Archive for January 6th, 2009

Recycling at Starbucks

Recycling at Starbucks

recycling at starbucks

I went to HongKong Disneyland with my family last Halloween 2008 and while in one of the malls, we took a break at  a local Starbucks and I noticed this recycling box.

The transparent recycling container is a very nice idea.  People noticed the empty plastic bottles inside so they feel that they should do the same.

Starbucks in other countries don’t even have any recycling boxes available.  Just ordinary trash bins.  I hope all Starbucks around the world would have one of these.

Before leaving Starbucks, I asked my son to throw our empty water plastic bottles in there.  It’s nice to teach your kids about recycling and let them be a part of the process.

Incidentally, last Christmas, in my son’s pre-school,  they had a sort of recycling fund raising campaign where kids were asked to bring recyclable items like plastic bottles, and old newspapers.  They were able to sell these to a junkshop and were able to raise some money for their Christmas party.

image source:  Noel Bautista (work at home dad)

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‘Generation E’ — Innovating, Motivating
This article contains lots of interesting information.

Read and let us know your reaction. clipped from dotearth.blogs.nytimes.comI’ve gotten to know a heap of young people of late — people I call “Generation E” — who are working on every facet of the climate-energy challenge. Some are trying to…

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Toyota denies plans to build solar car

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I warned you not to hold your breath on that solar-powered Toyota. A recent story from Reuters indicated that the Japanese automaker was developing a solar-powered car although a plug-in car would be an intermediate step along the way. In spite of the excitement from some of our commenters, It now looks like this car might be even further out than I surmised. The comparatively low power density of photovoltaic cells severely limits the type of vehicle that could be built and powered this way. Toyota is apparently aware of these limitations and spokesperson Jana Hartline told AllCarsElectric “we’re not aware of any such vehicle, planned or otherwise.” So there.

[Source: AllCarsElectric]

Toyota denies plans to build solar car originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 15:49:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WiTricity is Around The Corner…

WiTricity is Around The Corner…
How would you like to walk into your home and have your mobile phone immediately start charging with no effort on your part? If techs and tech companies have their way, that will be happening before too long.

The plans are to have “wireless” homes with energizing computer desks and gadgets powering up with laser beams.

From U.K.’s The Guardian: “Experts believe this is just the beginning and that eventually wireless electricity – dubbed “WiTricity” by some – could do for battery life what WiFi did for the internet. In a world without wires, laptop users in cafes and airport terminals would be inside an “electricity hotspot” and no longer have to delve past legs, bags and furniture in search of an awkwardly located socket.

Company CES has developed technology that turns electricity into a laser beam that’s invisible. The heated beam shoots across the room and hits a solar cell turning into electricity.

The new beaming technology is said to not pose a threat to our health as when an object crosses it’s path, the beam shuts down for 1/1000 of a second and then starts up again. Right now this tech is for small electronic gadgets but they have plans to scale it up for laptops and desk tops.

More at The Guardian.
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Rise & Shine: January 5, 2009

Rise & Shine: January 5, 2009

The Rise & Shine is your daily source for all solar-industry news. Brought to you by Sweet Solar Home and the Experts at SunRun.


Solar-Power Industry Remains Hot in California
“While we don’t have the final numbers yet, it appears we nearly doubled the amount of solar installed in 2008 versus 2007,” said Molly Tirpak Sterkel, director of the California Solar Initiative. “That’s a magnificent story.”

Solar Panel Heist Foiled
A tip from a watchful citizen led to the capture of two men believed to have stolen solar panels in Rutherford.

Eurus Energy America Launches Solar Initiative
Eurus will focus on the development of large-scale photovoltaic projects throughout the U.S., with a particular focus on the West.

With aid from the state, Californians Warm to Rooftop Solar Power
Some consumers are concluding that sunshine is their safest investment.

Encinitas: City Completes Residential Solar Power Program
Under a proposal that the City Council asked staff to review earlier this month, homeowners could pay off new solar installation expenses through 20-year loans. The loans would appear on their yearly property tax bills.

