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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 72 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 90 posts. There were 90 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 15mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 29th with 28 views. The most popular post that day was All the Bells & Whistles… In a Hybrid!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were greenpowermgt.com, twitter.com, on9tvseries.com, statistics.bestproceed.com, and cheaptravelstyle.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for combined heat and power, porsche 918 spyder, chp, porsche 918, and 918 spyder.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

All the Bells & Whistles… In a Hybrid! March 2010

2

CHP Systems: A One-Two Punch January 2010

3

About GPM November 2009

4

Contact Us November 2009

5

Paperless, High-Tech Classrooms September 2010

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The 3,000 Mile Myth

Change your oil every 3,000 miles… you’ve probably heard that a time or two in your lifetime.  Now experts are saying that old rule no longer holds true, and Mother Nature is among those applauding!

“There was a time when the 3,000 miles was a good guideline,” said Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for the car site Edmunds.com. “But it’s no longer true for any car bought in the last seven or eight years.”

Many cars today can go longer without affecting engine wear. Automakers are regularly recommending oil changes at 5,000, 7,000 or even 10,000 miles based on driving conditions.  The idea is catching on, states are even encouraging drivers to pay closer attention to their vehicle’s needs in order to stay greener.

“Yet research conducted by the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) shows that nearly three-quarters of Californian drivers change their motor oil more often than automaker recommendations. Following the 3,000 mile myth generates millions of gallons of waste oil every year that can pollute California’s natural resources.  Do your part to help keep California green. Always check your vehicle’s user manual for guidelines on when to change your oil. It will save you money, time and help the environment too. And that’s a change we can all get behind.”  ~ www.calrecycle.ca.gov

So what’s changed over the last few years?  Oil chemistry and engine technology improvements have a lot to do with it, as do your driving habits.  Stop and go driving as opposed to long bouts of highway driving means more regular oil changes would do your car good.

Obviously some people will remain skeptical when it comes to debunking this so-called hardfast rule we’ve all grown up hearing.  For those of you who fall into that category there is scientific proof to be had!  All you have to do is send out a sample of your oil to Blackstone Laboratories in Fort Wayne, Ind.  For $25 they will analyze your oil and give you their best recommendation for oil changes, as well as a whole host of other bits of knowledge about your vehicle.

If we changed our oil just a few times less each year, think about all of that excess oil NOT going out into the environment!  Now go check out your vehicle’s owner’s manual!

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Paperless, High-Tech Classrooms

The University of Notre Dame will launch the first ever paperless class this coming fall semester, using the Apple iPad.  The trial is part of a year long study to see how e-readers would integrate into classrooms.  40 students from the Project Management course, will use the iPad as a textbook, conduct research, manage real world projects and be encouraged to use it in everyday life.

“eReaders are quickly being adopted for reading mass market literature, but also align well with the desire of higher education faculty and students to promote sustainability by reducing paper use,” says Paul Turner, manager of Academic Technologies in Notre Dame’s Office of Information Technologies. “But there are a wide range of issues we want to understand in order to decide when and where mobile wireless devices like the iPad can best replace textbooks and other paper-based course materials. Working with research faculty such as Professor Angst gives us the opportunity to study how students in multiple disciplines adopt and adapt to using eReaders.”

Image Courtesy: University of Notre Dame

The University owns the iPads, and once the trial is up the students do have to turn them back in so that another round of test subjects can play around with the technology.  Another layer to the sustainability of this project, if you will.  Reusing the product in new ways in new hands!

Other eReaders are thinking along the same lines.  The Kindle had a test run at Princeton.  In that case the students noted that they would prefer something a little more user friendly when it came to electronic text books.  So there are improvements to be made!

Just think about how much paper could be saved through the use of electronic pads and/or tablets for text books.  This could revolutionize college as we know it!  There is a drawback however to the potential elimination of hard copy text books.  According to treehugger.com:

“While thousands of paper books can fit into one device, reducing the number of trees sacrificed to the printing industry, the embodied energy of electronics, let alone their e-waste at end of life, creates a massive footprint for the devices. Which will end up having the smaller footprint in the long run depends on many factors, including how thoroughly students use e-readers as opposed to books. It’ll still be years until we know which is “better” and until then, we’re using the earth’s resources from both sides — trees and water for books, and raw materials, electricity and recycling energy for eReaders.”

So, what do you think?  Will the introduction of iPads and similar devices into the classroom make it a more streamlined learning environment for students?  Let us know what you think!

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Why Solar Power

New England gets a bad rap when it comes to weather and is probably more synonymous with the word snowstorm rather than solar power.  Contrary to popular belief, the sun’s rays do shine upon this fine part of our nation, and in fact is a prime place for the growth of solar energy.

True, we are prone to wet, cloudy and snowy weather a good portion of the year; but we get plenty of sunshine as well.  Many people argue that this area just doesn’t play host well to solar power, but we’ve got some news for those naysayers.  Solar is an excellent option for New England and here’s why:

1.  State Incentives galore!
Massachusetts and Connecticut are among the 5 or 6 most “solar-friendly” states in terms of economic incentives in the form of rebates, tax credits and exemptions, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and net metering policies.  Other states with a higher percentage of sunny days can’t say the same!

2.  Germany has the largest solar capacity installed and New England has more sun hours than Germany in an average day, according to Brightstar Solar.  Even more, the available sun power in New England is about 80% of the sunniest parts of the Southwestern US and is much greater than anywhere in Germany.  Germany is actually about as sunny as Alaska!

3.  The colder temperatures are actually better for solar!
Believe it or not intense heat decreases the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) modules.  So cooler temps mean higher efficiency.  The same can be said for some LED lights, especially parking lot lights.  Go figure!

