Friday, October 30, 2009

Salem State College receives environmental award

Salem State College was awarded a Leading by Example environmental award for its work to promote the use of renewable energy, water conservation, and recycling.

Some of the green projects the college has undertaken include purchasing 3.5 million kilowatt-hours per year of renewable energy to offset carbon emissions, creating a plan to protect nine acres of marshland that the college owns, and planting native beds that conserve water. The college also has a new dormitory under construction that is expected to be LEED certified, according to college officials.

Seven state colleges, municipalities, or agencies received the award. For more info, check out this story from The Globe.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Save hundreds by buying energy-efficient televisions

Believe it or not, televisions now account for about 5 percent of all residential electricity use in the United States. Many consumers are not aware of the fact that there is a wide range of energy use required to operate even seemingly similar televisions. For instance, plasma televisions consume significantly more than their similarly-sized LCD counterparts.

While the energy use may not add up to much, you could be looking at saving hundreds of dollars when you consider that you will use a new television for five to 10 years, especially if it is a more expensive model. And, as people become more conscience of their energy use, you can bet that manufacturers will do their best to meet the demand for more efficient televisions, which will increase your options for saving money on your electricity bill.

For more information, check out this story from The Daily Green.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Report claims one in five jobs will be in green sectors by 2030

A report released this week by the American Solar Energy Society suggests that by 2030 about one in five jobs in the U.S. will be in the emerging energy-efficiency and and renewable energy sectors, adding that the sectors could employ about 37 million people in the next two decades.

Granted, this report is from a trade industry group for the renewable energy sector, but it is obvious that green sectors, such as those listed above, are gaining jobs as more government funding is released for green projects and more private sector companies are popping up to meet the demands of consumers.

Interestingly, while the common perception is that green jobs that are created will be in high-tech fields, the report states that most of the jobs created will be in more traditional fields, such as agriculture or carpentry. For more info on the future of green jobs, check out this story from Business Green.

Friday, October 23, 2009

White House optimistic about climate change bill's chances

After meetings between key Democratic and Republican lawmakers, White House officials are much more confident that a compromise can be reached on a climate change bill than they were just a month ago.

Republican senators who were previously opposed to any kind of climate change legislation have been hinting that they may support a bill so long as it included provisions to fund nuclear energy and domestic oil exploration. White House officials have said that both items are at least somewhat negotiable, meaning that whatever compromise is agreed upon will likely have at least some Republican support.

The talks between lawmakers are important as the UN's Copenhagen climate change summit in December quickly approaches. Progress on the bill will give U.S. officials a better idea of how to go about negotiating the provisions of a potential successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

For more on U.S. climate change talks, check out this story from Business Green.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UK national weather services releases climate change map

The Met Office, the UK's national weather service, released an interactive map today that details the catastrophic impact of a four-degree rise (in Centigrade) in global temperatures.

The map is based on a report that the office released last month, where researchers concluded that the world could see a four-degree rise (equivalent to seven degrees Fahrenheit) in temperature over pre-industrial averages by 2060. Temperatures would likely rise more closer to the poles and less in areas around the equator.

The map details scientists' conclusions on the impact of rising temperatures on water supply, forest fires, agriculture, and sea levels. Scientists have also concluded that increased health risks associated with malaria and other airborne diseases would likely occur.

"Climate change is a truly global problem that needs a global solution and it is a solution we have within our grasp," UK's Foreign Minister David Miliband said. "But to tackle the problem of climate change, all of us – foreign ministries, environment ministries, treasuries, departments of defense and all parts of government and societies – must work together to keep global temperatures to two degrees. It is only by doing this that we can minimize the huge security risks presented by a future four-degree world."

For more information and to see the map, check out this story from Business Green.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Electric vehicles shine at Tokyo auto show

Electric vehicles are the talk of the show at the Tokyo motor show, which is taking place this week.

