Thursday, October 30, 2014

Clean Energy Growing in Rhode Island

We just posted a report on this excellent conference.  See that and more at:

Recently ReNewable Now was invited to cover and participate in a
 panel discussion that focused on the economic outlook for renewable energy within the state of Rhode Island. The event took place in the city of Providence and was organized byBlumShapiro, an accounting, tax, and business consulting firm based in New England with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The panel included some very well known local experts when it comes to the business of sustainability. Representing the State of Rhode Island was Chris Kearns, Chief of Program Development for the RI Office of Energy Resources who spoke about programs the state is implementing to create a more conducive environment for renewables. From the management and development side of renewable energy, Julian Dash founder of Clean Economy

Development, and formerly the Director of Renewable Energy for the RI Economic Development Corporation spoke about how to begin the process of engaging in a renewable energy project. FromDeepwater Wind the CEO is Jeff Grybowski, who was on hand and spoke about the immensity of his project, the very first offshore wind farm in the United States. Jeff spoke about the complexities of moving such a project forward; everything from safety to a properly trained work force that will see this two year project employing hundreds, if not thousands. We have to mention that it was a bit eye opening when Jeff shared with the audience that Deepwater Wind has paid$15 million in regulatory costs and permits, just to get approval. Rounding off the panel was ReNewable Now's very own Peter Arpin who shared with the audience the excellent return Arpin Group has had with its investment into solar, and their continued investment in the renewable energy business itself.

As the discussion evolved it became evident that the trend towards sustainability is quickly speeding up, as Julian Dash referenced,"It's no longer a political issue, where five years ago people would have said the numbers weren't there, today the costs have come down so much that those same peoples’ opinions have evolved where politics isn't an issue." This trend was also reflected in a number of people we spoke with that were in the audience who indicated that they have either already begun installing some form of renewable energy into their business, or were actually taking the first steps in learning how to proceed.

For ReNewable Now we wanted to know a bit more about why

 BlumShapiro has taken an interest in renewable energy and what was their motivation behind organizing the conference? We also wanted to know what the firm was doing to establish itself, and its expertise as it relates to the future growth of clean energy? So we were fortunate enough to catch up with Greg Cabral, Managing Partner of BlumShapiro, who spent some time chatting with Peter Arpin about the how the firm is embracing the business side of green.

Congratulations to Arpin Group

For all of this year's awards, most notably here the Audubon recognition. Balancing growth with environmental protection is a true triple-bottom line win.

Arpin Group receives multiple awards for providing superior customer service and implementing innovative corporate social responsibility programs. 
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Thank you for your vote of confidence.
Arpin Group receives multiple awards for providing superior customer service and implementing innovative corporate social responsibility programs.
Arpin Group has had one of its biggest award seasons in recent memory, thanks to its continued focus on enhancing customer service, as well as its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Here is a roundup of the awards Arpin Group has earned in October:
Cartus Global Citizenship Award - For outstanding contributions to the health, welfare and safety of others, and for improvements in a community’s quality of life on a national or international level.
Cartus Committed To Excellence Gold Award - This award recognizes a supplier’s measurable commitment to excellence and is presented to Global Network service providers who have distinguished themselves by achieving critical performance metrics.
2014 Lexicon World of Quality Supplier Excellence Award for International Household Goods – This award was given to Mark Greene, senior vice president of GSA services, and to Arpin International Group, for outstanding internal and external service and performance metrics as well as “voice of the customer” surveys based upon service, innovation and partnership.
2014 BP International Supplier of the Year - Given to Arpin International Group for being the best international service provider among all suppliers within BP’s international mobility supply chain, dedicated to the international relocation of BP employees. Arpin International Group also won this award in 2013.
Audubon Society 2014 “RI Business of the Year” Award - For leadership in applying environmentally sound and innovative practices to its day-to-day business operations.
International Association of Movers & International Shippers Association "2014 Top Booker of the Year" - For highest number of ocean freight bookings.

