Friday, June 30, 2017

UK to trial mesh sensor system with LED streetlighting to make it smart lighting/Biz/Led

Smart City technology is a collection of big improvements in sensors, lighting, security, management of data.  Here we see a combination of LED and fine mesh doing the trick of creating smart lighting in the UK.

UK to trial mesh sensor system with LED streetlighting to make it smart lighting

June 30, 2017: With councils in UK facing challenges with large-scale budget cuts, they are considering using a mesh sensor system, that can be installed in the existing streetlights, to reduce costs.
UK is expected to turn into a full-fledged smart city within the next decade. A most advanced smart city system will be soon trialled in Essex.
Essex County Council is currently trialling a Philips mesh system, a single multi-purpose product, to find out if it can be put into streetlights that will serve both as a streetlight and as an Internet of Things (IoT) device.
It is expected that this advanced technology will help the council to improve traffic management abilities, and successfully record and manage roadside pollution levels.
This technology will help to manage traffic as well as gather data to help to inform decision making about how local infrastructure is been maintained. It is hoped that the data collected by the sensor network could be used to decide what kind of road surface is put down, which is otherwise an expensive affair.
This advances sensor put in the LED streetlights can reduce energy costs and limited maintenance cost significantly. As a result, it will prompt an overall reduction in running costs over time.
Philips has provided the smart sensors to Essex authority free of cost for the trial.
It is expected that the information collected by the sensors placed in 50 m stretches will give the council much better information than they have been able to collect in the past.

5 Key Areas to consider to maximize natural lighting in building designs/Lavancha

How basic is a quick fix to efficiency than getting proficient in using natural light?  Here's a plan for doing just that.

The benefits of daylighting / daylight harvesting  are clear :
  1. Energy saving benefits
  2. Healthier Working conditions
  3. Greater control on lighting conditions
Amazing right?
But the question is:
How to make full use of daylight in building designs to reap the benefits?
Well, we can effectively maximize the use of daylight by carefully considering the essential factors that make up a successful daylight design.
In today’s post, we will look at these key factors.
Let’s get started.

Key Areas To Consider For Integrated Daylighting In Buildings

Siting And Massing Of Buildings

To start off we look at ways to plan the building so that regular occupant spaces have improved access to daylight.
  • Siting and Massing of building refer to how a building is oriented towards the sun for optimum radiation which has an impact on heating and cooling costs
siting and massing of buildings

Daylighting Design Goals

Identify and prioritize the daylighting design performance goals. These could be:
  • The daylight amount and the quality to suit the functional and spatial requirements.
  • Optimizing lighting to minimize heat/glare
  • Savings in light energy due to daylight harvesting

Experiment With Different Modeling Techniques To Meet The Design Goals

  • You need the right tools for modeling to plan the right apertures or openings for the buildings for optimum daylight. Ex: Using Daylight factor calculation tools such as nomographs and hand methods to simulate proper daylit spaces.
    Other modeling techniques include:
  • Physical models that can be used to simulate the light settings at a smaller scale to measure illumination levels as in the real life setting.
  • Software animations to help animate natural light conditions over the course of the day showing the illuminance levels(amount of light received on a surface) indoors as the sun path varies over the period.
  • Also simulate to check luminance levels(amount of light reflected off a surface) indoors.

Different Daylighting Strategies

Two common daylighting strategies with variations used are:
  • Top Daylighting – this technique allows daylight to come from the top of the building through horizontal, vertical or sloped apertures.
  • Side Daylighting – This technique allows daylight to come from the side of the building with vertical glazing on building perimeter walls.
Consider different positions to place the fenestrations(openings in a building) / glazing(windows) to get the optimum lighting conditions indoors to balance functional, spatial and aesthetic factors. Various fenestration devices / Glazings and Different shading devices could be considered to create the appropriate amount of shade to maintain optimum heating/cooling conditions indoors.(ex: Windows, Skylights, Solar tubes, Ventilight…)

Integration Of Electric Controls

To ensure the occupants of the buildings get the optimum lighting conditions the daylighting should be integrated with the electric controls so that in case the there is dimness in natural light the artificial lights can take over.
Lavancha’s daylighting products are designed to help maximize the use of daylight which is customized to suit your requirements.
For more information about our products check our daylighting design products or call us at (+91) 80 4120 1452

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A massive climate change study/CNN

It is coming faster than we can keep up.  Climate shifts are now staying ahead of researchers.  Unpredictable weather conditions are now more extreme than ever.

