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GreenTouch to unveil sustainable ICT network roadmap

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Mark your calendars: The Amsterdam-based GreenTouch™ Consortium, a global research initiative that wants to improve the energy efficiency of information and communications technology (ICT) networks by a factor of 1,000, will reveal a comprehensive Roadmap at an Open Forum on Thursday, November 17, in conjunction with the organization’s Members Meeting November 14-17 at the Edgewater Hotel in here in Seattle.

The GreenTouch Roadmap will be presented to consortium members and the public during the Open Forum’s morning session, and expert speakers will make presentations on energy-efficient network technologies, eco-sustainability, climate change and related topics during the afternoon. There is no charge to attend the GreenTouch Open Forum, but advance registration is required.

GreenTouch is a global consortium of leading service providers, academic and industrial research institutions and non-governmental organizations working together to “define the challenges, identify the trends and issues and develop solutions that will achieve the goal of delivering within five years the architecture, specifications, roadmap and demonstrations of key components needed to increase the energy efficiency of ICT  networks ‒ in particular, the service provider networks that make up the Internet ‒ by a factor of 1,000 from current levels.”

Since its formation last year the consortium has grown rapidly and now includes more than 300 participants from 50-plus member organizations in 19 countries. GreenTouch is comprised of diverse constituencies, including global telecommunications industry leaders, acclaimed research centers and premier academic institutions.

Written by William DiBenedetto

October 7, 2011 at 2:00 am

Can Supply Chains Reduce Emissions and Costs?

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It’s not necessarily an either/or proposition. Logistics managers trying to optimize supply chains for sustainability and emissions reductions face a tough question: how to implement those goals without breaking the bank.

The conventional thinking is that there’s always tradeoff: A transport company can reduce its CO2 emissions along a supply chain, but at a higher operating cost. Often much higher.

Findings released last month during a webinar sponsored by Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine suggest that in certain cases at least the best of both worlds is possible. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

June 7, 2011 at 2:00 am

PNW Trifecta: Shore power at Tacoma, FAA grant for Sea-Tac, EPA award for Portland

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It was a very good week indeed for green and Pacific Northwest—the PNW’s first cargo ship plugged into shore power at the Port of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received an $18 million environmental grant and the Port of Portland received a 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here’s the run-down:

- State, federal and Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express officials flipped the switch on October 27 on the Pacific Northwest’s first cargo ship to run on dockside shore power.

Helped by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. Also known as cold ironing, it’s a great way to reduce air-polluting diesel emissions, but has been slow to catch on. Passenger vessels at the Port of Seattle have had the shore power option for several years.

Tacoma port officials said the $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE’s 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, contributed about $1.2 million to retrofit the two ships to accommodate shore power connections and add some of the terminal infrastructure. The port provided environmental permitting, grant administration and project management.

The EPA grant was provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
(ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Read the rest of this entry »

Light bulb moment: DHL reducing carbon footprint with lighting retrofit

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Global logistics giant DHL is launching a coordinated lighting retrofit program at its Global Forwarding unit warehousing and distribution facilities in the Americas region, part of an “interim target” of reaching a 5 percent improvement in carbon efficiency by the end of year.

The program initially will be rolled out in the U.S. before expanding to Canada and Mexico, the company said.

As part of parent Deutsche Post DHL and its GoGreen climate protection program, which debuted in North America last year, DHL Global Forwarding’s goal is to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2020.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

August 30, 2010 at 2:00 am

Coffee Grounds and Mushrooms Unite!

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In honor of Thanksgiving, a short food-related post to consume.

BTTR Ventures (pronounced Better and as in Back To The Roots) has a thing about mushrooms, while Peet’s Coffee & Tea of course has a very big thing about coffee (and tea). This unlikely duo has joined forces in a clever and delicious waste-to-food recycling venture that produces gourmet mushrooms out of coffee grounds.

Some 16 billion pounds of coffee beans are used each year, most of which eventually wind up in landfills. Cal Berkley Haas School of Business grads Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Aorara founded the company to turn one of the largest waste streams in America into sustainable local food. They do this by using coffee grounds as the substrate to grow different varieties mushrooms.

