Green living news
From Greenlivingpedia, a wiki on green living, building and energy
News items on green living, sustainable building and other topics. You can also subscribe to the Greenlivingpedia RSS feed to view changes to all articles using an RSS reader such as Google Reader or the Firefox browser.
See also recent articles and news on:
- Green living, green building and green energy
- Climate change
- Climate emergency
- Green computing
- Brown Mountain
- North South pipeline
- The end of the world as we know it
- Copenhagen Climate Change Conference 2009
CSIRO road trial of plug in hybrid vehicles
CSIRO announced a road trial of plug in hybrid electric vehicles on 28 October 2009.
Police tactics at Hazelwood power station protest criticised
Solar roadways prototype funded in United States
The United States DOT announces funding for prototype solar roadways in August 2009.
Safe Climate Australia is launched by Al Gore
In Melbourne, Australia on 13 July 2009.
Bottled water is banned in New South Wales
B Premier Nathan Rees on 8 July 2009.
Dirty Clean Coal Lobby Gave $240,000 to Obama Presidential Campaign, 27 June 2009
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) liberally funded both Democrats and Republicans, including both John McCain and Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign. The ACCCE is a collection of 48 mining, rail, manufacturing and power companies with an annual budget of over $45 million.
Source: Dirty Clean Coal Lobby Gave $240,000 to Obama Presidential Campaign, by Matthew McDermott, New York, via Treehugger
Greenlivingpedia content switches to Creative Commons licence on 16 June 2009
Greenlivingpedia content has now switched to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA-3.0) license.
National Climate Emergency rallies held across Australia on 13 June 2009
People across Australia attend National Climate Emergency Rallies calling for immediate emission reductions and green jobs programs on June 13, 2009.
Human sign protest in Melbourne, Australia on 1 May 2009
A Human sign stating "Climate change - our future is in your hands" was formed in Melbourne, Australia on May 1, 2009.
Public bicycle scheme announced in Melbourne, Australia on 17 May 2009
A Public bicycles scheme is announced for Melbourne, Australia on May 17, 2009.
iMieV electric car approved for Australian roads on 9 April 2009
The IMiEV electric car is approved for use on Australian roads on April 9, 2009.
Tesla Motors announces 7 seater electric car in the United States
Tesla Motors announces their 7 seater Model S electric car with 500 km range, which will be available in 2011.
First electric car built and sold in Australia on March 10, 2009
The first EvMe electric car is built and sold in Australia on March 10, 2009.
Australian CPRS draft legislation opposed by Climate Action Groups on 10 March 2009
The draft legislation for the Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was released on March 10, 2009. Australian climate action groups have written a Joint open letter to climate change minister Penny Wong opposing the scheme.
Disastrous bushfires in Victoria, Australia, February 2009
Disastrous bushfires sweep Victoria, Australia, killing 173 people and over a million native animals on February 7, 2009.
Climate action summit held in Canberra, Australia on 2 April 2009
More than 500 people from around the country gathered in Canberra at the first Australian climate action summit from 31/1/09 to 2/4/09 to produce a national, unified set of objectives for the community campaign of climate action for the crucial year ahead.
Australian Forest and Climate Alliance held in Canberra on 29-30 January 2009
The Australian Forest and Climate Alliance (AFCA) met in Canberra, Australia, on 29-30 January 2009 and called for the immediate protection of Australian native forests to preserve their biodiversity and the carbon they store.
Obama wins the U.S. presidential election, November 4, 2008
Barrack Obama won the U.S. presidential election. His first speech is visionary, and includes support for clean energy:
"I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there."
Full text of Obama’s Speech, Firedoglake
Australian electric car network announcedAustralian electric car network is announced on October 23, 2008
Swinburne National Centre for Sustainability opens
The Swinburne National Centre for Sustainability building is opened on October 14, 2008
Stormwater harvesting announced in City of Orange, September 29, 2008
The city of Orange in NSW announces a stormwater harvesting program to supply 90 per cent of its water.
800mW large scale solar farms in California, August 14, 2008
Pacific Gas & Electric has inked deals with OptiSolar and SunPower to establish 800 megawatts of solar farms in California, which could become the world's largest set of grid-tied photovoltaic installations. The new plants would provide 1.65 billion kilowatt hours each year, enough to serve nearly 250,000 homes, according to Jack Keenan, CEO and senior vice president of PG&E. via Green Tech - CNET News.com, August 14, 2008
Climate Code Red book launch, July 17, 2008
The Climate Code Red book was launched by Governor of Victoria David de Kretzner on July 17, 2008. Videos of the launch are available
Calls for a safe climate future and immediate action on climate change - July 5, 2008
The Garnaut draft report calls for emissions trading without free permits to pollute - July 4, 2008
The Garnaut draft report on economic measures and actions to address climate changes is released in Australia.
Hawaii requires solar water heaters in new homes - June 29, 2008
Hawaii has become the American state to require solar water heaters in new homes. The bill, signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle, a Republican, requires solar water systems in homes starting in 2010. It prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. Source: Metaefficient
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.
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
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.
- Video: Kiteship - a kite that generates 10,000 horsepower
- See also Green_facts#Shipping Green facts - shipping
Aptera super fuel efficient 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.
- See also: Aptera super fuel efficient vehicle
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
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
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.
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
"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."
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.