A massive climate change study is canceled ... because of climate change

The CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker

Story highlights

  • Arctic sea ice has traveled farther south than normal along Newfoundland's northeast coast
  • An icebreaker has been repeatedly diverted to take part in rescue operations
(CNN)A $17 million study of climate change in the Canadian Arctic has been nixed for now -- because of climate change.

A team of scientists from the University of Manitoba and four other schools were in the middle of the first leg of a four-year study of how climate change is affecting the areas around the Hudson Bay, the university said in statement. The study, named BaySys, started last month, and the scientists were traveling on the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.
But because of warmer temperatures in the Arctic, hazardous sea ice is traveling farther south than usual. The Amundsen, which is part of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, has been diverted several times because its ice-breaking capabilities have been needed to help out in rescue efforts along Newfoundland's northeast coast. All of the delays and concerns about safety forced the cancellation of the study's first leg.
"Considering the severe ice conditions and the increasing demand for search and rescue operations and ice escort, we decided to cancel the BaySys mission," said Dr. David Barber, expedition chief scientist and BaySys scientific lead. "A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved. The challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the (Canadian Coast Guard) and science."
Barber and his team confirmed that a large portion of the sea ice they were seeing off Newfoundland's coast was indeed from the Arctic.

"Climate-related changes in Arctic sea ice not only reduce its extent and thickness but also increase its mobility meaning that ice conditions are likely to become more variable and severe conditions such as these will occur more often," Barber said.
The ironic events won't scrap the entire project though. The study's second leg, due to take off early next month, is still on, said fellow researcher Dr. Louis Fortier, the scientific director of the Amundsen and ArcticNet's science programs.

22 Inspirational Women in Food and Agriculture/Food Tank

Each segment of business needs great leaders, people with vision and passion.   Food is critical, of course, to our fight for building a cleaner, healthier future.  We applaud the effort of these women.

