Sunday, August 12, 2012

A wealth of links today....

Alternative energy and commuting have a wealth of stories. Plus today I went shopping and consumers were asking not to get their plastic bags and use their own, plus I went on an 8 mile hike. A nice Sunday indeed. The first story come from the Atlantic and is on Zurich's experiment on parking allocation but reducing the amount of parking instead of increasing it. This then becomes a constraint on buildings and like evolution in action, these constraints drive solutions. The insight was to limit parking wherever there was good mass transit and this had the unintended consequence of becoming more efficient. Parking we tend to forget is not free (cost of parking lot) and also a low productive use of space. By countering that, Zurich has created some nice benefits. The second article is from the New York Times about the delays and turmoil experienced with the New York City bike share program. Looks like the weather will postpone its launch for this year. The elections are coming up and bicycling has been very controversial. The third article is also from the New York Times and covers the company Sungevity and how it is competing to make solar more likely. My favorite summation was the incredibly coherent discussion about why it doesn't make sense we are not using more solar.
When we burn coal, gas or oil, we are simply harnessing an archived version of that same energy from the sun, stored in plant and animal life, compacted and preserved under the earth’s crust. As Kennedy puts it in his passionate but rational way: “Think about it this way. We’re killing people in foreign lands in order to extract 200-million-year-old sunlight. Then we burn it . . . in order to boil water to create steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity. We frack our own backyards and pollute our rivers, or we blow up our mountaintops just miles from our nation’s capital for an hour of electricity, when we could just take what’s falling free from the sky.”


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