Únor 2013

Transition Dorking members to hold event to show how to save energy

28. února 2013 v 4:27 solar charger
A GROUP of Dorking environmental campaigners is to hold a special event in the town to encourage better practice in one of the least energy-efficient parts of Britain.

Members of Transition Dorking will explain how to save energy, and therefore money, and even earn cash by generating renewable electricity at their Eco Energy Day in St Martin's Walk on Saturday, March 9.

Group member Jacquetta Fewster said: "Local companies providing products that cut energy consumption and generate renewable energy will be showing off their wares - solar panels, ground-source heat pumps, LED light bulbs and the like - as well as answering the public's questions about these technologies, saving energy, and saving the planet."

Advice will also be available on cavity-wall insulation and draught-proofing, while representatives of Action Surrey will be explaining the new energy-efficiency loans that are available through the Government's Green Deal scheme, and the free energy assessments, worth 150, for Surrey residents.

Transition Dorking was formed by concerned residents in 2009, one year after Mole Valley was identified as the district with the third-highest rate of carbon emissions per resident in the country.

It is part of the national Transition Town initiative aimed at encouraging communities to shift to sustainable energy sources.

Mrs Fewster, of Hart Road, said next month's event had originally been planned to coincide with Climate Week, but had taken on greater significance following the news that energy bills will rise by another 10 per cent this spring.

She said: "Mole Valley has the third-worst ecological footprint in the UK, partly because many of its homes are older Victorian houses which can take a lot of energy to heat.

"In Surrey, 554 people died last year because of the cold, so Transition Dorking wants to make sure people find out how quick, easy and cheap it is to keep homes warm and help their neighbours do the same."

The Eaton plant on Tuscarawas Road in Vanport Township has been in operation since 1940. It was originally built as a Curtis Wright propeller plant. In 1948 Westinghouse Electric acquired the plant and began the production of electrical components and devices, relocating that business from East Pittsburgh. Easton acquired the plant from Westinghouse in 1994 and continued the manufacture of molded case circuit breakers under the brand name Cutler-Hammer and Eaton.

Today the plant is part of Eaton's Circuit Protection Division and manufactures a diverse product line of circuit breakers and accessories for many industrial markets such as mining and machine building, and the U.S. Navy.

The plant operates on 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 75 acres, and runs a two-shift operation five days per week, employing 410 people.

The outlook for the facility is promising; as the economy improves the facility should increase sales to its global customer base. The Beaver facility is considered an incubation platform where new products are developed before release to the market.

Locally, Eaton is involved in the community: The company supports United Way, Girls' Hope, Make-a-Wish, CYS, March of Dimes and Relay for Life. The plant also participates in several environmental programs to reduce water and energy use, and recycles paper, plastics, metals, cardboard, pallets, batteries and fluorescent lights to minimize impact on the environment.

Light Sculpture to Brighten the Bay Bridge

27. února 2013 v 3:33 street light
The new eastern span opens in the fall. And on March 5, artist Leo Villareal will unveil the Bay Lights, a massive light sculpture he's designed for the suspension section connecting Treasure Island to San Francisco.

Working with CalTrans crews, Villareal has hung 25,000 LED lights on the cables on the north side of the bridge.

The project will cost about $8 million, all of it raised by private donations. And Villareal said it will pay off by attracting $97 million in economic activity to San Francisco.

"Really?" I asked. "People are going to fly here to see it?" "Yes," he said. "Public art is a powerful magnet. Many people are drawn to this."

We were sitting on the Embarcadero, just north of the Bay Bridge. Bells were sounding behind us in the clock tower of the Ferry Building. But Villareal was focused on the sweeping view he had to the south, of the suspension span and the patterns forming in the lights he's hung.

"For me its all about discovery," he said. "Figuring out what it can do. I don't know in advance. There's a lot of chance and randomness in my process, so I'm here to make discoveries."

In his lap Villareal held a remote desktop connected to a computer in the bridge's central anchorage, with which he was orchestrating the lights as he practiced for the show's opening night.

"This is a program that we wrote," he said. "It's called Particle Universe. And we can change their mass, the velocity, gravity. All these things we find in nature. As an artist, I use all these equations and rules as material, really just play with them. I'm just sitting here waiting for something exciting or compelling to happen. When it does I capture that moment, and that becomes part of the mix."

As Villareal spoke, he made the lights seem to fall from the tops of the cables to the bottom. Then a shadow moved across the lights from Treasure Island toward the city, and back again, and then the lights rippled, as though reflecting the waves on the bay below.

"You would think you wouldn't be able to improvise with software," said Villareal. "But I've found ways on involving chance and working intuitively with software. You can spend more time with this that a sign in Las Vegas or Time Square that does one thing for one minute and then repeats over and over again. The other thing that's important for viewers is that they don't feel anxiety that they missed something. At any point that you're ready to jump in, there it is."

I asked Villareal now that he's spent so much time with the Bay Bridge, the commuter workhorse of the Bay Area, what he makes of its personality. It's a question he struggled to answer.

