Tag Archives: energy efficiency

You’re probably going to be driving an electric car soon.

While we’re all talking about IQ tests, here’s a math problem: Imagine you’re a tree with 56 apples to take care of. One day, a massive storm comes and knocks out about four of those apples. They’re all on the ground now, kind of smushed.

But one of those apples didn’t have the same advantages as the other ones — too many pesticides growing up, let’s say — and it’s extra-smushed. It is also $74 billion in debt. (You may ask: Who loaned an apple $74 billion? Hedge funds have long embraced predatory lending practices, but that’s a math problem for another time.)

Anyway — as the tree, it’s your job to get those apples back in shape. You decide to allocate $36.5 billion in fallen-apple assistance. But only $5 billion specifically goes to that extra-smushed, indebted apple, and then that apple has to pay it back. It has to share about $14 billion with the other less-indebted and -smushed apples.

Surprise! This isn’t really a math problem — it’s an ethics problem. The tree is the United States government, the apples are all of its states and territories, the smushed apples are Florida, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the extra-smushed apple is Puerto Rico. Donald Trump’s self-lauded aid plan for the ailing and indebted territory is a loan.

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You’re probably going to be driving an electric car soon.

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Eco-Friendly Passive Homes Don’t Need AC to Stay Cool

While Americans look for ways to make their homes more efficient, European designerscontinue building energy-sealed, so-called passive homes that make our Energy Star appliances look like minimal contributions to the cause. Passive architecture has caught on in the Pacific Northwest and abroad, but its yet to take hold in most of the United States. Have you heard about the passive home trend?

What is Passive Design?

Passive homes are extremely energy-efficient buildings that require no air conditioning or heating systems. They are sealed so tightly that no air can escape the interior of the home, leading to absolutely minimal heat transfer. As a result, the temperature in the home stays extremely comfortable year-round, resulting in a huge decrease in energy expenditure.

So how do builders make this happen? It all starts with very, very thick walls. According to the New York Times, a passive home built in a cold state like Minnesota wouldrequire walls that are up to 18 inches thick. Windows are also paned multiple times and are manufactured with a similar thick design.

Humidity is kept in check and air recycled through ventilators that mix fresh, outside air with inside air. These systems use only minimal energy and keep the air inside the structure feeling fresh and clean.

All of these factors result in huge energy savings, but owners of passive homes will tell you that even the reduced heating bill costs cant match the greatest benefit of living in a climate-controlled environment: comfort.

What matters is that I have never lived in such a comfortable house, Don Freas of Olympia, Washington, told the New York Times.

Why Hasnt the Trend Caught on in the US?

The U.S. is lagging behind other countries when it comes to implementing passive technology. The knowledge of how to build these structures has been around since the 1990s, but because gas and energy remain relatively affordable in the U.S.as opposed to in other countries, where they are much more expensive, incentivizing homeowners to make energy-efficient decisionsAmerican homeowners have been slow to jump on the bandwagon.

Nearly 30,000 of these houses have already been built in Europe, reports the New York Times. In Germany, an entire neighborhood with 5,000 of these super-insulated, low-energy homes is under construction, and the City of Brussels is rewriting its building code to reflect passive standards.

So far in the U.S., only 90 passive homes have been certified. Some builders argue that the reason for slow U.S. growth has been the countrys vastly varying climate. While passive homes are relatively popular in the Pacific Northwest where the climate is mild and comparable to that of Europe, they require different technologies to function in the humid Midwest, cold northern regions and hot Southwest.

If U.S. builders can learn to adapt for the countrys various climates, it could be a boon for the environment. Mother Earth News reports that while an Energy Star-certified home could save energy expenditure by about 20 to 30 perfect, a passive home would increase that efficiency to 90 percent. Well have to see how passive homebuilding stacks up to other energy-saving building practices in the U.S. moving forward.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Eco-Friendly Passive Homes Don’t Need AC to Stay Cool

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Fight for Your Right to Dry!

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Your Air Conditioning Could Be Costing You (Infographic)

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Your Air Conditioning Could Be Costing You (Infographic)

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10 Ways to Reduce Energy & Save Money in the Kitchen

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10 Ways to Reduce Energy & Save Money in the Kitchen

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7 Ways Energy Efficiency Affects National Security

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7 Ways Energy Efficiency Affects National Security

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What to Look For When You Make the Switch to LEDs

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What to Look For When You Make the Switch to LEDs

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De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of Buildings

As part of a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, the de Blasio administration will announce a plan to overhaul the energy standards in city buildings and pressure private landlords for similar improvements. Read More: De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of Buildings

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De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of Buildings

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10 Ways You Can Burn Less Coal Today

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10 Ways You Can Burn Less Coal Today

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Scott Brown Urged GOP Senators To Kill Jeanne Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency Bill

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The 2014 campaign is already hurting the climate. Jim Cole/AP New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown called Senate Republican leadership to urge them to stop a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, so as not to give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), the bill’s Democratic sponsor and his Democratic opponent, something to run on. The Huffington Post first reported on Tuesday that Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, lobbied against the bill as recently as last week. The Shaheen-Portman bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle Monday despite enjoying broad bipartisan support. Although the legislation had 14 co-sponsors — seven from each side of the aisle — just two other Republicans ultimately voted with Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) to end debate on the measure: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine). A spokeswoman for Brown, who did not return HuffPost’s request for comment, did not deny the report in a statement to Politico. “Scott Brown was concerned that Senator Shaheen was refusing to allow a vote on the Keystone pipeline, a commonsense and bipartisan project that would immediately create thousands of jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton said. Brown is running in the New Hampshire GOP primary, set for Sept. 9, for the opportunity to challenge Shaheen in November. Read the rest at The Huffington Post.

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Scott Brown Urged GOP Senators To Kill Jeanne Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency Bill

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Scott Brown Urged GOP Senators To Kill Jeanne Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency Bill

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