Wednesday, February 29, 2012

President Obama's New Budget Includes $10,000 EV Rebate

From EcoGeek:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sustainability in the Boardroom and Classroom

Here's a link to an interesting video that profiles Enid Cardinal, Senior Sustainability Advisor to the President at Rochester Institute of Technology,  ash she explores the role of sustainability in today’s society. The discussion ends with a look at sustainability in higher education:

We had a number of classrooms logged into our daylong broadcast yesterday, from the Compost Conference, and we'd love to have thousands more.  Help us get the word out to our next generation, and let them live a sustainable life.

Here's the URL on the video.  Enjoy and send us your comments:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Great Day tomorrow

First, we will broadcast the 3rd Annual RI Compost Conference and Trade Show.  The show is sold out, so make sure you watch on the Arpin Broadcast Network, courtesy, of course, of Renewable Now and our fantastic sponsors, including Arpin Group, Cardi's, Atrion and RI College.  The broadcast will run from 9:30a to about 3p.

Here's the link with all of the information:

And the link to watch us broadcast the event:

Then we will tape our first four shows on our Green America Hometown Tour.  Those shows will start airing next weekend on radio and TV.  Again, use the same link-- information on the tour.

As we embark on our tour, and look back on our first year of broadcasting and blogging, it is with deep appreciation that we recognize the amazing effort put forth by so many unsung heroes in creating a better world.  Though you sometimes work alone and feel isolated in your fight, the truth is there's thousands, millions of people just like you bringing about positive change, sometimes very small, but taking definite steps in cleaning  our environment and preserving our natural resources.

We commend you and hope to highlight your story, and success, some day on Renewable Now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Germany is Powering Cars on Food Scraps

As we broadcast live from a Compost Conference on Monday, right before we film our opening four shows on our Green America Hometown Tour, which starts in RI, it is interesting to find and publish this very interesting use of food scrap in Germany.  Hopefully, this same possibility of converting scrap to energy will be discussed at the sold-out conference:

A pilot project in Germany is collecting food waste from wholesale fruit and vegetable markets and cafeterias to ferment and make methane, which will then be used to power vehicles that have been converted to run on natural gas.
The pilot plant has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology and is located next to Stuttgart's wholesale produce market for easy access to food waste. The plant will make methane from the waste by using microorganisms to break down the food in a two-stage digestion process over a few days.
Because the food waste being fermented on any given day can be more or less acidic depending on what was tossed out, the pH levels have to be constantly monitored in order for the microorganisms to best do their thing. The waste is held in several tanks that feature a management system that monitors many parameters, including pH level. The software then calculates how many liters of which waste should be mixed together to feed to the microorganisms.
The plant produces about two-thirds methane and one-third carbon dioxide from the process, but nothing goes unused:  the filtrate water which contains nitrogen and phosphorous, and the carbon dioxide produced from the fermentation are both used to cultivate algae for another project, while the sludge left behind from the fermentation is sent to other institutes that are capable of making methane from it.
The pilot project has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and has partnerships with energy company Energie Baden-W├╝rttemberg, which is processing the biogas, and with Daimler, which is supplying natural gas-converted vehicles to run on the fuel.

Our thanks to Eco Geek for a great story.

Remember to watch us this Saturday on ABC 6, 2:30p, EST, and live on for the live broadcast on Monday, and to watch all of our many shows and specials on demand.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Japanese Solar Panel Owners Sold $1.2 Billion Worth of Surplus Power Back to Grid Last Year

This from EcoGeek:

"Japanese home and business owners with solar power installations sold 2,150 GWh of electricity back to their power utilities last year, a huge 50 percent increase over the amount sold back to the grid in 2010.  The sellers collectively made a nice $1.2 billion off their surplus electricity.
The Japanese government has a feed-in-tariff scheme that requires the utilities to purchase the extra power which was small beans compared to the average 884,000 GWh of electricity that those utilities sell to customers per year.
The government is set to introduce even more subsidies for domestic renewable energy power developers. The new scheme will include electricity from solar, wind, small hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal plants, but only solar panel owners with systems of 10 kW or less will still be able to sell their excess power."

We would love to see our neighborhood look like that.  How about you?

Don't forget our show today at 2:30p on ABC 6.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Cloudy Outlook for First Solar

Interesting article this month in Kiplinger's Magazine on difficulties faced by one of our leaders in renewable energy.  Here's part of it:

An alternative-energy leader comes under pressure as government subsidies shrink.

