Monday, December 31, 2012

Congress Manages to Pass a Small Energy Bill That Pleases Nearly Everyone

This is a good way to start off the year.  Not a lot of  positive news has come out of Washington of late, and we teeter, still, on a fiscal cliff, but good small energy legislation getting passed is Dec is good news, worth celebrating.

What is noteworthy about this bill is the expansion of language to encourage the development of all new technologies relating to clean energy.  In RI we need updates to promote lots of good alternative sources of energy and commerce, such as EV's and their ability to not only drive clean, but deliver KW's back into the grid while sitting.

Here's part of the story...the link is:

"While no one has been able to accuse Congress of being particularly functional lately, a tiny piece of energy-related legislation slipped through largely unnoticed last month. On Dec. 11, 2012, the House of Representatives passed the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (HR 6582) on a suspension vote of 398 to 2. The Senate approved the bill unanimously two days later, and President Obama signed it into law on Dec. 18.
So what sort of energy legislation passes through Congress nearly unanimously nowadays? The answer is, “minimally important legislation.”
H.R. 6582 corrects and adjusts existing energy laws — most specifically, some elements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 — to ensure that newer technologies that meet or exceed federal energy efficiency standards are not excluded simply because they are not covered by the 2007 law. The new bill largely covers appliances such as water heaters, commercial refrigerators, and some heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units, including heat pumps. It essentially provides manufacturers with more flexibility in how they meet efficiency standards with these appliances, allowing leeway for some newer processes and materials that, despite being energy efficient, were different enough that they weren’t covered by existing law.
Some of the bill’s corrections include updating the uniform efficiency descriptor for covered water heaters, clarifying language regarding regulatory treatment for small-duct, high-velocity systems made by U.S.-based manufacturers, and establishing a separate, less stringent standard for over-the-counter commercial refrigerators which often have large glass windows, making them inherently less energy efficient than other commercial refrigerators.
The legislation also makes new provisions to more aggressively promote energy efficiency and support deployment of existing manufacturing technologies, and requires the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to take some small action on manufacturing efficiency, including clarification of periodic review of commercial equipment standards and how the agency responds to petitions regarding standards..."

We look forward to sharing a good 2013 with you.  Thanks so much for your interest and support.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Enjoy the show and tour/2012

New shows added to our show site

We promoted, and were part of, the sustainable school summit at RIC this year.  As you will see from the two TV shows we produced from the event, the speakers, vendors, exhibitors and overflowing room of professionals and students enjoyed a fantastic day and came away inspired with new ideas and hope.

Sustainable changes start with conditioning youth in terms of protecting resources and minimizing their ecological footprint.  We followed this, and you'll see our promotion for this weekend's premier of a new show on ABC and Live Well Network, with a great five-part series on all aspects of sustainable changes in education.

Here's the link; come back often and watch us on TV today:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

15 Green New Year's Resolutions that Really Make a Difference (part 2)

Continued from yesterday...thanks to The Daily Green:

Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogs

Cost: $0
Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. All those catalogs require more than 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of wastewater to produce -- and many of us don't even know how we got on so many mailing lists! So grab that stack of catalogs piling up on your coffee table and clear out the clutter. Visit to put a stop to unwanted catalogs. Within 10 weeks, your mailbox will be empty of unwanted catalogs. A less cluttered mailbox means less pollution, less waste and less of the pollution that causes global warming.

Give Up Conventional Detergents

Cost: $10.25 for one 112-oz box
Many natural detergents today are made to clean clothes just as effectively in cooler water temperatures. Choose detergents and other laundry products that are plant-based, concentrated and biodegradable.

Give Up Hot Water (At Least In the Clothes Washer)

Did you know that only 10 percent of the energy used by a typical washing machine powers the motor? About 90 percent of the energy is used to heat the water, and most clothes will come clean in cold water. So switch your washing machine's temperature setting. For heavily soiled clothing, change it from hot to warm, but otherwise try to wash and rinse most of your clothing in cold water.

More tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

15 Green New Year's Resolutions that Really Make a Difference

Some good ideas from The Daily Green.  We'll run a couple a day:

Have you started to think about positive changes for next year?  Please send us your ideas as we work together in 2013 for a better, healthier world:

Avoid Waste: Recycle
Cost: $0
For every trash can of waste you put outside for the trash collector, about 70 trash cans of waste are used in order to create that trash. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, buy products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle as much as you can. The energy saved from recycling a single aluminum can will operate a television for three hours! If your community doesn’t provide containers for recycling, designate a bin in your garage for recyclables to make it easy for you and your family to recycle things like the newspaper and aluminum cans.
TDG Editor note: Also check out Amazing Products Made from Recycled Materials.

Give Up Plastic (and Paper) Bags
Cost: $1
Do you opt for paper or plastic when at the grocery store? Neither is a good choice. Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. And it takes four times more energy to make paper bags.
The best choice is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic. 

Put a few reusable shopping bags in your car so you have them handy on your next shopping trip. And if you happen to forget your reusable bag (as we all do!), choose paper if you will recycle it or plastic if you will reuse or recycle it.

Stop Buying Bottled Water
Cost: $14.98 for aluminum water bottle
Did you know that it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and that doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater? Don’t leave a trail of plastic water bottles in your wake! Stop buying bottled water. Use reusable water bottles instead made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum that are not likely to degrade over time. If you choose a plastic water bottle, check the number on the bottom first: Plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7 could pose a health threat to you, so look for plastics numbered 1, 2, 4 or 5.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Good Christmas gift...our best to you

Happy Holidays!
There is still time to clear the air for someone you love. Carbon offsets make a great waste-free, last minute gift, that is meaningful for the environmentalist in your life.
We'll email you a customized gift message until 6pm PT on Christmas Eve. Just check "is a gift" at checkout, and enter your message and the email address of the recipient.
Now is a great time to give our newest products, made especially for the treehugger or jetsetter in your life, which include a year's worth of flying, driving, home energy use offsets, and more.
As always, if you have any questions, you can get in touch with us at
  Stay connected. Like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. Get resources and tips to balance your carbon footprint.
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Find out how much carbon you emit by driving, travelling and energy use in your home. Offset your car's emissions, balance your plane flights and make your home carbon-balanced by supporting TerraPass projects, which improve the environment and help communities across the U.S. Learn more...
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Update from Sierra Club

We love seeing positive news on EV's.  Are you shopping for electric cars yet?

This past year has been an exciting one for cleaner vehicles. The President announced new historic vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards that will arguably do more to protect the planet than any other policy yet.  Also, according to NRDC's Luke Tonachel's recent blog, in the past year "hybrid sales grew by 55 percent and plug-in electric vehicle sales jumped 228 percent." And in 2013, we'll see about eight new plug-in models on the market. We have much work to do to boost plug-in vehicle sales, but we're heading in the right direction.

Sea Change Radio recently posted an interview with me on why the Sierra Club has been promoting a switch to electric vehicles as one of many important ways to slash oil use and emissions.

Enjoy the show and tour 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Radio show yesterday is now on Blog Talk Radio 24/7

We hope you listened yesterday but, if not, here's the link:

We think you will be stunned by what you hear on the first part of the show.

Here's some info on the guest who appeared:  

We  covered gas safety with special guest Bob Ackley of Gas Safety, Inc. He’ll explain how there are natural gas leaks in many places and the  environmental  impacts this hazard brings .
We’ll also take a look at Rhode Island’s Goodwill Industries and learn about their job training program which involves recycling and rebuilding electronics.
Also, take a look at this grid from Terra Pass on Scope 3 emissions:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Resistant MRSA “Super bug” Wound Possibly healed with Honey

We had a great talk today on our radio show--which we pre-recorded and will run over WARL and Blog Talk Radio next Weds, the day after Christmas, and this article is one of the remarkable things we discovered during our interview with Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, PhD
Professor Emerita of Anthropology & Joint Doctoral Program in Education,
Rhode Island College
Adjunct Professor of African Studies at Naval War College, Newport
Editor, Sudan Studies Association Bulletin
Secretary and Newsletter Editor, RI Beekeepers' Association

Make sure you listen next Weds and any day thereafter to my interview with Carolyn and my co-host today, Jim Murphy.

