In the land of urban myths, it’s often said that building energy codes are bad for business. Energy codes, which in Georgia are adopted at the state level, require developers to spend time and materials upfront to ensure new and renovated buildings will be super-efficient.
Protecting our children and future generations from the impacts of extreme weather like droughts, floods and hurricanes caused by climate change is not as politically partisan as some would have you believe. Recent polls have shown that 70 percent of Americans see climate change as a serious problem, and a vast majority of the American public favors government action to address it .
The degradation of our environment has become a subject of worldwide concern as the world’s population increasingly gets sensitization to the need to reduce pollution and conserve natural resources.
The question of who should be accountable has arisen. Multinational corporations such as oil companies take a lot out of the earth and in return, surrounding communities are the ones that suffer. Likewise, trees and animals that thrive on government owned land are at risk because governments can decide to clear the land at any time.
When Carol and I located our family to Georgia in 2007, we wanted to participate in the business of bringing solar to Georgia. We wanted to take a different tack than purely an environmental focus. We sought to celebrate the jobs and economic value of solar and energy efficiency for that is the other half of the story. We wanted to engage a Georgia builder, and settled on S+R Homes, a company started by Georgia Tech graduates. Although S+R Homes is one of the larger builders in the Atlanta area, they have been very accommodating to our ideas and have worked diligently with us to provide us with the time, energy, and guidance we have needed to make this house a reality. S+R Homes has collaborated with our roofer and solar contractor to help us get the solar mounts and electrical conduits put in place before the insulation and drywall were installed. Their proactive client approach has saved us an amount we estimate could be $1,000 or more with the ability to complete the added preparation now rather than having to wait until the house is built.
We heard this refrain, in various forms, from the very beginning of our time stewarding Ray’s legacy here at the Foundation. Each time it was echoed, we first felt humbled. What an amazing honor it is to have someone want Ray’s memory preserved in this manner!
A new “poll,” with some state-by-state results, is part of a larger, polluter-coordinated, national disinformation campaign to keep our air dirty, our health in jeopardy and our country paralyzed in the face of real and growing threats from climate change. It won't work. Why?
Optimizing the Bottom Line
On my 56th birthday, in December, 2014, we broke ground on our next solar zero energy home. This time we will build a home in northern Forsyth County near Cumming, Georgia. For the last seven years, after we had moved and sold our zero energy home in Virginia (dubbed ”The Solar Patriot” – www.philosenergy.org/Domestic-Consulting-Services.html ), we have stayed out of the home market in Georgia while we watched the real estate market slowly return to normal. We had always planned to rebuild once we understood the Georgia market better. Our desire is to prove that it is possible to build a similarly sized zero energy home that would be well-designed and could be a popular choice for many more families desiring to streamline their energy use and save on their total cost of ownership. We are leveraging our prior experience in Virginia and our new understanding of the Georgia market to build this new solar zero energy home, in which the energy consumed balances out with the energy produced.
As the Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) for over 20 years, I pride myself and the organization in our capacity to work collaboratively with utilities and decision makers to achieve strong results. SACE has a long history working with utilities in all of our Southeastern states, and we have achieved some positive outcomes examples here, here, and here and developed some strong relationships over the years.
Of course, collaboration requires that all parties are willing to engage in a serious and mutually respectful relationship. My colleagues at SACE and I take our role as advocates for clean energy very seriously, and when we engage with utilities and decision makers, we show up in a professional and respectful way. We know that this is the best way to achieve positive results, and we expect the same of our counterparts at the region’s utilities.
But Major Perception “Gender Gap” About SRI Seen Among Brokers, Investment Advisors; Broad Agreement Found that “Millennial Investors” Will Require Major Changes by Financial Industry
When it comes to perceptions among financial professionals about sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, according to the findings of the first annual “First Affirmative Survey on the Views of Financial Professionals About SRI” released today by First Affirmative Financial Network. The major new survey also finds stronger-than-expected acceptance by financial professionals of offering SRI options to investors and a widespread view that the financial industry will need to change to accommodate the needs of “Millennial Investors.”
September 3, 2014, marks two important 50th anniversaries: the signing of the Wilderness Act and the establishment of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since President Lyndon Johnson signed both pieces of legislation in 1964, Americans in all 50 states, across thousands of rural and urban communities, have reaped the benefits of accessible outdoor recreation opportunities and protected natural areas.