Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finally an App to kill The Printed Catalogue



The holiday season is the shopping season. It is also the catalog season, with tens of millions of glossy catalogs sent out to encourage people to shop. Although there's nothing new about it, this year we can finally say there is a light at the end of the catalog tunnel. I'm talking about Catalog Spree, "the ultimate digital catalog shopping experience for the iPad."



This iPad app represents an alternative that finally can beat the printed catalogs: It's convenient, user-friendly, provides customers with a fun and easy shopping experience and retailers with an effective way to engage with customers, not to mention a better ROI. In other words, it's a game changer.

I don't know about you, but I see printed catalogs as one of the most vivid examples for the unsustainability of the existing economic model. Think about it — each year, about 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. It means that every American receives more than 60 catalogs every year on average. Why? Because according to the Direct Marketing Association, printed catalogs provide a 7 to 1 ROI and an impressive direct order response rate of 2.24 percent. With such impressive figures, is it surprising retailers are printing hundreds of billions of catalogs every year?

Yet, the only reason printed catalogs generate such ROI is because retailers don't pay for their environmental impacts. These externalities include, according to Catalog Choice, 53 million trees that produce 3.6 million tons of paper, 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and 53 billion gallons of wastewater. If you would add these elements to the bill, I doubt how attractive the ROI of catalogs will look then.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas recycling ideas



Have a Green Christmas!

Look for reuse and recycling opportunities as you replace appliances, electronics and computers.

Discarded cell phones may be donated for Domestic Violence Programs though your cell services provider.



Discarded electronics (computers, copiers, fax machines, printers, monitors) may be donated to a local nonprofit, parent-teacher association or the Louisiana Corporate Recycling Council's computers for schools program, 225.379.3577. Parts that cannot be refurbished can be sent for dismantling.

Appliances may either be donated or sent for recycling.

Outgrown toys and clothes and furniture may be donated to organizations like Salvation Army, Paralyzed Veterans, or Volunteers of America.
Look for ways to avoid creating garbage. Rather than wrapping gifts for the youngsters, hide the presents, and turn Christmas into a treasure hunt. Create you own recyclable wrapping paper by using the Sunday comics, magazines and wrapping paper recovered from previous events.

Practice "pre-cycling" by taking recycling or reuse into consideration when you buy. How do you do this? Simple. Consider an artificial tree that does not have to be discarded or recycled and is not a fire hazard. You can buy a live tree and plant it in your yard after the holidays. If you buy a cut tree, plan your decorations to minimize flocking, tinsel, and decorations that will have to be removed before recycling. Check with your local solid waste officials, recycler, or waste company to determine local requirements. Trees that have lights, ornaments, excessive tensile, spray or flocking or include stands or plastic bags simply add to the garbage collection. Most Louisiana municipal and parish tree collections are held during the first two weeks of January. Trees are collected for use in coastal restoration projects or used in compost projects. Check out the Coastal Restoration Division of the Department of Natural Resources on the use of Christmas trees in coastal Louisiana.

Innovate Your Gift-Wrapping.

Save and reuse gift bags. Home made and endlessly reusable Christmas theme fabric with Velcro fasteners can substitute for paper wrap. Large or odd size gifts maybe placed in Christmas theme fabric bags with drawstring tops. Used attractive, decorative gift boxes and forego wrapping.

You Are Not Really Recycling Until You Buy Recycled.

Many more quality products are being made with recycled content. From fleece jackets made with recycled plastic to shirts, shoes and most paper products. Recycled content products are widely available. Ask your retailer if you cannot find the product you want in recycled content.




This article was taken from the ENN Newsletter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Green and Gorgeous Remodeling: Eco-friendly Countertops



Countertops of the Future





Stop wasting precious natural resources on your kitchen's countertops. Several brilliant companies now offer environmentally responsible surfaces. Some are made of a mixture of recycled components, others simply make use of an eco-favorite material like bamboo (such as this gorgeous surface from Teragren). All present attractive and viable alternatives to conventional countertops.

Icestone Recycled Glass and Concrete Surface



For a truly eco-kitchen, get a countertop that removes waste from our local landfills. IceStone countertops are fashioned from recycled glass and concrete. Produced by an environmentally friendly manufacturing process involving wind and natural light, IceStone surfaces rival the strength of quarried stone while actively reducing landfill waste and CO2 emissions. Available through icestone.biz.

Bamboo Countertop



Bamboo provides an excellent environmental alternative to hardwood countertops. Rapidly renewable and sustainable, bamboo is also highly durable, as in this countertop from Teragren.

Best of all, bamboo is a truly beautiful material and will add a natural flair to even the most high-tech kitchens. A wide variety of bamboo flooring options are also available at teragren.com




PaperStone Countertops



PaperStone surfaces are made from 100 percent postconsumer paper waste. The paper is compressed into a solid block, then covered in natural resin. Strong, durable and beautiful, this recycled and recyclable material provides a perfect solution for any kitchen counter. Available through paperstoneproducts.com.

100 Percent HDPE Surfaces





Construction waste accounts for more than 15 percent of the trash deposited into landfills. Luckily, 3form found a way to make one man's trash into another's treasure.

3form's '100 Percent' surface is made from 100 percent postconsumer HDPE, a plastic commonly found in landfills. The collection comes in a wide range of colors and textures. Available through 3-form.com.

3form Chroma Surfaces



nnovative materials company 3form provides surface solutions that can be reprocessed and reinstalled in 'like-new' condition. For example, 3form's colored resin panels, called Chroma, are designed to be colored and recolored again. This allows panels to be multi-cycled into new architectural installations, preventing product 'down-cycling.' See more at 3-form.com

EnviroGlas Recycled Countertop



Enviroglas countertops are made from recycled glass and porcelain, making them a green alternative to granite. Countertops are durable, unique and come from a sustainable source.

This Article and all its parts was taken from TDG written by Olivia Zaleski

Bicycle Power



How to get to work and such. Always a perplexing problem. European Union (EU) wide reductions of GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) are under scrutiny by many critics as the progress and actual results seem to fall short of the goals set by the EU this year. Recent reports affirm that the EU will not achieve the reduction of transport emissions by 60% between 1990 and 2050 through technology alone. An interesting take on the subject is revealed by a recent study authored by the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), which has quantified emissions savings of cycling compared with other modes of transport. Even taking into account the production, maintenance and fuel [food] related to bicycle use, emissions from cycling were over 10 times lower than those stemming from the passenger car.



Key findings include:

Emissions from cycling are over 10 times lower than those stemming from the passenger car, even taking into account the additional dietary intake of a cyclist compared with that of a motorized transport user.

E-bikes, despite their electric assistance, have emissions in the same range as ordinary bicycles. Considering E-bikes allows for 56% longer daily commutes and substitutes the car for 39% of trips, they have a huge potential to further reduce transport emissions.

