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Amp now testing medium-duty, all-electric truck

Amp now testing medium-duty, all-electric truck | Digital Sustainability |
Ever since Amp switched from converting passenger vehicles to electric power to converting big delivery trucks, the question has been when the E-Truck
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Ever since Amp switched from converting passenger vehicles to electric power to converting big delivery trucks, the question has been when the E-Truck program will get real. The answer is now, since Amp has announced a new test program with TRC Inc. that will "independently test the vehicle to ensure it can survive the rigors of package delivery in an environment where it is common to keep their vans in service for 20 years or more." Amp says the final pre-production test program should be completed within the next month.

"EVs are gaining traction, but at a slower rate than anticipated."

There's a reason for the change to big trucks, ones with a 19,500 pound gross vehicle weight. Amp founder and CEO Steve Burns told AutoblogGreen that AMP is "focusing only on EVs that have the correct metrics that encourage short terms sales. As you know, most passenger EV companies have only found limited success from a sales point of view. EVs are gaining traction, but at a slower rate than anticipated."

According to Amp, the two main obstacles to the mass adoption of EVs are the price premium and a lack of infrastructure that causes range anxiety. Before designing a 100-kWh battery pack good for 100 miles per charge in the converted trucks, Burns said, "AMP labored to find a segment of the US transportation sector that could overcome the two above obstacles and move to quick adoption. So, we focused on fleets that have defined or predictable routes. If you have a 100-mile range on a charge and a 65-mile route, then range anxiety is eliminated. Similarly, the bigger and less aerodynamic a vehicle is, the worse its gas mileage. And the worse the gas mileage, the quicker the premium for electric could be paid off. So, we looked for big, square fleet vehicles that routinely traveled less than 100 miles a day ... and the classic diesel delivery step van came clearly into focus.

Mercor's curator insight, February 7, 2013 12:08 PM

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Novo Site - Sustentabilidade Digital

Novo Site - Sustentabilidade Digital | Digital Sustainability |
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Thomas Heatherwick unveils "sunken oasis" for Abu Dhabi

Thomas Heatherwick unveils "sunken oasis" for Abu Dhabi | Digital Sustainability |
Thomas Heatherwick has revealed plansfor a cavernous park in Abu Dhabi beneath a fragmented canopy resembling the cracked surface of the Arabian desert.
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British designer Thomas Heatherwick has revealed plans to create a cavernous public park in Abu Dhabi beneath a fragmented canopy resembling the cracked surface of the Arabian desert.

Occupying a 125,000 square-metre site, Thomas Heatherwick's Al Fayah Park will provide play areas, picnic areas, vegetable gardens and cafes, interspersed with a variety of plants and flowers native to the Gulf.

A series of columns will support the floating roof canopy, beneath which the designer will also add a public library, a mosque, an outdoor cinema, and indoor and outdoor performance spaces that can be used for live music, festivals and community events.

"Al Fayah Park incorporates a series of very special column structures, like the cracked pieces of a desert surface, which gently raise to form a three-dimensional landscape across the site," said Heatherwick. "These elevated pieces create a perforated canopy of partial shade under which a lush garden can grow, protected from the hot desert sun."

He continued: "This sunken oasis becomes a landscape of plants, mature trees and a cluster of public recreational spaces. The 20-metre-high shaded garden is conceived as a place for families to gather and picnic, as well as a place for learning and festivals."

"By creating partial shade for plants, the canopy reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation, improving the park's energy efficiency and sustainability. Whilst providing shade in the daytime, the elevated plates also become a network of unique meeting places in the cooler evening hours."

Maquete Eletrônica's curator insight, April 23, 12:59 PM



Ocupando um local de 125 mil metros quadrados, Al Fayah Park de Thomas Heatherwick irá proporcionar áreas de lazer, áreas para piquenique, hortas e cafés, intercaladas com uma variedade de plantas e flores nativas do Golfo.
Uma série de colunas apoiará o dossel teto flutuante, sob o qual o designer também irá adicionar uma biblioteca pública, uma mesquita, um cinema ao ar livre e indoor e outdoor"

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Electronics Recycling Sets Record

Electronics Recycling Sets Record | Digital Sustainability |

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The consumer electronics industry recycled a record 620 million pounds of electronics in the United States in 2013.

The amount is more than double the total of three years ago, as reported in the Third Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative, released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The 2013 US E-cycling total is an increase of 35 million poundsover the 2012 level (585 million pounds) and more than twice the amount recycled in 2010 (300 million pounds).

The eCycling Leadership Initiative has a goal to increase the amount of recycled to one billion pounds annually by 2016, its Billion Pound Challenge

The report also said:

Apple, Best Buy, Dell, and DIRECTV each recycled more than 125 percent of the consumer hardware recycling goals set by CEA for 2013;By the end of last year, more than 99 percent recycling by eCycling Leadership Initiative participants was conducted in third-party certified recycling facilities;More than 8,000 responsible recycling locations are now available to consumers throughout the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  
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Apple Now 73% Powered By Clean Energy, 100% Of Data Centers

Apple Now 73% Powered By Clean Energy, 100% Of Data Centers | Digital Sustainability |
Apple has released a new video, ‘Better’, revealing its current sustainability efforts.
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On the eve of Earth Day 2014, Apple has uncharacteristically released a new video,‘Better’, promoting (and it does comes across like one of its ads) the tech giant’s current sustainability efforts. Apple CEO Tim Cook narrates the new video, highlighting the company’s renewable energy, recycling, and energy efficiency initiatives. In addition, the company has issued progress reports in relation to its sustainability results.

Oh how times have changed. Not long ago Apple, along with other tech companies, was a Greenpeace target. Back in 2011 Apple was even labeled the least green tech company, based on its heavy reliance on coal-fired power. Now, just 3 years later, Apple can boast that 73% of the energy for all of the company’s facilities is clean, including 86% of its corporate campuses and 100% of its data centers.

Apple also reports that 120 of its retail stores in the US are now powered with renewable energy, with 135 to go. As Tim Cook says, “We have a long way to go, and a lot to learn”, but progress has certainly been made on a number of sustainability fronts. Lately, some competition seems to have developed between some of the tech giants to see which company can be the “greenest”. This can only be a good thing.

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Farmers Seeking Heat Relief Signal Brazil Climate Peril

Farmers Seeking Heat Relief Signal Brazil Climate Peril | Digital Sustainability |

Brazil may see a mass migration of crops and farm workers from huge swaths of currently tillable lands to more temperate zones as global warming takes hold, according to leading climate experts in the country.

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Brazil may see a mass migration of crops and farm workers from huge swaths of currently tillable lands to more temperate zones as global warming takes hold, according to leading climate experts in the country.

Longtime Brazilian climate researcher Hilton Silveira Pinto points to the drought that’s cutting grain and coffee output this year as an indicator that rising global temperatures may already be impacting the country’s crops.

“This is a taste of what is to come in the future,” said Pinto, a professor at the Center for Meteorological and Climate Research Applied to Agriculture at the University of Campinas.

