Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sustainabilitylive! 2011

Sustainabilitylive! 2011 was held between May 24th and 26th in Birmingham, Alabama. Sustainabilitylive! is the home of five leading environment exhibitions, including BEX, ET, IWEX, NEMEX and SB - The Event.

These exhibitions included hundreds of exhibitors, as well as seminars, conferences and interactive features. The show was well attended and the seminars were full to capacity.

Sustainabiltylive has been of great benefit to attendees and exhibitors. Sarah Boulton of Nomenca Ltd said, "As our first time exhibiting we have been amazed at how busy our stand has been with a fantastic range of opportunities, leads and contacts being made in both our core business and new clients."

For more information click here.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

KJT Group's Webinar on Sustainability and the Green Market

The KJT Group is offering a free webinar on June 3, 2011 between 12 and 1 PM EDT. The webinar will focus on sustainability in the green market and feature KJT Group President and CEO, Kenneth J. Tomaszewski, Ph.D.

The growing ‘green’ market is now an integral part of the consumer landscape. Global, political and social issues shape this landscape and keep it in constant flux. Through this growth and change, corporate sustainability has morphed from a PR tool into a business necessity. This webinar will help provide measurable insights into the varying attitudes and behaviors of constituents.

Click here to attend the webinar .

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Webinar on the Environmental Challenges Faced by Lenders

On Tuesday, May 31, 2011 between 1:00 and 2:00 EST a free webinar will feature Dianne Crocker, a principal analyst with EDR's market research group. She is responsible for providing EDR’s clients with strategic data and analysis on environmental due diligence trends.

Crocker gives presentations about environmental risk at industry conferences and client workshops across the country. She is a frequent contributor to leading commercial real estate, lending and environmental magazines, and her column, "Inside the Industry," appears monthly in EM, the magazine of the Air & Waste Management Association.

The lending industry is undergoing a period of dramatic change. While foreclosures, refinancing, and workouts are still the norm, originations are slowly beginning to ramp up. Under intense pressure to tighten risk management practices, lenders are rethinking how they conduct environmental due diligence.In this webinar EDR will explore this new landscape with industry expert Dianne Crocker. Sharing results from her team’s latest Benchmarking Survey of Financial Institutions, Dianne will explain what lenders are looking for, and how environmental professionals can earn new lender business.

Participants will learn:
1) Why today’s lenders are looking to tighten environmental due diligence
2) What they’re doing—or not doing—on foreclosures, refinancing, and workouts
3) Challenges lenders face adhering to the U.S. SBA’s environmental guideline4) Characteristics lenders value most in their consultants

This event is intended for environmental consultants who conduct Phase I environmental site assessments for lenders. To register for the event click here.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Consumer Groups Push for a US Vehicle Standard of 60 mpg by 2025

Consumer groups want to see US vehicle fleet standard of 60 mpg by 2025. This point was made at a recent teleconference event held by the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit association of nearly 300 consumer groups, and by Consumer Action, which is a network of more than 8,000 community-based organizations.

As reported in the LA Times, Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America cited a May 16, 2011 report (PDF) which indicated that 87% of respondents said they want reduced dependence on oil, 85% said they are fed up about prices, and 75% said they want higher-mileage vehicles.

"Pain at the pump, along with the country's oil-import dependence, has produced a growing consensus that the federal government should substantially increase fuel-economy standards. And among independent technical experts, there is a growing consensus that committed car companies could meet these higher standards," Cooper said.

Click here to sign a petition to make 60 mpg the standard for new vehicles by 2025.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles
America's New Fuel Efficiency Standards
ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
The Renewable Energy Standard
Republican Opposition to Obama's Clean Energy Standard
The EPA Proposes Cleaner Air
EPA's Proposed Rule to Regulate Emissions

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Factors Determining Adoption Rate of EVs

There are three key factors that will influence demand for EVs. Price, the cost of gas and range will determine the rate at which EVs are adopted. EVs with price points that are comparable to combustion engine vehicles will sell better than at current price points for EVs (in some cases they are more than twice as expensive). If gas hits $5 a gallon EVs will sell faster than if it gas were to drop below $3 a gallon. Vehicles that have a range greater than 300 miles will sell better than those with a range of 100 miles or less.

Excluding the $7,500 federal tax credit, the Volt and the Leaf, currently cost $41,000 and $32,780, respectively (both vehicles lease for $349 a month). A 2010 Deloitte report, found that more than half of the US consumers surveyed said they would not be willing to pay more for an electric vehicle than for a conventional vehicle.

The sales of EVs and hybrids have grown alongside rising gas prices. One year ago gas was $2.75 a gallon, now gas is hovering around $3.79 a gallon.

The Deloitte report found that consumers have range anxiety, (the concern that EVs have insufficient range). Almost 75 percent of those surveyed said they would need an electric vehicle to travel 300 miles on a single charge before they would consider purchasing it. However, 78 percent of those surveyed said they would buy an electric vehicle if gas hit $5 a gallon.

The Deloitte report also indicated that : “At $3 per gallon for gas, internal combustion engines are more economical to operate; the EV will not be comparable until battery costs are $600 or less per kWh, which could occur by 2014, at which time electric vehicle adoption will pick-up (assuming fuel costs remain stable).”