We thank our agents, partners, and employees for always putting our customers first,  and we thank our customers for giving us the opportunity  to earn their vote of confidence. 
Here's to another year of Creating Customers For Life®!
Arpin Group, Inc.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

EV ARC Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger

I am driving a Nissan Leaf (all electric) and love seeing better, more efficient forms of charging coming.  Have you looked at a hybrid or electric yet?

You can find this story and much more, including our broadcast section, at

The USA’s Envision Solar has developed a relocatable solar powered electric car charging station that can be deployed in minutes.

Designed to fit comfortably inside a standard parking space, its 2.3kW solar panel array generates approximately 16kWhrs per day and features 22kWhr battery storage.

The EV ARC solar power system incorporates a tracker, enabling the array to follow the sun and generate 18 to 25% more electricity than a fixed array.

EV ARC doesn’t require any foundations, trenching or building permits and weighing approximately 5 tonnes, there’s little risk of it toppling over in high winds (or being stolen).

A built in digital advertising screen can help also help owners  of the system to generate revenue.

Envision Solar says deployment time is about 5 minutes instead of several weeks for a traditional, mains-grid tied electric vehicle charger.

In September, the City of Shasta Lake, California installed an EV ARC at the City’s Grand River municipal parking lot on Shasta Dam Boulevard; which will be available free of charge to the public.

“It was not economically feasible to run trenching and grid connections to this important location but the EV ARC delivers EV charging where traditional chargers cannot,” said Desmond Wheatley, CEO of Envision Solar” Additionally, this will be the first EV ARC™ to offer electric wheelchair charging, something we are very proud of.”

In June, EV ARC was selected by the Organization for the European Business Awards for the Environment.

EV ARC certainly isn’t cheap (around USD $40,000), but current subsidies in the USA can cut the price in half and it represents another marker on the road to a fossil fuel free world of transport.
Envision Solar is also the creator of the award-winning Solar Tree  ; a fixed solar structure for parking lots that shades six parking slots and generates enough energy to fully charge six electric vehicles each day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Off the Grid in a Florida Suburb, Fighting Municipal Code

Tomorrow's guest as we welcome Jim Murphy, Sustainability Director from Rhode Island College back as a co-host.  We will also be talking about RIC's amazing, annual sustainability summit that will happen next week on their campus (we will be there to cover it, of course):

Two 55-gallon cisterns collect all the Florida rainwater Speronis needs for drinking, bathing, and flushing waste. The city told her it was illegal to disconnect from municipal pipes 

Two 55-gallon cisterns collect all the Florida rainwater Speronis needs for drinking, bathing, and flushing waste. The city told her it was illegal to disconnect from municipal pipes

