The Wasteful Door Unlocker Analysis

| Monday March 20th, 2006 | 1 Comment

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This post is partly for the sake of amusement, but may have some useful points. Last night at an event, my collegue Pablo noticed that the locking mechanisms on the door were hot to the touch. Quite Hot. It turns out that the lock had a constant stream of electricity flowing through it in order to keep it engaged. In the event of a fire (or presumably a power outage) the door would lose its charge and unlock. But for the most part it just sits there heating up and wasting electricity. So we sat down and decided to figure out just how wasteful it was (I’ll withold the brand name). Here’s Pablo’s analysis:
The unit uses 8W 24hours day. kWh/year = .008kWh/h x 8760h =70.8kWh
Which, at $0.13/kWh: 70.8kWh x $0.13/kWh = $9.204/year per door

Nine bucks a year is pretty trivial, and surprisingly low given the heat coming off this thing, but it was a useful little exercise in noticing and analysing inefficiencies! Find enough 9 dollar items and you’ll eventually save a fortune.

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Wisconsin Renewables and Efficiency Bill Passes

| Friday March 17th, 2006 | 0 Comments

wisc.jpgJoining other leading states, Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle signed into law a bill to pave the way toward more green energy. “The Energy Efficiency and Renewables Act focuses on three areas: increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin, promoting the development of renewable energy technologies, and strengthening the state’s energy efficiency programs to maximize their benefit.” Pretty good looking bill – read the official release here.
Rumor has it, one of the State Assembly speakers mentioned treehugger.com while the proceedings were underway. If you’re a state intern or have access to one, perhaps you could confirm?

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Could Insurance Companies Subsidize Healthy Eating?

| Friday March 17th, 2006 | 1 Comment

veggiesdd.jpgAccording to a nifty radio show called “Beyond Organic” certain Wisconsin insurance companies are giving rebates to customers who buy their vegetables from local farms. There are also similar rebates to organic growers in Iowa. It sound’s too good to be true, but it’s happening and sound’s like great, unusually forward thinking by insurers who are, of course, making an investment in their customers’ good health. You can hear the radio show by clicking this link.

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Imagine Everything Priced as its Oil Barrel Equivalent

| Thursday March 16th, 2006 | 0 Comments

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This is basically a novelty, but it’s also an amusing exercise in perspective. If you happen to use Firefox (which you should) and you’re comfortable installing Firefox extensions, then check out “Oil Standard“. It’s a plugin that will convert dollars to oil any time you browse a web page that has a price displayed somewhere on it. Not only that, but when you mouseover a price, you get a little news headline that’s got some relevance to the the oil industry, peak oil, etc…

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Oakland’s Quest for “Zero Waste” on MP3 Audio

| Thursday March 16th, 2006 | 0 Comments

zerowaste.jpgThe city of Oakland recently passed a resolution to become a “zero waste” city by the year 2020. It’s a pretty ambitious idea that’s going to take a lot of sweat and planning. Check out this MP3 audio file to hear all about it. Thanks to eWaste Insights for the link!

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Take the Business in Development Challenge

| Wednesday March 15th, 2006 | 0 Comments

biz_dev_challenge.gifEntreplist points us to an interesting challenge called the BiD Challenge 2006. The €150,000 start-up-money prize will be awarded to whoever best develops a plan that reduces poverty while creating an income positive business.
THe BiD have a deadline of March 20th, but only require a 3-page plan. More on the site.

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Japanese “Cool Biz” Program Paying Off

| Wednesday March 15th, 2006 | 1 Comment

acdiag.jpgWe’ve reported earlier about Japan’s zany “warm biz” program that encourages businesses to lower the thermostat in winter and get people to wear warmer clothes. There’s also a slightly more comfortable program called “Cool Biz” which turns down the air conditioning a little bit in the summer while allowing employees to remove cumbersome jackets and ties – moving towards casual business is a rare move in Japan. Well, it turns out the program has saved as much as 460,000 tons of CO2 last summer alone. Article here. No word on the fate of overheated officeworkers.

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The MBA’s Climate Primer

| Tuesday March 14th, 2006 | 0 Comments

gsb.jpgOne of the cooler ‘freebies’ that Stanford Business School passed out at the Net Impact conference last November was a “Primer” on climate change. The problem was the print was so tiny you could hardly read it. I has happy to discover the other day that there’s a downloadable PDF version which not only saves paper, but can be enlarged. Have a look at it here! The key takeaway:

Climate change may prove to be the most important business issue of the 21st century.
Managers who wish to be responsible to shareholders and the broader community must be prepared to face the challenges and opportunities presented by our shifting climate. Trillions of dollars, millions of lives, thousands of species – infinite solutions

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Would You Like to Charge your Carbon Impact?

| Monday March 13th, 2006 | 0 Comments

creditcards.jpg“Domestic Tradable Quotas” are a new idea being pondered in Europe to bring the general public into the emissions reduction and trading game. Imaging having a personal allowance of X tons of carbon. Then every time you buy something, that item’s carbon footprint is deducted from your account. If you end up with a negative account at the end of the year, you’ll have to pay a fee. If it’s positive, you can cash it in, like a sort of “Carbon Reward Card”. The collective allowance would be capped, and reduced annually, thus lowering climate impact. It might be quite expensive to implement. Would it work? Check this BBC article for more!

