Tag Archives: energy

Leasing the sun

Mark Covington Executive Director Building Owners Management Association of Greater Phoenix

Mark Covington
Executive Director
Building Owners
Management Association of Greater Phoenix


BOMA Greater Phoenix has been working toward the efficiency and sustainability of its members and other commercial buildings for many years.

Its Kilowatt Krackdown energy benchmarking and tuning program has engaged almost 500 commercial buildings in the Valley of the Sun since 2009 and has helped Phoenix to grow from No. 23 on the list of Energy Star Certified buildings to No. 12 last year. That’s one of the reasons BOMA is so concerned to see the decision by the Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR) to tax leased rooftop solar systems.

According to the Department of Revenue’s own figures, the proposed tax on leasing systems would more than offset the utility savings for homeowners for at least the first several years of the lease and cost commercial property owners a large chunk of anticipated savings.

BOMA Phoenix’s membership and our Advocacy Committee actively supported a bill introduced in the state Senate last session to make leased solar energy devices or systems designed to serve on site electricity needs considered to have no value, and to add no value to the property for tax purposes. Unfortunately, this bill did not advance.

The DOR has recently begun sending valuation notices to Arizona companies that are involved in these solar leases. Two of the companies are now challenging the DOR in court. While BOMA hopes the lawsuit progresses successfully and the state reverses its plan to tax these systems, it is also encouraging legislators to revisit this issue in the next session.

Making efficient use of the abundant Valley sunlight is the right thing to do from a business and sustainability standpoint.

Cholla

APS proposes compromise for Cholla Power Plant

The coal-fired Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City, Ariz., will close its 260-megawatt Unit 2 by April 2016 and stop burning coal at the other APS-owned units (1 and 3) by the mid-2020s if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a compromise proposal offered by APS, the plant’s owner. APS also will ask the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve the plan.

APS made the proposal with the understanding that it would not be required to install expensive emission control equipment on the units to comply with current rules under the agency’s Regional Haze program. The environmental benefits of this proposal are greater in the long term than the benefits that would have resulted from adding the emissions control equipment.

“This proposal provides the best outcome, allowing Cholla to continue to operate, while meeting environmental requirements,” said David Hansen, APS Vice President of Fossil Generation. “This solution balances several needs — supporting the local economy the best way possible; the need to provide reliable, low-cost generation resources for customers; and complying with federal rules and regulations.”

In 2010, APS was notified that Unit 2 needed to upgrade its scrubbers and add a super-sized sophisticated air filter called a “baghouse” to meet the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. In 2012, the EPA published a federal implementation plan, which overrides certain parts of Arizona’s plan to deal with regional haze. The federal plan requires Cholla Unit’s 2 and 3 to add expensive Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

“When the EPA issued its final rules to manage regional haze, we told the agency that the cost of adding SCRs along with the other technologies required to meet the mercury rules placed the unit at risk of being uneconomic to operate,” said Hansen. “We are clearly aware of the potential impact closing Unit 2 may have on the neighboring communities and arrived at this decision only after carefully weighing the options.”

By closing Unit 2, mercury emissions are anticipated to decline by 51 percent, particulates by 34 percent, nitrogen oxides by 32 percent, and carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide by 23 percent. There would be additional environmental benefits after units 1 and 3 stop burning coal. APS intends to continue working closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on environmental issues.

According to Hansen, there were three alternative approaches – investing hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment, converting the entire plant to natural gas by 2016, or closing the plant.

If EPA approves the APS compromise, it will save more than $350 million in potential costs that otherwise would be passed along to customers for emission control upgrades.

Potential job losses will likely be mitigated through normal attrition and retirements. Today the plant has 249 employees with an annual payroll of $29 million. It pays approximately $15 million in state, local and federal taxes annually.

The unit has been in service since 1978.

APS has been closing older, less reliable units and replacing them with newer, cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. This includes closing three units at the Four Corners Power Plant in Farmington, N.M., and two units at the Ocotillo Power Plant in Tempe, Ariz.

From an accounting perspective, APS intends to reclassify the remaining book value as a regulatory asset.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

Michael Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance.

MJ Insurance Named One of the Largest Brokers in U.S.

MJ Insurance, one of the nation’s leading property-casualty and employee benefits agencies, is one of the “100 Largest Broker of U.S. Business” according to Business Insurance magazine. MJ ranked No. 97 in the publication’s 2014 list. This is the second consecutive year that MJ Insurance has received the honor.

Companies are ranked by 2013 brokerage revenue generated by U.S.-based clients. MJ Insurance was recognized by the publication in 2013 as well. The agency increased revenue by more than 11 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“We are proud to be recognized for our growth, but that is only one small measure of our success,” said MJ Insurance CEO Michael H. Bill. “Over the past couple of months we have added new services and employees to better meet the needs of our clients.”

MJ Insurance, with offices in Indiana and Arizona, is a property-casualty and employee benefit agency that, since 1964, has grown from a two-person start-up to an agency with more than 125 employees. In 2014, MJ celebrates its 50th ‘golden’ anniversary.

MJ Insurance specializes in a diverse selection of unique service lines including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, manufacturing, sororities and mining. MJ also offers complete employee benefit programs including major medical, group disability, group life and onsite employer clinics. MJ Insurance currently has clients in 16 countries and in every U.S. state.

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MJ Insurance reports record revenue

MJ Insurance, one of the nation’s largest privately-held insurance agencies, has reported double digit year-over-year growth with an 11 percent increase across all business lines. The agency also reported record all-time high revenues of $25 million.

