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Monday, December 22, 2014

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5 International “Green” Businesses That Are Doing It Right


green conservation

Going green has been a buzzword in the corporate world for the first decade of the 21st century. Determining which international companies are serious about the process as opposed to the ones who are simply paying lip service to the concept is important. The businesses that go green are better investments long term, simply because they will have lower overall expenses. Here is a list of five international businesses that are going green to make more green.

Samsung
The television and smart device manufacturer ranks 13th on the Global Fortune 500 list, but what differentiates them from their peers is their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. Samsung has spared no expense in eliminating hazardous products from its best-selling electronic devices.
They also still have room for growth as home appliances have not been part of their major green initiative yet. In addition, their use of clean electricity has been minimal thus far. The company can save a fortune in future years when it follows up on its stated plan to employ solar power with many of its generators.

Apple

phone in phone image

The two smart device titans are competing in the green-friendly corporation challenge just as much as they do in cell phone sales. Apple is slightly behind Samsung in worldwide business ranking, as it is number 15 on the Global Fortune 500 list. With regards to the environment, Apple has a slight edge of terms of announced performance. With regards to transparency, they need improvement.

Apple has listened to criticism about their shy reporting, which explains the hiring of Mike Taylor as their new Director of Renewable Energy. Taylor exited his job as the Solar Electric Power Association’s Director of Research to work for Apple. This is particularly notable, because SEPA had been one of the company’s foremost critics. Apple turned an enemy into a friend in anticipation of turning the company’s former transparency weakness into a newfound strength.

The Vanguard Group
This investment company bears the responsibility of investing $3 trillion in assets. As part of their green initiative, they have financed a series of community gardens to create sustainable food ecosystems in populous areas.

Wal-Mart
Yes, they were once the most hated company in the world with regards to environmental awareness. However, Wal-Mart has spent the past decade walking the walk while most of their competitors waste time talking the talk. Their green-friendly strategy has proven so successful that other corporations feel compelled to study their tactics in order to better implement their own plans.

Key to Wal-Mart’s strategy has been a focus upon aggressive goals. Appreciating that they were far behind the curve at the start of the 21st century, the company leveraged their tremendous financial resources as a kind of international money transfer. Revenue attained from non-American properties was funneled into their actionable areas of growth.

Whereas most companies are satisfied with slow, incremental progress over decades, Wal-Mart reduced its carbon footprint dramatically in an extremely short period of time. The number one company in the world on the Global Fortune 500 list worked hand in hand with their formal mortal enemies, the Environmental Defense Fund, to reduce their emissions. By deciding to employ safer chemicals for all of its store-brand products, they met the high standards of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for Environment.

ABB Group
You may not be as familiar with this Swiss corporation, as they are ranked only 273 on the Global Fortune 500 list. They are, however, industry leaders with regards to eco-friendly policies. ABB employs 124,000 people worldwide, and the majority of the jobs involve electricity and robotics. Other companies follow their lead with regards to energy efficiency.

What ABB understands is a key part of all green initiatives. The easiest way for a corporation to save money on environmental issues is to use less power. ABB is in the business of electricity, and so they have mastered the art of providing the same power output while reducing actual energy use. Such high-efficiency products save millions of dollars when used in volume.

Being environmentally friendly is a positive step for a major corporation not just with regards to social responsibility but also potential revenue gains. Paying less money for the same energy output has proven extremely lucrative to the bottom line of all of these companies.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Weird and Wonderful Uses for Solar Panels


alt energy

Most people understand that the integrity of the Earth’s atmosphere, terrain, and oceans are being threatened by climate change. This has prompted some energy companies and innovators to come up with creative solutions for generating electricity with solar power. The truth is, fossil fuels are in finite supply and these sources of energy are beginning to struggle to meet the increasing demands of the world’s economies. In addition to the problem of supply meeting demand, there is the fact that the traditional fossil fuels directly harm the atmosphere by releasing greenhouse gases and other pollutants when used. Conversely, solar power is an alternative power source that is clean, simple, affordable, and sustainable.

