Thursday, May 24, 2012

.::4th InnoForum 2012 ::.

.::4th InnoForum 2012 ::.

"Green Economy: Innovation & IPR", May 25, 2012, AIT, Athens, Greece

4th InnoForum 2012
Athens Information Technology (AIT) is pleased to invite you to the 4th InnoFORUM Open Workshop on "Green Economy: Innovation & Intellectual Property Rights” that will take place on May 25, 2012 in Athens, Greece, at AIT premises.
Your participation is free of charge.

"Green Economy: Innovation & Intellectual Property Rights

In a time of financial crisis and climate change there is a profound need for an economy that simultaneously promotes sustainability and economic growth while significantly reduces environmental risks and ecological scarcities. An economy of “low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive” ; an economy that “generates growth, creates jobs and eradicates poverty by investing in and preserving the natural capital offers upon which the long-term survival of our planet depends”.
The InnoFORUM workshop seeks to explore the challenges and opportunities of the Green Economy. Specifically, it will examine the role of innovation in “greening the economy”, leading this way to sustainable growth, effective resource management, environmental quality and social conditions for prosperity. At the same time, it will consider the legal issues and IPR implications that are raised by the emergence of such a “green” economic development model.

InnoFORUM Overview

The InnoFORUM series of workshops seek to merge distinct communities; namely, government bodies, research communities, financial establishments, and the industry. Thus, they provides an opportunity for individual and corporate innovators in large or medium-sized companies, public organizations as well as IPR experts and Intellectual Property Offices to meet with other stakeholders in the area of IPR and innovations in order to share their views, communicate their experience and explore the "science of innovation".

Event organizers:  RIE Group (Research in Innovation & Entrepreneurship)
Prof. G. Yovanof
Dr X. Ziouvelou

Monday, May 14, 2012



Όπως προκύπτει από τα ηφαίστεια, τις θερμές πηγές και από μετρήσεις σε γεωτρήσεις, το εσωτερικό της γης βρίσκεται σε υψηλή θερμοκρασία, η οποία υπερβαίνει τους 5000 °C στον πυρήνα. Η θερμότητα αυτή που περιέχεται στο εσωτερικό της γης αποτελεί την γεωθερμική ενέργεια και είναι τόσο μεγάλη, ώστε μπορεί να θεωρηθεί πρακτικά ανεξάντλητη μορφή ενέργειας για τα ανθρώπινα μέτρα.
Όσο προχωράμε βαθύτερα από την επιφάνεια της γης προς τον πυρήνα, παρατηρούμε αύξηση της θερμοκρασίας με το βάθος η οποία ονομάζεται γεωθερμική βαθμίδα. Κοντά στην επιφάνεια της γης η γεωθερμική βαθμίδα έχει μέση τιμή περίπου 30 °C/ k m. Σε μερικές περιοχές, είτε λόγω ηφαιστειότητας σε πρόσφατη γεωλογική περίοδο, είτε λόγω ανόδου ζεστού νερού από μεγάλα βάθη μέσω ρηγμάτων, η γεωθερμική βαθμίδα είναι σημαντικά μεγαλύτερη από τη μέση γήινη, με αποτέλεσμα σε μικρό σχετικά βάθος να απαντώνται υδροφόροι ορίζοντες που περιέχουν νερό ή ατμό υψηλής θερμοκρασίας. Οι περιοχές αυτές ονομάζονται γεωθερμικά πεδία, και εκεί η εκμετάλλευση της γεωθερμικής ενέργειας είναι εξαιρετικά συμφέρουσα.

Τέτοιες περιοχές στη χώρα μας είναι τα ηφαιστειακά νησιά του Αιγαίου (Μήλος, Νίσυρος, Σαντορίνη, Λέσβος, Σαμοθράκη, κ.ά.), πολλές περιοχές στη Μακεδονία και τη Θράκη (Νιγρίτα, Σιδηρόκαστρο, Νέο Εράσμιο, Νέα Κεσσάνη, Τυχερό Έβρου κ.α), καθώς και στη γειτονιά κάθε μιας από τις 56 θερμές πηγές που υπάρχουν στη χώρα μας.

Οι εφαρμογές της γεωθερμικής ενέργειας ποικίλουν ανάλογα με τη θερμοκρασία και περιλαμβάνουν:
ηλεκτροπαραγωγή (θ>90 °C),
θέρμανση χώρων (με καλοριφέρ για θ>60 °C, με αερόθερμα για θ>40 °C, με ενδοδαπέδιο σύστημα (θ>25 °C),
ψύξη και κλιματισμό (με αντλίες θερμότητας απορρόφησης για θ>60 °C, ή με υδρόψυκτες αντλίες θερμότητας για θ<30 °C)
θέρμανση θερμοκηπίων και εδαφών επειδή τα φυτά αναπτύσσονται γρηγορότερα και γίνονται μεγαλύτερα με τη θερμότητα (θ>25 °C), ή και για αντιπαγετική προστασία
ιχθυοκαλλιέργειες (θ>15 °C) επειδή τα ψάρια χρειάζονται ορισμένη θερμοκρασία για την ανάπτυξή τους
βιομηχανικές εφαρμογές όπως αφαλάτωση θαλασσινού νερού (θ>60 °C), ξήρανση αγροτικών προϊόντων, κλπ
θερμά λουτρά για θ = 25-40 °C
Εκτός από τα γεωθερμικά πεδία, η σημερινή τεχνολογία επιτρέπει την εκμετάλλευση της θερμότητας πετρωμάτων μικρού βάθους, καθώς και υπόγειων ή και επιφανειακών υδάτων χαμηλής θερμοκρασίας για θέρμανση και κλιματισμό. Η τεχνολογία αυτή περιλαμβάνει σωλήνα μεγάλου μήκους και μικρής διαμέτρου τοποθετημένης εντός του εδάφους, είτε εντός γεωτρήσεων και η οποία αποτελεί τον υπόγειο εναλλάκτη θερμότητας, σε συνδυασμό με υδρόψυκτη αντλία θερμότητας η οποία παρέχει θέρμανση ή ψύξη στο κτήριο. Οι γεωθερμικές αντλίες θερμότητας καταναλώνουν το 1/4 του ηλεκτρικού ρεύματος από μια ηλεκτρική αντίσταση και το ½ από ένα κλιματιστικό. Εάν υπολογιστεί το κόστος ενέργειας καθόλη τη διάρκεια ζωής του συστήματος, οι γεωθερμικές αντλίες θερμότητας στοιχίζουν λιγότερο από ένα σύστημα που καταναλώνει πετρέλαιο ή φυσικό αέριο.
Μελλοντικά, η εκμετάλλευση της γεωθερμικής ενέργειας θα γίνεται από θερμά ξηρά πετρώματα, τα οποία βρίσκονται παντού σε βάθη από 3-5 km, μέσω τεχνητής κυκλοφορίας νερού θερμοκρασίας έως 150 °C. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Making Carbon Neutrality Everyone’s Responsibility at Microsoft - The Official Microsoft Blog – News and Perspectives from Microsoft - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

