Battle of the Buildings


Early this month the U.S. EPA launched its 2011 National Building Competition, “Battle of the Buildings“. 245 buildings from across the country will be battling it out “head to head” to see how much each can reduce energy consumption by a given deadline.

The buildings represent a mix of  buildings including 26 different commercial building types and a range of building ages up to 100+. The Competitors will be using EPA’s online tracking tool Energy Star Portfolio Manager to keep track of results.

With the building sector contributing near 20 percent of the country’s energy use and emissions according to the EPA, this competition will help raise awareness and provide practical case studies for a variety of real-world situations.

the competition site even features a tweet stream to follow along with participants’ progress.

The top scoring buildings move on to the finals in July, with an overall winner announced in November.

PACE Programs Here, and Gone


This post is part of our ongoing focus on energy, water, waste and transportation issues relevant to California at large.

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photo credit: free

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are being quickly halted due to a recent announcement by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that declared the investments potentially unsafe for lenders. The new and upcoming PACE programs being piloted and planned by cities and counties around the country would offer homeowners bond-backed loans for solar and other energy efficiency upgrades to homes.

Under most terms, the PACE loan (which is attached to the house itself, like an assessment) would have first priority for repayment ahead of the mortgage. This repayment structure provoked a warning pronouncement from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last month. Now the FHFA has dealt another blow by also warning lenders that the programs could prove risky- effectively halting operations for the time being.

Read more coverage on the FHFA’s PACE announcement in:

The Bond Buyer, The Huffington Post, and Greentech Media.