Tesla? Ha, who needs it! Here comes AMP!

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 8 Comments

AMP%20electric%20car%20no%20oil%20needed.pngTesla has long dominated news of electric cars, with its sexy Ferrari-like styling, famous customers, and tabloid worthy behind the scenes politics. But what if you don’t have in excess of $109,000 for the base model? What if you don’t want to wait a year? What if you don’t want to settle for a close cousin of the golf cart? What if you’d like to travel further than your commute?
Up until now, your options were pretty well non existent. Now comes the AMP, which looks suspiciously like a Saturn Sky. That’s because it is, converted to be a plug in electric, with a 150 mile range, 0-60 in under 6 seconds, at a total pre-tax cost including the car of around $50,000. That’s $10,000 less then the deposit alone for a Tesla!

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Congressional Bills that address Climate Change

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

All over Washington, you can hear the giant scraping sound of officials and legislators frantically back-tracking,” begins the U.S. edition of George Monbiot’s book Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. In 2007 the sound of scraping must have echoed because the U.S. Senate introduced two climate change bills.
The Climate Security Act, also known as the Lieberman-Warner bill, after its two sponsors, Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner, would establish a cap and trade program. It would require the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) administrator to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions registry, and provides for the exchanging, transferring, submitting, retiring, or borrowing of emission allowances.

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KL M Proposes to Power Planes With Algae

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 5 Comments

KLM.jpgThis has all the risks of being one of those hair-brained ideas thrown together to get attention and then amounting to being less than spectacular: KLM has partnered with a firm called AlgaeLink to produce an aviation fuel derived from Algae.
According to Radio Netherlands:

The Dutch carrier says if all goes according to plan 12 Fokker-50 planes – representing seven percent of KLM’s fleet – will fly on fuel derived from algae by 2010.

Most likely, the planes will be powered by a blend of fuels, though according to AlgaeLink (PDF here), KLM has every intention of running the 12 Fokkers on 100% biofuel.

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Intel Releases 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 2 Comments

Cit_002NTL_020108a.jpgIntel Corp. released its 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report earlier today. Voluntarily reporting in conformance with the Global Reporting Initative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the report provides insight into Intel’s worldwide operations and facilities for the fiscal year just past, as well as an extended five years’ worth of historical performance data, compiled and reported so as to provide a better perspective of trends.
Assessing the organization’s own performance using the GRI Index, Intel graded itself GRI Application B-plus. According to the company’s CR report, “At Intel, we believe that corporate responsibility is essential to our business. Our approach is motivated by our understanding that the success of our company cannot be separated from the health of the planet or the communities in which we operate. As a global technology and business leader, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help advance environmental sustainability, improve education, and strengthen communities worldwide – through the innovative application technology and the hands-on commitment and leadership that we can provide.”

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Energy Scavenging: Squeezing Watts from Motion

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 1 Comment

kneebracepower.jpg
Using the same technology that allows hybrid cars to recycle braking energy, Max Donelan invented a gadget that produces power from the human knee – capable of producing 2.5 watts of electricity per leg. The unit is not too practical at the moment, but the technology and potential is sound. Currently the knee power generator weighs in at 3.5 lbs and it looks very awkward to have strapped on. Although 2.5 watts doesn’t seem like too much it is enough to power 5 mobile phones free of charge or resource.
The thought of generating my own power through my own caloric fuel output is intriguing. With the rising costs of energy, creative ways of generating power cheaply is exactly what we need. It would appear that the days of inexpensive power are over so a little energy scavenging coupled with energy efficiency is as good a plan as any. Hardship drives innovation and the growing global energy crisis is spawning brilliant ideas into usable products and systems.

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Build It Well and Smart

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

27seabrook0.190.jpgBuild it well, and smart, and they will come.
That’s a big part of the lesson from Seabrook, Washington, where a young developer named Casey Roloff has brought his New Urbanist approach to the state’s northern coastline. For decades, coastal development has failed in this part of the state, with nothing more than seedy resorts and strip malls to show for it. Meantime, the area’s logging and fishing industries have been on the steep decline for a while, with the unemployment rate currently at 7 percent.
Roloff’s plan was simple: construct quality buildings with good design, including porches and gabled roofs; make the streets walkable and bikable within a compact downtown area; create trails and easy ocean access; throw in a boutique hotel and organic community garden. Just the kind of place most people want to live in, and vacation in. While not perfect by any stretch – all development has costs, in Seabrook’s case the threat of gentrification and environmental impacts on water and sewer systems among them – the shift to an amenity-based economy, with construction jobs, tourism and a commitment to conservation, is a wave Roloff’s intent to ride all the way to bank. And at 36, he’s got plenty of time for surfing.

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ClimatePULSE: Town and Country – A Look at Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgAgriculture is a prominent topic in the current policy and market discussions regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. Crop practices and livestock management are scrutinized for energy intensity and GHG emissions and mitigation potential. Biofuels policies are criticized as a threat to food supplies. Food, the practices providing it, and the countryside from which it comes, continue to gain attention in the ongoing debate concerning economic and environmental sustainability. In this debate, a fundamental question is, “who drives decisions on the farm?” An obvious answer is, “Farmers do”.