Microsoft has a long tradition of tackling tough challenges at a global scale. We have always focused on how our technology can enrich people’s lives, build businesses, and inspire and change the world.

Working on the issues of energy use and environmental change provides another opportunity to make a difference in the world. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s also an opportunity to promote positive change, as the world transitions to new ways of using energy and managing natural resources. That’s why today, Microsoft is taking a significant step to further reduce our environmental footprint.

Beginning in fiscal year 2013 (which starts this July 1), Microsoft will be carbon neutral across all our direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings. We recognize that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality, but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue.

In addition to our commitment to carbon neutrality, the part I’m most excited about is our plan to infuse carbon awareness into every part of our business around the world. To achieve this goal, we have created an accountability model which will make every Microsoft business unit responsible for the carbon they generate – creating incentives for greater efficiency, increased purchases of renewable energy, better data collection and reporting, and an overall reduction of our environmental impact.

To put this into action, we’re creating a new, internal carbon fee within Microsoft, which will place a price on carbon. The price will be based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and will be applied to our operations in over 100 countries. The goal is to make our business divisions responsible for the cost of offsetting their own carbon emissions.

The carbon price and charge-back model is designed to provide an economic incentive for business groups across Microsoft to reduce carbon emissions through efficiency measures and increased use of renewable energy. Business operations impacted by the new carbon price include data centers, software development labs, office buildings, and business travel. For emissions not eliminated through efficiency measures, Microsoft will purchase renewable energy and carbon offsets.

The carbon fee is another step in our broader company commitment to environmental leadership, from our facilities and data centers, to our supply chain, to the efficiency of our software products and services. We are continually looking for opportunities to advance these efforts. Here are just a few examples of steps we’ve taken recently:

• A smarter buildings pilot on Microsoft’s Redmond campus that uses software solutions to make our buildings more energy efficient, projected to achieve energy savings of approximately $1.5 million dollars in fiscal year 2013, and earn back our investment in only 18 months.

• Microsoft is working with CarbonSystems to implement an Enterprise Sustainability Platform, which automatically captures and extracts environmental data from multiple sources, uncovering more opportunities to identify how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

• We are challenging ourselves and our industry to think about where energy is used and potentially wasted in IT. We have published a whitepaper which we hope will catalyze a stronger focus on the large range of opportunities throughout our industry to drive for greater efficiency.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Microsoft as the third largest purchaser of green power in the U.S., purchasing more than 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually. This is enough green power to offset 46 percent of our electricity use, and is the annual equivalent to taking more than 150,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

We believe climate change is a serious challenge requiring a comprehensive and global response from all sectors of society. This carbon charge-back model is one way we seek to both reduce our impact and test new approaches which we hope are broadly useful for other organizations.

For more information on our carbon neutral strategy, read our whitepaper, “Becoming Carbon Neutral: How Microsoft is Becoming Lean, Green, and Accountable.” You can also read more about this and our other environmental efforts on Microsoft’s blog Software Enabled Earth.

Posted by Kevin Turner
Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft

Data Center, Environment, Kevin Turner

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Om Malik | May 4, 2012 Finding Nemo: How a startup turns your desktop into an ocean

