Young Sierrans – Dallas Sierra Club

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Posts Tagged ‘energy efficiency’

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Initiative

Posted by youngsierrans on February 1, 2010

Have you been trying to keep up with PACE in the North Texas area?  In case you’re not familiar, the Property-Assessed Clean Energy initiative (HB 1937) was approved by the legislature last session.  The program allows municipalities to create “energy districts” that provide low interest loans to homeowners and businesses for renewable power and energy efficiency.  What’s unique about these loans is that they are attached to the property, not the owner.  Examples of the program currently exist in Berkeley (CA), Boulder (CO), and Babylon (NY).

An informational meeting about PACE was held on January 21st at the Trinity River Audubon Center.  Those in attendance (over 65!) included, 21 North Texas cities, several state representatives’ offices, and other organizations, like NTCOG, TX Association of Builders, ONCOR, and the EPA.  Speakers included, Asst. City Manager Jill Jordan, Rep. Raphael Anchia, city officials from San Antonio, and PACE program representatives from Colorado and California.

To help bring a version of this energy efficiency and renewable energy financing program to your community, contact your city council members and mayor to let them know you’re interested in PACE for your city.

More information:


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Guided Tour – TimberCreek Net-Zero Energy House – Lewisville (11/7/09)

Posted by youngsierrans on October 30, 2009

timbercreek houseIt’s been a while since we’ve toured a “green” home.  And since over the last couple years we’ve seen increases in consumer/producer awareness for more energy efficient construction, increases in demand for EE housing and economies of scale in EE construction materials cost and availability, maybe we’re due for another.  Let’s tour the TimberCreek Zero Energy House project up in Lewisville which was recently completed and see if the large-scale housing construction market has made any EE progress and learn where the industry is going.

From their site: The house is a 2500 sq. ft. demonstration project for the Department of Energy’s “Building America” program to encourage homeowners and builders to take the next step in living and building in a more fiscally and environmentally sensible manner. This home will incorporate renewable energy resources as well as eco-friendly materials and building practices to achieve a high-performance “net zero” home with minimal impact on the environment.  They mention that one of their typical homes this size can be cooled and heated for $38/month and the home costs roughly 10 percent more upfront than a similar standard home, excluding the solar electric.

Date: November 7th, 2009

Carpool Meet Up Time: REI Dallas parking lot at 10:15a (map – 4515 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Dallas 75244) – departing at 10:30a

Tour Time: Approx. 11:00a (depending on shuttle timing, etc.)

Optional lunch: Following guided tour at Manny’s Tex-Mex or The Londoner (both on Midway Rd., near REI) – your vote counts!

No Parking at the TimberCreek House: No parking at actual house.  Park in Westside Baptist Church parking lot nearby (map – 900 Bellaire Blvd, Lewisville, 75067) and take complimentary shuttle to house.

Details: Please RSVP by 11/6 to the Pingg invitation or to the Young Sierrans email address so we have a rough estimate for attendance.  You can meet us at the house or carpool from REI Dallas.  Peter will send his phone number and additional meet up info to participants the day before the tour through Pingg.  You don’t have to be a Young Sierran or Sierra Club mbr to join us!

For more on the house’s features, or any other information, see the house website.  If you can’t join us on the 7th, the builders are offering other tour dates throughout November.

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Texas Legislative Update – June 1st, 2009

Posted by youngsierrans on June 1, 2009

texas-state-capitol1Quick Summary of today’s Clean Power & Green Jobs Press Release

Clean Power, Green Energy bills that passed both bodies and WILL go to the Governor’s Desk include:
• Green fleets legislation to promote low emissions and plug-in hybrid vehicles for fleets of major State Agencies (HB 432)
• Legislation allowing cities to create financial districts to loan money
for renewable power and energy efficiency (HB 1937)
• Legislation setting a ‘no regrets’ strategy for greenhouse gas reduction in the State; a study of the state’s energy use to find ways to reduce our emissions and save money at the same time (SB 184)
• A coordinated green jobs strategy including funds allocated for child care programs, vocational training initiatives, energy efficiency measures, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), and/or any other recovery funds (passed as a Rider to Article 12)
• Green fee bill passed allowing governing board of public colleges and universities to institute an environmental service fee once approved by student body election.

Clean Power, Green Jobs bills that passed the House OR Senate but DID NOT go to the Governor’s Desk include:
• Raising the state’s minimum residential and commercial building codes from 2001 to 2009 standards (passed Senate as SB 16 and HB 2783 in House)
• Raising the utility efficiency goal (SB 546 passed both houses but no
agreement was reached between Senator Fraser and Representative Anchia on the size of the goals)
• Adopting appliance efficiency standards for a variety of products, including pool pumps (passed Senate as SB 16)
• Creating a 1,500 MW Emerging Technology Renewable Standard (SB 541 – passed the Senate)
• Creating a $500 million solar incentive program (SB 545 – passed the Senate).
• Creating a Policy requiring utilities and retail electric providers to pay consumers fair buyback rates for excess electricity generation from renewable energy (HB 1243 – passed House and Senate, but was killed in the House through concerns over germaneness and Senate amendments.)
• High performance energy efficiency building standards for state buildings, including universities and public schools (HB 431). The Senate may pass the conference committee report today, on Sine Die.