Bicycle-share schemes also have the potential to reduce further emissions, considering it is a substitute for motorized transport for 50-75% of the users.

If levels of cycling in the EU-27 were equivalent to those found in Denmark in 2000, bicycle use would achieve 26% of the 2050 GHG target set for the transport sector

Around the turn of the 20th century, bicycles reduced crowding in inner-city tenements by allowing workers to commute from more spacious dwellings in the suburbs. They also reduced dependence on horses. Bicycles allowed people to travel for leisure into the country, since bicycles were three times as energy efficient as walking and three to four times as fast.

In Europe, especially in The Netherlands and parts of Germany and Denmark, commuting by bicycle is very common. In the Danish capital of Copenhagen, a cyclists' organization runs a Cycling Embassy, that promotes biking for commuting and sightseeing. The United Kingdom has a tax break scheme (IR 176) that allows employees to buy a new bicycle tax free to use for commuting.




This Article was taken from ENN Newsletter

Green Christmas suggestions from IzzitGreen



Just in time for our readers’ last minute Christmas Shopping, our friends from IzzitGreen have come up with five great eco-friendly Holiday gifts. As an additional eco-incentive 50% of the proceeds earned for any purchase of the Get to Know Nature bag will go directly to the Get to Know organization and help support their mission to keep the National Parks of the U.S. and Canada vibrant. Enjoy!

Get to Know NatureBag

The NatureBag is packed full of fun activities designed to support Get to Know’s main mission to connect kids with the great outdoors. The all-weather activity booklet and other accessories encourage exploration and natural awareness through lead experiential activities. Pack up all the eco-friendly tools made from recycled materials into the unique fair trade, organic cotton shoulder bag and away you go! Last year the Get to Know NatureBag received the Gold Medal Award from Parent’s Choice as an eco-friendly and socially sound choice. http://www.gettoknow.ca/store/naturebag GrowBottles

GrowBottles

Everything you need to grow fresh herbs and gain the culinary respect (or envy) of your friends is packaged into these beautiful recycled GrowBottles, and they're made completely with sourced and re-purposed materials. With a little water and love the GrowBottles can continue to produce year after year with your own seeds or one of the refill kits. Thanks to brilliant design and the power of hydroponics, growing fresh herbs indoors has never been so easy. Available in Oregano, Chives, Basil, Parsley and Mint certified organic seed varieties. http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=oCeoUHajP3s&subid=&offerid=54404.1&type=10&tmpid=319&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.uncommongoods.com%252Fproduct%252Fgrowbottle

Presso Espresso Machine

The perfect gift for the eco-conscious espresso lover on your list. The Presso offers delicious, rich espresso unplugged, literally. The beautifully simple design uses little more than the strength of recyclable steel and your biceps. A truly minimalist approach to creating an exquisitely thick treat, prepared for your sipping pleasure in less time than it takes electric machines to start to steam. Plus, clean up is a piece of cake. Just dump and rinse! http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-3438361-10746449?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thinkgeek.com%2Fhomeoffice%2Fkitchen%2Fea4e%2F%3Fref%3Dc&cjsku=EA4E

Miniwiz iPhone Re-Case

This innovative iPhone case is 100% made from trash! However, you'd never know it looking at the elegant, snap-on design made from this highly durable re-engineered material. The ergonomic ripple design fits perfectly in your hand and the light cross-hatch pattern looks fantastic. The snug fit offers nothing but reliable protection and the extra space for an RFID card is a incredibly valuable bonus. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=izzitgreencom-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B005WG3ENW&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Wool Striped Scarf

Scarves are incredible. All warmth and style without the bulk of an extra layer. This scarf by Gaiam is extra special because it’s hand loomed with 100% superwash sustainable wool making it sinfully soft and unique. Plus, the pretty pattern is a perfect addition to any outfit. Let it drape, wrap it into cowl, or sling it over your shoulder. http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=oCeoUHajP3s&subid=&offerid=208108.1&type=10&tmpid=759&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.gaiam.com%252Fproduct%252Fwool%252Bstriped%252Bscarf.do

For more unique, green gift ideas visit IzzitGreen.com http://izzitgreen.com/blog/

Monday, December 12, 2011

An innovative project led by a chemistry academic at the University of Southampton is using solar generators to provide IT resources and 'hands-on' science for students in developing countries.

The Shadows in a City Reveal Its Energy Flow



Researchers at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM, Spain) have created "shadow models" and a type of software that calculates the amount of solar radiation that reaches streets and buildings in high resolution. According to the results published in the Research Journal of Chemistry and Environment, they could help to optimise the energy consumption of cities.



The energy optimisation of a city

San José states that "the results can serve as a tool for sustainability and energy optimisation in cities from both an architectural (a shaded building requires more internal heating that a building in the sun) and urban planning point of view. In this sense, results can be used in the search for harmony between human and natural energy consumption."

The researcher exemplifies this: "The heating is often turned on during the day and turned off at the night but in some cases could be the other way around. For instance, sometimes the amount of solar radiation that reaches a building is enough to keep in the warmth that has accumulated from the heating being on during the night."

This study forms part of the European BRIDGE Project on urban metabolism, a concept that perceives the city as a living organism in search for a sustainable energy balance. The department of urban planning at Madrid City Council has already expressed their interest in the tool.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Climate and Global Radiation Balance



Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton have developed an important new insight into climate sensitivity — the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in the Earth’s radiation balance — over the last half million years. Climate sensitivity is a key parameter for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change. In a study in Journal of Climate, the researchers reconstructed, for the first time, climate sensitivity over five ice-age cycles based on a global records of sea surface and polar temperature change. These were compared with a new reconstruction of changes in the Earth’s radiation balance caused by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, in surface reflectivity, and those due to slow changes in the Earth-Sun orbital configuration.



The study calculates global mean climate sensitivity, but also considers its relationship with latitude. This is important as many of the past radiative changes were not equally distributed over the planet in contrast to the more uniform distribution of the modern radiative changes due to rising greenhouse gas levels.

Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface and ice. They are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the weather and climate system to projections of future climate. All climate models balance, or very nearly balance, incoming energy as short wave (including visible) electromagnetic radiation to the earth with outgoing energy as long wave (infrared) electromagnetic radiation from the earth. Any imbalance results in a change in the average temperature of the earth.

The researchers infer that the Earth’s climate sensitivity over the last half million years most likely amounted to a 3.1 to 3.9 °C temperature increase for the radiative equivalent of a modern doubling of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations (with a total range of 1.7 to 5.7 °C).

Lead researcher Eelco Rohling, Professor of Ocean and Climate Change at the University of Southampton, said: “We use long time-series of data that are each obtained using a single method. This reduces uncertainty in the estimates of temperature change, relative to previous work that contrasts reconstructions of a single past climate state with modern instrumental data. Our method can be especially improved by extending the global network of long records.