When was the last time you thought of screen savers? If you answer is no, then you are not alone. But Neville Spiteri and Scott Yara want to change all that, and instead they want to take the idea of screen savers and turn it into a massively connected platform. Unlike the MMO games, they want to use this connected world to be a platform for creativity and learning. Spiteri and Yara came together when Yara started Metapa, the pre-pivot Greenplum. Metapa was started in 2000 on the idea that media would go through a digital revolution and would in turn lead to need for a new kind of a studio and content distribution mode that would allow anyone to become a creator and send content to all places. While Yara’s vision was spot on, things didn’t work out as planned. The digital media company ended up becoming a big data company which was eventually snapped up by EMC for north of $300 million dollars. Spiteri, who in the past had worked on 3D technologies, however left Greenplum in 2003, long before the sale (December 2003) and started Wemo Media, with Yara as an investor and co-founder. “We couldn’t let go of the idea we had in the beginning,” said Yara. Spiteri moved back to Los Angeles, set up shop in the funky Venice Beach and started working on what he calls “the Planet Participation Platform,” which has ability to sell individual creations from various artists, and also allows collaboration for complex projects. In many ways it does for visual and animation creation what Soundcloud does for audio. The platform already is getting a buy in from art education groups such as the: USC Film School, Carnegie Mellon’s ETC, Art Institute of Pittsburgh; SAE, Berlin, Germany; Murdoch University in Perth, Australia; Loyola Marymount -‐ Los Angeles, CA, Art Institute of California, Los Angeles; the Ex’pression College -‐ Emeryville, CA Today, the company launched theBlu, which has garnered support from some big time ocean lovers including Bill Joy (co-founder of Sun Microsystems) and Richard “The Virgin” Branson. What is theBlu? TheBlu is a downloadable app for PC and Mac and will soon be made available via the browsers and will work on the phones and tablets. It is a screensaver of “the ocean” and has many underwater habitats built into the screensaver. The application takes cues from location of the computer and changes the habitats based on location. You can buy various different species for your collection. Artists can create more species and sell them on the platform. Here is how the company describes theBlu: “TheBlu” turns the Internet into a globally connected 3D digital ocean wherein every species and habitat is an original work of art created by a worldwide community of artists, animators and developers, including Academy Award® winners Andy Jones and Kevin Mack, and students alike. Exploring “theBlu” is as easy as browsing the web and includes information about species, exploration of geo-located habitats, in-ocean tagging of fish, the purchase of species to grow your collection and customize your experience, social activity streams, event and photo sharing, and ocean life, swimming from user to user across the Internet, creating real time social interaction. At launch, “theBlu” will enable a connected social exploration across 8 ocean habitats, including over 100 life forms with new habitats and species released monthly, and 15 “ambassador” species, sponsored by non‐profit cause collaborators, to raise awareness and funds for ocean conservation. TheBlu has gotten backing of non-profit ocean-oriented groups like the Ocean Elders, Mission Blue and WildAid. Participating non-‐profit collaborators sponsor “ambassador” species and habitats in “theBlu” and users of “theBlu” are offered the opportunity to purchase these “ambassador” species and habitats for their virtual ocean environment. Twenty-five percent of the purchase price of these virtual species goes directly to the non-profit collaborators to fund projects that support their work in the real ocean environment. The program is also designed to increase awareness and reach for collaborating organizations and their conservation efforts. “The really interesting thing about theBlu is how it brings together the biology, the activism of conservation, the beauty and the artistic elements as well as the grassroots, participatory social media movement. I’m very excited about the possibilities ahead,” said Joichi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab and advisor to Wemo Media. Why am I excited about this? I am excited about this for multiple reasons. First and most importantly, it is one of the applications that truly leverages what I have been saying for nearly a decade – hyper-connecivity. As most (if not all) computers in our life start to get connected, we are going to see emergence of these living-and-breathing applications, that take cues from location, time, weather and even our moods. I want to see more, not less of these applications. Is a desktop client the answer? Probably not. I would love to see this on my television screen, because it would turn my television into a giant aquarium. Just imagine the impact of something like this on learning: the kids could learn about various fishes and other fauna and have fun at it. Today it is oceans, but it is equally easy to create the African Savannah or Galapagos Islands and turn them into a living class-room. The possibilities – they are simply limitless! Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro: Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial. How to navigate the new world of digital advertising Social media in Q1: commerce and discovery dominated Controversy, courtrooms and the cloud in Q1 Go to original article

It's been two years since we last heard of the 98-foot-long solar-powered boat Sarah Silbert - Engadget | May 5, 2012

First solar-powered boat to circle the world pulls into home port, contemplates next move , which at the time was gearing up for its big journey around the world. Well, some 19 months and 37,286 miles after setting sail from Monaco, the MS Turanor PlanetSolar has finally made it home. The PlanetSolar broke four Guinness world records along the way, including the all-important "first circumnavigation by solar-powered boat," and it made stops on six continents to promote solar energy. Oh, and the team fended off Somalian pirates in the process, too. Now that it has a moment to catch its breath and soak up some rays at leisure, the MS Turanor could become any number of things -- from the world's largest solar battery to a "green luxury yacht." The latter option would certainly befit its chichi home port. First solar-powered boat to circle the world pulls into home port, contemplates next move originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 04 May 2012 20:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Permalink | | Email this | Comments Go to original article

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Οικολογικό φουτουριστικό όχημα από Έλληνα σχεδιαστή: Skipee |

Οικολογικό φουτουριστικό όχημα από Έλληνα σχεδιαστή: Skipee |

Περιβάλλον Ενέργεια Οικολογία:
Το πρώτο βραβείο στο διαγωνισμό «James Dyson Awards» κέρδισε ο Ελληνοαυστραλός Δημήτριος Σκούτας σχεδιάζοντας ένα οικολογικό πρωτοποριακό όχημα, για εκείνους που δεν οδηγούν μηχανή, αλλά επιθυμούν να νοιώσουν την αίσθηση ελευθερίας που προσφέρει ο δικυκλισμός.
Το όχημα Skipee είναι κατασκευασμένο κυρίως από ανακυκλωμένα υλικά και χρησιμοποιεί ηλεκτροκινητήρα για την κίνησή του, τοποθετημένο στον πίσω τροχό.
Οι άξονες που συνδέουν τον βασικό κορμό με τους τροχούς κινούνται ανεξάρτητα ώστε να επιτρέπουν στο όχημα να λαμβάνει την απαραίτητη κλίση στις στροφές, ενώ η κεντρική άρθρωση λειτουργεί και ως ανάρτηση.
Οι δύο μπροστινοί τροχοί είναι εξοπλισμένοι με φωτιστικά σώματα ώστε το όχημα να μοιάζει με αυτοκίνητο στο δρόμο.
Το Skipee παρουσιάστηκε στη διεθνή έκθεση αυτοκινήτου της Μελβούρνης.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Apple - The Story Behind Apple's Environmental Footprint

Apple reports environmental impact comprehensively. We do this by focusing on our products: what happens when we design them, what happens when we make them, and what happens when you take them home and use them.

