- 10 Ways To Get Involved
The Committee is composed of a Chair, Jesus “Andy” Garay, who is a member of the Chapter’s Governing Board, and at large members including: Fernando Abruña, Francisco Castañer, Brenda Martínez, Vincent Pieri, and Jose Torres.
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The Chapter’s primary contact for Public Policy and Advocacy initiatives is the Advocacy Committee Chair, Jesus Garay. We are available to make presentations about our organization’s mission to private and governmental groups.
Mission: This committee is focused on proposing, monitoring and advancing state and local green building policy for a more sustainable built environment by fostering social equity, transparency and inclusiveness.
Vision: Establishing relationships with public officials at the state and local level, actively following legislation moving in the state capital, and addressing public issues through governmental, private institutions and community groups.
Focus: The Committee is particularly interested in legislative projects related to energy conservation and renewable energy sources, LEED design and construction incentives and other issues promoting sustainable development.
Local Priorities: USGBC 2013 Initiatives:
- Green Buildings for Climate Protection Benchmarking
- Sustainable Cities and Communities Data on Building Energy Consumption
- Green Schools Green Real Estate Master Listing Services
- Green Affordable Housing Build Better Codes
o Activate, develop and maintain alliances and coalitions with groups that share our commitment to improve the health and well-being of humans and all life through creative engagement
o Facilitate, foster and grow new alliances.
o Collaborate with other committees and with relevant social justice and quality of life initiatives to integrate the theories and practices of social and economic justice with those of sustainable buildings by providing training, resources, and communications support
o Educate building designers, owners and users about the role of the built environment in climate change and resource depletion and the tools available to reduce carbon foot prints
o Advocate public policy agenda that ensures that the benefits of green building become available to currently underserved populations.
2012 Report :
Cool Cities Along with Jesus A. Garay, Brenda Martinez, and Fernando Abruña, our Chapter continues to have a leading role in the Sierra Club’s Cool Cities Project.
- A Model Municipal Ordinance, using LEED Standards, was presented to 9 municipalities in 2012.
- 22 municipalities have signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
- 3 of those 22, have passed municipal legislation adopting LEED as their sustainable guidelines for municipal buildings and/or to seek LEED certification of its buildings.
Government Affairs & Energy Efficiency With PR Energy Affairs Administration (PREEA) we promote and expand the alliance between the EAA and the USGBC- US Caribbean Chapter and serve as consultants in their State Energy programs.
- Vincent Pieri, Fernando Abruña, Brenda Martinez, Jesus Garay, and several other chapter members contributed in several of the State Energy programs such as EECBG, Weatherization, Sun Energy, Wind Energy, and Green Energy.
- Several state government buildings were retrofitted for energy efficiency with the help of chapter members, particularly Vincent Pieri and Fernando Abruña.
- One particular building was the “Cuartel de Ballaja”, a historic building seeking LEED EB: O&M certification. t has a 150 kW PV system, and a green roof, among its green building strategies.
- Another such building is the “WAP Training Center/PREAA”.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program is expected to provide annual savings of $818,952.15 dollars, 3.03 MWh of electricity, 4,653,367 lbs. of CO2 and 1,748 oil barrels in Puerto Rico
WAP The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) o With the help of Brenda Martinez and other chapter members, the State WAP program helped close to 15,000 homes to be weatherized. o The average investment per household: $4,200. The average annual savings per unit: 1140 kWh. The average annual savings resulting from the program: 17.1 million kWh. Jobs created: 301 direct; 150 indirect
Land Use Plan
Fernando Abruña worked with the Puerto Rico Architects and Landscape Architects Association’s to develop a Conceptual Land Use Plan to be presented to the community at large.
We continue to collaborate so that a Land Use Plan be made public very soon.
Green Codes, Standards & Guidelines Puerto Rico adopted the International Construction Codes and has created a new Green Permit law to provide incentives for green building projects.
o To educate the design and construction professionals in the new codes and the new green permits system, Jesus Garay and Francisco Castañer, under Vincent Pieri’s leadership, prepared a curriculum concerning greening the codes, standards and guidelines, such as LEED, the IGCC, and the new Green permits.
o Vincent Pieri met with the Education directors of both the college of Architects and the college of Engineers to coordinate the training sessions.
o As of Jan. 1st of 2011, the adopted codes and standards establish minimum design and construction requirements to build an energy efficient structure. Commercial structures to have energy savings equal or greater than those established by ASHRAE 90.1-2007 and Residential structures to have energy savings equal or greater than those established by IECC 2009. These codes will make structures 35% more efficient.