"Because our climate sensitivity values are based on real-world data from a substantial interval of time in the recent geological past, our results provide strong observational support to the climate sensitivities used in IPCC-class climate models. If anything, our results suggest slightly stronger sensitivity."

Dr Mark Siddall, from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, said: "This study shows the increasing importance of using geological data to understand the climate system and how it responds as a whole to changes in greenhouse gases."

Solar power can now be produced for less than $1 a watt, study finds



Solar PV energy can now be produced for less than $1 a watt although the public is being kept in the dark about its true viability, according to a new study by Queen's University.



"Many analysts project a higher cost for solar photovoltaic energy because they don't consider recent technological advancements and price reductions," says Joshua Pearce, Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. "Older models for determining solar photovoltaic energy costs are too conservative."

Dr. Pearce believes solar photovoltaic systems are near the "tipping point" where they can produce energy for about the same price other traditional sources of energy.

Analysts look at many variables to determine the cost of solar photovoltaic systems for consumers, including installation and maintenance costs, finance charges, the system's life expectancy, and the amount of electricity it generates.

Dr. Pearce says some studies don't consider the 70 per cent reduction in the cost of solar panels since 2009. Furthermore, he says research now shows the productivity of top-of-the-line solar panels only drops between 0.1 and 0.2 percent annually, which is much less than the one per cent used in many cost analyses.




This Article was taken from ENN Newsletter

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Global Carbon Emissions Reach Record 10 Billion Tons, Threatening 2 Degree Target



ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2011) — Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by 49 per cent in the last two decades, according to the latest figures by an international team, including researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia.






Published December 4 in the journal Nature Climate Change, the new analysis by the Global Carbon Project shows fossil fuel emissions increased by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and by 49 per cent since 1990 -- the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.

On average, fossil fuel emissions have risen by 3.1 per cent each year between 2000 and 2010 -- three times the rate of increase during the 1990s. They are projected to continue to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2011.

Total emissions -- which combine fossil fuel combustion, cement production, deforestation and other land use emissions -- reached 10 billion tonnes of carbon* in 2010 for the first time. Half of the emissions remained in the atmosphere, where CO2 concentration reached 389.6 parts per million. The remaining emissions were taken up by the ocean and land reservoirs, in approximately equal proportions.

Rebounding from the global financial crisis of 2008-09 when emissions temporarily decreased, last year's high growth was caused by both emerging and developed economies. Rich countries continued to outsource part of their emissions to emerging economies through international trade.

Contributions to global emissions growth in 2010 were largest from China, the United States, India, the Russian Federation and the European Union. Emissions from the trade of goods and services produced in emerging economies but consumed in the West increased from 2.5 per cent of the share of rich countries in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2010.

Plastic Bags: On Their Way Out?



In California alone, consumers use upwards of 19 million plastic bags per year, which require approximately 8 million barrels of oil to produce. 90 percent of the bags used in the United States never get recycled. Globally, of the 500 billion of the flimsy, single-use bags we go through, many end up either in landfills or as wind-blown or ocean gyre litter that gets consumed by wildlife and marine life, resulting in many agonizingly painful deaths. For many environmentalists and concerned consumers, plastic bags represent Public Enemy #1. Across the globe, cities, counties and countries are grappling with this environmental disaster. Countries that have banned their use include Italy, Thailand, Bangladesh, Israel and Rwanda, as well as a number of cities in India, Australia and Canada.

Here in the U.S., numerous cities and towns have banned the use of single use plastic bags. Twelve cities in California alone have done so, including San Francisco, Malibu. Palo Alto, San Jose, Long Beach, and Calabasas. Two other California towns, Manhattan Beach and Oakland, also banned them but rescinded the ban due to lawsuits. Manhattan Beach, however, recently won its lawsuit so the ban may soon be back in effect. Bans are also in place in Westport, Connecticut; Aspen, Colorado; Brownsville, Texas, and in both Kauai and Maui, Hawaii. And at least 30 towns in western Alaska have banned them.



Low Cost Solar Cells



The cost of a solar cell is given per unit of peak electrical power. Manufacturing costs necessarily include the cost of energy required for manufacture. Solar power must become more efficient and less expensive to compete with energy produced by fossil fuels. Silicon-based solar cells are the dominant technology in the field, but the widespread adoption of these cells has been slowed by their high costs. Solar cells that use inorganic nanocrystals or quantum dots could be a cheaper alternative, but they are generally less efficient at turning solar energy into electricity. Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have now found a new way to generate an electrical field inside the quantum dots, making them more suitable for building an energy-efficient nanocrystal solar cell


In their report in the October 9 issue of Nature Materials, Professor Nir Tessler (of the Zisapel Nano-Electronics Center in the Technion Department of Electrical Engineering) and colleagues describe how they tuned the electrical properties of quantum dots before testing their capabilities in a model solar cell.

Quantum dots are particles of semiconductor material with the size so small that, due to quantum mechanics considerations, the electron energies that can exist within them are limited. These energy levels, defined by the size of quantum dots, in turn define the bandgaps. The dots can be grown to any needed size, allowing them to be tuned across a wide variety of bandgaps without changing the underlying material or construction techniques. In typical preparations, the tuning is accomplished by Quantum dot solar cells are an emerging field in solar cell research that uses quantum dots as the photovoltaic material, as opposed to better-known bulk materials such as silicon, copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) or CdTe. varying the duration or temperature of synthesis.

Nanocrystal or quantum dots "are promising materials for low-cost and high efficiency solar cells" due to their unusual electronic properties, Tessler said. For instance, the size of a quantum dot is uniquely correlated to its light absorption, so changing a dot’s size can maximize its ability to harvest light within a solar cell.

To live up to their promise, however, the dots must share electrons efficiently which is a feat that has been difficult to control. The Technion study offers a new way to bring an electrical charge to the dots; each about one-millionth the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

Tessler and colleagues were able to generate strong electrical fields within the dots by capping them with two different organic molecules. The chemical groups that attach the molecules to the dots’ surface generate the electrical field.




This article is taken from the ENN Newsletter

Clear the Air With a HEPA Filter


Easily remove allergens and dust.


Improve your home's indoor air quality with a true HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. You'll cut down on allergens as well as dust.

Ordinary disposable fiberglass filters were designed to remove the largest particles from the air, with the goal of protecting your heating equipment, not your lungs. They trap only 10% to 40% of the debris passing through them. A HEPA filter, on the other hand, can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. They are made of randomly arranged fibers and are based on Department of Energy standards.

In terms of effectiveness, installing a filter on your central heating and cooling system is definitely the best way to go. You can also get portable filter units for individual rooms.

Do beware of so-called "HEPA-type" or "high-efficiency" filters, which are widely advertised (especially on TV). These products can actually be up to 55 percent less-efficient than true HEPAs.


