Day: June 23, 2006

The coolest little start-up in America

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Profile of Tom Szaky, the 23 year old CEO of TerraCycle, who developed a plant fertilizer made from worm waste.

Island kids do the math on energy efficiency and solar electricity

Read the full story in the Martha’s Vineyward Times.

If every house on the Island were as energy efficient as the ones made by Lynn Gatchell’s fifth grade class at the Tisbury School, people could save a lot of money. That’s the lesson that Mrs. Gatchell hopes her students learned when they divided up into construction teams to build miniature model homes.

U.K. Recycled-Products Manufacturer Powers Plant with Cooking Oil

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LONDON, June 22, 2006 – Remarkable, a British manufacturer of recycled products, has converted its commercial manufacturing plant to be run on energy from recycled cooking oil — a first in the U.K.

Weyerhaeuser Pledges to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 40%

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash., June 23, 2006 – The company will increase use of biomass as fuel in the boilers that generate steam and electrical energy in its pulp and paper mills, say corporate officials.

Study Confirms Past Few Decades Warmest on Record

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

An independent scientific panel largely ratified the findings of a controversial climate study yesterday, saying the past few decades amount to the hottest period in the last 400 years.

First step towards environmentally-friendly shoes

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A Northumbria University student has designed an environmentally-friendly children’s shoe that adapts to a child’s differing needs in footwear.

Chemistry Experiment Simulations and Conceptual Computer Animations

Aimed at beginning chemistry classes, this virtual lab from Thomas Greenbowe of Iowa State University in Ames features some 70 exercises and animations.

Simulations illustrate concepts such as Boyle’s law, which describes the relation between a gas’s volume and pressure, and let students run experiments in electrochemistry and other areas.

Animations depict molecular interactions such as the formation of hydrogen bonds between water molecules or the reaction between silver ions and a lead electrode in a solution of silver nitrate.

Bloomberg To Create NYC 'Office of Sustainability'

Via Treehugger:

As of June 15, NYC’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, was one of 248 mayors from 41 states to have signed the ‘U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement’.

Under the agreement, mayors “strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities”. According to WNYC, Bloomberg is taking another important step toward this commitment: The public radio station reported yesterday that the billionaire mayor will create a New York City ‘Office of Sustainability’.

As one would imagine, this office will be charged with identifying strategies to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Coincidentally, this report was issued the same day that the Department of Energy predicted that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels would increase 75 percent above current levels by 2030.

See also ::Buildings Account for Half of All CO2 Emissions, ::Electric Taxis Coming to NYC?

Faux Chateaux a Glut on the Market

Via Treehugger:

Earlier this week the Wall Street journal covered Micro-houses; now it covers the decline of the McMansion as a result of a number of factors: Demographics, as the baby boomers look to fund their retirements; Energy Costs- Electricity is up 12% and Gas up 43% in the last five years; speculative mania: “Folks bought megasized houses well beyond their needs to increase their investment in real estate,” Gas prices and increases in mortgage rates. We shouldn’t say “we told you so” but we told you so. ::Wall Street Journal

The Value of A High Efficiency Home Furnace

Read the full story at Treehugger.

“Is a high efficiency furnace worth it”? That’s the question posed by Kim, one of our readers.

From a technology standpoint, we scanned this overview by “” and decided there are too many options to offer a yes or no answer. A few efficiency points added to millions of home furnaces would result in a large cumulative cutback in greenhouse gas emissions; and, hopefully, much money saved. But, is it worth that outcome to discard millions of perfectly good furnaces, taking a chance on newer technology, of unknown reliability? Could there be unintended consequences?

Let’s start with an assumption that your existing furnace burns natural gas or propane, is quite old, and operates near or below the low end of the “name plate” efficiency range of modern furnaces. Unfortunately, if you burn oil, and have no access to natural gas, there is not much can be done in the way of high efficiency furnace technology…

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