Designing a Climate-Positive Future with Zero-Energy Districts

September 23, 2019  |  By Victor Olgyay RMI The environmental impact of buildings is clear. Over the last 30 years the green building industry has emerged in full regalia, with products, rating systems, building science, and architectural élan. Our design and technology have jumped from making buildings perform “better than code” to “zero-energy” or even “net-positive-energy” construction. Today’s high-performance buildings have a …

Electricity is set to become a cheaper energy carrier than combustible fuels

Dr Gunnar Luderer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who said the role of electrification in the future is underestimated. “Electricity is set to become a cheaper energy carrier than combustible fuels,” he noted. His team’s analysis has found that under 1.5C-consistent pathways, renewable power will be cheaper than energy from oil and gas from 2030, and they set out to find to …

The air conditioning trap

Excerpt from The Guardian, Aug 29, 2019 by Stephen Buranyi air conditioners are almost uniquely power-hungry appliances: a small unit cooling a single room, on average, consumes more power than running four fridges, while a central unit cooling an average house uses more power than 15. “Last year in Beijing, during a heatwave, 50% of the power capacity was going …

Chicago implements energy rating system for buildings + affordable, ZNE Habitat homes in Colorado

Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive, Aug. 26, 2019 Chicago launched its Energy Rating System to rate and make public the energy efficiency of large buildings (50,000 square feet or larger), including about 3,400 buildings across the city.  The buildings will be provided with placards illustrating their energy performance on a zero to four-star scale, which they are required to display on-site and report …

Six Reasons Why Berkeley’s Ban on New Natural Gas Is a Great Idea

by Gideon Weissman, Monday, August 19, 2019 Natural GasElectrificationGlobal WarmingFrackingClean Energy Last month the city of Berkeley, California, banned natural gas infrastructure from new buildings.[1] The most obvious reason for the ordinance is enough to justify it on its own: Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and burning it contributes to global warming. But by getting off gas, Berkeley is doing a whole …

Innovations To Combat Hot Cities With Natural Air-Conditioning

Aug 26, 2019 Natalie Parletta, Forbes, Science, Sustainable solutions and innovation With temperatures soaring around the globe, people who live in urban jungles – thick with concrete rather than trees – are feeling the heat even more. Climate Central warns that the compounded impact of climate change on cities is set to seriously jeopardise people’s health and put pressure on energy resources …

We can’t afford not to decarbonize. Invest 1% of world GDP, the total value of all goods and services in the world = about $85 trillion per year in 2019. 1% of that is $850 billion/yr

From Dr. Scott Denning, Colorado State University, Aug 2019 Economists estimate the total cost of decarbonizing the world economy to be about 1% of global GDP. Academic economists estimate the total cost of saving our descendants from millennia of hellish struggle at 1% of GDP (plus or minus 1% — could actually cost anywhere from nothing to 2%). And yes …

The Case for Switching From Natural Gas Hookups to Heat Pumps

7/19 GTM: Geothermal heat pumps are a no-brainer given their efficiency and environmental advantages, argue investor Jigar Shah and Kathy Hannun of Dandelion Energy. The Natural Resources Defense Council claims that installing heat pumps instead of natural-gas lines would save homeowners $1,500 right away, and hundreds of more dollars each year after that in operating costs. Homeowners would also enjoy the benefit …

California cities begin banning natural gas hook-ups in new buildings, in a historic move

 By Susie Cagle in Oakland, for The Guardian, 23 Jul 2019 More than 50 cities and counties in California are now considering similar policies to Berkeley’s, either banning or limiting gas and incentivizing full electrification in new buildings. This week Berkeley, California became the first city in the United States to ban natural, fossil gas hook-ups in new buildings. The landmark …

LED light bulbs, heat-pumps, and electric cars all have something in common each represent an efficiency improvement of 300% or greater over their predecessors. Drastically improving land and food efficiency is also needed.

Drastically improving the efficiency of how much land is used to produce our protein and calories by switching to plant-based or more land-efficient animal sources, will also make it much easier to sustainably produce enough food to feed the world’s growing population. Excerpt from Clean Technica, Carbon Farming Can Deliver, July 2019 LED light bulbs, heat-pumps, and electric cars all …