This Article was taken from The Daily Green written by By Brian Clark Howard

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Clean Energy Resource Too Large to be Ignored — Geothermal Power Gains Steam



Geothermal power’s been something of an orphan when it comes to the drive to transition from fossil fuel to clean, renewable energy economies. That’s despite the release of recent studies showing that the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia — Western Australia in particular — have geothermal resources that dwarf their energy needs, and despite the fact that it’s a proven, time-tested, economic source of clean, reliable baseload power. That’s not to say that there aren’t places around the world where geothermal power project exploration and development isn’t ramping up at a fast pace. Boise, Idaho; Reno, Nevada; Reykjavik, Iceland; the UAE’s Masdar City; and Perth, Australia stand out when it comes to tapping into and harnessing earth’s geothermal resources, according to a Global Innovation Series post on Mashable Tech.

Globally, activity in the geothermal power sector recovered somewhat in 2010 following a weak 2009, as overall investment increased, according to NRG Expert’s 2011 Geothermal Report. At the national level, Kenya, Iceland, Mexico and countries in South America — where new exploration concessions have been awarded in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru — will see high rates of growth in geothermal power development, according to NRG’s research. Activity in the geothermal power sector is also gaining steam in Western Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.



This article is taken from ENN Newsletter.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Fifth of Global Energy Could Come from Biomass Without Damaging Food Production



A new report suggests that up to one fifth of global energy could be provided by biomass (plants) without damaging food production.

The report reviews more than 90 global studies. It has been produced by the Technology and Policy Assessment function of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), which addresses key controversies in the energy field, and aims to provide authoritative and accessible reports that set very high standards for rigour and transparency.

A debate has been raging about the role biomass could play in the future energy system: some say it could play a major role in fuelling the planet, others argue it risks an environmental disaster. To get to the heart of the controversy, UKERC scientists at Imperial College London have undertaken the first systematic review of the evidence base.

The report finds that the main reason scientists disagree is that they make different assumptions about population, diet, and land use. A particularly important bone of contention is the speed with which productivity improvements in food and energy crop production can be rolled out.

Technical advances could be the least contentious route to increased bio-energy production, but policy will need to encourage innovation and investment. A renewed focus on increasing food and energy crop yields could deliver a win-win opportunity as long as it is done without damaging soil fertility or depleting water resources. The report highlights the potential for policy to promote learning by encouraging development of sustainable biomass now, rather than waiting for the definitive answer on the ultimate potential.

"The main mistake is to think of this as all or nothing. There's plenty of scope for experimentation to make sure we get it right," says Dr Slade.

Energy is an essential input into global agriculture, and the interactions between these two areas need to be better understood. The report stresses the need for scientists working on food and agriculture to work more closely with bio-energy specialists to address challenges such as water availability and environmental protection. If biomass is required to play a major role in the future energy system the linkages between bio-energy and food production will become too important for either to be considered in isolation.

"Bioenergy may need to play a part in a future low carbon energy mix," says Dr Ausilio Bauen, Head of Bioenergy at Imperial College's Centre for Energy Policy and Technology. "Ensuring bio-energy, food and forests don't compete for land won't be straightforward. But, if we use land more productively, and make better use of available plant material, we should be perfectly capable of producing bio-energy, feeding a growing population, and conserving the environment all at the same time."



This article was taken from=> Science Daily Magazine







Friday, November 25, 2011

7 of the Best 2010 Fuel Efficient SUV Crossovers



Ford Escape Hybrid





You’ll pay a $9,000 premium over the base Escape for the $30,000 hybrid version, but you’ll be buying probably the most fuel-efficient SUV there is (32 mpg combined). The Escape (the Mercury Mariner Hybrid is a close cousin) has enjoyed success as a New York taxi, and it’s proven quite durable. U.S. News and World Reports ranked it seventh of 22 affordable compact SUVs. All-wheel drive is available, but you probably don’t need it and fuel economy suffers. There are Base and Limited models, with the latter adding a fair number of creature comforts—and more than $2,000 to the bottom line.


Porsche Cayenne Hybrid



Believe it or not, Porsche will introduce a hybrid SUV in 2010, a version of its performance-oriented Cayenne with a 150-mph top speed and a rumored 27 mpg. Would Porsche make a minivan?


Volkswagen Touareg



For the rest of us who can’t afford a Porsche, a Volkswagen SUV alternative is soon to arrive. The 2010 Volkswagen Touareg BlueMotion Hybrid uses a supercharged V-6 engine and a hybrid system that will also be shared with Porsche, in this case the four-door luxury Panamera sedan. Like the Cayenne, it’s fast (zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds) and gets around 26 mpg combined (in the European cycle).


Honda CR-V



This is Honda's venerable workhorse small SUV, and it has remained justifiably popular (though it is due for a makeover; this version dates to 2007). The good news, however, is that for 2010 the CR-V (starting at $21,545) was significantly freshened, and Honda achieved the neat trick of both getting 14 more horsepower out of its 2.4-liter four and improving fuel economy to 21/28 mpg (2WD) and 21/27 (4WD). Other choices offer an optional V-6, but Honda likes what the four offers. Road noise has also been reduced in the 2010 model.


Toyota RAV4



Like the CR-V, the midsized crossover $21,675 RAV4 is a survivor, dating from the early 1990s, with little alteration to the basic small-and-utilitarian concept. This is one of the rare instances where it might makes sense to go for the bigger engine, since the available V-6 sacrifices little in terms of fuel economy (but adds nearly 100 horsepower and a 7.2-second zero to 60 time). The four-cylinder 2WD RAV4 clocks in at 24 mpg combined, and its V-6 big brother 22. But you’re fine without the 4WD.


Subaru Forester



Not much changed in 2010, the $20,295 Subaru Forester (a favorite of greens with stuff to move) is, says Consumer Reports, "among the best small SUVs." Stick with the base 2.5-liter four, which offers lively performance and 22 mpg overall. If you feel you need it, the XT model adds turbocharging but declines to 20 mpg. The Forester is perhaps the most carlike of these choices, and like all Subarus it comes with 4WD. The back seat has room to stretch out, and is one of the best things about this small car, which has enjoyed excellent reliability ratings.


BMW X6 ActiveHybrid



This is BMW’s first full hybrid vehicle, and it’s a luxurious but pricey choice at $89,725. This is an SUV for performance-oriented techies, since its big twin-turbo V-8 produces 400 horsepower, and they are supported with a pair of beefy electric motors (480 peak horsepower total). There is no better option for zero to 60 in just 5.4 seconds while carting around a Cub Scout pack. Take it up to 130 mph if you dare, then throttle back and go 1.6 miles on the nickel-metal-hydride batteries alone. Fuel economy is much better than the standard X6, but still no Environmental Defense Fund member’s dream at 17 in the city and 19 on the highway. Carbon emissions are down 20 percent from the standard car, but they’re still double that of a Toyota Prius.

