Map of Extreme Weather in 2012

2012 was a year of extreme weather events, with record heat waves, significant drought across the Southern and Western States, and major wildfires. A map posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) allows users to watch the events on the national map over the course of the year.

The map also allows user to look at a summary of extreme weather events at the state level.

2013-06-09_NRDC extreme weather map_Fullscreen capture 692013 23624 PM

According to the NRDC, in 2012 California experienced:

  • Record-breaking heat in 15 counties
  • Record-breaking snow in 5 counties
  • Record-breaking precipitation in 18 counties
  • 102 large wildfires

The website lets users see the specific records set (for example, the records for monthly highest maximum temperature below) and the previous record.

2013-06-09_NRDC extreme weather map_Fullscreen capture 692013 24150 PM

For those (like me) who like to know the source of the data, the map was based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’s National Climatic Data Center.

Oh, Kansas

1

2013-06-07_Kansas legislature website_Fullscreen capture 672013 114130 AM

I live in California. Even more specifically, I live in the Bay Area, which has generally embraced both that sustainability is a pretty good long term goal and that public money can be used pretty effectively to address and promote that goal.

At the other end of the sustainability spectrum is a recent story about Kansas.

The Kansas legislature’s Committee on Energy and Environment is proposing House Bill No. 2366, which would ban all state and municipal funds for anything related to “sustainable development” [via Bloomberg]. In the bill, sustainable development is defined as

development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”

The full text of the bill (only 2 pages long) is worth reading:

Fullscreen capture 672013 120249 PM.bmp

You can also read it online here (PDF).

As noted by the somewhat snarky Bloomberg article, “… House Bill No. 2366 shouldn’t affect the wind industry, because Kansas already doesn’t support wind development with public funds.”

Oh, Kansas.

video

Peter Gleick – The Future of Water

This is a recording of the keynote speech from the “Resources Roundtable 2013: The Future of Urban Water,” an event hosted by the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative.

Peter Gleick is the President and Co-founder of the Pacific Institute, based in Oakland, CA. His speech was titled “An Audacious Vision for Water in the City of the Future.”

He also periodically writes a column on water issues for the San Francisco Chronicle.

video

Solara & Los Vecinos: Net Zero Energy Affordable Housing

Solara and Los Vecinos are affordable housing projects that were designed with the goal of net zero energy performance with a very small increase in the incremental cost per unit. The projects also have a number of other “green” features.

More information on Solara and a link to a case study is on the Global Green website here. Information on Los Vecinos and a link to a case study is here.

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR FRIDAY VIDEO SERIES.

CEC Approves New California Building Energy Efficiency Standards!

“California officials on Thursday approved energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings that officials are describing as the toughest in the nation. …

“The new requirements, set to go into effect in 2014, will reduce energy use in California homes and businesses by 25 percent or more, commission officials said.”

Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle. I’ll post more details about the new building efficiency standards tomorrow.

For those that want the details now, the full 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Rulemaking is online here.

snippets

Snippets

Why young people are driving so much less than their parents [The Atlantic]

Berkeley starts to recycle mixed rigid plastics [East Bay Express]

BART is projecting a budget surplus for next fiscal year [SF Examiner]

Urban development projects in California are in limbo [NY Times]

Photo: A water fountain and water bottle filling station at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL, by Anna LaRue

data

Interactive Map of ARPA-E Projects

1

ARPA-E (the Advance Research Projects Agency-Energy) has launched a new interactive project map that allows users to identify ARPA-E funded projects based on a project location and project type. You can play with the map here.

There are a number of projects in the Bay Area in the following areas, among others:

catch-all2

A Year Ago on Zero Resource – February 2011

data

Worldwide Parking Rate Survey

1

Colliers International published its 2011 “Global Central Business District Parking Rate Survey,” and the main verdict is that the cost of parking a car went up, in general, over the last year. However, the United States was an exception.

For the nerdy, the report lists average daily and monthly parking rates for a number of major cities. Did you know that in Tirana, Albania, the daily parking rate is equivalent to $6.18, but that in Oslo, Norway, the daily rate is $89.04? Or that in Bakersfield it is $8.00, but that San Francisco it is $26? Of the cities evaluated, San Francisco makes both the list of the top 50 most expensive daily rates and the 50 most expensive monthly rates.

data1

Energy-Related Recovery Act Money

1

 I’ve been having quite a bit of fun investigating where some of the energy-related recovery act money has gone via the interactive map here. If you zoom in to look at the Bay Area, you can hover your mouse over each circle to see who received the money and how much. For example, the City of Berkeley received $118,155 for a renewable energy project, and Fremont received $1,891,200 for energy efficiency.