Sustainability Consultancy for Cultural Institutions


Nation’s First #Solar-Powered Community Under Construction

Phase One of Babcock Ranch, FL is slated to open next year.

It’s pretty exciting to see that a whole community will be powered by the sun and what better place than Florida. Per EcoBuildingPulse,com, in 2006, developer Syd Kitson released plans for Babcock Ranch, a massive community to consist of 19,500 homes powered exclusively by the sun (but void of any unsightly solar systems on roofs).

Instead of individual PV panels, the community and the broader region will be supplied with solar energy via Florida Power and Light’s 74.5 megawatt Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center. Expected to be operational by the end of the year, the 443-acre solar power plant will be located in the Babcock Ranch and will supply more than enough energy to meet residents’ needs, according to project planners.

“Babcock Ranch will exemplify what it means to be a town of the future, offering residents a highly unique balance of the most technologically advanced infrastructure and amenities, with ready access to a rich natural environment and a true sense of community,” says Kitson, CEO of West Palm Beach, Fla.-based development firm Kitson & Partners.

Phase 1 development encompasses 1,100 single-family and multifamily residences and a downtown area with a wellness center, café, restaurant, and outdoor outfitter shop.

For more information check out We’ll be on the look out for the development of the town, they should be welcoming their new residents by 2017.


Clean Energy Industry To Be Transformed

solar-and-wind-energy 1

Good news for the clean energy industry, as U.S. lawmakers agreed to extend tax credits for solar and wind for another five years. This will give much needed boost to the industry and change the course of how the US deploys energy.

The extension adds an extra 20 gigawatts of solar power— this is more than every panel ever installed in the U.S. prior to 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). This deal is huge it is likely to change the landscape of US renewable energy for the future.

The wind credit will contribute another 19 gigawatts over five years. Combined, the extensions will spur more than $73 billion of investment and supply enough electricity to power 8 million U.S. homes, according to BNEF.

“This is massive,” said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. In the short term, the deal will speed up the shift from fossil fuels more than the global climate deal struck this month in Paris and more than Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan that regulates coal plants, Zindler said.
This is solid boost for the solar and wind industries, the cost of installing has dropped more than 90% since the original tax credits were put in place. Now the industry has 5 consecutive years to hopefully make both solar and wind the cheapest energy in most US states, surpassing natural gas and coal. This is a very positive step in the right direction, it will give us a clear indication of how the markets will react, maybe this is the push we need to make renewables the number one energy source for the US. A good way to start 2016!


Virginia Living Museum Installs Solar

It is important to note that the term “green museums” encompasses a wide range of educational institutions. We tend to think of sustainable measures being implemented in just art museums, but in fact that is not the case. The purpose of this blog and our company is show that all cultural/living/historic institutions can save money, become more efficient and act as models leading the way in green building.

VLM Deputy Director Fred Farris talking about solar panel installation.

VLM Deputy Director Fred Farris with solar installation.

The Virginia Living Museum, home to over 250 species of animals and plants found throughout Virginia, just installed 165 solar panels on a southern exposure. It is a bold move, spokeswoman Virginia Gabriele says, “is not only to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint and its electric bill, but to educate visitors on solar power and even encourage them to try it at home.” The installation when it is up and running, is expected to save the museum more than $5,000 in electricity costs in its first year, plus prevent the release of more than 41 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The project will be unveiled during the Museum’s Earth Day Celebration on April 20th.

These kind of projects require funds that usually museums don’t possess. This particular one was funded with a $150,000 grant from Dominion Virginia Power’s charitable foundation and nearly $15,000 donated by Bay Electric Co., which installed the panels. Dominion is Virginia largest power company and according to Glen Besa, Virginia director of the Sierra Club, the state of Virginia continues to fall behind because Dominion isn’t making a “serious commitment to bringing job-creating solar, wind and energy efficiency to our state.” Let’s hope that Dominion partnering up Virginia Living Museum helps to change that outlook. Virginia itself happens to fall among the bottom 25 states in terms of solar power in a survey Solar Energy Industries Association.

All in all the museum is thrilled to have a new energy source and a new educational outlet. Fred Farris, the museum’s deputy executive director, says the “solar array has the potential to be an impressive educational display in support of alternative energy, due both to its size and its placement in close contact with the public. Not only will guests be learning about solar generation of electricity, but they will also get to see and learn about the incredible source of that energy: our sun.” Kudos to the Living Museum for making a commitment to a more sustainable future, I’m sure the animals and plans would be thrilled if they knew!

Living Green in the Watershed Exhibit

Living Green in the Watershed Exhibit