Saturday, March 20, 2010

Green Investments are for Energy Independence

As we look for funds to implement conservation measures today, we need to look at the value of the future savings. After all if we do nothing, we will keep paying for inefficiency and higher energy costs.
Green community leaders would assess this enormous financial benefits which will occur after the green retrofits are made. They have the legal authority and opportunity to raise the capital that can be used to pay for the projects over the life of the system. It is possible to make the annual cost of investment lower than the annual savings achieved, if we allow 10 - 15 years to payback the initial investment.
Energy Independence can be achieved with smart financial planning.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The New Age of Sustainable Roofs

The days of old style roofs with membranes and shingles will soon be replaced with smart roofs that last a life time and serve more than the shelter function. Green planted roofs now reduce storm water generation, save energy and allow rain water harvesting. The base membrane would now last 40 - 50 years because the sun rays never reach it.
White roofs have reflective layer to reduce heat gain and save energy in summer for air conditioning. As we observe the development of green and white roofs a new trend of interactive design is coming up in conversations.. it is called " Blue Roof". What it implies is that roofs could be designed to hold a sheet or layer of rain water and allow it to evaporate to provide cooling. This is an excellent means of storm water management and also good for energy conservation at the summer time of when high demand takes place. Interactive designs should provide for storage of rainwater and the application of stored water to automatically maintain a layer of water on the roof. These concepts reduce Energy, help Environment and improve Economy with the money saved. Why not call these smart roofs "E-Roof" ?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sustainable Solutions need Life Cycle thinking

Green technologies offer solutions that provide benefits for the life of the facility over 15 to 40 year life of the systems. Unfortunately the initial costs are high and this prevents many from moving forward with capital investments. Most private companies want 1-2 year payback and public agencies want 5-7 years. So the roadblock to faster implementation of green technologies is the availability of capital that can be paid back over longer time.
This is also an opportunity for sustainable green community leaders to help create economic development and retain jobs at local commercial & industrial plants. How to do it?
The communities have the legal authority to sell tax free bonds for public benefit projects. How about an issue of " Green Independence Bonds" to establish a revolving loan funds and give 10 year low interest loans to the tax payers to install specified green retrofits to save energy. Loan can be given against the value of property and billed with tax statements. In this way the annual savings could exceed the loan payment and who would not like to move forward? The money saved will help these applicant to invest in the community and promote economic development.
Some California based communities are following this path and we hope that every City, Town and Village takes advantage of this financing tool to take control and provide their own stimulus funds. This approach will provide sustainable source of money as repayment of loans is made from future savings.