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China’s Ghost Cities and Malls

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This excellent reporting provides shocking visuals and commentary exposing the issues people, and the government, are faced with by China forcing lifestyles on the population. If there is any lesson to be learned here, it illustrates the fact that if you build it, they will not necessarily come. Or perhaps in these instances… if you build it, they can not necessarily come!

Is China’s rapid and forced development of new cities and infrastructure, with little or no demand, a poor decision to increase GDP? Is it deepening social divisions?

h/t Wizbang:

What happens when a government focuses on infrastructure projects and nothing else? In one case, you get Chinese Ghost Towns! This is what happens when you ignore real market pressures, and focus on just building crap that nobody can afford. This could happen here. Make no mistake, this could be the United States.  Continue Reading →




How about that Atlanta BeltLine?

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As cities continue to implement creative redevelopment plans that would revitalize the business community while simultaneously encouraging migration back to urban lifestyles, one of the more aggressive and interesting programs is the Atlanta BeltLine - hailed as a national model. In November 2005, the Atlanta City Council approved a plan that would lead to a 22-mile loop of parks, paths and transit linking 45 neighborhoods in intown Atlanta. Opponents of the plan argued the proposal leaves out low-income families and focuses too much on development. However, the 25-year, $2.1 billion program could spur economic development by linking affluent sectors with struggling, isolated neighborhoods south of the city.

The Atlanta BeltLine concept is to implement a combined system of trails and transit that will connect Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods and economic development centers with existing and planned Atlanta BeltLine parks, existing transit networks like MARTA and major regional activity centers and attractions, such as Piedmont Hospital and Zoo Atlanta. The transit and trail systems will complement investments in parks, streetscapes, and other infrastructure projects to create a smarter framework for new denser development in the city. In most cases, the transit and trail system will follow the Atlanta BeltLine Corridor.

Trails: The Atlanta BeltLine will create more than 33 miles of multi-use trails within and around the railroad corridor. The trails will be multi-use – for walkers, joggers, bikers, roller-bladers, and people with disabilities. This trail system will include the core 22-miles that follow the railroad segments plus spur segments to link together more neighborhoods and the existing parks and trails surrounding the Atlanta BeltLine. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s partner in trail construction is the PATH Foundation, an organization with over 20 years of experience building multi-use trails throughout Georgia. Continue Reading →




Energy Efficient Home Landscapes

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How to use the landscape to reduce the energy consumed by a typical suburban home. See how smart tree placement and green roofs and walls dramatically improve energy efficiency.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.

To read the entire article about energy efficient home landscaping, visit the American Society of Landscape Architects website.




Energy 101: Wind Turbines

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Developed for over a millennium, today’s wind turbines are manufactured in a range of vertical and horizontal axis types. The smallest turbines are used for applications such as battery charging or auxiliary power on sailing boats; while large grid-connected arrays of turbines are becoming an increasingly large source of commercial electric power. The use of wind turbines can be a great way to provide a source of clean and renewable energy for your home or business. There are a number of small wind energy devices that you can use to generate power and these can be very cost effective in providing a significant level of electricity. The demand for wind turbines for homes has been increasing over the past few years due to people wanting to seek alternative energy sources. Energy sources such as solar and wind power are being sought after as a way to cope with the ever increasing electricity bills.

As with solar systems, wind powered systems can be used in two ways: off-grid or on-grid. Off-grid is when your home or business is entirely disconnected from an electric utility company and you generate all of the electricity your home or business requires. An on-grid wind power system sends all of its electricity back into the public electrical network (grid) which the electric company gives you credits for. At the month, the electric company sums up your credits with how much your home or business has consumed, and issues rebates if you consumed less than you put into the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s website ENERGY.GOV has a wealth of information as it relates to Science & Technology, Energy Sources, Energy Efficiency, the Environment and Prices & Trends. The EPA series of short videos related to Energy 101 topics are being posted on studio4llc.com to present entry level information related to Home Energy Assessment, Cool Roofs, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar PVs and Wind Turbines.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




Energy 101: Solar PV

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Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can generate clean, cost-effective power anywhere the sun shines. PV panels convert the energy of the sun into renewable electricity to power homes and businesses. A small solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system can be a reliable and pollution-free producer of electricity for your home or business. And they’re becoming more affordable all the time. Small PV systems also provide a cost-effective power supply in locations where it is expensive or impossible to send electricity through conventional power lines.