In April 2011, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu talked about the future of electric cars and indicated that he believes that before the end of the decade EVs will be “one-third the cost of today’s batteries but have at least three times the range.” He also said it will be possible for vehicles to travel up to 500 miles on a single charge.

In the absence of government legislation that will force significantly improved fuel efficiency, consumers will embrace EVs to the extent that they have better ranges and cost less. Climbing gas prices will also drive demand for EVs. Despite the urgency of finding alternatives to fossil fuel powered vehicles, market forces will ultimately determine the strength of demand.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Government Investment Fuels Greener Vehicles
Governments and the Growth of EVs
Improving Battery Technology Key to Greener Cars
Electric Vehicle Battery Technology Obstacles and Solutions
America's New Fuel Efficiency Standards
House Lawmakers Oppose New Car Ratings
American Electric Vehicle Strategy
Obama's National Goal of One Million EVs by 2015
Germany and the Global Competition for EV Supremacy
Chinese Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Competition in the 2011 Greener Car Market
Competition in the Green Vehicle Market
The Value of Electric Vehicle Subsidies
EPA's New Mileage Estimates for the Volt and the Leaf
Video Trailer: Revenge of the Electric Car
Electric Vehicles Combat Smog
Greener Commercial Transport Vehicles
Nissan's Commitment to Sustainability
GM Funding New EV Company
BMW Investing in EVsHonda's Greener Vehicles
Volt Wins Green Car of the Year Award
Ford Focus Electric Car
MINI Rocketman Concept Car
E-Range: World's First Fully Electric 4x4
Lotus City Car Concept Debuts at the Paris Auto Show
Porsche's Electric e-Boxter Sports Car
BMW ActiveE at the Geneva Motor Show
The Nissan Esflow Debuts at the Geneva International Auto Show

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Video: Solar Roadways




This video contains an update on the Solar Roadways project which is working to pave roads with solar panels that you can drive on. The company won the GE Ecomagination Challenge, a prestigious award that comes with a $50,000 prize. In December, The Green Market named Solar Roadways as the top automotive eco-innovation of 2010. In this video, the company's co-founder Scott Brusaw walks us through some major advances. The video also contains an exclusive first ever video of the Solar Roadway prototype For more information visit Solar Roadways.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Post
Video: The Wisdom of Private Sector Investments in CleanTech
Green Public Relations
GE’s Immelt Calls Current US Energy Policy "Stupid"
GE's Investments in Green are Paying Off
The Most Important Green Business Stories of 2010
Best Green and Sustainable Business

Friday, May 27, 2011

Obama's National Goal of One Million EVs by 2015

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama put forward his goal of putting one million EVs on American roads by 2015. This will help in the transition away from fossil fuel powered vehicles which are the second largest source of global warming causing pollutants. Although a far cry from the national green initiative that Obama has compared to the Apollo program, it is an important first step on the road away from fossil fuels.

Unlike the Apollo program, we already possess the technology and one million EVs is a modest goal given that this represents one third of one percent of the quarter of a billion vehicles in the US. One million electric cars represent less than 10 percent of the current annual automotive sales.

One of the challenges associated with goal of one million EVs was exposed in a February 2011 report out of Indiana University, titled “Plug-in Electric Vehicles: A Practical Plan for Progress.” (pdf). The study indicates that automakers currently have no plans to meet the President's 2015 goal.

This contridicts a Department of Energy report that said: "The production capacity of EV models announced to enter the U.S. market through 2015 should be sufficient to achieve the goal of one million EVs by 2015." The report also notes that 1.6 million hybrids have been sold over the past six years.

Obama's goal is of crucial importance because it will help to grow EV production as well as test the technologies and the supporting infrastructures. It will also help EVs benefit from cost and price reductions associated with mass production.

Moving towards EVs is of paramount importance to the environment and America's competitive positioning. Unlike the Apollo program, the government's support of EVs provides tangible benefits like reducing dependence on foreign oil and curbing greenhouse gases. All things considered, one million EVs by 2015 is a modest and attainable goal. Whether or not we have one million EVs on the road in the US by 2015 does not matter as much as the building momentum for an America free of fossil fuel powered vehicles.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
The US Government is Investing in Greener Vehicles
Highlights of Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address
Obama Reduces the Federal Government's GHGs
Obama's Achievements Ahead of COP15
Obama's Renewable Energy Revolution' Speech
Environmental Assessment of President Obama's First 100 Days
Beneficiaries of US Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Government Investment Fuels Greener Vehicles
America's New Fuel Efficiency Standards
House Lawmakers Oppose New Car Ratings
Republican Opposition to Obama's Clean Energy Standard
US Government Spending and Energy Efficiency Stock
Government Investment Green Jobs and Economic Recovery
Green Stimulus: Global Green New Deal
4 Principles for Climate and Energy Legislation

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The US Government is Investing in Greener Vehicles

The federal government is greening its automotive fleet. Under the Obama administration the US government plans to purchase 116 plug-in electric vehicles including more than one hundred Chevrolet Volts. The federal government also plans to buy the Nissan Leaf and Think Cities. In accordance with an Obama administration memo other federal agencies are sure to follow.

In March 2011, President Obama said that the government should be buying only alternative fuel vehicles within four years. As explained by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, "Diversifying our transportation fleet" is a "critical element in President Obama's long-term plan to break our dependence on foreign oil and invest in America's growing clean energy economy."

