• 2016 SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards

    The City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability is excited to announce the 2nd Annual SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards, an event showcasing breakthroughs and innovations addressing the three pillars of sustainability – social, economic and environmental. Previously known as the Green Building Awards, the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards spotlight the City of San Antonio’s SA Tomorrow initiative.

    The SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards will honor individuals, programs, projects and building structures that promote sustainability through engagement with the people who use it and the environment that surrounds it. The awards feature categories for new commercial and residential construction and retrofit projects. The City of San Antonio has expanded the timeframe of eligible projects and structures initiated or constructed between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2015.

    Nominations are now open! 

    To Apply, please choose a nomination category from the list below, download and fill out the form, and submit it no later than August 26th, 2016. Directions for how to submit and any additional information you will need are provided on the forms.

    SA Tomorrow is a three-plan approach to guide San Antonio toward smart, sustainable growth with efforts to preserve our resources and quality of life. The initiative aims to address issues of importance to the entire community including air and water quality, energy efficiency, transportation, jobs and housing through the following plans: the Comprehensive Plan, the Sustainability Plan and the Multimodal Transportation Plan.

    For more information on the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards, contact Douglas Melnick, Office of Sustainability at (210) 207-1721 or by email at douglas.melnick@sanantonio.gov.

     

    Organizational Practitioner Nomination

    Individual Practitioner Nomination

    Project Nomination

    Bill Sinkin Solar Technology Nomination

    Sustainable Programs Nomination

  • Being Smart About Solar

    Before going solar…. consider these points

    Schools

    So…. you’re thinking of going solar. Congratulations! It’s a big step, and a worthy one.

    By embracing solar power, you help reduce the load on our local energy grid, which cuts down on air polluting emissions and helps us avoid or delay the need to build another power plant. You also offset—perhaps even eliminate—your electricity bill. In short, going solar is good for the planet, good for the community and good for you.

    Your local public electric and gas utility, CPS Energy, has approved an additional $30 million of the community’s dollars for solar rebates. Additionally, Federal government will be offering a 30% Investment Tax Credit until 2020. Being educated so you can choose the best solar option for you means that we can utilize the rebates so that more people can access solar and its myriad benefits. CPS Energy has just implemented some important measures to help protect the safety of customers in the market for solar. However, like any major investment, it’s a important to be well informed about what your options are and what you are purchasing.

    In the spirit of good stewardship, Build San Antonio Green has assembled the following considerations to help you become well-informed about solar. If you want to learn more about how solar technology works, visit the “Solar 101” section of our website, buildsagreen.org.

    1. What size system is right for me?

    Deciding what size system depends on what you would like to accomplish. If you are really into solar and want to do your part to help reduce demand for the community, you may want to have the most solar you can get. If you are looking to reduce your utility bill to save some money, then that is likely not your best option.

    For most people, an ideal solar array would produce just enough power to wipe out their electricity bill on an annual basis. Doing so can still benefit the community by not using valuable power from the grid (and delaying or avoiding the need to build more power plants), and by helping you personally to save money. Look at your electricity bill – how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) did you consume last year? That is the maximum amount of electricity your system should produce to be most efficient.

    When you consume your own solar power to zero out your bill, your local utility pays you approximately $0.098/kWh.* But when you produce excess power and sell it back to the utility, the rate drops to $0.0169/kWh. The most efficient scenario is to buy a solar array that produces just enough power to eliminate your electricity bill.

    In short, bigger is not necessarily better. Keep in mind that a bigger system always entails more upfront costs. So optimize the system size based on your goals, consumption, and budget.

    If your goal is to save some money, then it’s also a good idea to investigate getting an energy audit for your home. You can find a local energy rater who will help you determine how energy efficient your home is. The more efficient your home before you add solar, the smaller system you will need to zero out your bill. It may be more cost effective to take some measures to make your home more efficient and then add a smaller system, decreasing your upfront costs. CPS Energy even offers various rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. Check out www.cpsenergy.com to see if you qualify.

