Westinghouse Supports Green Plug Technology, First Step Toward a Universal Power Adapter Future?

| Tuesday June 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Green_Plug_logo.jpgGreen Plug has a vision: to reduce energy and material waste in electronics. How are they going to do it? By implementing an embeddable power supply technology in consumer electronics that would allow for multiple devices to communicate energy needs to a single, universal power adapter. The technology will help increase energy efficiency by eliminating phantom power, power that is wasted on charged or unused electronics that are plugged in. The technology also supports a universal connector for all devices, eliminating the need for multiple, incompatible cables. When adapters and cables will not have to be discarded when replacing old devices with new ones, the amount of e-waste will decrease.
This vision can’t be accomplished without the help of manufacturers. Westinghouse, maker of computer monitors, televisions, and digital picture frames, is the first among electronics manufacturers to adopt the Green Plug technology into their devices.

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CherryPal’s green cloud computer

| Tuesday June 17th, 2008 | 2 Comments

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“Today you can find green food…green power…so why on earth hasn’t someone created an inexpensive green computer?” So goes the flash ad on CherryPal’s website announcing the August 4th arrival of what CherryPal CEO Max Seybold calls “the most affordable, greenest computer on the market.”
Running on just 2W of energy the CherryPal utilizes a 400 Mhz Freescale processor (not to be compared to AMD or Intel chips since the whole platform is different). Many are skeptical about the speed of the computer, but Seybold promises that the 10.5 oz computer can boot in 20 seconds and speed through applications utilizing its cloud networked software delivery system.
The CherryPal folks have stripped 80% of the normal PC innards, resulting in a simple machine about the size of a paperback. The computer will run on a Linux based operating system and will include 2 USB ports,256 MB DDR, Wifi connectivity, 4GB of internal storage, and 50GB of online storage.
Some remain skeptical that the system will deliver the speed, storage, and functions that users want. The Register, for instance, asks how iTunes would work on a system that only has 4GB of internal storage. An important question since CherryPal is targeted to a young, environmentally conscious audience that may still be reluctant to give up their iPods.
Until CherryPal releases its demonstration models of the desktop in a few weeks all is speculation. For now this is certainly a product worth watching.

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Zero Emissions Hondas on their way to So Cal

| Tuesday June 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment

hondaFCXClarity.jpg Actress Jaime Lee Curtis and her director-husband Christopher Guest are among the first five people in the U.S. chosen to take delivery of Honda’s hydrogen-powered zero-emissions FCX Clarity. All reside in southern California, one of the only areas of the country where some filling stations exist.
Weighing in at 3,600 pounds, the zero-emissions auto has a range of 270 miles per single fill-up – about 74 miles per gallon – and a max speed of 100 mph. In addition to not producing any greenhouse gas emissions, the Clarity is twice as efficient as a gas-electric hybrid and three times more efficient than a standard gasoline-powered car, according to a company news release.
A lack of hydrogen filling stations is a big limiting factor limiting production and sales of hydrogen powered vehicles and was the primary criteria American Honda used to choose the first Clarity owners in the U.S..
Honda expects to lease a “few dozen” Clarity vehicles this year and around 200 within the next three. In California, a three-year lease will cost $600 a month, including maintenance and collision, according to this report by AP’s Tomoko A. Hosaka.

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The Regulatory Arena for Voluntary Offsets

| Tuesday June 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

horsed.jpgIn the wild west of offset sales, regulators are the saloon owners who kept their guns locked and loaded under the counter. Regulation schemes are filling in to provide some consistency in a wildly unreliable marketplace. As you know, carbon offsets are extremely abstract. A buyer can’t kick the tires, check the teeth, or do any sort of personal examination of the product before buying it. That’s why regulation is so important.
If you’ve considered buying offsets, you’ve probably heard that you should buy “verified” ones. The purpose of verification is to ensure that the carbon offset meets four standards of rigor. It should be verifiable (the project actually happened), additional (it wouldn’t have happened without your money), leakage-free (the carbon you’ve sequestered isn’t going anywhere), and permanent (those trees you paid for won’t be cut down and turned into paper napkins). In the absence of regulation, a nefarious offset retailer could actually be selling you nothing at all. So we’re all agreed we need to go regulated. The trouble is, the regulatory landscape is just about as complicated as the offsets market.

