Archive for the ‘diving light’ Category

Saudi Arabia puts energy efficiency on radar, says Frost and Sullivan

Úterý, Září 11th, 2012

The rise in energy consumption must be addressed by developing new techniques for energy efficiency. Frost & Sullivan recommends upgrading existing systems including controls, sensors, building management systems, and performance contracting models, along with harnessing energy-efficient products and systems to help rationalise energy consumption in the country.

Some techniques that can support energy-efficiency measures are HVAC, lighting, integrated building management systems (IBMS), performance contracting, and recycling. Phasing out inefficient lighting systems with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) lights is further expected to reduce annual electricity consumption by 3.2 Twh and CO2 emissions by 2.4 Mt.

KSA is spearheading the region’s emerging trend towards adoption of alternative and renewable sources of energy. With strong renewable energy resource base and constant technological developments, KSA has ambitious plans to improve energy efficiency by effectively using existing systems and encouraging use of energy-efficient products.

In 2010, the Government of KSA established the Saudi Energy Efficiency Board (SEEC), as energy efficiency was identified as a national priority. Amongst others, one objective of the SEEC was to propose a national energy-efficiency plan in order to rationalise energy usage in the country. Thus, KSA’s first grid connected solar power plant was inaugurated in 2011. KSA offers over $1.35bn of energy-saving potential and out of this about $1bn is an immediate addressable market potential for energy efficiency. Currently, the KSA accounts for $1.44bn of untapped energy-saving market, which translates to about 37.1 bn kWh of energy saved.

“Greener equipment should start making inroads into the KSA market. If Saudi Arabia implements energy-efficiency programmes as proposed by the electricity advisor, demand for products such as programmable thermostats, energy-efficient HVAC equipment, and other associated services and solutions is expected to increase,” says Frost & Sullivan Environmental and Building Technologies Industry Manager, Kumar Ramesh.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s recent study on ‘Energy Efficiency in KSA’, a critical challenge to development of the Saudi Arabian energy-efficiency market is lack of awareness amongst end users. To address this, Frost & Sullivan recommends that KSA should implement mandatory regulations on energy management and incentives for energy-efficient investments in order to generate awareness.

It is also essential to include efficiency standards for new air-conditioning appliances, along with actions on replacing inefficient models and regulation on maintenance. KSA needs to incentivise implementation of new technology to reduce energy consumption, provide more autonomy to energy-related organisations to work towards efficiency, create awareness about the need to conserve energy, and educate end users with respect to increasing energy prices.

As ongoing massive industrial development in the Kingdom is expected to raise the energy demand further, Frost & Sullivan recommends implementation of a transparent building model, showcasing periodic reduction in operational costs for new constructions as well as existing buildings, ensuring energy-efficiency.

Solar power incentives slashed again

Úterý, Září 4th, 2012

THE price paid to Victorian households for rooftop solar power they feed into the grid has been cut under a overhaul of incentives for small-scale renewables by the Baillieu government.

The changes will reduce the price paid for each grid-fed kilowatt-hour of solar power to 8 from next year, down from the existing rate of 25, following recommendations by the state’s competition body.

The changes will affect new customers, with households now getting higher prices remaining on those rates. Households that have paid a deposit or have a solar system installed already can still get the 25 price if necessary paperwork is lodged with electricity suppliers by the end of this month.

Under the changes Victoria’s renewable incentives have been broadened to include other smaller-scale renewable energy technologies generating under 100 kilowatts of electricity, such as micro-wind and fuel cells.

Launching the changes yesterday Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said the falling costs of solar panel systems and rising power prices meant households were taking up solar without the need for over-generous subsidies from other power users.

He said a previous incentive of 60 for each kilowatt-hour - scrapped by the Baillieu government last year - was costing Victorian households $41 million a year until 2024 through higher electricity bills to subsidise homes with solar panels.

“People in public housing, tenants who cannot access solar, are paying higher electricity bills in order to subsidise the rooftop solar for other people. That wasn’t sustainable at those rates,” Mr O’Brien said.