A study co-authored by Pinto that looks at projected warming trends shows Brazil’s soybean production may drop by as much as 24 percent and wheat output as much as 41 percent by 2020 as climate change reduces areas where the crops can grow.

Because Brazil is increasingly helping to feed the world, the import of that isn’t just Brazil’s problem. The nation last year dethroned the U.S. as the world’s top soybean exporter -- it sold 41.9 million tons to Asia, Europe and the Middle East last season -- and has led the world in sugar and coffee production for more than a century. It also exports more beef and orange juice than any other nation on earth.

Agriculture accounts for 25 percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product and more than one third of its annual exports. With its ample water resources and year-round temperate climate, Brazil has also attracted billions of dollars in agribusiness investments by opening vast tracts of tropical hinterland to farming and applying state-of-the-art technology to expand yields across all manner of crops.

Crop Losses

While the connection of warming to droughts and extreme weather is still being studied, there’s no doubt that warmer temperatures are affecting global crop output -- worldwide wheat yields are declining by about 2 percent a decade and those for maize by 1 percent, the United Nations said in a March 31 report.

Major grain producers in cooler climates such as Canada and Russia may fare better than Brazil as much of its tropical agriculture already operates at the upper limit of heat tolerance, said Eduardo Assad, a researcher at the government’s Embrapa agricultural technology agency who co-authored the study with Pinto.

In Brazil, heat and drought are already taking their toll. The worst dry spell in six decades is erasing an estimated 5 million metric tons from Brazil’s grain harvest this year, about the size ofEgypt’s annual corn crop.

Unprecedented Temperatures

Hotter weather is already chasing some coffee production up to higher altitudes. Coffee growers in Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais states have been the hardest hit so far by drought and heat waves.

“If the unprecedented high temperatures we saw repeat themselves, we’d have a serious problem,” said Mauricio Miarelli, head of the Franca, Brazil-based growers associationCocapec.

Crop shifts may cause a mass migration of millions of rural workers, requiring major investments in infrastructure and logistics to accommodate them, according to Assad.

“Brazil’s agriculture will be rearranged,” he said. “Climate change is on our heels.”

‘Longer Droughts’

In the northeastern state of Bahia, three consecutive years of unusually intense drought that cut soybean output 16 percent in 2013 have triggered concern even among hardened farmers used to the harsh, semi-arid climate, said Jairo Vaz, the state agriculture secretary’s cabinet chief.

“Undeniably the droughts have become longer, more pronounced and temperatures have risen -- that hit our farmers hard,” Vaz said. The state’s 670,000 family farmers have lost roughly half of their livestock over the three years, he said.

Soybeans in Chicago extended gains to a 10-month high today, rising as much 0.8 percent to $15.21 a bushel and corn climbed 0.4 percent to $5.0525 a bushel.

About a dozen new varieties of beans and corn that are more resistant to extreme heat and dryness have shown promising results, Embrapa’s Assad said. Still, with Brazil growing 800 to 900 crops, progress in research and development has been too slow and investments too small, he said.

Other measures pursued by the government include promoting an integration of farming and forestry where shade from trees reduces temperatures and maintains humidity.

The technique known as agro-forestry lacks the scale to quickly transform the way soybeans and corn are grown in areas like Mato Grosso, a state twice the size of Germany covered with crops that stretch beyond the horizon.

Financial Interest

“You can’t apply this technology overnight,” Caio Rocha, Brazil’s secretary for agriculture policies, said in a phone interview. “We’ll have to show farmers that it’s in their financial interest to do so.”

The impact of global warming on Brazil’s agriculture is far from consensus. Donald Keeney, a meteorologist at MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is among meteorologists who expect precipitation in central and northeastern Brazil to decline, paring agricultural output -- while production should increase in areas closer to the poles.

Scott Yuknis, the lead forecaster with Climate Impact Co. in Middleboro, Massachusetts, doesn’t agree. He ascribes the drought in Brazil this year as part of the ocean temperature changes that induce cycles that last several decades.

While experts like Assad and Pinto agree with Secretary Rocha that Brazil may be able to offset part of climate change with new technology, they argue progress has been too slow and assumes temperatures will not rise more than 2 degrees on average by the end of this century.

“The world is failing to slow emissions, meaning temperatures may rise more than 2 degrees,” said Assad. “If that happens, science has no answers for impact mitigation, we’ll be in uncharted territory.”

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How enlightened self-interest in sustainable water helps business

How enlightened self-interest in sustainable water helps business | Digital Sustainability |
As water becomes scarce, managing it becomes a bigger piece of the business profit puzzle. A recent PI and VOX Global study examines the trends.
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Water challenges are not just an issue for companies with operations and/or suppliers in developing countries. They are confronting businesses here and now in the United States. And while the current drought in California and the Southwest or last year's Midwestern one get considerable attention, many regions in the U.S. face a chronic imbalance between water supply and demand. These regional imbalances, coupled with a variety of other water-related concerns nationally, present current and future water risks for U.S. business.

This is of one of the key findings of a new study released by the Pacific Institute and VOX Global, "Bridging Concern and Action: Are US Companies Prepared for Looming Water Challenges?" Based on a survey of over 50 companies, it reveals that most participating companies believe water challenges significantly will worsen in the next five years. More specifically, 60 percent of companies indicate water is poised to affect business growth and profitability within five years, and more than 80 percent say it will affect their decisions on where to locate facilities.


This is a stark increase from only five years ago, when water issues affected business growth and profitability for less than 20 percent of the responding companies.

However, most companies surveyed do not appear to be planning corollary increases in the breadth and scale of their water risk management practices. In fact, nearly 70 percent of responding companies said their current level of investment in water management is sufficient.

For this reason, the study's authors question whether many companies are adequately prepared for the growing number of water risks and challenges they will face. Businesses participating in the study identified two significant internal obstacles that hinder greater companywide action on water: lack of time to raise awareness and buy-in, and that other risks ranked as a higher and more immediate priority.

Low water levels affect the bottom line

That said, the acknowledgement among major U.S. corporations that water is becoming a major business issue is a notable finding in and of itself. There is growing recognition that in addition to being a significant societal problem, water also creates critical challenges for businesses specifically. Insufficient or contaminated water supply, or a lack of infrastructure to reliably deliver that supply, can mean companies may not be able to maintain the volume and quality of their production.



This new reality necessitates that companies' senior management better understand the many ways that water affects their bottom line and that they pursue water stewardship strategies that adequately address these emerging water-related challenges.

The Pacific Institute long has held that sustainable water management is the most viable long-term water risk mitigation strategy that businesses can pursue. There's a business case for bringing long-term water demand into alignment with renewable supply, and for engaging in democratic water governance processes geared toward ensuring that societal needs are equitably met and that aquatic ecosystems continue to function and thrive. It would be great to have more allies from the business community that share an interest in progressing toward the aspirational objective of sustainable water management here in the United States.

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Nestlé, General Mills Join Global Alliance for Water Stewardship

Nestlé, General Mills Join Global Alliance for Water Stewardship | Digital Sustainability |
This week, Nestlé, General Mills and other global brands committed to the Alliance for Water Stewardship, along with 27 other organizations including FEMSA Foundation, Water Footprint Network, Water Aid, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy, to promote a global framework for sustainable use of the world's limited freshwater resources.
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This week, Nestlé, General Mills and other global brands committed to the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), along with 27 other organizations including FEMSA Foundation, Water Footprint Network, Water Aid, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy, to promote a global framework for sustainable use of the world's limited freshwater resources.

