All posts by Gold Energy

Out with the old and in with the new–light bulbs that is!

From: Robin Blackstone, ENN Published December 23, 2013 09:25 AM

Out with the old and in with the new–light bulbs that is!

As of January 1, 2014, 60 and 40 watt incandescent bulbs will no longer be manufactured or sold in the United States.  Retailers will sell out what is on their shelves and not restock incandescents. George W. Bush signed the phase-out, which was called for by The Energy Independence and National Security Act, in 2007. The bill also includes improvements in energy efficiency for lighting and appliances many of which have been in stores for several years.

Consumers will benefit financially. The transition is better environmentally, as well; making it a win, win for all. Incandescent light bulbs presently make up for over half of all bulbs purchased but are inefficient, turning about 90 percent of the energy they consume into heat, not light. 75 and 100 watt incandescent bulbs have been phased out over the last two years.

According to Noah Horowitz, Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency for the Natural Resource Defense Council, the phase out will save Americans $13 billion on their annual energy bills.

Alternatives to the incandescent bulbs include the following:

Philips SlimStyle LED — Currently under consideration for ENERGY STAR certification, the SlimStyle LED bulb reduces energy consumption by 85 percent and lasts 25 times longer than a traditional 60-watt incandescent. It is dimmable, brighter and delivers a softer white light than CFLs. It is safer and lighter weight. The SlimStyle is available exclusively at starting January 2, 2014, just in time for the final phase out.

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)CFLs were the first alternative to incandescent light bulbs. Now it has been learned that LEDs are better and will last longer, yet the high initial investment puts them out of reach for most people. CFLs are widely available in grocery and convenience stores. They come in a spiral shape and A-line. If broken they can be hazardous to your health and disposal is difficult.

Energy-Efficient Soft White bulbs by GE — If you’re completely devastated by the idea of switching to those newfangled CFLs or LEDs, GE’s Energy-Efficient Soft White bulbs will ease your transition. They look and light exactly like the bulbs you grew up with, only they use 28 percent less energy.

USGBC Certifies 20,000th LEED Commercial Project

USGBC Certifies 20,000th LEED Commercial Project

December 23, 2013

The movement for healthier, high-performing buildings has reached a new milestone, as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) issued the 20,000th LEED certification for a commercial project.

USGBC’s Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) certified the offices and staff services space in the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) plant in Knoxville, Tenn., under LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI).

“The 20,000th LEED certification belongs to an organization that shares our social and environmental values, and we applaud GMCR on its accomplishment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “This is an important milestone in our mission to drive market transformation in the built environment to practices that make healthy, high-performing buildings a fact of life.

“We’ve shown that LEED works, and the companies and organizations that use LEED set a high bar for leadership,” he continued. “But there is much work to be done, and even as we mark this milestone, we’re completing the launch of the next version of the rating system that will drive building performance to the next level.”

The Knoxville plant is the seventh LEED-certified facility for GMCR, based in Waterbury, Vt. Focusing on maintaining a resilient supply chain, offering sustainable products and contributing positively to the communities in which it operates, GMCR has made corporate social responsibility a central tenet of its business model. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, it was the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee, and it allocates a portion of its pre-tax profits to socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. In June 2013 Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships named GMCR a Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency.

Sustainable features of the Knoxville project include a high-efficiency HVAC system and water-efficient plumbing fixtures that result in a 32 percent reduction in water use. Recycled content totals more than 24 percent of all building materials, work stations and seating, while a quarter of all building materials were harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of the project. The project also features high-efficiency lighting fixtures, daylighting and lighting controls, and renewable power sources generate more than 50 percent of the required power.

“One of our company goals is to transform the way the world understands business,” said Jason King, senior director of facilities and engineering at GMCR. “The passion we bring to creating great coffee is the same passion we put toward energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. We are proud to play a part in the green building movement because it closely aligns with our corporate values.”
As the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, LEED guides the design, construction and operation of 10.5 billion square feet of commercial and institutional space globally. By using less energy, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
In November 2013, USGBC launched LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system that is poised to raise the bar for the entire green building industry, which McGraw-Hill Construction projects could be worth up to $248 billion in the U.S. by 2016. LEED v4 features increased technical rigor; a more intuitive online technology platform and simplified LEED credit submittal requirements; as well as new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects.

EPA Regulations to Lessen Carbon Emissions Has Many Energy Impacts

EPA Regulations to Lessen Carbon Emissions Has Many Energy Impacts

Posted on December 18, 2013
Posted By: Mike Krygowski

The Obama administration has made strides in trying to curb the output of carbon emissions in the US. While some of the EPA regulations have moved forward, some have stalled out for the time being. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) was set to replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), but was vacated by the courts in late 2011 due to aggressive legal challenges. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is expected to impact the retirement of a significant amount of coal generation in 2015 with estimates ranging from 10 to 60 GW of potential retirements. MATS is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court and a decision will likely be made in the middle of 2014. According to a recent article, some believe that these regulations are part of a “war on coal.”

In summary, the article begs the question: How much coal-fired generation will there be in 50 years? The answer may not be as simple as it may seem. Yes, gas prices are cheap now. Yes, something needs to be done to help lessen the emissions of these coal plants. But how can this be done in a way that won’t put tens of thousands of people out of work and not send gas prices through the roof in the next 10 to 20 years?

It appears that the abundance of natural gas in the US is the first step in the scramble to reduce carbon emissions, while maintaining a secure electric grid. Natural gas is now replacing coal and it appears that trend will continue for the foreseeable future as a result of the volume of gas available and the continued low prices. Building a new power plant is expensive, but building a gas-fired plant is relatively inexpensive and fast compared to other options such as nuclear generation facilities and generally faces the least resistance in the approval and implementation phases.

