The $40 Billion in US Buildings
April 30, 2013 04:31 PM - Elisa Wood, Clean Techies
A pretty big wad of money — $40 billion — is hiding somewhere inside the lights, AC, thermostats, furnaces and fans of our offices, stores, hospitals and schools. That's the amount of money the federal government estimates we can save annually by reducing energy use in commercial buildings 20 percent by 2020. To achieve the goal, the Obama administration in 2011 initiated the Better Buildings Challenge, a way to encourage investment, share information and create demonstration projects that save energy.
Extended Range Electric & Hybrid Cars that Reduce Environmental Impacts
April 30, 2013 06:10 AM - Maria Ortega, Global Warming is Real
According to National Geographic, more than half the air pollution in the United States is caused by mobile devices, primarily by automobiles. These greenhouse gases that vehicles emit, such as carbon dioxide, are wreaking havoc on the ozone layer as well as polluting the soil and surface water in many cases. Bottom line— while cars are an everyday necessity and convenience, they're not doing the environment any favors. That's part of the reason why the federal government is offering tax incentives to those who purchase hybrid or electric vehicles, as well as challenging automakers to develop vehicles by 2025 that are able to achieve 55 mpg on the highway. It’s a bold goal but, as you can see from how much cars are responsible for pollution, it’s a necessary one that’s becoming more important.
Supermarket delivery services are greener than driving to shop
April 29, 2013 01:05 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A new academic research study has revealed it is better for the environment to order the weekly supermarket shop to be delivered to your doorstep with carbon emission savings of up to 75%. University of Washington engineers have found that using a supermarket delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions.
Trees and Smog
April 29, 2013 08:24 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale Oxygen A natural way to refresh the air or so it seems. Smog is a form of pollution. After years of scientific uncertainty and speculation, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show exactly how trees help create one of society’s predominant environmental and health concerns: air pollution. It has long been known that trees produce and emit isoprene, an abundant molecule in the air known to protect leaves from oxygen damage and temperature fluctuations. However, in 2004, researchers, contrary to popular assumptions, revealed that isoprene was likely involved in the production of particulate matter, tiny particles that can get lodged in lungs, lead to lung cancer and asthma, and damage other tissues, not to mention the environment.
EV's will help balance the electric grid
April 29, 2013 06:19 AM - EurActiv
A technology developed with the University of Delaware has sold power from electric vehicles to the power grid for the first time, the power company NRG Energy Inc said on Friday (26 April). In a joint statement, the university and NRG said that they began work on the so-called eV2g program in September 2011 to provide a two-way interface between electric vehicles and the power grid, enabling vehicle-owners to sell electricity back to the grid while they are charging their cars. NRG said the project became an official participant in the PJM frequency regulation market on February 27. The system, which is still in development, is not yet commercially-available.
What to do with Radioactive Waste
April 26, 2013 01:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nuclear power plants do have a waste management problem because radioactivity takes a long time to dissipate and turn the radioactive waste into just a non-hazardous waste. Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine. A new draft nuclear waste management bill released today by four U.S. senators focuses on establishing interim and permanent waste repositories but fails to address current unsafe waste management practices at nuclear power plants across the country, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The senators—Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)—based their draft on President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
Air pollution linked to life-threatening hardening of the arteries
April 25, 2013 08:47 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries", according to a University of Michigan public health researcher and colleagues from across the US. Sara Adar, the John Searle Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health, and Joel Kaufman, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and medicine at the University of Washington, led the study that found that higher concentrations of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) were linked to a faster thickening of the inner two layers of the common carotid artery - an important blood vessel that provides blood to the head, neck and brain.
Arctic Snow Clears the Air
April 25, 2013 06:03 AM - National Science Foundation via EurekAlert
National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Purdue University have discovered that sunlit snow is the major source of atmospheric bromine in the Arctic, the key to unique chemical reactions that purge pollutants and destroy ozone. The new research also indicates that the surface snowpack above Arctic sea ice plays a previously unappreciated role in the bromine cycle and that loss of sea ice, which been occurring at an increasingly rapid pace in recent years, could have extremely disruptive effects in the balance of atmospheric chemistry in high latitudes. The team's findings suggest the rapidly changing Arctic climate--where surface temperatures are rising three times faster than the global average--could dramatically change its atmospheric chemistry, said Paul Shepson, an NSF-funded researcher who led the research team. The experiments were conducted by Kerri Pratt, a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Division of Polar Programs in NSF's Geosciences Directorate.
CO2 Record Highs
April 24, 2013 08:59 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
How high can the CO2 concentration in the air go? It is a bit like looking at the stock market except that the CO2 does not go down. For the first time in human history, concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) could rise above 400 parts per million (ppm) for sustained lengths of time throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere as soon as May 2013. To provide a resource for understanding the implications of rising CO2 levels, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is providing daily updates of the Keeling Curve, the record of atmospheric CO2 measured at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa. These iconic measurements, begun by Charles David (Dave) Keeling, a world-leading authority on atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation and Scripps climate science pioneer, comprise the longest continuous record of CO2 in the world, starting from 316 ppm in March 1958 and approaching 400 ppm today with a familiar saw-tooth pattern. For the past 800,000 years, CO2 levels never exceeded 300 parts per million.
Source of Organics and Water Quality
April 23, 2013 04:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
It is not unusual that when it rains, it will dissolve surface materials or carny it off as suspended materials into steams and such. Each time it rains, runoff carries an earthy tea steeped from leaf litter, crop residue, soil, and other organic materials into the storm drains and streams that feed Chesapeake Bay or many other bodies of water. Apparently some sources of organics are worse than others. A new study led by researchers at William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science reveals that land use in the watersheds from which this dissolved organic matter originates has important implications for Bay water quality, with the organic carbon in runoff from urbanized or heavily farmed landscapes more likely to persist as it is carried downstream, thus contributing energy to fuel low-oxygen dead zones in coastal waters.