The announcement came with AWS' release of the first International Water Stewardship Standard, which defines criteria for good water stewardship, aligns with other sustainability initiatives and supports independent certification.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to help private- and public-sector water users and managers become responsible water stewards, who protect and enhance freshwater resources for people and nature," said Alexis Morgan, director of the Global Water Roundtable at WWF.

According to a press release by AWS, it was developed through “a four-year, multi-stakeholder, global water roundtable process that included a diversity of business, public sector and civil society interests from around the world, as well as pilot projects held in seven countries.”

Pilot projects in pulp and paper, mining, chemicals, oil and gas, water service provision and agriculture applied the standard to test its feasibility, applicability and helped define targets in water governance, water balance and water quality. AWS offers companies various ways to “improve, incentivize and recognize responsible water use, including helping members engage key stakeholders within their watershed and supply chain.” AWS is also launching a capacity-development program and offering membership opportunities through which companies can learn what they can do to help protect shared resources, as well as shape the future of water stewardship.

General Mills’ VP and Chief Sustainability Officer, Jerry Lynch, said that as a global food company, water is critical to General Mills' business.

"We have an interest and a responsibility to protect the quality and supply of water upon which our business depends, and actively look for ways to collaborate with others to benefit our growers, the community and the environment," he added.

Carlo Galli, Water Resources, Technical & Strategic Advisor at Nestlé, said that the company "supports the efforts of AWS to promote water stewardship internationally and assist companies to manage water-related risk at a site and catchment level. The AWS Standard will enable companies to better assess their performance against a defined set of principles, identify opportunities for improvement and take collaborative steps to improve their water use."

"We are delighted to be able to launch the Standard here in Peru, a country that in many ways epitomizes the challenges of managing water wisely in a world where social, economic and environmental pressures collide," said Adrian Sym, Executive Director of AWS. "The work we have done in the asparagus sector here highlights how international demand for more and different foods can threaten the water resources that communities and companies depend on, and the need to work collectively to safeguard these resources and the livelihoods they support."....

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IPCC: Key messages from WG3III

IPCC: Key messages from WG3III | Digital Sustainability |
The final in the IPCC's trilogy of climate science reports examines the mitigation options and the potential for global temperature rise to stay below 2°C.
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After two reports setting out the scale of the climate challenge, this week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) turned their attention to what action must be taken to hold global temperature rise below 2°C.

Over the course of its Fifth Assessment Report, the IPCC has painted a disturbing picture of our warming world. In September last year, it warned that climate change is real, caused by humans, and requires urgent action.

This was followed last month with a strong warning that climate impacts are already having sweeping effects on every continent across the globe and throughout the world’s oceans.

It warned that impacts are already far more immediate and local than once thought and that bigger risks were to come if greenhouse gas emissions continued unabated.

In it’s Working Group III report, the IPCC moved forward from the stark warnings of climate impacts to examine the likelihood that the world could still avoid the devastating impacts laid out in its earlier analysis.

2°C is still possible

Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8°C since the Industrial Revolution, and IPCC scenarios show that without further action, temperatures could increase by as much as 4°C to 5°C – reaping devastating impacts on the planet.

The report warns that greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade were the “highest in human history.”


But while urgent action is needed – the IPCC warns that emissions must peak soon and fall by between 40-70% from 2010 levels by 2050 and reach almost zero by 2100 – such action could be temperature rise is kept below the internationally agreed danger threshold of 2°C.

The latest report did not even rule out the possibility of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Urgent action is required

To stay within this 2°C limit, the IPCC warns that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should never rise above 530ppm CO2 equivalent (CO2eq) and should stabilise at 430-480ppm in 2100.

At current rates, the levels of greenhouse gas concentrations by 2100 would be between 750 and 1300ppm CO2eq by the end of the century.

Current government policies – those agreed under countries’ Cancun Pledges – are inconsistent with a 2°C and would leave the world on path to a 3°C, if all the pledges were implemented fully.

As governments work towards a new global climate treaty – to be agreed in December 2015 – the IPCC report should be a warning of the level of action that is needed.

Climate action is affordable

Not only is climate action at the levels needed feasible but it is also affordable, according to the latest report.

Under business-as-usual scenarios, consumption grows by 1.6% to 3% per year. Under an ambitious mitigation scenario, this growth would only be reduced by around 0.06% per year.

- See more at:

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Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple to Save Climate, UN Says

Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple to Save Climate, UN Says | Digital Sustainability |
The world needs to triple the energy it gets from renewables, nuclear reactors and power plants that use emissions-capture technology to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, United Nations scientists said.
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The world needs to triple the energy it gets from renewables, nuclear reactors and power plants that use emissions-capture technology to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, United Nations scientists said.

Investments needed to keep climate change within safe limits would shave a fraction of a percent off annual global growth, the UN said yesterday in the third part of its most comprehensive study on warming. A delay in stemming rising greenhouse gases will cut chances to limit the global temperature increase, add to costs and lead to increasingly reliance on unproven technologies, they said.

“The longer we wait to implement climate policy, the more risky the options we’ll have to take,” Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the 235 scientists who drafted the report, said in a phone interview from Berlin. “We need to depart from business as usual, and this departure is a huge technological and institutional challenge.”

The UN said governments must accelerate efforts to build wind farms and solar parks and provide incentives to develop carbon capture and storage technology, or CCS, for fossil-fuel plants by making it more costly to emit carbon. The study aims to guide envoys from 194 nations next year as they devise a new accord to slash greenhouse gases....

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Ford, BMW, 10 Others Agree Supplier Environmental Guidelines

Ford, BMW, 10 Others Agree Supplier Environmental Guidelines | Digital Sustainability |
Environmental Leader
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BMW, Ford, GM, Honda and 10 other leading automakers have agreed a set of expectations for suppliers, relating to the environment, working conditions, human rights and business ethics.

The carmakers agreeing to the “Automotive Industry Guiding Principles to Enhance Sustainability Performance in the Supply Chain“ also include Chrysler, Daimler, Fiat S.p.A., Jaguar/Land Rover, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Scania, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group.

As the name indicates, the one-page document is a set of broad principles rather than prescriptive standards. For the environment, the principles are:

Companies are expected to pursue effective environmental protection throughout the supply chain in order to reduce the environmental footprint of our products through-out their life-cycle.

All products manufactured within the supply chain, and the applied materials and substances used in the process are expected to meet environmental standards for design, development, distribution, use, disposal or recycling. Such a comprehensive approach includes but is not limited to:

• Reducing energy and water consumption

• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

• Increasing use of renewable energies

• Enhancing appropriate waste management

• Training of employees

Businesses are expected to support a proactive approach to environmental challenges, and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

The guidelines apply to first-tier suppliers as well as their subcontractors and suppliers

AIAG first developed the basis for these guidelines in 2009, in collaboration with Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota.