The Obama administration released a memo to government agencies on May 24th saying that all new cars in the federal government fleet must be alternative-fuel vehicles, (hybrid, electric, or natural gas). According to the General Services Administration (GSA), all new government vehicles must be able to use alternative fuels by 2015. Given the fact that the federal fleet is composed of more than half a million cars and trucks, the government can single handedly provide a boost to manufacturers of greener cars.

The US government began buying hybrid cars in 2009, this includes the 3,100 that the GSA purchased with $300 million in federal economic stimulus money. President Obama has indicated that he would like to see 1 million low or no emissions cars and trucks on US roads by 2015.

The GSA manages vehicle purchases for about two thirds of non-military federal vehicles, it has bought about 35,000 vehicles so far this year, with 22,000 of them being alternative-fuel capable.

Martha Johnson, administrator of the General Services Administration said in the LA Times: "It furthers the administration's goal of putting 1 million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015, and it represents a significant targeted investment in the next generation of automotive technology."

However, government cars and trucks that run on fuels like E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) have had difficulty sourcing fuel supply. To help address this problem, the memo released by the administration also encourages the development of a fueling infrastructure for such vehicles.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Obama's National Goal of One Million EVs by 2015
Highlights of Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address
Obama Reduces the Federal Government's GHGs
Obama's Achievements Ahead of COP15
Obama's Renewable Energy Revolution' Speech
Environmental Assessment of President Obama's First 100 Days
Beneficiaries of US Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Government Investment Fuels Greener Vehicles
America's New Fuel Efficiency Standards
House Lawmakers Oppose New Car Ratings
Republican Opposition to Obama's Clean Energy Standard
US Government Spending and Energy Efficiency Stock
Government Investment Green Jobs and Economic Recovery
Green Stimulus: Global Green New Deal
4 Principles for Climate and Energy Legislation

ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles

ISO is working to support cleaner cars because they understand that the future is about fuel-efficient, low or no emission vehicles. ISO standards for the automotive industry cover environmental considerations but they also cover things like safety, ergonomics, performance, test methods, and the roll-out of innovative technologies. These standards help to make new automotive technologies ecological, efficient, safe and effective.

Standards are being adapted to the new challenges of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). These new standards cover issues like safety from electric hazards, on-board rechargeable energy store systems and protection against failures.

The ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have reached an updated agreement concerning the standardization of road vehicles. The Agreement Concerning the Standardization of Road Vehicles improves cooperation on standards for electric vehicles and automotive electronics. As revealed in the agreement, ISO is helping to plug these technologies into the electricity supply infrastructure, also known as the grid.

ISO 15118 deals with the interface between electric vehicles and the grid, including communication links and protocols.

ISO committes are currently working on standards for electric vehicles and extensions of existing standards. A committe known as ISO/TC 22 is developing standards for electric vehicles and the extension of ISO 6469 seeks to ensure the safe handling of electric vehicles.

Also under development is ISO 12405, which provides test specifications for lithium-Ion traction battery systems.

ISO is providing an internationally recognized approach that will help to further the growth of greener vehicles.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
The Implications of ISO 50001 for Your Business
ISO 14001 Certification in the Solar Sector
Cititec ISO Environmental Management
ISO 14020 Series: 3 Types of Environmental Labels and Declarations
ISO Principles for Environmental Labels and Claims
The History and Value of Environmental Labeling
Standards to Combat Eco-label and Eco-Certification Confusion
Canadian Guidelines on Environmental Claims
Organic Standards and Certified Labels
G3 Guidelines and GRI Sustainability Reporting
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ISO 14001 Certification in the Solar Sector

A number of green companies have sought ISO 14001 environmental management certification including those associated with solar power.

Satelite solar panel maker AXT Inc. is committed to environmental protection and positive corporate citizenship. In 2006, they were certified as ISO 14001:2004.

A German manufacturer of photo-voltaics known as Q-Cells, is also ISO certified. The company earned ISO 9001:2000 certification and ISO 14001:2004 certification. Q-Cells is the world`s second largest maker of PV cells, after Sharp of Japan.

The Swiss connector manufacturer, Multi-Contact, which provides electrical connectors to the photovoltaic industry, recently achieved DIN ISO 14001 certification. The company uses resource saving MC Multilam Technology. With the MC3 and MC4 connector systems, Multi-Contact is leading in the Photovoltaic sector worldwide. With successful ISO 14001 certification the company has strengthened its sustainable positioning.

With the help of ISO certifcation, companies in the solar sector are integrating ecology into their management, processes and practices.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
The Implications of ISO 50001 for Your Business
ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles
Cititec ISO Environmental Management
ISO 14020 Series: 3 Types of Environmental Labels and Declarations
ISO Principles for Environmental Labels and Claims
The History and Value of Environmental Labeling
Standards to Combat Eco-label and Eco-Certification Confusion
Canadian Guidelines on Environmental Claims
Organic Standards and Certified Labels
G3 Guidelines and GRI Sustainability Reporting
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Implications of ISO 50001 for Your Business

To help businesses understand the implications of the new energy oriented ISO series, GreenBiz.com gathered a panel of energy and sustainability executives for a webinar titled, "ISO 50001: Preparing for the New Energy Management Standard."

