Nice story over at Newscientist.com about a new study by David C. Lund, Jean Lynch-Stieglitz, and William B. Curry in Nature that undercuts the "where's the little ice age?" argument against Mann's Hockey Stick graph:
In a preliminary vote, the D.C. city council unanimously decided to phase in green building standards that would apply to private as well as public development in the district. The district is poised to become the first major city in the country to require that private developers build environmentally friendly projects that incorporate energy-saving measures.By 2012, most large construction in the city -- commercial and city-funded residential -- would have to meet the standards, if the D.C. council gives final approval to a new bill next month. Under the bill, within two years, all new district-owned projects, including schools, would have to meet the green standards, and in 2009, any building receiving more than 20 percent public financing would have to do the same. By 2012, every new commercial building over 50,000 square feet -- about the size of a medium-size retail store -- would have to meet the guidelines. The rules would also apply to affordable housing.
Building Green, publisher of Environmental Buildings News and GreenSpec, just released their top 10 green building products for 2006, and Community Energy's Renewable Energy Credits made the list. Although not directly related to the "kerfuffle" about the Whole Foods/Renewable Choice Card, this is important to the REC debate for a couple of reasons. EBN is one of the most respected sources of information on green building, and they feel RECs are worthwhile. To me this is a huge vote of confidence in RECs as part of overall environmental sustainability efforts. RECs are not strictly a building product, but a service choice, yet purchasing RECs can make a huge dent in a building's lifecycle impact. Typically, RECs receive relatively little attention, because they are not as sexy as other options such as solar panels or salvaged-timber bathroom partitions. Adding RECs to a list of important green products broadens people's perspectives on what green building can be. For example, this highlights that you don't have to build a new building or undergo a major renovation to green your buildings, but you can start right away with RECs.
The Pew Center published a report today on business strategies for dealing with climate change [PDF]. The report was authored principally by University of Michigan Professor (and recent Grist contributor) Andrew Hoffman. I've only had a chance to glance at the report, but it looks like good stuff (here's an article about it).
The New York Times (and everyone else) reports that California has reached a deal for a cap and trade program on carbon emissions.
We've heard scads about Wal-Mart turning over a big, fat green leaf (here and here and here and probably lots of other places, too). Well, here's another one reported by Fast Company that really left my jaw hanging open: In the next 12 months, starting with a major push this month, Wal-Mart wants to sell every one of its regular customers -- 100 million in all -- one swirl bulb. In the process, Wal-Mart wants to change energy consumption in the United States, and energy consciousness, too.
I've just been reading those Scientific American articles on energy and climate change. After rereading the stabilization wedges article (PDF) I began to think, "How likely is it that any particular wedges will take off?" This got me thinking about green building (almost everything does these days) and how much has happened to the building industry in recent years.
The city of Austin, already host to the granddaddy of all green building programs, is stepping it up further: They are looking into "adopting a series of code changes that will make all new single-family homes built in the City's building code jurisdiction 'Zero-Energy Capable Homes' by the year 2015." Go Austin!
The NYT reports today that Colorado ski resort giant Vail Resorts is investing heavily in wind, "buying enough credits to offset all the power needed for its resorts, retail stores and office buildings." Vail Resort's purchase makes them the second largest purchaser of wind credit after Whole Foods. The article states that Vail Resorts accounts for "10% of all skier visits in the nation last year." This makes their commitment a pretty significant splash on the ski scene.