NOLA GBRC March 2010 Newsletter

Greetings from our New Orleans Green Building Resource Center

As winter's stubborn cold is finally past, now is the perfect time to take a few steps to weatherize your home and help ensure that your summer cooling bills don't skyrocket.  Starting tonight, Global Green will be conducting a free 5-part series of workshops to help you understand your home's energy use and indoor air quality, so you can make the best choices and wisest investments.  Tonight's panel is comprised of experts in green building in our hot and humid climate, and we hope that you can join us to tap their knowledge for your own home or business. 

~ Beth Galante


TONIGHT: 

Build It Back Green Healthy Green Homes Series

How Your House Works - The First of a Five Part Series

Come learn how your house works and why the flow of air in your home is so important.  Our speakers this month will include Chicago architect and recent New Orleans resident, Victor Wolbrink, New Orleans contractor Bill Robinson, and Louisiana architect Edward Cazayoux, author of A Manual for the Environmental and Climatic Responsive Restoration and Renovation of Older Houses in Louisiana for the Department of Natural Resources.

We will discuss the "stack effect" and the way air moves through your home, historic homes and how they were architecturally designed for human comfort in a hot, humid climate, and weatherization upgrades homeowners in New Orleans can make to save energy and save money.

Tuesday, March 30th
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Green Building Resource Center
841 Carondelet Street, New Orleans

Build It Back Green events are free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.

For more information on this and past events, please contact Vincent Fedeli at our Green Building Resource Center[email protected], and see our website here:http://globalgreen.org/bibg/calendar/

For further information on this month's speakers, please see here: Bill Robinson Blog, here: Edward Cazayoux , and here: Wolbrink Architects


USGBC-Louisiana Workshops in April and May 2010

The demand for green, energy efficient homes in on the rise.  And local builders have questions about green materials, design, installation, ratings systems and overall cost/benefits of green building, and they are looking for straight answers from other practitioners. 
 
To meet this need, the Louisiana Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Make It Right Foundation are partnering to offer a series of workshops this spring at Xavier University.  
 
The program, "Green Boots on the Ground: Nuts and Bolts Answers about Green Homebuilding," has been designed to help home builders move beyond the concept of green to its practical applications.  Taught by professionals who are intimately familiar with the climatic, market and regulatory challenges of building in post-Katrina New Orleans, the five workshops offer first-hand advice and instruction to help local builders go green, affordably.

Workshops will include: Introduction to Green Homebuilding, Green Siting, Land Use and Foundations, Durable and Energy Efficient Structures, Green and Healthy Building Materials and Energy Efficiency.
 
April 3, 10, 17, 24 and May 8
Xavier University Campus
NCF Addition, Room 175
New Orleans, LA.

Fee is $40 per session, and covers instructor expenses and lunch.

All workshop sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 in the classroom, with optional site visits to the Make It Right Building site in the Lower 9th Ward offered after each session

For more information and to register, go to: www.usgbclouisiana.org, under "Upcoming Events"


Louisiana CleanTech Network's Green Jobs Training Program Adds New Courses

LA CleanTech has announced these upcoming trainings in Louisiana:

NABCEP 48 Hour - Solar Electric Systems
April 12th through 16th in Lafayette, LA. 

NABCEP 48 Hour - Solar Electric Systems
May 10th through the 14th in Lake Charles, LA

RESNET Home Energy Rater Training
June 7th through 11th in New Orleans, LA

Through their industry-leading Powered by ONTILITY© Platform, offering end-to-end renewable, efficient and sustainable eco solutions, services, training, support, and technologies as well as the distribution of renewable, smart, efficient and sustainable eco-products.

LA CleanTech's Green Jobs Training will present a five day Solar Training course that teaches the NABCEP Entry Level Photovoltaic (PV) learning objectives and includes 48 hours of professional instruction and hands on training presented in five days of sessions, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day along with 8 hrs of home study. For full class descriptions, please click here: Lake Charles/Lafayette classes and here: New Orleans classes.
 
Over the next three years, the state of Louisiana has committed millions of dollars in federal stimulus funding to incentivize building new energy efficient homes and improving the energy efficiency of existing residential and commercial buildings. In order to qualify for these incentives, building owners must have a detailed energy audit called a Home Energy Rating conducted by a Home Energy Rater certified by the Residential Energy Services Network

For more information and to register, click here: LA Clean Tech


Local Green: Highlighting Sustainability in our City

Join us in celebrating Rusty Pelican owner Travis Linde, an artist from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The sculptures Travis creates are constructed out of found materials and debris from his home and neighborhood post-Katrina. Aside from building sculptures, painting, and tattooing, Travis also restores vintage motorcycles, which is very apparent in several of the pieces. Many of the gas tanks, gears, and tools that he has used were from his shop which got 4 feet of water. Originally the birds were all pelicans, which is the state bird of Louisiana. He has since gone on to making flamingos, ostriches, vultures, crows, and so on. His original gas tank men are a tribute to the workers that go in and out of the lower Ninth Ward every day. There are several out on St. Claude Ave, waving to the trucks as they pass by, which is the main drag that is used for construction traffic to the most devastated areas of the city.

See the work of Travis Linde and Lexi Linde Wolf, here: Rusty Pelican Art, and at their shop at 4031 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans.