Article Source=>The Daily Green Newsletter

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sealants for waterproofing of Joints



1. Silicone Sealants:

It is an acetoxy cure, high modulus and single component solvent free material. When properly cured, it becomes a tough, durable and elastic seal which is flexible in low and high temperature. It has excellent adhesion to glass, ceramics and sanitary ware, etc. without any primer. It has low shrinkage, non-sagging good UV resistance and insulation properties.

It is ideal to seal gap between glass and aluminum, non-oily wood, sealing of aluminum/glass window frame joints, fixing glass into aluminum frames.

It should not be used in food industries and for structural glazing. It should not be used for filling gaps on masonry and cementations surfaces.



2. PU Sealants:

Is one part polyurethane sealant for filling and sealing joints in building construction. It is elastic, weather-resistant, non-sagging and water tight with excellent adhesion practically for all surfaces.

It can be resistant to biodegradation and also can be over coated. It is used for sealing of expansion and construction joints as well as joints between different construction materials.



3. Acrylic Sealants:

It is a single component elastomeric acrylic sealant for filling gaps and cracks between various building materials. It is highly flexible with good movement accommodation. It is suitable for different joints like concrete, wood, PVC and aluminum and suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. It can be recoated unlike other sealants.



Traditional Waterproofing Practice

           1.      Brick Bat Coba:


This involves laying of 80-100 mm thick coba concrete on a prepared surface with graded broken aggregate. This treatment though successful in the damp heat of coastal region; it cracks up completely on contact with the dry heat, besides having the disadvantage of imposing an unnecessary load on the system. Brick being a porous material absorbs more water through the cracks and causing the corrosion of reinforcement which ultimately leads to spalling of concrete of the roof slab.

For more information regarding the disadvantages of BBC go here => http://www.coa.gov.in/mag/Archi_Nov09-Lowres/30-31_Archi%20Nov-09.pdf



Misconceptions




There are few misconceptions regarding this conventional waterproofing by Brickbat Koba. That china mosaic topping helps to create water barrier is wrong. Some times the joints of china mosaic may develop a deboned joint making a vent to seepage.

That brickbats create water barrier is also wrong as bricks are porous. Brickbats are in fact used to maintain the slope. Weathered bricks are good for system which is again a wrong concept.

Good quality new brickbats should be preferred. This system provides a very good heat insulation to terrace slab.

Also, it absorbs the vibration and allows the concrete and mortar to breathe and vapour pressure is defused. The entire burden of creating water barrier lies on cement mortar.



Major Concrete Deterioration Mechanisms

Let us put sustainability away for some time and talk about the ways in which concrete gets deteriorated. The following will give you an idea about how does the deterioration mechanism take place which will make you cautious.

1.      Carbonation :
Carbonation is eventually inevitable, and is caused by the ingress of atmospheric carbon dioxide reacting with pore water to form carbonic acid. This neutralizes the alkalinity in the concrete. This occurs progressively, and a carbonation front moves through the concrete until it reaches the steel. The passive layer then breaks down as the pH falls from over 12 to around 8. Then it slowly corrodes the steel making it hazardous. The rate of carbonation is also affected by environmental conditions.

2.      Chloride Attack :
The second major cause of reinforcement corrosion is chloride attack. This is usually due to the following reasons:
·         De-icing salt ingress from roads and vehicles.
·         Sea-salt ingress from marine environments
·         Cast-in salt from contaminated mix components
·         Cast-in calcium chloride as a set accelerator.
Once the chloride level at the reinforcement exceeds 0.4% by weight of cement, there is a significant risk of corrosion, especially in presence of moisture.

3.      Design and construction defects:
The performance of reinforcement concrete can be severely reduced by poor design and construction techniques. These may cause reinforcement corrosion or the degradation of concrete itself, which in turn may lead to reinforcement corrosion. Insufficient concrete cover to the reinforcement is a major influence on the durability of reinforced concrete buildings and structures.
Problems which occur are:
·         Older codes do not specify adequate cover, especially in saline environments.
·         Details such as drips, groves of surfaces etc.
Problems arise during constructions:
·         Detailing that makes it difficult to achieve the specified cover
·         Incorrect reinforcement placing
·         Movement of reinforcement within shutters from the specified cover. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some facts about waterproofing membranes


Waterproofing membranes have come a long way in the past few years. That said there always seems to be a huge number of products on the market. So what makes a membrane effective, and how do you know what is the best product for you?
WHAT IS THE IDEAL MEMBRANE?
Ideally, a waterproofing membrane should:
- Protect the substrate from moisture
- Have high elongation before breaking point
- Dry quickly (and doesn’t skin)
- Dry without being stressed
- Be able to be bonded (eg. with tiles)
- Have high chemical and abrasion resistance
- Be easy to apply
- Be safe to handle and non-toxic
These days, there are two common classes of waterproofing membrane: acrylic and polyurethane. Polyurethane has a higher tensile strength and stretches more. However, they often have solvent based components that are less safe to use. Bonding to them can also be problematic. Acrylic usually takes longer to dry and is less resistant to abrasion and some key chemicals.
A good waterproofing membrane needs to provide a waterproof barrier but it must also cope with expected movement. This type of movement, such as that at joints and junctions, can easily be accommodated with bond breakers. They allow the membrane to stretch rather than snap, taking advantage of the elastic property of the material. Figure 1 is a representation of what can happen when no bond breaker is used on a wall/floor junction. Figure 2 shows how a bond breaker can accommodate the movement by allowing the membrane to stretch more. The basic idea is much like an elastic band. A long piece of elastic will stretch further before snapping than a short piece of the same material.
THE PROBLEM WITH UNEXPECTED MOVEMENT
The problem lies in how much the membrane needs to stretch to accommodate unexpected cracks (those not treated with bond breakers). As the extension (movement) is more than the elongation (stretch) capacity of the membrane, it will result in a tear in the membrane potentially leading to leaks.
So basically if the movement is more than the membrane can stretch, then it will snap. A bond breaker allows the membrane to stretch a lot more.
THE SOLUTION
Installing the required bond breakers is always important. However the design of the membrane can also help. A membrane that is stronger with more stretching capacity means that it is more forgiving and the bond breakers can be narrower. Essentially the better the elongation, the later it will break and the stronger the membrane’s internal (or tensile) strength, the more likely it will de-bond and stretch rather than snap. Remember that it is always best to install a bond breaker in all areas that are likely to move.