In the meantime we are happy to share this story and pretty amazing side of honey:  

"Anecdotal reports of honey healing anti-bacterial resistant wounds abound in beekeeping circles. A recent case was brought to my attention by a local tradesman who was working in New York city on a project and suffered an in-jury to his wrist that worsened into an abscessed open wound that required hospitalization. Hospitalized for two days the wound failed to respond to antibiotic and anti-bacterial treatment and it was feared that the infection was a case of MRSA, a highly contagious and resistant new bacteria. MRSA, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a new “superbug” that is re-sponsible for an estimated 19,000 deaths in the US and 368,000 hospitalizations per year. MRSA can be twice as deadly when compared with ordinary staph infections. MRSA is proving to be multi-drug resistant to a growing number of antibiotics in the penicillin and erythromycin categories and it is a growing problem in hospitals, prisons, schools, and nursing homes where patients with open wounds and weakened im-mune systems are at greater risk of infection. Some can be treated with so-called last re-sort antibiotics, but others prove non-responsive"

There's more and we'll post it soon.

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

Is going to cover a lot of ground.  The first part of the show--which runs live, 12-1p, EST, every Weds, will feature Jack Gregg, my co-host from Boston and this is what we are talking about:

"My guest for Renewable Now on Wednesday, Dec. 19 will be Bob Ackley of Gas Safety Inc. (  He is committed to the safe transmission and use of natural gas and propane. Natural gas leaks can be an explosion hazard as well as an environmental hazard that can threaten your health and environment. He has studies that show Natural gas leaks emanating from distribution piping systems are causing millions of dollars of damage to lawns, shrubs and trees. He has instruments that have the ability to detect as little as 10 parts per million of natural gas or propane. Recent studies have been published for the Boston ( ) and other states towns and cities.
BU and Gas Safety Inc did the testing and maping for the Boston report."

The second part is a Christmas special as we bring in Goodwill Industries to talk about their amazing, feel-good stories about job training, putting people back to work, how those people, amongst other skills, are learning how to recycle and rebuild electronics, and we'll find out more about how their e-waste efforts have helped clean up RI.

Feel free to contact us through Twitter and Facebook if you'd like to ask a question and make a comment.

We are the business side of green.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Banning wind...are you in favor?

Eco RI News had a good story this week on Newport RI's recent ban on turbines (Ironically, we filmed some great shows there last week, studying tourism there and in RI, ocean management and the city's efforts to keep the local economy throttled up while implementing changes that they hope will take the burden off their water, air and infrastructure.  Those shows will start to air in Jan).  Local ordinances, like this one, are getting more common and more restrictive.  Wind can be a very efficient source of clean energy but, soon, there will be no where left to place turbines.

We believe strongly in preservation.  Newport has done a very good job of building much of their economy around its great history, architecture, historic neighborhoods and sites.  However, we don't think preservation should come at the expense of embracing new technology and moving the city, its businesses and citizens into alternative energy and reduced emissions.  We think their action here is short sighted and politically driven.

Here's the link:

Part of the story:

Newport Severely Restricts Turbine Placement

By KYLE HENCE/ecoRI News contributor
NEWPORT — The City Council has voted to ban wind turbines from most of the city. With the recent approval of the wind turbine ordinance, out of 7,872 city lots, commercial-scale wind turbines — between 10 and 100 kilowatts and a maximum of 80 feet high — are permitted on 52 lots, and residential-scale turbines — less than 10 kilowatts and a maximum of 50 feet high — are permitted on 627.
In total there are 679 plots where the ordinance would allow a wind turbine to be installed to produce electricity. However, the ordinance prohibits turbines of any kind or size on 91 percent of city lots, regardless of plot size or energy generating potential. A 100 percent moratorium was in place up until the Dec. 12 passage of the city’s new wind ordinance.
As delineated in the language of the ordinance, property owners are prohibited from erecting small wind turbines anywhere in the city’s historic sections, including the entire southern portion of Newport defined by Ocean Drive.
In an April 9 letter to the City Council, James Dring, the Planning Board chairman, wrote, “The Planning Board regards the local Historic District as an inappropriate location for wind turbines unless the subject property has greater than 40,000 square feet of land areas.” The council, however, ultimately elected to impose a more restrictive ordinance than thatoriginally drafted by the Planning Board.
“It’s extremely restrictive,” said Newport Energy & Environment Commission member Doug Sabetti prior to this week’s vote. “It should be allowed in the historic districts with special use permits.”
During the discussion period opened by Mayor Henry Winthrop, council member Justin McLaughlin defined his guiding philosophy of governance as one in which he endeavored to legislate “for the people” rather than “to the people."
“This just seems overly restrictive to me,” he said, explaining his feeling that people should be free to do what they want with their own property as long as safety and related concerns are addressed...
What if a developer or a neighborhood wanted to do microgrid?

