Recent blog posts
Jan 11

Stay tuned! We're compiling the appendices for our renewable tax credit study, peer-reviewed and updated from last spring with comprehensive analysis and demographic information on PV adopters. Meaty stuff.

Dec 19
Nov 20

Cutting emissions 25% per facility in the next 8 years after probably a century of steady growth? Yeah, that's huge. That's our take on the state's proposed greenhouse gas rules, which will reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 by targeting Hawaii's biggest polluters. If you can make it to one of the public hearings to voice your support, absolutely do so.

Hawaii’s GHG Rules Update

This November marks an important time for Hawaii’s clean air and energy standards. Just this month, the Governor’s office approved a request to notify the public about the proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) rules that have been in motion since 2007. In the next month, four public hearing meetings for the GHG rules are scheduled throughout the islands. 

The public hearings are an opportunity to learn more about the proposed GHG rules, to hear commentary from interested parties, and even contribute to the dialogue and decision making. The Department of Health is also accepting any written comments and recommendations via mail or hand delivery to:

Hawaii State Department of Health, Clean Air Branch
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 203,
Honolulu, HI, 96814


The comment period ends on January 14, 2013. You can view Blue Planet Foundation's comments here.

To view the official proposed GHG rules, the Department of Health website may be accessed at The RISE Program and interns have been supporting the GHG rule-making process since January 2011, and the following is our interpretation of the publicly available materials relating to the proposed rules.



The schedule is as follows:



Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 5pm

Waiakea High School, Hilo, Big Island

Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 2pm

919 Ala Moana Boulevard

(AAFES Building), Honolulu, Oahu

Thursday, November 29, 2012, 5pm

Wilcox Elementary School, Lihue, Kauai

Friday, November 30, 2012, 6pm

Pomaikai Elementary School, Kahului, Maui



Background to Hawaii’s Proposed Rules:

Hawaii’s proposed GHG rules are a direct result of Act 234, Hawaii’s Global Warming Solution Law, signed in 2007 by Governor Linda Lingle. The Act seeks to reduce Hawaii’s GHG emission levels to that of 1990 levels by January 1, 2020. Since the signing of the Act, the Department of Health Clean Air Branch has been under fire to implement rules that will have a large effect on Hawaii’s electricity generation (see this 8/18/11 Civil Beat article for background on the delays).  The proposed GHG rules will aid in achieving this goal by setting a statewide GHG emissions limit that identifies and requires emissions reductions from the State’s largest GHG emitters. The proposed rules may incur costly effects on major GHG sources, including energy producers and landfills, as they seek to modify their operations in order to reduce their overall emission levels. However, the benefits of these GHG rules includes reducing the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels; reducing the State’s emissions and contribution to global climate change; and supporting the goals of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.  

Hawaii from a National Perspective of GHG Rules:

Eighteen states have now passed mandatory GHG reporting measures, as illustrated in the map (Source: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, July 5, 2012). The following outlines the major ways in which state rules may differ, and a short summary of Hawaii’s proposed rules:

1.     The sectors required to report – GHG is emitted from sources of all sizes, so each State’s legislating body needs to define sources to require reporting from at an achievable and manageable scale.  The State of Hawaii’s draft rules targets existing electric power producers, refineries, and landfills, while excluding Municipal Solid Waste Combustors such as H-Power, and deferring biogenic emissions until 2014. New or modified sources are also covered, to ensure emissions aren’t being displaced.

2.     The size of facilities that are required to report – Hawaii’s proposed rules target larger sources with potential emissions above 100,000 tons CO2equivalents/year – which is estimated to effect 25 sources in Hawaii.

3.     The setting of GHG Limits – Reporting GHG emissions doesn’t necessarily mean reducing emissions.  Hawaii’s proposed rules seek to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (as set by Act 234), which equates to 13.66 MMT CO2e – a number taken from the 2008 Hawaii GHG Inventory report by ICF International, which excludes aviation and international bunker fuel emissions and includes carbon sinks.

4.     The setting of fees – Fees may be associated with reporting in order for the State to have the capacity to manage the reporting process. Hawaii’s proposed rules change fees for only federally regulated covered sources, and the fee is based on the amount of emissions emitted.

