Green Blog
| Helping environmentally-conscientious business leaders choose environmentally-friendly solutions.

green technology

Canadian Newspaper Has It Right: To Go Green Cut Down On Packaging

August 30, 2010

Canada is a big source of American packaging material, and that includes newsprint. 

So applause should be offered to a recent editorial in the Peace Arch News, a newspaper which is distributed in the Metro Vancouver communities of South Surrey and the city of White Rock, British Columbia, Canada that face the U.S. border which called for manufacturers and retailers to cut down on the waste.

Here are some excerpts from the piece: 

"The sheer amount of packaging we deal with every day is staggering. According to the U.S.-based Dogwood Alliance, 25 per cent of the 2.4 million hectares of trees cut down every year in the southeastern United States ends up wrapping and boxing consumer goods."

"The computer age, which was supposed to diminish our need for paper, has only made things worse."

"The little plastic cartridges for inkjet printers, for instance, are notoriously over-packaged, contained in complicated boxes, attached to cardboard or plastic trays, wrapped in sticky plastic and accompanied by a series of instruction pamphlets and promotional paperwork."

The problem, says the editorial "is compounded if you happened to order that inkjet cartridge from an online retailer; chances are it was shipped in a cardboard box five or six times larger than the already voluminous box encasing the little plastic cartridge, and then further protected by crumpled paper, bubblewrap or styrofoam peanuts."

 "Responsible, environmentally-conscious consumers can only do so much to keep all these boxes, containers, trays and whatnot from filling landfills."

For Metro Vancouver and environs like nearly every city is facing a waste management problem.

A Practical Way To Use Electric Vehicles: Commute/Reverse Commute Station Cars

July 21, 2010

Electric vehicles (EV) presently and will continue to suffer one crippling flaw for most applications: the lack of range. Note the words 'most applications' for there is an imaginative and practical means of using them that is discussed later on.

A recent National Post 'Motor Mouth' article by David Booth points out that the batteries required to move EVs generate electrical energy far less efficiently than do gasoline or other fuels.  Gasoline produces about 6,000 watt-hours/pound whereas the "most optimistic numbers" he has seen for advanced lithium-ion batteries is 110 watt-hours/pound. 

"That means good old- fashioned gasoline punches 54 times harder for the same amount of weight, the fundamental reason electric cars' ranges are so pitiful compared with those fossil fuelled," writes Booth.

Simply put: there is no way you can pack that much battery power to match what gasoline, or even less efficient fuels like compressed natural gas (used in fleet vehicles, like taxis) can produce for your typical trips.

What about the vaunted greater efficiency of electric motors?

"In the electric vehicles' defence, electric motors transmit that energy more efficiently to the road," says Booth. "Some electric motors boast 90% efficiency, while internal-combustion engines can transmit as little as 15% of their energy into vehicular motivation. However, even being generous, that means EVs face a nine- times deficit versus traditional cars."

And that doesn't take into account driving on hilly terrain.

Wealthy Biggest Driving Polluters? No, Really?

May 18, 2010

The wealthy have the means to become the earliest adopters of the latest and greatest home and office green tech devices, methods and solutions. Yet it appears that too many of them are acting otherwise when it comes to mobility, if Canada's elite are any indication.

A Canwest New Service article printed last Friday in The Province revealed, citing new Statistics Canada figures, that "wealthy Canadians were the worst polluting drivers in 2007. While the rich, defined as having annual incomes of $100,000+ were responsible for spewing out the most air pollution per person, at 5,737 kilograms or 12,621 lbs in 2007.

Steel Rails are Green

May 6, 2010

A new report from the BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy InstituteFull Speed Ahead: Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion, confirms what rail and many environment advocates and industry sources have been pointing out for years: rails are green and in more ways than one. So instead of ripping out railroad tracks in favor of highways: the dominant government policy for the past 90 years, governments should instead enable investing money into freight rail.

Shipping goods on trains in whole or in part of intermodal (ship/truck-rail) movements uses less energy and land, emits fewer pollutants at greater labor productivity than all-truck for medium to high volumes of freight over likewise distance: short distance heavy movements, such as aggregates are also more efficiently carried on trains. On a per-ton basis, trucking uses on average four times the energy to transport freight versus rail, says the report.

Green Power Costs

April 12, 2010

I love contrarians because they make think. One great example comes by way of Margaret Wente's recent column in the Globe and Mail on the Province of Ontario's announcement of $8 billion worth of green energy initiatives (i.e. subsidies) on top of $7 billion already promised. Among her points:

*      The province will pay solar producers "around 80 cents a kilowatt hour for the power they sell back to the grid.

Green Campus Project

April 8, 2010

Here is something worth voting for, the Green Campus Project.  It is a candidate in Pepsi's Pepsi Refresh project where the firm is giving away $1.3 million each month to projects that gain viewers' votes.   The Green Campus Project "seeks to equip student-led electric transportation projects on two university campuses in Minnesota", explains Marty Leenhouts, Green Campus Project Administrator, with $50,000 it hopes to win from Pepsi.The goal he says is to expose some 60,000 university students to electric transportation.

The "Green Cloud"?

April 6, 2010

In my family the expression "green cloud" means the release and lingering of foul-smelling flatulence. Greenpeace appears to have a similar opinion of cloud computing as it is being applied by some companies. 

Last week, TMCnet editor Kelly McGuire wrote a great story on a report by Greenpeace on saying that cloud-computing-driving data centers could be dirtying up the air by relying on electricity from coal-fired plants. 

Greenpeace has a point: the way coal is extracted and burned in electricity generation is not exactly clean. Yet then again there are few sources that are--yes that includes Canada's infamous tar sands-- if one looks at the options, and at the total amount of environmental damages such as from transportation and distribution that all choices incur.

The Marketplace Is The Answer For A Green Planet...And Tech

April 1, 2010

Forget save-the-planet sentiments and actions like last Saturday's Earth Hour,  and laws, and regulations.

The only way people and organizations will truly go green, and saving the earth and in turn boosting the market for green products and practices is by making them i.e. us pay the full costs i.e. environmental and related healthcare and other expenses for the damage we incur both directly and indirectly and add that to the prices of what we buy. 

And then let the marketplace works its magic to efficiently allocate resources... 

In other words if you want to telecommute from an insulated-up-the tailfeathers townhouse that relies on solar energy for cooling and heating, supplemented by fans and hot-water bottles respectively...and if you want to drive a tank to your office park from a mansion whose A/C is at 60 and the heat at 75...both of which is your right...then you pay accordingly for the Earth you use.

Full Cost Analysis Needed on Green Power

February 18, 2010

Full-cost analysis (FCA) examines both complete direct i.e. capital and operating costs and indirect i.e. environmental, health and social costs of private and public investments. 

FCA, many of whose methodologies are still being refined, is a much needed tool to enable companies and policymakers to accurately determine the true ROI of projects. It will hopefully end the free ride 'enjoyed' especially by highways, airports and sprawl.

Desiring Streetcars

January 26, 2010

One of the greenest ways of getting around is electric streetcars. These elegant, comfortable rail vehicles use far less energy than cars, can draw their power from sources other than fossil fuels, are much more attractive than buses and can shape development.

Once the primary means of getting around, streetcars were targeted for elimination by a combination of an apathetic public sold on the vision of unlimited mobility, not realizing that the dark side of congestion and environmental destruction lay just around the corner and by the beneficiary car and tire makers and petroleum companies. Now streetcars have been making a comeback in cities throughout North America.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Next
Featured Events