Water wars are already here in California
Water has always been an issue in California, with competing interests from farmers, ranchers, fishermen and growing cities. But with the crippling drought that the state has experienced in recent years, all of these issues and battles are becoming more important. Unfortunately, with climate change, we may see more of these issues playing out around the world.
This article offers a compelling overview of the water issues facing California.
Tony Fadell discusses Nest
Here’s an excellent interview with Tony Fadell of Nest where he discussed the ways Nest can help consumers save energy. Even more interesting is how Nest is being paid by electric power companies to help smooth out power spikes.
Kevin Rose does an excellent job with the interview and it’s worth checking out. They discuss a wide variety of topics including outsourcing to China, Kickstarter and other challenges facing hardware startups. You can follow Fadell on Twitter here.
Nest should thrive under Google
Nest makes a learning thermostat that helps you conserve energy. It learns your lifestyle and adjusts the temperature in a room based on your needs. If you’re not there or you’re sleeping, Nest automatically changes the temperature settings. You can also control it from a variety of devices. It’s part of the new “Internet of Things” movement where everyday devices become “smarter” by being connected to the Internet, your smartphone and other devices.
Nest was founded by Tony Fadell, one of the Apple guys who worked on the original iPod, and now it’s been acquired by Google for a whopping $3.2 billion. This article sums up the transaction and offers some insight on the future of this company and products like the thermostat that we’ll be able to control in the future.
Turn your bike electric with the Smart Wheel By FlyKly
Here’s another wildly successful Kickstarter project. Check out the video above and you’ll be amazed at the opportunity to revolutionize biking with the Smart Wheel. It works with practically all bikes. You replace the back wheel with the Smart Wheel and all of a sudden you have an electric bike that you can control with your smart phone. FlyKly has not yet set a price, but I suspect this will be wildly popular.
Review of 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid
The stereotype of hybrid cars is slowly becoming obsolete as more vehicles are offered with hybrid options. With the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, consumers can now purchase a full-sized CUV with real towing capacity while enjoying the improved gas mileage offered by hybrid vehicles. Sure, you won’t approach the MPG numbers of smaller hybrid vehicles, but you’ll you’ll have a real advantage over gas-powered large vehicles.
I traveled to Nashville and had the opportunity to drive the new Pathfinder Hybrid and came away impressed. When driving the vehicle it feels very much like the gas-powered version. The Hybrid was designed to introduce the new hybrid powertrain system to enhance fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions but with no reduction of driving performance, passenger roominess or cargo capacity. The designers used a space-saving Li-ion battery fitted under the 3rd row seat which preserved Pathfinder’s 2nd row sliding functionality and easy access to the 3rd row. You get all of the roominess and comforts of the new Pathfinder without making sacrifices for the hybrid technology.
The Pathfinder’s standard 3.5-liter V6 is replaced in the Hybrid by a new supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor paired with a compact Lithium-ion battery. The 15 kW electric motor and gas engine were designed to work in tandem to provide performance similar to the conventional Pathfinder. The Hybrid system is rated at 250 net horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 has 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. These similar numbers are evident in the driving experience when you compare both vehicles.
The result, however, is improved fuel economy as the Hybrid is rated at 26 MPG combined (25 city and 28 highway), an increase of 24 percent over the standard Pathfinder. Like the gas model, the Pathfinder Hybrid has a large 19.5-gallon fuel tank for a highway driving range estimated at more than 546 miles. These MPG numbers won’t challenge smaller vehicles but have to be evaluated in light of the size and performance of this vehicle. For example, the hybrid can tow up to 3500 pounds when properly equipped which is less than the gas-powered Pathfinder’s 5000-pound towing capacity but is still very useful.
Like all hybrids the Pathfinder has a regenerative braking system that automatically recharges the battery by converting the vehicle’s kinetic energy that would be otherwise lost in braking. Still, I would have liked to see more features in the dashboard gauges showing me how well I was using this system and the electric motor as these features are a big selling point in other hybrids.
