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Climate Change Legal Practice, Green Building Lending, Texas Geothermal, + Green Sans LEED (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. The Law Firm of Holland & Hart Announces New Global Climate Change Practice – The firm is the first and only law firm based in the Rocky Mountains to organize a practice group concentrating on this rapidly emerging area of law and policy.  Holland & Hart’s Global Climate Change Practice Group consists of attorneys who counsel clients on the climate change aspects of energy and natural resources development, industrial energy use, regulatory compliance, renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects, corporate disclosure and governance, carbon markets, litigation, and government relations.
  2. New Resource Bank Aims to Make it Easier to Build Green – A new banking program here aims to encourage developers and investors to start green building projects by offering financial incentives like providing more money at a lower cost, higher loan-to value, and lower interest rates.
  3. Texas Issues First Lease for Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development along Gulf Coast – Texas has awarded the state’s first lease for geothermal energy production to Ormat Technologies, Inc., which plans to explore the renewable energy’s potential along seven Gulf Coast counties.  The company paid $55,645, or $5 an acre, for the right to explore 11,129 acres for pockets of hot water and steam under the ocean floor, the General Land Office announced Tuesday.
  4. Building Greener and Cheaper than LEED – While many argue over the costs and benefits of requiring LEED-certification, some affordable housing developers have shown that building green doesn’t require following the program’s recommendations.

Green CBS Radio, Wal-Mart's Sustainability 360, + The Green Premium (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. U.S. Homebuyers Will Pay Premium For Green Homes – More than half of homebuilders surveyed report that buyers are willing to pay a premium of between 11-25 percent for green-built homes. The same builders report that the average green homebuyer is between the ages of 35-50 with a college degree and fair understanding of green products.
  2. CBS RADIO Launches its First ‘Green’ Focused Radio Station – CBS RADIO announced the launch of 94.7 The Globe, its first "green" focused radio station. The Washington D.C. station will operate using renewable energy to power its 50,000 watt signal. This move will contribute to lowering the threat of global warming through the purchase of energy resources generated by wind. Additionally, station vehicles will be replaced with hybrid models.  See also 94.7 The Globe
  3. Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott Unveils ‘Sustainability 360′ – President and CEO Lee Scott today unveiled "Sustainability 360" — a company-wide emphasis on taking sustainability beyond reducing the company’s direct environmental footprint to engaging Wal-Mart’s associates, suppliers, communities and customers.  Scott also announced the company’s intention to introduce "Global Innovation Projects" — one of which is a challenge for Wal-Mart associates and suppliers to start thinking about how to remove non-renewable energy from the products the company sells.

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Massachusetts Power Plants to Pay Emissions Penalties: State Rejoins a Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.
  2. Green Schools the Hottest Market for Green Building According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Latest Report – MHC found that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building, good news for the industry, given that education construction (at the K-12 and university levels) is the largest construction sector, by value, at $53 billion for 2007.
  3. Wind Farm Building Boom to Continue in 2007: Wind Power Capacity in the U.S. Grew 27% Last Year – The U.S. now has enough installed wind power capacity (11,603 megawatts) to power between 3 million and 3.5 million homes, which reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. The number of homes relying on electricity produced by wind energy will rise to nearly 4.5 million by year’s end if the AWEA’s forecast is accurate.
  4. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership: Big Businesses and Eco-Advantage – The companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, Duke Energy, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, PNM Resources and FPL.  These big businesses have a goal help the U.S. create public policy that would act aggressively and sustainably to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  See also NRDC

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Bold U.S. Energy Goal Put Forward on Capitol Hill: 25% of Energy from Renewable Sources by 2025 – A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives have re-introduced the 25x’25 House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions calling for a new national renewable energy goal: 25% of the nation’s energy supply from renewable sources by 2025 (see also www.25×25.org).
  2. Wal-Mart to Open First High-Efficiency Store; Supercenter Expected to Use 20% Less Energy – Wal-Mart Stores,Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced it will open tomorrow in Kansas City, Mo., the first in a series of high-efficiency stores that will use 20% less energy than a typical Supercenter.  The new high-efficiency stores will integrate industry-leading heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems to conserve energy.
  3. Poll Says 77% of American Say U.S. Must Do More to Spur Green Technologies – The Zogby/TechNet nationwide poll of 1,043 Americans found that 77% of U.S. voters believe that our nation must do more to promote green technologies.  75% of the voting population said that their purchasing decisions in the past year have been influenced by a desire to save energy and improve the environment.
  4. Unleash Your Inner Al Gore with These 12 Eco-Tips – Being green isn’t just for tree-huggers anymore. In fact, 2007 may be a banner year for going green.  Read on. 

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Kulongoski Proposes $30 Million for Green Energy – Oregon Governor Kulongoski’s budget proposal includes $5.2 million for the nation’s first in-water wave generation and demonstration research facility, $2 million to the state’s energy department to place solar panels on top of schools and $10 million to foster geothermal projects at Oregon universities. Another chunk of money, $3.7 million, would provide tax breaks for businesses that use and make products that consume biofuel.
  2. Help Wanted–Green; Green Development Could Be a Big Generator of Good Jobs, If America will Seize the Opportunity – There are good jobs to be had in environmentally friendly development, and construction jobs are just the beginning. Thousands of jobs are in products that go into green buildings. The job potential in renewable energy production is even more impressive…
  3. China Chokes on Coal-fired Boom: Toxic Cloud of Progress Can be Seen from Space – the Chinese plan to build no fewer than 500 new coal-fired power stations, adding to some 2,000, most of them unmodernised, that spew smoke, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere…Cancer rates are soaring, child health is a time bomb and…an estimated 400,000 premature deaths nationwide because of pollution every year.
  4. Short-term Air Pollution Increases Risk of Heart Attack for Those with Clogged Arteries – A new Brigham Young University study (by Arden Pope) published in the world’s top heart journal shows that a one- or two-day rise in air pollution causes a significant increase in the risk of unstable angina and heart attacks in the millions of Americans who have significant coronary artery blockage.

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Wind Energy Scores Major Legal Victory in U.S. (Texas) – Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas, currently the world’s largest wind farm, did not create enough noise to be considered a private nuisance.  Via Hugg
  2. Google Plants Solar Trees – About a third of the 9,000 solar panels (total 1.6-megawatt solar system) Google’s installing will take the form of overhanging parking shades at the million-square-foot campus in Mountain View. The others will be mounted on rooftops.
  3. Boston Ready to Go Green – Boston is expected to become the first major city in the nation to require private developers to adhere to a strict set of so-called green-building standards, officials said yesterday.  (I need to fact check to determine whether it’s the first city). 
  4. Green State v. Brown State: Report Details California and Texas Energy Use – Despite its size California’s per capita energy consumption ranks 46 out of the 50 states. Texans, on the other hand, are power hogs, with the state the 5th largest consumer of energy. Texas produces 10.2 percent of the country’s coal-fired electricity; California a tenth of 1 percent. California, however, generates the most power from solar, wind and other non-hydro sources, accounting for about 26 percent of the U.S.’s renewable energy.

On that last note, I’m a Texan and I must say, doesn’t it feel good to know that our state has become the laggard in terms of modernizing energy infrastructure and sourcing?  If we can find a way to boot out the rich executives that are hamstringing Texas’ energy situation, there’s a growing population of innovative leaders and thinkers that will generate returns for our future.  The question is, would you rather take the profits on your 35mm film sales OR would you like to own the patent on the digital camera

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