BTTR donates 10 percent of profits back to the community. In addition, the venture is creating new jobs in local urban areas.

Peet’s, based in Emeryville, CA, is the primary source of BTTR’s coffee grounds.

BTTR oyster and shitake mushrooms are available at select Whole Foods Markets in the San Francisco Bay area. Their mushrooms are also available for online ordering.

BusinessWeek recently selected Velez and Aorara for its Top 25 Entrepreneurs in America Under 25, and they were one of the OG25 – the 25 most innovative start-ups – at Opportunity Green.

Guilt-free coffee and gourmet mushrooms – yum!

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Written by William DiBenedetto

November 25, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Eco-rate for the new energy economy

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eco_houseIt’s a Consumer Reports-type comparison shopping service for the eco-set.

Eco-rate is labor of environmental love and activism founded by a Seattle couple, Brycelaine Self and Colby Self.

“The Eco-rate idea is to allow people to compare common household products, based not only on their green attributes, but also on their affordability,” says Brycelaine Self, co-founder of Eco-rate and principal of a related green building, green marketing and energy consulting company, Eco-innovations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

November 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Sunday feeling: German brothel goes green

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BerlinbrothelIn this particular business it’s all about sustainability and energy reserves, more than most others.

A bordello in a Berlin red-light district is going green, largely out of economic necessity, a sign of our flagging economic times.

The country’s flaccid sex-for hire industry could learn  a lesson from the Maison d’Envie, or House of Desire, which is offering discounts to customers who bicycle their way to to the brothel’s door.

“It’s very difficult to find parking around here, and this option is better for our environment,” says Regina Goetz in an AFP report, a former prostitute who with husband Thomas owns and operates the brothel.

The global economic crisis has slashed the Goetz’ turnover by about one-half in the last year, but the green discount program is proving successful. Under the eco-discount program, 15 minutes in the brothel costs 25 euros ($37) rather than 30 euros ($45). To get the discount clients who come by bike must show their helmet or their padlock key. Those using the bus can show their ticket or monthly pass. They haven’t come up with a way to extend the discount to walkers, however.

Local residents in Prenzlauer Berg — a part of former East Berlin that is now home to many trendy boutiques, restaurants and clubs — staunchly supported the Green party in recent elections and have welcomed the bordello’s offer to emphasize the environment.

Quoted in an AFP report, Goetz says the brothel is a “business like any other. In these tight times, we are cutting costs. We’ve binned the tax advisor, reduced the hours of the cleaning lady, and I only buy low-cost cleaning products.”

Indeed, prostitution is big, and legal, business in Germany with some 400,000 workers, working like Trojans.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)  Brothels and prostitutes must be registered like normal businesses or it’s considered tax evasion. In general, police officers are not interested in the clients but if you’re game you must have a photo ID, such as a copy of your passport, with you.

It’s definitely a business with ups and downs, especially in dysfunctioning economic times. The House of Desire’s eco-discount is a win-win incentive all around: biking to a favorite sex spot is great foreplay if done correctly, it helps the environment by reducing certain noxious emissions, and saves gas, meaning more money and energy available for, well, you know.



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Written by William DiBenedetto

November 1, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Labor daze item – Shanghai Corporate Pavilion

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Shanghai-corporate-pavilion2-thumb-450x232If you’re wondering what to do with all of those old CD cases stacked around the ranch now that you either store and listen to your music online and/or have your faves stored on MP3s, how about building a new house or office with them? It can be done.

The China architecture firm Atelier Feichang Jianzhu (check out its amazing website) designed the stunning Shanghai Corporate Pavilion using thousands of plastic tubes made entirely from CD cases.Shanghai-corporate-pavilion4-thumb-450x337

Even better, the polycarbonate tubes can be recycled again entirely at the end of the building’s life.

And it’s solar! Energy is collected by way of a 5,249-foot solar thermal energy system of heat conducting tubes on the roof. They heat water up to 95 F and will be used to generate electricity.

The Shanghai Pavilion also features a misting system that can be sprayed in various patterns under the entrance ceiling, but it’s not merely a cosmetic nicety. The mist also will lower the temperature, purify the air and help create a comfortable climate in the pavilion.

