Weekend reads: How the Empire State Building can revolutionize NYC's green efforts; Saving Obama's renewables stimulus - Smart

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Solar  -  June 6, 2020

Weekend reads: The future of city office space; Saving Obama's renewables stimulus

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

How Architects Are Already Planning the Future of Offices (Wall Street Journal Magazine) After 9/11, I worried about the future of the Empire State Building. Would anyone want to work in what had suddenly become the city’s tallest building and thus a possible terrorist target? If not, how would the great Art Deco skyscraper, which was not just a symbol of New York but of the aspirations of architects everywhere, survive? I’m worried about the Empire State Building again.

As utility solar costs drop 82%, US renewable leaders target majority generation share by 2030 (Utility Dive) The cost for utility-scale solar PV power has declined 82% since 2010 and the costs for onshore and offshore wind have declined 39% and 29%, respectively, according to a report released Tuesday by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Price trends that have been falling for more than a decade will continue their decline with improved technology and expanded market participation, Marlene Motyka, Deloitte's Global and U.S. Renewable Energy Leader, told Utility Dive in an email. Motyka noted record-low prices for wind and solar in recent auctions.

Obama’s Recovery Act breathed life into renewables. Now they need rescuing. (Grist) It was the beginning of 2009, and the U.S. economy was hemorrhaging more than half a million jobs every month. The housing bubble had burst and set off the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In February, a few weeks after being sworn in, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an $800-billion stimulus package designed to reinvigorate the economy and save millions from losing their houses and jobs. Hidden in the Recovery Act was something that largely escaped notice at the time — $90 billion earmarked for clean energy generation, electric vehicles, transit, and training for green jobs.

Can Virginia cities turbo-charge their adoption of electric vehicles? (Greater Greater Washington) Faced with the dual threats of climate change and COVID-19, localities across Virginia are waking up to the danger posed by American society’s reliance upon combustion-fuelled cars and beginning to look to electric vehicles (EVs) as a solution. In fact, industry leaders and government officials alike believe change must begin with governments’ own fleets first.

Empire State of Green (The Washington Post) For more than a decade, the trust that owns the Empire State Building has been working to remake the monument as a model of sustainability. The elevators generate energy as they move, the window panes were refurbished to make them ultra-insulated. Even the multicolored lights flashing across the city are now efficient LEDs. Put together, the improvements have slashed carbon emissions from operations at the Empire State Building about 40 percent in the past 10 years; owners aim to cut an additional 40 percent in the decade to come.

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