22 Inspirational Women in Food and Agriculture 

Women are crucial to the functioning of a healthy and sustainable food system. At Food Tank, we are continually inspired by the hard work and creativity of women farmers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, community leaders, and family members.
Despite making up roughly 43 percent of the global agricultural workforce, women worldwide receive a fraction of the land, credit, inputs, and training as compared to men. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has spotlighted the gender gap in agriculture as a key obstacle to sustainable development. If women farmers had access to the same resources as men, for example, the added yields would reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100 to 150 million. That is a 12 to 17 percent decrease in worldwide hunger through supporting female farmers.
Beyond the fields, women are working to make every aspect of the food system more sustainable, equitable, and innovative. Whether it is researching new technologies to reduce food waste or founding organizations to better feed the hungry, women are working around the world to build the future of food.
While there are innumerable women deserving recognition, Food Tank is recognizing 22 women that are inspiring others and creating a better food system around the world. See Food Tank’s previous lists: 25 Influential Women in Food and Agriculture and 23 Women Changing Food.
1. Elisabeth Atangana
Chair of the Regional Platform of African Peasant Organizations and a farmer by profession, Atangana is a lifelong champion for rural rights and women’s empowerment in agriculture. Atangana served as President of the Pan-African Farmers Organization from 2010 to 2012, where she worked to create training opportunities throughout the food and farming sector. In 2012, Atangana was appointed as Special Ambassador for Cooperatives to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
2 & 3. Jolanda Buets and Simone Heemskerk
Buets and Heemskerk are the co-founders of Por Eso! Peru, an organization that works with communities in the Peruvian Andes to start community gardens and improve local infrastructure. Por Eso! Peru is currently working with more than 1000 families in 11 villages, in which they have built 38 community greenhouses, planted 139 home gardens, installed 565 smoke-free kitchens, and much more.
4. Gabriela Cámara
A chef from Mexico City, when Cámara opened Cala in San Francisco she filled 70 percent of the staff openings with former convicts. Using this approach, Cámara continues to prove that if you treat your employees well, and pay them above minimum wage, the high turnover rates of restaurant staff will almost disappear. In addition to creating restaurant training and work opportunities, Cámara is dedicated to creating a cultural exchange through food that she serves.
5. Monica Garnes
Garnes is VP of Produce at Kroger, where she oversees more than 2,700 branches in 35 states. Garnes has prioritized relationships with local producers, providing consumers with clear information about where their food comes from, and expanding organic food options. As a result, Kroger has increased the number of local growers they buy from by 27 percent in the past five years.
6. Elise Golan
Golan is the Director for Sustainable Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In this role, she manages programs that impact sustainable agricultural, natural resource, and community development including food security. Golan holds a PhD in agricultural economics, and her research has focused on land tenure in the Sahel and West Africa, regional food system models, sustainable land management in California, as well as food labeling and marketing.
7. Rachel Gray
Gray is the executive director of The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Stop is dedicated to building healthy, dignified communities through a broad range of programs including drop-in meals, a food bank, community kitchens and gardens, perinatal and family support, and youth engagement. Prior to joining The Stop in 2012, Gray worked nationally and locally with homeless youth and served as a special assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Health.
8. Wenonah Hauter
Hauter is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch. An expert in developing policy positions and legislative strategies, Hauter has worked extensively on food, water, energy, and environmental issues for nearly 30 years. Her book Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America examines the corporate consolidation and control over our food system.
9. Jill Isenberger
Isenberger is the CEO of Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, a non-profit dedicated to developing more sustainable ways of growing food, and training farmers to implement those practices. For more than ten years she served as the chief of staff at The Nature Conservancy, the world’s leading conservation organization organization with more than 3,500 employees in 34 countries around the globe. Isenberger has previously worked for Harvard University, U.S. Senator Carl Levin, and an international architectural firm based in Cambridge, Massachussets.
10. Saru Jayaraman
Jayaraman is the co-founder and co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and a James Beard Leadership Award recipient. Her book Behind the Kitchen Door, which explores the struggles of restaurant workers in the U.S., was a national bestseller. Saru is the current director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley.
11. Elizabeth Kaiser
Kaiser is pioneering a new standard of sustainability on Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, California. Alongside her husband, Kaiser is constantly evolving a model of farming that is non-mechanized and no-till. Thanks to advocates like Kaiser, no-till farming is gaining popularity across the U.S. as a method to reduce inputs and increase yield per acre. Kaiser is also an instructor at the Permaculture Skills Center, where she works to empower the next generation of farmers.
12. Sieta van Keimpema
As president of the Dutch Dairymen Board and vice president of the European Milk Board, van Keimpema fights for dairy farmer livelihoods at a time when European milk prices have been in crisis. She is an advocate for effective policy that would keep production down and provide appropriate farmer relief during times of crisis.
13. Gabriella Lucas Deecke
Lucas is a farmer from Queretaro, Mexico, an agricultural engineer, and the founder and director of CIASPE Mexico. CIASPE works with women in rural Mexico to adopt more productive methods of growing their own food, with the goal of increasing both family and community-level food security. Lucas is constantly experimenting with new methods of organic farming on her own land in Queretaro, to share her knowledge and empower rural women.
14. Kathleen Merrigan
Merrigan is executive director of sustainability at George Washington University, where she leads the GW Sustainability Collaborative, GW Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy. From 2009 to 2013, she served as U.S. Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a $150 billion, 110,000 employee institution. Merrigan is deeply involved in numerous food and farming organizations, holding positions such as co-chair at AGree, member of the board of directors at Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture and FoodCorps, and senior advisor at the Kendall Foundation. In 2010, TIME Magazine named Merrigan among the “100 most influential people in the world.”
15. Ndidi Nwuneli
Nwuneli is a social entrepreneur and founder of LEAP Africa, a leading development organization aimed at empowering Nigerian youth through training programs on leadership, entrepreneurship, and employment skills. She is also the co-founder of AACE Foods, a food processing company that sources from farmers across Nigeria, and Sahel Capital, which consults with companies across the food sector. Nwuneli has been named on the Forbes list of “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa,” was an honoree of the Global Fund for Women, and was selected as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum....

For rest:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

This 'tree' has the environmental benefits of a forest

Our global population is heading into urban settings.  We believe that number living in cities will soon hit 60% of the world's population.  That is a lot of people sharing limited space and resources. 

Which brings problems.  Which brings pollution and loss of natural resources.  That is why it is good to see so much innovation around cleaning our environment while allowing for quality of life for all citizens.  Even those most impacted by sprawl and dense development.

This 'tree' has the environmental benefits of a forest

The "CityTree" has the same environmental impact of up to 275 normal urban trees. Using moss cultures that have large surface leaf areas, it captures and filters toxic pollutants from the air.

Story highlights

  • Urban installation uses moss to remove pollutants from air
  • It offers the environmental benefit of 275 trees, its makers say
(CNN)Air pollution is one of the world's invisible killers.
It causes seven million premature deaths a year, making it the largest single environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organization.
In urban areas, air quality is particularly problematic. More than 80% of people living in areas where pollution is monitored are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits. And given that by 2050 two thirds of the global population will be urban, cleaning up our cities' air is a matter of urgency. 
One well-established way to reduce air pollutants is to plant trees, as their leaves catch and absorb harmful particulates. 
But planting new trees is not always a viable option. 
That's why the "CityTree", a mobile installation which removes pollutants from the air, has been popping up in cities around the world, including Oslo, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong.
A CityTree in Paris, France.

Moss is in the air

Each CityTree is just under 4 meters tall, nearly 3 meters wide and 2.19 meters deep, available in two versions: with or without a bench. A display is included for information or advertising.
Berlin-based Green City Solutions claims its invention has the environmental benefit of up to 275 actual trees.
But the CityTree isn't, in fact, a tree at all -- it's a moss culture.
"Moss cultures have a much larger leaf surface area than any other plant. That means we can capture more pollutants," said Zhengliang Wu, co-founder of Green City Solutions.
The CityTree includes Wi-fi enabled sensors that measure the local air quality.
The huge surfaces of moss installed in each tree can remove dust, nitrogen dioxide and ozone gases from the air. The installation is autonomous and requires very little maintenance: solar panels provide electricity, while rainwater is collected into a reservoir and then pumped into the soil.
To monitor the health of the moss, the CityTree has sensors which measure soil humidity, temperature and water quality.
"We also have pollution sensors inside the installation, which help monitor the local air quality and tell us how efficient the tree is." Wu said.
Its creators say that each CityTree is able to absorb around 250 grams of particulate matter a day and contributes to the capture of greenhouse gases by removing 240 metric tons of CO2 a year.

A tale of four friends

The story of the CityTree dates back 11 years. 
While studying at Dresden University of Technology, Wu met Victor Splittgerber, a mechanical engineer, and Dénes Honus, an architect. After graduating, they ran a workshop at the university on sustainable urban design focusing on new ways to tackle environmental problems in cities. 
Four years ago, the trio met Peter Sänger, a graduate in production management for horticulture, and the idea for the CityTree project was born.
A CityTree in Brussels, Belgium.
Today, bureaucratic obstacles are the main challenge.
"We were installing them (the CityTrees) in Modena, Italy, and everything was planned and arranged, but now the city is hesitant about the places we can install because of security reasons," Wu said.
The team also has plans to introduce the "CityTree" to cities in lower-income countries such as India, which tend to have elevated levels of pollutants. 
So far, around 20 CityTrees have been successfully installed, with each costing about $25,000.
The CityTree can be configured to display information or adversiting.

Can this really fight pollution?

Gary Fuller, an expert on air pollution at King's College London, thinks that the concept of an urban air purifier might be too ambitious.
"Even if you had a perfect air cleaner, getting the ambient air in contact with it is really hard," he told CNN. Pollution from a car exhaust, for example, gets dispersed vertically a few kilometers into the air. 
"Efforts would be better put into stopping the pollution from forming in the first place, maybe cleaning up a city's bus fleet," he added.
The CityTree inventors say that they are aware of this and choose the location of each CityTree carefully.
"We intentionally pick spots where pollution is heavy due to traffic and air flow is limited. We are also testing a ventilation system to create our own air flow that gets the pollution to the tree."
Wu also argued that the CityTree is just one piece of a larger puzzle.
"Our ultimate goal is to incorporate technology from the CityTree into existing buildings," he said.
"We dream of creating a climate infrastructure so we can regulate what kind of air and also what kind of temperature we have in a city."

