New Incentives for Energy Efficiency, Electrification and Renewable Energy through the Inflation Reduction Act!
The 2022 federal Inflation Reduction Act (Public Law 117-169, 136 Stat. 1818, August 16, 2022) included a significant investment in clean energy and climate action. As it was passed through the budgetary reconciliation process, there is no regulatory component, only funding to incentivize energy efficiency and the transition of the energy market from fossil fuels to renewable energy. What does that mean for you? These funds will be available for 10 years. Now is the time to take advantage of these significant tax credits and rebates to improve the efficiency of your home and/or transition your home, business or vehicle to electric to save money and energy! Rewiring America estimates that the average home that transitions to all-electric saves about $1800/year! * Learn more here!
New spreadsheet of Energy Star Refrigerators with Low Global Warming Potential (GWP) Refrigerant Sold at Home Depot
Our new intern, Mikhail Johnson, has created a new spreadsheet of refrigerators that are available through the local Home Depot that use the refrigerant R-600A. This refrigerant has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 3 as opposed to R-134a that has a GWP of 1430, or 410A which has a GWP of 2,088. (Carbon dioxide has a GWP of 1).
Builders for Climate Action offers New Carbon Accounting Software and Classes
Did you know that the energy used to produce building materials causes almost 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions? Or that it is possible to use building materials that actually store carbon in the building and are carbon negative? The embodied carbon of materials is the focus of the organization Builders for Climate Action. They have created a new tool for carbon accounting called BEAM.
BEAM is a free and easy to use tool for assessing the carbon footprint of your building materials and understanding the best ways to reduce your climate footprint. Builders for Climate Action will be offering trainings on BEAM in September and October, 2022.
Building Division approves Hydraloop
The Coconino County Building Division has found that Hydraloop complies with building codes for the purpose of treating gray water from showers, baths, washing machines and air conditioners for reuse in toilet flushing, clothes washing and irrigation.
Hydraloop is a certified innovative water recycling system that collects 85 % of all in-house water - from showers, baths, washing machines and air conditioning. After treatment, Hydraloop water is clean, clear and safe and disinfected. Hydraloop water meets the highest international standards, like EU and NSF. It can be utilized for several purposes, like toilet flushing, irrigation of gardens, topping off swimming pools and cleaning.
2022 Updated Checklists
The sustainable building team has finalized new 2022 checklists. The New Construction, Retrofit/Addition and Commercial checklists have all been updated. The main changes are:
- Greater Stringency- The previous version of the checklist included some items that are now in the building code. Those items now require above-code levels to receive points and other items have also been made more stringent.
- Level Determination- The previous version of the checklist assigned certification level based on the total number of points the project earned. The new checklist utilizes the percentage of applicable points the project achieves. A good example of why this change was made is the certification of a tiny house on wheels. For a project like this, all the points assigned to the project’s site are not applicable, as there is no site. In this case, the old checklist would essentially penalize the project for not having a site. Working with only applicable points gives staff greater flexibility in working with the diverse projects we encounter in a way that is fair to all participants.
- House Size- Like Zero Energy Ready Homes, we have decided to require a higher percentage of points for each certification level for larger houses (see first page of the checklist). Larger houses require more materials to build, use more energy to heat and light and have a greater carbon footprint and we wanted the checklist to reflect this.
- Fundamental Elements- This section in the checklist has been updated from including the most basic and easy-to-achieve elements, to those that are most important to the sustainability of a residence. In this section, points may be subtracted if the square footage of turf, local economy or home occupancy guidelines are not met.
- New Landscaping Section- Previously, many projects received significant points in the landscaping section by not disturbing the existing site, but also not implementing best practices. Now, some points are available for preservation of site vegetation outside of the construction zone, but the landscaping section is devoted to actively working to promote native species and pollinator habitat through low-water usage strategies.
Carbon Smart Distinction
As part of CCSBP’s Climate Initiative, the checklist now includes items pertaining to the carbon footprint of the building. Points can be earned through means such as including carbon sequestering materials, utilizing life-cycle analysis tools and buying carbon offsets. Participants receiving a certain percentage of these applicable items (collected on a separate Carbon Smart checklist) will receive a Carbon Smart Distinction.
See our new infographic about Carbon Smart construction!
Northern Arizona Solar Co-op
Interested in solar but worried about the cost? Join your neighbors in the Northern Arizona Solar Co-op and see the benefit of group pricing!
The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Flagstaff, Sedona, Coconino County, and surrounding Northern Arizona communities. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a discounted group price.
Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.
After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. SUN provides guidance on the process but remains vendor neutral, empowering the co-op members to decide.
While the first group has closed, you can sign up on the waitlist for the next group.
Learn more about the co-op and join here.
User Guide for Potable Rainwater Harvesting
The County’s new Sustainability Aide, Marty Johnson completed a User Guide for Potable Rainwater Harvesting. This project was originally started by one of the Sustainable Building Program’s previous interns, Nichole Gregory. The guide is meant to help folks understand the ordinance for potable rainwater collection and the components of designing and installing a rainwater harvesting system for potable uses such as drinking, bathing and cooking.
Green Features Now Part of the Multiple Listing Service!
One of the important ways to increase the valuation of sustainable homes in the real estate market is through capturing green building features accurately during real estate transactions. A tool for doing this is the inclusion of green data fields in the Multiple Listing Service. Now, through the hard work of the Northern Arizona Association of REALTORS® (NAAR), our regional MLS has been "greened"! The new green fields went live in November 2019. These fields include everything from Green Label Plus carpeting to third-party certification and everything in between. You can see the added fields in this NAAR Residential Input Form- the green features are signified by a green leaf. A green MLS is a great tool for increasing valuation of sustainable homes because it makes green features of homes visible in the marketplace so buyers can make decisions with them in mind. As part of this effort, NAAR has also developed a Green Disclosure Form. This form can be provided by the seller to the buyer during the sale process to disclose all of the green features of the home.
We appreciate all of NAAR’s work in updating the MLS to capture information on green features, thereby increasing sustainable home values in our community!
New Substantive Policy for the Construction of Greenhouses
Coconino County Community Development has approved a substantive policy for the construction of greenhouses. This policy will allow for the construction of a greenhouse without a permit as long as it is 400 sf or less, built with lightweight framing, wall heights do not exceed 8 feet with a maximum roof peak of 15 feet, and no plumbing, electrical or mechanical is installed with the exception of a standpipe. See the full policy here.
Incentives for Green Realtor Certification
The Sustainable Building Program recently began an initiative to promote higher valuation of high performance and sustainable buildings within the local real estate market. We have been hearing from some contractors who are certifying their projects through the Program that the added investment in building high performance homes is not being reflected in appraisal values. One of the goals of the initiative is to increase the number of local real estate professionals that have green designation. If you are a realtor, consider green designation! Click here to see our incentives for green designation. Find more information on the National Association of Realtors Green Designation on their website.
Sustainable Building Program Newsletter
Subscribe to the newsletter to learn more about sustainable building topics, current happenings in the Program, projects that are going through the certification process as well as announcements of events related to sustainable building. See and example newsletter here.
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