Connecticut College Goes Carbon Neutral
February 27, New London - Connecticut College President Leo I. Higdon, Jr. has pledged that Connecticut College will make plans to achieve carbon neutrality and will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases generated by the campus.
Higdon recently signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which seeks to address global warming by solidifying institutional commitments to reduce and ultimately bring carbon emissions to zero.
Higdon´s commitment places him as a charter signatory of the initiative, which hopes to have 200 college and university signers by June 2007. To date, more than 50 college and university presidents and chancellors have either signed the commitment or letters of intent to sign the commitment by June.
By signing the Presidents Climate Commitment, Higdon has agreed to develop a long-range plan for the campus that will reduce and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gases. In brief, Higdon has pledged to:
1. Initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible;
2. Initiate two or more tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed, and
3. Make the action plan, inventory, and periodic progress reports publicly available.
Connecticut College has long been a leader in campus environmental stewardship. Newsweek magazine recognized the college´s Center for Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies as "one of the best environmental studies programs in the United States."
In 1999, Connecticut College became the first college or university in the United States to address its carbon emissions, a primary cause of global warming, by joining the "Klinki Program." The college agreed to work with farmers in Costa Rica to plant enough fast growing trees to compensate for the 593 tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually by the electricity use in the Crozier-Williams College Center over the next 30 years.
According to Higdon, the commitment parallels Connecticut College’s tradition of addressing environmental sustainability in its curriculum and culture. A renewable energy policy is already in place, he said, and new campus buildings and renovations will follow green building techniques.
"This pledge simply reaffirms the college’s commitment to be a model for environmental sustainability," Higdon said. "We’re already on our way to carbon neutrality, as sustainability is an important part of our everyday operations at the college. We intend to remain a leader in the search for new ways to protect the environment through local practices."
Source: Connecticut College Press Release
Council Awards Scholarships for LEED Training
February 24, Rocky Hill. – The Connecticut Green Building Council (CT GBC) sponsored fourteen scholarships for individuals to take the United States Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Training class held earlier this week in East Hartford. The council is committed to helping economic development personnel in gaining knowledge and best practices for sustainable design.
The scholarships, valued at $445 each ($150 for students), were awarded to students and non-design professionals who learned about best practices in high performance building design, construction, and operation for schools and buildings in Connecticut. The training class is a preview for the LEED AP exam.
"Providing these educational scholarships to students and civic leaders will help advance the understanding and importance of high performance building design and construction," says CT GBC President Todd Renz. "As this momentum towards better design and construction continues in Connecticut, the CTGBC will offer a wide range of educational activities to support the market development for green buildings."
The scholarships were funded by a grant from The Henry P. Kendall Foundation which is committed to promoting sustainable solutions. The scholarship awardees include:
Thomas Ivers, Milford Community Development Department
Christopher Clement, Yale University
Ryan Casey, Porter & Chester Institute
Robert Trombetta, Weston Solutions, Inc
Valerie Rossetti, Town of Bloomfield
Stephen Murphy, Connecticut Department of Public Works
Austin Whitman, Yale University
Mary Pelletier, NGO Consultant
Charlotte Kaiser, Yale University
Jonathan Tuminski, Measure for Measure the Center for Green Building
Henry Link, Enviro Energy Connections
Sara Eisenstat, Yale University
Andy Bauer, Town of Portland
Marc Hiller, Yale University
Lifecycle Building Challenge Open
February 18 - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects, and West Coast Green invite professionals and students to participate in the Lifecycle Building Challenge, a competition seeking designs and ideas that facilitate adaptability, deconstruction and reuse.
Registration closes on April 15, 2007.
In the United States, buildings consume 60 percent of total materials flow (excluding food and fuel) and construction and demolition waste accounts for about one third of total waste generated each year. With current building trends, over 27 percent of existing buildings will be replaced between 2000 and 2030, and over 50 percent of buildings in 2030 will have been built since 2000. Developing innovative design techniques now will make it easier to disassemble and reuse building materials in the future.
Students, architects, reuse experts, engineers, designers, planners, contractors, builders, educators, environmental advocates and other interested parties nationwide are invited to submit designs and ideas that support disassembly and anticipate the future use of building materials in the following categories:
1) entire buildings
2) building components
3) tools and strategies
Outstanding entries in each category will be recognized, and the three top student designs will be rewarded $2500. All winning entrants will receive free passes to the West Coast Green residential green building conference. For more information and examples, please visit www.lifecyclebuilding.org.
