Friday, October 31, 2008

Subway Monitors Update in Real-Time



Anyone who has ever ridden a subway (in any city) knows the pain of the unknown time of the next train. New York City is about to reduce some of the stress riders may feel by introducing a pilot project that tracks the location of each train.

The Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station will have monitors showing a graphic representation of the L-line with the current location of every train on the line. The image is set to update every 15 seconds so riders will have a good idea of where their train is. VERY COOL!

Read the whole article: "Maybe There Is Another Train Right Behind"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

LOS No More?

Many communities and projects measure the effectiveness of automobile transportation using a grading system known as Level of Service (LOS). LOS essentially assigns grades for roads and intersections from A to F (A is the best) based on issues such as speed, ability to change lanes, delays at lights, etc. Yes, this is an overly simplified explanation, but traffic engineer I am not.

Anyway, LOS is a pretty standard way of determining how well automobile transportation is working in an area. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority recently released a report suggesting that LOS criteria should be with a new measure: “Automobile Trips Generated” (Draft Final Report on the Automobile Trip Generation (ATG) ImpactMeasure and on the Proposed ATG Transportation Impact Mitigation Fee Nexus Study).
While a good traffic engineer is always thinking about transit and the environment, this recommendation could be a good way to ensure every engineer is on board.
Read a post on Cool Connections about this proposal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Green Workplace Make-over Part II




The second part of the Dell green IT/ green workplace with Roberson Homes was to implement a few green workplace strategies that would save energy and make their office greener. Here are some of the things they did a plus few more ideas that any small company can do for little or no cost:
1. Use flat screen LCD monitors over CRT monitors. Looking at some of the before and after energy stats from Dell really drove it home for me. Robertson Homes saved 50-60% energy consumption by using CRTs vs. LCD monitors. I’ve seen numbers much higher than that.

2. Use power strips wisely. Most people use power strips to prevent power surges (or because they only have one outlet available). Consider using them to save more energy. Appliances and electronics continue to suck energy out of the wall even when they are switched off. Use a “green” power strip that will prevent this from happening. If you are really bad about remembering to turn off things, use a power strip with a timer that will automatically shut things off when you leave.

3. Use fluorescent lights. Most people know that fluorescent light bulbs are somehow more efficient than those old Edison incandescent bulbs, but I still see a lot of them hiding out in small businesses and homes. What’s the big deal? It turns out that incandescents are highly inefficient. Roughly 90% of the energy the bulb takes in is emitted in the form of heat. That means that when you turn an Edison bulb, you not only waste a lot of energy getting light out, but you need energy to cool down the room too! Fluorescents are about 75% more energy efficient than the incandescent ones and they last 10 times longer. And they come in many nice shapes too, not just the curly cue version.

4. Use green cleaning supplies. If you are using a cleaning product that smells bad, it probably is bad – for you and your co-workers. Give everybody a break and buy greener cleaning products for your office (and home) and encourage your cleaning staff to do the same.

5. Don’t just recycle, reduce and reuse. In the United States, we create around 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day, per person – this is up from 2.7 pounds per day in 1960. Though a growing number of this waste is being recycled, the amount of MSW as a whole is still going up! The better option is to not use that paper, plastic or metal at all. Besides, buying less or reusing goods saves money – not a bad idea in this economy.

6. Cut down on printing by using more technology. Think about ways to reduce paper – use electronic documents whenever possible. 100 pages not printed per day x 260 working days = $16,900 per year. Robertson Homes figured out pretty quickly that they could reduce costs by not printing as many copies of floor plans for every project.

7. Cut out paper and plastic waste. IN the U.S., we’re getting better at recycling, but there is still a tremendous amount of waste that goes into landfills every year. Think about all of those things you toss in the trash every day. Can you find a re-usable option instead? I still see a ton of plastic and Styrofoam cups as well as paper plates and plastic cutlery in offices today. Kitchens are one of the worst culprits. Choose glassware, re-usable mugs, china and silverware. If you need to-go kitchenware, consider corn-based plastic that can go into a composter after use.

