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  • Sustainable Hosting

    So what are everyone's plans for Earth Day?

    Saturday, 14 April 2012 17:48

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    Urge President Obama: Pledge To Veto SOPA/PIPA http://t.co/c7SJhhsG

    Thursday, 19 January 2012 00:44

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    Wednesday, 18 January 2012 19:34

Latest Comments

Clean Technology

If we can provide better solutions for ranchers to water their herds, we can actually help prevent some of the destruction of our waterways.

via [cleantechnica.com] Written by Susan Kraemer

Solar arrays can provide energy to pump water to watering troughs for cows, improving water quality on remote pastures and saving money too. Farmers can more sustainably manage their pastures if cows are not all clustered around small creeks, eroding the banks.

One example of a worst case scenario is Dick Lester’s Spring Valley Ranch in Cherokee County, Iowa. He had one tiny creek that his cattle were trampling to death, reducing their own water supply.

He needed to pump water 150 feet up the hill to three separate watering troughs so the cows would spread out and not trample the creek’s stream banks, fouling their own drinking water supply and reducing the flow by eroding the stream banks.

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The self powered universe is one the way.  Here is an amazing advancement of solar panel technology!!

by Mike Chino, 12/23/09

sustainable design, green design, sandia national laboratories, glitter solar cells, solar power, renewable energy, crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells

As snowstorms sweep the country, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are warming up our winter blues with the creation of these gorgeous snowflake-shaped photovoltaic cells. The glitter-sized solar sequins are made from crystalline silicon and use 100 times less material to generate the same amount of electricity as standard solar cells made from 6-inch square solar wafers. Perfect for soaking up the sun’s rays on unusual shapes and surfaces, the solar cells are expected to be less expensive, more efficient, and have promising applications in textiles and clothing.

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This is just common sense.  This technology doesn't need direct sunlight and can make a big difference in your hot water bill.

via [cleantechnica.com] Written by Susan Kraemer

Solar Thermal

People typically don’t think of installing solar thermal when they build or retrofit their homes. Most people just don’t follow renewable energy news and have just have never thought of it. (Just like most of us wouldn’t know to build our homes to be earthquake-proof either if it wasn’t in our building code.)

A requirement to add solar thermal into building codes can be the best driver of change that has benefits for everybody, by reducing fossil energy use by from 60% to 80%.

The ideal setup is when a homeowner has a natural gas-heated water, used not just for hot water but to heat a radiant flooring system. In that case as much as 80% in energy reductions are possible in a sunny climate. You would keep the gas furnace for the remaining 20% of water heating. If you only need hot water for non-heating needs, the least it would do is reduce your gas use about 60%.

(You could also use a hybrid system to get to 100% clean energy, by using electricity from a solar array to heat the remaining water to supplement the solar hot water system.)

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It's so impressive to see the multi-disciplinary solutions to energy generation. Here is some great news from the Dutch!

via [news.scotsman.com] By Lesley Riddoch

Tidal Generation

WHILE tens of thousands of politicians and activists gathered hopefully in Copenhagen last Friday, a minor success was scored by eight men in wellingtons, standing on a barge beside the Afsluitdijk – the dyke that stops the North Sea from flooding the Netherlands.

The focus of attention was a small, two-bladed tidal Tocardo turbine which has been spinning in one of the sluice channels between the freshwater IJsselmeer and the saltwater North Sea for the past 18 months.

A sensor in the turbine was dislodged during repairs to the sluice gates, and watching the massive effort needed to reconnect that single wire, the extra costs associated with marine energy became crystal clear.

But, strange to relate, the final success of Copenhagen could rest heavily on this tiny sputnik of a machine.

The Tocardo will be one of the technologies deployed in an ambitious plan to reverse global warming, fossil-fuel dependency and colossal power company profits if Hans van Breugel and Fred Gardner have their way.

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Hear ye, hear ye, or not as the study indicates.  Sweet news for the Wind Farms!

via [matternetwork.com]

Wind Farms

A multidisciplinary panel concluded that the sounds generated by wind turbines are not harmful to human health, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced last week.

Comprised of medical doctors, audiologists, and acoustical professionals from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, the panel undertook extensive review, analysis, and discussion of the large body of peer-reviewed literature, specifically with regard to sound produced by wind turbines. The expert panel was established by AWEA and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) to review all current literature available on the issue of perceived health effects of wind turbines.

"The panel’s multidisciplinary approach helped to fully explore the many published scientific reports related to the potential impact of wind turbines on people’s health," said Dr. Robert J. McCunney, one of the authors of the study and an occupational/environmental medicine physician and research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). "There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans."

"The objective of the panel was to provide an authoritative, scientific reference document for those making legislative and regulatory decisions about wind turbine developments," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "This study is another indication that wind is one of the most environmentally benign sources of electricity available."

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This is just the holiday cheer that we need.  Tax relief for those willing to take on climate change!!  :)
Written by Zachary Shahan

In the midst of the Copenhagen negotiations last week, the White House announced a proposal to give a huge increase in tax breaks to manufacturers who produce wind, solar, geothermal, or other clean energy technologies. The goal of the tax breaks is to stimulate more job growth and promote clean energy technology more in the US.

With clean energy technology poised to become the third largest sales sector in the world, Obama and Biden realize that they must stimulate this field in the US a bit more to get the jobs that go with that growth.

In the proposal set forth by the White House on Thursday, new or expanded factories making clean energy technology (i.e. electric vehicles, solar panels, high-speed trains, and wind turbines) can get a 30% tax credit. This raises the current cap on these tax credits from $2.3 billion to $7.3 billion.

