Nature on California rule and biofuels...

cited this week from Nature News:
"State rule says biofuels aren't so green.
The state of California has adopted regulations to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation fuels, codifying evidence that biofuels are significantly dirtier than they were once thought to be.
The California Air Resources Board approved its 'low-carbon fuel standard' on 23 April, requiring fuel providers to cut the greenhouse-gas emissions from fuels by 10% by 2020, compared with 2010 levels. "

from Jeff Tollefson


My Green Weekend

It’s my job to write about the environment, so I try my best to walk the walk when it comes to the size of my carbon footprint. But even this ecophile can do more. So one weekend my fiancĂ©, David and I set out to make a few easy, eco-friendly adjustments to our apartment that could also reduce our utility bill. And, we figured, what better time to finish greening our home than while our friends’ young daughter, Rebecca was visiting.

First thing Saturday morning, we went through each room, taking stock of all appliances and electronics that were plugged in to various sockets. They included everything from lamps and coffee pots to computers and cell phone chargers. We came up with a total of 21 plugged-in appliances and consolidated them into five power strips with on-off switches. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, unplugging idle electronics and appliances can cut as much as 75% of the electricity they consume. Now when we walk out of a room, we automatically save energy by simply clicking off the power strip.

Next we decided to tackle lightbulbs. The apartment was lit with the incandescent bulbs of old, so we decided to switch to their greener counterparts, Compact Fluorescent LightBulbs. CFLs use just a quarter of the energy, last up to 10 times longer and can cut lighting costs in half! So how many environmentalists does it take to change a lightbulb? In this case, two. I let David and Rebecca handle the hardware, while I tended to some laundry.

Already washed, the clothes just needed a little shaking out before I hung them to dry on two retractable clotheslines. (Clothes dryers typically rank second, after refrigerators, on the list of biggest energy-gobbling home appliances.) Since it was chilly outside, I let the heating do double duty and dry our clothes for us. Of course, if the weather happens to be nicer, you can hang your clothes on a line outside.

The best way to calculate just how much money you’re saving by reducing your energy consumption? Check your monthly electricity bills, and take note of reduced fees and the kilowatt-hours used, which should be listed on the back of the bill. For a complete analysis of your household’s energy use, go to the government’s Home Energy Saver website (

With our work done, we then began brainstorming activity ideas for tomorrow. Eventually we decided that we’d visit our nearby farmer’s market to pick out ingredients for a nice Sunday-night dinner. The recipe we had in mind was vegetarian lentil stew. Not only did the dish sound appetizing for a cold winter’s evening, but organic legumes and vegetables grown by local farmers — which is good for the planet, the pocketbook and the waistline!

The next morning we set off with our reusable tote bags and a rolling, collapsible shopping basket. We could have driven there, but we opted to walk, saving gas and getting some fresh air on a beautiful Sunday morning. At the market we filled our bags with onions, spinach, red lentils and a loaf of fresh-baked bread.

And that night we enjoyed our savory stew by candle and lamplight. It was a peaceful and eco-friendly note on which to finish our green weekend.


The Facts about Water Reduction

Many companies must dispose of water and waste on a daily basis. This can be due to the run off of equipment or in the process of manufacturing. Whatever the reason, disposing of water and contaminated solids can be very expensive and is strictly regulated by most government bodies. There are now many rules and regulations governing the proper disposal of contaminated waste. In addition, most companies are in search of an environmentally affordable solution from water reduction. There are many reasons that water reduction processes can be beneficial for your company or manufacturing plant.

Shipping Cost Reductions with Water Reduction

If your company must pay to have waste and solid materials disposed of, this can quickly become very expensive. However, by removing water and liquids you can save money on your shipping costs. Most shipping companies charge per pound of waste that is to be delivered. When you consider that the weight of the liquids in your waste is often more than the weight of the solid material you can see why water reduction would be beneficial. By removing the liquid components of your waste you can often cut your shipping costs in half.

Water Reduction Is Cheaper In House

By investing in water reduction equipment for your company you will find the process is much cheaper. In most cases the cost of purchasing the equipment and completing the process yourself, will pay off if compared to paying an outside company to reduce the water in your waste. Many companies today even offer used equipment that has been refurbished. This can save you even more money in the process of water reduction. However, if you only need to complete the process for a short time you might also consider renting equipment that you can later return.

Cheaper Disposal Is Available

If you have to pay a company to dispose of your contaminated waste it can be very expensive. However, by using water reduction to separate the solid and liquids in your waste you will find the cost is much less. The process of decontaminating waste costs much more that disposing of it. Therefore, if you will separate the contaminated components out of your waste before sending it for disposal you will find that you can save a great deal of money. In many cases you can dispose of the water safely yourself rather than paying someone else to remove it and dispose it for you.

