Category Archives: Department of Energy

Best News You Will See All Week: Volume 8

    1. San Diego ranks 1st in California in solar energy use thanks in large part to the California Solar Initiative which is spearheaded by the California Center for Sustainable Education and San Diego Gas & Electric. “With 4,500 rooftop installations generating nearly 37 megawatts ( MW) of electricity, San Diego’s solar panels produce more than $9 million worth of power annually. The report states that if San Diego were a nation unto itself, it would rank among the top 25 nations in the world in terms of solar capacity, with more solar power than Mexico.”
    2. I came across this graphic and had to share. It may be funny but the message is clear, we spend too much time in the shower (myself included) and one of the easiest and most effective ways to save water and energy is by taking shorter showers.
    3. If you are interested in business or entrepreneurship you should read this article – two friends who started a company by turning waste into fungal gold.
    4. A solar panel installed in Mwiki, Kenya by Eight19

      In the developing world, solar is now cheaper than fossil fuels. Millions of households in Africa now have access to cleaner and safer electricity as they make the switch from kerosene lamps to efficient LED lighting and small solar panels. In most parts of the world, electricity produced by traditional power plants is much cheaper than solar electricity but people who have no grid access in Africa have found that using solar to power lighting and other essential items sometimes costs half as much as using kerosene lamps. Read more here.

    5. And to continue the trend, I will leave you with this video explaining the importance of the number 350.

350 from Hans Hansen on Vimeo.

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Filed under Carbon Footprint, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Recycled Materials, Renewable Energy, Upcycle

In Case You Missed It: Volume 7

    1. Perhaps the biggest news of the week came from the office of the President. The Obama administration rejected the current proposal for the Keystone XL Pipeline which would carry over 500,000 barrels of oil a day across key aquifers that supply drinking and irrigation water to much of the Great Plains. The pipeline is not gone forever as TransCanada, the company behind Keystone XL, can submit another proposal suggesting a different route. Read more about the fight.
    2. The second biggest story came from our office. We are successfully packed and ready to take on the International Builders Show in 3 weeks. The trade show booth crate was packed in record time with minimal hang-ups. Anywhere Solar will be showing off our newest solar module!
    3. In other news, the Department of Energy released a report“showing that waves and tidal currents off the nation’s coasts could contribute significantly to the United States’ total annual electricity production, further diversify the nation’s energy portfolio, and provide clean, renewable energy to coastal cities and communities.” Go Ocean!

      A map that shows mean current speeds of tidal streams. Source - Georgia Institue of Technology

    4. Finally, we leave you with this cool video about a windmill farmer.

The Windmill Farmer from Joaquin Baldwin on Vimeo.

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Filed under Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, NAHB, Renewable Energy, Solar

In Case You Missed It: Vol. 3

  1. This past week our office discovered the brilliance of StumbleUpon. Among the first things we “stumbled” upon were some very interesting stories about the future of the solar industry. One thing that kept popping up was the idea that solar can (and hopefully will) power the Earth. This blog highlights some more of the more ambitious and jaw dropping solar ideas – click through to read about the desert and deep space.
  2. Staying with the future of solar theme, we found an article today summarizing a report out of the University of Texas where Xiaoyang Zhu found a way to “increase the efficiency of solar cells to 66 percent.” Right now, cells in production are between 12-20% efficiency.
  3. Ford has begun manufacturing the Ford Focus Electric which boasts 100 mpg equivalency and a revolutionary charging systems that “should be able to fully recharge in three to four hours – half the time of Nissan Leaf.” The Focus Electric will be available for order in California and New York next year. This new EV may not be much of an improvment on the cars already on the market but shows that large car manufacturers are dedicated to implementing new technologies and improving on the electric vehicle.
  4. More Military News – “The U.S. Navy is moving forward with plans to create a ‘Green Strike Force’ by purchasing 450,000 gallons of drop-in biofuel to be used on jets and vessels.” Read more here.
  5. And finally we leave you with an awesome video from Ice Cube and Pacific Standard Time. Ice Cube studied architectural drafting before he started his career as a rap artist and in this short film he explores Los Angeles and highlights Eames Architecture – pioneers in green building.

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Filed under Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Technology, Solar

In Case You Missed It: Vol. 1

Each and every day we come across some very interesting goodies on the World Wide Web. Each week we will compile our favorites right here so you can share in some of that goodness. Here is Volume 1 for your viewing pleasure!

  1. Terracycle – we did a spotlight (found here) on this wonderful company recently and love what they are doing. They are signing people up to collect anything from pens to juice boxes to candy wrappers to cork to cell phones to key boards and back again. They pay for you to ship it to them and then they “upcycle it” (turn it into a cool new product or material). For example here is a large tote bag made entirely from used Capri Sun drink pouches and here is a short video with the founder and CEO of Terracycle, Tom Szaky.
  2. PlanetSolar– The logbook of the crew with the goal to be the “first to circumnavigate the globe in a “solar” boat, i.e. one driven by a silent, pollution-free electrical engine powered exclusively by solar energy.”

    PlanetSolar team navigating near Monaco

  3. Solar Power is not just for your roof anymore. Within the next five years expect to see it popping up in your siding, windows, walls, and more. Installed building integrated photovoltaic technology is predicted to exceed 1 gigawatt by 2016.
  4. Solar Roadways – An awesome documentary clip explaining the research and development of solar roadways. I encourage you all to watch!
  5. And finally, in light of the recent success of The Muppets…

    Kermit the Frog reminds us all to "be green" and recycle!

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Filed under Carbon Footprint, Cell Phone, Conservation, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Technology, Innovation, NAHB, Recycled Materials, Renewable Energy, Solar, Upcycle

K3 Wind and Solar Charger

This blog post features a new product we have been messing around with at the office for the past few weeks. I will give you a quick review of our experience with the K3 Wind and Solar Portable Device Charger.

The K3 Charger sun-bathing

The first thing I noticed was the K3 is very easy to operate; just set it out in the sun during the day and let the elements do all the work. When you need a charge on your device and do not have your wall charger with you or you are away from an outlet you simply pull the cord out of the built-in storage area, then plug into the USB port on the charger, finally plug in the correct tip to your phone and watch as your device charges up (according to the instructions you are supposed to give it a full charge from the wall first).
According the the K3 website, the charger is “ideal for mobile phones, iPods/mp3 players, iPhone, smartphones/PDAs, portable gaming devices, GPS units, digital cameras, Bluetooth headsets, and more.” I intend to use mine mostly as a supplemental charge for my cell phone.
The design of the K3 allows you to prop it in many different posistions to take advantage of the the angle of the sun. I also found a good way to put the K3 in the back window of my car. I drive with the windows down most of the time so the wind turbine can work on my commute.

Propped up to take advantage of the sun-angle.

One negative thing that I accidentally found out  was when I made the mistake of falling asleep with my phone plugged in to the charger and woke up to a dead battery in th K3. This made me use the wall charger once again to refill the K3, thus eliminating the benefits of using the sun to power my cell phone. I also figured out that if I want a good charge from the K3, it needs to be fully charged from the sun, wind, or wall before plugging it into your device. I tried to charge my phone with a half full battery in the K3 and it didn’t last very long.

The K3 Charging a Phone.

Overall, I recommend the K3 Charger as a good, quality, portable mobile device charger. I can’t wait to take it with me on my next camping trip – I’ll no longer have to worry about conserving my cell phone battery!
Amazon page featuring the K3.

Positives: Durable, Wind AND Solar, USB port and multiple tip options, LED lights show battery life, Looks cool(there is also a black color option), Unique
Negatives: A little bulky, takes more time to charge than expected, relatively short phone charging time.
Ideal Uses: Camping, car travel, take it to work for that “mid-day boost,” backpacking, etc…

Two color options for the charger.

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Filed under Carbon Footprint, Cell Phone, Cell Phone Battery, Conservation, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Technology, Innovation, Outdoor Adventure, Parks, Renewable Energy, Solar, Uncategorized