Cities

Vast majority of feds’ flex-fuel cars still run on straight gasoline

The federal government has poured billions of dollars into building up a fleet of 112,000 flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on an ethanol blend — but the attempt to move away from fossil fuels has so far largely failed, as 92 percent of the vehicles still run on straight gasoline.

A technology for the long emergency

Avego makes ride-sharing a normal reality

The thing about energy-driven collapse is that it’s uneven — it’s not like the calendar flips back and we all return to having the things we had in the past. Rather, we’re going to have this huge overhang of technology from the peak period of affluence and abundance. Sometimes that’s going to be bad (buildings that are unlivable without massive inflows of energy) and sometimes it will be fortuitous. Even if the satellites and cellphones fail, we will need to learn sharing — making the maximum use of each resource, such as an auto trip. Here’s a good start: Avego …

Can we build it? Yes we can ... eventually

Greenbuild ends on a note of cautious optimism

When he took the stage for the closing session of this year’s Greenbuild, amid flashing lights and a thumping rock anthem, USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi got right to the point: “When people say green building is over, tell them there were 29,752 people at Greenbuild. That doesn’t sound like we’re at the end of the road.” It’s a message that green building advocates are chanting every chance they get — and personally, I hope they’re right. Green building makes sense on all sorts of e-word levels: energy, environment, economy, employment. But there was some sense that this crowd — as …

Building to a head

This year’s Greenbuild is buzzing

In her column this week, Lisa Selin Davis wrote about the optimism of those in the green building movement. Today I saw it in the flesh. It was astonishing, the sight of more than 800 companies and organizations packed into Boston’s Convention & Exhibition Center for this year’s Greenbuild. Big guys like Honda and DuPont shared floor space with scrappier entities like Big Ass Fans and the Slag Cement Association. From the center’s (massive! awesome!) glass catwalk, I watched as attendees — estimated by one staffer to number close to 30,000 — swarmed the floor, some in suits, some in …

Bay Area is now a Better Place ™

Thursday, Better Place announced a commitment to build a network of electric car charging stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. I counted 18 TV cameras. People are hungry for change.

Electric-car infrastructure coming to California’s Bay Area

California’s Bay Area will enjoy an electric-car infrastructure by 2012, startup Better Place announced Thursday. The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose signed on for the plan, which will cover the region with charging and battery-exchange stations at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Will the economic downturn kill green building?

In a word, no

Late last year, I began to get the sense that green building fatigue was setting in. On my end, I sighed when a press release announcing a new LEED building landed in my inbox; that fact, alone, no longer seemed like news. But all over the country, the housing bubble was beginning to burst. I wondered: Would green building survive? With GreenBuild Expo, the largest gathering of green building professionals in the world, occurring this week, the question seems all the more relevant, especially since the bull market has gone bear. After all, green building is widely believed to be …

Notable quotable

Sad sentences can say so much

“The Federal Highway Administration has approved Utah’s plan for a Mountain View freeway — if the state can afford it.” – “Freeway gets greenlight from the feds,” Salt Lake Tribune

Greenbuild 2008!

The whopper of a conference starts today

This year’s Greenbuild Expo kicks off today, and I’m … not there. But I will be later this week! It looks to be both inspiring and overwhelming — check out the official program for an eye-blurring good time. In advance of the event, the U.S. Green Building Council put out the word that it expects the not-at-all-overburdened president-elect Obama to keep his green promises. But how much of a player will green building really be, given the crumbly economy? Lisa Selin Davis will survey the scene in her newest placemaking column, coming later today.

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