Christy Cunningham-Saylor is an environmental specialist with St. Louis-based Vertegy, a firm which specializes in consulting services for clients seeking to develop green and sustainable facilities.
The challenges from agricultural requirements to produce food and energy can only be met if we use all options available for increasing productivity and safeguarding harvests. Innovative crop protection products and plant biotechnology provide solutions to reduce the energy consumption in agriculture while conserving natural resources and contributing to mitigate the effect of climate change.
Fuel cells have the potential to dramatically change how the military carries out its missions, and how soldiers operate in the field. With the largest, most technologically advanced military in the world, the U.S. armed services use an immense amount of fuel and electricity, and any use of alternative energy would have positive effects on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, fuel cells are of particular interest to the military not for their environmental savings, but because of unique technical features that can aid soldiers in the field.
Not all the alternative generation of energy is really taken into account because numerous small-scale projects are inevitably overlooked. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) does make available figures on the economy, crude oil prices, and alternative resources to the best of their data collecting ability. This information is almost constantly revised as more data is available but the changes and revisions are not especially dramatic. The change in energy consumption and sources of energy is an evolutionary process and not a revolutionary process.
As a recognized solar industry pioneer, Gary is 2008 and 2009 President of CALSEIA - the California Solar Energy Association - and a board member of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility and Build It Green - using his three decades of knowledge to grow the solar industry for all companies.
This article deals with the present energy mix and tries to discover how the future energy mix should look in order to be sustainable and significantly reduce environmental impact, for example reduced CO2 emissions. It should be less dependent on the fossil fuels, have increased reliability, have fuel cost with reduced price fluctuations and be able to successfully meet the future demand for energy that just gets larger and larger as world energy requirements increase with the new lifestyle choices.
The US has installed over 25 gigawatts of wind, and thanks to hodge-podge of policy incentives, research and development, and private investment wind has become the poster-child of renewable energy and at the utility-scale has achieved grid-parity with conventional fossil-fuel energy. However not a single kilowatt of offshore wind has been developed, despite it being a stronger and more consistent energy source than its counterpart on land, closer to large populations where the energy is needed, and already proven commercial technology.
"Buildings like trees, cities like forests." When Michael McDonough, author and sustainability architect, suggested this be the new paradigm for the future, he was referring to the creation of buildings and communities that are self-sufficient. He also reminds us that "waste is a human phenomenon", so the concept of recycling and efficiency is central to the attainment of environmental stewardship. Through integration, energy management, efficiency techniques and technologies it is now possible to create buildings that are 'greener' and more ecologically synergistic than ever before.
Here is a short summary of some of the hot stories reported on in the last month or so.
Wind power development doesn't deal with a single industry. There are steel workers, engineers, precision manufactures, boat builders, construction crews, composite technologies, and marine technologies. The Maine Wind Industry Initiative brings these partners under one roof, so that they can network and solve problems working together.
As the PV business continues to grow, new backsheet constructions are continually being introduced. But the products we use in our efforts to be more sustainable have a bigger footprint than we think. Currently, there are at least ten commercial manufacturers of traditional PV backsheets, with traditional products in the development stage. Traditional backsheets, the protective covering on solar cells, are produced mainly from polyester and Tedlar films. Polyester is made from petroleum and Tedlar is solvent-cast using DMAC, a highly toxic industrial solvent. Both of these products defeat the purpose of clean, green energy, and as the demand for solar energy increases, so does this issue.
The Elithis Tower, designed and constructed as the world's most environmentally sound building, has just been unveiled. Touted as the first positive energy office structure, the tower creates more power than it uses. Designed and constructed at equal cost to a traditional building, the 54,000 square foot structure produces six times fewer greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this impressive combination, a complete environmental ideology was designed.
In a true sign of the times, earlier this month, Ford struck a deal to sell their entire Wixom, Mich.plant to two companies focused on the creation and storage of alternative energy. According to Ford officials, the plant is being sold to Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas, and Clairvoyant Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., for $725 million and will be redeveloped as a renewable energy park. The Wixom project is expected to create about 4,000 jobs.
Shares of A123 Systems, one of just a handful of U.S.-based makers of batteries for electric cars, debuted sharply higher from its offering price Thursday as investors cheered the closely-watched firm. The firm is one of just a few American companies that are competing with much larger Asian rivals for the potentially lucrative hybrid and plug-in electric car battery market. As the battery is the most expensive component in an electric car, the thinking goes that whoever controls the battery market may ultimately control the auto industry.
Few nations are better positioned -- or motivated -- to fuse the fight against recession and global warming than Spain. The country is already a leader in renewable fuels through $30 billion in public support and has been cited by the Obama administration as a model for the creation of a green economy. Spain generates about 24.5 percent of its electricity through renewable sources, compared with about 7 percent in the United States. But with unemployment at 18.5 percent, the government here is preparing to take a dramatic next step. Through a combination of new laws and public and private investment, officials estimate that they can generate a million new green jobs over the next decade.
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Eliminate Solar Rack Ballast and Reduce Rooftop Material Handling. PowerGripâ„¢ Universal (PGU) is a commercial roof mount system designed to secure solar racks and other equipment to any type of commercial roofing system. PGU provides a secure connection directly to the roof deck or structural members and is designed to reduce or eliminate ballast in solar racking systems, so there's less weight on the roof and less material handling. Made of heavy-duty cast aluminum, PGU units include a base ring which is secured through the roofing cover and into the structural roof deck, and a waterproof top plate.