Cities

It takes a (wired) village

How cities can foster demand for electric cars

When Tesla Motors opened its new showroom in Boulder, it did so in style. Hosting an invitation-only party, the automaker brought out a lively group of local politicians, environmentalists and entrepreneurs for a night of martinis, music and test-drives of the Tesla Roadster. A Tesla Roadster on display at the electric vehicle maker’s new store in Boulder, Colorado.Eric Magnuson via FlickrThe much talked about, all-electric, luxury sports car has received as much attention for its price tag as anything else. At more than $100,000, few people are likely to buy a Roadster. But with a temporary Colorado tax-break reducing the …

2nd Annual JP Green House List

Top 10 worst Christmas gifts

The Jamaica Plain Green House today released its second annual list of “Top 10 Worst Christmas Gifts.” The list ranges from $2 stocking stuffers to baubles of the super-rich. JP Green House co-founder Ken Ward said, “These ten items achieved high scores on each of three criteria — profligate, unnecessary, and tasteless energy use — in our rigorous testing protocol.” Ward described the gift ranking methodology as “half an hour of random Googling around.” 1. Greenland Glacier Cruise, $5,247 for ocean view cabin“Greenland’s west coast has dozens of long, deep fjords, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that …

The personal is political; the political, personal

Dark winter days at the JP Green House

Family and crew show their climate commitment at the JP Green House.As I write this, the Northeast is methodically being blanketed with a thick blessing of snow, shutting everything down, as if the earth knows we need comfort and beauty after this horrible week. The crisis of our planet manifested at Copenhagen. We held a vigil for 350, singing Dylan into the howling winds of downtown Boston, outside of John Kerry’s empty office. We fasted at the request of 350.org. We followed the grim updates with little expectation, and we rejoiced at the protests of the people and the righteous …

Chicken or Egg – – Health Care or Climate Change?

President Obama, who will personally participate in the Copenhagen climate talks this week, said last Sunday that he expects to get a health care bill on his desk before Christmas. The barriers to meeting that deadline may revolve around the answer to an age-old question: which comes first – – the health care chicken or the climate change egg? Senators who were previously close to signing onto his health care package are hesitating for several reasons, but most of them revolve around cost. That’s not just  worry about the overall price tag, but also a question of how much Congress …

Spin Class

5 fab bike solutions seen on the streets of Copenhagen

The ‘hybrid’ electric bike Copenhagen wheel concept (retrofit to your own bike’s back wheel hub) shown at Hopenhagen’s Future Cities exhibit.By April Streeter for Treehugger.com: I went to Copenhagen because I could take a train, and I was really interested in what the mood would feel like on the streets (as opposed to what the mainstream press might say). Fairly good-humored, is my summary of the mood, both of the hosting Copenhagen citizens, and the multi-culti visitors. Those trapped in egregious police sting operations might not think so right now, yet the prevailing vibe I sensed was one of cooperation. …

Sexy Retrofits

Vindication edition: Obama declares insulation “sexy”

Here at Sexy Retrofits, we’ve been pointing out for a while the absolute hotness of making buildings more energy efficient. Today, our President said this: “I know the idea [of investing in upgrades to inefficient buildings] may not be very glamorous, although I get really excited about it. Insulation is sexy stuff.” Know what else is sexy? Obama. Glorious day!

The jobs of saving energy

Could AlertMe be the Apple of energy efficiency?

AlertMe iphone app.Photo: Courtesy of AlertMeI’m sitting in a conference room at a PR agency on the San Francisco waterfront when the chief executive of AlertMe, a British energy management startup, pulls out his iPhone to check on a colleague’s kilowatt consumption back in the U.K. The executive, who has the Vonnegutian name of Pilgrim Beart, taps the “history” icon on the screen. “I can see that his wife has arrived home,” he says before touching the energy button. “They’re watching TV right now,” Beart notes, staring at the iPhone screen. “I could turn the TV off if I wanted …

Placemakers

Amy Bauman is greening the construction industry, one steel I-beam at a time

This interview is part of a series on people who are making their communities smarter, greener places to live. Got a nomination? Leave it in the comments section or send it along to us. Redoing a kitchen? Hosting a national convention? Demolishing a school? Things are bound to get trashy, and that’s where Amy Bauman comes in. A former financial analyst, Bauman founded a nonprofit called greenGoat in 2001 to help Boston-area architects and contractors green their projects and create less waste. From consulting on LEED plans to finding new uses for cast-off materials, the small greenGoat team has worked …

Forward Progress

Take a walk through the JP Green House [video]

JP Green House walk-through from Ken Ward on Vimeo. Walk through of JP Green House, by Ken Ward, co-founder, and Simon Hare & Declan Keefe of Placetailor, showing materials, design and construction techiques being used, aiming to meet passivhaus standards and meet negative, net carbon impact objective.