Monday, December 17, 2012

World Food Day: Co-Operatives Feed People Around Globe

This story, from Voice of America, fits very well with what we've been finding as we've traveled, talked to guests and done shows on location.  Food co-ops are, in fact, growing, as is locally-grown food, many times raised organically, farmer's markets and local and state support for growth in farms.

We see, too, a push for diversity on farms...some back East, as an example, not only tend fields and raise crops, but have outreach for education, sell baked goods and prepared foods and become tourist meccas.  We know a wonderful farm on the East Coast that shows movies to kid and families in the summer while feeding them fresh, local food.

Here's the story from VOA:  You'll see significant economic impact coming out of this trend:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Part Two: Good piece from World Watch Institute

We had run part one of this report from WWI a while ago, but felt it important to finish up as we've been focusing some great radio shows of late on producing food locally, organically and the potential health benefits.  You'll find more on this on their site: 

"Food for Health:The global food system also affects issues of human health, including incidences of disease, malnutrition, obesity, and diabetes. The report notes several unhealthy changes in dietary and lifestyle patterns, including an increase in calories consumed, a lack of balance and diversity in diets, a lack of education about health and nutrition early in life, and a significant reduction in the amount of time dedicated to physical activity.
Food for Culture:The report emphasizes the need to reconnect people with producing, obtaining, preparing, and eating their food. This involves the transfer of knowledge from older to younger generations about the production and preparation of food, the return to a healthy relationship with and appreciation of the land on which food is grown, the revitalization of conviviality associated with food preparation and consumption, and the recovery of traditional flavors in the context of contemporary tastes. In Italy, the University of Gastronomic Sciences is finding ways to combine the passion of food connoisseurs with the science of agriculture. The university conducts courses in food anthropology, food cultures, food policy and sustainability, and students participate in study trips to examine regional food systems.
The book draws on advice from experts and activists around the world to suggest specific reforms to the food and agricultural systems. These include:
  • Healthy eating and lifestyles. In developing countries, where rising average incomes are affecting dietary choices, it is important to provide access to and education about healthy foods like fruits and vegetables before bad eating habits develop into deep-rooted cultural practices. Ensuring proper nutrition among infants and children can greatly improve overall health later in life. Among both children and adults, a balanced diet, coupled with an active lifestyle, can minimize the risks of overweight, obesity, tumors, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. One extensively studied example is the Mediterranean diet, which characteristically emphasizes a balanced consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and grains while limiting meat intake.  A study completed by EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) found that strict adherence to the Mediterranean diet resulted in a significant reduction in the risk of developing a gastric carcinoma.
  • Fair food prices. To ensure that agriculture remains a viable and sustainable source of livelihood, farmers must be able to ask realistic prices for their products. In many countries, food prices are kept artificially low because they do not take into account the environmental impacts of producing food, the high medical costs associated with long-term unhealthy eating habits, the costs required to pay farmers and farmworkers a decent living wage plus benefits, and the billions of dollars in government subsidies that farmers receive to grow certain commodities. If farmers could charge real prices for the food they grow, consumers, especially in wealthy countries, would reconsider the impacts of their various food choices.
  • Transparent and responsible food trade. To improve universal access to food, policymakers must address the lack of transparency and responsibility in the commercial exchange of food around the world. This means, for instance, ensuring that production of crops to be used as biofuels does not interfere with the cultivation of crops for food. In Europe, 8.6 million metric tons of vegetable oil is used for the production of biodiesel fuel and continues to expand by 15 percent annually. The food system must encourage “sustainable well-being,” or the idea that people’s current well-being should not be achieved at the expense of the happiness or prosperity of future generations."