As you can see there are many benefits to reducing the amount of water in your waste. From saving money to helping to preserve the environment, your company will find there are many benefits. There are many types of equipment that can be used for this process. If you think that water reduction is a positive thing for your company you should contact a professional dewatering company. These companies can walk you through the process and train your employees on how the process is to be completed. These companies will help you to choose the right pieces of equipment based on the amount of water reduction your company needs to complete.


The Two Most Popular Green Energy Sources

Many people dream of becoming energy independent. They see green energy sources not only as a way to greatly reduce their energy bills each month, but they also see it as a way to power their homes in a way that does not burn the Earth's resources, and does not harm the environment.

The green energy sources that are the most popular are solar energy and wind energy. While there are other forms of green energy, these are the most popular because they are the two sources that are the most readily available. You do not have to relocate to take advantage of these sources, and they are both relatively inexpensive to get started with. While making a complete change-over in your home can be a serious investment, it is possible to get stated on a smaller scale, and make a gradual change-over as you can afford to.

Solar Energy

The most popular form of green energy is solar energy. It collects sunlight using solar panels that convert that light into electricity. One reason this is so popular is because the system, once in place, is relatively low maintenance. Other than keeping the solar panels clean, there is not much to do to keep your solar energy system running. Because there are not any moving parts to wear out, breakdowns do not typically happen with this type of system.

The disadvantage of a solar energy system is that it requires a lot of direct sunlight to see real benefits from the system. If you are unfortunate enough to live in an area that has considerable cloud cover on a regular basis you may not see the same benefits as someone living in a sunny location.

That does not mean that you should discount solar energy as a good energy source, it just means you will need to take steps to make the most of the times the sun is shining brightly. By increasing the number of panels you will be able to generate more energy in a shorter period of time. If you have your solar generators hooked to a battery system, you will be able to capture that extra energy to use at night, or on cloudy days.

Wind Energy

Another green energy source that has gotten quite a bit of attentions is wind energy. This form of energy harnesses the power of using propellers that turn a turbine which creates electricity. The good part about modern wind powered turbines is that they do not require a lot of wind to operate them. A steady breeze is often enough to turn the blades and begin generating electricity. Of course, the more wind you have, the quicker you will be able to generate significant amounts of electricity.

Unlike solar systems, you are not limited by the time of day for generating power. These systems will work day or night. Like the solar energy systems, you can hook a wind powered generator to a battery systems so you will have a steady supply of energy.

The biggest disadvantages of a wind energy systems is that the turbine does require more space that the solar cells, and are not as easily incorporated into the design of a house. A wind turbine also requires more maintenance that solar energy systems. It has more moving parts so you need to perform scheduled maintenance on the system to reduce the chances of a breakdown.

Green energy sources are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint without having to do away with many of the conveniences of modern life. You can lower your energy bills, and be more environmentally friendly in the process.


The Green Economy

"We can't drill and burn our way out of our economic and ecological ills, but we can invent and invest our way out", says Van Jones, the author of The Green Collar Economy and founder of Green for All.

This guy doesn't need my help nor do I get any consideration for recommending this book. But this is a thoughtful straight forward view of how we can help the economy, create jobs, and retool America to get out of this economic slump while repairing the environment. That's an incredible task and often encompassing goals that seem contradictory. But it's do-able! There is hardly anything these days that is more important or has more far reaching effects on each of us who live on the "third rock from the sun". We are all citizens of a global community. What happens to one of us good or bad, affects the rest of us. Check this book out. It is informative, thoughtful and I think you'll find it eye opening just how simple the solution is to getting our efforts headed in an effective and more appropriate manner.

You'll find it a very educational and entertaining read. No matter how you voted in the recent election, it was very clear that the large majority of us were ripe for change. We have all seen how our daily lives have been effected by the environment, poor decisions and lack of responsiveness over the last few years. Nobody can deny we need some changes. Van Jones shows us how our goals to provide an better place to live, more jobs, security for our families and save the environment are all goals that can be accomplished together without sacrificing one over another.

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones available on and bookstores everywhere

Physician with over thirty years experience in both family practice and emergency medicine in both rural and urban settings. Dr Kaler is also author of the medical mystery thriller Turnabout by Bruce Kaler. Visit my website at


Energy For the Earth - Renewable Energy Resources

Environmental conservation is quite the buzz word across the world in this day and age. The realization has dawned that if we do not act fast it may be too late to salvage the situation which is drawing nigh disaster.

The modern era is the age of rapid and often unfettered usage of energy, many times in a manner which is not quite responsible. Humans have denuded forests, degraded the land and also rapidly depleted the oil and coal reserves of the earth to such an extent that these resources could well be over in the next few decades if the current rate of resources exploitation continues.