Bloomberg Business Week

In Cape Coral, Fla., a city of snowbird retirees and strip malls off the Caloosahatchee River, there’s a part of town that never quite recovered from the real estate bust. Foreclosure notices spill from the mailboxes of homes lining the city’s shallow canals and gather in trash drifts by the front doors. Weeds run riot in the yards of properties built for no money down in the flush days and then abandoned when they went underwater.
Even amid the eerie detritus, the small ranch-style duplex that Robin Speronis moved into in January 2013 is a little unusual. For one thing, Speronis, an energetic 54-year-old widow with cropped blonde hair and stark blue eyes, never had the city turn on the power or water. She set two 55-gallon plastic cisterns on either side of the entranceway and attached gutter downspouts to collect rainwater. She perched a small solar charger on a windowsill with wires snaking inside to a battery that in turn powers a few lights and a laptop. Wireless Internet is siphoned from a nearby Tire Kingdom. Inside, a propane lantern hangs from an unused light fixture in the dining area. Speronis is living off the grid—no power from the city, rainwater her only source for bathing, drinking, and sewage—in the middle of her tumbledown subdivision. It has caused a national furor.
Speronis first took an interest in detaching from the system during the years she spent caring for her husband, Zenny, who suffered from a neurodegenerative disorder. As his condition worsened, she turned to homeopathic treatments and other unconventional regimens: raw foods, colloidal silver, an avoidance of refrigeration and air conditioning, a focus on the promotion of regular bowel movements. It was a struggle to explain to the people around her, but she provided for Zenny without doctors, pharmaceuticals, or any medical assistance until his death at 84 in 2010. She self-published a book about “freeing” him from the health-care system and “home deathing him naturally.”
Speronis had worked as a real estate agent and a massage therapist, but most of her savings went to making her husband comfortable in his last days. This included the earlier purchase in 2009 of a $495,000 waterside home on a palm-lined street in Cape Coral. Speronis knew she didn’t have the money to make the mortgage payments, so she engaged in what she called a “strategic default.” Using her knowledge of the real estate industry to delay foreclosure, she stayed afloat by selling off her possessions.
“Nothing was hard. Every time I did something it was easier than I thought it was going to be.”
After the lender finally took the house in April 2012, Speronis underwent a radical ascetic conversion. She surveyed what remained of her things and asked, “Do I really need this? Is this of value to me?” She got rid of everything, from her BMW convertible to her wedding album, and attempted to establish a fully self-reliant existence. In June of that year, she bought an RV and moved onto a rented property in a nearby wooded area. She stayed for seven months, teaching herself to live without most modern conveniences. “I had never even gone camping,” she says now, “but nothing was hard. Every time I did something it was easier than I thought it was going to be. I thought, ‘I can do this. I can do this myself.’ ” Eventually the land flooded in the Florida rains, and Speronis stopped paying her rent. She was evicted and returned to Cape Coral—but not to the grid.
In a new home off Del Prado Boulevard, which she bought from a friend, Speronis removed and sold the oven, refrigerator, and air conditioning units, even the ducts. The house was already off the electrical grid. An earlier resident had been stealing municipal power, and the city had cut the lines and removed the meters. Speronis subsisted primarily on a year’s supply of dried and canned food she’d bought while she had the RV. She drank and bathed in rainwater, filling a four-gallon, solar-heated camp shower. Her only connection to city services was the sewer: She flushed waste down the toilet, again with rainwater. “I can go weeks or a month without spending a penny,” she says.
In true American fashion, Speronis began writing about her experiences as a pioneer of the subdivision. She started a blog called Off the Grid Living in Southwest Florida—One Woman’s Story. One day last November, Liza Fernandez, a reporter for WFTX, the local Fox (FOX) affiliate, decided to do a story on her. Near the end of the broadcast, Fernandez noted that Speronis’s rudimentary setup violated “most codes and ordinances” in Cape Coral and that “anyone caught living in such a home could be forcibly removed.”

Monday, October 27, 2014 Has It Going On!

Good post from our friends at Better World Club.  We hope you will green your home. Has It Going On! 

Looking for more ways to live a green, clean lifestyle? will show you the way!

Green Home has a plethora of green ideas for you whether you live in suburban house, rural ranch house, or an apartment. No matter who you are or what kind of life you live Green Home has fun green tips for everyone.

Products include: Organic Merino Wool Mattress Topper,Tall 13 Gallon Food Scrap Bags Compostable,Bidematic - Hot & Cold Water Bidet System, and Reusable Mesh Produce Bags.

Tips include: how to get rid of that mold in your home,Greenhome: certified B Corp, make your own: compost tea, eco-friendly k9s and felines, and solar freakin’ roadways. 

Visit and learn more.

Interested in more cool green products? Check this list of Top 10 Eco-Friendly Productsout! You will sure find something cool, decorative and/or useful while maintaining your green mission.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Audubon Society of RI Names Arpin Sustainable Business of The Year

Lots of great things going on for us these last two weeks.  We'll post some updates here, but you can find much more at  You will be hearing multiple stories on the radio side as well.

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island, founded in 1897, is one of the country's oldest nature and wildlife non-profit organizations that focuses on preservation. With 17,000 members and supporters, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island is dedicated to education, land conservation, and advocacy.

