June 5, 2013
Articles of Interest:
Production Builders Trending Towards Green Labeled Homes
Gainesville Train Depot
Receives "Green" Restoration Accolades
One of Gainesville's oldest, most cherished buildings - the historic Gainesville Depot -received an "Outstanding" recognition in the Restoration/Rehabilitation category from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation (FTHP).
Bert Bender of Bender and Associates Architects, P.A., best known for his work on Key West landmarks such as the Custom House, developed the "green" design to rehabilitate the 1860's era train depot to its original splendor. Superintendent Coley Pitt of West Construction, Inc. spearheaded the construction efforts, utilizing Goodwin Company's reclaimed longleaf heart pine wood throughout the building.
Antique Heart Pine for historic interior restoration requires reclaimed wood cut from America's virgin forest over 125 years ago. Proper kiln drying, established grading and precision milling are imperative.
George Goodwin, founder of Goodwin Company, drew on his close relationships with private plantation owners, enabling him to hand select lightning struck old-growth Longleaf pine to ensure historical accuracy for the exterior decking, siding and stairs.
Goodwin Company adapted its milling style to replicate paneling, decking and other elements to the exact specifications used in the original 1800's design. The Depot was restored to the Department of Interior standards.
Oldsmar Earns Green Local Government Certification
The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) has designated the city of Oldsmar a certified Florida Green Local Government after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Green Local Government Certification program. Oldsmar achieved 32 percent of the 345 applicable points, earning it a silver-level designation.
In order to achieve the FGBC Green Local Government Certification, Oldsmar staff undertook an extensive audit of the functions performed by every department within their government. The criteria included evaluations of energy and water usage, air quality, health issues, land use, recycling and waste disposal, maintenance policies, educational programs, purchasing practices, regulatory policies, and many others. From there teams used FGBC's program tools to identify methods to improve the sustainability of their business practices and operations.
[View Oldsmar's green achievements]
Natural Gas Vehicle Incentives
Passed by Florida Legislature
Florida lawmakers have approved three pieces of legislation to promote the use of natural gas fuel for vehicles in Florida. Governor Rick Scott is expected to sign them shortly.
The legislation mandated no taxes on natural gas fuels for five years and created a $6 million per year rebate program for companies that want to buy and expand their NGV fleets.
Compare Green Building Products
Using New Online Database
McGill University (McGill) has launched an online tool to help in the selection of more environmentally friendly materials for new construction and renovation projects. The Material Analysis Tool (MAT) is an online ranking system that distills manufacturer information to assist users in the selection of building products that are healthy and environmentally responsible.
MAT has seven criteria of evaluation: certification, durability, health impacts, rapidly renewable content, recycled content, recyclability, and region of manufacture and extraction. Each of these criteria are weighted and summed to create a score for each product in the database, allowing the designer to rank like-products.
[More] [MAT Database]
Efficient Lighting Grants Available
To Local Governments - Applications Due by June 14
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is seeking grant applications from local governments that were not directly funded by USDOE through the EECBG formula program. The grants are to reduce total energy use through the replacement of inefficient lighting with energy efficient lighting, and to evaluate the actual energy savings received as a result of the project. Once improvements have been completed, grant recipients will be required to track energy savings until the end of their grant agreement.
It is anticipated that approximately $1 million will be available for the Local Government Energy Efficient Lighting Grant Program. The Department may have the option to allocate additional funds to the Program, subject to availability. Grant applications must be received by Friday, June 14, 2013, at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Compressed Natural Gas School Bus Grants Available
Applications Due by July 1
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is seeking grant applications from Florida school districts relating to the purchase of equipment for the conversion of or for the incremental cost difference of purchasing a new compressed natural gas (CNG) school bus as compared to the purchase of a new, regular diesel school bus. It is anticipated that approximately $1.2 million will be available for the CNG School Bus Grant Program. FDACS may have the option to allocate additional funds to the Program, subject to availability. For matching funds, the minimum allowable amount for an application to be eligible for consideration for award shall be 25% of the total project costs. In addition, matching funds must be expended in concurrence with grant funds. Grant applications must be received by Monday, July 1, 2013, at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in order to be considered.
IRS Releases "Start Construction" Guidance
For Renewable Energy Facilities
The recently enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (commonly known as the "fiscal cliff bill") provides that "qualified facilities" that produce certain energy from certain renewable sources are now eligible for the production tax credit (PTC) or the investment tax credit (ITC) if "construction begins" on such facilities before January 1, 2014. Generally, such qualified facilities use the following renewable sources to generate energy: wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydropower, and marine/hydrokinetic. Solar energy facilities continue to be eligible for a 30 percent ITC if they are placed in service by January 1, 2017, and are not impacted by the ITC or PTC provisions of the fiscal cliff bill.
