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Why EVs (etc.) are NG

January 15, 2009

I have long been skeptical about electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles as truly green technologies because they all consume vast amounts of life-giving open space to transport comparatively few people and goods, drives more sprawl, which does likewise, and incurs air-killing construction and upkeep and requires hydrocarbon-based paving materials.

Peter Foster, a columnist in Canada's National Post, along with associated commentators have come up with a few more points to consider, in his column Wednesday subtitled 'Today's alternative vehicles are all profit graveyards or subsidy pits'.

Mr. Foster correctly pointed out one of the fallacies behind assuming that people will buy electric vehicles (EVs) and that is it isn't the average amount of driving per day that matters but the farthest that one usually wants to go.

"Apparently, Americans on average drive their cars less than 35 miles a day, but to suggest that this supports the viability of short-range electric cars is like suggesting that a five-foot tall person should be in no trouble if forced to spend alternate one hour periods in water six feet deep and two feet deep.

Canadian Government Funds Green Transportation (Including Telework) Initiatives

January 9, 2009

The Canadian federal government is taking the axiom of 'think globally, act locally' to heart by financing over a dozen local green transportation programs that range from cycling to shared-ride home, public transit, walking to school, and to telework.

Here is the release and the backgrounder:
 
Federal government delivers green transportation initiatives  
 
    OTTAWA, Jan. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird,announced today that the Government of Canada will invest in 14 projects across the country that support environmentally friendly transportation.
 
    The projects will receive a total of almost $3 million under the ecoMOBILITY program. Fourteen municipalities will receive funding for projects that respond to their individual needs and circumstances.





Cut down on E-Waste--Make Hardware Repairable

January 6, 2009


A well-timed (day after Christmas) article in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper pointed out the obvious--that today's gadgets are meant to be disposable--but also at one part of the solution to curb the consequences i.e. e-waste  that is already in play, which are growing numbers of repair shops.

The paper cited Jesse Hirsh, a Toronto-based technology analyst, who is amazed at what he calls a "boom" in the past couple of years of iPhone/iPod fix-it shops. They allow people to get eight, 10, 12, 18 more months out of products that are really designed to last a year, maybe two at tops."

Even so fixing last year's iPod goes against the grain of consumer technology, which has morphed the masses into a disposable gadget society. 

"There is a tragedy to that," Hirsh told the newspaper. "It makes it more difficult, and sometimes more expensive ...






New Year's Resolution: Enabling Green Access Via New Rapid Transit Systems in 2009

December 30, 2008

For businesses, institutions, and contact centers looking for truly greener fields to cut down on their environmental footprints there will be several new opportunities to do just that, by locating their offices near the stations of new rapid transit lines scheduled to open in 2009.

--Arriving first is the Phoenix metro area's Valley Metro light rail line. It will begin regular service on a 20 mile line route connecting Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa on Jan.1; it had pre-opened to crush crowds last weekend

--Portland, Oregon's Tri-Met will introduce service on WES, a diesel railcar-operated suburb-to-suburb line from Wilsonville to Beaverton, 15 miles, where it will connect with the MAX light rail for downtown Portland, airport, and other communities.

Oregon, Washington State "E-Cycling" Begins Jan.1

December 29, 2008

Beginning Jan.1, 2009 consumers, small businesses, and other similar-sized government entities in Oregon and Washington State will be able to recycle 'e-cycle' much of their e-waste such as computers, monitors, and TVs though not others such as cellphones, mice, and printers. The TV e-cycling is well-timed with the analog-to-digital TV switch in February, 2009.

There are now 17 states with similar programs; the National Center for Electronics Recycling tracks such laws. It estimates that just under 50 percent of the US population is now covered by such measures.

They should be making a dent in the mountains of electronic garbage created in the U.S; in 2007, Americans generated about 232 million units of computer and TV-related E-waste, of which only 18 percent was recycled. 

Washington State estimates that it will collect and process over 20 million pounds of electronic waste in the first year of operations; the state has about 6.4 million residents.



Comparing (green) apples-to-apples

December 19, 2008

It would be very helpful for technology buyers interested in buying green and in doing so saving money if there could be a series of objectively researched-and-well publicized energy/environmental footprint data and costs for these solutions. If such documentation exists please forward that to me.

Yes, it is true, that the suppliers are providing case histories showing such data. A case in point is Netezza, which makes data warehousing appliances. The firm demonstrated that its product at 3 terabytes (TB) enabled a customer, the UK's Orange, to cut power demand by 2/3rds, from 25kW/hour to 7kW/hour and sliced cooling requirements by 72 percent compared with and from the incumbent Informix/Sun/EMC 1.5 TB configuration.

Subaru: the truly green automaker

November 25, 2008

It is rare that I mention green and cars in a positive light given the huge amount of emissions private vehicles produce--and the planet-damaging sprawl the overplanning for them engenders--but in the case I will make the rare exception and praise.

That goes to Japanese-owned carmaker Subaru. Not because it is a leader in bleeding-edge technology like hybrids, or that it makes tiny gas-miserly vehicles like its larger competitors, though its vehicles are very fuel efficient through using advanced proven technology.

Instead Subaru gets the accolade because they have built a low-environmental-footprint plant in Indiana that it is proudly advertising on TV that is a far cry from the creaking and wheezing factories belonging to the dying Big 3.

Greening The Data Center

November 24, 2008

Data centers: data warehouse appliances and servers are the 'boilers' of the information revolution. They enable almost every business process from administration to customer service, decisioning, design/engineering, distribution, manufacturing, marketing/sales, and support. They also require a lot of electricity for operations and cooling to keep these units functional and to limit failures.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter are the key harmful compounds and materials released when burning fossil fuels such as for electric power generation.

Goodbye, GM, Chrysler, Hello Green Alternatives

November 17, 2008

I live in a part of North America that is dependent on the auto industry and I am seeing it break down around me. 

Every day it seems the local media has a story on another layoff, if not of the Big 3 but of the many hundreds of firms that supply them. Every day it appears that one more factory has a For Sale or For Lease sign up. Every day one more track in the local railroad yard is taken up by a string of empty auto-rack railcars.

So I am not without sympathy to the families, indeed neighbors who are being hurt by what is happening in that industry.

America voted 'green'

November 11, 2008

Last Tuesday a majority of Americans 'voted green'. They voted for, and the Electoral College is duty-bound to select Senator Barack Obama as President, whose platform contained an extensive list of green energy and employment initiatives, along with funding for Amtrak and mass transit along with highway improvements. 

President-Elect Obama appears to be strong believer in technology, and has promised to place resources in R&D and in rural broadband. There is every reason to believe that of all the policy stances produced that he will deliver on this one, because technology delivered for him. He and his team successfully used advanced communications and marketing technology to create, mobilize, and bring on home one of the most successful grassroots-based election campaigns in modern times.

President-Elect Obama wants action on climate change but he also is seeking energy security, which according to an editorial in The (Toronto) Star may mean accepting Canada's 'dirty oil' from the Alberta tar sands in exchange for Canada adopting his tougher emissions policies.



(One wonders just how 'filthy' Alberta tar sands-derived oil really is: from source to refinery compared to shipping 'cleaner' crude from the Middle East on diesel-burning and pollutant-spewing tankers.

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