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BBMG: Helping Socially Conscious Companies

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday June 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

bbmg_logo.gifIn 2007 BBMG, a marketing and branding company that helps socially conscious companies, conducted research on conscious consumers. Founded by Raphael Bemporad and Mitch Baranowski, the company’s researcher first looked at the purchasing decisions of 24 consumers in three cities: Lawrence, KS; Long Island, NY; and Livermore, CA.
Researchers observed the behaviors, values, and experiences of the consumers in order to learn why American consumers are becoming more socially aware. The findings were compiled into the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report.

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Trailer Tails – Commercially Available Device to Make Trucks 6-12% More Efficient

| Monday June 16th, 2008 | 8 Comments

trailer-tail.gifWith no end in sight for high fuel prices, the pressure is on for the world’s truckers to take steps to cut back on fuel use or price themselves out of business. This task means changing driving styles as well as implementing aerodynamic changes to their vehicles. The latter technique is estimated to have the potential to save 2.4 Billion gallons of fuel annually. Do the math on that, line up the entrepreneurs and there’s a ginormous business opportunity at your feet.
Enter ATDyamics, who have invented a device called a “Trailer Tail” which is an aerodynamic attachment to the rear of a truck which results in 5-6% greater fuel efficiency. Match the Trailer Tail with side-skirt panels and you’ll get an additional 4-7%, tests show.
Of course such ideas come with unexpected challenges – The biggest – how do you close open the doors when there’s a tail on the truck?

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Are Carbon Offsets Immoral?

| Monday June 16th, 2008 | 5 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgIn my previous role as Executive Director of LiveNeutral I regularly received emails from friends and colleagues sharing the website or videos developed by the “CheatNeutral” (http://cheatneutral.com/). They asked if I though it somehow damaged or diminished the objective of LiveNeutral which in part promotes the use of carbon offsets as a tool to help prevent catastrophic climate change. This pertains as much to the work of ClimateCHECK as it does to LiveNeutral and is an important concept to consider for those of us in or interested in the carbon markets industry.

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IEA Lays Out Roadmap for Sustained Economic Growth Based on Clean, Affordable Energy Technology

| Monday June 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Global CO2 emissions could be reduced 50% by 2050 without sacrificing economic development and growth by focusing on the development and promoting the adoption of 17 key advanced energy technologies. So asserts the International Energy Agency – one of, if not the most authoritative sources of information and research on world energy supply-demand, technology and market conditions – in its latest bi-ennial report, “IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2008.”
Responding to the G-8′s call for guidance on how to achieve “a clean, clever and competitive energy future,” the International Energy Agency released “IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2008″ June 6 in Tokyo in which it lays out three possible alternative courses – a business-as-usual case, a set of ACT scenarios, and a set of BLUE scenarios – projecting the path of global CO2 emissions and energy supply and demand out to 2050.
“The world faces the daunting combination of surging energy demand, rising greenhouse gas emissions and tightening resources. A global energy technology revolution is both necessary and achievable; but it will be a tough challenge”, Nobuo Tanaka, IEA’s executive director said upon announcing the report’s release in Tokyo.

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ACNielsen Reports Organic Sales on the Rise Despite Economy

| Sunday June 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

nielson.pngAccording to an ACNielsen and Natural Marketing Institute study (PDF), green consumers are willing to pay more for organic, natural or environmentally-friendly products compared to “non-green” consumers. The section of consumers termed “lifestyles of health and sustainability” or “LOHAS” spend the most on consumer packaged goods such as cereal, jelly, pasta, produce, soup and ready-to-serve prepared food despite the state of the economy.
“LOHAS” products represent a $209 billion industry, a number that is suspected to rise to $400 billion by 2010. Small brands are able to succeed in the face of such demand. According to Brandweek, Ian’s Natural Food’s is growing 45% annually while Nature’s Path Foods grew 30% in the first half of this year and plans to launch 15 new products. ACNielsen and NMI point out that there are still more categories (sports drinks, baking mixes, and syrups among them) that represent “opportunities for CPG manufacturers and retailers seeking to capture LOHAS consumers wallet.”