The same year, automotive companies in Europe created a working group to enhance collaboration on supply chain sustainability. CSR Europe has facilitated this working group since 2012.

To establish the latest Guiding Principles, AIAG and CSR Europe, together with the 14 automakers, built on the AIAG guidelines and worked to find common points of agreement.

The AIAG also has projects related to greenhouse gas reporting, chemical management and reporting, and the Globally Harmonized System.

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Um laboratório vivo da empresa Obayashi para a arquitetura inteligente e sustentável

Um laboratório vivo da empresa Obayashi para a arquitetura inteligente e sustentável | Digital Sustainability |
Tokyo's Technical Research Institute holds one of the highest possible Platinum ratings for existing building operation. Now, it's going for net zero.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Tokyo's Technical Research Institute managed by global construction firm Obayashi isn't just home to one of the highest rated green buildings in the world, it serves as the company's living laboratory for smart, sustainable architecture.

The core facility on the campus known as the Techno Station recently earned the highest LEED Platinum rating in Japan for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM), with a score of 95 points out of a possible 100. It also holds the third-highest score under LEED-EBOM v2009 in the world. The institute also received one of the highest certifications under the Comprehensive Assessment for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE).

"Obayashi Corporation felt that it was important to evaluate the building based on its actual operational performance in addition to its predicted performance," the company said in a statement.

That's because, eventually, Obayashi hopes not just to make this building net zero — generating as much power as it consumes — but to make it energy-positive.

"In order to make net zero happen, we need to use our energy more efficiently, both by saving energy and decreasing the amount of energy usage," said Hajime Onojima, general manager, Environmental Solutions Department, Technology Division, Obayashi, in response to questions submitted via email by GreenBiz.

"As an example of a part of the effort, we are replacing the light bulbs with LED, and improving the lighting control. We also need to increase the energy generation amount, so we will be adding renewable energy sources on site. The renewable energy will be solar power; solar panels will be added next to the Techno Station building, by the end of this March."

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Camuflagem sísmica contra terremotos funciona na prática

Camuflagem sísmica contra terremotos funciona na prática | Digital Sustainability |
O primeiro teste real de um manto da invisibilidade contra terremotos funcionou na prática.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Manto da invisibilidade para terremotos

Os mantos da invisibilidade e camuflagens de todos os tipos passam cada vez mais rápido da teoria para os laboratórios.

E agora, aquela que talvez fosse a mais estapafúrdia de todas as propostas, uma camuflagem contra terremotos, está passando dos laboratórios para a prática.

Pesquisadores franceses testaram pela primeira vez o uso do manto da invisibilidade contra terremotos - e a coisa funcionou de fato.

A ideia, a princípio, é que as camuflagens antiterremotos possam criar barreiras protetoras que desviem a energia do terremoto para longe de estruturas sensíveis, como usinas nucleares.

O teste foi feito pela equipe do Dr. Sebastien Guenneau, do Instituto Fresnel, que foi o primeiro a perceber que os metamateriais, que funcionam bem com ondas ópticas, sônicas, ondas do mar e até contra o calor, poderiam ser usados também contra ondas sísmicas.


Sismologia transformacional

Enquanto as ondas eletromagnéticas transferem energia entre os campos elétricos e magnéticos, as ondas sísmicas fazem uma transferência entre a energia potencial armazenada na deformação da crosta da Terra e a energia cinética contida em seu movimento.

O que os pesquisadores descobriram é que se a propriedade "permissividade elétrica" for substituída pela densidade do solo, e a "permeabilidade magnética" pelo seu módulo de elasticidade, a óptica transformacional se transforma em sismologia transformacional.


Controlar a densidade do solo e o módulo de elasticidade para toda uma área seria difícil demais, por isso os pesquisadores estão se concentrando inicialmente nas ondas sísmicas que se propagam diretamente na superfície, que são as que causam mais danos.

Em vez de átomos artificiais equase-átomos, Stéphane Brulé descobriu que basta usar buracos para modificar os parâmetros da sismologia transformacional.

Camuflagem contra terremotos

Os resultados foram impressionantes: ante um terremoto simulado, com ondas na frequência de 50 Hz, a área protegida pela camuflagem contra terremotos registrou apenas 20% da amplitude da oscilação original, mostrando que o "metassolo" de fato desviou as ondas de energia sísmica.

Contudo, os pesquisadores afirmam que, neste estágio, uma camuflagem contra terremotos poderia ser usada na prática apenas em locais muito específicos.

Isto porque, em primeiro lugar, a camuflagem exige uma área equivalente à área que será protegida.

Em segundo lugar, a camuflagem não absorve as ondas sísmicas, ela as desvia ou reflete, o que significa que a vizinhança receberá o tranco, tornando a técnica inadequada para áreas urbanas, por exemplo.

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Can Solar Save Brazil?

Can Solar Save Brazil? | Digital Sustainability |
The newest project from world-leading solar module maker Yingli Green Energy is a 1-megawatt installation at Brazil’s ...
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The newest project from world-leading solar module maker Yingli Green Energy is a 1-megawatt installation at Brazil’s Arena Pernambuco soccer stadium, the site of five upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.

Built by Brazilian solar pioneer Grupo Neoenergia, the net-metered system is in the solar-supportive state of Pernambuco’s capital, Recife. The 3,650 monocrystalline panels will generate more than 1,500 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. Power not consumed by the stadium will go to the local community.

Brazil’s solar market is “just taking off,” according to Adam James, GTM Research Solar Analyst for Global Demand. James is readying the 2Q 2014 update of GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook, which projects that Brazil’s 2013 installed capacity of 38.6 megawatts will nearly double to 72.6 megawatts this year.

“But unlike many of the other leading Latin American solar markets such as Mexico and Chile,” James said, “there appears to be no ceiling on Brazil’s potential growth over the long term. Companies like Yingli can think not just in terms of what they can do over the next five years, but what they can do over the next ten, twenty, or 30 years.”

The Latin American solar market does not represent a large percentage of Yingli’s global market share, said International Sales VP Jeff Barnett, “but it is the fastest-growing segment.”

Yingli’s conservative internal figures, which are “a triangulation of announced numbers and estimates, a lot of science and a little art,” Barnett said, show it leading the Brazil market “with north of 30 percent of all modules shipped.”

As part of Yingli’s move to build a brand in Brazil’s emerging market, it joined international icons like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Visa, and Sony as a sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Maquete Eletrônica's curator insight, April 1, 9:09 AM

."no estádio de futebol Arena Pernambuco"................


." Os 3.650 painéis monocristalinos irá gerar mais de 1.500 megawatts- hora de eletricidade por ano. Alimentação não consumida pelo estádio irá para a comunidade local."

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Google teams with SunPower on US$250 million solar home programme

Google teams with SunPower on US$250 million solar home programme | Digital Sustainability |
The number one source for in-depth and up-to-the-minute news, technical articles, blogs and reviews on the international solar PV supply chain.
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nternet giant Google and PV energy provider SunPower are to jointly finance a new US$250 million residential solar lease programme in the US.

