Sustainability Permeates All Facets of Community

Sustainability Permeates All Facets of Community

Green Chamber Board Member Colin Tetreault’s mission as  senior Colin Tereaultpolicy adviser on sustainability for Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton approaches sustainability broadly to encompass economics, government policy, community and education.

The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com highlight City of Phoenix’s three focus areas of:

  1. Green Spaces
  2. Operational sustainability
  3. A new Sustainability Advisory Committee

Read the full article and learn more about State of Sustainability in Phoenix  from Mayor Greg Stanton at the March 15th Green Chamber Greater Phoenix luncheon.  Register today!

Natural Choice Academy Grand Opening

Natural Choice Academy (NCA) is now open for business and to celebrate our grand opening we will be hosting an open house celebration on Saturday, November 5th. Join us to learn more about NCA, meet our teachers, and meet fellow NCA families. Everyone is welcome to join us for this celebration!

Activities include:

* Organic Food and Snacks
* Radio Disney – Music and Games
* Petting Zoo
* Chair Massages for Mom & Dad
* Inflatable Jumpers
* Giant Inflatable Slide
* Open Playground
* And More!

Saturday, November 5th
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
13840 N. Tatum Blvd.

Please RSVP below or by calling 602-404-7820

Phoenix Green Chamber – Energize Phoenix

Did you know the typical Phoenix family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted.

A new program called Energize Phoenix is now available to help residents and business owners along the light rail corridor save money by saving energy.

The Energize Phoenix program is funded by a $25 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and U.S. Department of Energy grant received by the City of Phoenix in partnership with Arizona Public Service and Arizona State University.

The program aims to achieve specific goals – shrink home energy consumption by up to 30 percent, reduce commercial energy use by up to 18 percent, eliminate carbon emissions by as much as 50,000 metric tons per year, and retrofit 1,700 homes and 30 million square feet of office and industrial space for greater energy efficiency. Not only does this initiative intend to increase energy efficiency by transforming the infrastructure in the corridor, it will also educate property owners to become savvy energy consumers.

Check out Energize Phoenix on YouTube

Free Home Check-Up Offer

Energize Phoenix is offering a limited time opportunity to receive a free home energy check-up for owner-occupied homes that qualify for the APS Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program within the Energize Phoenix program boundaries, a 10-mile stretch along light rail from approximately 44th and Washington Streets to Central Avenue and Camelback Road.

Home energy check-ups completed by October 31, 2011 by an approved Energize Phoenix contractor are eligible to receive a $99 home energy check-up rebate. The deadline for receipt of a completed Residential Rebate Match Form with applicable attachments at the address listed on the Residential Rebate Match Form is November 30, 2011.

Common energy efficiency projects include:

• heating and cooling system upgrades
• duct leakage repair, air leaks and sealing
• attic insulation
• shade screens
• solar water heater upgrades

If the energy check-up identifies money saving opportunities through efficiency upgrades, you can take advantage of Energize Phoenix incentives. Energize Phoenix will match most existing APS rebates. Homeowners who are low- to moderate-income may qualify for additional incentives.

To find out if you qualify, enter your address at energizephx.com or call 602-495-5275 to learn more. Stay updated on program news and events on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition

We are very pleased to have with an opportunity to acquaint the Green Chamber of Commerce with Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition, and explore areas where our organizations may complement one another perfectly.

Clean Cities is the U.S. Department of Energy’s flagship alternative-transportation deployment initiative, sponsored by the Vehicle Technologies Program and chartered by the U.S. Department of Energy, under the dual national initiatives of the Energy Policy Act and the Clean Air Act. As one out of one hundred coalitions across the country, our ultimate goal is achieve clean air and energy security within our jurisdiction of Maricopa, La Paz, Mohave, Yavapai, and Coconino counties.

Our focus is rather narrowed in on the reduction of petroleum motor fuel; however, this single cause impacts key areas of our community’s well-being in the following ways:

  • Improves the quality of the air we breathe and improves the quality of our aquifers
  • Helps maintain the air quality standards enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Preserves capital that is currently being sent out of the state to purchase petroleum fuel
  • Supports job creation within the valley
  • Promotes energy security during a time of very fragile petroleum infrastructure

We work closely with the distributors and consumers of natural gas, biodiesel, propane, ethanol, and electricity. The VSCCC’s stakeholder fleets operate nearly 7,000 alternative fuel vehicles and displace approximately 30 million gallons of petroleum fuel annually with alternative fuels. According to data collected in a 2009 survey, this represents 10% of the annual consumption of alternative transportation fuel in the U.S.

Other areas that we have supported beyond the use of alternative fuel:

  • The continually growing METRO Light Rail and METRO Bus system
  • Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in continuing the very successful school bus idle-reduction program
  • Promotion of favorable clean energy legislation through continuous interaction with our State Legislature
  • Support in the development of infrastructure to serve the needs of vehicles operation on electricity, biofuels, natural gas and propane.

