A New Point System Lets You Measure The Sustainability Impact Of Anything

Source: Fastcoexist There are any number of problems facing the world right now, and a limited amount of resources and time to handle them. Sometimes, you have to think about triage. But the scope of the problems can make that hard. What’s more important: creating clean energy or managing water scarcity. Those two issues are measured differently, making it hard for non-experts to compare them analytically. Energy Points is a new startup on a mission to quantify sustainability. Instead of using different ways of conceptualizing consumption (say, of water, electricity, waste, transportation and the like) the company smooths out diverse units and translates them into one common denominator: the amount of energy it takes to generate one gallon of gasoline. The result is that companies (and eventually individuals) can conduct one-to-one comparison of any sustainability project or resource consumption, regardless of the native unit of measure (kWh, gallons, BTUs, CO2 abated). All of these units of measurement are now expressed in energy per gallon, the same way miles per gallon represents …

Pilgrim centres go green by tapping solar energy

Source: Thehindu India’s pilgrim centres attract visitors from across the globe all year round. These centres, with large community kitchens, cater to the visiting devotees with a variety of food. And now, they have gone green too, using solar energy rather than the traditional methods. The Saibaba Ashram at Shirdi in Maharashtra commissioned its solar cooking system in 2009. The kitchen complex of the Ashram has 73 parabolic dishes to capture the sun’s rays to run what is touted as the world’s largest solar cooking system. It cooks food for 50,000 devotees everyday. The system taps the sun’s rays to generate 3,600 kg of steam daily and saves nearly 1,00,000 kg of cooking gas annually. It costs Rs.1.3 crores. Of this, the Central government’s Non-Renewable Energy Ministry provided Rs.58 lakh as subsidy. Steam cooking is clean, efficient and hygienic, especially when food is cooked on a massive scale. The dish antennas concentrate solar rays on a giant reflector which transfers the heat to generate steam with temperature ranging between 550 …

Cost-effective solar power module could also serve as an eco-friendly furnace

Source: Gizmag Borrowing technology from sophisticated telescope mirrors as well as high-efficiency solar cells used for space exploration, a group of students and researchers at the University of Arizona is putting the final touches on a novel power plant that promises to generate renewable energy twice as efficiently as standard solar panel technology with highly competitive costs and a very small environmental impact. Curved mirrors in solar power plants usually concentrate the sun’s rays along a water pipe, heating the water into steam that is then fed to power-generating turbines. But rather than distributing the power over the area of a water pipe, researchers at the University of Arizona are working on focusing as much as possible of the sun’s captured energy onto a precise point in space. The target is a small glass ball that is only five inches in diameter. The ball contains a specially coated lens that redirects the light to an array of 36 small, high-efficiency solar cells, which were originally developed for space applications, that …

In Brazil, prisoners’ pedal power shaves time off their sentence

Source: springwise Film lovers in the UK have already experienced screenings projected the environmentally friendly way with the pedal-powered Cycle-in Cinema. In Brazil, the Santa Rita do Sapucaí prison has taken a similar approach in its attempts to produce green energy – harnessing the pedal work of its inmates. According to reports, two exercise bikes have been placed in the courtyard of the penitentiary and are hooked up to batteries. Cyclists’ kinetic energy is converted into electricity which charges the battery and a device on the handlebars alerts the rider when it’s time stop. The fully charged batteries are then taken into the city and used to power street lamps – one day’s cycling can provide enough energy to run six light bulbs. On a mass scale, the country’s prisoners could be a source of alternative energy for illuminating a city’s worth of street lights. In order to incentivize use of the bikes, city judge José Henrique Mallmann is waiving a day off the sentence of prisoners for every 16 hours pedalling they …

Leading businesses to disclose greenhouse gas emissions

Source: Defra All businesses listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from the start of the next financial year under plans announced by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Rio+ 20 Summit today. The UK is the first country to make it compulsory for companies to include emissions data for their entire organisation in their annual reports. The introduction of the reports, following consultations with leading businesses, will enable investors to see which companies are effectively managing the hidden long-term costs of greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of businesses responding to the consultation support the change and government plans are also backed by leading employer and environmental organisations including the CBI and the Aldersgate Group. The new regulations will be introduced from April 2013.  They will be reviewed in 2015, before ministers decide whether to extend the approach to all large companies from 2016. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are causing climate …

