Green is not just the color of money, it is the color of social-responsibility

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

IKEA Outfits Two East Coast Stores with Solar Panels

Home furnishings retailer IKEA will begin solar rooftop installations on two East Coast stores in Paramus, New Jersey and Stoughton, Massachusetts. The project will begin in early 2011 with completion expected by spring.

The solar energy system at the Paramus location will install 132,000 sq. ft., 4,600 panels expected to generate 1,354,000 kWh/year at 1,058 kW. The project is calculated to reduce the equivalent of 1,072 tons of CO2 emissions.

The project at the Stoughton location will cover 79,000 sq. ft., at 630 kW; 2,800 panels expected to generate 725,000 kWh/year. The project is calculated to reduce the equivalent of 574 tons of CO2 emissions.

For these Paramus and Stoughton projects, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, a solar electric installer specialized in grid-tied solar electric design and installation.

The project will increase to 13 the number of IKEA retail locations outfitted with a solar energy resource, and the two east coast projects are the largest store-top solar installations for IKEA in the U.S.

IKEA has plans to install solar energy panels on eight of its California locations and it already has solar energy systems operational in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Tempe, Ariz. as well as solar water heating systems in Charlotte, N.C.; Draper, Utah, Orlando, Fla. and Tampa, Fla. The Centennial, Colo. store under construction will have a geothermal system.

In addition, IKEA Canada claims its new solar initiative will make it the first retailer to exclusively own, install and operate what will be the largest rooftop solar panel network in Ontario under a feed-in tariff (FIT) program.  source: environmental leader

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Mercedes-Benz adds 'Green' features to plant

Fuel-efficiency and "greener" vehicles might be the trend in autos, but the technology is showing up in more than just the SUVs at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.

It also is being installed  in the sprawling auto plant's buildings.

The Vance plant recently installed solar panels on the roof of its Visitor Center and the adjoining Bill Taylor Institute that will be used to heat the building's water.

"We are doing the finishing tie-ins now, and it should be online about the first of the year," said Phil Onstott, assistant manager of Mercedes' facility engineering department.

Onstott said the new water heater employs a hybrid technology that will use solar power to heat water but also have the ability to switch to natural gas when more hot water is needed.

Mercedes does not disclose the costs of such investments, but Onstott said it hopes to save money on its water heating. The solar-natural gas water heating will be monitored closely by computers, and "if it works out, we could put more in the plant," he said.

The project started when Alagasco approached Mercedes to see if it would be interested in trying the new solar-natural gas water heating technology, said Onstott, a 15-year Mercedes employee who describes his department as "the MBUSI engineers who have nothing to do with auto production."

The new water heating system will be similar to conventional water heaters in which cooler water flows into a tank and is heated by natural gas power flame or electricity. With the new system, the water will be warmed by the heat generated from the solar panels. If it is nighttime, too cloudy or more hot water is needed, the natural gas burners will kick in to assure a steady supply of warm water, Onstott said.

In that way, the system is similar to the hybrid sport utility vehicles being made in Vance. The vehicles run on electrically charged batteries but can switch automatically to gasoline or diesel when extra power is needed.

The solar water heating is just one of the "green" technologies being embraced at MBUSI.

Early in 2011, the company also will install solar- and wind-powered collectors on top of two light poles at its Plant 1 entrance. The power generated by the solar and wind collectors will be stored in batteries in the base of the poles and will power the poles' hybrid LED roadway lights.

The poles will not be wired into an electrical grid like most street lights, Onstott said, and will rely on just the sun and wind. One battery charge will be sufficient to power a light for three nights, he said.

The wind turbine will have cylinders to collect wind power and will not have the windmill-like propellers traditionally seen on wind-powered projects. The cylinder collectors, unlike the propellers, will make the project bird-friendly, Onstott said.

The wind power will light the road lights night and day and will operate quietly, he said.

"Both projects are production trials in a way," Onstott said. "They are our way of checking out various energy-efficiency technologies as we consider options that may be useful for the rest of our operations."

