24 December 2009

More real estate economics, and company, supply chain, industry and government news. Also other science facts

Top Stories

How walkable neighborhoods increase home values, illustrated.reliability medium.
"Home values in walkable neighborhoods are measurably higher than those that are not, even when other relevant factors are controlled in the analysis." Economist Joe Cortright found: "Examining data from 98,000 home sales in 15 metropolitan areas, and controlling for other relevant factors, each increase of one point on Walk Score’s walkability scale raises home values by $700 to $3000." Improving walkability added $10,000 to $30,000 to home values in most cities. Article includes slide show reporting research findings. See NRDC blog. Walk Score site. [Is this why home values are so high in San Francisco, Boston, New York City? It would be interesting to compare the higher cost of housing in walkable neighborhoods with the cost of gas for getting around in less walkable neighborhoods.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Real-time transit info comes to a smart phone near you.reliability medium.
Front Seat "have launched City-Go-Round, a searchable directory of some sixty (and, they say, more coming) applications to aid transit riders in cities across the country." Some amazing apps for your smartphone to save minutes or hours getting around. See NRDC blog. City-Go-Round site. PDF of press release here. [Dig ExitStrategyNYC app, which embodies the wisdom that veteran transiteers learn over months or years of riding: which car of the train to board to minimize the walk to the station exit you want at your destination. Use the time while you are waiting for the train to preposition yourself and save minutes later. Last minute gift idea?]

Baxter Launches Global Supplier Sustainability Program.reliability high.
Baxter International "will evaluate its suppliers using 20 different criteria, such as if they have an environmental or sustainability program and how they are reducing their carbon footprint and natural resource use.  The company says it is committed to working with its suppliers to improve their environmental performance, purchase products with reduced environmental impacts, and minimize transportation-related emissions. The company has also pledged to specially recognize suppliers who engage in activities that result in positive environmental results for themselves –and for Baxter." See 2Sustain. Press release here.

Bluesign continues to expand reach.reliability high.
"The bluesign certification scheme is continuing to expand its reach throughout the textile supply chain with new supporters and screening contracts signed up on an increasingly frequent basis." Examples of firms who have recently joined the program. See Ecotextile News. Bluesign site.

After 28% Fuel Savings with Hybrid Vans, UPS Orders 200 More.reliability high.
A 12-month test of six hybrid delivery vehicles at a UPS facility in Phoenix, studied by NREL, found The hybrid vehicles achieved 13.1 miles per gallon, compared to 10.1 mpg for the conventional diesel vans, with lower maintenance costs. However, uptime for the conventional diesels was higher. From Environmental Leader. NREL Press release here.

Government and Regulation

Feds mull regulating drugs in water.reliability high.
"A burst of significant announcements in recent weeks reflects an expanded government effort to deal with pharmaceuticals as environmental pollutants" The U.S. EPA "has listed some pharmaceuticals as candidates for regulation in drinking water." The Food and Drug Administration "declared a goal of working toward the return of all unused medicines" so they won't be flushed down toilets. "The National Toxicology Program is conducting research to clarify how human health may be harmed by drugs at low environmental levels." An EPA study "will look for 200 chemical and microbial contaminants at 50 plants that treat drinking water." More on the issue and the administration's more aggressive action in this area. In Seattle Post-Intelligencer from AP.

Other Science Facts

NASA Data Reveal Major Groundwater Loss in California.reliability high.
"New space observations reveal that since October 2003, the aquifers for California's primary agricultural region -- the Central Valley -- and its major mountain water source -- the Sierra Nevadas -- have lost nearly enough water combined to fill Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir. The findings, based on data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace), reflect California's extended drought and increased rates of groundwater being pumped for human uses, such as irrigation." The sensitive satellite instruments can measure the loss of the mass of water from the aquifer. It has been drawn down by "more than 30 cubic kilometers of water since late 2003". See JPL site. [These results are similar to those reported earlier for Northern India.]

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2009 HaraBara, Inc.]