Sunday, January 16, 2011

Green Power for the Empire State Building

I believe for 2011 we are going to hear more about renewable energy credits. R.E.C.s are tradable, non-tangible energy commodities in the U.S. that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an renewable energy resource such as wind, solar or geothermal. These attractive credits are part of larger initiatives that impact climate change, reduce emissions, increase savings and more importantly help us reach operational efficiency.

Green Power has been evolving on the compliance and voluntary markets with different prices to suite a business need. However, the Environmental Protection Agency, which “supports the organizational procurement of green power” through its Green Power Partnership Program, is a prime mover along these lines. The program’s Green Power Leadership Awards for 2010 recognize a number of businesses and organizations — including the Indianapolis Zoo, which now covers 100 percent of its electricity needs (14 million kilowatt-hours annually) through R.E.C. purchases. The Intel Corporation, which buys 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours worth of R.E.C.s about half of its annual consumption in the U.S. has been the national leader since 2008.

Now the Empire State Building on January 6th, announced it will be become the largest commercial purchaser of renewable power in the state. A two-year deal was brokered with Green Mountain Energy, (recently acquired by NRG Energy of New Jersey) allowing the Empire State Building to purchase 55 million kilowatt-hours worth of renewable energy certificates annually, which are primarily sourced by wind power facilities. This assists in preventing about 100 million ponds of CO2 each year. The CO2 reduction is the equivalent of nearly every house in New York state turning off their lights for a week or planting nearly 150,000 trees, more than six times the number in Central Park.

Source: The New York Times, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Global Village Construction Set

Using modern technological knowledge and methods, and very little cash, the Tiny Farm Blog are designing and building a set of machines and methods that are open source (plans are free for all), low cost, easy to replicate, highly efficient, simple to maintain, and sustainable to operate. They call is the Global Village Construction Set which has just about everything you would need to build a community, from the house you live in to the food you eat, from scratch. I like how they describe it as a "Lego set".

Or as their blog puts it: “We are farmer scientists – working to develop a world class research center for decentralization technologies using open source permaculture and technology to work together for providing basic needs and self replicating the entire operation at the cost of scrap metal.” Check it out:

Global Village Construction Set in 2 Minutes from Marcin Jakubowski on Vimeo.

Sands of 2011

Reflecting back to 2010, most journalists and activists would agree that the biggest environmental disaster occurred on April 20th, 2010. That will be a memorable day for when BP's, Deepwater Horizon, oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and commencing months of oil leaking unrestrained into the ocean. After numerous efforts and continues tries to plug the leaking well, dispersants were released to control roughly 205 million gallons of oil.

Even though the white sands have transformed to brown, even though the marine population has been hindered and not to mention the unemployment rate climbing in most parts from Louisiana to Florida, I find it remarkable that the spirits remain alive, unbreakable and passionate about 2011. Recycling efforts appear to be increasing along beach fronts, community groups are initiating networking sessions and the economic development offices continue to push for state and local support.

When we look back at 2010, we can easily focus on the bad, but more importantly there is plenty of good that also can't be overlooked. Art, culture, and technology will continue to collide and transform our world for 2011 and years to come. The creativity and engineering that emerges will remind us we can make smart choices, support local businesses, and encourage design and innovation. There is no doubt that risk will present itself in how we are to reshape our beaches, our cities, our communities and nations. With that risk comes reward; one that most are willing to take for 2011 and beyond.

Consume Less. Conserve More.