Under the new feed-in-tariff, the state government will set the price each year between 2013 and 2016 based on the wholesale electricity price. Then the price will be set by the market.

A Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission report released yesterday recommended a 6 to 8 price and said solar tariffs should become market-based as soon as possible to remain sustainable.

But renewable energy groups said the new price did not reflect savings rooftop solar generated in avoided network and other costs of delivering electricity to homes.

Damien Moyse, from the Alternative Technology Association, said: “The evidence suggests that electricity generated by solar systems is worth more than the average price of electricity in the wholesale market.”

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said it was appropriate the Victorian government reduced the level of its support scheme but “the proposed feed-in tariff of 8 per kilowatt-hour is too low and does not reflect the fair and reasonable value of the electricity and other benefits that solar power systems provide”.

The state government also largely accepted recommendations to make connecting rooftop solar panels and other systems to the grid less complicated.

Jefferson neuroscientist helping astronauts sleep better

Pondělí, Červenec 23rd, 2012

A new sunrise takes place every 90 minutes. Docking maneuvers sometimes occur at odd hours. Then there’s that feeling of apparent weightlessness.

No wonder astronauts aboard the International Space Station can have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep.

Now, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University is among those working on a solution: light.

George C. Brainard is advising NASA as it prepares to replace the aging fluorescent lights on the station with high-tech LED fixtures. The lights, which received the agency’s go-ahead earlier this year, can be adjusted to enhance or relax an astronaut’s state of alertness at the appropriate time of day.

The plan is the outgrowth of research by Brainard and others that has established how light plays a powerful role in regulating our various biological clocks. Changes in light exposure can affect sleep, digestion, cognitive performance, and mood — a phenomenon known to people who experience jet lag, night-shift work, or the seasonal blahs associated with the shorter days of winter.

Initially, NASA planned to replace the lights on the space station with LED fixtures purely because they last much longer than fluorescents and are energy efficient. But when Brainard heard about the plan, he and a handful of other experts urged the agency to modify the specifications so that the lights could be a tool for maintaining astronaut health.

“Bud was instrumental” in making the case for the adjustable lights, said NASA flight surgeon Smith Johnston, referring to Brainard by his nickname.

Aboard the station, astronauts average as little as six hours of sleep during a 24-hour period, even though they are allotted 8.5 hours, Johnston said.

Sleep becomes even harder with disruptions, such as the occasional emergency or a docking procedure that may require the crew to get up in the middle of their sleep time. Some astronauts take short-acting sleeping pills, but the addition of adjustable lights will be welcome, Johnston said.

“If you’re chronically sleep-deprived, you don’t perform as well,” the NASA physician said. “You’re moody. You don’t have as good coping mechanisms.”

It’s a cause for concern during a six-month stay aboard the space station, let alone for an eventual Mars mission that could last three years, Brainard said.

“Every one of us has probably done an all-nighter or two in our lives,” Brainard said. “You feel crummy the next day, but you bounce back. And you also get your recovery sleep. They [the astronauts] are not getting their recovery sleep. That’s the problem. Day in, day out, they’re missing the ingredients for best health and best behavioral regulation.”

The specs call for the new fixtures to fit precisely into the 7-by-26-inch rectangular sockets now occupied by fluorescent bulbs, said Debbie Sharp, a senior manager at Boeing, which is overseeing the project. The first of 100 new LED lamps will be delivered to NASA in mid-2015, she said. A variety of tests are needed first, including an evaluation to ensure that the lights can handle the rigors of space travel.

Baltimore Convention Center To Save

Úterý, Červenec 17th, 2012

Constellation , a business unit of Exelon, and the Baltimore Convention Center today announced an energy performance contract (EPC) to install approximately $10 million in water and energy conservation measures.

Under the terms of the EPC, the water conservation and energy efficiency improvements provided by Constellation require no upfront capital from Baltimore Convention Center and are guaranteed to provide approximately $18 million in cost savings over a 15-year period. Baltimore Convention Center will use the guaranteed savings from the conservation measures to fund the project.

