Use A Flash Drive; Save A Tree; Ignite A Flash Drive War

| Friday October 24th, 2008 | 4 Comments

flash-rive.jpgThis is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
If you are planning an event or teaching program that involves a lot of data please save a tree and use a flash drive.
At less than 8oz a 1GB flash drive can hold more information that 100 twenty-page teaching manuals. Use a promotional items company like Proforma Green for your drives and we can print your logo, event name, even class title on the side of the drive.
Flash drives are easy to use and no one ever throws them away. They may erase your info but the drive will survive with your information printed on the shell. A great marketing item.
And now for the zinger, the flash memory wars are on again.

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U.S. Wood Pellet Industry Benefits from High Fuel Prices

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday October 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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The high price of oil and gas makes wood pellets a heating alternative, particularly in the Northeast, which relies on oil to heat homes. Wood pellets are made from sawdust, shavings, or ground wood chips which are compressed under high pressure and turned into pellets. The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report about the wood pellet industry in November 2007. The report covered ten years, from 1997 to 2007.
Wood pellets came into existence in North America in the 1970s as an alternative fuel because the price of oil spiked. As the report puts it, “the primary purpose was to help resolve the energy crisis.” Used primarily in the beginning by industrial, commercial and institutional sectors, the first residential wood pellet stoves were sold to consumers in 1983.

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Blue States Lead on Energy Efficiency Initiatives

| Thursday October 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

blue_state.pngForgive me for making partisan political plugs in this most political of seasons, but the states that consistently vote for Democratic party candidates also lead the nation in energy efficiency efforts according to a recent study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Their annual report and ranking of statewide initiatives is funded by the U.S. government through the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to the ACEEE report, California tops the list of U.S. states employing energy efficiency as the “first fuel” to grow their economies while meeting electricity demand, combating global warming, and contributing to U.S. energy security. California was followed by Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Washington. Minnesota and Massachusetts tie for seventh place with Wisconsin and New Jersey rounding out the final two spots in the top ten. The top 14 states in the analysis (all blue but two) also spend quite a bit more than the remaining 36, contributing more than 75% to the total expenditure pie. A Scorecard Webcast is available at the ACEEE website.

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Forget The Green Packaging At Your Peril – A Story

| Thursday October 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

green-box.jpgThis is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
We recently ran 1000 bag clips for the MercyCorps office in New York (if you have never heard of this NGO check them out at mercycorps.com).
The New York office wanted some inexpensive and green items to use as giveaways and they went with the Garyline 6‚Ä≥ Bag Clip molded with up to 100% recycled material and an enhanced biodegradability additive so it beaks down once the clip is introduced to a landfill. Another reason to use Garyline was that their factory is in the Bronx so that lowered the project’s shipping costs and carbon footprint.
So client gets inexpensive, useful, green giveaway and everyone is happy. Right?

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Green Challenge Showcase: SWIFT (Sample Waste Initiative for the Furniture and Textile Industries)

| Thursday October 23rd, 2008 | 3 Comments

Net Impact, a group of future and current leaders who use business to create positive change invited student and professional members to compete in the annual Net Impact Green Challenge. The task: to use their business skills to reduce their organization’s environmental footprint. Sue Patrolia helped create a “SWIFT: Sample Waste Initiative for the Furniture and Textile industries”. Here is her story:
I remember clearly the day in November 2007 that I started SWIFT (Sample Waste Initiative for the Furniture and Textile Industries). It was the day I picked up the phone and called the fabric editor of Furniture Today to ask if anyone else was concerned about all the sample and fabric waste we were dumping into landfills.

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Green Recovery Program could Reduce Unemployment

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday October 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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A report released in September stated that “a green economic recovery program is needed to bring our nation’s economy back to its full capacity.” The report called for $100 billion to be spent over a two-year period. Compiled by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and commissioned by the Center for American Progress (CAP), the report’s green recovery program would be the beginning of a 10 year policy program recommended by CAP in a 2007 report.
The $100 billion investment the report calls for is roughly the same level of investment as the April stimulus package that sent tax rebate checks to taxpayers, and would be paid for with the proceeds from a greenhouse cap and trade program. According to CAP’s 2007 report, ten percent of the revenue from its proposed cap and trade program would be allocated to businesses that operate in energy-intensive sectors, and half the remaining 90 percent would be allocated to low and moderate income people to help offset energy-related price increases. The remaining amount would be allocated for science and technology innovation.

