connected, wireless and smart urban furniture and infrastructure

Are micro grids the answer to climate change?

Wildfires in California are tragic and incredibly expensive.  Many lives lost.  Property and homes lost.  Livelihoods lost.  Sensitive habitat and wildlife lost. At well over $9 Billion, damages from the 2018 wildfires in Northern California were financially devastating. The cause for many, as it turns out, traces directly to the largest utility in the country, PG&E.  Lawsuits held PG&E fully liable which then caused an almost immediate bankruptcy filing to avoid billions in payouts, more than the company was worth.  As in 2001, the utility may come back even stronger and more profitable for shareholders.  As utility solar prices have plummeted, the bankruptcy will allow PG&E to renegotiate their (now) overpriced early stage large solar supply contracts.  Certainly a prudent financial move for PG&E to take advantage of.

Meanwhile, towns like Paradise, CA were literally wiped off the map from fast moving wildfires sparked by PG&E’s power lines running through densely wooded communities.  Will those livelihoods come back stronger?  Doubtful.  As most disasters go, many will simply leave as they have no jobs or income to return to.  Others will rebuild with insurance funds.  But, is that even a good idea?

Environmental, weather and fire experts are quick to point out that forest fires will continue to increase in frequency and ferocity as climate change continues to warm the planet and dry out many of earth’s forests.  So what can be done to avoid future calamity? There are 3 obvious choices:

  1. Build fire resistant homes and buildings.  When you light a match and hold on long enough, you will certainly get burned since the match stick is flammable.  So how can we not expect a wood frame home to burn down from a nearby forest fire.  Most of the trees are left standing after a fast moving fire since the wood is wet and protected by bark.  Meanwhile, nearby dry wood structures almost always burn to the ground.  In reality, wood stick construction really has no business in any alpine forest.  The easy solution lies with the Counties to only permit fire resistant construction in forests.  Insurance companies will likely catch on and assign more equitable risk (and cost) to fire prone properties as well.  While that may sting (a lot) for homeowners who want to rebuild, it’s more equitable for all as having ANY grid lines running through the forest is likely to cause future fires.
  2. Hold counties accountable for lax enforcement of fire protection codes around buildings.  The results from the fires going through Paradise and other towns seem to illustrate lax code enforcement.
  3. Require utilities to reroute transmission lines around forests and new buildings or communities in forests to be off grid with 100% self generation.  Until transmission lines are removed from forests, it is simply a matter of time before the next horrific and incredibly expensive fire will happen.  For the $9 billion price tag, there would be an army of developers lining up to build off grid communities for Paradise and many other towns.  Policy makers and insurance companies should come together to assign risk to the grid, instead of looking for a bailout that so often happens.

In the likely event that status quo utility power is restored and towns like Paradise are rebuilt like before, who will be responsible for the next destructive fire?  The utility for providing power or the county for allowing it or the residents for using (and paying for) that electricity?  In brutally honest terms, the drug pusher, the cop who looked the other way or the addict?

Is the risk worth the reward?  When nuclear power or any generation source is developed, the development is never 100% risk free.  When parents let their kids drive a car, they always know there is risk – and accept that.  So, why do we mandate near 100% reliability for electrical power?  In the future, utilities will be compelled to shut off power at the distribution level during high risk wind events.  Larger transmission lines will likely stay energized.  Will that eliminate all the risk?  Not at all.  The Camp Fire that roared through Paradise was caused by a transmission line (not local distribution lines). With that in mind, perhaps the electric grid could be de-risked by allowing even lower reliability or accessibility?  Transmission lines get shut off during wind events, or power lines are removed entirely from alpine forests.  That would certainly make way for more reliance on standalone distributed energy like many in Joshua Tree, CA or smart micro grids in larger communities like Borrego Springs after the Southern California wildfires of 2007?

With massive and deadly wildfires becoming an annual event in California, will PG&E simply cut down a bunch of trees and reinstall utility poles like before, or will the local governments demand better energy architecture going forward?  As of the writing of this post, the former seems to be playing out.  PG&E crews are (understandably) busily restoring power so homeowners and business owners have electricity to rebuild with and move on.  I believe a potentially faster and more resilient solution would be for builders to be required to build off grid homes or building-integrated microgrids while requisitioning developers to build community-scale microgrids that backup or augment distributed rooftop solar and wind on the buildings and carports.  This would simply be accelerating upcoming building codes in California.  Smart energy storage would be included in all new, energy efficient homes and buildings just like an appliance is today.  That energy storage could then be interconnected as the key component of a resilient community micro-grid.  Imagine that.  A town without unsightly and dangerous power lines that has long lasting, clean, self sufficient and resilient power!  What a simple and SAFE concept.