4.  Cloudy days don’t mean powerless days.
The electricity production will not be as high as on a sunny day, but your system will still generate electricity because there will still be some irradiance.  Under a light overcast day, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun exposure.

5.  Snow typically melts quickly off of solar panels.
When it snows, the snow may cover the solar panels and affect the production of your system.  However, in most cases enough sunlight will still be able to penetrate through to the modules, warming them and melting the layer of snow that is on them.  Snow typically clears from your solar panels much sooner than other parts of the roof.  Thanks to Brightstar Solar for some of these tidbits of information… good to know!

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NFL’s Shining Stars

Image Courtesy: Nancy Lane

Since Green Power Management calls New Hampshire its birthplace and home, naturally we are New England Patriots fans.  With the kick off of the NFL season right around the corner, it’s only natural we have a football-themed blog!

Earlier this month the team celebrated the installation of its new 525-kilowatt PV solar system at Patriot Place.  The system is made up of 2,556 solar panels and will generate more than 625,000 kilowatt hours per year or roughly 30% of the energy consumed by Patriot Place.  For those of you not familiar with it, Patriot Place is a complex located next to Gillette Stadium and offers shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The system was provided by Marlborough, MA solar manufacturer, Evergreen Solar.  Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof will be visible from inside the stadium and from the upper retail plaza portion of Patriot Place.  “This is good business and the greening of our environment is important for our children and grandchildren,” says Bob Kraft, the CEO of The Kraft Group who own and manage the Patriot Place facilities.

Several other NFL teams are jumping on the green bandwagon.  Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions achieved LEED status.  Among other things it was built using about 20 million pounds of recycled steel and includes many other energy saving features.

A few years ago the Philadelphia Eagles began printing tickets and receipts on recycled paper at Lincoln Financial Field.  Drinks are served in cups made up of a corn-based material which disintegrates in about 50 days.  Since starting their GO GREEN program back in 2003 the Eagles estimate they’ve recycled about 150 million tons of materials.

The San Diego Chargers have been recycling at their stadium for nearly two decades now.  The team also donates its sod to YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

The New York Giants and Jets new Meadowlands stadium opened last year with some lofty goals.  The plan is to reduce the stadium’s annual water use by 25%, making it 30% more energy efficient than Giants Stadium, increasing total recycling by 25% and replacing traditional concession plates and cups with compostable alternatives.

In 2014 the San Francisco 49s will be playing ball on a new field.  It is set to include solar panels on the roof, incorporate the use of recycled water and a program to have more than a quarter of fans arrive on public transportation.  Funding has been a problem for this project so we’ll have to wait and see how green this stadium turns out to be!

This football season cheer on your favorite team for sure, but also give it up to those organizations trying to make a difference in our world!  One last thought, GO PATS!

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Chew On This

Cities worldwide have a big problem… gum.  Every year thousands of man hours and literally millions of dollars are spent on cleaning up gum stuck to sidewalks, benches and anything else.

Image Courtesy: The Gumdrop Bin

Now there may be a solution.  It’s called the Gumdrop Bin and is the brainchild of Anna Bullus who was tired of seeing London littered with gum.  She spent months in a lab working on a way to repurpose gum.  Anna ultimately came up with the Gumdrop Bin, a small plastic receptacle made out of recycled gum!

So here’s how it works… instead of tossing chewing gum on the street, a person would place the litter inside one of the pink bins.  Once full, the bins and all of its contents are recycled and made into new bins!  They are then redistributed and the cycle begins all over again.

Currently you can find the bins all over London and even at Six Flags in New Jersey.

Anna Bullus hopes to turn gum into other plastic products, including even shoes!  Her motto is “Give gum a second life!”

Gum on a London Street

Just to give you an idea as to how large of a problem gum is, according to Gumdrop:

  • Over 3 1/2 billion pieces of gum are thrown out irresponsibly in the UK each year
  • Cleaning chewing gum off the streets costs three times the price of a piece of gum
  • Nine out of ten London paving stones have gum stuck to them

What a simple, yet novel idea.  Now the hard part, getting people to actually toss the gum inside the bins.  Let’s hope this catches on!

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Conservation: Do We Really Know What We’re Doing?

The short and long answer to that question is, not really.

A new study released last week conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Ohio State University and Columbia University found that people are more likely to focus on switching off lights or unplugging electronics than on buying new light bulbs or more efficient appliances.

In other words, most Americans view saving energy the same way as saving money; the less they use, the more they save.  That of course isn’t always the case and our actions (although we intend good) sometimes work against us!

“Participants estimated that line-drying clothes saves more energy than changing the washer’s settings (the reverse is true) and estimated that a central air-conditioner uses only 1.3 times the energy of a room air-conditioner (in fact, it uses 3.5 times as much),” the researchers wrote.

“Relative to experts’ recommendations, participants were overly focused on curtailment rather than efficiency, possibly because efficiency improvements almost always involved research, effort and out-of-pocket costs (e.g. buying a new energy-efficient appliance), whereas curtailment may be easier to imagine and incorporate into one’s daily behaviors without any upfront costs,” the scientists added in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study questioned 505 people and of those 37 percent described themselves as environmentalists.  So here’s the funny part about that statistic… “participants who reported engaging in a greater number of pro-environmental energy-related behaviors had less accurate perceptions” about the value of energy-saving behaviors than the group as a whole did.

The practice cited by more than any of the participants (19.6%) as being the most common energy-saving practice was turning off lights in unoccupied rooms.  On the flip side only 3.6% said replacing light bulbs with more efficient ones were worth investing in.  Interestingly enough 2.8 percent of participants choice sleeping and/or relaxing more as a way to save energy.  Now compare that to the 2.1 percent who said insulating your home would do the same.

Of course every little bit helps, but perhaps the larger message of this study is that MORE could be done.

What do you think?

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