Parking lot gets car charger, solar array

Srpen 21st, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

Those passing through the Bedford Street parking lot in recent days may have been seen the solar array mounted on a support gantry there, part of a soon-to-be launched electric charging terminal for hybrid vehicles.

The 3 kilowatt power system, with spaces to charge two vehicles, is being installed using a $83,126 block grant from the federal Department of Energy, Erin McKenna, a city associate planner who oversaw the project.

Solar energy garnered from the panels would flow into the grid of the adjacent garage, McKenna said.

McKenna said the charging station is a step towards meeting expected demand from owners of electric vehicles, though initial use of other city managed charging stations put in operation in May has been infrequent.

The system will also include an display featuring a gauge showing resulting cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and the gallons of gasoline saved, according to Elliot Isban, chief executive officer of the project’s contractor, American Solar & Alternative Power.

“We wanted to put it in as prominent a place downtown as we could that wasn’t expected to have a big development soon that might put it in the shade,” McKenna said of the solar array. “The display will show how much energy the solar panels provide compared to the amount of energy used.”

While being charged, cars would be sheltered under the solar panels, Isban said.

Isban said he thought a commitment by Stamford and other cities and private businesses to seek opportunities to install electric charging stations was necessary to enable the public to use alternative fuel vehicles.

“People want to buy electric cars but there are very few electric charging stations so it is sort of a chicken or the egg type situation,” Isban said. “This will provide energy for 25 years with no moving parts, no noise, and no pollution. I think that’s elegant.”

In May the city completed installation of three free electric charging stations — one each at the Government Center and the Summer and Bell Street garages — as part of a Connecticut Light & Power’s two-year research study on how drivers charge electric vehicles.

A Danish insurance company last week flicked the switch on what it claims is the largest rooftop solar system in Northern Europe.

More than 3,000 solar panels have been installed at Topdanmark’s headquarters in Ballerup, Copenhagen, and they are expected to produce around 752,000kWh of electricity each year, enough to power about 200 households and reduce the corporation’s annual carbon emissions by 600 tonnes.

A statement on Topdanmark’s website said each panel produces as much energy in one year as was used in its production, meaning that with the panels expected to last about 40 years they should deliver a significant net reduction in carbon emissions.

The insurer decided to proceed with the investment after assessing a smaller installation at one of its commercial tenancies and undertaking what it described as “profound analysis of advantages and disadvantages investing in such a large solar cell system”.

The review concluded that declining production prices for solar panels, which dropped from $1.50 per watt in September 2010 to $0.60 by the end of 2011, ensured the business case for the project was viable.

Audi A6 consolidates grip with improved all-wheel-drive option

Srpen 17th, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

AHEAD of   2013, Audi A6 has concluded plans to consolidate grip on its segment with an all-wheel-drive option for the base 2.0T engine coupled with start/stop engine functions and a top-view camera system.

The 2013 Audi A6 is a midsize luxury sedan available in five trim levels — 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium, 3.0T Premium Plus and 3.0T Prestige. The numbers denote the engine fitted (a 2.0-liter turbocharged four or a 3.0-liter supercharged V6).

Standard equipment for the 2.0T Premium includes 17-inch wheels, Audi Drive Select (adjustable modes for steering, throttle and transmission), automatic headlights and wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and triple-zone automatic climate control.

Also, available is eight-way power front seats (includes four-way lumbar adjustments), leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod interface. The 2.0T Premium Plus adds 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, front and rear

Parking sensors, a rearview camera, auto-dimming outside mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, Audi’s MMI electronics interface, a color driver information display, upgraded audio (with HD radio, a CD changer and a digital music server), a voice-activated navigation system (with real-time traffic and Google Earth) and Audi Connect (an in-car wireless Internet connection).

The 3.0T Premium Plus is equipped similarly to the 2.0T Premium Plus. The 3.0T Prestige adds different 18-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, S line exterior accents, cornering lights, ambient LED cabin lighting, quad-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and a Bose audio system.

The 2013 Audi A6 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 good for 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are standard; all-wheel drive with an eight-speed automatic is available as an option. Audi claims a 0-60-mph time of 7.5 seconds for the CVT models. EPA-estimated fuel economy is an impressive 25mpg city/33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined for the CVT and 20/30/24 mpg for the eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.