For more green tips visit http://www.regeneration.org/

Green Workplace Make-over Part I



Last week I had the pleasure of joining Dell in a green IT/ green workplace make-over of one of their small business customers. Roberson Homes is a family run business in St. Cloud, Florida that specializes in designing and building sustainable homes in the area. Meeting the family was great – they are clearly passionate about their business and about the environment. A company after my own heart! If you’re looking for a great green homebuilder in the Orlando area, give these guys a call!

As part of the makeover, Dell generously donated eight new Optiplex 960 desktops, eight new 19-inch EPEAT gold-certified flat panel monitors. flat screen monitors and a PowerEdge T300 server. The new Optiplex line that’s launching today is the greenest desktop computer on the market and will:

Enable up to 43 percent less power consumption to reduce energy costs over Robertson Homes previous generation of OptiPlex 170Ls desktops;

It’s made up of 89 percent recyclable packaging and at least 10 percent post-consumer recycled plastic on small form factor;

The new Opti’s will cut ownership costs by 30 percent and automate 90 percent of routine maintenance;

And, the new PowerEdge T300 server is 23 percent more efficient than their previous server.

Given that technology usage accounts for roughly 30 percent of a small business energy bill, Robertson Homes will see significant cost savings while reducing its carbon footprint.

Not only is the Optiplex 960 eco-friendly it requires less maintenance – many small companies just don’t have time for routine IT maintenance. It takes them away from their core business and making money for the company. According to Gartner, companies can spend up to 2x-3x times more on desktop maintenance than the initial purchase cost – approximately $5,800 per desktop and $9,900 per laptop annually. The savings over time can be tremendous.

While Dell was working their magic for Robertson Homes’ green IT, I got a chance to look around the office. Turns out they were doing lots of great things to save energy and make their office greener. Tune in tomorrow to see what new green strategies we implemented at Robertson Homes that you can implement too.

Have Parking, Will Drive



An interesting study came through my inbox the other day: "Guaranteed Parking, Guaranteed Driving." This study compares the driving habits of residents of two New York neighborhoods: Jackson Heights, Queens and Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The study found that residents with guaranteed off-street parking at home were more likely to drive: Jackson Heights residents (who have more off-street parking) are 45% more likely to drive to work in the Manhattan CBD and 28% more likely to commute by car in general.

Very interesting - especially as many companies are looking to reduce parking opportunities at the office. Perhaps part of the solution is reducing parking opportunities at home, as well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ansel Adams out of a Job?


I just ran across a book review of Over: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point (review: The Late American Space) - it's definitely a book I'm putting on my Library list!

The author, Alex MacLean, is an aerial photographer who uses images to demonstrate how human development patterns have changed the American Landscape.

The book is divided into sections: Atmosphere, Way of Life, Automobile Dependency, Electricity Generation, Deserts, Water Use, Sea-level Rise, Waste and Recycling, and Urbanism. Each section includes an essay by the author and supporting photography.

Has anyone read this, or have other book suggestions?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Meet the Bloggers!

Are you dying for your opportunity to meet some of The Green Workplace's famous names? Greenette, Bring Your Green Hat, and I, will all be presenting Wednesday, October 29 at NeoCon East in Baltimore, MD. Greenette will be presenting with Kevin Kelly from GSA about furnishings, and Bring Your Green Hat and I will be talking tech later in the day.

Hope to see you there!

Furnishing the Future: Leaner and Greener Workplace [W7]
Wednesday, October 29 • 9–10 a.m.
How can organizations create workplaces that support the workforce of the future while meeting the growing number of environmental mandates and guidelines? Gain specific strategies for creating lean and green workplace environments that minimize the use of economic and environmental resources. Case studies of public and private companies will be shared to demonstrate best workplace practices for the future.

To Geek or Not to Geek: Leveraging Technology for Better Business [W12]
Wednesday, October 29 • 10:30–11:30 a.m.
Technology offers an opportunity for companies to meet the triple bottom line: people, profit and planet. Discover how technology can help build a more effective workplace with the added benefits of saving money, time and natural resources. Discussion will include solutions that enable mobility, communication, collaboration and knowledge management.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Britain: the world leader in offshore wind power!


I would never have guessed it, but it was announced yesterday that the UK is now the world leader in offshore wind generation! With 597MW of fully constructed wind farms, the UK now has the potential to power the equivalent of 300,000 homes. This is even more than Denmark, which is renowned for it's renewable energy production.
What's more the government announced today that Britain will boost the generation of power from wind farms by a third next year as part of efforts to hit renewable energy targets.
Wow, the UK leading the way in renewable energy, I'm proud to be British!!