BEE plans risk guarantee fund for energy efficiency projects

Source: Mydigitalfc The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) plans to set up a partial risk guarantee fund (PRGF) to enhance financing options for energy efficiency projects. PRGF would provide commercial banks with up to 50 per cent of risk coverage against loans issued for such projects. BEE is also looking to set up a venture capital fund for the same. BEE has initiated the process and has requested proposals to shortlist a project approval unit for it, a senior official of the agency said. Under the programme, participating financial institutions would take guarantee of up to Rs 3 crore per project from the PRGF before disbursement of loans. In case of default, the fund will cover the first loss, subject to maximum of 10 per cent of the total guaranteed amount and cover the remaining default amount on pari-passu basis up to the maximum guaranteed amount, he added. BEE was created with a mission to assist in developing policies and strategies to enhance the overall energy efficiency of the country. …

IFC invests $2.7 million in ATM maker Vortex Engineering

Source: Twocircles The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, Monday announced it is investing $2.7 million as equity in the city-based low-cost ATM maker, Votex Engineering. The IFC, in a statement, said the investment was being made to help Vortex Engineering to expand its network of solar powered ATMs across India’s rural and semi-urban areas where people had limited or no banking services. The IFC is, however, silent on the equity percentage it would acquire in the Indian firm with this investment. “IFC’s assistance in implementing technology-led banking services would eventually help us take our offerings to other developing countries,” Vijay Babu, chief executive officer of Vortex Engineering was quoted as saying in the statement. According to the IFC, the automatic teller machine (ATM) market in India is expected to grow three times over the next three years owing to the government push to extend banking services. “The investment will help in taking basic banking and financial inclusion schemes to rural and semi-urban areas in …

Bigger Is Better for Wind Turbines

Source: Cleantechnica Scientists have concluded in a new study that, the larger the wind turbine, the greener the electricity it produces. The report appears in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology. Marloes Caduff and colleagues concluded that wind power is an increasingly popular source of electricity, providing almost 2 percent of global electricity worldwide, a figure that is expected to reach 10 percent by 2020. The size of turbines is also increasing One study recently showed that the average size of commercial turbines has grown 10-fold in the last 30 years, from diameters of 50 feet back in 1980 to nearly 500 feet today. Unsurprisingly, super-giant turbines approaching 1,000 feet in diameter are on the horizon, which pushed the authors into wanting to determine whether larger was better. Their study showed that bigger turbines do in fact produce greener electricity, for two primary reasons: Manufacturers now have the knowledge, experience, and the technology to build big wind turbines with great efficiency, minimizing the need for research and development. …

6 Future Playgrounds That Harness Kids’ Energy While They Play

Source: Fastcoexist Power to the people, and power from the people. When IBM came up with a list in 2011 of the five technologies it thinks will change the world in five years, kinetic energy–power from people–topped the list. Advancements could come, they say, from developments in devices that might harvest power from your shoes, your exercise, and even the soccer ball you kick. Green gyms are also cropping up. And now the idea has come to playgrounds, where kids’ movement can be harnessed and funneled into powering schools and toys. For more on the future of playgrounds, check out 8 insane playgrounds, schools, and libraries of the future. Continue Reading…

India’s low-carbon technology market likely to be worth $135 billion by 2020

Source: Economic Times Billions of dollars worth of investment in clean technology and green energy are eyeing India, where the market for low-carbon technology is expected to expand to $135 billion by 2020, according to industry experts, making the country one of the most lucrative destination for companies in the domain. Renewable energy has already lured stars such as Sachin Tendulkar and Aishwarya Rai and large companies such asReliance Power and Lanco, and the flow of venture capital has increased in the sector. In addition, foreign companies involved in solar power and wind energy, as well as global funds that scout for opportunities around the globe are increasingly eyeing India for a slice of the lucrative market. The market is promising as the government strives to tame energy-guzzling factories that spew toxic fumes, and old vehicles that contaminate the air with emissions. Analysts say that the market would expand even faster after the country’s economic growth bounces back from the current global slowdown. “We are really bullish on India in the long run, because the private sector …

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