Tag Archives: sustainability movement

Green Movement

Top 10 Green Building Trends to Watch in 2011

While we may have just begun 2011, many industry analysts predict that the green building and sustainability movement will rebound in 2011 in spite of the continuing economic difficulties in most developed countries. This overall trend runs counter to the thrust of the overall worldwide recession, but this is due to to the overwhelming public and private sector support for the trend at all levels of government globally.

Here are the Top 10 Trends to watch for in 2011 as noted by many within the industry, including fellow green building consultant, Jerry Yudelson:

1.    The worldwide green building movement will continue to accelerate as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and develop their own Green Building Councils. More than 70 countries, on all continents, will show considerable green building growth in 2011.

2.    Green building will rebound in 2011 as measured by the new LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth. “The reduction in commercial real estate building in many countries,” Yudelson said, “was not offset by other sectors such as government, and so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically in 2010.”

3.    The focus of the green building industry will continue to switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. “The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2010 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this trend to continue in 2011,” Yudelson said. “My 2009 book, ‘Greening Existing Buildings,’ documents the strategic components of this trend.”

4.    Blue will become the New Green. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will continue to grow, leading building designers and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption to increase sustainability. This will be done in buildings through the use of more conservation-oriented fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new water technologies.

5.    Green building in the U.S. will continue to benefit from the Obama administration with a continued focus on greening the executive branch. New announcements of a commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations confirm and highlight this macro-trend.

6.    Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings become increasingly commonplace, in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and ENERGY STAR ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage.

7.    Performance Disclosure will be the fastest-emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California and other states. Commercial building owners will have to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers.

8.    Certified Green Schools will grow rapidly as part the LEED System. This trend will accelerate as understanding of the health and educational benefits of green schools grows. Already by mid-year 2010, green schools represented nearly 40  percent of all new LEED projects in the U.S.

9.    Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector. We’ll see at least 20 major new cities with commercial sector green building mandates. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.

10.    Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. This trend will be enhanced by the increasing focus of municipal utilities as they need to comply with state-level renewable power standards (RPS) for 2015 and 2020. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop systems, such as on warehouses. However, we may very well see a slowing of large solar and wind systems as federal grant support, in lieu of tax credits, is phased out.

While we we have already run in the new year, it will be interesting to see how the green building initiative will take shape in light of ever shifting political realities in Washington, D.C.

Crayon

ASU, Crayola & More Making Sustainable Impact

When it comes to sustainability, it’s a great time to be proud of Arizona.  This week we’ve gathered stories about ASU making the green honor roll, Phoenix being a top city for graduates and others.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

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

ASU Makes the Green Honor Roll
Arizona State University was one of the 18 colleges and universities that made The Princeton Review’s 2011 Green Rating Honor Roll.  ASU was chosen for leading the way in the sustainability movement. It established the first School of Sustainability in the U.S., and employs more solar panels than any other university in the country.

Phoenix is One of the Top Cities for Green Grads
Phoenix is No. nine on mnn.com’s top 10 cities for new grads seeking green jobs.  Sandwiched between Detroit and Houston, Phoenix’s solar capabilities and commitment to green endeavors make it one of the top.  One of Phoenix’s favorite Suns also has his city on the list.  Sacramento, Calif., whose mayor is Kevin Johnson, is No. six.

Yet Another Reason to Buy a Hybrid

Hybrid cars are almost never stolen.  Whereas gas guzzlers like the Cadillac Escalade should just have targets painted on them.  One in every 100 cars that is stolen is an Escalade.  Small cars like the Mini Cooper and the Saturn VUE are also low on a thief’s wish list.

Crayola Goes Green
A 15-acre solar farm could help crayola not just produce green (crayons) but also be green.  Funded in part by a federal stimulus, this farm could produce enough energy to help produce one-third of Crayola’s annual output of crayons.

