“Environmental Building News” is completing a computer program which provides suggestions for improving environmental performance of buildings, and case studies to illustrate the results. The “Green Building Advisor” prompts the user for basic information about a project, such as size, location, building type, and then searches its database of more than 700 strategies. It returns a list of strategies that are “strongly recommended” and “moderately recommended” for a project. The user can click on a specific strategy to learn more about it and access related references and case studies. It comes with a CD-ROM and a user manual. 800-861-0954 [sorry this link is no longer available]
Renewables & Efficiency
An energy audit by public high school students in Washington D.C. determined that energy costs at the U.S. DOEs Forrestal Building could be significantly reduced by making modifications to the already efficient building. The students presentation to DOE personnel suggested upgrading single pane windows, cleaning light fixtures, taking greater advantage of daylight, and installing window coverings and selective light switches. The student audit was part of an innovative program called Savings Through Energy Management (STEM). Students calculated that with their suggested modifications, annual energy costs could be reduced by more than $250,000. Students participated in a 30-hour course that focused on energy use patterns and resources; lighting and electrical use; heating; ventilation and air conditioning; energy audits; and renewable energy sources. Before their work at the DOE building, they audited their own schools and presented results to the Washington D.C. school board. They also visited DOEs National Renewable Energy Lab to see renewable energy in action. STEM is part of DOEs Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energys effort to provide energy information to students and teachers. Julia Thomas, NREL Public Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nrel.gov FROM Solar Today
Not to be undone by Toyota, whose Prius is set to enter the American market in 2000, American Honda announced its year 2000 model “VV” hybrid-electric car will be available to Americans in autumn of 1999. The 2-seater car, predicted to get more than 70 mpg, will be unveiled at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Honda hybrid has an extremely efficient 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder, lean-burn VTEC engine that is “assisted” by an electric motor during acceleration. It performs similarly to a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine. The VV meets California’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standard, currently the most stringent standard in the world. The car weighs less than 2000 pounds thanks to extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and plastic body panels. Source: EV World
If you live in Pennsylvania or have a business there, you can now switch to cleaner electricity. Electric power plants are the single largest source of stationary air pollution in the U.S. and one of the largest contributors to global warming. All you have to due is enroll for the right to choose and then select a supplier. Your wiring won’t change and your service will not be interrupted. The only difference is your monthly payment will go toward environmentally preferable sources of electricity. Providers: The Energy Cooperative Association of Pennsylvania: 215-972-1537 Green Mountain Energy: 800-799-6876 Connectiv: 800-727-3200 Clean Air Council has the latest information on energy suppliers: 215-567-4004 EDF: [sorry this link is no longer available] Green Mountain: [sorry this link is no longer available]
The first seven of 133 windmills started turning in early October at the Le Nordais Wind Farm, Quebec. At a cost of C$160 million, the windmills can produce 100 megawatts, enough to power 16,000 households, making it the largest such development in Canada. “Only about four other projects in the world were built to be this size,” says Yvan Dupont, president of Axor International Inc., one of a consortium of builders. The group, which includes MEG Micon of Denmark and Japan’s Nichimen Corp, won a 25-year contract from Hydro Quebec to generate wind power at 5.4 Canadian cents a kilowatt-hour. The largest such projects in Canada to date are in the windswept western prairie province of Alberta, which generates 21 megawatts. With Quebec accounting for more than half of Canada’s wind energy potential, Axor hopes to build more sites that can produce up to 3,000 megawatts of windpower. The Gallon Environment Letter
A team of New York University researchers conclude the Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) content can be stabilized only with a tenfold increase in non-carbon emitting power sources over the next 50 years. The current 1.5 terawatts of clean power generation must increase to 15 terawatts by 2050, from its current 15 percent of the global total to at least 50 percent. “Stabilizing CO2 at twice pre-industrial levels without untenable economic disruptions implies a massive shift to carbon-free power, particularly in developing nations,” said physicist Matin I. Hoffert, leader of the research team. “There are no energy systems technologically ready at present to produce the required amount of carbon-free power. Fission and fusion concepts now at early research and development stages could, in principle, provide the needed carbon-free power. Without policy incentives to overcome socioeconomic inertia, these could take more than 50 years to penetrate to their market potential. He called for an international effort pursued with the same urgency as the Manhattan Project or the Apollo space program.
14 firms which produce or purchase fuel cells or components formed the U.S. Fuel Cell Council. On the organization’s board are representatives from 3M, the American Methanol Institute, Ballard Generation Systems, Daimler-Benz, DuPont Fluoroproducts, Energy Partners, Energy Research Corp., EPYX Corp., Ford Motor Co., International Fuel Cells/ONSI Corp. (United Technologies Corp. subsidiary), M-C Power Corp., Plug Power, W.L. Gore & Associates and Siemens/Westinghouse. Helmut Petri, a member of Daimler-Benz’s Board of Directors overseeing passenger-car development, predicted to attendees of “Convergence 1998,” the International Congress on Transportation Electronics, that the pace of automobile development over the next 15 years will exceed that of the previous 50 years, in part because of changes spurred by integrated electronics and fuel cells. U.S. Fuel Cell Council: [sorry this link is no longer available]
Sun Power Electric, the world’s first all-solar electric utility, and Green Mountain Energy will cooperatively develop solar energy infrastructure in Pennsylvania. The first plant, to be built and owned by Sun Power, will be a 50kW plant near Philadelphia. Green Mountain Energy will purchase its output. It is expected to begin production this spring. As more customers sign on for renewable electricity products, they will build more capacity. The goal is to establish the largest network of solar plants in the eastern United States.
On the heels of BPs announcement that it will cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 10 percent by 2010, Shell pledged the same cuts by 2002. BP is making a major commitment to solar energy, and now, so is Shell. Both companies plan to improve efficiency throughout operations, and reduce venting and flaring of natural gas in exploration and production activities. Shell is making a $500 million investment in renewable energy resources, and, according to Willem-Jan van Wijk, director of Shell’s solar power division, the company aims to capture about 20 percent of the international commercial market for rural solar electricity systems, worth an estimated $1.1 billion, over the next five years. Eskom, the South African national electricity utility, and Shell International Renewables, are cooperating on a R130 million solar power project which will provide electricity to 50,000 rural households in South Africa over the next two years. Customers will pay R180 (about US$30; worth US$864)) for installation and R48 (US$8) for a monthly maintenance fee to power the equivalent of four lights and a black a[nd white TV for six hours. “This is the largest commercial, solar rural electrification project ever, he said. At a local level, it will provide opportunities […]