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October 31, 2009

Lightbulb Labeling Proposal

Label changes are being proposed for lamps, meaning lightbulbs, to enable more informed decisions by consumers. The facts about energy, brightness, lifecycle, and hazardous materials will be more accessible. ...
... "The proposed package labeling amendments create a two-panel labeling format: a front panel with brightness and energy cost information and a Lighting Facts label with additional information on the side or rear panel. This two-panel approach benefits consumers by providing the most important information in a simple-to-read format on the package front and more detailed information on the side or rear panel. The proposed required disclosures are brightness, energy cost, life, color appearance, wattage, mercury content, and, for non-standard voltage bulbs, voltage information." ...
Via Federal Trade Commission: Appliance Labeling Rule (PDF)

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Southwest Airlines Green Team and Green Plane

Southwest has remade on of their planes, tail # WN222 into a test bed for eco-friendly products. As it is in revenue sservice you may get a chance to check it out! "At Southwest, we are all about innovation ... the paint isn’t green, ... you probably can’t tell much difference on the interior, but our Green Plane is a “test lab” of eco-friendly products that we are evaluating. ... we hope to be able to reduce the weight of the aircraft by up to five pounds per seat, saving fuel and reducing emissions while being good environmental stewards. ... environmental decisions can also make good business sense ... are the first airline to do something like this. " " ... aircraft, WN222 ... to serve as a test for these eco-friendly products and other future initiatives. ... Green Plane will be in regular revenue service so we can evaluate normal wear and durability. If you’re lucky enough to be on the Green Plane, expect a post-flight survey where we ask what you think and how we are doing." See the video ... Via: Southwest Airlines LINK
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October 30, 2009

Calstar Green Building Products

Calstar logoHere is an interesting approach toi reducing waste and CO2 at the same time.  Using fly ash (waste and high in CO2) to make bricks solves both.

Read about CalStar's  approach >>> 

" ... CalStar directly addresses global climate change and CO2 emissions ... Brick is an energy- and carbon-intensive industry ... U.S. demand for brick is almost 10 billion units in a typical year. At 1.3 pounds of CO2 per brick, the industry footprint equals almost 13 billion pounds of CO2 per year. ..."

 "Our commitment to green extends to product safety ...  to ensure they are safe throughout their lifecycle, from manufacture to placement to use (and reuse) to end-of-life disposal ...  process for making fly ash into bricks binds the materials within a strong crystalline matrix that holds even if exposed to the intense acids found in landfills. ..."

"CalStar ... promotes pragmatic solutions to climate change .... reducing the carbon footprint of cement, the biggest lever for industry has been and continues to be substitution of fly ash for CO2-intensive Ordinary Portland Cement. "


Via:  Calstar  LINK

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October 29, 2009

Solar Installation Training

DOE spreads investment around the country to enable a training network, content, and facilties for creating the future solar installation workforce. ...
... "The Solar Installer Instructor Training network was launched in October 2009 to address a critical need for high-quality, local, and accessible training in solar system design, installation, sales, and inspection. Solar Installer Instructor Training is a 5-year effort intended to create a geographic blanket of training opportunities in solar installation across the United States. " ...
Via Dept of Energy: Solar Installer Instructor Training Network

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SunPower Swanson Awarded Energy Environment Innovation

Dr. Richard Swanson, the president and chief technical officer of SunPower Corporation, is honored with The Economist's Energy and Environment Innovation Award for 2009 for his contributions to the development of high-efficiency solar photovoltaic cells. ...
... "Swanson is one of the world's most recognized leaders in the advancement of photovoltaics (PV) and a pioneer in commercializing cost-effective PV power systems. In 2006, he was honored with the prestigious Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics, and in 2002 he was presented with the William R. Cherry Award by the IEEE for outstanding contributions to the PV field. In 1991, Swanson resigned from his faculty position to focus his attention to SunPower Corporation, a company he founded in 1985 to develop and commercialize cost-effective, high-efficiency photovoltaic power systems. SunPower's all-back contact solar cells powered Honda to victory in the 1993 World Solar Challenge, and were also used to power Helios, NASA's high-altitude solar powered airplane to a world-record altitude of 96,500 feet. " ...
Via SunPower Corp: The Economist Energy and Environment Innovation Award for 2009

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Tips for a Greener Halloween

GreenHalloween logo

Help your kids have a green Halloween and help the environment at the same time with these tips from Green Halloween.

" ... nationwide organization that helps kids and parents ... rally their communities to go green on Halloween. It offers great tips for green halloween parties, games, costumes ..."

Here are the tips ... " ... (1) don’t create litter with candy wrappers. Think about how you can use them for a craft project. If you don’t want piece of candy, ... Share it with a friend or save it for later. ... (2) Use a reusable bag for Trick-or-Treating t ... (3) ... don’t drive. Walk or take your bike there instead. ... (4) Istead of buying a a new Halloween costume, see if you can make one out of old stuff instead ...(5) Don’t eat too much candy."


