India triples solar power capacity in three years

March 14, 2017 by  
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India’s solar power capacity has exploded over the past three years, growing from just 3,000 megawatts in 2014 to an installed capacity of 10,000 MW in 2017. And that’s just the beginning of the country’s solar ambitions, with a renewable energy target of 175 gigawatts as soon as 2022. India’s government is working to further its ambitious goal already, with more than 14,000 MW worth of solar projects in the works, and another 6 GW set to go to auction soon. India expects to add a total of 8.8 GW of further solar capacity in 2017. As Swarahya reports, this investment in solar power is aimed at addressing a growing demand for electricity in India. Projections peg the country’s power consumption at three times its current rate by 2030. The government’s recent national electricity plan says those needs could reach as much as 360 GW of total generation by 2022. The plan says that by developing renewable technologies like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectricity, the country can meet the growing demand while reducing environmental impacts. Related: New 2D perskovite cell could slash the cost of solar No doubt, reducing air pollution is also high in the minds of the Indian government. A report issued earlier this year showed that China and India are leading the way in deaths due to air pollution . The two countries experienced a combined 2.2 million deaths due to air pollution in 2015 . Via Swarahya Images via Pixabay and Flickr Creative Commons, jepoirrier

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India triples solar power capacity in three years

India ratifies Paris climate agreement on Gandhi’s birthday

October 4, 2016 by  
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Another country ratified the Paris climate agreement . On October 2, the day Mahatma Gandhi was born, India ratified the historic agreement. They deposited their ” Instrument of Ratification ” to the UN on the International Day of Non Violence , which marks Gandhi’s birthday. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Gandhi lived a life with a minimal carbon footprint . The Paris agreement will go into effect when 55 countries emitting a minimum of 55 percent of emissions worldwide ratify it. 61 countries emitting 47.8 percent of emissions have ratified, approved, or accepted the agreement. India contributes around 4.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and the Indian government said their ratification brings the ” cumulative emission level ” to 51.89 percent. Related: President Obama and Prime Minister Modi talk renewable energy As part of the Paris climate agreement, governments had to provide their plans to reduce emissions in their country to avoid a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius . India’s commitment entails that by 2030, 40 percent of electricity will come via ” non-fossil sources ,” and by 2022 they aim to have a capacity for 175 gigawatts of renewable energy. India has said to meet their targets, they will need $2.5 trillion dollars. They say they’ll require money and technology discounts from other countries to reach the targets. World Resources Institute executive vice president Manish Bapna said India could be “destined to be a major player in solar and wind markets.” In the Indian government’s statement on ratification, they anticipated the Paris agreement would soon gain all the support it needs to go into effect. “With the gathering momentum and willingness expressed by several other countries to ratify the agreement before the end of this year, it is expected that the Agreement will enter into force soon and give a thrust to the global actions to address climate change.” Via The Guardian Images via Narendra Modi on Flickr and The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India

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PHOTOS: Sacramento Kings’ new LEED Platinum solar-powered arena

October 4, 2016 by  
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California’s capital city just completed the world’s most environmentally sustainable arena, and Inhabitat was in town to tour the LEED Platinum solar-powered home of the Kings NBA basketball franchise. The Golden 1 Credit Union Center is the first indoor sports venue to earn LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the highest designation possible. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the first professional sports venue to be completely powered by solar energy is the 1.2 megawatt rooftop solar array that will provide 15 percent of the arena’s electricity with the rest coming from the 11 MW Rancho Seco solar farm located 40 miles from the arena. The Kings partnered with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on the solar farm that combined with the rooftop solar array will cut nearly 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Kings President Chris Granger gave a tour of the arena’s sustainability features to journalists gathered in Sacramento for the Society of Environmental Journalists conference. He explained that the arena’s design is intended to be “uniquely Sacramento.” The Kings organization surveyed 20,000 people about what makes Sacramento unique. The city is known as America’s “Farm to Fork Capital” (the Farm to Fork Festival was taking place around the city during our tour) so 90 percent of the arena’s food is sourced from within 150 miles of the venue. Golden 1 Center Executive Chef Michael Tuohy told the reporters gathered that the arena’s kitchen is teaming up with a local group called California Safe Soil to recycle food waste  into liquid fertilizer. Related: Giant green pyramid rises in Paris – the AccorHotels Arena The arena features a unique heating and cooling system , called “displacement ventilation,” that utilizes passive climate controlled air. Five 40-foot tall airport-sized hangar doors can open and naturally cool the arena with Sacramento’s “Delta Breeze,” a wind coming from the southwest, off of The Delta of the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River, that at night can cool the city by as much as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. When 17,500 Kings fans take their seats they might feel cool air at their feet. That’s because there are strategically placed vents underneath the seats that efficiently cool the arena from the bottom up. The air conditioning unit’s location beneath the seating bowl avoids cool air from the top colliding with the warmer air created by the body heat of thousands of ticket holders, wasting energy. The $556.5 million arena also includes ultra low-flow plumbing that captures grey water to irrigate the plaza. According to the Kings, the water conservation efforts will result in a 45 percent reduction in use over what California code requires. There are also living wall gardens lining the exterior of the arena consisting of local plants and edibles that are watered via a drip irrigation system from water runoff collected from the roof. When asked, Granger estimated that around 15 percent of visitors will walk, bike or take public transit to games. There are five Sacramento Regional Transit light rail stations within walking distance of the arena, including the 7th and K Streets stop a block from the venue. The arena also offers bike valet and there are bicycle racks surrounding the building. Sacramento is considering starting up a bike sharing system with a pilot program scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017. In addition to environmental sustainability, Golden 1 Center is the most technologically advanced  sports arena in the world. Kings Chairman Vivek Ranadive has described the venue as “the Tesla of arenas.” High-tech features include smart turnstiles to speed up entry into the arena; a smartphone app to order food, request an Uber ride or find the shortest line for the restroom; a high-speed WiFi network with 1,000 access points; and the world’s largest indoor scoreboard and world’s first 4K Ultra HD video board. Spanning more than 84 feet, the total length of the video board will extend nearly the entire basketball court. + Golden 1 Center Photos by Josh Marks