As with wind powered systems, solar PV systems can be used in two ways: off-grid or on-grid. Off-grid is when your home or business is entirely disconnected from an electric utility company and you generate all of the electricity your home or business requires. An on-grid wind power system sends all of its electricity back into the public electrical network (grid) which the electric company gives you credits for. At the month, the electric company sums up your credits with how much your home or business has consumed, and issues rebates if you consumed less than you put into the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s website ENERGY.GOV has a wealth of information as it relates to Science & Technology, Energy Sources, Energy Efficiency, the Environment and Prices & Trends. The EPA series of short videos related to Energy 101 topics are being posted on studio4llc.com to present entry level information related to Home Energy Assessment, Cool Roofs, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar PVs and Wind Turbines.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




Energy 101: Geothermal Heat Pumps

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An energy-efficient heating and cooling alternative, the geothermal heat pump system moves heat from the ground to a building (or from a building to the ground) through a series of flexible pipe “loops” containing water. This edition of Energy 101 explores the benefits Geothermal and the science behind how it all comes together.

The California Energy Commission also has an excellent in-depth analysis on geothermal heat pumps. follow me »

The U.S. Department of Energy’s website ENERGY.GOV has a wealth of information as it relates to Science & Technology, Energy Sources, Energy Efficiency, the Environment and Prices & Trends. The EPA series of short videos related to Energy 101 topics are being posted on studio4llc.com to present entry level information related to Home Energy Assessment, Cool Roofs, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar PVs and Wind Turbines.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




Energy 101: Cool Roofs

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Environmentally friendly “Cool Roofs” reflect the sun’s heat,  reduce both building cooling loads, lower utility bills, reduce the urban heat island effect and drastically reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.

Cool roofs for commercial and industrial buildings fall into one of three categories: roofs made from inherently cool roofing materials, roofs made of materials that have been coated with a solar reflective coating, or green planted roofs.

Cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions. Roofs and road pavement cover 50 to 65 percent of urban areas. Because they absorb so much heat, dark-colored roofs and roadways create what is called the “urban heat island effect,” where a city is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. Cool roofs significantly reduce the heat island effect and improve air quality by reducing emissions. A recent study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that using cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can help reduce the demand for air conditioning, cool entire cities, and potentially cancel the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s website ENERGY.GOV has a wealth of information as it relates to Science & Technology, Energy Sources, Energy Efficiency, the Environment and Prices & Trends. The EPA series of short videos related to Energy 101 topics are being posted on studio4llc.com to present entry level information related to Home Energy Assessment, Cool Roofs, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar PVs and Wind Turbines.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




Energy 101: Home Energy Assessment

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A home energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. An assessment will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.

A home energy checkup helps owners determine where their house is losing energy and money – and how such problems can be corrected to make the home more energy efficient. A professional technician – often called an energy auditor – can give your home a checkup. You can also do some of the steps yourself. Items shown here include checking for leaks, examining insulation, inspecting the furnace and ductwork, performing a blower door test and using an infrared camera.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s website ENERGY.GOV has a wealth of information as it relates to Science & Technology, Energy Sources, Energy Efficiency, the Environment and Prices & Trends. The EPA series of short videos related to Energy 101 topics are being posted on studio4llc.com to present entry level information related to Home Energy Assessment, Cool Roofs, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar PVs and Wind Turbines.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




A Day Made of Glass…

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Can you imagine organizing your daily schedule with a few touches on your bathroom mirror? Chatting with far-away relatives through interactive video on your kitchen counter? Reading a classic novel on a whisper-thin piece of flexible glass? Corning is not only imagining those scenarios – the company is engaged in research that could bring them alive in the not-too-distant future. You can get a glimpse of Corning’s vision in the new video, A Day Made of Glass.

Corning Chairman and CEO Wendell Weeks says Corning’s vision for the future includes a world in which myriad ordinary surfaces transform “from one-dimensional utility into sophisticated electronic devices.”

The video depicts a world in which interactive glass surfaces help you stay connected through seamless delivery of real-time information – whether you’re working, shopping, eating, or relaxing.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




Leveraging the Landscape to Manage Water

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According to a report from the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, one inch of rainwater hitting one acre of asphalt over an hour yields 27,000 gallons of water. In many communities, this water flows into combined stormwater / sewer systems, which channel both sewage and rainwater together through underground pipes to central treatment facilities. Storms can quickly overrun these combined systems, leading to flooding with pollutant-laden water and even backed up sewage.

The term “Green infrastructure” is used to describe how networks of natural ecosystems also function as crucial community infrastructure, providing ecosystem services and improving environmental sustainability. In the context of managing stormwater, green infrastructure can be defined as man-made systems that mimic natural approaches. Green roofs, bioswales, bioretention ponds, and permeable pavements are a few key examples of local green infrastructure, and all work by turning hard asphalt surfaces into green, absorbent ones.

Source: American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




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