Monday, October 25, 2010

HomeSTAR - Why Haven't You Had an Energy Audit?

The proposed HOME STAR energy retrofit program is the focus of a report aired this weekend on NPR’s Weekend Edition, in which reporter Christopher Joyce follows a crew from Masco Home Services’ WellHome division as they conduct an energy audit at a home in suburban Washington, D.C.

The report delivers a solid introduction to Home Performance and the long-term benefits of investing in whole-house retrofit work, then concludes with a convincing summary of the economic logic behind HOME STAR:

Some states, like New York, already pay homeowners for retrofits. So did President Obama’s stimulus plan last year. But Jeff Genzer of the National Association of State Energy Officials says the stimulus money was mostly for low-income families. HOME STAR is for all homeowners.

“And it’s really targeted to getting the money in the hands of underemployed building contractors,” Genzer says. Indeed, HOME STAR advocates claim that the $6 billion could create 160,000 new jobs in the flagging building sector.

Genzer adds that small-scale-efficiency programs are cheaper than building new nuclear plants or big wind farms. And homes are a fat target for savings — buildings use 40 percent of the country’s energy. But caulk and insulation aren’t very sexy either.

“Is it easier for a politician to cut a ribbon in front of a nuclear power plant than it is in front of a house that’s been weatherized?” he asks. “Well, maybe.”

Listen to the full report online:

"Cash for Caulkers" isn't just a good idea. It is the first step in transforming our economy over to renewable energy. It means jobs, and NO NEW POWERPLANTS! Weatherize and reduce your utility bill, better yet, make your building ZERO-NET Energy, then add renewable energy production, and power your car on the sun.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The US Gulf Cost is in Cardiac Arrest

Six months ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The initial explosion grabbed the nation's attention, but few imagined what was to come. As the oil spread, writer Terry Tempest Williams felt compelled to bear witness to the devastation and share the stories of those most affected.

The amount of oil and dispersant chemical contamination is unknown and causing long term health problems for the people and the animals. The economy and the wildlife are toxic. The Cajun and Creole  people are starving.

Listen to TOTN

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Offshore Wind Power

Google and financial firm Good Energies have agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbone for future offshore wind farms along the eastern seaboard, the NYT reports today in an above-the-fold front pager. They will each take on 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the first-of-its-kind project and are expected to bring in additional investors. As it currently stands, the two companies will likely need to front about $200 million apiece just for the first phase of construction.

DETAILS - Trans-Elect hopes to begin construction on the project in 2013. The Maryland-based transmission-line company estimates that the initial phase - stretching 150 miles from northern New Jersey to Rehoboth Beach, Del. - will cost $1.8 billion and could go into service by 2016. The rest would not be finished until early next decade.

NYT: 'Industry experts called the plan promising, but warned that... it was bound to face bureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technology problems to cost overruns....The system's backbone cable, with a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, equal to the output of five large nuclear reactors, would run in shallow trenches on the seabed in federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore, from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Va. The notion would be to harvest energy from turbines in an area where the wind is strong but the hulking towers would barely be visible.'

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/10/10 - NO on CA Prop 23

WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND - Environmentalists will stage more than 7,000 events in a total of 188 countries this Sunday (10/10/10) in a bid to convince political leaders in the United States and abroad to take action to address climate change. Organizer and founder Bill McKibben.

I grew up in the Inland Empire - the valley east of Los Angeles - in the 1970's and suffered from childhood asthma due to the polluted atmosphere. We didn't even know we lived in a valley, because we couldn't see the three 10,000' mountains due to the smog. I like clean air, I hate oil refineries. Fair disclosure complete.

PROP 23 - Oil refiners are ramping up their efforts to pass the voter initiative meant to derail California's landmark greenhouse gas emissions law, Wall Street Journal reports. Valero Energy and Tesoro have given about $4 million and $1.5 million so far, according to state-finance filings.

The president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association is also asking for financial support from the group's members. 'I am pleading with each of you - for our nation's best interest and for your company's own self-interest,' Charles Drevna wrote in an e-mail obtained by the paper. 

In 2006, California Assembly Bill 32 attempted to put the first serious limit on our growing level of Green House Gas emissions in the USA. It's intent is to limit GHG, mandate state electricity be made with renewable energy sources, and return California to 1990 levels by 2020. The Carbon-Fuel Industries are terrified that it will work, and that will set the example for the rest of the nation and the world.

Join a "NO on 23" CALLING PARTY.