20 April 2010

Starbucks' trash challenge, LED news, and other selections from GreenBase

Top Stories

Starbucks Tackles Green Goals Except One: Recycling.reliability high.
"Starbucks made gains in green building, water and energy use, ethical sourcing and helping farmers reduce deforestation, the company said in its 2009 Global Responsibility Report. It lagged, however, in one high-profile area: recycling. The company rated its progress on three recycling goals as 'Needs improvement.' The goals involve developing a comprehensive recyclable cup by 2012, implementing front-of-store recycling in company-owned stores, and serving a quarter of beverage made in-store in reusable vessels, both by 2015. 'One of the significant challenges we're facing is a wide variance in municipal recycling capabilities,' Starbucks said in the report. 'This inconsistency makes it difficult for a company like ours, with more than 16,000 retail locations around the globe, to efficiently and effectively implement a recycling strategy.'" Story at GreenBiz.

U.S. unveils climate report in runup to Senate bill.reliability high.
"The report, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report that will be sent to the United Nations, says bluntly: 'Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced ... Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.'" See Reuters. Press release and access to report here. ["This U.S. Climate Action Report—2010 (2010 CAR) sets out the major actions the U.S. government is taking at the federal level, highlights examples of state and local actions, and outlines U.S. efforts to assist other countries' efforts to address climate change." And it makes extremely difficult reading.]

Top Ten Green Giants.reliability medium.
"Green technology essentially involves revamping the physical infrastructure of the modern world ... . Established companies are simply in a far better position to muster the capital, technological depth, managerial expertise and factory capacity that will all be needed to make the transition. ... With that in mind, here is our list of the top ten Green Giants: the companies most likely to produce, develop and promote the ideas and products that will have the widest ranging effects. 1. Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, 2. General Electric, 3. Siemens, 4. Nissan, 5. Dow Chemical, 6. Panasonic, 7. Johnson Controls and Honeywell, 8. Wal-Mart, 9. Veolia, 10. Cisco ..." See Greentech Media.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Arizona's Largest Commercial Rooftop Solar System Will Clock in at a Whopping 2.4 Megawatts.reliability medium.
"In a clear sign of things to come, the state of Arizona is set to host a gigantic 2.4 megawatt solar installation on the roof of a food warehouse packed with energy-gobbling refrigerated space.  The property owner, Cowley Companies, Inc., is apparently looking to give itself a serious edge in terms of attracting and keeping tenants.  The new solar installation will provide electricity about 25% cheaper than conventional rates, and it will enable tenants to identify their brand with the new sustainable future." From CleanTechnica. Press release here.

A New Price for LED Bulbs: Free.reliability high.
"Rather than build new gas or even solar plants, utilities or third party service organizations could take care of a significant chunk of power demand by giving away LED bulbs to consumers. 'For a utility to give away those light bulbs winds up being an effective cost to them, using full financing, of less than 2.5 cents a kilowatt hour or less expensive than any claims that anybody makes for generating power -- even with coal with fully depreciated power plants and no externality tax,' said Alan Salzman, co-founder of VantagePoint Venture Partners." Story at Greentech Media. [
Article calculates how "negawatts" could be half the cost of new generation capacity.]

Are LED Fluorescent Tubes Ready for Prime Time?reliability medium.
["LED Tubes" are LED lighting systems configured to fit into traditional fluorescent tube formats.] "To give recognition where it's due, fluorescent tubes are a great invention. They have been lighting most of America ever since GE brought them to market back in 1938. They are four to six times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and are said to last 10 to 20 times longer. Of course there are disadvantages too. Fluorescent tubes contain mercury and phosphor which present health and environmental risks. Lights require a ballast which adds to the cost of the lamp and can cause a buzzing noise. Finally, they flicker and the light is often drab. Meanwhile, LED bulbs last longer than fluorescents, they don't contain harmful ingredients like mercury and they use much less power than fluorescent lamps. And this is just for starters. LEDs aren't perfect though. The tubes are generally not as bright and cost more up front. And unfortunately, cost will likely be the number one driver of greater adoption. So let’s compare the costs of each." Analysis of pros and cons and relative costs. Estimates LEDs beat fluorescents if installation will be in place 16 years. See Software Advice blog. [Of course costs of LED tubes will be falling rapidly over the next few years. And regulations may restrict even "low mercury" fluorescent tubes if an alternative is available.]

Government and Regulation

Appliance Discounts, for the Swift.reliability high.
"Nationwide, $300 million in rebate money has been allocated by the federal government to 56 states and territories to encourage residents to buy furnaces, clothes washers, refrigerators and other appliances with the government’s Energy Star label. Typically, rebates run about $75 for a clothes washer and several hundred dollars for home heating and cooling systems." When these programs go live consumers snap up all of the rebates within hours or days, and crash under-resouced redemption web sites. Gives examples from several states. From The New York Times. [Free money is popular. Not exactly news.]

Boulder regulations would require energy efficiency upgrades for rental properties.reliability high.
"Boulder is considering passing regulations that would require landlords to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties such as installing solar heating and switching out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lighting. The city's so-called SmartRegs would affect an estimated 19,600 rental properties in the city that seeks to decrease its carbon dioxide emissions by 94,000 metric tons by 2012." Story from KDVR.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]