We're in Debt!


So from the title of this post, one might suspect that I'm about to open up about the current economic crisis. Nope - it's the environmental crisis!

Did you know that September 23 was "Earth Overshoot Day" or "Ecological Debt Day"? Apparently I was living in a bubble in late September. So, my blog post is a month late.

To put it simply, this is the day that marks when we've used up an equivalent amount of resources that the Earth can produce in one year. Further consumption (nearly 3.5 months worth) relies on surplus from previous years.

We started going into debt in 1986. By 2008, we are using approximatley 40% more than the Earth can support. Scary thought!

Maybe if every reader of this blog reduces their consumption and passes the reduction bug on like a pyramid scheme or virus, we can push Earth Overshoot Day back a couple of days in 2009? Here's hoping!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turf Block for Dummies

I ran across this cool product on the Green Product Awards list: Drivable Grass. You may have heard of turf block before...but this turns it into a DIY project. The Drivable Grass product comes in two foot square grids (kind of like the tile you buy at Home Depot for DIY tiling projects). To install, simply, mark the area, dig it up, compact the soil, install the mats, and spread seed. Ta-da!
I think this is a great alternative for small businesses and homeowners who don't need a heavy duty driveway/parking lot.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mobile Tailgating is More Sustainable (Mostly)

For anyone that knows me, you know that I am somewhat of a sports nut (both playing and watching). This year, I was fortunate enough to get season tickets to both the Washington Nationals (baseball) and Washington Redskins (football). GO SKINS!

One of my favorite things about going to the professional sports games is tailgating! This has been a bit tough this year - the Nats stadium is LEED Certified and has limited nearby parking, and for the 'Skins, the only parking passes we could buy were for miles away from the stadium. Both stadiums are close to Metro, so that has been my transit choice. Not so good for the tailgating, though.

This weekend, my hubby and I had a brilliant idea: bringing a mobile tailgate (in a stadium-accceptable bag) to enjoy during the one mile walk from the Metro station to the stadium. It worked out wonderfully...though we thought it best not to open our beers until we arrived in the stadium parking lot. It was great - a tailgate without the carbon emissions required from driving, or the painful experience of entering and exiting the stadium in traffic. Also, we probably ate less junk food as we were thoughtful as to what and how much we packed.

The only downfalls of our mobile tailgate were that we had to throw away anything we did not consume prior to the game, and there was no option for recycling. Going to have to think about how to work the recycling bit (when you have a car, you can take it home)...maybe we can convince Mr. Snyder to put some bins up in the parking lot?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A seed

HOK has a policy to pay for all its design staff to take the LEED-AP exam. One of the things I particularly like the most about this policy is that it extends to our summer interns and part time staff, even though we know they they might not return to HOK when their formal education has been completed.

I like the thought that we plant the seed and hope that it grows, no matter where that person goes to work - the fact that we're changing the profession one student, one professional, one human at a time. As part of HOK's support for sustainable design education, I happen to teach firmwide web conferences around the LEED rating system and the design strategies behind it. Many tune in, but few follow up to let me know they passed their LEED exam or that they were able to use the knowledge in a constructive way on a project later. But I hope that I am making a difference nonetheless.

Today I got an email from a recent summer intern that not only passed the LEED exam before he left our firm to return to school for the fall (as did all our interns!) but he was able to share what he learned with his classmates when he returned to architecture school. The response was so positive, that the school is considering developing a semester-long course around sustainability and LEED at the demand of the students. An excerpt from the email is below - and it has made my year! I am including it in the hope that it inspires other students to take up the issue with their student organizations, and ultimately their academic institutions. (The photo is over the natural ventilation exhaust at Gaudi's Casa Mila in Barcelona, an example of something beautiful, functional and sustainable all at once.)




"Hi Anica!

I hope you are happy to know that last Tuesday I gave a lecture to the Roger Williams University School of Architecture regarding an overview of LEED and how to take the exam. Afterwards the AIAS conducted a survey on the interest of students on the subject of LEED and sustainability. Overwhelmingly the surveys came back with a high interest of making this subject a new focus in our upcoming curriculum.