Standard safety equipment on the 2013 Audi A6 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.

Rear side airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a blind-spot warning system are either optional or included with the upper trims.

The optional Audi Pre-Sense Plus system can warn the driver and automatically activate the brakes and adjust the front seats for maximum protection if a crash is deemed imminent.

The 2013 Audi A6, according to Edmond motoring experts  “offers one of the finest cabins in its class, with an attractive dash layout, excellent materials quality and solid fit and finish”.

“The A6 also offers the option of in-car Wi-Fi, which uses a 3G connection and adds Google Earth data to the navigation system while also providing simplified Google search for POIs.

“It sounds a bit over the top, but it’s actually quite handy if you need to get some unexpected work done on the road. The Google Earth navigator system is more a matter of form over function, though, and can actually make the map more difficult to comprehend at a glance.

“All the seats are supportive and comfortable on long trips, while the backseat in particular offers more real-world legroom than most rivals. The A6’s 14.1-cubic-foot trunk is on the small side, though the rear seat folds and features a pass-through when more space is needed.

Commercial solar project goes up at Thurmont firm

Srpen 14th, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

Thurmont has its first commercial solar energy project with the installation of a system at Federal Stone Industries.

David Rethemeyer, vice president of the business at 142 Water St., said he believes the $136,000 investment will pay off in the long run.

Brent Cotton, who is coordinating the installation for Solar Energy World in Elkridge, said he met Rethemeyer at a home show in Baltimore.

“Dave’s booth was next to me, and we met by chance,” Cotton said.

There will be 150 panels installed at the business, which manufactures precast swimming-pool coping. Coping is the cap on the edge of a swimming pool or spa, which is mounted on the bond beam.

Thurmont has only one residential solar installation, according to town officials. Cotton said Thurmont, which has its own electric utility operations, had not implemented net metering (surplus power return).

The Maryland Public Service Commission helped the town set it up, Cotton said.

Rethemeyer said he was impressed to see the Constellation Energy solar array at Mount St. Mary’s University. That system, on about 100 acres, will supply power to the university and some of the surrounding community.

“It seems like Thurmont was caught in the ’50s when looking at Emmitsburg,” Rethemeyer said.

Federal Stone Industries, which has served the swimming pool industry for nearly 50 years, is an innovative business. It developed the Radiuschart, a tool for determining the radii of a pool wall, and keeps abreast of the latest technology in the field. The company also emphasizes safety for those enjoying their pool.

“It will reduce our expenditures, and I’m looking at the long-term investment,” Rethemeyer said.

Geoff Mirkin, a founder of Solar Energy World, said the project was the first commercial one for the company in Frederick County.

“The cost of solar has gone down, perhaps 50 percent in the past few years. Plus there are some grants and tax credits,” Mirkin said via telephone.

“We anticipate the payback in five to seven years,” Mirkin said. “It is better than putting the money in underperforming funds.”

Rethemeyer said he wasn’t complaining about Thurmont’s electric rates.

“They are not gauging us. They have been reasonable, but if we can produce power and put it back to the grid, that is a good thing.

“It is no ’silver bullet’ to solve all the energy problems, but it means less use of fossil fuels,” Rethemeyer said.

On its website, Solar Energy World notes that its commercial installation process includes a complete analysis to see if the project is the best way to go for a potential client; how to do the installation without interrupting business operations for the client; submitting all paperwork for applications, local building permits and any tax credits or other incentives; manage inspections and monitor electrical output and performance.

Cindy McKane-Wagester, Main Street Manager for Thurmont, said members of the Main Street group are interested in alternative energy.

Part of the Main Street mission is to look at clean, safe and green energy, McKane-Wagester said.

“We are looking for opportunities for solar energy for commercial buildings,” McKane-Wagester said. “We are researching it. Yes, it is in our future.”

Part of the discussion also includes increased recycling programs and chargers for electric cars, McKane-Wagester said.

“That would be an important part of the expected increase in tourism for Thurmont,” McKane-Wagester said of the chargers. No specific plans have been made for the chargers.