Our Green Building Resource Center Offers Tips on Energy Efficiency in Your Home

Don’t Forget What Your Mother Said

Did you know that more than half of the electricity in the United Statescomes from coal-fired electricity plants?  In fact, with more than 600 coal-fired power plants in our country, 52% of all of the electricity consumed in America comes from coal.  The U.S. emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from electricity generation than any other country in the world.  What does that mean for you?  With the average household using 9 ½ tons of coal each year, conserving energy is a good way for you and your family to control the effect you have on the environment.

Unlike many methods of going green, this month's green tips require no materials and cost absolutely nothing to implement!  With a few simple behavioral modifications that are easily integrated into your life, you can conserve energy, save money, and help reduce global warming:

•Try setting your thermostat to 78°F during the summer months and 68°F during the winter months to decrease your cooling and heating costs.
•Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. This reduces both water and electrical use. 
Air-dry your dishes instead of using the dishwasher cycle and dry clothing loads back to back to make use of the heat stored in the dryer.  Also clean the lint out of the dryer before every load.  This will increase the machine’s efficiency.
•Finally, turn the lights off.  Like your mother always told you, leaving the lights on wastes electricity.  Because only 10 to 15% of the electricity consumed by an incandescent bulb results in light, the rest is released in the form of heat.

If you focus on making these changes on a consistent basis, you will find that implementing these changes becomes automatic in no time!  Breaking old habits isn’t easy, but good conservation habits reduce the amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere, curb global climate change, and shave hundreds of dollars off of your annual utility bill.

For more information on greening our home, please see our website here:http://globalgreen.org/neworleans/ , and when in New Orleans, please drop by our Green Building Resource Center at 841 Carondelet Street, as featured here:http://globalgreen.org/bibg/resource_center/, and Holy Cross Project:http://globalgreen.org/neworleans/holycross/


Is Corporate America Our Best Hope Against Climate Change?
By Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One of the unexpected twists of the global climate change debate is that the roles of government and business have in many ways been reversed. To traditional greens, business was the enemy, polluting with impunity, and government was the hero, ready to restrain. That was the mindset of environmentalism's first great boom, when landmark legislation like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act gave Washington the power and the tools to begin cleaning up the country.

But when it comes to climate change, times have changed. Although industry is still the engine of all those carbon emissions — more than a few CEOs doubt that global warming even exists — it is also the source of clean-energy solutions, which are emerging from every layer of the business world, from tiny startups to Fortune 500 behemoths. Major corporations set their own plans forgreenhouse gas emissions reductions that far greener than targets that nations throw about at U.N. climate change summits. (See TIME's complete coverage of the World Energy Technologies Summit.)

Meanwhile Washington is paralyzed, seemingly incapable of coming to grips with global warming or the looming energy crisis. What we need is smart policy to deal with the biggest long-term challenge facing the country. What we get is vacuum.

That was the overriding theme at the 2010 World Energy Technologies Summit (WETN) held in New York City on Mar. 12. Speaker after speaker came to the podium to map out the technologies that could lead to a clean energy future: solar farms in the desert, wind turbines on a capital scale, the resurgence of nuclear power, even the recycling of energy we use today. But those solutions will sputter without the right government policy in place — especially without a firm price on carbon, according to most of the experts at the summit — and Washington can no longer be trusted. "It's going to be a three-ring circus," said Peter Goldmark, the program director for climate and air at the Environmental Defense Fund, talking about the Washington debate over climate and energy legislation. "And no one can tell you what's going to come out of this."

But does it even matter? After all, some of the smartest companies in the country are forging ahead on clean energy in the absence of legislation. Take Google, for instance. The company is applying its Internet smarts on the energy sector, which in many ways has barely changed since the time of Thomas Edison. Google's PowerMeter, a free software tool, will let households customize their energy use, better tracking the electrons they're buying — a direct route to greater energy efficiency. "It's ET meets IT — energy technology meets information technology," said Reicher.

If Google can do for utility bills what it's done for email, it could change the way many of us view energy, dragging a reluctant industry into the 21st century. And the company's got a long-term plan — Clean Energy 2030 — that charts a way to wean the U.S. off coal and drastically cut petroleum use.

But even the mighty Google can't do it alone. Reicher has testified before Congress about the need for strong climate legislation, including a firm carbon price that could help renewable energy compete today. A carbon cap alone isn't enough, however; the U.S. needs to establish requirements for renewable energy, and just as important, vastly increase the public research money spent on energy. That last part is often missed in the energy debate, but Reicher pointed out that despite the urgency of the energy and climate crisis, the U.S. (outside of the one time bump of the stimulus) is now spending less than it did on energy research in the Carter Administration. "We need a wave of innovation, and the current levels of funding just isn't going to bring that," says Reicher, who worked in the Department of Energy during the 1990s. "That can't be forgotten." 

While Washington dithers, trapped in health care hell, other countries like China and Germany are forging ahead, seizing the reins of the clean-energy economy. In the meantime, U.S. corporations will continue making tentative steps toward supporting renewable energy, and venture capitalists will keep looking for the next big solution.

There's even a chance that we could see a real change of values at the CEO level. At the Mar. 12 summit, Mindy Lubber, the president of CERES, a national network of investors and green groups, plotted out a roadmap to true corporate sustainability for the 21st century. Sustainability might be the only way to survive in a time of scarcity — and the next several years or even decades could be lean ones, as more of us are competing for what feels like less and less.

It would be a lot easier if Washington were really participating. "We need a price on carbon," said Lubber in WETS's last panel. "That's it. That's the bottom line." We'll see if Congress will heed the call.

Please read on, here: Time.com article