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PHOTOS: Sacramento Kings’ new LEED Platinum solar-powered arena

Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba

October 4, 2016 by  
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Late season hurricanes can be just as forceful as mid-summer storms, and Hurricane Matthew is no exception. The storm made landfall on Haiti’s southwestern coast early Tuesday morning as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph. Haiti officials are bracing for the worst as high winds and storm surges threaten the impoverished nation, where homes are not typically built to withstand such an event. Still moving on its north-northwesterly path, Hurricane Matthew will continue to batter Haiti over the course of the day before heading toward the eastern coast of Cuba late this afternoon. Although many Atlantic hurricanes suffer a loss of energy when making landfall, Hurricane Matthew hasn’t slowed its pace, in part due to the small size of the islands it is traveling over. This is Haiti’s strongest hurricane in nearly a decade, and after a long reprieve, local officials are concerned that residents have become complacent about hurricane preparation. Rather than stocking up on essentials like food, bottled water, and batteries, some fear that many residents will be ill-equipped to handle the full extent of Hurricane Matthew’s visit to the struggling nation. So far, one Haitian fisherman has drowned in the storm surge, but no other major damage has been reported. Related: Earthquake-resistant orphanage is a welcoming ray of hope in Haiti The people of Haiti are still struggling to recover from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince in 2010. That disaster killed 230,000 people and caused millions of dollars in damage to buildings and infrastructure. The island nation’s last major disaster was Hurricane Sandy in 2012 which did not make landfall in Haiti, but grazed it closely enough that the high winds and torrential rains killed 75 people and left $250 million in damages in its wake. The disaster kicked off a cholera outbreak that infected some 5,000 people in one of the nation’s largest public health emergencies in history. The National Hurricane Center in Miami is keeping a close eye on the powerful storm, which is on track to tickle Cuba’s eastern coast, which is sparsely populated. Hurricane Matthew is then expected to travel north over the Bahamas where the storm is predicted to lose some power and drop to a Category 3. The storm’s path then leads it northward off the east coast of Florida until potentially makes landfall in southern North Carolina this weekend. Via USA Today Images via National Hurricane Center

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Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba

First Nations community launches the largest community-owned solar power installation in British Columbia

September 9, 2016 by  
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Home to over 1,000 members of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, the Lower Nicola Indian Band is made up of a community of Interior Salish peoples that have lived for thousands of years along the Thompson and Nicola rivers in the Southern Interior of the province. The territory’s location in the heart of British Columbia’s “sun belt” region made it an ideal place for a solar installation. The project is the first phase to make the community more energy self-sufficient and will likely be followed with initiatives to help community members add solar to their private homes. Related: First Nation builds spirited solar project in the heart of Canada’s oil sands The 330-panel rooftop solar array on the Lower Nicola Indian Band School gymnasium generates up to 85.8 kilowatts of electricity. Excess energy will be fed into the local BC Hydro grid. The school will integrate the solar project into the curriculum as an opportunity to teach students about renewable energy . The solar power installation was created in partnership with W Dusk Energy Group, the principal developer that specializes in working with First Nations community in renewable energy projects and other community development initiatives. + Lower Nicola Indian Band + W Dusk Energy Group Images via W Dusk Energy Group

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First Nations community launches the largest community-owned solar power installation in British Columbia

Curvaceous Corten steel office building beats the heat with solar-savvy design

June 30, 2016 by  
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The 4,905-square-foot office building is set on a small corner site abutting a road junction in full view to pedestrians and motorists. To mitigate the harsh solar rays from the south, the architects created a horseshoe-shaped building pointed towards the north that wraps around a cooling, north-facing pool. On the south side of the building, the architects left a void for a small grass courtyard shaded by the building. The Corten steel external walls extend far beyond the building’s internal volumes to serve as solar-shading fins. Related: The Courtyard House Battles Extreme Heat With Passive Strategies In India The office interior is accessed via an entrance on the northwest corner and is organized around a two-meter-wide passage runs the length of the outdoor pool. The various office spaces branch out from the passageway. Large north-facing glazing and other glazed incisions illuminate the workspaces with natural light and frame views of the cityscape and the oasis-like pool, but are shielded from harsh solar by the extended Corten steel walls. “The design creates an energy efficient building in response to the climate of the location and a distinct identity,” write the architects. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Sanjay Puri Architects , by Vinesh Gandhi

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Curvaceous Corten steel office building beats the heat with solar-savvy design

Will driverless cars fuel suburban sprawl?

