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Top 3 Ways to Green a Property's Energy Mix

Top 3

With all this discussion about the Senate Energy bill and renewable energy, I thought it was time to kick in and enunciate the ways property owners can elect to greenify, greenize, or make clean by going green, their property’s energy mix.  Generally speaking, there’s wind, solar, biomass, small hydro, and geothermal–all of which are considered ‘green.’  But there’s also nuclear, which is not green because of the radioactive waste; coal, which is not green because of the GHG issue; and natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal but also has GHG issues.  The American grid relies on all these sources of energy, some more than others, and governmental regulations will impact the way the game is played.  Nevertheless, here are three things that a building owner can do now to greenify the energy mix. 

  1. Purchase Grid Connected Green Power from Participating Suppliers – roughly 600 regulated utilities offer green power.  Here, it’s a matter of getting in touch with the right utility company that can service your property and setting up a purchase of green power.  It might be a little more expensive…
  2. Install On-site Green Power Generation – there’s been some talk of a federal "net-metering" standard, but until that point, we’re dealing with a piece-meal system of net-metering.  Check your locality.  Netmetering allows you to send excess electricity into the grid and run the meter backwards.  It feels good when the bills are low.  Every building is different, so one must be diligent to determine what green energy source would work for your location. 
  3. Purchase Renewable Energy Certifications (REC) – this discussion can get rather detailed, so I’m not going to get into this, but we’re talking about offsets here.  All I can say is be careful about who you choose to buy these things from.  If you’re careful, you can make sure the money actually goes to support investments in the right kind of green power.  I’d even suggest exhausting #1 and #2 before working with this alternative. 

Again, location to location, some green energy sources are better than others.  Be smart about it.  These three steps apply to all types of buildings (residential, commercial, etc.).  Also, remember the cardinal rule of energy usage:  conserve first, green second, offset third.  Also, check this incredible article in Buildings magazine called "Green Power’s Future is Now."  It’s an excellent article and what I used to frame this post.  Img.

The Science Barge by New York Sun Works

Energy1k

This is unusual, but incredible, in a weird way.  The Science Barge is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water.  It’s a mobile illustration of growing food in the city with no pollution or carbon emissions.  Check the solar panels and small wind turbines.  I’m thinking this is another illustration of the savvy behind solar and wind power for residential use.  Via Archidose.

TheScienceBarge

Smart-Home Tech, Big Houses, Wind Energy White Paper, + Peddling Smart Growth (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Wired to Sell – Smart-home technology is becoming increasingly available with a variety of conservation and convenience features. 
  2. Why Big Houses? The average, new American home is 2,400 sf; experts weigh in on America’s fascination with bigger is better. 
  3. Wind Energy White Paper "In Defense of Wind," by Dallas attorney Trey Cox outlines concerns about wind energy industry’s rapid and unregulated growth. 
  4. Peddling Smart Growth – call your project "smart" – even when it isn’t – and get millions in public funds. 

Green Roofs Increase 25%, Home Depot's $100M Plan, Troubled Water Supplies, + Standard 189P (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. North America sees the installation of +3M square feet of new green roofs in 2006– an increase of 25% over 2005. 
  2. Home Depot launches $100M plan to support the development of 100,000 affordable, healthy homes, and the planting/preservation of more than 3 million trees over the next decade. 
  3. Troubled Waters: drought, pollution, mismanagement and politics have made water a precious commodity in much of the world.
  4. New proposed green building standard (Standard 189P) nears completion and is now open for public comment. 

The Daily Green's Weird Weather Watch Feature

Phoenix Smog
Worth Preserving

Do you ever just get outside and look in the sky?  Last night, it was about 10:15 pm here and I could still see light peeking through the clouds on the horizon.  I can dig that, light until 9:30 pm.  Moving across the country, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the clouds and weather from early morning until late night.  It’s fun.  I think this is why I like The Daily Green‘s feature called the Weird Weather Watch: the photo blog of climate change.  It’s important to recall the concept that weather is not climate, but weather over a period of time is climate.  To my knowledge, there’s nothing on the world wide web like this feature that gets so many diverse, quality, and unique images specifically on odd weather.  It’s pretty cool.

Here’s what it’s all about: "Calling all backyard environmentalists, cell phone climatologists, citizen photojournalists, weekend bird fanatics and others in The Daily Green community! The warmed climate is throwing us surprise after surprise, and Weird Weather Watch is your destination for the photos that capture the moment and your conscience. While it may be impossible to scientifically link any one weather event to global climate change, Weird Weather Watch will collect photos of everyday weather-related changes that concern our community. Help us create THE photo blog of the new environmental movement."

$5B Clinton, Eco-Yahoo!, Health-Care Constuction, Nevada Ungreens, Porous Paving, Ed Begley Jr.'s Green Website, & Green Building Studio (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Clinton Climate Initiative Offers $5B to Green Municipal Buildings at Cities Nationwide.
  2. Yahoo! Issues ‘Greenest City in America‘ Challenge with Reward of Hybrid Taxi Fleet.
  3. $41B Health-care Construction Industry Going Green to Save Energy, Cut Infection Rates.
  4. Nevada State Board Hopes to Change (Remove) Green Building Standard, Mislead About LEED.
  5. Porous Paving Grows in Popularity as a Stormwater Management Solution. 
  6. Ed Begley, Jr. Launches a Truly Unique Sustainable Living Website at FixingThePlanet.com
  7. Green Building Studio being dubbed A Google for Green Building Products.
  8. Commentary on Why Green Buildings Cannot Save the Planet.
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