I don' want to piss off the New Yorkers....but....is anyone in NYC green?

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    Mar 11, 2008 12:05 AM GMT
    Ok, so I live in the wild west. I'll admit it. We basically just got indoor plumbing out here, but here's the thing.

    I'm pretty sure global warming is a real thing. I go out of my way to turn off lights when I'm not in the room. I've replaced all of my light bulbs with the annoying ones that don't turn on right away cause they save energy. I recycle and all that crap. I try to buy local vegetables...whatever.

    But something struck me as strange when I was in NYC a few weeks ago. New Yorkers are supposed to be so smart and sophisticated and on the cutting edge of everything...then how come EVERY LIGHT IN EVERY BUILDING ALL OVER THE CITY is left on all night long? I mean that's gotta be like a billion light bulbs...I know, I did the math.

    So what gives? Shouldn't one of those smart sophisticated New York politicians pass an ordinance requiring businesses to turn off some of their goddammed lights?!?

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    Mar 11, 2008 12:10 AM GMT
    oh...except for Tregus2...he can leave his lights on all night long cause he's uber hot and I wanna peep in his windows...

    There should be a special dispensation for hot guys...like in everything else.
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    Mar 11, 2008 12:24 AM GMT
    Mayor Bloomberg is working in it. He is actually very active in the "oh shit, we are going to die! Green house NOOOZ!" circle of mayors.

    read a bit here.
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    Mar 11, 2008 12:43 AM GMT
    a-to-the-fucking-men. i lived in nyc two separate times. once, on my way to a very early morning rehearsal, i was walking through time square at like 6 am on a sunday - lo and behold: ALL those advertisements and lights were on and i was the only person there to see them!!! it was quiet enough that the electric buzz gave me a sense of nausea...

    i remember someone telling me once that nyc is so full of energy that the very ground trembles and the air sizzles... no honey, that's the subway and the lightbulbs. check your ego at the brooklyn bridge, please.
  • Timbales

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    Mar 11, 2008 12:50 AM GMT
    It's referred to in song as 'the city that never sleeps'.

    Hopefully they will at least look at things like LED lighting for new constructions to have the light with much less energy used.
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    Mar 11, 2008 1:08 AM GMT
    Booya, misinformed boondock dwellers!

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/10/new_york_city_waste.php

    Average New Yorkers have much smaller carbon footprints than the average American, even with our nocturnal lighting. icon_smile.gif
  • Timbales

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    Mar 11, 2008 1:09 AM GMT
    Satyricon331 saidBooya, misinformed boondock dwellers!

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/10/new_york_city_waste.php

    Average New Yorkers have much smaller carbon footprints than the average American, even with our nocturnal lighting. icon_smile.gif


    What about business and municipal lighting?
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    Mar 11, 2008 1:09 AM GMT
    The lights in the office buildings are left on for the cleaning crews at night.

    The lights in Times Square are left on because, well, it isn't Des Moines.

    I was with the elderly aunt of a friend of mine some years ago; she was visiting New York City and didn't approve of it one bit. "I was out walking," she sniffed, "during the WORKDAY, and there were thousands of people on the sidewalks! Doesn't anyone work in New York?"

    Of course, in downtown Des Moines around ten-thirty in the morning, you can roll a bowling ball down the sidewalks and not hit anyone.
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    Mar 11, 2008 2:21 AM GMT
    tommysguns2000 saidOk, so I live in the wild west. I'll admit it. We basically just got indoor plumbing out here


    I don't like none of that fancy talk of runnin' water. God made holes in the ground for poopin in and don't you forget it.
  • LoganITGuy

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    Mar 11, 2008 2:28 AM GMT
    I was impressed to see that all the x-mas trees this year in DC & NYC were all LED lights. lots of municipal lights are being converted to LEDs in the DC area. My organization is a promoter, supporter, and signer of the Cool Capital Challenge. Realizing that federal actions will take years, but regional actions can take place a lot quicker, CCC began to allow regional companies & governments along with individual citizens to do their part. Pretty neat!!!

