Maryland Green Building Network
January 9, 2001 – 6:30–8:30 pm
Chesapeake Bay Program Office – Annapolis, MD
Wendy Bratzel, Ecological Design Assoc.
David Brosch, Baltimore DNCD
Jessica Burgard, Design Collective
Mare Cromwell, Cirque Sustainability
Jason Fisher, Aurora Energy
Stephen Gilliss, MD-DGS
Janet Harrison, AIA COTE
Melanie Hartwig-Davis, COTE
John Hawk, USNA
Bion Howard, B.E.S.T.
Paul Hughes, Environmental Services
Sigi Koko, Down to Earth
Tom Liebel, Design Collective
Sean McGuire, GBN Coordinator
Jonathan Meyer, Meyer Sons Builders
Tuck Powers, MNCPPC
Bill Reed, Natural Logic
Charlie Schlauch, GHK Associates
Katrin Scholz-Barth, HOK Planning Group
Barry Segal, Segal’s Solar Systems
Susan Van Buren, MD-MDP
After introduction, initial reminders, and meeting dates, we went around the room and attendees gave a quick update on some of their projects and initiatives.
Future Meetings: Sean secured the newly constructed Chesapeake Bay Foundation as the site for our February meeting. We are hoping to get a full tour and explanation from the builders/designers on the processes used to develop the first Platinum rated LEED building in the country.
INO.Com and Green Building Opportunities: Sean reminded the group of an exciting project that fits well for both the GBN and Tributary Team objectives. There is currently a project underway in southern Anne Arundel County in which the owner of INO.com (a financial service website company) recently moved into a large building for his operations. In addition to other high-profile restoration activities, he just started renovating the building and is very interested in utilizing green building and energy efficiency techniques. Since the last meeting, a couple of GBN members showed interest and Sean will set up a meeting on site. Please contact Sean if you’re interested in joining us at 410-260-8727.
Tributary Team Annual Meeting: The Tributary Team Annual Meeting will be held on January 27, 2001 from 9:30 – 3:00 at the Maritime Institute just south of BWI. The theme of this year’s meeting is “From Rooftops to Watershed”, wherein the meeting will focus almost exclusively on green building techniques, clean energy sources, new approaches to storm water management, and other issues directly related to GBN objectives. All GBN members are welcome and please contact Sean for information.
Natural Step: Mare Cromwell reminded us of the “Framework for Sustainability Workshop” to be held on March 15, 2001 in Howard County. At the workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to promote your products or services to corporate leaders, government officials, leading architects, developers, facility managers, and university officials who are interested in strategically integrating environmental considerations into their buildings and operations -- with a long term goal of environmental sustainability. For more information, please contact Mare Cromwell at 410-448-3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solar Seminar Series: Jeff Gilbert from Potomac Region Solar Energy Association announced they will be hosting its monthly meeting on February 27, where Bion Howard will be presenting on the “Environmental Home & Green Remodeling Projects”. Please check out www.prsea.org for more details.
Anne Arundel County: Anne Pearson from the Alliance for Sustainable Communities communicated that she has spoken with the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Director and he is very interested in having a presentation on Green Building techniques. The goal is for him to work with local businesses and incorporate green building and energy efficient approaches in their future development projects. For more information, please contact Anne at email@example.com.
AIA September Meeting: Before Julie Gabrielli jetted off to Austria, she asked Sean to announce that the annual AIA September Meeting will be occurring this year and if anyone has suggestions for topics and/or speakers they wish to hear from, please let her know.
Baltimore Rowhouse ITB: Last fall, Mark Bundy’s unit within DNR sent out an invitation to bid (ITB) in order to solicit services to develop a green building template for urban rowhouse renovations, specifically in regards to cost effective approaches in building design and materials. The response was very good and a review team is currently being assembled. Attendees hope that they will be kept updated on the process and possibly a full presentation by the awardee on their progress at a GBN meeting this summer.
