Posts tagged: energy efficiency

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energy efficiency

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.


unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
08 January 2010, 2:33 PM
Two types of Laundromat washing machines get separate standards

We had hoped and encouraged the Obama administration to streamline the standards for Laundromat clothes washers, advocating a single category standard for both front and top-loading washers. Not so. 

Today the Department of Energy released the latest standard, dividing these coin laundry machines into separate categories. Two separate standards leads to weak guidelines for top-loading machines—which typically use far more energy and water than front-loading washers. A single standard would have weeded the most inefficient top-loading machines from the market.

Manufacturers are already making top-loading residential washing machines that are as efficient as front-loading washers, and a uniform standard would have spurred manufacturers to sell these more efficient machines in the commercial market.


View Brian Smith's blog posts
15 December 2009, 4:50 PM
New poll results from AP/Stanford

Contrary to the bleating of the pollution lobby, Americans believe new jobs would be created by U.S. efforts to address the climate crisis. This according to a new study conducted by AP and Stanford University.

On jobs: 40 percent of Americans say U.S. action to slow global warming would create jobs, while only 23 percent believe such action would reduce jobs.

On the economy: 46 percent said U.S. action to slow global warming would be a boost, as opposed to 27 percent who think it would hurt the economy.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
03 December 2009, 5:25 PM
Green conferencing saves money and the planet
Oakland, CA and Washington, DC at one long table

As the first day of Earthjustice's annual meeting on global warming came to a close, it struck me how seriously the organization now takes the goal of reducing our own carbon footprint.

How can we fight against global warming if we are part of the problem?

This year's annual strategy session included 28 staff people from around the country. A few years ago, this meeting would have required at least a dozen cross-country air flights, hotel stays, and nights away from family.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
02 December 2009, 3:53 PM
How a cute cartoon can fight climate change
Tamagotchi. Photo: imeleven.

As the Copenhagen conference approaches, our instinct may be to let politicians resolve the planet’s fate. But we’re also realizing more and more that we can’t just rely on politicians. Each of us needs to cut our individual energy usage. Dramatically. Now.

I’m the first to say that cutting down on the pleasures and convenience of heat and electricity is hard. It’s too easy to put off my goals for another day, or to console myself about the ways I do conserve. What will it take to get us all really saving?

Knowing us Americans, maybe what we need is… a new fad! Something fun. Something that will spur some friendly competition. Maybe even something a little bit cute.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 October 2009, 11:16 AM
President hands out grants, hints at clean energy system

President Barack Obama handed out a passel of money today for "smart grid" projects, much of it going towards house electrical meters that can be controlled by power companies. The meters allow companies to manipulate how much electricity each house uses at any given time -- useful in times of power shortages and for being able to shift power from where it's least needed to where it's most needed. The grants also went to  modernizing various components of the grid to make it "smarter."

The federal stimulus grants, while not directly funding clean energy alternatives, are aimed at improving how the nation uses our current electrical transmission set-up, so that such alternatives as solar and wind can be more easily integrated. To emphasize the smart grid connection to alternative energy sources, the president made the announcement while standing in a new, Florida solar energy "farm." Legal efforts by Earthjustice paved the way for the facility.

Clearly, this is just a start towards a highly sophisticated electrical distribution and consumption system. To that end, a Wall Street Journal graphic illustrates a "smart grid city" experiment being conducted in Boulder, Co. In the experiment, smart metering in connection with solar powered battery storage allows total manipulation of a house's electrical input and appliances, even to the extent that the house could be feeding the power grid.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
15 October 2009, 11:08 AM
Big drop in CO2 emissions points to future possibilities
Earthjustice is participating in Blog Action Day.

It's a rare thing to encounter good news regarding climate change. Which is exactly why a bit of hopeful writing from Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute caught my attention. Brown's post, titled "U.S. Headed for Massive Decline in Carbon Emissions," contends that the U.S. has entered a new energy era characterized by declining carbon emissions. Do tell, Lester.

"For years now, many members of Congress have insisted that cutting carbon emissions was difficult, if not impossible. It is not," writes Brown. Citing statistics from the Department of Energy, Brown shows that carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas are on track to decrease 9 percent by year's end from 2007 levels. Part of this decline is undoubtedly due to the Great Recession that we’re (hopefully) staggering out of. But Brown attributes some of this reduction to efficiency gains and renewables elbowing their way into the energy mix.

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View Bill Walker's blog posts
14 September 2009, 3:48 PM
GM objects to federal loan for futuristic 3-wheeler

This weekend, the kids and I were enjoying the Solano Stroll -- a community parade and street festival in our neck of Northern California -- when, right behind the mayor's convertible, the high school marching band and the stiltwalkers, came a procession of green vehicles: Priuses, Insights, Smart two-seaters, biodiesel buses . . . and then something that looked like a cross between a small airplane and a tricycle.

It's called the Aptera 2e, a three-wheeled, all-electric two-seater made by a SoCal startup company that claims the vehicle can go 100 miles on a single charge.

But is it a car? Jay Leno thinks so. That's the question at the center of a dispute among the Aptera folks, the Department of Energy and General Motors.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
25 August 2009, 11:25 AM
Number refers to tolerable concentration of carbon in the atmosphere

My friend Bill McKibben, climate campaigner extraordinaire (he blew the first public whistle with The End of Nature in the late 1980s) has been organizing internationally behind the notion that 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere is the absolute limit of what the earth can tolerate. The IPCC—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—in its latest report two years ago, set the number at 450. The current carbon load in the atmosphere is about 370 ppm and rising.

McKibben's organization,, has been agitating for a lowering of the goal to 350 and on Aug. 25 got the welcome news that Chairman Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC had given his personal endorsement to the 350 number. This, as Bill explained in an email, is a very big deal and governments everywhere should sit up, take notice, and get finally off their duffs.

View Peter Campbell's blog posts
17 August 2009, 5:09 PM
Some Woodstock artists had a lasting impact on our environment.
Richie Havens performing at Woodstock. Photo: Derek Redman and Paul Campbell

Much is spoken about the legacy of Woodstock, the concert that defined a musical era, now celebrating a 40-year reunion. I came across this fascinating slideshow on Treehugger's website, discussing the post-Woodstock environmental activities of some of the famous rock and folk musicians that performed there. While some might be skeptical as to how great a conference Woodstock was, discovering this 40-year history of environmental stewardship that followed speaks to the historic importance of the event.

The slideshow notes some fascinating environmental pursuits of classic 60's artists. Here are some additional links and details on the musicians featured and their earth-friendly activities:

View Bill Walker's blog posts
12 August 2009, 5:05 PM
New standards for soda machines save CO2 equal to 2M cars a year
Flickr: t-dawg

I'm outing myself as a old fogey, but I remember Coke machines like this one. They don't make 'em like that any more—which is a good thing, considering how much energy beverage vending machines use.

As part of its ongoing update of energy efficiency standards for home and commercial appliances, the Department of Energy has issued new rules that will reduce global warming pollution by almost 10 million metric tons over 30 years. That's an energy savings equal to what's used by more than 830,000 American households in a single year, and a carbon dioxide savings equal to that produced by 2 million cars a year.

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