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Greenbusiness
589 αναγνώστες
Παρασκευή, 14 Ιανουαρίου 2011
18:55

Συνεχίζοντας τις αναρτήσεις αιρετικών απόψεων και δράσεων...

... οι επισημάνσεις με έντονη γραφή εις το αγγλικό κείμενο από τον οικοδεσπότη σας, ας προσληφθούν ως σχόλιά του ...

Renewing the Market

By Rob Watson

To paraphrase Winston Churchill: "Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others." If I am ever asked for a silver bullet to cure our environmental problems, I invariably answer, "Discard ego-nomics for eco-nomics."

The accounting chicanery that treats the planet's equity of natural resources and other environmental goods as limitless debit accounts and the Earth's assets  -- the land we live on, air we breathe and water we drink -- as limitless credit accounts, means that we will one day wake up bankrupt in terms of the planet's ability to support as much human life as there happens to be at that time. Add to this the fact that moving too far off the status quo is by definition too expensive (all costs and benefits become essentially zero in less than a generation under ego-nomics), and it means that the market is structurally incapable of coming up with solutions to our global environmental problems.

But, for all of their flaws, capitalist markets sometimes move fairly effectively. We are seeing this clearly in the renewable electricity market. The cost of renewable energy credits (RECs) has dropped precipitously in the last couple of years. Indeed, an open market bid by Green Mountain Energy to supply power to the Empire State Building exclusively with renewable energy won out over other power bids that were based on conventional fossil fuels. Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin, who is a very strong advocate for only implementing economically feasible measures, stated the fact that Green Mountain's bid was purely renewable didn't factor into it at all -- he was simply interested in the low bid.

While it is not clear whether Malkin's Darwinist capitalist perspective is real or an act -- it is more interesting to have a "pure" capitalist buying renewable energy -- this story could be a harbinger that renewable energy can compete on its own merits in the market. And, sure, remove the subsidies on renewables as long as the fossil fuels give up theirs, which dwarf those of clean energy.

Another interesting renewable energy story comes to us courtesy of Kaiser Permanente, whose Santa Clara Medical Center is the first Kaiser hospital facility to install a roof-mounted solar power plant to supply clean electricity to Recurrent Energy. Santa Clara is among the 15 such installations planned for this year. Kaiser's goal is for these facilities is to supply a total of 15 MW of solar energy, which on average is equivalent to 10 percent of each facility's electric consumption through solar electricity generated on site. The installation is cost-neutral to Kaiser, but the enthusiasm it is generating within the corporate staff and its customers is priceless. Kaiser intends to grow its renewable energy supply to 25 percent of its consumption by 2020.

I liken the dynamic between markets and regulations as somewhat akin to that between roads and vehicles, where the roads represent regulations and the vehicles represent the market. Without roads -- and the legal and social laws that govern movement on them -- vehicles might be able to go a little bit more directly to their destination, but at what cost?

Clearly, we do not want vehicles driving through our yards, on sidewalks, through glass-plated lobbies, although all of these things seem to be stock features of today's movie thrillers. However, we count on our roads to take us as directly as possible to our destination and not to meander aimlessly or into dead ends. Obviously a well-functioning transportation system with an effective road network and efficient and high-occupancy vehicle utilization is the ideal.

So, while the market forces driving lower-cost renewal energy is important, so are the various regulations, such as renewable portfolio standards, that are "forcing" the market to bring costs down. This week Chris Cheatham discusses a potentially disturbing trend in challenges to green building codes; though really we're talking about energy efficient building codes. He talks about the challenge to the Albuquerque conservation code, which was one of the first things I wrote about as executive editor of GreenerBuildings.com. Although the challenge only partially overturned Albuquerque's code, Cheatham is worried that retrograde forces, under the guise of economic preservation, will try to further stymie the penetration of more comprehensive green codes, such as ASHRAE 189, and even try to go after voluntary standards such as LEED.

This week's Look-Grandpa-I-picked-up-the-$20-bill-you-said-was-fake-but-it's-real! award goes to the Westin Copley Place which is implementing an $18 million renovation project to help augment some of the impressive energy and water savings the facility has realized since 2006. In the four years since the Westin's energy saving program was launched, total utility bills have declined by almost 50 percent -- in spite of increasing utility rates.

In the quest for energy and cost savings few stones have been unturned. For example, steam condensate is purchased from the city of Boston to heat the loading dock area and automatic solar-controlled mechanical shading helps reduce heat gain in the summer.

Jeff Hanulec, Copley Place's director of engineering, who helped the facility earn a prestigious Energy Star rating, is looking to install state-of-the-art LED lighting as part of the upgrade. Energy isn't the only resource efficiency goal being pursued by Hanulec. After he found that guests were confused by the two button flush system, Hanulec went with an ultralow flow 1.1-gallon single flush fixture instead. The facility implements a number of other environmental measures reducing its waste stream and protecting the indoor environment for guests and staff. A clear part of the facility's success is a cross-department green team that meets every month or so.
 

Rob Watson is the executive editor of GreenerBuildings.com. You can reach him at rob.watson@greenbiz.com and follow him on Twitter @Kilrwat.

Read more: http://www.greenbiz.com/newsletter/newsletter-greenerbuildings-greenerbuildings-news-january-13-2011?utm_source=Vertical+Newletters&utm_campaign=f7d5b03b3a-BldgsNL-2011-01-13&utm_medium=email#ixzz1B1pUktKA

                               
 

peter tosh "johnny b goode"
 
 
 
 

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15/01 00:56  Nida
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