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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: Energy

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April 22, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Bullitt Center’s sustainable vision shines on Earth Day

What a delight to see the Bullitt Center’s vision for a sustainable future coming true.

In a press release to the media on Tuesday, spokesman Brad Kahn announced the center used 75 percent less energy compared to other new buildings required to meet city code. Within the same 12-month period, solar panels on the roof generated 252,560 kWh of renewable energy.

Before the building opened to the public last year, CEO and Earth Day Founder Denis Hayes gave me a tour of the 50,000 square-foot project World Architecture News dubbed the “greenest commercial building in the world.” I blogged about the sneak peek for Opinion Northwest, wrote an editorial notebook and posted several photos from my Instagram feed, which can be viewed below.

[do action="custom_iframe" url="http://storify.com/thanhtan/visiting-the-bullitt-center/slideshow" width="630" height="500" scrolling=""/]

On this Earth Day, Hayes issued a refreshingly bold statement: “After seeing how the Bullitt Center performed in its first year, I’m certain we will be net positive energy, not just net zero. If we can do this in cloudy Seattle, owners in other cities should be embarrassed if they don’t achieve zero net energy.”

Bravo to the city of Seattle for

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Comments | Topics: bullitt center, denis hayes, earth day

November 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM

A low-carbon fuel standard for Washington state?

Michael Osbun / Tribune Media Services

Michael Osbun / Tribune Media Services

A representative of the oil refiners was talking to Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday about something called the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Washington doesn’t have a LCFS but California does, and the Golden State’s ideas tend to migrate here. And the oil refiners say the California experience is none too good so far.

The LCFS is explained to me as a rule that alcohol be mixed into gasoline or biodiesel into diesel to lower the percentage of carbon, because carbon heats the Earth. Upon hearing this I said, sure, I’d seen the sticker on the pump where I buy gas. The fuel contains up to 10 percent ethanol. No, no, they said; that’s the federal standard. We can satisfy that by mixing some stuff in. No problem with that. The LCFS is much more complicated.

California’s LCFS wants to know how much carbon was burned to create the ethanol or biodiesel. To calculate that, it wants to know what the feedstock was, how much energy it took to refine it and how far it was moved. This is particularly a problem with ethanol, said Kevin Adams of the Boston Consulting Group, which is working for the Western States Petroleum Association. It means that ethanol from corn, which is the sort of ethanol in the gasoline I buy, doesn’t help you enough. Too much carbon was burned to create it. 

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Comments | Topics: Energy

February 21, 2013 at 6:00 AM

State investment board admits alternative energy not a good investment

[do action="custom_iframe" url="http://www.tvw.org/scripts/iframe_video.php?eventID=2013010126&start=4357&stop=4408" width="630" height="500" scrolling=""/] Our new “green governor,” Jay Inslee,  has been raising hopes that Washington will be “the spot, right here, where an international revolution is going to begin in how we power our economy.” That revolution is “alternate energy,” including biodiesel (which he promoted heavily in his book) and electric cars. Reality…

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Comments | Topics: Energy