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Ryan M. Jacobs

Walmart Invests in Solar Technology

The big-box store announced its plans to mount at least 15 megawatts worth of thin-film photovoltaic solar arrays on the roofs of 30 or so locations in both California and Arizona. The thin-film solar cells, which are fabricated with glass or other flexible materials, are less efficient than the conventional crystalline silicon construction but are much cheaper to produce. Walmart’s commitment to thin-film may inspire other commercial businesses searching for financially viable ways to green their facilities.

Pro Sports Leagues Make Commitment to Green Play

All of the United States’ professional sports leagues recently announced that they would like to see stadiums set the green standard. The organizations distributed a sustainable energy and building guide prepared by the Natural Resources Defense Council that their teams could choose to follow. The leagues hope that fans will see and appreciate the green shift and perhaps adopt some renewable practices of their own. Qwest Field in Seattle and Staples Center in Los Angeles have already greened their facilities with huge solar arrays that save thousands of dollars in commercial electricity bills.

Using Your Computer to Conduct Water Conservation Research

IBM’s Worldwide Community Grid is an innovative supercomputing network that will allow its users to offer idle processing power to Tsinghua University scientists studying water pollution and treatment. The researchers believe that the grid will help them condense tens of years of required computer simulations down to months.  To join the effort, visit:

Three New Energy-Saving Circuits

An electrical engineering research team at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan has developed three new circuit designs that consume 80 percent less energy than current technology. The new converter processes, dubbed monotonic capacitor switching procedure, binary-scaled error compensation method and binary-scaled error compensation method, allow for both high-efficiency and faster operating speeds.  The research was recently featured at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference.,r614-1.php

Green Computing

As digital technology continues to define contemporary life, some companies have aimed to curtail the impact of IT equipment on the environment. Western Digital offers the sustainable WD Caviar Green Hard Drive, which uses 40 percent less power than standard desktop storage devices and operates more quietly. With a 2 TB capacity and a low price tag of $109.99, the eco-conscious drive doesn’t force consumers to sacrifice performance or loads of cash.

A Greener Restroom, – Waterless Urinal Marketed

The Los Angeles-based eco-conscious company Falcon offers sleek urinals that require no water. Each urinal, equipped with a special cartridge and sealant system, is estimated to save up to 40,000 gallons of water per year. The airtight and flush-free operation also eliminates odors and reduces bacteria.

Australia to Host Southern Hemisphere’s Largest Wind Farm in 2013

As part of an effort to increase the percentage of energy its power grid receives from renewable sources (only 6 percent of the country’s energy is green), Australia is set to build a billion-dollar wind plant in Victoria State. The 140 wind turbine configuration is expected to yield enough power for 220,000 homes and to displace 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases annually. The project is just one of many steps Australia is taking to meet its 2020 goal of powering the grid with at least 20 percent clean energy.

Clarian To Release Cheap, Easy-to-Install Solar Technology

Mounting standard solar panel systems can be a lengthy and complex process that involves contractors, electricians and about $10,000. The Sunfish, which is expected to hit stores by spring 2011, is a new solar energy module that costs $799 and can be installed in under an hour. Its panels plug into a regular outlet, and users can monitor their power-saving via the web.

Cheap LEDs debut at Home Depot

This week the store began selling the high-efficiency bulbs online for just under $20. While this may not seem like a spectacular deal, the bulbs are purported to last for as long as 30 years and experts had previously predicted prices to be upwards of $30 until 2012.  According to company officials, the light bulbs are flying off the virtual shelves and it is struggling to keep them in stock. The energy-efficient lights will hit the bricks-and-mortar stores in September. To get your hands on one, click below.

Beer Biofuel

The UK plans to use brewery and local food waste to create renewable gas that will flow back into the nation’s gas grid. The new plant will use anaerobic digestion to produce up to 4.8 million kilowatt-hours of energy—approximately the amount needed to heat 235 homes. Because the British consume 28 million pints of beer daily, there is more than enough room for expansion. That much beer could produce enough biomethane to heat 47,000 homes.


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