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Contents

Brumby planning to plug Victoria into the sun

June 17, 2008. From The Age Four solar plants capable of producing enough power to meet the annual needs of almost 200,000 homes could be built in Victoria over the next decade, under a plan for renewable energy outlined by Premier John Brumby.

New York Times green issue

April 20, 2008. Via York Times website. Some Bold Steps to Make Your Carbon Footprint Smaller

This article summarises the content, under the topics of Act, Eat, Invent, Learn, Live, Move, Build.

Costa Rica is 99% powered by renewable energy, but faces challenges as demand for energy grows

April 8, 2008. Via MetaEfficient Costa Rica is a country rich with renewable energy. In fact, it gets about 99% of all its electrical energy from clean sources, and it’s aiming to be the first country to become carbon neutral. Some of Costa Rica’s energy sources include geothermal energy, the burning of sugarcane waste and other biomass, solar and wind energy. However, the largest source of energy is hydroelectricity from dams, which provide more than 82% of the country’s electricity.

UAE starts work on world's first zero-carbon city, Masdar City

February 10, 2008 Via ABC news

The United Arab Emirates is set to start work on construction of the world's first zero carbon emissions city - Masdar City project. The 6.5-square-kilometre development will cost $24.6 billion and is set for completion in 2015. Masdar City will house 50,000 people and will be run entirely on renewable energy including solar power, exploiting the desert state's constant supply of abundant sunshine. The city will be built in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. Residents will use electric-powered travel pods to move around the city. The UAE has the world's fifth largest oil reserves and fourth largest gas reserves.

Green shipping powered by giant kites

The Skysail in use
The Skysail in use

John Vidal, January 3, 2008. Via: The Age

One of the first large cargo ships in 100 years to cross the Atlantic Ocean with the help of the wind will set off from Europe this month on a voyage that is due to make maritime history. When the 10,000-tonne Beluga SkySail is well clear of land, it will launch a giant kite, which wind tunnel tests and sea trials suggest will tug it along and save 10-15% of the heavy fuel oil it would normally burn. If the journey from Bremen in Germany to Venezuela and back is successful, it could become common to see some of the largest ships in the world towed by kites the size of soccer fields.

Links:

Aptera super fuel efficient vehicle

Aptera vehicle
Aptera vehicle

December 22, 2007. Via Slashdot . Aptera's Super-MPG Electric Typ-1 e: Exclusive Video Test Drive, Popular Mechanics.

California-based Aptera is building an innovative and inexpensive super fuel-efficient Typ-1 electric vehicle. A video test drive and design overview is available at the Popular Mechanics website. The goal is for the vehicle to travel 200km on a single lithium-phosphate pack charge for 2008. An advanced hybrid getting 100km per litre (300 mpg) is planned for 2009.

United States Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007

Michelle Meyers, December 20, 2007 Green power plays|CNET News.com

The US Congress has passed an energy bill later signed by President George Bush late in December, 2007. The act includes the following measures:

  • a new law setting higher fuel efficiency standards, the first increase in mileage standards since 1975, when mandates were first instituted.
  • boosting production of domestic biofuels to ultimately cut production of gases scientists blame for global warming. This includes ethanol production, both from corn and other sources, such as woodchips and switchgrass, to increase nearly fivefold over the next 15 years.
  • higher standards for efficiency of lighting and household appliances, with a goal of phasing out incandescent bulbs in 10 years.

Palo Alto firm to build solar thermal equipment factory in Nevada

David R. Baker, Friday, December 14, 2007 SFGate

Call it assembly-line solar. Palo Alto's Ausra Inc. said Thursday that it is building the country's first factory dedicated to making equipment for large-scale solar thermal farms.

The factory, in Las Vegas, will crank out the mirrors, towers and tubing for solar facilities throughout the desert Southwest. That includes a solar farm Ausra plans to build just north of California's Carrizo Plain in San Louis Obispo County. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has already agreed to buy the Carrizo plant's power, enough to light more than 132,000 homes.

Open editing trial

We are now conducting a trial of allowing edits to Greenlivingpedia without requiring contributors to have an account. We are trying this open editing approach to make it much easier for people to get involved. Some articles, such as the main page, will remain protected.

Tiny solar powered Linux computer

December 2, 2007. Via Lifehacker

Aleutia's 4.5 inch solar powered Linux "E1" computer runs on 8 watts of power, has no moving parts and is completely silent. It runs Puppy Linux, comes with an optional solar panel and an optional 10.4 inch monitor. The E1 costs US$400 and has low end specs (2GB hard drive, 128MB RAM, 200MHz processor). However, E1's portability and light footprint may be an early glimpse into the future of computing.

