The EPA recently wrapped up its first ever nationwide contest to see which building in America could reduce energy consumption by the greatest percentage.  Some of the most surprising facts:

1.  The competition was launched and completed in less than six months (no major renovations necessary)

2.  The reduced consumption was exceptional across all contestants, with most of the top contestants reducing energy consumption by approximately 30%

3.  The savings that these buildings racked up were in close to $20M, net of any expenses.

4.  The average savings per building was $30,000; the average cost, only $7,000

Click the link to jump ahead and see who was the “Biggest Loser”.

 

One of the contestants was a grass roots movement led by students

The Tesla S is expected in showrooms in 2011

 

Let’s face it – you love the Tesla and you can’t wait for the Tesla S to arrive in Fairfield County so you can glue your family to the seats as the car rockets from zero to 60 in 4 seconds — all the while cruising with a clean conscience that you have emitted zero carbon emissions (at least from the tailpipes).

On 5:30pm November 18 at Arcudi’s Restaurant, Jim Motavalli, freelance journalist and regular contributor to The New York Times’ Automobile Section, speaker, book author and radio personality about all things environmental, will lead a discussion with Westport’s Electric Car Club (bet you didn’t know we had one, did you?).  All are welcome.

Environmental Journalist, Jim Motavalli Joins the Westport Electric Car Club

According to a Nielsen Company study, 80% of polled Americans are motivated to save energy so that they can reduce their household expenses.

Political Views and Affluence Drives Adoption

The key question for Westporters is:  what motivates us to conserve energy?  Recently, Westport became the recipient of a $4 million Department of Energy grant to promote energy conservation through a “Neighbor to Neighbor Challenge.”  Under the program, Westport, and several other Fairfield County town residents, will make personal commitments to reduce their household energy consumption.  Keep checking in here for more information about the Neighbor to Neighbor Challenge.

How Green is Connecticut?

So tell us Westport… what drives YOU to save energy?

Green Task Force Chair Kimberly Lake said today that the Westport Green Task Force is seeking nominations for the 2010 WeGreenWestport Awards.

“Since 2008, the Green Task Force has recognized the efforts of outstanding individuals, including youths, as well as businesses and other community organizations in the town who have demonstrated a commitment to protecting and improving the environment in a way that contributes to a long-term positive effect on the sustainability of Westport,” said Lake.

Nominations will be accepted through March 24. Nomination forms may be obtained online at  www.westportct.gov,  from the Selectman’s office, or by  printing out our form (PDF) by clicking WeGreenWestport Award Nomination Form.   Completed forms should be emailed to klake57@mac.com or mailed to Kimberly Lake, Chair, Westport Green Task Force c/o Town of Westport, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

An online nomination form has also been created.  Complete the online form at 2010 WeGreenWestport Nomination Form.

The deadline for the receipt of submissions is 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24.  The Green Task Force will vote on the applications at its regularly scheduled meeting on April 7.

In 2008, the Green Task Force honored Kevin Green, resident and RTM Member, for his extraordinary green home renovation; Matthew Silver, then a student at Bedford Middle School, for his entrepreneurialism to raise money to plant trees at Bedford; Westport Wash and Wax for their inspirational solar installation to power their business; and Patagonia for their wonderful local support of green efforts throughout town and for their groundbreaking green business initiatives.

Last year, John Rountree, a leader and expert in solar designs and installation, A.J. Keiffer, President of Staples Green Club, and the Green Village Initiative founders Monique Bosch, Rebecca Howe, Sherry Jagerson, Dan Levinson, and Liz Milwe received the award.

The Green Earth Fair at Earthplace kicked off on April 25 with the presentation of the We Green Westport Award by the Westport Green Energy Task Force, which recognized individuals and businesses who have worked to inspire others to reduce their carbon footprint and help the environment. The 2009 honorees were: John Rountree, Staples student A.J. Kiefer, resident Rebecca Howe, and the Westport Green Village Initiative, represented by Dan Levinson, Liz Milwe, Sherry Jagersen and Monique Bosch.

The honorees were introduced by Kim Lake, chairman of the Westport Green Energy Task Force, and awards were presented by Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. State Representative Toni Boucher was present as well to read a state proclamation honoring the Westport Green Village Initiative for all their efforts.

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Trashing the Fridge

FOR the last two years, Rachel Muston, a 32-year-old information-technology worker for the Canadian government in Ottawa, has been taking steps to reduce her carbon footprint — composting, line-drying clothes, installing an efficient furnace in her three-story house downtown.

About a year ago, though, she decided to “go big” in her effort to be more environmentally responsible, she said. After mulling the idea over for several weeks, she and her husband, Scott Young, did something many would find unthinkable: they unplugged their refrigerator. For good.