MJ’s fiscal year runs from September to September and for fiscal 2013, MJ saw solid growth in both employee benefits and in property and casualty revenues. Even as the economy has struggled, MJ has recorded strong revenue gains over the past five years.

Michael H. Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance, attributes the growth and record revenue to continued investment through the economic downturn in both employees and value-added services for clients.

“Our approach is to align our efforts with clients that emphasize value and this has proven beneficial as the economy has improved,” said Bill. “Challenges brought forth with health care reform have also allowed us to help guide businesses through this historic change.”

MJ Insurance, with offices in Indiana and Arizona, is a property-casualty and employee benefits agency that, since 1964, has grown from a two-person start-up to an agency with more than 125 employees. In 2014, MJ will celebrate its 50th ‘golden’ anniversary.

MJ Insurance specializes in a diverse selection of unique service lines including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, manufacturing, sororities and mining. MJ also offers complete employee benefits programs including major medical, group disability, group life and onsite employer clinics. MJ Insurance currently has clients in 16 countries and in every U.S. state.

Alana Hake - color

Hake Joins Gallagher & Kennedy as Associate

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full service business law firm, announced today that Alana C. Hake has joined the firm as an associate in the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group. She will practice environmental and natural resources law, specializing in environmental remediation work for the mining industry.

Prior to joining Gallagher & Kennedy, Hake was an associate at a Phoenix law firm where she practiced environmental, energy, and regulatory law. She has significant experience analyzing and preparing legal memoranda on environmental, energy and regulatory issues. Hake has also successfully represented clients with regulatory compliance and licensing needs before several state regulatory agencies, including the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

Hake earned her J.D., summa cum laude, in 2008 from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.S., summa cum laude, in 2005 from The Master’s College. She is a Blackstone Legal Fellow for Alliance Defending Freedom and a volunteer for The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.

Alana Hake - color

Hake Joins Gallagher & Kennedy as Associate

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full service business law firm, announced today that Alana C. Hake has joined the firm as an associate in the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group. She will practice environmental and natural resources law, specializing in environmental remediation work for the mining industry.

Prior to joining Gallagher & Kennedy, Hake was an associate at a Phoenix law firm where she practiced environmental, energy, and regulatory law. She has significant experience analyzing and preparing legal memoranda on environmental, energy and regulatory issues. Hake has also successfully represented clients with regulatory compliance and licensing needs before several state regulatory agencies, including the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

Hake earned her J.D., summa cum laude, in 2008 from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.S., summa cum laude, in 2005 from The Master’s College. She is a Blackstone Legal Fellow for Alliance Defending Freedom and a volunteer for The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.

LaBianca_Margaret_MBLAB_300 - 4x5

LaBianca Elected to Arizona Investment Council Board

Margaret LaBianca, an attorney and shareholder with Polsinelli, has been elected to the Arizona Investment Council (AIC) Board of Directors. LaBianca brings to the board extensive experience in energy, natural resources, and environmental regulatory compliance, utilization of public lands, and strategic development.

“I am honored to be elected to the Arizona Investment Council. The work of the Council has a significant positive impact on Arizona. I look forward to working with the board to achieve its goals and further support the development of Arizona’s energy infrastructure,” said LaBianca.

LaBianca will serve a two-year term. “We are excited to have Margaret join the board. Her commitment and knowledge in the field of energy and natural resources will bring additional strength to the board as we work to carry out the objectives in our 2013 strategic plan” said Gary Yaquinto, president and CEO of the Arizona Investment Council.

LaBianca is the current Chair of the State Bar of Arizona Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section and past Chair of the Maricopa County Bar Association Environmental Law Section. In 2012 she was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business and ranked by Chambers USA: American’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the category of Environmental. She earned her B.A. from Simmons College, her M.A. from Columbia University, and her J.D. from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law magna cum laude.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Solar Investments

First Solar buys S. Calif. power project

First Solar said Monday that it has purchased a 150-megawatt power project in Southern California.

Construction is expected to start this year and finish in 2014. The Tempe company said that the plant could generate enough electricity to power more than 60,000 average California homes.

First Solar Inc. bought the project, which is near El Centro, Calif., from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., energy investment firm Energy Power Partners and a third partner that it didn’t identify. It didn’t say how much it paid.

First Solar, one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, also develops and builds large solar farms that generate electricity sold to utilities.

Its stock added 28 cents, or 1 percent, to $27.24 in afternoon trading.

The industry has in recent years been struggling with a steep drop in solar panel prices. Demand stagnated while manufacturing capacity increased and costs for raw materials plummeted.

srp installs solar energy systems

Energy Consortium’s Roadmap puts state of path to build industry

Imagine Arizona as the energy hub of the Southwest — where major regional transmission lines tie into infrastructure in the state and serve a growing regional demand for energy. Arizona would be a place where an increasing percentage of jobs are related to the energy industry, whether in manufacturing, generation, transmission, energy efficiency, service or technology innovation. Many of these jobs would be higher-wage jobs requiring a skilled labor force fed by Arizona’s schools and universities. Arizona could be a hub of energy-sector jobs, with factories making equipment for the industry and power plants shipping electricity to neighboring states via new power lines, all contributing to a better economy.

That is the essence of the Arizona Energy Consortium’s Energy Roadmap, which the group hopes with be a catalyst for the state’s energy industry in the same way Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap helped the state increase bioscience jobs by 41 percent and helped increase the number of bioscience establishments by 27 percent during its 10-year plan.

“It was important to create this document to give the energy industry a unified voice and direction,” said said Michelle De Blasi, co-chair of the AEC and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig. “The energy industry is going to be here forever. We are always going to need energy. So the Roadmap was designed to make the industry better for everyone — consumers, developers, legislators. So it was critical that we get it right.”