It is in this context that the prospect of utilization of renewable sources of energy becomes all so important. This are essentially sources like the wind, solar energy, geo thermal, tides and hydroelectric power that can take care of the energy needs of the earth in a renewable manner which will not deplete as the years go by.

Solar energy: The sun is the ultimate source of energy for the earth. Use of photovoltaic cells is a hot new thing in the renewable energy sources market. The sun's heat is so strong that if tapped and transmitted properly, we could wipe out all energy gaps forever. A lot of countries including Germany and China are making impressive strides in the quest to tap solar energy to provide a clean and totally renewable source of energy for their energy hungry teeming millions of populations.

Wind Energy: Wind energy powers wind turbines that can generate as little as 600kw to as much as 5 MW of energy depending on the size of the wind turbine and wind mills. There are many spots in the world especially in coastal areas where these wind turbines can be installed to generate huge amounts of wind energy which is so clean and absolutely green. As of now it is estimated that we can generate 5 times the world's total energy needs through wind energy, provided the wind harvesting is done on a huge and unprecedented scale worldwide.

Water power: There are many forms of water power that can be harnessed. Hydroelectric power is generated from man-made dams that are present across the world. Again, this can also be generated by harnessing the waterfalls across mountain ranges. For instance, many Nordic countries generate a large part of their electricity through harnessing their mountain waterfalls. Ocean energy can also be harnessed by laying turbines that run on the basis of tides and sea waves. Vortex power is a new technology which involves placing obstacles in the past of gushing rivers and large streams so as to turn turbines and generate power.

Bio-fuel: Photosynthesis produces plants and these are a good source of energy. Biomass can be used directly to provide energy or produce bio-fuels. Bio-diesel can be used to power vehicles quite effectively. A lot of research is being conducted to ensure that effective use of bio-fuels becomes prevalent across the world.

If one has to preserve the environment, renewable sources of energy are indeed indispensable. The day is not quite far off when the world energy needs will wholly be met by renewable sources which are clean, green and sustainable. 

Now listen carefully --

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There's No Substitute for Smart Energy Conservation

Whether you are planning to live “off the grid” and free yourself from energy bills or just “kick back” and enjoy lower energy bills, the first step is always to understand your home's energy usage and employ good old fashioned energy conservation techniques.

The reason for this is simple – you can not be charged for what you don't use (in terms of energy...well this is strictly untrue if you are on a utility company's budget payment system...but we'll pretend for a moment that is not the case.) So, if you use less energy, your energy bill will go down.

Makes sense. do you conserve energy?

It all starts with understanding your home, and more to the point, understand how you and your family use energy. Simple everyday activities, like turning off the lights when you leave a room really can add up to make a difference. Now that the holidays are here, not going overboard with the lighted decorations (and those inflatable, light up decorations) can help. Of course, if you do go overboard (like many of us tend to) just mind the usage. There is no need to run them every night. If you must, run them a couple of hours at the most. Every hour those machines are being run, energy is being used – sometimes in mass quantity. And since you pay per kw/hour, this could really add up.


Energy conservation doesn't stop there, though. Only running the appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine when full saves on both electricity and hot water. (Hot water is a double whammy – you incur a water cost, plus the cost to heat the water...and keep it heated.) And promptly removing clothes from the dryer avoids running the dryer again to remove the wrinkles from clothes that have sat too long. (Dryers can be another double whammy...the electricity to run the motor, plus the cost of energy to heat the unit.)


By intelligently regulating the heating and cooling of your house, you can also conserve energy and keep your bills low throughout the year. For example, lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees F when you're home can save you as much as 5-10% during the cold season. And letting your thermostat go as high as in the mid 70's during the warm summer months will save you on air conditioning costs.


You can realize even more savings by avoiding overuse of the heat as well. For example, at night, it isn't necessary to keep the thermostat at 68. Try lowering it even more, and just doubling up on the blankets or cuddling up to your loved one to keep warm.


Keep in mind that all these tips might help you save money on energy...but when it comes to saving on your energy bills there aren't any guarantees. Why? Because every single home is different. Every single situation is different, just as every family uses energy differently. A family of 5 will use energy much differently than a family of 2. This isn't a bad thing at all – it is just a fact of life.


The Home Energy Audit Kit accounts for this, and will let you see exactly where your energy dollar is going, and how much energy you might be wasting. In fact, 90% of homes are wasting energy right now. You can get a copy of the home energy audit kit right now and stop the energy loss of your home by going to . You'll also be happy to know that this is the first kit that is guaranteed to help you find energy problems with your home!


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