Comprehensive information about GHG reporting by State is also available on the EPA’s website.

What you can do:

Hawaii’s GHG regulations, though technical, will have a major impact for all of Hawaii’s energy users, Hawaii’s energy producers, and anyone impacted by GHG emissions and global climate change (read: everyone!). If you cannot make it to the above public hearings, please contribute your thoughts by mail or hand delivery by January 14, 2013 to:

Hawaii State Department of Health, Clean Air Branch
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 203,
Honolulu, HI, 96814

Nov 07

Here's a ranking of Hawaii's largest carbon polluters. Note that the top 3 sources pollute as much as the next 21!

Nov 05

A photo journal of the eviction of the Riverdale mobile home park residents in north-central Pennsylvania. From the most excellent website "BURN":

The Riverdale mobile home park used to sit on the banks of the Susquehanna River in north-central Pennsylvania. It housed working families with modest incomes. Earlier this year, all the Riverdale trailer families were evicted to make room for a pump station and pipeline that would move Susquehanna water to fracking sites elsewhere in the state.

Some from Riverdale went willingly. Some did not. Some stayed to fight the evictions. Everyone shared in the hardships. The disruption unsettled families and undermined their support networks as they wondered what to do and where to go.

BURN host Alex Chadwick visits the stories of Riverdale with free lance photographer and Pennsylvania resident Lynn Johnson, who works on assignment for National Geographic.

Check it out here.

Oct 08

Let’s call LNG what it is. LNG is a fossil fuel, just like oil and coal. It’s 90-percent methane (CH4), a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Hawai‘i Gas likes to call methane a “cleaner-burning fuel.” But that handy phrase hides the fact that methane leaks out of the ground during drilling (hello, fracking) and that fossil fuels are consumed to ship it across the sea. LNG is liquefied methane. It’s not clean. It’s not renewable. It’s not local. It’s not sustainable.

Read the rest of our commentary posted at Civil Beat.

Oct 02

Sharing some opportunities from our friends at Hawaii Energy...

Efficiency Sales Professional Certification Program
October 22 – 27, 2012
Honolulu Country Club - Honolulu, HI

The market is filled with sales programs that provide proven strategies for increasing leads, creating compelling value propositions, building client relationships, and closing sales. However, these programs are created for large and varied audiences selling everything from Italian leather shoes to jetliners. When it comes to applying sales principles to your own industry, it starts to get tricky. That’s why EEFG created the ESP Certification Program, which artfully combines instruction on professional selling, financial analysis, segment-specific business acumen, and the energy efficiency industry.

The Program will equip you with the resources, insights, focus, and skills needed to:

·         Identify and capture the attention of the highest-quality prospects
·         Quantify and monetize all of the benefits of enhanced efficiency
·         Understand how people in different segments and decision-making roles view and value efficiency
·         Generate proposals and supporting financials that are concise and compelling
·         Understand the differences between how owner-occupants, landlords, and tenants view and value efficiency
·         Generate compelling value propositions

Continuing education units are available: GBCI 48 CEs (LEED); AIA 16 LUs and 32 HSW/SD LUs
Program Fee: $350 (Note: Hawaii Energy is subsidizing the cost of this program for Hawaii, Honolulu, and Maui county residents.  Residents of other counties must pay the unsubsidized program fee of $2,975). For more information and to register Questions? or (808) 421-8639
Learning to S.E.E. (Selling Efficiency Effectively)
October 29, 2012
Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, HI

Energy-efficiency projects and solutions can be a tough sell to building owners in today’s economic climate. Most decisions are emotional decisions, and making energy-efficiency purchases and changes are no exception. Whether you’re selling efficiency solutions or seeking project approvals, understanding what factors play a role in the decision-making process, as well as how to build rapport with key stakeholders, vastly increases your odds of success. Credits: AIA 6.0 HSW/SD, GBCI 6.0 (LEED).