The Pathfinder Hybrid offers an appealing option for consumers looking for a large vehicle, as now you can get all the benefits without being stuck with a gas guzzler. Take it for a test drive and you’ll see immediately that you’re not sacrificing performance or comfort for the gas mileage boost.
Posted in: Green Cars, Green Lifestyle, Green Products, Renewable Energy
Tags: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, alternative fuel vehicles, CO2 emissions, CUV, CUV hybrids, fuel economy, fuel efficient cars, green car reviews, green cars, Hybrid Cars, kinetic energy, Lithium-ion battery, Nissan, regenerative braking system
Rising waters threaten South Florida coastline and Everglades
Spend some time in the harbors of beautiful Miami and you’ll quickly get a sense of how this region would be threatened by rising sea levels. The area is spectacular but incredibly vulnerable. Many experts are starting to sound the alarm:
In the most dire predictions, South Florida’s delicate barrier islands, coastal communities and captivating subtropical beaches will be lost to the rising waters in as few as 100 years.
Further inland, the Everglades, the river of grass that gives the region its fresh water, could one day be useless, some scientists fear, contaminated by the inexorable advance of the salt-filled ocean. The Florida Keys, the pearl-like strand of islands that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico, would be mostly submerged alongside their exotic crown jewel, Key West.
Read the entire article and you’ll see how little politicians in Florida are doing to prepare for this potential scenario. Climate change is just one of many polarizing issues we face today and battle lines are drawn. One side does not want to acknowledge the potential risk at all, which makes it hard to debate how we might address this threat. One harsh reality, however, is that at some point there is no amount of engineering that can help. If we ever get to the point of a two-foot rise in seas levels, the entire area would be at risk. It’s a sobering thought.
Nissan LEAF sales continue to impress
Hybrid cars have been growing in popularity for years, but now we’re starting to see the demand for electric vehicles increase as well. The Nissan LEAF is a good example. October sales set a record at 2,002 vehicles, an increase of 26.8 percent over last year’s numbers. LEAF deliveries are up 166.2 percent in 2013 and have set 8 consecutive monthly sales records.
If you’ve been considering an EV, not might be a good time to start looking as prices have been coming down. That has helped to fuel LEAF sales. Of course when considering an EV it’s all about lifestyle. What ranges will you be driving and can the EV handle that. As we get more electric charging stations the issue of range anxiety will start to go away, but for many people that is still an issue.
Posted in: Green Cars, Green Lifestyle, Green Products, Renewable Energy
Tags: alternative fuel vehicles, electric cars, electric vehicles, EV, EV range issues, EV sales, fuel efficient cars, green cars, Nissan LEAF, Nissan LEAF sales, range anxiety
Honda Accord Hybrid gets good reviews
The market for hybrids is heating up as more popular nameplates are getting hybrid versions. The Honda Accord has been one of the most popular four-door sedans for decades, and with this hybrid version it will get plenty of attention in the marketplace.
The reviews have been very positive. Bullz-Eye.com was impressed with the fuel mileage and hybrid engine features:
I drove the Accord Hybrid on a wide variety of roads and found the vehicle to be very responsive. In one of the city setting we were challenged to try to get the highest gas mileage along a prepared route. Once you get the hang of how the Hybrid works you can achieve some very impressive mileage numbers in slow traffic areas.
The Accord Hybrid achieves impressive fuel economy ratings with 50 MPG city, 45 MPG highway and 47 MPG combined by using a two-motor hybrid system called Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) that continuously cycles between three different modes (EV drive, hybrid drive and engine drive) to maximize fuel efficiency. The gas engine powers a generator in most driving conditions which then provides energy to charge the hybrid battery and/or for the electric motor to power the wheels. The i-MMD can also operate on gasoline engine power only, usually during medium- to high-speed cruising.
The folks at Edmunds noted that Honda made the correct choice this time to focus on fuel economy over performance:
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is EPA rated at 50 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. More importantly, the combined rating is 47 mpg, and Honda’s new two-motor hybrid system (introduced last year with the Accord Plug-In Hybrid) aims to deliver those numbers to all but the incurably lead-footed.