"You don't want to mess with it," he said. "You know I feel a lot of respect for it. I want to add something and augment what's here. These are the icons of the Bay Area, the bridges. I think there's also an honesty and integrity to the piece. That's very similar to what the bridge is like. I've done a couple of cable walks and gone to the top of the bridge and was amazed at how efficient it all is."

Villareal is a regular at the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada, and he says he wants people to gather on the Embarcadero to see the lights, the same way people gather around campfires out on the desert.

It seemed to be working that night as passersby gathered nearby, pointing up to the bridge.

"It looks kind of like some kind of star constellation to me," said Amy Gallie, one of the onlookers. "It becomes ethereal instead of something which is so prosaic that we're used to looking at."

Missing home, missing Maine

26. února 2013 v 6:55 solar photovoltaic system
The first thing that changes as you move down and out of the state is the tollbooth workers. Near Portland, the attendants are chatty. They smile as they hand you your change. If you're lost, they'll give you directions. No one honks from behind as they wait.

In New Hampshire, the attendants wear latex gloves and seldom smile. But they still make eye contact, which is better than the situation farther south, where the attendants don't turn their heads; they just put out their hand to collect the toll.

Although the boys and I were supposedly headed to a warmer climate, I could feel a chill creeping in. We were venturing into the rest of the world, a world that until 2008, when we moved to Maine, was all I had ever known. But now it seemed different: lonelier, busier and consumed by pavement.

When I crossed the Piscataqua River Bridge and dense pine trees disappeared from my rearview mirror, something in my heart begged me to turn around.

During the week of our visit, temperatures in D.C. were similar to Maine. Without piles of snow on the side of the road, however, D.C.'s winter somehow seemed colder. Car horns and engine brakes echoed throughout the city streets without any snowbank to stop them. Women's heels clicked on the sidewalk like they were walking down an empty hallway. No one seemed to know anyone else. Certainly, no one knew us.

The boys and I were dressed in our usual winter gear - scarves, hats, gloves - but the stores and restaurants we visited had nowhere to store them. More than once I reflexively tried to hang my coat from an imaginary hook on the side of the restaurant booth.

At the hotel, I looked for a mitten rack and a rubber mat for our wet shoes. I thought about a time when I saw these things for sale at L.L.Bean, along with roof rakes at the hardware store, and didn't know what use they'd be. Now, Maine's customs seem second nature to me.

In the beginning of our trip, the Metro was exciting and novel for the boys. We talked about Batman and Gotham City as we rode the steep escalators up from the Metro station and into the city. Across the Potomac River, in neighboring Crystal City, the boys marveled at the entirely underground shopping mall. But as the week went on and we schlepped through more tunnels and underground passageways, we all became fatigued.

"I miss the sun," one of the boys said. "And I miss grass to play in," said another.

We realized that we could spend an entire day going from Metro to Metro and tunnel to tunnel without ever seeing the outside. I began to feel like a mouse in a maze. Everything looked the same. The long fluorescent lights overhead started to make me sick. I didn't know if we were in Crystal City or Pentagon City, this Metro station or that Metro station.

We visited Dustin at the Pentagon on Thursday, and it was more tunnels, lights, corridors and windowless rooms. People passing us in the hallway frowned at the ground and didn't look up.

Soon, I started to realize that nearly everyone we encountered seemed to dislike their job or their commute. People were busy and stressed and seemingly unhappy. I wondered if the lights and the tunnels had sucked the life out of them. Or was it the honking cars and dimly lit subway stations? We shuffled like sheep from station to station, bumped and jostled by the passing crowds or the Metro's tracks.

One day, I stood in the rain lost and confused with the boys. We had taken the wrong Metro, and now we were turned around and unsure which way to go. Busy passersby moved us to the side with their quick steps. It occurred to me that no one for miles in all directions had any reason to care about us. They had trains to catch and tunnels to walk through. Clocks were ticking. We were in the way.

And right then I knew, when we crossed the Piscataqua again, this time headed north, the affectionate "cul-de-sac" title would have new meaning. I would sigh with relief as the pine trees enveloped us and the first tollbooth worker said, "Have a safe trip."

Corporate energy efficiency awareness on rise

25. února 2013 v 4:37 solar power systems
In just a few years, Ellwood City-based Appalachian Lighting Systems added its energy-efficient, LED lights to Pittsburgh International Airport, the Allegheny County Jail and the streets of Ontario, Canada.

Company President David McAnally expects more government agencies and commercial enterprises, faced with rising electricity costs, to switch to energy-efficient lighting.

"Every watt of electricity you don't have to generate, it's a huge savings," McAnally said.

Companies that manufacture energy-efficient products in Western Pennsylvania say customers are going green to save some green.

People turn to Energy Swing Windows in Murrysville for windows that will save them money on heating bills, said owner Don Darragh.

"That's always been an important concept and a value proposition that we've given to people," said Darragh, who began manufacturing windows in 2000 with energy efficiency in mind. "Windows are one thing you can buy that pay for themselves."

Darragh's company installs the windows it manufactures. The type of glass, the window design and the careful installation add to the savings, he said, noting that his natural gas bill dropped 37 percent when he installed the windows in his home a few years ago.

Bayer MaterialScience manufactures building materials that can greatly improve energy efficiency, whether they're used in new construction or a renovation, said Kim McDonald, a marketing manager for the company.