    http://www.coolcapitalchallenge.org/

    The DC area also is getting hybrid cabs (and i heard a rumor that NYC is too?) DC and NYC also rely heavily on metro/subway commutes and good ole foot traffic.

    http://www.sustainlane.com/us-city-rankings/commute_to_work.jsp
    "Washington, D.C. leads the nation in this category, with the second-highest use of public transit in the nation at more than 33 percent, the highest walk-to-work rating at more than 11 percent, and above-average bike-to-work ratings. Following close behind are #2 New York City, the leader in public transit use at 53 percent, and #3 San Francisco, which has good all-around commute rates in public transit and biking or walking to work. Boston and Philadelphia are #4 and #5, respectively."
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:08 AM GMT
    Chewey_Delt saidI don't like none of that fancy talk of runnin' water. God made holes in the ground for poopin in and don't you forget it.


    Why, I just installed a hole in the ground in my posh city flat. You call it a latrine, I call it fabulous.
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:09 AM GMT
    jprichva saidThe lights in the office buildings are left on for the cleaning crews at night.

    The lights in Times Square are left on because, well, it isn't Des Moines.



    It doesn't change the fact that all of those lights are on all night long. You can't tell me that's not a waste of electricity. Studies have shown that if New York went "dark" for two out of seven nights a week, enough electricity would be saved to provide power to 75% of sunurban America.


    (I'm kidding...I totally made that up.)
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:11 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie said

    Why, I just installed a hole in the ground in my posh city flat. You call it a latrine, I call it fabulous.


    My deepest sympathies go to your downstairs neighbors.
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:20 AM GMT
    boondock dwellers... yet another reason i'm glad i'm no long in new york city.
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:57 AM GMT
    Hey Satyricon, glad you found the reference. Guys, this whole "turn off the lights" meme is really outdated and tired. Total emissions (pollution) is the issue, as opposed to total usage (which continues to go up across the board across the world, regardless of how many "fluorescent bulb campaigns" are run.

    The lightbulb issue is a complete red herring.

    NYC is one of the most advanced cities in the world from a carbon footprint perspective because of the high density of people.

    So Tommy...everybody in NYC is green whether they want to be or not. The only way they could be less green is if they bought massive amounts of space for just themselves.

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    Mar 11, 2008 8:52 AM GMT
    Outdoor is right.

    Looking at just one aspect of energy use can be very misleading. Just like saying that ONE donut will make you fat. It's not the one donut. It's all the foods (including that donut) that you eat over the long term (weeks and months). Too many people focus on that donut as a convenient scapegoat and avoid the bigger, harder, systemic issue with total calories over time versus total calories burned. Those folks always remain overweight until they join Weight Watchers and start looking at their diets holistically over time.

    Ditto energy usage. Like Outdoor said, the A #1 primary most important every-thing-else-pales factor in your energy use is if you live in a car-less high density area with public transport versus the much more common car-filled commute heavy suburbs and exurbs. Because of this fact, a New Yorker's per capita energy use will beat almost everyone in the country, even with all the lights blazing.

    Of course, you're right that they always could do better (with lights or other), but in my view that's missing the forest for the trees and putting your attention where there's not much impact.

    Even the lights in those NYC buildings can be misleading. The current NYT tower and the BofA building going up in Manhattan are two of the most green buildings in existence, with passive cooling, building integrated PV panels, grey water recovery, waterless urinals, and even wind turbines. So if you look up at those too buildings and get cranky about the lights on, you're technically right, but again, it's kinda focusing your attention on something that really isn't the big bang for the buck.

    I work in the clean energy area, and I'm always careful not to pick on any one aspect too much -- even when I see someone driving a Hummer. I don't know how many miles they drive that thing -- maybe it's just on the weekends? Maybe that Civic driver lives 60 miles from his job and burns 10 times as much gas per year as the Hummer driver? Maybe that McMansion in the hills is plastered in PV panels you can't see that generate almost all the power for the house, including all 5 60" LCD TVs that are on all the time along with the lights? Who's to say, until you actually have the data about someone's total energy use over a year.