Source: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
POKO Partners May Be First to Use AutoPark Technology in Connecticut
February 8, Norwalk - POKO Partners’ 6.3-acre redevelopment site in the center of downtown Norwalk will enliven and revitalize Wall Street and reactivate the traditional downtown as both a commercial and residential neighborhood. The project consists of solid urban design elements that recognize historical and cultural assets within the district, and also includes sustainable development principles, environmentally friendly green solutions, and modern living environments that have a minimum impact on the world and resources around us.
POKO’s Wall Street revitalization project will include 370 residential units, 60,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and 45,000 square feet of public open space. Live-work environments will help to create opportunities to capture the evolving employment base. POKO recognizes that a shift has occurred in the workplace with ‘live and work’ from home becoming a regular occurrence. POKO is tailoring a significant component of its housing to appeal to that segment of the market. A strong residential component will make a dramatic impact on the city’s economic health. New apartments (both rental units and condominiums) are designed with large spaces, classic layouts, and 2-4 bedrooms per home. Up to one-third of the apartments will be affordable to families earning less than 80% of the area median income. Buildings will be a mixture of 5 and 8 story buildings and most of the new construction will include ground floor retail. The structured parking will be completely enveloped by the residential buildings and therefore will be hidden from sight.
Relying heavily on community involvement, the public will be involved in all phases of the Wall Street Revitalization project with POKO, from the planning, to the construction, to the marketing. Many community partnerships are planned to bring back the livelihood of the area. One such initiative is the restoration of the vacant Norwalk Theater as a performing art center and theater school, home of the Music Theater of Connecticut.
POKO’s development is using different types of innovative approaches to traditional solutions. One example is the proposed use of an automated parking solution for the entire site. This exciting new technology provides optimal convenience in parking. The driver pulls into an entry bay, swipes a card, locks their doors, and the robotics transport their car to a designated space. There are no valet drivers, cash registers operators, security guards, or annoying car dents. The car is even returned in under two minutes, facing in the direction ready for you to drive out. All this is monitored by a single computer operator using software with built-in fail safes and a regular maintenance program. There is no need for extensive ventilation, bright lighting, or plumbing. Automated parking garages provide lower building costs per parking slot, as it typically requires less building volume and less ground than a conventional parking facility with the same capacity.
The construction of the POKO buildings will utilize sustainable building techniques and use of recycled materials. An on-site water recycling facility will make it possible to store and use “grey” (used) water for gardening and irrigation purposes. To improve efficiency, all appliances and windows will be Energy Star rated and the entire development will make use of cogeneration, an energy system that operates substantially more efficiently and uses a single fuel source to produce electricity and thermal energy in the form of steam for heating and cooling.
Cogeneration systems or Combined Heat and Power Systems (CHP) utilize the otherwise wasted combustion from the boilers that would add to the depletion of our ozone layer, and uses that energy to turn turbines that change the energy to electric energy to be reused. CHP has been in existence in Europe for a quarter century but is relatively new in the US. Hot water can be produced and stored for the peak usage times. CHP makes it possible to supply all electric requirements in the winter (100% off the grid) and as much as 40% to 80% in the summer (partial electrical from the grid).
About POKO: POKO Partners LLC has over 15 years of experience in community revitalization using rehabilitation and adaptive reuse methods for residential complexes and new construction. Since its inception, POKO has become actively engaged in the management and development of real estate in the tri-state area and beyond. For more information, visit pokopartners.com.
CT Legislators Plan Hearing to Discuss Pending Energy Legislation
February 6, Hartford - Connecticut legislators are gearing up for a public hearing on February 13, to further discuss pending energy legislation that would, among other things, allow electric utilities to return to the generation business.
State Rep. Steve Fontana, House cochairman of the General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee, said January 31, that legislators raised the pending bill on Jan. 30, the first step to move the bill toward a public hearing. He noted that legislators also articulated some new ideas on January 30, such as the “Save More, Save More” program modeled after California’s “20/20” program, which reduced summer electricity demand by 8% and provided rebates to hundreds of thousands of ratepayers, according to an explanatory note that Fontana provided to SNL Energy.
The goal of the program is to encourage utility ratepayers to conserve electricity and reduce their electric bills by providing them with a cash rebate.
Fontana said that within the integrated resource and procurement process being discussed, the state would allow utilities and other entities to bid and the winners would then receive awards to provide resources, whether it is generation or renewable energy.
The February 13, public hearing will allow the public and interested stakeholders to see what the legislators have been working on since the beginning of the legislative session, Fontana said. At the hearing, Fontana said he intends to hear three bills.
Other hearings are scheduled for February 15, and 20 to consider 18 other bills on energy matters.
(Reprinted with permission, through United Illuminating, SNL Power Daily Northeast, Volume 5 Issue 22 Thursday, February 1, 2007.)