city green building, Zero Energy Buildings and home energy improvement programs

Many city governments have the means to influence the energy consumption of new buildings; or the means to promote local solar projects and Zero Energy Building programs... Rate your city green building (and home improvement) programs.

Cities with the Best Green Building Programs

Reducing electricity and gas consumption in our cities is not just a way to lower energy bills. It’s also a way to reduce gas emissions, improving air quality and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

The buildings in which we live and work can consume 50% or more of the global energy, and are responsible for an almost similar percentage of gas emissions.

Buildings are the greatest consumers of gas and electricity and - consequently - a major source of CO2 emissions. But it hasn't to be that way… Energy-efficient buildings can reduce energy consumption and emissions to a small percentage. Buildings can be Energy Zero - that's not a distant dream way, and it hasn't to be too costly.

For a list of awarded cities, see:
Cities with Great Green Building Programs

Tell your Mayor

Tell your mayor that you support efforts to rein in energy wasting in your city.

See: Take Action; Tell Your Mayor

Scoring your City Government home Improvement Programs Performance

Local governments have the power to influence the energy consumption of new buildings by setting stringent energy codes; or the power to promote solar projects and inform residents on the benefits of low-energy consumption building; or the power to promote green builders, designers and architects…

Local governments should be evaluated on what they are doing on these and other similar areas.

And that’s the goal of the evaluation tool we describe in this page. That’s mostly a tool for local governments, and a challenge to them.

It comprises ten topic areas, and you may tell us about your city positive rating; we will add your city to the Cities with The Best Green Programs page.

evaluation cityRating
Your City Green Building Programs

 

10 Areas; Each area score: 0-10 points
Total: 0-100 points

1 Information & Green Builders, Architects and Designers & Awards

Home energy improvement information provided by the city to its residents; awards or incentives to green builders, architects and designers.

Is your city providing information to help individuals make informed decisions regarding low-energy improvements and conservation upgrades? How good are your city departments at informing residents about how to conserve energy? New building and home improvements are littered with misconceptions; the Golden Rule of Low-Energy Buildings is unknown to residents in general.
Is your city recommending energy-efficient retrofits for residential housing?
Does your city have any program or awards for green home builders, designers and architects? Most builders aren't knowledge enough or informed about new materials and new building methods and standards. Many of them ignore passive solar construction and Zero Energy Buildings; and the same goes for designers and architects. Something that city authorities should try to reverse by promoting local awareness and eductation…

Score of this area: 0-10 points

2 Stringent Low-Energy standards for new buildings

Aggressive low-energy standards for new buildings; green building standards

Construction codes often fall short of the desirable levels of insulation and sealing, and do not introduce stringent rules on reflective roofs and lighting systems, or ignore the quality of the windows and the use of green materials.
Does your city require aggressive low-energy standards for new buildings? Does it have Green Building Standards/Zero Energy Buildings standards?
See, for examples: California Building Efficiency Standards and National USA Institute of Building Sciences. See: Zero Energy Buildings

Score of this area: 0-10 points

3 Urban planning & Landscaping

Urban planning should promote a correct orientation of buildings to the sun and elements, and a proper design, shape and size.

Urban planning departments play an important role in leading and guiding the use of the land and development, and should be guided by green approaches.
The home’s siting and its shape, design and orientation to the sun, wind and breezes are critical for low energy consumption. And urban planning should promote it.

Score of this area: 0-10 points

4 Programs and initiatives on Home Energy Improvements

Green building laws on home energy improvement (and natural cooling and alternatives to air conditioning, in hot climates).

Many cities are passing advanced green building laws. They may require that new construction and major renovations meet green certifications or, for instance, the implementation of reflective roofs.

Score of this area: 0-10 points

5 energy Improvement of existing buildings through weatherization and other means

Weatherization programs for existing buildings; other similar programs

Is your city promoting weatherization programs? Does it have low-cost and flexible loans or other incentives to home insulation and sealing projects?
Investing in energy efficiency is the single best investment any homeowner can make, in most climates.

Score of this area: 0-10 points

6 Energy Improvements in existing public, Business and other non-residential buildings.

New construction and major renovations of public buildings should meet green certifications and Zero Energy Building standards

Does you city require that all new government buildings meet green certifications?
Does your city have large scale programs designed to retrofit their public buildings?
An example: the RE:FIT program, implemented by the city of London, involving four hundred public buildings; the RE:FIT program encourages energy-improvement retrofits of public buildings through low cost, flexible loans for energy-saving projects, ranging from fire stations to structures like the Royal Botanic Garden.
See: Zero Energy Building & Local Governments

Score of this area: 0-10 points

7 Local renewable energy generation

Solar or other renewable energy generation programs

Many cities have the means to expand local market for solar energy or other renewable sources of energy, and to make them cost-competitive.

See, for instance, the example of Philadelphia, and its Solar City Partnership (it will generate 57.8 MW of solar electricity by 2021).

Score of this area: 0-10 points

8 Funding programs

Cities may have the capacity to leverage state, federal and local funds. They can blend public and private capital, and make it available to help businesses finance low-energy building projects and home improvements or even Zero Energy Buildings.

Score of this area: 0-10 points

9 Energy auditing and rating

Energy audits and energy rating programs

How many hundreds or thousands of buildings are receiving energy audits in your city? That’s important to assess how many buildings are being or need to be rettrofited.
All city buildings (residential and non-residential, public and private) should be rated, based on their energy consumption per square foot, or other similar criteria. That’s a way of comparing buildings in the same climate zone and neighborhoods, and the basis for the implementation of energy improvement programs. 
The city of Austin has the most well known auditing system worldwide. Homes and buildings are rated from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the highest rating (buildings incorporating high environmental and energy-saving features). See this Austin city document.

Score of this area: 0-10 points

10 Green building practices

Green practices: waste management, air quality, urban transportation, landscaping…

There are many areas with an indirect impact on the energy consumption of buildings. That’s the case of energy-efficient landscaping: trees can make temperatures more comfortable and heating and cooling costs lower, besides contributing to carbon sequestration, less air pollution, etc.).

Grand Total 10 Areas: 0-100 points

 

101 Ideas

About to build a new home?

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See also:
Tell your Mayor You Support Green Building
Cities with High Great Green Building Programs

 

 

 

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