In a third "green" project, MBUSI plans to replace the high-intensity discharge lighting in its production plant with high-efficiency flow lighting next year.

That work will start in January and will be done in phases so as not to disrupt production. Onstott said when the new lighting is completely installed, the plant should save about 12,000 megawatts of electricity yearly.

Production workers also will notice the difference with the new lighting being a little brighter, he said.

All the efforts are ways to continue reduction of MBUSI's carbon footprint, he said. This past spring, the company reached a milestone when its internal recycling efforts resulted in zero waste going to landfills, he said.

"Everything from the plant either gets reused or recycled now."    Read full article

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solar Panels Could Resurrect the Passe Flip Phone

The Chinese telecom giant's award-winning "Double" cell phone design updates the traditional flip phone for a solar-powered future.

Are flip phones passé in a post-iPhone world? Chinese telecom company ZTE doesn't think so: their concept for the "Double" phone, which sports solar panels on both sides of its attractive clamshell body, just won a prestigious 2010 Red Dot Design Concept award.

The insight is simple: If cell phone batteries suck, why not put the flip-phone's extra real estate -- especially the part that's waving around untouched in midair when you hold it -- to use powering the device itself? And so what if your hand is covering up half the available solar cells when you're dialing or talking -- it's still better than nothing. The tradeoff is that when the phone is sitting around in standby, you can angle it so that the photovoltaic shell draws in the most life-giving rays possible.

Even better, the Double's full-flex hinge lets you place the phone's 3.2-inch LCD screen in an optimal position for hands-free reading or video-viewing. It's manufactured from recyclable materials and even has a touchscreen interface, so you won't feel left out in a crowd full of glass slabs.
Source: Fast Company
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Better Place and Renault Delivering 115,000 Electric Cars in 2011

Electric automobile manufacturer Better Place has scored its latest coup: A deal with Renault to deliver 100,000+ electric cars to Danish and Israeli consumers.

On October 1, 2011, the largest electric car rollout in history--complete with charging stations and battery exchanges--will take place in the Middle East and Europe. Better Place and Renault, who have a long working relationship, will make 115,000 automobiles available to the public in Denmark and Israel. According to a presentation given to Deutsche Bank, the release will also include a joint partnership with General Electric.

Bringing automobiles to market has always been the weak point for all vendors of electric cars. Better Place announced earlier this month that their deal with Renault for the Israeli and Danish markets was finalized. Under the conditions of the agreement, Better Place has agreed to purchase 115,000 Renault Fluence Z.E. Electric sedans. The automobiles are manufactured in Bursa, Turkey and 660 preproduction units have already been unveiled. A separate electric compact model may also be placed on the Israeli and Danish markets. While traveling at or below the speed limit, the Renault Fluence is able to travel for approximately 110 miles before needing a charge.  read full story

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Port adds 5,000 Solar Panels to Cruise Terminal Rooftop

Energy generated from the sun's rays will help power facilities at the Port of Los Angeles, with help from 5,000 solar panels that were recently installed, officials announced Thursday.

The solar panels, spanning 71,500 square feet on the port's cruise terminal rooftop, are capable of generating one megawatt that will be routed to the city's power grid, leading to about $200,000 in annual savings.

The project is expected to reduce about 22,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the system's 25-year lifespan, the equivalent of taking 4,367 cars off the street, port officials said.

"We are thrilled to now be harnessing the power of the plentiful Southern California sun to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and increase economic opportunities for Los Angeles businesses and residents," said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

The project marks the first phase of a $10.8 million solar program that will eventually produce 10 megawatts, set for completion over the next five years.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners agreed last March to install a total of 1.16 million square feet of solar panels covering the rooftops of port businesses and structures.

The solar panel plan was unveiled in December 2007 by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Attorney General Jerry Brown. The project falls in line with Villaraigosa's "Green LA" plan to reduce global warming by boosting the use of renewable energy.

