Lightyear unveils solar-powered car with a 500-mile driving range

June 29, 2017 by  
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A little-known Dutch startup called Lightyear just unveiled plans for a solar-powered electric car with a 500-mile driving range. The Lightyear One features a four-wheel drive powertrain that can handle rough terrain – and thanks to its solar panels, it can drive for months without having to be charged. “You can think of the Lightyear One as being as an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars.”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun”. Related: The world’s most efficient 5-seater car is powered entirely by the sun The solar-powered Lightyear One can travel up to 500 miles on a single charge. Other automakers have unveiled electric cars with solar panels on the roof, but none of them have been able to propel a car as far as Lightyear’s new vehicle. The integrated solar cells on the roof of the Lightyear One will generate enough energy to recharge the battery during the day, rendering charging virtually unnecessary. In sunny climates, the car can drive for months without charging, but if you need to travel further, you can also charge it using a standard power socket. Since the Lightyear One doesn’t need to rely heavily on charging infrastructure , the solar-powered car is a new option for drivers that don’t have access to a charger. “The Lightyear One is a statement to show that electric cars are ready for every corner of the planet”, Hoefsloot says. “It is the first step in our mission to make electric cars available for everyone”. The Lightyear One will be unveiled in early 2018, with the first deliveries in the United States and Europe expected to arrive in 2019. Pricing starts at 119,000 Euros, and reservations are already being taken on Lightyear’s website . Images @Lightyear + Lightyear

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Lightyear unveils solar-powered car with a 500-mile driving range

The trials and triumphs of offshore wind

March 1, 2017 by  
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Offshore wind is making big waves in Europe. Why is the U.S. staying on dry land?

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The trials and triumphs of offshore wind

The corporate case for a healthy workforce

March 1, 2017 by  
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Why employee health and safety is a key component of business sustainability performance.

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The corporate case for a healthy workforce

Electric cars and solar power could freeze fossil fuel growth by 2020

February 3, 2017 by  
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Fossil fuels could officially be a thing of the past as early as 2020, according to a new report. The report shows the declining costs of electric vehicles and solar energy could put a stop to the growth in worldwide demand for oil and coal in less than three years time. According to the Guardian , a report by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative entitled “ Expect the Unexpected: The disruptive power of low-carbon technology,” polluting fuels could lost 10 percent of their market share to solar power and “clean cars” within a decade. To put it in perspective, a 10 percent market share loss was enough to cause the recent collapse in the U.S. coal industry , while the five major utilities in Europe collectively lost about $100 billion between 2008 and 2013 because they didn’t ready themselves for the 8 percent growth in renewable energy . Related: Ireland votes to be the world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels According to the study , “Big energy companies are seriously underestimating the low-carbon transition by sticking to their “business as usual” scenarios which expect continued growth of fossil fuels, and could see their assets “stranded.” The study also notes that solar photovoltaic power could supply 23 percent of global power generation by 2040, and as much as 29 percent by 2050. That’s enough to entirely phase out coal and leave natural gas with just a 1 percent market share. At the same time Exxon is predicting renewables will supply just 11 percent by 2040. The researchers also see electric vehicles making up about 35 percent of the road transport market by 2015, and as much as 67 percent by 2050. That growth trajectory will see EVs displace about two million barrels of oil per day in 2025, and grow to 25 million barrels per day by 2050. Via Guardian and Carbon Tracker Images via USAF and Ride_and_Drive , Wikimedia Commons

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Electric cars and solar power could freeze fossil fuel growth by 2020

