Green Energy And IT? A Match Made In Heaven!

| Saturday October 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

proto.jpgElectronics giants have various options to produce devices that are less damaging for the environment. Among the easier options is to design products that are less energy consuming. But the companies are increasingly devoting their talent and know how to the creation of proprietary power generating systems for their own manufacturing plants to run on wind or solar energy.
Many of the larger electronics companies have announced intentions to this end. The latest manufacturer to reveal details to the public of plans to ‘green’ their internal energy consumption is Hewlett Packard. The computer producer which recently concluded its conversion to solar energy for its San Diego research center, said it will now get into wind energy for its Austin operations.

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World Conservation Congress

Tori Okner | Saturday October 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

green_congress_5805.gifLast week marked the 60th anniversary of the World Conservation Congress. The Congress is a ten-day forum for leaders in academia, business, government, NGO’s and the UN. Led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this year’s event in Barcelona drew over 8,000 participants. Julia Marton-Lef√®vre, Director General of the IUCN, declared, “The clear message coming out of this meeting is that biodiversity underpins the well-being of human societies and their economies.”
The World Conservation Congress has played a historic role in shaping global environmental treaties, the substance of which are first considered before the Congress. The ICUN often continues by working on draft materials, contributing to treaty law, including the International Covenant on Environment and Development. Accordingly, private sector participation is crucial at the early stages and business is playing an increasing role in the Congress, with over 70 companies now represented.

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Scientists: It’s Confirmed That Sea Levels Rise 0.5 mm Every Year

| Friday October 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment

European and US researchers who claim they’ve found a better way of measuring the melting ice cap say they’re quite sure that Greenland’s melting ice cap makes sea levels rise by half a millimeter annually.

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Project Better Place Expands Into Australia

| Friday October 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Project Better PlaceWe first looked at Project Better Place back in April, when the Silicon Valley startup announced a partnership with Danish DONG Energy to establish an electric car network in Denmark.

The idea of Better Place is to provide a network of wind-powered recharging and “switching” stations for electrics cars – building an “electric car infrastructure”. That infrastructure consists of three key components other than the electric cars themselves (which will be manufactured by Renault-Nissan):

  • “Charging spots” to keep batteries topped off so cars will always have a 100 mile range
  • Battery switching stations for longer distance trips (drivers simply pull in and the battery is swapped out in about the time it takes to fill a tank of gas – no need to even get out of the car)
  • Software to automate the process

With successful partnerships reached earlier this year to launch the program in Denmark and Israel (for cars on the market by 2011), Better Place CEO Shai Agassi has announced a deal with Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd. and Macquarie Capital Group to raise A$1 billion ($670 million US) to develop the program in Australia, with the first mass-market cars expected to be available for the 2012 model year.

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European Scientists: ‘Let’s Set Up A Global Solar Energy Grid’

| Friday October 24th, 2008 | 10 Comments

sunen.gifThe Europeans are serious about nanotechnology to wean countries off using fossil fuels in the next century. There´s considerable interest in setting up a solar grid that is global because the sun consistently shines on some part of the planet.
The technologies European scientists say are going to dominate the sustainable energy sector include Dye Sensitized solar Cells (DSCs) and biomimetics. These two technologies are popular because they show great promise for capturing or storing solar energy. At the same time, nanocatalysis already has begun to churn out efficient methods for energy-saving industrial processes convincingly.

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday October 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

california-state-main.jpg Strong Energy Policy Can Save California Big Money Two studies out this week model the impact of strong renewable energy policies in California and show us what we new already: they’ll lead to job creation, increased household incomes and an increase in Gross State Product. Woot.
Computer.jpg Online Bill-Pay: Save Paper! Save Money! Save Time! This article outlines all the big environmental savings to be had from getting off paper bill addiction. If only they could pay my bills for me too.
lincoln.jpg Energy and Environmental Big Shots Blog about the Economy This is cool. Presidents of the top environmental (and my own science based!) non-profits, as well as head honchos of financial firms, utilities, and government and university energy institutes blog about the impact of economic downfall on the renewable energy sector. That writer has some rolodex.
best%20buy.jpg Best Buy Sets Aggressive GHG Reduction Target Best Buy plans to cut emissions 8% per square foot by 2012 company wide without sacrificing expansion. Plans to reduce emissions include placing skylights in all new stores. Looks like someone at corporate finally caught on to the fact that natural lighting can boost sales in a retail environment (site)
walmart.jpg Wal*Mart CEO Lee Scott Calls for Reduced Consumption Mr. Get More for Your Money himself may have seen the light of sustainability after all that work on reducing packaging in the supply chain. Can Wal*Mart really take a U-Turn on the high-volume low-quality business model?
money.jpgThinking Green: Only Invest in Eco Projects with Financial Return
Joel Makower reminds us that you can still be a business person and be sustainable. Just choose the eco-investments with a positive return! He’s surprised that you are surprised.
Lastly, here at 3P we were busy talking about
Carbon Zero cities, Starbucks green (or are they greenwashing?) initiatives and incentives to increase solar power in San Francisco.

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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

wind%20turbine.jpg
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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