Via:  SustainLane  LINK

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October 28, 2009

Florida Smart Grid Modernization Investment

Floridians will benefit from an investment in the electrical grid that will see the installation of a significant number of smart meters and substation monitors, bringing intelligence to the grid. ...
... "a $200 million grant will go to Energy Smart Florida for the installation of 2.6 million smart meters in homes and the installation of advanced monitoring systems in grid substations. " ...
Via Florida Department of Financial Services: FEDERAL FUNDING FOR FLORIDA

Via The White House: President Obama Invests in the Smart Energy Grid: "The Administration is funding several grid modernization projects across the country that will significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to your house. By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system, and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electric grid. "


  • Talquin Electric Cooperative: Install a smart meter network system for 56,000 residential and commercial customers in a mainly rural, four-county service area in North Florida. Also integrate an outage management system and geographic information as part of the Smart Grid.
  • Florida Power & Light Company: Energy Smart Florida is a comprehensive project to advance implementation of the Smart Grid, including installing over 2.6 million smart meters, 9,000 intelligent distribution devices, 45 phasors, and advanced monitoring equipment in over 270 substations. By incorporating intelligence into the transmission, distribution and customer systems, the utility will be able to anticipate and respond to grid disturbances, empower customers through alternative rate programs, and enable the integration of renewable and on-site energy sources.
  • City of Leesburg, Florida: Enable new energy efficiency and conservation programs to all 23,000 electric consumers through deployment of smart meter networks, energy management for municipal buildings, integrated distributed generation, and new substation power transformer with enhanced monitoring and control. Key consumer initiatives include time differentiated rates and demand response options for reducing peak load.

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Solar Pioneer Recognized

Going back to the Arab oil embargo in the 1970's, David Block has pioneered the nascent solar photovoltaics industry from Florida. ...
... "The award recognizes Block’s role in developing the first national standards for testing and certifying solar equipment, for serving as a founding father of the organization and for building UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center into the largest and most active state-supported solar energy institute in the nation. Block served as FSEC director for 25 years before departing in 2002. " ...
Via University of Central Florida: Solar Leadership

Steps to Solar Energy Career (PDF): "There are a variety of careers in the renewable energy field. Some require much more knowledge and training than others. Some are far more physically demanding and require strength and agility. "

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Samsung Blue Earth - Green Solar Powered Phone

Samsung Blue Earth

Samsung recently announced another environmentally friendly phone.  The Blue Earth joins the Reclaim as another environmentally friendly cell phone from Samsung.

To see our blog entry on the Reclaim ... LINK


" ... Previously, eco-friendly mobiles meant lower-energy consuming ... with very limited feature sets. ... Blue Earth combines the latest multimedia features ... while achieving lower energy consumption and incorporating eco-friendly materials."

" ... is made from Post Consumer Material (PCM), which is extracted from water bottles, helping to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions ... is free from harmful substances such as Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Phthalate."

" ...  With “Eco mode,” screen brightness, backlight duration and Bluetooth can be set to an energy-efficient mode with just one click. The “Eco Walk” function allows users to count their steps with a built in pedometer and calculate the reduction in CO2 emission realized by walking ... allows users to see the value of walking by calculating the number of trees that have been saved. "

" ... packaging ... is ... compact. ... made from easy-to-recycle paper and printed in soy ink. It also suggests a simple DIY idea to reuse the package as a photo frame or a pencil box. "

" ... by charging with the solar panel located on the back of the phone, users can generate enough power to use the device anytime and anywhere. Solar energy is considered one of the most eco-friendly energy sources and it helps users reduce usage of energy from non-renewable sources. "

" ... launching in Sweden in October and will soon launch in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Portugal and other European and Asian countries."


Via:  Samsung  LINK




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October 27, 2009

Fisker Plug-In Electric Vehicle Plant in Wilmington Delaware Will Build Family Hybrid Sedan

Fisker Automotive will build its plug-in electric family sedan in the idle Wilmington Assembly plant in Delaware. ...
... "The plant will support Fisker Automotive’s Project NINA, the development and build of an affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan costing about $39,900 after federal tax credits. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012 and create 2000 factory jobs and more than 3000 vendor / supplier jobs when production reaches full capacity in 2014. " ...
Via Fisker Automotive: Wilmington Assembly Plant

Fisker Automotive secures financial support for its electric vehicle projects. ...

Department of Energy Supports Loan for Fisker Automotive: "The second stage includes a $359.36 million ATVM loan for Fisker’s Project Nina, involving the manufacture of a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. Fisker estimates that up to 75,000-100,000 of these highly efficient vehicles will roll off assembly lines in the U.S. every year beginning in late 2012. The combined projects are anticipated to create thousands of jobs in the U.S. and provide substantial support for domestic parts suppliers saving or creating approximately 5,000 jobs. Fisker automobiles are driven by electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery, or, when that is depleted, a generator driven by an efficient gasoline engine. The electric-only range will be more than most people drive in a day. The battery can be charged at home overnight. Using gas and electric power, Fisker plug-in hybrids will have a cruising range of about 300 miles."

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October 26, 2009

Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaic Costs Decreasing

Data is presented that shows solar photovoltaic costs decreasing.  Over the past decade, photovoltaic module and non-module elements have contributed to the cost decline.  ...

 ...   "From 1998 to 2008, installed costs declined by about 3.6% (or $0.3/W) per year, on average, starting from $10.8/W in 1998.  Preliminary cost data indicates that the average cost of projects installed through the California Solar Initiative program during the first 8½ months of 2009 rose by $0.4/W relative to 2008, while average costs in New Jersey declined by $0.2/W over the same period. "   ...

 Via Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Tracking the Sun : The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2008 (PDF)


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October 25, 2009

Energy Efficiency Incentives

Cost savings integrated with a sustainable mindset and behaviors can be a powerful incentive to drive family energy efficiency. ...
... "There must be a way to again unite Americans, this time under the mantle of energy efficiency. The only way to bridge the didactic divide between enlightened researchers, tiresomely bureaucratic policy-makers, and working-class families is to provide a legitimate incentive. " ...
Via MIT's The Tech: Truth or Dare?

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GM Spark - Electric Car for Under $6000.

GM Spark

GM is planning to sell an all electric small car in India ...