By Kathy Kristof, Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

t was once one of the brightest lights in alternative energy. But the future has dimmed for First Solar (symbol FSLR), the nation’s largest producer of photovoltaic equipment.

The once-hot stock, which traded for as much as $317 a share in May 2008, fetched just $35 on January 6. Its descent accelerated in 2011 after the Tempe, Ariz., company ousted its CEO and started cutting earnings forecasts late in the year. It now sees a profit of $3.75 to $4.25 per share this year—roughly half of what it was expected to have made in 2011. The stock (which we recommended in our June 2009 issue at $142) now trades at just 9 times the midpoint of the forecasted-earnings range.

Yet even at this seemingly bargain-basement price, few analysts are bullish. There are just too many uncertainties facing the industry and the company, says Citi Investment Research analyst Timothy Arcuri, who rates the stock a “hold.”

“Developing solar projects is very capital-intensive, and the payback is a little unclear,” he says..."

Read more:
And, so , we face the end of government subsidies.  Many would say that is a good thing, the industry should stand on its own.  But, I'm not sure I agree.  We know, long-term, renewable energy helps us in many ways, economic, bringing money back home from reduced imports, to cleaner air.  Isn't that worth subsidizing? 

Why should the oil companies and other traditional energy companies continue to get propped up the government with tax credits, grants for R & D, legal limits and protection?  Should we stand by while they risk our environmental future by digging aggressively into sands and rock while clean energy companies fade away?

No, we should not.  To do so is folly. 

Are gas prices going to sink the recovery?/WARL show today 12-1p

Take a look at the video we posted last night and send us your comments.

Don't forget to listen in to our radio show today on WARL 1320 AM, 12-1p, EST.

More later.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thanks to Mark Learn

For another great article and for being a major contributor to Renewable Now:

Concentrated Solar Startup Sets a New Efficiency Record

Semprius makes solar modules using tiny cells that need less cooling

"Semprius, a startup that makes miniscule solar cells capable of capturing concentrated sunlight without costly cooling systems, announced this week that it had made the world's most efficient solar panel.
The company's solar panels use tiny solar cells made of gallium arsenide—the record-breaking solar module contains hundreds of such solar cells, each about the width of a line drawn by a ball-point pen, arranged under lenses that concentrate sunlight 1,100 times.
Gallium arsenide is far better at absorbing sunlight than silicon, the material used in most solar cells, but it's also more expensive. Furthermore, although concentrated solar modules use less semiconducting material, they usually require expensive optics, cooling systems, and tracking systems to keep them aimed at the sun. Semprius's microscaled solar cells are inherently much better at dissipating heat, making them cheaper..."
There's plenty more--here's the link:
Solar prices, as you probably know, have plummeted.  Yet, their production continues to spiral.  We just commissioned our 175kw solar array, and the energy produced, in the middle of winter on the East Coast of the US, has been terrific.  Our ROI is already ahead of schedule.
Imagine what is possible with solar cells that concentrate sunlight 1100 times and don't need expensive cooling systems to maintain their high production.  We we will get is amazing levels of energy at bargain prices.
Kudos to Semprius and other great innovators of the world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Love this article

Here is the essence, looking at the consumer side, of the business side of green...the investment and return of branding green.

This from Environmental Leader:

Will Customers Pay More for ‘Green?’

"Will people pay to go green? That’s a key question – maybe the question – for any company committed to sustainability. At Walmart, we’ve learned that the answer is a bit nuanced: Basically, usually not – but it depends.

Some customers will pay more for certain products that are better for the environment, and their top purchases include chicken, milk, fruits and vegetables, household cleaners and laundry/dish care. The environmentally responsible products they are less likely to pay more for? TVs, cell phones, computers, beer, pork, mops and sponges and printers.

The economy remains a far more pressing concern. More than 70 percent of consumers say they worry more about price than whether a product is good for the environment or socially responsible, according to an October 2010 study by the Harrison Group.

What does that mean for us? Our approach to sustainability must be nuanced as well.

We’ve found that there is a group of shoppers who are fans of items such as free-range eggs and green cleaning products like Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s. We stock a full offering of those products in many of our stores. They can be more expensive but some people will pay more because they feel good about them.

But many shoppers cannot or will not pay more. That’s where we are getting creative and using our size and scale – and partnerships with suppliers – to drive down prices. We can do a lot of good by helping to make the products people are already buying more sustainable so they don’t have to make changes to what they buy to make a difference.

For instance: televisions, lettuce and laundry detergent.

