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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good report from Clean Technica

We've reported a lot on EV's, we are very big proponents of moving to domestically produced energy for our cars, and we'd like to follow that today with this excellent story from  Clean Technica which drives home the overall savings you can enjoy by driving an EV.   There's a link for the whole story, but we've reproduced part of it:


EV Low Operating Costs Make EVs Cheaper Over Time, Especially Useful for Fleet Operators



Sticker shock gets even the best of us, but a report from Pike Research says the low cost of electric vehicle charging, compared to traditional fuel, brings the total cost of ownership of electric vehicles below that of internal combustion engine vehicles!
Senior research analyst Lisa Jerram said electric battery vehicles have seen a resurgence recently, especially from fleet operations. One concern for fleet managers, though, is the cost of charging equipment.
Check out the full report here.
Source: Business Wire
Image: Ford Focus Electric via Ford 

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1m5bv)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let's push to get this passed soon

This week, another good report from the Better World Club.  This article brings light to legislation, good legislation, held up in Congress as they fight over spending.  You'd hate to a positive change like this sidelined by a lack of cohesiveness on spending.

Our greatest return on investment, as a homeowner, consumer and business owner is money put into efficiency--reducing our energy and waste production.  We need a national policy and standard on efficiency.  Let's get vocal in asking our Senators to pass this into law:


BETTER WORLD CLUB NEWS

Lack of Agreement on Federal Spending Stalls Energy Efficiency Bill

Even Though It Would Create 80,000 Jobs and Reduce Emissions by Millions of Tons

It's Like That Time You Couldn't Go On The School Trip Because Your Parents Were Fighting Over Who Maxed Out the Credit Cards

A bill currently stalled in the Senate could establish the first national energy efficiency policy. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) co-authored the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, which passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources by an 18-3 vote in July 2012. It is supported by members of both parties, most notably Senate Chair Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The Shaheen-Portman bill also has a companion: the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreement Act of 2011 (or INCAAA). As described by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: 
“The Shaheen-Portman bill contains a variety of provisions designed to increase energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of the economy, such as establishing centers to train building engineers and technicians in energy-efficient methods, and a loan program to support industrial energy efficiency. INCAAA establishes new and revised efficiency standards for a variety of common household and commercial appliances based on consensus agreements between product manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates.” 
Proponents of the Shaheen-Portman bill say it will lower consumers’ net energy costs, add 80,000 jobs in the next 8 years, and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 29 million metric tons per year by 2020. 
Opponents see the bills as an unwanted expansion of federal power and a distraction from natural resource extraction. However, the main obstacle to both bills is congressional delays. “Until we get a clear architecture built dealing with taxes, revenues, entitlements and federal spending, I think any broad policy initiative is not going to move,” said Senator Mark Udall. Udall is a member of the same Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that passed the Shaheen-Portman bill in 2011. He remains hopeful that the two energy efficiency bills are targeted enough to circumvent the current lack of bipartisan agreement on government spending and tax policies. 
 In the meantime, Senator Shaheen has taken matters into her own hands. She has vowed to add an amendment to every bill introduced in the Senate.
“This [Sen. Joe Lieberman's Cybersecurity Act] is the fourth bill that we’ve filed an amendment on, and we’re going to keep doing that to try and raise attention to the fact that this is legislation that has bipartisan support that we think should come to the floor because we think it could make a difference,” Shaheen said
Contact your senators to voice your opinion on the Shaheen-Portman and INCAAA bills.
-August 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Everyone should take a bow and feel good

We share the enthusiasm expressed below by Environment RI, and there's plenty of praise for the 12 other states who led the charge to the new clean-air standards we have today.  Enjoy and breath deep.  We are headed for a healthier world:


"If you haven’t heard the news, today is a very big day.

Decades from now, the clean car standards finalized today by the Obama administration will be highlighted as a monumental turning point in America’s quest to get off oil and tackle global warming.