The company produces several types of insulation, including a spray polyurethane foam, that can help seal buildings, as well as sealants and adhesives that fill gaps where heat can escape.

"If your building is not well-insulated, you might as well leave all your windows open and heat the neighborhood," McDonald said.

Bayer produces an alternative to glass - polycarbonate glazing - that provides the aesthetics of glass but is vastly more energy efficient, McDonald said.

The LED lighting Appalachian Lighting produces is about 80 percent more efficient than traditional bulbs and gives the look of daylight, McAnally said.

"Lighting was pretty much the last bastion of old technology. It goes back 100 years. It was very inefficient, just a very poor use of energy," McAnally said. "With LED lighting, we're able to give the same levels or better quality levels of lightning to the facility at a fraction of the energy usage."

The lights last longer, which saves on maintenance costs, he added.

Saving energy is important, given the gadgets people use today.

"This type of lighting can help to offset the additional usage we've started to get accustomed to over the last couple of years," McAnally said.

Dim the lights, ramp up the romance

22. února 2013 v 4:38 street light
Valentine's Day has come and gone, but there are still ways that you can keep that wonderful feeling of romance in your home year-round.

First, a romantic setting isn't only for the bedroom and it's not only about Champagne and roses. No, a romantic look can be woven throughout your home and adapted for both men and women. For example, there have been many special occasions in my own home when my wife and I would turn our family room into a romantic space by pulling a small game table right up to the fireplace, covering it with a beautiful floor-length brocade cloth, adding flowers, candlelight, our best china and silverware along with soft music in the background and presto - we had more of a romantic setting than any restaurant could ever offer us.

Lighting is key in romantic decorating, and it's imperative to stay clear of harsh fluorescent lights, or for that matter, too many lights. The best lights are those with low wattage that give off a soft warm glow. Dimmers and lamps should be used as the main source of light in a room instead of turning on the overhead lights . Soft muted lighting will go far in creating a sensuous mood, an essential component and really the very essence of a romantic room.

It's been said by some the colors that work best for creating a romantic setting are toned-down pinks, blues and greens. Although that may be true, I think stronger, warmer colors work to great advantage and can help to make a space feel more serene and romantic.

Whether used for just an accent wall or as an overall color, a warm, spicy shade of red paint is great. (Burnt sienna works well with this color.) But, almost any color can be used if you choose the right shade. Dark colors tend to make a large room look smaller but they can still work for rooms with a lot of light. On the other hand, colors that are too light may create a boring look. Try adding a soft gold color to the paint, which will add glamour to your space.

There's little doubt that fabric plays a major role in romantic design. In fact, luxurious fabrics are really the hallmark of romantic décor. Silks, brocades, taffetas and plush fabrics are absolutely the way to go for your drapery and upholstery. Always remember that the goal is to excite the senses with soft textures, rich fabrics and high-pile carpet. The more plush the better with this kind of design.

And when it comes to choosing furniture, graceful elegant curves are certainly the best way to go, along with darkly stained woods such as mahogany. But, if you're concerned that the lines are just too soft and feminine, then you can always choose to use more masculine type fabrics and still achieve a romantic look. For example, a highly styled sofa or a sexy chaise with beautifully shaped legs can work to great advantage upholstered in a fabric that appears neither masculine nor feminine, such as a striped pattern.

Personalizing a space with family photos in beautiful frames and mixed in with other dazzling accessories is de rigueur and will go far in helping to create that special mood. Gold colored items work very well for bringing it all together in a romantic way.

Fresh flowers with their wonderful aromas are great for a romantic setting along with scented candles, which some consider even better than soft lighting. If fresh flowers are too expensive, then you can always turn to potpourri . Use good scents for a truly romantic aura; avoid anything too overpowering.

In fact, nothing over the top should ever be considered. Too much red or too many big pillows or plants could actually "kill the golden goose" and take your room from romantic to tacky. Less is more when striving to create a romantic feeling. It's much better to go for the subtle hint of sexy that makes a room romantic rather than brash and tawdry. Too much of anything usually makes for a space full of distractions and very little serenity, so it's always a good idea to remove as much clutter and unused items as possible.

Retinal Implant Restores Partial Sight To Blind People

21. února 2013 v 3:46 solar photovoltaic system
Blind people have described smiles on friendly faces, the food on their plates, and household objects from telephones to dustbins, after surgeons fitted them with electronic chips to partially restore their vision.

Results from the first eight patients to enrol in a clinical trial of the retinal implants show that five found the chips improved their eyesight enough to be useful in everyday life.

All those involved - men and women aged 35 to 62 - had lost their sight to retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that destroys the light-sensitive cells in the eye. The chip stands in for the defunct cells by detecting light rays and converting them into electrical pulses, which are sent along the optic nerve to the brain.

Each patient spent up to 10 hours in surgery to have the 3mm by 3mm chip implanted in one eye. The chip is studded with 1,500 light-sensitive elements that pick up light falling on the macula, the most light-sensitive part of the retina (if you're reading on a mobile device, click here to see a video of the retinal implant).

