Can Green be Gold?

Proponents say green buildings are worth more than conventional ones. Now there are signs that the market is starting to agree.

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Small Business Energy Star Winners Announced


16 small businesses around the country are being honored with ENERGY STAR for Small Business Awards for exemplary energy efficiency. The awards, presented by the EPA, recognize small businesses that prevent pollution profitaby. This year’s winners include a wide range of business types: restaurants, grocery stores, manufacturers, animal hospitals and nonprofit organizations. All of these businesses are reducing their operating costs by increasing energy efficiency. To receive an award, small businesses are judged on the number of energy efficient upgrades they make, cost savings per square foot, creativity and innovation.EPA analysis shows that small businesses can save just as much money per square foot as large companies. Thus, the 22 million small U.S. businesses can make a very large contribution to the national economy and the global environment by not wasting energy dollars.A Few of the Winning BusinessesOne of the winners is Northeast Cooperatives, a Vermont-based distributor of organic/ natural foods and products. Its 400 employees and member consumers (mostly natural food stores and consumer buying groups around the country), own the company. Efficiency Vermont, the state’s new energy efficiency utility, helped the company install a much more efficient refrigeration system, motors and lighting. Efficiency Vermont paid 20% of the […]

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Battling Fuel Waste in the Military


It's not hard to imagine why the U.S. Defense Department is the nation's largest energy user ( 1% of all energy) when their tanks get .56-mpg and aircraft get 17-feet-per-gallon. Amory Lovins tells us how they can root out waste, potentially saving us $10 billion a year.

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New Green Building Websites


Achieving a green building demands a holistic approach, far beyond a little recycled plastic decking here, a few solar panels there, and a coat of low-VOC paint, says Steven Winters Associates, organizers of a new web site, the Whole Building Design Guide. Its producers hope to educate designers in environmentally sound design and simplify access to criteria and standards. www.wbdg.orgAnother site, Roadmaps to Energy Efficiency, is a step-by-step guide to retrofitting commercial properties to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. There are three ways (RoadMaps) to do it: do it yourself, hire an energy consultant firm, or work with an energy service company. Case studies and calculators demonstrate the benefits that have been achieved in buildings throughout the country.

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To Find More Oil, 'Drill' in Detroit


There’s more “oil” in Detroit than in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, aptly notes David Nemtzow, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. If fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks were raised to 27.5 mpg like other passenger cars, we would save 2.1 million barrels of oil per day. This is twice Refuge peak production capability, and twice what the pipeline ships now, according to the U.S. Geological Society.A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts average fuel economy for vehicles at its lowest point in 21 years. And U.S. citizens paid about $4 trillion from 1979 to 1991 for oil price shocks. This is almost as much as Americans spent on national defense during that period and more than interest payments on the national debt.The Energy Information Administration places the transportation sector as the second largest energy consumer in the U.S. It accounted for 67 percent of U.S. oil consumption and 26 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2000. On October 10, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) asked Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to stop plans to mark-up the energy bill. He asked Sen. Bingaman to prepare […]

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Can't Get Enough Global Warming


The “Early Warning Signs Map” is a poster-sized map of the world that illustrates global climate change as it’s happening. It shows global warming Fingerprints (where you can see it happening now) and Harbingers (what it may well look like). Click on a continent to explore local indicators of global warming. The map was produced by seven major conservation organizations including the Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council. There is also a Curriculum Guide to use with the map. http://www.climatehotmap.orgIt might be interesting to see how this map matches the World Energy Council’s on-line database of worldwide voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Companies and organizations can publicly demonstrate what they are doing to reduce emissions by contributing to the database. It also enables financial institutions and groups seeking emissions offsets to identify promising projects that may merit financial support. The system allows emission reduction projects to be recorded and tracked as they proceed; reductions are totalled by country and by type of greenhouse gas emission. http://www.worldenergy.orgHow do you calculate greenhouse gases? The GHG Protocol Initiative shows you how. A multi-stakeholder collaboration convened by World Resource Institute and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development is testing a […]

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