Carbon Tax – The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board thinks it is a really good idea

The Carbon Tax is long overdue nationally, though California’s seems to be chugging right along. But think how far we have come – worse yet, think how far down the tubes we must be that the Chicago Tribune, as an entity, is advocating for it. Read it and weep, either for joy or sadness.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-carbon-tax-epa-climate-20180702-story.html

Editorial:

A carbon tax that could put money in your pocket

Editorial Board  Editorials reflect the opinion of the Editorial Board, as determined by the members of the board, the editorial page editor and the publisher.

The indications of a warming world are numerous and hard to miss. Last year was the third-warmest year on record for both the planet and the United States — exceeded only by 2015 and 2016. In June, scientists reported that Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992 — yielding “enough water to cover Texas to a depth of nearly 13 feet,” the Associated Press reported.

The indications of inaction on the subject are also abundant and visible. Last year, Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency has moved to ease regulations on power plants and motor vehicles that were integral to the Obama administration’s efforts to slow climate change.

Bipartisan action – once a normal response to environmental harms – is not on the agenda for Congress or the White House. But a growing group of farsighted pragmatists are nonetheless trying to find a middle ground between the entrenched adversaries.

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Choosing The Right Water Heater – This is Jenn Miler’s approach

On this cold early winter day, I would like to return to our residential roots with a discussion of water heaters. After your furnace and air conditioner , the largest user of energy in your house. Yes this is a guest post. No I can not swear by everything she says or thinks. But she does a pretty good job.

https://www.jenreviews.com/water-heater/

Jen Reviews – only the best reviews

How to Choose a Water Heater, According to Science

There are many who want to buy an efficient and stable water heater for their homes. But do they? Water heaters do the difficult job of heating the water supply of your home. Providing you with immediate hot water when needed through various fixtures and knobs.

Like many other appliances, a water heater is more convenient than manually heating up the water whenever needed. It cuts back time and effort, for most homeowners, while making life simpler. So why do most people hurry when choosing the right water heater? Something this important needs careful consideration of features and functions.

The best part about using the best water heater is that it lasts for years. It requires minimal maintenance and even if you hire a professional to maintain one, it doesn’t cost you big bucks. That said, finding a dependable water heater isn’t easy.

Because water is being constantly heated inside the tank, it needs to be energy efficient and spacious enough to accommodate the entire house. Anything that takes up more energy is a waste, costing you a hefty power bill.

So how do water heaters work?

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Home Energy Efficiency – From a Realtor’s perspective

I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.

 

Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide

http://www.constructiondive.com/news/more-buyers-want-green-homes-real-estate-agents-say/439944/

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Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
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More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
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There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
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What are Buyers Looking For?
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When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
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More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
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The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
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Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
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Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.

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Go to the web links and read. More next week.

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The End Of The War On Coal – Hahahahahahahaha

The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, announced in Tennessee that the “War On Coal” was over. This during his announcement that the EPA was with drawing the Clean Power Plan proposed by the Obama Administration. What a joke this administration is. They accuse the former head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy ,  of picking winners and losers. Well guess what? They have already been picked. Coal lost.

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2017/10/09/texas-monticello-power-plant-closes-signaling-undeniable-shift-natural-gas-renewable-energy

Texas’ Monticello power plant closes, signaling the undeniable shift to natural gas and renewable energy

Dallas Morning News Editorial

If there were any remaining doubts, the age of coal is over and the era of natural gas and renewables is officially here.

Luminant’s decision last week to shut its Monticello Power Plant near Mount Pleasant, one of Texas’ largest and dirtiest coal-fired electricity plants, is a prime example of this shift. The plant’s pending closure in January is a win for clean air and the result of the new economics of energy that renders coal-fired power plants like the Monticello facility cost-prohibitive relics.

This is particularly true in Texas: Hydraulic fracturing has made natural gas production cleaner and cheaper than coal.  Each year, electricity from the sun and wind contribute more megawatts to the state’s power grid. The state’s deregulated electricity market increases competition, which leaves costly, emissions belching coal-fired power plants like Monticello on the wrong side of a historic transformation.

We’re pleased that Luminant took this step after a year-long review of its operations. A decade ago, this editorial board helped lead the charge against the former TXU Corp.’s plan to build about a dozen coal-fired power plants in the state.