“The Baltimore Convention Center is committed to sustainable operations,” said Peggy Daidakis, executive director for Baltimore Convention Center. “This EPC with Constellation helps us to meet our goals of reducing overall water and energy usage and to satisfy our customers with whom we are actively engaged in promoting greener meeting spaces.”

Theodore Atwood, director of the Baltimore City Department of General Services, added that, “The Convention Center project is another step in our efforts to reduce Baltimore City government’s electric power use by 20 percent by 2015.”

By implementing water and energy conservation measures, Baltimore Convention Center expects to conserve an estimated 100 million gallons of water and avoid the creation of 6,058 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually over the next 15 years.

Click here to view a brief video about the Baltimore Convention Center’s conservation efforts through its energy performance contract with Constellation.

“Energy performance contracting is a valuable resource for private and public entities to leverage their existing operational budget for needed capital improvements,” said Michael D. Smith, vice president of solar and energy efficiency sales for Constellation. “We look forward to working with the Baltimore Convention Center to help maximize energy savings and meet its environmental goals.”

The conservation measures installed by Constellation include: energy efficient LED lighting and lighting controls; HVAC repairs and controls upgrades; thermal blankets on steam valves and fittings; low-flow toilets and faucets; building envelopment improvements such as caulking and weather stripping; and installation of a “cool roof” membrane to reflect heat.

“In a time of diminishing resources for councils it is important that councillors and managers are armed with the best information about the public’s priorities and experience of services so that budgets can be invested accordingly.

“The survey ends on 3 August so I hope that anyone approached to take part does so and makes use of their chance to influence how we spend 64 million on roads and transport.”

Questions include a measure of general satisfaction with road and transport conditions, as well as more specific aspects such as gritting during winter, street lighting and dealing with illegally parked cars.

Las Cruces solar farm will produce enough power for 2,000 homes

Úterý, Červen 26th, 2012

Sunflowers are known for their ability to track the sun across its east-west arc through the sky.

An array of solar panels west of Las Cruces will do the same.

City officials on Tuesday inaugurated a 12-megawatt solar-power generating plant just south of the Love’s truck stop on Interstate 10.

Dubbed the Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm, the plant is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 2,000 homes a year, according to an estimate by El Paso Electric Co.

The 48,900 solar panels are grouped in bunches and mounted on about 2,200 mechanized stands, officials said. Like the sunflower, they follow the sun across the sky.

The ability to maximize power-generating capacity by tracking the sun is one of several reasons the plant is expected to be among the most productive solar plants run by the Maryland-based SunEdison and possibly one of the most productive in North America for its size, said Tim Derrick, vice president of global services for SunEdison North America.

Other factors favoring the plant include the abundance of sunny days, a relatively high elevation and plenty of wind; the latter two attributes will help keep the solar panels cooler than they’d otherwise be, Derrick said.

“This is a unique location,” he said. “The sun is our fuel, and you have very abundant fuel in Doca Ana County.”

SunEdison spearheaded construction of the $50 million capital project and will continue as its operator. It’s owned by PNC Bank, a national bank.

In addition, SunEdison has a 25-year contract with El Paso Electric Co., which has pledged to buy the plant’s electricity.

Electric company officials touted the project as one of a handful in Doca Ana County that are helping achieve a state standard, which requires electric companies to supply 20 percent of power through alternative energy sources by 2020.

“By 2020, it’s 20 percent of our New Mexico load” that has to come from alternative energy sources, said Rocky Miracle, senior vice president of corporate planning and development for El Paso Electric.

With the new solar plant, El Paso Electric Co. reaches the 3 percent mark, meaning about 37 megawatts is derived from renewable sources, Miracle said.

The new plant will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to El Paso Electric. It will offset emissions equivalent to about 4,400 vehicles a year.

In comparison, one of El Paso Electric Co.’s main plants, the Newman Power Station, which is mostly powered by natural gas, generates about 485 megawatts, Miracle said.

