Through Pollution Prevention Let’s Talk about Solar!

Happy Belated Pollution Prevention Week! Been a bit busy! LOL

The EPA had dedicated a week to increasing efforts to reduce and eliminate sources of pollution to prevent damage to the environment, as well as maintain the planet’s resources and move towards sustainability.

One technology that has advanced these efforts greatly across the United States and the world is solar power. In the United States, .005 percent of all energy consumed comes from solar. This may seem like an insignificant number, but it’s actually quite substantial. In addition, between 2014 and 2015 alone, there was a 33 percent increase in solar power generation across the globe! Currently, the total photovoltaic (PV) power generation capacity around the world stands at 231 gigawatts.

As the solar industry grows, the demand for people working in the industry is growing too. The number of people working in the solar industry is expected to grow by 24% by 2021. Looking to get into the industry? California might be a good place to start as they have a 34% market share in solar as of 2016.

Want to learn more about the future of solar power? Check out the infographic below created by New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Electrical Engineering program.


NJIT Online

Toyota Takes the LEED in Texas

Toyota Headquarters Campus Achieves LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council, The Largest Commercial LEED Platinum Project in The State Of Texas, To Date

Plano, Texas (Sept. 22, 2017) – Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything, that is, except Toyota’s environmental footprint. 

Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) headquarters campus in Plano, Texas has officially achieved LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Jonathan Kraatz, executive director, USGBC Texas Chapter, presented the prized Platinum plaque to Jim Lentz, TMNA president and chief executive officer, today at the new campus. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Toyota’s new campus is the largest commercial LEED Platinum project in the state of Texas, to date.


“At Toyota, we have a longstanding commitment to sustainability and preserving our natural resources,” said Lentz. “With the installation of greenspaces, thousands of solar panels, a massive rain water capture system, and natural light wells, we have designed our new headquarters to reflect the local habitat and enhance its biodiversity. Recognition as a LEED Platinum facility is a testament of our efforts to become a model for energy efficiency and sustainability, and speaks to our challenge to ourselves to create a net positive impact on the planet by 2050.”

“USGBC is proud to award LEED Platinum to Toyota, for their thoughtfulness in their campus energy planning and space design as well as the overall net positive impact on the community and environment,” said Kraatz. “Our mission at USGBC has challenged organizations to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Toyota’s new Texas campus is a great example of what can be accomplished with the right leadership.”


The state-of-the-art, 100-acre campus boasts a Platinum-sized list of sustainability aspects, from renewable energy to drought resistant landscaping:  

Renewable Energy

Largest onsite corporate solar installation among non-utility companies in Texas

8.79-Megawatt solar power system, designed and installed by SunPower Corp.

Produces up to 33 percent of daily electric needs for headquarters campus

Reduces annual carbon dioxide emissions by 7,198 metric tons

Creates enough energy to power 1,200 average US homes for a year

Installation of high efficiency lighting and building envelopes to reduce energy usage on campus

Specialized rooftop design teeming with plant life to manage rainwater, reduce heat and further insulate the buildings

Flexible energy contract to preserve and resell excess power generation back to the grid

Grid energy offset by Texas wind farm renewable energy credits

Repurposed Rainwater

State-of-the-art rainwater capture system will provide up to three months of water supply for irrigation use

Cistern water storage with a capacity to hold 400,000 gallons of harvested rain water

Estimated to save more than 11 million gallons of potable (drinking) water annually

Excess drain water will be collected and repurposed for sanitary facility use

Recycling

More than 99 percent of the construction waste was recycled

Construction waste was sorted offsite at North Texas’ first Construction and Demolition waste processing facility

Sustainable Landscaping

Exterior landscaping features drought-tolerant, North Texas indigenous plants like savannah, oaklands and wildflower meadows

Campus landscape will provide a natural habitat for endangered pollinators and monarch butterflies

Approximately 1,300 trees planted onsite by Toyota

More than 80 mature trees saved or relocated onsite, including a 100-year-old oak tree

Landscaping will be managed without expensive mowing, fertilizers, chemicals or artificial irrigation

Historic wetlands on the northeast corner of the campus were preserved to protect its natural state


Professionals who led this project include a host of Dallas-based firms: KDC Real Estate Development & Investments to develop and build the campus, architect Corgan Associates to design the campus, and Austin Commercial to manage the construction.

In late 2015, Toyota Motor Corporation announced the 2050 Toyota Environmental Challenge, a set of ambitious environmental goals to reach beyond net zero, and create a net positive impact on the planet. To learn more, please visit http://www.toyota-global.com/sustainability/environment/challenge2050/.

 

Solar Power Lights Up Amazon Communities Fighting Dirty Energy

September 19, 2017 — Three indigenous communities on the front lines of the Amazon rainforest’s most emblematic rights and resources struggles now have solar energy generation capacity and internet hubs thanks to a partnership between Amazon Watch and Empowered By Light.

While Trump administration denies the impacts of climate change on the disastrous weather events in recent weeks, indigenous communities in the Amazon are leading us toward a brighter future as they embrace clean energy while defending the living forest, as demonstrated in the new video released today by Amazon Watch and Credo Mobile.

“These communities are true climate leaders,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director at Amazon Watch. “Lighting the way for our climate and our forests, these indigenous earth defenders know that the solution to climate change must include stopping the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.”

Solar micro-systems and radio communications infrastructure now power five Sápara communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon as they resist oil drilling on their lands; two Munduruku communities in the Brazilian Amazon as they demand legal recognition and protection for their territory; and four U’wa communities in the Colombian cloud forests as they defend their sacred sites. More installations are planned for late 2017 and 2018.