Flat-panel TVs can use a lot of energy, but this is a category where many people don’t want to pay a premium for a more sustainable option. We committed to stocking only more energy-efficient panels, and because of our scale, the cost of the technology came down as did the prices for our customers..."

Here's the link for the rest:

Our company has worked to brand as the greenest moving company in the world, and it has brought us new business, no doubt. However, we live it, breath it and invest heavily to make sure it is true.

The bottom line is passion for what you do, what goods or services you deliver, and giving customers, regardless of whether your product or service is green, the very best value they can fine.

With that, you will get a very good ROI on your investment in being a sustainable company.

Monday, February 6, 2012

China Set to Vigorously Develop Green Economy

BEIJING -- "Due to growing urbanization and resulting environmental threats, China has invested nearly US$50 billion annually into its renewable energy sector since 2009. China's five-year investment in environmental protection is on track to reach 3.1 trillion yuan (US$454 billion). By 2015, its environmental protection industry is expected to top 2 trillion yuan (US$317 billion).

China will introduce favorable tax and financial policies to support the development of its green economy, according to its 12th five-year plan, which started last year. A strong “green” policy is essential if China is to maintain its rapid and sustainable growth. "China will build a good fund raising environment for companies to develop green technologies by establishing green technology investment and related equity funds," said Wang Yuqing, deputy director of the Committee of Population, Resources and Environment of the CPPCC National Committee.

The transition to a global green economy may generate a large market exceeding US$1 trillion. During the 12th five-year plan period, the Chinese government will invest US$468 billion in green sectors compared to US$211 billion over the previous five-year period, with a focus on three sectors: waste recycling and re-utilization; clean technologies; and renewable energy. With this amount of public investment, China's environmental protection industry is expected to continue growing at an average of 15 to 20 percent per year, and its industrial output is expected to reach US$743 billion, up from US$166 billion in 2010. The multiplier effect of this emerging sector is estimated to be 8 to 10 times larger than other industry sectors..."

Is this a challenge to the rest of the world? Is China the only country able and willing to invest these kinds of funds into a green economy? What will China look like in five years after investing US$50 billion per year into its renewable energy sector?

We hope that it will look less polluted, less noisy, less dependent on outside oil and energy reserves, and leaner with costs having been driven way down, particularly on energy costs.

Not a bad place to be in 5 years. What about you, your company, your state, country? Falling behind should not be an option.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl/Weekend Edition

Kudos to the NFL for working towards a greener event: A Pleasant Surprise: Super Bowl XLVI Goes Green!

Tom Szaky
Business / Corporate Responsibility
February 1, 2012

"When I went to check out the eco-cred of the Super Bowl, I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised.

I learned about how the NFL is partnering with Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s longest serving provider of clean energy, to the Super Bowl this year.

That means that Green Mountain will provide 15,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy certificates (RECs) that will power everything at the Super Bowl: the lights, the computers, the scoreboard, everything. The company is also providing carbon offsets to balance out the greenhouse gas emissions created from the the Patriots' and Giants’ air and ground travel.

I was, admittedly, surprised and impressed.

This is a positive step in the right direction for an event and a business that don’t really need to market themselves. Everyone knows what the Super Bowl is, what the NFL is, and if they love football, they’re going to watch. The Super Bowl and NFL don’t really need to convert people to being football fans.

The point I’m trying to make here is that generally, as a consumer, I am an eco-skeptic, but I couldn’t help thinking to myself that this is something the NFL probably isn’t doing to gain new viewers. I suspect they’re doing it out of a larger sense of corporate responsibility. I then started thinking about other major events, including the campaigning events that stretch across small towns all over the country and culminate in the National Conventions for each political party. Super Bowl like events in their own respect!

I’m wondering what political parties and other corporations that stand to gain more than the Super Bowl are doing to offset their impact and make their event and cause more sustainable. The Super Bowl and NFL’s efforts deserve applause and respect, and I’m looking forward to seeing other corporations embrace sustainability efforts like the NFL has and work with solution providers like Green Mountain Energy.

What events, corporations or businesses have you spotted doing the “right-thing” recently? Frito Lay has partnered with TerraCycle and the NFL has partnered with Green Mountain Energy. Who else?

And what about you – what activities are you doing to lower your carbon footprint? The first step can come during this weekend’s Super Bowl – Green Mountain Energy offers a few tips on greening your Super Bowl party, but we’d love for you to go further."