The business community is increasingly adopting sustainable practices to decrease costs, reduce environmental impacts and add value. Energy management is central to these efforts. According to panelists Bill Allemon, vice president of Energy Management Services at ARCADIS U.S. what distinguishes the new ISO standard is its reach and range.

Other panelists include Don Macdonald, director of Sustainability Business Development of UL DQS Inc., and Kelly Smith, Global Energy and Sustainability program manager for Johnson Controls Inc.. The discussion was moderated by GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower.

Allemon said, "the standard gives you the tools and basics, and if you want to, you can go all the way to certification." Smith of Johnson Controls noted that the standard can be applied to a single facility or building within a company and be used across an organization.ISO 50001 provides a systematic comprehensive approach for continuous improvement and an emphasis on performance management which are essential for development of sustainable organizations, Macdonald said."Energy is a corporation's 'currency,' " said Macdonald, pointing to a failure to value energy as organizational currency as a key barrier to improving energy management. Other barriers he cited include:

-Absence of continuous monitoring, metrics and performance management.
-Initial costs more important than recurring costs.
-Disconnect between capital and operating budgets.
-Immature sustainability culture.
-Shareholder focus on production rather than efficient use of resources.
-Failure to embed deep process quality management systems in an organization.

The panelists' presentations and their discussion are available in a GreenBiz webinar which can be downloaded free with registration.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles
ISO 14001 Certification in the Solar Sector
Cititec ISO Environmental Management
ISO 14020 Series: 3 Types of Environmental Labels and Declarations
ISO Principles for Environmental Labels and Claims
The History and Value of Environmental Labeling
Standards to Combat Eco-label and Eco-Certification Confusion
Canadian Guidelines on Environmental Claims
Organic Standards and Certified Labels
G3 Guidelines and GRI Sustainability Reporting
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses

Monday, May 23, 2011

The BIXI Bike Rental System

BIXI is a public bicycle sharing system launched in May 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The name BIXI is a combination of the words bicycle and taxi. In addition to Montreal, the BIXI system is present in the Canadian cities of Ottawa/Gatineau and Toronto as well as Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., London England and Melbourne, Australia

In Montreal, the system provides more than 5,000 bicycles and 400 stations located around Montreal's central core. BIXI marked its one-millionth ride on October 26, 2009. In Montreal, it took a loan guarantee from the City to put the BIXI bike-rental system back on solid ground after the company that operates the service ran into financial problems. But Roger Plamondon, the head of Public Bike System Co., insists the company is not threatened despite liquidity problems.

"All we are asking is give us a chance, we have a business plan, we beat our first year business plan last year, we are on track to doing the same thing this year," he said.

The City of Montreal approved a $108-million bailout package for the Bixi bike-sharing program. The package includes $37-million to cover Bixi's deficit, and another $71-million in loan guarantees to export and develop the system abroad.

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said the loan guarantee was necessary to allow BIXI to grow on the international scene.

"If we continue to sell for example to New York, Vancouver, San Francisco and other cities, then we'll generate revenues and we'll offset the shortfall that we have at the local level," Trembay said.

Tremblay said he's not worried that the reputation of BIXI will be harmed, noting that Time magazine recognized it as one of the best inventions of 2008."We're going from a small business to a medium business and we're putting in place all the guarantees and the mechanisms to make sure we'll have access to all information." Toronto and London, England, guaranteed similar loans to set up the BIXI system in their respective cities.

Public Bike System Company president Alain Ayotte said "We are in line with the financial plan, and we are very confident that we will continue to be highly profitable," said Ayotte.

The bike rentals cost $5 for 24 hours, $12 for 72 hours, $28 for 30 days or $78 for a year, plus additional fees for trips longer than 30 minutes from one bike station to another.

Employers are encouraged to join the program and add more stations. Public Works and Government Services Canada has announced it will add a station in Gatineau and the NCC is talking to Environment Canada about adding a 12th station in Canada's capitol region. The cost to a business of putting a bike rental station in a parking lot is about $20,000 over a three-year contract.

The system is accessible to everyone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To subscribe, or to obtain more information about BIXI please visit bixi.com.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Bike to Work Events Across North America
Bike to Work Day - A Growing Movement
Bike to Work Day

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bike to Work Events Across North America

On Friday May 20th communities all across North America took part in Bike to Work Day. These events help to raise awareness about environmental and other benefits associated with cycling rather than driving. Many events took place including free breakfasts and biking information seminars and events. Here are some examples:

Washington DC

Organizers of Washington’s Bike to Work event said more 10,000 riders participated this year. In addition to Bike to Work Day, a 20-mile community ride is also planned for Sunday May 22. Sunday’s ride begins on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol, heads up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House and across the Potomac River into Virginia. Riders will pass sights such as Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon before heading back into Washington.

Newport

The City of Newport celebrated Bike to Work Day, starting with a breakfast for bicycle commuters at Great Friends Meeting House. There was a press Conference on the steps of City Hall at 1 PM. At 4 PM there was a Community Bike Ride City Loop beginning at Great Friends Meeting House. In the evening a Bike Fair was held which included awards, a parade, bicycle registration, bike maintenance demos, bicycle safety, and an art auction.

