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Are Cities More Sustainable Than Suburbia?

Is living in the city inherently greener than living in the suburbs? Researchers like Edward Glaeser have argued a resounding yes: “In almost every metropolitan area, carbon emissions are significantly lower for people who live in central cities than for people who live in suburbs.” This conclusion has common sense on its side. Despite the literal greenness of many suburbs, high density living would seem to reduce energy use by default: less car and fossil fuel dependency, more infrastructure efficiency, with the largest cities generating the biggest energy-saving boost.

But new research from Canada’s Dalhousie University contests the i recommend viagra england claim that cities are immensely greener than their suburbs and adds additional information to consider when comparing population density and emissions. Researcher Jeffrey Wilson and his team looked at greenhouse gas emissions around Halifax, Nova Scotia, and found a negligible difference between suburban and city pollution: only a 0.3kgCO2e/person/day difference. While suburbanites did drive more, those in the city produced more home-energy emissions per household member than their suburban counterparts, bringing their total emissions closer to each other. Exurbs dwellers, however, needing to travel the furthest, polluted the most. Those in the exurbs produced 11 percent more emissions than those living in the inner city.

This research does broaden the conversation, illustrating that not all cities necessarily have a significant environmental edge over their suburbs. As Eric Jaffe at The Atlantic Cities points out, however, the study has a few problems: it doesn’t account for income level (the wealthier exurb dwellers may emit more greenhouse gases in part because they have more disposable income), and doesn’t compare the data by season--only across a year. Additionally, while Halifax Regional Municipality’s suburbanites and urbanites might be similar in greenhouse gas emissions, its hard to know how much this can speak to other regions’ internal relationships when other studies have looked at more metropolitan areas.

via: The Atlantic Cities

image CC BY-SA 2.0 by Roger Wollstadt


MIT's Solar System Estimates City's Solar Power Potential

Researchers at MIT have developed a new 3D solar potential mapping tool. The first rooftop solar mapping module of the Mapdwell platform, Solar System is available to anyone with Internet access. Incorporating factors ranging from roof angles and surface temperatures to local weather data and soft tab viagra physical obstructions,

Solar System has been able to predict within 4 to 10 percent of photovoltaic (PV) panels' annual electricity yield during testing. MIT's home city of only best offers get cialis fast Cambridge, Massachusetts is the first to cialis 20mg tablets get a complete solar map of its 17,000 rooftops. According to Solar System, if PV panels were installed at all rooftop locations deemed "good" or better, they could provide one third of the city's energy needs for roughly $2.8 billion.

Solar System is inviting to play with and easy to use. But for all of the data it offers on potential expenses, tax credits, and revenue, these estimates cannot replace on-site evaluation for solar projects, as the "important notice" on any "Solar Electric Potential Report" states (example here). As with older solar mapping tools like the San Francisco Energy Map, since Solar System might not incorporate all real-world conditions into its analysis of a potential site, the use-value of the system seems more motivational and symbolic than strictly informative and technical.

For those interested in PV panel installation on rooftops in Cambridge, it is an accessible place to start. As a way to generate awareness of solar power potential, Solar System could also offer those who hadn't considered PV panels for their buildings reasons to investigate it further. However, consumers exploring the possibilities on the map can only determine what PV panels may potentially, but not with certainty, generate and cost.

via: Treehugger

screen capture via Mapdwell Solar System


Sharing Smart Meter Data

I have a new smart meter on my house, and I'm far from the only one. The number of levitra pill smart meters installed across the country is growing quickly. Smart meters are digital, rather than analog, equipment to measure the amount of electricity each customer uses. However, smart meters are able to collect more data than just the wow look it best viagra prices electricity that has been used, they can also track the amount of electricity used as well as when it was used. Smart meters also are often equipped with wireless two-way communication for easier meter reading, among other uses.

The White House recently announced an agreement with nine "major electricity suppliers" under which consumers will be able to get access to sell viagra data about their own energy use. In addition to getting the information themselves, this would allow consumers to use third-party applications to track their energy use and "empower consumers to make wiser energy decisions." Congressional representative Ed Markey plans to introduce legislation that would require this information to be available to all consumers.

image: EcoGeek

via: Rep. Markey Press Release


Map Shows NYC Energy Use Block by Block

A Columbia University study has plotted the energy use of New York City's buildings on a beautiful, interactive map where you can view energy consumption by block. The map really illuminates how different areas of the city, and the types of buildings located in those areas, use energy differently.

In New York, buildings account for two-thirds of the energy used by the city, a major reason that the cialis sale city has pushed for retrofitting programs. This new map can help city officials know where to concentrate their improvements.

The model uses data from a few sources to arrive at the block by block totals:

  • Data the city government gathered from utilities on zip-code level numbers on electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and steam consumption in 2009,
  • Data on how the energy was used (heating and cooling, water heating, lighting, etc.) from the U.S. Energy information Administration
  • Information on buy cheap levitra online the building floor areas of each of the city’s tax lots from the city government.

You can visit the fully interactive map here, where you can view the total yearly kWh used per block, total fuel use and total land area. Each block also has its own pie chart with the breakdown of cialis online usa how that energy use was distributed among space heating, space cooling, water heating and general electricity use.

via MIT Tech Review


Microsoft Hohm and soft cialis Google PowerMeter Bite the Dust

Within a week of each other, Google and Microsoft both announced that they were pulling the plug on their home energy management services after only two years of them being active.

Last week, Google said that it was giving up on its PowerMeter online software that allowed people to track their home energy use and pinpoint ways make their home more efficient and end up with cheaper electricity bills.  The reason was that not enough people and utilities were signing up for the viagra australia free service.

Microsoft has given the same reason for ending its Hohm service, a similar program that offered a sleeker interface and a greater depth of information regarding consumer's energy use patterns and the related costs.  Hohm was also free, but Microsoft had planned to make it into a paid service.

Home energy monitoring and management is order levitra in new zealand a necessary part of lowering our overall energy use and living more sustainably, but it's possible these programs were launched a little too soon.  When smart grid technology starts reaching more areas of the country and people start becoming more accustomed to using technology to tweak their energy use habits, these type of programs will be more popular, but it seems the interest just wasn't there yet.

via Earth2Tech

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