Seaweed farms have the capacity to grow huge amounts of nutrient-rich food, and oysters can act as an efficient carbon and nitrogen sink.
Green Codes and Red Faces
According to the government, buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the economy--including transportation and industry. Most of our country's building stock is also old: it predates 1979, a period so long ago that when it comes to technology, it might as well be in the Jurassic Period.
The Smart Communities Network says buildings account for forty-nine percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, twenty-five percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and ten percent of particulate emissions. They're also responsible for thirty-five percent of the country's emissions of CO2.
Traditional buildings might be beautiful, but they're often drafty, waste water, and require a great deal of wood when they are constructed with wood frames. We can fix a few of these wasteful difficulties with insulation and alternative energy. LEED standards can also save more energy.
But what if cities had better, stricter green building codes? California has a statewide green building code, which the cities can then determine how to enact. Other cities across the country are writing green building codes, also.
New York City also has its codes, but a few days ago it announced something both interesting and new: the use of shame. Soon, every building will have to post its energy usage, readily viewable to all. The program will start in 2012, when all commercial buildings will have their energy usage posted. In 2013, all residential buildings will have to post theirs.
New York's theory is this: energy hogs will have to clean up their acts. It' thought that prospective tenants won't want to be in wasteful buildings or they won't want to be associated with wasteful ones. The waste will be obvious, and the red faces will abound. This aim is important: seventy-five percent of all the carbon emissions in New York come from buildings. Green buildings lead to healthier living and lower maintenance costs. As these codes (and finger-wagging Websites) start to abound, one hopes we will all be better off.