    Residential

    1.  How do I know if I have the ideal conditions for solar?

    Most smart phones have an integrated compass. Use yours to find the orientation of your rooftop. You can compare what you find with your installer and even ask your installer what the difference in production would be if you had a south-facing roof. East-west facing systems produce 12-15% less energy than south facing ones. If your installer provides a production estimate and return on investment calculation, make sure the estimate for the system is modeled according to your roof orientation and not the ideal south facing ones.

    1. Six hours of sun per day, every day is the industry standard for maximum Return on Investment (ROI.)

    Is your roof so situated that it receives six hours of sun per day, every day, every season? The peak solar window is 10am to 4pm every day all year. Does your roof have six hours of uninterrupted sun?

    If not, your production will be lower and the payback longer. Also, make sure to be aware of any shading issues your roofs might have, whether it is shading from any surrounding trees, or shading from a chimney. A quick look at satellite imagery of your home would be a good place to start. Installers have equipment that is capable of assessing shading patterns at any proposed roof site. Work with your installer so you do not place panels on any shaded areas. It would be a disservice to have a large system, but have half of it covered in shade. And it would mean that you will not meet your maximum production and ROI.

    LearnSolar

     

    1. Are high efficient (HE) panels better?

    It may seem logical to have the most highly efficient (HE) solar panels. But again, this depends on your goals. The HE panels cost more.Compare the cost increase to the production increase. Are the panels worth the extra cost? If your goal is to produce as much energy as possible and cost is not a factor, then the HE panels could be right for you. But if you are considering the upfront costs and long term ROI, then they may not offer the best long-term investment.

    As a side note, keep in mind that if you are going after the CPS rebate, all equipment chosen must be new and listed on the California Energy Commission list of approved modules and inverters, which can be found on the CPS Energy website. When you buy a new car with a V8, you can pop the hood to see the engine. How do you pop the hood on a solar project? Ask for the bill of material and check the serial numbers. Make sure you receive the equipment you were promised.

    1. How do I know if I’m getting the best price for my system?

    The solar industry, like many others, has some less-than-reputable businesses. In order to make an informed decision about which installer is right for you, do some research. Rather than going with the first installer you call or find, get several quotes from a few installers. CPS Energy keeps a list of approved installers which you can find on their website. Make sure the installers you are considering are listed.

    1. Get details on the warranties, including one for your roof.

    Installing a solar system will require that holes be drilled in your roof. It’s a good idea to ask your installer if they will guarantee that your roof, built to last 20 – 30 years, won’t be harmed or leak as a result of the installation.

    If you are planning on accessing the CPS Energy Rebate, CPS Energy has certain requirements for warranties. They require that all installed PV systems carry a five-year warranty from the installer. Solar modules must carry a 20-year warranty from the manufacturer, and inverters (the piece of necessary gear in any solar system that converts direct current from the sun to useable alternating current that can be absorbed into the grid and your home) must carry at least a five-year manufacturer’s warranty without battery back-up.

    racking

    Know your guarantees and warranties before signing any contracts, and factor them into the ROI of your system.

    The decision to go solar is exciting, and worthy, but it’s also a big financial decision. Being well-informed about your options and working with your installer to make the right choices for your situation and goals is the best way to get the most from your investment. We know you are super excited to get that solar system, but make sure you manage your expectations. Ask your installer about their process and an estimate of when your system should be online.

    *All prices estimates as of March 1, 2016.

    Contributors to this article include: Monika Maeckle, Jacob Eyer, and Kate Rodriguez 

    Solar Links

    Interested in Learning about Solar Options and Getting 3 Free Quotes? Visit our program site: BringSolarHome.com

    About How Solar Works

    CPS Energy Solar Info

    CPS Energy Rebate Info 

  • We are Hiring!

    Build San Antonio Green is looking for an Administrative Director to join our team! We are hoping to find someone soon, so if you are self motivated, outgoing person and you are interested in working in a fun and progressive non-profit environment send us your resume right away. Below you can see the job description. This will be a full time position that does include a benefits package.