    But yes, you can turn off the lights if you want, and that's great. Just make sure you're not being OCD about turning off incandescent bulbs in your suburban house cause so you can scold the Manhattanites for leaving theirs on icon_smile.gif

    And yes, I agree with the hot guy dispensation. So long as he wanders around shirtless all the time.

    K
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    Mar 11, 2008 12:12 PM GMT
    We are all Green on St. Paddy's day.

    Eliot Spitzer is reputed to have always used green condoms.

    I am sure Edward Lorenz (the scientist) is laughing and rolling over in his grave watching educated people writhe in self flagellating puritanical ecstasy over what are correctly identified as red herring non issues.

    If you want to see green come to Napoli and I will show you green.

    As for the boondocks, well I grew up in them and that is what they are.

    Ciao
    Terry
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    Mar 11, 2008 1:22 PM GMT
    who let the Italian in here? "I'm sure Leonardo Da Vinci would be laughing hysterically at the mindless nattering of you uncivilized Americans." blah blah blah...

    ok, look. I'm not trying to come down on New York...I love New York...I'v'e had some of the best sex of my life in New York..with the lights on, even.

    I'm just saying that I don't understand how if the lights are on in a room where no one's home, that that isn't a waste, a very easy waste to fix. Much easier than putting subways in LA or moving everyone who lives in the burbs into the city...
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:44 PM GMT
    ursamajor saidEliot Spitzer is reputed to have always used green condoms.


    This is a terrible week for NY democrats. I needed that laugh, thank you icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 11, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    Good point. Just the other day, I was so tired when I got home digging the LA subway (the new branch line to the WEHO Starbucks is my responsibility) that I left all my lights on and fell asleep with nightmares of Leonardo DeVinci having sex with Elliot Spitzer.

    K
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    Mar 11, 2008 4:40 PM GMT
    The "Italian" was born in Texas of an Old Westbury Long Island family and is a long term New Yorker temporarily displaced.

    I just think that the Think Globally - Act Locally or Visualize Whirled Peas arguments are vast oversimplifications of geopolitical arguments that are extremely complex.

    If it makes anyone feel better to sit in their living room lit by fluorescent bulbs and believe this is having a climatological impact then I say yeah for you. I wouldn't want to rob anyone of their right to feel righteous (or to look pallid).

    The beauty of New York (and New Yorkers) is that we don't much care what you do.

    On Leonardo. Actually, DNA analysis of Leonardo's thumbprint (he used it to smudge his canvases) has proven that he was of Turkish descent - he wasn't Italian either :-)

    Ciao
    Terry
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    Mar 11, 2008 5:05 PM GMT
    I agree that New York is WAY behind the times in energy conservation and "green living". I live in Portland, Oregon which is the greenest city in the country and conservation for us is a way of life. I agree that you need to look at all aspects to reduce our carbon footprint.

    We recycle: glass, plastics, metal, paper and yard debris - I usually put my garbage can out every couple of weeks now due to recycling. I even have a compost pile.

    Energy usage: We have options to purchase renewable green energy. I have energy and water efficient appliances. All of my light bulbs are color corrected flourescent, several on timers and dimmers. I turn-off the lights when I leave the room.

    Public transportation: Our bus system runs on natural gas and biodiesel, we have one of the best light rail systems in the country and are just finishing a new commuter train system. We encourage bike riding.

    Building codes: We have some of the most strict new building energy codes in the nation - and we even encourage green building (SIPS, green roofs, biodiesel, solar) with rebates and incentives. Our new performing arts center toilets use rain water for flushing.

    For those of you who are quick to dismiss the positive aspects of "turning-off the lights" - a client of mine who is a major mall developer decided to change the timer on the mall common area lights to 1 hour before mall opening and 1 hour after mall closing as well as installing room occupancy sensors in the office tower and installing flourescent bulbs. They had an energy savings of 50% - reducing operating costs with little effort or expense - and even getting some city funding to do so.

