Case Study:Congregation Beth Israel, Austin

The First PACE Project in Texas

The first PACE beneficiary in Texas is Congregation Beth Israel in Austin. PACE financing enables the synagogue to address critical HVAC failures without diverting charitable dollars from its core mission.

After years of spending $15 to $20k annually for chiller and boiler repairs with obsolete chiller and boiler parts becoming difficult to locate, Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) was finally forced to replace them. When the chiller failed last summer, children in the child development center were moved several times to nap and play in the chapel and sanctuary. On many mornings, The Way Companies’ trucks were the first to arrive at CBI to get the chillers back online before the children arrived to school. Even when the chillers were working, they couldn’t keep up with the Texas heat in the rooms facing the sun.

Long term PACE financing with no out-of-pocket expenses enabled the synagogue to solve several critical issues. An energy audit was used to analyze all aspects of the building and identify potential energy savings. The final PACE project enabled CBI to finance new chillers and boilers, controls, and window film from a cash flow positive position. Through the PACE program, CBI is able to solve major energy, mechanical reliability, and comfort issues in a financially responsible way.

A well-known Jewish quote from the Babylonian Talmud asserts that, “You’re not required to complete the work, but neither are you free to abstain from it.” While no single individual, organization or community can complete the task of Tikkun Olam, mending and transforming the world, we all must take responsibility and play our part. Reducing our congregation’s carbon footprint and living with lightened impact on God’s earth through the vision and ingenuity of the PACE program not only makes economic sense, but also represents a sacred act of both responsibility and hope in the future.

- Rabbi Steven Folberg

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USGBC Awarded 100% LEED® Certification Status on Nine Sullivan Brothers Builders’ Homes in 2016 Ceremony.

Media Contact: Karen Travelstead
Marketing & Sales Director
Phone: 281.882.HOME


(Left to Right): Brad Depoy (Sales Manager, Sullivan Brothers Builders), Sergio Grado (USGBC past Chair, Mitsubishi), Toner Kersting (Snyder Energy Services) Zach Gavos (General Manager, Sullivan Brothers Builders), David McLean (USGBC current Chair, Sebesta), Caroline Kostak (USGBC Secretary, GreenHouse Integration), Kapil Upadhyaya (Kirksey), and Maria Perez (USGBC Vice Chair, Gensler)

March 1, 2016 (Houston, TX) – Sullivan Brothers Builders received 100% LEED® Certification on nine homes in a ceremony held in early 2016. The builder hosted the event at their Springwoods Village model home in Harper Woods. Representatives from Sullivan Brothers Builders were on-site to receive the certifications, as well as members of the U.S. Green Building Council including Sergio Grado (Past Chair), David MacLean (Curent Chair), Maria Perez (Vice Chair), Caroline Kostak (Secretary and Green Homes Chair), and Kapil Upadhyaya (Regional Council Member).

The homes receiving certification represent the start of more than 57 registered with the program, and are designed to promote healthy, energy-efficient and water-conscious homes.  The builder’s Harper Woods project, located in Springwoods Village and a walking path away from corporate campuses for Exxon Mobil and Southwestern Energy (SWN), is on track to be the largest 100% LEED® Gold certified neighborhood in the U.S. As it stands, the family-owned Sullivan Brothers Builders is the largest LEED® residential builder in Texas. “Sullivan Brothers have 9 of 215 LEED Homes in Gulf Coast Region. This is a precious addition given that USGBC has committed to boosting sustainability efforts nationally in the 'Homes' sector,” according to Roger Platt at USGBC, Houston in 2015.

In a recent article from U.S. Green Building Council’s Texas Gulf Coast chapter, Marketing and Sales Director Karen Travelstead noted:

“Sullivan Brothers Builders has always been committed to building “green” homes, but needed a way to communicate what that meant to their clients. The group has consistently built homes using green building techniques, such as reclaimed hardwood flooring, foam insulation, PEX manifolds and drought-tolerant, indigenous landscaping. Documenting the rest of their process to meet LEED® standards wasn’t a huge leap. After the first few projects, LEED® just became part of their standard procedures.”