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Even North Carolina Can’t Stop Renewables – But the utility companies are gonna try

I was originally going to post about the growth of off shore Wind Farms in the Northeast as reported by Bloomberg. This article caught my eye instead. If the Utility Companies are this desperate then that is a good thing. You know you can’t stop the invisible hands of the market.

https://www.ecowatch.com/north-carolina-solar-2440926788.html

Solar Battle Continues as Duke-Backed Energy Bill Passes North Carolina House

By Molly Taft, Laura A. Shepard and Monika Sharma

Alongside Highway 401 in northern North Carolina is a 21st-century twist on a classic rural scene. A few miles outside of Roxboro, sheep graze among 5,000 panels at the Person County Solar Park, keeping the grass tidy on the rural installation.

Fields like these aren’t just scenic settings for roadtripping tourists to snap photos. Solar has “been some of the only economic development to happen in rural North Carolina in the last 30 years,” explained Richard Harkrader, CEO of a local solar company.

For companies like Harkrader’s Carolina Solar Energy, the Tar Heel State is a great place to do business. Abundant sunshine, ample support for clean energy and smart public policy have spurred the rapid growth of solar. Today, North Carolina boasts more solar capacity than every state except California. In the first quarter of 2017, North Carolina added more solar than any other state, and its solar industry employs more people than Wake Forest University.

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250 Coal Fired Power Plants Close By 2018 – This is very good news

Let me be clear here, the transition to clean energy sources will be painful because it is unplanned. Consider this: What if the Federal Government had a plan to move away from fossil fuels with clear benchmarks for the shift and training programs to move workers into that market. Well, plants would be closed on a schedule that everyone knows in advance, and there would be no pain. Only growth and prosperity. The way we are going about it now, Nuclear Power gets classified as “green”, plants are shuttered and workers are thrown out of their jobs. Brilliant.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-coal-closures-idUSKBN16R2D4

Two Ohio coal-fired plants to close, deepening industry decline

By Emily Flitter | NEW YORK

Electricity company Dayton Power & Light said on Monday it would shut down two coal-fired power plants in southern Ohio next year for economic reasons, a setback for the ailing coal industry but a victory for environmental activists.

Republican President Donald Trump promised in his election campaign to restore U.S. coal jobs that he said had been destroyed by environmental regulations put into effect by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Dayton Power & Light, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, said in an emailed statement that it planned to close the J.M. Stuart and Killen plants by June 2018 because they would not be “economically viable beyond mid-2018.”

Coal demand has flagged in recent years due to competition from cheap and plentiful natural gas.

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Go there and jump for joy (I mean read). More next week.

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Modern Whole House Fans – This was news to me

A friend of mine, Nelson Oller, lives in Mason City Illinois and is in Ameren’s service territory. They have a whole house approach to reducing their residential customers electricity consumption. This program is great. They are helping with insulation and state-of-the-art equipment. He has to spent 2 grand for 10 thousand dollars worth of stuff. One of the thinks he was telling me about was a vent fan for the bathroom that could act as a whole house plan. I had never herd of such a thing, but according to this article it has been around for several years now.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/bathroom-exhaust-fans

 

musingsheader image

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Bath fans help remove odors and moisture — and can be used in some homes to satisfy whole-house ventilation requirements

Posted on Aug 7 2014 by Martin Holladay
Older homes often lack bathroom exhaust fans. In the old days, if the bathroom was smelly or steamy, you were supposed to open a window to air it out.

This isn’t a very logical ventilation method, especially when temperatures are below zero, or when the weather is 90°F and humid. Yet this time-honored method of bathroom ventilation is still enshrined in our building codes. According to the 2009 International Residential Code (sections R303.3 and M1507.3), a bathroom with an operable window does not need to have a bath exhaust fan.

Why do we need exhaust fans?

In spite of the code’s archaic loophole, builders should install an exhaust fan in every bathroom or toilet room — even when the bathroom has a window.

A bath exhaust fan can perform several functions:

  • It can exhaust smelly air, allowing fresher air to enter the bathroom.
  • It can exhaust humid air, allowing dryer air to enter the bathroom.
  • When operated for 24 hours per day or when controlled by a timer, it can act (in some cases) as the most important component of a whole-house ventilation system.
Designing an exhaust-only ventilation system is a topic unto itself, and is beyond the scope of this article. For more information on exhaust-only ventilation systems, see Designing a Good Ventilation System.