    Administrative Director Job Description 

    Finance:

    • Daily,Weekly, monthly, quarterly & annual budget reports to the Executive Director
    • Assist Executive Director with annual budget forecasting and maintain all audit practices
    • Daily accounts receivable, accounts payable, billing & journal entries to budget report & accounting program (Quickbooks Premier)
    • Assist in Accounts Receivables and Payables, Budgets for Events
    • Monthly reconciliation of journal entries to bank statements
    • Compilation of annual end of year financial report to CPA firm for filing of annual IRS Form 990 tax return
    • Fill out annual property tax inventory report for Bexar Appraisal District. Set up payment of annual property tax when invoice arrives. Maintain and update office equipment inventory.
    • Billing and A/R for certifications and Bring Solar Home
    • Provide budget and/or financial reports to vendors, organizations & institutions requesting them
    • Management of financial tracking of government consulting contracts
      • Track staff hours submitted
      • Generate invoices
      • Cost out contracts based on deliverables & staff hours per task
      • Track amounts billed, pending & remaining on contract (report to Executive Director)

     

    Payroll:

    • Process weekly payroll for all staff & set up direct deposit transfers via Quickbooks Payroll
    • Run monthly IRS Payroll Tax report & submit monthly payroll tax deposit to IRS via EFPTS online payment system
    • Run quarterly IRS Form 941 Payroll Tax returns
      • Submit to Executive Director for review & signature
      • Mail report to IRS & retain copy for files & annual EOY financial report to CPA
    • Run quarterly Texas Workforce Commission unemployment tax reports
      • Run report in payroll program (Quickbooks Payroll)
      • File report online with Texas Workforce Commission
      • Set up payment with Texas Workforce Commission if/when payment is owed
    • Track & update any deductions, garnishments, mileage or expense reimbursements for staff payroll. Make sure any supporting documentation is in employee file and make payments as needed to entities.

    Human Resources:

    • Maintain & update all staff personnel records
    • Benefits Administration
      • Act as company liaison with health insurance broker & insurer(s)
      • Shop/broker insurance policies rates for review & approval by Executive Director
      • Assist staff when enrolling and/or renewing participation in health insurance plans
      • Maintain all files (digital & paper) for all insurance policies
    • Maintain & update all BSAG employee governance documents (employee handbook, drug free workplace, grievance policy, job descriptions, etc) & ensure all are in compliance with State & Federal Labor Laws
    • Assist with processing new staff

     

    Outreach & BSAG Programs:

    • Assist Director of Community Affairs with administrative items and participate in all outreach, workshops, lectures and fundraising events..
    • Assist with errands and/or gathering of supplies as needed for events or meetings
    • Assist in promotion of membership amongst builders, architects, suppliers & service providers in the BSAG membership program
    • Assist Director of Community Affairs in membership database, invoicing and renewal

     

    Administration:

    • Maintain database, contact lists, digital records & all paper files. Update any or all of these as needed or directed.
    • Analyze offices practices, such as record keeping, forms, office layout, personnel and budgetary requirements, and performances standards to create new systems or revise old systems- (digital and/or hard copy)
    • Act as company liaison with business liability insurance broker (business liability, Director’s & Officer’s Liability, Fidelity Bond & Worker’s Compensation) and Insurance companies.
    • Assist scheduling of meetings, appointments and Board of Directors Meetings as requested
    • Assist in travel & lodging arrangements for out of town conferences attended by staff members
    • Maintain and organize office supplies & equipment
    • Assist the Executive Team in any way needed or directed
    • Answer phones & greet visitors as needed

    Skills & Knowledge

    Applicants must have complete working knowledge and experience with Quickbooks, preferably they will also know Quickbooks Payroll plugin.

    Construction Industry Experience and or Graphic Design background is a plus.

    If you are interested please send your resume to Director of Communications, Jacob Eyer at jeyer@buildsagreen.org

  • Join the BSAG Team!

    We are hiring again!

    We are looking for a qualified person to fill a program associate position on our staff. Check out the qualifications and information about the position below. If it sounds like you then be sure to send your resume along to Kate Rodriguez our Program Manager. If you have questions feel free to give us a call at 210-224-7278.

    Program Associate Job Description