Trump orders Perry to take steps to curb coal plant shutdowns

June 4, 2018 by  
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It seems President Donald Trump doesn’t want to let coal die. Bloomberg reported he ordered Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to take steps to stem closures of nuclear and coal power plants. An emailed statement from White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders read, “Impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix and impacting the resilience of our power grid .” Coal and nuclear plants are losing money as cheaper renewable energies and natural gas gain steam. Trump’s administration alleges that declines in nuclear and coal power jeopardize America’s security. According to the White House statement, the president told Perry “to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources and looks forward to his recommendations.” The Department of Energy’s strategy, as detailed in a memo Bloomberg obtained , could be to draw on power given by federal laws to create a “strategic electric generation reserve” and compel grid operators to purchase power from plants that are at risk. The National Security Council was to meet last week to talk over the idea. Related: Biggest grid operator in US attacks Perry’s proposal to prop up coal One purpose of this draft plan, Bloomberg reported, is to buy time for a two-year study probing vulnerabilities in the country’s energy delivery system. Administration officials have already used up a year of this time. Following an Energy Department grid reliability study, Perry suggested a rule that would have compensated nuclear and coal plants — and federal regulators killed the proposal. Major grid operator PJM Interconnection said in a statement its grid “is more reliable than ever” and “there is no such need for any such drastic action.” The company said it has analyzed planned deactivations of nuclear stations and found no immediate threat to reliability. PJM said, “Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers.” Electric Power Supply Association president John Shelk said, “National security is being invoked by people who once favored markets. Everybody loses in a fuels war.” Via Bloomberg Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Trump orders Perry to take steps to curb coal plant shutdowns

Gorgeous barn is built of reclaimed, century-old oaks from the site itself

June 4, 2018 by  
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In 2017, Dutch design firm HilberinkBosch Architects found out that seven of their century-old oak trees were in ailing health and would need to be cut down. Instead of sending the oaks to the paper mill, the architects decided to try their hand at building a timber barn using traditional construction techniques. The result—called the Sixteen-Oak Barn—was a stunning success that combines modern and rustic features with large panels of glazing and untreated timbers. The idea for a barn came from the local building vernacular in the Dutch region of Meierij van ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which features gabled farmhouses traditionally built from locally available materials . In a design the architects describe as “haphazard aesthetics,” the Sixteen-Oak Barn was constructed of the locally felled, century-old oak trees in addition to a couple of oaks sourced from the nearby Wamberg estate. The barn comprises a carport, storage room, and a workshop / meeting room for office use. There is also an addition loft space located above the storage room. A mobile sawmill brought on-site was used to cut the core sections of the felled oak tree trunks into structural timber for the frames, roof, and siding. The transverse-frame barn involves tie rod trusses and roof rafters to hold up an asymmetrical shingled roof clad in cleaved soft sapwood. Stanchions with bark serve as solar fins to shield the glazed facade from unwanted solar heat gain. Board-formed concrete complements the timber palette indoors. Leftover timber was chopped and stored as firewood in the barn’s recessed north facade. Related: Traditional barn raising techniques bring a modern cost-effective farm to life “The barn’s aesthetics have been strongly influenced by coincidence,” wrote the architects. “It lends this contemporary building a vital expression that merges old and new in a wonderful and extraordinary way. Untreated timber, concrete and glass have been intermingled in various ways. The irregular dimensions of the wood used to build the formwork resulted in far from perfect concrete surfaces.” + HilberinkBosch architects Images by René de Wit

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Gorgeous barn is built of reclaimed, century-old oaks from the site itself