Getting Renewable Power to the People
Any electricity generated in the desert by solar plants or wind farms needs to travel via power lines to the cities, most of them clustered along the coast. And the state’s grid of transmission lines can’t do the job. It doesn’t have enough lines in the right places to carry all that power.

More Solar Panels Stolen
Forty solar panels were stolen from the City of Napa?s water treatment plant at Lake Hennessey, the Napa County Sheriff?s Department reported Dec. 19.

Milpitas Schools, Chevron & BOA Complete 3.4MW Solar Project
The 3.4-megawatt (MW) solar parking canopies and shade structures supply 100 percent of the district’s power during the summer months when California’s peak-demand electricity needs are greatest.

Pasadena Volunteer Committee Creating Energy Road Map
The committee’s plan for reducing emissions by 30 percent wouldn’t require reducing Pasadena’s coal intake. Instead, it calls for modest expansions in local green power sources – such as small solar panel projects – and a larger expansion in remote sources, like solar, wind, or other sources.

First Solar Home Project for City of Gridley
The energy contributed could generate more positive off what he pulls off the grid, depending on how much is used. Statewide, municipal utilities, such as Gridley Municipal Utilities, are committed to providing over $780.000 in rebates up to 2017 paid for by the utilities.

Waldorf School Unveils New Solar Installation
Waldorf School of the Peninsula, a K-8 school in Los Altos, partnered with SolarCity to commemorate the opening of the school?s new solar-energy system Dec. 6 at the school?s Holiday Faire.

Solar Firms Seek Land
NextLight Renewable Power, a new California company, had asked to lease 2,000 acres of Nevada-owned land west of U.S. 95 in the Eldorado Valley for a thermal solar plant.

Executives of the Year: SolarCity?’s Rive Brothers are Bright Lights of Silicon Valley
Siblings Lyndon and Pete Rive run their company SolarCity Corp. like coaches of a football team.

The Geyers Taps Solar Power
The Northern California Power Agency has completed a solar energy system to generate electricity for a pump station supplying water to one of its geothermal plants at The Geysers.


Residents Powering Homes Face Problems
But the Missouri Public Service Commission, which oversees the utilities, is requiring homeowners to buy insurance before they install solar and start feeding electricity to the grid. And it appears that no Missouri insurance companies sell the insurance.

The Year in Solar: A Mix of Victories and Woes
More government incentives are becoming available to boost solar energy projects in 2008, while new solar technologies are making their market debuts. But the credit crunch has caused no small amount of heartaches.

Solar’s Future Luster
Forecasts for the solar industry’s immediate future are cloudy, but analysts are predicting a clearer picture in the longterm.

Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy
In regions where homeowners have long rolled their eyes at shoveling driveways, add another cold-weather chore: cleaning off the solar panels. ?At least I can get to them with a long pole and a squeegee,? said Alan Stankevitz, a homeowner in southeast Minnesota.

Palm Bay Considers Solar Power Plant
The Palm Bay, FL city council recently approved a commitment to Southern Alternative Energy, based in Melbourne, to allow the fledgling company to build a solar power demonstration site at the city’s water plant on Osmosis Drive.

Homeowners Tapping Into Massachusetts Solar Panel Fund
In less than a year, the Commonwealth Solar program granted nearly $15 million in rebates out of an initial $17 million block of funding that was supposed to last until next April.

2009 Tax Creak Gives Solar Suppliers a Boost
If you’re considering energy-efficient improvements to your home, 2009 is the year to do it.

Economy Squeezes Out Solar
CEO Blake Jones hastily called a meeting last month to discuss Namaste Solar’s plunging sales of solar panels, its generous culture and uncertain future.

Lower Fuel and Home Prices Stall Green Building
Homebuilders slapped on solar panels and added other eco-friendly enhancements as energy prices soared earlier this year, hoping greener homes would lure reluctant buyers.

Boulder City’s Green Power Push
Boulder City, the community established for the builders of Hoover Dam, is securing its claim as a hot spot for renewable energy, including solar power.

