Sustainability

Persistent Energy Ghana Brings Solar to Those Who Need Light
December 30, 2013 08:07 AM - Justine Porter, Triple Pundit

Persistent Energy Ghana (PEG) is leading the movement to bring green energy, installing solar-powered micro-grids for the one million Ghanaian households that earn between $1 and $6 a day. PEG, a Ghanaian energy services company that launched last year, hopes to help under-electrified regions leap-frog directly from kerosene to solar in the same way that Ghana skipped over the installation of telephone lines thanks to the adoption of cell phones.

Amazon forest loss and water supply are linked
December 30, 2013 07:05 AM - Paul Brown, Ecologist

Water, food supplies and energy production are all in jeopardy as the Amazon forest is felled for profit. And as Paul Brown writes, the damage is spreading well beyond Amazonia itself. The combination of industrial and agricultural pollution and droughts is creating a once unthinkable vulnerability for the five countries of Amazonia. The continued destruction of the Amazon to exploit its resources for mining, agriculture and hydro-power is threatening the future of the South American continent, according to a report by campaigning groups using the latest scientific data. Five countries - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - share the Amazon, and for all of them the forest area occupies more than 40% of their territory. All face threats to their water supply, energy production, food and health.

Ways to recycle a Christmas tree
December 29, 2013 08:39 AM - Beth Buczynski, Care2

For nearly a month (maybe longer if you're one of those day-after-Thanksgiving types), your Christmas tree has formed the centerpiece of holiday celebrations. But now, as the New Year draws near, it's time to think about what to do with it. If, like millions of people, you chose a fresh cut tree, it's important to think long and hard about recycling. After all, a carbon-sucking plant gave its life so that you could honor the pagan tradition of decorating a tree. Just tossing it in the garbage is a depressing waste, especially when there are so many other creative options. Below is a list of the most creative ideas we've ever seen for repurposing Christmas trees. Although most of us will undoubtedly choose number one (the easiest option), the others will warm your heart as well.

Wisconsin Combats Icy Streets with ... Cheese?
December 27, 2013 01:47 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

We all know that Wisconsin is known for it's cheese, producing more cheese than any other state — in fact, 2.7 billion pounds were produced last year! But besides consumption, what are mid-westerners doing with all that cheese? Well, for one, Wisconsin is taking cheese to a whole new level by using it to melt their icy roads!

Intelligent disaster relief
December 27, 2013 11:46 AM - Kieran Dodds/Panos, SciDevNet

The "fragmented" coordination between relief actors in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan last month underscores the need for artificial intelligence to streamline disaster response, says a team behind such an effort. The ORCHID project, a consortium of UK universities and private firms, aims to make this possible by combining human and artificial intelligence into an efficient complementary unit known as a Human Agent Collective (HAC).

Smart is at a whole new level for homes
December 27, 2013 10:13 AM - Editor, ENN, Sierra Club Green Home

Smart homes have gone to a whole new level with Panasonic's showcase center in Tokyo, Japan. Panasonic's new technologies feature hydroponics, air ventilation, color customization, and energy consumption. The energy consumption specifically is integrated into a grid of other smart homes that share excess energy; respond to energy needs, and track community usage trends. The resultant home is a zero-emission smart house combining with nature’s elements.

New York City to Use Food Waste to Heat Homes
December 27, 2013 08:22 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

New York City will reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills by converting it into energy. Last week, Deputy Mayor Cas Calloway announced that the city will partner with Waste Management to deliver pre-processed organic waste food to Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant where it will be added to wastewater sludge to increase biogas production. The biogas by-product will be converted into renewable natural gas for both residential and commercial use through a partnership with National Grid, an international electricity and energy company. Through this project, enough energy could be produced to heat almost 5,200 New York city homes and reduce annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 90,000 metric tons, equivalent to removing almost 19,000 cars from the road.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: The Benefits of Laundry-to-Landscape Greywater Systems
December 26, 2013 04:28 PM - Madeline Valinski, University of Delaware, Class of 2015, Environmental Studies

Approximately 30% of household water use is for outdoor use in the form of garden irrigation. Outdoor water usage is very seasonal, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and outdoor water usage is highest when water availability is the lowest due to drought conditions and heat. The top three uses of water in the household are for landscaping, sewage, and laundry. Yet a simple laundry-to-landscape system could reduce one of these high water wasters. A laundry-to-landscape system might not be the only step to make the garden water neutral; approximately 15% of household water use is for laundry, which could at least reduce outdoor water usage by 50% if a laundry-to-landscape system were installed.

The "state" of Energy Efficiency
December 26, 2013 09:47 AM - Mary Mazzoni, Triple Pundit

Conversations about energy use in the U.S. often revolve around expanding domestic production or spurring renewables. It’s easy to forget another significant piece of the puzzle — energy efficiency. In its 2013 scorecard, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks the most energy-efficient states based on policy and program efforts that improve efficiency in homes, businesses, industries and transportation systems.

Electric vehicle market predictions
December 25, 2013 08:39 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum

While there is no doubt that the electric vehicle market has performed admirably during 2013, what does the future hold for the electric vehicle industry in 2014? As we come to the end of 2013 all eyes are now moving towards next year when many experts believe we will see developments which could change the whole landscape of the electric vehicle market. There are a number of initiatives under the surface, perhaps not grabbing the headlines as you might expect, which could come into play in 2014 and indeed we will be one year nearer an affordable electric vehicle priced around $30,000. There are very few people who would have guessed that 2013 would be so successful for the worldwide electric vehicle market especially as the year began on a fairly downward note. Not only did we have a number of setbacks for the industry, with regards to government investments, but the spat between Tesla and the New York Times did nobody any favours.

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