Game On

by Ellen Sinreich on January 28, 2014

Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to great momentum for green buildings and carbon footprint reduction this year, primarily as a result of market-based, value creation opportunities. In other words, it’s all about taking advantage of the bottom line benefits that going green offers. Here’s a glimpse at what’s in store for the New Year.

Raining moneyNew York State’s Green Bank

On January 7th, Governor Cuomo announced that the long-awaited initial funding of New York State’s Green Bank has occurred. The Bank now has $210 million to finance clean energy projects in New York State. According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, “The NY Green Bank will partner with private sector institutions by providing financial products such as credit enhancement, loan loss reserves and loan bundling to support securitization and build secondary markets. These products will support economically viable clean energy projects that cannot currently access financing due to market barriers such as federal policy uncertainty, insufficient performance data, and the lack of publicly traded capital markets for clean energy.” Don’t miss this opportunity to increase your returns on clean energy investments in New York State.

U.S. Solar Breaks Records

Speaking of clean energy, did you know that the upswing in 2013 solar installations in the U.S. put total capacity over the 15-gigawatt mark? The pace of 2013 installations in the U.S. was greater than Germany’s and with 400,000+ operating projects, we are now in fourth place worldwide, behind Germany, Italy and China in terms of total installed solar PV capacity. Strong residential demand, coupled with new utility-scale plants, and corporate installations that were 48% greater than those in 2012 contributed to this achievement. Walmart led the private sector in 2013 with the installation of 89 megawatts of solar PV capacity on 215 facilities, followed by Costco, Kohl’s, Apple, IKEA, Macy’s and Johnson & Johnson. Not surprisingly, as capacity and demand increase, the cost of solar systems continues to decrease, having reached a new low blended average rate of $3 per watt. Among states, California continues to lead the charge in terms of overall installed capacity, while Arizona has the greatest per capita installed capacity.

Alternative Energy Vehicles

At the recent 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, Toyota debuted a hydrogen fuel cell concept car that gives off no emissions other than water vapor. According to Toyota, their “Fuel Cell Vehicle” has a driving range of approximately 300 miles and serves a dual purpose. Fully fueled, the four door sedan is capable of powering a house for a week, should the need arise. Prior to the show, Ford introduced an off-the-grid solar powered hybrid prototype as a potential alternative to electric powered hybrid vehicles. In order to power up, the “C-Max Solar Energi” concept car has to park under a specially designed solar canopy and moves around “on its own” to get optimal sunlight while charging. With a six to seven hour charge time and a solar powered range of only 21 miles, there is more work to be done before this car is road ready, but stay tuned, it could be a harbinger of things to come.

Green Dining at Super Bowl XLVIII

Kudos to MetLife Stadium, located in Rutherford, NJ, and the site of the upcoming Super Bowl. MetLife Stadium Company and its food service partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice will be offering this year’s Super Bowl attendees the greenest dining opportunities in history. Although a small consolation for the potentially freezing temperatures that attendees will have to endure, MetLife stadium, with over 200 restaurants that can serve 100,000 people per day, houses the largest food service operation to earn the Certified Green Restaurant designation from the Green Restaurant Association. Over 61 green initiatives led to this achievement including the conversion of waste kitchen oil to biodiesel fuel, composting, donating leftovers, recycling, use of Energy Star certified equipment, and a variety of water saving measures ranging from waterless urinals and sensored faucets to water efficient irrigation. We’re rooting for MetLife Stadium, may the best team win!

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