No More Solar or Wind Tax Breaks. Thanks Congress

Our efforts failed… A new “scaled down” energy bill was passed through the senate last night and three of the most important items in the bill were taken out to appease oil funded republicans. Unfortunately our senators, democrats and republicans alike, failed our country and environment yet again by bowing to big oil and removing the most influential provisions and tax incentives this country has ever seen.

The tax incentives now set to expire in 2008 will end all federal tax credits on solar, wind and other alternative energy installations. No other tax incentive or provision has brought the solar industry closer to grid parity than this one and now it is gone. Grid parity is the point in which it will actually be cheaper to generate your own electricity on your roof than to buy from your local utility company. Now this idea is great for us, but bad for big business, (oil and coal) so of course, the lobbyist went to work on our republican senators and were apparently very affective at getting that tax break completely removed from the energy bill.

Second major blow to the renewable energy industry was the removal of the $22 billion dollar tax package designed to cut tax breaks for big oil companies and funnel the money towards the renewable energy industry. Of course this is bad for Big Oil considering how poor their finances are currently, (sarcasm: Big Oil showed record highs this year) so yet again the lobbyist went to work on our senators and “poof” the tax package is gone. Not only that, but Bush himself threatened to veto the entire bill if this tax package was not removed, showing yet again, a clear alliance with Big Oil and an unwillingness to do what is right.

Another major blow, was the removal of the alternative energy mandate which would have required all investor owned utility companies to get at least 15% of their electricity from alternative energy sources. Many utility companies complained that this would increase cost and again, “poof” another very influential and beneficial provision was removed from the energy bill.

Now many environmentalist (not me) are praising this bill because of the increase in the average MPG standard for automakers. However this small push for a 35 MPG standard by 2020 is nothing compared to the three provisions mentioned above. Not only that, but the bulk of this energy bill was aimed at increasing domestic biofuel production (like ethanol) by 36 billion gallons by 2022. Some people may think this is a good thing, but if you read some of my previous posts, you will find that ethanol and most other commercial biofuels are actually worse for the environment than gasoline. And although the 35 MPG is good, it is like putting a band aid on a gaping wound.

On a positive note, the senate did increase energy efficiency standards for government buildings and consumer products and appliances. This provision will help to reduce phantom loads of typical electronics which are responsible for about two thirds of household energy usage. This efficiency provisions could potentially save about 40,000 megawatts of electricity and is in my opinion the most significant provision in the entire bill.

In the end, the original bill, prior to the removal of the truly beneficial tax packages and mandates, was one vote short of being passed. I believe senator Richard Durbin summed up the evening best when he said:“The future just failed by one vote, the past was preserved the oil companies are now celebrating in their boardrooms. Not only do they have the highest profits in history, they continue to have a death grip on this Senate.”

Coal Industry to Turn Coal Into Diesel

While the U.S. faces record high fuel cost, the coal industry believes that it has a solution that will fix everything. They are talking about transforming millions of tons of coal into diesel. Sounds like a brilliant idea right… WRONG!

Unfortunately, you can count on the dirty coal industry to come up with an even dirtier method of producing diesel. Yep that’s right, this new “bright idea” is not only twice as dirty as regular petroleum based diesel, but its more expensive too. As the Natural Resources Defense Council put it “Relying on coal-derived liquid as an alternative fuel could nearly double global warming pollution for every gallon of transportation fuel produced and used.”

When concern about global warming is at its highest, leave it to the coal industry to come up with a new way of creating diesel that is worse for the environment. Seriously, what are they thinking, where is the logic? I guess it’s all for the money!

I urge you to do what you can by visiting the NRDC: Move America Beyond Oil site and sending a letter to your local congressman. Together we can make a difference, but we must take consistent action in order to do so.

Take Action: No More Renewable Energy Standard or Tax Title in Energy Bill?

Well here we go again, yet another attack on renewable energy and the progress that it has already been making over the past few years. Nevada’s senator Harry Reid and congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have just decided to eliminate renewable energy standard and tax title out of the current energy bill set to pass in about 24 hours.

To sum up what this means, the would be $32 billion dollar tax package for renewable energies has just been scrapped for an increased fuel economy standard. Basically a few MPG increase in gas mileage instead of a huge tax incentive to get this country going in the right direction.� Unfortunately the fuel economy standard will in no way shape or form come close the effect that a renewable energy tax package can have on our addiction to foreign oil.

The tax title which was dropped will essentially end(not renew)�the current investment tax credit for solar and the production tax credit for wind energy. In short, we have an energy bill going through congress tomorrow with absolutely NO provisions for alternative energy. This is dropping the largest Pro-Solar provisions this country has ever seen.