State and Local Advocacy
The Advocacy committee continues actively participating as part of the PR Conservation Trust committee “Puerto Rico Brilla Naturalmente”, a Dark Sky Pollution Prevention initiative for Puerto Rico.
- A Dark Sky Code has been approved, under the leadership of the Conservation Trust through its “Puerto Rico Brilla Naturalmente” committee and with our participation.
- Amendments to the existing Dark Sky law were approved with the endorsement of a wide segment of the government and related professional and scientific communities.
- These amendments were presented to the Natural Resources committee of the Senate of Puerto Rico.
- Our Chapter presented its points of view through a presentation by Fernando Abruña.
- A Model Municipal Ordinance was drafted using LEED Standards.
- Recommendations for the mitigation of light pollution at the Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques Island were also prepared by Fernando Abruña.
A NEW CODE FOR ENERGY-EFFICIENT CONSTRUCTION
- Our efforts to promote the adoption of the International Building Code locally have been successful. The Energy Affairs Administration adopted the code for Puerto Rico.
- The recently enacted Puerto Rico Building Energy Conservation Code incentivizes adoption of renewable energy by requiring new buildings to contain hookups to renewable- energy systems and solar water heaters.
- It also mandates ceiling and window treatments and materials aimed at keeping homes cooler.
- The code is aimed at reducing overall costs over the life of a building, but up-front costs will go up. While Bernal and his team say the cost increases will be in the neighborhood of 5%, industry officials fear they could reach 15% or more.
- The additional costs, plus the need to train a range of professionals in the new requirements and techniques, are behind the decision to phase in the new rules over several years, with the code setting a target of 90% compliance by new building projects that meet the energy standards by March 2017.
- The new Energy Code will begin to apply to new schools and government buildings in 2013, then will take effect for housing and institutional projects the following year.
- Utilities and commercial operations will kick in come 2015, followed by business and residential projects in 2016.
- The new regulations are part of a requirement that jurisdictions benefiting from ARRA funding must bring local codes up to American Society of Heating, Refrigeration& Air-Conditioning Engineers and International Energy Conservation Code standards, Bernal said.
- The code requires the use of materials, including tinted windows and new roofing materials, to reflect heat off a building and to prevent heat from entering, to keep them cooler inside.
- It also requires increased sealing to improve efficiency of air-conditioning and other units, as well as keep outside air from entering a room.
- Other provisions require the use of energy-saving bulbs in 50% of all lights, which would cut consumption by 70%, as well as outlets and receptacles for renewable-energy systems.
Did you know? 29 States Have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) Requiring utilities a minimum percentage of power be generated from renewable sources. Many states in the U.S. have taken the lead in developing and implementing innovative programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Coastal states are concerned about the impacts of rising sea levels, whereas agricultural states in the central U.S. are concerned about the losses to their agricultural based economies. Arid western states are concerned about the impacts of longer and more severe droughts. Moreover, some states see the promotion and development of “green” technologies and renewable energy sources as a potential source of jobs and economic development.
Policies at the state level include a combination of voluntary and mandatory approaches to greenhouse gas reduction.
Puerto Rico Recycling Partnership.
- Together with the Environmental Protection Agency, the USGBC-U.S. Caribbean Chapter presented a grant proposal to provide job training for brownfield workforce using LEED Standards. The advocacy chair is a member of the Government Affairs committee of the PRRP, to promote LEED Material & Resources guidelines for its implementation on the PRRP initiatives
PR Wind Alliance
- This public/private alliance between the USGBC Caribbean and the Energy Affairs Administration will promote the development of wind energy projects in our island.
- The PR Wind Alliance was duly incorporated and its Board of Directors constituted with their approved by laws and regulations. The Advocacy Chair is a member of that founding board of directors.
- A national symposium on Wind Generators and Eolic Energy is programed to take place in 2014.
ACT NO. 82. JULY 19, 2010.
