UChicago-Argonne National Lab Team Improves Solar Cell Efficiency

Great research on solar cell efficiency improvements continues to be reported, this time from scientists in the University of Chicago’s chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory. We offer our highest praise to support the evolution of the renewable energy industry, which in turn, will boost better products for green building. New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago’s chemistry…

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John Perlin Series: Five Major Breakthroughs in Solar Energy – Part II

I am pleased to post this second in a series of solar energy articles from John Perlin, based on his ground breaking book, Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy. Perlin discusses the major breakthroughs in solar energy over the millennia. Second Major Breakthrough – Solar Architecture and Solar Cities The second major breakthrough in solar occurred when the Chinese began to apply their knowledge of the changing position of the sun during the year, as discussed in the…

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Worldwide Water in 2050: Reducing Scarcity is Possible

With the possibility of a worldwide water shortage facing future generations, this paper concerning strategies which might mitigate some of the problems has been published in Nature Geoscience. Take a look. Increased water-recycling and improved irrigation techniques among six strategies identified as key to successfully reducing global water scarcity Water scarcity is not a problem just for the developing world. In California, legislators are currently proposing a $7.5 billion emergency water plan to their voters; and U.S. federal officials last…

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Coal’s Dominance & Carbon Emissions Must Be Made More Apparent in Climate Change Accounting

The world’s accounting system for carbon emissions, run by the United Nations, disregards capital investments in future coal-fired and natural-gas power plants that will commit the world to several decades and billions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study from Princeton University and the University of California-Irvine published Aug. 26 in the journalEnvironmental Research Letters. In the paper, Robert Socolow, a Princeton professor, emeritus, of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and co-author Steven Davis, a professor of…

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Water and Sunlight the Formula for Sustainable Fuel

This news on water and sunlight from Australian National University is worth reading. An Australian National University (ANU) team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen as a fuel. “Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely,” said Dr Kastoori Hingorani, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for…

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Guest Post: New Tools for Improving Energy Efficiency at Universities

Any time we hear about improving energy efficiency we get excited. Read this guest post from Danielle Kershner, with contributing help from Keri Masterson. Intelligent buildings can now match the demands of multi-faceted institutions By Danielle Kershner of Eco Branding Reducing energy consumption to save money is a concept becoming increasingly important. But how are we identifying these savings, and is there a way to maximize the potential for savings opportunities? Intelligent efficiency defines the next generation of efficiency methods…

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Plastics Advances: CO2 Sponge Could Reduce Fossil Fuel Emissions

This presentation pertaining to a CO2 sponge is one of some 12,000 at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). If any part of this comes to a greater reality in mitigating climate change, this one particularly piques our interest. Read this press announcement from AAAS EurekAlert. A sponge-like plastic that sops up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) might ease our transition away from polluting fossil fuels and toward new energy sources, such as…

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Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles Now Available in Delaware & Hawaii

We are happy to report the Dow line of solar shingles is now available in two more states. Dow Solar announced today that the availability of DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles, an award-winning residential solar roofing system, is expanding to Delaware and Hawaii. Delaware and Hawaii are among the smaller states in the nation, both in population and geography. But in the solar industry, the two states rank in the top ten, which drew Dow Solar’s attention in determining the next…

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News Briefs from Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Here is news of interest from research taking place at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Refrigeration CO2 to the rescue Tomorrow’s commercial refrigeration systems — like the ones in supermarkets – could be cooled by carbon dioxide instead of hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas that is nearly 4,000 times more potent than CO2. That is important because millions of pounds of HFCs leak into the environment every year, said Brian Fricke, a researcher in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Building Equipment Research…

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Guest Post: Help Your Wallet and the Environment by Switching to Energy Efficient Appliances

This is the second guest post from Australian-based Jacob Pettit. Key area of interest here: saving dollars with energy efficient, green appliances. There are many wonderful updates for your home that are energy efficient and green. These options effectively save you money and promote a more environmentally friendly world. One of the most significant changes that you can make is to swap your current non-energy efficient appliances for greener options. Green Enterprise asserts that energy efficient appliances are currently more…