About Sullivan Brothers Builders

Brothers and 6th generation Galvestonians Todd, William (Billy) and John Sullivan founded Sullivan Brothers Builders by identifying in-fill opportunities and community revitalization needs in the heart of the Houston Heights. With the purchase and removal of old commercial buildings, the concept of recreating the architectural heritage of the neighborhood took root. The brothers grew the company by combining the style, attention to architectural detail and character found in historic neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast with the modern efficiencies and environmentally sound building practices that make a Sullivan Brothers Builders’ home a standout in the market. As one of the largest LEED® Certified residential builders in the U.S., SBB embraces a smaller environmental footprint in each of their homes by utilizing resources like reclaimed hardwoods, antique brick, and EnergyGuard® Foam Insulation – designed for maximum energy efficiency, noise reduction and air quality. With the addition of efficient cooling, heating and water systems, SBB homeowners are ensured an efficient, healthy home environment.

Houston Bike Plan: Support and Feedback

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Stay involved!

Join thousands of others in signing up with your e-mail address to keep in the loop regarding the plan.  Click here to sign up now.

The first set of community meetings and online outreach to discuss the Houston Bike Plan occurred in May and June of 2015. 2,895 people participated in our online surveys, over 1,000 map ideas were generated on our interactive online map or at our meetings, and there were 130 discussion comments on goals and vision. The discussion forums and interactive map remain viewable.

There are several ways to provide feedback on the draft Houston Bike Plan.

  1. From February through April, City of Houston staff and the Houston Bike Plan team will be presenting the draft Houston Bike Plan at City CIP meetings and other community meetings. To see the full calendar and location of CIP meetings, please click here.
  2. An interactive map of the full long term vision is open for comments here. Public comment will close on April 11th.
  3. Take a brief survey to provide support and feedback on the plan. (To open survey in separate window click here). Si prefiere contestar la encuesta en español, haga clic aquí.

Draft Houston Bike Plan - Feedback

The City of Houston and it's partners have developed the draft Houston Bike Plan, a 12-month planning effort to update the City's Comprehensive Bikeway Plan last updated in 1993.  The Plan is based on significant community input and defines a vision and goals to support Houston in becoming a more bicycle-friendly city.  The draft plan identifies future bikeway projects to expand the network of comfortable bikeways to create a citywide bicycle network six times larger than the current system.  This allows connections to neighborhoods, jobs, schools, parks and other key destinations throughout the city.  The plan also defines policies and programs to help Houston become a more bicycle-friendly city and encourage more people of all ages and abilities across the city to safely ride more often.

To view an interactive walkthroigh of the plan click here.

To view the Draft Houston Bike Plan report click here.

Please complete the survey to provide support and feedback on the plan.

To provide specific input on a particular location on the Draft Plan map please go to our interactive feedback map.

Si prefiere contestar la encuesta en español, haga clic aquí.

LEED Minimum Energy Performance Increasing on April 8

Author: Tim Murray

Big changes to LEED Energy Prerequisite. From Stuart Kaplow’s blog:Stuart Kaplow's Blog

USGBC has passed a ballot to increase the minimum energy performance for LEED 2009 projects. The new requirement will go into effect for all projects registered between April 8, 2016 and October 31, 2016 when LEEDv4 becomes mandatory for registration. 

This will change the PREREQUISITE for energy performance, taking the minimum energy performance from 10% better than ASHRAE 90.1-2007 to:

-LEED-New Construction = 18% better than ASHRAE 90.1-2007 (currently 4 points)
-LEED for Healthcare = 16% better than ASHRAE 90.1-2007 (currently 3 points)

If you are considering LEED, know that projects can register before April 7 to lock in the current minimum energy thresholds, offering projects much more flexibility at a lower cost.

This change does not affect projects already registered under LEEDv2009.

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