The chip does not restore vision fully. Instead, patients see light and dark patches in a small part of their visual field, as if they had black-and-white tunnel vision. Though limited, some could read signs on doors, tell the time on analogue clocks and distinguish white wine from red, for example. One patient made out a white goose swimming on water, another saw a sunflower stem.

Writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team led by Eberhart Zrenner at the University Eye Hospital in Tübingen, Germany, describe patients' experiences and how they fared in a series of vision tests three to nine months after the implants were fitted. Three patients could immediately read letters, such as T, V, L and O. In another test, five participants could track bright dots as they moved across a computer screen.

The chip is powered wirelessly from a battery the patient wears in their pocket, so none of the equipment is clearly visible. A dial worn behind the ear allows the patient to adjust the brightness for different lighting conditions.

The trial follows a pilot study of the implants that impressed doctors in 2010. Though only patients from the German trial are reported in the latest paper, more people have since been fitted with the implants in Oxford, London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Robert MacLaren, a consultant retinal surgeon involved in the trial at Oxford Eye Hospital, said: "We've had success with the implants so far, there is no doubt about that. We've had completely blind patients who were able to see things again, but the technology is still early, we need to develop it further."

Tim Reddish, chairman of the British Paralympic Association, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 31, and had lost all useful sight seven years later. Now 55, he agreed to take part in the trial to help the scientists perfect the device, and had one fitted by MacLaren in October 2012.

"In the lab tests, when there are objects on a table, and the lighting is bright, I can tell you how many objects there are, and most of the time I can read the clock they have," Reddish told the Guardian.

"In the lab tests, when there are objects on a table, and the lighting is bright, I can tell you how many objects there are, and most of the time I can read the clock they have," Reddish told the Guardian.

But he added that the implant was not much help in his everyday life. "I have adapted very well to losing my sight, and the implant doesn't give me much assistance at the moment. I do see some light, but it's not enough to make out, for example, the end of a row of buildings."

Fluorescent Tracer 'Lights Up' Brain Tumor for Surgery

20. února 2013 v 4:33 solar charger
Neurosurgeons report that they harnessed the power of fluorescent light to illuminate a brain tumor so the entire growth could be removed.

A report describes a case in which a patient with glioblastoma swallowed a pill, called 5-ALA, and was taken to surgery about four hours later. The medication attached itself to tumor cells, causing them to glow brightly. Once the skull was opened, the doctors focused a blue light on the tumor, which gave the cancerous cells a pink glow, so the surgeons could differentiate malignant tissue from healthy tissue.

"This is a very, very good thing," said study author Mitchel Berger, chairman of neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco. "In this case, we just happened to notice we could see evidence of the tumor spreading along the way of the ventricles [a communicating network of brain cavities], which showed we could see tumor dissemination."

The authors noted that the best way to extend survival is to remove as much of the brain tumor as possible. The research is published in the Feb. 19 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

It's not always easy to see precisely where a tumor has spread in the brain. Some types of tumors can be particularly difficult to identify and remove, even with the benefit of MRI and surgical microscopes.

The use of fluorescence appears to be more effective than MRI technology, at least in this case, because the glow allows surgeons to see microscopic remnants of the tumor and areas of the cancer that might be mistaken for edema, or swelling, Berger explained. "This is an inexpensive way to identify high-grade tumors," he said.

Glioblastomas are a fast-growing type of tumor that usually occurs in adults and affects the brain more often than the spinal cord, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Why do tumor cells respond differently to the fluorescent drug than the body's other cells do? Their metabolism involves porphyrin, which has a tremendous ability to absorb light, Berger explained. Porphyrin is an organic compound, like the pigment in red blood cells. The pill used in the case report is derived from porphyrin.

The report focused on the case of a 56-year-old man who had undergone resection of a glioblastoma located in the right occipital lobe of his brain in 2005. Several years later, when symptoms reappeared, an MRI scan showed three distinct, new sites of tumor in the patient's right temporal lobe.

In surgery, when the surgeons viewed the fluorescent tumor cells, they could tell rather than being a new tumor, the cancer had spread from its original location on the right side of the brain through a pathway along the wall of the right ventricle. The researchers found that the use of 5-ALA during surgery enabled them to see the actual pathway of the tumor as it had spread.

While Schulder said he thinks 5-ALA probably will add about six months to the anticipated survival of patients with high-grade gliomas, he said that attempts to improve the ability to remove these tumors will only go so far. "In the end, however helpful the use of 5-ALA or similar compounds may be in the surgical removal of brain cancers, it won't be the answer. The treatments will have to be biological to truly have an impact on survival, and ultimately, on a cure."

Schulder said he thinks it would be possible for fluorescence to be used in other types of surgeries, if surgeons could become comfortable using a surgical microscope with the benefit of a special light (something neurosurgeons are accustomed to using). He noted that he also thinks the technique might apply to some spinal surgeries, where visualizing the spinal cord is critical.

Traditions Depicted In Art When “Memory Cloud” Opens

19. února 2013 v 4:40 street light
Several of Texas A&M University's traditions will be depicted in art when a new exhibit, "Memory Cloud," is formally revealed at 9:30 a.m. Friday at a ceremony in the J. Wayne Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center.