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Carbon Point Study Estimates Global Carbon Market Could Top $3 Trillion by 2020

Thomas Schueneman | Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

point_carbon.gifA study released last week by Point Carbon, a European consultancy and analyst service in global power and carbon markets, estimates that the world carbon market could be worth $3.1 trillion dollars by 2020.  

The estimate assumes that the United States adopts a cap and trade mechanism similar to the plan introduced in the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and that the EU has in place a 25% emissions reduction target.

Given the scenario laid out in Point Carbon’s analysis, 67% of this market is held within the United States. The European Union, with the only cap-and-trade system already in place, will control the second largest share of the future carbon market.

This projection represents a trading volume of 38 billion tones of carbon equivalent (Gt CO2e) per year by 2020.

As well as the U.S and EU, the study estimates there are also cap-and-trade carbon markets operating in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Turkey.

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Europe Is Going To Legislate What Makes A Product Green

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

gpp.jpgThe European environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has announced plans to achieve lower energy consumption by legislating what actually makes a green product. The initiative will be entitled the Sustainability Package and the new rules can be used to organize green procurement.

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Johnson Controls Aims for LEED Platinum

| Monday May 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment

johnsoncontrols-logo.jpgAs I’ve remarked on numerous times in the past (links here), Johnson Controls remains one of the great unsung leaders in efficiency – having been making buildings more efficient since long before it became trendy.
Now, they’ve taken their expertise to their own operations with a complete gutting and renovation of their corporate headquarters with LEED platinum as the goal. (story here, requires sub). If succesful, the project would be the first multi-building LEED platinum facility in the world, and as far as I know, the first Fortune 500 headquarters to achieve any LEED rating (please correct me if I’m wrong on that).
The buildings will be powered by a combination of solar, geothermal and wind (no word on what percentage) and will feature everything from rainwater retention to personal energy settings in every office. However, it’s unlikely that its suburban location will result in many changes in employee commute patterns. Still, it’s a project worth watching and, likely, a model for all large corporations to learn from.

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Building Information Modeling – Strategies for Green Building Technologies

| Monday May 26th, 2008 | 2 Comments

bim4.jpgIn a previous post (link), I covered how BIM (Building Information Modeling) was changing the Architectural, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry, and also provided insights on the market drivers that green technology vendors in this space should be aware of, to leverage BIM for growth. In this column I will cover some insights on growth strategies for the federal buildings sector, as well as general growth strategy insights from key thought leaders in the market.
BIM (Building Information Modeling) is not just the adoption of new technology, but also incorporates new collaborative workflow. There is more emphasis on collaborative design and planning in the beginning phases of a project, so that costs and risks in later stages like construction and operations (where most of the costs are incurred) may be managed and contained. Green tech vendors should be involved in these early planning stages, so that a realistic assessment of cost savings and improved environmental performance are identified. Also, they can add value to the optimization process (conducting ‚Äòwhat if’ scenarios), which may lead to additional savings and benefits that may not have been readily apparent.

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Hand Over Your Cooking Oils And Get A Reduced Busfare – Scottish Bus Network Goes Carbon Neutral

| Monday May 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

buccleuch.jpgYou can get a reduction on your busfare in Scotland if you hand over your cooking oil to a recycling plant making biofuels. Stagecoach, Scotland’s largest transport company, booked so much success with this green scheme in the past six months, it’s now embarking on a drive to become completely carbon neutral by the end of this year.

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U.S. Oil Subsidies Need to Go

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Saturday May 24th, 2008 | 5 Comments

company-oil.gifIn February the House passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, or H.R. 5351, which would repeal the $18 billion in tax breaks for multinational oil companies. The bill would create tax breaks for producers of renewable energy, fuel, and electricity. The bill needs Senate approval.
During a speech while the House debated the bill, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) said, “We’re wrapped around the axle of oil because of these tax subsidies. It’s time to change course. We’re ready to launch a rocket of clean-energy innovation in this country, but opponents of these clean-energy investments are putting a hold on the countdown. We’re about two seconds away from having a burst of economic growth in this county. If they allow these tax breaks to expire, it’ll strangle the birth of new industries.”

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How Can Cities Attract Clean-Tech and Green Buildings?

Shannon Arvizu | Friday May 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

At this week’s GreenWest Expo (www.greenwestexpo.com), city representatives and industry players were on hand to discuss how each can mutually benefit each other. In this short video segment, four specific strategies are proposed to increase clean technology and green building development in urban centers.

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Climate Change and a ‚ÄòSocial Conscience’ for Business

| Friday May 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

world-444.jpgFor the last two days Australian business representatives, government and the non-profit sector have convened at the 9th annual National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development. The theme for this year’s forum was ‚ÄòRe-Calibrating the Risk from Climate Change: an urgent business task.’ Throughout the each day, invitees have participated in a range of workshops, covering topics such as the implementation of the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme to exploring ‚Äòsociocracy’ as a new method of governance.
One of the most interesting topics discussed at the conference related to social responsibility. At the opening presentation, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced funding for a key project that will assist businesses to operate in line with standards of corporate social resposibility. According to The Australian newspaper, the project is essentially

“aimed at helping business develop more of a social conscience.”

LINK HERE

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