Permitting in the United States

Srpen 9th, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

Though the price of solar products is decreasing and solar adoption is steadily increasing in the United States, the costly, inefficient permitting processes are a burden to the buyer and impede progress of the solar industry at large.

Before installing a residential solar system, a permit must be obtained from the local Authority Having Jurisdiction, also known as an AHJ.  Typically, permit applications for standard residential solar installations must be submitted to the AHJ in person.  SunRun recommends a standard online application for solar permitting, which would drastically simplify the process.  It would be much more efficient if all AHJs utilized a standard web-based application to streamline this process.

The permitting process varies too much across geographical location.  This inconsistency between AHJs breeds a series of avoidable obstacles that are holding back solar adoption in the United States.

With so many permitting authorities sprinkled across the country, the discrepancy between standards produces hoops to jump through.  It seems that every city or Authority Having Jurisdiction has a different interpretation of codes and standards.  Some even craft their own legislation.

Applications often undergo a succession of reviews by multiple departments, which commonly conduct their own inspections.  Permit applications are then subjected to various municipal inspections that are neither necessary nor efficient.  In an admirable attempt to guarantee safety, local municipalities frequently include extensive fire inspections and components to the system that are not needed, further complicating the process.

Additionally, an AHJ will sometimes require further inspections of products that are already Underwriters Laboratory listed.  UL does their own quality inspections and functions like an insurance company.  UL assumes legal responsibility for damages incurred by UL listed products.  These additional inspections on UL listed products are a waste of time.

Unnecessary inspections in conjunction with other soft costs associated with residential solar create a barrier to adoption for potential customers.  Some municipalities are able to process a permit for less than $300, while others call for thousands.   Part of the problem is that all these AHJs have different fees that are often based on their own set of criteria, including those unnecessary inspections.

More often than not, the sum of these fees is too high because they are not in line with the actual processing cost to the Authority Having Jurisdiction.  SunRun reports that customers incur an average cost of $2,516 for permitting and inspection of a residential solar system. Most of these soft costs are not necessary for standard residential solar systems.

While an applicant for a residential system in Germany may only wait four days to have a system installed, this process takes weeks in the United States.  Sometimes months.

This inconsistency between jurisdictions creates difficulties for buyers, installers, and AHJs.

Installers have more important things to do than deal with municipalities that aren’t knowledgeable about photovoltaic installations.  Cities have enough on their plates to try to come up with their own filing systems, codes, and protocol. Customers need a convenient, cost-effective system of permitting that will get the solar system on their roof as soon as possible.

The entire solar industry suffers due to the lack of structural coherence in the permitting processes in the United States.  With a standardized system in the United States, AHJs will operate more efficiently, saving everyone valuable time and resources.

Pakistani village yearns for India visit

Srpen 7th, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

Dust and dung coat the floor of the never-opened public-health center. Birds nest in the breezeway of the never-used boys’ high school. And staff never came to run the new women’s vocational center.

The government-designated “model village” of Gah, in the parched croplands of Punjab province, was supposed to serve as a thriving symbol of unity between Pakistan and India. Today it feels more like a ghost town, an embodiment of fitful, frequently stalled efforts by the two nations to settle their historical disputes.

Gah, a farming community of 300 squat, mud-brick homes about 60 miles southwest of Islamabad, is remarkable only as the birthplace of Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India. Last month, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari invited Singh to visit Gah, in the latest round of so-called “soft diplomacy” between the nuclear-armed countries.

The offer comes as their relationship is improving slightly, at least on trade matters. India’s decision last week to allow investments from Pakistani citizens and companies was taken as another sign of progress, but there has been no lowering of the guard militarily by either side.

This is Pakistan’s second such goodwill invitation to Singh. He had planned to come several years ago at the request of then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who embraced a peace process with India in 2004, when Singh assumed office.

Under Musharraf, money flowed into Gah from the Punjab provincial government that was dominated by Musharraf’s party, funding roads, water projects and social service facilities. Pakistan permitted a team of Indian technicians from an energy institute to come to Gah to install solar-powered street lamps, lighting for homes and a hot-water system for the village mosque.