Memory Cloud, a permanent exhibit in the 12th Man Hall of the MSC, is described as "an ethereal constellation of light points in a sculptural cloud form." This "cloud" is composed of LED nodes flickering on and off to create three-dimensional silhouettes that float across a matrix of light. The images used to create the silhouettes are drawn from archived footage of time-honored traditions such as the Corp of Cadets, the Aggie Band, Kyle Field traditions, and past Aggie graduations.

Mixed in with these archival images will be a real-time feed of everyday student life, portraying the moving silhouettes of students in the MSC. Organizers say this will allow students to become both a viewer and the subject of the art. They add that Memory Cloud "expresses the dynamic pulse of Texas A&M's campus life, and connects the past with the absolute present."

It was selected from three finalists in a sculpture competition commissioned by the University Art Galleries at Texas A&M. The competition began in 2011 and the winners - Shane Allbritton, Norman Lee, Joe Meppelink and Andrew Vrana, a 1993 Texas A&M graduate - were chosen in February 2012.

The sculpture is positioned in the MSC so that it's constantly changing, undulating forms can be seen by students and visitors to the MSC as they travel up and down the surrounding stairways. As viewers move through the hall, the silhouettes seem to appear, then disappear. From certain angles, viewers see abstract patterns of pulsating lights; from other angles, they see moving, three-dimensional silhouettes.

"The piece will display images from a camera and will capture students walking by an area near the MSC's Flag Room," said Vrana, "and images from videos show Aggies in the past."

"The installation will collapse time and space so that viewers won't know if the images are live from the camera, or from videos from last year or decades ago," added Lee.

Specialising in a wide range of LED lighting including LED strip lights, plinth lights, lamps and kitchen lighting, the team at Simple Lighting regularly keep up to date with the growth and direction of the industry. As such they have noticed the increasing use of LEDs in different situations. A representative from the firm shares their thoughts on the matter.

LEDs have become a part of our everyday lives. As well as their presence in many home lighting systems, they are often used for display, show and exhibition purposes. Wherever we turn, LEDs are being deployed as an energy efficient alternative to regular bulbs. Their size and versatility makes them ideal for use in remote controls and computer lights, and they can even be found in novelty toys and gadgets.

Established in 2009, Simple Lighting Company aims to provide high quality lighting at some of the most competitive prices on the web. The company has grown considerably in recent years and supplies over 4000 products, specialising in LED lighting, LED tape, LED strip lights as well as indoor and outdoor lighting. Simple Lighting Company considers customer service its priority, regularly adding new products to the website.

Energy efficiency is good for business

18. února 2013 v 4:23 solar photovoltaic system
Small business owners are always looking for ways to save on unnecessary expenses and capitalize on profits. Watching the bottom line is a crucial and necessary task.

Still many business owners don't think about energy savings at the office like they do at home. But many are missing the opportunity for monthly savings.

And there's help out there not only to improve businesses energy savings, but to help business owners get the latest information on energy savings opportunities and how to market those efforts to customers.

Through a $250,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, Lewis and Clark County is offering a $1,500 grant program to help businesses offset energy efficiency upgrades.

Laura Erickson is the county grant coordinator and oversees the Tri County Business Efficiency Program.

The program is very simple. It is available for businesses located in Jefferson, Broadwater and Lewis and Clark counties. To qualify, you have to have an energy audit done (NorthWestern Energy does audits for free), which shows that upgrades could help your business save money. Then you have to dedicate at least $100 toward the upgrades to be eligible for the $1,500 grant money, Erickson said.

So far 27 businesses in the three counties have participated in the program. For some, the money has gone to offset much larger energy-upgrade expenses, for others the money has gone toward simple fixes like updating light bulbs and fixtures. However, the consistent result is that the upgrades wind up saving money in monthly expenses, Erickson said.

The process to apply for the grant money is really as simple as it sounds. If you own a business and want to save money on a monthly basis and need a bit of help to get some energy efficiency upgrades, call NorthWestern to schedule an energy audit and then call Erickson. She'll walk you through it from there. Some businesses have used the money to offset contractor expenses, some have used it to go to the local hardware store and buy light bulbs.

Erickson has enough money left from the three-year EPA grant to help about 100 more businesses. The county is in the second year of the grant, so time is running out.

Along with the business efficiency program, the EPA grant also helped Jefferson, Broadwater and Lewis and Clark counties start the Tri-County Green Business Program, which kicked off this month.

The Green Business Program provides two major benefits for participating businesses, said Emily Post, who runs the program. It helps business better market themselves as energy-efficient companies and provides a network of energy-efficiency educational opportunities.

The first Green Business Program was held last week at the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce and 25 businesses participated, Post said.

Signing up for the Green Business Program begins with a call to Post to schedule a consultation, then a free energy audit. The business then needs to act on the recommendations from the audit. Once that's complete, the business produces an environmental policy statement and applies to be Green Business Certified. Post helps prospective business owners through the entire process.

Actis Techologies unveils energy control solutions

17. února 2013 v 6:36 solar power systems
Actis Technologies (Tech), which specialises in audio-visual and integration technology solutions has recently launched integrated Energy Management Systems & Solutions. These solutions will include lighting control, daylight harvesting with high-tech solar adaptive shading solutions, green building systems and LED fixtures. Actis' innovative solutions will accurately measure, analyse and control the energy consumption in modern sustainable buildings. The solutions are aimed at corporate, residential and hospitality sectors.