Anchorage

Hundreds of people in Anchorage took part in the national Bike to Work Day and more than 170 businesses registered to take part in the event, and city officials said at least 400 people commuted to work on a bicycle. Several replenishment stations throughout the city fed hungry riders on their way to work. Two engineering firms, CRW Engineering Group and DOWL HKM, provided free drinks and snacks. Steve Noble, vice president of DOWL HKM said, “The nice thing about them is it increases the visibility of the bike to work stations. You don't just see the people riding down to work. You see the stations and that kind of draws your attention to it and says, oh this is being supportive in the community and so it's nice to see it popping up all over town with the businesses supporting them and getting more and more people riding to work, not just on Bike to Work Day, but everyday.”


Mississauga


In Ontario Canada, thousands of cyclists participated in Bike to Work Day. In Mississauga participants were provided with a free breakfast. Organizers also gave away prizes for a bike/train weekend getaway, a mountain bike valued at $500, bike accessories and free safety tune-ups. The event was organized by Smart Commute, an initiative of Metrolinx and the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. “Riding in a group encourages novice cyclists to participate and makes cyclists more visible to motorists. Organized rides also show motorists that cycling is a viable alternative to driving,” said Glenn Gumulka, executive director of Smart Commute Mississauga. The organization is celebrating five years of decreasing greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. Their efforts have succeeded in reducing GHGs by 1.5 million kilograms, they have helped save $3.5 million in commuter costs and they have reduced vehicle travel by 6.9 million kilometers through their sustainable transportation programs. “We have grown exponentially over the past five years and have made tremendous strides in reducing single-occupancy vehicle travel,” said Gumulka.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
The BIXI Bike Rental System
Bike to Work Day - A Growing Movement
Bike to Work Day

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bike to Work Day - A Growing Movement



Sometimes, the greatest way to make an environmental impact is through individual action. Bike to Work Day is an annual, national day of local action where individual bikers make the decision to ride their bike to work. As they meet up with other bikers, their numbers grow to visually demonstrate a growing popular movement. In Washington, DC, the government is responding with programs to accommodate and encourage more bicyclists.

Related Posts
The BIXI Bike Rental System
Bike to Work Events Across North America
Bike to Work Day

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bike to Work Day

The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of an annual Bike Month event and this year Bike to Work Week is May 16th through the 20th. Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20th. Bike to Work Day was originated by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 and is celebrated across the US and Canada to promote the bicycle as an option for commuting to work.

Fossil fuel powered vehicles are responsible for pollution, including air and noise pollution. Transportation is the leading causes of global warming and it also uses over 70 percent of the oil consumed in the US. Bicycling cuts down on pollution and cycling is an efficient mode of transport. In the US, 40 percent of trips are 2 miles or less, perfect distances for bicycling. The League of American Bicyclists indicate that more than half of the US population lives within five miles of their workplace.

Using bicycles can significantly can reduce our carbon footprint on the earth. They say cars are the single largest source of US air pollution and short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. They say if we rode our bikes on those short trips 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile would not be emitted into the atmosphere.

The League of American Bicyclists predicts Bike to Work Day will have one million participants.

"We've been celebrating Bike to Work Day for more than 50 years," said Andy Clarke, the league's president, "and there's never been a better time for people to try this commuting option. More and more cities are putting in bike lanes, trails and parking for bikes, and as gas prices go up and congestion gets worse, biking looks like an increasingly attractive choice."

The US Census Bureau found that in 2008, about 800,000 people nationwide used a bicycle as the primary means of transportation to work.That was an increase of 61 percent, or almost 300,000 people, since 2000. But overall, bicycling still represents just 0.5 percent of commuting transportation; automobiles are 89 percent, and public transportation is nearly all of the rest. With gas prices near $4 a gallon have made a growing number of people are seeing the wisdom of cycling.

The League of American Bicyclists say over 66% of the adult US population is overweight and 32% of people in the US are obese. They indicate that there is a disturbing lack of exercise amongst children with one child out of every 4 being overweight. Research shows that a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity three days a week can reduce incidents of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Although it is widely known that cycling is good for the environment and part of a healthy lifestyle for riders, it also saves money. The average American spends about $8,758 or 15 percent of their income a year on transportation, largely on automobiles. If you add in the increased cost of healthcare from air and water pollution and climate change, and other externalities, the cost is much higher.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
The BIXI Bike Rental System
Bike to Work Events Across North America
Bike to Work Day - A Growing Movement

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is developing a guideline for energy management known as 50001 which will be published in the third quarter 2011. ISO 50001 is designed to help organizations improve their energy performance, increase energy efficiency and reduce climate change impacts.

ISO has identified energy management as a priority area meriting the development and promotion of international standards. Effective energy management is a priority focus because of the significant potential to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide.

The new energy guideline establish a framework for energy management systems for buildings, industrial plants, commercial facilities and utilities. ISO 50001's broad applicability across national economic sectors, it is estimated that the standard could influence up to 60 percent of the world’s energy use.

ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard is based on the common elements found in all of ISO’s management system standards. It is entirely compatibility with ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management).

ISO 50001 will provide a framework for integrating energy efficiency into management practices. It will make better use of existing energy-consuming assets, as well as provide benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting of energy intensity improvements and their projected impact on reductions in GHG emissions

ISO 50001 will provide energy management best practices and good energy management behaviors. It will also supports transparency and communication on the management of energy resources. Evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of new energy-efficient technologies are important part of the framework that also promotes energy efficiency throughout the supply chain and energy management improvements in the context of GHG emission reduction projects.

