March 2015

Newsbites – March 2015


Green Buildings Get Lower Interest Rate Loans

The U.S. Federal National Mortgage Association—Fannie Mae—will for the first time provide lower interest rate loans to green multifamily residential buildings. Fannie Mae will grant a 10-basis-point interest-rate refinance reduction for the acquisition or supplemental mortgage loan for buildings with a green building certification. For example, if the market interest rate is 4 percent on the loan, with this pricing break the new rate is 3.9 percent. On a $10-million dollar loan amortizing over 30 years, the owner would save $95,000 in interest payments over a 10-year term.


Rick Fedrizzi, chief executive and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the LEED green building rating system, says this is both an incentive to build green and an incentive for existing buildings to achieve certification.


In addition to having a smaller carbon footprint, green buildings cost 19 percent less to maintain than their conventional counterparts, according to a U.S. General Services Administration study.



Architecture/Earthen Materials Construction Conference

The Eighth International Conference on Architecture and Construction with Earthen Materials will take place in the St. Francis Auditorium of the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe from Oct. 2-4. The field of interest for this year’s conference will include adobe, rammed earth, compressed earth block (CEB) and monolithic adobe (cob). Any method that uses clay as a binder will be considered. Abstract submissions are being accepted through April 10. Full papers from accepted presenters are due on Aug. 21. Conference activities will include podium presentations and poster sessions, tours to local earthbuilding sites of interest, and preconference and postconference earthbuilding workshops. The conference organizer is Adobe in Action, an approved Continuing Education Systems provider through the American Institute of Architects.


Industrial Revenue Bonds Approved for Solar Plant

A company planning to build a solar-power generating plant next to a wind farm near San Jon, New Mexico, will receive a tax break from the Quay County Commission’s approval of industrial revenue bonds. The county may receive more than $84,000 a year in payments in lieu of taxes over the life of the bonds. Much of that funding would support San Jon schools. The plant, which is to be built by Infigen, could produce up to 55 megawatts of power. Construction costs are estimated at $33 million.


Consolidated Solar Now Supplies Home Depot

An Albuquerque-based solar power supply and installation company, Consolidated Solar Technologies, has become the only solar service provider to Home Depot stores throughout New Mexico, southwest Colorado and western Arizona. CST has solar displays at all Home Depot locations in Albuquerque, Farmington, Gallup, Los Lunas, Río Rancho and Santa Fe. CST is in the process of expanding further west into other Home Depot markets.


Founder Institute to Cultivate Santa Fe Entrepreneurship

On Feb. 17, the Founder Institute, a business accelerator program based in Silicon Valley with chapters in 40 countries, held a kickoff event at Warehouse 21 to showcase the kinds of ideas it is bringing to Santa Fe. The institute presented a panel of five technology and creative leaders to talk about mentorship, funding, design, capital and more. The panel included TV producer Lee Zlotoff; Fast Company magazine founder/entrepreneur Alan Webber; SportXast co-founder Molly Cernicek; Nik Seet, founder of and Auditude; and entrepreneur Shawn Patrick, who is helping bring the Founder Institute to Santa Fe to inspire collaboration and local entrepreneurship. The institute will provide teamwork training and other startup services. Applications are being accepted through May 3. The program will launch on May 13.



Taos County Courthouse App Being Developed

In an attempt to make the courthouse history available to visitors before the rehabilitation is completed, while the building is closed, the history team from the Taos County Courthouse Preservation Plan is developing an app that will share historic photos, a description of all the periods of the courthouse history and the stories of each of the murals and mural artists. The team, joined by a local computer programmer, is seeking funding from governmental, private and foundation sources, as well as building advertising partnerships with local museums to raise the funds to complete the build-out of the app, which will be made freely available for download, easily done with the free wi-fi that is accessible on Taos Plaza. To sponsor, donate to or advertise within the app, contact Rachel Prinz at



MIX Santa Fe Wins Bright Ideas Award for Innovations in Government

MIX Santa Fe, an economic and community development initiative that provides entrepreneurial support, has won the coveted Bright Ideas award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


MIX provides professional development opportunities, including marketing, communications, product testing and business development assistance. The initiative hosts open community networking and showcasing events every third Thursday of the month at a variety of locations from 6 to 8 pm through November.  MIX’s events are designed to explore “creating the Santa Fe we want to live in” through interactive opportunities to launch projects promoting entrepreneurship, neighborhood revitalization, talent development and public policy. Event locations are announced on Facebook and Twitter, through an online newsletter and on the website MIX also sponsors an annual startup business plan competition.


MIX is a facilitated through the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. “Santa Fe’s creative workforce is one of the greatest assets we have,” said Mayor Javier Gonzales. “It’s great to see that unlocked by empowering individuals to make connections and bring forward ideas. Creative design and development initiatives allow our community to thrive by cultivating talent.”



Legislation Introduced to Create Statewide Río Grande Trail

Outdoor recreation contributes over $3.8 billion and 47,000 jobs in New Mexico alone. Last month, a group of bipartisan legislators from across New Mexico introduced legislation to establish the Río Grande Trail, a statewide trail from Colorado to Texas that would connect iconic landscapes and cultures, create jobs along the route and provide a new high-quality recreation opportunity.


HB 563 would create a commission, made up of stakeholders along the Río Grande, including cities, counties, tribes, federal agencies, conservancy districts and citizens to help define the best routes and reach the necessary agreements to designate a path through the many jurisdictions. The trail would cross land only with the agreement of its owners. The commission would operate, as per state law, under the authority of the Secretary of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, who would make the various appointments to the commission.


Currently there are segments of existing trail along the Río Grande, including Taos, Elephant Butte, in and around Las Cruces, and the bosque in Albuquerque.





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