As finite resources like clean water and nonrenewable energy become scarce, utilities will need to devise ways to encourage and engender conservation measures. Although it seems a bit backward at first, utilities represent the best advocates for conservation. A unit of energy saved is cheaper than a unit of energy produced. For every watt of energy consumed by the end user, somewhere between five and twenty watts are “lost” upstream. For the end user (down stream) like a consumer in the home, every watt they don’t use equates to 5-25 watts saved or not-produced upstream (from mining the coal to transporting it to producing the product – electricity – which will be sold downstream). The greatest offenders are coal powered incandescent bulbs. Coal remains an inefficient energy source (with more than two-thirds of the energy stored in coal dissipating to the atmosphere when combusted) and incandescent bulbs take a majority of the energy (roughly 95%) and turn it into heat, not light.
Northwest of Dupont Circle in the nation’s capital, diplomatic buildings are scattered about Massachusetts Avenue. Once a year in the spring, the stately “Embassy Row” opens itself to the general public. The Open House event is a chance for countries to promote their food, culture, and business. This year, the European Union is showcasing their efforts in the environmental realm. It’s a great chance to glimpse what sustainable measures other countries are taking and to learn about other cultures. Free food samples are also usually available. Here are some details about the EU Embassies’ green-themed Open House Day taking place on Saturday May 8th.
- Official theme: GREEN EUROPE: GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
- Time: Saturday May 8th, 10am – 4pm
- Open House Goal: To show “that it is possible to tackle climate change, grow a clean energy economy of the future and become world leaders in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2020.
- 27 Embassies will be open to the public: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
- Bus routes, maps of the embassies, and more details can be found at http://www.europe-in-dc.com/
- Justin Manger
As mentioned in a post earlier in the week, Target Field, the new home to the Minnesota Twins, achieved LEED certification. Here are some facts from the project.
- The overall cost of the LEED certification was less than 0.5 percent of the ballpark’s $545 million cost.
- 60 percent of the building’s exterior is regionally sourced limestone from Mankato, Minn., about a 90-minute drive from the ballpark.
- Captured waste energy from the adjacent Hennepin Energy Resource Center is used to heat most indoor spaces at Target Field and the playing
- An estimated 4.2 million gallons of water will be saved annually due to low-flow urinals, dual-flush toilets and aerated faucets. These fixtures use 30 percent less potable water than conventional fixtures. A Pentair filtration system is expected to save another 1.5 million gallons annually.
- More than 70 percent of construction waste diverted or recycled; and having more than 30 percent of all installed materials made from recycled content, including the foul poles and roof canopy.
- Eric Wilson
[Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art]
Spring is in the air. In some locations throughout the country – like California – the weather allows for spring like conditions year round. However, other less temperate locations are starting to gear up for the farmer’s market season. The markets, which have proliferated over the past decade, are a great place to get fresh, in season produce. In addition, artisans sell their wares, supporting local economies.
Travel and Leisure’s (T&L) weekly email has provided yet another example of the wonderful sight-seeing opportunities related to eco-conscious activities. Previous stories from T&L carried on 2nd Green Revolution have included a post about the top ten bike friendly cities and top scenic train rides in the world. This week’s email highlighted the top ten farmer’s markets in the United States.
After several trips to the New Belgium Brewery, Asher Brewing Company – which shares its name with my son – came across my radar. Asher Brewing Company will be one of the 19 Colorado based breweries participating in the 18th annual “Microbreweries for the Environment” at the Boulder Theater on April 23rd. The event has been added to the ever growing Green Events Calendar.
What makes Asher Brewing Company special is their entire line of brews. Every single beer they produce is certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture. Claiming to be Colorado’s first all organic brewing company, Asher Brewing is located in Boulder.
Many of us are making the ever so slow and tedious climb out of debt. On a personal level as well as at the national level, a long put-off realization and rebalancing is upon us: our spending has been beyond our means and our financial lifestyle is unsustainable. Much the same can be said about our energy lifestyle: we have been using energy beyond our means and living an unsustainable energy lifestyle. Here we are consuming in just a few hundred years the “ancient sunlight” that over millions of years has been converted and deposited in various forms of energy.