Total Carbon Footprint

For 2011, we estimate that Apple was responsible for 23.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.1

How we calculate our carbon footprint.

To accurately measure a company’s environmental footprint, it’s important to look at the impact that company’s products have on the planet. For the past three years, Apple has used a comprehensive life cycle analysis to determine where our greenhouse gas emissions come from. That means adding up the emissions generated from the manufacturing, transportation, use, and recycling of our products, as well as the emissions generated by our facilities. We've learned that about 98 percent of Apple’s carbon footprint is directly related to our products. The remaining 2 percent is related to our facilities.

Minimizing the impact of our growth.

We know that the most important thing we can do to reduce our impact on the environment is to improve our products’ environmental performance. That’s why we design them to use less material, ship with smaller packaging, be free of toxic substances, and be as energy efficient and recyclable as possible. So as our growth continues to outpace that of the rest of the industry, Apple remains committed to creating products that have the least amount of impact on the environment. Though our revenue has grown, our greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of revenue have decreased by 15.4 percent since 2008. And we’re still the only company in our industry whose entire product line not only meets but exceeds the strict energy guidelines of the ENERGY STAR specification. Learn more about our environmental progress


Manufacturing — including extraction of raw materials and product assembly — accounts for 61 percent of Apple’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
14,096,000 metric tons of
greenhouse gas emissions

Material use.

Over the past decade, Apple’s designers and engineers have pioneered the development of smaller, thinner, and lighter products. As our products become more powerful, they require less material to produce and generate fewer carbon emissions. For example, although today’s 21.5-inch iMac is more powerful and has a much larger screen than the first-generation 15-inch iMac, it is designed with 50 percent less material and generates 50 percent fewer emissions. Even the iPad became 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter in just one generation, producing 5 percent fewer carbon emissions.

Toxic substance removal.

Designing greener products means considering the environmental impact of the materials used to make them. From the glass, plastic, and metal in our products to the paper and ink in our packaging, our goal is to continue leading the industry in reducing or eliminating environmentally harmful substances.
One of the environmental challenges facing our industry today is the presence of toxic substances such as arsenic, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), mercury, phthalates, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in products. Although most countries still allow use of these substances, we have worked with our manufacturing partners to eliminate them from our products. Not only is every product we sell free of BFRs and other harmful toxins, we have also qualified thousands of components to be free of elemental bromine and chlorine, putting us years ahead of anyone else in the industry. In addition, every display we make — whether it’s built into a system or available as a stand-alone — features mercury-free LED backlighting and arsenic-free glass.

Environmentally conscious materials.

In addition to eliminating toxins and designing products with highly recyclable aluminum enclosures, Apple works with environmentally conscious materials including recycled plastics, recycled paper, biopolymers, and vegetable-based inks. We have also found ways to reengineer secondary materials to the high standard of our designs. For example, our fan assemblies use advanced materials derived from repolymerized plastic bottles. And millions of speaker assemblies and internal brackets are now made from recycled PC-ABS. Our packaging designs use pulp fiber from post-consumer paper streams, and we use vegetable-based inks for our product user guides. Millions of iPhone packages are made from renewable tapioca paper foam material. And iTunes gift cards are made from 100 percent recycled paper.

Responsible manufacturing.

Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible. View our Supplier Code of Conduct as well as our supplier audit reports at the Supplier Responsibility site.


Five percent of Apple’s greenhouse gas emissions are a result of transporting our products from assembly locations to distribution hubs in regions where our products are sold.
1,239,000 metric tons of
greenhouse gas emissions

Smaller packaging.

Apple employs teams of design and engineering experts who develop product packaging that’s slim and light yet protective. Efficient packaging design not only reduces materials and waste, it also helps reduce the emissions produced during transportation.
For example, the packaging for iPhone 4 is 42 percent smaller than for the original iPhone shipped in 2007. That means that 80 percent more iPhone 4 boxes fit on each shipping pallet, more pallets fit on each boat and plane, and fewer boats and planes are used — resulting in fewer CO2 emissions.
*Calculated using U.S. configurations.

Product Use

The use of our products generates 30 percent of Apple’s total greenhouse gas emissions.3
6,995,000 metric tons of
greenhouse gas emissions

Energy efficiency.

A significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions Apple accounts for are produced when you plug in our products and start using them. That’s why we design our products to be as energy efficient as possible. Because we design both the hardware and the operating system, we’re able to make sure they work together to conserve power. Take Mac mini, for example. Through innovations both big and small, it uses as little as one-fifth the power consumed by a typical lightbulb.4 Mac mini uses even less power than a single 13-watt CFL lightbulb, making it the most energy-efficient desktop computer in the world.5
Apple’s A5 chip in iPhone 4S and iPad 2, and the A4 chip in iPhone 4, iPod touch, and Apple TV are further examples of energy-efficient design. Apple engineers created the A5 and A4 chips to be extremely powerful yet remarkably energy efficient. With them, your Apple devices can perform complex jobs without sacrificing battery life.

ENERGY STAR qualification.