"Clean energy is essential if we are to meet the future growth and development needs of Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said. "This solar project and others being initiated within our city will not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also add meaningful new jobs to our green sector work force."
read full story

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Monday, November 29, 2010

EPA Calls for Nominations for 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting nominations for the 2011 Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. This year the agency is encouraging nominations for the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products that will protect the public, particularly children and other sensitive populations, from exposure to harmful chemicals. Nominations are due to the agency by December 31, 2010. The awards recognize innovative technologies that incorporate green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and use and help advance the protection of human health and the environment.

“EPA’s green chemistry program has long been a catalyst for new approaches and innovation,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This year, EPA is encouraging green chemistry award nominations that will help achieve our goal to ensure that chemicals are safe for use in products, homes, schools and workplaces.”

The 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards will mark the 16th year of the program. Throughout the first 15 years, EPA received more than 1,300 nominations and presented awards to 77 winners. Winning technologies alone are responsible for reducing the use or generation of more than 198 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 57 million pounds of carbon dioxide releases to air

For the 2011 awards, nominated technologies should reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances from a chemical product or process. Companies, non-profit organizations, public academic institutions, and their representatives may nominate green chemistry technologies for the awards. Self-nominations are welcome and expected. Typically, one award is given each year in five categories: greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions, designing greener chemicals, small business, and academic.  More information on how to submit entries: Please read full story

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Verizon Wireless Becomes an Energy Star Partner

Verizon Wireless has formalized its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by becoming an official Energy Star Partner. Seventy-five Verizon Wireless Communications Stores have already earned the Energy Star for superior energy performance.

Under the partnership, Verizon Wireless pledges to measure and track energy performance at hundreds of company Communications Stores, switching centers, cell sites and other facilities throughout the United States.

The wireless communications company also will integrate Energy Star resources into its energy management strategy, and promote the importance of energy efficiency to employees, partners and communities in the 49 states where it operates.

“We are formalizing our partnership with the EPA and this strategic, corporate energy management program to help us continue to enhance our business’ sustainable energy practices and contribute to a better environment for future generations,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless, in a statement.

“And being more energy efficient makes business sense: energy efficient operations help keep costs down, and we can redirect those resources to improve the customer experience,” he added.

Verizon Wireless also offers solutions to help customers conserve resources by reducing paper use through the company’s online billing options and keeping old cell phones and batteries out of landfills through the company’s Hopeline initiative and Verizon Wireless Trade-In Program.

Verizon Wireless recently was named one of the Top 12 Green-IT Vendors by Computerworld magazine.
Courtesy of Environmental Leader

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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Future of Green Retail

Now that top retailers like Wal-Mart and Starbucks embrace green practices, “green retail” is more than just a Google trending topic. In September, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) held its annual environmental sustainability conference in San Diego, where executives shared best practices in establishing environmental programs and integrating green practices into their companies. But as companies continue to go green, they must also think about how they can make green services more available to their customers.

Green retail has indeed come a long way. Back in 2005, when Wal-Mart announced its new environmental standards, critics were skeptical. Was Wal-Mart going green or just greenwashing? While the company surely realized going green meant some positive press, the environmental benefit of many of their new initiatives was legitimate. A Fast Company article in January 2010 covered 11 ways Wal-Mart was changing retail, including deploying more fuel-efficient trucks and implementing innovative recycling policies, such as sandwich bales. A closer look at Wal-Mart practices also reveals a focus on internal sustainability, i.e. how the companies themselves act sustainably. This is more or less what “green retail” has signified until now: which company has the most fuel efficient fleets or solar panels on its stores?

However, green retail is in the midst of a radical shift, redefining how retailers participate in the green economy. Retailers can now pursue internal sustainability initiatives AND bring green practices and services to the consumer. Clean energy is now for sale in aisle 4.

For example, retailers can offer clean power services in stores to change the way green energy is delivered. Solar power, traditionally complicated and expensive for homeowners, can be accessible, easy, and even mainstream in popular stores. In fact, solar power service is now available through select Home Depot stores in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. With this service, homeowners can switch to solar power for little or no cost, and simply pay monthly for the solar electricity. This can save customers up to 15 percent on their utility bills.

