Quick, answer this question without getting on a ladder: what color is your roof? If you're like 90 percent of Californians, your answer will be "dark." The most common color for roofing materials in the U.S. is black. And that's a problem. Summer sunshine can raise the roof's temperature by a startling amount, and that heats the interior of the building, leading to more energy use for climate control.
Fortunately there's a relatively straightforward fix, and it's called a "Cool Roof."
Big news from the Interior Department this week as it gave final approval to three new renewable energy projects on public lands in Arizona and Nevada. But among all the self-congratulatory statements, one fact went almost unmentioned: one of those plants probably won't be built until the developer finds a California utility to buy the power, and that might not be easy.
A proposed natural-gas-fired power plant that would be built in Rancho Cucamonga has been postponed again, with hearings on the proposal deferred until at least June 2014. The San Gabriel Generating Station project, which would generate 656 megawatts of electrical power when completed, has been suspended since 2010 as its owners haven't been able to get the legal permission to add to the Inland Empire's air pollution burden.
The Nevada Assembly voted Monday night to order the shut down of a coal-fired power plant northeast of Las Vegas that supplies the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) with electrical power. The Reid Gardner Generating Station near the Moapa Paiute reservation has long been criticized for its contribution to southwestern air pollution.
If you've been living in Southern California for more than a couple of years, the memory of how bad the air used to be might bring a tear to your eye. Nowadays? Not so much. Our cars and trucks are still the largest source of the smog-forming chemicals that cause the South Coast airshed to haze over more than we'd like, but air pollution regulations have changed that smog's chemistry. The air doesn't make us cry as often as it used to.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) is facing a lawsuit over its siting of natural gas-fired power plants in the state of California. Plaintiffs are saying that compared to other state agencies, the CEC's siting decisions are almost immune from citizen legal challenges -- even if those decisions are badly flawed.