Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Green roofs have been a part of building for over a thousand years. The current green building movement has, however, had the greatest impact on the growth of the green roofing industry.
A green roof is commonly defined as a roof that consists of vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. There are two basic types of green roofs, an extensive roof, which has a few inches of soil cover and an intensive roof that has two feet or more of soil for a variety of grass, trees, bushes and shrubs.
Friday, June 19th, 2009
Deutsche Bank has erected a seven-story sign in the heart of New York City that ticks off the tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere — a public relations move designed to raise awareness of global warming.
Designed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and hanging outside Madison Square Garden, the giant counter shows that the amount of carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere is at 3.64 trillion metric tons, the highest level in 800,000 years. Number whirring on the counter show that CO2 is being added to the atmosphere at the rate of 800 tons per second.
Unveiling the sign, Deutsche Bank officials said it was designed to highlight the crisis of global warming and the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions. “The minute you convert that (carbon) to a real-time number, it can serve as a backdrop to a lot of conversations,” said one Deutsche bank executive.
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
As we bat around the potential of all electric, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen battery and other possible automotive technologies, its worth noting that once upon a time, almost all of the vehicles on the road ran on…water.
Those were the days of the Stanley Steamer, and automotive technology is – in some ways – just coming back to complete the circle.
Electric transmission might be taking the same trip back in time. NYT linked through to a Climate Wire story that highlights the resurgence of direct current (DC) transmission line construction. The vast majority of transmission is on alternating current (AC), but the story recounts that DC was Edison’s preference: “…it’s all I’ll fool with.”
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
One of the more interesting subtexts in the ongoing Waxman-Markey negotiations is the irony that as the bill gets closer to garnering the support it needs for passage — through horse trading, earmarking, compromise and watering down — it looks less and less like a positive step for renewable energy advocates to have a federal regime at all.
Thanks to preemption doctrine, whatever does emerge from Congress will likely trump much of what already exists at the state level for energy-environment regulation. Sure, the bill may hold out state autonomy to set higher renewable standards or more ambitious target dates than those federally prescribed, and that kind of dual sovereignty — especially where expressly permitted by Congress — has long been held constitutional. But, for a “progressive” energy state like Massachusetts, there are likely to be direct conflicts with the federal law, and in those cases the state standard (in many cases the more aggressive one) will be preempted.
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
George Soros, one of the world’s most successful investors and boldest philanthropists, has been more perceptive than almost anybody on the economic crisis – warning about “market fundamentalism” and the emerging credit “superbubble” since the 1980s. “The idea that financial market are self-correcting,” Soros writes, “remains the prevailing paradigm.” And it is wrong.
Rather than thinking markets are always right, Soros thinks of markets as “almost always wrong” – and has made billions by trading on this insight.
Now nearing 80, Soros’ observations carry more weight than ever. The new edition of The Crash of 2008: the new Paradigm for Financial Markets is Soros’ 11th book – and his first bestseller. In it he explains his theory and argues that clean energy investments are central to macroeconomic policy.
Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Bernie Focker, aka Dustin Hoffman of Meet The Fockers, once said, ”If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”
Bernie Focker, though an imaginary character, spoke of real life issues: water conservation. Even though the water crisis has taken a backseat to other issues such as carbon emissions, the problem is real: By 2025, the world will experience major freshwater shortages. Though 97% of water comes from oceans, only about 3% of it is freshwater. From that, 2.4% is permanently frozen in glaciers and ice caps, 0.5% of Earth’s water is ground water, and the rest can be found in rivers and lakes (also known as surface water).
Since our water comes from ground and surface water, that’s a small percentage overall. And because of our ever-growing population and water needs, rising temperatures and droughts, the US government estimates that about 36 states will face water shortages by 2013.
Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
While coal-fueled power plants are directly responsible for roughly one-third of our CO2 emissions, the DOE indicates that coal is expected to dominate our domestic power generation at least for the next 25 years. Globally, the increased demand for coal-fueled electricity will translate into a 57% rise in related CO2 emissions by 2030 according to the IEA.
One technology that attempts to solve the CO2 emissions crisis is carbon capture and storage, or CCS. Generally speaking, CCS captures the CO2 emissions from coal power plants and other industrial sites and injects the CO2 into underground porous rock formations in hopes of permanent sequestration.
Friday, May 22nd, 2009
It doesn’t matter where you are on the green technology job hunt. Maybe you’re contemplating a career change, or you’re just starting the job hunt, or you’re deep into networking. Your ability to use your job-hunting time effectively, get the most from your networking, and prioritize your daily tasks depends on knowing what you want.
But if you’re like many job seekers, you don’t know what you want. Okay, maybe you know you want to work in the solar industry, or on sustainable transportation issues, or on a more energy efficient grid. Or maybe you know you’d love to work in any of those areas, because they’d all align with your desire to promote sustainable change in your day-to-day work. That’s all well and good. But if a hiring manager popped out of your computer and asked you, “what do you want to do?” would you be able to tell her the role, the clean tech sector, and why in 30 seconds or less?
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
BioSolar Inc., a publicly traded California company, says it’s come up with a way to build a better solar panel, with plastics made from plants.
I sat down recently with company CEO David Lee, both of us at keyboards, to discuss BioSolar’s plans for a plastic revolution in sun power manufacturing.
Lee’s protective backing is derived from cotton and castor beans, and costs 25 percent less than Tedlar, the petroleum-based film made by rival DuPont, company officials say. Lee, an electrical engineer, founded the company in 2006.
Q: What makes BioSolar different from other solar companies in the United States?
Lee: BioSolar is developing a technology to produce bio-based photovoltaic (PV) components from renewable plant sources that will reduce the cost per watt of PV modules. BioSolar will gradually replace the petroleum-based portions of the PV module and do so at a substantial cost savings.
Friday, May 8th, 2009
This article is part of a series on the Stimulus Update. Previous posts:
– Smart Grid Funding Guidelines Released
- Inching Towards Smart Grid Funding Guidelines
- EE and Conservation Block Grant Funds Releases
- Next Generation Electric Vehicles Funds Released
- Energy Efficiency Funds Released
- Climate Change, the Stimulus Bill, and how CleanTech will benefit
As part of an ongoing effort to reduce US dependence on foreign oil and address the climate crisis by increasing the use of domestic renewable fuels, Secretary of Energy Chu announced Tuesday plans to provide $786.5 million in ARRA funding to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development, and to provide additional funding for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects.
The funding is available through ARRA’s Research and Development program and will be awarded through competitive grants from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).