Updates from Resilient Virginia: February 2017
- SAVE THE DATE: 2017 Resilient Virginia Conference
- Some Updates for Early 2017
- Supporter Highlight: FEAPC
- Energy Security and Microgrids
- Resilient Events Calendar
- We Love Your Support!
SAVE THE DATE: 2017 Resilient Virginia Conference
The Second Resilient Virginia Conference, being planned with the support of the Virginia Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, will take place on August 1–2, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. You can find information on Sponsor Opportunities here. Are you interested in participating in the Planning Committee to help develop topics and speakers? Let Annette Osso, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia, know by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
World’s Temperature — Reports from NOAA and the United Kingdom national meteorological office show temperatures were record-breaking again in 2016, for the third year in a row. Factors influencing this years’ rise in temperature were the El Nino weather phenomenon and the unusual warmth in the Arctic, where sea-ice reached its second lowest level in September 2016. However, the reports attribute the majority of the warming to human emissions of carbon dioxide.
Extreme Weather Costs — Another NOAA report shows that 2016 had the second highest annual number of U.S. billion-dollar disasters, behind the 16 events that occurred in 2011. The report cites 2016 as an unusual year, since it included15 weather and climate events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included drought, wildfire, four inland flood events, eight severe storm events, and a tropical cyclone event. Cumulatively, these 15 events led to 138 fatalities and caused $46.0 billion in total, direct costs. Read the full article here.
Renewable Energy Sector Job Growth — A new report from The Solar Foundation shows that job growth in the solar industry reached 2% of the new job creations in the U.S. in 2016. According to the report, 1 in 50 new jobs were created in the areas of manufacture, sales, and installation of solar systems. This makes 2016 the fourth consecutive year that U.S. solar jobs grew by 20 percent or more, and the industry now employs more workers than the natural gas industry; more than double the number of workers in the coal industry; and in comparison to other energy sectors, employment in solar trails only the U.S. oil industry. Find additional information here.
Support for Climate Action — George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication have issued their latest survey, which was conducted after the 2016 presidential election. The results show:
- The proportion of Americans who think global warming is happening remained steady at 70% in 2016 — nearly matching the highest level measured since November 2008 (71%).
- Americans are now also more certain it is happening — the proportion who are “extremely” or “very” sure global warming is happening (45%) is at its highest level since 2008.
- The number of Americans who are “very worried” about global warming has reached a record high (19%) since the Cener’s surveys began in 2008.
- Likewise, Americans increasingly view global warming as a threat that will bring harm to them, their families, the country, and globally.
You can read the complete survey results here.
We are pleased to highlight our newest Community Leader Level Annual Sponsor, Facility Engineering Associates. In addition to becoming an annual supporter, FEA has also committed to support the 2017 Resilient Virginia Conference.
Walking The Talk: Business Resilience Planning at Facility Engineering Associates
by Maureen Roskoski, CFM, SFP, LEED AP O+M,
Senior Professional, Corporate Sustainability Officer
Facility Engineering Associates
Business Resilience is the ability to rapidly adapt and respond to business disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations. Business resilience planning provides guidance for ensuring the ability to respond, resume, and restore to a pre-determined level of operation following a disruption. At FEA, we help our clients strive for resilience through comprehensive planning that takes a holistic and long-term view of the threats and their individual enterprise in order to ensure that the business is prepared to avoid, mitigate, and recover from adverse events. But, what were we doing ourselves? Were we walking the talk?
The mission of FEA is to provide facility managers and owners with progressive and innovative solutions to engineering and facility lifecycle challenges. Thus, it is critical that FEA maintain a robust business resilience program to ensure the stability of operations and services for our partners, our community, and our clients around the world. To make sure that we had an effective program, we decided to pursue certification under the ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Systems standard. Our journey started in 2015 with a commitment from the FEA Board of Directors to allocate time and resources to our ISO certification. Our certification planning process was comprised of the five steps shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: FEA ISO Certification Steps
Like many organizations, FEA had some documentation related to what to do in the event of an emergency. We had evacuation procedures and were confident we could get everyone out of the building if needed. But what happens as everyone is standing in the parking lot and we are told we can’t get back in to the building for a significant period of time? We needed a plan. We used the ISO standard to build it. It provides a good framework for developing not only a business continuity plan, but a full management system, framed around the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (See Figure 2).
Figure 2: ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Framework
Read the entire article at resilientvirginia.org.
To learn more about FEA and Business Resilience, click here.
Due to the increased risks of disruption to our energy supply from terrorist attacks, mechanical failure, and extreme weather events, microgrid installations are gaining increased utilization as businesses and communities seek energy reliability strategies. As defined by the Department of Energy (DOE), a microgrid is a localized grouping of electricity sources and loads that normally operate connected to and synchronous with the traditional centralized grid (macrogrid), but can disconnect and function autonomously as physical and/or economic conditions dictate. Microgrids offer energy surety for critical loads, reduced vulnerability against cyber and physical threats, and greater resiliency, since businesses and critical services can rebound more swiftly after energy disruption.
The U.S. DOE, along with several states and the private sector, are working to develop and implement microgrid strategies. For example, New York has established the NY PRIZE Program, a first-in-the-nation competition to help communities create microgrids — stand-alone energy systems that can operate independently in the event of a power outage.
Source: Microgrid Institute
Jim Pieribon, Southeast Energy News, set out to determine if any of these systems have been introduced in Virginia. He found that several organizations have already seen the security and economic benefits of installing microgrids, despite some difficulty in negotiating their interconnection with the existing grid.
The first system in Virginia was up and running in 2015 and is located at the HP Hood dairy plant, one of the largest dairy operations in the country. They see the 15 megawatt natural gas-fired system as their assurance that the dairy operations will continue reliably and prevent costly downtime in spite of possible malfunctions in the conventional system due to weather or mechanical failure.
Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg and the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency at the Fort Belvoir Army base in Northern Virginia are the next two facilities working on plans for microgrid systems. Concerns for cybersecurity and the need for resiliency planning are driving the Ft. Belvoir installation, which will total 4 megawatts of power generation and will incorporate energy storage. The Eastern Mennonite University system will consist of three 500-kilowatt natural-gas fired generators. The campus will be able to operate independent of the local grid, since it also has an existing 104-kW solar system. Motivators for this endeavor include the college’s core values that include “care for creation” and the prospect of a lower monthly demand charge rate from the utility company.
You can read the entire Southeast Energy News article here. Subscribe to Southeast Energy News to receive daily updates on energy sector policy and projects in Virginia and our neighbor states.
Find out more about microgrids at:
Thanks to Our 2016 and 2017 Annual Sponsors
Highlights for February 2017 and Beyond!
- Antioch University Webinar on “Incorporating Climate Solutions into Municipal Planning”
- GreenBiz 17 — Live streaming opportunities!
- Climate Disclosure Project’s Webinars on its reporting platform for cities
- Bio-nutrient Food Production Workshop in Richmond
- Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza at George Washington University
Coming up soon
- March Climate Connections Speaker Series at the Science Museum of Virginia
- April 22nd — Arlington County Home Show featuring resiliency vendors and events.
In addition to these events, check our Resilient Events Calendar on a regular basis to find out what is happening in Virginia, around the nation, and virtually through webinars.
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Virginia communities to build resiliency for changing times.
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