Disasters, warming and a billion-dollar competition
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is rethinking the way it responds to natural disasters and emergencies.
In an effort to bolster national disaster-preparedness measures and preventative rebuilding, HUD’s Rebuild by Design effort entails a National Disaster Resilience Competition in which communities recovering from major natural disasters will compete for $1 billion in federal subsidies.
"Climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent and more severe," said HUD secretary Julian Castro during a press conference call Sept. 17, noting that between 2011 and 2013, President Obama declared 209 major disasters nationwide. "The reality is that too many areas still remain vulnerable."
In order to rethink the way the federal government handles these cases, the competition will encourage communities to focus on long-term resilience improvements, or measures that can be taken before the fact of a natural disaster.
"It was clear to us that our country needs a new way to adjust to natural and mandmade disasters," said Rockefeller Foundation president Dr. Judith Rodin. "We need a new way of aligning disaster recovery funds with the realities [faced by local communities]."
In the first phase of the competition, applicants will demonstrate their unmet needs, outline how they’d use the funds and explain how they’d commit to resilience in the long-term.
Those who make it to the second phase will be asked to develop their plans for implementation. Then, HUD will select the winners, who will receive anywhere from $1 million to $500 million each to put their projects into action. Those with the best long-term vision (and potential to improve residents’ quality of life) are likeliest to succeed.
At the moment, there are 67 eligible applicants as well as 17 local governments that have already received funds from HUD.
David Baldino joins Mid-State Lumber
Mid-State Lumber Corp. has hired David Baldino as its newest territory manager for the Connecticut market.
Baldino brings over 33 years of sales experience to the table specific to the building materials industry.
He got his start working as a sales representative for a retail lumber yard out of college, and spent the last 30 years working as a sales representative in the wholesale chain, with a focus on Connecticut.
In his most recent position, he served as sales representative at BB&S Treaters of New England.
Study: Residential generation presents opportunity
A new report titled "Residential Energy Innovations" from Navigant Research is pointing to potential in the power generation market: specifically, $625 billion worth of it between 2014 and 2023.
According to the study, technological innovations (known as distributed energy resources, or DER) and new financing options will contribute to this boon.
These technologies include relatively established mainstays like solar panels, as well as up-and-coming innovations like residential combined heat and power.
Additionally, residential enery storage systems, as well as vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home systems will help increase accessibility to these technologies for homeowners.
“The growing affordability of DER technologies is giving customers greater control of their energy consumption—turning some homes into miniature power plants that generate all the power they consume and even deliver power back to the grid,” says Neil Strother, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Solar PV panels are the most visible technology reshaping the residential power landscape, but there are many others, as well.”