Friday, June 11, 2010

Denver Post - Letter to the Editor

In today's paper (June 11, 2010), the Denver Post printed a letter that we wrote to the editor commenting on the feasibility of residential photovoltaic.

Here is what we sent to the Denver Post:

This is in response to Ellen Schroeder Mackey's "The low-hanging fruit of energy savings" article on June 7.

Mrs. Mackey's article is a nice reminder, but we think that her opening statement that photovoltaics are not within reach of the typical family is outdated. Until recently, we would have agreed as the initial costs were large with a payback period of 15 plus years. However, Colorado recently allowed residential solar leasing. We researched 4 companies in the last few weeks and as a result are beginning a solar lease program. All companies offer a 0 down option with monthly payments approximately equal to your current Xcel monthly payments. However, your monthly payment will stay the same over the next 20 years. With the current yearly Xcel rate increases, this can result in 20 year savings around $9000. We chose the pre-pay option which is more down, payback period of 6 years, but $0 monthly payments and an estimated 20 year savings around $17,000.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Biomarkers as Sustainability Indicators - City Case Study 1

Biomarkers is an ongoing discussion topic to identify key indicators in communities that lead to sustainability. The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) group in the Kansas City area provides an excellent case study. MARC identifies seven green infrastructure indicators for local communities and regional areas.

MARC Seven Green Infrastructure Indicators:

1. Sustainable Land Use: Percent of land in the MARC region that is permeable.

2. Sustainable Economic Development: Annual regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 1990 baseline.

3. Social Capital Investment: Percent of 3rd graders reading at the 3rd grade level.

4. Financial Well-Being: Percent of population in households with jobs providing self-sufficient level of income.

5. Health: Percent of population that is obese.

6. Safety: Percent of people who feel safe compared to the actual crime rate (change compared to baseline year).

7. Equality of Opportunity: Geographic concentration of poverty.

MARC Indicator Framework Table:

MARC Example Program Indicators:

What sustainability indicators are in your community? The Human Life Project® is interested in finding a partner to implement a mechanism to automatically collect and display biomarker information. One thought is that maybe a College Professor with a Ph D student that is looking for a thesis project. As with many efforts, securing some funding is an open topic.

We are also looking for partners to define more biomarkers.