Shanghai-corporate-pavilion-thumb-450x329



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Written by William DiBenedetto

September 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

Seattle, Tacoma push their “Green Gateway” status

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gg_logo1Size and distance matters a great deal when it comes to solidifying Pacific Northwest ports’ status as the “Green Gateway” for cargoes moving out of Asia.

It seems inherently obvious that the larger the cargo vessel and the shorter the route that its cargo has to travel, greenhouse gas emissions will lessen. What the Puget Sound ports of Seattle and Tacoma have done, for the first time it appears, is actually quantify this carbon footprint conclusion.

They did so in a study released Monday that estimates the GHG emissions from the delivery of cargo containers from the four most common-sized container ships in use – 4,500 TEUs, 6,500 TEUs, 8,500 TEUs, and 12,500 TEUs. The TEU, or 20-foot container equivalent unit, is the standard measure of all those ubiquitous boxes that are stacked on ships, rolling behind trucks or double-stacked on trains.

Their conclusion: The lowest emission route to ship cargo from Asia to the U.S. Midwest is through the Puget Sound – what they call the “Green Gateway” for trade.

“The carbon study results are good news, and a great boost to our efforts to measure and reduce our environmental impact,” said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani. “Our ongoing sustainability initiatives have created a Green Gateway that is good for our environment and our customers.”

It also adds environmental street-cred in the continuing competitive commercial battle between intermodal rail and all-water container services by taking aim from a carbon footprint perspective on the advantages of rail services from West Coast ports over all-water services to the Gulf and East coasts.

The study confirms “what we’ve known for a long time,” says Port of Tacoma Executive Director Tim Farrell. “This region has been a truly green gateway for a long time, and our customers are helping us demonstrate that businesses can do well by doing good.”

The study analyzes the carbon footprints of trade routes between Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and the U.S. distribution hubs of Chicago, Columbus and Memphis, as well as routes that use US East and Gulf Coast ports via the Panama and Suez canals. It was commissioned by the Port of Seattle and conducted by Herbert Engineering, a ship design, engineering and transportation consulting firm based in California.gg_final_map_for_web

A study comparison of the emissions of ocean-going containerships and domestic rail service finds that marine transportation emits about 1.5 to 2.25 less carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per TEU-mile than rail transportation. “This relationship favors shipping over rail transportation when travel distances are comparable,” the study continues. But the ocean distance from Asian ports to the West Coast ports and in particular the ports of Prince Rupert in British Columbia and Seattle “are so much shorter than the (all-water) distances to the East Coast ports that this more than offsets the detrimental impact of the longer rail distances from the West Coast ports.”

The report also finds that shipping though Seattle provides the lowest overall carbon emissions from the three Asian departure ports used in the study, when the cargo continues on to inland container terminals at Chicago and Columbus.

Prince Rupert, emerging as major rival to Seattle and Tacoma in intermodal rail services to the Midwest, has a similar emissions footprint. When shipping to Memphis, the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland have the lowest emissions.

The carbon footprint advantages from West Coast ports “can be quite significant,” the study says.  For example, “carbon emissions expressed in terms of emissions per TEU moves are approximately 41% lower when moving a container between Shanghai and Chicago via the port of Seattle on a 8,500 TEU containership, as opposed to moving the same container between Shanghai and Chicago via the Panama Canal and the port of New York/New Jersey on a 4,500 TEU containership. The latter-sized vessel is the largest that can currently fit through the canal.

View the study, “Carbon Footprint Study for the Asia to North America Intermodal Trade,” here.

Written by William DiBenedetto

May 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Sunday feeling:Plastiki Expedition

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plastiki1I was reading about David de Rothschild and his Plastiki Expedition yesterday in a New Yorker article. He’s building an entirely recyclable boat out of plastic water bottles and aims to sail it to the Eastern Garbage Patch sometime this year.

His website, Adventure Ecology is well worth exploring and check this for a video from that site on the boat and the expedition.

eastergarbagepatch

Written by William DiBenedetto

May 3, 2009 at 7:51 am

Posted in environment, green

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