Then Singh’s visit was scrubbed, amid the political turmoil in 2007 that led to Musharraf’s ouster in 2008. The attacks on Mumbai that November — which India blamed on Pakistan-sanctioned militants — severely strained a bilateral relationship already burdened by old enmities and suspicions.

Diplomats suspended regular talks on territorial disputes, including the central one of Kashmir, the Muslim-majority Himalayan region over which India and Pakistan have gone to war three times since both nations became independent from Britain 65 years ago.

“We resent that there was no follow-through,” said Ghulam Murtaza, a 38-year-old primary schoolteacher, standing outside the shuttered health clinic. “As a result, you see nothing here, and it hurts the poor people.”

His family donated land for the site of the boys’ high school, he said, when the Punjab government asked the community for help. “We kept our promises, and they have not. It’s all been a waste.”

To Abdul Khaliq, 51, a village leader who has long pushed for economic development, a visit by Singh would highlight a yearning among ordinary Pakistanis: “We very much want peace,” he said. “We believe that both countries need to sit together to resolve the issues, to spend more on the development side, not the defense side.”

Gah’s turn in the limelight started as soon as Singh became prime minister. His Pakistani counterpart, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, bestowed model village status on Gah and directed that its primary school be renamed after Singh, who had been a student there for several years. Former classmates wrote him congratulatory letters.

Today the locals treat with totemic reverence the original class register, which shows that Singh, the son of a merchant, entered first grade as pupil number 187 on April 17, 1937, and stayed through the fourth grade.

CU-Boulder planetarium upgrading to giant-screen theater

Srpen 3rd, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

If you’re a planetarium junkie in the Boulder area, your experience is about to get a major upgrade.

The astrophysical and planetary sciences department, home to Fiske Planetarium, announced today the launch of a complete upgrade to the projection and other presentation systems that power the planetarium’s big-screen experience. The remodel will turn the dome of the planetarium into an all-encompassing video theater.

“This upgrade will transform Fiske into one of the most sophisticated planetariums and multimedia centers in the country,” said Douglas Duncan, director of Fiske Planetarium. “We will be able to show the universe, and our local neighborhood, in unrivaled detail — 360 degrees, surround video and sound.”

Since 1975, Fiske Planetarium has provided students and community members an interactive tour of the night sky. The facility’s star projector, known affectionately as “Fritz,” has taught a generation how to find the North Star, constellations and the motions the planets trace in the heavens.

While Fritz heads into a well-deserved retirement, the education experience will move into the digital age. Currently, the star projector can show 6,000 stars and other extra-planetary objects. The new system will have a modern star ball that shows 20 million stars and objects, and now they will even twinkle — just like the skyscape one might observe on a clear, dark night.

The equipment overhaul also will allow Fiske to feature travel, education, art videos and other programs designed especially for this type of high-end projection system.

“We’ll be projecting video equal to covering the entire dome with close to 40 high-definition TVs,” Duncan said. “The amount of detail will be spectacular, rivaling the best theaters in the country. We expect it to become a major Boulder weekend destination.”

Other upgrades include new LED lighting and a new laser system, which should make the Friday and Saturday night laser shows even more eye grabbing.

The improvements also will yield new opportunities for faculty, staff and students on the Boulder campus. The planetarium expects to expand its student intern staff, already responsible for productions like last year’s successful “Max Goes to the Moon” children’s planetarium show. The dome will be available to researchers for video conferencing, and HD and Ultra HD modeling of their work.

Within the last decade, several of the nation’s major planetariums have undergone similar remodeling projects. The Fiske project will take advantage of lower digital technology prices and innovations in the field to perform similar improvements at one-fifth the cost, according to Duncan.

The Tablet For The Rest Of Us?

Srpen 1st, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

We’ve waited a long time for the Nexus tablet; for proof that Google really wants to compete against the iPad. Hardware with the flagship Nexus moniker is co-designed by Google and granted not only the latest and greatest versions of Android, but tend to be high-quality hardware as well. Google said they wanted to spread the Nexus branding amongst their partners and Asus is the latest to join the stable of privileged. While Android dominates in the smartphone market, shoehorning it onto tablets has net lukewarm results, proving that the iPad success story is far more exception than rule. But does the Nexus 7 make enough headway as a tablet to lead Google’s hardware partners to the promised land of tablet dominance? And does it cure my indifference to tablets altogether?