Power shocker — $160 rise

Josh Gordon, November 30, 2007, The Age

Most Victorian families will be stung by a $160 increase in their annual power bills under a new price regime to be announced by the State Government today. The drought and booming demand for power have pushed the cost of generating electricity to unprecedented levels, with the added pain set to flow through to consumers from January 1. A a typical household consuming 6500 kilowatt hours of peak and off-peak electricity can expect their annual bills to rise from about $945 to $1106, an increase of $161. The drought has severely limited Australia's hydro-electricity capacity, forcing power generators to tap into more expensive and polluting options, particularly gas, to meet booming demand.

Australia just the spot for solar energy projects

November 28, 2007. The Age

Colour-coded world map produced by NASA showing where solar energy has maximum effect. Photo: Reuters
Colour-coded world map produced by NASA showing where solar energy has maximum effect. Photo: Reuters

Australia gleams a bright red in a satellite map compiled by NASA that paints a vibrant picture of how solar energy reaches different parts of the world. One sun-baked desert landmark in south-east Niger got a searing average of 6.78 kilowatt hours of solar energy per square metre per day from 1983-2005, roughly the amount of electricity used by a typical US home in a day to heat water.

University of NSW renewable energy expert Dr Mark Diesendorf said maps such as this not only helped companies interested in building solar power stations but illustrated the energy possibilities of the sun. "Australia has got lots of solar energy potential, and it's not doing enough to tap into that."

Dr Wes Stein, manager of the CSIRO's National Solar Energy Centre, said a 2001 study showed Australia had the highest average solar radiation of any continent. "We are a very good country to do solar energy projects."


DSE Open Green Home Program

The Open Green Home Program is being run by Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment to collect information about sustainable living and building. If you would like to share your experiences and knowledge about environmentally friendly building, saving water or saving energy, please contact Amelia Poxon at the Department of Sustainability and Environment on 03 9637 8912.

Greenlivingpedia is launched

Monday 15 October 2007. Greenlivingpedia launch

Melbourne City Councillor Fraser Brindley and Peter Campbell launched Greenlivingpedia (this website), a free resource for sharing information about green living and building at Melbourne’s innovative CH2 building. "Today I am launching Greenlivingpedia, an important resource that enables everyone to create and share information about green living and green building, such as the CH2 building," Cr Brindley said.

Fit-PC: a tiny PC that draws only 5w

October 13, 2007. Tiny PC consumes only 5W but runs Win XP and Linux Via Slashdot

Fit-PC is the size of a paperback and absolutely silent, yet fit enough to run Windows XP or Linux. fit-PC is designed to fit where a standard PC is too bulky, noisy and power hungry. If you ever wished for a PC to be compact, quiet and green – then fit-PC is the perfect fit for you. Fit-PC draws only 5 Watts, consuming in a day less power than a traditional PC consumes in 1 hour. You can leave fit-PC to work 24/7 without making a dent in your electric bill.

The big melt: lessons from the Arctic summer of 2007

October 11, 2007 Carbon Equity

The Arctic sea ice is disintegrating "100 years ahead of schedule", having dropped 22% this year below the previous minimum low, and it may completely disappear as early as the northern summer of 2013. This is far beyond the predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change and is an example of global warming impacts happening at lower temperature increases and more quickly than projected. What are the lessons from the Arctic summer of 2007?

Dell to go carbon-neutral by 2008

September 27, 2007 Sydney Morning Herald

Dell has unveiled an environmental plan that the computer maker said will make its operations carbon-neutral by 2008, a year earlier than it previously promised. Dell said it would achieve the goal through a variety of methods, including buying so-called carbon offsets, replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent and requiring parts suppliers to list information on their environmental policies"

Quote of the Day: Al Gore on Climate Change Leadership, Montreal Protocol

Jasmin Malik Chua, 29 September 2007 Treehugger

All of the market initiatives are incredibly important. The market allocates more money in one hour than all of the governments allocate over a year's time. But government's set the rules of the road and determine how markets allocate capital and make decisions. And there should be no mistake that this crisis, the climate crisis, is not going to be solved only by personal action and business action. We need changes in laws; we need changes in policies; we need new leadership and we need a new treaty. We need a mandate at Bali during the first 14 days of December this year to complete a treaty not by 2012 but by 2009, and put it completely into force by 2010. We can do it and we must do it. ...

