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Kif Scheuer's Posts

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EBN calls RECs one of the top 10 green building products of 2006

It’s an important addition to the REC debate

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 …

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New Pew review: business strategies for climate change

A report shows how big businesses are preparing

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). Here's the summary of the report's purpose and approach: This report compiles the experience and best practices of large corporations that have developed and implemented strategies to address climate change. Based on a 31-company survey, six in-depth case studies, a review of the literature, and experience gained …

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Atlas shrugs: California seals the deal on cap and trade

New bill should spark lots of discussion

The New York Times (and everyone else) reports that California has reached a deal for a cap and trade program on carbon emissions. California's political leaders announced an agreement on Wednesday that imposes the most sweeping controls on carbon dioxide emissions in the nation, putting the state at the forefront of a broad campaign to curb the man-made causes of climate change despite resistance in Washington. The deal between the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, calls for a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and could establish controls on the largest industrial sectors, including …

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A bulb a day keeps the climate at bay: Wal-Mart to push CFLs

Are there downsides to the retail giant’s efforts to up sales of CFLs?

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. Of course they've got the old self-interest motive going: It also aims to …

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Growing a stabilization wedge: lessons from green buildings

Can we compare growth in the green building and green transportation sectors?

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. Green is booming" is an increasingly common story. But what is less often talked about is how and why it's booming and how that growth compares to other sectors of the economy that impact the climate. The recent surge in green …

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Austin City Limits: zero energy code

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! From a related article: Unsatisfied with being the official Capital of Texas and unofficial Live Music Capital of the World, the City of Austin now says it wants to be the "Clean Energy Capital" of the world. Proposed code changes would require that new construction be "zero-energy capable". …

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Wind powder

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. Vail Resorts has agreed to purchase 152,000 Megawatt Hours to offset their operational energy consumption. This deal significantly surpasses 21,000 MWHs of …

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Drill now, save never

The NYT has an editorial today critiquing the "Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act" the Senate is set to debate today. The bill's stated purpose is to reduce fuel prices. But while the gulf may hold enough natural gas to affect the price of that commodity, the same cannot be said of oil. No matter where it looks, a country that consumes one-quarter of the world's oil supply while holding only 3 percent of the reserves will never be able to drill its way to lower oil prices, much less oil independence. There's some opposition within the Senate: A small …

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Asphalt blues

"With the continuing escalation of global fuel prices, many State DOTS are beginning to experience unprecedented construction cost increases." - USDOT Over the last year, the price of asphalt has gone through the roof, and it's hurting local road repairs and construction. I haven't seen much about this outside of local articles (examples here, here, and here). If oil prices keep their steady march upward, road repairs are going to become a ballooning problem for local communities and state governments. Some communities are already cutting back on paving projects, or are using less cover material to stretch resources further. But …

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Opportunity to chew the environmental fat with Shellenberger

Lewis & Clark (the school, not the explorers) is putting on its annual Environmental Affairs Symposium, October 2-4. The theme this year is: "Beyond Environmentalism? Debating New Ideas and Strategies." Michael Shellenberger, of "Death of Environmentalism" infamy, will be there. I got an email inviting "college faculty, undergraduate students, and environmental professionals from the region" to propose a talk on one of six topics. Sounds like good fun if you're in the Portland area. More information follows ... Here's the original invite: What are your thoughts on the "death of environmentalism," a controversial proposal recently circulated by Michael Shellenberger and …

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