Port Orange Wish List Includes Solar
Port Orange, FL has developed a list of projects, from cleanup of an environmental jewel, to road and sewer projects, to a solar power array.

Green Industry in Need of Trained Workers
One of the most promising fronts in the green economy is solar energy. What will the future solar workforce look like? And do the prospects look promising enough for people to make the leap?

Hoku Solar Arranges Financing for Solar Power Projects
Hoku Solar and and United Fund Advisors (UFA) have established an investment company intended to provide financing for photovoltaic power systems to be installed and operated in the State of Hawaii by the company.

PRC Approves Solar Incentives for NM Business
The state Public Regulation Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to require New Mexico’s largest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico, to pay businesses 15 cents for each solar-produced kilowatt hour they use. The incentive for homes remains at 13 cents per kilowatt hour.

Mayor: Put Solar Panels on SL County Roofs
Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon wants solar panels on top of more than 50 county buildings.

Solar Panels Can Energize Work Force
While other American cities are asking for bailouts to keep doing things the same way, Toledo changed from making car windows to making solar panels. This not only creates jobs for Toledo but helps all of America to get off the addiction of war for oil.

City Tries to Shed light
A Janesville, WI household wants to use solar panels to collect energy, but the City of Janesville needs to clarify the rules for that sort of construction.


PG&E to Trim Rates Slightly as of Jan. 1
PG&E called off its planned January increase as natural gas prices kept tumbling.

Gainesville to Launch Solar Feed-In Tariff
In March, the Florida city plans to launch incentives that would allow residents and businesses to profit from selling solar power to the city-owned utility. The program would make Gainesville the first city in the country to do so.

Smart Grid Takes Off
Analysts point to demand-side management as a way to take the pressure off the need for new energy generation while providing flexibility in the grid to accommodate new technologies. Former director of the CIA, R. James Woolsey,, points to demand-side management as a national security issue.

Positive Energy Raises $14M from NEA
Positive Energy, a startup that makes software and analytics systems used by utilities to provide better smart meter services, has raised a $14 million round from New Enterprise Associates.

Hawaiian Electric in Smart Meter Deal with Sensus
Sensus said that Hawaiian Electric, which provides electricity for 95 percent of Hawaii?s residents, plans to install Sensus FlexNet smart meters for 430,000 residential and commercial electric customers, subject to approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.


Solyndra Raises $219.2M
The money came from 23 investors including CMEA Ventures and Redpoint Ventures. The funds consist of $96.6 million in working capital and $122.2 million for the ?conversion of convertible promissory notes into Series E preferred stock.?

Lending Woes Push Alternative Energy to Back Burner
Analysts say many capital-intensive new projects or expansions of established ones are pretty much on ice until access to money loosens up.

What a Dark Year for Solar Stocks
Of the six solar stocks valued at more than $500 million (a club that grew much smaller during 2008), none outperformed the S&P 500 index, which fell 38 percent last year.

SolarWorld CEO: Solar Module Prices to Slide More Than 10% By 2010
SolarWorld AG?s photovoltaic solar module prices will decline more than 10 percent during the next two years, tightening a squeeze on the German manufacturer’s profit margins.

Piper Jaffray Lowers View on Solar Power Co.’s
Piper Jaffray Friday lowered its view on the solar power sector, saying it had “zero visibility” in most markets and that the first quarter would be a trough for industry shipment.


Green Jobs Compete for Stimulus Aid
In one of the first internal struggles of the incoming Obama administration, environmentalists and smart-growth advocates are trying to shift the priorities of the economic stimulus plan that will be introduced in Congress next month away from allocating tens of billions of dollars to highways, bridges and other traditional infrastructure spending to more projects that create “green-collar” jobs.


Sono-Tek Launches New Selective Fluxing System for PV Manufacturing
Sono-Tek Corporation announced that the SelectaFlux SC ultrasonic selective fluxing system designed for fluxing solder bus lines in Silicon solar cell manufacturing has been released.

