Author Archive

Ryan M. Jacobs

Green Past the Grave

The UK-based company Ecopod offers elegant coffins which are made from 100% recycled newspaper, silk and mulberry pulp. Available in five different colors, the casket biodegrades naturally and conserves precious forest resources.

Coulomb Technologies Makes All-Electric Vehicles More Practical

All-electric vehicle skeptics often gripe about the shortage of accessible charging stations, but the California-based company Coulomb Technologies has begun putting those concerns to rest with their inventive ChargePoint Network. The company has teamed up with nine regions across the U.S. in order to develop charging infrastructures that will provide city-owned and personal vehicles a convenient way to power up and navigate the areas.The networks allow drivers to locate the closest stations via smart phones and to receive charging status updates via text message and e-mail.

To learn more, visit

EPA’s WaterSense Program Concludes National “We’re for Water” campaign

The program, which focuses on advancing the American market for high-efficiency water products, concluded its multiyear tour of the country with a water-saving competition between two households in New Jersey. The campaign stressed the necessity of sustainable practices in light of the fact that less than 1 percent of the world’s water is available for human use. On the website, users can search for WaterSense-approved products by category, brand and model number.

Japan Launches Solar Technology into Space

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Ikaros solar sail is propelled by the photons that hit its super-reflective panels. The 700-pound spacecraft is en route to Venus’ orbit. The space agency also has preliminary plans to collect solar power from space and beam the energy back down to Earth.

Chicago’s I-GO to Expand Fleet with All-Electric Vehicles by 2011

Chicago’s I-GO to Expand Fleet with All-Electric Vehicles by 2011
The car-sharing company that has offered Chicago commuters a low-emission and cost-effective alternative to owning a car with its squadron of hybrids has announced that it will soon be adding zero-emission vehicles to its city-wide parking lots. To promote the upcoming additions, the company has invited its customers to preview the Mitsubishi’s new I MiEV, which is only available in Japan, at a special event in Wicker Park. The I MiEV is one of many electric vehicles the company seems to be considering for its expansion. To become a member or learn more about the program, visit

Exelon Opens Nation’s Largest Urban Solar Power Plant

Dubbed Exelon City Solar, the 41-acre former brownfield site on the Southside of Chicago is now home to 32,292 photovoltaic panels. The plant is expected to yield more than 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, roughly enough electricity to power 1,500 medium-sized homes. It will also save 31.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

Even Bikers Can Go Green

The Oregon-based motorcycle company Brammo has just released a new electric sportbike that can top 100 mph. It plugs into a regular 110 outlet and can run for more than 100 miles without a recharge.  The bikes will be available for shipment in 2011.

Green Building Expanding Rapidly

The non-profit U.S. Green Building Council is committed to fueling the green building market through its LEED Green Building Rating System. With experts predicting an 18.1 percent annual growth for commercial green building over the next five years, it seems to be working. LEED-certified buildings save energy and reduce costs for owners and families. To learn more about LEED credentials, visit

Govt. Builds First Zero-Energy Office Building, Hopes Private Sector Will Follow

The Department of Energy’s new 222,000-square-foot Research Support Facility in Golden, Colorado, will generate as much energy as it uses. The building requires only half of the energy of a standard building up to current commercial code. The Stantec design uses a combination of natural lighting, onsite solar panels and radiant heating and cooling systems.

Solar Power Takes Off

An experimental solar-powered plane landed successfully near Bern, Switzerland, after its first 24-hour test flight. The aircraft’s solar cells had accumulated enough energy during the day to power it through the night. The flight was a culmination of seven years of research, and the team hopes that it will soon be flying around the world.


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