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Nation’s largest solar home community

I have no idea if this is actually the nation's largest solar home community. I do know, however, that it's good news: Homebuilder, Lennar today announced a partnership with PowerLight Corporation and Roseville Electric to build the nation's largest solar community. The Sacramento division of the national builder, Lennar, operates locally as Renaissance Homes and Winncrest Homes and will integrate photovoltaic systems and upgraded energy efficiency measures into 450 new homes slated to be built in Roseville over the next two years. When municipal utilites, homebuilders, and solar installers team up and cooperate, efficiencies and cost savings can be maximized. Solar installations are cheaper when installed at the time of contruction. Houses can be oriented to maximize production. And the distribution system can be sized appropriately, with additional potential savings. How did this happen? Back in November, the city passed a requirement making it so. Leadership on clean energy is at the local level.

Vote!

Have you voted for us in the Webby Awards yet? NO?!? Well then. Quit whatever you're doing immediately, go register, and vote. You want those National Geographic clowns getting big heads? I didn't think so.

Sex and taxes

Discussion of taxes in this country rarely gets beyond "higher vs. lower" screeching. We desperately need smarter tax talk: rational discussion of what we want as a society, what we don't want, and how best to allocate our resources. To get there, we have to get people interested in taxes -- remind them that the government works for them, and they should pay attention to what they're funding. I have no idea how to bring about that state of affairs. But I suppose you could do worse than equating taxes and sex.

Gas price follies

I'll confess that I've grown rapidly tired of the hubbub around gas prices. It's pretty clear that our national leaders don't plan to do anything but posture and pander, and saying, "look how the jerks are posturing and pandering!" gets tiresome after a while. However, the intrepid bloggers at Think Progress never tire of it, so I'm just going to outsource to them for a while. For instance, see this post, with video of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist -- who has rapidly become one of the most pathetic, sad-sack public figures in memory, still scrabbling desperately to keep his presidential hopes alive, the last one to know that they were stillborn from the start -- making the comically preposterous claim that gas prices wouldn't be high now if Clinton had allowed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ten years ago. Seriously. And then there's this post, which relays the amusing story of Karl Rove a) for once getting something right, and b) getting blasted by his own people for it. It's not every day that Karl Rove gets a lesson in politics. But the President's ace strategist was brought up sharply at a recent White House meeting with a group of Republican congressional-staff chiefs when he suggested that the best approach to soaring gasoline prices was this: wait. There's no immediate fix available, so let the market work its magic, Rove said. Yeah, Republicans in Congress didn't like hearing that. "We want better panders, Karl! That's why we pay you the big bucks!"

Skepticism

This great post on Sprol brings some much-needed skepticism to many of the energy alternatives currently being touted as green -- ethanol and "clean coal" among them.

Beez!

Did you know that a swarm of bees is also known as a grist of bees? I leave it to readers to tease out the metaphorical implications.

Good Luck, Little Buddy

First captive-bred giant panda released into the wild Good news for panda lovers (so, basically everybody): On Friday, the first of 103 giant pandas being bred at a Chinese research center was released into the …

The Threat Set

Polar bear and hippo added to list of at-risk species Animals and plants considered threatened with extinction now number 16,119, including 20 percent of assessed shark and ray species, the polar bear, and the common …

Adaptation strategies: The good, the bad, and the ugly

A while ago there was a great discussion of the pros and cons of integrating adaptation into global-warming debates (prompted by Nordhaus and Shellenberger's op-ed "preparing for nature's attack"). I just ran across an adaptation strategy that's compelling because it positively engages global warming consequences, without softpeddling or sidestepping the issue. Alex Wilson at Environmental Building News suggests that in order to adapt to increasing environmental volatility, we need to design buildings for passive survivability. Ooh, I like the sound of that ...

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