That’s how big a deal these clean car standards really are.  By doubling the fuel efficiency of the cars on the road today by 2025, the standards will cut as much global warming pollution in Rhode Island alone in 2030 as is emitted by 132,000 of today’s vehicles.  And nationally they’ll cut our annual oil use by an amount equivalent to what we currently import from Saudi Arabia.[1]
Help spread the great news by saying a quick “I’m excited about the new clean car standards from the Obama administration!” onFacebook or Twitter to celebrate this historic victory for our environment.  Or you can send an email to the White House letting them know how you feel!  
Will these standards alone solve global warming and get us off oil?  Of course not.  But the U.S. has never taken a bigger step in that direction than we did today.  And while Environment Rhode Island played a key role in getting these standards across the finish line, my staff couldn’t have done the work they did without your support.  So thank you and congratulations!  

One last thought: just as important as this victory and its environmental benefits is the story of the state leadership that made it all possible.  Long before the Obama administration took office, California and 13 other states—including ours, thanks in part to the work of Environment Rhode Island—were developing and implementing their own state-level clean car standards.  Beyond charting a path for pollution reductions for these states, the standards also pushed automakers to begin developing the cleaner cars we see on the road today.  And that paved the way for the Obama administration to set these new federal standards.

Today’s news goes to show how state-level victories for our environment eventually snowball into national victories, and that’s a critical reason why Environment Rhode Island works as hard as we do.

Thanks again for making victories like this possible!"

Yours,
John Rumpler
Senior Environmental Attorney
Environment Rhode Island

Monday, August 27, 2012

Good report from Better World Club

On Goodyear Tire's quest to build better performing and improved earth-friendly tires.  Here's the story:

Goodyear Tire and Rubber is working on a new technology that can help make its tires less expensive to produce and last longer and it involves something that the U.S. has plenty of – soybeans.

Goodyear researchers have found that using soybean oil in the manufacturing process can extend the tread life of tires and significantly reduce the amount of petroleum required, "up to seven million gallons each year" for the company as a whole. Adding soy to rubber compounds in tire production, the company says, has proven to improve the mixing process, and creates a better rubber compound. The soy helps the rubber blend easier with the silica, a basic component of ordinary beach sand and an integral tire ingredient.

Goodyear is the the best-selling tire-manufacturer in North America. Adding soy, Goodyear says, could enhance its already strong reputation for quality. Goodyear has consistently been a top pick in ConsumerReports' tire ratings. Therefore, a 10-percent increase to tread life could play well with consumers looking to get more miles for their tire bucks.

"Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment." said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear's chief technical officer, in a statement.

If testing continues to produce the results Goodyear has gotten thus far, the tires could be on sale by 2015. For more on tires, check out the AOL Autos Techsplanation series on Tire Tread Technology.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our most recent radio show on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio

We recorded this show, as we broadcast live, this Weds.  Show is terrific.  Our thanks to our excellent guests, as described on this post on Blog Talk (where you can listen to the show, and all shows, 24/7:

On this program of ReNewable Now, we’ll be exploring the locally grown food market. Join us as we interview Dan Horan, President and CEO, of Five Acre Farms. We’ll also hear about what’s going on at Hope & Main pertaining to this topic. Don’t forget to tune in! ReNewable Now…educating you on the business side of green

Here's the link to this show:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/renewable-now/2012/08/22/the-locally-grown-food-market

Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Great radio show today on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio

Thanks to our guests, Dan from 5-Acre Farm and Lisa from Hope and Main in Warren.  Both great stories and we look forward to following them in the future.

This show will be posted to our Blog Talk network by tomorrow, but in the meantime, feel free to use this link to listen to previous shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/renewable-now

After you listen to some of the shows, or watch on renewablenow.tv.com, let us know which ones you liked best and why.

We are, of course, the business side of green.  Stay tuned.

Great post from Seth Handy

On seeing terrific growth in MA of clean energy jobs.  This is a very promising beginning to a new and diverse economy.  The balance of economic growth with environmental protection is our sweet spot.  We love seeing progress like what is being experienced in MA.

The story: Massachusetts Sees Big Growth In Clean Energy Jobs 
News Departments > FYI
email the content item print the content item 

Massachusetts' clean energy economy grew by 11.2% from July 2011 to July 2012 and now employs 71,523 people at 4,995 clean energy firms across the commonwealth, finds a new report released by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

According to the report, which was prepared by BW Research Partnership on behalf of MassCEC, this growth outpaced that of the overall economy nearly 10 times over, and the trend is expected to continue. The survey found that employers are optimistic about the coming year and expect to hire more workers in 2013. Clean energy continues to maintain its place as one of the commonwealth’s major industries, representing 1.7% of the total Massachusetts workforce, the report adds.