This past weekend at their annual meeting that took place in Providence, the  Audubon Society of
Peter Arpin interviewing Candace Powell, Pres., Audubon Society RI 
Rhode Island took some time to recognize the outstanding achievements of a number of individuals and organizations for their efforts and their achievements. One person and company that was recognized wasReNewable Now's very own Peter Arpin, and the Arpin Group, as the "2014 Audubon Society of Rhode Island Sustainable Company of The Year." This award recognizes everything Arpin has been doing when it comes to sustainability, from creating a positive work environment, their community outreach, to education and investment when it comes to sustainability. The totality of Arpin's efforts were reflected by Eugenia Marks, Senior Director of Policy, who said, "So how many ways could you count that a moving company could be an environmental leader?" Eugenia went on to describe the many initiatives and really help to reinforce the importance of corporate social responsibility.

Peter Arpin was more than gracious in accepting the award, and he referenced two common traits that both the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and Arpin Group have in common, and the were;"perseverance and resilience." "With Arpin being founded in 1900, and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island in 1897 both organization have shown true sustainability, in the good times and the bad times, and both have been able to change to meet today's goals. " MORE

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quiz: Is an Electric Car Right for You? Huffington Post

We are happy to share this post from Gina at Sierra Club.  They do a great job of pushing consumer adaptation of EV's.  We agree this would be very positive for our environment and economy.   Please read and put EV's and hybrids on your radar:

A lot of people have heard the buzz around electric vehicles (EVs), but they don't know if an EV would be right for them. In fact, many don't even know what would be the right questions to ask themselves to figure out whether cars like the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, or Ford C-Max Energi would fit their lifestyles -not to mention their budgets.
I'm happy to report that we at the Sierra Club have launched a 'pick-a-plug-in' web tool to help people figure out which electric cars, if any, are right for them. I hope you'll check it out and share it with your friends who may be curious about EVs.
A poll last year found that nearly half of American households could purchase an EV for their next car; it would be a great fit for their driving needs, and they would have a place to charge it with electricity. We're talking about many millions of people. Are you one of them?
There are a lot of compelling reasons why more than a quarter million Americans have already bought EVs since they first came on the mass market a few years ago. They are cool high-tech wonders (imagine driving an iPhone!), there is little or no need to ever visit a gas station (depending on whether you purchase a full battery electric or a plug-in hybrid car), they are much cheaper to fuel (the equivalent of about $1 a gallon), and they are much better for the environment (even when considering the emissions from the electricity to charge them up).
Also, there is a $2,500-7,500 federal tax credit that comes with the purchase of an EV. And many people live in cities and states where they can take advantage of additional incentives, like a purchase/lease rebate (in some places get a check in the mail for thousands of dollars -I am not kidding!), carpool lane access, and special utility rates for EV drivers. Linked to our new 'pick-a-plug-in' web tool is our online EV Guide that has all of this information if you enter your zip code. If you click on a specific EV, we'll even tell you how much you'll avoid in carbon emissions and fueling costs compared to the average conventional car.
But are EVs currently the right fit for everyone? No. For example, some people don't have a place to charge them with electricity. For many, though, it's simpler than they think. I had a basic 110 volt outlet installed on the side of my house, so I can charge up my car in our driveway. Easy peasy.
Many people ask me, "What's the best electric car to get?" My answer is always, "it depends." How many miles do you drive in a typical day? Do you take a lot of long-distance trips? How much money are you willing to spend? There are nearly 20 great models available in the US and more coming out every year.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out 'pick-a-plug-in,' and start your EV journey. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sustainability audit today at Arpin Group

We are really excited about the audit today which will be conducted by the Ex-Dir of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, Maureen Hart.  We talked to Maureen on the radio side--which you can find at: will interview her on-camera today as well.

Here's background on Maureen and ISSP.  If you are a sustainability professional, or have interest in developing that skill and certification, get in touch with them.  We will be broadcasting from their convention in Denver in Nov.