NH solar: PUC lifts net metering limits/NH Union Leader

This is a very important step that proves again that states and local communities can lead the way towards a 100% renewable solution to power.  Here NH lifts net metering limits.  These state caps on how much clean energy a utility must take on should be increasingly increased or cut.

Opening up the doors to more solar and wind, with battery storage to smooth out inconsistencies in production, will push us more quickly off of our dangerous, inefficient dependence on fossil fuel.

 CONCORD — Utility regulators have issued a long-awaited order with significant implications for the growing solar industry in New Hampshire and financial rewards for property owners who install solar panels.

The order lifts all existing limits on so-called net metering, the process by which people who own solar panels sell their surplus electricity back into the grid as an offset to their electric bills.

In a 74-page ruling handed down late Friday afternoon, the Public Utilities Commission settled an issue that has been in dispute for several years, as utility interests and solar industry advocates squared off over the proper way to compensate people who own solar panels without imposing unfair costs on those who don’t.

“The order reflects a fair compromise and will certainly protect all ratepayers while allowing consumers to continue to choose to install solar and get reasonably compensated for the value of their energy,” said Kate Epsen, executive director of the N.H. Clean Tech Council and Solar Energy Association.

“It also protects the 1,000-plus jobs in the industry and opens up new opportunities for municipalities, utilities and businesses,” she said.

Many of the states with net metering laws have no limit on how many megawatts can be accommodated, and that’s where solar advocates wanted to see New Hampshire go. They won that battle, at least for now. The PUC order lifts the current 100-megawatt limit on solar power eligible for net metering, which was put into place last year.

The state managed for years with a 50-megawatt limit, until the solar installations took off in 2015, and the limit was quickly exhausted. In 2016, lawmakers raised the limit to 75 megawatts to give regulators time to figure out a long-term solution, and that was soon raised to 100 megawatts.

How much to pay

The key issue is how much to pay solar panel owners for the electricity they sell back into the grid. They are currently paid the full, retail rate, meaning all parts of the electric bill, not just power supply.

Residential customers in the Eversource net metering program, for example, have been getting 16.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity “exported.”

Utilities have argued that net metered customers should only be paid the wholesale energy supply price, which is a fraction of the full retail rate and varies hourly according to market conditions. The PUC ruling comes down somewhere between those two extremes, but very much on the side of consumers, according to the state-appointed consumer advocate for utility issues, attorney Donald Kreis.

“We have our long-awaited net metering order, and it is a qualified victory for consumers,” he wrote in a Saturday Facebook post. “We were able to persuade the utilities to walk away from draconian rate design schemes that were calculated to punish rather than reward people for generating some of their own electricity and sharing some of it with their neighbors.”

Kreis said the order sets the stage for a shift in the energy delivery system that relies more on small generators like homeowners with solar panels, in what is called “distributed generation” instead of the old utility model of consolidation and large-scale generation.

“We’ve charted a path forward for the further implementation of new technologies and new rate designs that will make consumers more powerful and autonomous users of the grid,” wrote Kreis. “And we did these things as distributed generation is just taking root in the Granite State, as opposed to waiting until much later in the development process as other states have done.”

The PUC found, despite utility claims to the contrary, “that there is little to no evidence of any significant cost-shifting” from net metering.

Eversource spokesperson Martin Murray said the utility is still evaluating the order.

“Our initial look tells us that the PUC adopted the common elements of two settlements that were developed and is committed to resolving remaining differences,” he said. “There seems to be broad agreement that everyone who uses the energy grid should share fairly in the cost of the grid. Eversource is looking forward to participating in the working groups and studies that the order indicates will soon get underway.”

What the order says

Here are some highlights:

• The net meter limit of 100 megawatts is lifted and new net metering rates begin on Sept. 1 and continue until a new order is issued, sometime in the future when a series of studies is completed.

• All existing net metered systems are grandfathered through 2040 at current rates.

• Residential systems will still be credited monthly at 100 percent of retail energy and transmission charges but only 25 percent of distribution charge; and will receive cash credits on their electric bills instead of kwh credits.

• Eversource must perform a study over the next 12 months on the value of distributed generation, focused on solar and small hydro, using a 10- to 15-year framework for the analysi

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 cool inventions hat could save the planet

There are so many ways for us to innovate our way back to a balanced planet.  Here's just a few.