Against a backdrop of hundreds of solar panels, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima and Davin Lopez, executive director of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, flipped an oversize light switch to ceremonially mark the plant’s start.

Derrick said the plant actually went online in mid-May. A second, “almost-identical” plant, also spearheaded by SunEdison, is about to go online in Chaparral, he said.

Between the two plants, about four or five permanent jobs will be generated, Derrick said.

The company plans to contract out for other services, such as washing the panels.

Lopez said it would take the establishment of more solar-power plants before a solar-panel manufacturer might decide to locate in the area.

LED lamps to light up new Venduruthy bridge

Úterý, Červen 12th, 2012

The energy saving LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps will light up a street of Kochi by July.

The Kochi Corporation has selected the road stretch between Thevara junction and Thoppumpady bridge along the new Venduruthy bridge for the installation of the lamps. The Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation had forwarded a proposal to the Corporation Council in this regard.

The installation comes as part of an initiative from the State government. The government had earlier decided to allot 100 LED lamps each to all the corporations and municipalities in the State. It had also asked the civic bodies to identify the street and lamp posts for installation of the lights. The Energy Management Centre (EMC), Thiruvanthapuram, had prepared a project in this regard for the State government.

The EMC is in the process of completing the tender formalities for selecting the agency for the project.

The installation of the lamps is expected to begin in July. The selected agency will be given three months for completing the installation of lamps, said Johnson Daniel, Energy Technologist of the EMC. The State government had instructed to complete the project by September.

In the pilot phase, the civic bodies will get the lamps installed with a three-year guarantee clause. The company selected for the work would carry out all the jobs related to the project, including the installation, and the civic bodies can think of extending the guarantee of the lamps after the expiry of the three-year term, he said.

The Centre also has plans to supply Automatic Streetlight Controller along with the lamps to the civic bodies. The LED lamps would save up to 50 per cent energy and have long life. The lamps are expected to last up to one lakh hours.

The replacement of the existing lamps with LED lamps would save considerable amount for the civic bodies in terms of energy bill. The durable lamps will also save the authorities from frequent repairs.

The civic bodies are often finding it difficult to obtain spare parts and trained workforce for repairing the faulty ones. The LED lamps would be an answer to these issues, he said.

If satisfied, the corporations can think of extending the project to other parts of its divisions, he said.

Green warriors are true to their cause

Úterý, Červen 5th, 2012

Just days before the World Environment Day on June 5, environmentalist Robert Swan, who was in the capital recently to launch a project by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) and Tetra Pak, to promote environmental awareness and sustainable lifestyles among students, said that Delhiites would care about environment issues only if it sounds upmarket and cool.

Swan, was quoted as saying, “I’m sure the day I make caring for the environment very upmarket, the rich Delhiites will start caring about their environment. If I could, I would get every rich Delhi girl into this initiative. Just make it sound cool, hip and sexy to care about the planet and the stupid men will follow this in minutes. We have to find a sophisticated-sounding way to get their participation.”

Environment enthusiasts fail to understand what prompted Swan to say something like that. They say that those who do their bit for the environment/society do so without thinking about the hip quotient attached to a cause.

Photographer and artist Atul Bhalla, who has been involved with various environment-related art projects, says that it’s a very individual perspective. “I wouldn’t blanket everyone into it. There are individuals who are doing very good work irrespective of the classes or economic strata they belong to. And then there are people who do things just to getnoticed,” he says.

A lawyer and an environment enthusiast Aman Panwar, who has helmed various cleanliness drives in the city in the past, finds the comment funny.

“People now want to be associated with environment-related causes because they want to save it from further deterioration. I remember a hotelier came down on the streets with us to clean the area just because he wanted to become a part of it. He didn’t think about his status or anything. And that particular campaign was not even being covered by the media,” says Aman.

Some environmentalists have a slightly different take on this. Mani Makar, who has just passed out of school and has been doing various things for the environment, says that if you convince youngsters that working for the environment is “cool”, they may take it more seriously. “But making it sound sophisticated or upmarket isn’t at all important to pull the attention. However, economical benefits can help. Like, if you tell somebody to use a CFL bulb because it’s good for the environment, he may not pay attention. But if you say that it would save money, they may easily opt for it,” says Mani.

