Monday, November 24, 2008

Building For The Environment


More and more businesses are going green but not just when it comes to recycling paper and buying fuel-efficient vehicles.
Some companies are building green.

West Virginia University Design Studies Professor Chris Haddox says, when it's time for new construction, businesses are building more eco-friendly offices. "One, it's the right thing to do. Two, they can differentiate themselves in a market that's beginning to demand green and it's easier to stay ahead of the curve than to try and catch up."

So what constitutes a green building?

"A green building is one that emphasizes resource efficiency whether that's energy, water, materials. It emphasizes high indoor air quality, good lighting, connectivity to goods and services. It's looking at the impacts of everything that goes into or comes out of that building."

Haddox says you don't have to spend a fortune to build green. "Doing passive solar design for example, you're not installing a lot of fancy equipment. It's orienting the building in a way to take advantage of the sunlight energy."

Why is building green so important?

"The build environment in the U.S. produces about 40% of our carbon dioxide output, which is about 3% more than the transportation industry produces."

Building green may cost a bit more in the short term, but Haddox says, in the long run, it will save a company money and help save the environment.

Monday, November 17, 2008

West Virginia University selected for EPA brownfields grant

Source: US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency Published Sep. 10, 2008
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected West Virginia University to receive an estimated $550,000 grant to help identify mine-scarred lands that are suitable for redevelopment into biofuels and other alternative energy production sites.
The EPA brownfields grant, -- to be spread over four years -- will be used by the university's water research institute to provide technical assistance to rural Appalachian communities in identifying potential energy production sites called sustainable energy parks. These parks will generate local economic growth, decrease or offset greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration and promote renewable energy technologies.
'EPA’s brownfields initiatives have energized communities by breathing new life into abandoned properties, rebuilding tax bases, and providing valuable employment opportunities for local residents,' said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region. 'We’re committed to building partnerships that ensure people in the local communities reap the benefits of brownfields redevelopment.'
The grant to West Virginia University is one of 10 EPA grants awarded nationwide this year for brownfields training, research, and technical assistance projects that explore new and innovative ideas in the areas of human health, environmental protections, sustainable development, and equitable development.
'This significant milestone award is an outstanding compliment to the work West Virginia University is poised to execute as part of its advanced energy initiative - a strategy that will tackle America's energy problems with innovative research and public policy development,' said Dr. Curt Peterson, West Virginia University vice president for research and economic development. 'Creation of sustainable energy parks on mine-scarred lands is the kind of strategy that this nation and its best thinkers and leaders must pursue in the drive toward energy independence.
Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which increased funding, expanded authority, and provided liability protection to help communities revitalize brownfields. EPA provides grants, technical assistance and training to support local brownfields efforts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Green Leases and Green Buildings

Here is a good article on Green Leases and Buildings from the latest issue of Probate and Property