Posts tagged ‘Conservation’

Parched California to get more water

California’s drought-baked cities and farms will get considerably more water this year than last from federal officials, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Tuesday, making good on forecasts issued in February after a series of strong winter storms.

Irrigation districts south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which represent farmers on the west side of the state’s Central Valley, will get 25 percent of their contracted water allotment from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Salazar said, up from just 5 percent in February.

The increase was issued ahead of schedule and comes at a critical time for the Central Valley, which is one of the country’s most bountiful agricultural regions. California, the No. 1 farm state, produces more than half the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States.

But Salazar said California, which has suffered through three years of drought that has prompted rationing, higher charges and mandatory conservation measures, must work out long-term solutions to its ongoing water crisis.

“We essentially are dealing with a system that is strained and in collapse and has no certainty with respect to water supply for both for agricultural and municipal use on the one hand and for environmental demands,” Salazar said.

“Hopefully we will be able to work with the state of California, with all of the water users and members of California’s (Congressional) delegation to fashion a long-term plan that’s so badly needed,” he said.

Click HERE for full Article


March 17, 2010 at 9:01 AM Leave a comment

So Volkswagen has this new car, The L1

The prototype was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show a few months ago – that will get an estimated 170-230 miles per gallon.

Give this car a drink of gas and it will go 416 miles without a stop!

The accomplishment here is a diesel engine that’s small and powerful, and set in a very light frame. The “L1,” as it’s called, is very little, weighing approximately 837 pounds with a 2.6-gallon fuel tank.

German engineers were justly proud. This is, the company claims, a level of fuel efficiency never seen before in the auto world.

For More on the “L1” Click HERE

February 17, 2010 at 4:26 PM Leave a comment

Now’s the Time to Benefit from Green Tax Incentives

Residential Energy Efficiency
A common theme among green-related Recovery Act programs is the importance of weatherization projects. When homeowners can create a more energy efficient property, they save money on energy bills as well as reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-saving and weatherization products must be installed on an existing, primary residence.

Although 2009 is coming to a close, these tax credits are valid for projects completed through December 31, 2010.

Click HERE to read full article.

November 30, 2009 at 2:20 PM Leave a comment

The Rookie Chevy Volt Versus the Veteran Toyota Prius

General Motors has been inundated in recent years with nothing but bad news. After filing for bankruptcy and receiving a controversial government bailout, the ailing car maker is trying to revolutionize the auto industry and breathe life back into its deflated sails with the introduction of the Chevy Volt. Considered to be an “extended-range electric vehicle” or E-REV, the Volt is set to go on sale late next year and is unlike today’s hybrids. A lithium-ion battery powers the Volt for the first 40 miles of a trip and then the gas engine kicks in to create more electricity to keep the car rolling. If recharged every 40 miles, the Volt’s owner may never need to go to the pump again. The Volt is slated to receive a 230 mpg rating (through a bit of creative math), which is impressive, but we wanted to know how it stacks up against the current hybrid front runner, the Toyota Prius.

Prius Vs. Volt

First off, let’s take a look at Chevy Volt’s stats. The Volt does 0-60 in 8 seconds and runs on electricity for the first 40 miles, then the gas engine kicks in and recharges the battery. Once the batteries are depleted and the generator kicks in, the car has an additional 260 miles of driving range. If the Volt is driven farther than 40 miles without recharging, it will get roughly 40 mpg while running on the generator. The wheels, however, are always driven by the electric system. The Volt has to be plugged in and takes 6.5 hours to charge using a standard 100 volt home outlet. For those curious about the Volt’s electrical consumption, GM says the car, under normal driving, will consume about 2,520 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The company figures the car will cost 1 to 3 cents a mile to operate. Given these estimates and based on an electricity price of 11 cents per kWh, the Chevy Volt would cost around $275 a year to charge. This is just in electricity costs and doesn’t factor in the cost of gas, if needed. The Chevy Volt, however, is expected to have a price tag around $40,000. Though it is eligible for the $7,500 Federal tax credit, which was enacted to help offset the high cost of the batteries used in the Volt, it is considerably more expensive than the Toyota Prius.

The 2010 Toyota Prius, which is a gas-electric hybrid that uses both sources of energy, relies on the gas engine primarily and the electric motor is supplemental. The new Prius will come with a revised Hybrid Synergy Drive System, which will deliver even better gas mileage. The Prius can do 0-60 mph in 10 seconds and averages about 51 mpg. The Prius does not have to be plugged in because it automatically recharges using regenerative braking, or by running the on board generator. If driven 15,000 miles each year, the Toyota Prius would cost around $750 in gas. The Toyota Prius starts at only $21,000 and fully loaded, costs $32,500, which is still considerably less than the Chevy Volt.

For more click HERE

November 25, 2009 at 10:30 AM Leave a comment

Greening the Las Vegas Strip- Resorts sprinkle sustainability in with sizzle, splash

The resorts along Las Vegas Boulevard sit not just in the middle of a desert, but at a crossroads where conspicuous consumption meets scarce resources.

Las Vegas wouldn’t be what it is if not for Hoover Dam and the Colorado River water impounded behind it. On average, the city receives just four inches of rainfall a year, relying instead on Lake Mead for 90 percent of its water needs.

Making matters worse, the city and surrounding region have been gripped by drought for much of the last decade. In October 1999, the elevation of Lake Mead at Hoover Dam stood at 1,212 feet; 10 years later, it barely reached 1,093, a drop of almost 120 feet.