Read on for more >>>

" ... all-electric Spark will go on sale next year in India ... GM parners with Reva Electric Car Co.  ... plug-in Spark can be re-chargedReva Logo at any standard socket in India, requiring no new infrastructure. That’s what’s limited sales of other alternative-energy cars in India so far...."


Via:  ZDNet  LINK






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October 24, 2009

Rutgers Solar Energy Farm

Rutgers will celebrate the opening of its campus solar farm on the morning of Tuesday, October 27. ...
... "Rutgers University’s 1.4-megawatt solar farm will generate approximately 11 percent of the electrical demand of the university’s Livingston Campus and reduce the university’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,350 tons per year (the equivalent of removing 230 automobiles from the road). It will save Rutgers more than $200,000 thousand in its first year of operation. " ...
Via Rutgers University: 1.4 Megawatt Solar Energy Project

Rutgers Sustainability Program:

The University created its baseline sustainability assessment in 2007. Rutgers has a stable enrollment, but is challenged by increasing energy use:
... "An analysis of the key sustainability indicators for the University shows that the population of students, faculty, and staff has been relatively stable since 2000. Solid waste disposal, energy usage, water usage, and emissions of greenhouse gases and local air pollutants likewise have held relatively steady during this time period. Like the rest of the nation, electricity use at Rutgers, both in total and per square foot of floor space, has increased. " ...
Via Rutgers University: 2007 Sustainability Report (PDF)

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October 23, 2009

Pennsylvania Hospital Green Trailblazing

EPA recognizes Philadelphia-area hospitals for their environmental leadership with a Trailblazer Award. The Pennsylvania Hospital recycles and integrates sustainable farming with healthy eating lifestyle program. ...
... "Pennsylvania Hospital is receiving the award for its extensive recycling program, as well as its healthy organic foods program. The hospital started a weekly farmers market in 2008 for patients, staff and the surrounding community. New in 2009, the hospital introduced the new locally-grown featured produce item in the cafeteria. The item is available for purchase Wednesdays at the market, then served in the cafeteria on Thursdays with the recipe posted so diners can prepare the same dish at home. " ...
Via EPA: Trailblazer Awards

Hospital farmers markets via Philadelphia Business Journal: "Pennsylvania and Jefferson hospitals are also in the second year of their farmers markets, which each set up with the help of the Women’s Health & Environmental Network. "

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Duke Solar Power Project Collaboration

ENN Group and Duke Energy join forces to build utility-scale solar power plants throughout the U.S. ...
... "Under an agreement signed today, ENN and Duke Energy will concentrate on two types of solar photovoltaic designs: large utility-scale solar farms and commercial distributed generation solar projects. Distributed generation systems produce electricity close to where the energy is used, rather than at large, central power plants. " ...
Via Duke Energy: Solar Power Projects Collaboration

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October 22, 2009

San Francisco Accepts Compostables - Green Bin for Compostables


3 "recycle" bins

San Francisco now accepts compostable materials as part of its waste stream pick up ... there are now 3 bins:

black = trash
blue = recyclables
green = compostablescompostable items

" ... designed to make recycling easier, reduce waste, and control litter. ... green cart is for all compostable items, such as food scraps and yard trimmings. ... allows San Francisco to ... achieve the state-mandated 50% recycling goal."

Acceptable for composting are food scraps, yard waste, paper and cardboard and select otehr items.  For a complete list see San Francisco COMPOSTABLES".  They accepts more than you would expect ... lots more!

Do you compost?  Why not?

I do (myself in my back yard) and it quickly turns into nice mulch ... 


Via:   San Francisco Recycling LINK







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Panduit Eco-Enterprise Recognition by Oracle

Oracle recognizes Panduit with its Enable the eco-Enterprise award. ...
... "This award recognizes Panduit`s ongoing implementation of innovative, sustainable business practices that leverage Oracle solutions to develop and deploy energy-efficient physical infrastructure solutions. " ...
Via Reuters: Panduit Eco-Enterprise Award

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San Jose California - Smart Street Lights

San Jose California is looking to change street lights to LEDs from traditional bulbs and look at motion controls and other technologies to turn ligts on only when needed. Check out this interesting video of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed >>> Via: SmartPlanet LINK
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Extreme Recycling Movement

recycvling logoThere is a new "movement" underway in the recycling space - call it extreme recycling ... "... a new movement afoot that is raising the bar on what’s good enough. ... story from the New York Times [Oct. 19, 20009 - Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None] explains what’s being called the “zero waste” movement ... not only to dispose responsibly of the waste that commercial enterprises create BUT ALSO to drastically reduce the amount of waste... create less garbage, period."

" ... Honda now recycles so much of the trash created at eight of its North American facilities that it has gotten rid of the trash dumpsters at those sites. At Yellowstone National Park, concessions now use cups and utensils that dissolve when heated. ..."


Via:  Smart Planet  LINK


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October 21, 2009

Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar Cell Research

UCF researchers Schoenfeld and Gisquiere will collaborate on the integration of organic and inorganic materials in hybrid solar cells, looking for means to improve conversion, efficiency, and energy flow. ...
... "The grant, from New York based corporation, Prime Source Initiative, Inc., will be awarded in $1.5 million allotments per year for five years. The research will be led by Winston Schoenfeld, a professor in CREOL, College of Optics and Photonics at UCF. He will work on methods to increase the efficiency between the organic material that harvests the sun’s energy and the inorganic semiconductor nanostructures within a hybrid photovoltaic solar cell. " ...
Via University of Central Florida: $7.5 Million Grant to Improve Solar Cells

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Gov. Schwarzenegger on Smart Phones and the Smart Grid

The Governor of California gives his thoughts on the Smart Grid ... including how smart gadgets like smart phones can bring more control to your energy use. Imaging being able to turn on or off appliances or control the temperature of your home from your cell phone. He says California is way ahead of the rest of the nation in terms of energy efficiency ... " ... new smart grid technologies aimed at helping to reduce energy consumption and fight global warming. ..." Via: SmartPlanet LINK
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San Francisco Int'l Airport Green Car Rentals

green car rental banner

 Continuing the very green theme at SFO Airport ... you can also rent green cars ... and offers an incentive in the form of a rental discount for renting HYBRIDS.

