Florida: FWC hosts climate change summit

30 09 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A climate change summit hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will begin Wednesday in Orlando.

Climate change experts and fish and wildlife scientists will discuss the future of Florida’s animal populations and how to conserve and manage Florida’s resources. Experts from the FWC and other state and federal agencies will discuss the impacts of climate change on wildlife nationally and determine what it means for Florida.

Some of the experts attending include Virginia Burkett, a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Defenders of Wildlife’s Jean Brennan, a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

‘Green’ homeowners insurance now available in Georgia

30 09 2008


Georgia homeowners who use environmentally friendly solar panels and recycled building materials on their houses can now get insurance specially designed for “green” homes, officials announced Tuesday.

The state insurance commissioner’s office has approved the first-ever green homeowners insurance policies in Georgia, commissioner John Oxendine said. The program – for customers of the California-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. – guarantees that environmentally friendly homes will be rebuilt in the same way if they’re damaged or destroyed.

“We hope this will encourage and promote people to be green in their homes,” Oxendine said at a news conference at one of Atlanta’s houses with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Georgia joins 26 other states where green insurance is available. Fireman’s officials say about two dozen Georgia homeowners have signed on so far.

Even homeowners who don’t have environmentally friendly houses can buy the green add-on from Fireman’s Fund to complement their existing insurance policy with the company, Oxendine said. That means if a house is destroyed in a fire or damaged by a tornado, for instance, the insurance company will rebuild it with a green design. It also will pay the hefty cost of hauling construction waste to recycling companies rather than junkyards, he said.

Laura Turner Seydel, daughter of media mogul Ted Turner, is one of the state’s new green insurance customers with her LEED-certified home in Atlanta’s posh Buckhead district. The home, called the EcoManor, has solar panels on the roof, natural lighting in almost every room, naturally dyed furniture and rugs, cabinets made from pressed hay, and a plumbing system that reuses rainwater and wastewater.

“I feel like I look better, think better and operate better,” Seydel said during a tour of her home Tuesday. “We have built a much healthier home for our family,” noting the home doesn’t have the chemicals and toxins often found in dyes, paints and construction materials.

Green building is more expensive because it requires specially designed appliances, hard-to-find plumbing fixtures and construction materials from within a 500-mile radius. But experts say green homeowners save about 30 percent on utility bills each month, which can quickly recoup the added cost of construction.

Seydel’s home is one of three LEED-certified homes in Georgia, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. The certification means those homes meet a lengthy checklist of environmentally friendly requirements.

However, scores of Georgia homes are built with green components and energy-efficient designs, even though they don’t meet the stringent LEED certification, according to Southface, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that promotes green construction.

Statewide Tour Educates Homeowners and Businesses on New Georgia Clean Energy Property Tax Credits

30 09 2008

ATLANTA, September 30, 2008 – With the cost of traditional energy sources on the rise, interest in alternate energy sources like solar power is skyrocketing.  On Saturday, Oct. 4, at 18 locations in metro Atlanta and 36 sites statewide, the Georgia Solar Tour (GST) will demonstrate how solar power can and does work in Georgia.  The GST will also educate homeowners and businesses on how the new Georgia Clean Energy Property Tax Credits can save them money by installing their own solar systems.


The Georgia Solar Tour offers Georgians the opportunity to tour homes and buildings to see how neighbors are using solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to reduce their monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change.


Selected Atlanta Sites (Open times noted. Links include details and directions):

·         Oakland Park Condominiums, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., 563 Memorial Drive (corner Memorial and Park Ave)

·         Stonehurst Place, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., 923 Piedmont Ave (Bed & Breakfast)

·         Taylor Residence, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., 750 West Sandtown Rd. Marietta

·         Berg Residence, 9 a.m. – Noon, 1111 Rosedale Drive, Atlanta (Virginia Highlands)


Solar Reception (Oct. 4, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

A special reception Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Southface Energy Institute (241 Pine Street NE) (directions) will conclude the Georgia Solar Tour, with comments by John Baumstark, CEO of Suniva.


According to survey results from the 2007 National Solar Tour:

·         76 percent of participants said they are definitely or very likely to invest in solar or energy efficient technology after the Tour, compared to less than 50 percent before the Tour.

·         A stunning 74 percent of participants indicated that they had never visited a solar or green-built home prior to this event.


“We are very excited to be showcasing the power of solar at 36 sites around our state on the 2008 Georgia Solar Tour,” said Georgia Solar Energy Society Vice-Chair, Laura Capps.  “We have been working to promote the use of solar and energy efficient technologies for more than 30 years in Georgia and really feel the tipping point is upon us.”


A fast growing segment of the population is implementing renewable energy technology to increase reliability and lessen environmental impact.  Interest in solar energy technology and energy efficient design continues to grow as energy prices rise. The Georgia Solar Tour offers the public a close up look at how solar technology works, and a chance to find out more about costs, savings and the ease of adding solar.


About Georgia Solar Energy Association

The Georgia Solar Energy Association is a non-profit organization working to promote renewable energy in the state of Georgia through education, research and advocacy. We promote all renewable energy production including, but not limited to, wind energy, solar thermal, photovoltaic energy, bio diesel and bio fuels, and micro-hydro energy.  We work towards further development and promotion of the solar industry in Georgia.  For more information, visit GSEA at www.gasolar.org.


2008 National Solar Tour

In 2007, the National Solar Tour attracted more than 115,000 attendees to 5,000 buildings in 2,900 participating communities nationwide. Now in its 13th year, this event is coordinated nationally by the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES), taking place annually in conjunction with National Energy Awareness Month.  In 2008, 48 states will participate with public tours of solar powered and energy efficient homes and buildings, educating the public about current solar technologies and rebates available. (www.NationalSolarTour.org)