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20 Jan 2010: ‘Eco-bling’ in the U.K.;
CO2-Spewing Lawns in the U.S.

Installing wind turbines or solar panels on homes that are not well-insulated or energy-efficient amounts to little more than “eco-bling” that makes owners feel good but does little to reduce carbon emissions, according to a study by the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering. To meet the U.K.’s goal of making all new homes and buildings carbon neutral by 2020 and slashing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the report said, the government should focus on making new buildings highly energy-efficient, retrofitting older buildings to improve their energy efficiency, and investing in large-scale wind and solar projects. The report said that for wind turbines installed on homes to produce sizeable amounts of electricity, the turbines would have to be so large that their vibrations would damage residential structures. Meanwhile, a new study, to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, had some sobering news for homeowners hoping to reduce their carbon footprints: The study, conducted by scientists at the University of California, Irvine, said that the fertilization, mowing, and leaf-blowing of lawns produces four times as many greenhouse gases as the lawns themselves absorb.

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