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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bloom Energy Server - Lower Cost Fuel Cells

"The Bloom Energy Server ... is certainly interesting for its packaging, deep-pocketed backers, big brand customer names/testimonials and potential to provide clean energy, but its major technological innovation appears to resolve a problem that have long made fuel cells uneconomical. ... runs on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) which convert natural or biogas into electricity."

" ... company ... reportedly attracted ... backing from Silicon Valley venture capital firms such as Kleiner Perkins ... Energy Servers have been toiling away since the mid-2008 at ... Google and eBay. ..."

" ... its key component is made from sand. ... sand is cheap and plentiful ... Historically, the gating component in a hydrogen fuel cell, the most common type of fuel cell, has been platinum, which drives up the cost and makes them expensive to mass produce."

" ... been able to commercialize the technology and besides Google and eBay, get customer commitments from the likes of Staples, Walmart, Coke and Bank of America. ... proves that the Energy Server actually works. ..."

Via: SmartPlanet LINK
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Thermostats Go Hi Tech

Todays thermostats are miles ahead of those of even 10 years ago.  It seems the average thermostat can program multiple "Setbacks" in a day and have separate programs for the week days and weekends ... or even a unique program for each day.  But they are not always easy to set up and get the most value from them.  Future thermostats may be controlled by PC (via the net) to make them both easier to use and able to connect to real time data from a furnace ...

Check out this interesting video about the Future of the Thermostat

Via:  ZDNet  LINK

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Green Prefab Homes for $100,000

" ... The number of affordable, energy-efficient modular homes continues to increase as Pennsylvania-based builder Excel Homes offers a new line aimed at first-time buyers ... targeted to be sold for under $100,000, and depending on region, for as low as $60,000. ..."

" ... Excel Homes ... has built 28,000 modular homes since its founding in 1984 ...  built in sections ... in Liverpool, Pa., and Marlboro, N.Y., and transported ... where they are assembled... come with the government's Energy Star label for energy efficiency ... prices do not include the cost of land...."

Via: USAToday LINK

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Timberland's Earthkeeper Bags

The Earthkeeper is another of Timberland's green products.  The key earth friendly detail is that it is made from 55% recycled canvas.

Via: Timberland LINK

Monday, February 22, 2010

ReStore - Supplies for a Green Remodeling

ReStore, a Philadelphia, Pa "... architectural salvage clearing house, was opened with a commitment to respect the resources of the environment by prolonging the life of usable materials. ReStore, in Philadelphia, PA., offers architectural salvage, deconstruction services as well as design consultations." See the video for an idea of the kinds of items available for sale ... making architecturally interesting items available and keeping usable materials out of landfill. A win-win. Via: ReStore.com LINK
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

AT&T Adds 1,000 th Alternative Fueled Vehicle to Fleet

AT&T"AT&T ... deployed its 1,000th alternative fuel vehicle in its fleet ... latest deployment is part of a $565 million 10-year investment to replace 15,000 vehicles with fuel efficient models through 2018."

Of a total fleet size of over 77,000 vehicles ... AT&T spent " ... $350 million to buy 8,000 compressed natural gas vehicles over 5 years ... " and will spend "$215 million through 2018 to replace 7,100 fleet passenger cards with alternative fuel models ... estimates it will save 49 million gallons of gas over 10 years."

Via: SmartPlanet LINK
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Timberland Glove Made with Recycled Content

Timberland has a reputation of being green and environmentally friendly.  They have a label on their shoe boxes that detail the environmental impact of the product.

Now they have gloves that have an " ... Eco-conscious bamboo/polyester lining" and "10% renewable content".  This is an easy way to stay warm and help the planet at the same time.

Via: Timberland LINK
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

HPs Green Data Center in Wynyard UK

H-P's newest data center in Wynyard England is cooled ENTIRELY by wind blowing off the nearby North Sea. The North Sea is cold and so are its winds. It is H-P's greenest data center yet ...

The " ... new 360,00 sq. ft. Wynyard center is 40 percent more energy-efficient than conventional data centers ..."

" ... Traditional data centers use thousands of megawatt hours per year ... if they were classed as a separate industry, they would be the sixth-largest user of electricity ... "

Other energy saving / carbon saving features of the Wynyard data center are: " ... harvesting rainwater ... to maintain proper humidity levels in the air that’s brought in from outside ... light-colored server racks because they reflect light, allowing for 40 percent less lighting to be installed compared to using black cabinets."

