Blog Archives

Taking a century-old rowhouse “net zero”

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The house scored “net zero” on its energy audit

 

My latest green building story focuses on a DC rowhouse overhauled for energy efficiency. Then the developer slapped on almost as many solar panels as the roof would hold, turning this architectural relic into a cutting edge “extremely green” home. The new owner may be saying bye-bye to electric bills. Read the story in the Washington Post today!

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Greenlines – EPA Dithers on BPA, Big Oil’s Deniers Club + More Shame over Sidewalks

I’ve seen tons of stories and received a slew of activist emails about the need to ban BPA, or bisphenol A. The material used in baby bottles and many other products was considered safe for years but a growing body of scientific research suggests toxins in the plastic seeps into whatever is stored inside, meaning we may be consuming it with every sip. The EPA was poised to take a side on the issue, but NPR reports that the agency now plans to delay action pending the results of even more studies.

Mother Jones on Big Oil continues funding climate deniers abroad and how the corporate largess undermines international climate action.

The EPA is reversing a long-standing decision with plans to require pesticide manufacturers to disclose to the public the inert ingredients in their
products. Federal regulators are also shifting course on the policy toward pharmaceutical residues in the nation’s drinking water.

Farmers use more herbicides on GMO crops, according to a new report.

Hey, did you see that the shoveled sidewalk story made the TV news last night and outrage has not yet waned! There are posts in Borderstan, Urban Places & Spaces, and the DCist.

Congress Heights on the Rise takes on the pros and cons of gentrification.

DC Mud reports that Zip Car has won the right to park in alleys, a victory that will help the car sharing service expand its presence in parking-strapped neighborhoods.

Qualia, the Petworth coffee joint, is staying open late tonight to help last-minute shoppers stay alert. Oops,I’m confusing my blog posts. This one’s better for my new Washington City Paper Series “Confessions of a Wi-Fi loafer.” Check it out on the WCP’s City Desk blog!

Today’s Greenlines – Shoveling, Snowmen + Subprime Mortgages

Pix from Park View

The Prince of Petworth has a post on “Sidewalks of Shame,” where nobody has bothered to shovel. When I lived in Boston, the city would fine property owners who failed to clear the snow away from the fronts of their properties. It was a hassle for the owners but made the city much more walkable this time of year. Why doesn’t the District have a similar ordinance?

It turns out, the Prince and I aren’t the only one peeved about impassible sidewalks. The Hill is Home‘s Claudia Holwill rants on the subject today too. And, those ever-unflappable folks at We Love DC have also found something with which they are not so enamored: Here’s a post with photos of a snow bank blocking a crosswalk in Arlington. Sometimes tough love is the only option.

The Prince also has a nice collection of reader-submitted snowmen shots.

The Washington Business Journal says fewer Washingtonians will be driving long distance to see the relatives this year. High gas prices are the culprit, according to this story that sources the AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Here’s more confirmation that man’s BFF is a carbon hound.

Living near busy roads may affect brain health and could contribute to cognitive decline as women age, according to a new study by German scientists.

The Guardian has the most “bizarre wildlife stories of 2009

The Guardian pix

The UN has agreed to revamp the “beaurocratic and unwieldy” climate talks process in the wake of last week’s much maligned negotiations in Copenhagen, which critics have now dubbed: “Flogenhagen.”

USA Today has a story on environmentally friendly ways to get rid of snow and ice.

The Park View blog also has a nice collection of snowmen pix. Hey, what’s not to like? Snowmen are a low-carbon way of decorating for the holidays!

Finaly, please check out my story today in the Huffington Post. The tale is one one man’s subprime mortgage – not exactly an environmental issue but it does fall in the broader sustainablity catagory. And, hopefully, it’s a good and informative read. There’s also a video documentary and another story by David Heath on the topic that ran yesterday.

Greenlines: Donuts Corrodes Pipes, MinuteClinics Open, Seattle Cuts Emissions + More

I wonder if this is another sign that the federal health care bill’s so-called public opinion is dead? Local CVS stores are getting MinuteClinics, the Washington Business Journal reports. The first has already opened in CVS’s Bladensburg Road store and is “staffed by nurse practitioners, who can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses like strep throat, infections and minor wounds.”

Krispy Kreme will pay Fairfax County $1.65 million for corroding sewer pipes with donut grease from its Lorton store. Given this news, you’ve gotta wonder what the sweets do to human pipes? Well, at least we now have the MinuteClinic for treatment!

Borderstan posts on how neighborhood residents rallied and saved trees along 17th Street NW that had slated for removal by city officials.

DC Metrocentric has proposed specs for redeveloping the Spring Road-Georgia Avenue NW area.

It’s official, the H Street shuttle has been saved, The Washington Post reports.


Richard Layman
checks in from New York City on how to make cities more cyclist-friendly.

Fresh AIRE is unveiling its sustainability toolkit for condos and apartments tonight at Arlington’s Central Library, The Green Miles has the details.

We Love DC is very happy to share that the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden ice skating rink opens tomorrow.

Seattle proves cutting emissions can be done! “The city of Seattle announced this afternoon that its greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 were 7 percent below what they were in 1990  a target the city had hoped to meet by 2012. But it’s not at all clear how or if the city will still meet the goal three years from now,” the Seattle Times reports.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says toxic chemical pollution from the nation’s industrial plants, mines and factories fell by 6 percent in 2008, declining for the second year in a row.

Coal mining company, Consol Energy Inc., lashes out at environmentalists who have sought to hold the company to compliance with federal clean water and other laws. After a judge pulled the company’s permits, the company decided to idle two mines employing about 500 workers and publicly blamed the shutdown on environmental activists, Reuters reports.

This might be entirely too much information for all but true climate politics junkies, but I happened across the official site for the UN climate talks. Here, you can download webcasts of every single official event and even some of the side shows.

Or you could just follow breaking news from climate talks on SEJ’s CopenBlog.

Today’s Greenlines: DC’s 1st Swine Flu Fatality, Biking News, Commuter Taxes + Fetal Chemical Exposure

DC has its first Swine Flu fatality and drug-Resistant Swine Flu Now in Virginia & Maryland, DCist reports.

Prince of Petworth poses the Friday question of the day: Do You Support a Commuter Tax for DC?

Richard Layman’s blog has new bicyling and transportation statistics and some thoughts on park planning.

The Washington Post has a story today on how some Virginians are taking the smoking ban hard.

Our exposure to toxic chemicals begins in the womb, according to a new study covered by Yale’s e360.