almost 75 percent of electricity consumption in the country, and here in San Antonio, consumption climbs to more than 90 percent. Buildings are also major users of our potable water supply. Research has shown that building greener buildings would do more for the environment than any other single measure. There is no way to conserve water and energy faster, more significantly or more inexpensively.So I decided to see what's happening in the green building sphere.
The City of San Antonio is getting on board. The city approved its first contract for a green friendly fire station. The San Antonio Housing Authority incorporated sustainable features such as solar panels and improved insulation in its new San Juan Square Apartment project.
The Fountainhead Business Park II received the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification in SA in July. Genzyme, the sole tenant, made it easy for Grubb & Ellis to retrofit the building to meet standards for lighting, recycling, and use of green building materials and cleaning supplies.
Northside ISD just opened its first green school, Martin Elementary School, which in not only the first school to be built within Loop 410 since the 1980s, but also LEED certified. Among other features, it has light sensors, concrete paving instead of asphalt to lower heat, window shades for west facing windows and a learning garden.
The Pearl Brewery Complex's Full Goods Building has the largest solar array in SA on its roof and is a joint venture with CPS Energy.
|Source: San Antonio Express-News|
So what can you do to make your property more green? Hire a Home Energy Auditor.
The average cost of retrofitting a house once it has been audited is $8,000 to $10,000, according to Von Schrader, and it is not always advisable to go with the lowest estimate. "Work done correctly often costs more," he says.
Fortunately, there are programs to offset the costs. Some state energy programs and utilities offer rebates, which require accredited home-energy auditors and contractors to do the work. A federal energy tax credit of $1,500 is available until the end of this year.Check out the rebate programs offered by CPS and SAWS.