 

We work closely with related organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Fleet Managers Association. We participate in RMFMA’s Arizona programs by showcasing and informing a fleet manager group that covers Arizona and eleven additional states on new alternative fuel vehicles and related technology.

On alternating years, we work with APS, SRP and Tucson Electric Power in hosting a legislative breakfast which is conducted in a huge event tent on the front lawn of the State Capitol. In addition to setting up shop on their front lawn, we block off 17th Ave in front of the Capitol to display the latest in alternative fuel vehicles (commercial and personal vehicles).

We are very happy to add our expertise in the automotive and alternative fuel field to compliment the efforts of the Green Chamber of Commerce in creating a greener, healthier, and more productive Phoenix, Arizona.

By Michael Grossman, Chair of the Board, The Green Chamber

Mortenson Construction Completes Gestamp Solar Steel Manufacturing Facility and Headquarters

By Ron Vokoun, Mortenson Construction

With a favorable business climate, strong policy initiatives and proximity to California’s large market for renewable energy, Arizona is fast becoming a hub for companies who provide manufacturing and services related to development of solar energy. One of the newest and most exciting projects for Valley residents is the Gestamp Solar Steel Facility.

The facility, located in Surprise, began construction on March 7, 2011 on 27 acres of land in the Skyway Business Park and houses a state-of-the-art steel fabrication factory as well as the U.S. headquarters for Gestamp Solar Steel with the promise of 50 jobs immediately with more to follow as future phases are added. By the time construction was completed in June, Mortenson Construction and subcontractor work forces peaked at 86 people.

The factory supports the development of large-scale solar energy projects in the U.S. In its first phase, the manufacturing facility encompasses 63,000 SF and new office space of 12,000 SF, is expected to employ 50 people. Gestamp contemplates a phased expansion of the facility over time with additional manufacturing capacity to accommodate ongoing development of projects for the rapidly growing solar energy market in North America. The Arizona facility will produce steel structures using advanced manufacturing technologies,
processes and quality control disciplines that have been successfully used by Gestamp in other parts of the world.

“Gestamp Solar Steel represents the kind of high-quality jobs our residents are looking for,” said Surprise City Manager Mark Coronado. “We could not ask for a better corporate citizen than Gestamp Solar steel, a company with a solid reputation in the renewable energy industry.”

Gestamp’s Solar Steel facility was designed to produce steel structures for projects that use CSP technology and also photovoltaic (PV) solar structures. “Our strategic investment in Arizona represents an important milestone for Gestamp Renewables and follows our belief that the southwestern U.S. will be the epicenter of large-scale solar energy development in North America for years to come,” said Jon Riberas, President & CEO of Gestamp Renewables.

“We also believe that Gestamp Renewables is uniquely positioned to provide solar project developers with cost-effective structural solutions that embody advanced technology, the highest level of quality assurance and outstanding operational and logistical support.”

“Gestamp’s industrial heritage spans 52 years and 25 countries and is characterized by financial stability and an ongoing dedication to excellence,” said Riberas. “The new manufacturing plant strengthens the Gestamp Group’s ongoing commitment to developing clean, renewable energy and to providing products and services that meet the highest standards of quality and reliability. While Gestamp Solar Steel will be new to America, our Automotive Division has an established presence in the U.S., with 1,500 employees providing high-quality sub-assembly services and systems to the domestic auto market.”
The Gestamp Solar Steel Facility project team erected the last of the structural steel on May 4th, celebrating their topping off with both an American and Spanish flag attached to the last steel set in place, symbolizing Arizona’s place in the growing cleantech global economy of the future.

Less Partisan Legislature in 2013?

By Amanda Wright, Mario E Diaz & Associates

States across the country must, every ten years, undertake the critical task of redistricting their congressional and legislative districts to ensure district populations are equalized. In many states, the state’s legislature completes this task. However, in 2000, Arizonans passed Proposition 106, which created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) and tasked it with establishing new boundaries, taking this authority from the state legislature. Proponents, at the time, believed the IRC would allow for greater citizen participation. Today, some experts believe that the extreme partisanship of the Arizona legislature is a direct result of some of the 2001 IRC’s mapping decisions and hope that the 2011 IRC will reverse this trend by striving for more competitive districts. Yet, Proposition 106 also requires the IRC to “respect communities of interest.” Many organizations, defining themselves as communities of interest, used the first round of public hearings to lobby the IRC to ensure their communities are respected. Some experts believe that the IRC cannot create competitive districts and still respect communities of interest because members of a community of interest tend to vote for one party or the other.

Chamber members that believe a particular mapping scheme would benefit green businesses should plan to express that before the IRC. Go to azredistricting.org to learn more about upcoming public hearings and sign up for advanced meeting notices.

