Greg Galitzine : Green Blog
Greg Galitzine
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February 2009

You are browsing the archive for February 2009.

Telework As Green Energy Demand Management Solution?

February 26, 2009

Electrical power has become of those necessities that are nasty and expensive to provide. We are now dependent on it, are uncomfortable and cannot perform tasks when it isn't there.

Yet we do not like the sight of power lines, substations, and generating facilities (including green ones like solar farms and wind turbines)--certainly not in our back yards, and we are worried about the emissions from fossil fuel plants, environmental damage from hydroelectric dams, and radiation from nuclear stations. The building, upgrading, and maintaining of these facilities are reasons behind the seemingly climbing electric bills.

Walking the Walk on Green Tech Growth

February 19, 2009

A wirestory about the potential of green technology growth to revive California's sagging famed Silicon Valley--as desirable as green innovations and resulting employment and increased prosperity may be--contains a literal and equally toxic whiff of the proverbial 'jogger going to a convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes.'

The story cites a report by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network that shows that employment in the region slipped 1.3 per cent in November and per capita income eroded, decreasing nearly one per cent. 

Overall venture capital investments in Silicon Valley dropped 7.7 per cent in 2008, breaking an upward trend started in 2005.

Yet at the same time green tech investments has climbed 94 per cent since 2005 and employment in the sector has risen 23 per cent during the same years. Some of this has been heading to the Valley already. 

The issue is that the Silicon Valley is not producing the skilled workers needed to fill green technology jobs as the industry grows.

"'We need a strong system of workforce development to support adult worker retraining and transition,'" said Silicon Valley Community Foundation president Emmett Carson.

Now here's where the smoke comes in. More employment locally at jobsites means more traffic, and more pollutants that offset the green benefits from what is being created. 

While Silicon Valley has long had a light rail, bus, and commuter rail system that has been slowly growing, work travel there, like in most metro areas, mostly means cars and roads, the building, operation, accommodation, and maintenance of which damages the environment.

So here's a solution: why not encourage green tech firms--along with every other employer--to institute aggressive telework programs?

Going Green All the Way In Ontario

February 12, 2009

It is great to see that jurisdictions like the Canadian province of Ontario taking steps to encourage green practices and technology.

As reported on TMCnet, the province's government will be introducing a sure-to-pass (Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberal party holds a majority in the legislature) Green Energy Act, which will:

* Encourage conservation side by creating an Expert Advisory Council that will offer advice to the government on any future energy efficiency changes to Ontario's building code

*  Modernize the province's electrical transmission system by employing 'smart grid' technology--two way communications, advanced sensors, and distributed computing--that enable power distributors to anticipate and address problems before they lead to outages

Green Guilt-Free Flying

February 9, 2009

It will be possible, depending on how quickly and urgently the aviation industry acts to develop and roll out the technology, to fly and work on your laptop without worrying about the emissions-related harm being incurred and the life-enabling open space ruined by massive runways. 

The key environmental issue with flying is not so much the CO2 from the engines but from the water vapor emitted at higher altitudes, where jet aircraft operate, which turns into clouds.  Canadian journalist and historian Gwynne Dyer reports that these clouds reflect heat back to the surface "and contribute to global warming".

There is a solution, which he discussed in a recent column carried in a rural Ontario paper ,distributed free in communities located below what are arguably Canada's busiest commercial and military airways, and that is known as 'circulation control'

This is a technology whose function is, he quoted Dennis Bushnell, the chief scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, "'to bleed the engines and inject air backwards at the upper trailing edge of the wing, you can produce lift coefficients which are easily three or four times what we can get out of conventional wings.'"

With circulation control, aircraft can fly more comfortably and with less harm at lower altitudes, reports Dyer. Water vapor turns to rain and bumps i.e. turbulence is minimized.  

"That [also] means very short takeoffs and landings, so short that existing runways could accommodate several aircraft at once. And the same circulation control system, used in flight, has "such tremendous control authority" that it can counter the bumps that are normally part of flying down in the weather and produce a smooth ride."

Incentivize 'GreenWorking'

February 5, 2009

It is gratifying to see many countries, such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. plan to spend money on expanding their broadband networks.
The Canadian Parliament passed that country's 2009 budget on Tuesday with C$225 million to be spent over three years to develop and implement a strategy on extending broadband coverage to unserved rural and remote communities. 

Public assistance is needed, says the government, which is controlled by the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, because companies cannot turn a profit on the investments needed to reach out to these individuals and businesses owing to density and distance from major hubs.

Only with broadband can consumers and businesses effectively access information, goods and services, and yes work i.e. telework via the information highway by riding on the equivalent of paved roads to and from their homes, storefronts, and factories as compared with the dirt tracks of dial-up and plank roads of satellite.

Yet it would be nice for governments also to offer tax incentives, either tax deductions to corporations or grants-in-lieu of taxes to nonprofits, to nudge these organizations to provide teleworking i.e. 'GreenWorking'. The Telework Coalition has called for just that, pointing that there are parking and transit deductions but none for telework.

One of the factors holding telework back has been less-than-competent managers who are unable to supervise others without seeing them Victorian-style.

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