At the Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Summit in Seattle on Monday, President Clinton announced that an additional 1,100 U.S. cities will gain access to volume discounts on energy-efficient and clean-energy products and technologies through CCI’s purchasing consortium. These benefits were previously available only to the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a group of 40 of the world’s largest cities that are working in concert to fight climate change.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors produced this updated Best Practices Report for its 2007 Mayors Climate Protection Summit. It lists examples of effective practices implemented in different cities across the country in categories of Municipal Buildings, Facilities & Operations; Air Quality; Climate Change; Energy Sources; Fuels, Vehicles & Transit; Housing; and Other.
They can last as long or longer than some conventional materials and they're good for the environment -- the living roof is setting down roots in Canada. "It's been in Europe for so many years and Canada is finally getting on the bandwagon," says Laura Barker of Elevated Landscape Technologies. "The city of Toronto did an initiative to get people to do green roofs, and I think that has woken up the rest of the country."
Of over 5,000 buildings awaiting LEED green building certification in the U.S., only 480 are existing buildings that been retrofitted with green building techniques. This balance is changing, however, as the declining price of green building and increasing pressure to reduce carbon and energy footprints together fuel a trend toward retrocommissioning existing buildings.
The California Public Utilities Commission has called for radically increasing the efficiency of new buildings. New housing developments would need to be "zero net energy" by 2020, and new commercial buildings would have to meet the same standard by 2030. Commissioner Dian Grueneich said the goals are ambitious but attainable. "I wouldn't have put this out there if I didn't think it was possible... A lot of the technology already exists."
Many New York City buildings –-perhaps numbering in the thousands by this winter-- are turning to biodiesel for heating. Starting next year, the City government itself has plans to use a biodiesel blend to heat city-owned buildings. "Fuel diversity is important," says Ariella Rosenberg Maron of the City's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "As we become more and more dependent on natural gas, we need to consider ways to mitigate the financial and other impacts of disruptions to our natural-gas supply, such as we experienced during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina."
Cities and developers in the UK have been asked to bid for the development of five new carbon-neutral, sustainably-powered "eco-towns" built on disused urban and suburban land. The family-oriented small settlements, each containing 5,000 to 20,000 homes, will be expected to have ample green spaces and good transport links with existing towns and cities.
The US Green Building Council's new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design. This article describes nine of the diverse developments from all over the U.S. that have registered to be LEED-ND pilot projects.
Many local governments require publicly funded buildings to follow some environmental guidelines. But San Francisco's proposed building standards --which would be the most environmentally rigorous in the country-- would also affect private developers and commercial projects.
China recently broke ground on Dongtan, which it calls the world’s first eco-city. A ferry ride away from central Shanghai, Dongtan will ban all polluting cars, forcing people to get around using electric cars, bicycles, or just their legs. It will recycle as much as possible, including all its wastewater; grow food on its own environmentally sensitive farms; and create all its own energy in nonpolluting ways—wind, solar, and the burning of human and animal wastes. It will encourage, and in some cases require, the use of local labor and local, green building materials.
Most of these technologies are not new, and many are commonly used in Western Europe. What will make Dongtan unique are the integration of environmentally friendly practices and the strict exclusion of older, polluting ones.