This is the vision the Roadmap hopes to realize over the next decade: Arizona is the energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, increased numbers of higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions, resulting in increased economic development for the state and region.

Once that vision is realized, De Blasi said the state can expect to reap these benefits:
• Enhanced job creation and higher-wage jobs within Arizona
• Increased state economic revenue
• Enhanced energy export potential
• Heightened energy self-sufficiency and national and state security
• Increased transmission reliability
• Continued low cost energy

“This Roadmap is going to help Arizona be looked at differently from outside its borders,” said Chris Davey, co-chair with De Blasi of the AEC and president of EnviroMission, which is developing a solar tower in Western Arizona. “The Roadmap will create a sense of certainty, which appeals to the finance community. So when they are looking to invest, that certainty creates a more attractive environment for developers and investors.”

Davey and De Blasi said they will be rolling out the Roadmap this year, presenting it to groups throughout the state. For more information on the Roadmap, visit aztechcouncil.org.

ROADMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
Arizona Public Service
Bridge Strategy Group
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
City of Mesa, the Office of the Mayor
Cleantech Open
Dircks
DIRTT
DMB Associates
Energy Services Coalition
EnviroMission
Faithful+Gould
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greenberg Traurig
The Green Chamber – Greater Phoenix
Golder Associates
Hensel Phelps
Ikoloji
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
J.D. Porter & Associates
Kolbe Connect
Matthew McDonnell
Ormond Group, LLC
RG Schmelzer, Inc.
Salt River Project
Stream Energy
Tucson Electric Power
Valley Forward
Valley Partnership

freeport

Freeport-McMoRan buys energy companies for $9B

Mining company Freeport-McMoRan is buying a pair of oil and gas producers for $9 billion, creating a natural resources conglomerate with assets ranging from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to mines in Indonesia.

Freeport, based in Phoenix, is paying $6.9 billion in cash and stock for Plains Exploration Co., and $2.1 billion for McMoRan Exploration Co. Freeport will also assume $11 billion in debt in the deal.

Plains Exploration, based in Houston, produces oil in California, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, along with natural gas in Louisiana. McMoRan Exploration, based in New Orleans, is developing natural gas resources that lie deep below shallow water regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

The recent track record of miners buying oil and gas companies has been mixed.

BHP Billiton, the Australian mining giant, wrote down the value of its U.S. natural gas assets by $2.8 billion in August. The company had paid $5 billion for much of those assets in 2011 when it bought reserves in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas from Chesapeake Energy.

Natural gas prices in the U.S. have been pushed sharply lower in recent years because drillers have learned to unlock enormous amounts of natural gas from shale formations under several states, dramatically boosting supplies.

BHP Billiton also acquired Petrohawk Energy in 2011 for $12 billion. Petrohawk focused on oil instead of gas, though, so BHP did not have to write down those assets.

U.S. oil production is at its highest level since 1998, according to the Energy Department, but global oil prices have remained relatively high.

Freeport shareholders generally owned the company for its exposure to copper and will not embrace the move, Anthony Rizzuto, an analyst at Dahlman Rose, wrote in a note to clients.

The company’s stock price fell $5.06, or 13 percent, to $33.22, in midday trading.

The Freeport deals, which must be approved by shareholders, are expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.

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Campaign issue: Energy

Americans depend on energy for everything from driving their cars to powering factories, homes and offices — and of course our smartphones, laptops and tablets. How that energy is produced and where it comes from affect jobs, the economy and the environment.

Where they stand:

President Barack Obama proposes an “all of the above” strategy that embraces traditional energy sources such as oil and coal, along with natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. Obama has spent billions to promote “green energy” and backs a tax credit for the wind industry that his Republican rival Mitt Romney opposes. While production of renewable energy has soared, critics point to several high-profile failures, including Solyndra, a California solar company that went bankrupt, costing taxpayers more than $500 million.

Romney pledges to make the U.S. independent of energy sources outside of North America by 2020, through more aggressive exploitation of domestic oil, gas, coal and other resources and quick approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas. Obama blocked the pipeline because of environmental concerns but supports approval of a segment of it.

Why it matters:

Every president since Richard Nixon has promised energy independence — a goal that remains elusive. In 2011, the U.S. relied on net imports for about 45 percent of the petroleum it used, much from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Still, U.S. dependence on imported oil has declined in recent years, in part because of the economic downturn, improved efficiency and changes in consumer behavior. At the same time, domestic production of all types of energy has increased, spurred by improved drilling techniques and discoveries of vast oil supplies in North Dakota and natural gas in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and West Virginia. Production also is booming in traditional energy states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

The natural gas boom has led to increased production, jobs and profits — and a drop in natural gas prices for consumers. Natural gas, a cleaner alternative to coal, has generally been embraced by politicians from both parties.

Still, there are concerns. Critics worry that popular drilling techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which allow drillers to reach previously inaccessible wells, could harm air, water and health. Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, involves blasting mixtures of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to stimulate the release of gas. Environmental groups and some public health advocates say the chemicals have polluted drinking water supplies, but the industry says there is no proof.

Similarly, the Keystone XL pipeline could help make the nation more energy secure — or pollute the environment in the event of a spill. Developer TransCanada says the 1,700-mile pipeline from western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast would pipe more than 1 million barrels of oil per day, more than 5 percent of the nation’s current oil consumption.

Opponents say the pipeline would bring “dirty oil” that would be hard to clean up after a spill.

Wind and solar power have grown, thanks in part to support from Obama, but their success is tenuous. Besides Solyndra, several solar companies have declared bankruptcy in part because of Chinese competition. Wind companies are laying off workers while Congress dithers on a tax credit crucial to the industry.