The survey found a large number of firms in varied industries - ranging from construction and manufacturing to research and development - reporting activity and employment in the clean energy sector. Additionally, the report identified a large number of companies that do not necessarily identify themselves as clean energy companies first, but directly engage in activities related to the clean energy cluster.

For the purposes of the report, a clean energy firm is defined as an employer engaged in whole or in part in providing goods and services related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation and carbon management. Clean energy workers are defined as spending at least a portion of their time supporting the clean energy aspects of their businesses.
Don't miss the latest wind energy news -- register to receive NAW's news headlines.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Great news from AP and Bloomberg

This is a terrific trend if we can keep it going.  Here's the headline: AP IMPACT: CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low

Chart shows carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal. Graphic is fixed. Unit for chart is changed from "trillion" to "billion"


What follows is even more interesting:   "In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that "ultimately people follow their wallets" on global warming.

"There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources," said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that energy related U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. Energy emissions make up about 98 percent of the total. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.

While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said..."


The most critical part of this finding is the reduction came in reaction to "market conditions"; in essence, there's a great financial reason for operators to switch plants over to natural gas.

As we've been saying for 18 months, the secret elixir for positive economic/environmental changes is the ROI becomes compelling on investments in waste and energy reduction.  That day has come...for us all.  The investments you make in remodeling your homes and businesses will return positive cash flow to you--while helping restore our ecological balance.

When will you invest?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Disturbing news from the Gazette-Journal in VA

Here's the headlines from this story which looks positive:  

More businesses sought for Gloucester green initiative

That, on the surface, looks fine.  Yet, read the story below:  

"BILL NACHMAN | POSTED ON AUG 15, 2012 - 11:18 AM
Through the Gloucester Green Office Challenge, county businesses learn how to put simple environmental strategies into action to reduce avoidable waste and pollution, while saving energy and costs, says Clean Community coordinator Bill Bell.
However, few businesses have expressed an interest in the program since it received a major push early this year, Bell said. The "challenge" assists participating businesses in implementing environmentally-friendly initiatives that will help to improve the environment and reduce the county’s carbon footprint.
Bell said he would like to present certificates to more local businesses for completing the self-directed challenge that both identifies environmentally-friendly practices in the workplace and encourages employees to make energy-saving steps at home as well. Only one business has received a certificate since the Clean Community Office began promoting the program early this year.
Businesses seeking recognition must indicate they are taking many pro-environment steps, such as energy conservation and recycling materials. "It is important for businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle," Bell said"
How sad that "few businesses have expressed interest" in a program that will both save them money and help the environment.  Why?  What other motivation do company owners need to invest in efficiency?
The fact is, the ROI on investments in efficiency and clean energy is, in our opinion and experience, the best available today.  Our internal rate of return on our reduced energy use at our global headquarters, and use of solar, eclipses 25%...pretty phenomenal.
We'd like to hear from you on this, and would like to see those companies in Glouster, VA jump into this worthy program and benefit themselves and the air quality in the area. 



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Continuing our post from yesterday from Wall ST Report

Helping to create new, green jobs is a big part of our mission.  To help make this happen, our show seeded a clean energy fund (and efficiency fund) in New England which is in the process of raising 14m of debt and equity to launch, by year 3, 25m a year in solar, wind, hydro and fuel cell projects.

We also just invested money into RI's best know accelerator as they give birth to new, innovative, companies here and throughout the region.  We also applied to National Grid for permission to build a 3meg solar site close to the solar system we installed on our rooftop (175kw system).

All of which stirs clean, economic development.  We hope, even on a very small scale, you are doing the same.