In the simplest terms, there are two ways to control our finances: 1) increase our income 2) reduce our expenses. To achieve the first aim, we can tap our savings, get a second job, inherit a million dollars, or win the lottery. Although some may be more prudent and possible than others, all of these changes allow us to increase our income. Governments can likewise raise taxes and take other measures such as selling assets and land to raise revenue.
To reduce expenses, we can curtail shopping sprees (delaying that long lusted-over flatscreen TV), move to an apartment or house that has cheaper rent or mortgage, make our lunch or eat dinner at home. This list also spans from minor to major changes and differs in ease of implementation. Governments can of course cut services (no Saturday mail delivery), reign in entitlements, reduce waste and redundancy, and otherwise cut expenses.
With energy, it’s much the same. These two tenets of financial management of can be implemented in the energy sector: 1) increase energy production (increase income) 2) decrease wasted energy through efficiency (decrease expenses). We can easily increase our energy production in the short term through expanded oil and coal development. But over the long term, this is akin to turning to Ponzi schemes or other nefarious means undertaken to increase income.
Nothing quite says spring like baseball and the ballparks’ grass is not the only thing that is green these days. With the opening of Target Field in Minneapolis, there is another LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) baseball stadium. Last year the Washington Nationals’ stadium received LEED certification. These two stadiums are the only major league ballparks to achieve LEED status, but not the only ones with “green” features. The Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field has a photovoltaic array that provides energy for the scoreboard.
From time to time we like to throw up some notable “green-related” quotes. Here are a few more.
There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
- Marshall McLuhan, 1964
Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
- George Carlin
We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
- John Muir
“So can we really make meaningful progress by telling people specifically what will or will not be permitted? Econ 101 tells us — probably correctly — that the only way to get people to change their behavior appropriately is to put a price on emissions so this cost in turn gets incorporated into everything else in a way that reflects ultimate environmental impacts.
When shoppers go to the grocery store, for example, they will find that fruits and vegetables from farther away have higher prices than local produce, reflecting in part the cost of emission licenses or taxes paid to ship that produce. When businesses decide how much to spend on insulation, they will take into account the costs of heating and air-conditioning that include the price of emissions licenses or taxes for electricity generation. When electric utilities have to choose among energy sources, they will have to take into account the higher license fees or taxes associated with fossil-fuel consumption. And so on down the line. A market-based system would create decentralized incentives to do the right thing, and that’s the only way it can be done.”
- Paul Krugman, New York Times Magazine April 11, 2010
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
- Albert Einstein
While walking in downtown Denver the other day, I saw the first evidence of the Denver Bike Sharing plan. The picture to the right was taken at the corner of 17th St. and Curtis in downtown Denver, next to the US Bank at 950 17th St. We first wrote about the bike plan last summer. Until now, little news or progress had been evident in the city. The first stations were installed in the past few weeks.
For information on Denver’s Bcycle program, click here. As with so many “eco-friendly” programs, Denver’s bike sharing endeavor will launch on April 22nd, Earth Day.
Earth Day is fast approaching (April 22nd). This week’s facts come from the National Wildlife Foundation. Click on the previous link to take the short quiz yourself to test your knowledge. If you don’t mind being told the answers ahead of time, keep reading. What follows below are the four questions and their answers.
1. How many people were part of the first Earth Day celebration?
Twenty million! By 2007, it was estimated that a billion people worldwide took part in Earth Day activities.
2. What organization was created also in 1970 to help protect America’s environment and public health?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI) directly credited the first Earth Day as an impetus in getting the federal government to create the EPA and passing other historic environmental legislation.
3. Earth Day has always been about inspiring people to make individual changes in their lives to make a worldwide impact. What was the focus of Earth Day 1990?
In 1990, Earth Day organizers led a major push to introduce recycling initiatives and launch international grassroots activism campaigns. The grassroots activism paved the way for a UN Earth Summit in 1992.
4. What is the environmental movement’s focus for this year’s Earth Day?
According to the Earth Day Network:
“While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future. Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs.”
- Justin Manger