Republican Mayor Of Lancaster CA Wants To Require Solar Panels On Every New Home.

Solar Lancaster
Mayor of Lancaster California R. Rex ParrisWhat the what – Republican Mayor wants solar panels on every new home? It’s true. R. Rex Parris, the Mayor of Lancaster California, wants to institute a new requirement that all new homes built after January 1, 2014 must include solar panels. From Greentech:

“The purpose of the solar energy system standards is to encourage investment in solar energy on all parcels in the city, while providing guidelines for the installation of those systems that are consistent with the architectural and building standards of the City. It is further intended to provide standards and procedures for builders of new homes to install solar energy systems in an effort to achieve greater usage of alternative energy.”

Those damn treehugging Republicans! Why can’t they stay out of renewable energy and stick to advocating fossil fuels so it’s easier to paint them as the enemy? I think this quote from Mayor Parris answers that question:

“[Mayor Parris noted that Lancaster is] one of the most conservative Republican districts in the country. But Republicans are smart,” he said. “When you show them a solution, they will take it.”

So it’s smart to move to solar; it doesn’t have to be green. [Greentech]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Canadian Company Makes Millions Sending Never Unloaded Rail Cars With Biodiesel Back And Forth Across US Border.

Rail cars carrying fuel.A loophole in how biodiesel is tracked and credited by the EPA in the US allowed a company in Toronto, Bioversel Trading Inc., to transport the same load of biodiesel back and forth across the border and make millions. From the CBC:

“Bioversel Trading hired CN Rail to import tanker loads of biodiesel to the U.S. to generate RINs, which are valuable in the U.S. because of a “greening” policy regulating the petroleum industry. The EPA’s “Renewable Fuel Standard” mandate that oil companies bring a certain amount of renewable fuel to market, quotas they can achieve through blending biofuel with fossil fuel or by purchasing RINs as offsets.

Because RINs can be generated through import, the 12 trainloads that crossed into Michigan would have contained enough biodiesel to create close to 12 million RINs. In the summer of 2010, biodiesel RINs were selling for 50 cents each, but the price soon fluctuated to more than $1 per credit.

Once “imported” to a company capable of generating RINs, ownership of the biodiesel was transferred to Bioversel’s American partner company, Verdeo, and then exported back to Canada. RINs must be “retired” once the fuel is exported from the U.S., but Bioversel says Verdeo retired ethanol RINs, worth pennies, instead of the more valuable biodiesel RINs. Bioversel claims this was all perfectly legal.”

You have to read the full crazy story on CBC’s website. [CBC via NY Times]


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Chicago’s Greenway Self-Park: Should A Parking Garage Ever Be Considered Earth Friendly?

Greenway Self-Park ChicagoGrid Chicago has an interesting article on the Greenway Self-Park which has been self-labeled as “Chicago’s first earth friendly parking garage.” What the … earth friendly parking garage? Its developer, Friedman Properties, did build some eco features into the parking garage that include lighting that auto-dims in sunlight, electricity-generating wind turbines (that may or may not work), it’s built with locally sourced materials and it has a green roof to mitigate runoff. They even incorporated a VW Bug with green leaves spewing from its exhaust in their logo. All good but should a parking garage ever be considered earth friendly?

I don’t want to hate on Friedman Properties too much because they tried to build a more eco / environmentally / sustainable parking garage but judging by the article’s comments, most people aren’t buying it and they’re seeing right through the thin green label.

That’s why we think FP needs to strip away the green from their logo and in the future, refer to their garage as earth friendlier versus earth friendly. Self-applying the earth friendly label is always risky – trying to apply it to a 715 space parking garage is just plain foolish. [Grid Chicago}

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

When Going Green Made People Feel Green: The Eco Dry Toilets That Stunk.

Waterless Eco-Toilet from SEI (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/)Jubbling has had a little eco-reflux lately. That’s why stories like the one about the Daxing Ecological Community stand out. It was built in the mid-2000’s and one of the featured ideas implemented in this drought plagued community was a waterless eco-toilet designed by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

The way the eco-toilet worked was targeted weewee would go down one drain and the solid stuff would be caught, saw-dusted and flipped down another drain into a holding tank in the basement. The tank would be emptied 2 or 3 times per month and the collected poo-business could be turned into fertilizer. In theory, the waterless eco-toilet sounded like a great idea.

But the problems with the toilets were almost immediate. Residents were overwhelmed with an ammonia smell that their bathroom fans couldn’t expel fast enough. And the smell from the unsealed poo-poo holding tanks in the basement raised the stink level to a point that some refused to eat in their apartments – they ate meals on their balcony. 15% of the households also reported gynecological problems stemming from the dispersal of sawdust.

SEI sent in experts who called the builders “irresponsible” and sealed the holding tanks and made improvements to the fans. But these were temporary fixes and the residents were still not happy until flushing toilets were installed in 2009.

Rarely would I be asked or able to offer my expert opinion on any topic but I could’ve helped the Daxing Ecological Community on this one. In 1976, my family stayed at an eco mini-community in the countryside of Japan. It was designed around sustainability and one of its flagship ideas was waterless toilets that used natural gas to incinerate solids. The smell of fried dookie wafted through our cabin and it’s an odor you smell once and never forget. For us kids, crap-cooking was at first kind of neat. But by day three, the novelty had worn off and we were all anxious to get out of there.

So idea people, please don’t mess with the toilet much. There are so many other ways to reduce water use – eco’ing up the toilet should probably be last on the list. [Guardian]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Eco-Friendly Wooden Wallets Are Back Pocket Unfriendly.

Wood Wallet by PROOF
Gizmodo posted an article, “Wooden Wallets, WTF?,” that is short and sweet. When and why did expensive wooden wallets become so eco-chic and who, other than George Costanza, would carry around a couple slabs of balsa in their back pocket?

Jubbling decided to reach out to their overseas dev-team [writer embellishment] to create an alternative and end this recycled / renewable trend. After 2 months of wind tunnel and back pocket testing, we discovered the solution was actually holding the final report together. [Gizmodo]

Paper clip


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail