Category Archives: San Diego

Fat Cow – Saving the Environment One Website at a Time

It was recently brought to my attention that the electricity used to run and host our two websites (anywheresolartech.com and pnsenergy.com) is offset 200% by wind energy! That means that Fat Cow, our website host, compensates for twice the electricity it takes to run their business and our websites.

Wind Power Farm in Texas

They don’t personally produce that much power with wind mills outside their office but for any electricity they use, they purchase RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) as a “Green Power Partner” of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. By doing so, they prevent the release of 999 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

Fat Cow is committed to supporting clean energy and they also stress responsible environmental behavior in and out of the office and we are proud to be associated with this forward thinking company.

Dairy Cow

For those who were disappointed we weren’t talking about real cows.

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Filed under Alternative Fuel, Carbon Footprint, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Technology, Innovation, Renewable Energy, San Diego, Uncategorized

Bamboo and the PV Solar Shutter

What happens when you combine bamboo hardwood flooring with PV solar panels?

The PV Solar Shutter of course!

PNS Energy was able to create these great looking window shutters that also generate power by combining the strength of bamboo and its aesthetic and renewable qualities with the power generation capabilities of PV solar cells.

Bamboo Wood by Cali Bamboo was selected for the construction of the solar shutter in an effort to make the product as sustainable and earth friendly as possible. Bamboo is extremely strong and is often compared to the likes of steel, concrete, and graphite. This woody grass also regenerates at an alarming pace; a pole of bamboo can regenerate to full mass in just 6 years while conventional wood takes between 30-60 years to grow back to their full mass. This fact alone made the selection of bamboo for the PV Solar Shutter a no-brainer.

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Filed under Bamboo, Carbon Footprint, Environment, Renewable Energy, Responsible Materials, San Diego, Solar

Tree Benefits and an Interactive Urban Tree Map

We had the recent opportunity to learn about a new urban tree initiative (San Diego County Tree Map) that aims to visually display the eco-impact of existing trees growing in urban areas. We all know that plants and trees do more than just take up space and look nice, they have a positive impact on our environment, and our economic and social well-being. I will highlight some of those benefits below to show the role trees play in our daily lives:

  • Carbon Removal – with climate change taking a forefront in our environmental and political lives we now understand the importance of being aware of how are actions affect the atmosphere. As trees grow, they use carbon dioxide, thus removing it from the air.
  • Soil Conservation – Trees play an important role in soil conservation, they reduce rainwater runoff and soil erosion due to the roots holding soil in place. These roots also absorb and reduce the amount of contaminants in the soil.
  • Energy Conservation – Existing trees and strategically planted trees around a home provide shading and serve as a natural cooling device, thus reducing the need to rely on air-conditioning and reducing energy consumption. They can also block winter winds, allowing the homeowner to use less energy in heating.

Trees also…

  • Look beautiful
  • Produce oxygen
  • Create privacy
  • Provide wildlife habitats
  • Provide noise reduction
  • Increase property values

A recent report from the American Society of Landscape Architects – San Diego Chapter states that trees “enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists with a corresponding increase in property values. Trees contribute to the success of business districts, apartment complexes, residential properties and offices.”

Most of these benefits are more or less common knowledge. But some recent number crunching and a tree mapping project aims to show us the huge monetary benefits trees have. This very cool and interesting online map (San Diego Tree Map) actually shows the money ($$$$) saved from a variety of the tree benefits already listed. For example, in one year, this Moreton Bay Fig in the heart of Balboa Park, San Diego (pictured below) has…

  • conserved 183.30 kWh of energy for a value of $29.84
  • intercepted 2045.80 gallons of stormwater for a value of $3.74
  • removed 1.03 lbs. of air pollutants for a value of $66.43
  • and stored 5,903.65 lbs. of carbon dioxide to date for a value of $118.07

This tree has saved $102.73 in one year alone, and that is just one tree out of the hundreds of thousands in the San Diego area. The monetary benefits truly add up.

Moreton Bay Fig, Balboa Park

So next time you are out enjoying nature, look at the trees around you and not only marvel at their beauty and environmental benefits, think about the amount of $ this tree is providing to your community. And if you have the opportunity and space, plant a tree of your own and see the benefits grow before your own eyes.

Thanks to these sources:

“Benefit of Trees.” California Center for Sustainable Energy –. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://energycenter.org/index.php/benefits-of-trees/benefit-of-trees&gt;.

“Benefits of Planting and Growing Trees.” Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://ohiodnr.com/Home/education/BenefitsofPlantingandGrowingTrees/tabid/5104/Default.aspx&gt;.

“San Diego TreeMap.” San Diego Tree Map. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://sandiegotreemap.org/map/&gt;.

