Posts Tagged 'green energy'

Happy Earth Day! Take a stand with your money

Late last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a news release listing the 50 organizations that use the most electricity from green sources.

On Earth Day 2013, it’s appropriate to know who these companies are, and to ask: Why aren’t any Kentucky-based companies and universities on the list?

According to the EPA, here are the 10 companies that use the most annual kilowatt hours of green energy to power their operations:

1. Intel Corp.
2. Microsoft Corp.
3. Kohl’s Department Stores
4. Whole Foods Market
5. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
6. U.S. Department of Energy
7. Staples
8. Starbucks company-owned stores
9. Lockheed Martin Corp.
10. Apple Inc.

“We applaud the leadership demonstrated by organizations that are helping reduce carbon pollution and spur the growth of clean, American-made energy sources by increasing their use of renewable energy,” EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said in the news release. “As President Obama has made clear, clean energy is critical to our health, our economy, our security, and our ability to effectively address climate change.”

FYI: EPA defines green power as electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources.

Granted, the top 10 are all major corporations, or government agencies, with significant resources. Intel uses green power to cover 100 percent of its electricity load, according to the news release.  Apple, which is new to the top 50, now has 85 percent of its electricity used in the U.S. coming from green power.

But universities are scattered throughout the top 50. The University of Pennsylvania ranks 25th, and the University of Oklahoma is 34th.

On the list of top 20 universities, in addition to these two schools, fellow SEC member Tennessee ranks 10th.

To see all of the companies, universities and other rankings, go to EPA.gov/greenpower/toplists.

And then, use your buying power to tell companies, organizations and schools that green power matters to  you.

– Linda J.

 

Now is the time to act in NY and NJ

OK, now that the election is over, can we please have an adult conversation about climate change?

Pretty please?

Climate change is real, it is not a hoax. The world is changing dramatically. Just ask folks in NY and NJ who never expected to have water in their homes, businesses and subways to the extent it happened. The water surged at the level it did because of rising sea levels.

Some are trying to get around the issue of how to deal with it by saying basically let’s not talk about why it happened, let’s just do something. But I don’t think that works.

As I tell my daughter, actions have consequences. They can be good consequences, or bad or somewhere in between. But every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Remember that from Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of motion in middle school science? How can you solve problems if you don’t know why something happened?

To President Barack Obama: congratulations on winning a second term. I was very pleased to hear you mention the climate in your speech (very) early this morning. It’s a start.

Now, it is time for you to take the lead on climate change,  something you failed to discuss during the campaign. I get it; you were being pilloried by the right for everything else, why give the climate deniers and Obama-haters one more sound bite?

But you have an opportunity, here, Mr. President. Hurricane Sandy’s overwhelming destruction should be used as an opening to re-make New York and New Jersey better, stronger and green. Use your powerful voice and speaking ability to rally the nation and use federal money to make it happen. If countries in Europe can put up gates to keep the water out, so can we.

And, please sir, don’t wait years like it’s taken in New Orleans. Grist.org published a story today about a Katrina-ravaged neighborhood that has been re-built into the largest solar project in Louisiana. That’s great, but Katrina hit in 2005.

Let’s not wait seven years to launch a new way forward in New York and New Jersey. Now is the time to act.

 

 

 

Group rates KY 37th in annual energy efficiency report

The non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its annual report on states’ energy efficiencies.

While some states, including Nebraska, Alabama and Tennessee have made significant gains, “from transportation to industry to buildings, helping Americans save money and creating new business and employment opportunities across the U.S.”,  KY remains in the lower half, at 37th.

Here’s a link to the ACEEE’s map, showing how states rank, and also a link to Grist.org, which compared that map to the 2008 presidential election map.

Interesting comparison.

– Linda J.

Kentucky military bases taking the lead on saving energy and money

In many things, the U.S. military takes the lead and soon thereafter, the rest of the country follows.

From technology breakthroughs of all kinds to ending racial, gender and sexual orientation discrimination in the last 50 years, the military truly leads the way. Now, it’s leading in a new area: saving the environment, oh and saving huge sums of money along the way.

And two of Kentucky’s army bases are doing their part, according to a release Monday from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ environment group.

In the release, Pew states that the Department of Defense is “accelerating clean energy innovations in an effort to reduce risks to America’s military, enhance energy security and save money.”

Titled From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces, the report says DoD clean energy investments increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009 and are projected to “eclipse $10 billion annually by 2030.”

The Pew report lists three main areas where  DoD is working to develop and use clean energy technologies:  vehicle efficiency, advanced biofuels and energy efficiency and renewable energy at bases.

In Kentucky, Army bases Fort Campbell and Fort Knox are setting standards. Here’s what the report said about each:

  • Fort Campbell- Ft. Campbell was the first in the Army to have Zero Energy HousingThese houses are designed to be 54 percent more efficient than any other house out there.  This is accomplished by an improved building envelope structure that includes better windows, and installing more efficient appliances and heating/cooling systems. The houses will also be able to sustain the power needs of the Family inside with an on-site renewable energy source in the form of solar panels mounted on the back exterior of the roof. Ft. Campbell also recently completed a roof top solar domestic hot water project for a dining hall on post. They also boast geothermal field wells on site (50) for their barracks.
  • Fort Knox- Ft. Knox uses geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings. In addition to its geothermal systems, Fort Knox has instituted cost savings with changes in insulation, lighting, windows, roofs, and domestic hot water. Biogenetic methane gas provides additional energy to cover the spike in costs of air conditioning during summer months. Ft. Knox is the first in the country and the first in the Army to use biogenetic methane gas. They have installed solar arrays and the tank and picnic area are illuminated by a photovoltaic system which cost $13,000 to implement, compared to the $70,000 that traditional electrical lighting would have cost. Another array of solar panels – or PV systems – were installed at Richardson Hall. That array has the capability to produce 100 kilowatts per hour. Ft. Knox has an experimental wind turbine as well.

– Linda J.