Let's finish this story and post:

...24/7 Wall St. examined the BLS report to identify the 10 states with the greatest number of green jobs as a percentage of total jobs in the state. Green jobs are those found “in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.” Data on green job growth by state from 2003 to 2010 were taken from the Brookings Institution’s “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment.”
These are the states where green jobs thrive.
1. Vermont
  •  Green jobs as percentage of total: 4.4 percent
  •  Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 3.9 percent
  •  Unemployment rate: 5.0 percent
Vermont is the country’s largest center for green job employment relative to its entire workforce by a substantial margin. Additionally, of the nearly 13,000 green jobs in the state, more than 9,000 are in the private sector. The state’s primary sectors of employment are organic food production and farming and, to a lesser extent, green building materials. It is not clear whether Vermont will maintain its position as the nation’s green leader. Job growth in the clean economy has increased at a slower rate than the national level between 2003 and 2010.
2. Idaho
  •  Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.7 percent
  •  Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 2.8 percent
  •  Unemployment rate: 8.1 percent
Idaho is another state with a large amount of land -- nearly 67 percent -- owned by either the state or federal government. The largest segment of the state’s clean economy is conservation, followed by the production of energy-saving building materials and hydropower. A few of the state’s major green companies are Boise Cascade, Power Engineers and Windsor Window.
3. Alaska
  •  Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.6 percent
  •  Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 2.8 percent
  •  Unemployment rate: 7.2 percent
More than 89 percent of Alaska is owned by federal and state governments. Not only does the state’s clean economy account for a particularly large share of total employment, but its job growth rate from 2003 to 2010 has been significantly greater than the national average. The largest segment in the state’s green economy is by far conservation, as it employs more than five times the people as the second-largest segment. Major employers include the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
4. Maryland
  •  Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.6 percent
  •  Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 2.8 percent
  •  Unemployment rate: 6.5 percent
Clean economy job growth in Maryland has largely mirrored that of the U.S. between 2003 and 2010. Waste management and treatment and conservation are the state’s largest green sectors. The fastest growing segment is solar energy, which has had a job growth rate of nearly 64 percent from 2003 to 2010. Some of the state’s major clean economy employers are environmental services companies Century Engineering, Kci Holdings and Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson.
5. Montana
  •  Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.5 percent
  •  Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 2.4 percent
  •  Unemployment rate: 6.5 percent
Montana has among the largest share of green jobs in the public sector. The state has a particularly large amount of public lands, such as state parks, which allow for a large amount of jobs in solar PV, or photovoltaic systems and hydropower. The largest clean economy sector, however, is conservation. Two of the state’s largest employers are the National Park Service and Forest Service.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good article from Wall ST Report

On states where green job are booming.  Is yours one?

We will finish this tomorrow.


Monday, August 13, 2012

From Inspire Green Newsletter


Great story on what the London Olympics just accomplished over the last 2 weeks.  We applaud their efforts, and look forward to an even better performance in Brazil:

"London Olympics 2012: Going Green is the new Gold

With 10,500 Olympic athletes and 4200 Paralympic athletes competing, and estimated 11million visitors, 21,000 journalists and around 200,000 staff members, there will be a lot of mouths to feed at the games, which in turn, means tons of packaging will be required.

With the eyes of the world set on London, the London Organizing committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) made a bold move:  Zero Waste

Instead of accepting almost certainty of PET bottles filling up trash cans and Styrofoam containers littering the land, London 2012 became the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to commit to a zero-waste-to-landfill target.

“While a handful of events and venues have achieved recycling performance of up to 50%, recycling rates are generally much lower (approximately 15%) and a significant amount of material either ends up in landfill or is sent for energy recovery,” LOCOG said.

Some of the environment-friendly schemes the organizers have planned include:
At the Olympic village, carbon emissions will be cut down by 50% and the entire project will be 25% more energy-efficient compared to current building regulations.
20% of the required energy for the Olympic Village and Park will be provided by renewable energy.
20% of the construction materials and around 90% of the demolished buildings will be recycled and/or reused."

Water used at the Olympic Village will be 20$ less than average.
30 km of new routes for walking and 50 km of new cycling tracks will be built.

The Olympic Games are meant to be a grand celebration of sportsmanship and human achievement by the international community, but they also give the host nation an opportunity to display their vision and organizational skills. This time, the organizers want the London 2012 Olympics to be the greenest in history.

For more info: 

http://www.packagingdigest.com/article/522256-London_Olympics_2012_Going_green_is_the_new_gold.php
http://www.olympicgames2012london.org/london2012olympicsgoinggreen.html

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sorry for the change yesterday on the radio side

We had a great live show set up for yesterday on WARL 1320AM and Blog Talk, but our major guests cancelled late and we had no choice but to run the audio from a recent TV show.  We apologize for that.  We'll be back live promoting Green Fest in Boston next week.