However, Rajiv Chhibber, an ex-TERI employee, says that whatever Swan is saying isn’t utopian. “The mindset of people depends upon the lifestyle change that people are witnessing. But then you’ve to look at the kind of initiatives that work. Like these days, you would see people carrying a carry bag with them when they enter a mall just because most of the shops have started charging for an eco-friendly bag. It’s working fine. You’ve to mould the initiative in the way it works,” he concludes.

Toyota Auris XR HSD review

Úterý, Květen 29th, 2012

When people are asked to think of a hybrid vehicle, the first name that invariably pops into their heads is Toyota’s iconic Prius. But the Japanese carmaker is intent on making full hybrids — cars that can run solely on a battery-powered motor or a petrol engine or a combination of both — available across its range of passenger vehicles in the next few years.

The Auris is the most recent Toyota line-up to get the hybrid treatment, with the cheaper Yaris model next in line for later this year.

Hybrids are increasingly capturing the imagination of motorists not only in SA but worldwide as fuel prices continue to spike higher. Promising lower fuel consumption and, in most cases, reasonable performance, we’re seeing more of them on our roads.

Detractors will say that a turbo diesel is just as fuel efficient — and perhaps more so — and cheaper than hybrid competitors. But nothing beats the delight of starting up a hybrid and pulling off without the fuel-driven engine engaging. In fact, it can be driven in electric vehicle-only mode for several kilometres, provided you’re not accelerating up a sharp incline or going faster than 50km/h.

TechCentral spent the past week putting the top-end Auris XR HSD — list price, R299 600 — through its paces. There’s also a slightly cheaper XS HSD in the range, but it comes with smaller alloys and fewer of the creature comforts in the XR.

What we discovered in the XR was that below its rather plain-looking exterior (which is not necessarily a bad thing given the odd and somewhat controversial looks of the more expensive Prius), the fully automatic Auris is, for the price, a well-constructed technological marvel.

Before we get into the geeky gadgetry in the Auris, though, first a little about what’s under the bonnet. The XR HSD — which has the same full hybrid powertrain as the Prius — has a 1,8l petrol engine that delivers 73kW of power. The electric motor delivers a further 60kW for a combined 133kW with maximum acceleration from 0-100km/h of 11,4s. Torque is rated at 142Nm from the petrol engine and a further 207Nm for the electric system.

The rear-view mirror is a treat, too, featuring an integrated, full-colour display connected to a rear camera to help you into and out of tight parking spots when you put the car into reverse. This, used in conjunction with park distance control that warns you when you’re nearing an obstruction by beeping ever-more quickly, is particularly useful for tricky parallel parking. It’s the sort of feature that’s usually an expensive optional extra.

The rear-view mirror also uses “electro-chromatic” technology and filters out the harsh headlights of thoughtless drivers who leave their high beams switched on.

The car also features windscreen wipers that switch themselves on automatically when it starts raining. And the headlights also switch themselves on automatically — if this setting is engaged — when it detects that the light is fading.

There’s no integrated GPS in the Auris, which is a pity, but given that would have probably pushed the price well beyond R300 000, it’s perhaps not surprising Toyota hasn’t thrown in the kitchen sink on this model.

Though the Auris XR HSD doesn’t offer some of the features you’ll find in more luxurious cars, it’s one of the best kitted-out cars in its segment and for its price. If you’re a geek at heart and also want to tackle forever spiralling fuel prices (and reduce your harmful carbon emissions in the process), it’s well worth a look.

Economists list cheapest ways to save the world

Úterý, Květen 15th, 2012

“It may not sound sexy, but solving the problems of diarrhoea, worms and malnutrition will do good for more of the world’s poor than other more grandiose interventions,” Bjoern Lomborg, who heads the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, said in a statement.