This article was taken from: http://www.specifier.com.au

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Apple’s Product Design Reduces Carbon Footprint

Apple products come in black, white—and green, says the company's environmental Web page: "Apple reports environmental impact comprehensively. We do this by focusing on our products: what happens when we design them, what happens when we make them, and what happens when you take them home and use them."
The company is paying attention to its total carbon footprint, something Apple estimated for the year 2010 to be approximately 14.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Apple understands that 98 percent of its carbon footprint is directly related to its products, which means adding up the emissions generated from the manufacturing, transportation, use, and recycling of its products, as well as the emissions generated by its facilities.
To improve the products' performance, Steve Jobs led the development of smaller, thinner, and lighter products. But the products also were more eco-friendly. Example: Today's 21.5-inch iMac is more powerful, with a much larger screen than the first-generation, 15-inch iMac, yet it has 50 percent less material and generates half the emissions. Another example: The iPad became 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter in one generation, generating five percent fewer carbon emissions.
The reduction in materials means less packaging, and at the end of the day, it also helps reduce the emissions produced during transportation. Apple gives a clear example for this in the packaging for the iPhone 4: It is 42 percent smaller than for the original iPhone shipped in 2007. That means that 80 percent more iPhone 4 boxes fit on each shipping pallet, more pallets fit on each boat and plane, and fewer boats and planes are used, resulting in fewer carbon emissions. This helps alleviate the greenhouse gas emissions from transporting Apple products, which accounts for six percent of the company's carbon footprint.

-Article from ENN Newsletter

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making chemicals from biogas instead of burning it

Combustible gases generated by organic matter in landfill sites or from biomass are commonly burned to generate electricity. However, Finnish researchers suggest that such biogas might be more usefully used as an alternative feedstock for the chemical industry. They explain that using biogas in this way would reduce our dependency on oil and gas-derived products and is commercially and technically viable.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Everything you might want to know about Carbon Offsets

 This article was taken from: R Greenway, ENN :

Companies, and individuals concerned with their impact on climate try a number of measures to reduce their emissions of air pollutants which impact the greenhouse effect of our atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is the reality that our atmosphere traps a portion of the heat we get from the sun, and from fires (both natural and man made) and other anthropgenic heat sources. Some of the gasses released by our industrialization, home heating and cooling, and transportation activities contribute to the atmosphere trapping more heat than would occur in the absence of these activities.

There are emissions which CANNOT be eliminated or reduced as much as we would like. For these, companies turn to Carbon Offsets. What are Carbon Offsets? When companies or individuals purchase Carbon Offsets they are paying someone else to reduce THEIR carbon emissions (a major contributor to global warming).
There are companies which assist other companies and individuals in purchasing Carbon Offsets. As in any new market, there is a learning curve for participants. Are the offsets real, are the being sold more than once? These and other questions illustrate how much needs to be learned.
To illustrate what a carbon offset might involve, consider a carbon offset to be an investment in a project or activity that reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or sequesters carbon from the atmosphere that is used to offset GHG emissions from your company or household.
Carbon Offsets may be purchased to offset emissions from your business as a whole, from specific activities such as travel, or from lifecycle emissions from a product.

Carbon Offsets can be generated from many activities including:

  • Planting trees
  • Energy efficiency investments
  • Reducing methane emissions
  • Renewable energy investments
A key consideration in Carbon Offsets is that the offsetting emissions be generated from a project or activity that generates real, measurable reductions in GHG emissions that would not have occurred anyway. To meet this goal, the project must go beyond business as usual, go beyond regulatory requirements, and not be counted against another emission reduction commitment.

What are the business benefits of Carbon Offsets?

  • Meeting business goals to reduce your carbon footprint from manufacturing or transportation activities
  • Preparing for an emissions trading regulatory requirement, gaining market experience
  • Brand enhancement, product differentiation
  • Attracting Investors
  • Engaging employees on environmental issues, attracting new employees
  • Being a good environmental citizen
In conclusion, Carbon Offsets offer a number of benefits to the enterprise, and also to the planet. While not a perfect approach, they are in many ways a win-win scenario.


 

The rise in level of Air Pollution worsens the effect of Drought & Flooding

According to a study led by researchers from University of Maryland,
The increase in air pollution and other particles in the atmosphere has affected cloud development in ways that reduce the amount of precipitation in dry regions, increasing rainfall in wet areas. etc.



Climate Procedures can help solve the challenges of Air Pollution & Energy Security

According to an article published in the latest issue of National Climate Change,
Strategies to safeguard the worldwide climate and limit the global rise in temperature offer the most applicable entrance for gaining Energy Sustainability and reduction in Air Pollution. By adopting these strategies, three of the key objectives for energy sustainability, major synergies and cost benefits can be realized. 



Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Approach to Terrace Waterproofing

Imagine a cool new lavishing house and a damp patch in the corner of the ceiling stealing the whole beauty. Terrace waterproofing forms an important part of construction. Dampness coming from the terrace can be very damaging for any construction.

  • For terrace waterproofing for new construction here are some tips: 
  1. Visually inspect the slab closely from top and bottom throughout the terrace.
  2. Conduct "Hammer Test" around areas that are severely cracked. If there comes a hollow sound, the cracks should be brush applied with cement slurry.
  3. Wider cracks must be cleaned with a wire brush, cut to a U shape of 5mmx8mm and filled with a Mastic Filler. The mastic filler will ensure flexibility to accommodate movement
  4. Make triangle fillet of 50mm x 50mm on all verticle abutments.
  5. Pre-treat critical areas such as verticle joints, outlet areas and pipe protrusions with flexible waterproofing material.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Solar Technology


New Anti Reflective Coating Increases Solar Power

A new anti-reflective coating is being hailed as a "Game Changer" for photovoltaic energy. The nano structured coatings help panels absorb nearly all the light that falls on them, including light at angles that normally bounces off.
This technology could increase solar output by 20 - 30%.
From Rensselaer Polytechnic:
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered and demonstrated a new method for overcoming two major hurdles facing solar energy. By developing a new antireflective coating that boosts the amount of sunlight captured by solar panels and allows those panels to absorb the entire solar spectrum from nearly any angle, the research team has moved academia and industry closer to realizing high-efficiency, cost-effective solar power.
"To get maximum efficiency when converting solar power into electricity, you want a solar panel that can absorb nearly every single photon of light, regardless of the sun's position in the sky," said Shawn-Yu Lin, professor of physics at Rensselaer and a member of the university's Future Chips Constellation, who led the research project. "Our new antireflective coating makes this possible."
Results of the year-long project are explained in the paper "Realization of a Near Perfect Antireflection Coating for Silicon Solar Energy," published this week by the journal Optics Letters.
An untreated silicon solar cell only absorbs 67.4 percent of sunlight shone upon it - meaning that nearly one-third of that sunlight is reflected away and thus unharvestable. From an economic and efficiency perspective, this unharvested light is wasted potential and a major barrier hampering the proliferation and widespread adoption of solar power.
After a silicon surface was treated with Lin's new nanoengineered reflective coating, however, the material absorbed 96.21 percent of sunlight shone upon it - meaning that only 3.79 percent of the sunlight was reflected and unharvested. This huge gain in absorption was consistent across the entire spectrum of sunlight, from UV to visible light and infrared, and moves solar power a significant step forward toward economic viability.
Lin's new coating also successfully tackles the tricky challenge of angles.
Most surfaces and coatings are designed to absorb light - i.e., be antireflective - and transmit light - i.e., allow the light to pass through it - from a specific range of angles. Eyeglass lenses, for example, will absorb and transmit quite a bit of light from a light source directly in front of them, but those same lenses would absorb and transmit considerably less light if the light source were off to the side or on the wearer's periphery

