C-SPAN in the hizzy

Senate committee rocks the house on ‘sustainable transportation’

All the youths are buzzing about the fact that C-SPAN now allows their video to be embedded. Wicked roasty! (That’s what the youths say these days.) To get a sense of the hottness this is going to bring to the interweb streetz, check out this video of a hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on “Sustainable Transportation.” If you can handle the heat, that is! Totally tubular!

Radiant Cities: Living in your car

New breed of houses makes use of carbage

Guess what will save the economy and the environment? Buying a new car! Cadillac ranch? OK, maybe not save — but according to the folks at Oregon-based Miranda Homes, it can help. The automobile industry has lost some half a million jobs and $50 billion in revenue while we hang on to our old jalopies. Miranda owner Rob Boydstun knows that cars hold great potential when reincarnated, and their waste products — let’s call that stuff carbage — can be transformed into cleaner, greener, and cheaper houses, coming soon-ish to a subdivision near you. Salvage is nothing new in the …

Much sun, free beer

How a small Nevada town lures major solar investment

In 1995, Boulder City, Nevada, paid $1.3 million for a land buffer to make sure that Las Vegas didn't get any closer. It has since used that buffer to become a world leader in solar energy, and is making $2 million (and counting) in annual revenue from solar leases. How did the city pull this off? What is the key to their solar success? Read this excellent article in the Las Vegas Sun to find out. The city, 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas, averages 350 sunny days per year, allowing a local tavern to offer free beer on the days when the sun doesn't shine. That's got to have at least something to do with it.

Junior hints

RFK Jr. addresses green building conference in Seattle

“[Americans are] probably the best entertained and least informed people in the world,” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., said Friday at the BuiltGreen Conference in Seattle, noting that we know more about the decline of Britney Spears than we do about global warming. It was one grim truth among many that he shared with the audience of architects, planners, and green building folks. Kennedy also lamented the current state of our economic markets — “rigged to reward the most filthiest producers, the expensive, ‘poisoniest’ and destructive fuels from hell, rather than the clean green cheap fuels from heaven” — and called …

Urban legend

Ron Sims of Seattle plans to green HUD as deputy secretary

Ron Sims. Ron Sims wants to bring a fresh, green perspective to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sims — the county executive of King County, Wash., which encompasses the Seattle metropolitan area — is President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of the department. “President Obama has … challenged his Cabinet to prepare for the age of global warming,” Sims said in a statement shortly after he was nominated. “Success can only come if we transform our major metropolitan areas.” Urbanists are hoping for big, green things from HUD under Obama and Secretary Shaun Donovan. The addition of Sims …

The Transit Authority: Done with the Gipper

The aging of the Boomers means it’s time for new priorities

Ronald Reagan This past week saw the return of the annual spectacle known as CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — to Washington. As is inevitable whenever conservatives gather, invocations of the greatness of Ronald Reagan ran thick. But with a new and charismatic president in office looking to roll back key aspects of the Reagan era, the usual reverie rang a bit hollow. Mr. Reagan, born in 1911, walked out of the White House a generation ago, and America is now a much different place. The country has been surprisingly slow to cotton to the general shift underway. …

Points for honesty

Houston surprised at own rank on EPA green-building list

The Houston Press, surprised by the city’s high ranking in the EPA’s recent list of metro areas with the most Energy Star-qualified buildings in 2008, called the agency to check things out. Turns out some of the listiness was based on voluntary reporting by building managers, which means, as Press blogger Richard Connelly put it, “It may be that we just like to brag about our green-ness more.” Aaaaaand speaking of bragging and Houston (thanks, universe), today also brings “news” of the nation’s first eco-car wash. The company behind it, called Eco-Suds, has plans to expand to other locations in …

Button 'er up

Canada, U.K. push green-building regs

A few green-building developments this week: On the heels of a federal budget that included $300 million to expand a home-retrofit program, Canada released its first LEED guidelines for homeowners and homebuilders. “We suspect some builders will be slow to warm to sustainable construction,” said Winnipeg-area developer Cam Dobie. “But we know when we build green, it improves our bottom line.” Meanwhile, across the pond, the U.K. Green Building Council called for a single sustainability code for non-domestic buildings that would mirror one already set up for homes. The code would replace a current hodge-podge of regulations. And finally, across …

Subway porn

A slideshow of mass transit’s massive artistic potential

Here’s some snowy-day fun (if you happen to live in one of the places getting socked by storms): Dave Burdick put together a slideshow highlighting the surprising beauty of subway maps old and new — yeah, New York City is in there, but you won’t want to miss the Milky Way!

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