Archive for April, 2010
Using current technology in a newfangled way, the city of Toulouse in southwest France is testing the use of power-generating tiles in the sidewalks to create electricity to power the streetlamps. The tiles are the creation of Sustainable Dance Club, a Dutch company that combines fun and sustainability in power-generating modules that were designed to harness the dance club energy and turn it into power. In the two-week test in France, by pounding the pavement people will create energy that is stored in a generator that is then used to power the light. It is the first time these dance floor modules have been tested on the street and it is hoped that the eight custom made modules that have been placed in the city center can produce between 50 and 60 W of electricity.
The Light Emitting Diode is looking to be the future in green lighting options. With LEDs firmly engrained in the toy and novelty sectors, the lights are being configured to light up our lives in many new ways. Using LEDs to light up the streets is an energy efficient option and the U.S. Department of Energy has chosen the city of Seattle to pilot a program that will use LED street lights. Seattle will install 5,000 LED street lights this year and 40,000 during the next 5 years with $200,000 from the Federal Government. Seattle will lead a national consortium of cities that will study the best ways to use the lights and what equipment to buy.
United Parcel Service’s Eco Responsible Packaging Program is designed to provide businesses with information on how to ship their products in a more ecologically sound way. The program looks at three shipping areas and lets customers qualify for the UPS Green Stamp of Approval to verify that a business is committed to sustainable packaging solutions. Read the rest of this entry »
Sustainability Spotlight: Leading U.S. CEOs Share Their Companies’ Initatives, Practices, and Successes
Enhancing Our Commitment to a Sustainable Future 2010, issued by Business Roundtable, describes the initiatives underway at 97 of its member companies toward lowering emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and promoting more sustainable business practices. Business Roundtable member companies represent virtually every sector of the economy, with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 12 million employees. The full report contains a succinct briefing from each CEO about their company’s recent and ongoing successes. From manufacturing greener products, to recycling and reducing waste, to energy saving tactics and retrofits, there is something to learn from every single page of this report. Read the rest of this entry »
The U.S. General Services Administration announced that it has so far awarded $4 billion in Recovery Act Funds to more than 500 companies, creating jobs in all 50 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia. GSA was appropriated more than $5.5 billion to convert federal facilities into high-performance green buildings and construct energy-efficient federal buildings, courthouses, and land ports of entry. Read the rest of this entry »
Despite opposition from two Indian tribes as well as a group of environmentalists and residents, including the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave a green light to the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Located in Massachusetts’s Nantucket Sound, it is scheduled to begin operation by the end of 2012 and hopes to supply three-quarters of Cape Cod’s electricity needs. Read the rest of this entry »
With a 26% growth in new projects under development in 2009, geothermal energy is poised to make a dent in the booming green energy market. The April 2010 US Geothermal Power Production and Development Update from the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) also states that 188 projects are underway in 15 states which could produce as much as 7,875 MW of new electric power. Read the rest of this entry »
On April 22, Earth Day, the U.S. Navy launched the first flight of a supersonic jet that is flying green. The F/A-18 Green Hornet is aptly named as it was being powered by a 50/50 biofuel blend. The twin-engine tactical aircraft took off over Chesapeake Bay to kick off the Department of Defenses’ efforts in energy conservation. To reduce greenhouse gasses and be less reliant on foreign oil, the biofuel was made from oil refined from the crushed seeds of the flowering Camelina sativa plant. The test was aimed at showing that adequate power can be achieved to break the sound barrier using an alternative fuel, leading the way for the military to proceed with plans to have half of the Navy’s fuel use come from non-fossil sources by 2020.
The path to sustainability in the manufacturing sector may seem like an exceedingly daunting one. Manufacturers are aware that consumers and companies along the supply chain are increasingly concerned about environmental considerations and making buying decisions based on mystifying terms like “carbon footprint,” “energy intensity rates” and “eco-responsibility.” Mystery is bad enough, but combined with the effects of competition (particularly competition staffed by cheap foreign labor), rising energy costs, global recession and the specter of new government legislation on the horizon, the scenario can seem more like a nightmare. For this reason, it’s important for U.S. manufacturers to understand not only how they can “go green,” but how it can benefit their businesses financially and not only in some fuzzy feel-good kind of way. No one expects companies to operate out of sheer charity and good karma; the benefits need to pay both externally and internally. Read the rest of this entry »
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a renewable energy source that leverages the temperature difference of the ocean’s warm surface water and colder water below. The U.S. Department of Energy has recently awarded Lockheed Martin with two grants totaling $1 million to support their efforts to make this a viable technology. Lockheed Martin’s experience with OTEC technology dates back to the 1970s when the company built an early prototype that remains the world’s only floating OTEC system to generate self-sustaining power. Read the rest of this entry »