October 28, 2013

NYC Adapts Sustainable LEDs in a Big Way

NYC will replace all of the cities street lights with energy efficient lighting.  Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, “ … announced that all 250,000 of New York City’s street lights will be replaced with energy efficient, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) by 2017.”

In general benefits include reduced energy (LEDs are more energy efficient than current city lighting) and lower maintenance costs (LEDs last many times longer than other lighting types).

Specific benefits:  “… reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city government operations 30% by 2017 … [and recutions of] … around US$6 million in energy and US$8 million in maintenance costs a year, …”

>>> For more on NYC’s efforts see:  NYC Sustainable Street Lighting


Via:  thecleanrevolution.org  LINK

April 06, 2013

Whole Foods Market and Gotham Greens to Build US's First Commercial-scale Rooftop Greenhouse above a Retail Store

Gowanus sketchWhole Foods Market is partnering with Gotham Greens to operate “the nation’s first commercial scale greenhouse farm  integrated within a retail grocery space.”  The greenhouse is 20,000 sq-ft and will be on the roof of the Gowanus store in Brooklyn, NY and is planned to open  in the fall of 2013.

Talk about buying locally grown produce !!  Having the store get produce locally reduces emissions from long distance travel and ensures freshness – the produce could have been picked that very day !!

the “greenhouse will provide  … access to the freshest, most delicious leafy greens, herbs and tomatoes, year-round …”

y operational at the time of the new Whole Foods Market opening and will create a variety of green collar jobs and economic development opportunities in the Brooklyn area. Whole Foods Market also plans to offer educational opportunities for area students and local schools to learn about greenhouses, farming and various environmental initiatives.



Via: Whole Foods  LINK

January 19, 2013

Atlantic Wind Connection

The Atlantic Wind connection is expected to be the backbone infrastructure to bring offshore energy from the mid-Atlantic states of NJ, and Delaware, Maryland and Virginia  to the grid.  The sponsors include GOOGLE and is led by Trans-Elect.  Trans-Elect is a independent power transmission company.

The area off the mid-Atlantic “ …  offers more than 60,000 MW of offshore wind potential ... allow for the development of large, distant wind farms, mitigating visibility issues and allowing for greater energy capture from stronger winds. …”

“ … single offshore backbone with a limited number of landfall points will minimize the environmental impacts of building multiple individual radial lines to shore.  …”

Along with bringing renewable energy to the grid there are expected “ … between 133,000 and 212,000 U.S. jobs …” from construction.  Based on 54,000 MV of wind capacity 9estimate for 2030)  it was estimated that there would be of 43,000 permanent jobs created to run and maintain the system.


Click here for larger image:  Atlantic Wind Connection phases


Via:  Atlantic Wind Connection  LINK

January 11, 2013

Recycle your Christmas Tree at NYC's Mulchfest - Jan 12 - 13, 2013


New York city residents will have the option of having their Christmas trees shredded instead of landfilled.  Mulchfest is Jan 12 – 13 this year and residents in NYC can find a location near them by dialing “311”.

“… to recycle your Christmas trees into wood chips. …. More than 24,000 trees were recycled last year. Help us top this number!”

You can take the mulch home with you or leave with the city and they will use it throughout NYC.


Mulchfest 2013

Via: City of New York - Parks and Recreation   LINK

January 08, 2013

Starbucks Introduces Reusable Plastic (#5 / PP) Cup

Starbucks has introduced a low cost – $1.00 – reusable cup.  The cup is made of #5 PP plastic and is recyclable.  The cup holds 16 ounces – or a Grande in Starbucks speak.  In exchange for reusing the cup you get a 10 cent discount and they will wash it out each time for you.   This is a very low cost way to reduce your impact on the environment.

If you keep this in your car cup holder it will quickly pay for itself … and will not leak like some paper cups … and is recyclable.

Starbucks uses a LOT of paper cups.  “ …  uses more than 4 billion disposable paper cups each year globally … Starbucks last year tested the concept … in its home market …. Cup reusage increased 26 percent in the test stores.”

  I have bought one and keep it in my car.  The cup is a bit thin so I need a sleeve to allow me to hold – but the sleeve is reusable too !


Via:  Epoch Times  LINK

December 15, 2012

Harvard University Research on Green Energy Storage Batteries

Green Energy sources like wind and solar do not always produce power in the same cycle as needed by users.  That is, the wind might blow at night not during work hours … so an effective “green energy storage” system could really make green energy sources more useful.  “Green energy storage” needs to be relatively cheap or the green energy is not cost effective.

