A mix of energy sources advance Hawaii’s renewables goal

August 21, 2017 by  
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Once Hawaii publicized its goal to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2045, the state’s options to get there expanded greatly. “We saw a slew of different solutions that can help Hawaii get to its renewables goal,” said Luis Salaveria, director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). That includes the renewables mix of hydro, wind and solar, as well as the technology to get power on the grid. 

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A mix of energy sources advance Hawaii’s renewables goal

‘Micropower’ proves its economic mettle

August 21, 2017 by  
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RMI data shows ‘micropower’ disrupts fossil-fuel markets, forcing oil companies to change their business model or face a ‘nasty, brutish and short’ future.

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‘Micropower’ proves its economic mettle

3 telltale signs you’re shifting the supply chain

August 21, 2017 by  
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Lessons in sustainable sourcing from Canopy, whose new partners include the Gap and VF Corporation

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3 telltale signs you’re shifting the supply chain

White House kills ban on bottled water at National Parks

August 18, 2017 by  
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The Trump administration has put the kibosh on a six-year-old ban on selling bottled water at some national parks . The National Park Service announced on Wednesday that, effectively immediately, parks like the Grand Canyon will no longer be able to block the sale of plastic water bottles in a bid to reduce litter. In a statement, the National Park Service said it wanted to “expand hydration options for recreationalists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks.” The decision serves as yet another rollback of one of President Barack Obama’s environmental policies. Since 2011, the Green Parks Plan has encouraged the use of refillable water bottles on park lands. While it didn’t prohibit the sale of bottled sweetened drinks, the policy allowed parks to prevent the sale of disposable water bottles in vending machines, stores, and hotels. Related: Big Water fights plans to ban plastic water bottles in national parks Besides the Grand Canyon, 22 of the 417 National Park Service sites implemented the policy, officials said. These included Bryce Canyon National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Zion National Park. The rollback is a win for the bottled water and beverage industry, which campaigned against the ban, noting that the Obama administration “removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks.” “Consumption of water in all forms, tap, filtered, and bottled, should always be encouraged,” said Jill Culora, a spokeswoman for the International Bottled Water Association , a trade group. “The rescinded policy was seriously flawed.” The move by the National Parks comes three weeks after the Senate confirmation of David Bernhardt as deputy interior secretary. Bernhardt, according to the Washington Post , served as a lobbyist with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which has represented Nestlé Water , one of the largest water bottlers in the United States and the distributor of the Deer Park brand. Via Washington Post and Associated Press Lead image via Pixabay , others by National Park Service/Flickr

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White House kills ban on bottled water at National Parks

Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy

August 17, 2017 by  
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There’s a new building block in town, and it generates its own clean energy. Researchers from Exeter University developed new glass blocks that are embedded with small solar cells . Not only do the blocks generate energy, but they also provide thermal insulation and allow natural light to enter buildings. Called Solar Squared, the blocks are embedded during the manufacturing process with an array of optical elements that focus sunlight on tiny solar cells . The blocks are made to ensure maximum solar absorption, even in tricky urban areas. “The modular design is completely scalable, and allows for seamless architectural integration,” according to an Exeter press release . “The streamlined nature of the technology enables it to be embedded in conventional construction materials, meaning that its applications are myriad.” Professor Tapas Mallick and Dr Hasan Baig, along with IIB Research Commercialization Manager Jim Williams, hope their patent-pending design will revolutionize the construction industry . Related: Tesla’s new solar roof is actually cheaper than a regular roof “Deployment of standard solar technology is limited by the large area requirement and the negative visual impact,” said Dr Baig from the Environment and Sustainability Institute in Cornwall. “We wanted to overcome these limitations by introducing technologies that become a part of the building’s envelope. We now have the capability to build integrated, affordable, efficient, and attractive solar technologies as part of the building’s architecture, in places where energy demand is highest, whilst having minimal impact on the landscape and on quality of life.” There are challenges, though. Dr Baig says it’s difficult to communicate how the building product serves a dual purpose, and that expectations of price should reflect the same. “People tend to make comparisons with standard solar panels found on roof tops but it’s necessary to also include the value of the underlying building material in order to quantify the value proposition.” For this reason, the group aims to ensure that Solar Squared will cost less than conventional glass blocks with the added cost of electricity . They are currently seeking test sites and investors – in case you know someone who can take this to the next level. + Solar Squared, Exeter University Via New Atlas

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Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy

Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

August 17, 2017 by  
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Infiniti is bringing us back to the 1940s with its Prototype 9 roadster, which is set to debut this month at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. On the outside the Prototype 9 is a sexy retro concept – but under the skin it’s all about the future, since it’s powered by the next-generation Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain. “Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today,” stated Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. “It started as a discussion: What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s? If one were to imagine an open-wheeled Infiniti racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like?” Related: Why the new Nissan Leaf won’t need a brake pedal The Prototype 9 is powered by Nissan’s new EV powertrain, which mates a 30 kWh battery with a prototype electric motor. The electric motor generates 148 hp and drives the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The Prototype 9 has a top speed of 105.6 mph, and reaches 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. It also has a maximum EV range of 20 minutes if you drive it really hard on a track. While the Prototype 9 is going to debut later this month, we won’t have to wait too long to see the next-generation Nissan Leaf. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is scheduled to debut on September 5. Images @Infiniti + Infiniti

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Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs

August 15, 2017 by  
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What if you could get cash for parking your electric car ? Vehicle owners in Denmark have been able to do just that, bringing in around 1,300 Euros, or around $1,530, a year by feeding excess power back into the grid. Nissan Motor Company conducted trials in the country with Italy’s utility company Enel SpA to show how EV batteries could help ease constraints on the electrical grid. Nissan has run trials with over 100 cars throughout Europe, but so far only owners in Denmark have been able to earn cash by parking their vehicle and sending power to the grid . Using two-way charge points, owners have been able to rake in $1,530 annually, according to Nissan Europe energy services director Francisco Carranza. Related: Tesla is doubling its Supercharger network by the end of the year to 10,000 chargers Electric car owners in the United Kingdom could be next to score a payday – due to restrictions on accessing the market, Nissan needs to get up to 150 cars before people can earn money. Carranza estimates they could hit that number later this year. He told Bloomberg, “It’s just a matter of finding the appropriate business model to deploy the business wide-scale.” Electric car demand, expected to grow around the world, could place a strain on local electrical grid operators trying to figure out ways to balance demand. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, power consumption from cars will climb from around six terawatt-hours today to 1,800 terawatt-hours in 2040. The scheme of using car batteries to balance supply and demand could help grid operators while potentially allowing car owners to earn some extra money with minimal effort. According to a July 2017 Business Insider article , the Danish government recently cut back subsidies for electric vehicles and sales fell – at that point in 2017 a mere 182 electric cars had been sold in the country. But Denmark also has more EV charging docks than petrol stations. Via Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs

Restorative Healing Gardens take over a concrete garage rooftop in L.A.

August 15, 2017 by  
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A healing green landscape has blossomed in the place of a former concrete plaza in Los Angeles. Local firm AHBE Landscape Architects transformed a concrete site atop a multi-level garage into the new Healing Gardens for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The unique, green roof -inspired system features four distinct gardens that promote healing, health, and well being for patients, hospital staff, and visitors. Since the site was located atop a building, AHBE had to develop a multi-layered landscape solution that would protect the existing building’s structural and mechanical integrity while accommodating four lushly planted gardens. “The Cedars-Sinai Healing Garden Plaza project presented several constraints that encouraged innovative thinking,” said Calvin Abe, FASLA, RLA, who led the project team. “The terraces had previously been unused for many years. We aimed to heal the epidermis of the complex by grafting a piece of living, breathing landscape above the existing parking decks.” The addition of the Healing Gardens is an extension of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s mission to prioritize quality patient care. Related: Light-filled Crown Sky Garden Offers Healing Properties at Children’s Hospital in Chicago The Healing Gardens comprise four distinct gardens with carefully crafted planting palettes. The Garden of Whimsy “lift[s] and energize[s] the human spirit” with undulating planters and a sculptural pavilion by Ball Nogues Studio as the focal point. In contrast to the more active Garden of Whimsy, the shaded Blue Garden is designed for quiet meditation and features private nooks and small circular reflecting pools. The open Plaza Garden accommodates a variety of events with moveable and convertible furniture ; the space is complemented with textural plants such as agaves and succulents. The Education Garden features “adaptive natives” from non-U.S. Mediterranean climates and includes space for outdoor lectures, health fairs, and informal meetings. + AHBE Landscape Architects Images by @heliphoto.net

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Restorative Healing Gardens take over a concrete garage rooftop in L.A.

Chemical footprinting strides to become mainstream with Walmart

August 11, 2017 by  
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Big companies are breaking new ground by measuring and reporting their chemical footprints. What steps can your business take?

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Chemical footprinting strides to become mainstream with Walmart

It’s critical to go ‘all in’ on climate optimism

August 11, 2017 by  
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The debate about communicating apocalyptic climate risks misses the point: The only way to combat their terror is by committing fully to climate action.

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It’s critical to go ‘all in’ on climate optimism

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