Are green retailers just what we need to help make solar mainstream? They are certainly an important part of the equation. In 2009, SunRun surveyed 2500 mainstream homeowners and found that while most people begin their solar research online, over a third of them wanted to make their final purchase of solar power at a retail store.

One of the major barriers to mainstream solar is lack of awareness. Most people already know solar power is available and understand the basic environmental and financial benefits. What they don’t realize is that solar can be easy and affordable. By selling affordable green power service, retailers can take advantage of high-volume foot traffic and a direct connection to consumers to educate the public and deliver clean energy in a new and exciting way. There are fewer than 100,000 solar homes in the United States and 126 million total housing units nationwide. By selling clean power where people shop every day, retailers can make a remarkable impact on the environment and the clean energy economy.

Green retail no longer means only adopting environmental practices within the company. Now it’s about helping others adopt environmental practices to grow the green movement, not to mention saving consumers money.  Courtesy of Environmental Leader

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles to Power Stadium with On-Site Renewable Energy

The Philadelphia Eagles has plans to power Lincoln Financial Field with a combination of on-site wind, solar and dual-fuel generated electricity, which would make it the world’s first major sports stadium to convert to 100-percent on-site renewable energy.

SolarBlue, a renewable energy and energy conservation company, will install approximately 80 20-foot spiral-shaped wind turbines on the top rim of the stadium and 2,500 solar panels on the stadium’s façade. The company also will build a 7.6-megawatt on-site dual-fuel cogeneration plant and install monitoring and switching technology to operate the system.

Over the next year, SolarBlue will invest more than $30 million to build out the system. The project is expected to be complete in September 2011.

SolarBlue will maintain and operate the stadium’s power system for the next 20 years at a fixed percent annual price increase in electricity, saving the Eagles an estimated $60 million in energy costs.

The Eagles and SolarBlue estimate that over the 20 years, the on-site energy sources at the stadium will provide 1.039 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, which is more than enough to supply the stadium’s power needs. As a result, an estimated four megawatts of excess energy off-peak will be sold back to the local electric grid.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are proud to take this vital step towards energy independence from fossil fuels by powering Lincoln Financial Field with wind, solar and dual-fuel energy sources,” said team owner and chief executive officer, Jeffrey Lurie, in a statement.

“This commitment builds upon our comprehensive environmental sustainability program, which includes energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, composting, toxic chemical avoidance and reforestation. It underscores our strong belief that environmentally sensitive policies are consistent with sound business practices,” Lurie said.

Solar Blue estimates that converting the stadium to renewable energy will eliminate CO2 emissions equivalent to 500,000 barrels of oil or 24 million gallons of gasoline consumed annually.

The Philadelphia Eagles was the first pro athletic team to implement a major environmental initiative when it first launched its Go Green campaign in 2003. Since that time, several other teams joined the eco-friendly bandwagon including the New England Patriots, San Francisco Giants, Phoenix Suns, New York Jets and Seattle Mariners.   Source: Environmental Leader

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Japanese Oil Company Looks to the Rising Sun

When Solar Frontier KK's new solar-panel factory in southern Japan is running at full tilt next July, the little-known company will vault into the upper ranks of the burgeoning solar-power industry, with a plant capable of producing more photovoltaic cells than any facility in the world.

The company's parent company is one of Japan's largest oil companies, Showa Shell Sekiyu KK. While major oil companies such as BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are scaling back investments on solar energy, the Japanese oil refiner is months away from opening its 100 billion yen (roughly $1.25 billion) solar-panel factory in Miyazaki Prefecture.

"We know that the oil industry is not disappearing today or tomorrow. But if we don't take this chance on solar now, we feel like we won't get another chance," says Shigeaki Kameda, Solar Frontier's chief executive.

BP stopped manufacturing its own solar cells in the U.S. this year, saying it could lower costs better by using panels made by partners. Shell, which owns one-third of Showa Shell but hasn't been involved in the Japanese company's solar business, has decided to put its alternative-energy focus on biofuels.

