5 Green Tech Stories You Should Be Reading: April 11, 2012

A new EV for Britain with a smart idea about batteries, improvements to LEED, green makeovers for old factories, and the environmental and economical implications of solar power; check out what’s happening in the green tech world today.

Vauxhall Ampera

image via General Motors UK

1. “UK’s Newest Electric Cars Turning Heads At Last” – BBC – The Vauxhall Ampera is a stylish electric vehicle (EV) that also boasts a greater range, reduced charge time, and a price slashed by nearly half. Across Britain, EVs are becoming cheaper, thanks to a new model where the car is bought, but the battery is rented, which allows the batteries’ quality to be guaranteed, and for long journeys, the concept of a battery-swapping station is being considered.

2. “Environmentalists Feeling Burned by Rush to Build Solar Projects” – LA Times – While allowing 50,000 acres of land to be developed for solar power might seem like an Earth-friendly move, some aren’t so sure. Proposed solar projects in the Mojave Desert are generating controversy as conservationists claim large-scale development could harm the ecosystem.

3. “The Green Building Bible Gets a Much-Needed Update” – The Atlantic – LEED 2012 was unveiled, and the guidelines have been updated, pushing ever more towards zero-impact buildings. This year’s approach, it’s said, is a more “holistic” one, taking into consideration long-term growth, public education and community involvement.

4. “6 Amazing Green Renovations That Turn Industrial Buildings into Architectural Gems” – Inhabitat – A gallery of repurposed buildings that all have used green innovations in their makeovers. All of these buildings started life as factories, but are now being used as museums, living spaces, restaurants, and even an amusement park.

5. “Solar ‘Scandal’ Upshot: China is Dominating Global Solar Market, For Better or Worse” – Grist – Grist examines what really happened behind the latest “scandal” involving solar energy companies, including the bankruptcy of Solar Trust, among others, and the (untrue) allegation that the US government provided these companies with money.The real reason US solar companies are flagging, it seems, is because Chinese companies are producing PV panels at a fraction of the cost as they are.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.