A partnership between the City of Lincoln and Black Hills Energy, provider of natural gas service in the City of Lincoln, has resulted in the creation of a position in the City's Development Services Center (DSC) to promote the use of green building practices in development projects. The position is funded through the City's Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative, which received $2.4 million in federal energy stimulus funds to improve energy efficiency and boost the use of renewable and clean energy technologies across the community.
Greg Shinaut began working as the Green Building Practices Consultant in the DSC this summer. As a "loaned executive" for one year, he will split his time between the new position and his long time job as customer relations representative with Black Hills in which he promotes use of natural gas with builders and developers. Shinaut was a local home builder for more than 20 years and is the former president of the Home Builders Association of Lincoln and the Nebraska State Home Builders Association. As a Certified Green Professional, he has won numerous honors for building cost-effective, energy efficient homes that also feature green building components.
"This is a great opportunity for me to help the City, whose residents also are Black Hills Energy customers, take the lead in helping developers and builders better understand the strong market demand and cost-effective reasons to build green," Shinaut said.
"With the generous support of Black Hills Energy and Greg's proven leadership in the construction and natural gas industries, Lincoln is on its way toward becoming a leader in cost-effective green building standards," said Mayor Beutler. "This unique partnership provides the DSC with the additional expertise we need to better advise developers on energy efficiency. This is exactly the kind of innovative project we envisioned when we created the Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative – private industry and the City working together for a sustainable future. Building green is both good for the environment and puts money right back in the pockets of utility ratepayers."
Dan Mechtenberg, Black Hills Energy vice president of gas operations for Nebraska, said, "Using energy wisely always makes sense. Conservation and energy efficiency are important to Black Hills Energy and our customers. We welcome opportunities to partner with the cities that we serve and in this case, are glad to be able to partner with the City of Lincoln by providing natural gas energy expertise and support for the Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative. We extend our thanks to Mayor Beutler for his leadership on this initiative that will benefit the citizens of Lincoln who are also our customers."
At the DSC, Shinaut is involved in outreach with home builders, developers and Realtors as well as the banking, and neighborhood advocacy communities. He also is working with City's numerous building and safety task forces to look at incorporating green building requirements, practices and incentives into the codes. Shinaut said the goal of the partnership is to develop a comprehensive set of local building requirements that lowers barriers to the use of sustainable design and green building, and encourages developers and builders to utilize green building practices in their day-to-day operations and plans.
The City's Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative was launched in partnership with the Nebraska Attorney General's office, which provided $50,000 from a lawsuit settlement. The stimulus funds to support the effort are available through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. More information is available at green.lincoln.ne.gov.
Black Hills Energy serves 196,000 natural gas customers in 106 eastern Nebraska communities. Black Hills Energy is a subsidiary of Black Hills Corp. - a diversified energy company with a tradition of exemplary service and a vision to be the energy partner of choice - based in Rapid City, S.D., with corporate offices in Denver and Omaha, Neb. Black Hills Corp. serves 763,300 natural gas and electric utility customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, and its non-regulated businesses generate wholesale electricity, produce natural gas, oil and coal, and market energy. Black Hills' 2,200 employees partner to produce results that improve life with energy. More information is available at blackhillscorp.com.