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“What’s New – Commissioning & The Codes ” s/USGBC Central Texas Chapter

USGBC Central Texas – Balcones Chapter Monthly Meeting:

“What’s New – Commissioning & The Codes “

Thursday, October 17, 2013
11:30am – 1:00pm

Austin, TX
Earn 1 LEED-Specific GBCI and 1 AIA CE Credit!

Join USGBC at our informative monthly meetings – network with fellow professional colleagues, enjoy a delicious lunch, and learn valuable insight from regional high-level experts about a hot topic affecting the green building industry.

This is an introductory course for anyone interested in acquiring a better understanding of the commissioning process and its requirements as defined by LEEDv4, “the codes” and ASHRAE Standard 202.

For event details, click here.


Abels on the Lake, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin, TX

Design Build Live October Event

Design Build Live October Event
Austin Food Coop’s new location at
4001 S. Lamar
Wednesday, October 16th

Design~Build~Live hosts a presentation by Branson Fustes of Pilgrim Building Company, speaking on “Rammed Earth Wall Systems.” Branson’s builders have a unique local track record offering this thermally massive, non-combustible, beautiful and durable Natural Building style. Come join us in WV’s new community room!

DBL presentations are Free and open to the public. Bring friends with you! We’re a volunteer-run educational organization & Donations at the door are always appreciated, no RSVPs. For details, call Scott Clay at 512-689-1149 or visit

Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategies — A Capital Area Symposium

Friday, October 4, 2013
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Reception to follow
LBJ School of Public Affairs
University of Texas at Austin
2315 Red River Street
Bass Lecture Hall
$40 registration
This ground-breaking symposium brings Capital Area stakeholders together for the first time, to hear leading experts, identify and assess the shared regional challenges we face, and discuss how to adapt to climate change.
It provides a forum for learning about local climate vulnerability, and for sharing best practices in climate resilience planning. Topics include:
• Regional climate vulnerability
• Data from local research
• How to begin resilience planning
• Local, national and international best practices
• Current efforts of regional agencies and governments
• Collaborative opportunities in Central Texas
• Center for Politics and Governance, UT Austin
• City of Austin, Office of Sustainability
• Georgetown Climate Center
• Institute for Sustainable Communities
• Adaptation International
• The Texas Drought Project
• The Texas Observer
Register and learn more at:

SXSW Eco Exhibition

Discover innovations in sustainability at the SXSW Eco Exhibition


Hours: Monday, October 7th 10:30am – 2pm | 3pm – 5:30pm

Tuesday, October 8th 10:30am – 2pm | 3pm – 5:30pm

Featured exhibitors:


Center for Maximum Building Potential Systems


Bloomberg BNA


Presidio Graduate Institute

Sustainable America

Sierra Club

and over 20 startups in Startup central!

In addition to over 50 exhibitors, highlights include:

Lagunitas Lounge

Daily Meet Ups

Hacker Lounge presented by Cleanweb

Maker Space presented by Autodesk

Startup Networking Lounge


Robbins: Dry lakes demand conservation

The question on a lot of people’s minds right now is, “How low can they go?”

Lakes Travis and Buchanan, which supply much of our region’s water, are not natural lakes. They are reservoirs completed in the 1930s and ’40s. At full capacity, they hold 2 million acre-feet. (An acre-foot is enough water for annual needs of about three average Austin homes.)

Today, barring a major rainstorm, they are about to fall to their lowest levels since they were created. In September 1952, the lakes reached 621,000 acre-feet. On Sept. 10, they were at 659,000 acre-feet and dropping by about 1,400 acre-feet per day. Those worried about the water supply are in the perverse position of “praying for hurricanes.”

People living near the lakes, as well as cities facing water shortfalls, have become resentful of the rice farmers in the Colorado River’s lower basin area. It must be remembered that these farms have been cut off from their water supply for the past two years, the first time this has happened in the history of the lakes. It should also be remembered that federal funding for the lakes partially relied on the congressional support of the agrarian region downstream.

And while there is considerably more wealth per gallon generated by cities and industries compared to farms, this wealth will not be especially meaningful without food. In 2011, farmers paid about $28 per acre-foot for raw water to grow enough rice to feed about 1.2 million people annually on a calorie basis. Meanwhile, Austinites were willing to pay $1,600 per acre-foot for treated water to grow their “crop” of grass.