Since innovations in alternative power sources have made the technology more affordable consumers have been making the shift towards these more efficient options, ranging from choosing to drive all-electric cars to simply swapping out incandescent lights for bulbs with lower wattage or LED lights. It is solar panels, however, that have continued to lead when it comes to providing homes and powering devices with alternative sources of energy. Solar innovations have replaced the older thick and bulky solar panels with thin film solar cells. This has reduced installation costs in solar energy and has broadened the potential uses and placement options for solar power producers. These new solar innovations in solar cells have shown to produce ten times the energy, compared to the conventional rooftop solar panels of yesterday.

solar shed light

The uses for solar panels around the home have become more varied thanks to the new innovations, much of this prompted by thoughts of climate change. These may include placing solar technology on dwellings and other buildings such as sheds and conservatories, (above). Also, there is now a solar powered Logitech Wireless keyboard that does not require batteries or traditional power sources. The keyboard can be powered by sunlight indoors or even by the light from a desk lamp. It is considered to be a “green” accessory. Another innovation is solar windows. These windows are treated with an electricity-generating coating that is transparent and actually converts sunshine into energy. Imagine the Solar Window being installed on all sides of a fifty-story building and the amount of energy that would be generated.

Less Conventional but Creative Uses for Solar Power

solar refrigeration

1.  Camels equipped with solar powered refrigerators are being used in Kenya. Unconventional?  Yes, but these camels are being used as mobile health clinics. Certain medicines and vaccinations are required to be kept at certain temperatures and that is difficult in the Kenyan climate. In the hot temperatures of Kenya, the solar-powered refrigerators have the ability to keep these medicines and vaccinations cool as they are being transported to rural communities by doctors, nurses, and aid workers. An international team that included California’s Art Center College of Design, Princeton’s Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, and the Kenya-based Nomadic Communities Trust all collaborated on the design of the crystalline solar-powered miniature refrigeration units. This included coming up with the bamboo camel saddle, which makes it possible for camels to transport the refrigerators over long distances.
(photo credit, designmattersatartcenter.org)

ice fishing

2. Solar-heated ice fishing shacks. The fact that the white snowy surface in the winter boosts the sun’s power makes this option quite viable for those who love to fish through the ice. An existing fishing shack can be insulated and sealed with foil and a heat collector can be constructed from plastic sheets and a bug screen. Cold air can be allowed between the collector and the wall via four holes in the walls. The sun heats the air and then enters the shack through a flapper valve. Even with outside temperatures of below freezing, the comfy fisher-person can enjoy temperatures of up to seventy and even eighty degrees Fahrenheit inside the fish shack.
(photo credit, pocketrangerblog.com)

solar oven

3.  Solar oven cooking is another alternative concept to consider. It involves collecting and trapping heat through the combination of the use of glass and reflective materials. These solar ovens can actually cook food at temperatures of up to 350 degrees with absolutely no fuel use. There are indoor and outdoor versions of these solar ovens and the only real down side is they take longer to warm up than conventional ovens.
(photo credit, solarovenchef.blogspot.com)

solar traffic sign

4.  Solar traffic signs can save communities a great deal of money over a period of time. They are wireless and quite flexible and the LED lighting is environmentally friendly and long lasting. Better still, in a power outage, the signs and lights will continue to work.
(photo credit, traffic-products.net)

solar paint

5.  Solar paint may be something that is not well known, but it is becoming all the rage in certain markets. While there are other paints which may contain toxic materials that can have some negative health affects, solar paint is based on solar cell technology, cleanly formulated to actually harness solar energy and convert it into electrical energy.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Drive for Free with the Drive Green for Life Program!


Drive Green

Owning the vehicle of your choice and driving it freely through the web of roads crisscrossing your home city is as much an American tradition as the Presidential pardoning of one lucky turkey each year about this time. Being able to finally buy that personal car of your dreams is engrained into American culture, symbolizing freedom, economic status – and a means to sustain life for those that rely on their cars for business.

Drive Green

As we are all aware, each of these conventional-fuel-burning vehicles emits extremely harmful gasses  and with over 250 million registered vehicles in the United States, their combined emissions contribute heavily to climate change. The threat of a changing climate is real, but could anyone really point to their neighbors and say, “I think they should retire that S.U.V. to stop polluting…”?

