Archive for October, 2009

Check Out Mayor Fenty’s Bike Shorts

Posted on October 13, 2009. Filed under: Events, News | Tags: , |

There were a lot of events happening this weekend including some bike rides. Bisnow caught up with Mayor Fenty as he was getting ready to take part in the Heart of the Nation Time Trial on Pennsylvania Avenue to raise awareness for heart disease. Check out his awesome Clean Currents bike gear!fentybikeshorts

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Pictures from GreenFest!

Posted on October 12, 2009. Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , |

Lots of cool stuff this weekend at this year’s GreenFest! We were pretty busy at the Clean Currents booth so only got to wander around briefly and snap a few pictures so here they are:

Do you have your own Greenfest pictures? What was the coolest thing you saw when you were there. Tell us about it in in the comments section of this post, or send us a note to

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DC Area’s First Carbon Neutral Home: Luxury, Style and Eco-Consiousness in McLean

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Recommendations | Tags: , , , , |

CharityWorks GreenHouseToday’s  Washington Post has a great article (and slideshow) on the impressive CharityWorks GreenHouse, the area’s first carbon neutral home, that will be open to the public starting this Saturday.

18 local firms worked to design this house beyond LEED Platinum certification with details such as dual flush toilets that save 6,000 gallons of water per year and reused/reclaimed materials for countertops and furnishings.

The 4,000 square foot home also features two green roofs, a geothermal heating and cooling system and a “smart home” monitor that tracks the home’s energy usage and sends updates to the owners I-Phone.

And if the house’s 4 bedrooms, five bathrooms, spa and lap-pool aren’t luxurious enough, maybe the virtual high definition golf room, simulating the experience of playing on famous golf courses while avoiding the carbon emissions related to actual golf.

These additions are part of the home’s message, according to Barry Dixon, the chair of the house design committee:

“The main message of this show house is you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or luxury to live a carbon-neutral existence”

According to Bethesda designer Skip Sroka, a green project costs 10-15%, but this home is using 80% less energy compared to similar family homes. Sroka thinks the cost premium will decrease as people put more value on environmental considerations:

“Remember when we just used to say about a room, ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ Now we can say, ‘Isn’t it biodegradable, recyclable, sustainable — and beautiful?'”

Another cool aspect of the project is that it is not only a showcase for sustainable design in this area, but also raised funds for CharityWorks which distributed them to Friendship Public Charter School, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Injured Marine Sempre Fi Fund and the McLean Project for the Arts.

If you want to explore the CharityWorks GreenHouse, check out the website for details on visiting.

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Take a Ride in an Electric Car!

Posted on October 7, 2009. Filed under: Recommendations | Tags: , , |

Or just rock out to this catchy song by They Might be Giants:

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Move Over Health Care, Congress has a New Climate Bill to Pick Apart

Posted on October 6, 2009. Filed under: News | Tags: , , |

Last week, the Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced their version of a climate bill called the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. The title of the 800 + page bill, like the House American Clean Energy and Security Bill, does not use the terms “global warming” or “climate change”. Green Inc points out that this purposeful omission shows how politically contentious the topic of climate change remains and foreshadows continued struggle to reach agreement on a Senate bill.

Here are some of the highlights of this bill from Wonk Room, Grist and the Washington Post:

  • Emissions reductions targets are set at 20% below 2005 levels, which is stronger than the 17% target in the House bill.
  • There are provisions to use revenues from carbon regulation to promote “green transportation” including bike paths
  • The bill allows for EPA regulation of coal plants (as does the house bill) and also includes provision to reward coal plants that switch to producing natural gas as urged by Senators from states with large natural gas reserves (Colorado, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, New Mexico).
  • In Kerry’s words: This system is tough on corporate pollution, taking aim at America’s largest polluters: those emitting 25,000 tons of carbon each year. The 7,500 facilities covered in 2012—mostly power plants, industrial facilities and petroleum and petrochemical operations—account for nearly three-quarters of America’s carbon emissions. Farmers and nearly all small business are exempt. More than 98 percent of all American businesses fall below the threshold.”
  • Report about the efforts in major polluting countries such as China and India on how they are fairing in their efforts to  cut emissions.

The response to the bill has been mixed.

Some prominent environmentalists are supporting the bills tougher emissions reduction target. Carl Pope, President of the Sierra Club, offered the following statement:

“We are pleased that the Senate bill sets a strong short-term target for carbon pollution reductions and retains E.P.A.’s authority to regulate global warming emissions”

Al Gore also applauded the bill in a statement that was eerily similar to President Obama’s

“I applaud the leadership of Senators Barbara Boxer and John Kerry and their committees’ efforts to advance historic comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation in the U.S. Congress…Today’s Senate action brings our nation one step closer to enacting the policies that will create new jobs and industries by repowering America with clean energy, bring meaningful cuts in global warming pollution, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil… America has the opportunity to lead the international community and enact a truly global response to the climate crisis.”

On the other side of the debate, criticism from the American Petroleum Institute and Senator Inhofe (R-OK) focused on the vagueness of the bill and its lack of attention to nuclear regulatory issues. Frank Maisano argued against the the provision to “tailor” regulations to target polluters of 25,000 tons, in his October 5 Energy Update. He states:

Most experts know it is not practical to regulate major sources of 250 tons or more – as the CAA says – and still be able to function.”

Personally, I think its a sign of progress that Senators Kerry and Boxer have introduced this bill when congress (and the country) is absorbed in the health care debate and the economic crisis. It will be interesting to see how far it gets before Copenhagen in December.

Update: Here is the Union of Concerned Scientists Summary of the Bill

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Awesome Local Green Living Resource!

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Recommendations | Tags: , , |

It’s been a busy day here at Clean Currents! We’re digesting all the new things we learned at this weekends events: Bethesda Green Grand Opening and Prince George’s County GreenFest.

We’re also busy prepping for the huge DC GreenFest this weekend at the Washington Convention Center.

So, today’s post is going to be short and sweet. One of the great people we met at the Bethesda Green event this past weekend was Seth Berger, the editor of City Renewed.

City Renewed is an online magazine that tracks local green news. Its got articles about everything from business and politics, to local food, to transportation and energy. It also has an events calendar, action center and a place you can submit your own tips and stories.

Best of all, its focused on the DC Metro Area so its a great way to stay informed about local green issues.

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Explore Local Food (and Wine) at CSBA Monthly Meeting

Posted on October 1, 2009. Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , |

Atwaters Soup

Atwater's Soup

If you’re hungry for some local fare after Wednesday’s post, check out the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliances’ monthly meeting on October 5.

The meeting will be held at Boordy Vineyards and feature a discussion about local food in the area moderated by Renee Catacalos, editor of Edible Chesapeake. You’ll also get to experience local food hands (or mouth) on with wine from Boordy Vineyards, food from Atwater’s and chocolates from Chocolaterra. Yum!

To view the details and sign up, check the CSBA website.

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