From this Tuesday (the 14’th) to today, several members of the AIAS as well as myself have held a series of meetings with Dean ... discussing the huge interest of students pursuing LEED. Dean White, after having discussed the idea with the provost and president of the university, is fully committed in the possibility of offering an upper level class or series of seminars (as the issue is still in “brain storming mode”) discussing this topic.

As it stands now, the question remains – who is best qualified to teach this topic? The Dean has asked me in our discussions, my experience in learning the issue... he came up with the idea of furthering the “class” to possibly incorporate professionals and professors....possibly conduct a class or series of lectures for next fall (of ’09)."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

China - the front-runner in renewable energy?




Today I went to a conference on workplace sustainability at which Jonathan Porritt was speaking. If you haven't heard of him I really recommend you looking at his blog (which is the link I've attached to his name here).


In his talk Porritt said that China is now the largest single investor in renewable energy. The media seems to represent China as a major polluter - so I had no idea about their renewable programme. In fact China is actually already closing down old power stations and introducing representative energy pricing. Considering China is still an 'emerging' economy this really is commendable. Just think how much the UK and US were polluting at the same industrial stage as China is now...


I learned so many pieces of information at the conference today, I haven't got time to write about them all now, but I'll drip feed them to you during next week...

The Downfall of LEED: Where Would You Rather Work?

Last week I was out of the office on site with a client and then in the HOK St. Louis office. During my tours, I found a great example of how achieving LEED Certification doesn't actually equate to having a good workplace.

The client office (LEED-CI Silver):













Note: photograph is similar to the office, not the actual office due to security regulations. The actual office has prettier carpet, nicer lighting, and plainer doors...but you get the point.

The HOK St. Louis Office (LEED-CI Certified):









While the client office had ticked off enough points to achieve LEED Silver, it clearly missed any points for daylight and views. Walking through the office was like being in a maze: beige hallway after beige hallway of doors. I found myself completely turned around on more than one occasion, and also craving a bit of sunlight!

The HOK STL office, on the other hand, is completely open seating for approximatley 300 people. Some of the sustainable principles used in this facility include:

  • Building or Structure Reuse
  • Commissioning
  • Construction and Demolition Waste Recycling/Reuse
  • Daylighting (daylight factor of 2% in at least 75% of spaces)
  • Efficient Lighting
  • External/Internal Shading
  • Local Materials
  • Low-Emitting Materials
  • Recycled Materials
  • Renewable Materials
  • Salvaged Materials
  • Views
  • Transit-Oriented Development

Although it has a lower level of certification, the HOK STL office would be a much more pleasant workplace for me. What about you?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Take Our Survey!


In mid November, five bloggers will be speaking at Greenbuild to discuss "Green Blogs and the Built Environment." The Green Workplace will be joining brilliant bloggers from TreeHugger, Jetson Green, Building Green TV and Green Buildings NYC to discuss how the environmental movement is using blogs as a tool for collecting information, sharing ideas and collaborating in really amazing ways.

First off, come see us at Greenbuild! Secondly, please take our quick survey (link below) to help us identify how you feel blogging impacts the built environment. Whether you are attending Greenbuild or not, you are eligible to win a prize. Take the survey to find out what. We'll share the results at the conference and your insights will make us all better bloggers!

Survey

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Five Second Rule


Many of us use the (very sanitary) rule of if a piece of food has been on the floor for less than five seconds (ten for the brave), it's still clean enough to eat - you know, germs are slow to transfer, right?

I just learned about a cool product that takes guidance from that rule (in a sanitary manner, of course): Verterra is a company that creates biodegradable disposable plates out of fallen leaves that would otherwise be burned.
The company is not only environmentally responsible (using organic leaves and manufacturing products without chemicals, bleaches, waxes, dyes, or plastics), but also socially repsonsible: Verterra pays a living wage to its Indian leaf-gatherers and provides working conditions that meet international standards.
I heard about this company from Time Magazine: The Dish on Green Disposables.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Impact of Personal Choices


Did you know that American individuals control 65% of the country's greenhouse emissions? A new study by McKinsey & Company compares the consumer practices of Americans and those from other countries (43% of emissions by consumers). Some of the ways individual Americans can cut back include:

Passenger cars - currently 17% of US emissions.

