Think of a large Thermos, large enough to put a family in. That’s a passive house. Passive houses are buildings that rely on their construction, insulation, and the environment to heat them in winter and cool them in summer.
They’re popular in Europe, but there are only a handful of them in the U.S. and one of them belongs to a family in upstate New York, who are getting ready to take on their first winter in their passive home.
Homeowners along an abandoned gas line across three central New York counties are getting advice about how to deal with gas companies who may come knocking.
The Millennium Pipeline Company is trying to get federal approval to build a 60-mile pipeline from the town of Onondaga down to the Binghamton area in order to connect several east-west natural gas pipelines. In order to do this, the pipeline company, which is an affiliate of National Grid among other energy companies, will need the help of homeowners.
Two Oswego County legislators traveled to Wyoming County on a fact-finding mission to learn more about wind energy and its impact on one western New York county. Amy Tresidder, who represents Oswego, and James Karasek, who represents Granby and Fulton, visited two wind farms and were able to get close enough to touch the massive structures.
Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin are taking part in a six-week energy reduction challenge, developed by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and NYSERDA.
Energy Challenge Coordinator Samuel Gordon says the idea is to reduce wasted energy.
"It's really not about competing against one another to reduce energy consumption," Gordon said. "We're really competing against ourselves, because about 30 percent of the energy that we use in our homes is wasted."
Anti-fracking activists are also fighting New York’s efforts to lift a ban on small natural gas storage and fueling facilities. A public information session on the matter held in Syracuse on Wednesday became about the larger natural gas industry.
New York is the only state to ban small-scale natural gas storage. That came after a 1970s facility accident in New York City. Now, under efforts from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, new fueling stations for trucks could be built as early as next year.
A group opposed to the construction of a new north-south natural gas pipeline that would run from Binghamton to Syracuse is hoping to get its message to landowners along the route before the gas company does.
It’s something few people think about, but all that natural gas --and other fossil fuels -- produced by hydrofracking has to be stored somewhere before it gets to the consumer. Often used for the job: underground salt caverns like the ones near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. Now an out-of-state company wants to expand storage there, a plan some local residents call risky.
About 100 environmental activists welcomed three of their own with singing that sounded like it was straight out of the civil rights movement last April, after they spent a week in jail.
Once every week, a freight train loaded with coal makes its way through Ithaca to the coal-fired power plant north of town in Lansing, on the shore of Cayuga Lake. Those shipments may stop soon.
The state’s Public Service Commission is considering the future of the Lansing plant. The pending decision has sparked a local debate that says a lot about the challenges New York will face if it’s serious about switching to new sources of power.
There's a new Guinness World Record when it comes to fuel efficiency. A mid-size Volkswagen model set a record for the best fuel efficiency for a non-hybrid car this week. The recent trip reaps lessons ranging from rethinking an old energy source to breaking some bad habits.
Wayne Gerdes and his driving companion, Bob Winger, took a trip that essentially took them more than 8,100 miles -- or just under 108 gallons of diesel fuel. The last leg of that journey brought them to central New York.
Federal officials gave Oswego County's nuclear power complex a good grade after an emergency preparedness drill conducted this week.
Plant workers and emergency officials had to respond to a simulated equipment malfunction and radiation leak, where the wind then shifted.
"They have to react and they have to react quickly and that’s one of the things we’re looking for; to make sure that they understand what the change means, what it implies, and what to do about it," says FEMA's Rebecca Thomson.
New York’s top court has been asked to decide whether local governments can ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
Last month a mid-level appeals court ruled unanimously in favor of upholding local bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, meaning there’s no requirement for the case to be taken up by the top court.
An energy company is looking into building a natural gas pipeline from near Binghamton to the Syracuse area. Millennium Pipeline Company is currently soliciting feedback from natural gas suppliers about their proposal to connect three supply lines running east-west across upstate New York, with a north-south line.
The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought millions of dollars to local governments in Lewis County - and a big change of scenery for residents.
Wind farms are a touchy subject in the North Country. As the town of Cape Vincent wrestles with a potential project, in neighboring Lewis County another wind farm has been operating for seven years. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought some big changes to its community.
In two separate rulings Thursday, New York's appellate court, the state's second highest court, ruled that the state's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) does not preempt municipal land use laws.
The thing that strikes you when you walk up to Jimmy Golub's farm on the western edge of Madison County are the giant solar panels covering the part of the roof on his barn that faces west. The 45 panels are part of a 10 kilowatt solar system, that provides all the electricity the farm needs.
The City of Elmira is just seven miles from the Pennsylvania border. And for four years, the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier crossed over the border and boosted Elmira’s economy. But that boom has slowed down.
Gas and Oil producer Lenape Resources has filed a note of appeal as part of an attempt to overturn a court decision made in March that allowed the town of Avon to maintain its moratorium on fracking. This is the third case of this kind in upstate New York.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express, or CHPE, is the name of a proposed underground transmission line that would bring hydropower generated in Canada under both Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, and into New York City. Now, the project is one step closer to becoming a reality, following approval by the New York State Public Service Commission Thursday.
Richard Chandler, director of business development for BP Wind Energy North America, gives a presentation on the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm project at a firehouse in Three Mile Bay.
Earlier this month, energy company BP announced its entire renewables division was up for sale. At a recent public meeting on the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, a BP official confirmed the company will push ahead with the development anyway, and local leaders vowed to hire experts to help them fight the project.