"HP had previously announced that it plans to reduce the combined energy consumption of operations and products by 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2010."

Via: SmartPlanet LINK

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Volvo to Look at Car "Skin" as Additional Battery Source

Volvo is looking at a possible new battery technology that can double as the car "skin". The idea is to make new hybrids lighter and more efficient by having the car's "skin" serve a dual purpose.

"Researchers from Imperial College London ... and Volvo are developing a prototype material that’s strong and light enough to be used as a car’s skin but can store and discharge electrical energy."

" ... material is made of carbon fibers and a polymer resin and can store and discharge large amounts of energy much more quickly than conventional batteries."

" ... does not use chemical processes, making it quicker to recharge than conventional batteries. Unlike conventional chemical batteries, the recharging process also causes little degradation in the composite material."

" ... could also be used as both battery and shell of consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers. Without conventional batteries, the devices could be smaller and more lightweight."

  Via: SmartPlanet LINK

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Considerations for a Green Building - Video

Check out this VIDEO from Forbes on Green Buildings.

Things to consider are ... a better building envelope, better mechanical systems, geoexchange systems, etc.  Options might include alternative energy sources like solar panels and wind mills / turbines. 

Via: Forbes LINK

Friday, February 12, 2010

Greener Taxi - Ford's Transit Connect - CNG and Propane Versions

  • Ford's new Transit Connect is the ideal taxi platform as it is both big enough to accommodate CNG or Propane fuel tanks and is available with CNG or Propane engine options that from Ford - maintaining the  manufacturers warranty.
" ... Ford also said it will introduce engine prep packages on all Transit Connect models ... allowing conversion to efficient, clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane (LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas) ... are popular among taxi operators because of their low cost of ownership."

" ... meeting with taxi operators ... considerable interest for vehicles that run on alternative fuels ..."

"According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than gasoline, resulting in 30 percent to 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. Propane also burns cleaner than gasoline."“ ... they provide an overall lower emission of greenhouse gases compared to gasoline. Additionally, operating on CNG or LPG provides the operators lower fuel/operating costs ..."

Via:  Ford LINK
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Green Vertical wall

The GSA is renovating the 18 story federal building in Portland, Oregon.  Green features include a vertical green wall and reduced water usage with low flow fixtures and recycled roof water.

"... part of a $133 million renovation, the General Services Administration wants to grow “vegetated fins” on the western facade of the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building ... save energy year-round using one of Mother Nature’s own tools."

" ... will use 60 to 65 percent less energy than comparable buildings. That translates to an energy cost savings of $280,000 per year."

"Solar panels could also provide up to 15 percent of the building’s power needs. Energy use for lighting will be halved."

"... building in question was already slated for an energy efficiency upgrade, but funds from last year’s federal stimulus package stressed projects that were environmentally friendly."

Via:  SmartPlanet  LINK

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blood Science Offers Possible Carbon Capture Route

United Technologies is looking at how blood captures CO2 to see if this has potential for larger scale carbon capture / sequestration.  One targeted industry is coal-fired power plants.

"Blood cells in all breathing creatures are constantly capturing carbon dioxide and moving it someplace better--just what coal-fired power plant operators may soon have to do witComposeh all the carbon dioxide produced by burning coal."

" ... trying to develop industrial blood--a synthetic version of the enzyme that blood uses to capture CO2 ... best known chemistry for CO2 management ... "

"Current carbon capture approaches use chemicals ... system has to be huge and the process requires a pile of heat, which means a pile of energy and therefore a pile of cash. The cost of electricity from a coal-fired plant is projected to rise 80% in order to pay for a 90% reduction in CO2."

" ... envisions a simpler, cheaper system involving membranes that sift carbon dioxide out of the flue gas ...  hopes to do is dope the membrane with a substance based on the enzyme that blood uses to capture CO2, called carbonic anhydrase."c--are also working to develop carbon capture devices based on carbonic anhydrase.

Via:  Forbes LINK

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Buy Fewer - But Better - Items Reduces Waste

The article that this post comes from is about tools but can apply to most anything. According to the writer - most of what we buy ends in a landfill .... buying fewer but better items (tools in this case) will save on landfill space and possibly save money in the long run.

"Most of the things we bring into our homes will eventually end up in landfills ... make conscious choices to buy durable and well-made products, then we can reduce both the amount of waste we create and the amount of clutter we bring into our homes."

" ... be honest about what you really need to own ... tools can be easily rented when needed ..."

Via: Unclutter LINK