    For more info on sustainability:
    http://www.portlandonline.com/osd
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    Mar 12, 2008 3:21 AM GMT
    OK, I'll bite icon_smile.gif I do this stuff for a living, after all.

    Here's some data re the "New Yorkers are great" versus the "New Yorker's suck" thread, from the US DOE. The original poster was talking about turning off lights, which is an energy argument. I'll stick to that, and refrain from expanding the story to recycling etc.

    Per capita energy usage (including all forms, electricity, natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, hydro, for all purposes) of the average person living in the state of NY is 217 MBTU. NY is second lowest of all 50 states. Only Rhode Island, at 213 MBTU is lower. California, my home state, which has had flat energy consumption for 15 years now, is 3rd lowest, at 232.3 MBTU. Oregon is 12th lowest, at 301.8 MBTU, Portland's recycling not withstanding. The national average is 339.2, the worst offender is Alaska, 1193.9 MBTU.

    There's a mountain of other stats, of course, and you can pick these apart anyway you want (for example, colder states like Alaska will always use more energy for heating, etc.) but I picked this one cause it says in the big big picture, New York is doing OK, as far as per capita energy consumption. This has a lot to do with the average New Yorker's living situation: i.e. in denser population areas, which is much more energy efficient. In general, low population density states will have much higher per capita energy consumption that higher density states. This is a first order effect.

    As for light bulbs, and the "should we care" versus "extreme oversimplification," pdxguy's story is a good one. In a large building, with lots of lights, it can make a big difference. Not as much as moving everyone from low-density into hi-density areas (which is actually happening, world-wide, just not here in the US), but as mentioned earlier one is much easier than the other to implement!

    As for the average US residence, not a shopping mall or skyscraper, however, just how important is lighting?

    The last really detailed DOE survey of US residential electricity use (2001) showed lighting (indoor and outdoor) at 8.8% of residential consumption. Is that significant? Turns out that lighting is beat by the following four categories: biggest is aircon at 16%, the fridge at 14%, heating 10%, and water heating at 9%. Lighting comes next at 8.8, followed by clothes dryer at 5.8. Every other category is 3.5% or less of total consumption (assuming you're not an outlier data point and do a lot of arc welding in your basement).

    So, what does this say? For the average homeowner, your biggest bang for the buck in reducing energy consumption is first address aircon, heating (air and water), and your fridge. When those are the best they can be, then you should tackle lighting. After lighting, the clothes dryer is the only remaining significant factor, and all the rest are small components that have limited impact, except if you address them all, which is quite difficult for most folks. So yes, lighting efficiency is important, but its RELATIVE importance is context dependent, so we shouldn't get too bent out of shape looking at specific examples here and there and drawing general conclusions from them, cause we need the data about the total energy use, the costs of addressing those uses, and where lighting fits in that overall picture in order to see how much attention it deserves.

    OK, whew. I've gotten all teachy here, and have bored everyone silly. I'll get one more thing in tho, since I've droned on so long already...

    Terry seems to be saying two things.

    1) This stuff is complex and we're oversimplifying things. I certainly agree it's complex. The length of my post shows that we shouldn't be painted as oversimplifying things without a much longer conversation with all of us about what lies behind our reasoning. It's not clear a forum on realjock.com is going to be the ideal place for you to prove we are oversimplifying nor for us to prove we aren't, but I've tried with this post icon_smile.gif

    2) That some of the posters' positions are mostly about feeling "righteous." To use Terry's own words, I also think that statement is a bit of an "oversimplification." I think each of us has a lot of motivations for their positions, and I'd guess "righteousness" didn't make it anywhere the top of the list. But I'll do the survey, spreadsheet, and pie chart first, and get back to you.

    K
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    Mar 12, 2008 9:49 AM GMT
    Well Iguana you are absolutely right. My tendency is to be "spiritoso" or sarcastic when I hear thin arguments. It is correct to point out that my rush to judgement is comparable to anyone else's putative righteousness (self or as a constituent of a body of political thought).