BCFN and Nourishing the Plant will officially launch Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York City at 10 AM EST on June 28. Please contact Supriya Kumar at skumar@worldwatch.orgor click here if you would like to register for the event.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Cool is this

We saw this in the newsletter from the Better World Club:


163 BC: Jews Claim to Set New Record for Energy Efficiency

No Longer Have to Depend on Persians for Eternal Oil? It's a Miracle! 

"The Jews of Jerusalem claimed a new record for energy efficiency today as their temple's eternal light burned for eight days despite having only one day's supply of oil.

Does this mean an answer to the Eternal Oil Crisis?

As the eternal flame is based on olive oil, this could be a challenge to OPEC--the Olive Petroleum Exporting Countries.

However, doubts were generated as word of the oil miracle was contained within an epistle stating that the Jews defeated the Greeks in a battle over the Temple of Jerusalem. 

A spokesman for pro-roadway lobbying group Alpha Alpha Alpha put it this way. "Right! And the guys who teach abacus can kick the Spartan's asses! And I'm King Antiochus the Fourth!"

So, how far back does the fight for energy efficiency go?  Clearly this gives us an interesting historical perspective.  Of course, the key, back then and now, is go achieve energy independence.  We owe it to ourselves, our children and their children, our economy and the jobs it holds to bring imported oil dollars back home and put them to better use while eliminating as many emissions as possible.

On another note, here's the update on the radio side:  Info on the show that ran live yesterday and the link to listen now 24.7.  Great show.  Thanks to my co-host, Seth Handy, and our guest:


Join Seth Handy from Handy Law and Peter Arpin for this show.  Danny Mosher from the office of energy resources from the state of Rhode Island visited the studio .During this show it was emphasized  on how important it is for  a state to plan for a Big Super Storm  .During this  show the panel also touched upon other possible systems to be used for grid reliability locally and nationally .

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thanks to Seth Handy, Handy Law, for sending us today's blog

Seth is also one of my co-host on the radio side (in fact, you can listen to us live today, 12-1p, EST, on WARL 1320 AM, over-the-air and on their stream, and Blog Talk Radio, Renewable Now channel) and is one of the true energy and environmental experts in the State.  He fully understands, as does his clients, the economics of green.

Here's an article he sent that puts in perspective the changing costs of natural gas.  Given our goal of using domestically produced gas as our primary, and cleanest, large-scale energy source, as we wait for renewables to grow, we should be aware of the unpredictability of that energy source, what impacts pricing, and the risks involved.

Here's part of the story:   You can find the rest at:

The Mighty Algonquin – Supplying (New England Natural Gas) to The Eskimos

Natural gas prices at New England City Gates spiked up $6/MMBtu during a recent cold spell in November only to fall back $4/MMBtu last Friday (November 30, 2012) on forecasts of warmer weather. There have been three periods of price volatility in New England during the past year. The close proximity of 7 Bcf/d of shale gas production from the Marcellus is not helping. Today we look at the New England natural gas supply situation.
Make sense out of the interrelationships between crude oil, natural gas and NGLS.  RBN School of Energy brings the RBN Energy brand of energy market fundamentals to an intensive two-day course of study to be held Feb.12-13, 2013, at the St. Regis in Houston, TX.  For more information, see
During November 2012, natural gas prices for day-ahead deliveries from the Algonquin Gas Transmission (AGT) pipeline into local distribution company (LDC) city gates in New England went on a rollercoaster ride. The spread between AGT City Gate prices and the NYMEX Henry Hub natural gas futures prompt month fluctuated from a low of $0.70/MMBtu on November 1, 2012 to a high of $8.30 on November 27 and back down to close the month at $2.50 /MMBtu last Friday (see the blue line, left axis, on the chart below).
The red line on the chart (right axis) shows daily low temperatures for the largest city in the region – Boston. The data indicates that natural gas prices spiked when Boston low temperatures dropped into the 30’s Fahrenheit. Price spikes like these are not new phenomena for Algonquin city gate this year and they are not just associated with low winter temperatures. The chart below shows the same Algonquin/NYMEX basis relationship since December 2011. There were three periods (red circles) when prices spiked up sharply. Those three periods were the “non-winter” of 2011-2012 (so called because temperatures were uncharacteristically mild last winter), the summer of 2012 and the November spike we saw in the first chart. What is causing these price fluctuations in New England...?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Algae-derived biodiesel blend hits San Francisco-area gas stations

This story comes from Auto Week and opened our eyes to alternatives in biofuels and new ways of reducing the negative impact of fossil fuels.

