Cities

Stripping for a cause

Weatherization will save us all

Doug Letterman via flickrPop quiz: What saves money, saves energy, creates green jobs, fights climate change, can fix the economy, will make America great again, and is both a floor wax and a dessert topping? Answer: It’s weatherization! And both the U.S. government and the European Union are embracing its potential. In a report released today, Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force (which, hello: still a terrible name) recommends steps toward a national retrofit program, citing a potential $21 billion in annual energy savings and 40 percent cut in energy use. Specific proposals include: an Energy Star-style labeling program for …

Infrared, Schminfrared

4.5 things I learned at my energy audit

As my family and co-workers will readily attest, I looked forward to my energy audit with disturbing anticipation after I made the appointment about a month ago. I was nearly giddy at the thought of having all my energy-efficiency questions answered: Should I replace my windows? Insulate? Wrap my water heater? Were there huge drafts in my basement that I didn’t know about? It was a bit like waiting for a first date with someone who came highly recommended. Only with the promise of lower utility bills instead of … well. Other things. I was sure this guy would have …

Knock Me Over With a Paradigm Shift

The best part about climate change

On a recent work day at the JP Green House, volunteers came out of the woodwork.Leise JonesOne of the early effects of climate change was the demise of my marriage. I was living a comfortable, middle-class life that was all wrong for my politics, and my essential devotion to simplicity. At some point in my mid-twenties I had gotten nervous, and opted for the safety of a life much like my parents’. It worked until I encountered the work of James Hansen and Bill McKibben in the late 1990s, and the part of me that longed to live and work …

Free Market Parking From Canada

My cries have been answered. In Canada, at least, there is such a thing as a free market think tank with a free market perspective on parking policy. The Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy recently published a concise little position paper, “How Free Is Your Parking?” by Stuart Donovan. It makes three points, briefly: 1. Parking regulations suppress economic activity: Parking regulations suppress economic activity in a number of ways. Most importantly parking regulations tie up large areas of urban land and reduce the space available for other, potentially more-productive, uses… The Toronto Parking Authority estimates the costs for constructing parking in the …

EV + PV = ROI

SolarCity makes electric cars an even smarter investment

A Tesla Roadster gets a boost from a SolarCity charging station in SalinasPhoto courtesy SolarCityYou can’t get more California greenin’ than this. Peter Rive can charge up his Tesla Roadster electric sports car in his San Francisco garage with carbon-free electricity supplied by a solar array on his roof. Then, if he’s in the mood for a road trip, he can drive to Los Angeles, stopping at a solar-powered charging station along the way to top off the battery. The free charging stations on the “solar highway” — aka the 101 — were recently installed by SolarCity, the Silicon Valley …

Roselle's Rollicking Tale & Moral of the Story

http://JPGreenHouseUploads.yolasite.com Mike Roselle has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and a genius for creating confusion in high places. As with all effective rabble-rousers, he has left a trail of enmity in his wake (not always in the opposition camp), but that is to be expected in any political life anchored in truth and guided by the precept that disruption of the status quo on behalf of wild things and wild places is both moral obligation and wise strategy. Mike’s rollicking new book announces in the very title that this is a chronicle of …

Tilting at, rather than installing, windmills

Obama’s absurd Olympic boosterism

Arches, now deserted, built for the 2004 Athens Olympics. As healthcare reform shipwrecks and climate legislation lurches toward a similar fate, President Obama is … preparing to jet to Copenhagen to shill for Chicago as 2016 Olympic site? Really? What an absurd and ignoble use of time and prestige. When I think of the Olympics, I remember the spookily quiet, deserted “Olympic Village” by the railroad tracks I encountered in Turin while visiting for Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference last year. Built just two years before for the 2006 winter games, the edifices already seemed rundown and shabby. They certainly …

Love in a time of cataclysm, part 2

Therapy on the Titanic

A recent Facebook exchange was striking. Someone posted a Washington Post article on the latest climate science. It predicted a temperature rise of 8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century if no systemic changes are made to reduce our carbon output. The better case scenario — in which world governments implement their current promises to cut emissions — would keep the warming to only 6 degrees. Another person responded, “This is so heartbreaking I don’t know how I can hold it.” An increasing number of people note with horror the destruction caused by the current level of carbon …

Loo and Behold

As Philadelphia goes, so goes the nation

More green on the streets will mean less brown in the rivers.Tony the Misfit via flickrPhiladelphia has a poo problem. Old, failing pipes plus a swelling population plus lots of rain equals — well, yuck. So the city has pondered its options, and now it’s poised to make a major splash in the world of sewage management. In a move described by an official from the state environmental council as “the most significant investment in transforming the city that we’ll see in our lifetimes,” Philly is proposing a $1.6 billion plan to radically alter the way it handles stormwater — …