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Biofuels from Algae – Dr. Richard Sayre Separates the Promise from the Hype

| Wednesday October 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center taps Dr. Richard Sayer to study algae-based biofuelLast August Dr. Richard Sayre was named director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Danforth Plant Science Center. Dr. Sayre is one of the nation’s leading researchers in plant biology and genetics. His past research includes work with BioCassava Plus, a project funded with grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at alleviating hunger and malnutrition in third world countries.

Danforth Center president Dr. Roger Beachy sees the appointment of Dr. Sayre as a means of significantly advancing the work of the Danforth Center and Institute for Renewable Fuels:

“Attracting a researcher of Dr. Sayre’s caliber speaks volumes about the work we have done over the last decade – and the pioneering work we will do in the future.”

I had an opportunity last month to discuss with Dr. Sayre his new post at the Danforth Center and what he sees as both the promise and hype of algae-based fuels. 

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Recycling used gadgets by saving the memory of their plastic shapes

| Wednesday October 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

circuit-board-mouse-pad.jpgRecycling gadgets is a headache. Many of the few gadgets that actually are kept out of the landfill are painstakingly taken apart in the Third World under hazardous conditions and creating environmental problems. A new method called Active Disassembly using Smart Materials could be the problem that producers and consumers are looking for.
Product disassembly offers an attractive alternative to manual methods for reducing the landfill and helping countries to get on the legal targets they at the moment fail to achieve. That’s because the method optimizes the recovery of hazardous and valuable components during the recycling process.
David Harrison and Habib Hussein, two scholars who investigated ADSM, claim that by inserting fasteners within the materials of the gadgets, a solution might be at hand. At the end of a product’s life the fasteners can be heated directly, which causes the device case to fall apart without screws having to be undone or stiff clasps opened manually. “This is one important design feature that might make recycling electronic devices with plastic cases much easier”, the two scholars believe. They researched the method at the School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University, UK and have set up a dedicated website (ActiveDisassembly.com) to the issue.

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How Viral Does Green Marketing Get?

| Wednesday October 22nd, 2008 | 5 Comments

viralm.jpgViral marketing is a concept that few of us environmentalists are naturally inclined to take up in a technical sense. Yet there’s no denying that green has got wonderful potential when it comes to creatively using the internet to spread messages.
It’s surprising that there’s hardly any attention from the either marketing professionals for green or from “green eco-battle-axes” in cross fertilizing with the marketer guys. Everybody who knows the very basics of marketing knows that keeping up with the trends is something that’s the hallmark of any successful marketer. Green marketing, whilst a hype in the high street shops, is not so much an online viral gimmick most likely because it’s simply too earthy.

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Bridging the Gap Between Sustainable Fashion and Skinny Wallets

| Wednesday October 22nd, 2008 | 4 Comments

833.jpgIn what some might dismiss as a opportunistic play for the burgeoning market for green fashion, Payless Shoesource will be launching a line of green shoes, clocking in at an average of $30. But look a little deeper, and you’ll see that Summer Rayne Oakes, the iconic poster child of green fashion, whose good looks may distract you from the fact she’s deeply qualified to consult on both what’s most sustainable and at the same time fashionable, is on board here.
The commitment is not a fleeting one, as she is in a multi year contract with Payless, serving to ensure thoughtful choice of materials, while keeping up with current trends, a synergy sure to help this line make a deep impact.
This move is monumental for many reasons:

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Gas Prices + CO2 + Economy = The Perfect Storm

3p Contributor | Wednesday October 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

storm.jpgBy Inimai M. Chettiar
We don’t yet know who will win the White House on November 4th. But what we do know is that the next administration will need to deal with a triplet of crises in the economy, environment, and energy. We’re watching the upward tick of the cost of a gallon of gas, the downward spiral of our economy, and the steady march towards 390 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Any one of these issues could make for a disaster. But as the three fronts converge, what we have is the perfect storm.
Our next President will have to guide us through these waters – and in order to do so, he’ll need some powerful tools. These problems will not be solved by nibbling around the edges with piecemeal policies. We’ll need to look to cross-cutting, innovative and holistic approaches – and that will probably mean government regulation.
If we can learn one thing from the collapse on Wall Street, it’s that sometimes we need regulation . . . and sometimes too little oversight is as dangerous as too much. The key for the new administration in taking on this trifecta of economic, environmental, and energy crises will be finding the balance. We will need to institute new regulations that address all three in a way that minimizes the negative effects on each one..

