Making Affordable Multifamily Housing Greener A Good Thing

Center for American Progress President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, announced at Georgetown University in June, outlined an ambitious agenda to address the increasing dangers of climate change. Although the proposed regulatory standards on existing and new power plants have taken center stage in public discussion, the president’s agenda also included several noteworthy proposals to support the important aim of increasing access to energy efficiency and clean energy technologies in affordable multifamily housing. To reduce the deadly threat of climate disruption, it is essential to rein in polluting energy use, especially the wasteful conventional consumption of electricity in buildings. Currently, large multifamily residential buildings represent a huge source of energy inefficiency, but they also hold the promise of being smart and cost-effective places to make deep savings. Low-income affordable housing in particular can help open this market, improving financial…
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Global Warming Down Under

Sydney's Urban Areas to Be Hit Hardest by Global Warming

July 8, 2013 from Science Daily — Green spaces, trees and bodies of water are must-have design features for future development in Sydney's suburbs after researchers found that by 2050 global warming combined with Sydney's urban heat island effect could increase temperatures by up to 3.7°C.

The researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science found new urban developments, such as the multitude of new estates on Sydney edges expected to house more than 100,000 residents, were prone to the greatest temperature increases. "Interestingly, we found that overnight temperatures increased far more than temperatures during the day," said lead author from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science Dr Daniel Argueso. "This has implications for health problems related to heat stress accumulation and at an economic level where the higher energy consumption needed to p…
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Where Do Biofuels Fit Into Obama’s Climate Plan?

by Marianne Lavelle National Geographic Society When President Obama unveiled his long-awaited climate change strategy this week, he never mentioned biofuels. (See “Obama Unveils Climate Strategy.”) But with nearly a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions due to burning petroleum for transportation, a key and controversial question is what role plant-based alternatives can play in cutting the nation’s carbon emissions. As part of National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge initiative, we brought together two dozen experts from industry, academia, and environmental organizations to discuss whether biofuel can be a sustainable part of a cleaner energy future. (See in-depth coverage at Biofuels at a Crossroads, and vote and comment here: The Big Energy Question: Are Biofuels Worth the Investment?“) The forum Wednesday at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C. headquarters was timely, not just because the group convened the day after the President’s long-awaited climate …
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Public and Private Roles in Sustainability

By Eric McNulty I had the pleasure of introducing Rep. Edward Markey for his opening keynote at the recent Executive Council Sustainable Cities leadership forum. Markey has been at the forefront of the Congressional response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is the co-author of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, and author of the bill that increased auto mileage standards for the first time in three decades. The League of Conservation Voters calls him the environment’s best advocate in Congress. Markey gave a fiery address about the need for the U.S. to become the leader in alternative energy. What I found interesting was his view that regulation can be a catalyst to those efforts. While many business leaders think that regulation in anathema to innovation, Markey disagrees. He pointed to his prior work on the Telecommunications Committee that shifted a segment of the broadcast spectrum into commercial use for cellular and other wireless com…
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Green executives: golf sustainably at Marriott UK!

Marriott-branded hotels in the United Kingdom have successfully reduced carbon emissions and greenhouse gases collectively by 7.3 percent to earn Carbon Trust Standard certification, a government program launched in 2008 in response to the U.K.'s Climate Change Act to benchmark and assess company commitment and success in addressing climate change impact. In addition, 25 hotels will achieve Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) certification, a program validated by Visit Britain and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) which assesses energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity, by year-end. One of the improvements involves the greening of all Marriott golf courses. Last year, the company announced a goal to have all of its golf courses certified by the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary, a program that helps golf courses protect natural wildlife habitats, improve efficiency and minimize potentially harmful effec…
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NRDC: President Obama Announces Next Phase of Landmark Clean Car Agreement

Photo courtesy NRDC President Obama announced two major new steps today to reduce America’s carbon pollution and oil dependence. He instructed the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, working closely with California and other stakeholders, to issue a second round of greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards covering cars and light trucks for model years 2017-25. These will build on the landmark clean car standards for the 2012-16 model years announced in April. The president also directed those agencies to work together with California and stakeholders on the nation's first-ever greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for heavier trucks, from urban delivery trucks to 18-wheelers, that will be built in model years 2014-18. For more on this story, please visit NRDC's website.
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