Australia now generates enough renewable energy to power 70% of homes

August 28, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy is taking over Australia . New figures reveal the sector generated enough electricity for 70 percent of Australian homes during the last financial year, according to Green Energy Markets . But even better than that, once 2016-2017 clean power projects are completed, renewable energy might actually be able to power 90 percent of homes. Green Energy Markets just launched their first Australian Renewable Energy Index this week, and the findings were thrilling for the renewable energy industry. Between July 2016 and June 2017, the country generated enough clean power for 7.1 million homes. Related: Australia announces massive $1B solar farm with the world’s largest battery At the end of 2016-2017, Green Energy Markets found 46 large-scale clean energy projects were under construction. They estimated these projects would employ 8,868 people full-time for a year. They also found nearly 150,000 rooftop solar systems had been installed, and could provide enough energy for more than 226,000 houses. From design to sales to installation, these rooftop systems supported 3,769 full-time jobs. They’ll provide about $1.6 billion in power bill savings during the next 10 years. Hydro-electricity offered the largest source of renewable energy at 40 percent; wind provided 31 percent while rooftop solar generated 18 percent. Renewable sources comprised 17.2 percent of all the electricity generated in the country, helping Australia avoid the same amount of carbon pollution as if 8.1 million cars, over half the cars in the country, were taken off roads. Tristan Edis, analyst at Green Energy Markets, said renewables have launched a “construction jobs and investment boom.” Advocacy group GetUp provided funding for the report, and the groups plan to publish a new Australian Renewable Energy Index each month. GetUp energy campaigns director Miriam Lyons said, “everyday Australians are voting with their rooftops” in a move heralding “the end of the era of big polluting energy companies dominating the market and manipulating prices to fill their own pockets.” Via The Guardian and Green Energy Markets Images via Lawrence Murray on Flickr and CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

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Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags

August 28, 2017 by  
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Kenya has been a major plastic bag exporter to the nearby region. But now the country is cracking down on the polluting bags with the toughest law of its kind in the world. Kenyans selling, producing, or just using plastic bags could face a $40,000 fine or imprisonment for as long as four years. Kenya’s plastic bag law came into effect just this week. According to Reuters, the country in East Africa joins over 40 countries worldwide that have either banned, partly banned, or put a tax on single-use plastic bags, such as Rwanda, Italy, and China. Under Kenya’s new law, police can target any person carrying a plastic bag, although environment minister Judy Wakhungu told Reuters enforcement would initially prioritize suppliers and manufacturers, and that the common man “will not be harmed.” Related: Morocco just officially banned plastic bags Not everyone is happy with the new law, which took Kenya more than 10 years – and three attempts – to pass. Kenya Association of Manufacturers spokesperson Samuel Matonda said 176 manufacturers will have to close, with around 60,000 jobs lost. But other people point to the environmental cost of plastic bags: it can take between 500 and 1,000 years for them to break down. And the bags have been showing up in cows intended for human consumption. In slaughterhouses in Nairobi, some of these cows had 20 bags taken out of their stomachs. County vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui said, “This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis.” Kenya borders the Indian Ocean, and plastic bags can drift into the ocean and end up consumed by whales and dolphins, who ultimately die as their stomachs fill up with trash. The bags can strangle or suffocate marine creatures like turtles and seabirds. Plastic also ends up in fish later eaten by humans. Marine litter expert Habib El-Habr, working with the United Nations Environment Program in Kenya, said, “If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish.” Supermarket chains in Kenya such as Nakumatt and Carrefour have begun offering cloth bags as alternatives to plastic for customers. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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China added half of new global wind power capacity in 2015

May 31, 2016 by  
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China is making massive investments in clean energy as the government works to meet climate targets and clean up polluted cities. According to a new report , China installed 30.5 gigawatts of wind power in 2015 – which accounts for nearly half of all new global wind energy installations. The most populous country in the world beat the United States in second place by a wide margin — the U.S. installed 8.6 GW, while third place Germany installed 6.1 GW. Brazil and India each installed 2.6 GW. “After focusing on increasing its installed capacity, China’s 13th Five Year Plan has raised the 2020 wind target to 250 GW, and aims to shift the focus from scale expansion towards quality and efficiency,” said Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s Practice Head for Power. “Indeed, the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) market in China, and all over the world, is poised for a growth phase.” Related: China puts the brakes on construction of 200 coal-fired power plants GlobalData predicts that China will maintain its position as the top nation for wind energy, installing 23 GW in 2016. The firm also predicts that China’s installed wind capacity will triple by 2030, increasing total capacity from 149 GW last year to 495 GW. But China is not just installing huge amounts of wind in its borders. The country is venturing into other markets, including the U.S. and U.K. Goldwind, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, recently announced that it bought the Rattlesnake Wind Project in Texas. The wind farm will consist of 64 of Goldwind’s 2.5-megawatt wind turbines. The U.K.’s first Chinese-backed offshore wind farm is moving forward . And the 588-megawatt Beatrice project off the northwest coast of Scotland is expected to be completed in 2019. + GlobalData report Via Climate Action News Images via Wikipedia