The changes aren’t likely to have an immediate effect on the cost of the energy source Americans are most familiar with: gasoline. Gas prices are dependent on crude oil prices, which are set on the global market.

137593586

Ecova Takes Energy Savings to the Bank with National Bank of Arizona

Ecova, a total energy and sustainability management company, announced that National Bank of Arizona – a premier bank in Arizona with more than 70 branches – has successfully implemented a complete energy management program. National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ) can now accurately and efficiently track energy consumption and cost data monthly and leverage that data to develop a comprehensive and proactive energy management strategy.

For years, NB|AZ tracked utility expenses as a single expense for each site, making it difficult to identify anomalies and track specific expenditures month-to-month or year-over-year to streamline budget forecasting and identify savings opportunities. NB|AZ recognized that it needed a way to access its data to understand its energy use in order to drive strategic energy savings and performance improvement.

NB|AZ engaged Ecova and implemented its Utility Expense and Data Management solution. This solution gathers usage and expenditure data from across the bank’s entire portfolio, turning that data into specific, strategic insight to help the bank increase opera­tional efficiency, reduce costs, and set sustainability performance standards.

“National Bank of Arizona faced a challenge that many companies are facing today – how can we improve our energy costs and increase our sustainability efforts? The simple answer is that you can’t improve what you don’t measure,” said Seth Nesbitt, VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Ecova. “Implementing a system to aggregate all energy consumption and expense information is the first step toward making a real impact on a company’s bottom line and sustainability efforts.”

Ecova started by gathering the prior years’ utility invoices for each loca­tion to create a baseline from which it could begin measuring performance. Ecova’s simple-to-navigate reporting interface allows the NB|AZ team to compare year-over-year data, providing visibility into consumption trends down to the specific meter level.

“Energy manage­ment has become more complex, and with that complexity comes opportunity. My ability to control rates might be limited, but I have unlimited opportunity to forecast, budget, and manage consumption thanks to the data that Ecova empowers us with,” said Dennis Calik, National Bank of Arizona, SVP and Corporate Properties Manager.

Ecova’s Utility Expense and Data Management solution has enabled NB|AZ to make wise energy savings and sustainability decisions. For example, when the bank was approached with an opportunity to install solar power panels at its corporate headquarters, analysis enabled by Ecova was a key to making the right deci­sion. NB|AZ says that with Ecova’s help, the team was able to identify how much energy the $1.5 million solar initiative would produce and determine how much of the cost would be covered by government rebate funding and tax credits.

“We were able to demonstrate to senior management that the majority of the cost would be mitigated by credits, tax breaks, and rebates,” says Calik. “Ecova’s data provided business intelligence to secure approval by demonstrating that the end-of-the-day price tag for the project would quickly pay for itself.”

Additional solar energy projects, lighting retrofits and upgrades to HVAC sys­tems followed quickly. Calik and team credit the Ecova reporting platform with providing the data to support these decisions, laying the foundation for what will become a comprehensive sustainability initiative.

Solar_Power

Wind, solar projects in Arizona on fast track

The Obama administration has put two renewable energy projects in Arizona on the fast track.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday that the projects in Mohave County and Quartzsite are among seven in the West that will be expedited. Together, the projects are expected to produce nearly 5,000 megawatts of energy, or enough to power for 1.5 million homes.

The proposed Mohave County Wind Farm will be located on 38,000 acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land and nearly 9,000 acres managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The target date for completing a federal permit and review decisions is January.

A proposed solar plant in Quartzsite has a slight earlier target date of December.

The plant would be located on 1,675 acres of BLM land.

BIG Green Conference & Expo

Speaker: Kirsten Shaw ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Kirsten Shaw, AE3Q

Kirsten Shaw is a Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst and Shell certified professional and a RESNET HERS Rater.She provides certification training for future energy auditors and home performance contractors for both BPI and RESNET. She earned a master’s degree in environmental science from ASU and has been working to improve our built environments for over 15 years.

Topic: Defining Energy Audits: With APS & SRP promoting and paying for utility customers to get energy audits, learn exactly what these are and how to know you’re getting the real deal.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Room 157

BIG Green Conference 2011


 

BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Speaker: Lori Singleton ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Lori Singleton, Salt River Project (SRP)

Lori Singleton, SRP

Lori Singleton is the manager of sustainability initiatives and technologies at Salt River Project. She is a 29-year employee of SRP and 40-year resident of Arizona. She is responsible for design and implementation of SRP’s environmental outreach programs with special focus on renewable energy.

Lori’s responsibilities at SRP include development and implementation of renewable energy projects to meet SRP’s sustainable resource goals. Singleton oversees research and development projects to support company-wide initiatives for SRP including gasoline lawn mower recycling, tree planting, clean school bus initiative, travel reduction and other internal environmental programs.

She works on development and implementation of the “green” energy pricing program, solar incentive program for residential and commercial customers and renewable energy education programs for implementation in middle school and high school curricula.

In addition, she does promotion and public relations for all new renewable energy projects and purchases (solar, wind, geothermal, landfill gas, low head hydro, fuel cells) while serving as the environmental issues media spokesperson for SRP and being a constant representative of SRP on numerous environmental committees, boards and commissions.

She was appointed by Governor Janet Napolitano to serve on the Solar Energy Advisory Council and also has several other current affiliations including: Valley Forward Association, Board of Directors; Audubon Society, chair, Board of Directors; Maricopa County Regional Travel Reduction Task Force, chair; Association for Commuter Transportation, Valley of the Sun, President & National Board Director; Southwest Center for Education; and the Natural Environment (ASU), Board of Directors.