In a joint statement today, the companies said the programme would enable “thousands” of homeowners to benefit from solar systems, on top of the 20,000 already leasing under SunPower’s residential programme.

Google has committed US$100 million into the initiative andSunPower the remaining US$150 million.

“We're pleased to team with SunPower to make solar power accessible to more homeowners, and offer families a more effective way to reduce their carbon footprint," said Kojo Ako-Asare, head of corporate finance at Google. "Our partnership withSunPower makes good business sense and supports our goals for a clean energy future."

Google is becoming an increasingly active player in renewable energy, having already invested in two other residential rooftop solar programmes – with SolarCity and Clean Power Finance – and bought into other initiatives worldwide, such as the solar element of South Africa’s national renewable energy programme. The company said this programme with SunPower marked its sixteenth renewable energy investment.

SunPower CFO Chuck Boynton said: "With the increased and growing interest in reliable, cost-effective solar from businesses and homeowners alike, Google's leadership is helping take solar mainstream."

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The MatHero Project: Greener Organic Solar Cells

The MatHero Project: Greener Organic Solar Cells | Digital Sustainability |
A new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), called “MatHero”, aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time. “Green” processes for materials synthesis and coating play a key role. To reach these objectives, the European project … Read more
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A new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), called “MatHero”, aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time. “Green” processes for materials synthesis and coating play a key role.

To reach these objectives, the European project consortium of “MatHero” studies environmentallycompatible processes for materials synthesis, coating and printing. All novel printable materials are formulated using non-chlorinated solvents. “The use of environmentally compatible solvents is a major prerequisite for cost reduction, as complex safety measures on the industrial scale will no longer be required,” Dr. Alexander Colsmann of KIT’s Light Technology Institute (LTI) explains. Together with Christian Sprau, Colsmann coordinates the project.

“MatHero—New materials for highly efficient and reliable organic solar cells” covers the complete value chain of organic solar cell fabrication: From the design and synthesis of the polymers used to assemble the solar cells to the fabrication and characterization of the modules to the assessment of device stability. The project goal is an environmentally compatible printed organic solar module initially for off-grid applications. In the consortium, physicists, chemists, materials scientists, and engineers cooperate in an interdisciplinary project team in order to study fundamental scientific and product development aspects. The KIT scientists develop new solar cell architectures and analyze process up-scaling, focusing on enhancing solar cell efficiencies as well as on using environmentally compatible solvents.

“MatHero” is funded by the European Commission with an amount of €3.5 million ($4.85 million). Besides KIT, the research institutions Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP), Potsdam, the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA) in France, and Acondicionamiento Tarrasense (LEITAT) in Spainparticipating in the project. The industry partners are Advent Technologies SA (Greece), and Arkema (France) and Eight19 Ltd (UK). The project started in early 2014 and is scheduled for a duration of three years.

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Recyclebank Launches One Twine - A Marketplace for the Conscious Consumer

Recyclebank Launches One Twine - A Marketplace for the Conscious Consumer | Digital Sustainability |
Recyclebank has launched One Twine, a new online shop that features a carefully curated collection of socially and environmentally conscious goods. Each product is reviewed through Recyclebank’s Impact Lens, which examines how it’s made, how it’s used and how it can be disposed.
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Today, in honor of Earth Day, Recyclebank — which inspires and rewards more conscious consumer actions and purchasing decisions — is launching One Twine, a new online shop that features a carefully curated collection of socially and environmentally conscious goods. Each product is reviewed through Recyclebank’s Impact Lens, which examines how it’s made, how it’s used and how it can be disposed. Recyclebank members can apply the points they’ve earned for buying and acting more sustainably toward purchases on One Twine.

“Recyclebank’s mission is, and always has been, to inspire people to live more sustainably,” said Recyclebank CEO Javier Flaim. “We started with recycling and have since added other ways for people to easily incorporate sustainability into their daily lives. It is a natural step for Recyclebank to extend that experience to the products our employees believe in with the launch of One Twine.

“People want products that are gentle on the planet and healthy for their families, but it is easy to get lost among labels, certifications, and marketing messages. We’re taking the guess work out of finding products that consider their total impact on our planet, and in the process giving people another way to incorporate sustainability into their lives.”

Recyclebank’s Impact Lens includes nine criteria that consider the product’s total environmental impact:

One Twine’s Impact Lens considers the following criteria for each product:

Renewable — Made from recycled materials or renewable resourcesGentle Impact — Ingredients and by-products are free of hard chemicals that are bad for health or the environmentFair — Makers of this product were treated fairlySustainably Made — Manufactured with a minimal environmental impactEfficient — Product efficiently uses resources and/or helps reduce pollutionPromotes Sustainability — This product makes it easier and more convenient to lead a more eco-friendly lifeReclaimable — This product itself is recyclable, reusable and/or biodegradableSmart Packaging — Packaging materials are minimal and/or made from recyclable, reusable or biodegradable materialsMerchant Buy Back — This product can be re-sold or given back to the manufacturer

To help people make more informed choices, One Twine clearly displays icons next to each product that highlight which criteria it meets, and includes insightful content related to those principles.

At launch, One Twine features more than 400 products from 30 new and established brands across household, health and beauty, children, pets, gear and gadgets categories, including:

3B BagsAlba BotanicaAvalon OrganicsBabo BotanicalsBambuBetter LifeBorn FreeCitrus MagicClean WellDancing PawsDesert EssenceECO LunchboxEO


Green'N'PackGreensproutsGreen ToysIf You CareJ.R. WatkinsMrs. MeyersNubian HeritageSusty PartyTom’s of MaineVersWeledaWeWoodZuke’s

Since 2004, Recyclebank has used a mix of education, rewards and impact metrics to help people live more sustainable lifestyles. Through online engagement and recycling incentive programs, the company has increased recycling rates in more than 300 communities, partnered to recycle nearly 3.8 billion pounds of waste, and helped move people toward a more sustainable future. Its 4.5 million members earn hundreds of points a year from learning how to live more sustainably and taking small actions to achieve real impact.

In other recent Recyclebank news, the company was a key partner in J&J’s Care to Recycle campaign, which encourages and reminds consumers to recycle in the bathroom. And in January, Recyclebank announced the schools selected for its 2014 Green Schools Program, which each year grants money to schools to enable unique projects that will lead to greater sustainability in their classroom and community.

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10 major cities form City Energy Project

10 major cities form City Energy Project | Digital Sustainability |
From Boston to Salt Lake City, cities are banding together to combat the biggest demand for energy and source of carbon emissions.
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Mayors from 10 major U.S. cities are working together under the City Energy Project to significantly increase energy efficiency in buildings — their biggest source of energy demand and carbon pollution.

Funded by a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, it is being managed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation.

The 10 cities, with more to follow, are Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

"We have the skills and technology to make buildings more efficient, but we need a coordinated effort by major cities and the private sector to make it happen," said Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation.

Each city will receive funds to hire a full-time consultant (for three years) that crafts and helps the city implement a customized efficiency plan that builds on programs already underway. The consultant also will facilitate interaction between cities to share best practices.