Trees Produce Electricity

this is a post from Green Design Briefs:
tree-power

Last year, MIT researchers found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil. A University of Washington team followed up on this research, and has run a custom circuit entirely off tree power.
By hooking nails to trees and connecting a voltmeter, Carlton Himes, a UW undergraduate student, found that bigleaf maples generate a steady voltage of up to a few hundred millivolts.
The UW researchers next built a device that could run on this available power. Brian Otis, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, led the development of a boost converter - a device that takes a low incoming voltage and stores it to produce a greater output.
The team’s custom boost converter works for input voltages of as little as 20 millivolts, an input voltage lower than any existing such device. It produces an output voltage of 1.1 volts, which is enough to run low-power sensors.
The UW circuit is built from parts measuring 130 nanometers and it consumes on average just 10 nanowatts of power during operation.
Photo: Dustin Schroeder/University of Washington

Five Every Day Ways to Take Advantage of Green Technology

Technology, via bright ideas or weird ones, is a busy world of cool and not-so-cool stuff eagerly claiming to answer every need. In the spirit of competition, it seems only fair that the best green-tech stuff should offer an advantage over mainstream competitors, while serving the customer's ethical leanings. Here are five ways technology can help you stay green and still seize the advantage.
* Using the Internet o The internet is one of the largest gas (and money) saving inventions. Every meeting taken by teleconference, instead of jetting or driving to a gathering place, reduces pollution and improves the bottom line of doing business. Tremendous sums are saved by businesses using E-commerce; and on-line payment options reduce runs to the bank and post office for most customers. Every shopping trip taken in virtual comfort also saves gas and reduces pollution, even when it means delivery vans are out on the town. A truck that sets out on a carefully planned route will easily save over twenty cars zipping to-and-fro.
* Recycled Metal Products o Lawn chairs, mail boxes, shelving units, even watering cans and planters are being made from the colorful scrap-metal of old highway signs and license plates. As the theme for a small-business, or for the trendy homeowner, flamboyant gadgets and furniture made from minimally re-treated metals will establish a unique personality, save cash, or both.
* Portable Gadget Assistance o Nothing is more frustrating than reaching for that beloved electronic gadget only to discover the battery is dead. The definitive green-tech solution for on-the-go charging is a solar powered gadget bag, purse, backpack, satchel, briefcase, carry-all; or even just a roll-up charging mat. There are options to be found for every portable device.
* Crock-pots, Vinegar, and Micro-fiber Cloth o Yes, if you enjoy being fussy, there's always the reams of hints from whoever has the time to figure out strange little money-saving, nitty-gritty tidbits. Crock pots cut your grocery bill by tenderizing cheaper cuts of meat while keeping the oven set to 'off'. Vinegar is a well-lauded laundry aid. Micro-fiber cloth is for scuttling the paper-towel treadmill.
* Household Improvements o Efficiency appliances are a standard cry, but now LED home-lighting is brightening the low-cost list. And for folks who haven't yet begun: remember that starting with a budget-friendly project like energy-saving lights or low-flow showerheads is just as valid a step as choosing efficiency appliances. For the stout-hearted eco-enthusiast, rooftop solar-electric panels, home turbines, and solar water heaters are not so severely high-priced as they once were; and cool-coating the roof in hot climates or improving insulation in any climate is a tried and true money saver.
Green-tech is not always about rocket science and utility companies. Often, it's just about plain common sense, about looking around you and seeing what's already there, waiting to be put to good use. And give being creative a try; there are always advantages to be had from having some fun.

New Plastics from Waste

Every company that sincerely establishes environmentalism as a key component of its vision and core values deserves thanks and appreciation. One such company is NEC. Their stated desire to be "a leading global company leveraging the power of innovation to realize an information society friendly to humans and the earth," was proven to be sincere when they applied true innovation to the plastics industry.
Facts of plastic recycling: * Shoving all your plastic in a recycling bin doesn't guarantee that any of it will be recycled.
o Millions of tons of plastic will be produced worldwide this year, and more than half will not be recycled.
* Putting the wrong type of plastic in your recycling bin can ruin the whole batch.
o Many people don't realize that the chasing arrows emblem doesn't mark a container as recyclable. Every plastic container has that symbol. It encircles a code-number indicating what resin was used. Items numbered 1 & 2 are the only commonly recycled plastics. Number 6 needs special handling. Numbers 4, 5 & 7 will contaminate a load. But even number 1 &2 plastics might not be recycled after you put them in the bin. Sorting plastics is expensive, and mixed loads may simply be shunted to the dump.
* Recycling is not a magic solution.
o The plastics industry has spent millions on advertising to make folks think recycling is solving the whole problem, so everyone will just keep buying and tossing containers, in the belief that it's all been worked out. No. Recycling does not reduce the use of petroleum in the manufacture of new plastic bottles and packaging. Recycled plastics are made into secondary products, not containers. That's not a wholly bad thing - the products very often replace items made of wood. But still….
Reducing the use of Petroleum for Plastics * The real solution is for the plastic-making process to become eco-friendlier. Plastic made from plant cellulous is an option that has been touted over petroleum. But opponents feel growing a crop for plant-based plastic is little better than petroleum-based production. They argue that fuel, water, and other resources are consumed in growing a crop and the plastic will still be only haphazardly recycled.
o A more promising option, now available, is plastics made from wasted plant material that already exists, bringing recycling into the front end of the process. NEC Corporation has developed a new plastic with a plant ratio of 70%, and far fewer petroleum-based additives than other bio-plastics.
o The new product is made with rice-straw and the oil from cashew shells. Both are byproducts discarded by the agricultural industry. NEC also says the plastic "can be produced using manufacturing and molding processes that halve the CO2 emissions of conventional processes used to make petroleum-based flame-retardant plastics."
So, this company made use of sustainable resources; improved the entire process of manufacturing a product; and reduced the percentage of petroleum additives needed to make the product durable. In a nutshell, they kept their promise. That is worthy of praise.

