What’s New in the World of Renewables – India’s Floating Solar Panels

Thursday, July 31, 2014 16:56


It was 1985 when the first Tour de Sol, a Swiss rally for solar powered vehicles, ushered in a new era of design and innovation for solar energy use. Among the first of its kind, the contest challenged teams of students and engineers to use solar cells to propel their “racecars” through Swiss towns. Now, nearly 30 years later, similar competitions all over the world openly invite interested parties to engage with solar technology in ways that maintain the velocity of its innovation and implementation.

American Sun Read the rest of this entry »

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    Microgrids, They’re Kind of a Big Deal

    Thursday, July 17, 2014 14:17


    For locals participating in the Pecan Street Demonstration in Austin’s suburban town of Mueller, TX, residential carbon footprint data is about as available as square footage. Their home utility consumption is monitored by the Pecan Street Research Institute at The University of Texas-Austin as part of the institute’s efforts to understand how individuals can lower their collective carbon impact and use energy more efficiently. This new technology, known as a smart grid system, has proven to be much more efficient than the traditional electrical grid used throughout the US. However, smart grids and the smart meters used to track energy usage of individual homes have come under fire for their ‘invasiveness’ as people have vocalized concerns about the lack of privacy that could accompany this advanced monitoring system. Fortunately for the anti-smart meter crowd, there are other ways to make a community more energy efficient.

    Microgrid Read the rest of this entry »

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      The Dirty Little Secret of The Electronic Era

      Friday, July 11, 2014 12:30

      Laptops, phones, mp3 players and other electronic gadgets have become staple commodities in today’s technological era.  Our need for new and improved electronic equipment that becomes obsolete in two or three years has spawned the fastest growing waste stream: e-waste.




      The Problem:

      In 2012 the world purchased 238.5 million televisions, 444.4 million computers and tablets and a staggering 1.75 billion cellphones. Back in 2008, Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council, estimated that in the USA alone we throw out 48 million computers and 100  every year. In fact, according to Sustainable Electronics Recycling International, the average US cellphone has a 22 month lifecycle. All these discarded electronics add up to 5-7million tons of ewaste every year from the USA alone. The volume of this electronic waste is expected to increase by 33% by 2020.

      What happens to all this obsolete technology? Read the rest of this entry »

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        The Case for CFLs [Infographic]

        Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:30

        With the cost of energy increasing at a steady rate, and the promise of record breaking summer heat looming in the near future, the time has come for consumers to think of effective and innovative ways to save money on their utility bills.

        The most reliable way to reduce excess spending on energy is to get an energy audit performed on your home. If you’re thinking about getting an energy audit, it is important to ensure that the person auditing your home has received their BPI certification and is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of home energy auditing. In some cases, homeowners can get a free energy audit by contacting their utilities company. Summer can be a hectic time and booking a home energy audit may not be at the top of your to-do list. So until you can schedule an audit, check out this simple suggestion for cutting back on your cost of utilities.

        Bright Idea

        One small change that can have a massive impact is switching the bulbs in your house to energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps, or CFLs. In addition to saving money on home energy bills, CFLs are also better for the environment than standard incandescent bulbs as they pull less electricity from power grids and in turn require less output, and pollution from power plants.

        Since their market introduction in the mid 80s, CFLs have been a widely debated topic in the lighting and home improvement fields as consumers voiced concerns about installing CFLs in their homes and offices as the bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury. Bulb manufacturers took notice and responded to the criticisms and concerns through a well developed series of technological improvements, and safe recycling methods. CFLs have come a long way since their introduction, and the future of this energy efficient lighting source is looking bright.

        Check out this infographic to see why using CFLs in your home or office is a great money saver and a giant step towards becoming more energy efficient.

        DIY Energy Efficiency

        For a full list of energy saving tips, click here.



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          Combating Carbon through the Clean Power Plan

          Tuesday, June 3, 2014 18:16
          Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

          Shatura_Steam_Power_PlantWith the direction and executive authority of President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released the Clean Power Plan, which cuts the carbon pollution from existing power plants that create 38% of the nation’s total carbon emissions. The plan is meant to cut carbon emission from the power sector nationwide by 30% below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year. The proposal is meant to protect public health and fight climate change, moving the nation towards a cleaner environment. The EPA, in its press release, proposes that this new plan will ‘sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation and create jobs’. Read the rest of this entry »

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            2 Degrees Celsius – A Keystone Pipeline Op-Ed

            Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:54
            Posted in category Clean Energy News

            Pipes_for_keystone_pipeline_in_2009While scientists recognized the fear of climate change long ago, much of the populace refuses to make out the warning signs clearly presented. With land and ocean temperatures rising, surface temperatures drastically rising, and an increase in atmospheric C02, the consequences of global warming are becoming unstoppable. In his first inaugural speech, President Obama stated he would, “roll back the specter of a warming planet.” As the President’s first year ended, little change was made; he supported an expansion in oil and gas drilling while investing in developing “clean coal.”

            At the start of the second Obama term, the President vowed to respond to the threat of climate change. Our country is about to face this year’s most delicate environment situation: the Keystone XL pipeline. Read the rest of this entry »

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              What is to become of the Investment Tax Credit?

              Monday, May 19, 2014 14:00
              Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

              The Investment Tax Credit has been one of the major factors of growth for the solar energy industry since its establishment in 2006. The ITC is a 30% tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. Following its success, it has helped annual solar installation grow by over 1,600% since 2006. The ITC was given an eight year extension in 2008 until December 31st 2016, when it will drop to 10%. Many professionals are now wondering what will become of an industry that has been driven so much by incentives when these will be gone. Read the rest of this entry »

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                The Solar Industry: Booming or Busting in a Lackluster Investment Environment?

                Tuesday, April 29, 2014 15:03
                Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

                website_bild_gtr_3_1The decline in global investments in renewable energy isn’t as worrisome as it may seem, according to the 2014 Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report, released in early April. The report, produced by the Frankfurt School – United Nations Energy Program Collaborating Center, reveals that the falling cost of producing renewable energy technologies is a major part of the equation.  Read the rest of this entry »

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                  Fracking: Fracturing Maryland?

                  Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:19
                  Posted in category Clean Energy News, Renewables

                  No FrackingThe case to ban fracking is growing more popular in a society that is becoming more environmentally aware. Fracking, technically known as hydraulic fracturing, is defined as the process in which “fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface are opened and widened by injecting chemicals and liquids at high pressure: used especially to extract natural gas or oil.” While fracking has its advantages, politics is strongly divided over this issue.

                  The state of Maryland faces a split in opinions over this energy source; Read the rest of this entry »

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                    Push Coming to Shove For Those Seeking to Take LEED Exam

                    Monday, March 31, 2014 16:26

                    LEED v4 exam prep

                    LEED version 4 is approaching, and with it comes a suite of changes to the exam content, material and format. Individuals who have passed the test before the changeover, which occurs in June, will be grandfathered into the updated designation without having to retest. Considering the extent of the modifications, many candidates are hurrying to sit for the exam while it is still in the decidedly more manageable version 3 format.

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