Please,Ii beg you to do whatever you can, TODAY to call your local representative and give them an earful. We’ve got maybe 24 hours to turn this around. We suggest calling until the Capitol switchboard melts. Can you please ask your representative to pass the renewable energy message to Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi.A suggested script might go like this:
“Hi. My name is__. I, and 90% of America, would like more renewable energy. It’s not a tough call, since it’s pretty clear that the future of the world depends on it. So, please tell Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi to include a 8-year extension for the solar investment tax credits in the energy bill. Thank you.”

We have a contact information list�of all of your local representatives at the following link:

Again, we have less than 24 hours to make a difference in the future of this country.

Thanks for reading and taking action,

Adam Beazley, CEO – Neutral Existence LLC

Neutral Existence Official Press Release

Well after a lot of hard work we have finally gotten the members area up and running and hopefully without any bugs. So, we decided to do an official launch and release an official press release. We decided to use PRweb to launch the Neutral Existence Press Release and so far it has generated a lot of interest.

We hope that some of you will have a look at it and possibly post about it in your web blog.
The official trackback to the PRweb page is: and this trackback should bring you some added page rank from the PRweb website which has about a PR8 from Google.
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us, and we look forward to doing big things with this site and helping to finally put a stop to global warming.

Congress Actually Did Something Good For The Environment!

Finally our government is beginning to make crucial decisions that will help shape the country’s future in a positive way. With the recent approval of H.R. 2776, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007, the House Ways and Means Committee has officially extended and amended many different energy efficiency related tax credits and incentives.

The main provisions which apply to everyday people are the home efficiency assistance bonds, as well as the plug-in hybrid vehicle tax credit. The home efficiency assistance bonds were not only extended, but amended to give even more money to people who are making these energy efficiency renovation on their principal residence. It also has provisions which further assist low income families to make these energy efficient changes with the least impact possible. The hybrid vehicle tax credit was also extended and the base amount of the tax credit was increased to $4000 with a special clause which adds $200 for every kilowatt hour of capacity over 5 kilowatt hours.

Business owners will also be pleasantly surprised if they are planning on building soon, as the energy efficient commercial building tax deductions have been extended to 2013 and allows for a tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot. This tax credit is for commercial buildings who’s energy consumption is reduced by 50% when compared to a reference building.

The Bill also includes a variety of tax breaks, deductions and bond for industry leaders, in an attempt to promote the production of clean renewable energies, from biodiesel production, cellulosic alcohol production and even electricity produced from marine renewables.

All in all, I see this bill as a very positive step in the fight against global warming and climate change, or pollution in general (for those GW deniers).  These rebates and benefits are now making it possible for the average person to really make a difference, and I look forward to taking the government up on a few of these incentives.

Bottled Water Ban in San Fran

According to Newsweek, the mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning the use of any city funds to buy single serving plastic water bottles.

The transportation and distribution, developing the plastic for the water bottles, the cost of the water, has a huge environmental and economic impact. As a consequence of the prolific growth in bottled waters, we in the city feel we have a responsibility to address its cost and its environmental impact. We are looking to eliminate completely all of bottled water consumption supported by city money but also to begin an educational campaign to convey the real cost of bottled water, transported half way around the world. We are looking at a marketing campaign showing bottled water compared to a barrel of oil, that shows it takes far more energy to transport the water than the oil.

Of course the bottled water companies are saying that it’s unfair to single out their products, but when you think about it it does make sense. We already pay to have water in our taps—why should we pay to have the same water repackaged and marketed as “more pure” when it is not?

After an extensive amount of research on bottled water and its “purity” claims, we have found that it is actually not as clean as city tap water. According to a study from the Archives of Family Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association, researchers compared the bacterial content and fluoride levels of 57 samples of bottled water with tap water from each of Cleveland’s four water treatment plants. The results showed that bottled water did not have the recommended amount of fluorides and they had substantially more bacteria counts than that of the tested tap water.

The reason bottled water has more bacterial and is worse for you is simple—it is only regulated by the FDA, which does not conduct any type of testing. City tap water, on the other hand, is heavily regulated by the EPA which has much stricter standards. According to the NRDC study, “even when bottled waters are covered by FDA’s specific bottled water standards, those rules are weaker in many ways than EPA rules that apply to big city tap water.” For instance, if we compare EPA regulations for tap water to FDA’s bottled water rules: (these examples are quotes from the NRDC report)
City tap water can have no confirmed E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
City tap water, from surface water, must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast, there are no federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
Most cities using surface water have had to test for Cryptosporidium or Giardia, two common water pathogens that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems, yet bottled water companies do not have to do this.
City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded FDA to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
City water systems must issue annual “right to know” reports telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a “right to know” requirement for bottled water.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report concluded that; “Therefore, while much tap water is indeed risky, having compared available data, we conclude that there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water.”
Not only is bottled water bad to drink, but the bottles and there distribution system is horrible for the environment. First, the bottled are made from plastic, which is an oil derivative, thereby contributing to our dependency on foreign oil. Second, the distribution system to transport these bottles all across the world relies heavily on gasoline engines, thereby adding emissions and pollution into the atmosphere. Lastly, the vast majority of plastic bottles do not get recycled—instead, they end up in landfills where they will produce methane and other poisonous gases as they decompose, thereby increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
Fortunately, there is a solution for those who do not like the taste of tap water. Water filters… Water filters have come a long way, and with the use of reverse osmosis water filters, you can effectively filter out any particulate matter and unwanted chemicals that the tap water has picked up from the pipes on the way to your tap.  Even though water filters can be expensive, if you were to add up what you spend on bottled water in a year, you would see how much money you would actually be saving from purchasing a good water filter. Now, if you are going to get a water filter, go with the best and get an Aquasana water filter as they have been consistently highly rated.