Current Affiliations

Solar Energy Advisory Council, appointment by Governor Janet Napolitano
Valley Forward Association, Board of Directors
Audubon Society, Chair, Board of Directors
Maricopa County Regional Travel Reduction Task Force, Chair
Association for Commuter Transportation, Valley of the Sun, President &
National Board Director
Southwest Center for Education and the Natural Environment (ASU), Board of
Directors

Affiliations (Past)

Valley Forward Association, Chair, Board of Directors
Maricopa County Regional Travel Reduction Task Force
City of Phoenix, Environmental Quality Commission
Valley Metro, Clean Air Advisory Committee
Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Environmental Committee
Valley of the Sun United Way Loaned Executive


Topic: How people & organizations can get involved in the green movement from an energy perspective.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Room 157

BIG Green Conference 2011


 

BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



 

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Speaker: Mark Kranz ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Mark Kranz, SmithGroup

Mark Kranz, SmithGroup

Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP, is the design principal and lead designer for the Phoenix office of SmithGroup’s Higher Education and Science and Technology Studios.  Mark’s work has been published locally, regionally and nationally.

He speaks publicly about sustainable design strategies for laboratory and academic facilities, and his work is consistently recognized by the design and construction industries.  Kranz works regionally within the Western United States with research institutions and institutions of higher education creating laboratory and instructional facilities that elegantly reflect their specific context and function.

He has spent the past 11 years with SmithGroup, creating the vision for some of the most significant architectural contributions for some of the most prominent institutions and public entities in the Southwestern United States including Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, the City of Phoenix, the State of Utah, The City and County of Denver, and the Maricopa County Community College District.

He is currently behind the design visions for numerous landmark projects for clients including the National Renewable Energy Laboratories in Golden Colorado, The University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.


Topic: Sustainable Strategies for Higher Educational Facilities: A case study of four sustainable educational facilities in four unique settings.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Room 155

BIG Green Conference 2011


 

BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



Sponsors:

Adrienne Howell Southwest Gas

Valley Forward Profiles Adrienne Howell Of Southwest Gas

Adrienne Howell
Southwest Gas
Administrator/Community and Consumer Affairs

Adrienne Howell has a diverse background that allows her to excel in her current position at Southwest Gas. During her career, Howell has worked in human relations, communications, management, marketing and sales.

As community and consumer affairs administrator, her responsibilities include developing and nurturing partnerships that strengthen communities. It is a position that requires Howell to be out in the community and active in organizations.

Southwest Gas has been a member of Valley Forward for about 18 years. Howell joined in 2009. In her first year as a new member, she was eager to get involved and helped make sponsorship calls.

Howell currently serves on the energy committee and the marketing committee for the Environmental Excellence Awards. She will serve as vice chair for next year’s Livability Summit, and in 2012 she will become the chair.

Howell and Southwest Gas wanted to be part of the conversations on how to improve the environment and create livability in the community.

“The only way to really know how you can make a difference is to get involved,” Howell says. “You can’t do that from the sidelines. You can’t do that from reading a project description. You have to raise your hand and say,  ‘I’ll help.’”

Southwest Gas and Valley Forward have similar goals. Southwest Gas dedicates itself to making communities a great place to call home. The company focuses on ways to emphasize safety, and serve its customers and communities. One priority of Southwest Gas is to save money and use energy wisely, a common goal with Valley Forward.

“Organizations like Valley Forward, because of its long-standing presence in the Valley and because of its local mission, are important to help us further our goal of offering customers smarter, greener energy sources for their homes and businesses,” Howell says.

Howell realizes that these are challenging economic times for organizations and companies, and people have to closely evaluate every dollar they spend. However, Southwest Gas believes that Valley Forward is an important and necessary partnership to have, which is why even through these challenging times it has remained an active member.

Howell says that to retain and keep membership, Valley Forward will have to get input from stakeholders to find out what value it can give to members.

Photography of Joel Sartore - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Life Through The Lens Of Wildlife Photographer Joel Sartore

It is summer in Antarctica. Frigid temperatures have been replaced by mild, 50-degree days.

Surrounded by green hills rolling into lush, snow-capped mountains and thick fog, Joel Sartore is crouching low to the ground. Usually, it is he who is chasing his subjects, but this time the tables have turned. Instead, in the middle of the beach-like terrain, Sartore is surrounded — by penguins. King penguins to be exact.

“Most of the time the animals I’m seeing are running away, they don’t want anything to do with me,” Sartore says, adding that the King penguins did the exact opposite. “They just wanted to stare at me. I got low on the ground and they stood right over me and looked at me. The whole thing was just tranquil, peaceful, and one of the most impressive things I’ve ever been a part of.”

Most of us will never get the chance to experience such an event. But for Sartore, it’s just another day on the job. From Antarctica to Russia, he has seen it all. Throughout his 20-year career working as a photographer for National Geographic, Sartore has traversed the globe, photographing everything from rare wildlife to hurricane aftermath and even state fairs.

“Once I discovered photography, there was never any turning back for me,” he says.

Sartore’s impressive body of work has been featured in Time, Life, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. He also has contributed to several book projects and has been the subject of national broadcasts.

In addition to his talents as a photographer, Sartore devotes his energy to conservation efforts. A Nebraska native, he is committed to conservation in the Great Plains, is co-founder of the Grassland Foundation, and a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Sartore will share his passion for sustainability as the speaker at Valley Forward’s 41st Annual Luncheon on Dec. 3.

“That is just an excellent group. There needs to be 100 groups like them. We have to start talking about this stuff and realizing that it’s easy to be green. It’s certainly a better way to live your life,” Sartore says. “There needs to be more and more people thinking and caring about the earth. We don’t have the luxury of time to count on the next generation to start saving the planet. We have to be doing it now.”