Beyond the economic impact on coal country, another concern is the impact on grid reliability as new plants may not sufficiently replace older plants in regards to being available to run at the right place and right time as needed. Particularly in PJM, fear of costs from Reliability Must Run (RMR) contracts is a growing risk that is very difficult to quantify at this point. RMR costs are expenditures by the system operator to keep plants open that are economically viable, and are needed for system integrity.

There is also the risk of higher natural gas prices due to these changes. As gas replaces coal for generation supply, there will be an increase in gas demand which is bullish for prices, especially since   the gas market is near long-term lows and with additional price support from eventual LNG exports and growing industrial demand. But so far, these factors have been shrugged off in the market place except for a modest year-over-year premium in the forward curve due to the abundance of shale gas reserves.

And while these reserves remain a boon, energy buyers should also consider the various upside risks in the market and consider locking in prices that are very attractive.

Federal grants awarded for training programs

Federal grants awarded for training programs

Posted on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:36


Federal grants totaling $474.5 million were awarded to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers.

The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade, according to the Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

The 57 grants will support 190 projects in at least 183 schools in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The grants will expand programs in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care.

All course materials developed using these public funds will be available through the Open Educational Resources initiative so that others can access and build on successful training models. The U.S. Department of Commerce is also encouraging employers to collaborate with local colleges eligible for funding through this program.

“Community colleges play a vital role in training Americans to meet the needs of employers today,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “As our economy continues to rebuild, businesses are looking for employees with the skills their company needs to stay competitive, and America’s students and adult workers want to be equipped to fill those roles. These grants help to meet those demands, providing critical investments in education and supporting key partnerships.”

The grants include 20 awards to community college and university consortia totaling $377,452,319 and 23 awards to individual institutions totaling $61,943,218. Fourteen states and territories, which were not funded through the competitive award process, will develop a qualifying project and receive an approximately $2.5 million grant.

Grantees will use these funds to transform the way they schedule, sequence and deliver education and training programs that can be completed in two years or less. A variety of activities will be made possible, including the hiring or training instructors to expand capacity to offer in-demand courses or certifications, leveraging online learning to accelerate skills attainment, developing new curricula and training models to add additional classes and certifications, purchasing new equipment to ensure students train on what employers actually use, designing new programs based on the input and needs of local employers, and expanding career pathways in which stackable credentials are linked to industry skills and lead participants to higher-skill jobs.

For information, visit

Greenbuild Nation Comes to Philadelphia

Greenbuild Nation Comes to Philadelphia

The industry’s biggest conference comes to Philadelphia to showcase the best of green building possibilities.


November 4, 2013

In 2013, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, will welcome thousands of global leaders in sustainability from Nov. 20-22 for the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo—the world’s largest and most influential conference and expo dedicated to green building.

The LEED Gold-certified Pennsylvania Convention Center is the perfect setting to connect with green building colleagues and learn from international representatives from around the world.

Three days of extensive educational programming, workshops, a vast exhibition floor and ample networking events will provide unrivaled opportunities to learn about the latest technological innovations, explore new products and exchange ideas with other professionals.

Year after year, Greenbuild brings together industry leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building in their everyday work, and it sparks a unique energy. The ideals and passion of the green building community come alive, participants are invigorated and inspired, and they find themselves equipped to return to their jobs with a renewed purpose.

We anticipate that 30,000 attendees from 90 countries will join this year’s event, featuring nearly 900 exhibitors with green product and service innovations and more than 100 educational sessions.

In 2013, Greenbuild proves that the green building movement is global, and the good we are working for is universal. Although USGBC’s actions are local and regional, its impact is worldwide, and today it is united behind a shared sense of how a sustainable built environment can contribute to a healthy, prosperous future.

Whatever your story, your background or your nationality, you are a citizen of our planet, a citizen of our community, and a citizen of Greenbuild Nation—together reaching across borders to build a better tomorrow.

Sights Set on Green

Why did we choose Philadelphia for Greenbuild 2013? We are eager to show the world, sustainability advocates and the green building industry that Philadelphia is truly a leader in the sustainability movement, thanks to its policy leadership and environmentally friendly culture.

Aiming to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the U.S. by 2015, the mayor’s office has set an ambitious standard for other cities to follow. Coined Greenworks Philadelphia, this standard encompasses more than 150 initiatives and goals in five areas—energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement—and it has been designed to help create jobs in the emerging green economy and reduce the city’s environmental footprint.

Celebrate 20, Take an Insider’s Look and Get Educated

Need to be convinced why you should attend Greenbuild? This year promises to be noteworthy as we celebrate the U.S. Green Building Council’s 20th anniversary and convene for a tribute to our past and inspiration for the work we have left to do. The stage is set to get re-energized and refocused, and we are confident that now is the time to create and identify solutions for the future.

Additionally, in 2013, you’re invited to take an insider’s look into LEED v4 and to get educated.

Every year, Greenbuild is the place to learn about the changes in our rapidly evolving green building industry. This year Greenbuild will be the first place to learn about LEED v4, the next version of LEED set to launch at the conference. Since 2000, the LEED green building program has been transforming the marketplace to promote and embrace sustainable building design, construction and operations practices. At Greenbuild, attendees will have the opportunity to understand how LEED is evolving, and USGBC will also offer the latest in LEED education.

Finally, Greenbuild is a one-stop-shop for credential maintenance, with many opportunities to earn continuing education hours. With more than 100 education sessions, workshops and tours, professionals will be able to fulfill their credential maintenance for the year and earn up to 15 continuing education credits toward their LEED Green Associate, LEED Accredited Professional and other industry credentials.

Visit to learn more and register.