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Filed under Arborist, Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Outdoor Adventure, Parks, San Diego, Uncategorized

In Case You Missed It: Vol. 5

  1. Bikes Will Save The Planet
  2. Lucky Ant – Our Featured Favorite Company of the Week. This start-up gives small local businesses the opportunity to tap into their local communities for help funding special projects. Most small businesses lack the funding to gain a competitive edge and Lucky Ant connects supporters with their favorite businesses so they can donate in order to help out (chipping in also earns you perks and free stuff in the process). I came across Lucky Ant from an article on Good.is.
  3. Top Ten Electric Cars Coming in 2012 – Last year was an exciting year for the EV with the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf and 2012 promises to be even better with more and more car manufacturers releasing their take of the electric car. Some notable companies include Ford, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. Check out this article for more information.

    The 2012 Ford Focus EV

  4. Fracking Causes Earthquakes in Ohio, that is, a byproduct of oil and gas drilling can be linked to an increase in seismic activity in Ohio. A well near Youngstown, Ohio used to dispose of waste water from oil and gas drilling “almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor earthquakes in the Youngstown area since last spring.” The most recent was measured at a 4.0 magnitude, the largest yet.
  5. And because it’s Friday…The Biggest Surf in a Year to Hit Southern California. Most areas will see 6-10 foot surf while some spots could get sets in the 15-18 foot range. Will most likely be watching not participating this weekend…

by Peggy Peattie

Ocean Beach breaker by John Gibbons

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Filed under Cycling, Electric Car, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Renewable Energy, San Diego

Share the Spirit: Give to Those Who Give Back to the Earth!

The PNS Energy team is committed to leaving the planet a better place than we found it.   Part of what we considering doing our part as responsible citizens is to promote those nonprofits working to better understand what is happening to our planet and to help preserve it.

Dr. Cook in action with the Green Learning Adventure!

We have two local favorites:   California Center for Sustainable Energy’s Green Learning Adventure and the Surfrider Foundation.   In 2011 we shared our some of resources with both of these wonderful organizations.  As you look for yearend donations, we ask you to consider giving to organizations that support our planet!  For all you Southern California residents, help us support and promote these great, grassroots organizations.

If you are looking for a national organization working to support the Earth through intelligent, measurable means we put together a list (below) and noted their mission statements.

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit partnership of scientists and citizens combining rigorous scientific analysis, innovative policy development, and effective citizen advocacy to achieve practical environmental solutions.

Sierra Club

Sierra Club’s mission is to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

NRDC’s mission is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.

350.org

350.org unites an international movement around the climate solutions that science and justice demand.

Rainforest Action Network (RAN)

Rainforest Action Network’s mission is to want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive.

Climate Protection Campaign

The Climate Protection Campaign mission is to create a positive future for our children and all life by inspiring action in response to the climate crisis. They advance practical, science-based solutions for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity believes that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in the world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, they work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. They do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

ClimateWorks Foundation

ClimateWorks is an international philanthropic network dedicated to achieving low-carbon prosperity.

Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth

To bring people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet.

 

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Filed under Beach clean-up, Carbon Footprint, Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Philanthropy, San Diego, Surfrider Foundation, Sustainable Businiess

Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas!

You have GOT to check out http://www.adoptachristmastree.com, they’re eco-friendly, deliver the tree with singing elves and even pick it up for you after the holidays!  Please consider adopting a living Christmas tree this year, instead of a dead one that will be tossed in the trash after only a few weeks. 32 million trees are cut down each Christmas and most are thrown in the trash.  Adopt A Christmas Tree will lend you a tree for the holidays and collect it afterwards. The collected trees are then replanted in fire-devastated areas of East County. Did I mention that they are delivered by singing elves? Learn more at www.AdoptAChristmasTree.com (currently only serving San Diego, CA)


Consider a Green Alternative
In the name of tradition, many people still chose chop down a live tree for a mere two weeks of display, then throw the decomposing tree in the garbage which seems to be wasteful and can weigh on your green conscious. After about a week their needles often dry out and make a mess before they are discarded in the trash which takes up space in our limited landfills. This sounds very destructive but most Christmas trees come from a tree farm where they are usually sustainably harvested (for each tree cut down, one or two is planted), and taking select trees from fields of trees is much like thinning a garden (Indiana University) However it is nice to see alternative options where you can give your tree a second life.

 

Fake Trees are even worse…

 

“But we use our fake tree year-after-year, isn’t that being green?”

Most fake trees, made from non-renewable petroleum also eventually wind up in landfills and are clogging mother earth with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is being banned by many medical associations and considered poison by environmentalists. That’s why you’ll see a label on faux Christmas trees cautioning you to avoid inhaling or eating any bits of lead dust that may fall from the “branches.” Fake trees cannot be recycled. When they are disposed of in a sanitary landfill, they will not disintegrate, but will remain there forever, taking up increasingly scarce landfill space. When a fake tree catches fire, it puts dangerous toxic fumes into the air. Fake trees are manufactured mainly outside of the United States and often by companies in China that do not observe high environmental standards.

-Bennet

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Filed under Christmas Tree, Holiday, San Diego, Uncategorized