Las Vegas also sucks up an inordinate amount of energy — in July, electricity usage hit 5,586 megawatts, a peak for 2009. Approximately 90 percent of the city’s power is generated from non-renewable resources, including oil and natural gas.

The Las Vegas Strip

So, when it comes to sustainable design, the Strip is not likely the first place that comes to mind. The flashing lights, the flowing fountains, the air conditioning by the acre — the place doesn’t exactly scream conservation.

Leading the charge
And yet, sheer size aside, the resorts along the Strip are actually leading the conservation charge.

Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns Bally’s, Caesars Palace and Paris Las Vegas, among others, has spent $60 million on conservation projects over the last six years. In Las Vegas, major efforts include a multi-resort laundry facility that cuts water use by 30 percent — despite a 40-percent increase in capacity — and a five-megawatt cogeneration plant at the Rio that generates enough electricity to power one of the hotel’s two towers.

“We’re an unusual suspect for conservation efforts,” admits Gwen Migita, Harrah’s director of corporate social responsibility. “People come here for the gaming and the experiences, so we take care of the bigger impact issues behind the scenes.”

CityCenter, MGM Mirage’s 67-acre resort complex set to open two weeks from now, was built green enough that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has declared four of its properties LEED Gold certified, its second-highest designation. The property will feature, among other things, a cogeneration plant that will provide 10 percent of electricity needs and use the waste heat to warm the resort’s water supply, low-flow fixtures that will cut indoor water usage up to 45 percent, and glass and sunshades that let in light but deflect the desert heat, cutting down on lighting and air-conditioning.

Cindy Ortega, senior vice president of energy and environmental services for MGM Mirage, said even the biggest projects can be good for the environment: “Yes, we could’ve built it smaller and stayed within the same code and had the same environmental impact. Or we could’ve pursued LEED certification, made it harder on ourselves and built it the way we did. That’s what we chose to do.”

Ultimately, the issue comes down to what constitutes true sustainability.

“Is sustainability about being less bad than you might have otherwise or is it about being regenerative?” asks Jim Nicolow, director of sustainability at the architecture firm of Lord, Aeck & Sargent. “I don’t doubt that [MGM Mirage] is making legitimate improvements to what would be practice as usual, but is developing 70 acres in the desert the direction the world needs to go?”

Best of both worlds
Philosophical debates aside, the resorts along the Strip have all made major moves to improve energy efficiency. “If they can have that spark and sizzle with less energy consumption, you get the best of both worlds,” says Mark Severts, project communications director for NV Energy, the state’s primary supplier. “It’ll still look like, ‘Wow, Las Vegas,’ but they’re not spending as much money as people think they are.”

Which, it turns out, plays directly into the idea that the Strip wastes natural resources willy-nilly. “The Strip is a place of images and illusions,” says Nicole Lise, public information coordinator for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, “but the illusion isn’t limited to the clubs and the shows; it’s also about the use of water and energy. The reality is that the resorts on the Strip only use about six percent of our water.”

As for building bigger rather than smaller, both Nicolow and Ortega agree that big projects, and by extension big business, play a crucial role in the evolving arena of sustainability.

“If you want to change markets and have a faster and more comprehensive solution, then big business is the answer,” says Ortega. “CityCenter has fundamentally moved the needle on sustainable design.”

November 17, 2009 at 10:34 AM Leave a comment

Denmark Invites 191 Leaders to U.N. Climate Summit

Denmark has formally invited the leaders of United Nations member countries to the U.N. conference in Copenhagen in December that will try to clinch a new global climate deal, the government said on Thursday.


The invitations are sent by letter from Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to the heads of state and government of the other 191 U.N. member states.

The Copenhagen talks were originally meant for environment and climate ministers but the United Nations said last week that about 40 leaders have indicated plans to attend, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and leaders of nations in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

November 12, 2009 at 10:23 AM 1 comment

What Growth Will be Seen in Wind Turbine Control Systems?

The Wind Turbine Control systems market is well positioned to experience extraordinary growth for the next several years due to the volatility in oil cost, worldwide push for clean energy, favorable government incentives, and available investments funding for this area in the world financial community, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

Asia’s strong demand for energy and growing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is driving demand of renewable sources of energy such as wind power.  “Wind power is one of the key renewable energy sources that will make a significant contribution towards the goals of future energy models of every major country around the world.  Wind power is now an important part of the global energy picture which is driving substantial growth in the business,” according to Senior Analyst Himanshu Shah (, the principal author of ARC’s “Wind Turbine Control Systems Worldwide Outlook”  (

Clean Energy Demand Will Drive Phenomenal Growth for Wind Turbine Control Systems Globally

This study covers wind turbine control systems which comprises five major types of sub-systems based on its functionality: Main Control System, Condition Monitoring System, Power Converter System, Pitch Control System, and Yaw Control System.  Demand for wind turbine control systems is directly correlated to the demand for wind turbine manufacturing and wind power generation.

Global wind power installations will struggle throughout 2009, however suppliers are expecting a strong rebound after 2010.  Strategic decisions made now will have far reaching implications on wind turbine control system suppliers as recovery continues beyond 2010 with continuing push to add wind power generation capacity.  Intense market share competition will result in an increasing global competition and shift market power to the buyers.

Wind turbine control system suppliers are benefiting from an increasing demand for wind turbines worldwide and recognizing various areas of opportunities where performance can be improved.  The report also discusses what market issues are faced by wind turbine control systems suppliers as well as suppliers’ strategies.

for full article click HERE

November 3, 2009 at 5:34 PM Leave a comment

Older Posts

University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

Unplugged Rewind