" ...  offers the nation’s first Green Rental Car program that rewards customers for renting “green” alternative-fueled vehicles. ... rent hybrid cars ... such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid or Toyota PRIUS will receive a $15 discount at the counter."

" ... estimated that more than 4,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year will be eliminated through the implementation of this program."

" ... 10 percent of the rental car fleet ... is comprised of high-mileage cars—such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Focus—in addition to alternative-fuel cars. ... SFO hopes to increase the total number of these cars to greater than 15 percent."


Via:  San Francisco Int'l Airport  LINK



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October 20, 2009

Voltaix Solar Chemistry Growth Trends

Voltaix, an electronic chemical supplier to the solar photovoltaics industry, is recognized for its stellar growth rate by Deloitte with its listing on the 2009 Technology Fast 500. ...
... "Rankings are based on percentage of fiscal year revenue growth during the five year period from 2004–2008. Voltaix grew 465% during this 5-year period, representing an average annual revenue growth rate of 54%. Voltaix CEO John P. de Neufville credits the company’s success to its ability to conceive, develop and commercialize innovative materials that help enable high performance semiconductor and solar applications. " ...
Via Voltaix: Deloitte’s 2009 Technology Fast 500

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October 19, 2009

Solar Soccer Stadium

AS Roma's new soccer stadium will integrate solar photovoltaics for power generation. ...
... "Italian club’s new home will be fully clad in photovoltaic panels ... " ...
Via New Civil Engineer UK: Solar Roma Stadium

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UCSB Organic Solar Advancements

University of California at Santa Barbara researchers work to reduce polymer reaction time and improve molecular weight, advancing the state of understanding for the production of polymers for organic solar cells. ...
... "The higher molecular weight of the polymers, reflecting the creation of longer chains of the polymers, has a major benefit in increasing current density in plastic solar cells by as much as a factor of more than four. " ...
Via Science Daily: Organic Solar Cells

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Millipore Solar Energy

Millipore makes a two million dollar investment in solar panel project to power its Bedford and Billerica, Massachusetts facilities. This project provides renewable energy to the company's facilities and enables the enterprise sustainability strategy. ...
... "Millipore worked with several vendors to design and install the solar panel system, which includes 1383 Sharp panels and 4 Solectria inverters. It will produce about 352,000 KWH/yr or, approximately 35 homes worth of electricity, which will be used to augment the electricity purchased from the grid to run Millipore’s facilities. " ...
Via Millipore: Solar Energy Project

Millipore on sustainability ...

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Thin Film Solar Cloudy Power

The mixed weather experienced during the Solar Decathlon enabled Team Germany's thin film solar building exterior to achieve an edge in net metering performance. ...
... "The thin film panels, while less efficient than conventional silicon, were projected to perform better in cloudy weather than silicon. Team Germany got its proof on the competition's fifth day when skies turned slate gray and a cold rain splattered the solar village. " ...
Via PhysOrg: Solar Village

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Toyota Reduces Data Center Electricity by 10%

Toyoto logoData centers use lots of energy ... from electricity to power the servers to electricity to power the AC units to keep things cool ...

Some are looking allowing the temperature to be set a little higher ... a recent 5 year pilot with Toyota and IBM was able to reduce consumption by 10% by looking at inefficiencies in the system. 

Read on for more ...

" ... by visualizing where hot spots and cooling inefficiencies existed and moving to address them, Toyota Motor Sales USA has been able to reduce the electricity demand ..."

"During a five-year pilot program ... Toyota was actually able to switch off two computer room air-conditioners even while maintaining a cooler ambient air temperature and reducing hot spots throughout its facility, ... relied on software from IBM Research called IMB Measurement and Management Technologies ... uses thermal readings from floor to ceiling ... and creates a three-dimensional chart that can be used to find power and cooling inefficiencies ..."

" ... assessment by Southern California Edison verified that these actions have helped reduce energy demand in the data center by more than 10 percent. ..."


Via:  ZDNet LINK

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BYU Heat to Electricity Prototype Thermoelectric Harvesting

The EPA is making a number of small grants under its People, Prosperity and Planet program, such as the funding of Brigham Young University's thermoelectric harvester pilot.  Researcher Matthew Jones is a member of the pilot team.  The outcomes of the project grantswill be reviewed at the National Sustainable Design Expo in DC.  ...

...   "The BYU students will develop a prototype in which thermoelectric generators are connected to a heat source and a heat sink via variable thermal pathways. This project will offer potentially valuable insights on how to more efficiently convert waste heat into electricity. The development of economically viable thermoelectric power harvesting systems can significantly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and increase the overall efficiency of renewable power production systems such as solar thermal and geothermal power plants. "   ...

 Via EPA: Grant


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October 18, 2009

Team Germany Solar Decathlon Virtual Tour

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Climate Passport Carbon Offsets Available at SF International Airport

SFO logoSan Francisco International (SFO) is committed to being green.  They have efforts underway to reduce their environmental impact by reducing noise, reducing global warming and preserving natural resources like air and water.

