Sunday, December 29, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 29 December 2013

Green revolution of a concrete kind
December 27, 2013 - Chennai is seeing a spurt in development of green building spaces – commercial and residential space – earning it the qualification to be called a green city. Increasingly homes and offices are seeing the benefit of sustainable construction techniques and operation and maintenance of built-up space.

Sustainable building, also known as Green building, is the practice of creating structures created using environmentally responsible and resource-efficient systems and processes. It encompasses factors such as site selection, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction. The aim of designing a green building is to reduce the overall impact on the environment, on human health and the natural environment.

Interest in the green building concept rose from the requirement for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly construction methods in the 1970s. The construction of a green building brings social, economic and environmental benefits. Modern design proposals provide ideas for both new constructions as well as renovation of existing structures. read more>>>

Eco-Friendly Construction Giant LEED Faces Challenges From Policymakers
12/28/2013 - An eco-friendly building rating system that has powered a green arms race across the nation now faces a challenge from policymakers and an upstart rival.

LEED, the longstanding king of green construction and renovation projects, has become a de facto brand in cities such as Portland, Ore., where sustainable growth has been the rage for years.

But that could change as legislation and executive orders in several states have all but banned Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design from public contracts, and a new system known as Green Globes has emerged and marketed itself as a simpler, less expensive alternative. read more>>>

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Ten Finalists Named in 2014 Green Car Technology Awards
December 18, 2013 - Ten technologies that enable improved environmental performance in vehicles have been named as finalists for the 2014 Green Car Technology Award™. This recognition of environmentally-conscious automotive technology will be a feature of the Washington Auto Show in the nation’s capital in January 2014.

Presenter of the award, the “Green Car Journal,” will announce the winner during the show’s second Policy Day on Wednesday, January 22.

“Advanced technology plays an increasingly important role in the development of cars and trucks capable of achieving significantly greater levels of efficiency and improved environmental impact,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and read more>>>

House of the Week: Green Showcase
December 27, 2013 - A ranch-style home built last year on Underwood Way is a showcase for the latest in green building techniques.

Two brothers, Victor and Slava Borisuk of construction company Build New York Green, designed and built the home to show off the leading edge in environmentally friendly construction.

The home's energy efficient nature starts with its 12-inch thick exterior walls. They were built with insulating concrete forms.

The hollow forms, similar to large Lego blocks, are stacked, reinforced with metal bars and then filled with concrete. The result is a well-insulated, quiet home, Victor Borisuk said.

In addition to providing energy efficiency, the forms use no lumber, saving trees that would normally be cut down to build a typical wood-frame house. read more>>>

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Researchers Design New Catalyst to Produce Hydrogen from Water, Sunlight
Dec. 13, 2013 — Researchers at the Institute of Energy Technology (INTE) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya· BarcelonaTech (UPC), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) have developed a system to produce hydrogen from water and sunlight in a way that is clean, renewable and more cost-effective than other methods. The scientists behind the project have fused the optical properties of three-dimensional photonic crystals (inverse opals of titanium dioxide, TiO2) and 2-3 nm gold nanoparticles to develop a highly active catalyst powder. The research paper has been published in Scientific Reports, the open-access journal of Nature.

This new photocatalyst produces more hydrogen than others developed so far by harnessing the properties of both photonic crystals and nanoparticles of a metal. read more>>>

Endangered Species, Climate Change and Sales; Green Jobs of the Future
December 28, 2013 - It isn’t every college student’s dream to save endangered species, stop climate change and make record sales, but it looks like that’s where the future industry of “green” jobs is headed. Traditionally, students who wanted to find work with an environmental group would need a degree in biology or chemistry, today they should also be focused on business degrees. Why? Global giants like Facebook and Google are hiring business-savvy environmentalists who can help make profitable changes to the company.

Conserving the Earth’s natural resources, rebuilding diminished animal and plant populations and constructing new ways in which modern humans can nurture their world is an amazing and laudable feat – but it hasn’t always been easy for an entrepreneur to keep his or her high level of morality and actually make a living. read more>>>

New Caney students offered in-depth look at green living
December 27, 2013 - Students of New Caney High School will be participating in a project that will allow them to hone their skills in welding and carpentry while also teaching them the basics of “green” living.

The partnership between the school district and Piney Woods United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will involve the construction of a demonstration home made from recycled shipping containers.

“The entire project will be self-sustaining,” said Sergio Grado, owner of GradCo Structures and Homes, LLC, a company that specializes in green construction. “It will be totally off the grid — solar panels and rainwater recapture. The intent is that it will be serving as an education piece for the students, and when the project is done, it will be open to the general public.”

The completed home will consist of two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. It will also have storage closets. It will feature a variety of amenities specifically designed for green living, including roof-mounted solar panels, which will provide all of the electrical power necessary for the small home. read more>>>

Resistance Makes Waves
Dec. 23, 2013 — Even physics can give pointers for energy saving. An international team working together with the Centre for Quantum Materials, run by the Max Planck Society in conjunction with the University of British Columbia (Canada), is now in a position to provide materials scientists with tips for the development of high-temperature superconductors, in a bid to make them earn their name. The term is currently used to describe materials including ceramic cuprates, which lose their electrical resistance at significantly higher temperatures than conventional superconductors, but still well below the freezing point of water.

In two complementary studies, the physicists have now established that superconductivity in cuprates collapses at a maximum of minus 135 degrees Celsius due to the formation of charge-density waves. read more>>>

Solar Activity Not a Key Cause of Climate Change, Study Shows
Dec. 22, 2013 — Climate change has not been strongly influenced by variations in heat from the sun, a new scientific study shows.

The findings overturn a widely held scientific view that lengthy periods of warm and cold weather in the past might have been caused by periodic fluctuations in solar activity.

Research examining the causes of climate change in the northern hemisphere over the past 1000 years has shown that until the year 1800, the key driver of periodic changes in climate was volcanic eruptions. These tend to prevent sunlight reaching Earth, causing cool, drier weather. Since 1900, greenhouse gases have been the primary cause of climate change. read more>>>

Pedal power helps fuel New Year's Eve ball lights
December 28, 2013 - The 30,000 LED lights on the New Year's Eve ball at Times Square are being fueled in part by pedal power, CBS New York reported Saturday.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, six stationary Citi Bikes were have been set up to supply the electricity for the lights. April Campo of Maryland was spinning away on one of them.

"I'm loving this," Campo said. "Isn’t this a great idea? This is so fun."

The bikes pump out about 75 watts per hour, according to Citi spokesman Ed Skyler. read more>>>

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