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Hydrogen Hopes

BMW to put a few hydrogen cars on the road next year The cars of the future are here! Sorta. BMW announced yesterday that it will distribute about 100 hydrogen-powered 7-Series sedans to select drivers in the U.S. and E.U. in early 2007. The cars, which can travel about 125 miles before switching to gasoline, maintain BMW's sporty image: they go from zero to 62 in 9.5 seconds, with a top speed of 143 mph. The 7-Series recipients will be people who "have a potential impact on making a hydrogen economy happen," says a BMW spokesperson. Ooh, pick us, pick …

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Colleges and universities are learning what it takes to go green

The dawn of the new school year has brought with it a corps of fresh-faced ideas and initiatives aimed at making colleges and universities cleaner and greener. And, like any freshman class, they are all beaming with potential: Most will succeed, a handful will excel, and a few will end up disappointing their parents. Campuses are going green -- and not just with ivy. Photo: iStockphoto The greening of academe is nothing new, but it seems to have taken root in a big way. Today, it's not just about doing a few good, green things -- recycling, buying green energy, …

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Huston Eubank, director of the World Green Building Council, answers questions

Huston Eubank. What work do you do? I'm executive director of the World Green Building Council. What does your organization do? The World Green Building Council is a union of green building councils from around the world who are working to encourage development of green-building rating systems and accelerate the transformation of the global property industry toward sustainability. Our current members are GBCs in the U.S., Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan. We are currently reviewing the United Arab Emirates' membership application, and expect the United Kingdom, Brazil, and New Zealand to join us in the next few months. …

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Keepin’ It Real Estate

Portland's real-estate database makes it easy to search for green homes Realtors in and around Portland, Ore., will soon be able to search more easily for homes that have met national green-building standards. Starting in 2007, houses certified by LEED, Energy Star, and other such programs will be searchable in Portland's authoritative Regional Multiple Listing Service. Added amenities like on-site solar power and high-efficiency furnaces will be searchable individually. "People increasingly want energy efficiency in their homes, indoor air quality, and lower energy bills. This gives them the ability to find those features and a mainstream tool, which is important," …

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How Ultra-Low Can You Go?

California makes the jump to ultra-low sulfur diesel Starting today, on-road and off-road diesel vehicles in California will fill up with ultra-low sulfur fuel. California is leading the pack on this issue (natch); the rest of the U.S. will require on-road diesel vehicles to go ultra-low starting Oct. 15, but won't require off-road vehicles to make the switch until 2010. The new diesel has a sulfur content of 15 parts per million; diesel currently on the market has a sulfur content of 150 ppm in California and 500 ppm in the rest of the U.S. Ultra-low sulfur diesel should be …

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Reality Bites

U.S. automakers acknowledging that gas prices are likely to stay high Expect gasoline prices to stay between $3 and $4 a gallon for the rest of the decade, says ... no, not some fearmongering environmentalist or peak-oil nut, but Chrysler CEO Thomas LaSorda. In fact, all of Detroit's Big Three automakers have resigned themselves to current gas prices and are revamping their business models accordingly. "We are looking at it as if it's going to be much higher, rather than hoping it comes down," LaSorda said this week. Ford's chief sales analyst agreed, but declined to cite a price range, …

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A new exhibit lets New Orleans residents tell their own stories

In the beginning of July, I arrived in New Orleans for an internship at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. I met with Anne Rolfes, the coordinator and one of the founders of the nonprofit health and environmental-justice organization, and we discussed the work I would be doing. I was to organize a photo exhibit displaying images of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, taken by the residents of St. Bernard Parish. For three weeks I worked with members of the community to create a collection of more than 300 photographs taken by 18 parish residents and four visiting photographers. The result was …

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Can a mom in middle America survive a month without a car?

Not 20 minutes after the Amtrak clerk said our train would be at least an hour late -- "probably much more" -- I almost caved. "We could rent a car and drive home," I thought, and maybe even muttered. "Nobody has to know." I had just hit my breaking point. Carolyn rides the bus. Photos: Christine Gardner My husband, Steve, and I were pushing our two daughters along a searing sidewalk built precariously close to a major road, beer-bottle shards crunching underfoot. We were in Illinois' state capital of Springfield, just 70 miles from our Normal home, and I was …

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Sticker Shock Absorber

Some hybrids can pay back their price premium over time High price of hybrids got you down? According to the gurus at Edmunds.com, the cash some hybrid owners save on gas can make up for the sticker price. Hybrid cars and trucks cost between $1,200 and $7,000 more than their gas-chugging counterparts, but as analyst Alex Rosten says, "High gas prices and generous tax credits now offset the high sales prices of some hybrids, assuming owners keep their hybrids for a few years." We feel better already! According to Edmunds, owners of Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids driving 15,000 …

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Umbra on electric cars

Dearest Umbra, Why are electric cars considered so great? They don't pollute the air where they are driven. But certainly when they are plugged in they use energy from a power plant, which does pollute and also contributes to global warming. Doesn't this just move the pollution from one area to another? Then you have to consider that there are power losses when electric energy travels over transmission lines. Are electric cars more efficient -- using less energy per mile? What gives here? Patricia Rice Lafayette, Colo. Dearest Patricia, Many people think electric cars are the bee's knees. They do …

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