ISO 50001 is being developed by ISO project committee ISO/PC 242, Energy management, whose Chair, Edwin PiƱero, has said of the new series of guidelines, “Everyday, organizations all over the world deal with issues such as energy supply availability, reliability, climate change, and resource depletion. A critical element in addressing these issues is how effectively an organization manages its energy use."

“ISO 50001 provides a proven model that helps organizations systematically plan and manage their energy use. With a strong focus on performance and continual improvement, ISO 50001 will contribute to enhanced energy efficiency and prudent energy use. An extremely high level of consensus drove our committee’s fast progress toward publication - proof that the world needs and wants this standard.”

Roland Risser, Chair of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO/PC 242, and Manager of the Building Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy, underlines that, “This new International Standard provides the structural framework for commercial and industrial companies to continually improve their energy intensity - saving money, improving competitiveness and reducing pollution. When companies can link efficiency to profitability, that’s a win-win.”

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
The Implications of ISO 50001 for Your Business
ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles
ISO 14001 Certification in the Solar Sector
Cititec ISO Environmental Management
ISO 14020 Series: 3 Types of Environmental Labels and Declarations
ISO Principles for Environmental Labels and Claims
The History and Value of Environmental Labeling
Standards to Combat Eco-label and Eco-Certification Confusion
Canadian Guidelines on Environmental Claims
Organic Standards and Certified Labels
G3 Guidelines and GRI Sustainability Reporting
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Legal Challenge Seeks to Force US Government Action on Climate Change

In light of the failure of the US Congress to address climate change, legal actions have been filed in all 50 states to force government action on climate change.

The lawsuits are being led by an Oregon-based nonprofit called Our Children’s Trust, they argue that key agencies have failed to protect the earth’s atmosphere for future generations. The lawsuits seek to have the atmosphere declared a “public trust” deserving special protection. The same approach was successfully used to clean up polluted rivers and coastlines.

Regulatory petitions are asking state environmental agencies to tighten restrictions on vehicle and industrial emissions. State-level lawsuits have been filed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. In addition, a federal lawsuit is being filed in California.

Earlier this year several states sought to reign in power plant emissions by asking the US Supreme Court to declare them a public nuisance. The pending decision in the public nuisance case will heavily influence the outcome of the state-level lawsuits.

There is strong opposition from Republicans as well as concerns that these kinds of public policy issues are better addressed in either the state legislatures or Congress. The outcome hinges on whether the courts decide that they have the authority to rule on this issue. Even if they are only partially successful these efforts could drive new regulations to reign in US greenhouse gas emissions.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
State Green Jobs Initiatives Need Federal Legislation
Green Marketing Legislation
4 Principles for Climate and Energy Legislation
green it investment, regulation and legislation
Republicans Undermining Climate Legislation
Legislation Through Reconciliation
The Passage of Health Care Legislation and Implications for the Environment
US Green Legislation
Supreme Court Decision Undermines Climate Change Legislation
Action on Climate Change
chinese green legislation, part 1: progress and problems
chinese green legislation, part 2: solutions and strategies
chinese green legislation, part 3: the new regulations
european green legislation
european green legislation, part 2: laws that grow green
Boxer-Kerry Climate Change Bill

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

British Government to Lead the Green Economy

A new legally binding green deal has been agreed upon by British cabinet ministers. The deal will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The deal has major implications for citizens, transportation and business.

The deal was reached despite strong disagreements between those who supported the plan and those who were concerned about cost. The deal puts the UK ahead of any all other nations in terms of the legal commitments it is making to curb greenhouse gases.

Recently the heads of 15 green campaign groups wrote to British Prime Minister David Cameron expressing their concern about his environmental policy. Cameron responded by making good on his promise to lead the "greenest government ever." Britain is now the world leader in cutting carbon emissions as it is the only nation with legally binding commitments past 2020. The deal will also see Britain set up a green investment bank.

The new budget puts the government on target to meet a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. The government has accepted the report from the independent committee on climate change which has said that to reach these goals carbon emissions should be cut by 60% by 2030. The committee also says 40% of the UK's power should come from wind, wave and tide sources by 2030

This will drive investment and stimulate new industries in offshore wind technology, tidal power, wave generators and carbon capture. In the wind sector alone we can expect to see significant investments from major companies like Siemens, Vestas and General Electric.

The opportunities for business are extraordinary. The independent committee says the new carbon deal will require that heat pumps be installed in 2.6m homes by 2025. It also says that by the same date 31% of new cars, and 14% of those on the road overall, will be electric. To achieve these ambitious goals a total of £16bn of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment.

