Daily Green Wrap-up 5.November, 2012

Last week, Hyundai and Kia announced that they had each made errors in the way they tested the fuel economy of their new vehicles. “Honest mistakes” and “human error” were made during their in-house process for determining fuel economy figures that overestimated the rate at which vehicles like the Veloster and Elantra burn fuel. While most models were off by one or two MPGs, highway numbers for the Kia Soul were revised down by six MPGs in one instance.
At this point, you might be saying, wait, automakers get to test their own vehicles? Doesn’t the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do that?
Like many green technologies, wind power’s main drawback is a matter of size: Small turbines are inefficient and expensive, and utility scale turbines require too much land and capital for some communities. The Portable Power Center, a mobile, mid-sized wind turbine, could be just right.
The light bulb has come a long way since Edison introduced the carbon filament back in 1879. Even within the last couple of years, we have seen improvements in the modern LED light, including the futuristic smart-phone controlled LIFX and Lighting Science Group’s bulbs that can be controlled via smartphone. Now, we can add the Phillips hue, a new web-enabled LED system that will be offered exclusively through Apple. Each hue kit will contain three bulbs that are able to fit into any standard socket, and a bridge that connects them through wireless routers. Users will be able to control the hue by iOS or Android phones, allowing them to customize their home lighting experiences, change the hue’s color, and manage daily schedules for maximum efficiency.
With the holiday season right around the corner, you may have already started to plan your travel arrangements. And while traveling with children is always fun – it can be challenging if your child becomes bored and restless, especially when it comes to long car trips or flights. As a parent you are fully aware that being prepared for that ever dreaded question “Are we there yet?” is essential, regardless of the age of your children.
  • GreenJoyment(Ally): Another idea for an activity to engage kids during a vacation is to take some sort of “roaming gnome” with you. It’s fun to take pictures of your gnome (or stuffed animal, or cardboard-cut-out creature) in silly places during your vacation. Taking pictures of your gnome in front of the Eiffle tower, the Rocky Mountains, or even at a fun community event can exercise a child’s imagination and make great scrapbook material.
Developed by Dean Benstead, a graduate RMIT University in Melbourne, the O2 Pursuit is a pretty extraordinary bike. With a range of about 62 miles per ‘tank’ and top speeds of 87 mph, the modified Yamaha WR250R is powered entirely by compressed air. A canister with a compression of 3000 PSI, the same as those used by scuba divers, appears to power the bike as effectively as many electric motors—and Benstead’s technology has been nominated for a James Dyson Award.
Last week, I posted on the launch of the world’s largest community owned solar project in sunny old England. Travel North, across the border with Scotland, and you’ll find communities who are pushing for more wind turbines and community ownership as Scotland guns for 100% renewables by 2020.
After plenty of stories about electronics that are moving away from ease of disassembly (ahem, Apple), it’s refreshing to hear one where the outcome could dramatically improve the ability the disassemble and recycle electronic hardware at the end of a device’s life.
There is not a lot of room to grow vegetables in Singapore; they mostly grow condo towers. According to Sky Greens, only 7% of demand for vegetables is met locally, and fresh vegetables are often unavailable in the monsoon season. Now Sky Greens has introduced a vertical greenhouse, where plants are rotated around a 30 foot tall tower to get between five and ten times as much production as they would in traditional farms using conventional methods.
A research team at the New York Institute of Technology has come up with an innovative way to cut recovery costs from natural disasters. It’s cool, it’s recyclable and best of all, it’s almost free.

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