Hybrids are becoming more sophisticated as pointed out by Autoblog:
So, let’s start there, with the powertrain. It’s a complicated mess to understand if you’re not a Honda engineer (and maybe even then), but it’s a complicated mess that works well.
You can also choose the plug-in hybrid model as well with the Accord, so we definitely have a new entry that will give consumers even more choices in this market. It’s clear you no longer have to sacrifice styling and comfort if you’re looking to be green or just save on gas costs.
Posted in: Green Cars, Green Lifestyle, Green Products, Renewable Energy
Tags: alternative fuel vehicles, fuel efficient cars, green car reviews, Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda hybrids, Hybrid Cars, hybrid reviews, plug-in hybrid, save on gas costs
WEEE Recycling – What does it mean for businesses?
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Did you know that each year, between 20 to 50 million tons of electrical waste is disposed of across the world?
The world we now live in is influenced by a digital culture whereby technology is advancing at such a rapid speed; new products and innovative upgrades are no longer an uncommon occurrence and have become part of our everyday life. All of this has made it far easier and acceptable to replace existing electronic equipment with the newest model to keep up with current trends.
E-waste is becoming one of the fastest expanding waste networks in this day and age, which is where WEEE recycling comes in.
What is WEEE recycling?
WEEE stands for Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment and it was a directive set up to deal with and reduce the amount of electrical products and equipment that end up as waste.
With only a minute percentage of this type of waste actually being recycled, the initiative looks to target businesses that manufacture, import or distribute these types of EEE products and ensure they comply with regulations.
How do I know if I am an EEE business?
If you operate within the UK and are any of the following, you will be classed as an EEE producer business and will need to comply with the scheme:
• Importer of electronic and electrical equipment
• Manufacturer of electronic and electrical equipment
• Re-brander of electronic and electrical equipment
Retailers who stock and sell electrical goods will be classed as distributors under the act and will need to follow specific guidelines.
What does it mean for my business
As a producer of electrical products, you have a responsibility to follow the regulations set out no matter the size of your organisation.
The WEEE initiative provides businesses with guidance and advice to help decipher when an electrical product is classed as waste and when it is not. This will help to encourage and change the thought process within businesses and minimise the amount of waste being thrown away.
Regulations are set up now to ensure the waste is dealt with in the correct manner and will not harm the environment, this means a change for businesses in terms of procedures, processes as well as culture. However, this legislation will ultimately help to make businesses become greener to reduce their EEE waste.
If you feel your business falls within these categories, please visit the environmental agency online for further information on this legislation.
This post has been contributed by Enviro Waste, a leading rubbish removal company who is putting the environment at the heart of its activities.
Things casinos are doing to become more environmentally friendly
Now that “green” issues have gone mainstream it is vital for any business sector that wants to stay competitive to address public concerns about their impact on the environment. The highly successful (it is worth $30 billion) casino industry is one of those which is doing so. Perhaps the single biggest move it has made towards reducing its impact on the environment is the development of online casino, like JackpotCity. Having the ability to play casino games – and run casinos – on a remote, electronic basis, leads to reductions in everything from paper waste to energy use.
However when it comes to land-based casinos, it is those in America which have proven to be market leaders. When it comes to environmental friendliness, those casinos which are members of the American Gaming Association have been particularly proactive. An example of this would be the measures taken to reduce electricity consumption through lighting. Many AGA casino are replacing the incandescent lights used on their marquees, with cold cathode ones – which has the potential to cut lighting energy consumption by a massive 75%. This is just one of the steps being taken by these casinos to improve energy efficiency.
There are also changes being made to ensure that the excess heat created by the large boilers employed in casinos does not get wasted. Some casinos are doing this by using this excess heat to provide power for generators, while others are using it to heat water required for the running of the casino. Throw in the recycling measures also being employed by AGA casinos – with some managing to recycle as much as 75% of the waste material generated in the everyday operation of the casino – and it is clear that those US casinos which operate under the umbrella of the American Gaming Association are leading the field when it comes to “green” initiatives.
Of course with the rise in online casinos such as riverbelle there has been an impact on the amount of emissions caused by vehicle travel to land based casinos.