An emerging topic in cities and homes is to become more sustainable. For any of you who are not familiar with sustainability, in a nutshell it tries to take into consideration social, economic and environmental consequences of a decision. It also strives to not only look at the present situation but also how our actions will impact future generations. With the looming threat of sea level rises and increase frequency and volatility of storms, a large number of Florida’s cities are beginning to shoot for a more sustainable approach. Port Orange is no longer looking to wait for the next storm to hit before it reacts, and has instead begun to have a proactive approach towards becoming a greener city. The main method that they use to encourage further environmental considerations is through working to promote more efficient and eco-friendly buildings.
Port Orange is not alone in its promotion of improved buildings; all of Volusia County is in support of addressing this problem. It has been reported by the county that a building that complies with the Energy Star certification standard will use 35% less energy. Energy star is a renowned brand that has built a reputation for its top-notch quality productions that are more environmentally friendly. Their products do tend to have a slightly higher upfront cost, and the 35% reduction of energy cost leads to more savings down the road and less total cost of operation. In order to receive the Energy Star certification, your building must be more efficient and eco-friendly than 75% of the buildings nationwide. Fortunately, they offer a set of guidelines that lays out how to maximize the efficiency of your building. This enables you to have a framework to work from regardless of if you are updating your existing building, or making a new building from scratch. To maintain the brand’s reputation and to keep residents and companies on the right track, Energy Star makes you have to renew your certification each year. This is a way of making sure that all homeowners and business alike do not sit on their laurels, but instead continue to invest in green infrastructure.
Image courtesy of https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/home?s=mega
The state of Florida is so interested in promoting green buildings that they have actually created tax credits and rebates for buildings that chose to invest in environmentally friendly practices. If you install a solar panel by the end of the year you will receive a 30% tax break meaning that 5-kilowatt panel which normally costs $16,000 now is only $11,000. It is recommended that you act quickly, considering the fact that for 2020 the tax credit would only be 26% and by 2021 the credit would only be 22%. To learn more about how to apply for this tax credit and the necessary qualification required to get this discount, go to the tax credit section on Energy Stars website.
The main reason that there is such a strong push for improved and green buildings is due to the fact that they would have a large economic and environmental impact. In fact, the EPA went on to report that 68% of America’s energy consumption is from buildings. Think of all of the little things that we tend to forget about; keeping your computer plugged into the outlet when it is fully charged, leaving the lights on when you leave a room, not turning off the sink when washing your hands. That on top of the fact that not everyone is using LED bulbs, which are loads more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Bulb choice paired with the heating and cooling of a building leads to an enormous amount of energy required. That is why it is so vital that we work towards improving our existing infrastructure while also imposing stricter regulation for future buildings. By making more environmentally friendly buildings, not only would we reduce our carbon emissions, 38% of which come from our building, we also reduce the building utility cost. Everyone can agree that spending a little upfront to get more back long-term is a no brainer. Help Port Orange keep its sustainability goals afloat through investing in clean and renewable energy sources.