Harvard is conducting research on a “flow battery” that might provide “ …  cost-effective, grid-scale electrical energy storage based on eco-friendly small organic molecules …..  “Flow batteries may make stationary storage viable in the marketplace, and that will enable wind and solar to displace a lot more fossil fuel.”

Flow batteries are like a rechargeable fuel cell using liquid chemicals to store generated  power.  Current technology uses vanadium redox (cost prohibitive due to raw material prices) or molten sulfur (must operate at very high temperatures).

Harvard’s research is looking at small organic molecules that are found in plans and can be made at low cost, are non-toxic and work room temperatures. These would offer high power density and could be co-located with the generating power source and would link directly to the power grid.


Via:  Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences LINK

November 11, 2012

Newlight Technologies uses GHG to Make PLA Plastics



newlight process

Rarely is GHG mentioned in a positive light. 

Newlight Technologies  has found a GREEN use for GHG (greenhouse gas).  They have “ … developed, patented, and commercialized a thermoplastic manufacturing technology that converts air and greenhouse gas …. into thermoplastics that can out-compete oil-based plastics on price, performance, and sustainability.”

They can use GHG like CO2 and methane from sources such as landfill and water treatment plants and produce plastics.

This solves the potential problem of using food crops as a route  to plastics and can help make a dent  in GHG content. 

Imagine an almost unlimited raw material source and turning a pollutant into a raw material  while cleaning the air of GHG! 

Imagine GHG becoming a valuable commodity rather than a pollutant!






Via:  Newlight Technologies LLC  LINK

November 06, 2012

Oregon's Newbury Volcano Potential Geothermal Power Source

A dormant volcano in Oregon, the Newbury,  is the pilot site for exploring volcanoes as a route to geothermal energy.  Receiving approval from “ … The U.S. Bureau of Land Management …  Alta Rock Energy, will drill … wells ...” to power turbines and generate power.

The footprint of the wells is extremely small given the energy potential.  The site is basically a drill pad and “… occupies … five acres, and all of the equipment will be on that pad …”  Geothermal is a constant source of power unlike wind and solar which are not always available around the clock – so no back up power source is needed.

Newbury is targeted to produce “ …  about 2,000 megawatts of electricity, basically enough power for a city of one million people.”

While somewhat similar to the process used to “frack” for oil there is no hydrocarbons burned so there are no emissions.

Click to hear more MP3 


Via: PRI – Public Radio International  LINK

October 31, 2012

AQUA To Build Out CNG Fleet

AQUA (NYSE – WTR) is committed to increasing its CNG fleet.  The AQUA Pennsylvania division has been piloting CNG vehicles for over a year and is ready to commit to transition this division’s fleet to CNG.

While part of the reason for the move is the lower cost of CNG there is a green side in that CNG burns cleaner and has less emissions compared to gasoline.  In addition the operating costs are lower – 30 – 50% lower.

The Pennsylvania division – AQUA Pennsylvania –  expects to start with “ … 20 dump trucks and 60 vans initially … there are not many passenger vehicle[car]  opportunities available currently. However, as it begins to turn over its vehicles, those that have original equipment manufacturer (OEM) CNG alternatives, will be transitioned to CNG vehicles.”

Direct benefits are lower fueling costs (approx $2.00 / gallon) and operating costs that are “ … 30-to-50 percent less expensive.”

A quote from their CEO, Nick DeBenedictis:  "We made the commitment to CNG because it is the right thing to do… ,"



October 30, 2012

Nine Lives Recycles Mattresses from Several Navy Vessels

Approx. 20 million mattresses are thrown out annually and each takes up approx. 23 cubic feet of space.   A very small percentage – 250,000 – are recycled each year.  Nine Lives Recycling recycles mattresses and box springs.  In 2011 recycled 485 tons of mattresses and box springs.

“ … offers [a] … guarantee complete destruction of each unit and the recycling of the constituent parts.”

“… steel will be recycled at the local scrap yard … foam and cotton will be … sent … back into the loop of manufactured goods to be turned into a variety of items including carpet pad.”

After the USS Enterprise’s final voyage all the mattresses will be removed and instead of being landfilled will be recycled by Nine Lives Mattress Recycling.   The cost to the Navy is actually less than the cost to landfill by approx. $12,000.

This is part of a pilot program including 3 naval ships.   The USS Enterprise is following the USS Mesa Verde and USS Abraham Lincoln in recycling rather than landfilling mattresses.  Approx. 13,000 mattresses equal to over 100,000 cubic feet of landfill space are being recycled  in this program. 


