Posts filed under ‘News’

Cities Taking The Lead On Climate Change

With the incoming Trump Administration signaling a change away from climate change research and green projects and improvements it is falling to the cities across our country to take up the banner.   In an article from Sustainable Business it is clear that many cities including locally, Los Angeles are ready. It is quite an interesting group and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table.

Especially in the face of publicly traded companies not having to disclose as much of the potential downside of climate change on their operations and profits (Green Building Law Update 12/11/2016) it is heartening to see the broad support for a new ordinance in the City of Los Angeles (My News LA 12/20/2016).  The ordinance is in response to  an analysis by the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA and the City Energy Project suggest that 4% of the city’s buildings are responsible for possibly 50% of the energy and water use. Talk about a defined target for efficiency improvement!

The ordinance  basically requires annual reporting for all buildings larger than 20,000 square feet to the Department of Building and Safety and for buildings over 15,000 square feet that every five years that the building will be required to take steps to reduce its total resource footprint.It will be very interesting to see what incentives and penalties are attached to this program eventually to aid building owners to comply.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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December 20, 2016 at 9:53 pm Leave a comment

Energy Efficient Windows – Retrofit Opportunity?

I am an energy efficiency consultant out here in California and there has been a great deal of emphasis on  replacing older single pane windows with dual pane, usually vinyl models.  I many cases where a building is being remodeled the building owner has no choice but to install them in order to comply with the 2013 energy related code sections.  This is especially problematic if the building has some historic value to the city.  Now the Federal government in the form of Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) is sponsoring research into methods to retrofit these older windows through its SHIELD program.

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The full story is here on Green Building Elements (http://greenbuildingelements.com/2015/10/09/doe-announces-shield-program-for-energy-efficient-windows/). The DOE website with detail on the program can be found here: https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Default.aspx#FoaId038dc107-a7de-407a-8253-86e3bc99ae00

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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October 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm 1 comment

Solar Power A Requirement For New Construction

It is looking like the wave of the future is increasing requirements to include renewable energy for newly constructed homes and commercial buildings.

The most interesting new story is somewhat local to me here in Southern California where the City of Lancaster now requires 1 kilowatt of solar power for all newly constructed single family homes.  The ordinance that passed last March went into effect in Jan. 1, 2014.  Here is the link to an article that covers it more in depth. (http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/04/lancaster-home-solar-mandate-1st-us-world-leads-city-2014/).

This is a significant escalation on the Californian mandate of net zero homes by 2020.  The City of Los Angeles has been requiring that the conduit and wiring be put in place in all new home construction to make adding solar panels easier in the future for the homeowner.

I certainly hope that more cities follow Lancaster’s lead and make similar requirements as it can only help the environment and speed the transition to the renewable energy economy.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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January 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Can Concrete do Everything?

It seems that concrete remains a wonder material that has no end to its uses.  Who would have imagined that the material we walk on could be transformed into a substance that may one day be part of our portable electronics.

It seems that folks at the Argonne National Laboratory have come up with a method to give concrete a metal configuration that makes it conductive for electricity. The full article is here: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-cement-metal.html

The link to the Argonne National Lab is here: http://www.aps.anl.gov/

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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May 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm Leave a comment

Walkable Neighborhoods Prefered?

It seems that we have finally gotten to the place where downtown is preferred to suburbia and I for one think it is about time.  The only thing keeping me from doing more walking and biking is this weekend’s heatwave in Southern California.  I live in a portion of suburbia where I am actually close enough to walk to the market or drop my car off at a local shop and walk home and I consider myself very fortunate.

In a great report on BuildingGreen.com (http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2012/9/11/Walkable-Neighborhoods-Replace-Suburbs-as-Preferred-Real-Estate/) you can read the report.

There is a disappointing report on a main feature of our current downtown’s not keeping up with their neighbors on the green front.  New hotels are actually worse power guzzlers than some built 50 years ago.  In the story on Ecogeek.org via Metropolitan Magazine (http://www.ecogeek.org/architecture/3807-hotels-not-getting-greener-even-the-green-ones?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29) it seems it is time top rethink the whole process.

But there is always hope and the next story for tonight re-purposes something we see a lot  of in Southern California since we host one of the world’s largest port, shipping containers!  From the pages of Inhabitat .com (http://inhabitat.com/koma-modulars-live-work-store-in-luneburg-germany-is-made-from-recycled-shipping-containers/) we have a cool looking and very functional live/work space.

Lastly we have a couple of articles concerning one of the most enjoyable parts of a walkable community, creative landscape.  We have a great article on the other not so obvious benefits of community gardens from Sustainablog.org (http://sustainablog.org/2012/09/community-gardens-provide-more-than-food-in-dc/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IM-sustainablog+%28Sustainablog%29). Also a fun thought about fitting our mass transit buses with green roofs from Ecogeek.org (http://www.ecogeek.org/ecogeeks/3809-green-roofs-for-buses?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29)
As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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September 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Bedbugs, now officially an epidemic!

I have written on this topic before and I was hopeful that science would have come up with a fairly simple answer to this age old problem.  However these pests seem to have joined drug resistant staph infections as things that have stumped science.

Now we are having Bed Bug Summits!  Actually the EPA had one last year (http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/2009/bed-bug-summit.html) that completely slipped my notice.  This year Bed Bug University, wait there is a whole university dedicated to eradicating these pests?  Anyway they held a summit in Chicago this year and it attracted a whole lot of attention.

The official Site: http://www.nabedbugsummit2010.com/

Chicago Tribune: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-09-21/news/ct-talk-bed-bug-summit-20100921_1_bedbugs-dini-miller-tiny-pests

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30208436/

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/21/earlyshow/contributors/susankoeppen/main6887137.shtml

Okay you get the idea.  These pests have been on the march for a couple of years now and it seems that we aren’t going to get  a chemical savior anytime soon.  Unless of course we make DDT legal again.  So we are in for a long frustrating battle that may only be in the end a holding action.  No one is really sure why the infestation is growing so rapidly but there are certainly those searching for solutions.

Let’s just hope they find some good ones soon….

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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September 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm 1 comment

Gimme Shelter?

There is a series of recent news reports about a group of folks selling slots in an underground shelter city or at least village somewhere in the desert. While I think that this is just another scam based around the 2012 end of the world theory I thought that I might write a post on what is available out there for the do it your selfer.

What I found in large numbers are site purporting to have plans you can build or have built that will protect you in the event of a nuclear war.  I guess they assume you won’t be suffering any direct hits…

The first site is: http://www.undergroundbombshelter.com/ is a fairly calm site compared to some and does take the time to give you some basic understanding of the issues that need to be addressed.

There are many examples of both this type of site and of the other more sensational kind.  An example of this type is: http://www.alpinesurvival.com/nuclear_bomb_shelters.html

This site is much more scary and really tries to get you convinced that you need to spend serious money to protect yourself and your family from what they see as impending disaster.  They so have  a nice set of 3D mock up of shelters.  However these examples seem a little unrealistic due to lack of storage for what I would think of as needed supplies.

Now what I think would be really able to make this type of a solution work is a planned town with a small sealed nuclear reactor that would allow the installation to be able to heat, light, cook, reprocess water and all of the other things an underground living space needs.  There are small reactors coming to a neighborhood near you within five years say England’s Guardian newspaper: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/nov/09/miniature-nuclear-reactors-los-alamos

In any event I am not planning on building or buying in to one of these anytime soon. Not because I believe that the world is not at risk for any of the disasters mentioned but rather because I don’t think that any of these actually represents a reasonable solution or presents more than a very temporary solution to our survival problem.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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July 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment

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