The British see the wisdom of investing in a low carbon economy now, rather than paying more later. We can only hope that North America will one day follow her lead.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
The New International System: The Role of Government
IPCC Report on Renewable Energy
Chinese Government Investing in Clean Energy & US Dithers
China can School the US About Green Growth
Government Incentives are Growing Renewable Energy
Government Investment Green Jobs and Economic Recovery
Green Government Investments and Job Creation
Government Energy Policy the Environment and the Economy
US Government Spending and Energy Efficiency Stock
Obama's Executive Order Reduces Federal Government's GHGs
France's Innovation in Renewable Energy on Display
Government Investment Fuels Greener Vehicles
The Value of Electric Vehicle Subsidies
Chinese Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Solutions to Diminishing Ground Water
Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 Report: Growth and Global Competition

Monday, May 16, 2011

IPCC Report Indicates that Most of the World's Energy Needs Could be Met by Renewables

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report which indicates that nearly 80 percent of global energy demand could be met by renewable sources of energy by 2050. On May 9, the IPCC released the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. The report compares 164 different scenarios and most of these scenarios project a substantial increase in the deployment of renewable energy. The report predicts that by 2050 wind power could supply more than a fifth of our energy and with the right technical advances solar power could provide one-third of our energy.

The report indicates that renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gases by 33 percent, contribute to sustainable economic growth, create jobs, and provide cheaper electricity to poor rural areas. The report suggests that we can become so energy efficient that the predicted population of 9 billion by 2050 could use less energy than 7 billion people on the planet today.

The IPCC report was prepared by 120 scientists and it is the most comprehensive high level review of renewable energy to date. The report predicts that the costs will fall considerably in the coming years due to technological advances. The report also predicts that enewable energy options will surge and account for a much larger percentage of the total energy usage.

“Most of the 164 scenarios showed renewable energies would rise to supply above 100 exajoules (EJ) a year by 2050, reaching 200-400 EJ a year in many scenarios. In 2008-2009, 140 GW of the 300 GW of new global electricity generating capacity came from renewables.

According to the report the six of the most promising renewable energy technologies include solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and ocean. The fastest-growing technology is grid-connected solar electric power, which saw a 53% increase in installed capacity during 2009. However, the report suggests that solar photovoltaics will continue to be among the more expensive options for some years.

The biggest single source, accounting for about half of the global total, is the burning of wood for heat and cooking in developing countries.This is not always truly renewable, as new trees to replace the burned wood are not always planted.

To make renewable energy more competitive we need to get the costs down. The report also indicates that renewable energy would be "economically attractive" if the environmental costs of fossil fuel emissions were included in prices.

Unlike fossil fuels, the expansion in renewable energy is not limited by any notion of a finite supply.The report concludes there is more than enough to meet the world's current and future energy needs. The report says that almost half of current investment in electricity generation is going into renewables, but growth will depend on having the right policies in place.

The report indicates that we could cut in global greenhouse gas emissions of about one-third compared with business-as-usual projections by 2050. Currently, renewables supply 12.9% of the global energy supply.

"With consistent climate and energy policy support, renewable energy sources can contribute substantially to human well-being by sustainably supplying energy and stabilising the climate," said Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC working group that produced the report."However, the substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging," he added.

The IPCC report indicates that, “The projected expansion is likely to continue even without new measures to promote a shift from fossil fuels as part of a U.N.-led fight against climate change.” Governments have agreed to limit the global average temperature rise to 2C at the most. To achieve the reductions agreed to at UN climate talks in Cancun, at the end of 2010 governments must make use of renewable energy sources on a very large scale. To meet international climate targets, governments will need to advance ambitious national policies and strong international cooperation to stimulate renewable investment.

To achieve even more growth in renewables requires ambitious national policies and strong international co-operation. According to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, "It is also clear that ambitious national policies and strong international cooperation are together the key to the swift and extensive deployment of renewable energies in all countries."

"While the report concludes that the proportion of renewable energy will likely increase even without policies," the reports authors said in a press release, “past experience has shown the largest increases come with concerted policy efforts.”

The IPCC brought together the most relevant and best available information to provide the world with this scientific assessment of the potential of renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change. It concludes that, “The technical potential of renewable energy technologies exceeds the current global energy demand by a consider amount, globally, and in respect of most regions of the world.”

The report indicated that renewable energy could provide up to 77% of the world's power by 2050, but this is less than 3% of total potential (under the 164 scenarios reviewed). The report indicates that wind power alone is capable of supplying more than 100% of future demand, and solar power many times more.

Although not included in the IPCC report, the WWF’s new Energy Report details a road map for achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050. Leading the WWF to say that the IPCC report, “underestimates the potential of deploying renewable energy even faster, especially when combined with top level energy efficiency."

The IPCC report demonstrates that with the right governmental backing we could get almost 80 per cent of our energy from renewable energy sources by 2050. If we do not see government support the IPCC report also lays out a bleaker vision for the future. Under this scenario we could consume more energy by 2050, and only 15 percent of the world's energy needs would be met by renewable energy.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
British Government to Lead the Growing Green Economy
Renewable Energy Standard Vs. Clean Energy Standard
Republican Opposition to Obama's Clean Energy Standard
High Oil Prices Stimulate Renewable Energy
Businesses Will Lead the Transition to Renewable Energy
Government Incentives are Growing Renewable Energy
Greenpeace Campaign is Asking Facebook to Unfriend Coal
Surge Predicted for Efficiency and Renewables in 2011
Ten Videos from the 2011 Renewable Energy World
Sustainable Growth Excludes Fossil Fuels
France's Innovation in Renewable Energy on Display
Renewable Energy Storage
Obama’s 'Renewable Energy Revolution' Speech
Bullfrog Power's Green Energy for Canadian Small Businesses
Bullfrog Power and Canada's JUNOs
Investing in Efficiency Upgrades and Renewable Energy
China can School the US About Green Growth
The Chinese Government is Investing in Clean Energy while the US Congress Dithers

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Renewable Energy Standard Versus The Clean Energy Standard

The renewable energy standard (RES) is one of the reasons why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV)energy bill never saw the light of day.