Abhimanyu Gupta, Director, Actis Technologies, said, "Frequent power shortages and increase in energy costs have dampened the growth of the Indian industry in the last few years and this impact will continue to increase. Actis plans to partner with Indian industry in bringing these solutions to the fore and implement solutions that will bring clearly measurable benefits to businesses and consumers".

Daylight harvesting refers to the optimum use of natural light while using the artificial lighting. Actis plans to decrease the lighting power consumption depending on the sunlight available with the help of technologies like solar adaptive shading systems. The systems will be able to adjust the artificial lighting based on the position and angle of the sun at any given point of the day. The shades reduce glare and solar heat gain in the space, creating a comfortable work environment. It maximises the amount of available daylight entering a space, enhancing the energy saving potential by 15 per cent.

In addition to the sun-based adaptive systems, Actis will also be providing sensor technologies that maximises views as well as available daylight by compensating for cloudy conditions and shadows from neighbouring buildings. This technology works in conjunction with the solar adaptive shading solutions. The sensor detects levels of daylight and overrides the adaptive shading solutions ensuring that shades only close when conditions are appropriate. Most importantly, this process is completely automated and happens without any human intervention.

Actis Tech also offers occupancy sensors, which aid in conserving energy in an unoccupied space by turning off lights resulting into energy savings by 15 per cent (in open office space) up to 80 per cent (in storage areas/closets). The tuning mechanism in the Actis' offering which also helps in mood lighting saves about 20 per cent of energy.

Among all the lighting technologies in India, LED lighting has been considered to be most emerging segment due to its efficiency and long useful life. Actis will be introducing dimmable LED lighting fixtures which are cost-effective option for lighting a home or office space due to its long lifetime and shock resistance as compared to other incandescent light bulbs. These lighting fixtures can be controlled individually in a space with available natural light reducing energy costs by about ten per cent.

Gupta, added, "The solutions will enable consumers to ascertain the exact energy savings month on month. Actis' solutions can integrate various elements in a premise and provide intelligent control over various electrical systems to optimise the use of power with the cumulative savings of 60 per cent based on the above offering."

A lot of lore from days of yore about candles

7. února 2013 v 4:26 solar charger
I'm old enough to kno w firsthand about the days when homes were lighted by kerosene lamps. They were replaced by natural gas lamps before electric lights became common in every home.

I have an old kerosene lamp that we used when our power went out due to bad weather. Our house on Theodore Street had a gas pipe in the kitchen for use with gas lighting, but I never saw it used. My Mom told of how when she was a girl, one of her chores was to clean and refill the kerosene lamp that sat on the dining room table. As a boy, I was familiar with kerosene lanterns used to mark construction sites and warn of the danger of falling into a hole in the street or sidewalk.

What did people do for lighting before kerosene lamps? They used candles.

Candles evolved over a long period of time, beginning with different kinds of portable fires. Torches, made from fiber material soaked with some kind of oil, grease or wax needed only to have someone invent a wick to form the first primitive candle.

The first candles were expensive and not used by poor people. They were soft, melted easily and didn't last very long. They gave off some smoke and unpleasant odors. Some were made of tallow (the fat from a cow), whale oil, paraffin or other kinds of oil. Added ingredients made the candles stronger and less likely to bend out of shape when warmed.

Some candles were marked so they could tell time. As the candle burned down, the marks showed how many hours had passed since it was lit.

An organization known as The Christophers, used a slogan that said, "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." That meant instead of complaining about how dark it is, or how bad something is, it's better to do something about it. Even if that something is very little, it's better than doing nothing.

A longstanding tradition is putting candles on a birthday cake. Usually it's one candle for each year. Sometimes an extra one is added for good luck. I just had a birthday last month and there was no way I was going to have 95 candles on a birthday cake.

Part of the ritual was that the smoke and light rising from the candles would get the birthday person's secret wish granted. I always wished for another birthday.

I remember a real old joke about candles that depended on knowing that candles were expensive and not lit unless there was good reason to do so. It's about a very sick man, in bed, being tended by his younger brother. A candle burned by the sick man's bedside. When the caretaker was retiring for the night, he said to his dying brother, "If you feel yourself slipping away, don't forget to blow out the candle."

Candles, being open fires, were and still are, dangerous. The flame can ignite anything that burns. Curtains, drapes, clothing, tablecloths, furniture, bedding, and all kinds of paper products, can start a fire that will destroy property and kill or injure people.

One use for candles that I never understood why anyone would want to do, is to put lighted candles on a Christmas tree. My Mom often told of how at Christmas time, many homes were set on fire due to candles igniting the needles on a tree that had dried out. She remembered that happening when she was a girl.

I remember hearing of people using a lighted candle to find a gas leak. Not a good idea. Very dangerous. Same with trying to thaw frozen water pipes with the heat from a burning candle. Children playing with candles often either get burned or they start a fire.

