Category Archives: Energy

GM Reducing Environmental Impact in a Variety of Ways

The Green Samaritan is electric over the next-gen Chevrolet Volt and Chevy’s Bolt EV Concept.

SOURCE: General Motors

DESCRIPTION:

I was recently given the opportunity to be a part of a group of bloggers invited by General Motors to attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Mich.

On my blog, The Green Samaritan, I gather and share advice and resources for living the green lifestyle, so I jumped at the opportunity to see the behind the scenes auto show action – especially since I heard rumors Chevrolet might reveal a new electric vehicle.

Fresh from an exciting and informative week in Detroit, my mind is racing.

I’m both a full-time mom and blogger, so I went in to this experience with plenty of questions. I currently drive a crossover SUV, but I’m in the market for something a little more environmentally friendly. As a busy mom with two boys and a wide array of sports gear to lug around, along with all the groceries that fill-up the trunk each week, I wanted to know what vehicle would help me get around while reducing my environmental impact? Can I sacrifice space for sustainability?

When we arrived on the show floor, James Bell, GM’s Consumer Affairs director, gave our group a tour and talked about the future of the industry. While we were at NAIAS, Chevrolet revealed the next generation Volt, which is an even more committed step toward electrification by increasing the range from 38 miles on a fully charged battery to 50 miles.

Reducing the size and weight of the battery packs is another significant step to greater efficiency. It’s a real balancing act to achieve a stylish look on the vehicles while being fuel-efficient. By making the car weigh less, this balancing act is made a little easier.

The surprise announcement of the Chevy Bolt EV Concept, described by GM CEO Marry Barra, as an “EV for everyone” with a price point of around $30,000 after incentives, clearly shows GM’s desire to make this type of vehicle attainable for all.

These efficient vehicles are built at facilities with sustainability practices as well. From their landfill-free facilities to the reuse of the Volt battery cases for duck houses, GM is reducing its environmental impact. When I asked Sharon Basel, manager of environment and energy communications, about employee engagement in green initiatives, I learned sustainability goals are part of and as important as their other goals such as production, safety and financial.

John Bradburn, GM’s global manager of waste reduction, came up with the idea to repurpose Volt battery cases into duck houses, which is a clever and meaningful reuse of an unlikely item. With only 2,500 or so scaly-sided merganser ducks left, this reuse is making a big difference in successful breeding efforts.

As I reflect back on my experience at NAIAS, it seems GM has mapped out a path for me to follow towards a greener, cleaner world. I look forward to seeing what GM brings to NAIAS next year and hope to see the Bolt at my local dealership in the future.


 

Jeanne Blaisdell is the founder and publisher of The Green Samaritan blog, which gathers and shares the best advice, resources and tips for clean, green, and healthy living.

Tweet me: GM FastLane Guest Post: @GreenSamaritan shares post- #NAIAS enthusiasm about GM’s new #EVs http://bit.ly/1yLIaTC

KEYWORDS: Energy, GM, General Motors, 2016 Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Bolt, Green Samaritan, NAIAS, North American International Auto Show, EV

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High Speed Chargers Bring EV’s One Step Closer to Mainstream

by RP Siegel

SOURCE: Justmeans

DESCRIPTION:

In the year 1906, Ray Stannard Baker wrote the following passage about automobiles in the book The Boy’s Book of Inventions: Stories of the Wonders of Modern Science.

“The electric vehicle which has had its most successful development in this country has its well-defined advantages and disadvantages. It is simpler in construction and more easily managed than any other vehicle: one manufacturer calls it ‘fool proof.’ It is wholly without odor or vibrations and practically noiseless. It will make any permissible rate of speed and climb any ordinary hill. On the other hand, it is immensely heavy, owing to the use of storage batteries; it can run only a limited distance without recharging…”

He goes on to say, “Indeed, all the manufacturers of electric vehicles speak with the confidence of the day when the whole of the United States will be as thoroughly sprinkled with electric charging stations as it is today with bicycle road-houses.”