The full press release contains information on factors which prevented bills with bipartisan support from making the Gov’s desk, other issues’ (nuclear, TV recycling, clean coal, transportation) successes/disappointments and perspectives on the session by the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Environmental Defense Fund, Environment Texas and Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED).

The Alliance for a Clean Texas published its summary of the session and can be found on their website.

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Texas Legislative Update – May 26th, 2009

Posted by youngsierrans on May 26, 2009

texas-state-capitol1ACTION REQUESTED!

SB16, SB 545 and SB 541 are on the House Major State Calendar today. This is great news! However, midnight tonight is the deadline for the House to pass Senate bills on second reading.

The Alliance for a Clean Texas asks all Texans who want clean air and clean energy to call their representatives immediately and ask them to vote for these three crucial bills.

SB 545 (Fraser/Strama) will:
* Build our solar technologies
* Creates TENS OF THOUSANDS of Texas jobs
* Lower electric costs in the long term
* Reduce pollution
* Create a program for solar on schools and churches
* Allow new home buyers to have a solar option

SB 541 (Watson/Farabee) will:
* Create a 1500 megawatt emerging renewables portfolio standard
* Encourage utility scale solar, geothermal, biomass, and small wind programs
* Attract industry investments in our state
* Create a ‘Made in Texas’ solar incentive that will attract manufacturing to Texas
* Create energy storage program for renewable power
* Set effective cost caps on the price of renewable energy

SB 16 (Averitt/Cook) will:
* Continue Texas’ most successful emissions reduction program that reduced smog pollution from diesel engines until 2019
* Update Texas Minimum Energy Efficiency Building Code Standards for residential and commercial buildings from 2001 to 2009 standards, meaning new homes and businesses will be 15 to 20 percent more energy efficient
* Allow the State Energy Conservation Office to contract with other state agencies and utilities to provide consumer rebates for energy efficient refrigerators and air conditioners
* Continue research into the causes of air pollution
* Create a new technology grant program for electricity projects related to renewable energy.

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Texas Legislative Update – May 22th, 2009

Posted by youngsierrans on May 22, 2009

texas-state-capitol1From the Alliance for a Clean Texas:

Great News! Four of ACT’s top priority bills have made it one step farther in the legislative process. The House Committee on Energy Resources passed SB 545 out of committee yesterday afternoon. House Environmental Regulation reported the committee substitute for SB 16 out of committee last night. And this afternoon House State Affairs voted SB 541 out of committee.

The next step for these three bills is to be placed on the House calendar. ACT urges the members of the House Calendars committee to place SB 545, SB 16 and SB 541 on the calendar before Sunday (the deadline for Senate bills to be heard in the House). The Texas Legislature could make the 81st Session an historic one for the development of the next great Texas energy industries.

Another ACT high priority bill reaches the next step in the legislative process tomorrow morning. HB 821, the producer TV takeback bill, will be heard in the Senate Committee of Business & Commerce tomorrow morning. An unusual committee referral (most recycling and landfill bills are referred to Senate Natural Resouces), ACT hopes that the members of Senate B & C can see the value of this timely bill that will help keep more lead, mercury and other hazardous materials out of our landfills.

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Texas Legislative Update – May 12, 2009

Posted by youngsierrans on May 12, 2009

texas-state-capitol1Great News! Senate passes SB 541 by a vote of 24-7. This bill would require electric companies to develop utility-scale solar, geothermal and biomass energy. SB 541 is one of the two major renewable energy bills supported by ACT this session (The other is Senator Fraser’s SB 545.).  Thanks to Senator Watson for his leadership in renewable energy this session!

Today, Tuesday, May 12th, the Texas House will consider HB 280 by Rafael Anchia that would increase the goals for meeting our electricity demand through energy efficiency programs. Existing law requires the nine investor-owned utilities to meet 20 percent of the growth in electrical demand in 2009. HB 280 and its companion in the Senate SB 546 would raise this to 30 percent of growth by 2012, and one percent of total peak demand by 2016. Today, HB 280 is scheduled to come to the House floor for debate.

Contact your Representative today to show support for HB 280!

Background: In 2007, the Legislature enacted a law that raised the goal that utilities must meet from energy efficiency programs to 20 percent this year and also required an exhaustive study of whether to raise the efficiency goal beyond 20 percent of growth in peak demand. The report found that raising the goal to 30 percent by 2010 and 50 percent by 2015 was not only achievable, but would save between $4 and $12 billion over the next 20 years to consumers. It will also lead to reductions in emissions of global warming gases, and create jobs in the energy efficiency industries according to the study.

HB 280 would follow the recommendation of the PUC study and raise the utility goal to 30 percent of growth in demand by 2012 giving an extra two years for utilities to meet the goals and then raise the goal to one percent of total peak demand, which is equivalent to a little more than 50 percent of growth in demand.

The above content is sourced from the Alliance for a Clean Texas and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

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