  • DRIVE LESS!
  • Drive more fuel efficient cars
  • Live closer to work and recreation areas

Residential buildings & appliances - currently 17% of US emissions

  • Downsize
  • Buy existing housing stock instead of new construction
  • Add insulation
  • Replace appliances with more energy-efficient models

Photo from The Revolution's Flickr Photostream

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dual Flush for All

You may have run across dual-flush toilets in commercial applications (at a large workplace, the airport, the baseball park), but not too many of us have home dual-flush toilets. If you're anything like me, replacing toilets is at the low end of the home-improvement priority list (after replacing leaking windows, replacing the broken air conditioning, etc). If the toilet works, don't trash it!


There are lots of ways to reduce your use of potable water for toilet flushing, including the tried and true brick in the tank method, and the slightly personal "if it's yellow, let it mellow" technique. Well, a new way is coming in 2009: the "Perfect Flush."

This product is a dual-flush retrofit for your existing toilet, manufactured by brondell. They claim it takes less than 30 minutes to install. If their claims are true, and the price is right, this could be a great option for small businesses and homeowners alike.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Speedo and Your Car?


What's the common denominator between your car and a speedo swimsuit (besides that you look really good in both)? The answer: your speed in both is impacted by FLUID DYNAMICS!
I'm no engineer, so please forgive my oversimplified post. A college friend (who actually IS an engineer) sent me an interesting article on fluid dynamics and fluid theory.
Basically, fluid theory has traditionally explained action in 2 dimensions. The new theory explains why fluids (including air) behave differently in three dimensions: MIT Discovers "Breakthrough of the Decade", Could Affect Everything From Cars to Golf. This could have great implications for improving fuel efficiency for your car (and your body).
Interesting, even if I don't completely understand fluids ;)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Solar Cooling?

Usually when you hear "solar" it's not followed by "cooling"! In this case, manufacturers have found a way to create solar-powered cooling units. Most units on the market are "hybrid" - meaning they use both grid energy and battery power. The batteries are charged by integrated solar panels.


Check out some of the options on the market:

Rotarctica is a company that's taken it a step further and has developed a unit that uses the sun for actual cooling. Again, not being an engineer, I don't completely understand...but, Treehugger has a great explanation of how these units work. Wikipedia also has a lot of good (I think) information.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bike Commuter Tax Benefit Passes & Signed Into Law

The bike commuter tax benefit, 7 years in the making, has finally passed both houses of US Congress, as part of the $700B financial services bailout package. It has been signed by President Bush and is now law.

Summary From the Virginia Bicycling Federation:
"The bottom line is, you can get up to $20/month tax-free from your employer, if he feels like giving it to you, to reimburse you for your bike commuting expenses. Your employer can write it off as a business expense. This benefit goes into effect at the beginning of the year 2009."

It's not a lot (up to $240/year) but can help with the purchase, improvements, repairs and storage of a bicycle used for commuting.

What better way to get to your workplace!

http://www.vabike.org/bike-commuter-tax-benefit-passes-both-house-senate/


Workplace Incentives

Many companies are looking for ways to attract the best & the brightest and are using cool workplace incentives to do so. For some companies, it's "work from home" or great on-site perks like cafeterias and fitness centers. Google has taken this concept a step further: 20 percent time.

Google employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their time (about one day per week) working on projects that are not part of their job description. The goal is to keep employees thinking freely and happily, and of course, to develop cool new google products (or fix bugs in existing ones).

Your company probably doesn't have 20% time...but you are lucky - as part of its 10th anniversary celebration, Google has started a new initiative for the general public: Project 10 to the 100th.

This project hopes to take advantage of the ideas and information out in the wide world and hook up the idea people with the people that can get the job done...plus funding.

If you have any cool ideas (especially about greening the workplace, of course), it's definitely worth checking out...although as Google points out, your only personal reward is "good karma."

Good luck!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Green Schools Bail Out?