Yet Showa Shell says it expects the business will turn profitable next year, thanks to the new Miyazaki factory and its annual output of 900 megawatts of photovoltaic cells. Showa Shell forecasts that its solar business will account for 50% of the company's earnings by 2014, with a pretax profit of 50 billion yen.

Showa Shell's push into solar comes as a way to adjust to declining oil demand in Japan, a trend expected to continue, given the nation's slumping economy, aging population, the adoption of hybrid cars and the move toward cleaner-burning natural gas for power generation.

Showa Shell, which accounts for roughly 12% of Japan's oil-refining capacity, plans to cut its capacity roughly 20% next year.

But funneling profit from still-cash-rich oil refining into Showa Shell's solar operations is a gamble. Nippon Oil Corp., which has become part of JX Holdings Inc., had forged a joint venture with Sanyo Electric Co. to build a solar-cell factory by the end of the fiscal year that ends in March. Those plans were put on hold, however, amid plunging prices for solar panels as a flood of entrants into the market have intensified competition.

Credit Suisse on Wednesday downgraded several solar-energy stocks, expressing concerns that demand can't keep up with new supply.

And many Japanese manufacturers, content to maintain technological leadership with highly efficient solar cells, have lost market share to less efficient—but less expensive—panels made by German and Chinese competitors.

Mr. Kameda, who became the head of Showa Shell's solar business in 2006 after a 35-year career in the oil industry, says "How come Japanese firms have lost out in semiconductors, LCD televisions and mobile phones? It's because they didn't act fast enough to take on risk and expand their business," he says at Solar Frontier's staid office overlooking Tokyo Bay. "The world wants a good, inexpensive product. But Japan seems to be focused on providing good but expensive products."  Read More

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prudential installs solar panels on its Scottsdale building and charging stations for electric cars

Prudential Financial, Inc. today announced that it has installed solar panels on its office building in Scottsdale, Arizona and added charging stations to be used for electric cars when they become widely available.

"Solar panels are important elements of the comprehensive approach Prudential has taken to reduce our carbon emissions by more than one third over the last ten years," said Michael Perrette, vice president and head of Corporate Facilities at Prudential at a ceremony today at the company's Scottsdale office facility. "Over the next decade, they will help us save millions of dollars in energy costs and help us further reduce our overall carbon footprint." He said the company also has installed solar panels in two of its New Jersey buildings and plans to install more in other building in the future.

The solar panel installation project in Scottsdale also included constructing a covered employee parking facility and the addition of several car charging stations. "We hope these charging stations encourage the use of electric cars. In the coming years, we anticipate adding charging stations in other Prudential facilities as demand grows," Perrette said.

To help make the panels more affordable, Prudential received an incentive through Arizona Public Service's Renewable Energy Incentive Program. "By adding solar panels and an electric charging station, Prudential is demonstrating its leadership in helping to create a sustainable energy future for Arizona. said Eran Mahrer, Director of Renewable Energy for APS. "The company is joining thousands of other APS customers in helping drive the adoption of solar energy in the state."

Perrette said the solar panels in Scottsdale involved installing 4,508 panels that generate approximately 30 percent of the building's power use, with a peak output of 885 kilowatt hours. That equates to more than 225 cars off the road, more than 2,445 barrels of oil not consumed each year and a reduction of about 1,051 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Through its ongoing Commitment to the Environment, Prudential is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and to help ensure environmental sustainability both in the U.S. and abroad. The company has recycling and Green IT and printing programs, and has investments in wind power and socially responsible investment funds. It also is a member of various environmentally-focused organizations and is committed to the disclosure of its domestic environmental footprint (Scopes 1 and 2) through the Carbon Disclosure Project. In 2007, Prudential made a commitment to achieve a 10 percent reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions within five years.

