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Alternative Energy

Buildings: Our Biggest (and Most Underutilized) Asset for Improving How Cities Perform

A quiet moment in Wuxi, China

It’s time for leaders from both the public and private sectors to pay attention to buildings as a way of improving how their cities perform. High performance buildings (and their cousins: net zero, or near-net zero buildings) are a boost to health and productivity. Here's how to begin.[read more]

Sam Adams On The Main Challenges Faced By Modern Cities

The ex-mayor of Portland and Director of WRI US Climate Initiative.

Sam Adams is the former mayor of Portland and Director of WRI US Climate Initiative. He believes that integrated strategic planning for the city is the most efficient path to a sustainable future. In September, he will be at the Mayors´ Summit and the Cities & Transport International Congress in the session “Cities in the new climate economy”.[read more]

'One Planet' Home Wins Planning Battle

July 20, 2015 by David Thorpe

The 'hobbit house' can live!

A zero energy roundhouse, built by a young family, has been saved from demolition following an appeal to the local planning authority. Their campaign to save their house touched the hearts of thousands, who wrote in support, but this wasn't what saved the home.[read more]

The Leading U.S. City That Will Soon Consume 89% Renewable Electricity

July 16, 2015 by Celina Plaza

Oberlin, Ohio

Oberlin, Ohio, was recently recognized by the White House as one of the sixteen U.S. Climate Action Champions for Leadership on Climate Change. It will meet its goal to reduce GHG emissions by 50% from 2012 in 2015, and is scheduled in 2017 Oberlin to be consuming 89% of its electricity from renewable sources.[read more]

Five Reasons Alaskans Are Winning the Sustainable Food and Energy Race

Keeping plants warm in the cold

Alaska has much to share when it comes to creating sustainable economies. Despite dramatic seasonal changes, infrastructure gaps and transportation challenges, sustainability has always been a way of life in many of Alaska’s small communities in renewable energy, fish husbandry and food growing.[read more]

How One City Used Policy Integration to Enable Sustainable Energy Sources

Powered by biogas.

In 1994, Lille began developing a program to convert organic waste into energy. 20 years later, it has a fleet of over 400 buses running on biogas, with the compost byproduct used as fertilizer on large farms in the peri-urban area. It did this by coordinating the energy and other sectors to make its urban energy system more sustainable.[read more]

Meet Some of the Greenest Schools on Earth [PHOTOS]

Ng Yuk Secondary School in Hong Kong

We hope you enjoy the photos here featuring images from several of the schools nominated for the 2015 Greenest School on Earth award. They include schools from Croatia, Singapore, Lebanon and Hong Kong.[read more]

California: Leading the Way on Green and Well-Performing Buildings

3,500 LEED-certified buildings!

Green building has long been part of California’s approach to a wide array of energy, water, environment, and development priorities. There are more than 3,500 LEED-certified green buildings in the state, totalling over 500 million square feet of real estate. Over 14 percent of the entire state building portfolio is LEED certified.[read more]

Banks Should Lend World’s Top 500 Cities At Least $1bn to Tackle Climate Change – NCE-2015 Report

July 7, 2015 by David Thorpe

All cities must become low carbon, says the report

Multilateral development banks, donors and others should lend the world's top 500 cities at least US$1 billion to help them implement low carbon urban development strategies by 2020, according to the New Climate Economy 2015 report, published today by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.[read more]

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Using Waste Heat From a Refuse Incinerator to Grow 5,000 Tons of Tomatoes

Bessières Mayor Jean-Luc Raysseguier at the site

A small town in France, Bessières, is implementing a widely replicable project: using waste heat from the incineration of unrecyclable municipal waste in a cogeneration plant to heat nearby greenhouses that will produce 5,000 tons of tomatoes a year, as well as saving greenhouse gas emissions.[read more]

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20 City and Regional Governments Pledge to Save 5% of Global Carbon Emissions

July 2, 2015 by David Thorpe

Full infographic in the article

Twenty local city and regional governments, representing over 220 million people and $8.3 trillion GDP, have committed to a series of ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions totalling 5% of all global emissions, with many more due to report over the summer, according to the Compact of States and Regions.[read more]

Is Cheap Roof-Mounted PV Redefining the Design Rules for Net-Zero Buildings?

Net Zero Court zero emissions office building

Designing buildings for low energy and indoor environmental quality are not necessarily compatible goals. In a recent professional development workshop survey on net-zero buildings, the most popular design solution was a short, deep plan building with the majority of the budget invested in roof-mounted PV.[read more]