Modular green building makes first appearance

Martin LaMonica [video] CNET News.com

A video of the first demo model of the PowerPod in an unlikely place - an old coal power plant in the industrial city of Lawrence, Mass. A look at the flexible green home and gets some ideas on how it might be used.

The Greenest Web Host

September 2007 MetaEfficient

This web host claims to be the greenest. Based in San Francisco, and they run their service from AISO.Net's solar powered data centre which is powered by its own array of solar cells, installed outside the building.

Green tax reform mooted for city buildings

Royce Millar, August 30, 2007 The Age

Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has called for a rethink of property taxes and the possibility of tax breaks for commercial building owners to encourage the greening of the country's office buildings. Speaking from Norway, Dr Flannery said it was time for governments to act on greenhouse emissions from cities, including commercial buildings. "The built environment is where we can make some of the most cost-effective advances in terms of emissions reductions. So much of our emissions comes from inner cities."

Solar power headed For 45% annual growth

Paul Davidson, August 28, 2007 USA TODAY via Slashdot

Solar power has long been the Mercedes-Benz of the renewable energy industry: sleek, quiet, low-maintenance. Yet like a Mercedes, solar energy is universally adored but prohibitively expensive for most people. A 4-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system costs about $34,000 without government rebates or tax breaks. As a result, solar power accounts for well under 1% of U.S. electricity generation. Other alternative energy sources, such as wind, biomass and geothermal, are far more widely deployed.

The outlook for solar, though, is getting much brighter. A few dozen companies say advances in technology will let them halve the price of solar-panel installations in as little as three years. By 2014, solar-system prices will be competitive with conventional electricity when energy savings are figured in, Deutsche Bank (DB) says. And that's without government incentives.

It's not easy building green

Royce Millar and Cameron Houston, August 27, 2007 The Age

Melbourne's commercial districts are undergoing a green makeover as developers and builders compete to show off their environmental credentials. Daniel Grollo admits he got it wrong. Two years ago, while finalising plans for one his Docklands office projects - a home for the AXA insurance company - he decided to aim for a four-star energy rating. His project team urged him to aim higher, arguing that five stars was not only possible, but commercially preferable.

IT on carbon par with steel industry

Chris Jenkins, August 16, 2007 The Age

A study claimed to be the first audit of the carbon output of Australia's IT systems says IT and communications used by the commercial sector are on a par with the aviation and steel industries as an atmospheric polluter. The study, commissioned by the Australian Computer Society, revealed that the use of information and communications technology by Australian businesses produced 7.94 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005.

Tanks have it — zero use from mains

Rachel Kleinman, August 13, 2007 The Age

The Steele family had been looking forward to this month's water bill landing in the letterbox — for good reason. Jan and Graham Steele with two of the four 2250-litre water tanks that have made them totally self-sufficient.

Plasma TV graveyard

Hannah Edwards, August 12, 2007 The Age

Australia's hunger for the latest high-tech televisions and other electronic gadgets is creating record amounts of toxic waste. About 98 per cent of discarded televisions, computers and mobile phones, end up as "e-waste", dumped in landfills. Many of the items contain dangerous materials including mercury and cadmium.

Rich are biggest polluters, worst water wallies

Miki Perkins, August 12, 2007 The Age

People living in Melbourne's wealthiest inner suburbs are the state's biggest greenhouse polluters, responsible for more than double the emissions of those in less affluent areas, a new "consumption atlas" reveals. The Australian Conservation Foundation's online atlas allows Australians to track greenhouse pollution and water consumption suburb by suburb. It shows that each person in the Docklands and Southbank areas produces 31 tonnes of greenhouse pollution each year, almost double the 17 tonnes per person for those in the shire of Hume, in the city's outer north-west. The state average is 20 tonnes.

Making energy efficiency EASI

Senator Christine Milne, August 2, 2007
Senator Milne today launched a bold multi-billion dollar plan to substantially upgrade the energy efficiency of Australia's 7.4 million homes over the next decade, significantly reducing greenhouse emissions, household expenditure and energy infrastructure investment. Senator Milne said “Energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to reduce greenhouse emissions, yet we've barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved. The EASI initiative is about making it easy for Australians to save money and the environment without investing their own time and money. If governments adopted this model, Premier Iemma's new power station announced yesterday would be unnecessary. Efficiency gains would more than make up for the projected demand increases, and greenhouse emissions would fall, not rise.