Ed is the energy advocate for NRDC and has been closely involved with Maryland’s energy issues for several years. Ed disseminated a review sheet of the two main bills being proposed by the environmental community for this legislative session. (Full sheet is attached.)
The first is to try to reinstate some of the energy efficiency programs that ended due to the electric restructuring law passed in 1998. At one time, Maryland had one of the best energy conservation programs in the nation but this is no longer the case. To address this, the proposed legislation will create a Public Benefits Fund that would require energy efficiency programs, establish a uniform statewide assessment on all power sold within the state, and ensure continuous evaluation and efficient administration of these programs.
The second proposed legislation is to institute tax incentives for implementing green building techniques for construction and renovations. The legislation as drafted contains language very similar to legislation passed by New York last year. Under the draft legislation, tax incentives of up to $1.80 sq/ft would be authorized for new construction and $.90 sq/ft for qualifying renovations. After his presentation, several questions and issues were raised. For one, as currently drafted the new construction incentives would be given only in priority funding areas to support the Governor’s Smart Growth Initiative. Also, questions were raised about what is the definition of “renovation” and who would be the implementing agency.
Ed strongly recommended that all members of the GBN show their support of these proposals by contacting their State elected officials. If you would like additional information, please contact Ed Osann at 301-535-4013. Also, you can keep apprised of the bill’s progress by going to the State’s Legislative website at http://mlis.state.md.us. For reference, the green building legislation has been identified as House Bill 8 sponsored by Speaker Cas Taylor.
Stemming from the November, 2000 meeting, the topic of creating a Maryland Green Building non-profit organization was discussed. At issue is does the GBN wish to move forward in creating a non-profit organization to help fill some of the gaps, that by being sponsored by the State, the GBN cannot pursue; namely, grant proposals and funding, having a single voice for outreach and publicity, and other administrative functions.
To be clear, the non-profit would be an addition to the GBN instead of in lieu of the Network, which attendees agreed is providing an invaluable service to the green building community. Regardless of whether a non-profit is created, Sean reiterated DNR’s commitment to the Network and that members should feel confident that the valuable resource the GBN provides will continue into the future.
Clearly, the positive for establishing the non-profit would be for funding reasons. Staff could be hired dedicated solely for the promotion of and dissemination of information for green building and energy efficiency programs and efforts. Further, funds could potentially be secured for sponsoring innovative demonstration projects, provide technical assistance and training opportunities, or other activities to highlight green building approaches. And, establishing such a non-profit would by its own creation heighten awareness of green building and energy efficiency philosophies and assist current Smart Growth efforts in not only choosing where to grow but how to build.
On the flip-side, several points were raised about what the mission the non-profit would promote and what niche it would fill that is currently not being addressed. Currently, both Baltimore and the District house several organizations and companies that serve similar green building issues. This then begged the question if the non-profit would be competing against established institutions. Also, would the non-profit be an umbrella organization of the green building community, or pursue a very specific agenda?
After lengthy discussion, two issues became evident. First, creating such a non-profit would necessitate considerable effort by GBN members. While Bion Howard indicated interest in spearheading such an effort, some attendees stated it may not be possible to help with its development due to their current workload. Second, it did not become clear what specific role the non-profit would pursue. Therefore, it was decided to table the proposal until a specific catalyst for the creation of a non-profit was identified.
From this conversation, however, several points were raised of what GBN members enjoyed about the network and what they would hope to see improve in the future. Some of the positive aspects of the network include its informal nature, the sharing of resources and expertise, listening to various speakers during meetings, and finding out what the other players in the green building community are doing. Some of the things attendees hope to see improve are the promotion of events and activities, even more exposure to resources and experts, educate both public and experts within the green building field, promote existing organizations, and more concrete ideas and approaches for energy conservation. All members were strongly encouraged to contact Sean with additional input on how the GBN can better service their needs.