Obviously, San Francisco, and CA in general, are in the lead of our fight towards a cleaner future.  We applaud their efforts in being first to market in so many areas of using clean energy.  I was in CA this Fall and had the pleasure of seeing some fabulous sites for wind and witnessed lots of solar panels on roof tops.

We have a great audience in CA.  Let's us know if you use algea-derived diesel fuel and the results.

The story:   By: Graham Kozak on 11/15/2012
Environmentally conscious drivers may have a new way of fueling up: a diesel fuel blend that consists of 20 percent algae-derived biofuel and 80 percent regular diesel arrived at four gas stations in the San Francisco Bay area earlier this week.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the fuel retails for $4.25 per gallon—the same cost as conventional diesel in the region. B20 is billed as compatible with any diesel-powered vehicle.
As with any loudly trumpeted energy “breakthrough,” there are plenty of reasons to be both hopeful and intensely skeptical about the development.
Peoria, Ill.-based Solazyme, the company responsible for the production of the B20 being sold to California consumers, has successfully run everything from a naval vessel to an airliner on its biofuel.
Yet there's no word on how B20 compares to conventional diesel performance-wise, or what impact higher biodiesel-petroleum ratios might have on regular diesel engines. Further, the algae used in Solazyme's fuels are grown in a lab-like environment, feeding on sugar in large, stainless-steel vats—an energy-intensive process in and of itself.
Still, there are other promising developments on the biodiesel front that may contribute to making renewable fuels economically viable down the road.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a method of quickly and efficiently converting algae into “biocrude” after a few minutes in a pressure cooker. As an added plus, algae used in that process can be grown in brackish ponds rather than the stainless-steel containers employed by Solazyme.
We're willing to watch the biofuel saga play out with guarded optimism. After all, there'd be something intensely satisfying about a carbon-neutral, renewably fueled and gratuitously smoky tractor pull. The B20 biofuel available in California represents a small, significant step in that direction.

Read more:

Monday, December 10, 2012

The business side of green

We love this focus for our show and our blog, and we love finding just the right articles that highlight this aspect of green.

Here's one as we look at a significant fine for a bus co that idled their buses more than allowed by law.  Arpin Group, with other partners, this year launched a new company, e-Now, that brings solar solutions and products to the transportation industry, including, of course, buses and trucks, and helps these companies not only save money on burning fuel, but help them avoid huge fines like this one.

Each co has to evaluate their investment and ROI on each energy and operational change.  In order to give a full evaluation, though, they need to consider all the risks and possible costs.  Clearly, governments of all types are ramping up their scrutiny of emissions and other pollutants as they fight to help give us back cleaner air and water.  We applaud this effort and look forward to helping them build a cleaner, brighter future:

School Bus Company to Implement Anti-Idling Program and Pay Penalties under the Clean Air Act

Release Date: 04/10/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – April  10, 2012) - As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states.  The anti-idling project is the result of an EPA New England enforcement action to address excessive school bus idling and reduce school children’s exposure to diesel pollution.
Durham School Services will pay a $90,000 penalty and perform environmental projects valued at $348,000.
In fall 2010, an EPA inspector observed Durham school buses idling for extended periods of time in school bus lots in Storrs, Conn., Worcester, Mass. and Johnston, R.I.  The inspector observed some buses idling for close to two hours before departing the bus lot to pick up school children. The state idling regulations in question, which are enforceable by EPA, generally limit idling in Connecticut to three minutes and in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to five minutes.
Under the settlement, Durham will implement a national training and management program to prevent excessive idling from its entire fleet of school buses. Through this program, Durham will train its drivers to comply with state and local anti-idling regulations and to avoid excessive idling. Durham will require supervisors to monitor idling in school bus lots, post anti-idling signs in areas where drivers congregate, and notify the school districts it serves of its anti-idling policy.
In addition, Durham will replace 30 older school buses (model years 1999 and 2000) with new buses that are equipped with state-of-the-art pollution controls.  
“Pollution from diesel vehicles is a serious health concern in New England and across the country,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Children, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments, are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust.  EPA is pleased with this settlement, which will dramatically limit school bus idling and help protect the health of school children in dozens of communities across the country.”
Idling diesel engines emit pollutants which can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems including asthma and other respiratory diseases, and the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust not only contributes to area-wide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms. Drivers, school children riding on the buses, facility workers, neighbors and bystanders are all vulnerable.
Idling school buses consume about one-half gallon of fuel per hour. By reducing the idling time of each bus in its fleet by one hour per day, Durham would reduce its fuel use by 1.25 million gallons per year and avoid emitting 28 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
In a separate but related action, EPA recently issued a Clean Air Act Notice of Violation for Ocean State Transit, LLC and STA of Connecticut, Inc., which operate fleets of school buses at a number of different locations in Rhode Island and Connecticut.  The violations cited in the EPA Notice of Violation occurred at Ocean State’s locations in East Greenwich and South Kingstown, R.I. and at STA of Connecticut’s locations in Danbury, Naugatuck, Higganum, Stamford, and Groton, Conn.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Listen in to this week's radio show