Walmart and Seventh Generation Team Up
Seventh Generation, which produces environmentally-friendly cleaning products, will put its products in about 1,500 Walmart stores nationwide and online.  Previously Seventh Generation and Walmart haven’t been the best of friends.  But maybe they’re coming together for a greater good?

livabilitysummit

Valley Forward Hosts 7th Annual Livability Summit

Valley ForwardAs the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Valley residents also had a reason to celebrate.

To commemorate Earth Day, Valley Forward was once again at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the state — hosting their Seventh Annual Livability Summit at the Wyndham Phoenix.

The title of the program, “What Does the Future Hold for Sustainability?”, proved to be a launching pad for intelligent and interesting observations from speakers, panelists and attendees.

The event began with a welcome from Valley Forward president and Green Scene guest blogger, Diane Brossart, followed by Jeanne Forbis, Valley Forward Association Chair of the Board and Global Corporate Affairs Communication Manager at Intel Corporation. Ms. Forbis introduced the morning keynote speaker: James Charlier, an expert in smart growth strategies and sustainable transportation systems. Mr. Charlier gave a lively, informative presentation before turning to the morning’s panelists to continue the discussion.

The panel titled: “How to Ensure a Sustainable Future for our Region” was comprised of:
Sue Clark Johnson | ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Paul Newman | Arizona Corporation Commisioner
Shannon Scutari | Arizona Department of Transportation
Mo Mukibi Jr., Ph.D. | CH2M Hill

Mayor Phil Gordon
Mayor Phil Gordon announced the City of Phoenix received a $25 million federal grant for its Green Rail Corridor project.

Each panelist offered their own unique perspective about the challenges Arizona faces in planning for a sustainable future. The lively debate then extended to the audience who asked some interesting questions.

For a complete list of all the speaker’s presentations visit Valley Forward’s website.

The summit was headlined by keynote speaker Jeremy Rifkin, renowned economic futurist and sustainability expert who wowed the audience with his incredible knowledge and experience. As president of the Foundation of Economic Trends and the author of 17 best-selling books on the impact and technological changes on the economy, workforce, society and environment, Rifkin is a seasoned voice in the field. Rifkin used his own experience as founder and chairperson of the Third Industrial Revolution Global CEO Business Roundtable to enlighten the crowd with some ideas about a possible sustainable future for Arizona. During his speech, Rifkin gave examples of several European countries that have already implemented astounding sustainable economic plans that can serve as a great example for the U.S. and for Arizona.

Rifkin’s compelling presentation got everyone thinking and emphasized the critical juncture we’re facing. He noted that we are at the turning point of our species or the “end of human civilization as we know it.” Rifkin further explained his reasoning by pointing out that we are living off 19th and 20th century ideas that are toxic to the biosphere challenges we face as a global society. The premise behind the Third Industrial Revolution is to harness smart technologies and global communication networks to create a renewable energy regime. Renewable energy and its growth is critical as well as harnessing this power by converting buildings into power plants. Lastly hydrogen storage, smartgrid and plug-in vehicles will maximize renewable energy and minimize cost.

Jeremy Rifkin
Author and economic futurist Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends delivered the luncheon keynote and signed copies of his book, “The Empathetic Civilization.”

Just hearing his thought-provoking ideas was incredibly inspiring. Implementing these ideas won’t be easy but Rifkin is optimistic that as more and more cities across the globe change their viewpoint and see the economic vitality sustainability can bring, a so-called “revolution” will take place.

Overall, the summit was an incredibly successful event. In addition, to the panel discussion, Valley Forward also hosted a resource area that spotlighted local initiatives for environmental concerns and sustainability issues. The organization was also proud to once again partner with the 2010 Future City Competition for 7th and 8th grade students, with winning students from Cochise Middle School attending the summit.

 

www.valleyforward.org

Moving Valley Arizona 2010

Moving the Valley and Arizona Forward

Oh, give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above.
Don’t fence me in.

