Just a day after being impressed to learn that California will require zero net energy homes by 2020, I’m even more impressed to learn that Austin will require it by 2015. (I’m at at the USGBC‘s GreenBuild conference, where’s there’s plenty to be impressed with.)
Austin’s expecting to hit 65% that target from reduction in energy demand, and 35% from renewable generation on site. Cool!
It’s projected to add $1100 to the cost of the house; raise mortgage payments $2/month, and drop utility bills $50/month. As Austin mayor Will Wynn put it “From an estate planning perspective, would you rather invest in equity in your home or pay some utility to burn pulverized coal?”
The Mayor’s panel included Martin Chavez, (Albuquerque) Richard Daley (Chicago) and George Heartwell (Grand Rapids) — the sleeper in the bunch — who described an impressive greening program, and observed “If it can happen in Grand Rapids, it can happen anywhere.”
There’s lots of sustainability action on the municipal front these days. See the US Council of Mayors and Mayors for Climate Protection to name just a few of the many indicators.

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