Archive for May, 2009

New study compares emissions of city and suburban households

May 27, 2009

At first glance, cities may appear to be a big source of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. But new research by the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), which compares greenhouse gas emissions of city and suburban households, yields some surprising results.

CNT, which launched I-GO Car Sharing in 2002, looked at emissions of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, stemming from household vehicle travel in 55 metropolitan areas across the U.S. When measured on a per household basis, it found that the transportation-related emissions of people living in cities and compact neighborhoods can be nearly 70% less than those living in suburbs. See how this compares in your region. (Click on “Household Auto Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”)

“Cities are more location-efficient—meaning key destinations are closer to where people live and work,” said Scott Bernstein, CNT’s President. “They require less time, money, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel needs. People can walk, bike, car-share, take public transit. So residents of cities and compact communities generate less CO2 per household than people who live in more dispersed communities, like many suburbs and outlying areas.

“If you’re deciding where to live, consider moving to an urban area. You’ll help fight global warming by emitting less CO2. And you’re likely to drive less, so you’ll spend less on transportation, saving up to $5,000 annually.”

CNT’s research shows that average transportation costs vary greatly depending on location, from a low of 14% of area household median income in transit-rich, compact communities, to highs of 28% or more in exurban areas where employment, retail, and other amenities are more dispersed.

CNT focused on vehicle travel as a source of emissions, since research shows that transportation accounts for 28% of all greenhouse gases in the U.S. Its work compares the conventional per-acre analysis of greenhouse gas emissions due to vehicle travel with a new per-household view in each metropolitan area it studied. The results suggest that, due to their density and transportation alternatives, cities are a central part of the climate change solution.

The research is an outgrowth of CNT’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which examines several aspects of location efficiency. One is the true cost of housing when household transportation costs are factored in, which vary widely by location. Together, transportation and housing can account for more than 60% of annual household expenses for some working families living in outlying areas—significantly impacting their cost of living and quality of life. The site also illuminates the environmental cost of housing location, which includes impacts like household carbon dioxide emissions.

Since its launch a year ago, the H+T Affordability Index has been expanded to show current CO2 maps, as well as the impact of location and gasoline costs on household budgets between the years 2000 and 2008. It has also been redesigned and enhanced for ease of use and data access.

With generous funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the index will be expanded to cover more than 330 metropolitan areas in the U.S. later this year.

Founded in 1978, CNT is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works nationally to advance urban sustainability by researching, inventing and testing strategies that use resources more efficiently and equitably. Its programs focus on climate, energy, natural resources, transportation, and community development. CNT is one of eight nonprofits selected from around the world to be recognized by a 2009 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

New I-GO Chi-Town Rewards Member: Healthy Green Goods

May 26, 2009

If you ever find yourself with some time to kill in Evanston, you should check out Healthy Green Goods, the most recent local business to offer I-GO members a discount by joining our Chi-Town Rewards program.

It’s simple! All you have to do is flash your I-GO smartcard and you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase! Healthy Green Goods carries a wide array of truly safe and organic products. Need help finding toxin-free, eco-friendly products for everyday living? Healthy Green Goods can help. Swing by their store in Evanston or check them out online.

Healthy Green Goods:
702 Main Street
Evanston, IL 60202

I-GO Car Sharing now on Facebook and Twitter

May 20, 2009

Want to stay connected to all that’s going on here at I-GO Car Sharing? Join our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter! You’ll be the first to hear about new car locations, member benefit updates, event invites, calls for volunteers and a whole lot more!

I-GO at Whole Foods Market’s Lincoln Park store opening

May 20, 2009

Whole Foods Market opened its jaw-dropping new Lincoln Park store on Wed., May 20, and I-GO was there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Daley and the Whole Foods Market brass. I-GO is one of WFM’s community partners, and the store has graciously provided us with a spectacular reserved parking space in its front lot. Needless to say, given both companies’ green missions, we put a Prius there.

The new store is insane — and we mean that in the best possible way. Huge, yes. The third biggest WFM store worldwide. But that’s not what’s impressive. Sushi bar, wine and cheese tasting bar, a healthy grill bar, a spacious bodycare and wellness area, rows and rows of reusable earth-friendly shopping bags…and a whole halibut in the seafood section that was so ginormous we thought it might wriggle free of its display case and jump in the Chicago River, which runs right past the store. One of our fave features: an automated, temperature-controlled wine machine by a California-based vendor called Napa Technology that serves different sized pours in cups. This ain’t your grandparents’ supermarket, that’s for sure.

The I-GO parking location here couldn’t be more fitting. We now have cars at five WFM stores, and besides the fact that we’re both eco-oriented and support local community initiatives, it’s important to note that grocery shopping remains the number-one reason people use I-GO cars. That’s synergy you can bottle and serve again and again and again.