When I said that Nexus hardware is no slouch, I meant it. Owning both a Galaxy Nexus and now the Nexus 7, it’s easy to see that Google wants a device that still feels premium without necessarily breaking the bank on materials. The Nexus 7 is the size of a DVD case with a heft that indicates it means business, but is light enough that it doesn’t fatigue your grip over long periods. On standby with light usage, the battery can last for days and even with heavy usage and video watching (like a 3AM screening of The Prestige while lying in bed) it still gave me a full day of Android-y goodness.

The tablet comes with wi-fi connectivity only, which is puzzling to me. I’ve read and heard so much about how iPad owners never used their 3G/4G connectivity and would opt for a wi-fi model in the future, but it seems antithetical. This is a device that’s designed to be mobile and small enough to keep with you anywhere, but even with access to all the same social and connectivity apps that the phones enjoy, you can’t use it everywhere (that is, unless you’re under a wi-fi umbrella). As a result, much of the tablet’s functionality (including Google Now, which I’ll talk about in a minute) is disabled as soon as I leave the house, much like it is on my laptop (although I can tether my GNex to my laptop and get it that way, but I digress.) Sure, I suppose I could download content to it, but maybe you have to intentionally draw the line on what you’re using the device for: a PC replacement or as a phone replacement.

The tablet’s display is a 7″ LCD running at 1280×800 which, while just a hair over the native resolution of the smaller Galaxy Nexus, equates to roughly the same experience when holding it at arm’s distance. At 216 pixels per inch, it’s not quite the density of the iPad 3′s “Retina Display” (264 pixels per inch), but I’d dare most anyone to discern between them. In short, the screen is detailed and gorgeous. Unfortunately, Samsung devices have spoiled me on the power of OLED. Even the best LCDs fall victim to their backlights, so the darkest blacks on the Nexus 7 still have the slight tinge of whitewash. Since it’s running Android 4.1 (and this applies to any 4.x device, for that matter), the home screen buttons are integrated into the OS rather than the bezel, but while they fade into the device on the Galaxy Nexus, they pop out here. It’s more a nitpick than anything, but the vibrancy and contrast of OLED displays have spoiled me.

Just like the iPad, the thicker bezel seems weird, but that’s simply the nature of the tablet: you need that extra space to grapple the thing. If you’ve never used a tablet, you’ll realize its usefulness immediately. The bezel also hosts the tablet’s single 1.3MP front-facing camera, which is for your Skypes and your Instagrams, but you’ll find no dedicated camera app here. A nice layer of Gorilla Glass is laid on top and, y’know, it’s indestructible and stuff. So that’s cool. Sadly missing: an LED notification light or haptic motors.

Practicality rules with kids’ rooms

Červenec 27th, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

WHEN it comes to designing younger children’s rooms, there’s little need for designer touches– chances are they will want them replaced in a couple of years as their tastes change. What young children really need is a practical space that allows them to easily access their toys, books and clothes.

Unless the child has a separate play room, their bedroom is likely to be the place where they spend a lot of their play time, so the room layout needs to maximise floor space, too.

Bed: As the child progresses from the nursery to a “proper” bedroom, try to buy furniture that grows with them. A high bed isn’t appropriate, so look for one that expands lengthways from cot bed to a full-size single. Use bed rails to prevent the child rolling out.

Painted walls: There is no need for fancy wall coverings for this age group – paint works best as it is easily touched up.If you have wallpaper, make sure there are no corners or edges sticking out – they are perfect tearing fodder. A room border of the child’s favourite character is an easy way to add some fun and colour and is easily replaced with a different theme as the child gets older.

Bunting is such a happy accessory and a great way to “bring down” a high ceiling. If the room doesn’t have this issue, you can string it along book shelves and window sills.

Book shelves and baskets: Include lots of low shelving or small baskets, which are ideal for holding books and they can be moved around too.

Bed: If the child is old enough to manage a ladder, then a cabin-style bed makes bedtime fun and is great way to create extra floor space. The space underneath the bed is great for constructing train sets, marble runs, car races or shops without the worry of Mum tripping over them. As the child gets older, they will also appreciate the space as a “quiet” area for reading.

