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Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

What’s the Big Fracking Deal?

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Marcellus Shale Drill Rig, PA. Photo by Ken Skipper , USGS

In Search of a Reasonable Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing
One of the touchiest subjects in today’s discussion on environmental protection laws and energy independence is the exploration of the new natural-gas-retrieval technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or more commonly, “FRACKING.” Much confusion is a result of both opponents and proponents of fracking screaming their versions of the truth at the top of their lungs on any media outlet that will allow it. Trying to search the web for answers is just as difficult, as search engine results are flooded with a cacophony of biased studies from self-interested non-profit organizations or corporately funded, cherry-picked research groups.

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The Urban Infrastructure Initiative: Final Report

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Figure 2: Growth of proportion of the population residing in urban areas by region (1950 to 2050)

WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Today, more than half of the planet’s inhabitants are living in urban areas. By 2050, more than 70 % of the global population will live in cities. The scale and pace of urbanization in the coming decades is unprecedented in human history. The battle for sustainable development will therefore be won and lost in cities. Cities already consume up to 80 % of global material and energy supplies and produce around 75 % of carbon emissions. With current energy- and resource-intensive modes of urban development, the addition of 3 billion more city-dwellers by 2050 is likely to significantly exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the planet.

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Reducing Climate Risks with Natural Infrastructure

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Reducing Climate Risks with Natural Infrastructure

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
As California considers how to adapt to a changing climate, planners often focus on defensive infrastructure with a negative habitat impact: bigger levees, rock walls to protect coastlines or even giant sea gates. But California can follow a different path. With natural or “green” infrastructure that leverages natural processes to reduce risk to human lives,property and businesses, the state can build resilience to the coming changes while restoring natural habitats instead of degrading them.

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Clean Water Strong Communities

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Clean Water Strong Communities

Water utilities are investing millions, even billions, to clean up our water. Yet our water infrastructure is essentially invisible and its value often goes unnoticed by consumers and ratepayers. Community benefit strategies and green infrastructure help water utilities translate the value of their work and in the process they make our communities stronger.

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The Electric Slide: Where America’s Energy Goes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
The Electric Slide (Infographic) | Where Americas Energy Goes

AMERICAN TRAINCO
Although we might consider electricity a primary source of energy in our lives since we use it for a variety of household items, electricity is actually a secondary source. Electricity is generated from primary energy sources like coal, natural gas, petroleum, and renewable energy sources like wood, biofuels, wind, and hydropower.

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Infrastructure 2014: Shaping the Competitive City

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Infrastructure 2014

URBAN LAND INSTITUTE
HOW DO REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS—who could pursue opportunities regionally, nationally, or internationally—think about infrastructure? How do city leaders use infrastructure investments to position their cities for real estate investment and economic development? What role does infrastructure play relative to other economic development strategies? And are public and private perceptions and priorities aligned—or do they diverge, and in what ways? These were the central questions for Infrastructure 2014: Shaping the Competitive City, the eighth in an annual series of reports examining infrastructure trends and issues by ULI and EY.

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Smart Growth and Economic Success: Strategies for Local Governments

Friday, April 11th, 2014
Exhibit 1. The BLVD in Lancaster, California. Streetscape renovations and other improvements helped to revitalize the downtown area, which improved its ability to generate revenue and increased property values downtown by nearly 10 percent, nearly three times the increase in any other area of the city.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Local governments provide a wide variety of facilities and services. As budgets tighten, city leaders often struggle with how to reduce the costs of needed facilities and services and/or increase revenues without overburdening residents. At the same time that many jurisdictions grapple with rising costs for services, however, they also face stagnant or even declining revenues due to struggling local economies and/or shrinking state and federal funds.

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The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Completed and under construction wind power capacity, 2008–2013

AMERICAN COUNCIL ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
With the right policy mechanisms in place, the potential of America’s clean energy economy extends beyond one fuel choice or pipeline, and provides the country with an unparalleled opportunity to reinvigorate our economy while protecting our environment. An America powered on renewable power, fuels, and thermal energy is a stronger, more secure, prosperous and cleaner America.

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Transportation Futures: Policy Scenarios for Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Table 1. Fuel Economy and GHG Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
The goal of this study was to examine various policy options that can achieve large-scale reductions by 2040, based on the current time frame of Annual Energy Outlook forecasts. Existing regulations on light-duty vehicle fuel economy and carbon emissions are leading to rapid decreases in emissions. New heavy-duty fuel economy standards will also soon take effect. These are supplemented by the renewable fuel standard. But these efforts are unlikely to be sufficient to meet what will be challenging reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years. This study examined the degree to which three key travel-demand policies—road pricing, directing new population growth to more compact areas, and increasing the level of transit service—could contribute to reductions within this time frame.

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How Fuel Cells Work

Friday, March 28th, 2014
How Fuel Cells Work

Learn how fuel cell technology generates clean electricity from hydrogen to power our buildings and transportation—while emitting nothing but water. This video illustrates the fundamentals of fuel cell technology and its potential to supply our homes, offices, industries, and vehicles with sustainable, reliable energy.

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