No Electronic Waste Legislation in AZ

By Jeffrey Rassas, YouChange, July 20, 2011

Did you know that Arizona is one of 20 states in the country without one piece of electronic waste legislation? Living up to its reputation as the “wild west.” youchange strives to promote the education on issues like this as well as working with industry stakeholders to improve current situations and promote change so Arizona becomes a leader other states can model from and aspire to be like. With this purpose in mind, we’ve chosen to highlight the inefficiencies and hazardous risks that are a direct result of lack of electronic waste laws in our beautiful state of Arizona.

Has anyone heard of unemployment these days? The number is staggering with Arizona among the nation’s highest rates nearing 10%! I am sure the actual rate is much higher since many unemployed simply accept a lesser position out of their field just to keep food on the table as opposed to filing for unemployment and joining the statistics. So by now you’re asking, “What does lack of e-waste legislation and Arizona’s high unemployment rate have in common?” I’ll give you the short answer: fixing one can fix the other! By not having e-waste legislation, Arizona is missing out on an opportunity to create jobs in the green sector that would help stimulate the local economy. Instead of allowing hazardous e-waste to sit at dumpsites leaching into our ecosystem, or illegally shipped out of or into the state, the right legislation could lead the way for a process to refurbish, recycle and re-use these obsolete items leading the way to a “cradle-to-cradle” solution resulting in the creation of many jobs statewide. Unfortunately, the ugly happened as the University of Arizona sponsored an e-waste drive that left the state! The drive started as a valiant effort, however absent of Arizona legislation and e-waste education all 47 tons of e-waste collected were sent to California rather than keeping it in Arizona and creating Arizona jobs. Similar actions occurred by individuals and companies that smuggled e-waste out of Arizona and sold it for higher profits by fraudulently leveraging California’s e-waste recycling program only available to residents of California. The lack of legislation opens the door for Arizona to become a dumping ground for hazardous electronic waste that would pollute not only our local environment but eventually leach into our eco system (food & water supply) promoting health issues including various forms of cancer and mental illness. It also opens the door for illegal activity to occur given the money to be made from the sale of precious and rare earth metals prevalent in electronic waste.

Arizona has made efforts on a statewide electronic waste law in the past, failing most recently in 2010. In January of this year H.B. 2425 was submitted to the Arizona House of Representatives but died in committee. That bill was based on a producer responsibility take-back program in which manufacturers would have to participate in the statewide recycling program. The bill would have also included an e-waste disposal ban beginning January 1, 2013. But Arizona still is not fully committing to a proper e-waste law. The failed e-waste bill from January of this year was listed as a “large electronics recycling” bill and had limitations on what could and could not be recycled. This is contrary to the proposed federal bill, H.R. 2284, which places a nationwide export ban on all electronic waste.

Various cities across the Valley have made efforts to provide their residents an environmentally responsible option for the disposal of e-waste by hosting their own collection drives or providing drop off sites. The challenge is getting the word out given the limited resources many cities are facing in the current economic climate, and by the way, what exactly happens after the city collects the e-waste? They don’t have the resources to promote collection, let alone deal with the proper disposal of the e-waste. So they do a deal with local recyclers that may or may not do the right thing absent of legislation…remember we are in the “wild west.”

While most of the city efforts are commendable and the efforts to ratify a statewide bill seem to be gaining traction, the larger issue is being ignored. The lack of electronic waste laws in Arizona leave a gaping hole in the green job sector that could easily be filled. In a downtrodden economy that is desperate for more job creation, this is the perfect opportunity to help stimulate the Arizona economy.

Texas Congressman Raymond Green shared this same sentiment as he introduced a federal e-waste bill motivated by job creation and positive environmental ramifications. Rep. Green, with the help of Rep. Michael Thompson (CA), recently submitted H.R. 2284, or The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011, to the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would promote the domestic recycling industry and bring recycling jobs back into the United States. The Houston-based e-Steward certified company Technocyle said they would have to double or triple their workforce upon ratification of such a bill. H.R. 2284 is still being worked upon in committee stages. Although there are currently some domestic e-waste recyclers many of them cannot compete with the foreign recycling facilities that have few, if any, standards as well as cheaper labor. By prohibiting the export of e-waste to developing nations the bill has the proper environmental foresight and promotes jobs within the green sector for small businesses like youchange to be established across the country!

In the midst of a difficult economy it is hard to argue that Arizona’s lack of a statewide e-waste law is both environmentally and fiscally irresponsible. That is why youchange is urging you to let Governor Jan Brewer know about it! Campaign for Recycling, a national non-profit environmental advocacy organization, has given Arizonans an opportunity for their voices to be heard. Please click here to sign their online petition for a statewide e-waste recycling bill. Your voices are needed to finally push one of these bills through to ratification. Remember: “It starts with you and ends in change.” Share this on facebook and Twitter so we can all come together and make this happen!