Believe it or not, it can get worse. If you total current use from Austin and other cities, future water contracts to provide for Austin’s growth, industrial use, evaporation from the lakes, and agricultural use, and apply it to current lake levels and drought conditions, the Highland Lakes would be below zero.

It is time to start planning in earnest for the future. There are no longer enough resources to provide for insatiable thirst of all who come here. We will either face huge increases in cost or need to create a water-efficient economy. Conservation of both water and money are key.

Five of the most promising strategies need center attention.

• Full implementation of 2007 conservation plan: In 2007, Austin created an aggressive conservation plan with 19 strategies to save water. Today, many of these ideas are still not implemented or have their effectiveness compromised. Some, such as mandatory plumbing fixtures retrofits, have stalled because they are controversial. Others, such as mandatory irrigation audits, have no method to measure effectiveness.

•Reclaimed water: The use of highly-treated wastewater for non-potable purposes such as irrigation and cooling towers has been employed to great effect in other cities. Austin has invested more than $50 million in its own “purple pipe” system. This has the potential to defray as much as 50 million gallons per day of peak capacity, the same as will be provided by the controversial Water Treatment Plant No. 4. However, Austin’s overly strict hook-up policies, lack of marketing staff, and lack of customer-side financing are constricting the use of this new system.

•Polyethylene utility pipe: Austin is using polyvinyl chloride water pipe as its material of choice. This is extremely toxic to manufacture and is more prone to leaks than polyethylene pipe, which is almost leak-proof and sometimes cheaper to install. Austin needs to replace more than 700 miles of old cast iron pipe that is at the end of its life, and it should be using the best materials.

•No new water projects: When Water Treatment Plant No. 4 comes online, this half-billion-dollar facility will raise Austin’s peak capacity to 335 million gallons per day. This past August, the city barely used half of this amount. This unneeded expenditure, and others like it, directly compete with water conservation funding.

•Relocate water conservation programs: Austin’s water conservation programs are administered by a utility whose main mission is to sell water. This is a blatant conflict of interest. The water conservation programs should be moved to a separate agency unshackled to the water utility.

Conservation is the best option we have right now, and the least expensive. It is past time to make the hard decisions necessary to make it work to its full potential.

Praying for hurricanes is not a drought-management policy.

Robbins is the editor of the Austin Environmental Directory. The new edition is online at

Climate-Com Conference 2013 — Sunday, October 6th

Climate Communications From the Media
A Change is in the Air, Let’s Change the Way we Communicate

Sponsors: Climate Change Now, KXAN-TV, UT School of Journalism, Forecast the Facts, Public Citizen Texas, Texas Drought Project, Austin Citizen Climate Lobby

A panel featuring
Jim Spencer, Chief Meteorologist, KXAN-TV
Kris Wilson, PhD., UT-Austin School of Journalism
Andy Dessler, PhD., Atmospheric Science Professor, TAMU
Brad Johnson, Campaign Manager, Forecast the Facts
Plus Speaker Alyssa Burgin, The Texas Drought Project

Sunday – October 6, 2013 – 3:30pm-7pm
Where: Scholz Biergarten
1607 San JacintoBlvd.

Suggested Donation:
$10.00 for adults, $5.00 for students, 16 and under free. All are welcome, no one will be turned away.
Free admission: Calculate your personal carbon emissions at

and provide it in person at the event or send it prior to the event to:

For more information:
Scott Johnson, Event Coordinator (512) 389-2250
Bruce Melton, Panel Moderator (512) 799-7998
Conference schedule at
Climate Change Now is a nonprofit in the State of Texas. IRS 501c3 status pending.

SXSW Eco This Week – Your Business Should Be There!

SXSW Eco (October 7-9) is less than a month away and the world will converge in Austin to learn, collaborate and discover the people and initiatives shaping the future of our planet. Launched by SXSW® Conferences and Festivals in 2011, SXSW Eco is a three-day conference and festival held annually in Austin, Texas focusing on sustainable innovation in business, energy, policy, consumer products, design and agriculture.

The Texas Green Network is excited to offer it’s members a exclusive registration rate of only $195 to attend all 3 days of groundbreaking panels, keynotes, films and parties that SXSW Eco has planned for 2013. Not only will you have access to all of the diverse programming SXSW Eco has to offer, you will also have the opportunity to network with exciting people from around the globe who are committed to finding solutions to the most pressing environmental issues that we collectively face.

