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Four homes are under construction in the Tennessee Valley to showcase homes that are at least 50% energy savers as compared to homes built to local code. Schaad Companies LLC, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Barber McMurry Architects (BMA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) intend to transform new and existing buildings into affordable, durable and efficient housing. All formed a private- and federal-sector consortium herein called the Zero Energy Building Research Alliance (ZEBRA). The consortium is about to evaluate the market viability for making two pairs of homes 50 percent more energy efficient than homes of similar size and style. Achieving the goal requires the most advanced building technology, products and techniques available. The homes are located on adjacent cul-de-sacs and are unoccupied for the duration of a two-year field study, thereby eliminating the confounding issue of occupancy habits.
Climate Change Adaptation: Federal Efforts to Provide Information Could Help Government Decision Making, by David Trimble, director, natural resources and environment, before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, And Transportation, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. GAO-12-238T, November 16.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d12238thigh.pdf
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are releasing the 2012 Fuel Economy Guide, providing consumers with information that can help them choose a more efficient new vehicle that saves them money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. While fuel efficient vehicles come in a variety of fuel types, classes, and sizes, many new advanced technology vehicles debut on this year’s annual list of top fuel economy performers. Fuel economy leaders within each vehicle category – from two-seaters to large SUVs – include widely available products such as conventional gasoline models and clean diesels.
Some 2012 models will be displaying a new fuel economy and environment label that provides consumers with more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including five-year fuel costs or savings compared to the average vehicle, as well as new greenhouse gas and smog ratings. These labels are actually required in model year 2013, but automakers may voluntarily adopt the new labels in model year 2012.
Each vehicle listing in the guide provides an estimated annual fuel cost. The estimate is calculated based on the vehicle’s miles per gallon (mpg) rating and national estimates for annual mileage and fuel prices. The online version of the guide allows consumers to input their local gasoline prices and typical driving habits to receive a personalized fuel cost estimate.
Printed editions of the guide are coming to dealer showrooms. EPA and DOE will provide online updates of fuel economy information as more 2012 vehicles become available.
Read the full post at SmartPlanet.
For the last six weeks I have outlined the big picture on energy, and advocated for transitions in energy and infrastructure that must really be addressed at the federal level. But if federal leadership on these big objectives fails to materialize (as it has, so far), what do we do?
If you’re a resident of Denmark, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Tucson, Orlando, Sacramento, and dozens of other communities, the answer is right in your town. You don’t even need to have an unshaded, south-facing roof and $20,000 to $30,000 to invest in a solar PV system on your house. All you need is an energy co-op.
Read the full story in Waste Age.
By fully embracing food waste composting, Yosemite National Park has achieved impressive diversion numbers and slashed waste disposal costs.
Read the column by Chaz Miller.
Product stewardship is an important concept that needs additional research and debate. The recycling collection and processing industry needs to be part of this discussion. Manufacturers know how to make things, we know how to collect and process them for recycling. As the debate on product stewardship continues, state legislators need to fully understand what problems they are trying to fix so that they don’t simply create a whole new set of obstacles that inhibit, instead of helping recycling.
Read the full story in Waste Age.
Best Buy Co. Inc. has eliminated its $10 recycling fee for electronics items with screens collected through its electronics recycling program.
Consumers now can drop off in stores any item, including those with screens, free of charge. Screens accepted can be up to 32 inches for tube screens and up to 60 inches for flat panel screens, the company said in a news release. The program in general accepts televisions, computer monitors, DVD players, audio and video cables, cell phones and other items.