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Cashing in on the Future of Ethanol

| Friday March 10th, 2006 | 3 Comments

ethanol.jpgEthanol may not be the perfect solution to our environmental and oil-based woes, but it’s probably better than what we’ve got now. Either way, Ethanol is taking off, and people are eager to cash in on this new cash crop. In South Africa a firm called Ethanol Africa is investing a whopping $1 Billion on new ethnaol plants across the country to take advantage of higher fuel standards in Europe and elsewhere (See Reuters). The project is backed primarily by corn growers.

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Treehugger TV Launches

| Friday March 10th, 2006 | 0 Comments

Treehugger is soon to become the sibling of Triple Pundit (or some other analogous role pending a multi-million dollar merger), and therefore I get the good word early on certain exciting projects. Namely – Treehugger TV! The new “station” has launched and will be featuring short videos about businesses, organizations, or inspired folks that will entertain and inspire you! Check it out, it’s really cool. You can also subscribe via iTunes.

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Presidio MBA Program Open House Wednesday in San Francisco

| Friday March 10th, 2006 | 0 Comments

presmba.gifIf you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are considering entering an MBA program, please join Presidio faculty, staff, graduates, and students for an MBA Open House on Wednesday, March 15, from 6-8pm.
There will be a half-hour faculty panel presentation moderated by Paul Sheldon, featuring Presidio Provost Dr. Ron Nahser, Natural Capitalism co-author Hunter Lovins, and other distinguished Presidio faculty. It’s a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. See you there!
Open House Location:
Presidio School of Management Main Office
Bldg. 36 on Lincoln Blvd @ Graham Street [MAP HERE]
in the Presidio of San Francisco
Note: The sign outside the building reads “Presidio World College”
You must RSVP to: info-at-presidiomba.org

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Meeting the Developing World’s Energy Needs Sustainably

| Thursday March 9th, 2006 | 1 Comment

solarenergy65.jpgOne of my favorite topics is the developing world’s energy needs. If developing nations take the same path toward energy production that we’ve chosen, the whole planet is likely doomed. So, finding a fair solution that makes everyone happy is one of our most pertinent challenges. According to this WBCSD piece, it’s quite possible to meet the developing world’s needs without increasing carbon emissions, but that article doesn’t talk a lot about how to go about doing it. In my opinion, it’s most definitely in the best interest of weatlhy nations to make investments in renewable energy infrasctucture everywhere, not just at home. That’s one way to get going.

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Timbuk2’s “Totally Sustainable” Bag at TED

| Thursday March 9th, 2006 | 2 Comments

tedgiftbag.jpgThe TED Conference recently happened in Monterey, CA – it’s one of the most amazing (not that I’ve been) conferences of the year. You can read all about it here. But this post is about the bags. A super cool conference needs super cool bags, and who better to provide them than Timbuk2.
Anyway, the bag they gave away at the conference is designed to embrace the first stages of the “cradle to cradle” philosophy of William McDonough – produced with sustainable materials, and totally recycleable at the end of its life into useful material. It’s only a start – “totally sustainable” is wishful thinking at this point – but according to their literature, phase II of the project will bring it one step closer.
Download a lengthy PDF about the bag here.

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Paradoxes on Climate Change and Energy Production

| Wednesday March 8th, 2006 | 6 Comments

mercator.jpgWhat happens when climate change policy intersects with the war on terror? Here is a sampling of what we’ve been saying to the world.
‘The Kyoto Convention is fundamentally flawed because developing nations don’t have to do their part’.
‘Developing nations can’t be trusted to enrich uranium to produce their own carbon free energy. They might use it to produce weapons of mass destruction’.
‘It’s OK for India to use nuclear technology to produce electricity because that will free up oil to meet transportation demand in the US’ (hint that something is amiss: oil is little used to generate electricity; natural gas is).
‘China can’t buy a US oil company but they can buy all the oil and gas they want from Iran, so that it [China] can make the goodies we want’.
‘American industries can sell nuclear generating station equipment to China and India: a good thing for balance of trade and because nuclear energy is carbon-free’.
Is your head spinning yet?

Click to continue reading »

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