Initiatives implemented by various Prudential business units and corporate centers have helped lower carbon emissions by about 18,000 tons a year, the equivalent of removing 3,300 cars from the road for one year. These include a migration to Energy Star computers; physical changes to data centers to reduce the number of servers used and energy consumption; two-sided printing; elimination of paper faxing in many areas and reduced paper use; reuse, recycling, sale, or donation of PDAs, cell phones, and PCs; purchasing equipment from 'green'-conscious manufacturers; a 'green print' procurement program designed to reduce the amount of paper used to print and copy documents; supporting alternative work arrangements; and participating in the TransitChek(R) Transit Reimbursement Incentive Program where available to encourage employees to use mass transit. Earlier this year, . Read Full Story

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Netherlands is First Country to Commit to Using only Sustainable Palm Oil

Although a host of food and consumer product manufacturers have committed to using only sustainable palm oil over the past few years, The Netherlands is the first country to make this commitment thanks to the pledge of all palm oil suppliers and buyers in the Dutch market.

By the end of 2015, all palm oil in The Netherlands will be sustainable, as certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Suppliers and buyers made the pledge as part of the Dutch Taskforce Sustainable Palm Oil. The task force was initiated by the Dutch Product Board for Margarine, Fats and Oils (MVO), which also participates in the global RSPO.

Task Force participants include associations representing the Dutch refining industry, food manufacturing industry and feed industry, which represent a significant share of the Dutch palm oil market.

The ” Manifesto of the Task Force Sustainable Palm Oil” (PDF) details the group’s guiding principles and action plan to meet its commitment.

General Mills and Seventh Generation are two of some of the most recent companies to commit to responsible palm oil sourcing.

A number of food makers including Unilever, Nestle, Cadbury and Kraft and restaurants such as Burger King over the past year have moved to drop Sinar Mas as a supplier of their palm oil purchases due to claimed links to deforestation by Greenpeace. 
Courtesy of Environmental Leader

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gore: Trinidad & Tobago can be Green Center of Caribbean

Al Gore, the 45th US Vice President says Trinidad and Tobago has an abundance of natural resources that would allow it to engage in alternative and renewable energy development as part of the country’s diversification and economic thrust, while assisting to reduce adverse environmental effects.

Gore, a Nobel Laureate and one of the world’s most influential voice on climate change, advised T&T that now is the time to maximize on these resources as the country’s major revenue earner gas and oil would not last.“You have unparalleled resources of sunlight and good wind resources and I know you also have cheap energy,” he said.

He added that since T&T was geographically located just a few kilometers from the world’s best supplier of pure silica, the country could take advantage of this proximity by purchasing the silica to create solar cells. Gore explained that T&T could gain the potential competitive advantage in the production of solar panels due to its manufacturing capabilities, low-cost energy environment and its strategic location.

He stated that the country had the potential of becoming the green center of the Caribbean and in the northern part of South America if it had the will to do so.“If you could create a centre for manufacturing, research and development for solar panels throughout the Caribbean and the northern part of South America creating new jobs...if you chose to do so, you can also become one of the country’s best known for wind power,” he said.

Gore was speaking on Thursday night on the topic of climate change titled “Thinking Green: Economic Strategy for the 21st Century” at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA).The event, hosted by the T&T Manufacturers Association, was aimed at providing practical guidance to the business community, Government and the population as to how they can make choices to save the earth, while stimulating sustainable economic growth by meaningful engagement in the pursuit of alternative energy.

This is his first visit to T&T and he complimented the country for being so dynamic. He also stated that he has never been in an auditorium as lovely as NAPA in the Caribbean and some countries in which he has spoken.

Gore said climate change presents a time of danger and opportunity and he said he believed that the world was entering an era of consequences but it was also a time to act. Blaming mankind for its own destruction, he said, “We continue to put 90 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and everyday it keeps growing.”

He said, according to scientists, this was contributing to the rise in sea level, increase in heat/drought and stronger hurricanes which have begun to result in the emergence of climate refugees. Gore called on Trinidad & Tobago to become a leader for change as it possessed the power and influence in the Caribbean to take that lead.