Dens or tents: Hang fabric to create a “den” or invest in an indoor play tent. Kids this age love hiding places where they can let their imagination carry them away, so anything that creates a secret place is ideal.

Wall art: Use the wall area for stimulating pictures but you don’t need to splash out on expensive art. Consider getting some of the children’s own work framed and mounted or create a collage of photos.

Minimal theming: Most children love having their heroes or favourite characters in their bedroom, but if you’re not a fan of garish duvet covers or wallpaper, opt for a border or frieze and restrict Buzz Lightyear and Fireman Sam to pictures or stickers. Don’t cover the entire walls in a character theme – children soon grow out of favourite characters.

Toy Storage: A really important consideration for a kids’ room is toy storage. Use brightly coloured containers as open “drawers” in an open-fronted unit that are easy to reach and means that toys can be quickly scooped away. A clutter-free room promotes good sleep practice for younger children, as there’s nothing to distract them. I believe toy boxes are fine for slightly older kids but my experience is that youngsters don’t choose to play with toys they can’t see.

Fun lighting: Lighting in a kids’ room is where you can have some fun and let your creative juices run. You can buy LED lights that change colour automatically, so consider making a funky light fitting as a point of interest. Finally, many young children like a night light. The Tooli Night Lights from Oxo are ideal as they are cool to touch and can be picked up and moved around. They last long all night and are simply recharged by placing back on their stand.

Jefferson neuroscientist helping astronauts sleep better

Červenec 23rd, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

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.

Solar Power – 7 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Červenec 19th, 2012  / Author: Brightcrystal2011

In today’s world, we are becoming more and more aware that the fuels of yesterday are causing damage to the world we live in. There is more pressure to find energy sources that will not damage the fragile Earth. One of the more common of these options is solar energy. With all of the hype about solar energy, more and more myths are being created so that people do not want to make the switch from fossil fuels. This article will review seven popular myths about solar energy systems.

1. The first myth is that solar energy will not work in cool or cloudy climates. The fact is that the cold temperatures make the energy transfers more efficiently. Solar panels work off of the UV rays of the sun which get through the clouds.

2. Solar panels do not require regular maintenance contrary to popular belief. It is recommended that a hose off once a year is done so that the solar panels are clean. It is also prudent to check for debris and clean it off as soon as possible.

3. Solar panels will not cause the roof to leak or collapse. The companies normally install a rail across the roof for the panels to go on top of. The companies make sure that everything is waterproof before they are done installing.

4. The fourth myth is that the solar system is so expensive that it will not pay for itself. Solar eliminates the electricity bill which is why most people are getting the panels installed. The companies normally have several financing options and the money saved typically pays the system off in around seven years depending on the state.

5. The next myth is that solar panels add to global warming. The solar panels do not burn harsh chemicals or fossil fuels which release the greenhouse gases associated with global warming. The only carbon footprint is when they are made and transported.

6. Solar panels may seem delicate but, they are actually pretty resilient. NASA uses them all the time out in space where there are plenty of hazards. They are black so snow melts off of them quickly as well.

7. Solar power systems can either use batteries or they are grid tied. In modern day systems they are grid tied which is cheaper for most families. It also allows them to feed the excess to the electric company so the get credited for the power that would be sitting in the batteries. It also allows them to not worry about storing energy for the night and bad weather days.

A company official said the solar division is in talks with integrators – people assembling solar energy rooftop equipment – to offer the Avancis range of modules. The company hopes to build a network of integrators who will use the modules, besides acting as a distribution chain. Saint-Gobain sees particular potential in the hospitality and healthcare segment, where there is keen interest for solar photovoltaic and solar powered-steam generation applications.

The policy environment for distributed energy generation capacity is slowly falling in place, with support for solar power generation as a part of renewable energy options. Also, grid power shortage in many States is driving residential and industrial consumers to set up backup power.

The company is also a major supplier of components the for solar power generation capacities being set up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

It manufactures curved mirrors for solar concentrators and flat mirrors used in solar thermal applications. It has supplied mirrors to power over 150 MW of such applications under the scheme, the official said.