Carbone Lorraine Acquires Calcarb?s Rigid Graphite Felt
Carbone Lorraine announced the acquisition of Calcarb, the second largest manufacturer of rigid graphite felt for the solar industry. This venture compliments Carbone Lorraine’s position as the leader in graphite solutions for solar, industrial, semiconductor and high temperature furnace components.

Party Time!
Metallised balloons may be the best way to make solar electricity.


Toshiba Enters Photovoltaic Systems Integration Market
Toshiba Corporation has announced plans to enter the solar photovoltaics market as a large scale utility and industrial systems integrator and components supplier.

Big Solar Power Plant Planned for Northwest China
Two Chinese companies on Friday announced plans to build a solar power plant in northwestern China that could one day be the largest photovoltaic solar project in the world.

Japan to Bring Back Solar Power Subsidy for Homes
METI said the government would offer 9 billion yen ($99.6 million) in the first quarter of 2009 and possibly more in the fiscal year starting next April to foster use of solar panel equipment in homes.

China Plans World’s Largest Solar Power Plant
At 1 gigawatt, the solar power plant in northwest China would be the world’s biggest, but the timeline is a bit iffy at the moment. Construction starts next year.

Solar Stadium in Taiwa
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China could get world’s largest solar power facility

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The largest solar power generating station ever might soon be built could be installed at the Qaidam Basin in Northwestern China. China Technology Development Group is planning to build a 1 GW facility comprised of crystalline silicon and thin-film solar cells. The company and partner Qinghai New Energy Co. have gotten approval from local officials to build the new plant, which would be nearly double the size of the next largest example.

OptiSolar is building a 550 MW plant near San Luis Abispo, CA. The first 30 MW phase of the Chinese plant is scheduled to start construction early this year at a cost of $146 million. At this time there is now word on when the rest of the facility might be completed.

[Source: Earth2Tech]

China could get world’s largest solar power facility originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 10:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Much Money Will Solar Panels Save Each Month?
Numbers in regard to solar panels, such as monthly savings, payback period, and others, depend on several factors. These include system size, placement in regard to the sun, location of the home, your energy lifestyle, and local electricity costs, among others. The only true way to determine your specific monthly savings is to have a [...]
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What Monthly Difference Will a Solar Hot Water Heater Make?
It is at least somewhat commonly understood that a solar thermal system will save you money over the long run. But what people are most aware of are the checks they’re writing to the utility every month. So what we want to know most of all is what monthly difference a solar thermal hot water [...]
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Solar Over The Grand Canyon

Solar Over The Grand Canyon

Have you ever gone to the Grand Canyon? Well, many people find their way to this tourist destination every year and that is because of the wonderful view that they get to experience there. Everything is just natural and that is truly amazing.

Now people who are going to visit the Grand Canyon would be even more amazed to find not only the wonderful view but also learn of the fact that the site’s Visitors’ Center is getting its power straight from the sun. Yes. That is right. The Grand Canyon Visitors’ Center is going solar.

By the end of spring, a solar power system is going to be set up and it is going to be able to produce 18 kWs of power. Though it will not be able to provide all the energy needs of the center, it is still going to help take off around 30% of the total expenses.

Source: Kold News

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Toyota, Honda hybrid sales drop in 2008; 5 FCX Clarity models sold

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Click above for more shots of the Honda FCX Clarity

We’ve already taken a look at the 2,555 hybrids that GM sold in December and the 14,439 hybrid vehicles it sold in 2008, but what about the other major automakers? Not every automaker reports their sales the same way (most don’t break out hybrid numbers, for example), but we can still compare GM’s results to Honda’s and Toyota’s.

Toyota reports that, for all of 2008, it sold 15,200 Lexus RX 400h luxury hybrid SUVs and 19,391 Highlander Hybrid gas-electric mid-size SUVs. For the year, Toyota and Lexus sold 241,405 hybrid vehicles. That includes 158,884 Priuses, compared to 181,221 in 2007. That 12.6 percent drop in hybrid sales is better than the drop in overall sales in the industry.