" ...  recognize the importance that environmental sustainability plays in helping achieve this goal ... committed to drastically reducing its environmental impact over the next decade.  ... working to reduce contributions to global warming, improve air and water quality, reduce noise impacts, and preserve natural resources." Climate Passsport logo

SFO nClimatePassport RT from PHL - SFO ow offers the Climate Passport program; a way to help travelers reduce their travel carbon footprint by purchasing offsets.  

Here is how it works ... " ... drop by a kiosk that will calculate the carbon impact of your travel ... buy offsets from the kiosk manager, 3Degrees, ... Some of the money will also go to the San Francisco Carbon Fund ... offsets purchased ... are verified by the Climate Action Registry."

Check out the interactive carbon calculator ...

On Sunday Oct 18, the cost for a carbon offset for a round trip flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco and back would cost $22.82 and off set 3,727 lbs of CO2.

Via:  SF International International Airport  LINK
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October 17, 2009

e-Energy Germany

Germany moves forward with a portfolio of smart energy projects that will advance the generation and intelligent consumption of electricity by integrating information technologies with ttraditional utilities. Expect more generation of electricity to occur closer to the consumption, such as rooftop solar. ...
... "The technology of the future for smart energy management is going to be developed and tested, under the label E-Energy, in several cities. " ...
Via Business Week: Germany


E-Energy Program (PDF).

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October 16, 2009

Smart High Tech Roofs Change Color Based on Temperature

Color Changing Roofing TilesWhite roofs are the "hot" thing in roofing ... allowing for a lowed burden on a/c systems.

But dark colored roofs can bring solar gain to warm buildings ... if only roof tiles were smart enough to know ...

The next "hot" thing in roofing might be roofing that can change color based on outdoor temperature to maximize or minimize solar gain.

"MIT researchers have developed roof tiles that change color based on the temperature, turning white when it’s hot to deflect heat and turning black when it’s cold to absorb it ... the tiles can reflect about 80 percent of sunlight when they’re white and 30 percent of sunlight when they’re black. ... white state ... could save as much as 20 percent of present cooling costs ..."

" ... system ... made of a ... polymer in a water solution ... encapsulated between flexible plastic layers, with a dark layer at the back. When the temperature is above a certain level ... the polymer  ... produce a white surface and scatter light.  ... Below that temperature, the polymer stays dissolved, revealing the tile’s black backing and absorbing the sun’s heat ..."

Via: SmartPlanet LINK

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The Solar Decathlon Winner is Team Germany

Yes. But not exactly. ... Q: Who really won? A. Team Germany B. The Environment C. All of Us. D. The Students. E. All of the Above. Answer (E). Congratulation to all of the students, their professors, their mentors and parents, the sponsors, and the Department of Energy for a fantastic Solar Decathlon event that showcased sustainable design, green technologies, and, most importantly, the passionate spirit of our students. Great job! See you at the next Solar Decathlon in 2010 in Spain. RFP for 2011 Solar Decathlon (PDF).

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October 15, 2009

Solar Decathlon University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gable Home Leads into the Competition HomeStretch

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students have achieved a leading green building in their Gable Home design. The Illinois group was made up of a multi-disciplinary team of students that participated in the Solar Decathlon competition.

The solar photovoltaic power system is sized to be a net generator of power to the grid.

The Gable House's exterior architecture delivers a distinctive Midwest feeling with gable roof and barn siding.

However, the interior translates the visitor into a modern atmosphere.

The walls are quite thick, delivering excellent insulation meeting passive design standards. And, renewable wood is used in the structure.

Recycled wood was used for the exterior siding.

Will Team Illinois continue their lead and win the net metering criteria? We will see on Friday morning. ... More Gable Home pictures after the jump.

The students shared their knowledge and experience with visitors. ...

Gable Home bathroom:

Bedroom is cool! ...

The Gable Home dining room:

Kitchen garden:

Interior space:

Interior lighting:

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Army Solar Thermal at Fort Irwin Site

The Army commits to renewable energy projects that will deliver efficiency and create a model for sustainability in the military. The Fort Irwin base will leverage solar thermal to power operations. ...
... "The Army will partner with the private sector to construct a 500 megawatt solar thermal plant at Fort Irwin, Calif, in the Mojave Desert, that will provide renewable power on the grid and provide the sprawling Army post with added energy security against disruption of power supply. " ...
Via Army: Energy Initiatives

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White or Lighter Color Roofs - Low Tech Way to Save Energy

White Roof in process ...

Sometime low tech is the way to go ... painting a flat roof white can reduce the A/C load on a building and keep it cooler ...

This low tech solution " ... can act much like earth's snow covered poles; reflecting the sun’s light and heat as opposed to absorbing it ... keeps buildings cooler, reducing the problem of urban heat islands and saving energy (and money). ... we could counteract global warming simply by increasing the Earth’s total reflective surface. ...Terra Cotta roofing"

" ... Changing from a dark shingle ... to a light-colored (titanium-based white or terra cotta red) shingle can cut air conditioning costs by up to 40%. Georgia has been a leader in pushing cool roofs, passing a state law encouraging the shift. ... other states and regions also provide incentives, and the federal government is considering adding heat reflectivity requirements to housing regulations. "

Via:  WorldChanging  LINK  and LINK

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October 14, 2009

Duke Rooftop Solar Sites

Duke Energy selects four sites for rooftop solar energy installations. This is phase one of Duke's distributed solar generation program in North Carolina. ...
... "National Gypsum Company in Mount Holly, N.C., will house a 1.2-megawatt system which includes 5,096 rooftop solar panels; Highwood Properties in Greensboro, N.C., will house a 1.6-megawatt system which includes 7,020 rooftop solar panels; Food Lion, in Salisbury, N.C., will house a 1,292-kilowatt (1.3-megawatt) system which includes 5,616 rooftop solar panels; and Childress Klein Properties in Charlotte, N.C., will house a 532-kilowatt (.5-megawatt) system which includes 2,314 rooftop solar panels. These sites were selected based on their ready access to the electrical grid and solar productivity potential, in addition to other essential lease agreement criteria. Installations will begin immediately, with all phase one systems being installed by the end of the first quarter of 2010. " ...
Via Duke Energy: Distributed Generation Solar Sites