The Energy Efficiency Access and Savings Initiative, or EASI, would:

  • organise a free energy audit by an accredited auditor;
  • advise householders of all efficiency opportunities with a payback period of ten years or less;
  • organise and pay the upfront costs of implementing cost-effective opportunities;
  • collect repayments as a proportion of savings on the home's energy bills over a ten year period. Repayments will be less than the savings on energy bills so that no householders will ever be "out of pocket".

EASI is designed to be cost neutral. Householders will pay no upfront costs and repayments will always less than savings on energy bills.

For more information contact Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562 or Tim.Hollo@aph.gov.au EASI media release

ACT implements feed in tariff to boost solar power

ACT Greens Deb Foskey, MLA, 6 August 2007

Deb Foskey, Greens MLA, today said that the rebate the ACT Government is offering to pay people who feed solar power into the grid is a generous one.

"There is no doubt that the offer of 3.88 times the average standard rate will encourage many house owners to install solar panels on their roofs. This, in turn, will increase the viability of solar technology as the most appropriate form of renewable energy currently available to the ACT. The proposal for solar feed-in laws is the big ticket item in the ACT Government's long overdue Climate Change Strategy. Retrofitting public housing is the Strategy's other major measure which will make a real difference, as reducing energy use is the single most effective way we can reduce our carbon emissions."

For more information contact Roland Manderson, m 0412 241 379 ACT Greens

A very green computer

Zonbu PC
Zonbu PC

"The Zonbu is a new, very energy efficient PC. The Zonbu consumes just one third of the power of a typical light bulb. The device runs the Linux operating system using a 1.2 gigahertz processor and 512 meg of RAM. It also contains no moving parts, and does even contain a fan. You can get one for as little as US$99, but it does require you to sign up for a two-year subscription."

From Metaefficient

Call for greener buildings

Royce Millar, July 26, 2007 The Age

The leader of Victoria's architects has called for an end to high-rise housing and offices that do not meet strict world's best green standards.

Royal Australian Institute of Architects president Philip Goad said yesterday it was time high-rise buildings were subject to a tougher environmental code. Green Star ratings for commercial buildings are voluntary. Apartment buildings, but not single apartments, must meet Victoria's five-star rating.

"But I don't believe we yet have had a truly green high-rise proposition. We're still waiting for a green high-rise residential tower, one that sets new standards," Mr Goad said.

He said unless buildings were clearly sustainable they should not be allowed.

Thousands at risk from halogen-light death traps

Mark Russell, July 22, 2007 The Age

Thousands of Victorian homes fitted with halogen downlights are potential death traps, with 57 house fires in Melbourne over the past 18 months directly caused by the fashionable lights igniting roofing insulation.

Sustainability Victoria's Roger Kluske said he was shocked by the number of house fires caused by halogen lights. "Halogens are a bloody nightmare and they're everywhere, in homes, office buildings, cafes … The easiest thing to do would be to ban them," he said.

45% Renewable Energy For Germany By 2030

Friday July 6, 2007 MetaEfficient

Germany plans to boost the percentage of electricity generated by renewable resources to 45 percent by 2030 in a bid to curb global warming, environment minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday. Gabriel told reporters that a progress report on a renewable energy law passed in 2000 showed that the country had already surpassed the quota of 12.5 percent set for 2010. He said Berlin was now setting a more ambitious target to produce at least 20 percent of electricity used in the country with renewable resources such as wind and solar power by 2020 and 45 percent by 2030.

Nuclear expansion is a pipe dream, says report

John Vidal, environment editor, Guardian Unlimited Environment
Wednesday July 4, 2007 Article link

  • Hope for new era of cheap, clean power is a 'myth'
  • Building more stations would increase terror risk

Homeowner of solar-hydrogen house has $0.00 utility bill

Conrad Quilty-Harper, Mar 17, 2007 Engadget

Mike Strizki, a civil engineer living in New Jersey has converted his home into a completely energy self-sufficient abode that runs exclusively on a combination of solar and hydrogen power.

Using solar energy to keep homes cool

Martin LaMonica, March 20, 2007, CNET News.com

SolCool's air conditioner can be run directly from solar panels, existing wiring or even, in a pinch, batteries. The solar-powered air conditioner is one of a growing number of energy-efficient products designed to save money, reduce pollution and maintain power during blackouts.

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