Saturday, January 31, 2009

Your Green Gadget invention could win $50,000!

Got a green gadget idea? It could land you $50,000 in cash and prizes! Live EDGE (Electronic Design for the Global Environment) is accepting design submissions from inventors who have designed unique products that both contain electronic components and have a positive impact on the environment.
Separate prize packages will be awarded to students and the general public. Each winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize as well as a $25,000 package of support services from design, marketing, legal, and commerce experts. Three runners-up will also receive $5,000 each.
Last years winner was a product called MyFan, a ceiling fan that combines an electronically commutated motor and controller, and aerodynamically efficient blade design that reduces fan input power by up to 66% of that of a traditional ceiling fan. It boasts auxiliary output channels that drive up to 20 watts of integrated LED lighting with up/down lighting modules.
For examples of potential entries, blog advice from past winners, and challenge details, check out the live EDGE site.

Monday, January 26, 2009 goes to the Go Green Expo

Los Angeles hosted the Go Green Expo Friday, January 23-25 and was excited to attend! At first I was concerned that there were not as many exhibitors as I expected, but was pleasantly surprised in the quality of exhibitors. If you are from Southern California, you should have been ecstatic at the variety of local companies you can choose from to help you go green. But if you feel like you missed something, you can pick up a copy of the "Green Living - Los Angeles" guide of the city's most eco-friendly retailers, services and organizations. Published by Greenopia, there are also New York and San Francisco editions. For those of us not living in one of those major cities, check out the website for green-ness in your city.
An impressive array of speakers filled the schedule, including Ed Begley on Friday and Mariel Hemingway on Saturday, who won't be getting a General Mills endorsement anytime soon after her display of distaste for Cap'n Crunch cereal. I'm sure it is not a part of her new book, "Healthy Living from the Inside Out" which she had a book signing for at the Expo.
Perf Go Green, title sponsor, really stole the show with their booth, which included an Earth Dome with a live music/interactive slide show inside every hour! After the mesmerizing performances, you couldn't wait to buy their recycled plastic garbage and doo-doo bags and household cleaners. Yes, doo-doo bags. Think about it - if you own a dog and live in a city or go to a dog park, you have to pick up your dog doo-doo. Plastic bags have long been the favorite, but those plastic bags almost never bio-degrade (and neither will the poo)! You've created a shit time capsule! Perf Go Green created the solution with their biodegrable recycled plastic bags.
In addition to going green with your dog poo, don't forget to make your love sustainable! Good Clean Love is making love sustainable with 100% natural and organic, non petro-chemical lubricants, love oils and edible body butters. Yum. Literally.
An easy way to make sure you are having fun going green!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Carbon footprint application for iPhone

Clear Standards, a provider of enterprise carbon management and sustainability systems, introduced “Carbon Tracker,” a free GPS-enabled carbon footprint application for the iPhone.
Carbon Tracker lets users calculate the carbon footprint from daily commuting, vacations, or business trips and it uses the iPhone GPS function while traveling to determine the approximate distance of each trip segment. Users can also set monthly “maximum emission” goals and monitor their progress against personal carbon footprint reduction targets.
Clear Standards says that in the future the product may be expanded to track other activities and may provide a way for consumers to buy carbon offsets.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Coca-Cola adds more hybrids

Coca-Cola Enterprises will soon be the largest hybrid truck fleet in America! They are adding 185 trucks to their existing fleet of 142. Testing and evaluations conducted by Coca-Cola Enterprises found that Eaton’s hybrid-electric drivetrain-equipped trucks decreased emissions by roughly 32% and fuel consumption by up to 37% as compared to conventionally-powered trucks in Coca-Cola’s current fleet. Coca-Cola also reported lower maintenance costs on the hybrid-powered trucks. The hybrid uses a motor/generator, working with the transmission and a 340 volt lithium ion battery, and the trucks can drive exclusively on electric power below 30 MPH, eliminating that smelly diesel exhaust during city driving. The trucks also saves fuel by not idling at stop lights.

EPA Dupty Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg presented Coke with a leadership award for the beverage company’s overall plan for energy conservation and climate change, which include installing water-saving systems at their plants, using more efficient lighting, and developing a recylcing program. Earlier this month, Coke announce the upcoming completion of lighting retrofits in its California facilities, which will save 5.6 million kilowatt-hours annually. The company’s recycling program has been recognized as a leading program in the beverage industry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Going Green at the Sundance Film Festival

I'd like to say I'm not at the Sundance Film Festival this year (Jan. 15-25) in Park City, Utah because I'm doing my part to reduce global warming by not traveling there, but that would be a lie. I simply can't afford it (time and money) this year.

