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State of Florida cheats residents out of Energy Star Rebates


I am writing today regarding the State of Florida’s recent action concerning the Florida Energy Star HVAC rebate.  The rebate was to be in effect from 8/30/10-12/31/10, and provide a rebate of $1500, and be funded with 14.9 million dollars.

We now know that on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 15A approving funding for all qualified applications for the Florida Energy Star Residential HVAC Rebate program with constraints.  Governor Charlie Crist signed the legislation.  To qualify for the rebate the HVAC or geothermal system must have been purchased or contracted for purchase with a Florida-licensed contractor between August 30, 2010, and September 14, 2010.

The Florida Energy Star HVAC rebate was to be in effect from 8/30/10-12/31/10. Knowing this, my wife and I replaced our old 1999 Heat Pump with a new energy efficient heat pump on 11/4/2010, well before the posted deadline of the program, and well before the state of Florida retroactively changed the rules on us.  This is not fair.  Everyone who took advantage of the program between 9/15/2010 and the state of Florida action on 11/16/2010 unknowingly got cut out of the program retroactively.  We are one of those Florida households trying to do the right thing who just got cheated out of $1500 by the state of Florida.  We cannot now undo the improvements we made and our representatives and senators should not be able to undo the rebate without prior notification to the residents of Florida.

We ask that the representatives and senators of Florida correct this injustice and modify the most recent legislation to cover at least the time frame up until you decided to change the rules.  Especially, we call on Representative Ray Pilon, Representative Doug Holder, Representative Greg Steube, Senator Michael Bennett, Senator Nancy Detert, and Governor Charlie Crist to make this right.

Alternative water technology at the LEED seeking Cancer Support Community


What do you do when your client doesn’t want to install water fountains in their project due to hygienic reasons? Well we dealt with this very issue on the LEED gold seeking Cancer Support Community’s (formerly The Wellness Community) Building Hope Project.

Early in the design phase the client made it very clear that people with compromised immune systems were uncomfortable with drinking out of typical water fountains. Of course the building code requires so many water fountains per person in any new construction project. The usual solution of avoiding water fountains is to provide a typical water cooler bottle service. But, being a green project and conscience about the environmental impact of shipping water bottles, we had find another solution.

Searching the internet we had little luck finding a suitable substitution, until we discovered UC Berkeley had recently installed “bottle fillers” called Hydration Stations on their campus. These bottle fillers are made by Haws Corp. a long time water fountain company, and were perfect for the Cancer Support Community. In order to meet Florida ADA code we add matching stainless cup holders besides the units to provide safe, clean water for the buildings occupants.

In addition to being hygienic we were also able to avoid exposing the cancer patients to harmful chemicals often leached out of plastic bottles. The units mount in or on the wall with full ADA clearance and access, saving valuable floor area and even have an LED light for illumination when in use.

From Haws Corp Website: “Daily, Americans use 60-million bottles of water, with only 2 out of every 10 bottles actually recycled.  By using the HydrationStationTM users will be able to utilize re-usable bottles and consequently reduce waste and its harmful effects on the environment. Several college campuses, including UC Berkeley, Georgian College in Ontario and Penn State, have already taken the initiative and supported a ban the bottle approach to water supply and have installed HydrationStations throughout their campuses.”

Visit for more information on the HydrationStation™ water delivery system.

hydration station
The Hydration Station installed

cancer support community
Cancer Support Community Gulfcoast, Building Hope


Three Tiers for Renovating Sustainably


TIER ONE - Business Operations – Conserving and Reducing


Purchasing supplies – evaluate which supplies can be purchased with recycled content

Printing - Provide policies to try and reduce in-office printing

Promoting alternative means of transportation - Car Pools; Mass Transportation; Fuel efficient vehicles; Bicycling

Institute a recycling program

Provide a designated smoking area away from building openings and/or institute a smoking policy that provides assistance in reducing smoking.

Institute a cleaning program with low or no VOC cleaning agents


Lamps – change incandescent to fluorescent

Implement a policy to turn lights off when not in use


Low-flow aerators


Any new finishes to have recycled content and/or low or no VOC’s (ex. Paint)


Provide access to temperature controls with a policy for how to regulate control, especially while there are no occupants in the space

TIER TWO - Facility Upgrades – (all the pertinent above mentioned strategies plus those outlined below)


Upgrade lighting fi xtures

Purchase green power credits

Provide occupancy sensors to regulate lights


Implement upgraded fi xtures for those that do not meet current code

Alternatively, upgrade all plumbing fixtures to low-fl ow


Any new finishes instituted to have recycled content and/or low or no VOC’s (ex. Paint).


Provide programmable temperature controls based on occupancy of space

TIER THREE - Major Renovation – (all the above mentioned strategies plus those outlined below)


Re-landscape with drought tolerant and native species for minimal irrigation use

Increase landscaped areas

Introduce building commissioning

Provide a designated recycling center

Provide detailed construction waste management and waste diversion plans


Upgrade roofi ng to highly refl ective material

Upgrade exterior lighting – timers/ light sensors

Upgrade HVAC equipment

Implement renewable energy technologies

Upgrade building envelope – Windows, doors and insulation

Reuse as much as building as possible


Replace all fixtures to ultra low-fl ow

Evaluate use of reclaimed or cistern water


Any new finishes to have recycled content and/or low or no VOC’s (ex. Paint)

Use rapidly renewable materials in renovation where possible

Use regional materials in renovation where possible

Use certified products where possible


Increased ventilation – fresh air

Use only low emitting or no emitting VOC materials, adhesives, paints, carpets, composite woods

Provide lighting control

Provide temperature control

Provide programmable temperature control based on occupancy of space

Provide natural day-lighting and views for regularly occupied spaces

green renovation
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