His think-tank on Monday presented the results of its third global Copenhagen Consensus, in which it asked prominent economists working within 10 of the world’s top problem fields to propose the best investments to fix those problems.

A panel of experts, including four Nobel laureates, then went through the proposals and ranked the ones they believed would have the biggest impact and “where we can get the most mileage for our money,” Lomborg told AFP.

The Dane, who shot to fame with his book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” in 2001, insisted the list was necessary since policymakers and humanitarian organisations often allow irrational emotions to dictate how they spend money earmarked for fighting poverty, declining biodiversity or natural disasters.

He pointed out that focussing on creating nature reserves and making large swathes of forest off-limit to development was “a nice idea, but the problem is that it often doesn’t happen.”

Instead, the Copenhagen Consensus economists proposed investing heavily in agricultural research and development to make food production more efficient, which they said would reduce world hunger and also protect biodiversity “by reducing the need for forest land to be converted into agricultural land.”

Lomborg, who adamantly rejects the climate change-denier label sometimes thrown at him, also criticised the heavy focus on curbing carbon dioxide emissions in the battle against global warming.

While such efforts could make “a little difference,” Lomborg said they are often not followed through.

“There are smarter ways to tackle this, for instance by investing in research and development on green energy, or looking into geo-engineering,” he said

“It’s really just about focusing on what works rather than on what feels good,” he said, adding that especially in light of the economic crisis, “it has become very clear that we need to spend our money in the best possible way.”

The Copenhagen Consensus economists were asked how the world should best spend $75 billion (58 billion euros) over a four-year period, which Lomborg says is only 15 percent more than the global aid spending today.

Malnutrition topped the list of 10 proposals, with the expert panel suggesting annual spending of $3.0 billion to solve the problem that affects more than 100 million children worldwide, stressing that “each dollar spent reducing chronic under-nutrition has more than a $30-pay-off”.

This was because better nutrition improves cognitive functions and thereby also an individual’s education and income prospects as well, they said.

Marco Island Planning Board says swale parking must stop

Úterý, Květen 8th, 2012

Irvin listed Tigertail Beach with 287 parking spaces as an underutilized facility. He suggested better signage to Tigertail and roadway upgrades including turn lanes would make it easier to travel toward and from the area. County residents can obtain stickers to park for free at Tigertail Beach and the county’s south beach parking area. All others pay $8.

Debbie Roddy, a member of the city’s Beach Advisory Committee, said if free parking in the swales is available, any solution that required people to pay for access would not work.

“The county recorded 2,145 turnarounds at the Tigertail Beach toll booth in a year’s time,” she said. “Those are people who just don’t want to pay.”

She also said the county was close to completing its sixth boardwalk at the south end of Tigertail Beach. With the new boardwalk, getting to the beach would take about the same time as parking in Swallow Avenue swales and walking to south beach.

City Council Chairman Larry Magel urged the board to consider all swale parking problems, not just the south beach area. The board agreed the city needed a global solution but felt swale parking should be banned entirely on Swallow Avenue, Seagrape Drive, Swan Drive and Maple Avenue.

In other action, the planning board held a public hearing to amend an ordinance on temporary signage. To accommodate special events, the board moved to permit seven signs to remain on public right-of-ways for seven days. The original ordinance was written for 10 signs, but recent permits have allowed only five. The decision was a compromise.

Lana Fitzgerald, publicity chairwoman for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s annual flea market, thanked the board for helping service groups and churches promote their events.

The board discussed banning light-emitting diode (LED) signs. The Marco Lutheran Church and Tommie Barfield Elementary have LED signs on their properties. After discussing the safety hazards of rapidly changing messages, board members chose to allow LED signs but require a minimum time the message would appear. They voted to ban reader boards with flowing LED messages.

As part of temporary signage, the board banned political signs in city right-of-ways and signage using live animals or humans.

The Planning Board will hold a workshop at 9 a.m., May 18, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive, to formalize a swale parking plan. Final recommendations will be shared with city council at a later date. It will be up to council to move forward with an ordinance.