But I am happy to see that the Festival is participating in a campaign to reduce bottled water waste, since plastic bottles almost never biodegrade. Teaming up with Brita and Nalgene in their FilterForGood campaign, attendees at this year’s festival will receive reusable Nalgene bottles they can fill at Brita Hydration Stations located throughout the festival.
According to Sundance's website, "Brita’s FilterForGood campaign aims to educate Americans on the environmental effects of bottled water and why together, filtered water and a reusable bottle are an ideal solution for going green at home and on the go. Thanks to Brita and Nalgene, the 2009 Sundance Film Festival will reduce the need for the 50,000 bottles of water" that were distributed at last years Festival.

And for those of us doing are part to reduce global warming by not traveling to the festival, we can purchase our own green FilterForGood bottle for around $10.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Green Gadgets at CES

I was excited to see that CES advertised an expanded GreenGadget zone at this years 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 8-11. However, I was not excited about the GreenGadget zone that I saw. In fact, the more exciting green tech products were NOT "in the zone." For example, iGo, makers of laptop and mobile device chargers, debuted a laptop charger, surge protector and wall outlet that eliminate "vampire power" - that is the power used by devices in off or standby modes - with automatic shut-off, and use 80% less standby power than standard power products. HiSense, a television manufacturer from China, has a LED, yes L-E-D, flat-screen TV, although it isn't set to debut in North America for at least six months. And Micro Innovations featured a lovely bamboo keyboard, mouse, webcam, USB hub and speaker ensemble. They also provide energy-saving surge protectors.
That being said, in the zone, I had two favorites. Fulfilling some of my need for speed, ELV Motors had the fastest (and most sylish) electric bike (up to 28mph!) at the show. We rode it inside the convention center and will post the video later. Fun!
My top pick is the EcoButton. Think Staples Easy Button for energy savings! Once click of the big white button puts your computer in sleep mode. It works just like the sleep button you may have on your keyboard already but never use. This conspicuous fun green and white button is a visual reminder to turn off your computer when you aren't using it. Best part is, with one tap of any key, it returns you instantly to where you left off, after displaying a screen shot of how much money you just saved and how much you reduced your carbon footprint! Simple. Fun. The best way to go green.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Willing to spend green going green

According to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), green features (recyclable and energy efficient) are more important than brand and, if a product has good green credentials, it could beat out a well-known brand.
Philosophy regarding the environment and the company's reputation impacts consumers’ decision to try its products for the first time, said 45% of female and 34% of male respondents. A similar percentage said those factors also affect their willingness to continue using a company’s products and a little more than half of consumers surveyed are willing to pay a premium for green products, up to 15% more (22% of respondents). 33% of consumers said they planned on some sort of green electronics purchase within the next two years.
A word of caution, however. About 40% of consumers are confused by green claims made by consumer electronics companies, and 65% think some of them overstate their green credentials to sell more products. So it is important to provide a clear explanation about which specific attributes make a product green.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Restaurants To Become ‘Greener,’ Offer More Local Produce In 2009

According to Environmental Leader, the No. 1 trend among chefs was local produce, in a “What’s Hot” survey released by the National Restaurant Association. The study found that 89% of fine-dining restaurants serve locally grown items, and 9 in 10 believe that demand will grow in the future. 70% of adults say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally produced food items.

Why local produce? There are several benefits to buying local produce, such as supporting the local economy - directly supporting local businesses, local employment and keeping money in the local economy by cutting out the middleman, through direct selling, which in turn increases financial returns. In addition, buying local reduces the 'food miles' - the distance food has travelled from where it is produced to where it is purchased, and onto where it is consumed. Food distribution by road freight uses large quantities of fossil fuels and is a major contributor to air pollution. In fact, approximately ninety percent of all the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley. As a result, the average American foodstuff travels an estimated 1,500 miles before being consumed.

Move to Fresno if you like salads. If you live in Las Vegas, get your fork out for "cattle spinach" or common saltbush. Cows and sheep eat it and the Pima Indians used to eat the seeds like oatmeal. Can't be all that bad :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Puff the magic Pepsi

The PepsiCo bottling plant in Queens, New York is now bottling drinks using its own steam. Four natural gas powered 400-kilowatt generators were installed and help produce about 80 percent of the plant’s electricity needs. Instead of letting the heat from the generators escape, the system captures and converts the heat into steam, which is then used to warm the bottles and clean the machines. This has helped the company reduce use of its boilers by 70 percent.

Robert Sherman, vice president of operations at Pepsi-Cola Bottling told The New York Times that the co-generation system is expected to recuperate its cost in three years and that the company expects to save more than $408,000 in the first year.