Diversity in Energy Spotlight
WE ACT for Environmental Justice was founded in 1988 in response to environmental racism in Harlem. The three founders of WE ACT were fundamental in the beginnings of the environmental justice movement, which officially began in 1991. WE ACT works hard to represent BIPOC voices in an environmentalist movement that is overwhelmingly white. For more information on the environmental justice movement, read our primer here.
Diversity In Energy Spotlight
The environmental justice movement works to address the inequities in US environmental policy which disproportionately expose Black people to environmental hazards including close proximity to waste facilities, poor quality water infrastructure, and air pollution. Last week, we provided a primer on the environmental justice movement which discusses the movement’s origin, history, and urgent relevance today. We will continue to call attention to the environmental justice movement by highlighting organizations doing this important work. Today, we focus on the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
By Eve Marenghi
Fitwel is a building certification program developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA) that sets standards for design features and operational strategies that support the health of building occupants. Fitwel offers more than 50 evidence-based design and operational strategies generated by expert analysis of over 3,000 academic research studies and tested across a portfolio of buildings. The Center for Active Design was selected by the federal government as Fitwel’s operator in 2016. Since then, Fitwel has become the world’s leading health certification system, with more than 1,000 registered projects in over 40 countries, impacting 830,000 people worldwide.
While there is a significant amount of uncertainty all around us in today’s world, one thing we know for certain is that organizations and institutions are going to feel the economic pain from this pandemic through 2021 even if a vaccine were to be developed towards the end of 2020. Healthcare organizations will see revenue shortfalls due to the pause on elective surgical procedures, which can account for between 40 - 60 percent of a hospital’s revenue. Higher education will likely see a decline in admissions or applications as many families struggle during this economic downturn. Commercial Real Estate is dealing with empty office buildings and the uncertainty that surrounds our return to work.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of environmental justice, there is no better time than the present to familiarize yourself. The events of 2020 have brought to national attention the systemic racism and subsequent injustices Black people in our country face on a daily basis. The outbreak of coronavirus has disproportionately affected the Black community and is evidence of other systematic inequalities Black people face every day, including access to health care and equitable treatment by healthcare workers. Black people continue to face police brutality (not only now, but for centuries in this country), as evidenced by the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Diversity In Energy Spotlight
The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) was founded by Clarke A. Watson, a prominent black community activist and mentor, in the summer of 1977. Watson saw a need for change in U.S. national energy policy and a need for black people and other minorities to have a voice in energy policymaking. In response to the energy crisis of the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter established a special task force to study the energy problem and develop recommendations. There were no persons of color representing the interests of black people and other minorities on the task force.
This morning I gathered my team to kick off the week and discuss our collective goals, as we always do on Mondays. Today, our regularly scheduled virtual meeting was instead a discussion about the only thing on all of our minds right now: racial injustice.
The university in the Bronx is evaluating geothermal sources to heat and cool buildings on their Rose Hill Campus
Fordham University is evaluating a geothermal pilot project to heat and cool three buildings at its Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, NY. The University reached out to EME Consulting Engineering Group whose services focus on engineered solutions to provide energy efficiency. The Project The University is looking to implement alternative and renewable heating and cooling strategies on campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as shift heating production from fuel to electricity and begin phasing out cooling towers on campus. EME proposed installing a new vertical bore field and ground loop heat exchangers. The bore field system would provide condenser water to new equipment, including a new 700-ton central ground coupled heat pump plant to generate chilled water and low-temperature heating hot water, and a 100-ton new variable refrigerant flow (VRF) cooling system. Additionally, the existing building HVAC systems would be modified to support the new central heat pump plant configuration.
Access free screenings, reduce your energy bills, and increase comfort levels in your building with Flexible Technical Assistance Clean Heating & Cooling (CHC) Screenings
The Clean Energy Action Plan provides relief for businesses and residents affected by a natural gas constraint. As part of this plan, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is offering Clean Heating and Cooling Screenings for customers affected by natural gas constraints. Eligible customers can access free screenings to assess the potential and benefits of installing clean, efficient alternatives to natural gas for heating and cooling their buildings.
Benefits of Clean Heating and Cooling
Ground and air source heat pumps and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are smart, efficient, healthy options for buildings of all types and sizes.
- WARMER. Spread warmth more efficiently than conventional oil, propane, or electric resistance heating systems.
- COOLER. Cool more efficiently during high summer temperatures.
- COMFORT. Provide quiet, even heating and cooling throughout your building.
- EASIER. Clean heating and cooling systems last longer than conventional HVAC systems and require minimal maintenance.
- CLEANER, HEALTHIER, AND SAFER. No combustion of fossil fuels, fuel storage, or carbon monoxide emissions.
Your building must be located in an area affected by natural gas constraints, and you must currently pay the System Benefits Charge (noted on your electric bill).
You will receive a screening report detailing the estimated impact of installing clean heating and cooling systems in your building, including:
- Energy consumption and costs
- Capital costs
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Financial metrics (investment payback, net present value)
Gotham 360 is pleased to announce that our client, Stevens Institute of Technology (Stevens), has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.
Tips To Take Advantage of This Energy Opportunity
The coronavirus has caused a paradigm shift in our society. Certain things as we know them will never be the same. Just think about how many offices, shared spaces, desks, and conference rooms lay barren and unused for the past 1.5 months across the world. Even when a cure/vaccine exists for COVID19, how will companies continue to operate? Will companies continue to operate remotely? How apprehensive will the workforce be to returning to their normal day-to-day? These are all questions that need to be answered and those answers will have an impact on the future uses of corporate office space post-pandemic.
Electricity rates have increased nationally over the past six year, with Hawaii remaining the most expensive state in union to power your home or business. Surprisingly, after Hawaii, Massachusetts residential and commercial customers have experienced the second fastest rate increase over that time.
Gotham 360 attended an event hosted by the Building Energy Exchange focused on Local Laws 92 and 94, that require solar and/or green roofs for all new constructions and major roof renovations. The laws were passed as a part of the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA). Thanks to these laws, NYC may now have the most sustainable roofing policy in the world.
The New York City Council has enacted a new amendment to the Local Law 87 Rule. This amendment increases the retro-commissioning testing requirements, and is enforced on buildings filed with the city starting on January 1, 2020.
Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code currently includes a 30% ITC for solar PV systems, fuel cells, small wind and some other technologies. The ITC allows those who install clean energy assets to subtract 30% of the project(s) value from federal income taxes owed. This 30% ITC significantly raises the economic value of renewable and clean energy projects -- both those pursued through capital purchase and those financed through leases, power purchase agreements, shared savings agreements, etc.