Solar cars race from Australia's top to bottom
October 21, 2007 11:41 PM -
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sun-powered-car enthusiasts from around the world raced into the Australia outback on Sunday at speeds nearing 100 kilometres-per-hour at the start of the World Solar Challenge.
Thousands of onlookers crowded the streets of Darwin in Australia's tropical north for the beginning of the 3,000-km (1,863 mile) race, a biennial event since 1987, gawking at the sleek foil-like vehicles resembling giant microchips.
The only rule over the mostly straightaway course through Australia's "red centre" in temperatures that can exceed 50 degrees Celsius is that the custom-built vehicles run on nothing but the sun.
"The drivers will be sitting on between 90 and 100 kilometres per hour as much as they can, though most are capable of going faster," said race coordinator Chris Selwood.
"But this really is not just about who is the fastest, it's more about energy efficiency and management," he said.
Georgia declares state of emergency over drought
October 21, 2007 10:45 PM -
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Georgia has declared a state of emergency over its worst drought in decades and appealed to President George W. Bush for federal aid, newspapers said on Sunday.
Low rainfall in the Southeastern United States has caused a drought in several states, including swaths of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North and South Carolina.
Gov. Sonny Perdue asked Bush to issue a federal disaster designation for the drought-affected parts of the state that would empower him to order less water released from Lake Sidney Lanier and make federal funds available to state and local governments.
It would also enable low interest loans to be offered to Georgia businesses hurt by the drought, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
California cities asked to switch off lights
October 20, 2007 04:24 PM -
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Barbara residents are being urged to switch off their lights for one hour on Saturday in the first such organized bid in the United States to promote energy saving.
Much of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Los Angeles International Airport will go dark between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., apart from essential safety lighting. Lights in city buildings will be switched off and millions of residents in the three cities are being asked to follow suit.
Sustainable Projects Compete for Millions, International Competition
October 19, 2007 04:13 PM -
Waltham, Ma. – Construction projects from all across North America are invited to compete for the widely recognized Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. The Holcim Awards will recognize projects that meet current needs for housing and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Holcim Awards, an international competition, is an initiative of the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction to celebrate innovative, future-oriented, and tangible sustainable construction projects from around the globe. The Holcim Awards are supported in the North America region by the Holcim Ltd Group companies Holcim (US) Inc., St. Lawrence Cement, and Aggregate Industries. The North American region includes the US, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas.
Turning Grey Into Green: Greywater Recycling Systems
October 19, 2007 03:13 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Atlanta, Georgia - First a word about something called "greywater". Greywater is basically washwater. As homeowners, we make a lot of it each day. It's all wastewater excepting toilet wastes and food wastes derived from garbage grinders. No surprise, this partially used water can be re-used in your home for toilet flushing and watering gardens. Good for you, good for your water bill and good for the environment. Especially in drought stricken parts of the country like Georgia where the state's Environmental Protection Division declared a level four drought for sixty-one counties in the state.
Save the Environment, Use Your Computer
October 19, 2007 12:28 PM -
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Save the environment, use your computer. Here's how: the EPA estimates you can save up to $75 per year by activating the power management functions on your desktop computer. Support.com offers tips to consumers to help them save both energy and money by reducing the power consumption of their computer. Desktop or laptop, you can save energy by:
1. Turning your computer off completely when you know you will not be using it for more than several hours, such as overnight.
2. You can still save energy when your computer is not shut down completely by setting the power management functions on your computer to put both your monitor and computer (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into “sleep” mode after a certain amount of time of non-use, which saves energy when you are not actively using your computer. Set your monitor to go into standby mode first, followed by your computer.
Texas coastal wind farms advance despite critics
October 19, 2007 10:29 AM - Reuters
Two companies developing more than 600 megawatts of wind generation along the Texas coastline aren't daunted by threats of hurricane damage or opposition from environmentalists and powerful ranching interests, executives said Thursday.PPM Energy, a U.S subsidiary of Iberdrola's Scottish Power unit, and Babcock & Brown are developing two wind farms in Kenedy County, a thinly populated county south of Corpus Christi. Both companies expect to produce power by the end of 2008.
Solar power edges towards boom time
October 19, 2007 10:15 AM - Gerard Wynn -Reuters
Solar power could be the world's number one electricity source by the end of the century, but until now its role has been negligible as producers wait for price parity with fossil fuels, industry leaders say.
Once the choice only of idealists who put the environment before economics, production of solar panels will double both next year and in 2009, according to U.S. investment bank Jefferies Group Inc, driven by government support especially in Germany and Japan.
Three Gorges official defends environmental impact
October 18, 2007 11:40 AM - Reuters
Western media have exaggerated the landslides and deterioration in water quality that followed the start-up of China's $25 billion Three Gorges dam, a senior government official said on Thursday.
"I was surprised when I read overseas reports of possible environmental catastrophes caused by the project," said Li Yong-an, deputy director of the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee.
Smallest Galaxies Give Insight Into Dark Matter
October 16, 2007 06:31 PM -
PASADENA, Calif.--An unusual population of the darkest, most lightweight galaxies known has shed new light on a cosmic conundrum. Astronomers used the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to show that the recently uncovered dwarf galaxies each contain 99 percent of a mysterious type of matter known as dark matter. Dark matter has gravitational effects on ordinary atoms but does not produce any light. It accounts for the majority of the mass in the universe.
New observations of eight of these galaxies now suggest that the "Missing Dwarf Galaxy" problem--a discrepancy between the number of extremely small, faint galaxies that cosmological theories predict should exist near the Milky Way, and the number that have actually been observed--is not as severe as previously thought, and may have been solved completely.