Check out our full schedule here:

This special offer is good for all Texas Green Network members by clicking through to the registration link below: you fill our all of the required fields, click on the “Redeem Coupon” link and enter this code:


This offer is good until September 30. Register today to become a part of this critical conversation and stellar event. See you in October!

Scoring the Session: TLCV’s 2013 Legislative Scorecard Released

The Texas League of Conservation Voters unveiled our 2013 Legislative Scorecard.

TLCV Executive Director David Weinberg called this year’s session “generally a success for the environment and conservation.  This success is measured by the passage of positive legislation dealing with clean energy development and water conservation; a state budget which provided significant increases in funding to state parks and clean air programs; and the failure of numerous bad bills designed to roll back environmental regulations and curtail citizen participation in environmental decision-making.”  “Still, there were missed opportunities in the session and the state has a long way to go in promoting the use of solar, regulating the production of oil and gas, and improving waste prevention and recycling,” added Weinberg. MORE>>

Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategies: A Capital Area Symposium

Graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin have joined with Adaptation International, the Texas Drought Project, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities to organize a symposium on Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategies scheduled for Friday, October 4, 2013, and hosted through the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

For more information and registration go to:

This one-day conference will bring Capital Area stakeholders together to identify and assess the shared challenges we face given the specific impacts of climate change in our region. The symposium provides a forum for learning about climate vulnerability in the region and sharing best practices in the area of resilience planning here in Texas and throughout the U.S. Most importantly, it provides a space for identifying collaborative solutions for making the Capital Area more resilient.

The symposium is pleased to bring to Austin some of the brightest minds working in climate change research and adaptation planning today, including keynote speakers Katharine Hayhoe and Vicki Arroyo. Hayhoe is director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, and Arroyo joins us from Washington, DC, where she is executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University, where President Obama delivered his climate speech in June.

Conference sessions will focus on:

·      Regional Climate Change Projections and Impacts

·      Vulnerabilities and Risks in the Capital Area

·      Climate Adaptation and Resilience Planning in Austin

·      Regional Approaches to Climate Resilience

Details at a Glance:

What: Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategies: A Capital Area Symposium

When: October 4, 2013

Time: 8:30am-6:30pm (followed by free public forum sponsored by The Texas Observer, 7pm)

Where: Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ School of Public Affairs, 2315 Red River St.

Cost: $40 ($10, students)

Thanks to our sponsors: LBJ School of Public Affairs, Office of Sustainability at UT-Austin, City of Austin Office of Sustainability, Environmental Science Institute, Center for Sustainable Development, The Texas Observer, Texas Drought Project, Adaptation International, Institute for Sustainable Communities, Georgetown Climate Center, LBJ Green Society, Green Host It.

AIBA Sustainable Savings Luncheon

Sustainable Savings Luncheon RSVP

Thursday, September 12, 11:30-1pm
5402 FM 2222
RSVP $20 AIBA members, $30 nonmembers

Attend this event and you could win $100 off your next utility bill!
Must be present to win

Join Austin Energy, Texas Gas Service, Austin Resource Recovery, Austin Water and the Office of Sustainability as we present remarkable savings options and rebates for local business. Resource conservation is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. This event will inform you of major programs that can conserve and save you money.

This presentation has options for owners as well as tenants.

Austin EnergyThe Austin Energy Commercial program has increased its rebate levels and wants to share all the money-saving details with you. Attend this event and get the information you need to save. Austin Energy will discuss rebates for Small Business Lighting, Air Conditioning, Building Envelope as well as how easy it is to get your rebate process started.

Texas GasThe Conservation Program of Texas Gas Serviceoffers rebates for the installation of high-efficiency natural gas equipment, including water heaters, vehicles, and food service equipment.  These rebates and incentives offer commercial customers a variety of ways to reduce your expenses, conserve natural resources and improve the performance of your energy systems.

Austin Resource RecoveryAustin Resource Recovery will present ways to reduce the amount of materials sent to the landfill and increasing recycling while reducing the cost of trash services. We will provide an overview of the Universal Recycling Ordinance and the key provisions for business owners, operators, and building managers. Our goal is to help make recycling convenient, cost-effective, and consistently available in Austin.  We will have interior containers, posters, and decals available for free.

And you can start saving immediately if you win the door prize of $100 off your next utility bill!