Enjoy the game.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Kodak Switching from Camera Film to Thin-Film Solar Cells

Interesting that a company that just fell into bankruptcy, Kodak, is aspiring to a better future with a better, more eco-friendly product.

This from Eco-Geek:

Written by Megan Treacy on 20/01/12

"Kodak may be in the middle of some financial trouble -- it just filed for bankruptcy yesterday and has shut down almost all of its camera film production -- but they're looking at solar energy as a way to a fresh start. The camera and film maker is hoping to use its already existing manufacturing processes to produce thin-film solar cells.

Kodak is working with Natcore Technology to develop and produce flexible, thin-film solar cells made of nanotubes that could match the efficiency of conventional silicon cells. Thin-film cells haven't made as much of a splash in the market yet mainly because of the efficiency lag between them and silicon cells, but thin-film is catching up.

If Kodak can make a major improvement in efficiency, they have two major advantages compared to other manufacturers: cost and experience. Kodak could use its existing and proven film production equipment to produce the solar cells, potentially cutting costs in half.

It will likely be tricky transition for the company, but we'll be interested to see if Kodak can make this work and improve on the thin-film technology available today."

We've been using thin-film on the solar application to our trucks, and it has worked great. We look forward to testing the Kodak product. Good luck to them in their transition. Let's hope they, and they jobs they hold, stay in our economy.

Don'forget, if you are in RI, MA, CT, watch our show tomorrow at 1:30pEST as we move to ABC 6, then watch each Saturday at 3pEST. Also, look for us soon on the Living Well channel.

We'll have a report this weekend. Enjoy the game on Sunday.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nice site to visit

There are some great stories and videos on here:

Here is a story that caught our eye: City Trees Help Combat Urban Heat Islands
by American Society of Landscape Architects | 10:45 am February 2nd, 2012

"Nature provides solutions. Increasing the tree canopy in cities is one way to fight both poor air quality and urban heat islands. Research shows significant short-term improvements in air quality in urban areas with 100 percent tree cover. There, trees can reduce hourly ozone by up to 15 percent, sulfur dioxide by 14 percent, and particulate matter by 13 percent.

U.S. trees remove some 784,000 tons of pollution annually, providing $3.8 billion in value. Furthermore, a single large healthy tree can remove greater than 300 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. In fact, New York City’s urban forest alone removes 154,000 tons of CO2 annually. Through their leaves, trees also provide evaporative cooling, which increases air humidity. Shaded surfaces may be 20-45 degrees cooler, and evapotranspiration can reduce peak summer temperatures by 2-9 degrees."

There's a nice video on the site that accompanies the story. Take a look. Interesting number to think about: U.S trees remove carbon at an equivalent value of 3.8 billion. You can imagine the economic value, in terms of reduced medical costs, this process represents.

We look forward to covering more stories on Planet

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Good work from our UK office

The Arpin Group is, we believe, the greenest moving company in the world. Not only have we remodeled our headquarters into an efficient space, powered mostly by solar energy, but we've extended the transformation to every corner of the world through the help of our global offices.

Here's the most recent work done by our staff located in Kent: "ENVIRONMENTAL

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (sec. 34) places a duty of care on businesses, companies and other organisations who produce waste to be responsible for the safe disposal or recycling of their waste.
Organisations must:
§ Ensure that the waste they produce is suitably contained while awaiting collection, ensuring it does not get blown away causing litter.
§ Ensure that the waste they produce is collected by a registered waste carrier and disposed of at a licensed site (you can check if a collection company is registered or a disposal site is licensed with the Environment Agency by telephoning 0845 933 3111). This system of licensing is designed to prevent waste being fly tipped in areas such as country lay-bys.

UK OFFICE ACHIEVEMENTS - TONER RECYCING – We now donate all our empty toners to Infotone. We receive £10 credit for each toner recycled. At the end of each month we donate our credit to charity ‘Action for Sick Children’. We receive a certificate once per year.

PAPER AND CARDBOARD RECYCLING – We have enlisted Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc to assist with the disposal of our commercial waste. Twice a month pick ups inorder to recycle all our used paper and cardboard.


We have donated a Playstation console with games to the Comard Mondello Nursery in Uganda Raffle taking place at The 2012 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on Monday 6th February at Hotel Russell, Russell Square –"

Small steps, we know, but multiplied times ten, times a thousand times...adds up to a significant impact on the world, and is the foundation for building a sustainable company.

Our thanks to Natalie, Phil, John and our team in the UK. We welcome Natalie as a member of our green team, and look forward to teaming with her on a cleaner, brighter future in the moving industry.