June 30, 2016 by  
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In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal , writer Christopher Mims argues that driverless cars like those being developed by Google and Uber might lead to greater suburban sprawl. On the face of it, the argument makes a certain sort of sense: other major advances in transportation technology have enabled us to live farther and farther from where we work and play, so why wouldn’t self-driving cars change our lifestyles even further? Mims offers a few points to back his predictions: the first is that ordering a ride from a self-driving car is likely to be significantly less expensive than car ownership, allowing people to invest in larger, nicer housing further away from the city . He also points out that a lengthy commute that might be intolerable in a regular car might be downright relaxing if commuters were able to use it as time to simply relax during the trip. Related: Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car However, there are some obvious holes in this logic. While Mims takes care to point out a recent survey claiming that 66% of millennials prefer to live in the suburbs, the study has some glaring flaws . It only included that small portion of the millennial population that is in the market for a home or intends to purchase one in the next three years. Only about a third of millennials fall into that category — the rest either prefer to rent as a cost-savings measure (understandable, giving the rising tide of student loan debt), aren’t able to qualify for a mortgage, or simply aren’t interested in home ownership. The majority of millennials, at least, probably aren’t going anywhere. It also doesn’t make sense to compare the advent of the driverless car to the invention of the automobile itself. While it’s true that cars made it easier to travel longer distances than had ever been possible before, dramatically reducing the length of trips, that’s not true for self-driving cars. No matter whether a vehicle is controlled by man or machine, an hour-long commute will still take an hour out of the commuter’s day, so it’s unlikely an impatient person who values living close to work will have a dramatic change of heart simply because the drive requires them to pay a bit less attention to the road. Related: Google patents sticky “fly paper” car hood to protect pedestrians in self-driving car crashes Worth noting, as well, is the fact that many strongly disagree about the impact driverless cars may really have on the way we live. Carlo Ratti, an MIT researcher for the school’s Senseable City Lab , believes the opposite: that self-driving cars will allow people to more easily live in denser urban areas . But the truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know, and until self-driving vehicle technology has progressed to the point where it’s a viable everyday transit option, that will remain the case. What do you think? Sound off in the comments… Via The Wall Street Journal Images via Wikipedia

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Will driverless cars fuel suburban sprawl?

India to Install 2,200 Solar-Powered Cell Phone Towers

September 12, 2014 by  
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India currently has one of the largest populations of cell phone users in the world – the nation is expected to have 815 million users by year’s end. To help expand its growing communication network, the Indian government has announced plans to erect as many as 2,200 solar-powered mobile communication towers in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Read the rest of India to Install 2,200 Solar-Powered Cell Phone Towers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Andhra Pradesh , bihar , carbon emissions , carbon footprint , cell phone towers , chhattisgarh , diesel-powered cell phone towers , digital india , economically underdeveloped Indian states , India , indian government , jharkhand , largest number of cell phone users , left-wing extremism , madhya pradesh , Maharashtra , mobile phone industry , Odisha , refueling cell phone towers , renewable energy , smartphones , solar powered cell phone towers , telecom regulatory authority , trai , uttar pradesh , west bengal

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Aarambh’s 20 Cent Cardboard Desk Drastically Improves Life for Indian School Children (Video)

August 12, 2014 by  
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School desks might seem like a common commodity in the West, but many children in India have to go without, which can result in bad posture, damaged eyesight, and even poor handwriting. To help deal with the problem, New Bombay-based non-profit Aarambh created the Help Desk, a writing surface made from recycled cardboard that can also be folded up into a briefcase. While the desks only cost about 20 cents to make, they drastically improve the learning experience and health of schoolchildren across India. You might need tissues for the video after the jump. Read the rest of Aarambh’s 20 Cent Cardboard Desk Drastically Improves Life for Indian School Children (Video) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cardboard backpack for schoolchildren , cardboard briefcase , foldable cardboard desk , Help Desk by Aarambh , Indian schoolchildren , portable cardboard desk , recycled cardboard desk , repurposed cardboard boxes

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Aarambh’s 20 Cent Cardboard Desk Drastically Improves Life for Indian School Children (Video)

China’s Largest Robot Restaurant is Crawling with WALL-E-Style Waiters

August 12, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of China’s Largest Robot Restaurant is Crawling with WALL-E-Style Waiters Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: china , Kunshan City , restaurant run by robots , robot restaurant , Second Generation Robot Restaurant

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China’s Largest Robot Restaurant is Crawling with WALL-E-Style Waiters

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