Via:  Nine Lives Mattress Recycling  LINK and MSNBC  LINK

October 17, 2012

Ikea Will Sell ONLY LED Lighting by 2012

Ikea will likely be the first retailer to only sell LED lighting by 2016 to “ … enable millions … to live a more sustainable life at home and save money on their energy bills.”

Ikea is also converting all their in-store lighting LED lighting – over 1 million lights.

Why LED:  LED  is more energy efficient (uses approx. 85% less electricity) and longer lasting (up to 20X).

The one negative to LEDs is their higher initial price (but lower total cost of ownership).  To help make LEDs more attractive to consumers Ikea “ … will make sure our LED prices are the lowest on the market …”

Promoting LED lighting follows other green / sustainable practices including no longer selling incandescent bulbs (2010) and nor using plastic bags (2007).


Via:  Ikea  LINK

October 03, 2012

Apple's Very Green Data Center

Apple’s new data center in Maiden, NC is green by design.  It has a white roof to reduce cooling needs and sourced a significant amount of the materials locally.

60% of the power needed will be generated onsite from solar arrays and fuel cells.  The remainder will come from the grid but will be from renewable sources making the site “ … the most environmentally sound data center ever built.”

The combined output of the solar arrays and fuel cells is 124 million kWh – the amount of energy needed for almost 10,900 homes.

Via:  Apple  LINK

October 01, 2012

Boeing's ecoDemonstrator 737-800

Boeings ecoDemonstrator, a 737-800, is a test bed for new technologies.  Partnering with American Airlines they are exploring possible new technologies such as “… variable area fan nozzles … and adaptive trailing edge technology that changes the shape of the wings, making them more aerodynamic based on where the plane is in flight …”  Details are explained in the video from Boeing below …

Goals are to explore way lessen the environmental impacts such as carbon footprint,  fuel efficiency and noise.

The plane is on loan to Boeing and will be returned to revenue service / configuration later in 2012.



Via:  Boeing  LINK and co.exist LINK

September 12, 2012

Starbucks Looks to Turn Food Waste Coffee and Baked Goods into Something Useful

Starbucks stores in Hong Kong generate 5000 TONS of waste coffee grounds and bakery materials yearly.  Researchers in Hong Kong are trying to create a "biorefinery" (picture below right) to turn the waste into a raw material that can then be used to make new products.

Using fungi that …” excrete enzymes that break down carbohydrates (like the ones in those coffee grounds) into simple sugars, which then go into a fermenter to become succinic acid. … used as an ingredient in a wide variety of products, including detergents, bio-plastics, and medicines.”

There are legitimate concerns using food crops as a bio raw material as this could drive up food prices.  By using otherwise waste material to generate raw materials this is no longer a problem.

Benefits are expected to include less waste and less pollution from waste incineration.


Via:  Good LINK

September 06, 2012

ColorZen™Reduces Environmental Impact of Fabric Dying

ColorZen™ technology is used to pre-treat cotton before dying with the end result that dying is more environmental friendly.

ColorZen™ cotton dyes three times faster, with 75% less energy, and 90% less water. … [and] requires no toxic chemicals.
“ … requires no capital investment [for the] dye houses … can be used with the same equipment  … added cost of our ColorZen™ process is offset by the dollar savings of water, energy, chemicals, and time, …”
To get a better idea of the benefits to the environment check out the interactive tool at this LINK where you can see that using ColorZen for 5 typical shirts = the daily water use for 75 people.

Via:  ColorZen™  Link

August 14, 2012

Intel Partners to Develop Data Centers that Require Less A/C

Intel and KT Corporation (a South Korea telecom) are developing data centers that operate at temperatures above 30C (86F).  Data centers normally operate at 18 – 21 C (64 – 70F).

Typically A/C for a data center is a significant operating cost. 

According to the US Dept of Energy …” half the power used by a typical data centers supports its infrastructure, including cooling systems …” 

Even small increases in temperature can result in large energy and cost savings.   “Data centers save about 7 percent on air conditioning costs for every degree they raise the temperature above 22 degrees …”

Higher operating temperature = Lower Energy Costs = Smaller Carbon Footprint.

Plans are to first deploy this technology in KTs Cheonan data center in 2013 followed by eventual deployment at all 10 of their data centers in South Korea.

