Thursday, May 17, 2007

16 Cities Get Funding for Green Makerover

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Sixteen cities around the world will get financing to "go green" by renovating buildings they own with technology designed to cut carbon emissions, former President Clinton announced Wednesday.

Clinton's foundation has created an arrangement among four energy-service companies and five global banking institutions that will result in major environmental upgrades in the cities, which include New York, Chicago, Houston, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Rome.

"If all buildings were as efficient as they could be, we'd be saving an enormous amount of energy and significantly reducing carbon emissions," Clinton said.

The planned projects include replacing heating, cooling and lighting systems with energy-efficient networks; making roofs white or reflective to deflect more of the sun's heat; sealing windows and installing new models that let more light in and keep the elements out; and setting up sensors to control more efficient use of lights and air-conditioning.

Clinton said Citibank, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, UBS and ABN Amro have each committed $1 billion to finance the upgrades.

Clinton announced the partnership as part of an international climate summit this week in New York. It is the second meeting of the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit, which was created so mayors and local governments could share strategies for reversing the trends of climate change.

Retrofitted buildings could see a 20 to 50 percent reduction in energy use, Clinton said.

Buildings are among a city's worst contributors to emissions totals, accounting for 50 percent of energy use in newer cities and more than 70 percent in older urban areas. In New York, for example, electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and steam consumed by buildings make up 79 percent of the city's total count of heat-trapping gases, a recent study found.

The other cities taking part in the building plan are Mumbai (also known as Bombay), India; Karachi, Pakistan; Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; Melbourne, Australia; São Paulo, Brazil; and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Puget Sound Steelhead Get Federal Protection... How Does this Effect Development?

Oceangoing fish listed as 'threatened'

They're sleek, muscular and bright as polished chrome, but the steelhead trout that still return to Puget Sound-area rivers are a dim reflection of the returns seen a just a decade ago.
On Monday, the federal government decided it is time for serious changes to prevent Puget Sound steelhead from disappearing altogether.

The National Marine Fisheries Service listed the fish as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The agency proposed the listing just over a year ago in response to a petition from Sam Wright of Olympia.

The "threatened" listing is not as severe as the agency's strongest protection, "endangered" but it still provides substantial protections for the fish, spokesman Brian Gorman said.
"In terms of their present condition, they were in perilous shape, but it also means that they are now afforded some very serious federal protections," he said. "Other federal agencies (now) need to come to us for permission to do anything that might affect these fish."

That combined with the state's $8 billion Puget Sound cleanup initiative bodes well for steelhead recovery, Gorman said.

Though conditions may change for the fish, which biologists say are in decline because of habitat degradation, dams and culverts, unfavorable ocean conditions and harmful hatchery practices, little -- including sport-fishing opportunities -- is likely to change for people around Puget Sound.

Many of the restrictions on shoreline development and land use are already in place because of existing chinook and chum salmon protections.

Heather Bartlett, spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that the most rigorous restriction available is to require sport fishermen to release wild fish. That rule is already in effect on all Puget Sound-area rivers, she said.

Changes in hatchery practices eventually could affect fishing opportunities, but not in the immediate future, she said.

A species categorized as "endangered" is in danger of extinction. One listed as "threatened" is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

The listing covers naturally spawned steelhead from river basins near Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the eastern half of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It also covers two winter-run hatchery stocks: the Green River natural and Hamma Hamma River.

The fisheries service considered the status of Puget Sound steelhead as recently as 1996, but said at that time the population did not warrant listing under the species-protection law.
Since then, agency biologists say there have been continued widespread declines in the fish's population, despite substantial reductions in the harvest of natural steelhead.
Advocates for fish lauded the listing.
The Wild Steelhead Coalition said the listing was an important step in protecting the region's depleted wild steelhead populations.
The group described the fish as an "extraordinary trout species (that) is born in Washington's rivers and streams, then migrates to the ocean, traveling as far as the Russia coast, to feed and grow to as large as 30 pounds before returning to their native Puget Sound-area rivers to spawn.

"Steelhead are the Washington State fish, and they have been an icon of the Pacific Northwest and a source of important cultural and economic benefits throughout the region's history."
Dick Burge of the coalition said: "Puget Sound's wild steelhead have been in steep decline for decades. In the past 20 years, we've seen formerly productive runs fail year after year. Decades of degraded habitat, poor hatchery practices and misguided harvest management have to be addressed to turn the declines around. It is time for action."

P-I reporter Chris McGann can be reached at 360-943-3990 or

Friday, May 04, 2007

Daylighting Buildings Can Thaw Energy Bills

Author: Mark Anderson

Making use of natural light can save up to 75 percent of the energy used for lighting buildings and reduce cooling costs at the same time, but the ages-old practice has yet to gain wide acceptance across building professionals.

Daylighting continues to take the nation's building industry by storm. Federal and state tax breaks, along with a surge in high-performance building certification systems, fused a classic design element into the modern building industry.

Incentives offered through the Energy Policy Act of 2005 allow tax breaks of 60 cents per square foot for new commercial lighting that reduces power use 50 percent beyond 2001 standards. At the same time, a series of benchmarks issued by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) invite innovation based on performance standards for protecting the environment, which in many states, also gain tax credits. Further fueling the movement, a number of studies have repeatedly shown that daylit buildings save money and energy, create better working and learning environments, enhance well-being and coax retail shoppers into pulling out the plastic.

more of this article link to

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What's New At the Beach?

Check out....
Boart Longyear uses sonic drilling equipment to drill the wells for the home's geothermal heating system

In March of 2004, Dave and Anna Porter made a decision to reduce the impact their lifestyle was having on the planet. Among other changes, they sold their “McMansion” in Woodinville, with the enormous yard and Dave even made what many would consider the ultimate sacrifice: he gave up his Jaguar for a Toyota Prius.
In 2006, the Porters decided to go even further. They vowed to transform their ramshackle 100-year-old beachfront house into an energy-efficient, environmentally responsible home that would meet the strictest green home guidelines while providing a beautiful, comfortable living space that would meet their family’s current and future needs. To help others benefit from their experience, they committed to making the project a demonstration home for green design, systems, and materials, and to document their options, choices, and decisions as well as the performance of the home.
The result is “Going Green at the Beach,” a unique exploration of the possibilities open to all of us to make meaningful changes in how we live. Through this website, tours, presentations, and other education, the Porters will share much more than just the look of their “deep green” home when construction is complete in September of 2007. You’ll learn the opportunities and obstacles they faced, understand why they made the choices they did, see first-hand how a green home is built, and even hear tips on green living from the Porters’ “recycled” dog, Skipper.
We hope you enjoy "Going Green at the Beach"! Click here for a summary of the project!

Owners/ Developers:
Dave & Anna Porter
Chaffey Homes
GMS Architectural Group
DCI Engineers
Marketing/ Public Relations:
Green Dog Enterprises
Photography/ Website:
Northwest Property Imaging
Green Building:
Construction Consultants of WA
Interior Design:
Miller & Associates, LLC
Countrywide Home Loans