DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will share their role in government, and how they’re working to apply artificial intelligence to energy, climate, and nuclear weapons, as well as sustainable energy and national security. Tune in and register for this free event at GirlCon.org. Registration closes June 25 at 11:59 p.m.

MORE DOE RESOURCES

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) Initiatives and Projects

All EERE Offices

From The White House Briefing Room: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Accelerates Efforts to Create Jobs Making American Buildings More Affordable, Cleaner, and Resilient

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan Supercharges the Future of Transportation and Manufacturing

The White House Briefing Room

Increasingly, the global market is shifting to electric vehicles (EVs) – tapping into EVs’ potential to save families thousands of dollars, lower carbon pollution, and make the air we breathe cleaner. Yet, despite pioneering the technology, the United States is behind in the race to manufacture these vehicles and the batteries that go in them.

Today, the U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third that of the Chinese EV market. And in 2020, China had approximately 800,000 public charging points compared to just 100,000 in the U.S. President Biden believes it is time for this to change and for the U.S. to lead in EV manufacturing, infrastructure, deployment, and innovation. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Photo Credit: Autoweek

Secretary Granholm Unveils National Actions To Increase Energy Efficiency For Homes And Buildings And Save Costs For Consumers

Department of Energy News Release 
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

As part of a White House roundtable on building efficiency, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm today announced sweeping actions to power more American homes and buildings with cleaner, smarter, and more affordable energy services that sharply reduce the buildings sector’s contributions to the climate crisis. 

“America’s path to a net-zero carbon economy runs straight through our buildings, which means we need to help households and commercial buildings across the nation reduce their emissions and convert to cheaper, cleaner energy,” said Secretary Granholm. Continue reading here.

Referenced in the News Release: The 2021 Better Buildings Progress Report released today outlines the progress and collaboration of Better Buildings partners, which represent more than 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as 17 federal agencies, eight national laboratories, and more than 80 states and local governments. Visit DOE’s Building Technologies Office and the Better Buildings Initiative for more information.

NEW CESA REPORT

Solar for Manufactured Homes: An Assessment of the Opportunities and Challenges in 14 States, Clean Energy States Alliance

Manufactured homes, formerly referred to as mobile homes, comprise over six percent of America’s housing stock and represent an even larger share of housing for low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. This market should receive targeted attention if solar is to be developed equitably and if all segments of society are to realize economic benefits from solar.

This two-volume report describes the nature of the manufactured housing stock and shows how those homes are distributed across the country. It explains the general obstacles to LMI solar, as well as additional challenges related specifically to manufactured housing. It identifies the types of solar technologies that can work with manufactured housing and includes nine case studies that highlight ways in which solar can be deployed to benefit manufactured housing residents.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Quest for ‘common ground’ continues as clock ticks, E&E News
The effort to strike a bipartisan deal on infrastructure will continue this week, as Republicans are readying a counteroffer, two congressional committees will hash out how to pay for it all and lawmakers are jockeying to get their wish lists inserted into a final package. Following last week’s White House summit between President Biden and top GOP senators, Republicans say they could have an infrastructure counteroffer soon. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who is leading talks for Republicans, described the meeting as “very positive.” 

Additional Recommended Reading

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) Analyses

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization that conducts rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provides data-driven recommendations on how to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect both public revenues and people of various levels of income and wealth.

Sustainable ‘tiny house’ project making progress

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus, the area’s first sustainable small house is moving closer to completion. What is a sustainable house? The way project coordinator Bing Chen describes it, it is a small, ADA-compliant house about the size of a studio apartment that is self-sufficient.

That means it incorporates passive solar heating, solar electrical generation, and a roof-collected rain water system, among other enhancements. Chen is partnering with OPPD and other local organizations on the Small Sustainable House (SSH).

Continue reading here.

Top Image: Architectural visualization of the Sustainable Small House by Steve Eggerling
Right Photo Credit: The Wire 

Additional Links / Resources

Passive Solar Research Group, UNL
Director: Dr. Bing Chen
The Passive Solar Research Group’s “Sustainable Small House” Research Project

Book 

 

Path to Passive: Nebraska’s Passive Solar Primer, 1982 – available for download from the Nebraska Energy Office

 

 

Presentation 


Dr. Bing Chen’s presentation to Nebraskans for Solar at UNO’s Community Engagement Center: Small House on the Prairie: A Sustainable Assisted Living Unit (ALU) Demonstration Project Utilizing Renewable Energy (PDF)

Environment America Launches a 10-state campaign calling for all new homes to be built with solar panels

Environment America News Release

BOSTON — In January 2020, California became the first state to require all new houses to be built with solar panels. Today, Environment America is launching a first-of-its-kind campaign calling on additional states across the country to set similar standards for solar power on new homes. The coordinated national campaign will advocate for a solar homes requirement in at least ten states: Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. While each state may have slightly different goals, the campaign’s intention is to introduce bills in 10 states in the next two years. Continue reading here.

ACCELERATING ADOPTION OF COMMUNITY SOLAR

New US Solar Power Scheme Aims At Invisible Middle, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica
A vast middle ground of opportunity for solar power development is ripe for the picking if only somebody could see where it is. Well, the US Department of Energy sees it, and is determined to pick it. The agency is moving forward with a plan to kickstart activity in the area of mid-sized arrays ranging from 50 kilowatts to 3 megawatts. That may sound like peanuts, but it includes the important community solar sector, so — wait, what is community solar anyways?

ENERGY STORAGE

The magnificent seven: US states with energy storage mandates, targets and goals, Energy Storage News. The US national Energy Storage Association’s policy director, Jason Burwen, spoke with Andy Colthorpe about the seven early adopter states and whether this is likely to be a spreading pattern across the country.

OPPD IN THE NEWS

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS’ STATEMENTS ON HOUSE $1.5 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE BILL 

GREEN BIZ’S “30 UNDER 30” AWARDS

The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, GreenBiz Editors
We are proud to introduce our fifth annual cohort of twentysomethings who are sustainability leaders within — and without — their companies, nonprofits and communities. The Class of 2020 hails from seven countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and Taiwan, and they are tackling diverse challenges — from cultivating a more sustainable food system to advocating for climate justice on behalf of disadvantaged communities to testing best practices for circular cities to negotiating impactful renewable energy contracts. The list of their accomplishments is long and growing longer by the day, and they’re just getting started.

AGRIVOLTAICS

Pollinator-Saving Solar Panels: Good for Farmers, Good for Business, by Tina Casey, Triple Pundit. Conventional solar arrays typically force farmers to choose between raising crops and generating electricity in order to survive financially. However, a new body of research called agrivoltaics is demonstrating that farmers can have the best of both worlds. A recent report the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for example, indicates that properly designed, low-impact solar arrays can be compatible with agricultural use.

MORE ON AMERICA’S RENEWABLES INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS

ALSO IN THE NEWS

TRANSITION IN COAL COUNTRY: PART ONE

EV NEWS

Is this electric plane the future of flying?, GreenBiz article contributed by David Elliott, Senior Writer, World Economic Forum. The world’s largest all-electric plane has completed its maiden voyage, flying for 30 minutes in the skies above Washington state. Its safe landing in Moses Lake, about 186.5 miles southeast of Seattle, is a milestone in a dream that’s been floating about since the late 1800s — air travel powered by electricity.