Via:  Environmental Leader LINK

US's First Grid Power from Tidal Powered Turbine

Ocean Renewable Power Company is piloting their TidGen system near Eastport, Maine.  This will be the FIRST wave / tide powered system to bring energy to the power grid.

The turbine rotates on a horizontal axis and will generate 180 Kw.  Construction started in March 2012 and power is expected to flow to the grid by October 1, 2012.

See video below for more information.


Video from Al Jazeera LINK 


Via: Ocean Renewable Power Company LINK

August 12, 2012

University of California Campuses Embrace Composting

Composting bins are joining the recycling and garbage bins on UC Campuses. 

composting at UCSF

Recycling has been very effective on UC campuses; allowing it to move from 50 % of waste diverted from landfills to 75 % targeted for this year [2012]  Longer term, the goal is “… zero waste — sending no garbage to landfill — by 2020.” Compositing will help meet the zero waste goal.

Composting can also be more cost effective than landfilling.  “… costs less than … landfills … at UC Santa Barbara. … spends $72 a ton to send material to a landfill but only $48 a ton for its composting facility.”


Via:  University of California LINK

July 18, 2012

Oakland, California Deploys CO2 Sensor Network

Oakland, CA will be soon be wired with 40 sensors over a 27 sq mile area to get real time information on CO2 levels.  This web of sensors could allow analysis of various CO2 reduction strategies in real time and determine the actual effectiveness of various options.

“… the network captures the whole range of pollutant sources, from freeways to homes. …” 

“ … sensors will continuously measure carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone levels as well as temperature, pressure and humidity, streaming the information live to the Web through the site http://beacon.berkeley.edu.


Via:  UC Berkley  LINK

July 15, 2012

Google has the World’s Largest EV Charging Network


Google has the world’s largest EV Charging network with 200 already installed and 250 more on order.  Their goal: EV charging stations at 5% of their parking spaces “ … made available for free to Googlers.”

Having an EV infrastructure in place can help drive employees to by an EV as they can be sure to find a charger at work.

Between it fleet of Toyota Prius’ and Ford Escapes available for car-sharing and bio fueled diesel shuttle buses Google believes it avoids “ … 14 million vehicle miles, or 5,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.”

Via:  Google  LINK

July 08, 2012

Skyonic Sequesters CO2 By Turning it to Baking Soda

Skyonic logoCO2 removal / sequestration is a big issue for power plants and industries.  Skyonic has developed technology that can both remove CO2 and other pollutants from waste streams or flue gas and turn the recovered CO2 into a saleable product.

“Skyonic’s SkyMine® technology removes CO2 … through co-generation of saleable carbonate and/or bicarbonate materials…. cleans SOx and NO2 from the flue gas, and removes heavy metals such as mercury.”

“… SkyMiine® also produces green chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid, bleach, chlorine, and hydrogen, … [that] can replace less environmentally-friendly products in market.”

With investments from BP, ConocPhillips and others, Skyonics is planning to build a demonstration plant in San Antonio at a Capitol Aggregates cement plant that would come on-line in 2014.

This technology could be a key way to clean up the CO2 emitted by cement plants.  Cement plants are considered a huge emitter of CO2 – by some estimates [Wikipedia] emitting 5% globally of man-made CO2 emissions.


The process is flexible and can take from 10 – 99 % of CO2 out of the waste stream – depending on requirements,



Via: Skyonic LINK

June 21, 2012


GreenTouch’s mission is to …” deliver the architecture, specifications and roadmap to increase network energy efficiency by a factor of 1000 from current levels.”

One promising area is to reduce the energy used by fiber going to homes.  Using new  technology they plan to significantly lower “energy consumption in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, …”  The technology is called Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network (Bi-PON).

The video below explains …



Via:  GreenTouch  LINK

June 14, 2012

PrintFriendly Software Saves Paper When Printing Web Pages


One often heard complaint when printing web pages is that there is a lot of wasted paper – and wasted ink and electricity.  PrintFriendly can help … the software allows you to print less “junk” that otherwise ends in the recycle bin.

“… cleans and formats web pages for perfect print experience … removes Ads, Navigation and web page junk … save paper and ink when you print. It's free and easy to use. …”


Via:  printfriendly  LINK

June 03, 2012

Old Navy and Terracycle Team up to Recycle FlipFlops

Terracycle and Old Navy have partnered to collect and recycle flip – flosp.  The flip-flops are recycled or upcycled to make new products.  See graphic below – click LINK to see larger graphic.

Collect and return 50 flip flops (about 18 pounds) to Terracycle and you will get Old Navy coupons for you and those who helped you collect.