Author’s note:  When I introduced this concept just ten years ago it was commented as heresy in online blogs.  Today, probably “meh” or “wow, why aren’t we doing that?”

Grid (un)reliability

US utilities have traditionally been known for high reliability, but all that is changing.  Fast.

With power lines causing some of the biggest fires in US history, utilities are learning to cope with the risk by simply switching power off to large areas when it gets windy.  With wildfires consistently getting bigger and more frequent, that means grid power is already becoming less reliable.  But what if you run a business or a city or hospital or even a school is supposed to be an emergency shelter for the community?  This new variable will change your plans whether you like it or not.

Most organizations simply can’t just send people home or work in the dark or without air conditioning.  Building codes and safety regulations have a variety of requirements for occupant safety and comfort.  During natural disasters schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure is heavily relied upon to avoid serious calamity. So, what are your options?

You actually have several options, but they all have pros and cons:

  1. Install diesel backup generators.  That’s good, except two problems.  Diesel is a very dirty and smelly fossil fuel, and is often limited to emergencies only.  For some districts, an intentional outage may not qualify.  Also, if you have a serious emergency like a wildfire or earthquake, getting a refill of diesel fuel may be impossible for quite awhile after.
  2. Install solar.  Unfortunately, many customer are finding out that their solar was required to be installed with anti-islanding features and simply will not work when the grid is down.  Those need to be retrofitted with new inverters and switches to enable “safe islanding”.  Unfortunately, solar only works during the day, so if an outage happens when it’s cloudy or at night, you’ll be out of luck.
  3. Install wind.  Small wind helps provide power for smaller loads or buildings, even when it’s dark, but it’s intermittent.  Meaning it can go off suddenly and back on, but it often works at night when the sun doesn’t.
  4. Add battery storage.  Batteries can provide backup power reliably. With time of use electric rates and demand charges, batteries make solar and wind much more economical, except the added first cost and safety.  Most chemical batteries like lithium are pretty rare elements, toxic and hazardous.  Historically, they have been relegated to small computer backup systems and mobile devices, but with demand ramping up exponentially, research and improvements in materials, capacity and manufacturing are pushing prices down really fast and safety up. But there are other storage solutions too.
  5. Add thermal storage.  Ice storage, as in frozen water, has been around for hundreds of years and is very economical for special applications where cooling or refrigeration is needed.  Since most buildings have air conditioning and many in the food sector have large refrigerators and freezers, there’s a lot of opportunities for ice storage.  Perhaps the best part of ice storage is the storage medium itself. In many cases it’s one of the most abundant and sustainable chemicals on earth – good ole’ H2O.
  6. Finally, there’s the “do nothing” alternative and hope it doesn’t affect you.  Good luck with that. Since we live in a competitive world, others will solve the problem leaving you losing business or revenue you need to pay all those fixed costs and retirement checks.  Again, that may work once or even twice, but with a prolonged outage or frequency of outages, you’ll be out of business.

So, how do you decide what is best?  It depends…

It depends on a lot of variables like your campus or building’s design, the age of your systems, your operations, safety or risk factors, utility costs, future costs, location risks (e.g. likelihood of interruptions and outages), code requirements and more.  Fortunately, 3fficient has done this analysis many times and knows how to help you decide on the best options for your business or organization.  More importantly, we can help you avoid getting “analysis paralysis” or getting wrong inputs that cost you a lot.

For a free assessment of your buildings, Click here

For a free assessment of your infrastructure’s resiliency and security, contact us >.

Great Parks Need Great Public Safety

Urban planners and architects go to great effort and expense to design fun and interesting parks.  But is your urban park safe and secure for visitors?  Pretty easy to find tragic headlines that say no.  But how do you really know for sure?  Cameras, sensors, other smart tech?  Nice to have, but without electricity, that’s been pretty much impossible.  Until now!

Check out these cool new self-powered devices that are sure to bring attractive design, modern features and public safety to any park or urban space.  In fact, they double as cost effective furniture, community art and smart tech all in one.  A virtual 3-for-1.

Civic planners, architects, landscapers and public safety officers take notice.  You now have some great new tools to activate and energize your parks and open spaces.  Learn more.

Can your bench do this? Here’s how solar furniture attracts visitors and makes your company look amazing.