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Renewable Energy: 3 Reasons Storage is Crucial

Sarah Lozanova | Saturday June 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

ausra%20tube%20small.jpgThe ability to store energy will be crucial for renewable energy sources to flourish and become a major source of energy. As the industry matures, affordable storage will increasing become an important obstacle to overcome.
This is why:
Cost Effective
Not all watts are created equal. During peak demand on the electric grid, electric companies will pay more for electricity. The opposite is true during times of low demand. Solar energy tends to correspond with these price fluctuations by generating large amounts of electricity during times of peak demand.
This is because air conditioning loads are largely responsible for increased electric demand. People tend to crank up the a.c. when the sun it out. Wind energy and other renewable energy sources however don’t necessarily correspond as closely.

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The Death of the SUV and the Wisconsin City Dealing With the Repercussions

| Friday June 13th, 2008 | 6 Comments
GM SUV

Photo Courtesy of Autoblog.com

Opened in 1919, the GM auto plant in Janesville, WI is the company’s oldest in the country. It has survived both the Great Depression and WWII. The place is an institution. And, according to GM CEO Rick Wagoner, that institution is going to close by 2010.

This is but one of four SUV-producing auto plants that will feel the pinch of corporate belt-tightening, as production costs soar and public opinion of larger, gas guzzling cars diminishes. Along with Ford and other automotive manufacturers, GM intends to focus production on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as we witness the “structural” rather than a “cyclical” change in the auto industry, according to Wagoner.

The GM CEO even said that the company will take the Hummer under “strategic review,” hinting at possibly selling off the once immensely-popular line. For all intents and purposes, this symbolizes a win in the war against the fuel-inefficient, impractical SUV that has haunted environmentalists for years.

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SunEthanol-Harvard Team Up on ‚ÄòQ’ Microbe-Ethanol Production

| Friday June 13th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Researchers at Harvard University Medical School working with SunEthanol will try to develop new, genetically modified strains of the ‚ÄòQ’ microbe, an anaerobic bacterium found in soil that holds out the promise of accelerating the commercialization of second-generation biofuels made from woody biomass and the remnants of food crops, such as switchgrass, corn stover, wheat straw, sugar cane bagasse and wood pulp, as well as other organic material, such as recycled newspapers and wood chips.
SunEthanol has developed a more efficient Complete Cellulose Conversion industrial process that harnesses the ‚ÄòQ’ microbe’s ability to very efficiently break down sugars found in plant material and convert them into ethanol, thereby significantly reducing the costs of producing a commercial fuel from biomass.
By employing microbes, in theory, as much as 96% of energy in plant sugars can be converted to ethanol. Actual yields are slightly lower but still the most efficient yet found, according to Dartmouth College professor of engineering and biology Lee Lynd.
*Photos courtesy: Sun Ethanol

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UK Government Offers Cash For Biomass For Heat And Energy Generation

| Friday June 13th, 2008 | 2 Comments

scotwillow.jpgUK farmers and businesses producing biomass that can be used for fuel and electricity creation can apply for government grants of up to GBP200,000. By paying farmers for various types of wood, grass, straw and dead forest wood, the UK government hopes to raise electricity derived from biomass supply to 6% by 2020, up from 3.5% now. Demand for renewable heat is expected to increase to 6% by 2020, up from 0.6% currently.

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Brazil’s Banco Real Named Financial Times Sustainable Bank of the Year

| Thursday June 12th, 2008 | 1 Comment

ft-ppp.jpgEdging out 129 institutions across 54 countries, Brazil’s Banco Real was chosen as this year’s Sustainable Bank of the Year by London’s Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Awards were given out to financial institutions operating with triple bottom line principles, incorporating social and environmental aims into their investment portfolios and business practices.
“When we initiated this process of inserting sustainability into our business,” according to a statement by the bank, “our aim was to build a new bank for a new society, and reinforce the role of banks generally as agents for economic and social development.” A subsidiary of Spain’s Banco Santander, Real has a product portfolio offering carbon credit solutions as well as fosters local development through microcredit initiatives.

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Clearing Forests Of Dead Wood Prevents Massive CO2 Emissions

| Thursday June 12th, 2008 | 13 Comments

woodb.jpgIt’s a known fact that trees are only temporarily carbon sequesters and that by the time they start to rot, all the nasty material gets transmitted back into the atmosphere again. So why not prevent this? Thus far we’ve been held back from doing so because intervening into the natural cycle somehow doesn’t feel right. But if we only tidied up one sixth of all the tree wastage lying around on the forest floors, we’d be nearing the carbon levels emitted by burning fossil fuels.

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