Wife On The Wind Turbine

To get to where my wife Jen is standing in the nacelle, she had to climb 80 meters straight up, using the ladders inside wind turbine tower.  The heat index in South Texas that day was over 105 degrees, maybe more inside the tower.  It definitely isn’t for the faint hearted, but still is far better than working in a coal plant-check out those views. When the nacelle doors are opened to the sky, it’s a beautiful place to work. I hope one day all of our rural communities would have the option of climbing up wind turbines instead of down coal mines.

The Many Faces of American Power

If some of these photos are a prelude to Mitch Epstein’s book American Power, count me in.  As TreeHugger says, some of them are “startling” – especially the one with the big power plant behind the school. Take a look.
 

Austin’s Willingness To Car Share Signals Other Opportunities

Gas Pump | Half Way Between Austin and Houston

Image by George Dearing via Flickr

We just had a conversation yesterday with one of our friends about car sharing after seeing some related  news that Hertz will rent Nissan Leafs next year. She brought up a good point that perhaps this type of  widespread visibility for electric vehicles (EVs) could spur more car sharing options.

I do think there’s a clear tie in. Once folks can easily avoid the pump, it’s natural to start thinking about how to scale that across other parts of your life. The example that Paula used was the cost of maintaining a vehicle for students. By the time you figure in gas and parking, it adds up quick.

As Paula said, “why not  have a fleet of ‘shares’  between the big cities and start with some of the major campuses.”

That would that make sense for what’s known as the Texas Triangle – Houston, Austin and Dallas. It might not be far away.

This morning I noticed Austin was highlighted in a May series on FastCompany showcasing various smart cities across the country. What’s notable is the clip from the piece highlighting the enthusiastic uptake for Car2Go’s sharing program. That’s a great indicator for things to come. And don’t worry, Paula’s already sent an email to Car2Go.

[Update: To both ZipCar and Car2Go now.]

"The program lets city workers tap a free network of 200 smart cars and designated parking spaces for work errands — and pay by the minute to check a car out for personal use. In the first four months, demand was triple original estimates, and more than 1,000 employees climbed into the (shared) driver’s seat."

 

 

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Axion Installs Plastic Rail Road Bridge

120 Ton Locomotive successfully crosses Axion's RSC RR BridgeHow’s this for applying recycled plastics in the real world? Axion International says a Virginia bridge was built using 100% recycled plastic. This one sounds a little stronger than the LEGO version we have at home.

The bridges, designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff, utilize Axion’s patented Recycled Structural Composite (“RSC”) a thermoplastic solution consisting of nearly 100% recycled post-consumer and industrial plastic. Initial field test results confirm design criteria requirements.

Cintas Corporation’s Paper Shredding Program Eclipses Earth Day Goals

paper recycling bale

Image by tonx via Flickr

I’d like to see more of these types of shredding programs from Cintas Corporation.

Not only are they instrumental in protecting our privacy, they have the capability of being a community catalyst for sustainable practices. The education element alone could open the eyes of many a skeptic.

Take a look at these figures:

Cintas Corporation today announced it exceeded its goal of shredding 400 tons of paper in April by +55% percent, shredding a total of 618 tons of material through sponsored community shred events. Through these Cintas-powered events, the total amount of recycled material saved 10,506 trees, 1,854 cubic yards of landfill space, 2,427,000 kilowatts of energy, 1,236 barrels of oil and 4,326,000 gallons of water.

cintas

When we get to Austin, I’d like to get Cintas to sponsor a similar effort for some of the businesses around our neighborhood in Zilker. I bet there’s plenty of companies that would also donate used electronics or office equipment to combat eWaste abuse.

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