Participation and signup are free.  So is shipping; you can download a UPS label and drop the box off at a UPS location.

For more details (FAQ) on flip flop recycling … LINK

Via:  Terracycle  LINK

General Electric uses Cyclopentane to Reduce CO2 Footprint of Refrigerators

General Electric is using cyclopentane as a foam blowing agent for insulation in refrigerators and freezers.  Using cyclopentane in place of HFC such as HFC-134a or HFC-245fa (typically used by US refrigerator manufacturers) significantly reduces the CO2 footprint from foam blowing.

GE is using cyclopentane at two major facilities – Appliance Park, KY and Decatur, GA.  - to lower toe CO2 footprint associated with prior HFC foam blowing agents.

At Appliance Park – “ … reduce average annual CO2 emissions … by more than 99 percent, or 117,781 metric tons of CO2  annually …”

At Decatur GA – “ .. reducing …  by 400,000 metric tons of CO2 … a 99-percent reduction in GHG emissions ..”

This is equivalent to the “ … of 101,185 car” and the amount of CO2 “ … absorbed by 132,093 acres of Southeastern U.S. forest”.


Via:  General Electric  LINK

May 28, 2012

Hasbro Improves Product Packaging

As part of Hasbro’s commitment to sustainability they are beginning to make changes in product packaging.  One result is an increase of approx. 15% in the ration of product to packaging.  In other words - less packaging for a given amount of product.

Other planned packaging changes include:

  • plastic blister packages that use less material
  • more efficient packaging
  • removing PVC packaging
  • no longer using wire ties
  • increasing recycled content:  “ … the 2013 MY LITTLE PONY assortment pack is expected to reduce the size of shipping containers by 20 percent …”

Less and more efficient packing means less shipping costs and shipping emission and less material for the consumer throw away in the trash.

For more on Hasbro’s sustainability efforts follow this LINK

Via:  Hasbro  LINK

May 23, 2012

Seagrass Performs Blue Carbon Role

Research analyzes the role of seagrass in storing carbon and confirm its strength as a carbon sink.  James Fourqurean led a team of researchers in the global study of Coastal Seagrassseagrasses and published the results of its analysis in research paper: Seagrass Ecosystems as Globally Significant Carbon Stocks.  According to UNESCO-IOC, our understanding of carbon sequestration from coastal ecosystems is sufficient to develop effective carbon management strategies for coastal Blue Carbon.  …

…   “Seagrasses help protect our coastlines, they provide habitat for the seafood we eat, and they keep our water clear. … The potential for the world’s seagrasses to be used as carbon offset credits is an initiative referred to as Blue Carbon.”   …

Via Florida International University: Blue Carbon.

May 15, 2012

Global Green Lighting Reduces Energy Costs and CO2 Emissions

Green Lighting (GGL) reduces energy costs and lowers CO2 emissions using LED lights and lighting control technology.

“Low Energy lighting [using]… LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and Induction white light technologies … offer 50% to 70% lower energy consumption, 80% lower maintenance, significantly reduced CO2 emissions …”

See video below describing how Chattanooga, Tennessee is saving money – on maintenance and return on investment - and improving the city lighting at the same time.  Technology from GGL allows the city to control individual lights, determine which bulbs need to be replaced and report energy usage back to a central data store for analysis.



Via:  Global Green Lighting  LINK

May 05, 2012

Understanding Your Water Use

Do you know how much water you use each day … and what it is used for ?  Turns out it is closer to 2000 gallons per DAY.

Check out the graphic to the right for the details >>>  LINK and follow the interactive to see how your usage grows during the day.

By understanding where water is used you can make choices to save water and know where to make the biggest impact !

“ … biggest surprise may be that 95 percent of your water footprint … from the food, energy and products you use every day. C…”


Via:  Good LLC  LINK

May 04, 2012

Zotos: One of US's Top 20 On-Site Wind Power Generators


Zotos makes professional hair care products.  They also are going green and have major initiatives under way for wind power, carbon offsetting and greener packaging.

“ … we must change the way we see our world. … Zotos is … implementing one of the largest private industrial sustainability programs in the nation.”

They have been recognized by the US-EPA as one of the Top 20 On-site Wind Generators.  Two turbines at their Geneva NY plant that “ … generate approximately 6.5 million kWh of electricity … annually … provide more than 60 percent of Zotos’ energy requirements … expected to reduce overall CO2 emissions by 50 percent in 2011.”


 Via: Zotos Internatinal LINK


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