Torontos 8 Winter Station winners to revive citys frozen beaches

February 3, 2017 by  
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Toronto’s freezing beaches will soon be a hotspot of activity. The third annual Winter Stations design competition recently unveiled this year’s eight winners, a series of temporary art installations that will take over the city’s east end beaches beginning February 20. These interactive pieces will be built atop ordinary lifeguard stands and offer designs ranging from a Japanese onsen-inspired installation to a modern lighthouse. The Toronto Winter Stations competition selected five professional and three student teams to create temporary sculptures for the Toronto beachfront created under the theme of “Catalyst.” The competition seeks visionary designs that reinvent the waterfront landscape into an inviting and memorable place during a time of year when the frozen beaches are normally deserted. “Winter Stations 2017 delivered, once again, gutsy and lyrical transformations of ordinary lifeguard stands,” said Lisa Rochon, Winter Stations Design Jury Chair. “Visitors will be able to touch and feel their way along the beach, experiencing luminous shelter from the wind, warming waters for their feet, and designs that celebrate the Canadian nation of immigrants.” Related: 7 Burning Man-style winter stations unveiled for Toronto’s snowy shores The winning entries in the professionals category include: Asuka Kono and Rachel Salmela’s I See You Ashiyu, an installation where visitors can dip their feet into a Japanese hot spring-inspired basin; studio PERCH’s North, a suspended forest of 41 trees hung upside down; Mario García and Andrea Govi’s Collective Memory built from recycled bottles in reference to a statistic that says nearly one-half of the Canadian population over the age of 15 will be foreign born or a child of a migrant parent by 2031; Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani and Julie Forand’s BuoyBuoyBuoy, a reflective sculpture mimicking the motion of multiple buoys; and Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva’s modern interpretation of a lighthouse in The Beacon, which will also double as a drop-off location for non-perishable items like canned food or clothes. The selected student works include University of Waterloo’s Flotsam and Jetsam that speaks to the ills of plastic consumption; Humber College School of Media Studies & IT, School of Applied Technology’s the Illusory that uses mirrors to distort perspectives; and Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto’s Midwinter Fire, which immerses visitors in a miniature version of a Southern Ontario winter forest. + Winter Stations Via ArchDaily Images via Winter Stations

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Torontos 8 Winter Station winners to revive citys frozen beaches

Republicans axe rule that would have kept coal pollution out of waterways

February 3, 2017 by  
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This week, Republicans began the process of dismantling Barack Obama’s recent environmental regulations by rolling back the 2016 stream protection rule , which would have prevented coal companies from dumping mining waste into waterways. A little-known law called the Congressional Review Act allowed the House and Senate to overturn the rule before it was able to even take effect. Worse yet, according to the Act, similar legislation can’t be introduced in the future without Congressional approval. The rule was intended to minimize the environmental impact of surface mining , which can contaminate waterways and leave them toxic for nearby populations which depend on them for drinking water . The Interior Department estimated it would have protected 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forest across the US. Related: Trump may gut the Endangered Species Act So why would the Republicans kill a rule that protects their constituents from toxic pollution? According to Congress, keeping coal debris away from water is causing the mining industry to go into massive decline. If that sounds like a flimsy justification, it is – as Vox explains , the decline of the coal industry is related to the rise in cheap natural gas in the US market, not environmental regulations. While this move may seem ominous for environmentalists, it’s important to keep the larger picture in perspective. This rule was mostly chosen by Republicans because it was an easy target and there was a simple way to overturn it. Other conservative goals, like abolishing the EPA or gutting the Endangered Species Act , will take significantly more time and effort to accomplish simply because they’re already well-established and entrenched in our government. Via The New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons and Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

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Republicans axe rule that would have kept coal pollution out of waterways

Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

February 3, 2017 by  
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While not quite as charismatic as those of dinosaurs , vegetable fossils can provide game-changing insight into modern plants and their evolutionary process. A team of scientists led by paleobotanist Peter Wilf of Penn State University discovered fossils of tomatillos, that delicious relative of the tomato that is a key ingredient in salsa verde, in the Patagonia region of Argentina . Using atomic age dating techniques, the team determined that the newly discovered primordial tomatillos are about 52-million years old, at least 12 million years older than previously thought. Although the site where the fossils were found is now a cold and arid environment, the ancient tomatillos thrived in a very different climate. “The plants that generated these fossils were alive in a temperate rain forest next to a volcano,” said Richard Olmstead, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington. “When it finally snapped together [that] we were looking at a fossil tomatillo, it was quite shocking. It was disbelief. It was joy coupled with disbelief.” The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco. The recently discovered fossils are the most intact and earliest examples of nightshade to date. “It’s a tremendous find. It provides insight totally absent from the fossil record and our understanding of the family prior to this,” said Olmstead. Related: Scientist finds dinosaur tail trapped in amber – and it’s covered with feathers Wilf and his team have given the species name  infinemundi,  Latin for “at the end of the world,” to its tomatillo specimen in reference to both where it was discovered and the era in which it lived. “It’s a nod to the modern and ancient location,” said Wilf “It’s at the edge of Argentina, so the end of the world that way. And it’s at the end of this time in Earth history.” This ancient tomatillo would have lived on the edge of major geologic and climatic changes , including the rise of the Ande s Mountains and the retreat of tropical biomes. These disruptions would have set the stage for the great diversity that emerged from the nightshade family, which includes over 2,400 extant species today. Via NPR Images via Flickr  and Killy Ridols

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Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads

February 3, 2017 by  
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Although most people probably wouldn’t like the idea of sewing their house together, Vietnam’s Block Architects have renovated a beautiful house inspired by the homeowner’s handcrafted leather goods business. The architects improved the narrow space by replacing unnecessary floors and walls with massive frames made out of small steel threads “sewn” into the structure, permitting optimal natural light and air ventilation. The entire renovation process was closely linked to the couple’s meticulous business process. “For a product to be accomplished, say a handbag, it takes many processes involving fastidious needlework,” they said. According to the architects, similar detail was essential to the project, “Like meticulous craftsmen, we carefully joined up every part of the house: old ones and new ones, separate ones and shared ones, together with wood, brick, concrete, metal and trees.” Related: Modular renovation in Vietnam makes 107 square feet feel livable Although the white frames might be seen as nothing more than a sentimental nod to the homeowners’ profession, they were actually chosen to let air and natural light penetrate the interior. The structure is quite narrow, so along with removing walls and floors, this feature was strategic to opening up the space. Additionally, the steel frames serve as a nice support for green climbing vines , adding a touch of nature throughout the home. On the brick-walled interior, an old concrete staircase was also removed to let in light. The new staircase was constructed out of floating wooden pieces held together with white rods. Once a dark, crapped space, the home is now illuminated from the roof to the bottom floor, which houses the kitchen and a vertical garden . + Block Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Quang Dam

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Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads

Cultivating a regenerative food system

January 28, 2017 by  
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Four agricultural strategies that could help save Europe’s agriculture and generate 320 billion Euro.

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Cultivating a regenerative food system

Ireland votes to be world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels

January 26, 2017 by  
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In a historic move, Ireland may become the world’s first country to fully divest from all fossil fuels , according to 350.org’s Fossil Free Europe . The country’s parliament just passed “first-of-its-kind fossil fuel divestment legislation” with a majority vote. The historic bill could enable Ireland to fully divest their sovereign wealth fund, which is worth more than 8 billion Euros or around $8.5 billion, from oil, gas, and coal. Fossil Free Europe and Trócaire reported today that the bill passed in the Irish parliament’s lower house, the Dáil. Fossil Free Europe described the event as “an important moment in the history of the divestment movement.” Related: Sydney plans to divest $500 million from fossil fuels Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said in a statement, “The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: that to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis.” The bill is now headed for the committee stage, according to Trócaire and Fossil Free Europe, who noted last week all major political parties support it, except the Fine Gael political party.. Meehan thinks the move could send a powerful message to the rest of the world, as a climate change denier takes control of the White House, and said, “The support of a majority in the Dáil for this bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead.” A few years ago Norway’s sovereign wealth fund also made a move to divest from some fossil fuel companies, but not all; according to EcoWatch they still had billions in other fossil fuel companies. Via Fossil Free Europe and Trócaire Images via Justin Pickard on Flickr and Fossil Free Facebook

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