The astoundingly biodiversity of the Amazon is home to hundreds of distinct indigenous peoples whose futures are threatened by this resurgent wave of resource exploitation, often living in remote areas where they are vulnerable to violent repression. The solar power and communications systems being installed are critical for these communities to assure their safety and communicate their stories as they defend their traditional practices and territories. In the past, protecting themselves and their territories has meant using polluting and unreliable diesel and kerosene generators, with fuel being brought in from the outside at significant expense.

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

The solar and communications equipment allow these remote communities to communicate internally to improve their safety and engage in cross-community dialogue; tell their own story to the broader world directly through new communications technology and training, subsequently further increasing their visibility and safety; and have access to reliable, clean energy for other community needs without relying on dirty energy sources like kerosene or diesel.

“We hope the introduction of clean, renewable solar power will not only help these communities protect the Amazon rainforest, which is critical for climate stability, but that it will demonstrate to their governments that similar remote or off-grid communities can leapfrog fossil fuels,” said Moira Hanes, co-founder of Empowered by Light.

Collaborative project planning, along with maintenance and communications trainings, are integral parts of all of these projects in order to maximize both system longevity and impact. These projects, all of which were specifically requested by the communities, provide critical external and internal communications capacity, thereby allowing communities to increase both their personal safety and visibility for their emblematic campaigns.

For more information:

Amazon Watch: www.amazonwatch.org/solar
Empowered By Light: www.empoweredbylight.org

Teijin Aramid supporting student teams in solar car race


Arnhem, The Netherlands, September 14, 2017 – Teijin Aramid today announced it is supporting two student teams, one from KU Leuven and one from the University of Michigan, to compete in the ‘Challenger’ category of this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, held between October 8-12 in Australia. 

Powered only by solar energy, the 32 competing teams will race from Darwin to Adelaide, over the course of five days. Both teams are receiving both the material, para-aramid Twaron®, and technical support from Teijin Aramid. In particular, the University of Michigan team is using Twaron to reinforce the undercarriage of the car, choosing this material for its high abrasion resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. Sarah Zoellick, from the University of Michigan team: “We’re very grateful to Teijin Aramid for generously supporting our needs, and helping us to meet the design deadlines at short notice.”

The KU Leuven team is using Twaron-based parts above the tracking box and in the driver safety canopy to allow electromagnetic signals to enter and leave the vehicle. Without this the car would not be able to send or receive communication or monitor signals.
The KU Leuven team is using Twaron-based parts above the tracking box and in the driver safety canopy to allow electromagnetic signals to enter and leave the vehicle. Without this the car would not be able to send or receive communication or monitor signals. 

Powered only by solar energy, the 32 competing teams will race from Darwin to Adelaide, over the course of five days. Both teams are receiving both the material, para-aramid Twaron®, and technical support from Teijin Aramid. In particular, the University of Michigan team is using Twaron to reinforce the undercarriage of the car, choosing this material for its high abrasion resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. Sarah Zoellick, from the University of Michigan team: “We’re very grateful to Teijin Aramid for generously supporting our needs, and helping us to meet the design deadlines at short notice.”
Next to the para-aramid fiber Twaron, both teams also receive Tenax® carbon fiber from TohoTenax, like Teijin Aramid, a company within the Teijin Group.

Sources: www.umsolar.com and www.solarteam.be and Teijin Aramid and www.teijinendumax.com.

Essential Principles of Green Living to Live By

Nowadays, green living is a concept that many households are starting to get into. However, when it comes to ideas on how to live and run a more sustainable household, there are so many ideas floating around that sometimes we may be overwhelmed with choices. To help you decide which ideas are feasible and applicable for your household, here are some essential principles of green living that you should guide yourself by


• It’s all about reducing your electric consumption.

There are several advantages to lowering your household’s electric consumption. Aside from reducing your monthly expenses (thus resulting in more savings), it is also extremely beneficial for the environment as this also reduces the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. Take this opportunity to take advantage of another source of energy that’s available to you for free—sunlight. If installing solar panels is too expensive an undertaking for you yet, you can opt instead for bigger windows and skylights that will let in sunlight so you won’t need to turn on your electric lights during the daytime. 

You can also opt for a programmable thermostat so your heater doesn’t have to use up much energy when you and your family are out of the house.  Also, don’t forget insulating your home. It’s payback is one of the greatest besides lighting. It’s what they call a low hanging fruit. 

Finally, make it a house rule to turn off all switches and unplug all electrical appliances when they are not in use.


• Cut down on household waste. 

Currently, the world’s population stands at seven billion. Imagine how many households that makes. And if we were to consider the amount of waste that each household throws out every day, that would accumulate into tons and tons of garbage per day, which would take a lot of toll on the environment. It falls to each and every one of us to do our part in reducing the waste we put out. There are various ways we can do this. One is to recycle and reuse household items. For instance, plastic containers of food can be recycled to store your household knickknacks. Plastic bottles and glass can be reused to decorate your house. If you have old clothing and toys that you no longer use, instead of throwing them away, you can donate them to a charitable organization so other people can still put them to use.


• Grow your own garden.

Growing your own food has many advantages to it. One is that it will reduce your household’s monthly expenses for groceries. Another advantage is that it is healthier for you and your family because you will have offered more organic fare in your meals. Finally, it will reduce your carbon footprint because you will make fewer trips to the store. To grow your garden, you can use rainwater to water your plants in order to further conserve on resources. You can store rainwater in containers provided by Rain Water Tanks Direct.

The green lifestyle is not just a trend that will pass in time. As time passes, more and more people are starting to realize the urgency and importance of leading more sustainable lives and making healthier choices that are beneficial to them, their families, and the environment.

Source: Rain Water Tanks Direct