Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Green Initiatives make Communities Sustainable

As I reflect on 2007 the Green movement experienced the fastest growth in this year. Awareness about the climate change also became more known to public as noble prize and United Nations brought spot light to this very important issue. Of course, oil getting close to $100.00 pr barrel also helped us realize that some thing must be done or else worst consequences await us. Design Professionals such as Architects and Engineers active in this field have also shown their level of interest by attending (over 20,000) the Green build conference in Chicago.

So as the Year 2007 comes to end, what do we expect next Year? At national level , we will all be bombarded with TV commercials since it is the presidential election year and politicians will make the climate change and energy a hot topic. So what can small local communities do under this scenario? How about making a commitment to smart government with goal of saving energy and reducing costs.

Basically Green Initiatives are the simple tools that needs to be applied no matter what happens to the environment or our energy dependence. Fortunately it also helps the environment and reduces the demand for nonrenewable fuels. In many communities the economy and tax base is not growing so the only option left to do is to cut costs and that is what Green initiatives are meant to achieve. This may be looked at as a dream and not some thing for real. Fortunately, it is reality for me. We are now ready to start a new project with a small City in upstate New York to undertake sustainable green community planning in 2008. As we undertake this journey, I hope to share the progress with the readers of this blog.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saving Energy with Community Sustainabilty Funds

LED lights are the most efficient technology of the future that is available today. The biggest roadblock for everyone buying LED lamps is the sticker shock of the cost of lamps. While the package says it will save 80% over the life and last for 15 - 20 years, you still need to take out more money upfront for getting savings in future. The most common reaction by the buyer is to buy the cheaper lamp and keep paying more as they use the lamps, due to lower efficiency's.
So what is the solution?
A sustainable green community has the choice to use the leveraging power of the public retirement funds. A part of the funds could be invested with local banks to create the" sustainable green revolving loan funds" that can issue energy retrofit loans to pay off the amount over 36 or 48 month period. The borrowed money can be used to pay for LED light retrofits in homes and businesses. The good news is that you can pay for the loan payments from the savings and after the loan is paid off keep all the savings for the remaining life of 10 years or longer. Smart communities will hopefully use this green funding techniques to help the tax payers benefit and get over the hump of higher initial cost of LED lamps.