Thursday, July 21, 2011

Maryland adopts International Green Building Code

In 2009, the International Code Council launched the development of a new International Green Construction Code (IgCC) initiative, subtitled “Safe and Sustainable: By the Book,” committed to developing a model code focused on new and existing commercial buildings addressing green building design and performance.

Maryland will be the first state to adopt this new green building code in 2012.

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) acts in conjunction with other existing codes, such as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Features of the new code include:

-a Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI), which requires buildings to use no more than 51% of the energy allowed in the 2000 IECC.

-a 20% water savings beyond US federal standards for residential water closets.

-the addition of appliance information, radon mitigation, and commissioning documentation to ensure the health and safety of building occupants

-land use regulations that address flood risk, greenfields preservation, use of turf grass, and minimum landfill diversion requirements

The IgCC is sponsored by the AIA, ASHRAE, USGBC, and IES. It includes the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 (the successor to ASHRAE 90.1-2007) as a jurisdictional requirement option.

The public comment period ends 12 August 2011, and final action will take place on 6 Nov 2011. The IgCC will be fully integrated into the existing International Code Council (ICC) code family in early 2012. It will take effect in Maryland on 1 March 2012; adoption will be voluntary.

Visit to download IgCC public version 2.0

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don't repeal the bulb act!

Next week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the "BULB Act" (H.R. 91), which would repeal the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that Congress enacted in 2007, standards that are already helping American households save money every month on their energy bills. Let your Representative know that you oppose the repeal of this energy- and money-saving legislation.

Tell your Representative to oppose the BULB Act or other bills that repeal light bulb energy efficiency standards!

More Options, Better Bulbs, Less Energy Used

Proponents of the BULB Act claim the standards they want to repeal amount to a light bulb "ban" that limits consumers' choices. That couldn't be further from the truth.

The Facts:

• Incandescent bulbs aren't getting banned... in fact, they are getting better. Manufacturers are already making a variety of new energy-saving bulbs for homes, including more efficient incandescent bulbs.

• The new incandescent bulbs look, light, and turn on exactly like the bulbs we have been using for decades, but are 28 to 33 percent more energy efficient and are available in stores now.

• Consumers aren't required to "retire" bulbs or to purchase only CFL or LED light bulbs ---- consumers can use existing bulbs until they burn out and when a bulb burns out consumers can choose between efficient incandescent lamps or even more efficient CFL or LED light bulb options.

• The lighting industry supports this standard, along with efficiency, consumer, and environmental advocates.

Energy-efficient lighting saves consumers money, creates jobs, and benefits the environment. At a time when families are struggling with high energy costs, efficient lighting will save the average American family $50-100 every year on the electric bill (about $12 billion nationwide), and save enough energy annually to power all the homes in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Phasing-in energy-efficient light bulbs means more choices and more ways to save on energy. We urge you to write your Representative and let him/her know you strongly oppose repeal of the light bulb efficiency standards.

Tell your Representative to oppose the BULB Act and similar bills!

Thank you for your support!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is your city sustainable?

“The battle to prevent catastrophic climate change will be won or lost in our cities…” (C40 Cities Initiative)

Several studies about “climate-ready” or “resilient” cities have been in the news this week. These rankings are based on factors such as:

• political commitment
• LEED-certified buildings per capita
• university leadership
• transit access/use per capita
• clean tech investment
• energy and GHG emissions

Read on for links to these articles, and the top ten city rankings by geographic area.

U.S. city rankings by CO2 Impact:
10. Chicago
9. San Jose
8. Philadelphia
7. New York
6. San Diego
5. Denver
4. Washington, DC
3. Portland Oregon
2. Seattle
1. San Francisco

U.S. & Canada rankings posted by the NRDC:

1. San Francisco
2. Vancouver
3. New York City
4. Seattle
5. Denver

Global rankings by CO2 impact:
10. Tokyo, Japan
9. London, UK
8. New York, USA
7. San Francisco, USA
6. Paris, France
5. Vancouver, Canada
4. Stockholm, Sweden
3. Barcelona, Spain
2. Curitiba, Brazil
1. Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Learn about sustainable agriculture from Heifer International

More on sustainable food & farming from

You can join a group interactive program on sustainable farming and development at one of their farms in the USA, or join an international study tour.

The farm closest to Baltimore is in Sharpsburg, MD:

Heifer global village at Shepherd's Spring

Another farm with a food course:
Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass  
Harvest Time:  Immerse yourself in this course on food systems, sustainable agriculture and self-reliance techniques.
October 9-12 (co-ed) or 13-16 (women only)

And here are some books on the topic of preserving produce...

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Canning for a New Generation...

The Complete Book of Pickling

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It...

Wild Fermentation...