"There are a lot of models out there — we'll be helping walk some of the cities through the options," Laurie Kerr of NRDC told Midwestern News. "There are a mixture of options cities are looking at — some are ordinances, some are policies or programs, ways of providing financing, working with a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)program or creating an energy efficiency financing entity."

Key strategies:

• Provide information about building energy use that will help
owners and managers cut waste

• Align financial incentives for energy efficiency

• Ensure that building systems function optimally

• Encourage leadership from universities, hospitals and other major stakeholders.

"With U.S. buildings consuming more primary energy than countries like Russia and India, the scale of the opportunity to optimize building energy performance is significant," said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer of UTC Building & Industrial Systems. "Cities collaborating and implementing creative, practical energy efficiency policies can go a long way to reducing America's $450 billion annual energy bill and carbon emissions."

Largely due to electricity consumption, buildings emit 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution, the largest single source in the United States. At the city level, over half of carbon emissions come from buildings and can be as high as 75 percent. Worst of all, much of that energy is wasted.

In Chicago, for example, its tall buildings produce 71 percent of the city's greenhouse gas emissions and require some $3 billion a year for operations. In NYC, 75 to 80 percent of emissions come from large buildings.

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Eerie glow-in-the-dark roads replace streetlights in Netherlands to save money, energy

Eerie glow-in-the-dark roads replace streetlights in Netherlands to save money, energy | Digital Sustainability |
In an effort to save the massive amount of energy standard streetlights consume and present drivers with more information on the road, design lab Studio Roosegaarde has transformed a highway in the Netherlands into an eerie glow-in-the-dark smart highway.
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In an effort to save the massive amount of energy standard streetlights consume, and to present drivers with more information on the road, a Dutch company has transformed a highway in the Netherlands into an eerie glow-in-the-dark smart highway.

A couple of years ago, Dan Roosegaarde said he was sitting in his car in the Netherlands and realized that millions are spent on roads, but no one seems to care how they look or act. Then, while speaking to the BBC last year, Roosegaarde noted that the government is shutting down streetlights late at night in order to conserve energy and save money. Roosegaarde felt it was strange than we spend billions of dollars on designing and developing cars, but the things on which they’re used aren’t involved in that budget or process. So, his company — Studio Roosegaarde — teamed up with Heijmans, a Dutch civil engineering firm, to create a paint that can glow brightly enough in the dark — and under outdoor conditions — in order to light the way for drivers.

The team developed a photo-luminescent powder that, when mixed with road paint, can glow in the dark for up to 10 hours after charging up from the daytime sunlight. The paint was placed on a 0.3-mile stretch of highway N329, about 62 miles southeast of Amsterdam in the city of Oss. Studio Roosegaarde also aimed to add glowing weather symbols that would activate when the symbol’s corresponding weather conditions took place; for example, snowflake glyphs would appear on the road to indicate that the road is slippery and caution is advised. However, for now, only the glowing street lines have been implemented.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that, back in 2011, England’s Highway Agency shut off a significant amount of the country’s streetlights overnight in order to meet a carbon emissions goal. The mass turn-off ended up saving the agency about $668,000 (or £400,000). Another of the country’s councils estimated that setting one-third of England’s streetlights to either turn off during a certain period of time, or allowing them to be dimmed, would save around $1,337,000 (or £800,000) per year.

Anyone who had their own room in middle school knows from the staggering amount of glowing stars they pasted onto their ceiling that glow-in-the-dark fixtures don’t illuminate their surroundings. They light up themselves, but nothing around it. However, Roosegaarde said the team managed to get the paint to glow so bright that it seems radioactive — definitely a better level of brightness than the glowing stars you stuck to your ceiling fan before your first sleepover.

The team wants to take the glowing paint further, but so far they have not received new contracts. The paint has not yet been thoroughly tested by the rigors of time, so perhaps we’ll begin to see eerily glowing roads popping up around the world once the paint has shown to last through weather and time.

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Crowdfunding Hit — Solar Charger For Tablets

Crowdfunding Hit — Solar Charger For Tablets | Digital Sustainability |
Originally published on Ecopreneurist.

Solar power for mobile devices is the wave of the future, but many of the small portable solar chargers on the market aren’t big enough to efficiently power tablets and other gadgets that have a larger battery capacity, and they don’t often include an onboard battery pack for charging devices after the sun
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Solar power for mobile devices is the wave of the future, but many of the small portable solar chargers on the market aren’t big enough to efficiently power tablets and other gadgets that have a larger battery capacity, and they don’t often include an onboard battery pack for charging devices after the sun goes down.

However, a new entry to the portable solar charger market aims to fix that, by offering a small yet powerful system to both harvest and store solar energy for all of your mobile gadgets.

The Solartab measures about the same size as an iPad, comes with a combination cover/stand, includes a 13,000 mAh lithium-ion battery and two USB ports for charging devices from. The device can also be charged from a wall outlet, so you can start your day with a full charge.


The Solartab is currently in a crowdfunding phase, and the startup’s Kickstarter campaign is already over 2/3 of the way to its goal, with 20 more days to run. Backers of the project at the $99 level will be the first to get one of these solar chargers (a value of about $149), or for $139, a special limited edition Kickstarter model.

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Dossier écoconception logicielle : genèse

Dossier écoconception logicielle : genèse | Digital Sustainability |
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Le coût du gras numérique
Le nombre de calculs par joule double tous les 2 ans. C’est ce que démontre la loi de Koomey. Autrement dit, l’efficience énergétique des microprocesseurs suit la loi de Moore ! En parallèle, les fabricants font de réels progrès en terme d’écoconception depuis quelques années. Un desktop haut de gamme destiné aux professionnels fonctionne sans problème pendant 10 ans.

Malheureusement, une étude que nous avons menée avec Frédéric Lohier en 2010, et qui a lancé le mouvement de l’écoconception logicielle en France, montre que l’empreinte ressources d’un logiciel, c’est-à-dire la quantité de cycles CPU, de mémoire vive, de bande passante, etc. nécessaire à son fonctionnement, double en moyenne tous les 2 à 3 ans. Il faut ainsi 114 fois plus de mémoire vive entre les couples Windows 98 - Office 97 et Windows 8 – Office 2013 pour écrire le même texte, effectuer le même calcul ou envoyer le même e-mail.

Ce phénomène d’obésiciel (contraction des termes « obèse » et « logiciel ») n’est pas propre à Microsoft : il touche tous les éditeurs et tous les développements sur mesure. La loi de With le décrit depuis 1991 : « le logiciel ralentit plus vite que le matériel n’accélère ».

De la performance à l’efficience
Jusqu’à présent, on absorbait les effets de ce « gras numérique » en rajoutant toujours plus de serveurs, bande passante, de mémoire vive, etc. Mais cette inflation de ressources finit par coûter cher, par poser des problèmes techniques, et par avoir des impacts environnementaux conséquents. Un gros data center consomme par exemple autant d’énergie qu’une ville de 200 000 habitants. Et le coût de la dette technique (notamment coût de maintenance évolutive et corrective) des logiciels devrait doubler entre 2010 et 2015, passant de 500 à 1000 milliards de dollars, selon le cabinet Gartner.