Unlike other manufacturers who may have one or a few products that are ENERGY STAR qualified, every single Apple product not only meets but exceeds the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s strict ENERGY STAR guidelines for efficiency. Apple is the only company in the industry that can make this claim. Learn more about energy efficiency


Two percent of Apple’s total greenhouse gas emissions are related to recycling.
396,000 metric tons of
greenhouse gas emissions

Product recyclability.

Apple’s approach to recycling begins in the design stage, where we create compact, efficient products that require less material to produce. And the materials we do use — including arsenic-free glass, high-grade aluminum, and strong polycarbonate — are reclaimed by recyclers for use in new products. Even our product packaging uses recyclable materials wherever possible.

Longer-lasting products.

Apple designs products that last. The built-in battery in our MacBook Pro lineup is a perfect example. Other notebook batteries can be charged only 200 to 300 times. The MacBook Pro battery can be charged up to 1000 times.6 And because this battery lasts up to five years, MacBook Pro uses just one battery in about the same time a typical notebook uses three. That saves you money, produces less waste, and increases the lifespan of your MacBook Pro.

Responsible recycling.

All e-waste collected by Apple-controlled voluntary and regulatory programs worldwide is processed in the region in which it was collected. Nothing is shipped overseas for recycling or disposal. Our recyclers must comply with all applicable health and safety laws, and Apple does not allow the use of prison labor at any stage of the recycling process. Nor do we allow the disposal of hazardous electronic waste in solid-waste landfills or incinerators.

Apple recycling programs.

Once an Apple product reaches the end of its useful life, we will help you recycle it responsibly. Apple has instituted recycling programs in cities and college campuses in 95 percent of the countries where our products are sold, diverting more than 115,504 metric tons of equipment from landfills since 1994. Our goal in 2010 was to achieve a worldwide recycling rate of 70 percent. (To calculate this rate, we use a measurement proposed by Dell that assumes a seven-year product lifetime. The weight of the materials we recycle each year is compared to the total weight of the products Apple sold seven years earlier.) We met and exceeded that goal in 2010. This far surpasses the last reported numbers from Dell and HP, which were each lower than 20 percent. In 2011, Apple global recycling once again exceeded our 70 percent goal, and we are confident that we will maintain this level through 2015.


Apple’s facilities — including corporate offices, distribution hubs, data centers, and retail stores — account for 2 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions.
378,000 metric tons of
greenhouse gas emissions

Facilities in the big picture.

Companies such as Dell and HP primarily report on their facilities as a gauge of their environmental impact. But switching off lights and recycling office waste aren’t enough. The products we make represent the biggest impact on our environment. That’s why Apple focuses on product design and innovation. Even so, Apple has taken significant steps to lessen greenhouse gas emissions produced by our facilities worldwide.

Clean energy.

Apple reduces energy use in our facilities in a number of ways. Currently, our facilities in Austin, Texas; Sacramento, California; Munich, Germany; and Cork, Ireland, are 100 percent powered by renewable energy — eliminating 30,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions. In addition, Apple continues to install state-of-the-art digital controls, high-efficiency mechanical equipment, and monitoring technology. Of course, we use energy-efficient Apple computers in all our facilities.

Apple data center in
Maiden, North Carolina.

Our new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, demonstrates our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our facilities through energy-efficient, green building design. The facility has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification. Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix, and we have major projects under way to achieve this — including building the nation’s largest end user-owned solar array and building the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States. Learn more about our energy-efficient data center.

Employee commuter programs.

In fiscal 2011, more than 10,000 employees participated in our Commute Alternatives program — a 61 percent increase year over year — and used transit options that have reduced traffic, smog, and CO2e emissions associated with the use of single-occupancy vehicles. This includes more than 1100 Cupertino-based Apple employees who ride to work each day on free biodiesel commuter coaches.

Apple - The Story Behind Apple's Environmental Footprint

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Putting A Value On The World's Oceans | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation

Putting A Value On The World's Oceans | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation
If you don’t care about ever eating fish again, then perhaps you care more about money. Scientists have now figured out what the cost will be to the global economy when we destroy our oceans.

What’s the cost of coral? The value of tuna? It’s a challenge to put a number on something as large as the world’s oceans, but values can help to raise awareness of the importance of conservation.

A new study by an international group of scientists is putting a number on the value of the world’s oceans--and telling what the losses could be if the oceans are damaged. The report from SEI, the Stockholm Environment Institute, (PDF), which was presented at the "Planet Under Pressure" conference in London, estimates that if human impacts on the ocean continue unabated, the cost to the world’s economy will be $428 billion per year by 2050, and $1.979 trillion per year by 2100.

The cost of destroyed oceans to the world’s economy will be $428 billion per year by 2050.
Alternatively, steps to reduce these impacts could save more than a trillion dollars per year by 2100, reducing the cost of human impacts to $612 billion.

The study looked at six different threats to the ocean: ocean acidification, ocean warming, hypoxia (low oxygen), sea level rise, pollution, and the overuse of marine resources. While previous calculations have tried to put a number on the value of the marine environment, this one is unique in tabulating the interactions between and among multiple threats, the study’s authors say. For example, the bleaching of coral reefs often occurs when global stressors, like increasing temperature and acidification, meet local stressors like pollution.

The study also tried to unravel more complex feedback loops, like the triple-whammy effect of ocean acidification, warming, and hypoxia on marine resources. Protein from fish accounts for 20% of the intake of animal protein for 1.5 billion people and 15% for about 3 billion people. In poorer coastal areas this figure can reach 90%.