[More] [IRS Notice 2013-29]
Building Code Changes Become Effective July 1
By Paul M. Thompson, Florida Home Builders Association
The Florida Legislature recently passed a massive building code bill with a number of provisions that impact our industry starting July 1, 2013. It addresses unlicensed contractor activity by increasing the maximum civil penalty that may be imposed from $500 to $2,000 against unlicensed contractors for both state and local certification and registration and increasing the civil penalty that may be charged per day from $1,000-$2,500. The increased penalties and fines apply to both construction contractors and electrical contractors. Other key provisions:
• Authorize local building departments to retain 75 percent of the outstanding fines against certified or registered contractors and requires them to transmit 25 percent of the fines they collect to the state;
• Clarify that a modification to an existing home that does not include the addition of a bedroom does not require a septic tank evaluation and inspection;
• Authorize an electronic copy of building site plan may be maintained at the building site for inspection and retention purposes;
• Update statutory references to reflect the correct title of the Florida Building Code-Energy Conservation Code; expands the definition of "building energy rating system" to recognize state and national programs, and clarifies functions of energy raters and energy auditors;
• Removes the Department of Business & Professional Regulation from the administration and oversight of the building energy rating systems within the state and allows the 'free-market' to work;
• Extends the grandfathering date for registered electrical contractors to the year 2015;
• Adds products that are approved utilizing an evaluation entity such as ICC, IAPMO and Miami-Dade to the expedited review process and adds "impact protective systems" to the list of products that may be eligible for state approval;
• Clarifies that when changing out an existing residential air conditioning system, the new system must only comply with the manufacturers installation instructions and that duct sealing and inspection is not required;
• Removes the specific fire sprinkler code citation and simply references the International Residential Code to specify that the Florida Building Commission may not mandate fire sprinklers in single-family homes and allows for incentives for residential fire sprinklers when mutually agreed upon by builder and code official;
• Clarifies state agencies, school boards and local governments must choose green building and sustainability programs on a project-by-project basis rather than adopt a single program.
Smart Growth Reduces Development Costs
By 33 Percent, Reveals New Report
A new report released by Smart Growth America reveals how much municipalities can save, on average, by using smart growth development strategies. The report also examines how much revenue smart growth development generates compared to the alternatives.
"Plenty of communities in Florida have used smarter growth to cut costs and increase revenue," said 1000 Friends of Florida President Charles Pattison. "We can see examples of that in Gainesville and Sarasota County. This report shows other towns across the state what they could achieve if they built in better ways."
Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development surveyed case studies from across the country that compare the costs and benefits of smart growth development with conventional suburban development. The report finds:
• Smart growth development costs at least one third less for upfront infrastructure construction.
• Smart growth development saves taxpayers at least 10 percent on ongoing delivery of services.
• Smart growth development generates 10 times more tax revenue per acre than conventional suburban development.
"These figures should make every civic leader in America stop and take a hard look at what impact their development is having on public finances," said William Fulton, Vice President of Policy Development and Implementation at Smart Growth America. "Smart growth strategies can cut costs and raise revenues for any town or city, that's what this research shows."
Honda Breaks Ground on 'Smart' Home
Known for producing reliable automobiles, the American Honda Motor Co. has broken ground on a home that demonstrates the company's vision for sustainable, zero-carbon living.
Honda Smart Home US will demonstrate how new and emerging technologies can greatly reduce household energy. Together with renewable energy and an integrated electric vehicle, the home will dramatically reduce the occupants' CO2 emissions.
Low-energy LEDs will light the entire house and feature state-of-the-art controls to optimize efficiency and light quality. The lighting system can even benefit the health of the occupants by modifying the color temperature throughout the day and night using the latest research on human circadian rhythms.
The photovoltaic (PV) solar power system will provide all the energy for the home plus the daily commuting needs of an all-electric vehicle like the Fit EV. The Honda Energy Management System (HEMS) will include direct PV-to-vehicle charging capability, eliminating energy losses associated with solar inverters.
The climate control system will actually use meteorological forecasts to predict future conditioning use and then adjust the loads based on optimum efficiency and the needs of the utility company. Plus, the windows will open and close and shading will extend and retract on their own to help moderate temperature and provide natural ventilation.
Nothing goes to waste inside the Honda Smart Home-even heat from a shower is captured and reused to warm the house. The shower water, and all grey water, is then used for landscape irrigation. Very little irrigation is needed, however, since the landscaping utilizes drought-tolerant plants.
Earn the FGBC Green Professional Designation
Credentials are what set you above the competition and distinguish you as an expert - the go to person for excellence. Don't miss the opportunity to earn the FGBC Certified Green Professional designation by attending the Florida Green Building Coalition's annual GreenTrends Conference & Tradeshow set for August 21-23, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota.
This year we've designed the education program so that by attending both days and passing an exam you're eligible to apply for the FGBC Green Professional designation. (Check the FGBC website for other qualifying requirements.)
This intensive 2-day program covers all the bases: building science principles, site development, building envelopes, resource and energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, effective operations and maintenance, and marketing the value of green. The program also offers the following continuing education credits:
• 16 CEUs for Contractors-CILB Course #0608298
• 12 CEUs for Architects-Course #9878267
GreenTrends 2013 "bridges the divide" between standard skills and the new skills required to understand and successfully implement green building.
Earn Cash Back with FGBC Rewards Program
The Florida Green Building Coalition Membership Committee recently announced a "Cash Back" rewards program. For every new member recruited, the sponsoring FGBC member earns 10 percent of the new member's annual membership fee. Rewards are applied to the sponsor's annual renewal. Check the FGBC website for details and to download.
Certifying Agents this is a no-brainer for you. Every time you contract for certification services, be sure to include an FGBC membership in your contract price. Fill out the membership form and submit with payment to FGBC to earn your rewards.
FGBC Welcomes New Members & Certifying Agents
- Yvette Cabili, Florida Home Partnership, Inc., Ruskin
FGBC Sponsor: Eileen Burke
- Clayton Henson, Henson Contractors, Inc., Venice
FGBC Sponsor: Drew Smith
- Jason Malina, Venice
- Lisa Pearcy, All Elements Mechanical Corp., Orlando
FGBC Sponsor: Gary Carmack
- John Hammerstrom, Tavernier
National & State Green Building Funding Opportunities