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China added half of new global wind power capacity in 2015

A2OFFICE transforms Porto townhouse into a modern daylit residence

May 31, 2016 by  
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The building, comprising a basement, two floors, attic and small patio , is located in the central part of Porto . A single staircase connects all levels. In order to facilitate a spatial flow and openness, the architects introduced an interconnected social area on the lower levels. Related: The Outerio House is a 3 Meter Wide Modernist Renovation Two bedroom suites were placed on the top floor. In order to preserve the memory of a lantern on the first floor, the team formed three new clerestory windows . These openings provide additional natural light for the entire space, including the attic area. A minimalist lighting system was integrated into the walls, cabinets and ceilings. + A2OFFICE Photos by AL.MA Fotografia | Alexandra Marques

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A2OFFICE transforms Porto townhouse into a modern daylit residence

How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

January 5, 2016 by  
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If you want your own hip and zippy Gogoro electric scooter , now is the time to voice your demand. They’re enormously popular in Taiwan and heading to Amsterdam, and have potential in pretty much any densely-populated urban center in the world. In fact, Gogoro has sold 4,000 of their battery-swapping scooters to date. But because different countries have varying regulations when it comes to scooters, according to CEO Horace Luke, the company has to surmount certain legal hoops before introducing the scooters to further markets. In the meantime, Luke and others devised a clever way to ensure they pursue only the most relevant markets. Which is where you come in. Learn more about the Gogoro OPEN (Owner Proposed Energy Network) Initiative, which allows consumers and businesses to nominate themselves and their communities to be a part of the next market expansion. Read the rest of How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

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Green-roofed Casa Magayon offers energy-smart tropical luxury in Costa Rica

January 5, 2016 by  
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New polymer from researchers at Cornell may revolutionize water filtration

January 5, 2016 by  
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Researchers at Cornell University have developed a new polymer technique that may transform the way water is purified around the world. Led by associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology  Will Dichtel , the team has invented a porous version of cyclodextrin, which demonstrates a greatly increased absorption rate, sometimes 200 times greater, over traditional methods. “These materials will remove pollutants in seconds, as the water flows by,” says Dichtel, “so there’s a potential for really low-energy, flow-through water purification, which is a big deal.” Read the rest of New polymer from researchers at Cornell may revolutionize water filtration

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INFOGRAPHIC: The Top 50 Energy Efficient Light Bulb Markets Across the US

December 23, 2013 by  
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As technology advances, energy-efficient bulbs continue to grow in popularity. In turn, bulb prices are dropping. In 2013, well-known bulb manufacturers Cree and Philips introduced affordable LED 60-watt replacement bulbs – helping to ensure LED’s place at the forefront of bulb technology’s future. The Home Depot , the world’s largest seller of light bulbs, combined a year of LED and CFL sales information with 2010 U.S. Census data to offer a peek at the country’s top 50 markets for energy-efficient bulb consumption per capita. Check out the image above to see if your city made the list! + The Home Depot The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: energy efficient light bulbs , energy efficient lighting , green design , green interiors , green lighting , home depot , incandescent bulb phase out , infographic , LED bulb , light bulb , light bulb phase out , sustainable design        

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INFOGRAPHIC: The Top 50 Energy Efficient Light Bulb Markets Across the US

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