Check out our Flickr slide show of pix we snapped at the event:

I-GO parks Prius at new Whole Foods

May 19, 2009

I-GO has the only car-sharing vehicle at the new Whole Foods opening tomorrow at 1550 N. Kingsbury. Appropriately enough, it’s a Prius. I-GO is a community partner of Whole Foods, and that’s appropriate in more ways than one: Grocery shopping is the number one reason our members use I-GO cars, and both companies are eco-conscious and care about supporting local communities.

Ribbon cutting is at 9am. Stop by and check it out. The new store is impressive: the third largest Whole Foods in the world.

I-GO does Green Fest

May 18, 2009

I-GO Car Sharing waded into the eco throng with elan at this year’s Green Festival at Navy Pier this past weekend. Among the vegans, home energy auditors, eco apparel purveyors, climate action advocates and plenty more, our car sharing booth held plenty of interest. As did the three-wheeled electric Zap cars and scooters parked next to us, which were George Jetson cool.

Slinging sales pitches at the I-GO booth was fun work at Green Fest. Car sharing’s cost-saving, convenient virtues sell themselves. (In the background of the photo above right you can catch a glimpse of the all-electric Zap three-wheelers, street-legal eco-lectable rides made by a California-based company. We question whether former Conan the Barbarian Gov. Arnold could shoehorn himself into one, though.)

At left, pictured, was one of our fave installations at the fest: Chicago-based Working Bikes‘ demo of how their donated wheels help villagers in Africa and Central America do everything from power blenders to irrigate gardens. (We’re not so sure about the functional application of the armillary-sphere-looking thing here with the toy bike circumnavigating its globe. But it sure is cool.)

Discount I-GO memberships at Green Fest

May 15, 2009

Green Festival
Saturday & Sunday May 16th & 17th, 10am-7pm (Sat.) & 11am-6pm (Sun.)
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand
This is the big one, folks: the annual nationally touring environmental juggernaut known as Green Fest. The fest’s Chicago stop will include the works and then some: 125 renowned authors, leaders, and educators; 350 eco-friendly businesses comprising a unique marketplace; workshops, green films, kids’ activities, live music; and delicious, organic, vegetarian cuisine.

I-GO will again have a booth (#1328) at the fest, and we encourage you to drop by. It’s always an enlightening event – and should be even more so this year with our nation’s and the world’s belated embrace of progressive environmental industry and economic incentives.

I-GO will be offering a special discount on memberships: just $25—a savings of $50 off the normal price! Current members can also earn $25 in driving credits for every new member that names them as a referral on their application form.

Go to the Green Fest website for more info.

It’s just $10-$15 admission – less than a Hollywood action flick and box of buttered popcorn, and far better for you.

Higher gas prices = More car sharing customers

May 14, 2009

We saw it last summer when gas prices soared into the stratosphere, and we may see it again: a huge increase in I-GO applicants attracted by one undeniably attractive benefit: Car sharing members don’t pay for gas. Ever.

Good piece in the Chicago Tribune yesterday analyzing the prospects for a repeat of last year’s rocketing fuel prices at the pump.

We’re not rooting for the oil robber barons of the world, mind you, or the speculators hoping to ride their coattails. But whatever the reasons, fossil fuels are environmentally disastrous no matter how you slice and dice their economic impact.

We say: Shed a car, share one instead.

Car sharing gets short end of stick shift on Today Show

May 14, 2009

A Today Show segment that aired today was originally pitched to I-GO as a wide-ranging piece on automotive cost-saving tactics—including, prominently, car sharing. But it morphed into something else: a piece on small, fuel-efficient cars, and how that represents a major psychological shift for Americans away from our beloved gas-guzzling muscle cars.

Stop the presses. There’s breaking news for you.

I think the Today Show’s NYC producers need to get out more. The shift to Priuses and other small, fuel-efficient and hybrid cars is old news. Though certainly we champion this trend, and hope it will continue. Car sharing: That’s a fresh, new story with real teeth.

I-GO gets a shot of a Prius in Logan Square and a sign. Bob and Kennon, the I-GO members who took the time to be interviewed, ended up on the cutting-room floor. Bet they’re bummed. Sorry, guys. Maybe the Today Show can reuse that footage in another piece. Not likely, but one can hope.

Last segment I saw before turning off the TV: Matt Lauer interviewing a 5-year-old chef making quesadillas.

Important stuff, folks.

Maybe next time we should come up with a kindergartner who fries Mexican food on the hood of an I-GO Honda Element.

Might just work.

Here’s the vid clip:

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I-GO Car Sharing featured on the Today Show tomorrow

May 13, 2009

Be sure to tune in to NBC’s Today Show tomorrow morning (5/14/09) between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. to watch the feature on I-GO Car Sharing! If you miss it, you will be able to check it out by mid-morning here.