Affordable Portable Solar

Solar Stik with added wind turbine

Solar Stik with added wind turbine

Going solar has usually meant a significant financial outlay and a time-consuming, complicated installation. No longer.


Now there’s the Solar Stik, a portable solar generator weighing around 100 pounds that installs in around 10 minutes.

It’s already been used by the military, classified as a Tactical Quiet Generator (TQG), given the name “TESS” (Tactical Electric Solar System) by the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force and the Testing & Evaluation Command (USATEC).

Use it to link other units together or add a wind turbine to expand your energy output.

The Solar Stik can be used for emergency power, for boats or campgrounds, even for humanitarian use, like bringing power to Galveston after Hurricane Ike.

Folding up into small packages for portability,this simple solar device produces 100 watts of power, capable of running most small appliances given enough sunlight. It comes with a variety of accessories, a 25-year guarantee, and costs $5,000.

Consumer Electronics Report Card part 2

Some of the statistics on consumer electronics companies reviewed as part of the recently released Environmental Sustainability and Innovation in the Consumer Electronics Industry Report are pretty impressive.

Epson’s packaging now comes from trees specifically grown for them. They also plant 20 percent more trees than they harvest.

The amount of electrical energy Nokia’s cell phone chargers consume when left unattended has been reduced by 90 percent over the past nine years and Nokia phones now signal users as reminders.

Panosonic’s plasma TV’s currently use 90 percent less energy than eight years ago.

Kodak has embraced recycling cameras big time. They’ve recycled 1.2 billion single-use camera since 1990, recycling 120 million last year alone.

Intel’s capital funding program for conservation and efficiency has, since 2001, approved more than 200 projects that saved over 400 kilowatt hours of electricity.

These facts are definitely steps in the right direction for electronics manufacturers. Forward thinking from the boardroom or perhaps positive response to calls-to-action from consumers? Regardless of the reasons, consumers should continue to speak up for more broad-based conservation efforts from the electronics industry. They seem to be paying attention.


Wave Energy – A Wave of the Future (Part 2)

pelamis-2Off the northern coast of Portugal, the Pelamis Wave Power’s converters are tethered by cables to the ocean’s floor and placed perpendicular to the coastline. Each device has several sections. As waves roll past, each section moves up and down, while internal hydraulic rams resist this motion. This opposition forces high pressure fluid through hydraulic motors, driving the electric generators. The electricity produced then travels underwater via cables to the mainland.The electricity generated varies according to the power of the waves, reminiscent of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar and their dependence on weather conditions.

The exciting development of this new energy source could prove a significant factor in driving down the price of electrical power in the coming years. For those living on the coast, these bright behemoths could be springing up off your favorite beach getaway in the near future.

A Greener Report Card for the Electronics Industry

In these days of rampant greenwashing, consumers have been dealt a winning hand by the Consumer Electronics Association.

The CEA’s recent “Environmental Sustainability and Innovation in the Consumer Electronics Industry Report” 
analyzed  20 corporations, including many of the largest consumer electronics sellers in the world.
The report paints a positive picture, including lower manufacturer energy consumption and improved cradle-to-cradle design.
Some of the results are truly impressive. One company reduced their electricity use by 58% per employee, while increasing their employee base by 60%! Still another company reduced electricity usage by 46% per million dollars (revenue), as they increased their overall revenue by 43%.
Clearly, wise energy management can engender greatly improved company health, contrary to what naysayers loudly protest.
Look at part 2 for more details.

Wave Energy – The Future is Here (part 1)

Wavs roll over the Pelamis Wave Converters, generating electricity
Waves over the Pelamis Wave Converters generate electricity

Portugal has launched the world’s first wave farm, technology so new it’s been viewed as speculative for the past few years.

The Pelamis Wave Power project, went live the end of September off Portugal’s northern coast, in Agucaduora. The three coral-colored, whale-like, partially submerged wave-energy converters use naturally-occurring waves to generate electricity.

Phase 1 of this commercial renewable energy project anticipates generating 2.25 megawatts of electricity.
The second phase, with 25 additional converters, will extend capacity to 21 MW – enough energy to power 15,000 homes!

To understand this technological breakthrough, consider that the ocean’s waves are estimated to generate 2 Terawatts of power. The entire United States currently only has capacity to generate 1 Terawatt.




Forward Thinking in Colorado

Have been on the email list for CASBA – Colorado Alliance of Sustainable Business Associations for some time. Sort of fell into my lap.
I continue to be amazed at the effort and broad-stroked commitment that that CASBA demonstrates is occurring and that’s bringing the conversation of climate change and related issues forward in that state.

The latest e-zine and diverse calendar of events, available at

contains a plethora of meetings, conferences and brown bag events being held in various Colorado cities on wide-ranging topics including Western Water Resources and Climate Change, renewable energy, permaculture, sustainability and LEED.
Definitely an impressive group and one to keep an eye on. If you do business in Colorado, it would be worth your while to check them out.



More States Steward Mercury Disposal

Mercury disposal is a big health concern. Approximately 50 million mercury-containing thermostats – each containing an average of 4 grams of mercury – are still in homes in the U.S..Though 15 states in the U.S. ban or restrict their sale and manufacturers no longer produce them, mercury thermostats are legally sold in 35 states.
Some states have passed legislation covering proper mercury thermostat and recycling. The latest states to join this bandwagon are California and Pennsylvania. They join 4 other states – Maine, New Hampshire, Iowa and Vermont – to regulate this proven environmental hazard.Kudos to the Product Stewardship Institute, a national non-profit organization, for creating the model that thermostat manufacturers, heating and cooling contractors, retailers and government officials can follow to establish collection and recycling programs. Consumers now have accessible options for safely disposing of outdated equipment containing this hazardous material.