There is something interesting going on with the Honda numbers. The sales numbers say that 1,036 Civic hybrids were sold in December (31,297 in all of 2008) compared to 3,223 in December 2007 (32,575 in all of 2007). That was expected. The discontinued Accord hybrid managed to sell 198 units in 2008 (vs. 3,405 in 2007). The interesting part comes in the FCX Clarity section. Apparently, Honda sold five of them in 2008. I thought the only way to get an FCX Clarity was to lease one.

[Source: Toyota, Honda]

Toyota, Honda hybrid sales drop in 2008; 5 FCX Clarity models sold originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 19:12:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chinese researchers develop nickel catalyst fuel cell

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Hydrogen fuel cells have a lot to recommend them. Fuel cells consume air and hydrogen and produce nothing but water and electricity. They provide a mechanism to get an electric vehicle with the type of range that drivers have come to expect along with the rapid re-fueling they are used too. Unfortunately, they have some serious drawbacks, namely the problem of distributing and storing the hydrogen as well as the high cost of the fuel cells themselves. A major factor in the cost is the need for precious metal catalysts to trigger the reaction that causes the electrons to be stripped off the hydrogen atoms.

The precious metals are needed because of their ability to survive the acidic environment created by the presence of ionic hydrogen. Lin Zhuang of Wuhan University in China has developed a different fuel cell using a nickel catalyst on the anode. This catalyst triggers the generation of hydroxyl (OH) ions which are alkaline. Unfortunately, the current polymer membranes can’t conduct these hydroxyl ions so the Chinese researchers developed a new membrane material that can pass these ions. The team also added chromium to the nickel to help prevent oxidation of the catalyst. So far, the power outputs being achieved are low but this is definitely a research path that has some potential for reducing the cost of the cells. Thanks to Martin for the tip!

[Source: Technology Review]

Chinese researchers develop nickel catalyst fuel cell originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 18:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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U.S. Fuel Cell Council Seeks $1.2 Billion for Job Stimulus Package

The U. S. Fuel Cell Council is asking the Congress and new Obama administration for $1.2 billion to stimulate the hydrogen fuel cell industry and create high tech jobs. At stake are around 24,000 jobs that could be created in this narrow sector of the alternative energy field.

Most of the jobs would come from manufacturing and maintenance of fuel cells, plus hydrogen production, storage and distribution jobs as well. The fuel cells will be used in the transportation industry and beyond as stationary fuel cells that could be used for home and business power generation.

Of the money being asked from Congress, $180 million will be for the transportation industry including 100 hydrogen fuel cell buses. Another $100 million will be used to stimulate jobs in the fuel cell manufacturing industry including the supply chain.

According to the plan $65 million will go towards supporting the building of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Tax credits and cost sharing for hydrogen fueling stations would go a long way to developing the necessary nationwide infrastructure.

In fact, the plan also calls for a $3,000 per kw tax credit for homeowners to give them the same support businesses and industry have also been provided. A government stimulus package targeted towards the fuel cell industry will create new jobs, put people back to work and benefit consumers with valuable technology to create clean, green energy at home, in business and on the road.

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Unified Theory Applied To Bathrooms

Unified Theory Applied To Bathrooms

Hyperminimalist Bathroom

A unified bathroom theory combining hygiene theory, universal theory, green theory, vatsu theory.

A bathroom with a meta-efficient shower, bath, sink. Warmed by radiant heat through the floor. Heat from direct, renewable source (for example wood or sun). Align energy.

Vatsu Swastika Symbol (more…)

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  1. A Unified Meta-Theory Of Design
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A Unified Meta-Theory Of Design

A Unified Meta-Theory Of Design

MetaEfficient Block

A Unified Meta-Theory Of Design combining optimization theory, green design theory, universal theory, timeless theory, and zen theory.

Meta-efficient in 2009.

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  1. Unified Theory Applied To Bathrooms
  2. About Us
  3. Almost Meta-Efficient: Multifunctional Illuminated Furniture

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