Green Business

Greenpeace ups their assault on Facebook’s dirty data centers

Greenpeace ups their assault on Facebook’s dirty data centers You may not think about it while you’re checking your wall or uploading photos from your weekend bash, but it takes a lot of juice to keep Facebook up and running. The social networking site needs a lot of cloud-based computing power to keep more than 500 million active users occupied at work and sadly many of these machines are powered by coal based electricity. Greenpeace is upping their campaign against Facebook’s methods and have asked them to dump dirty electricity by Earth Day.

Man-made trees that clean the air! Green technology?

treepods-14 SHIFT Boston,  an environmental municipal incentive, and Influx Studio from Paris are cooperating on a project named Treepods – artificial trees which would remove CO2 from air in their vicinity by using solar power, recycled plastic and kinetic energy from built-in playing devices. Their initiative is to install Tripods throughout Boston, creating an urban canopy.

Supposedly a green technology innovation, Treepods are described as modular man-made trees produced from recycled plastic (polyethylene terephthalate - PET). Using installed photovoltaic panels, they would produce part of the energy needed to strip the surrounding air of carbon dioxide, turning it into clean air with an alkaline resin. When the CO2-saturated resin reacts with water, probably meaning rain, it will release the carbon dioxide for storage.

KB Home proves that solar power isn’t just for treehuggers

KB Home proves that solar power isn’t just for treehuggers Like the rest of the economy, the real estate market hasn’t been healthy for a number of years. Builders have had to lay off workers, brokers aren’t cashing a lot of commission checks, and a lot of new homes remain empty for months. Many are looking to green ideas to set their properties apart from vanilla-type construction and a high number of foreclosures hitting the market. Construction giant KB Home is taking this idea to heart and has plans to build a number of communities where solar panels are installed on every starter home.

Earthquake in Japan may leave Toyota Prius in short supply

Earthquake in Japan may leave Toyota Prius in short supply Toyota hasn’t had the easiest year with a number of recalls and a very public Congressional hearing. Things were looking bright for the Japanese automaker in recent weeks with US buyers flocking to dealerships to check out the Prius. The horrific events in the country may impact the number of hybrids that Toyota can ship to the US for some time.

A lot of Japanese car manufacturers source parts from US based plants such as parts from Denso in Battle Creek, Michigan or even set up shop with manufacturing facilities like Nissan’s Leaf plant in Tennessee. The Prius is a bit different because it is sourced entirely in Japan. With limited power supplies and a heavily damaged infrastructure it may be difficult for Toyota to get the Prius back in US showrooms.

The Fukushima nuclear reactor: how dangerous is it?

The Fukushima nuclear reactor: how dangerous is it?A lot of people who know nothing about nuclear power are saying a lot of things these days during the Japanese nuclear crisis. I’ve toured two different nuclear reactors and my experiences there have taught me a few things that you may not know and that might shed some sober light on this subject.

Guess: How Many People Have Already Been Exposed To Radiation?

Almost 7 billion people are exposed to radiation each day. That's right, the entire population of the world is constantly absorbing radiation from the earth, from the sun, and from the universe. As a resident of Denver Colorado, I get about three times as much radiation as most people do along the coasts. The Mile High City is above much of the atmosphere, and the Rocky Mountains are full of radioactive substances. People living in other parts of Colorado are exposed to even more radiation. Radiation is everywhere; the question is really how much radiation people are receiving beyond their normal exposure. Think about that when you hear a panicked report of slightly elevated levels of radiation in Tokyo.

Charge it: a new battery swap program for electric cars As oil prices keep inching up due to the events in Northern Africa and the Middle East, many Americans are looking at electric cars to reduce the pain at the pump. There’s one big problem, though. You most likely have a gas station near your home or workplace, but not a charging station to power up your Leaf or Volt. A company called Better Place may change the EV world with their novel idea of swap-out batteries for electric cars.

Former SAP higher-up Shai Agassi was a little perplexed when it came to electric cars. He wondered why car manufacturers couldn’t take the same battery based approach to their product as simple items like a TV remote or flashlight; simply swap out your depleted power source for a fresh battery.

PHEV Volt + $2.5 billion + U.S. WasteWise Hall of Fame = GM

PHEV VOLT + $2.5 BILLION + U.S. WASTEWISE HALL OF FAME = GMLately GM is mostly mentioned with regards to the bold industrial step it is undertaking with its PHEV the GM Volt. But did you know GM has been inducted to the U.S. EPA WasteWise Hall of fame and that they’ve managed to make over $2.5 billion in earnings since 2007 just by managing their waste? 

GM Volt, the PHEV. PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Basically it means it’s got a regular internal combustion engine and an electric motor and it can be plugged into the grid. That’s very important and it’s got to do with Vehicle-to-grid technology. Essentially, once infrastructure and system are in place, the GM Volt will aid the power grid at peak-times when energy demand is high by returning clean energy it “harvested” from renewable sources such as solar panels placed on your house roof. That makes EV and PHEV the only way to save renewable energy and return it to the power grid when needed!

Fart in a jar: scatological solutions to energy needs

Save gas, fart in a jar: scatological solutions to energy needsCars first began to sport bumper stickers that read “Save Gas, Fart in a Jar” during the oil shocks of the 1970’s. Now as gasoline prices again spike, this tongue-in-cheek advice may actually be on to something. Rather than relying on biofuels that are derived from food crops, renewable energy developed from food that the body already processed and eliminated might be a solution to our energy needs. Two technologies purport to do just that: to turn urine and excrement into energy.

Green yet? Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday: Be the Dan Kanter or get the Charlie Sheen out!

Green yet? Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday: Be the Dan Kanter or get the Charlie Sheen out! Dan Kanter is the lead guitarist in Justin Bieber’s band. He’s supportive, in the background even though he could be famous, but most importantly wanted by his colleagues. Charlie Sheen supposedly just the opposite. Which role will you pick on this Fat Tuesday or any holiday, the supportive one? Who will you support? Family and friends by overcooking and overloading on food and drinks or your body and planet by eating a healthy meal and not overdoing it? How green is your behavior?

When it comes to choosing between our own comfortable pleasures which are very easy to imagine and anything unimaginable, no matter how good it is, we always tend to pick the most comfortable thing. Does that mean we’re only as green as it suits us? Most of the time and in most countries.

Google goes green by routing drivers around traffic jams on Android devices

Google goes green by routing drivers around traffic on Android devicesGoogle made an announcement yesterday that at first glance seems a great way to save time while driving places. But, the impact isn’t just in time savings, it also has potential to impact the environment in a positive way. Imagine if this new routing were to create even a 5% efficiency. With over 35 million miles driven by Google Navigation users every day, that’s a savings of nearly 1.8 million miles -- daily!

Drill that down even further and the potential environmental impact becomes even more clear. Consider an average fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon and that nets out 87,500 gallons (over 2,000 barrels) of gasoline saved every day. Of course, quantifying that efficiency gain in a scientific method would require a more thorough understanding of how reducing idling time impacts fuel economy and then create a trajectory for calculating that savings with more accuracy. This simple calculation is only meant to illustrate proportional potential.