A hundred years ago we were at a crossroads similar to the one we find ourselves at today, with electric vehicles vying against gasoline-powered cars. Back then, the choice was made, influenced by a good deal of lobbying and maneuvering by the oil industry. The fact that gasoline powered cars were also cheaper and didn’t have the range issues of electrics also helped to tip the scales.

To continue reading, click here

Image courtesy of Chargepoint

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. 

Tweet me: High Speed Chargers Bring #EV’s One Step Closer to Mainstream http://bit.ly/1Dd2vRq via @Justmeans @RPSiegel #energy

KEYWORDS: Energy, Business & Trade, electric vehicles, BMW, VW, ChargePoint, Ray Stannard Baker, Chevy Bolt, Shai Agassi, Better Place, Toyota, Tesla, CHAdeMO, J1772, Chevy Spark EV, BMW i3, Justmeans, 3bl media llc

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Solar Power Utilities Look to New Investment Models – The Minute

SOURCE: 3BL Media, LLC

DESCRIPTION:

Two-thirds of the nation’s solar capacity installed in the U.S. last year was utility-scale solar power. The rapid growth of this new industry has been driven by government loan guarantees and an Investment Tax Credit worth 30 percent of a project’s cost. The results have been the Ivanpah plant, a venture between BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy, and Google, and two plants developed by the Spanish energy company, Abengoa. Located in the Mojave Desert, all three produce electricity when the sun is not shining by storing solar power for overnight use. Between them, they produce enough electricity to power over 300,000 homes throughout California. But the loan guarantee program has expired, and the tax credit drops from 30 percent to 10 percent at the end of this year. So solar power companies are looking to other financial tools to attract investors.

Congress is debating allowing the industry to use master limited partnerships, investment vehicles used by the oil and gas industries. And solar advocates are lobbying the administration to allow large-scale solar farms to be included in real estate investment trusts. Both mechanisms let companies pass much of their income directly to investors. An innovative industry requires equally innovative business models.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media. 

Video source: Solar Power Utilities Look to New Investment Models

Tweet me: #SolarPower utilities look to new investment models http://3bl.me/6brbpt via @3BLmedia #CSRminute

KEYWORDS: Energy, Environmental Policy, 3bl media llc, CSR Minute, solar power, BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy, Google, abengoa

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Biogen, Allergen, J&J, Adobe, Ecolab, GE, Agilent, Intel, Cisco Rank Among Most Sustainable Companies

by Vikas Vij

SOURCE: Justmeans

DESCRIPTION:

Favorable trends in corporate sustainability are transforming the world and creating a significant impact on the companies’ top and bottom lines. Global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity and demographic shifts are creating new opportunities and risks that businesses must address today to stay competitive tomorrow.

Toronto-based media organization Corporate Knights has released its 2015 Global 100 report, which identifies companies around the world that are utilizing resources in a sustainable manner and optimizing employee performance. Companies are assessed across 12 “key performance indicators” (KPIs) and the data-driven rankings are released annually at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Corporate Knights looks at a company’s resource utilization in terms of its energy use, emissions, water use, and waste generated. Financial sustainability is determined by taking into account factors such as the ratio of CEO compensation to the average employee’s compensation. Employee management sustainability is evaluated on the basis of factors such as fatalities or lost time, employee turnover, diversity in leadership positions, and female representation on the board and in management.

To continue reading, click here

Image Credit: Flickr via Carbon Visuals

Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of “The Power of Money” (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer for an international social project for developing nations “Decisions for Life” run in collaboration between the ILO, the University of Amsterdam and the Indian Institute of Management.