Though there are many varied issues, we can narrow down our plight to preserving and restoring the most valuable natural resources...water, air quality, soil for food supply and a significant reduction in waste that is not biodegradable.  

5 cool inventions that could save the planet

You've heard about the impact that our technology-driven population is having on the planet -- from cars, to energy factories, to the over-consumption of the earth's resources.
It's causing a lot of problems.
Yet, inventors are also using this technology to improve lives across the planet. Here are a few of their creations (or soon-to-be ones):

1. A high-tech sieve that makes the ocean drinkable

Yes, you can already turn the ocean into drinkable water through existing, industrial-scale desalination plants.

But these plants are often costly and can damage the environment: They use large amounts of energy, produce greenhouse gases and can harm marine life.
Graphene sieve could make seawater drinkable
Graphene sieve could make seawater drinkable
So, researchers in the UK have developed a sieve made out of graphene that may be able to filter out salt using less energy.
That could help provide safe, clean, drinkable water -- which is a rare resource in many countries.

In fact, the United Nations predicts that in less than a decade, 14% of people around the world will not have access to sufficient water resources where they live.

2. A drone that pollinates

So much of what you eat and drink every day -- apples, carrots, chocolate, even coffee -- relies on pollination, which allows plants to reproduce.
In fact, about 75% of the world's crops are produced with the help of pollinators, like bees and butterflies.
Yet these insect pollinators belong to a group that's facing extinction, according to a UN report.

So researchers in Japan are testing drones to see if they can carry pollen from one plant to another -- just like a small insect.

The researchers' drone was able to pollinate a very large flower, but there's still a lot more work to do before these machines can carry out the work of bees.

3. Biodegradable bullets

Protecting the environment might seem like the last thing the US military is worried about. Just this year, however, the US Army asked for proposals for biodegradable ammunition to replace the existing rounds it uses during training exercises.
Magic bullets: US Army pursues 'biodegradable' ammunition
Magic bullets: US Army pursues 'biodegradable' ammunition
The current spent rounds -- the bullet casings that are ejected from a weapon after it's been fired -- are believed to take hundreds of years to biodegrade, according to the Pentagon, and they contain components that could harm the soil and water.

As a result, the US Environmental Protection Agency says that military facilities make up the majority of the country's most polluted sites.
So the US Department of Defense is asking for new ammunition that contains seeds to produce food for animals: "This effort will make use of seeds to grow environmentally friendly plants that remove soil contaminants and consume the biodegradable components developed under this project."

4. A plant-based 'plastic' that doesn't pollute

Inspiration can come from some unlikely places.

For Indonesian entrepreneur Kevin Kumala, it arrived on a rainy day as he watched dozens of motorcyclists wearing vinyl ponchos to protect them from the wet weather.
Plastic you can drink: A solution for pollution?

"It clicked that these disgusting, toxic ponchos would be used a few times and then discarded, but they would not decompose," he said.
So the biology major set out to create a plastic made from a biodegradable material -- and he and his partner succeeded in making ponchos, bags and food packaging from cassava, a cheap and common vegetable found across Indonesia.
In 2014, Kumala launched Avani Eco, which produces four tons of cassava-plastic products each day. He hopes to secure funding to produce a lot more.
Kumala is so confident in his product that he will dissolve and drink his bioplastic creations.

5. A plane that emits only water

OK, so it fits only four people, including the pilot -- but this sleek-looking plane runs on an electrical current from a supply of hydrogen and oxygen, aided by a battery.
The result? Its only emission is water vapor.
"This is the first time that somebody has built an airplane that can carry more than one person and which is driven by hydrogen," says André Thess of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which helped build the aircraft.
The plane that runs on hydrogen and emits only water
The plane that runs on hydrogen and emits only water
The hope is to create emission-free air taxis -- like the HY4 -- that can easily travel from city to city in the near future.
"Say you want to go between Irvine and Ventura in the Los Angeles area. It can take you between one and a half and three hours if there are traffic jams, but by plane it will take you around 35 to 40 minutes," says Josef Kallo, the HY4 project leader.
"And within a controlled airspace you could have a lot of these planes flying around."

