Middle East

December 30, 2013

EDITORIAL: Fracking's impact on water supplies looking better

Source: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com, December 26, 2013

Fracking has caused a bonanza of oil and gas production in the United States, but it has its detractors. And one of their chief complaints was that it used too much water, as much as five million gallons per well, even though it accounts for less than 1 percent of the water consumed in a big oil-producing state like Texas.

Yet a new study by the University of Texas at Austin indicates that fracking actually cuts overall water use for energy. As the price of natural gas has declined, some utilities have switched to using gas instead of coal to produce electricity. The amount of water saved by shifting a power plant to gas from coal is 25 to 50 times greater than the amount needed to get the natural gas via fracking.

Trade-offs like that must be kept in mind when looking at energy production and use in this country. No aspect of this complex equation is pure. For example, wind farms have been increasingly criticized for their large numbers of bird deaths caused by turbine blades.

Even if alternative forms of energy like wind and solar can increase in coming years, oil and natural gas will remain fundamental to our energy needs. And the bottom line on fracking is that it has produced so much oil and gas that this country is less dependent than ever on oil imports from the volatile Mideast.

Fracking should be monitored wherever it occurs to ensure it doesn’t drain area water supplies or contaminate ground water. But the pluses far outweigh the drawbacks, which is why few states or locales have banned it nationwide.

 …

January 4, 2013

Green Building Watch

Source: Sustainable Industries, January 1, 2013
By: Jerry Yudelson

Green building will continue its rapid expansion globally in 2013 in spite of ongoing economic difficulties. More people are building green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this MegaTrend or its constituent elements. However, the continuing slowdown in commercial real estate and the lower level of government project development will continue to put a crimp in new green building projects. In putting together my Top Ten trends for 2013, I’m taking advantage of conversations I’ve had with green building industry leaders in the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia during the past year.

Yudelson Associates’ Top Ten Green Building MegaTrends for 2013:

  1. Green building in North America will rebound strongly in 2013, using LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth. The reduction in commercial real estate construction has not been offset by other sectors such as government construction, which continued to falter, and so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically from 2010-2012. Even so, in 2012, new LEED construction accounted for about 20% of all put-in-place space, with domestic LEED project registrations up significantly from 2010. However, we continue to foresee faster growth in green retrofits, and note that surging college and university projects, along with NGO activity, are serving to backstop the fall in commercial and governmental construction. In addition, LEED growth has been and will be rapid in China, the Middle East, Latin America and other fast-growing regions for new buildings.