Danger posed by earthquake fault (Rose Canyon) will lead to tighter building restrictions

It will soon become harder to develop many properties in San Diego due to growing evidence that the Rose Canyon earthquake fault, which runs beneath the city, is larger and more active than scientists once thought.

The California Geological Survey is creating regulatory fault zones where developers of residential, commercial and public buildings may be required to show that their projects do not sit on top of active faults or are located a safe distance away from such systems.

The zones, which are expected to be adopted this summer, are part of the so-called Alquist-Priolo Act, which is meant to minimize the sort of death and destruction that can occur when an earthquake ruptures the Earth’s surface.

About 7,000 parcels located in and around La Jolla, Old Town, San Diego International Airport and downtown San Diego will be placed in the new fault zones.

read more at: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/science/story/2021-02-26/new-earthquake-studies-could-limit-development-in-san-diego

Spain is turning leftover oranges into electricity

In spring, the air in Seville is sweet with the scent of azahar, orange blossom, but the 5.7m kilos of bitter fruit the city’s 48,000 trees deposit on the streets in winter are a hazard for pedestrians and a headache for the city’s cleaning department.

Now a scheme has been launched to produce an entirely different kind of juice from the unwanted oranges: electricity. The southern Spanish city has begun a pilot scheme to use the methane produced as the fruit ferments to generate clean electricity.

The initial scheme launched by Emasesa, the municipal water company, will use 35 tonnes of fruit to generate clean energy to run one of the city’s water purification plants. The oranges will go into an existing facility that already generates electricity from organic matter. As the oranges ferment, the methane captured will be used to drive the generator.

“We hope that soon we will be able to recycle all the city’s oranges,” said Benigno López, the head of Emasesa’s environmental department. To achieve this, he estimates the city would need to invest about €250,000.

“The juice is fructose made up of very short carbon chains and the energetic performance of these carbon chains during the fermentation process is very high,” he said. “It’s not just about saving money. The oranges are a problem for the city and we’re producing added value from waste.”

read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/23/how-seville-is-turning-leftover-oranges-into-electricity

Save Your Home from a Texas-Sized Disaster

Maybe it’s time to invest in some upgrades to our homes.

Home renovation has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy during the pandemic, with homeowners splashing out on home offices, new patios, even family theaters — and sending lumber prices soaring. But with more extreme weather on the way, more homeowners should be thinking about the home improvements you don’t see: insulation and power generation.

If you’re willing to do a wholesale renovation,  tons of stuff can be done to improve a home’s energy efficiency. But most of us aren’t eager to start tearing down walls. So I called our old neighbor and asked him how he’d upgrade a house for extreme weather without making too much of a mess in the process.

Robillard says the easiest place to start is at the top: Insulate your attic. Homeowners tend to focus on walls and windows, but most heat is lost through the roof, because heat rises (duh). “This is definitely where you’ll get the most bang for your buck,” he says.

And before  insulating the attic, check for air leaks. If there are holes drilled in the wall for power lines, or leaks around the chimney, seal those first, then insulate. Hire a professional or rent an infrared imaging camera from the local big box hardware store for about $50; on a cold day, the air leaks should be immediately obvious.

In addition to saving on heating and cooling costs, these modest insulation improvements can often net tax savings, rebates or other government-subsidized savings.

read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-02-20/protect-your-house-from-a-texas-size-disaster