Maryland Green Building Network
April 3, 2001 – 6:30–8:30 pm
Takoma Village Co-Housing – Takoma Village, DC
Nina Baird, City of Gaithersburg
Michael Bell, The Bell Company
Gary Grove, Hottell, Inc.
Melanie Hartwig-Davis, COTE
Richard Hottel, Hottel, Inc.
Sandra Leibowitz, Natural Logic, Inc.
Sean McGuire, GBN Coordinator
Eric Mendelsohn, Takoma Village Cohouseing
Louisa Thompson, Earthome, Inc.
Governor Executive Order on Energy Efficiency and Green Power: On March 13, the Governor signed the Executive Order, “Sustaining Maryland’s Future with Clean Energy, Green Buildings, and Energy Efficiency.” Several GBN members attended the event held at Montgomery Park, the future sight for MDE. Sam Himmelrich, who provided the GBN with a presentation last fall, helped to host the event. To review the executive order, please go to www.gov.state.md.us and click on “Executive Orders”.
Legislative Update: Of particular note, the Green Building Tax Incentive Bill (HB8) passed the House with only 3 nay votes. It is now in the Senate Budget and Tax Committee. Sean will keep GBN members posted. (Follow Up: The bill passed both houses and was finalized in Conference Committee. In the end, the septic system incentive provision was eliminated, construction is required in priority funding areas, and renovations cannot exceed 25% in area to receive the tax break.)
Calendar of Events: Sean reviewed the calendar of events included on previous e-mails. The only addition was a solar power conference being conducted from April 19-21. Please call 202-628-7400, extension 205.
Anne Arundel County: Anne Pearson from the Alliance for Sustainable Communities has spoken with the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Director and secured a briefing with DNR’s Green Building Program. Anne and Sean presented before Bill Badger and discussed potential opportunities. Anne will keep the group informed of future activities.
Mike and Richard explained that the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium assisted in the GHP development here at Takoma Village. GTP takes advantage of the constant 55-degree temperature of the earth. Once the drills are established (anywhere between 200 and 400 feet underground), there is no maintenance and the pumps are inside so they do not deteriorate. They are good for up to 50 years and savings are estimated at 40%-50% per month. Some challenges are that the infrastructure is currently not in place in many areas, contractors are currently presenting inhibitive cost estimates, and the costs are in fact generally higher.
For large projects, some multi-unit developments are cost effective, but not all. Richard highlighted a number of cost effective projects his company has completed in Florida. They do residential and commercial projects throughout the area and always utilize a holistic systems approach. In one project in Annapolis, the GTP works so well the heat is actually transferred to water and free hot water is achieved. Further, the energy savings are up to 60%. This leads into one of the greatest assets of GTP that is as energy costs increase throughout the summer, the payback time for initial costs is further diminished. And the future looks even brighter for GHP due to better efficiency in drilling techniques and developers looking at long-term advantages.
Cohousing is a type of community housing that started in Scandinavia and focuses on communal relations where everyone makes decision together, everyone knows and interacts with each other, and everyone is a full partner in making decisions. Don Tucker, Eco-Housing, was the developer in Bethesda and Bion Howard also assisted in its design.
The site was an infill project as it used to be a parking lot. It began by the developer bringing a group of potential buyers together to see if it could work. Throughout the planning process, consensus was a top priority for all decisions. Currently, there are only about 50 cohousing projects throughout the nation.
Specifically, there was consistent consensus on implementing green building techniques throughout its design and construction, including the GHP, skylights, low VOC, superwindows, energy efficient lighting, and other approaches. After the presentation, Sandra and Eric walked attendees around the facilities and explained all the features. For more information, please check out www.pathnet.org.