WAKE UP CALL: Start your day right with GRID's grab bag of sustainability news

The TrailerTail, Image via atdynamics.comGone with the wind

Trucks could be getting a makeover thanks to new fuel economy standards and the TrailerTail. A four-foot extension that attaches to the back doors of a tractor-trailer, this product—made of plastic composite, springs and metal tubing—minimizes the “wind vortex left behind on the highway,” increasing fuel economy. The TrailerTail comes at a convenient time; the EPA will soon be issuing the first-ever fuel economy standards for trucks. Green Blog via NY Times

 

Small homes, big problems

The company Tata recently marketed a $700, 215-square-foot home in response to the homelessness crisis in India. But the 20-year lifespan of the Tata home makes it almost disposable—and there’s nothing eco-friendly about that. While smaller homes can mean lower building and energy costs, their construction in the U.S. also raises legal issues about zoning codes. GOOD

Renewable energy community style

California cities, counties and collaborations now have the option to source 100% of their energy from renewable sources. Marin Clean Energy, which started operations last year, is the first operational community choice aggregate (CCA). A CCA brings together the buying power of community members to purchase alternative energy contracts. Marin Clean Energy is filling the niche for mid-sized renewable energy needs, already contracting more renewable energy services than the larger Pacific Gas & Electric. Grist

Mystery meat no more

How much of our meat is enhanced? Well, consumers will be able to find out thanks to a new rule announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would require labels making it clear if the meat is enhanced with sodium solutions. These solutions add volume to the meat and can replace flavor and moisture loss that happens in raising leaner animals or overcooking. Currently, about 30 percent of poultry, 15 percent of beef, and 90 percent of pork are injected with a liquid solution before sale. NPR