Maureen Hart

Executive Director at International Society of Sustainability Professionals
  1. International Society of Sustainability Professionals,
  2. Sustainable Measures
  1. Community Indicators Consortium
  2. Hart Environmental Data,
  3. VisiCorp
  1. Tufts University

Making Sustainability Standard Practice

As a professional association, ISSP improves the skills of sustainability practitioners through education, knowledge sharing and research.
Learn more about the benefits of membership below.  Download a two-page ISSP overview here. See also the history of ISSP , FAQs and Founders & Management.
2012-2013 ISSP Annual Report - This report documents the changes and achievements of our fiscal year which ran from September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013. View a copy here, or click here for more information.
Community - ISSP uses web technology to help you search for and connect with people who share certain interests or fit certain criteria. Search for people in your geographic area, within a specific organization, or find people who are working on specific types of projects or have certain skills.
Resource Sharing - Stop reinventing the wheel!  Start working together and building on expertise! The ISSP site allows members to post and evaluate content. Search for a tool, policy, case study, book or other resource and be able to see at a glance which ones were deemed most worthwhile by other professionals. Also, similar to Wikipedia, the ISSP site allows members to co-create documents or resources. We’ve started a glossary of terms but this feature could also be used to write documents with others.
Advancements in the Field - Engage in discussions through topic-centered forums to get answers to difficult challenges from experienced professionals.
Professional Development - ISSP provides virtual professional development.  You take classes with a cohort of peers, accessing the best instructors from all over the world.
Conferences - More than 200 sustainability professionals from around the world came together for ISSP Conference 2013, which was held in Chicago in May 2013.  See a summary of our most recent conference in Chicago here.
Plans are currently underway for ISSP's next conference, to be held November 13-14, 2014 in Denver, CO. To read more about the Denver conference and to register, click here.
Career Assistance - Our web site has a special section devoted to career advancement with job postings, job descriptions, salary studies and other useful information.
Professional Journal - ISSP produces an e-Journal Digest that goes out monthly to all members and interested parties. It points you toward the latest articles, book reviews, or events that have been postebd on the site. Sign up for a free subscription here.
Professional Standards - Many members are expressing an interest in moving toward some form of professional accreditation. ISSP hopes to be the nexus where exploration about accreditation can take place.

Hillsboro is the greenest of any 'Green Power Community' in the nation, EPA says

We hope to follow up with officials from Hillsboro to get behind the story of their ascent to the "Green Power Community" king in the nation.  We'd like their story to be an inspiration for all political leaders.  More on that later.  In the meantime congratulations to Hillsboro for a great job.

By Luke Hammill | 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 

SolarWorld solar panels

Hillsboro uses a higher percentage of sustainable power than any other "Green Power Community" in the nation, according to the results of an Environmental Protection Agency competition announced Monday.

The city took first place in one of two categories in the EPA's fourth-annual Green Power Community Challenge because just over 50 percent of its total electricity use comes from green power. That's a far higher share than the second-place town – Brookeville, Md., which came in at just over 40 percent.

Fifty-three communities nationwide competed in the challenge. To qualify, a municipality had to be certified as an EPA "Green Power Community" for meeting the agency's minimum standards for power usage. Green power is electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar or low-impact hydropower.

Hillsboro also took second place in the other category, which ranked communities for their total green power usage. Hillsboro used over 1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power in 2013-14. Only Washington, D.C. used more – almost 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours. But only 12.7 percent of the electricity used in the nation's capital came from green sources, ranking it 21st in the category Hillsboro won.

Portland ranked third in the total usage category, with 610 million kilowatt-hours of green power in 2013-14, and took 33rd in the other ranking – 8 percent of its power is green, according to the EPA.

Beaverton, Gresham, Bend, Salem, Medford, Corvallis, Hood River, Cannon Beach and Milwaukie also competed in the challenge. The rankings are available at the EPA's website.

Hillsboro's use of over 1 billion kilowatt-hours of green power is equal to avoiding the carbon emissions of more than 150,000 passenger vehicles per year, the city said in a news release. It's also enough to power over 98,000 homes per year.
"This is a great achievement for the City of Hillsboro and a testament to our community's commitment to voluntarily seek out ways to become more sustainable," said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey in a written statement. "My family knows the value of green power firsthand from our experience installing solar power panels on our roof, and our purchase of green power through our electricity supplier, Portland General Electric."
-- Luke Hammill