Lighting55 Now Carries the Eminent Delta Light Collection

6. února 2013 v 4:41 street light
The well-known modern lighting company, Lighting55, is now carrying another brilliant brand named Delta Light. It is a manufacturing company form Belgium and has its distribution center for North America in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. With its focus on performance, dreams, passions, and emotions, this brand seeks to combine technology and beauty with human needs.

Delta Light product line sweeps in a vast collection of lighting fittings and fixtures. Its high ranking series features Delta Light , Delta Light Wall Sconces, and the Delta Light Floor Lamps. From high performance to incredible styling, these collections embrace it all.

The Delta Light Spatio collection includes a wide variety of ceiling lights. All the products under this series possess modern day features and rectangular structure. With adjustable movements, these lights fit any household or official space. The crafting and design of the ceiling lights employ aluminum as a major component. Operating on an optimum voltage range of 110 V - 125 V, they are ideal for everyday use. Also, these pieces have been refined with an assortment of classy finish to make them perfect for elegant surroundings.

Another excellent modern lighting collection from this superior brand is the Delta Light Outdoor Floor Lamps. With sturdy structure, rectangular shaping, and graceful appearance, these outdoor floor lamps exhibit an aura of their own when installed at a workspace. They have been composed of aluminum which provides long lasting endurance and reliability.

Most of these lamps are LED powered and have been painted white from the inside. As a result, they provide ample quantities of light and blend in with all kinds of ambiences and needs. This lamp series is available in two different forms of aluminum finish - Alu Grey or Grey Brown Finish. Both these options provide seamless refining to the outer as well as inner exposed structure. Also, all the ceiling lamps under this range come with suitable accessories.

After the Delta Light Spatio and the Delta Light Outdoor Floor Lamp collection, another tremendous assemblage is the Delta Light Outdoor Wall Sconces. All the pieces under this category comes in a wide spectrum of wall sconces that vary from long cylindrical fluorescent tube lights to rectangular lights with adjustable heads. These wall light fixtures provide long term durability and endurance. Made from aluminum, these wall sconces are also offered in both the Alu Grey and Grey Brown Finish. Their polished finish reflects an urbane and ultra-modern outlook. Whether it is the living room wall or office outdoor, the Delta Light Wall Sconces perform ideally in each case.

Sandra Bagel from UK communicated her experience with the contemporary Delta light collection, "When you spend huge chunks on the designing and building of your house or office, you cannot afford to take liberties on lighting. The Delta Light collection is the best choice I made while deciding for the lighting fixtures for my company. It perfectly complemented the sophisticated architecture, painting, and design of the building. Rather, it added more to enhance the outlook. I am totally satisfied with the entire range."

Brit boffins GANG-RESEARCH tiny LEDs

5. února 2013 v 4:16 solar photovoltaic system
A consortium of UK universities have banded together to spend some government cash building very small LEDs with a view to creating broadcast networks capable of hitting 1Gbps.

The team, led by the University of Strathclyde and taking contributions from research units at Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and St Andrews, plans to spend four years working out how to manufacturer and utilise micro-sized LEDs which can be bundled together to provide lighting, parallel communication channels, or used as pixels in giant light displays.

It is far from the first time flashing lights have been posited as a broadcast communications medium. The seminal work from Xerox on pads, tabs and screens - 1980s research attempting to predict the future of computing - used flashing infrared repeater hubs to simulate the wireless networks that hadn't been invented at the time.

There's also been much talk of using fluorescent lighting for broadcasting updates to intelligent supermarket shelves, but it turns out that a PFY is cheaper.

LEDs are a natural fit, they already flash very rapidly and the idea has attracted quite bit of interest - but that work is all based in elements a square millimetre in size, while the new team wants to get the size down into the micron space.

Being smaller means flashing faster - about 1,000 times faster according to the team. And by making each LED a subtly different colour, they can all transmit separate data streams, which means 1,000 of them packed into a square millimetre can outperform existing techniques a million times over.

Receiving the signal will, no doubt, be a key area for the project, which is funded with some of the 800m which gets awarded annually by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The project will last four years, and aspires to make "li-fi" (as the team would have it) routine within a decade.

Li-fi is limited to line of sight, human eyes being sensitive to the same part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but reflections could still be used and fast networking is valuable even without penetration.

It won't be replacing radio networks any time soon, but could easily fill some gaps, and if the worst comes to the worst the team will still have minuscule and multicolour LEDs which could be used to create television screens of any size imaginable.

As evening descends over the playa, so Mad Max becomes Blade Runner, the desert aglow with flashing fluorescent lights and plumes of fire being emitted from "mutant vehicles" - trucks, golf carts, anything that can be converted into mobile artworks.

These creations appear as floating mushrooms, a fire-breathing dragon, a gothic-style house on wheels and, my favourite, El Pulpo Mecanico - a giant octopus with bulging eyes and waving, flame-throwing tentacles.

Many of the art-cars become mobile discos, complete with thumping techno music; just jump on board for a ride to the next party at the next nightclub, featuring world-class DJs whose tables are powered by solar or propane gas.

