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    So what are everyone's plans for Earth Day?

    Saturday, 14 April 2012 17:48

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We here at Sustainable Hosting are keenly tracking the latest Green IT trends in technology and news. We aim to provide a point of referece for making sustainable decisions and becoming more aware of green practices. Follow us on Twitter @SustainableHost

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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Robots are the future.  We must comply!  :)

via [cleantechnica.com] Written by Tina Casey

Fibrwrap Construction, FYFE Company and the University of Californai will develop robots to repair water mains.

With over two million miles of aging water mains to maintain, the U.S. is on the brink of a water supply precipice.  A modest project seeded with just a few thousand dollars could go a long way to resolving the crisis, by developing robotic water main repair devices that can work much faster than human crews.

The real kicker is the ability of small robotic devices to reach inside small pipes as well as the larger human-sized water mains.  Water supply robots are already in use for inspection purposes.  It’s a more sustainable approach that would practically eliminate the need to excavate thousands of miles of water mains for repair or replacement.  In turn, that would make a significant dent in carbon emissions from earth-moving machines and other utility streetwork.

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We can't always "just build another one". Here is some good news from our scientists that can help preserve the infracstructure we have.

via [cleantechnica.com] Written by Tina Casey

New non-toxic nanomaterials could reduce corrosion when bonded to metals with infrared light.

A new anti-corrosion coating that uses infrared light to bond new nanomaterials to steel could yield a more sustainable, less toxic substitute for the massive quantities of hazardous chemicals that are currently needed to hold our aging infrastructure together.

The technology is being developed by MesoCoat, the Edison Materials Technology Center, and Polythermics, LLC, under a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.  Aside from the green benefit of cutting down on hazardous chemicals, the new approach promises lower costs and higher performance, winning sustainable points for extending the lifecycle of steel infrastructure elements and perhaps consumer products as well.

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A blend of new technology and old asthetics brings this new design for a Biomass Power Plant.  Beautiful!

Via [inhabitat.com] and  Dezeen by Bridgette Meinhold
biomass plant, BEI-Teeside, native grass, indigenous grass, UK, low carbon technology

The United Kingdom is splattered with fossil fuel based power plants and concrete cooling towers which are major carbon producers as well as eyesores. Luckily, plans for a new biomass power plant covered in native grasses in the UK have just been released and they will complement the surrounding ecology as well as decrease carbon emissions by 80% compared to coal or gas fired power stations. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, a London-based firm, the 49.3 MW power plant located on the banks of the River Tees will be a man-made mountain covered in plants and will certainly be a welcome replacement to the older, pollution-spewing plants around the country.

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This is a good way for people of the world to look at what we are trying to do as Earthlings.

via [ecogeek.org] Written by Megan Treacy

ap-map
The AP Climate Pool kept us well informed over the course of the COP15 negotiations.  Part of that great coverage is contained in this interactive map of the participating nations' current emissions and the reductions they've pledged to make. You can find plenty of articles analyzing what was accomplished (or not accomplished) over the last two weeks, but this map quickly lays out the current emissions trends around the world.

Some of the interesting things revealed by this map are the huge percentage increase in emissions by China (136.2 percent) - close to triple that of number two Turkey (58.8 percent) - and the nice size reduction in emissions by Russia since 1990 (23.8 percent).  The U.S. has actually seen a decline in emissions of 1.8 percent, but we're still the largest emitter per capita, so that's not saying much, which also makes our pledge of a 17 percent reduction less than adequate.

Image via AP

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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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Now we are talking some sense. Using the already naturally cooling abilities of our planet to help us, brilliant!


After a good 20,000 years out of caves, we are heading back to them - and just like your worst fears, it’s the damn global warmers and Al Gore-ists leading the way, because it saves so much energy.

It turns out that limestone caverns might be the cheapest and best option for carbon neutral data-center cooling, because by nature limestone can absorb 1.5 BTUs per square foot for free. And data centers need lots of energy for cooling.

So this time we’re taking computers back in there with us. Or rather we’re leaving them down there. At least the data centers, that is.

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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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