Depuis quelques années, de nombreux éditeurs, entreprises et administrations, cherchent à réduire l’empreinte ressources de leurs logiciels. Les mêmes acteurs mènent en parallèle des démarches pour rendre leurs logiciels et sites web plus accessibles, notamment aux personnes en situation de handicap visuel (mais pas que). C’est la dimension sociale. Nous arrivons à un moment de l’histoire informatique où ces deux démarches – économique et environnementale pour la première, et sociale pour la seconde - convergent pour n’en former plus qu’une : l’écoconception logicielle.

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EPA Announces Which Cities Earned the Most Energy Star Commercial Building Certifications in 2013

EPA Announces Which Cities Earned the Most Energy Star Commercial Building Certifications in 2013 | Digital Sustainability |
For the sixth year in a row, Los Angeles reigns supreme in the EPA's ranking of the the most commercial Energy Star building certifications earned in a year for the country's top 25 cities. The EPA also ranked mid-sized and small cities.
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In 2013, Los Angeles reigns supreme for the sixth year in a row in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual ranking of the top 25 U.S. cities with the most Energy Star-certified commercial buildings. Philadelphia broke into the top 10 ring for the first time this year, thanks perhaps, to the Philadelphia Building Energy and Benchmarking Law passed in 2012, which requires large city buildings to report their energy usage.

EPA's methodology for the ranking defined cities by the U.S. Census Bureau's "core based statistical areas," and then tallied the total number of building that earned the Energy Star certification in each city in 2013....

While the data does not compare the number of certified building against the total number of commercial buildings in the defined metro areas, according to the EPA, the Energy Star certifications in each cities equated to significant annual cost savings.


1. Los Angeles: $132.2 million
2. Washington, D.C.: $119.0 million
3. Atlanta: $53.4 million
4. New York: $142.4 million
5. San Francisco: $110.1 million
6. Chicago: $91.3 million
7. Dallas: $43.9 million
8. Denver: $40.2 million
9. Philadelphia: $28.1 million 
10. Houston: $66.4 million

For the full breakdown of the top 25 cities, and additional information of the total floor space, cost savings, and emissions prevented, visit EPA's 2014 data set.

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The world's first net-zero energy skyscraper rises in Indonesia

The world's first net-zero energy skyscraper rises in Indonesia | Digital Sustainability |
The Pertamina Energy Tower's curved façade is precisely calibrated for Jakarta's proximity to the equator to mitigate solar heat gain year-round.
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The world's first net-zero energy skyscraper soon will grace the center of Jakarta, Indonesia — the Pertamina Energy Tower.

When it's finished in 2019, it will be 99 stories high and serve as the headquarters of Pertamina, the national energy company. In addition to the 20,000 people who will work there, it will be the centerpiece of a campus that has a mosque, a sports center and a 2,000-seat auditorium for the performing arts.

Shaped like a funnel, the top of the tower opens at the top, capturing wind and sucking it inside to run a series of vertical wind turbines that provide 25 percent of the building's electricity.

Incredibly, its curved façade is precisely calibrated for Jakarta's proximity to the equator, which mitigate solar heat gain throughout the year. On two sides of the building are sun-shading "leaves" — semi-mobile curtains that allow daylight to enter while shielding the building from glare and heat from the sun. Radiant cooling systems replace air conditioners.

Other buildings on campus will be covered by solar panels, but the central energy plant that powers the complex will run on geothermal — a prime, renewable energy source in Indonesia.

A covered walkway called the "Energy Ribbon" winds through the campus, providing protection from the elements and generating energy from solar panels on top. It connects the buildings while leading people across land bridges and gardens....

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Apple, Facebook, Google Lead Tech Firms on Renewables, Greenpeace Says

Apple, Facebook, Google Lead Tech Firms on Renewables, Greenpeace Says | Digital Sustainability |
Environmental Leader
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Apple, Facebook, and Google are leading a growing number of technology companies working to power the internet with 100 percent renewable energy, signaling a major shift in the sector over the past two years, and leaving Amazon Web Services behind, according to Greenpeace research.

Amazon Web Services, which hosts the data for many of the internet’s most popular services, powers its infrastructure with polluting energy sources that contribute to global warming, according to Clicking Clean: How Companies are Creating the Green Internet.

Greenpeace evaluated the energy choices of 19 leading internet companies, surveying the electricity supply chains of over 300 data centers. Five of those companies have committed to a goal of powering their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.

Apple became the first company to achieve 100 percent renewable energy goal to power its iCloud. It is operating the largest privately owned solar installation in the US at its North Carolina data center. Apple led the companies evaluated, with a Clean Energy Index of 100 percent, according to the report.

Facebook flexed its muscles to push its utility in Iowa,MidAmerican Energy, to power its data center there with wind energy. MidAmerican responded by investing $1.9 billion in wind power generation, placing the world’s largest-ever order of onshore wind turbines, in part to meet the social network’s demands.

Google has pioneered the use of power purchase agreements for wind energy, to provide electricity for its services like Gmail and YouTube, the report says.

By contrast Amazon Web Services currently meets only 15 percent of its electricity demand with clean energy. Coal powers 28 percent of the company’s cloud, nuclear 27 percent, and gas 25 percent.

Greenpeace claims that technology companies have “immense power” either to drive a renewable energy revolution, or to tie the new digital economy to polluting sources of power. If the internet were a country, its electricity demand would currently rank sixth, the report says. Estimates from the industry say internet data will triple from 2012 to 2017.

Apple, Facebook and Google have proven over the past 24 months that wind and solar energy are ready and waiting to power the internet, and the rest of our economy, with clean electricity, according to Gary Cook, Greenpeace senior IT analyst.

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Busca por avião da Malaysia Airlines coloca em xeque poluição nos oceanos

Busca por avião da Malaysia Airlines coloca em xeque poluição nos oceanos | Digital Sustainability |
Opera Mundi - Jornalismo internacional: notícias, informações, perfis, reportagens especiais e análises críticas sobre os principais acontecimentos do mundo
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Nas últimas semanas, satélites internacionais têm detectado uma série de objetos flutuantes nas áreas onde são feitas as buscas do avião da Malaysia Airlines, que desapareceu no dia 8 de março no trajeto entre Kuala Lumpur e Pequim com 239 pessoas a bordo. Posteriormente, contudo, especialistas comprovaram que, em todos os casos, se tratavam de pistas falsas.

Para além da frustração que essas hipóteses errôneas resultam, os grandes objetos detectados são sinais visíveis de um problema muito maior. Isto é, as buscas pelos destroços da aeronave também levantam outro tipo de discussão, constantemente deixada de lado: a questão da poluição nos oceanos.

Os impactos ligados à presença do lixo no mar começaram a ser observados a partir da década de 1950. Um dos maiores problemas apontados pelos cientistas foi a substituição de materiais naturais pelos sintéticos - como o plástico - que resistem por mais tempo e se acumulam nos oceanos. De acordo com um relatório apresentado pelo PNUMA (Programa das Nações Unidas para o Ambiente) em 2009, os plásticos compõem cerca de 80% do lixo coletado no mar.