85% of fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.
The world’s marine fisheries are in a severely troubled state: 85% of fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion, say the scientists. Harmful subsidies continue to contribute to the overcapacity of the global fishing fleet, inconsistencies in regional fisheries management lead to poor regulation, and illegal and unreported fishing--estimated to drain $50 billion from the sector every year--remains largely unstoppable.

What’s the good news? A new potential market in "blue carbon" could also present an important economic opportunity, says the SEI. Marine ecosystems, like mangroves and sea grasses, contain far more carbon than terrestrial forests but are being degraded at a more alarming rate and are not yet included in carbon offset schemes, which reward investors in emissions-reduction projects in developing countries with carbon credits. Setting up a market for the carbon-sucking value of those ecosystems could help conservation--and people in emerging economies. Local actions can make a global difference. Globally and locally acting stressors are closely linked, says the report, meaning that coordinated small-scale interventions can aggregate upwards to have major significance.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Apple - Environment - Environmental Progress

 Apple Environmental Progress

A history of progress.

For more than 20 years, Apple has been working on ways to minimize the impact our company and our products have on the environment. We developed and formulated our first environmental policy in 1990, and every year since then, we’ve continued to make our products more energy efficient, eliminated many toxic substances, and embraced renewable energy in our facilities. In 2009, we became the first company in our industry to report comprehensive calculations of our total carbon footprint — including environmental reports for every product — giving the public an opportunity to judge our efforts and track our progress in detail.

Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina, data center.

Our new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, demonstrates our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our facilities through energy-efficient, green building design. The facility has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification. Apple’s goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix, and we have major projects under way to achieve this — including building the nation’s largest end user-owned solar array and building the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States.
Energy-efficient design elements of the Maiden facility include:
  • A chilled water storage system to improve chiller efficiency by transferring 10,400 kWh of electricity consumption from peak to off-peak hours each day
  • Use of “free” outside air cooling through a waterside economizer operation during night and cool-weather hours, which, along with water storage, allows the chillers to be turned off more than 75 percent of the time
  • Extreme precision in managing cooling distribution for cold air containment pods with variable-speed fans controlled to exactly match airflow to server requirements from moment to moment
  • Power distributed at higher voltages, which increases efficiency by reducing power loss
  • White cool-roof design to provide maximum solar reflectivity
  • High-efficiency LED lighting combined with motion sensors
  • Real-time power monitoring and analytics during operations
  • Construction processes that utilized 14 percent recycled materials, diverted 93 percent of construction waste from landfills, and sourced 41 percent of purchased materials within 500 miles of the site

Reducing environmental impact via digital consumption.

Through iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud, Apple has dramatically changed the traditional consumption model of CDs, DVDs, and DVD-ROMs associated with music, movies, and data storage. With the introduction of the iBookstore and Newsstand, Apple has also revolutionized how people purchase and consume books, magazines, and newspapers. We estimate that a reader who uses the iPad for reading has half the environmental impact of a reader who purchases paperback books.

Apple - Environment - Environmental Progress

Columbia Law School : Model Municipal Green Building Ordinance

Model Municipal Green Building Ordinance

The model municipal green building ordinance presented below is the product of an empirical analysis of common practices in existing municipal green building regulation and research on possible legal impediments. Its provisions are designed to achieve effective yet feasible improvements in building practices and are drawn, in large measure, from existing ordinances. A draft version of the ordinance and a solicitation for comments was released on June 1, 2010. We received comments from a wide variety of individuals and institutions with substantial experience and knowledge in the areas of green buildings, municipal law, and statutory construction. This completed version of the ordinance includes many changes that reflect the comments received. Further comments on the model ordinance are solicited and should be sent to
The model ordinance regulates new construction and major modifications of municipal buildings, commercial buildings, and residential buildings by mandating that these buildings be constructed to a specific green building standard. Under these mandates, new buildings and major modifications will more efficiently use resources and be built with more sustainable materials and practices than conventional buildings. Unlike other model ordinances that detail technical specifications, this ordinance presents a framework for the implementation of existing technical standards and a streamlined procedure for their compliance and enforcement. The model ordinance accommodates the rapidly developing field of substantive green building standards by allowing for the adoption of new standards within the ordinance’s framework.    
The commentary on the ordinance clarifies areas of potential ambiguity and discusses the benefits and drawbacks of optional add-ons. Legal issues, including preemption, non-delegation, and antitrust, are discussed in a separate document available below.

The model ordinance without commentary can be downloaded here.

The model ordinance with commentary can be downloaded here

The Town of New Castle, New York adopted a comprehensive green building law that is based on the CCCL model ordinance.  The New Castle Town Board voted unanimously to adopt the law on December 13, 2011.  A copy of the as adopted law can be found here.

Columbia Law School : Model Municipal Green Building Ordinance

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The MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) is dedicated to balancing the built environment with the natural world. In our research, we seek to understand natural systems, to foster the intelligent use of resources and to design sustainable infrastructure systems.
We provide leadership in the field by focusing on technological innovations, seeking advances in basic knowledge and taking a systems perspective. We concentrate our efforts on quantitative and analytical approaches, novel experiment-based modeling, and the development and/or use of appropriate tools and technology.
CEE is an innovative and vibrant place of learning, where undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers pursue their educational and research interests in order to lead the next generation in transforming the disciplines of civil and environmental engineering.
Our research and graduate education programs coalesce around three fields of inquiry: environmental science and engineering; mechanics, materials and structures; and transportation. We offer ABET-accredited undergraduate degree programs in civil engineering and environmental engineering science.