Here's the link and some promo material on Wed's show.  Don't forget to tune in live on WARL 1320 and Blog Talk Radio, Renewable Now channel.

On Renewable Now This Week!

 We  met Bill Battles. Mr .Battles is a Local Plumber who owns Village Plumbing and Heating in nearby Massachusetts. He has been recognized for his work in Solar water heating and green plumbing.

Learn about this awesome cutting-edge technology and how it can save you some Money in your home.

Renewable Now is on Every Wednesday at noon here on 1320 WARL AM  and

Friday, December 7, 2012

First show from The Green School

Thanks for being part of the RN family: and enjoy the show this weekend:

More later on this week's radio show

Continued from yesterday

Later today we are posting updates on our TV and radio shows.

The world is full of amazing people doing great work.  We are proud to be a part of their influence and positive change on our world.

The rest of the story:  

"...Yet the need has never been greater, says Jon Gibbins, a professor at the University of Edinburgh specializing in carbon-capture and power-plant engineering. The U.S. is awash in cheap shale gas, while worldwide, coal consumption, led by China and India, has risen more than 50 percent over the past decade. “We’ve got far too much, far too cheap fossil fuel” to ignore carbon capture, Gibbins says.
To jump-start development, the Norwegians have invited companies to try out carbon-capture technologies at Mongstad. The tests are carried out using emissions from a gas-fired power plant that adjoins the facility. French engineering group Alstom (ALSMY), for example, is testing a process in which emissions are sprayed with chilled ammonia to strip out the carbon dioxide.
Even some environmental groups are willing to give carbon capture a chance. “People have rightfully worried that carbon capture is just an excuse” to avoid developing cleaner energy sources, says Mike Childs, head of policy, research, and science at Friends of the Earth in Britain. “While we want to move to a system of 100 percent renewable energy, that will take time.”
Amundsen says the processes being tested at Mongstad would add 30 percent to 50 percent to the cost of electricity generated by a conventional gas- or coal-fired power plant. That’s roughly on a par with wind- and solar-generated power, and Amundsen expects prices to come down sharply as the technology matures. Norway is considering a plan to expand Mongstad from a test site into a full-scale facility that would scrub all CO2 emissions from the adjacent power plant and a nearby refinery, at an estimated cost of $4 billion.
The country can’t import CO2, though, unless other countries come up with billions to build their own carbon-capture plants and pay the Norwegians for storage. And while existing gas pipelines could be modified to transport carbon at relatively modest cost, burying it under the seabed would be expensive. What’s more, Norway could face competition from the Dutch port of Rotterdam, which has a plan to become a hub for CO2 transshipment to North Sea storage sites. Rotterdam has the advantage of being closer than Norway to most of Europe’s major industrial regions.
Amundsen is unfazed by these challenges. “Norway has an interest to see that oil and gas remain an important energy source for the future,” he says. “We’re so incredibly rich, we can actually afford to do it.”
The bottom line: A new $1 billion carbon-capture plant is the cornerstone of a plan to bury Europe’s waste CO2 beneath the North Sea.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Norway Covets Its Neighbors' Carbon Emissions

Here is a pretty amazing story from Bloomberg.  Here is a country, with very clean air, spending a billion dollars to capture carbon emitting from neighbors like Germany.  Beyond that they are looking to store carbon under the sea.  Both technologies give us a very big push towards cleaner air.

