GM’s Chevy Volt Named ‘Green Car of the Year’

General Motor Co.’s Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in vehicle intended to go as far as 40 miles solely on electricity, was named the 2011 Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The rechargeable model was selected over competing electric vehicles including Nissan Motor Co.’s battery-powered Leaf hatchback, said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal, which sponsored the award. Volkswagen AG’s Audi diesel A3 TDI luxury car won the award last year.

Go Green: Are Eco Friendly Buildings More Lucrative?

A new study shows sustainable buildings will be more lucrative than traditionally managed properties, reports the Real Deal.

The study, which was run by CB Richard Ellis, McGraw-Hill Construction, and the University of San Diego, found that owners of green buildings nationwide expect a 4% higher return on their property investments and a 5% larger appreciation in their buildings' value than those who handle traditional properties.

Buildings with any level of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification or the Energy Protection Agency's Energy Star label were considered green properties, according to CB Richard Ellis. Most of the buildings analyzed also embraced other sustainable practices like recycling, adopting water conservation measures, and using environmentally friendly cleaning methods.

About 79% of the owners surveyed expect their property's green label to lure in enough tenants to bump up their building's occupancy by 5%. The managers also anticipate a 1% increase in rental income.

According to the Real Deal, 10% of green building residents reported improved productivity and 83% of the tenants felt their environment was healthier.

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Philadelphia Eagles Plan to Go Green

The Eagles are taking their gridiron off the grid.

The team said Thursday it will add wind turbines, solar panels and a cogeneration plant at Lincoln Financial Field over the next year, a combination that will make the stadium self-sufficient and let the Eagles sell some power back to the electric grid.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said the plan was part of the Eagles' commitment to be a socially responsible organization.

"Owning an NFL team, I think you have an opportunity to lead the way," Lurie said.

Under the plan, approximately 80 spiral-shaped wind turbines will be mounted on the stadium's roof and 2,500 solar panels attached to the stadium's facade. Together, they will contribute an estimated 30 percent to the total energy production.

An onsite "dual-fuel" cogeneration plant, a small power plant that captures its heat for increased efficiency powered by biodiesel and natural gas, will contribute the rest of the energy. The system is designed to produce at least 8.6 megawatts of power, enough to meet the stadium's peak energy use of around 7 megawatts.

Read more: Eagles planning to go green at Lincoln Financial - The Denver Post
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Go Green By Saving Rainwater

Rainwater barrels are both an old and modern practice. Collecting the runoff from your home’s drainpipe is a simple way to maximize natural resources and go green without straining your region’s water supply. Collecting rainwater is easy and can benefit both wet and arid climates.

What is rainwater used for?

It works best for watering your plants, shrubs and garden. Generally, rainwater must be treated to be drinkable. Rainwater is also free of additives like chlorine and fluoride, making it better for plants.

What’s the environmental benefit?

Harvesting rainwater obviously reduces the demands on your local water supply. But it also keeps runoff water from entering the storm drain system, reducing erosion and the amount of pesticides that wash into water systems. Harvesting can also keep your garden alive during summer months if your area undergoes water restrictions.

Is water from my roof safe?

Most roofs are fine to collect water from, but those made of treated shakes, copper and asphalt may add contaminants.

What are the downsides of collecting rainwater?

Two words: mosquitoes and algae. Avoid mosquitoes by fitting your barrel with a screen, or using Mosquito Dunks tablets. Prevent algae by using an opaque container and keeping it out of direct sunlight.

Can harvesting rainwater save money?

Yes, but do your math carefully. Simple rain barrels cost between $80 and $130 or more, and they hold about 50 gallons of water. You can buy multiple barrels to save more water, or make your own out of a clean plastic barrel to save money.

How much water will I collect?

The Saving Water Partnership at Washington State –– an area that’s no stranger to rainwater –– offers a calculation to find out how much rainwater you can expect to collect. First, multiply your home’s length by its width (in feet) to estimate its ‘footprint.’ Then, estimate the portion of your roof that drains into a single downspout. Researchers say that one inch of rain falling on a single square foot of surface yields about 0.6 gallons of water. So, the equation is:

Inches of rain X 0.6 X home’s footprint = Rainwater caught (in gallons)

Getting started

While harvesting systems can be elaborate, basic ones are simple to construct or purchase. Even the simplest rain barrel should have the following:

  • A storage barrel or container (preferably plastic).
  • A device or system for diverting water from your downspout into the container.
  • A device to direct overflow water into nearby soil, away from the house.
  • A valve or spigot for attaching a hose.
  • Rot-resistant construction and screens or filters to keep debris out of the water.

Did you know?

Rainwater harvesting dates back to the 9th and 10th century in Asian civilizations, where rain dripping off roofs would be captured in small jars or pots.