RES is a requirement that the country will increase the percentage of its power generated from renewable energy sources within a certain time frame. RES would go a long way towards spurring private sector investment in renewables. The idea is popular as illustrated by a Pew/National Journal poll that indicated 78 percent of all respondents and 70 percent of Republicans favored a RES.

President Obama has talked about a clean energy standard (CES) that in addition to renewables, includes nuclear, efficient natural gas and coal with carbon capture. In the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama urged lawmakers to establish a CES with a goal of generating 80 percent of the nation’s energy from “clean” sources by 2035. Calling the clean energy push “our generation’s Sputnik moment,” the President’s speech framed a clean energy standard in the larger context of improving the United States’ competitiveness in the global economy.

Under a national CES, electricity supply companies would have to produce a certain percentage of their electricity from clean energy sources, or purchase credits in the amount of the shortfall. Certified clean energy generators would earn credits for every unit of electricity they produce and could sell these along with their electricity to supply companies. The electricity supply companies would then submit the credits to a regulatory body to demonstrate compliance.

Although CES is not as safe or as clean as RES, it is the most viable in the current political climate. Republican inroads in the 2010 midterm elections killed any hope of a RES, however, CES may prove to be a politically acceptable alternative.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Republican Opposition to Obama's Clean Energy Standard
IPCC Report on Renewable Energy
High Oil Prices Stimulate Renewable Energy
Businesses Will Lead the Transition to Renewable Energy
Government Incentives are Growing Renewable Energy
Greenpeace Campaign is Asking Facebook to Unfriend Coal
Surge Predicted for Efficiency and Renewables in 2011
Ten Videos from the 2011 Renewable Energy World
Sustainable Growth Excludes Fossil Fuels
France's Innovation in Renewable Energy on Display
Renewable Energy Storage
Obama’s 'Renewable Energy Revolution' Speech
Bullfrog Power's Green Energy for Canadian Small Businesses
Bullfrog Power and Canada's JUNOs
Investing in Efficiency Upgrades and Renewable Energy
China can School the US About Green Growth
The Chinese Government is Investing in Clean Energy while the US Congress Dithers

High Oil Prices Stimulate Renewable Energy

Higher oil prices stimulate renewable energy. Renewable energy enables the world economies to grow sustainably, where our current reliance on fossil fuels is entirely unsustainable.

To stimulate renewable energy we must see what is known as supply shock. A supply shock is an event that suddenly changes the price of a commodity or service. In the case of oil this will be caused by a sudden decrease in the supply relative to demand. This sudden change affects the equilibrium price.

When oil approaches $200 per barrel we should get the shock and a stimulus effect on renewable energy. This will occur when the oil supply out paces demand by something like 10 percent.

Instability in the Middle East may very well be the catalyst that causes oil prices to go sharply higher, which in turn will create the shock that will stimulate renewable energy.

There are a great many unknowns, but renewable energy will be driven by how market demand reacts to higher oil prices.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Oil and Renewables
The End of Oil and the Next Energy Economy
Sustainable Growth Excludes Fossil Fuels
Two More Reasons to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels
Businesses Will Lead the Transition from Oil to Renewable Energy
Sustainable Economic Growth
Greenpeace Campaign is Asking Facebook to Unfriend Coal
Reigning in Irresponsible Oil Giants
Offshore Oil is an Avoidable Tragedy
Peak Oil
The Economic Calamity of Peak Oil
The Price of Crude Oil
Planning a Future Without Oil
End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Businesses Will Lead the Transition from Oil to Renewable Energy



In this video, Jonathan Koomey discusses the important role that business will play transitioning away from oil to renewable energy sources. While he sees a role for governments, he sees business and civil society as being crucial to this transition. He discusses the options available and concudes that there is a lot we can do. There will have to be big investments in new energy and new technologies. He concludes by saying, "if we are going to make this happen the transition will have to be led by business."

Koomey is co-author of "Winning the Oil Endgame" and author of many energy efficiency related books and articles. He led a group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that developed energy efficiency recommendations for EPA & DOE.

His cutting-edge research for the International Project for Sustainable Energy Paths, Rocky Mountain Institute, and LBNL helped establish the feasibility and desirability of using renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions, decrease dependence on oil, and boost jobs in the US & Europe.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Business Will Lead the War Against Climate Change
What Businesses are Doing to Combat Climate Change
Businesses are Combating Climate Change and Turning a Profit
Growing US Corporate Investments are Driving Cleantech
Sustainable Practices are a Strategic Priority for Business
Sustainable Business Is Growing But It Still Has ...
Green Leadership
PUMA's Comprehensive Sustainable Strategy
HP's Leadership in Sustainable Innovation
Canadian Tire's Sustainability Leadership
Toyota's Electric Vehicle Leadership
Hyundai's Fuel Efficiency Leadership
Xerox's Green Innovation
Environmental Revolution: Leadership and Morale
10 Business Pledges in Support of A Billion Acts of Green