That little tune written by Cole Porter and Montana engineer Bob Fletcher has served as the unofficial song of the West for almost 75 years. It’s captured the lure of the West; with all this room, there’s no need to grow up — grow out!

Despite warnings dating back decades, Western cities have been growing out at a rapid clip. Now we have to face the fact that our resources cannot sustain this type of urban sprawl.

It’s estimated that the state’s population will swell to 10 million by around 2040. Eight million of those residents will be living in the “megapolitan” Sun Corridor, a swath of land stretching from the middle of Yavapai County to western Cochise County to the Mexican border.

Fortunately, one organization, Valley Forward Association, has been working steadily on this problem for 40 years. Valley Forward’s mission is to bring business and civic leaders together in order to find ways to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities.

One of Valley Forward’s signature events, the Environmental Excellence Awards, takes place this weekend. The awards program is the state’s oldest and largest environmental competition. The program, now in its 29th year, recognizes buildings and structures, site development and landscape, art in public places, environmental technologies, environmental education/communication, environmental stewardship and livable communities that promote the cause of sustainability. The event is held in partnership with SRP.

While Valley Forward has long been at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the region, several others now have joined the cause. In recognition of that, the U.S. Green Building Council is holding its prestigious Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Nov. 11-13. The keynote speaker is Nobel Peace Prize winner,  former Vice President Al Gore.  AZ Big Media is a proud in-kind partner of Greenbuild.

Another sustainability event that’s making its presence known is AZ BIG Media’s own Southwest Build-It-Green Expo & Conference, presented by SRP. The second annual event takes place March 18-20, 2010.

This year’s inaugural BIG Expo & Conference made good on its promise to be the Southwest’s largest annual event on sustainability for the commercial and residential marketplace. Nearly 9,000 people attended the BIG Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, visiting the up to 300 exhibitors from commercial and residential businesses that offer sustainable products and services that affect everyday life.

The conference portion of the BIG Expo brought together industry experts, Valley leaders, instructors from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and members from such organizations as Valley Forward, Valley Partnership, BOMA, SRP, APS, the U.S. Green Building Council and many more.

While Arizona has made significant progress in the sustainability movement we have to remember to keep moving forward.

Janet Perez
Editor-in-Chief
Arizona Business Magazine

www.valleyforward.org
www.greenbuildexpo.org
www.builditgreenexpo.com

Play to Stop Campaign

Sustainable Europe — A Greener World, One Country At A Time

Fresh from my trip to Europe (specifically my native Poland), I decided to look into what our neighbors across the Atlantic are doing for the sustainability movement.

A survey requested by the European Parliament and the European Commission, coordinated by the Directorate-General for Communication of the European Commission, summarized the general attitude on the Continent toward climate change as “serious but the process is not unstoppable.”

The poll claims that 75 percent of Europeans think “alternative fuels should be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Green EuropeThe survey also suggests that citizens of certain countries — particularly Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania — are not well informed about climate change.

However, according to the poll, citizens of Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland are “both well informed about climate change, and personally take action to fight climate change.”

Although I’m not in a position to analyze the conclusions of this survey, I do know that it’s never a bad thing to promote and publicize the issue of climate change awareness. Not only does this (hopefully) get people’s attention, but it also demonstrates society’s commitment to an issue that is universal and affects us all.

The European Commission is promoting climate change awareness to young Europeans by partnering with MTV Europe on a campaign called “Play to Stop— Europe for Climate.” What better way to get through to young people than through concerts, TV programs and the Web?

The eye-catching campaign also has a presence on popular social media sites Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

The campaign will be making its way to my homeland, as well as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Britain and Romania.

So, alas, unlike the U.S., I think it’s safe to say that Europe is making a concerted effort to educate people about climate change and sustainability. Making the world a better, greener place won’t happen overnight, but it’s comforting to know that although we may not all agree on everything, when it comes to this we’re all in this together.

Read the rest of the survey
Play to Stop campaign

Photo: Play to Stop