Friday, March 30, 2012

3D Solar Structures Create More Power in Small Spaces - Environment - GOOD

3D Solar Structures Create More Power in Small Spaces - Environment - GOOD

Right now, designing a solar power installation generally means figuring out how to orient flat or angled panels so that they’ll capture the most light. Or the panels are put onto expensive, swiveling mounts, which move the panels over the day to track the sun. But a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a different theory about how to best design solar power systems—by using solar panels to build three-dimensional structures.

One of the models the team constructed is an open-ended cube. It’s made of nine solar panels—four exterior walls, four interior walls, and the bottom inside. Another, an open parallelepiped, took 17 panels to make. The accordion-like towers, with their ridged faces, contain 32 panels.

These 3D structures don’t look like the rooftops and fields of solar panels being erected all over the world. And they don’t behave quite like them, either. For a given base area, they’re up to 20 times more effective at capturing solar energy than a flat solar panel. They also capture more energy when the sky is overcast, and they produce energy at a more even rate throughout the day.

The MIT team designed and tested these models as part of an experiment exploring the possibility of collecting solar energy in three dimensions. Nature collects energy using three-dimensional systems, an inspiration for this project, say team members Nicola Ferralis and Marco Bernardi. Their team had an advantage over nature, though: They could optimize particular designs to access these systems’ potential advantages. They tested those designs both in computer simulations and, using models, in the real world.

The team starting experimenting with 3D shapes with the idea that increasing the efficiency with which solar panels convert sunlight into power—a measure the solar industry has been regularly pushing upwards—isn’t the only way to improve solar systems. "Efficiency improvements can only partially reduce the installation costs and cannot change the pattern of solar energy generation,” they write in the article reporting their results, published this month.

In the past, installing a cube of solar panels wouldn’t have made much sense. In the 3D structures that the MIT team designed, panels shade each other, blocking access to sunlight, and each solar panel generates less energy than it would if it were installed separately. The advantage that the 3D structures have is in energy generated in a given base area, in the consistency of energy generated, and in energy generated on cloudy days. In some situations, these advantages might make the cost of additional solar panels worthwhile. Since the price of solar panels has dropped so rapidly, installation costs make up more than half the cost of a system, anyway, Ferralis and Bernardi point out.

They imagine that 3D structures might be particularly useful in urban environments, where space is at a premium. A solar tower might sit on top of a parking garage and provide power for EVs, for instance. (Or perhaps urban rooftops could do double duty as sites for solar power generation and as green roofs.) With semi-transparent panels (which exist), the structures could be used more effectively in the windows of building than flat solar panels. They also imagine that 3D solar structures could be designed to make optimal use of sunlight at different places around the world, since the same shapes won’t perform identically everywhere. The structures, they say, could potentially be folded up, like origami, and shipping in flat packages, to be unfolded and erected once they reach their destination.

Photo courtesy of Allegra Boverman/Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eco Football Stadiums | Green Football Stadium Design | Naturally Earth Friendly

Eco Football Stadiums | Green Football Stadium Design | Naturally Earth Friendly

A green football stadium is becoming more popular as new stadiums are being built these days. Some of the key characteristics of these eco stadiums include the use of solar panels and recycling programs. Many stadiums feature a retractable roof like Lucas Oil Stadium where the Super Bowl XLVI will take place in Indiana on February 5, 2012. However, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles boasts a small power plant!

Retractable Roof to Allow Natural Light

Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil StadiumLucas Oil Stadium, location of Super Bowl 46 in 2012 and home of the Indianapolis Colts, features a retractable roof that can close in about 10 minutes. Typically left open during gameplay allows natural light in saving on electricity used by lights. Unless there are hazardous conditions, such as severe winds or lightning, the roof stays open.
Cowboys Football StadiumCowboys Stadium, location of the 2011 Super Bowl 45, already had a retractable roof in its design before making extra efforts to be a greener stadium. The roof is made out of a translucent material which allows natural lighting to a degree, even if it's shut.
In addition to the retractable roof, Cowboys Stadium utilizes retractable end zone doors to allow natural ventilation, 30 acres of structured-grass, permeable pavement instead to absorb rainwater run-off, and recycles almost 90% of waste material.

Green Roof

The new eco-friendly football stadium to be the future home of the ​San Francisco 49ers​ will feature a green roof. Hoping to make its debut in 2014, the stadium will also implement a public transportation plan for fans and solar panels into the roof.

Solar Panels Added to Roof

In an effort to offset the electricity use, football stadiums can install solar panels. This could even get into the double digit percentage in savings. Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks, features solar panels.
Philadelphia Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field
Phidelphia Eagles Call Eco-Stadium Home
In addition to 2,500 solar panels, thLincoln Financial Field Stadium has stepped it up with 80 spiral-shaped wind turbines and a cogeneration plant. The cogeneration plant will be onsite and  is a small "dual-fuel" power plant. It is powered by biodiesel and natural gas. 
The Eagles' plan for Lincoln Financial Field represents one of the most extensive renewable energy commitments by any major facility. The energy plan will utilize the most technologically advanced wind turbines and solar panels. With this installation, we anticipate that many businesses will see the benefits of renewable energy and be inspired to emulate the Eagles' bold leadership. - Lee Maher, chairman and CEO of SolarBlue
No more power will be needed from the grid as the stadium will be self-sufficient. And it's estimated the team will save $60 million in energy costs.
San Diego Chargers Gualcomm Stadium New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium New York Jets Meadowlands Stadium

Recycling Initiatives

The San Diego Chargers' ​Qualcomm Stadium features 350 ninety-four gallon recycling bins in their tailgating area.
​Gillette Stadium, ​home of the New England Patriots, collects cans and plastic bottles in solar-powered compactors. They also hand out recycling bags at the parking lot.
​The ​New York Jets' Meadowlands Stadium ​had the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consult on their construction of the stadium in addition to using recycled plastic for their seats.