Sartore addresses the global environmental crisis using photography as his platform.

“I really am constantly faced with environmental problems,” says Sartore, a self-professed hyperactive person. “My job is to get people to think.”

While photographing the American Gulf Coast during one of his first assignments for National Geographic, Sartore was drawn to the plight of animals and the environment.

“I remember walking the beach and the bottom of my feet were black with spilled tar and oil, and there was garbage and a dead dolphin wrapped in plastic,” he says. “When you see things like that it makes you think that we could be doing a lot of things better, could be treating the Earth better.”

Sartore’s focus on building a sustainable future has allowed him to draw attention to issues that are often overlooked. His latest book, “Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species,” sheds light on some of the country’s most endangered species of plants and animals, and what the public can do to help. “Rare” was originally inspired by a magazine assignment, before turning into a personal project for Sartore and later a full-fledged book.

Several of the subjects featured in the book were shot in Arizona, including the California condor, photographed at the Phoenix Zoo; and the Tarahumara leopard frog, photographed at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.

Although, sadly, one of the other animals featured in the book, the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, became extinct during the book’s production, Sartore emphasizes the importance of highlighting environmental issues.

“It was a very good experience to give a voice for the voiceless,” Sartore says. “The encouraging thing is that most species in the book could make it if we pay attention to it. I guess that’s what I try to convey to people: There’s always hope. These things are absolutely worth saving.”

Sartore’s passion for photography began in high school and continued into college, where he earned a degree in journalism with an emphasis in photojournalism from the University of Nebraska. Thanks to some great mentors, Sartore decided to pursue a career in photography, but he didn’t forget his journalism roots.

“In any of these situations I go into, I bring with me a reporter’s aesthetic and background to it,” he says.

This background has proven beneficial, as he shoots such a wide variety of subjects in exotic locations around the world.
“I want to know why things are the way they are and how to fix it,” he says.

As thrilling as his job may be, it comes with its share of dangers. When asked how many times has he almost been killed, Sartore responds on his website: “More than I care to tell my wife about for sure.”

He hasn’t let the danger stop him, but he does try to err on the side of caution.

“You can’t take more pictures if you’re dead,” he writes.

Sartore continues to journey around the globe in search of the next great photo. Currently, he’s preparing to travel to Africa for an assignment. Despite two decades of experience under his belt, Sartore still worries.

“I’m very nervous that I’ll fail, starve and die, in that order,” he says. Irrational fear or secret to success? Maybe worrying is just part of the job, Sartore adds.

“Everything has worked out well so far, yet I’ve always been very worried that nothing ever would,” he says. “With a strong story you may just reach those people who can change the world. If I can right a few wrongs, then that’s probably a life well spent.”

    If You Go:
    Valley Forward’s 41st Annual Luncheon
    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Dec. 3
    Hyatt Regency Phoenix
    122 N. Second St., Phoenix
    Reservations: info@valleyforward.org; (602) 240-2408


    Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

    Empire Power Systems

    Largest Commercial Solar Rooftop System in Arizona Unveiled

    Empire Power Systems this week completed the installation of an $11.5 million, 2.4 megawatt SunPower solar rooftop system on the Cowley Industrial Park building in South Phoenix. The project is the largest commercial solar rooftop system in Arizona and the second largest in U.S.

    Cowley Companies, a Phoenix-based real estate investment firm, decided to install the solar system on this 850,000-square-foot warehouse because it houses food-service tenants that require large refrigerator and freezer units, which translate into high electricity bills. This was the company’s second solar undertaking; last year, Cowley added a 40kW, 188-module fixed mount system to the parking structure at its headquarters on Jackson Street in downtown Phoenix.

    “We wanted to provide our tenants with a source of renewable energy that would reduce the property’s electric bills by approximately 40 percent annually,” said Mike Cowley, president of Cowley Companies. “When you consider that last year’s total electric bills for this property exceeded $1 million, you begin to understand how over time this solar system will realize significant cost savings that we can eventually pass on to our tenants.”

    Since the system was commissioned Aug. 18, it has produced more than 600,000-kilowatt hours of electric power. It is expected to produce more than 4 million kilowatt hours per year, enough to completely power 340 homes. Additionally, it will offset 3,900 tons of carbon dioxide each year – the equivalent of taking nearly 700 cars off the road.

    “This solar system will provide Cowley Companies with a competitive edge in today’s challenging commercial real estate market,” said Brett Burns, Empire Power Systems general manager. “Now the company has a performing asset on its rooftop that is making a positive impact on our environment. The company has a real opportunity to attract new tenants to the space who may not have previously considered it.”

    The solar rooftop system features 7,872 ballasted SunPower T-5 panels, the industry’s first non-penetrating rooftop product, which are connected to an above-grade electrical conduit that runs into the inverter room, where four 500kW SatCon inverters convert the direct current energy into usable commercial electricity. Tilted at a five-degree angle, the T5 solar roof tile system approximately doubles the energy generated per square meter compared to systems that are mounted flat to commercial rooftops.

    Empire Power Systems, a division of Mesa-based Empire Southwest LLC, served as the solar integrator for this project. Subcontractors (all of which are Arizona-based) include Buehler Brothers Electric, Cannon-Wendt Electrical, Progressive Roofing, Phasor Energy and Fifer Design. The installation was facilitated, in part, by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

    Cyclist

    Olympic Athletes Train Phoenicians To Become Triathletes

    Want to become a triathlete? The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain has a program for you.

