Webinar: Data Center Efficiency 101: What Sustainability Managers Should Know

Tue, Aug 11, 2015 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5446005703196428290

This non-technical presentation on data center energy efficiency will: 1) Explain savings opportunities in an easy-to-understand manner; 2) Empower anyone to spot ways to reduce energy costs in a data center or server room; and 3) Describe free resources you can tap for further assistance.

Recommended attendees: school administrators, energy managers, facilities managers, energy efficiency advocates, sustainability professionals, and IT managers. This webinar is sponsored by ENERGY STAR and hosted by Second Nature and AlterAction, a US EPA ENERGY STAR Technical Support Contractor.

Nanostructured Glass Can Switch Between Blocking Heat and Blocking Light

Read the full story in IEEE Spectrum.

Electrochromic glass essentially uses electric charge to switch a window from allowing sunlight in to blocking it out. Some have estimated that such “smart windows” could cut lighting needs by about 20 percent and the cooling load by 25 percent at peak times.

Now researchers at the University of Texas Austin have found a way to make them even better. They developed a novel nanostructure architectcure for electrochromic materials that enables a highly selective cool mode and warm mode—something thought to be impossible a few years back.

In research published in the journal Nano Letters, the University of Texas researchers along with scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were able to get nanostructured electrochromic materials to control 90 percent of the near-infrared (NIR) light and 80 percent of the visible light. What’s more, it only requires a few minutes to switch between these two modes, whereas previously reported materials took hours to make this transition.

Study is first to measure global population/energy relationship

Read the full story from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

If you’ve lived between the year 1560 and the present day, more power to you. Literally.

That’s one of several conclusions reached by University of Nebraska-Lincoln ecologist John DeLong, who has co-authored the first study to quantify the relationship between human population growth and energy use on an international scale.

The study compiled several centuries’ worth of data from Great Britain, the United States and Sweden to profile the dynamics between a skyrocketing population and its consumption of energy from fossil fuels and renewable sources.

The data showed that energy use has generally outpaced population growth over the last few hundred years. Each generation has thus produced more energy per person than its predecessor, the study reported, even as the population has climbed from about 500 million to more than 7 billion in the 450 years analyzed by the authors.

This increasing per capita energy supply has also hiked up Earth’s carrying capacity – the number of people it can sustain at equilibrium – and allowed the population to grow at an ever-faster, or exponential, rate.

FedEx, United bet it’s (finally) time for jet biofuels to take off

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Aviation biofuels are on the rise again thanks to airlines like Virgin, Southwest and United, as well as buy-in from manufacturers and logistics providers Boeing and FedEx.

Study: Property of non-stick pans improves solar cell efficiency

Read the full story from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

The same quality that buffers a raincoat against downpours or a pan against sticky foods can also boost the performance of solar cells, according to a new study from UNL engineers.

Published July 20 in the journal Nature Communications, the study showed that constructing a type of organic solar cell on a “non-wetting” plastic surface made it 1.5 times more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity.

Siting Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated Lands, Landfills, and Mine Sites

EPA is encouraging renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site. This initiative identifies the renewable energy potential of these sites and provides other useful resources for communities, developers, industry, state and local governments or anyone interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.

The $520 million White House bid to widen access to solar

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

When solar panels first started appearing on rooftops, the buildings beneath those roofs were uniformly wealthy.

The up-front investment required to install solar, at $10,000 or more, was usually just too big a barrier for most U.S. households, not to mention those living paycheck to paycheck. The same could be said for small- or medium-sized businesses with tight cash flow.

In recent years, however, new business models from companies such as SunPower, Sungevity, SolarCity and Sunrun began extending leases and power purchase agreements to residential and commercial markets, making solar more accessible by cutting upfront costs.

Evolving investment models from such companies as Solar Mosaic and NextEra Energy Partners, through instruments such as yield cos and green bonds, have also emerged to democratize solar to some institutions, like schools.

Still, even with today’s busy solar market — as illustrated by a 75 percent jump in new installations this year compared to last year alone — the renewable energy market remains largely divided between “haves” and “have nots,” largely separated by long-established income and property ownership disparities.

Now, the Obama administration is aiming to start changing that. Last week, the President — fresh off of announcing a $4 billion renewable energy fund with private investment partners — has unveiled a set of initiatives to bring increased access to solar energy and solar jobs.