Drive Green infographic

Well, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the United States recently partnered with SunPower, a leading supplier of home solar PV systems, and The Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental NGO in the country, to offer consumers the opportunity to more gain access to alternative energy for their home. Ford Motor Company is offering new and existing Ford electric car owners a $750.00 rebate on their purchase or lease of a SunPower home solar system through (more…)

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Martifer PV Projects: Integrated Solutions for Fulfilling Solar Power Needs


martifer portugal solar field

Martifer Solar is more than merely a company that focuses on solar energy.  This Portugal based company employs teams of engineers and people who fabricate and design required engineering solutions for various types of solar energy related projects. As per Greentech Media Research’s statistics, Martifer Solar ranks third amongst similar companies in Europe. IHS lists the company in 5th position within Europe and 16th in the world.

martifer solar install rooftop

EPC Services from Martifer Solar
One of the drawbacks that have prevented PV solar technologies from taking off has been the cost versus returns in comparison to the fossil fuels. Martifer can offer PV solutions on 360° turnkey basis, which would include all engineering, purchases and procurement, project management, construction and commissioning related to the PV solar system installation and operations.

Photovoltaic Projects or PV projects from Martifer include EPC or engineering, procurement, and construction services. This means the company can offer customized solutions based on the needs of the people so that each such project becomes viable and offers optimal energy cost savings. It is because of its high standards of reliability today it boasts of having implemented more than 500 projects. The company is also maintaining and operating solar power generators with a capacity of 560 MW across the world.

integrated solar window panels

Variety of PV Projects offered by Martifer Solar
Martifer Solar offers all types of solar power generation solutions under one roof. Therefore, its portfolio of PV projects includes:

  • Ground mounted solar power generating systems
  • Rooftop solar power generating systems
  • Building integrated Photovoltaic projects (BIPV). Martifer’s Torre De Cristal in Madrid still qualifies as the tallest BIPV project, even though the project was completed in 2008.
  • Off-Grid solar power generating systems for people and businesses in remote locations
  • Small solar power generating systems for residential accommodations

Effectively, Martifer undertakes projects suiting the needs of small as well big customers.  This adaptability is one of the reasons for Martifer Solar’s larger market share.

One of the reasons many well-known companies opt for Martifer Solar is because it does more than supply the instrumentation and materials. Its personnel ensure that the project is commissioned and functioning to the satisfaction of the client.

Global Presence
Though Martifer is originally from Portugal, it has spread its activities across the globe. There are collaborations and joint ventures with various companies in different nations. For example, Martifer Solar entered into a joint venture with Hirschfeld Industries in the US. Likewise, it became Maisis’ partner, for technology.

The company has implemented PV projects for well-known businesses such as Hertz. Westfield Group is another famous business that has availed the services of Martifer Solar. In Latin America, the company recently installed a 30 MW project for Gauss Energia.

Martifer Solar has recently received a new contract from Italy. It is a 90 MW project. The company is implementing a project for well known private Equity Fund Company, i.e., Eland, and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

The BEHA Eco Aircraft Seeks Crowdfunding


beha overheadA British company, Faradair Aerospace Limited, has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new eco aircraft the company has christened, BEHA, or Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft. The company has created a concept for a lightweight aircraft with extremely efficient and economical power. The intention is to create “the most environmentally friendly aircraft in the world”. The project is about to enter a year of R&D to fine tune the design for maximum efficiency, with the company hoping to have the first prototype aircraft built within two years.

de havilland dragon

Much of the inspiration for the plane came from an early passenger aircraft called the De Havilland Dragon Rapide. This 1930′s airliner had graceful lines and innovative power recovery systems, many of which will be incorporated into the design of the BEHA.

beha front

Another source of inspiration for the project is an unmanned aircraft created in 1990 by the father of the company’s Managing Director. The new design combines a bio-diesel engine with two electric motors, and is envisioned as an innovative six seat Hybrid Aircraft. The BEHA group is currently building a list of partners to help deliver the key technologies to make the prototype aircraft a reality. (more…)

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