North Carolina Solar PV Distributed Generation Program: "Following a decision by the N.C. Utilities Commission in May 2009, Duke Energy is moving forward with plans to install electricity-generating mini solar power plants at up to 225 sites in North Carolina over the next two years. "

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Oberlin College - Living Machine® Waste Water Plant

Oberlin CollegeOberlin College's Living Machine® is a waste water treatment system that teaches students how nature purified water for years ... but is unlike most modern systems.

" ... treats wastewater using a system of engineered ecologies that include microbes, plants, snails and insects, and is designed to treat up to 2,000 gallons of ... wastewater daily in a beautiful, garden-like atmosphere. ... Upon completion of a water- pressurization system, the treated wastewater will be recycled back through the building for non-potable re-use."Living Machine

"Invented by Dr. John Todd, of Living Machines, Inc. ... Wastewater flows from the building into two underground reactors ... an anaerobic biological process begins digestion of the wastes.  ... wastewater flows through two closed aerobic reactors ... where the remaining organic compounds are further degraded. ...[then] ... enters the Living Machine® solarium and flows through three open aerobic reactors. ... plants such as papyrus, calla lilies and willows root into the planted aerobic reactors and assist in the treatment process."

" ... biosolids are settled out of the wastewater in a clarifier. ... then flows through a constructed wetland surrounding the open aerobic tanks for final ‘polishing.’ Ultraviolet disinfection is the final step prior to the treated wastewater being reused in the buildings’ toilets."

Via:  Oberlin College  LINK


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October 13, 2009

Solar Decathlon Team California Refract House Leads with Architecture and Communications

Team California is made up of Santa Clara University and the California College of the Arts students, who collaborated to create the Refract House for the 2009 Solar Decathlon.

The Refract House has a modern, beach house feel. Each room is angled so that as you enter the house, you built up anticipation to enter the next room. Cool effect. Via California College of the Arts: Team California Wins Architecture Contest in Solar Decathlon: "Team California wins the architecture contest with a score of 98 out of a possible 100. Evaluating three main factors - architectural elements, holistic design, and inspiration - the jurors praised Team California's house as beautiful in every respect. "

The pathway and ramps to the California Refract House were integrated with posters and materials to educate the visitor. And, the solar house's project manager answered questions from the front deck. She was a high energy, passionate speaker. This passion for communications has vaulted Team California to the top of the Communcations criteria. Via Department of Energy on Tuesday October 13: Team California Wins the Solar Decathlon Communications Contest: "Team California impressed jurors with the communications strategies, promotional materials, and people skills the team displayed while conveying the technical aspects of household solar energy systems to the public. "

More pictures after the jump. ...

Systems Controls:



Kitchen Lighting:

Living Room Light:


Kitchen Garden:


Pond view:

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North Carolina Bans Plastic Bottles from Landfills

earth911 logo

Starting October 1, 2009 North Carolina banned PET (#1 plastic) from landfills.

" .... banning all rigid plastic containers from landfills ... focus largely on the recovery of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET).  ... plastic, commonly identified by the number “1″ inside a recycling symbol on the bottle, is the resin of choice for most soda and water bottles."landfill

" ... building the nation's largest facility to recycle PET bottles, ... process 280 million pounds of material per year. One of the primary partners ... is carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Group, LLC, which can turn recycled PET into polyester for use in carpeting."

" ... state will be inspecting landfills starting in October, but it’s unlikely that individuals will be fined for trashing plastic bottles unless they are caught unloading a large amount."

Via:  Earth911 LINK


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October 12, 2009

Solar Decathlon Germany House Technology Showcase

Team Germany's entry in the Solar Decathlon was designed and constructed by the Technische Universitat Darmstadt.

The roof panels and house exterior are integrated with solar photovoltaics. Single crystal panels are on the roof and thin-film CIGS are used on the exterior. The solar system is sized to make this house a significant net generator of power back to the grid. We will see how the team performs on the net metering criteria of the contest. It should do very well.

The two-story cube-shaped house has a nice exterior deck, modern kitchen and dining room, pull-out integrated beds and a cool loft design.

Exterior view:

Louver design:


Interior walls:


Integrated beds:

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October 11, 2009

Solar Decathlon Rice University ZeROW House Designed for Affordability

Rice University students designed and built the ZeROW House, a zero energy row house, with affordability in mind. The appliances are smaller, efficient models to draw a lower load on the electrical system, which is powered by 4KW solar panel array.

This energy efficient row house is targeted for delivery and installation for low-to-moderate income families in Houston's third ward through the Row House Community Development Corporation.

These Rice University students were motivated and passionate about their creation and advancing the state of affordable and sustainable design.

Utility zone at rear of ZeROW solar house:

Simple controls are deployed:

Galvanized exterior:

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Insulation from Recycled Blue Jeans

blue jean insulation

I heard about recycled blue jeans being used as building insulation at the 2009 Solar Decathlon in DC this past Saturday (Oct 10th).

"UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber insulation ... revolutionary patented manufacturing process that has created a superior and safe product. ... made from high quality natural fibers. ... Ultra TouchDOES NOT ITCH and is very easy to handle and work with."