Tweet me: See who ranks among the most sustainable companies http://bit.ly/1GNXVz0 via @Justmeans #Global100

KEYWORDS: Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Awards and Recognition, Green Companies, 2015 Corporate Knights Global 100 Index, corporate knights, Global 100, Justmeans

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Synergistic Seawater Biofuels Project Provides Food and Fuel with Minimal Impact

by RP Siegel

SOURCE: Justmeans

DESCRIPTION:

An interesting and potentially very exciting project was unveiled today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. It combines biofuels and aquaculture to produce a combination of food and fuel in the unique coastal desert environment that is found in the Middle East and numerous other places in the world. Considering the fact that 20% of the world’s land area is desert and 97% of our water is salty, this is a considerable case.

Members of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium laid out the plan for what they are calling the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS), which aims to grow sustainable fuel and food in the desert.

Here’s how it will work. Seawater is pumped into a series of ponds to grow fish and shrimp for food. Nutrient-rich wastewater from the ponds will be used to feed and water fields of salt-tolerant halophyte plants, which will be raised for biofuels. Fertilizer runoff will be diverted through mangroves, which will extract nutrients, and purify the waste stream for reuse,  storing carbon along the way. It is envisioned as essentially a closed-loop system, through some make up water will be required to account for evaporation.

To continue reading, click here

Image courtesy of Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium.

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. 

Tweet me: Combining #biofuels & #aquaculture to produce food & fuel in coastal deserts http://bit.ly/1E9Ualf via @Justmeans @RPSiegel

KEYWORDS: Energy, Environmental Business, Boeing, GE, Honeywell UOP, Etihad Airways, Masdar Institute, halophyte plants, Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS)

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WGL Energy's Carbon Offsets Achieve Green-e Climate Certification

Commercial customers’ offsets can now earn points toward LEED certification

SOURCE: Center for Resource Solutions

DESCRIPTION:

SAN FRANCISCO, January 22, 2015 /3BL Media/ – Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) today announced that WGL Energy Services’ carbon offsets for commercial customers have been Green-e® Climate certified.

WGL Energy Services is one of the largest competitive energy suppliers in the mid-Atlantic region. Its Carbon Offsets are locally sourced from the Henrico County Landfill Gas Combustion Project, which captures and destroys methane from the Springfield Road Landfill located in Henrico County, Va. The project reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill by installing gas collection and destruction systems that destroy the landfill gas in an on-site power generation facility, and transmits the resulting electricity to the grid. It is validated by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

“By purchasing certified carbon offsets through WGL Energy Services, companies can help reduce emissions from a large contributor to greenhouse gases in the U.S.—municipal landfills,” said Todd Jones, Green-e Climate manager. “We are excited to work with WGL Energy Services as they provide this important option to their large commercial customers.”

Commercial customers can choose to offset activities such as business travel or corporate events, or can match any portion of their natural gas usage with carbon offsets. In addition, customers purchasing Green-e Climate certified offsets can use them to earn points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification on new and existing buildings.

“WGL Energy Services is dedicated to helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their sustainability goals,” said Laura Pagliarulo, Green Products manager. “By purchasing Green-e Climate certified carbon offsets, businesses can be confident that they are aiding the development of projects that wouldn’t have otherwise been built, leading to real reductions in emissions from landfills in the U.S.”

Green-e Climate is an independent certification and consumer-protection program requiring that carbon offsets include greenhouse gas emission reductions that have been verified according to strict project-level certification programs that ensure the emissions reductions have taken place, are permanent, and come from projects that would not have happened under a “business as usual” scenario. Green-e Climate verifies that reductions have been correctly and exclusively delivered as advertised, based on a yearly audit of a seller’s supply and sales. Sellers of certified offsets must provide customers with a carbon offset content label or project-specific information that explains where the reductions were sourced from, along with other important disclosures.

 

About WGL Energy Services
WGL Energy is an entity that delivers a full ecosystem of energy offerings including natural gas, electricity, green power, carbon reduction, distributed generation and energy efficiency provided by WGL Energy Services, Inc. (formerly Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.) and WGL Energy Systems, Inc. (formerly Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc.). To learn more about Carbon Offsets from WGL Energy visit www.wglenergy.com/commercialoffsets or call 703-793-7533.