Football fans can be assured as environmental concerns are considered the new stadiums around the country will be more earth friendly every year. Even with stadiums already existing it's becoming more common for tickets and programs to be printed on recycled material and the use of biodegradable cups.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Residential Solar Power Systems & Solar Panel Kits for Home Use

Basic Steps to Plan Your Residential Solar Energy System

If you are planning to install a Photovoltaic Solar Energy System, then figure out how much solar energy you can expect your panels to absorb, based on the average daily solar radiation for your area.

Step 1°: Calculate the Potential Solar Radiation Power

For most parts of the United States, an average of 4-5 kWh/m²/day can be achieved, though in some regions it is possible to achieve up to 8. To find the output for your area, please refer to this map put out by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Resource Assessment Program. In the delineation kWh/m²/day, the kWh stands for kilowatt hour, with “m” being the area of the absorber, or in this case, the photovoltaic cell, put into square meters. Solar panels, on average, work at about 7 to 17% efficiency.
Therefore, if you live in an area with an average solar radiation of 4.5 kWh/m²/day, and you have a total surface area of 1 m² (corresponding to 1.55 squared inches) of photovoltaic cells, you can expect to generate 0.315 kWh/day (315 Watt/day) estimating an average solar panel efficiency of 7%.

Step 2°: Determine Your Average Energy Usage

Once you know how much energy you can expect to get from the sun, you can determine about how much energy you will need based on your current monthly energy consumption. If you don’t have copies of your last 12 bills, you can view the state by state averages, as published by the Energy Information Administration here. According to the chart, a consumer who lives in New Jersey, for instance, will use an average of about 730 kWh/month in electricity, while one in Alabama may use as much as 1300 kWh of energy per month.

Step 3°: Calculate the Number of Panels Needed

Now that you know how much solar radiation is available and how much of it can actually be utilized by a solar panel, you can calculate how many photovoltaic solar panels you will need in order to replace your current source of electricity. You will need to find out the exact size of each cell in square meters, as well, which can probably be found on the website of, or in literature from, your manufacturer of choice.
If we assume an average energy usage of 1000 kWh per month, we will calculate: “Solar radiation” x “Surface area of the panels in m² ” x “0.07″ (7% Estimated solar panel efficiency) x “Average days per month” (365/12). We will then divide that number into 1000 (The average energy usage of 1000 kWh per month).
For example, in an area with solar radiation of 5 kWh/m²/day, with a solar panel of 2 m², the equation would be:
5 (Solar Radiation) x 2 (Surface Area of standard solar panels) x 0.07 (Solar Panel Efficiency) x 30.42 (Average n° of days per month) = 21.294 kWh produced per panel each month.
To cover at 100% the month Kw usage of 1000Kw divide 1,000/21.294 = 47, so you would need 47 m² of panels to completely eliminate your electricity bill. (Here a more detailed description of how many 80W solar panels are needed to power a home)

Step 4°: Calculate Upfront Cost vs. Long-term Savings

For nearly everyone, the upfront cost of a photovoltaic solar system will be a major factor. However, with the yearly utility savings and the government incentives, it can be well worth the initial investment. A lot will depend on the size of the system you install. Considering a single 2 m² of solar panel can generate 21.294 kWh/month and your electricity company charges an average of 20 cents per kWh, you would save about $51.2/year. 10 x 2 m² Solar panels could let you save 512 $ /year.
If that system costs $20,000 and solar Governmental rebates / Tax Credits may let you cover/cut the cost by 50%, you’ll have to payback 10,000 $. It would take you about 19.5 years for 10 x 2 m² solar panels to pay off the system and begin truly saving (if you consume 1,000 Kw /Month it will cover at 50% your energy bill).
In areas where the kWh cost is higher, the savings and pay-off period could be significantly reduced, allowing you to pay off the system in less years. Here you can read more about the cost of solar panels, find all solar energy incentives here and find more info about solar leasing.

How do I sell Solar Energy to a Utility Company?

This is available for grid tied solar systems. If you’ve taken or are thinking of taking the energy-efficient step of installing solar power at your home or business, know that this move can be cost-effective, too. The initial investment for a solar panel system can be quickly paid for by selling your surplus energy to a utility company.
The government requires 42 states and the District of Columbia to purchase surplus power from consumers. The way to take advantage of this process, and the subsequent rate you will receive for your surplus energy, varies by state. Here is a quick guide to getting the most out of your extra solar generated energy. Here more on how to sell solar energy to a utility company and how much to sell energy back to the grid.

Step 5°: Plan the Photovoltaic System Placement

Latitude Angle % of optimum
25° (Key West, Taipei) 51.5° 85%
30° (Houston, Cairo) 56° 86%
35° (Albuquerque, Tokyo) 60.5° 88%
40° (Denver, Madrid) 65° 89%
45° (Minneapolis, Milano) 69.5° 91%
50° (Winnipeg, Prague) 74° 93%
Above a nice table on solar panels orientation for winter months. A good rule of thumb to use when determining the correct tilt of solar panels is to find out the approximate latitude of your area and set the panels at an angle equal to that latitude. This should maximize the amount of solar radiation absorbed all year.
If the southward facing roof on which the panels will be installed is slanted beyond the angle of your area’s latitude, then the panels should be lifted at the bottom edges, in order to achieve the best radiation angle, whenever possible. For flat roofs, any of the four sides can be elevated to match the latitude angle. Here you can read more tips to find solar installers and photovoltaic system reviews.

Residential Solar Power Systems & Solar Panel Kits for Home Use