26,000 People Get Schooled On “Green” Building Solutions

The solution to climate change and global warming is now more apparent than ever. With a turnout of about 26,000 people, the AIA annual Architectural Convention in San Antonio, Texas concentrated on the theme of “Growing Beyond Green.”

I had the privilege of attending this massive event, where I saw architects from all over the nation getting re-educated on green design and sustainable techniques. The convention included 4 days of “Green” oriented seminars and an enormous product expo featuring thousands of new and innovative environmental products.

This was a very positive and enlightening experience, and I am glad to see that these ideas are touching such an important group of people. What most people don’t realize, is that architects and builders affect 2/3 of all energy use and emissions in the United States. 1/3 of all energy used, goes toward cooling and heating air in homes and buildings and the other 1/3 is from the transportation and manufacturing of building materials and products. So, as architects, we are more responsible for energy use, carbon emissions and global warming than any other industry. This is why I believe that this week at the AIA convention, “green thinking” has touched the most important and influential group yet.

Historically, art and architecture has created social and political movements, which have shaped and changed societies. I believe that we are on the verge of another such movement, a “Green” movement. With more and more architects taking on a role of responsibility, you will begin to see a massive influx of “Green” and LEED(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings and houses. As architects learn to effectively communicate the social, economical and environmental benefits of “Green” building to their clients, you will see a rise in its popularity. This rise in popularity will be the catalyst that will generate the most change and will ultimately save our lives.

We can stop global warming by simply taking the right steps in our designs and creating efficient homes and buildings witch utilize natural heating and cooling methods and do not rely heavily on HVAC systems as a crutch.

Supreme Court Shakes Up The EPA & Automakers

In a recent verdict by the Supreme Court, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is now being pushed to regulate co2 emissions in cars and trucks.

Massachusetts sued the EPA claiming that they are required by the Clean Air Act to regulate co2 emissions as a pollutant. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Massachusetts 5-4 and basically gave the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. The EPA’s reply was that there was not sufficient evidence to support the man caused global warming theory and their collective opinion is that there is no reason to take action at this time. The Supreme Court disagreed and urged the EPA to begin regulating co2 as a pollutant.

This ruling will also throw a huge blow to Automakers who are currently in litigation with California over their CAFE standards. Their case was put on hold awaiting the ruling of the Mass. vs. EPA case, so there is a very good chance that the Automakers vs. California cases will be dismissed as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

Along with these rulings comes a lot of controversy. While environmental activist are excited and supportive of this ruling, others are very wary of more federal government regulations. I for one am somewhere in the middle as I am an environmentalist, however I do not like the idea of the Federal Government telling me what I can and can not do.

I still believe that in the larger scheme of things the changes we seek will happen naturally if we all do our part as consumers and only buy green, organic, low emission and alternative energy products. This way our capitalist society will shift and the big businesses will go where the money is in the ever growing ‘Green Marketplace’.

Nation’s First Sustainable Solar / Hydrogen House Unveiled

A civil engineer in New Jersey, Mike Strizki just finished the nations first totally sustainable solar / hydrogen powered home. He now pays a whopping $0.00 for his monthly utility bills.

Mike managed to combine a solar panel array with a hydrogen electrolyzer and hydrogen storage tanks. The way this system works is quite simple; During the summer months, the solar panel arrays provide more than enough electricity for all of Mike’s energy needs, so the excess electricity is used to draw hydrogen and oxygen from water. This hydrogen is then stored in some propane tanks that Mike has and the excess oxygen is released into the atmosphere. During the winter months when the sun is lower in the sky, the bulk of Mike’s stored Hydrogen gets converted into electricity through his electrolyzer to power his home.

Along with his hydrogen powered car, Mike has pretty much eliminated his carbon footprint. Mike’s system cost his over $500,000 to build and install, although the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities cut that cost in half by giving him a $250,000 grant for his efforts.

Mike is definitely doing his part, however the $500,000 price tag is just way over the top. The theory is quite ingenious and the fact is a similar product on the market for much less. In fact This System from Krystal Planet does everything that Mike’s system does and more, like saving the oxygen, producing clean drinking water, and creating more than enough electricity to sell back to the Utility companies.

You can read more about Mike’s system over at Yahoo News!