    From now until May 16, the Sanctuary will be offering a series of three-day training programs that allow people to train with Olympic-caliber athletes.

    “We can train the well-conditioned athlete or someone who is a beginner and wants to get involved with triathlons for the first time,” Sanctuary fitness director Kara Thomas says.

    The package includes room accommodations, power breakfasts and spa treatments in addition to the training. The package offers three different types of massages: a sports massage that is geared towards enhancing athletic performance, a Thai massage that works the muscles, and a reflexology massage that stimulates the flow of energy.

    “We are hoping to draw locals as well as people from around the country,” Thomas says. “We can work with individuals or groups.”
    The roster of athletes involved in the program is impressive.

    Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman of Phoenix will be assisting with the swimming portion of the training. Hyman will be focusing on helping athletes learn to swim straight, match intervals to get faster and make swimming easier by changing posture. Hyman joined the Sanctuary last year.

    Distance runner Mike Schneider qualified for the 1996 Olympics in the 5,000-meter race. Schneider will be assisting with the running part of the training. He is currently the Sanctuary’s trainer for both running and hiking.

    Additional trainers include Melissa Branta, a cyclist who has raced at the semi-professional level for 6 1/2 years, and Mike Masood, who focuses on evaluating the muscles to find imbalances and enhance training.

    “Because of our background and our location and reputation, we get people that apply for different positions here,” Thomas says. “Our staff has a wonderful background in sports conditioning and training.”

    One day will be spent concentrating on each discipline – swimming, cycling and running – with core training emphasized. The spa treatments are part of the program because the training is intense and muscles need to relax after each workout.

    The package runs about $2,000. For more information, call (480) 948-2100 or visit www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com.

    Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

    Newly Formed Arizona Commerce Authority Convenes Its Inaugural Board Meeting

    Vowing that “today the rubber hits the road,” Gov. Jan Brewer and Jerry Colangelo assembled and introduced 35 state leaders representing diverse backgrounds for the inaugural board meeting of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

    The private-sector board will work to align diverse assets and opportunities within the state to compete economically in both domestic and international markets to create high-quality jobs for the Arizona residents.

    “For the first time in our state’s history, we convene the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, and more than 35 of our nation’s most acknowledged leaders within both the private sector and academia – all with one express purpose: to advance the global competitiveness of our state the economic prosperity we seek for each person, each family and, perhaps more importantly, each child – it’s about a vision for a strong, vibrant economic future for this great state,” Gov. Brewer said.

    “When I became Governor, I promised to get Arizona back on track by creating quality jobs, attracting high-growth industries, and advancing our competitive position in the global economy. We are doing just that. With this board, I have now delivered a model to advance Arizona.”

    Presentations to the board outlined the impacts of the global economic crisis on the state, the forecasts if Arizona does not address diversification and growth in base industries, the state’s overall global competitiveness, and a focused approach to four core areas on which the ACA will focus and develop a planned approach to advance the state.

    The authority will focus on improving the state’s infrastructure and climate to retain, attract and grow high-tech and innovative companies. That focus will be on aerospace and defense, science and technology, solar and renewable energy, small business and entrepreneurship.

    “During one of the most challenging economic conditions in our nation’s history, Arizona is competing for something that is even greater than Olympic Gold; we are fighting for the health and future of our families and this state,” said Colangelo, co-chair of the board. “Today, with the expertise and leadership of each board member, we begin to compete aggressively for what really matters.”

    Don Cardon, current director of the Department of Commerce, will serve on a selection committee to recruit a president and CEO of the ACA. Other committee members are Gov. Brewer’s chief of staff Eileen Klein; Mo Stein, senior vice president of HKS; Jerry Fuentes, president, AT&T Arizona/New Mexico; and Michael Kennedy, co-founder and partner, Gallagher & Kennedy.

    Other notable board members include Kirk Adams, speaker, Arizona House of Representatives; Benito Almanza, state president, Bank of America; Michael Bidwill, president, Arizona Cardinals; Dr. Michael Crow, president, Arizona State University; Linda Hunt, president, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; Anne Mariucci, chairman, Arizona Board of Regents; Doug Pruitt, chairman and CEO, Sundt Construction; and Roy Vallee, chairman of the board and CEO, Avnet.

    Insic Wall Socket

    Green News Roundup- Green And Sustainable Retail Products

    Welcome back to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve decided to focus on highlighting green products, some are available now and some are still in prototype stage. Either way, they point to an exciting new direction for the retail industry and their involvement with sustainability.

    Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing kasia@azbigmedia.com

    Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

    Insic Wall Socket is an outlet product created by Designer Muhyeon Kim that lights up and displays how many watts are being used by whatever device is being plugged into it. The idea behind it is that users will see just how much energy their devices are using and will become more aware of unplugging things when not in use to save energy.

    Simple Shoes based out of Flagstaff, Ariz. is committed to making sustainable footwear that is vegan and eco-friendly. Products include bamboo, organic cotton, crepe, jute, hemp, cork, water based glues, recycled car tires, and PET recycled plastic. Not only are the shoes sustainable but the entire manufacturing process is as well.

    Healthy Baby Happy Earth is a store in Glendale, Ariz. that sells environmentally friendly items for babies including cloth diapers, organic cotton clothing and a food processor that allows parents to make their own baby food. A lot of their products also provide long-term purposes like the cloth diaper which can serve from newborn to potty-training age.

    Yumberi Yogurt is serving up frozen treats in Glendale, Ariz. while also supporting a sustainable environment. All of the yogurts at Yumberi are served in biodegradable bowls made from corn oil and plant fibers and the spoons are made from potato skins. The company also supports eco-friendly events such as their monthly contest that asks kids to write a letter explaining what they are doing to help change the world.