All of the leading Asian automakers are jostling for position in the expanding electric car market, as each looks for the new big thing to ignite a spark in an industry-wide slump in sales. Both Nissan and Toyota announced at the show that they plan to have all-electric cars ready to ship in the United States by 2012. Toyota officials also said they company remains on track to deliver a plug-in version of the popular Prius to consumers by the end of this year.

For more info on the electric cars being displayed at the show, check out this story from Business Green.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kyoto's expiration could spell doom for some green projects

So far, international negotiations for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol have been stagnant at best, even after leaders from 177 countries met in Bangkok last week to discuss a new climate change agreement.

The problem is that the interests of developed countries (such as the United States and most of Europe) and less developed nations (such as China, India, and Brazil) are conflicting. The developed nations want the less developed nations to commit to cutting a percentage of their emissions, but those countries say that the developed nations are the ones responsible for climate change and also have the money to make the cuts, so they should have to do most of the work. In a way, both groups have a good point and are right in a lot of respects.

However, debate over how the new agreement should be structured and what it should contain aside, if leaders fails to agree on a new climate change treaty, many green projects around the world are in danger of being shut down after 2012. Obviously, this would be a travesty, as much of the progress those projects have made would be lost. For more info on what is at stake during the global climate change discussions, check out this story from The Washington Post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New energy hub could expand U.S. renewable energy use

The inability to transport solar and wind energy between different power grids in the U.S. has also been a limiting factor in the expansion of renewable energy use in the country. However, a project announced today by the State of New Mexico will make it possible to more effectively transmit solar and wind energy between the three main U.S. energy grids.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said the new energy hub will "be the largest power converter in the world, making New Mexico the meeting place for America's electricity needs." The state and the company that would be in charge of constructing the converter are now seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If the project is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2011.

For more information on the renewable energy hub, check out this story from Business Green.

Friday, October 16, 2009

CVS pays customers to reuse bags

CVS will begin giving customers a $1 coupon for every four times they use a cloth bag. While grocery stores have been offering discounts on reusable bags for a while now, the amount of the reward CVS is offering is a lot greater than similar programs.

Members of the company's ExtraCare rewards program will have the opportunity to purchase a "Green Bag Tag" card to attach to their cloth bag. Every time they make purchases, the tag will be scanned at the register. After the tag is scanned four times, the customer will receive a $1 coupon as part of their receipt.

Company officials said its stores will have the tags in about two weeks. To read more, check out this story from The Boston Globe.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UK company develops laptop bags with solar panels

Mascotte Industrial Associates, a UK company, has developed the first line of consumer electronics bags with built-in solar panels.

The bags are fitted with Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. This marks the first time that DSSC technology has been used in consumer products. DSSC is a type of "thin-film" solar technology that allows solar panels to be manufactured quickly and molded to fit various materials. A similar techonology is being used in cell phones that are fitted with solar panels, which providers have started marketing this year.

The bags will be displayed at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair this week and will be capable of charging laptops, cell phones, cameras, and other devices. For more information, check out this story from Business Green.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Biofuel firm makes fuel from sewage

U.S. biofuel company Qteros says it has created the first commercially-viable technology for creating ethanol from the materials found in municipal waste (what we would call sewage).

The company has teamed up with an Israeli bio-tech company, Applied CleanTech, to use one of Applied's technologies to complete the process of making ethanol. The technologies have the potential to save municipal waste water plants a lot of money by giving them a way to create revenue by selling energy.

For more information on these technologies, check out this story from Business Green.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Competition showcases solar-powered houses

For the new two weeks, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has been turned into a residential development to showcase the best solar homes available in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition.

University teams from around the country as well as teams from Germany and Spain have spent over two years building solar-powered houses. Like the decathlon at track & field competitions, the contest has 10 "events," or areas that the house are judged on: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering.