" ... contains no chemical irritants ... requires no warning labels ... no VOC concerns ... it is safe for you and the environment."

" ... meets BondedLogic logothe highest ASTM testing standards for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance and corrosiveness. ... contains 85% post-industrial recycled natural fibers making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to use a high quality sustainable building material."

 " ... available to purchase nationally on The Home Depot website or through your local distributor."


Via:  Bonded Logic  LINK





















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October 10, 2009

Ohio State Students Welcome Guests to Solar House I

Giving introductions to Solar House I designed by Ohio State students.  ...

Entry to Solar House I


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Solar Decathlon 2009 in Full Swing

Overhead view of Solar Decathlon 2009
Solar Decathlon 2009 is in full swing on the Mall in Washington DC. 

With the US Capital on one end and the Washington Memorial on the other it is an amazing site.  Sponsored by the U.S. DOE there are 20 houses showing what is possible with green technologies - using current off the shelf products and some very creative thinking.

Most of the teams are from US colleges  with several international entries ... including Spain and Germany.


Given parameters of 800 sq ft there are some very creative solutions.  Some stress extreme insulation, all have some sort of garden area, all have solar PV and some have solar hot water.  Most interesting is the creative use of 800 sq ft ...

As of this writing RICE is in the lead ... thought the difference between top and bottom on the ranking is not all that great.  Yesterday was very sunny so anyone with LOTS of PV was sure to get extra points ...

 Look for more posts and some GREENTECHNOLOG pictures ...


Via:  Greentechnolog.com  LINK


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October 09, 2009

Solar Decathlon Kickoff Funding to Accelerate Deployment

The Solar Decathlon is opened with commitment for solar technology through new funding to accelerate deployment.  Projects have been selected that evaluate the readiness of the grid, understand barriers to solar adoption in key cities, train solar installers, and advance next-generation research work.  ...Solar Decathlon 2009, Puerto Rico House

...   "Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced up to $87 million will be made available to support the development of new solar energy technologies and the rapid deployment of available carbon-free solar energy systems.  Of this funding, $50 million comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The 47 projects with universities, electric power utilities, DOE’s National Laboratories, and local governments have been selected to support use of solar technologies in U.S. cities, help address technical challenges, ensure reliable connectivity with the electrical grid, and train a new generation of solar workers to install and maintain solar energy systems. "   ... 

 Via Dept of Energy: Funding for Solar Energy Technologies




The Solar Energy Program.


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October 08, 2009

New York Solar Energy Boost

Governor Paterson accelerates the implementation of solar energy infrastructure in New York with funding and requests for proposal. ...
... "$10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding is now available through a competitive statewide solicitation for solar energy projects in New York State. The funding is available through NYSERDA's State Energy Program to fund the installation of solar photovoltaic systems. Additionally, Governor Paterson announced that the New York Power Authority is expected to make a formal request for proposals later this year for a 100-megawatt solar initiative, which would increase the State's current installed solar capacity five-fold. " ...
Via New York Governor Paterson Office: NY Solar Energy Expansion

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October 07, 2009

Florida Solar Generation Capacity Is Coming On-Stream

Florida Power & Light will begin operations of its DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Florida ahead of schedule. ...
... "Constructed in less than a year, the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center uses over 90,000 photovoltaic panels to turn the sun's rays into electricity to power more than 3,000 homes. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is one of three new commercial-scale, renewable, solar power plants FPL is building in Florida, along with solar energy centers in Martin County and at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Together, these will total 110 megawatts of capacity by the end of 2010 and are expected to make Florida the second largest solar power-producing state in the country. " ...
Via FPL: DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center

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Greener Concrete

Concrete is everywhere and is a key component of modern infrastructure .... used in roads, buildings, bridges, etc.  It is also anything BUT green.  Not only is it typically gray - its manufacturing process is quite dirty.

"MIT Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm is obsessed with concrete and how to make it greener ... behind the reinvention of this backbone material ... that  happens to contribute up to five per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. "MIT Prof Franz-Josef Ulm

" ... in concert with the Portland Cement Association and the Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation will try to ... reduc[e] ...the carbon emissions in concrete cement mfg plantproduction by 83 per cent over the next 40 years."

" ...  25 billion tons of concrete are produced annually on a worldwide basis versus 3.3 billion tons of lumber. ... production ... emits carbon dioxide (CO2) in two ways. Cement forms the glue in concrete and is made from limestone. However, limestone isn’t cement until the CO2 is baked out, a process that makes up half of concrete’s carbon emissions. ... other 50 per cent ... comes from fossil fuels used to heat the limestone up to 1,300 degrees Celsius. ..."

Via:  Smart Planet  LINK
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October 06, 2009

Dow POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles

Dow Solar Solutions logoThe Dow Chemical company is active in the green energy space with several innovative products.  They recently announced their entry into the solar cell market with the " ... POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle, ... panels in the form of solar shingles that can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. ... expected to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and ... more widely available in 2011, ..."

"... integrates low-cost, thin-film CIGS photovoltaic cells into a proprietary roofing shingle design, ... design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors ..."solar shingles

"... addresses two of the biggest challenges associated with solar power – cost and acceptance. "

Via:  Dow  LINK
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The Air Force Base Energy Conservation Portfolio Strategy

Air Force program uses friendly competition and awards to create incentives to conserve energy at Air Force bases. Luke AFB lands in the top three performers. ...
... "To meet and exceed energy conservation guidelines, the 56th CES resource efficiency management office has written a base energy plan. The plan outlines new equipment being purchased and installed at Luke must be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certified, as well as meet the 30 percent reduction in energy consumption by federal agencies by 2015 relative to a 2005 baseline. One model for energy savings is the solar system on the roof of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service building, which produces more than 75 percent of the buildings electrical energy. The 56th CES has several energy savings projects in the works. " ...
Via Luke AFB: Energy conservation prize

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GreenDisk CD and Other Media Recycling

greendisk LogoCDs are a great way to store lots of data in a small place ... and take up much less space when tossed in the trash then VHS cartridge.  Now you can easily recycle CDs and DVDs along with lots of other media at GreenDisk.

