May 12, 2014 - The United States can quickly transition to nearly 100 percent renewable energy and phase out coal and nuclear power, according to research from Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council.
"Growing concerns about climate change and air pollution, along with quickly falling costs of renewable energy, are already upending the utility industry's business model and threatening to turn fossil fuel reserves into stranded assets," said Sven Teske, a renewable energy expert with Greenpeace International. "The Energy [R]evolution report demonstrates that the rapid changes in the energy sector could expand dramatically, with major implications for many industries." read more>>>
April 18, 2014 - While most 19th century manufacturing hubs were known for their poor working conditions, the Pullman District on Chicago’s South Side was the country’s first model industrial town designed to provide a safer and healthier environment for the Pullman sleeping company’s workers. Over a century later, Method, the green cleaning products brand, is now carrying on the District’s progressive legacy with the construction of its new 150,000-square-foot sustainable factory. The company asked William McDonough + Partners to design its sprawling building, spanning roughly five acres on a brownfield site where the original Pullman lumberyard once stood. Prior to construction of its new facility, Method has committed to cleaning up the 22-acre property, and then transforming it into lush parkland for its employees and the surrounding community.
“Chicago was interesting because of its location, transportation, and also its history as part of the Rust Belt. read more>>>
April 7, 2014 - A microgrid is a power grid on a small scale. It operates alone or can feed into the main power grid. Before power utilities, the electricity used by manufacturers was often generated on-site much like the water wheel used to power mills. No wires fed into these sites other than those from the local power source. But in the 20th century we moved away from that model building a model of centralized power generation distributed over a grid to electrify our cities and farms. Over time here in North America we integrated the Canadian and American grid to allow power generators to sell their products wherever electricity was needed. Today, this is the system we have here in North America, and it has its problems.
I remember the blackout of August 14, 2003 when more than 50 million North Americans lost their power (see image above). Cities from New York to Toronto were shut down. read more>>>
April 4, 2014 - Many considerations go into the design of a wind farm, a huge one being their physical design -- spacing and orienting individual turbines to maximize efficiency and minimize any wake effects where the swooping blades of one reduces the energy in the wind available for others. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) have developed a new way to study these wake effects.
Simple computer models have traditionally been used to determine the best turbine design, which works well for small wind farms, but is less precise for larger wind farms where the wakes interact with one another and the overall effect is harder to predict. read more>>>
May 9, 2014 - New requirements soon to be proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil fuel plants will not result in electric system reliability problems, according to research conducted by Analysis Group. The research finds that the new rules will provide states with significantly more opportunities for flexibility, innovation, and creativity in accomplishing the targeted reductions.
Analysis Group researcher and senior advisor Susan Tierney found that concern over electric system reliability impacts overlook three factors: the mission orientation of power companies and grid operators to ensure that the system can meet customer demands, the expected long lead time offered for implementation in the new guidelines, and the inherent flexibility of the EPA's "cooperative federalism" model in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. read more>>>
May 09, 2014 - The Lucia Mar Unified School District has big plans to harness the power of the sun, helping its campuses become more green and saving money at the same time.
Construction on Lucia Mar’s energy efficiency and solar power project kicked off at the Arroyo Grande High School campus in late April, with the first phase to be completed by month’s end.
Crews are currently installing solar parking canopies in the main parking lot at the high school, and construction has taken up half of the area where staff and students normally park their vehicles. read more>>>
06 May 2014 - The Obama administration on Tuesday released a scientific report on climate change that not only says evidence of the change are everywhere, but also that if more isn't done now to reduce human contributions to the situation it will tens of billions of dollars later just to try to cope.
The sobering report, prepared with input from more than 300 scientists, is required every four years by law. But prior administrations have found ways to skirt the law. As a result, today's release is only the third such report to be issued by the White House.
The lengthy analysis says every region of the US has been adversely effected by climate change, whether the impacts have been through droughts, wildfires, unusual snowfall or stronger than normal hurricanes. read more>>>
05 May 2014 - The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is advocating action oriented-initiatives to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy at the Abu Dhabi Ascent.
The high-level meeting, which is being hosted by the UAE and concludes today, is in preparation for the September U.N. Climate Summit in New York.
IRENA is highlighting its Africa Clean Energy Corridor and SIDS – Lighthouses initiatives to the governments, international organizations, and delegates from the private sector and civil society convening in Abu Dhabi to learn about and shape specific stakeholder initiatives that address climate change. read more>>>
May 9, 2014 - When it comes to industrial hemp production, the US lags far behind many other nations, but if domestic hemp cultivation becomes completely legal here, green builders could have access to an affordable and sustainable construction material, namely hempcrete.
Hempcrete, which sounds rather like a made up hippie word instead of an alternative building material, is a fascinating green construction option that uses the hurds, or inner woody core of the hemp stalk (as opposed to the bast fibers, which are used for textiles and cordage), in a mineral matrix, to form a non-toxic, carbon-negative, and energy-efficient material. Hempcrete isn't that new, but isn't very widely used at the moment, especially in the US, most likely due to the fact that the hemp has to be imported, as it's illegal to grow here. read more>>>
May 11, 2014 - Energy-efficient technology and sustainable building practices are becoming more popular in new home and condominium construction, but the marketing of these properties often does not make the benefits clear.
The number of green-certified homes built in Massachusetts doubled last year, reflecting a 110 percent increase from 2012.
Government tax credits and rebates have given many builders an incentive to incorporate green certification and high-performance equipment into their latest homes. read more>>>