Wrapped into this is development of new technology, jobs and, you'll see, a means for capturing additional reserves from the sea in the process.

Let us know what you think.  We'll focus a radio story on the technology:

The fjords of western Norway seem an unlikely place to tackle industrial pollution. But an hour’s drive north of Bergen, the Norwegians recently inaugurated the world’s largest test facility for carbon capture, the process of trapping carbon dioxide before it spews from the stacks of power plants and factories. The Norwegian government spent more than $1 billion to build the facility, a tangle of pipes, scaffolding, and cooling towers overlooking the port of Mongstad. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has called it “Norway’s moon landing.”

That’s quite an investment considering the country’s greenhouse emissions are among the lowest in the developed world. But it’s not domestic CO2 the Norwegians are after. It’s their neighbors’. Beneath the North Sea lie vast reservoirs that have been emptied of oil by state-owned Statoil. “The potential to store [waste CO2] in aquifers under the sea is enormous,” says Tore Amundsen, the managing director of the Technology Centre Mongstad.
In theory, Amundsen should face no shortage of customers from countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, where plans for underground storage of waste CO2 have run into opposition from environmental groups. Norway’s oil industry could benefit, too, as the process of undersea injection would force residual oil and gas deposits out of the seabed.
While it’s integral to the fight against global warming, carbon capture has had a slow start. The International Energy Agency says it expects the technology to account for as much as 20 percent of the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees by 2050. The European Union has promised more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in financing for carbon-capture projects, but with the region’s economy in crisis, national governments haven’t provided the loan guarantees required for the work to go forward..."
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More teachers green in the classroom

Good news from USA Today and timely as we premier, this weekend, our first show in a five-part series on positive changes in education.  We shot the shows at one of the mecca's in RI for educational innovation:  The Green School.

Here, we see a trend towards younger teachers, a move into charter schools, The Green School being one here in RI, and with that youth movement, a emphasis on technology, newer innovations which we know, from our TV series, includes a wonderful focus on environmental economics (something we covered last week in our radio show).

Here's the link:

Part of the story:    WASHINGTON – With three years of teaching under her belt, Allison Frieze nearly qualifies as a grizzled veteran. The 28-year-old special education teacher at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School here already has more experience than the typical U.S. teacher.
  • Students across the country are more likely to see new teachers this fall.
    By Sam Roberts, AP
    Students across the country are more likely to see new teachers this fall.
By Sam Roberts, AP
Students across the country are more likely to see new teachers this fall.

She remembers her first year and says no new teacher really wants to relive that. "You have so many pressures on you and you're kind of swimming, trying to keep your head above water with all of the things you have to do," Frieze says.
Research suggests that parents this fall are more likely than ever to find that their child's teachers are relatively new to the profession, and possibly very young.
Recent findings by Richard Ingersoll at the University of Pennsylvania show that as teacher attrition rates have risen, from about 10% to 13% for first-year teachers, schools are having to hire large numbers of new teachers. Between 40% to 50% of those entering the profession now leave within five years in what Ingersoll calls a "constant replenishment of beginners."
The end result: a more than threefold increase in the sheer number of inexperienced teachers in U.S. schools. In the 1987-88 school year, Ingersoll estimates, there were about 65,000 first-year teachers; by 2007-08, the number had grown to more than 200,000. In the 1987-88 school year, he found, the biggest group of teachers had 15 years of experience. By the 2007-08 school year, the most recent data available, the biggest group of teachers had one year experience...
What should parents expect from these new teachers, and how should they interact?

Teachers get greener

Teachers with five years of experience or less
Source: Richard Ingersoll and Lisa Merrill, University of Pennsylvania
For one thing, get used to communicating online with them, says Susan Fuhrman, president of Columbia University's Teachers College.
"They're going to be much better at technology," she says. "They're going to have grown up digital natives," drawn to technology and less afraid of it than their parents' generation. They're also more likely to see the possibilities in emerging software such as games, simulations and classroom management software..."