Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:52 pm
Texas ranks tenth in the country in Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. That's according to a report issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that issues LEED certification.
The LEED 100-point scale rates the design, construction, and operation of buildings, neighborhoods, and homes to promote sustainable infrastructure. It looks at factors such as sustainability, water and energy efficiency, materials, indoor environmental quality, as well as design and innovation to issue one of four different levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Several research teams have developed techniques like adding tiny fragments of rust (iron oxide) or synthetic DNA to the drilling fluid to make it easier to identify what drilling rig is responsible for contamination. This practice could help produce hard evidence in cases that are brought to court over natural gas drilling practices.
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for the western part of South Texas due to "critical" fire conditions. The warning is in effect from noon to 7 p.m. due to a dry cold front that will drop temperatures across the state.
Winds of 15 to 20 mph are expected and may reach up to 30 mph in some places. These gusty winds make the danger of wildfires especially high when paired with low humidity and very dry air. Outdoor burning is not recommended, and any fires that do start will likely spread rapidly.
Bexar County Commissioners have postponed a decision on whether a local developer can build hundreds of small-lot homes in far north Bexar County. Commissioners are asking developer Gordon Hartman to meet with attorneys and area homeowners who oppose the subdivision.
Residents of Hidden Oaks near Cibolo Creek fear the development of Century Oaks will cause harm to the environment; specifically, the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, the large oaks trees that are already being cut down, and the water. The land is over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.
In exchange for creating hundreds of jobs, the city has agreed to a business deal with solar manufacturing company Nexolon America.
Nexolon will build a manufacturing plant at Brooks with ordinances to create a reinvestment zone at the base including: A 10-year 100 percent tax abatement, $400,000 in grant money to create 400 jobs, and $12 million for future infrastructure improvements.
Mayor Julián Castro believes the project contributes to the vision of SA2020 to create a highly skilled workforce.
Though temperatures rarely get low enough to freeze and burst water pipes in San Antonio, these kinds of things do sometimes happen, so it is good to know some simple ways to prepare your house for the freezing weather.
Counties along the Texas-Mexico border are reporting higher numbers of hungry invaders from Mexico -- bears -- and wildlife biologists are trying to quickly educate border residents about the dos and don’ts of living with the big mammals.
Black bears are native to most of the Southwest, but in Texas, human development, hunting and trapping drove the ursine wildlife out of most of South Texas and the Hill Country decades ago.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 27 landfills in Texas that are producing enough methane gas to make electricity or provide fuel to power industrial equipment. The agency says another 57 landfills are candidates for such projects.
A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Credit Andrea Nardini / Nature
An air embolism in a narrow water-transporting cell in a leaf of a walnut tree, captured using light microscopy. Drought stress increases the likelihood of embolism, reduces photosynthesis and may eventually lead to plant death.
Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.
It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.
When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.