Tidbits for the Green-Tech Ignorant

It should come as little surprise that a lot of people, and quite a few businesses, are trying to disown pollutants and unseat the consumption of finite resources. But green-tech is not some bizarre sub-cult of industry. Somewhere in its phenomenal growth, green-tech has become a selection criterion. The frontiers of green-technology, the services and products on the fringes of the connection, are changing so rapidly most people don't realize how many businesses are tumbling into the green just by hunting around for solutions to their pressing concerns.
Setting standards * Most people know that hydrogen and electric cars reduce petroleum dependency. They know that the solar-arrays and the sleek wind turbines scattered over the countryside are supplementing the power grids with alternative electrical energy. 'Reduce, Reuse & Recycle' is a well-recognized slogan exemplifying the core principles of an eco-friendly life style. It's even fairly common for people to know that hydro-kinetics (water power) is considered the most potent source of eco-friendly energy. But green technology embraces more than just utilities, aluminum hunting, fussy appliances and automotive hybridization.
Service Solutions * Along with the standardization of eco-friendly options for pest control, lawn-care and cleaning supplies, a new breed of eco-friendly services is emerging. All sorts of exotic trades are cropping up; including restaurant grease recycling, re-filtering carwashes, and eco-friendly event planning and pet grooming.
* Thousands of communities are now mandating the use of green technologies to solve their storm-water control problems, by demanding that newly-built developments incorporate grassy swales and artificial ponds.
* Any time your city rehabilitates old pipes or lays new pipes without excavating they are using eco-friendly technologies to keep your roads and businesses in service during construction.
New Frontiers * Green technology is now involved in the medical industry, through the development of sustainable-energy for portable emergency devices and implants, and batteries that can harness sunlight shining on skin.
* The development of wave power has begun to see some serious backing, both as a supplement to the electrical energy grids and for powering desalination plants. Hydro-kinetic turbines are now available in single-family and small community sizes, for powering individual properties or villagers in emerging countries.
Gadgets and Gizmos * High-efficiency isn't just a concept invented for kitchen appliances. LED/LCD televisions are green-tech options, with green-tech standards. Ditto the eco-friendly vacuum cleaners and low-flow showerheads.
* LED light bulbs are the newest darlings among high-efficiency home-improvement products. Using them in every fixture of a home could slash its energy bill as comprehensively as an energy-star appliance.
* There are green tech options for phones and media players. And options for a host of other gadgets such as flashlights, alarm clocks, remote controls, camp stoves, and even automotive air filters.
In short, green technology is now so pervasive it doesn't even raise eyebrows for a solar charger to be disguised as a designer handbag.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Liquid Sealants

Sealants are basically products which are liquid at the time of application and slowly hardens over a period of time. Sealants perform two basic functions while liquid sealants are used mainly for waterproofing purposes, the paste applied sealants are used for waterproofing and weatherproofing joints between adjacent or different materials or surfaces. 

 Liquid Applied Sealants:



Wickes Good Idea Leaflet - Sealants is packed with DIY help & advice on using liquid sealants and mastics including waterproofer for roofs. 

Paste Applied or Caulk Gun Applied:
Wickes Good Idea Leaflet - Sealants is packed with DIY help & advice on using liquid sealants, mastics and applying with cartridge guns 
Selecting the correct sealant for a particular project depends upon the physical and chemical properties, durability, it also depends upon the adhesive and cohesive properties of it under certain conditions.

USING SEALANTS:
  1. LIQUID SEALANTS:
  • Liquid sealants are normally used over roofs and masonry and are usually brush applied. Some can also be sprayed as long as it does not get over sprayed and spreads thoroughly over the whole area.
  • Surface, where the sealants is to be applied should be clean, dry and free from any loose materials.
Sample Application of a brush applied sealant:
 http://www.constructionmagnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/NP-Henr1.jpg 



http://dailyhomerenotips.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/drywall-compound-applied.JPGasas

2. MASTIC SEALANTS:

  • Mastic sealants are usually applied as a toothpaste-like bead along a joint between adjacent surfaces. The surfaces should be clean, dry and free from dust and loose material.
  • Cartridge sealants have remarkable gap-filling properties, but cannot do the impossible. Deep gaps may need packing with inert material such as aerosol foam filler or glass fibre loft insulation blanket before the gap is filled with sealant.
  • Silicone sealants can irritate the skin, and care should be taken when using them not to transfer traces of sealant to the eyes.
  • Remember to remove the nozzle and cut off the seal on a new cartridge tube before starting to use the sealant.
  • Decide what size of sealant bead you want, then use a sharp knife to make a 45° cut through the nozzle at the required diameter.
  • Fit the cartridge into the gun and squeeze the trigger to force the piston up inside the tube. To stop the flow of sealant, release the small metal tab through which the piston shaft passes.
  • Store part-used cartridges horizontally in a frost-free environment.
Sample Application of a mastic sealant using Caulk Gun:



Wickes Good Idea Leaflet - Sealants is packed with DIY help & advice on using liquid sealants, mastics and using masking tape to apply.
1. Stick masking tape along both sides of the angle you want to seal   



Wickes Good Idea Leaflet - Sealants is packed with DIY help & advice on using liquid sealants, mastics and using masking tape and cartridge guns to apply.
2. Push the nozzle along the join so its underside forms the sealant bead into a concave shape.
Wickes Good Idea Leaflet - Sealants is packed with DIY help & advice on using liquid sealants, mastics and using masking tape and cartridge guns to apply neat sealant beads.
3. When the sealant has skinned over, peel off the tape to leave a perfectly formed bead.

Save It While You Still Can!!


Save it while you still can
Simple tips for going green

Factors like chaotic change in the climate, air pollution and global warming provide evidence that the resources we use, ineffectively, are slowly depleting.

So here are some ways in which one can save on resources and contribute towards the sustainable future:

v Switch of anything that uses electricity:
·        First off, replace all lights in your house from ordinary lights to CFL lights or LED lights. Ordinary lights consume more electricity (40W) as compared to CFL (11W). CFL are efficient in the longer run as compared to ordinary lights.
·        Make sure to switch all electrical appliances when not in use.
·        Switch of lights, fans, AC units when you are not using them.
·        Use of timers is recommended so that the respective light is switched off in a prescribed time interval.
·        If possible, install a solar panel which can provide the necessary hot water and can even help provide electricity.

v Conserve Water:
·        Consumption of water should be efficient and care should be taken that it does not get wasted.
·        See to it that all the taps and fittings are properly fitted to prevent wastage of water from them.
·        When brushing your teeth, don’t keep the water running. Take a small mug and fill water in that for use.


v Keep your area and surroundings clean:
·        Plant as many trees in your surrounding buildings, societies, complexes as you can. Trees provide us with life giving oxygen and trap all the harmful carbon-dioxide and other harmful substances.
·        Make a common trash area and separate the degradable from the non-degradable. Collect all the degradable ones, it can help for plant compost.

These were some useful points to help conserve the depleting resources and help you contribute towards a cleaner and greener environment. These small steps when taken up and spread onto other people can make a big difference.

So let’s join hands and together make our world a clean and environment friendly place to live in.