#EnvHist Warming Stripes

#EnvHist Warming Stripes
'Passive house' technologies The tragedy of the streetcars

'Passive house' technologies

A history of alternatives


"‘Passive house’ technologies were developed in the 1930s: making maximum use of orientation, sunshine and shade, large south-facing windows, insulating blind walls to the north and double-glazing (which appeared on the market in 1932). These were in general luxury homes in the American individualist tradition, which sought to free themselves from urban constraints bound up with energy networks." (Bonneuil and Fressoz, 2016)

The tragedy of the streetcars

A history of environmental harm


"In 1935, the Wheeler-Rayburn Act compelled local electricity companies to sell their streetcar divisions. Suddenly, hundreds of small and unprofitable companies were placed on the market. General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone dealt them the final blow, allying themselves with two small transport businesses, the Rapid Transit Company and Yellow Coach, to purchase the streetcar companies in some fifty American cities at rock-bottom prices. Once in control, they closed down the streetcar lines or replaced them with petrol buses, in order to create new outlets for the automobile industry. In 1949, a court decision against General Motors, Firestone and Standard Oil fined them a derisory $5,000." (Bonneuil and Fressoz, 2016)