Program Fee: $35 (Note: Hawaii Energy is subsidizing the cost of this program for Hawaii, Honolulu, and Maui county residents.  Residents of other counties must pay the unsubsidized workshop fee of $495)

Register online here. Questions? or (808) 421-8639
Financial Analysis of Energy Efficiency Projects
October 30, 2012
Maui Arts & Cultural Center – Kahului, HI
It is much easier to secure funding for a proposed energy-saving project if all of the associated costs and benefits are properly quantified and the resulting financial return is compelling. This workshop will cover several approaches to calculating a project’s returns as well as the pros and cons of using various financial metrics when requesting capital. By the end of the day, students will know how to model expected cash outflows and inflows over time, how to calculate a project’s present value and other financial metrics, and how to generate compelling capital budgeting requests.  Credits: AIA 6.0 HSW/SD, GBCI 6.0 CE (LEED).  Register
Program Fee: $35 (Note: Hawaii Energy is subsidizing the cost of this program for Hawaii, Honolulu, and Maui county residents.  Residents of other counties must pay the unsubsidized workshop fee of $495). Register  Questions? or (808) 421-8639

Sep 12

Posted on in Blue Planet Updates

Clicking for Cash

Blue Planet Foundation has partnered with Kokua Hawaii Foundation to earn some valuable dollars from the Chase Community Giving program. Chase is donating $5 million to nonprofit organizations across the country, and we would love to see some of it directed toward a better future for Hawaii. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Fundraising is an indispensable part of keeping nonprofits alive. It makes it possible for groups like ours to implement programs that support the nonprofit sector's universal mission of improving the world we live in. With this Chase campaign, instead of asking for your money, we're asking for your vote. The top 196 vote-getters will be awarded with a $10,000 contribution.

Each voter gets to cast two votes, so please vote for Hawaii! Click here to support Blue Planet Foundation, and click here to support Kokua Hawaii Foundation. Voting ends on Sep. 19. We'd appreciate your help, too, in passing these links forward—thank you for your valuable contribution!

Sep 05

There are about 50 spots left to participate in the Hawaii Energy Study. This EPA-funded program is a collaboration between Blue Planet, Kanu Hawaii, and Kupu designed to help Hawaii residents become knowledgeable about their home energy use so that they can reduce their household consumption and their electricity bills. Watch this short video to learn more:

If you're chosen as a program participant, a couple of Kupu's Youth Energy Assessment Hawaii (YEAH) team members will visit your home and conduct an energy assessment, identifying energy problems (for example, my freezer door didn't have a proper seal, so my icebox was working overtime to keep food cold) and opportunities to save energy (they found a few incandescent bulbs I had missed--like in my desk lamp). Participants will also receive a professionally installed TED in-home monitor that shows your real-time electricity usage, as well as a weatherization kit that includes a low-flow showerhead, LEDs, and smart power strips, among other energy-saving tools. These services/products are worth $1,000--a lot more, even, when you consider the amount of money you'll save on your electricity bill each month by reducing your energy consumption. Take advantage of this program. There's no catch! The EPA funded it to help Hawaii residents reduce their energy use.

To sign up, go to Deadline is Friday, Sep. 14. Pass it on! Big mahalos to Mike and Kehau Romero and Leslie Liang for sharing their stories.

Aug 27

On Aug. 25, the Hawaii chapter of the US Green Building Council--the organization responsible for establishing LEED building standards--held its Green Gala at Warehouse MR1.1 in Kaka‘ako, where elements of sustainable design were showcased and celebrated. That evening, they presented their 2012 honorees, naming Blue Planet Foundation as the recipient of the Community Award. The Community Award is given annually to an organization or company that has “demonstrated profound impact on their community through sustainability.”
“We’re grateful for the recognition and thank the USGBC for showing us what’s possible through green design of our built environment," said Blue Planet Executive Director Jeff Mikulina. “Blue Planet continues to encourage builders to incorporate radical energy efficiency into their building projects to align our long-term economic, environmental, and societal goals.”

The Green Gala celebrated the efforts of local designers, builders, and community leaders that are helping Hawai‘i become a recognized pioneer in sustainable design. The mission of the USGBC Hawaii is to create an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous quality of life for all in Hawai‘i through the transformation of the built environment and the way it is planned, designed, constructed and operated. They intend to create a positive impact on the region’s built environment by accelerating the adoption of green building practices, technologies, policies, and standards.

Congratulations to all the honorees, and mahalo to the US Green Building Council for encouraging Hawaii to become a leader of sustainable design!