In the meantime, here's some good reading on success stories within the green economy from the UN:





  • View latest briefing papers

  • Success Stories

    The economic analysis in the Green Economy Report builds in part on the encouraging signs and results of many initiatives around the world. A number of these come from developing countries, including emerging economies, and illustrate the positive benefits from specific green investments and policies, that if scaled up and integrated into a comprehensive strategy, could offer an alternative development path, one that is pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-poor. A limited selection from a growing range of experiences in different sectors, are summarized below, highlighting their economic, social and environmental benefits. While some represent established broad-based policies and investment programmes, others are newly initiated pilot projects. In this sense the collection underlines that a green economy strategy has established and proven examples on which to build. At the same time, some recent developments also illustrate the growing interest in seizing opportunities to move to a green economy.
    We are interested in your own experience with success. Contact us if you have a story to tell.
    Organic Agriculture in Cuba
    Cuba’s transition to organic agriculture emerged as a necessary response to the food crisis that gripped the nation in the early 1990s. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and a longstanding trade embargo that severely constrained industrialised agricultural practices on the island, Cuban producers turned the declining availability of pesticides, fertilisers and petroleum into an opportunity to shift towards organic production with numerous environmental, social and economic gains.
    Solar Energy in Barbados
    Barbados’ overreliance on imported fossil fuels has become one of the island’s major environmental concerns. The Barbadian government’s National Strategic Plan of Barbados for 2006-25 is designed to rectify this dependency by increasing the country’s renewable energy supply, with a particular focus on raising the number of household solar water heaters by 50 per cent by 2025. Solar water heaters are now a widely used renewable energy technology in Barbados, with installations in nearly half of the island’s dwelling units.
    Waste Management in Republic of Korea
    Waste management and recycling in the Republic of Korea’s has not reduced waste generation, but has also encouraged reusing waste as an energy resource. Over the past years, targeted policies have significantly increased the recycling rate while creating thousands of jobs in an endeavour to build a Resource Recirculation Society.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Great stats this week from our radio partners Facebook page

    This from WARL:  Congratulations to WARL for building a great and loyal audience

    facebook
    Hi Peter,
    Here are the latest insights about your Facebook Page.
    WARL 1320 A.M.
    New LikesTalking About ThisWeekly Total Reach
    521 -8.7%1,477 +68.4%
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    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Tomorrow's radio show on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio

    Has lots of variety and covers plenty of terrain.

    First, we head up to Boston to update everyone on this year's GreenFest.  Have you been before?  If not, see  if you can get up this year this year.  Starts on Thursday night, Aug 16  and ends that Sunday.  In between the days are packed with events as the event works to build a better word.  Here's the link to their main page:http://www.bostongreenfest.org/

    After that, we introduce you to the Worldwatch Institute and our special guest, Danielle Nierenberg – Senior Researcher, Food and Agriculture Program | Nourishing the Planet Director.  Danielle and the Institute have garnered world attention for their work on nourishing the planet, and we'll look at the economic impact of their work tomorrow.

    We'll be on from 12-1p, EST, then you can listen to it 24/7 on the Renewable Now network on Blog Talk.

    Right after that, we will film five new TV shows in Warwick RI,  Busy day.  If we miss a blog tomorrow, as we did Monday preparing for this week, we'll be back on Thursday.

    Here's more on the Institute:  

    Mission

    Through research and outreach that inspire action, the Worldwatch Institute works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs. The Institute’s top mission objectives are universal access to renewable energy and nutritious food, expansion of environmentally sound jobs and development, transformation of cultures from consumerism to sustainability, and an early end to population growth through healthy and intentional childbearing.

    HISTORY

    Founded in 1974 by Lester Brown as an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns, Worldwatch was quickly recognized by opinion leaders around the world for its foresight and accessible, fact-based analysis. Now under the leadership of population expert and author Robert Engelman, Worldwatch develops innovative solutions to intractable problems, emphasizing a blend of government leadership, private sector enterprise, and citizen action that can make a sustainable future a reality.