Monday, June 26, 2017

More Than Half of Consumers Now Buy on Their Beliefs, 2017 Earned Brand Study Reveals

We get asked all the time:  Do  consumers really care about supporting sustainable products and companies?  How committed are they?  Will they pay more?

Do companies get a return on their investment in green?

This article, profiling shifts in consumer patterns, suggest, in fact, they do.  Very much.  Which is good news on all fronts.  It means the message is getting out, and is widespread.  It means we will see growth in the green economy and smart tech.  Renewables will flourish.  EV's and hybrids will become a bigger part of the car market.  R & D investments will support transformation, efficiency, and triple-bottom line commitments from the business community.

We hope you share this dedication to smart shopping.  It is clearly changing the world of commerce.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue, according to the 2017 Edelman Earned Brand study, with 30 percent saying that they make these belief-driven purchase decisions more than they did three years ago.

 The survey of 14,000 people in 14 countries not only illuminates a rising consumer expectation that brands will help solve societal problems, but also spotlights an enormous opportunity for brands that heed this call to gain new buyers and realize stronger consumer relationships more quickly.

Fifty percent of consumers worldwide consider themselves to be belief-driven buyers — and they mean business. Sixty-seven percent of them bought a brand for the first time because they agreed with its position on a controversial topic, while 65 percent will not buy a brand when it stays silent on an issue they feel it has an obligation to address. (The other 50 percent of consumers rarely buy on belief or punish a brand if it takes a stand on a controversial issue.)

 When a brand speaks out and belief-driven buyers agree with its stance, they will reward it greatly: 23 percent will pay at least a 25 percent premium; 48 percent will advocate for and defend the brand and criticize its competitors; and 51 percent will be loyal, buying the brand exclusively and more often.

“In a time of immense turmoil—fueled by a growing lack of trust in our institutions, intense ideological differences, and widening economic gaps —people are turning to brands as islands of stability,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. “Consumers expect brands to lead the movement for change and address critical problems. The simple question that consumers are asking is: ‘Are you with me?’”

Belief-driven buyers also fall into a desirable demographic for many marketers: younger and higher-earning. The majority of Millennials buy on belief (60 percent), as do more than half of Gen Zers (53 percent) and Gen Xers (51 percent). In addition, the top quartile of earners over-index as belief-driven buyers (57 percent).

 Belief-driven buyers are most active in developing countries, such as China (73 percent) and India (65 percent), and they comprise around half of consumers in established markets such as France (50 percent) and the U.S. (47 percent); 66 percent of American Millennials buy on their beliefs.

At the core of the Earned Brand study is the Edelman Brand Relationship Index, which measures annually the overall strength of the consumer-brand relationship (Indifferent, Interested, Involved, Invested, Committed). In 2017, the global index is 37 out of 100, placing all consumers worldwide, on average, in the Involved stage. But the global index for belief-driven buyers is higher, at 46, placing them in the Invested stage and indicating that these buyers are already deeply connected to brands that support their causes and are more willing than the average consumer to buy first, stay loyal to, advocate for, and defend a brand.

“Belief-driven buyers will leave behind brands that fail to take a stand on issues they care about, but they will reward those that align with their views through increased spending and advocacy,” said Edelman. “This means there is a real possibility of consumer commitment well beyond the classic purchase funnel, because active partnership with a brand gets customers invested as advocates and loyalists.”

Belief-driven buyers expect a brand to not only speak out on an issue they care about (globally, the top-cited issues were immigration, gender equality, and environmental regulation) but also to ensure that the issue is authentic to the brand by addressing how it affects customers, product, employees, manufacturing, the brand’s physical environment and its core values.

 They expect a brand to commit money (70 percent), time (72 percent) and influence (68 percent) to the cause and express its beliefs through (in order of importance) employees, day-to-day business, sourcing, manufacturing and advertising.

The study also reveals that belief-driven buyers look to peer sources most often for reliable information about brands. Peer-driven conversations (89 percent) emerged as 20 points more credible than statements by a celebrity spokesperson (69 percent), and belief-driven buyers rely on conversations with friends and family (31 percent) more than advertising (21 percent) to learn about the actions that brands take.