About Green‑e and Center for Resource Solutions
A program of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions, Green‑e is North America’s leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. Green‑e offers certification and verification services through Green‑e Energy, a renewable energy certification program; Green‑e Climate, a greenhouse gas emission reduction certification program; and Green‑e Marketplace, a program that provides forward-thinking organizations a simple, nationally recognized logo they can use to communicate their renewable energy and climate commitment to their customers and stakeholders. To learn more about Green‑e Certified products and programs available in all 50 states and Canada, visit www.green‑e.org.

 

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©2015 Center for Resource Solutions. For more information, see us at www.resource-solutions.org or call 415-561-2100.

Contact Info:

Jeff Swenerton
Center for Resource Solutions
+1 (415) 561-2119
jeff@resource-solutions.org

Ruben Rodriguez
WGL Energy Services
+1 (202) 624-6620

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, Awards and Recognition, WGES, WGL Energy Services, climate change, carbon offset, Green-e, green-e climate, certification, Washington D.C., Center for Resource Solutions

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Global Investment in Clean Energy Rises 16% in 2014 – The Minute

SOURCE: 3BL Media, LLC

DESCRIPTION:

Bloomberg New Energy Finance is reporting that three hundred ten billion dollars was invested globally in green energy last year, a rise of sixteen percent over 2013. That amount almost matches the record total of three hundred seventeen billion, set in 2011. It should be noted that due to decreasing costs, the dollars invested in 2014 bought almost double the clean electricity capacity than in 2011.

Solar power, with its rapidly dropping costs, was the main driver, attracting over half the total funding for the first time. Solar investment rose by twenty-five percent in 2014, while wind power rose by eleven percent, to one-third of all investment. The nineteen point four billion invested in offshore wind projects was a record for that category. Energy efficiency and electric vehicle investment increased ten percent.

Measured by country, China was the leader, with clean energy investments rising thirty-two percent to ninety billion dollars. The U.S. was second, up eight percent to fifty-two billion, while Japan was up twelve percent to forty-one billion. Europe saw investment rise only one percent, but to a big number, sixty-six billion dollars. I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

Video Source: Global Investment in Clean Energy Rises 16% in 2014

Tweet me: .@BloombergNEF reports global investment in #cleanenergy rises 16% in 2014. Read more at http://3bl.me/22627b via @3BLmedia #CSRminute

KEYWORDS: Energy, Green Business, CSR Minute, 3bl media llc, csr, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China, Solar Energy, wind power

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Looking Ahead to 2030

by RP Siegel

SOURCE: Justmeans

DESCRIPTION:

Last month I wrote an essay about a vision of my city, Rochester, NY, in the year 2030. That essay won the Masdar Blogging Competition that will allow me to attend Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which will include the World Future Energy Summit. Many of the talks and presentations will be on sustainable options for the future.

In preparation for this, I just read this post on GreenBiz where the author had interviewed a number of leading thinkers in various fields about their thoughts on what 2030 might bring.

Not surprisingly, each focused on his or her own corner of the world. For example Darrel Smith of Microsoft talked about the importance of the cloud infrastructure and the kinds of services that could grow from that. Energy consultant Matthew Norden of MNL Partners foresees a nuclear power renaissance.

To continue reading, click here

Image credit: Dany Eid: Flickr Creative Commons

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. You can follow RP on Twitter, @RPSiegel.

Tweet me: What will be big in 2030? Vegetarianism, Nuclear Energy, Pasture Cropping? http://bit.ly/1CgYgU9 @RPSiegel via @Justmeans #CSR

KEYWORDS: Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Energy, Masdar, Abu Dhabi, Greenbiz, liquid flouride thorium reactors, Paul Hawken, David Friedberg, The Climate Corproation, Darrel Smith, MAtthew Norden, Wes Jackson. Land Institute, Microsoft, MNL Partners, Tensie Whelan, rainforest alliance

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