Day: March 11, 2013

D.C. Government to Switch to Wind Power for Electricity Needs

Read the full story at DCist.

The D.C. government’s agencies will be getting all of their electricity through wind power for at least a year, according to a news release from Washington Gas Energy Services. Under the terms of a new contract, the District will purchase all of its power needs from a Washington Gas-owned wind farm in Northern Virginia.

Walmart and Annie’s keep score of supplier sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Retail buyers play a key role in helping big companies like Walmart make their supply chains more sustainable. Bringing them onboard, however, wasn’t easy, so the world’s largest retailer gave buyers scorecards to assess supplier sustainability. Now 5 percent of buyers’ performance objectives must come from sustainable suppliers.

A bright, indestructible, burn-proof, energy saving mechanic’s lamp

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Work lamps: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

That could be the mantra of any mechanic, plumber electrician or anyone who regularly spends hours toiling away in the garage, workshop or crawl space under the bright light of those caged bulbous things also known as “drop lights” or “inspection lamps.”

Even if that’s not you, I’m sure you’ve seen one hooked at the end of a long cord over a V-8 or under a wheel well down at the local repair shop.

While they shine some amount of light on those deep dark places (often not enough, some say), they come with a couple of big problems. They routinely break when bashed. And they’re hazardously hot.  It’s practically a mechanic’s rite of passage to get burned by touching one of these things. In rare instances, drop lights can ignite a fire when exposed to the flammable stuff you might find in a garage.

Lumen LED, a small Hayward, Calif. company, is on the case.

Q&A: Ellen Dunham-Jones on retrofitting suburbia

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Imagine a suburban backyard swimming pool as a tilapia farm. Or rail transit on every big city corridor. That could be the future of “retrofitting suburbia,” a method of transforming existing suburban developments into sustainable, more urbanized locales. From Austin to Washington, D.C., cities across the country are already converting unused strip malls into libraries and dead suburban malls into college campuses. The future could be even more innovative.

I spoke recently with Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture and urban design at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author with June Williamson of Retrofitting Suburbia. Below are excerpts from our interview.