Read on for more ... Technotrash image

" ... responsibly and securely dispose of ... your computer-related waste, spent supplies and obsolete accessories.  GreenDisk handles all your technotrash disposal needs ... destroy your old data, recover reusable components, and recycle all of the rest of your accumulated technotrash - all at your convenience, at home or at work." 

I really love their tag line is " GreenDisk:  because good planets are hard to find. "

GreenDisk takes ... "CDs & DVDs, diskettes, and their cases ... Video and audio tapes and their cases ... Inkjet and toner cartridges ... Cell phones, pagers and PDAs ... Cords, cables, mice, printed circuit boards ... Computers, monitors, and peripherals"

Via:  GreenDisk  LINK

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October 05, 2009

Brandeis Solar System

Brandeis University will install over quarter megawatts of solar power generation on its campus gym as part of its long-term commitment to drive towards a carbon neutral footprint. ...
... "Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz announced that the university will partner with Alteris Renewables to develop one of the largest solar arrays in Massachusetts. Alteris will provide the design, engineering and installation for this 277kW solar system. " ...
Via Brandeis University: Solar panel array planned

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Casino Rises From Old Steel Mill in Bethlehem, PA

inside view of Sands Casino - Bethlehem Pa

The new Sands casino was build on part of the old Bethlehem Steel Mill site ... and effectively turned an eyesore into a productive revenue generating property for the community.

" ... Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVSC) ... started working on the site categorized as both the largest Brownfield redevelopment project in the nation and the largest casino development investment made to date in the Commonwealth. ...  the historic Bethlehem Steel plant is ... transformed into a fully integrated resort consisting of ... 200,000 square feet of premium retail outlet shopping, and 46,000 square feet of flexible multi-purpose space. ..."


Via:  Sands  LINK


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October 04, 2009

CSX to Cut CO2 Emissions 8 Pct

CSX logo

Rail is one of the most efficient transportation methods ... and keeps significant number of truck off the roads and highways ... CSX is taking it to the next level by voluntarily reducing CO2 emissions byu 8 pct by 2011.

"... plan to reduce the CO2 emissions ... 8% per revenue ton mile by 2011. ... part of its participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leaders Program, a voluntary program for businesses to inventory and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "

" ... first ever from a major U.S. transportation provider. CSX's commitment will reduce C02 emissions by 2.4 million tons - the equivalent of taking 441,000 cars off the road each year, or burning 5,598,000 fewer barrels of oil.CSX locomotive"

In CSX's non-railroad operations, the company plans to use building space more efficiently, improve HVAC systems, and install energy-efficient lighting and automatic computer-shutdown software.

"Since 1980, ... has invested more than $1 billion to upgrade its fleet with more efficient .... locomotives and has improved locomotive fuel efficiency by over 80%. By the end of 2009, an additional 1,200 CSX locomotives will be upgraded to further reduce emissions and lower fuel consumption by nearly 10 million gallons. ..."





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Solar Thermal Tower Mirror Array Concentrates Power

Torresol Energy will: "develop solar energy globally through investments in profitable and efficient Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants and to pioneer new thermal solar energy technologies ... "

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October 02, 2009

Nanotech Research with Solar Efficiency Potential

University of Louisville, Purdue University and Honda Research Institute have collaborated to better understand the formulation, or recipe, for manufacturing carbon nanotubes and their results will be presented in the October 2 edition of Science. This research program was started and sustained with funding by Honda. The researchers have found that the yield of nanotubes with metallic conductivity property was increased significantly through precise control of gas levels in the presence of catalyst. ...
... "Honda researchers discovered they could control whether the carbon nanotubes become metallic or semiconducting by using either argon or helium as carrier gases during the process. Researchers at UofL used the technique to make large quantities of nanotubes and precisely measure whether they were metallic or semiconducting. Purdue researchers took high-resolution images with a transmission electron microscope to help determine why the process worked. Lead UofL researcher Gamini Sumanasekera, an associate professor of physics, said he hoped the findings will renew interest in the field. " ...
Via University of Louisville: Solar cell efficiency potential through nanotech research

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No Impact Project - No Impact Week

No Impact Project logo o

Change yourself - change the world.  The No Impact Project " ... is an international, environmental, nonprofit project ... inspired by the No Impact Man book, film, and blog."

" ...  empower citizens to make choices which better their lives and lower their environmental impact through lifestyle change, community action, and participation in environmental politics. ...  Living low-impact provides a clear entry point into the environmental movement. ..."

Goals are to "Promote behavioral change .... Enable the public ... Engage people who are not already tree-hugging, bicycle-riding, canvas-bag-toting, eco-warriors ..."


Via:  No Impact Project LINK

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October 01, 2009

Green Building and Design Expo - New Jersey Oct 8 and 9, 2009

gogreenexpo logo

Learn more about Green building and design trends .... see booths, vendors, exhibits ... listen to seminars and speeches and see demonstrations.

 Open to industry professionals on Thursday Oct 8th and the public on Friday Oct 9th at the Edison NJ Convention and Expo Center.

The Green Dude and Green Tech visited this same show earlier in the year in Philadelphia and found it both interesting and worth the time to attend ... we may try to get to this one as well ...


Via:  GoGreenExpo  Link

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