“Brands that fail to answer the call of belief-driven buyers risk ending up in No Brand’s Land,” said Mark Renshaw, Global Chair of Brand at Edelman. “To win with these valuable customers, brands must fundamentally rethink their strategies and move beyond simply co-opting culture or stating their position to finding a true calling and acting on it. Brands that live their beliefs in all that they do, and invite consumers to take action with them, will be rewarded with more conversation, more conversion, and ultimately, more commitment.”

Trump administration cancels proposed limits on marine mammals and sea turtles trapped in fishing nets/LA Times

What makes this decision a bot shocking is reversing a policy that had uniform support, including from the fishing industry.  Why?

Perhaps it is true that the industry has done a good job of putting other safeguards in place and they don't need more government regulation and interference.  We, too, support less policy if the market can self-manage.

Yet, we like building on success.  Having reversed the onslaught for these mammals, should we not go to the next step and implement other improvements that is not an unreasonable burden on fisherman?  We'd like to see more protection in this case.  And a balanced ocean eco-system that places equal weight on safe fishing and safe guarding natural habitat.

Dan Weikel

The Trump administration announced Monday that it has canceled proposed limits on the number of endangered whales, dolphins and sea turtles that can be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets on the West Coast.
Although the restriction, proposed in 2015, was supported by both the fishing industry and environmental groups, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division said studies show that the pending rule is not warranted because other protections have dramatically reduced the number of marine mammals and turtles trapped in long, drifting gill nets.
“The fishery has been under pressure for years to reduce its impact, and it has been very successful doing that,” said Michael Milstein, a NOAA fisheries spokesman. “The cap would have imposed a cost on the industry to solve a problem that has already been addressed.”
The decision brought immediate criticism from environmental groups that had joined the Pacific Fishery Management Council in an effort to further protect a variety of marine mammals and turtles.
The list included endangered fin, humpback, and sperm whales; short-finned pilot whales and common bottlenose dolphins; as well as endangered leatherback sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles and green sea turtles.
Catherine Kilduff, a senior attorney for the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, said the action is one of the first by the Trump administration to target protections for threatened species along the Pacific coast.
She noted that the president wants to dismantle other federal programs that protect endangered marine mammals.
The 14-member Pacific Fishery Management Council, which manages fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington, recommended that the federal government adopt the restrictions in 2015.
Under the proposal, if any two endangered whales or sea turtles are killed or seriously hurt within a two-year period, the gill net fishery would be closed for up to two years.
The fishery also would be shut down if any combination of four short-finned pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were seriously injured or killed within a two-year period.
After the fishery management council recommended the limits to the federal government, Milstein said, NOAA Fisheries studied the proposals and took public comment from people for and against the caps.
The NOAA analysis concluded that the costs of the protections far outweighed the benefits and that the fishing industry had implemented measures that greatly reduced the deaths and injury of protected marine mammals.
The precautions included better training for skippers of fishing boats, sound warnings or pingers attached to fishing nets and wider openings at the top of nets that gave whales, dolphins and turtles a better chance to escape.
NOAA statistics indicate that the deaths and injuries to protected whales declined from more than 50 in 1992 to no more than one or two a year by 2015. During the same period, the numbers for common dolphins steadily declined from almost 400 to only a few.
Meanwhile, the figures show that the deaths and injuries of endangered Pacific leatherback turtles dropped from 17 in 1993 to no more than one a year by 2015.
“We’ve recognized that the fishery has done a lot to clean up its act,” said Milstein, of NOAA.
He added that the Marine Mammals Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act still apply and that protection areas for loggerhead turtles and leatherbacks that are closed to gill-net fishing have been set up off the coasts of Oregon and California.
Kilduff said, however, that protections are still necessary because rare species, such as leatherback turtles, humpback whales and sperm whales, are still being killed and injured in gill nets.
There are so few examples of some species that if gill nets kill even one or two, the overall effect can be devastating, she said.
“Government scientists have said that West Coast fisheries can’t catch more than one leatherback every five years,” she said. “They estimate that four times that have caught just in the gill-net fishery alone.”
Steiner, of the Turtle Island group, argued that the deaths and injuries have dropped mainly because the gill-net fishing fleet in California has declined dramatically.
NOAA figures show that the number of vessels plunged from a high of 129 in 1994 to 20 in 2016.
“The numbers caught per set have not gone down,” Steiner said. “The California gill-net fishery kills more marine mammals than all other West Coast fisheries combined.”