“We are facing a climate crisis that people would like to ignore. You are a leader of great influence and I want to recruit you...I need you,” he said. But being an advisor to leaders in the US Congress and global Heads of State, he was asked by a patron during the question and answer segment, why the US has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, (which is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

He said he was greatly disappointed in his country but would continue to do what he can to influence minds and change hearts because about 60 per cent of the US citizens supported the law while some independently embraced the protocol.   read full story

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Levi’s ‘Green’ Jeans Cut Water Use Up to 96%

The Levi’s brand launched its new “Water-Less” jeans that are manufactured with significantly less water. The average pair of jeans uses 42 liters of water in the finishing process, says Levi’s; however, the new Water-Less collection reduces water consumption by an average of 28 percent and up to 96 percent for some new products in the line.

During the production process, a typical pair of jeans are “finished” in large washing machines and dryers to create a unique look and feel, says Levi’s. Using traditional garment washing methods, the average pair of jeans undergoes three to ten washing cycles.

By making some changes to the process, which includes combining multiple wet cycle processes into a single wet process, incorporating ozone processing into the garment washing and removing the water from the stone wash, the clothing manufacturer was able to substantially cut its water use.

The first collection of Water-Less products will be available in January 2011 and will include over a dozen classic Levi’s jeans, including the Levi’s 501 jeans and the 511 and 514 jeans, as well as the Levi’s trucker jacket.

The Levi’s spring 2011 product lines will contain more than 1.5 million pairs of jeans with the Water-Less method, saving approximately 16 million liters of water. The line will also include jeans made with the brand’s traditional rigid finish which inherently uses virtually no water in its production, according to the company.

The company plans to expand these finishing techniques to more global supplier factories for the fall 2011 collection.    
Courtesy of environmental LEADER

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nature Inn is first in park system to demonstrate Green Technologies

This September the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park, the first facility of its type in Pennsylvania's state park system, opened its doors, offering visitors not only an up-close experience with nature, but an up-close experience with green technologies.

Energy and water conserving features of the 18,500-sq.ft. Nature Inn include a geothermal system to provide heating and cooling; solar collectors to heat water for showers and laundry; five rain barrels and four large cisterns to collect and harvest rainwater; and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

"As a southern entrance point to the 12-county Pennsylvania Wilds, this Nature Inn will welcome people to a region known for its wealth of state parks and forests and opportunities for wildlife watching and many other outdoor adventures," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary John Quigley. "Along with offering a good night's rest, we also are demonstrating stewardship and conservation by connecting guests to outdoor activities in the park and showing them 'green' energy-efficient building features and how to collect and use rainwater."

Geothermal is first choice

The geothermal system is a closed-loop system consisting of 24 6-in. diameter vertical wells 300-ft. deep. The wells are divided into three groups of eight, located under the parking lot.

“The site selected is previously disturbed, and DCNR wanted to keep any disturbance of the surrounding woodland to a minimum, but the site is also long and narrow,” explained Michael Twigg, architectural supervisor of Pennsylvania’s DCNR Bureau of Facility Design and Construction. “DCNR has more than 20 geothermal systems at facilities around the state and the preferred location is generally an open field or yard, but for this project the selected location had to be beneath the parking lot.”

Geothermal was chosen for this project because past experience with geothermal heating and cooling has been successful for the DCNR.

According to Twigg, based on the performance of the geothermal systems at other locations, geothermal is generally DCNR’s first choice when constructing or upgrading major facilities.

The geothermal loop is connected to a Mitsubishi CITY MULTI Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system, consisting of four WR2-Series water source heat pumps, four Branch Circuit (BC) refrigerant controllers, one connected with each of the heat pumps, and a variety of indoor units throughout the public and service areas of the Nature Inn.

“The VRF system provides several benefits including simultaneous heating and cooling, simple zoning, quiet operation, system simplicity, and a lower lifecycle cost,” said Twigg. “In addition, the VRF system allows for heat recovery of unneeded heat which can then be rerouted through the BC controller to areas of the building that need it without operation of the main compressor unit.”

Solar thermal system

A primary goal of the Nature Inn is to assist in delivering a message of resource conservation to the guests that visit the inn. Therefore, the solar thermal array for domestic hot water is located in a visible location — on a trellis above the doors directly from the main lobby where guests can see the panels.