- Created the “Puerto Rico Energy Diversification through Sustainable and Alternative Renewable Energy Policy Act;” lay down rules to foster the generation of renewable energy, in accordance with short-, medium-, and long-term compulsory goals, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard;
- Created the Puerto Rico Renewable Energy Commission as the identity in charge of overseeing compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standard hereby established and clarify its duties;
- Clarify the duties of the Administration of Energy Affairs in relation to the Commission and the Renewable Portfolio Standard; and other related purposes.
Ley Núm. 29 de 2012: Dark Sky Law – See “Puerto Rico Brilla Naturalmente” Above.
GREEN ENERGY FUND http://www.prgef.com/ResourcesAndForms.aspx The “Puerto Rico Green Energy Incentives Act” of 2010 created the Green Energy Fund (GEF) to increase green energy production and promote sustainability in Puerto Rico.
- Through the GEF, the Government of Puerto Rico will co-invest up to $290 million in the development of renewable energy projects on the island.
- Starting July 1, 2011, $20 million will be allocated to the GEF; funding then escalates to $40 million by fiscal year 2017.
- INCENTIVES. The Green Energy Fund offers rebates of up to 60% of the eligible costs for Tier 1 (0-100 kW) projects and up to 50% for Tier 2 (101 kW – 1 MW) projects.
- Tier 1 rebates for each funding cycle will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis while Tier 2 rebates will be awarded through a quarterly competitive process.
- Eligible technologies and the methodology to calculate the incentive amount are presented in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Reference Guides
Natural Reserve of the Ecological Corridor of the Northeast (CEN) Law No. 126 of June, 25 2012
This measure declares and designates as nature reserve all public land and patrimonial belonging or managed by any agency, public corporation, or instrumentality of the Government of Puerto Rico in the area of the Northeast ecological corridor (CEN). It declares as public policy the preservation, conservation and restoration of all of its land. It protects those lands within the NEC that are of public domain, which comprise 1,957 acres (792 hectares), or two-thirds of its original designation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Ecological_Corridor)
Act Núm. 276 de 29 de septiembre de 2012
Law for the intelligent infrastructure development in Puerto Rico (Smartgrowth).
Ley Núm. 83-2010: Ley de Incentivos para Energía Verde”
It creates the Fund for green energy (FEV), whereby the Government of Puerto Rico will invest $290 million in projects of renewable energy for the next 10 years; initially allocating some $20millones, from the 1st of July 2011.
FEV provides flexibility to the Government establish new incentives and/or new investment programs in the future.
The law provides several tax benefits for companies engaged in the production of renewable energy on a commercial scale
Ley Núm. 201 del 16 de diciembre de 2010
Law to declare public policy on the adoption of the concept of complete streets or “Complete Streets”
2013 USGBC Advocacy Priorities
- Leadership with LEED Campaign – Advocate for state and local governments to embrace and reward green building leadership through policy that promotes and incentivizes the use of LEED as a benchmarking tool for new and existing commercial and residential buildings, and that also adopts LEED by example for state-owned, -operated and -funded buildings.
- Highlight Green Homes Campaign – Advocate for upgrading of the Multiple Listing Service in your community and state by working with realtor associations to guarantee that home buyers, sellers and appraisers have what they need to ensure fair value for good, green homes.
- Improve Energy Data Access Campaign – Advocate for public policy that breaks down one of the biggest barriers to investment in building energy efficiency in multi-tenant buildings by demanding building energy data access from utilities for all buildings.
- Mainstream Building Benchmarking – Advocate for state and municipal government policy that requires commercial buildings (at a minimum) to benchmark energy and water consumption so that building efficiency sand inefficiencies may be seen in plain view by owners, managers and potential buyers.
- Build Better Codes – Advocate for state and local government adoption of building energy codes and, where sustainability planning is demanding more, state and local governments should consider the adoption of code language from new national model codes and standards (particularly the Standard 189.1 compliance option of the International Green Construction Code).
- Value Healthy and Efficient Affordable Housing – Advocate for the adoption of greener building practices by Housing Finance Authorities, Public Housing Authorities and the projects that they fund – such as recognizing LEED in the established scoring systems for competitively awarded loans for affordable housing developments.
- Establish Common Ground around Green Schools – Advocate for green schools as a part of the Center for Green Schools’ 2012 platform focus of highlighting common ground among lawmakers across the political spectrum –widening the tent for the green building movement and removing partisan politics from the advancement of schools that create a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money.
Volunteer! To join the Advocacy committee contact: firstname.lastname@example.org