The music continues all night; for those who want to sleep, earplugs are recommended. Then there are day clubs - heaving throngs of revellers who dance and sweat in the desert heat, being sprayed by water cannons. Yes, many are on drugs, but these moshpits seem less about artificial chemicals and more about serotonin, with a palpable spirit of acceptance and friendship.

Journalism school at USM adapts to industry changes

4. února 2013 v 4:28 solar power systems
The University of Southern Mississippi's College Hall is a historic preservation with modern amenities, combining 10-foot tall windows from the original 1912 structure with LED lighting and other energy-efficient upgrades.

The building's future tenant, the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism, also plans to meld the new with the old, as traditional media encounters 21st century challenges.

"We know that it's going to migrate into a digital format," said the school's director, Chris Campbell. "The technology is changing. The business model is changing. I think this generation of students is ultimately going to figure out how it's all going to work."

That's the hope of Southern Miss student Sarah Rogers, a junior broadcast journalism major, who said she switched from news editorial journalism in fall 2011 because she liked talk radio's "personal touch."

She believes there will be an industry awaiting her when she graduates. "Journalism is not going away," she said. "I think that we can learn to adapt with it and keep it going strong."

It's also the hope of "mass comm" officials, who are enacting a two-part plan to increase the school's visibility and student quality.

The restoration of the historic building is nearly complete, with folks scheduled to move into classrooms, offices and studios in August.

Work began in 2011 on College Hall, the first academic building on the Southern Miss campus. It was paid for with $6.3 million left over from bond bills dating to 2002.

Now the project moves into its second phase. The university will kick off a fundraising campaign for the School of Mass Communication and Journalism on Friday, designed to raise money to equip the building as well as fund endowments for professorships and student scholarships.

Endowed scholarships will help attract better students. "We expect to raise the bar in terms of the students," Campbell said.

Meanwhile, the school's TV studio, radio station and digital photo labs all sorely require technology upgrades - the radio station soundboards date from the 1970s, for example.

Campbell said new equipment will cost at least hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly more. There is no set goal on the amount the campaign hopes to raise."It will depend on what we can get," he said.

Vice President for Advancement Bob Pierce hopes the time is ripe for this campaign, after a difficult last half of 2012 that saw fundraising efforts stumble.

"You cannot separate the environment for raising money for this kind of initiative from the overall fundraising environment for the university," he explained.

He points to the absence of a permanent president, with the resignation of Martha Saunders in April, and a winless football season as significant factors in the decline.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel with Rodney Bennett, the University of Georgia's vice president of student affairs, expected to be named president on Thursday. "It's a more promising environment for fundraising in 2013," he said.

Campbell believes he has a product to sell, despite the much-discussed nationwide problems affecting the newspaper industry. The school has 580 undergraduate students and 80 graduate students, the most it has ever had.

An infusion of 140 to 150 recording industry production majors with the introduction of the degree in 2010 is one factor for the increase.

But Campbell said that even without those new bodies, the number of majors in the school has swelled about 10 percent over five years ago.

Subic solar-energy firm gets DOE perks

1. února 2013 v 3:53 solar charger
Banda Solar Corp., a pioneering alternative energy company based in this free-port zone, is now gearing up to provide local customers with cost-efficient and environment-friendly solar-power systems after securing a certification from the Department of Energy (DOE).

Bob Silvers, president of Banda Solar, said his company has been allowed by the DOE to avail itself of incentives such as zero-percent value-added tax rate, tax- and duty-free importation of components and parts and materials, as well as income tax holidays, after a stringent evaluation and site validation by the DOE.

The accreditation is valid for three years.

Silvers added that the DOE certification would allow the manufacture of affordable solar-energy products in the country, since the bulk of these products used in the Philippines are being imported from China, Germany and the United States.

This would also help the firm promote its products better and in the process make alternative energy systems more accessible and affordable to the public, he said.

"[The DOE] incentives will be passed on to our customers to encourage them to use solar-powered products, thus helping in the improvement of renewable energy industry as well as achieving additional advantageous effects to the environment," Silvers added.

Banda Solar, a Subic-registered company that began as Bandacorp PI Inc. in 2006, is now producing export-quality energy and lighting systems and distributing solar panels and light-emitting diode lamps (LED) that could cut down power costs by more than 50 percent.

To promote the environment-friendly system, it also provides free consultation on solar power, as well as briefing on energy-saving devices ranging from air-conditioning system to solar street lights, solar water heater, and even home and industrial solar-lighting solutions.

As the first small-business enterprise dealing on alternative energy projects to receive such a DOE accreditation, Banda Solar is also looking at promoting the use of renewable energy in the Subic Bay Freeport by working with Subic Enerzone, the local power distributor, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in the Tipo Expressway lighting project.

The company is also promoting alternative energy awareness among residents of local communities by installing a one-kilowatt power station in Iram, an upland village populated mostly by Ayta tribesmen.

Silvers said solar power is picking up locally, as evidenced by strong demand for solar power or LED lamp systems among Subic companies like the Ocean Adventure marine theme park, gastight plastic storage manufacturer GrainPro, packaging manufacturer Pactec, global testing and certification firm SGS and ink solution provider Printing Images CtC Inc.

Banda Solar has also installed solar power systems to clients in Pampanga, Batangas, Ilocos Sur and Zambales.