“We thought that knowing that when you take a shower, or when your sheets and towels are laundered, part of the energy to heat the water was generated in a clean, fossil-fuel free manner was a powerful message,” said Twigg.

The solar thermal system is made of 80 vacuum tubes by Thermo Technologies. The tubes collect the sun’s heat, transferring it through a header manifold to a water loop. The water is then pumped to the hot water storage tank where the heat is transferred to the water stored in an 80-gal. Rheem solar water storage tank.

According to Jerry Plummer, vice president of K&K Plumbing Co., Johnstown, Pa., this was the first thermal system the company installed, and the installation went well.

“This took about two weeks,” said Plummer. “This project was unique since there are not a lot of these systems in the area.”

According to Twigg, the solar thermal system is estimated to meet roughly 50% of the annual hot water demand and save about 8,300 kWh of energy each year.

Water conservation
Besides having an up-close experience with solar thermal and geothermal systems, guests at the Nature Inn will also experience a water-conserving plumbing system and rainwater collection system. 

Low-flow plumbing fixtures in conjunction with the rainwater collection system is anticipated to reduce total building water use by almost 200,000 gallons per year, or more than 45% over a typical building, according to Twigg. 

Low-flow Symmons lavatory faucets and Moen showerheads are being utilized. Plus, EPA WaterSense-rated American Standard dual-flush toilets are used throughout the building, allowing guests to select the amount of water needed — either 1.6-gpf or 0.8-gpf.
“Besides the solar thermal system, the rainwater harvesting is unique to the building,” said Plummer. “This is the first rainwater harvesting system K&K Plumbing Co. installed, and it went smooth.” 

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Green Awakening- Watch Video

Sister Janet Ryan is a believer in the sanctity of saving energy. She's also at the forefront of a new religious movement... one that believes God wants people to take care of the Earth.

She and her fellow Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary live in a convent that's been retrofitted with a geothermal heat pump and has a gray water recycling pond that filters all bathing and dishwater. It's just one of a growing number of religious institutions across the U.S. that have been LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

In “God Goes Green,” Lee Patrick Sullivan talks to Sister Janet and others who are preaching the Gospel of environmental stewardship. It's not just a set of beliefs, but an actual book, the “Green Bible,” complete with a chapter by the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Benedict XVI. And he looks at how other, non-Christian, religions, are discovering that being green is next to Godliness.
courtesy of  energynow

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Seven Must-Ask Sustainability Report Questions

There are seven questions CEOs, boards and other executives should ask to understand how sustainability reporting impacts their organizations, according to a new report from Ernst & Young.

These questions will help organizations examine internal processes to collect and analyze non-financial data, which could help generate long-term benefits such as better measurement of the company’s “triple bottom line” performance, greater stakeholder trust, improved risk management, and increased operational efficiency, says the company.

The report, ” Sustainability reporting: Seven things CEOs and boards should ask,” finds with more than two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500 companies publishing some form of sustainability report, they are becoming more important as a way for them to achieve their business goals including cost cutting and improved efficiency, says Ernest & Young.

In addition, sustainability reporting has become a tool for companies to report on their non-financial data, which is increasingly demanded by employees, analysts, customers and other stakeholders.

Case-in-point: A mid-2010 Ernst & Young survey of 300 global executives at large corporations revealed that 43 percent believe equity analysts consider factors related to climate change when valuing a company.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently proposed several revisions to its “Green Guides,” including new guidance on marketers’ use of product certifications and seals of approval, as well as claims for renewable energy, renewable materials, and carbon offsets.

Ernst & Young says reporting on “green” product development will provide companies with the opportunity to document the basis for any claims they make. It also will help them collect environmental information about their products as their customers develop supplier sustainability initiatives.

The seven questions discussed in the new report include:

–Who issues sustainability reports?

–Why report on sustainability if you don’t have to?

–What information should a sustainability report contain?

–What governance, systems and processes are needed to report on sustainability?

–Do sustainability reports have to be audited?

–What are the challenges and risks of reporting?

–How can companies get the most value out of sustainability reporting?
Source: Environmental Leader

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