Where does the makeup air come from?

When the bathroom door is closed and the fan is operating, where is the makeup air coming from?

If the bathroom has an exterior wall, some of the makeup air is coming from the exterior — for example, through leaks around the window or baseboard.

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Coal Can’t Be Resurrected – Not even the President is that powerful

Natural gas is cheap. Solar Photovoltaics are even cheaper. The job prospects in renewables are growing as fast as miners jobs are falling. Donald Trump may think he is all powerful but even if the Russian mob boss Putin joins in, China, India and Australia never will. Seems to me that is the end of the story.

http://www.computerworld.com/article/3166897/sustainable-it/report-1-in-50-new-us-jobs-came-from-solar-last-year.html

Report: 1 in 50 new U.S. jobs came from solar last year

Employment in the industry rose in 44 states and is expected to continue growing

One out of every 50 new U.S. jobs last year came from the solar industry, with growth in that industry outpacing the overall U.S. economy by 17 times, according to a new report.

Overall, there were 260,077 solar workers in 2016, representing 2% of all new jobs, according to The Solar Foundation’s Solar Jobs Census 2016.

Solar employment increased by more than 51,000 workers, a 25% increase over 2015, according to the report. Solar industry employment has nearly tripled since the first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010 — rising at least 20% annually for the past four years.

Along with growth in solar and other forms of renewables, energy storage is a rapidly growing industry, comprising 90,831 jobs — of which 47,634 are focused on battery storage.

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Renewables Scare Utilities – This is a good thing

Instead of investing in renewables and conservation. They fought them tooth and nail. Now they are paying the price.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/power-to-the-people

Power to the People

Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous.

     Mark and Sara Borkowski live with their two young daughters in a century-old, fifteen-hundred-square-foot house in Rutland, Vermont. Mark drives a school bus, and Sara works as a special-ed teacher; the cost of heating and cooling their house through the year consumes a large fraction of their combined income. Last summer, however, persuaded by Green Mountain Power, the main electric utility in Vermont, the Borkowskis decided to give their home an energy makeover. In the course of several days, coördinated teams of contractors stuffed the house with new insulation, put in a heat pump for the hot water, and installed two air-source heat pumps to warm the home. They also switched all the light bulbs to L.E.D.s and put a small solar array on the slate roof of the garage.

The Borkowskis paid for the improvements, but the utility financed the charges through their electric bill, which fell the very first month. Before the makeover, from October of 2013 to January of 2014, the Borkowskis used thirty-four hundred and eleven kilowatt-hours of electricity and three hundred and twenty-five gallons of fuel oil. From October of 2014 to January of 2015, they used twenty-eight hundred and fifty-six kilowatt-hours of electricity and no oil at all. President Obama has announced that by 2025 he wants the United States to reduce its total carbon footprint by up to twenty-eight per cent of 2005 levels. The Borkowskis reduced the footprint of their house by eighty-eight per cent in a matter of days, and at no net cost.

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The Coal Business Is Dying – It can’t come soon enough

This is not the point of the article but it IS my point. If most mammals, like us, are going to survive then we are going to have to leave all of the carbon that we can in the ground. By the way natural gas is no “bridge” to the future. Methane is a lot more potent green house gas. It is carbon that must be left in the ground too. So expect the natural gas companies to follow suit. The sooner the better.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/13/news/companies/peabody-coal-bankruptcy/

The largest U.S. coal company just filed for bankruptcy

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal producer, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday in a U.S. court, citing “unprecedented” industry pressures and a sharp decline in the price of coal.

The company said it will continue to operate while in bankruptcy, while working to reduce debt and improve cash flow.

“Peabody has a new management team, outstanding workforce, unmatched asset base and strong underlying operational performance that represent a key driver in the company’s future success,” CEO Glenn Kellow said in a statement announcing the Chapter 11 filing.

In addition to plummeting coal prices, the company cited weakness in China’s economy, overproduction of domestic shale gas and ongoing regulatory challenges as reasons for its declining prospects.

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