The purpose of the competition is to promote the world's growing need to find ways to harness and use alternative energies. For more info on the Solar Decathlon, check out this story from CNN.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Patriot Place to install solar power generator

Patriot Place, the retail and entertainment complex adjacent to Gillette Stadium, is having a photovoltaic system installed on the roofs of seven buildings to produce solar power at the site. The system, which will consist of 2,800 solar panels, is expected to generate enough power to account for 30 percent of the total power used at the complex.

Work crews will begin installing the photovoltaic system later this month, and a spokesperson for Patriot Place said construction will likely be completed by the end of the year. The use of solar power at the site will reduce emissions by more than 8,000 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking about 1,600 cars off of the road.

For more on this story, click here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tax credits put more green in your pocket

As part of the federal stimulus package passed earlier this year, home owners can get tax credits for making green renovations to their home, such as installing solar panels, environmentally-friendly doors, or geothermal heating systems.

The details are pretty simple. The U.S. Treasury Department will give you 30 percent of the cost of energy-efficient windows, doors, heating/cooling systems, water heaters, and other items. Other types of credits are available as well. For instance, if you purchase a $20,000 solar-electric system, you can get a tax credit for $6,000 of the cost.

For more info on other home renovation tax credits that are available, check out this story from The Globe.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Alternative energy vehicles displayed at expo

More than 50 alternative energy vehicles were on display yesterday at the Fifth AltWheeles Fleet Day at the Staples World Headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts. The expo is the largest display of alternative energy vehicles on the East Coast.

The vehicles on display were fueled by everything from electricity to lithium-ion batteries to compressed natural gas. Experts on the manufacturing and operation of the vehicles were on hand to answer any questions that fleet managers attending the event had. Industry leaders also spoke about the importance of using alternative energy vehicles in corporate fleets.

For more info on AtlWheels Fleet DAy, click here for a story from The Boston Globe.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Green cell phone turns heads

Samsung's Reclaim cell phone is turning heads among those interested in sustainable technology. The phone is manufactured using 80 percent recycled materials and includes a standard energy-efficient charger.

In addition to being more sustainable than your average cell phone, the makers of the phone did a good job of making sure it would be "cool" enough to interest the typical cell phone user. The phone includes a slide-action QWERTY keyboard and sports one button links to popular website such as Facebook and Twitter. The Reclaim also comes preloaded with green and environmental tips.

For more information on this and other green phones, click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Green Taxis Act would allow cities to require hybrid taxis

Federal courts have previously struck down attempts by cities such as Boston, New York, and Seattle to require taxi companies to deploy hybrid fleets.

Last year, Boston passed a regulation that would have required fleets to be all-hybrid by 2015 before the courts ruled that it violated federal laws. The city justified the regulation by saying that hybrid vehicles are 74 percent more efficient than many of taxis currently on the road.

However, the Green Taxis Act of 2009, introduced by Senator Kerry in the Senate today, would allow cities to decide on their own whether taxi fleets should be all-hybrid or not.

“This legislation will help empower cities and towns across the nation, including Boston, to improve air quality, lower carbon emissions, and save cab drivers and passengers money,’’ Kerry said in a prepared statement. “We know we must reinvent the way America uses energy and once again Boston is leading the way.’’

For more info on the Green Taxi Act, check out this story from The Globe.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Environmental groups praise Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill

Environmental groups were unanimous in their praise for the Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill that was introduced in the Senate yesterday, but, as expected, the groups stressed that the bill was just a first step of many towards making the environment safer with climate legislation.

According to The Daily Green, environmental groups praised the bill for many reasons, including:
  • Creating new "green jobs" via the Green Construction Careers Demonstration Project and funding for the Green Jobs Act
  • Setting a short-term target for greenhouse gas reductions of 20% from major sources by 2020
  • Preserving existing Clean Air Act regulations that will allow the Environmental Protection Agency to curb greenhouse gas pollution from power plants and other major sources.
While the praise was unanimous, the criticism of what the groups consider a emissions reduction requirement that is too lenient was also close to unanimous. For more on the bill, check out this story.