Ms. Muston estimated that her own fridge, which was in the house when they bought it five years ago and most likely dates back much longer, used 1,300 kilowatt-hours per year, or produced roughly 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide — the same amount from burning 105 gallons of gasoline. And even a newer, more efficient model, which could have cut that figure in half, would have used too much energy in her view.

Ms. Muston now uses a small freezer in the basement in tandem with a cooler upstairs; the cooler is kept cold by two-liter soda bottles full of frozen water, which are rotated to the freezer when they melt. (The fridge, meanwhile, sits empty in the kitchen.)

She acknowledges that living this way isn’t always convenient. For starters, it has altered the couple’s eating habits.

“When we had the fridge, we were eating a lot of prepared food from the grocery store,” she said. But the cooler has limited room, and the freezer is for meat and vegetables. Without the extra storage, Ms. Muston finds herself cooking more — which requires more time and forethought because items from the freezer must be thawed.

Seems extreme and some aspects of it are inconvenient. But it will reduce your carbon footprint, save energy and change one’s diet to a healthier one (saving money there too).

Asked whether the couple had to give up any cherished foods, Ms. Muston sighed. “Cold beer,” she said. “Scott can’t come home and grab a cold beer out of the fridge anymore. He has to put it in the cooler and wait an hour.”

That may be the hardest part to live with.

Due to the weather….

 

 

 

earthplacesnow-31

Interested in learning more about creating a green home? Then get ready for the latest Business & The Environment lecture.

Are you ready to consider energy efficient, sustainable technologies but don’t know what you want or where to begin? Solar panels or geothermal? Greened roofs or rainwater recovery? Which insulation? What building materials? With the industry changing so rapidly, making the right decision can be very confusing, not just for the homeowner, but for architects and contractors.

To help in that decision, Stephen Grasso and Rainer Schrom of Partners for Architecture will identify the wide spectrum of available technologies and improvements that can make a building more energy efficient and sustainable, and compare them according to effectiveness, cost of installation, cost savings potential and environmental impact. It promises to be a lively and informative program. Bring your questions.

Speakers: Stephen Grasso & Rainer Schrom, Architects
Partners for Architecture

Date: February 11, 2009

Time: 12 noon – 1:30 pm
Lunch: 12 – 12:20pm
Presentation: 12:20 – 1:30 pm

Place: Purdue Pharma
201 Tresser Blvd., Stamford

Co-Sponsor: Purdue Pharma

Reservations: soundbusiness@soundwaters.org or 203-406-3335

green-cupThe Green Cup Challenge is …

a first-ever competition between Westport, Weston and Wilton to see which town is the “greenest.”

The contest ends on January 31, 2009.

To help Westport win, visit the site today and take the simple survey. That’s it!

Three simple things to do today:

  1. Sign up for Clean Energy
  2. Take the We Green Westport Pledge
  3. Complete the Green Cup Challenge survey

GreenTips from Union of Concerned Scientists

Most people shopping for a high-definition television (HDTV) consider screen size, resolution, and auxiliary connections—but what about energy use? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the more than 275 million TVs in this country consume over 50 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the output of more than 10 coal-fired power plants, according to researchers at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

While display technology has become more efficient over the years—liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology uses less energy per square inch than older cathode-ray tube (CRT) technology—energy use increases with screen size regardless of the technology. Some of today’s HDTVs, as a matter of fact, can consume more electricity in a year than a refrigerator.

Energy consumption varies widely between HDTVs, even between models of similar size. There are ways to ensure your new TV is as efficient as possible:

* Choose the most efficient technology. There are three HDTV technologies on the market today: plasma, LCD, and rear-projection microdisplay (commonly known as DLP, or digital light processing). A study by technology reviewer CNET found that, on average, plasma TVs are the least efficient, consuming 0.33 watt of electricity per square inch of screen, while LCD TVs are slightly better at 0.28 watt per inch. Your best choice to save energy is DLP, which consumes only 0.13 watt per inch.

* Choose Energy Star-rated models. On November 1, 2008, the EPA released new Energy Star specifications that now set maximum energy consumption limits for TVs in both standby and active modes (previous specifications applied only to standby mode). TVs that meet these new requirements (see the Related Resources) will be up to 30 percent more efficient than non-qualified models.

Even if you’re not in the market for a new TV, there are ways to reduce the energy being consumed by your current TV:

* Unplug the TV when it is not in use. TVs that have a standby mode continue to draw power even when turned “off.”

* Turn off the “quick start” option (if applicable). Just by waiting a few more seconds for the TV to warm up, you can significantly reduce standby power consumption.

* Turn down the brightness settings. Many LCD TVs also have a backlight setting that is often set in stores to be brighter than necessary for most home environments.

* Buy an Energy Star-rated digital-to-analog (DTA) converter box if you own an analog TV and do not plan to upgrade to digital by February 2009. According to the EPA, if all analog TV owners used Energy Star converter boxes, global warming pollution would be lowered by an amount equivalent to taking a million cars off the road.