DOE Sets New Commercial Refrigeration Energy Efficiency Standards
March 7, 2014 08:01 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
Following through on President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, the Department of Energy (DOE) on Feb. 28 issued new energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment. Over the ensuing 30 years, it's projected that the new standards will reduce carbon pollution by 142 million tons — the equivalent of that produced by generating electricity for 14.3 million U.S. homes — while also saving businesses as much as $11.7 billion on energy bills.
How much water do YOU use each day?
March 6, 2014 09:22 AM - Indiana University Newsroom, Indiana University Bloomington
Many Americans are confused about the best ways to conserve water and have a slippery grasp on how much water different activities use, according to a national online survey conducted by Indiana University Assistant Professor, Shahzeen Attari. Experts say the best strategy for conserving water is to focus on efficiency improvements such as replacing toilets and retrofitting washing machines. However, the largest group of the participants, nearly 43 percent, cited taking shorter showers, which does save water but may not be the most effective action. Very few participants cited replacing toilets or flushing less, even though toilets use the most volume of water daily.
2013 Marks Record Year for Solar Power in US
March 6, 2014 08:07 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
A new report shows that 2013 was another banner, record-setting year for solar energy in the U.S., with 4,751 megawatts (MW) of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed—a year-over-year increase of 41 percent—with another 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) coming online. A record 2,106 MW of solar power capacity was installed in the fourth quarter alone, amounting to 44 percent of the annual total. That bests the old quarterly record by 60 percent.
COLLEGIATE CORNER: The faults of fracking
March 3, 2014 11:41 AM - Reid Short, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
Hydraulic Fracturing is a process that sends pressurized liquid down to a target depth to fracture rock and draws out liquids, such as natural gas. This process is used to retrieve the gas from rock formations beneath the earth that were previously thought to be unsuitable for gas production (Helman) (Rao). Fracking is now being implemented all over the world. Many countries have turned to this method of extracting gas to lower fuel costs and balance their trade deficits, but these countries, including the United States, are allowing fracking to cause major damage to the environment. The water pollution, and air pollution that are caused by fracking, and the law exemptions it has, are inexcusable because of the damage and danger they cause to the environment.
Doubling the flood loss projections in Europe
March 3, 2014 10:36 AM - ENN Staff
As development and climate change continue, losses from extreme floods throughout the world skyrocket. Researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Austria have projected that the losses in Europe could more than double by 2050. In the new study which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, they contend that understanding the risk posed by large-scale floods is of growing importance and will be key for managing climate adaptation.
Illegal logging threatens sustainability in Mozambique
February 28, 2014 10:20 AM - , MONGABAY.COM
Illegal logging has spiked over the past five years in Mozambique, finds a new report by researchers at the University of Eduardo Mondlane. The report, published on the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's web site, assesses timber production, consumption, and exports, finding that nearly two-thirds of logging is currently illegal. The report notes that harvesting is exceeding sustainable levels, threatening the long-term viability of the industry and putting local livelihoods at risk.
Electric cars and the grid
February 28, 2014 07:31 AM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen
Car owners in the United States last year bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars, a year-on-year increase of 84 percent from 2012. However, this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand — in the evening when people come home from work.
Potential new source of renewable energy found in humidity
February 27, 2014 12:15 PM - Kristin Kusek, Harvard University
A new type of electrical generator uses bacterial spores to harness the untapped power of evaporating water, according to research conducted at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Its developers foresee electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors.
One state addresses potholes through a new pothole alert system
February 27, 2014 10:43 AM - ENN Staff
As much of the northern hemisphere looks forward to the second half of the winter season, municipalities and regional governments are faced with rudimentary task of repairing potholes. Rutgers University instructor Wansoo Im, no doubt frustrated with the infrastructure meltdown himself, launched an app and website to map the biggest ones in his own home state of New Jersey. Aptly called NJPothole, the website plots potholes on maps to alert motorists (and maybe even municipal departments of public works dispatchers) of impending undercarriage attack.
Forest recovery following natural disaster
February 27, 2014 08:06 AM - Sue Nichols, Michigan State University
Recovering from natural disasters usually means rebuilding infrastructure and reassembling human lives. Yet ecologically sensitive areas need to heal, too, and scientists are pioneering new methods to assess nature's recovery and guide human intervention. The epicenter of China's devastating Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 was in the Wolong Nature Reserve, a globally important valuable biodiversity hotspot and home to the beloved and endangered giant pandas. Not only did the quake devastate villages and roads, but also the earth split open and swallowed sections of the forests and bamboo groves that shelter and feed pandas and other endangered wildlife. Persistent landslides and erosion exacerbated the devastation.