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Get Your Green Jacket – e.c.o Fleece from Ash City

| Wednesday October 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

ash-city.jpgThis is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
A funny thing happened on the way to this post.
I wanted to write about the new line of e.c.o fleece items from Ash City – they use a fabric that is 75% recycled polyester/25% polyester.
These items are great for any eco-tourism or resort operating in a cold weather area, for eco-friendly landscaping work crews, maybe even as a resell item for a farmers market come the holiday season.

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California households, economy reap benefits of energy efficiency drive

| Tuesday October 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

castateseal.jpg Energy efficiency measures adopted over the last 35 years have enabled California households to save $45 billion on their electricity bills and redirect spending toward other goods and services resulting in the creation of some 1.5 million jobs with a total payroll of $45 billion, according to “Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Job Creation in California,” a research study released today authored by David Roland-Holst of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, or CERES.
De-coupling from a national trend, California’s adoption of landmark energy efficiency policies between 1972 and 2006 has led to per capita electrical power requirements 40% below the national average. Representing more than 70% of gross state product (GSP), household consumption is the most powerful of the Golden State’s economic drivers, Roland-Holst notes, while household expenditures are the primary determinant of state energy use.
Looking ahead towards building upon and amplifying these gains, Roland-Holst finds that by factoring in innovation, the package of policies proposed in the state’s climate change/global warming action Draft Scoping Plan, due up for final review by the California Air Resources Board in December, achieves 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emission targets mandated by AB 32 while increasing Gross State Product by some $76 billion. Real household incomes would increase by as much as $48 billion and as many as 403,000 new energy efficiency and climate action related jobs would be created.
Released in June 2006, the California Air Resources Board’s Draft Scoping Plan is a policy roadmap crafted to meet the emissions reduction targets of AB 32, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020. That translates to eliminating 169 million metric tons of carbon equivalent by 2020 and stabilizing at 427 mmtCO2 overall.
For the full report follow this link.

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ClimatePULSE: Top 10 Renewable Friendly States – “Freeing the Grid”

| Tuesday October 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

This week in ClimatePULSE we take a look at the top 10 green states. But more specifically, those states that have recently taken the lead in accommodating small-scale renewable energy projects. So, what U.S. states are taking that extra step to help individuals and small businesses that want to “go green”? This article will tackle that question with uninhibited enthusiasm and a touch of objectivity. And although this is by no means a general assessment of the environmental policies and practices of each U.S. state, it should help us better understand this year’s “Freeing the Grid” report and particularly which states have the best net metering and interconnection policies – those that allow customers to easily sell power back to the grid.

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The New Solar Bottleneck: Labor Shortage

| Tuesday October 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

The Solar Power International 2008 exhibit hall has a tradition of showcasing new product launches and the latest in solar technology, and this year was no exception. The hardware represented this year, as well as conversations in the halls and conference sessions, highlighted one notable theme absent from past solar industry conference tradeshows I’ve attended in the US: the PV industry is facing a shortage of qualified installers.
With increasing focus on clean, domestic energy generation and federal ITC support now in place, a lack of qualified technicians and installers presents a potentially serious bottleneck to industry growth. In California alone, if the state is to reach its 1 million solar roofs initiative in 10 years, it will require more than 10,000 additional certified installers. This year’s innovative products on the floor attempted to address the problem by reducing the time and complexity of the installation process.

Product Innovation Focuses on Installation

The expo floor showcased a new breed of simplified panel technologies, including wiring, grounding, and mounting elements incorporated into the module framing systems themselves, and simplified wiring harnesses. Developers of microinverters module-integrated inverter systems also demonstrated powerline communications that promise to virtually eliminate all DC and communications wiring, reducing system design and installation requirements to an absolute minimum.

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