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London 2050 Infrastructure Plan Released

For those wanting to understand the issues of large metropolitan infrastructure, take a look at this 2050 infrastructure plan for the City of London. Prepared by the City of London.   “The Mayor launches London’s first long-term infrastructure plan. This is a consultation about London’s growth and how we can make the city better for everyone. “Infrastructure is fundamental to every Londoner, every day, from turning on the taps in the morning, to travelling to work, to switching off the lights…

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Guest Post: Most Popular Eco-Friendly Roofing Options for Your Home

Thanks to writer Jacob Petit for drafting this article on green roofing options. The roof is one area of the home that is often overlooked for purposes of energy efficiency, but it shouldn’t be. A large amount of the heat in a home is lost through the roof, which makes insulating it one of the easiest ways to cut down on costs. It also makes the roof a prime candidate for making a home more ‘green.’ Traditional roofing options are…

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Cambridge, Mass., Passes Energy Benchmarking Ordinance

This news today on a new energy benchmarking ordinance in Cambridge comes from the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). Large commercial, institutional, multifamily, and municipal buildings must track and report their energy and water use. The City Council of Cambridge, Mass., voted unanimously on Monday to approve the Building Energy Usage and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO), requiring the benchmarking and disclosure of building energy performance for large commercial, institutional, and multifamily buildings. In passing the ordinance, Cambridge joins its neighbor, Boston,…

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Green Materials Report: Beetle-Kill Pine

A majority of the beetle-kill mountain pine forests destroyed by the mountain pine beetle remain standing as a hugely valuable unclaimed resource for building and manufacturing needs. But if left unclaimed, this same resource will transform into dry tinder releasing CO2 and potentially causing devastating forest fires. Companies taking the lead A number of millers, builders, and manufacturers have set impressive examples using this resource, but the amount of dead wood needing to be harvested is staggering. Here are a…

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Stanford Team Achieves ‘Holy Grail’ of Battery Design: A Stable Lithium Anode

Think energy storage and the “Holy Grail’ of battery design. Here is news of an important discovery from Stanford for on the lithium metal anode for rechargeable batteries, complements of AAAS’s EurekAlert. Stanford Team Achieves ‘Holy Grail’ of Battery Design: A Stable Lithium Anode Engineers across the globe have been racing to design smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries to meet the power storage needs of everything from handheld gadgets to electric cars. In a paper published today in the journal Nature…

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First Solar & XSOL Ink Supply Agreement in Japan

First Solar and XSOL Co., Ltd., a distributor and integrator of solar systems in Japan, today announced an agreement to supply First Solar’s cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film modules in Japan. The agreement targets installation of 100 megawatts (MW)DC per year. Last year, First Solar announced plans to invest $100M in development of mega solar power projects in Japan. The agreement with XSOL enables First Solar’s advanced technology to be supplied to smaller scale projects as well. “First Solar is…

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UK Grocery Store Sainsbury’s First to Leave Grid; Obtaining Power from Anaerobic Digestion of Scrap Food

More examples are beginning to surface of companies opting to operate independently of the utility operated power grid. In this example, we hear news of Sainsbury’s, a Saffordshire grocery store, that plans to generate its own power through the anaerobic digestion of food waste. An anaerobic digestion plant owned by Biffa will be providing the energy to a Sainsbury’s store in Cannock, Staffordshire. Food waste from Biffa is returned from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK to its anaerobic digestion facility…

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Green Materials Report: Ecovative Design’s Mushroom Magic

Are there alternatives to foam when it comes tp packaging and insulation? Absolutely yes. contends Ecovative Design, a Green Island, NY company engaged in the design, development, and testing of new products and biomaterial applications. The company has launched two extremely green mushroom-based products. Start with the packaging material, said to perform in customized shapes like foam does. This high-performance alternative to molded or fabricated EPS, EPP, EPE is renewable, compostable, and cost-competitive. Ecovative’s Mushroom packaging, is a “Cradle to Cradle Gold…

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