(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
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A recent article in the LA Times discusses efforts by green builders to quantify the energy used in reaching the building, not just used in and by the building itself.
From the article:
If you plop a green building in the middle of nowhere, is it still green? … … …
Experts say the ability to quantify the energy spent getting to and from a building could force businesses to reconsider what it means to be green. Transportation emissions account for 29% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and the newly quantifiable data could spur development in urban areas served by public transportation.
Commutes to work matter, said Emma Stewart, senior manager for sustainability at Autodesk Inc., a San Rafael, Calif., maker of 3-D design software applications. Overall, one out of five trips and one out of four miles are traveled in commutes, according to Census Transportation Planning Products. For work, people fly to conferences, hail cabs on lunch breaks and drive to far-flung suburbs.
“This is a new frontier in carbon accounting,” said Stewart, who is part of a separate effort to digitally map buildings and infrastructure like train lines for urban planning purposes. “The practice thus far has really been focused around direct emissions.”
You can read the entire article on the LA Times website, here.
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On Thursday, December 12, Nancy Skinner will speak on the UC Berkeley campus on state and local efforts to halt climate change. Nancy Skinner is Berkeley’s representative in the California state assembly, and she is a founder of ICLEI. Assemblymember Skinner will also discuss the launching of ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Program, the national movement of mayors and cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
106 Wurster Hall, UC Berkeley campus
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
More information here.
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I just want to remind folks that we have launched a “Webinars” page to feature interesting online presentations. You can navigate to the Webinars page using links at the right side of the blog.
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November 10, 2010 (Wednesday)
Pacific Energy Center: “Chris Hammer – What’s Behavior Got To Do With Energy Efficiency?”
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
We often look to technology to capture energy savings. What about the behavior of individuals in the home and workplace? Chris Hammer will describe occupant actions that save energy, discuss social science research on behavior and energy, and review case studies of organizations that implemented behavior change programs.
Free event. For more info and links to register here.
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November 18, 2010 (Thursday)
Build It Green: “Passive House – A Sustainable Building Revolution in California”
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Expectations for building occupant comfort, health and efficiency are increasing simultaneously. The Passive House standard meets all of these requirements at once. By producing buildings with energy demands that can be met at a renewable scale of production, Passive House can future-proof our communities and put California on track to meet our greeenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The future of building is here!An in-depth look at the Passive House standard by the leading local experts in the field, this webinar will:
- Detail current retrofit and new construction Passive House projects and approaches in the Bay Area
- Retrofit lessons learned and phased approaches
- Illustrate how Passive House meets or exceeds the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, and makes net-zero and energy-positive buildings feasible TODAY in the most cost-effective way possible
- Explore how the Passive House standard can integrate with and enhance GPR and other green building rating systems.
Free for Build It Green members, $10 for non-members – more info and links to register here.
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The New York Times Green Inc. blog posted an interview with him today:
Q – One of the chief criticisms of the World Bank is that, even as it has increased funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries to $3.3 billion annually, it continues to provide significant funding for carbon-intensive projects like coal-fired power plants. Do you see a need for the bank to maintain financing for those projects?
A – This is really at the heart of the tension between traditional development — meaning more energy, more access, irrespective of environmental damage — and the emerging environmental mandate that we’ve got to cut our greenhouse gas emissions so dramatically. So you get cases like the very controversial $3.5 billion investment in coal in South Africa, and at the same time, how to build the emerging economies around solar, biofuels, wind, etc.
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UPDATE: There is also an interview with Dan Kammen posted on Grist:
Q – The climate bill process fell apart in Congress this year and it seems like the U.N. process isn’t headed for a big treaty either. How can things actually get done?
A - There’s no simple answer to that. When we look back at the Montreal Protocol and CFCs, people thought that process looked impossible until a few companies and countries realized that cleaning circuit boards without CFCs might actually save them money and be more effective. A couple successes turned a story that looked like it was going to be a failure into one that we all look back now and say, “Oh, that was easy by comparison.”
I’m not sure exactly how many successes we need to tip the balance so that a big treaty is possible, but no group is better positioned than the World Bank to facilitate them.
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