Archive for the ‘Green Economy’ Category
August 9th, 2009
The partnership between a home improvement company and a shelter provider might seem simple, but the plans that two established organizations have now are far from cut and dry. A $30 million green building program is going national, funded by the Home Depot Foundation, and plans to build 5,000 efficient homes over the next five years.
Habitat for Humanity and the Home Depot Foundation started a pilot last year through 30 affiliates that resulted in 260 sustainable homes. The Partners in Sustainable Building program began there, and is now poised to break into the national sphere.
Some of the homes were even certified to LEED Platinum, which resulted in nearly 50 percent energy savings in some cases. During the pilot, which according to Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford was “extremely successful,” early results yielded 15 to 30 percent energy savings.
At the end of August, over 120 Habitat for Humanity affiliates will participate in the national rollout across 45 states. Affiliates will receive grants depending on certifications that structures attain– $3,000 for Energy Star guidelines and up to $5,000 for other nationally recognized standards.
Habitat expects nearly 1,500 homes to be built between the August start and the end of 2010. Some of the certifications mentioned by Reckford were the National Association of Home Builders standard, LEED, EarthCraft and Enterprise Green Communities.
Retrofitting has been an emphasis by administration recently, citing green jobs and efficiency, though Habitat is meeting an ever-expanding need for new and innovative construction. These new buildings will be supported by Habitat’s network through eight Habitat State Support Organizations (which service 4,400 affiliates) and will be growing in size and host new training sessions to teach green standards.
Out of the 263 homes built in the pilot program, most buildings leaned towards a higher green building level (135) and 128 were certified to the Energy Star guidelines.
Popularity: 11% [?]
August 2nd, 2009
For those of you who follow our blog, you know we’re big fans of what the folks at Aptera are up to. Aptera is building an all-electric, three-wheeled car that has a small fraction as much aerodynamic drag as a Prius. The Aptera 2e goes 100-120 miles with a top speed of 85-90mph, and boasts normal car safety features and impressive crash test results. And it looks like a super cool Jetson mobile, which makes it especially exciting.
Now the folks at Aptera are starting to reveal what the inside of their space-age auto will look like. You can see a sample below and here is what Aptera has to say about their design developments:
“The first major issue was space. We tested men and women of every age and stature and found, in many cases, we were not offering enough room in the cabin. With that information, we enhanced the cabin using our Aptera formula — safety, then aerodynamics, then lightweight. The new interior cabin is now roughly 10% larger by every measure.
“The new 2 series also now has headroom and legroom comparable to, if not better than, the Mini and Chevy Volt. We widened the area at the hips to provide more space than the Smart EV and the Nissan Cube. Then to top it off, we increased our cargo capacity by more than 24 cubic feet, which is nearly two times the space available in the Honda Accord.”
Alright, let’s get that thing into market and start driving it! We’re ready!
You can learn more about Aptera here. Images courtesy of Aptera.
Popularity: 10% [?]
June 22nd, 2009
As a native of Kansas City you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn about the new green prefab achievement in my home town. I learned about it from one of my favorite publications, Natural Home. They did a wonderful feature on the house, which you can read in its entirety here.
The 1,200 square feet house is a two-bedroom, one-bath home (remember in the eco-sphere small is good!) and is perched on stilts atop a hill. It has a wonderful view of downtown. It was designed by architecture students from the University of Kansas (KU), who are part of a program that focuses on sustainable and affordable design. It’s an excellent example of affordable, green design.
The home was built in six modular units in nearby Lawrence, Kansas. Then they trucked 40 miles to Kansas City and assembled. The house was designed and built over five months by the KU students. The owners paid around $150,000 for the house.
Natural Home also produced a nice video on the house – check it out.
Popularity: 10% [?]
June 19th, 2009
So as far as I can tell there are now THREE great reasons why this is the time to get rid of your old hunk o’ junk and upgrade to a cleaner, greener car.
1) It is the right thing to do for the environment. Remember your car is one of the biggest ways you personally contribute to global warming.
2) There are ridiculous deals on cars right now. Dealers are suffering and you can negotiate with abandon.
3) Congress has just passed the “Cash for Clunkers” legislation that will allow consumers to get up to $4,500 for turning in an inefficient vehicle and buying a new, more efficient one.
So hop to it people!
The new bill would even allow consumers to buy a wide range of vehicles — including large pickup trucks — with the government money when they scrap an older, less-efficient model. The cars that are offered for trade-in must get 18 MPG or less, be built in 1984 or later, and be in operating condition. The new car purchased must be at least 22 MPG for a car, 18 MPG for a light truck or 15 MPG for a heavy-duty truck. To learn more about the requirements for the new cars click here.
The proposed program would subsidize the purchase of 600,000 to one million vehicles,
Popularity: 6% [?]
June 18th, 2009
Written by Andrew Williams, courtesy of Gas2.0
Subaru has become the latest in a long line of car manufacturers to start producing electric cars. The Japanese company plans to start selling a compact all-electric plug-in number called the Stella EV in Japan over the coming weeks.
Unusual for such a compact EV, the Stella boasts four seats and a top speed of 60 mph, which is likely to prove just about bearable to drivers using it as a second car for city use (photo gallery after the jump).
The Stella features a mains-charged li-ion battery, capable of a 15-minute fast-charge to 80% of the maximum, delivering a range of around 55 miles. Subaru has announced an initial run of 170 cars, which will available to Japanese customers in July. The price has been set at ¥4,725,000 (around $49,000) but buyers will be eligible to apply for a ¥1,380,000 (around $14,000) Japanese government subsidy through its Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center program. Additional tax reductions are also expected to further encourage buyers following special measures brought in by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
No news yet on a global release but we’ll keep you posted.
Popularity: 5% [?]