    Image via Yanko Design

    Z'Tejas' ancho fudge pie.  Photo: Z'Tejas

    Z’Tejas Offers Tasty, Spicy Food In A Relaxed Atmosphere

    After hours of marathon shopping, or hours of watching the woman in your life try on every item of clothing in the mall, you’ve finally made it to the food court. You scan the possibilities and nothing looks appetizing. Not pizza. Not a sandwich. Not a teriyaki bowl. Luckily, at Scottsdale Fashion Square, there’s another option, one that’s much more appealing than awkwardly hovering over other patrons or elbowing people for tables in the crowded food court.

    Z’Tejas is right around the corner, and there’s no tray carrying or standing in line.

    As soon as we sat down, my dining companions and I realized that Z’Tejas’ atmosphere is as far removed from the hustle and bustle of the brightly lit mall as Pluto is from the sun. The dimly lit interior is accented with dozens of hanging lights that add to the modern Southwestern décor – there’s not a cowboy hat or cow skull in sight. There is, however, a mural, reminiscent of Thelma and Louise, with an empty, two-lane highway leading into the picturesque desert, towering red-brown mountains and wide-open sky.

    Dark wood, wrought iron accents and low lighting invite diners into a comfortable place to have a relaxing meal in between all of the credit card swiping.

    The name of the game for our meal was spicy. We started off with Z’Tejas’ signature catfish beignets served with jalapeno tartar sauce, which, for someone who has never tasted catfish or a beignet, were surprisingly delicious. The crispy cornmeal crust paired with the moist, yet flaky catfish made me keep eating, even though the beignets were piping hot.

    With our beignets we had the complimentary cornbread topped with mouthwatering honey butter, which never fails to satisfy. If I could I would take a tub of the honey butter home with me.

    For dinner we shared our meals family style. The Voo Doo Tuna, topped with peppercorn vinaigrette, spicy soy mustard and pickled ginger, was a table favorite and the side of seasonal vegetables, a mix of zucchini and seasonal squash, were a delicious addition.

    The chef’s soup of the day, chicken and vegetable, was packed with veggies and spice.  The celery, red peppers, zucchini, onions, among other veggies, and chicken were immersed in a rich broth that we couldn’t stop eating.

    The pesto rubbed chicken, on the gluten free menu, was a surprise from a side of the menu to which I don’t usually venture. The tangy cilantro pesto rub complemented the grilled flavor of the chicken.

    To end our night, we ordered the ancho fudge pie. The dash of ancho chile didn’t overwhelm with spice but enhanced the chocolate flavor, while the walnuts, pecans and flaky crust balanced out the rich fudge.

    A meal at Z’Tejas would refresh and relax even the weariest shopper, giving him or her a new jolt of energy to continue shopping. But even if you aren’t part of the hustle and bustle of the Fashion Square shopping experience, Z’Tejas is a perfect place to take your date, your family or your friends for tasty food, with a hint of spice.

    Tartesso Elementary

    Elementary School Leaves A Small Carbon Footprint

    Buckeye’s Tartesso Elementary School is receiving high marks, but it has nothing to do with the kids in the classroom.

    On Aug. 19, 2010, the United States Green Building Council awarded the 3-year-old school with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for sustainable building design.

    Tartesso, a part of the Saddle Mountain Unified School District, is the first fully state-funded LEED Silver School in Arizona with this recognition.

    “Having the certification is a big bonus to our district,” said Dr. Deborah Garza-Chavez, principal of Tartesso. “It’s nice to be noticed as a small district by trying to provide the best learning environment for our students and staff.”

    The school had just a little more than 200 students upon opening in 2008 and only served kindergarten through 6th grade. Now fully functioning up to 8th grade, more than 600 students walk the halls of a completely sustainable and environmentally conscious building.

    Architects and engineers from DLR Group were responsible for the building designs of the school and worked with budgets allocated by the Arizona State School of Facilities Board.

    “Before we started designing the facility in early 2006, we brought our team into a brainstorming session where we could evaluate and strategize as to what sustainable products we wanted to use,” said Bill Taylor, a LEED-accredited professional with DLR Group.

    The staff and students at Tartesso have a wide variety of energy saving technologies and products that create a healthy learning environment.

    In an effort to reduce water shortages, the building design provides a plumbing system that conserves water. All of the boys’ restrooms contain waterless urinals and the kitchen sinks have low flow water fixtures, a reduction that saves half a million gallons of water per year.

    The school provides a high performing mechanical system that goes above and beyond state standards.

    A completely computer controlled airflow system continuously brings in new air circulation and automatically turns off air conditioning in an unoccupied room.  This reduces the annual energy cost by 20 percent, in comparison to a building that just meets the state code requirements.

    In addition to significant energy savings, DLR Group improved the indoor environmental quality of Tartesso.  The building is positioned so that natural daylight offsets the artificial lighting in all occupied academic spaces, reducing energy and improving the educational environment.

    Only low organic compound paint was used and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) free carpets were installed to promote a healthy interior for students and staff.

    “[Students] have benefited from not having those harsh smells,” said Angel Tellez, Facilities Engineer for Saddle Mountain Unified School District. “Everything is kid friendly and environmentally friendly and that is improving the learning environment.”

    Not only has the school been a leader in sustainable innovations, but it has served as an asset to the economy by purchasing materials from local companies. Ingredients in the concrete were all locally harvested and nothing was shipped long distance.

    “This is a place that has students, staff and the community in mind,” said Premnath Sundharam, Senior Associate for DLR Group. “It’s an educational tool for what can be done on limited funds while still making an impact on the environment.”