Empire State Building cuts energy use 20%

Empire State Building cuts energy use 20% - May. 7, 2012

By Steve Hargreaves (CNN) The Empire State Building is on an energy diet.The hulking building, a symbol of American power and, to some, excess, has cut its energy use by 20%.And thats just due to changes to the buildings exterior. Once retrofits are made to tenant spaces on the inside, the second tallest building in Manhattan will be nearly 40% more efficient.

The retrofits will cost $20 million once theyre complete, and are expected to save the owners $4.4 million in annual energy costs.”After one year, we have proven that investing in energy efficiency gives building owners a dollars-and-cents advantage,” said Dave Myers, a president at Johnson Controls, which conducted the retrofit.

The changes to the Empire State include:

  • Filling the existing windows with an energy saving gas and adding an additional plastic pane.
  • Upgrading the buildings cooling system.
  • Using computerized “smart” energy management technology that can adjust temperatures floor by floor.
  • Provide tenants with detailed energy use in their space.
  • Automatically shut off lights in unused areas.

via Empire State Building cuts energy use 20% – May. 7, 2012.

A crop from the ocean floor

Paul Dobbins is co-owner of Ocean Approved, what is believed to be the nation's only kelp farm. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Paul Dobbins is co-owner of Ocean Approved, what is believed to be the nation's only kelp farm. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Two kelp farmers in Maine hope to get a piece of a $7-billion global seaweed industry.

Reporting from Falmouth, Maine – Paul Dobbins and Tollef Olson admit they still have a kink in their scheme to use seaweed to revolutionize American eating habits, clean the environment, lower the federal trade deficit and make themselves fabulously rich.

Call it the yuck factor.

“It tastes better than it looks,” said Olson, holding a shimmering frond of brown horsetail kelp he had just plucked from the cold gray waters of Casco Bay. “Really.”

Dobbins and Olson run what is believed to be America’s only commercial kelp farm. Inspired by mega-aquaculture sites in Asia, and a $7-billion global seaweed industry, the two entrepreneurs started cultivating kelp here last year and have begun marketing it as an exotic frozen vegetable.

“It’s a giant brown algae in the water, but it turns bright green when it’s cooked,” Olson said. “Think kelp noodles. And kelp salad. And kelp slaw.”

To read full article by Bob Drogin go to LATimes.com

Elusive Goal of Greening U.S. Energy

The Great Green Hope for lifting America’s economy is not looking so robust.

President Obama, both during his campaign and in his first year in office, has promoted the promise of new jobs in cutting-edge, nonpolluting industries, and such green jobs will be a major issue at his jobs “summit” meeting Thursday.

But, increasingly, skeptics who point to the need for more jobs are wondering why he is not doing more to create green jobs faster.

Growth in clean energy industries and in green jobs has been considerably slower and bumpier than anticipated, industry experts say.

But rather than giving up on its green jobs mantra, the White House will rededicate itself to promoting green industries at the jobs meeting, which will bring together business and labor leaders, politicians and economists.

The initial promise of green jobs was based on governments around the world declaring the fight against global warming to be a priority. The theory was that jobs in environmentally minded companies would grow rapidly as a result. But instead, some green-industry companies have been shedding jobs in the United States, and in some cases moving them to China.

Last week, the Gamesa wind turbine plant in western Pennsylvania announced it was laying off nearly half its 280 workers. Last month, General Electric said it would close a solar panel factory in Delaware, while Evergreen Solar, which received $58 million in state aid to build a 900-employee plant northwest of Boston, said it would move some assembly to China, costing 250 jobs.

To read complete article by Steven Greenhouse go to NYTimes.com

Plantagon: Geodesic Dome Farm of the Future

plantagon-ed001.jpg

Lots of cities have farmers markets, but most — if not all — of the produce comes from rural farmers that use oil-intensive methods of transportation to cart around their food. With 80% of all people on the planet projected to live in cities by 2050, food production will have to move into cities if it is to remain cost-efficient. A Swedish-American company called Plantagon has conceived of an incredible solution: a massive urban greenhouse contained within a geodesic dome. The vertical farm, which consists of a spiral ramp inside a spherical dome, is currently in the development stages.

To read complete article by Ariel Schwartz go to inhabitat.com

15 Year Old Invents Algae-Powered Energy System

algaepower-ed021.jpgThanks to 15 year old Texan Javier Fernández-Han, we feel a little more hopeful about the next generation’s ability to adapt to a world of limited resources. The high school student developed a fully featured algae-powered energy system that combines a dozen new and existing technologies to treat waste, produce methane and bio-oil for fuel, produce food for humans and livestock, sequester greenhouse gases, and produce oxygen. Dubbed the VERSATILE system, the project is this year’s winner of the annual Invent Your World Challenge $20,000 scholarship.

Report: Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth

Contact: Brandon MacGillis, 202-88… and Andrew McDonald, 202-55…
Washington, DC – 06/10/2009 – The number of jobs in America’s emerging clean energy economy grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007, according to a report (PDF) released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew developed a clear, data-driven definition of the clean energy economy and conducted the first-ever hard count across all 50 states of the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that supply the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

Pew found that jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent, while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007. There was a similar pattern at the state level, where job growth in the clean energy economy outperformed overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia during the same period. The report also found that this promising sector is poised to expand significantly, driven by increasing consumer demand, venture capital infusions, and federal and state policy reforms.

America’s clean energy economy has grown despite a lack of sustained government support in the past decade. By 2007, more than 68,200 businesses across all 50 states and the District of Columbia accounted for about 770,000 jobs. → continue reading