I was attending a National Capitol Region conference on greening America's schools and the President of the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel, made a comment about the $700 billion bailout of Wallstreet. He was drawing a comparison to schools funding - the lack thereof - and the constant uphill battle to make our education facilities adequate, let alone healthy and conducive to learning. Afterwords I was discussing the issue with a friend and colleague, Patty Rose of GreenHome, who brought up Jonathan Kozol's book Savage Inequalities and how a vast number of students in this country are 'learning' in cesspools that have standing water, mold, pest infestations, malfunctioning (or non-functioning) HVAC systems, lighting, windows, and other basic needs, not to mention poor access to adequate air quality, books, computers, supplies, teaching and administrative staff or any of the other tools that would help prepare younger generations to enter the U.S. and world economy as vital, necessary and prepared assets to this nation's workforce. Patty described crying when she came to a passage in Kozol's book where a student described the horrifying conditions of his school and asked the rhetorical question, 'Do people think we don't know that nobody cares about us?'.

Students today are the workforce of tomorrow, and we are letting them down. THIS is an economic crisis. All these years educators have been begging, pleading, asking, borrowing, demanding that the nation try to provide the tangible and intangible resources vital to education and have been told, 'There isn't enough money.' But Washington's bailout of Wallstreet proves that the money can be found when the crisis is dire enough.

Anyone who thinks the way we fund and support our education system in this country is sufficient and successful needs to look again. Our economy will suffer if we don't reprioritize. I would much rather my tax-payer dollars go towards a $700 billion bailout of the nation's education system than to prop up banks. I know this bailout is already decided, but I would like to propose that we start looking at the next bailout with just as much a sense of urgency. If we could do it in a couple of weeks for Wallstreet, how long should it take to do it for the next generation of our workforce?

Mandatory Parking

Any planner or developer can tell you, municipalities have pretty strict regulations about providing parking whenever new construction is going in. The goal is to provide adequate parking for the users of the new facilities and not overwhelm existing parking options.

This concept is getting some attention in the time of transit-oriented developmetn. Cities including Washington, DC, Milwaukee, London, and San Francisco are rethinking minimums.

Read the article: Cities rethinking '50s-era parking standards





Friday, October 3, 2008

Self-Evident Truths

Many of us had to memorize the preamble to the Declaration of Independence back in elementary school:"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness......"

The South American country of Ecuador has taken this concept one step further in their new constitution: Ecuador Constitution Grants Rights to Nature.

The country has approved a new constitution that takes a novel approach to environmentalism: granting unalienable rights to nature: "right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution."

Very interesting!

Other articles on the topic:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Energy inefficiency of public buildings revealed


Further to my post yesterday about Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) a colleague just drew my attention to an article in the UK Newspaper The Guaridan.
It has reported that the Palace of Westminster and the Bank of England have been exposed as among the country's least energy efficient public buildings under the EPC scheme. Both buildings scored G on the energy efficiency sliding scale where A is the best and G is the worst. The paper reports that together, these buildings consume enough electricity and gas to pump out 21,356 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent of more than 14,000 people flying from London to New York.
Rather worrying, new buildings were also reported to fare badly, raising questions about the validity of sustainability claims made by architects and developers. London's City Hall scored E despite opening in 2002 and being described by its architect Foster & Partners as a "virtually non-polluting public building".

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Changing our Behavior

My wife just emailed this cartoon to me and it reinforced how ingrained our American culture is when it comes to automobiles and our way of life. Due to the high prices and lack of gas in the Southeast (I live in Atlanta) I have noticed a great deal of traffic on blogs and discussion boards focused on what a mess we’re in. I’ve also seen the long lines, closed gas stations and have watched on TV some of the altercations that have occurred due to the frustrating circumstances.


What I have observed is that a majority of the responses are focused on finding fault with others (local/state/federal government, oil companies, gas stations, car companies – yes, you know the ones that forced you to purchase a V8 SUV) or convinced it’s a conspiracy. Yet, what really surprises me on these blogs/boards is that I’ve read very little about changing habits and behavior. What have you noticed?

Energy Performance Certificates

Following Grenette’s post in July about the UK’s introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) I thought I’d update you.

Today the UK government has made it mandatory for all landlords to give new tenants an EPC showing the energy efficiency of their rented property. Landlords who refuse to provide EPC will be fined.

This rating, similar to that on home appliances, is intended to allow potential tenants to consider energy efficiency and fuel costs and should highlight means by which the energy efficiency of a property can be improved.

EPC is part of a UK government push to focus on increase energy efficiency. Recently this has also included giving grants for cavity wall and loft insulation.

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