In addition to the tax credit, Obama’s proposed ‘jobs plan’ includes “increased investment in public works, small business tax cuts and incentives for homeowners who retrofit their houses to be more energy efficient.”

Congress will need to approve this jobs plan for it to go through.

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We have to get the word out that sustainable energy is necessary for the future.  We should all invest in it!

via [mydigitalfc.com] By POORNIMA GUPTA AND LAURA ISENSEE

A risk-averse Wall Street pushes industry to small banks or government

The solar industry needs $2 billion to expand next year, but with Wall Streetstill nervous about backing risky or capitalintensive ventures, companies are looking beyond to boutique banks and other sources of funding to avoid falling behind.

Governments, state-owned banks in China and small investment advisory firms are stepping into the shoes of the big banks that helped solar companies raise millions in the public markets during their first waves of expansion.

The still-emerging solar power industry is hoping to return next year to its annual growth rate of 50 percent after a difficult year of falling panel prices and tight credit.

To compete and gain market share, many companies are looking to increase their output of panels that convert sunlight to electricity, a process that often requires outside capital.

A few years ago, investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase were known as the goto guys for solar fund-raising.
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Good news for the Phillippines!  Clean Tech was their early holiday boost!

via [gmanews.tv]

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo returned to Manila early Saturday after a shortened trip to Copenhagen, bringing home millions of dollars for efforts to cut the country’s carbon emissions and bankroll its clean energy technologies.

Although Arroyo came home without an international commitment to curb effects of climate change, she was able to secure $310 million worth of funds for “green" projects, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said in an arrival statement.

Of these funds, a bulk – at $250 million – came from the Clean Technology Fund, a program jointly funded by both the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

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Interest in renewables hit Ireland.  Sounds like a great idea for the island.

via [belfasttelegraph.co.uk] By Symon Ross

A visitor looks at a projected representation of the Earth at the climate change summit yesterday Whether or not the close of the Copenhagen Summit on climate change becomes a defining moment in the fight against global warming today, it is clear that the issue will be something we will all have to address in one way or another in the near future.

While some of Northern Ireland’s senior politicians remain climate change sceptics, evidence points to rising world temperatures. Even those who don’t agree human activity has caused it concede that the renewable energy sector and sustainable business practice will be of increasing importance.

Some of the province’s more innovative firms have realised this and are focusing their attention on what could become a huge industry.

Richard Bell from Belfast-based Solmatix — which produces solar panels designed to be easily and quickly installed — believes local people have an appetite for renewables.

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For the transition to the new Clean Technology economy we will all need to play a part.

via [socialfunds.com] by Robert Kropp

A Five-Point Plan issued by the Apollo Alliance details a number of opportunities for private investors in the creation of jobs that help combat climate change. Second of a two-part series.

SocialFunds.com -- The simultaneous crises of climate change and recession may well threaten the fabric of the global economy, but the inescapable necessity of having to deal with both may offer significant opportunities as well. In recent weeks, both the Global Climate Network (GCN) and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have released ambitious proposals for the creation of millions of jobs, many in the clean energy sector.

While neither report specifically addresses the role of private investment in the creation of jobs in a low-carbon economy, it is an undeniable fact that in the US at least, government spending cannot singlehandedly bankroll the financial means for such a massive retooling of the nation’s economic priorities. Private investment has to play a crucial role.

A Fi ve-Point Plan published earlier this month by the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders, provides many effective recommendations for private investment in a low-carbon economy. The plan calls for the investment of $60 billion in transportation infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewables, and domestic clean energy manufacturing.

SocialFunds.com spoke with Matt Mayrl, policy director at Apollo Alliance and principal author of the plan, about the Alliance and some of the specifics it espouses.

“The Alliance was founded in 2003, and is a broad coalition of diverse interests that is advocating for investment in the clean energy economy and the creation of millions of jobs that stems from that investment,” Mayrl said. “A primary focus of ours has been how we can build a clean energy manufacturing industry here in the US.”

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Finally some good news about the unemployement, it could soon be going down! :)

via [earth2tech.com] By Josie Garthwaite

Green RoofThe issue of green jobs has risen once again to the top of the pile in Washington, D.C. in recent days: Most recently, the White House announced a plan on Wednesday to create “tens of thousands of jobs,” the Wall Street Journal reports, by providing $5 billion in tax credits for manufacturers of wind, solar electric vehicle and other cleantech products. This comes on the heels of President Obama highlighting in his jobs speech last week the potential of energy and efficiency projects to help improve unemployment figures.

In his memo yesterday on the “clean energy economy,” Vice President Biden touted the creation of thousands of jobs across the renewable energy sector as a result of Recovery Act investments. It makes sense for this issue to take center stage this month. Green jobs, after all, offer a timely three-fer: a way for the Obama administration to promote energy legislation at home, warm up for the climate negotiations in Copenhagen (where President Obama is scheduled to arrive on Friday) and show plan for addressing the country’s dismal 10 percent unemployment rate.

But the question of how to officially define, quantify and track green jobs remains open at a time when this data is needed most to inform policy decisions that will directly affect how the clean energy economy takes shape. Divisions over what role green jobs can and should play in kick-starting the economy are wide. As Popular Mechanics notes, ”Proponents say these jobs will ease not only unemployment but also climate change and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Skeptics question the sustainability of green jobs and the government’s ability to identify game-changing technologies.”

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