Friday, June 20, 2008

Rebates in Everett Helps Consumers Go GREEN

Rebate program helps consumers go green

Chances are, if your home is more than 16 years old, your toilets are due for a facelift. At up to seven gallons a flush, older toilets are water hogs, wasting natural resources and hurting consumers' wallets.To promote change, the city of Everett Water Conservation Program will give $100 rebates to 1,500 consumers who upgrade their toilet or clothes washer to newer, more efficient models. Both the city and consumers save money and help conserve water as a result. The program is open to all water customers of the city of Everett, which includes most of the county. Snohomish County PUD also has similar programs for energy-efficient dishwashers and clothes washers.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Rapid" in 520 Tansit

Putting the "rapid" in 520 transit
Sound Transit is asking for input on a potential ballot measure for November of this year to fund major transit improvements all over the three-county region, including light-rail extensions further south, north, and east.

By Rob Wilkinson and Jonathan Dubman
Special to The Times

Sound Transit is asking for input on a potential ballot measure for November of this year to fund major transit improvements all over the three-county region, including light-rail extensions further south, north, and east. They envision light rail along Interstate 90, and bus rapid transit — or BRT — service on Highway 520, which will soon be rebuilt.

Both corridors are critical, but Sound Transit has focused on improving I-90 to the exclusion of Highway 520. The state is poised to make a major and necessary investment in the Highway 520 corridor, and Sound Transit should join that effort.

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House Hears Testimony on Green Communities


Last week, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on broad legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency in buildings and federal housing programs and encouraging the development of green communities. The Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods Act (H.R. 6078) was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.). The legislation is co-sponsored by Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation Chairman John Olver (D-Mass.).

"This legislation proves that it is easy to be green," said Perlmutter. "This bill helps revitalize our economy by making energy efficiency practices more affordable, accessible, and achievable by consumers, businesses, and government entities.

"The bill aims to help local governments with green building initiatives by creating a new residential energy efficient block grant program based on the same distribution formula as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The legislation would also require HUD to overhaul energy efficiency requirements for all federal housing programs from Section 8 to HOPE VI. Residential buildings constructed with federal support would have to meet more stringent energy standards. The bill also offers incentives for housing developers to work with landscapers to plant and care for trees and outlines the requirement of a landscaping plan for assisted housing.

A major focus of the legislation is encouraging Government Sponsored Enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to expand and promote the use of location-efficient mortgages and energy-efficient mortgages. The legislation also amends the Community Reinvestment Act to allow financial institutions to consider energy efficiency improvements made by low-income and first-time buyers when assessing home values and loans. The aim, according to supporters, is to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy, or remodel homes or other buildings to improve energy efficiency.

With the backing of House leaders, the bill is expected to move forward later this summer.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wildlife Habitats at Camano Gardens Tour

Photo credit: Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald

(Zsofia Pasztor is a member of the Sustainable Development Task Force of Snohomish County)

New Camano garden tour celebrates homeowners' wildlife habitats
By Debra Smith Herald Writer

What may matter most at Kitty and Stu Smith's place is what you won't see. No blackberry brambles, no nettles, no lawn.That's remarkable, considering that not too long ago, this chunk of wooded property on Camano Island had an abundance of all of the above.Today it feels naturally beautiful, as if it has always been this way. That's the point."Our goal was to preserve as much as we could and add in a way that looks as if it was never added to," said Zsofia Pasztor, a landscape designer who worked on the project.

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