“Essas pistas falsas da aeronave dão uma ideia de que há lixo no oceano, mas representam fragmentos grandes. Na verdade, 99,9% dos plásticos encontrados no oceano são extremamente pequenos. Ou seja, há muito mais lixo do que se imagina”, afirmou o Prof. Dr. Alexander Turra, do Instituto Oceanográfico da USP (Universidade de São Paulo), em entrevista a Opera Mundi. “O plástico sofre fragmentação pelo sol e vai se quebrando. Esse processo pode ser acelerado pelas ondas e ventos, fragmentando cada vez mais. Se nada de mais grave acontecer, o processo demora meses, senão semanas”, explicou.

De acordo com o relatório da ONU intitulado “Lixo marinho: Um Desafio Global”, pouco se sabe sobre a extensão de lixo nos oceanos. “Esta deficiência, em combinação com a falta de legislação específica, de aplicação de lei adequada e de financiamento são as principais razões pelas quais o problema do lixo marinho está longe de ser resolvido", diz o artigo das Nações Unidas. Para o oceanógrafo da USP, tal dado é incomensurável, pois parte de pesquisas em cada país, sendo impossível quantificá-las em escala global. “A gente não sabe a área precisamente, pois há estudos locais nas praias, depois disso, partimos para estimativas”, diz.

“O maior aterro do mundo está no oceano”

Apesar de não ser possível quantificar, há algumas zonas no oceano cuja concentração de lixo é impressionante. Exemplo disso é uma área localizada no Pacífico Norte conhecida como “Grande Giro do Pacífico”, localizada entre a Califórnia, o Havaí e o Japão. Trata-se de uma imensa mancha de lixo que se acumula em um dos giros (áreas em torno das quais se deslocam as correntes marinhas) existentes em todos os oceanos. Nessas zonas, os resíduos e detritos de plástico que chegam ali ficam retidos e se acumulam, formando enormes “lixões”.
Segundo dados levantados pelo Greenpeace em 2008, 80% do lixo do oceano vêm da terra e 20% em navios (cargueiros, pescas ou cruzeiros) ou plataformas. Além disso, cerca de 100 milhões de toneladas de plástico são produzidas todo ano e aproximadamente 10% acabam no ambiente marinho. Uma vez lá, as qualidades duradouras de plástico fazem com que o material permaneça no ecossistema ao longo de décadas, e como mais lixo se acumula, o cenário tende a ser extremamente negativo.

Apesar de os plásticos representarem 80% dos resíduos sólidos no mar, Turra aponta que sua tendência a flutuar facilita que seja mais visível nas pesquisas de campo científicas. “Por outro lado, há materiais mais pesados, como metais, que afundam. Isso dificulta quantificar a presença deles nos oceanos”, afirmou o pesquisador da USP. Daí um dos maiores desafios do lixo no oceano: se 99,9% dos plásticos são micropartículas e se muitos materiais acabam no fundo dos mares, é impossível quantificar o lixo presente no ambiente marinho.

Em um artigo intitulado “O maior aterro do mundo está no meio do oceano”, publicado para o PNUMA em 2002, o pesquisador e capitão Charles Moore afirmou que o maior problema do “Grande Giro do Pacífico” é que ele não representa apenas uma mancha de poluição, mas teria uma área do tamanho comparável ao Texas e se enche cada vez mais de lixo flutuante.

Segundo este relatório, os níveis de partículas de plástico triplicaram nos últimos dez anos e não seria um absurdo prever um aumento de dez vezes para a próxima década. Em suas pesquisas de campo, Moore apontou há 6 vezes mais micropartículas de plástico do que plâncton nos mares em que estudou. Há pelo menos cinco manchas semelhantes de lixo no Pacífico Sul, Atlântico Norte, Atlântico Sul e Índico, comprovando que não se trata de um problema local. “Antes de pensar em quantificar, o principal desafio mesmo é fazer com que a sociedade polua menos”, concluiu Turra.

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Biodegradable, Implantable Battery Can Melt In Your Body

Biodegradable, Implantable Battery Can Melt In Your Body | Digital Sustainability |

Modern medicine does not fall behind other business in this age of technology. Modern medicine focuses on integrating life-changing advances with progressive technological advances. A recent marriage of medicine and technology hopes to enable progress in monitoring and administering treatment with difficult health circumstances. This recent progress is a biodegradable, implantable battery that will help

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“This is a really major advance,” says Jeffrey Borenstein, a biomedical engineer at Draper Laboratory, a non-profit research and development centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Until recently, there has not been a lot of progress in this area.”

Mark Peplow of the journal Nature writes, “In 2012, materials scientist John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign unveiled a range of biodegradable silicon chips that could monitor temperature or mechanical strain, radio the results to external devices, and even heat up tissue to prevent infection.”

In a study published in 2012, ‘Biodegradable electronics here today, gone tomorrow,’ a team of researchers designed flexible electronic components that could dissolve inside the body and in water. The components could be used to make smart devices that disintegrate once they are no longer useful, helping to alleviate electronic waste and enabling the development of medical implants that don’t need to be surgically removed....

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Scientists Focus on Polar Waters As Threat of Acidification Grows by Jo Chandler: Yale Environment 360

Scientists Focus on Polar Waters As Threat of Acidification Grows by Jo Chandler: Yale Environment 360 | Digital Sustainability |
A sophisticated and challenging experiment in Antarctica is the latest effort to study ocean acidification in the polar regions, where frigid waters are expected to feel most acutely the ecological impacts of acidic conditions not seen in millions of years.
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A few weeks from now, in the waters off the Tasmanian coast, marine ecologist Jonny Stark of the Australian Antarctic Division and a team of biologists and technicians will piece together an underwater laboratory. Once they get the technology hooked up and running, they will promptly disassemble the hoses, instruments, pumps, and plastic panels and crate it all up. This is merely a dress rehearsal, and in much kinder conditions than those anticipated for the performance later this year in Antarctica.

Their mission?

“We’re going to build a bio-dome on the sea floor with a future ocean inside it,” declares project co-leader Donna Roberts, a marine biologist with Australia’s Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center.

Within the chambers of their laboratory, which will be dropped 20 meters below the frozen crust of a little Antarctic bay just south of the Australian government’s Casey Station, Roberts, Stark, and their colleagues will introduce a selection of plants and animals from the local seafloor community to the more acidic seawater conditions anticipated by 2100. In the ensuing four months, the scientists will maintain the artificial conditions in the chambers via an umbilical system fed through a hole bored in three-meter-thick ice. The results of their experiment will help illuminate a key question about future climate change: What will be the impact of dramatically changing seawater chemistry on ocean biology?

The Australian research project is one of a handful being conducted by scientists in Antarctica and the Arctic, where the reality of ocean

Frigid polar seas are on the front line of the most dramatic shift in ocean chemistry in millions of years.

acidification — the so-called other CO2 problem — is expected to be felt first, soon, and hard. That’s because colder ocean waters inhale and retain more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than warmer waters. This creates higher levels of acidity and threatens a host of creatures — from tiny zooplankton to sea urchins and sea stars — that may have difficulty building shells or reproducing in waters with a lower pH....

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