    It is equally correct to point out that RJ is not the ideal forum to discuss these things. However, I like the fact that people on RJ are talking about issues. I still see that the number of views of the Brad Pitt vs. David Beckham thread are an exponent of this one, but it is really nice to read someone laying out a logical argument the way you have just done.

    Moreover, while I recall this kind of occasionally impassioned and occasionally idiotic discourse from the early days of the Internet, RJ is the first place where I have seen that kind of discussion in many moons.

    The delightful surprise is that this is a gay fitness forum. It is a serious stereotype buster when a site like this points out that there are more very fit guys who are in academia, business, and the sciences than there are snorting G-d-knows-what at the White Party or whatever. It is personally satisfying to see this hear and I spend a disproportionate amount of time doodling on this site because it is fun.

    On to energy....

    I did not gather that the topic of the thread was energy consumption. It seems more East Coast vs. West Coast or better vs. Pacific Northwest. Here I am partisan.

    You pointed out in a manner more eloquent than I can manage, that a facile visual inspection from the middle of Times Square is rather different than what is statistical fact.

    My bigger concern is with a body of popular political thought that I fear will not lead to the resolution of problems but rather serve to mask them with false solutions.

    Whatever anyone may believe about climate change the logic that you have presented is inarguable. To correctly address a problem one must look at priorities and address those priorities.

    Not to be ignored, in my opinion, is the fact that energy is a geopolitical issue of considerable relevance. The realpolitik of this issue has gotten dressed up in lots of different costumes with enormously damaging consequences.

    I am deeply concerned about efficiency and energy independence (really a question of the cost of conversion of raw materials to consumables) and the place of these issues on the priority list.

    In this vein I am deeply impressed by what some people in the American capital markets are doing (and particularly in Silicon Valley). I see the potential for disruptive technology as enormously high.

    I find real inspiration in what people like Vinod Khoslo are doing and rather less inspiration in the political reanimation strategy of, for example, Al Gore. I have more confidence in Kleiner Perkins Caulfield to create appetizing solutions to problems than I do in the notion that governments (like the idiots in Brussels) who wish to ban the incandescent light bulb (that is just pandering and fear mongering of the worst and most self-serving variety).

    If the compact fluorescent story (without its accompanying TCO analysis) stimulates thought, investment, and the creation of disruptive technology then I say hallelujah to that.

    I am intrigued that no less of a luminary (pun intended) than the designer Richard Sapper has embraced the compact fluorescent idea.

    The good news is when people like Sapper, Khoslo, Kamen (if you have read about the slingshot project) start to look at these problems.

    For domestic energy efficiency an extremely interesting project is Living Homes. take a look at www.livinghomes.com Ray Kappe is an architect who has been working with "biorealism" themes since he was a draftsman in the studio of Richard Neutra. (interestingly Living Homes has Khoslo ventures as a backer).

    I have the dubious distinction of having been a past president of the Richard Neutra "Institute for Survival through Design" which was a theme that Neutra starting talking about in the 1920's.

    You point out that the biggest theme in domestic energy consumption is air conditioning.

    For years I was lucky to live in Richard Neutra designed houses where AC was simply unnecessary. I sacrificed absolutely nothing.

    I vividly remember when Richard Ramirez was stalking Los Angeles during a heat wave. Everyone had their windows closed and the AC cranked. It was 100-104 outside. The little house on Edgewater Terrace where I lived was cool and comfortable without any assistance from AC.

    Now I live in a 16th century building where the walls are a meter thick and we won't make it past May without turning on the AC.

    I have rambled on enough without coming to a conclusion.

    What makes us feel better about ourselves (buying - or stealing - compact fluorescent light bulbs for example) is one theme. While it isn't always the case it sometimes happens that self satisfaction is not expressed in well being but rather in arrogance and self righteousness (and that bugs me). What is truly efficient is another theme entirely as has been so eloquently illustrated by Signor Iguana.

    Ciao
    Terry


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    Mar 15, 2008 11:13 PM GMT
    dancerjack saidboondock dwellers... yet another reason i'm glad i'm no long in new york city.


    dancer jack........you can always come to visit , enjoy and then leave all the sinners where they belong