Ah, the good old bench. It’s the background subject of affection in many movies. A couple holding hands on a park bench. An old man sitting on a bench feeding pigeons. Two strangers sitting on a bench engaging in a conversation on a beautiful spring day. Remember when you last went outside and just sat on a bench?

Some things thankfully never change. People do still sit outside and in fact, we’re outside more than ever.  On sunny days, we like to sit in the shade. Because we are so busy, when we do take time to rest, we’re usually on our smartphone and wishing we could recharge our device batteries while recharging our mental batteries.  We expect more from everything these days and even benches are keeping up with the times.

3fficient heard from cities, business building owners, and universities who all said they’d love to see a bench that charged phones using solar energy. They also said they’d like other options, like providing internet access and lighting while getting local environmental and traffic data nearby. 3fficient answered the call and is proud to present our new initiative that we call Project FreeCharge.

Working with furniture and clean tech engineers has been really rewarding.  The lowly park bench is getting a big makeover with amazing new features:

  • Comfortable resting place with shade and weather protection
  • Smart lighting that knows when it’s time to dance with the music or alert public safety
  • Power adapters and outlets for mobile and portable devices
  • Instant alert and emergency activated monitoring for public safety
  • Solar panels that transform sunlight into energy
  • Smart energy storage that works up to 14 days without sunshine
  • Daily energy and environmental reporting
  • Drop in 1-day installation.
  • Sustainable materials

Why consider new self-powered benches?  Organizations that have installed smart renewable-energy-powered urban furniture tell us they communicate a strong message of sustainability to their customers.  They are simple to install and essentially free to operate because they don’t require connectivity to the electrical grid.  3fficient benches are battery-powered and provide incredible value.

So, next time you are outside, take a look at that old familiar bench and ask yourself, what if that bench could do more?  What if it charged devices for free?  What if it could track the number of visitors to that area?  What if it provided lighting that increased security?  What if it could call emergency services with the push of a button.  That would be amazing, right?

Take a moment to visit FreeCharge and see communities can DO MORE WITH LESS.

Hackers Infect Cameras, DVRs to Pull off Massive Internet Breach

With the internet becoming integral to just about everything in our lives, building owners are connecting their buildings and machines – the Internet of Things (IoT).  With this, is a mad rush by vendors, big and small to launch wireless products.  Unfortunately, almost all of them are doing it wrong. Google’s Nest, EcoBee, enOcean and Daintree offer wireless thermostats and lighting controls.  But, they are utilizing the customer’s own WiFi network which opens up significant risk for both the customer and the installer.

How much risk?  A lot….  On September 30th, hackers took control of WiFi connected security cameras and video recorders to launch one of the biggest Internet attacks in history. The unprecedented attack raised serious questions about how the Internet will cope with a flood of connected and vulnerable devices expected to come online in the next few years.  Read more…

As if the privacy risk alone wasn’t bad enough, using the customer’s WiFi can even be in direct violation of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) laws.

Enter Fácil.  At the backbone of its deep energy savings capabilities is the inherently secure wireless controls platform.  Like others, it uses wireless switches and thermostats to connect to control relays wired to light fixtures and a/c units.  It then mashes up data points like usage trends, occupancy, external environmental data and more to learn and make management really easy (fácil).  But the big difference is in the security and cost.  The communications and internals are vastly more secure than others.  Communications are completely separate and do not conflict with the crowded and vulnerable 802.11 WiFi band.  The communications chipsets have patented security unlike others.  Without getting extremely technical, it’s kind of like comparing modern smart chip credit cards (that initiate a new dynamic ID every transaction) to old static magnetic strips (that can easily be duplicated and spoofed again and again).

One of the best parts is that being wireless (and highly secure) actually has many advantages over even wired solutions.  First and foremost,  install (cap-ex) costs are cut by 70% compared to wired and 30% – 50% compared to semi-wireless offerings flooding the market.  Second, Renovation costs are almost insignificant.  With the rise of flexible office space, it’s becoming a necessity to have wireless in order to compete.  Third, If your wired system is connected to WiFi such as at EcoBee of other big box thermostats – think again.  Your network security is only as good as your weakest link.

So, whatever you do, just make darn sure your IT manager is up to speed on compliance and signs off on your controls upgrades, confirming they meet the highest security standards”.  Just ask the giant retailer, “Target” how hard that lesson was to learn…

 

Blockchain-based microgrid gives power to consumers

A new project in New York City is letting residents buy and sell renewable energy to each other, bypassing the central authority and the associated costs.  Could this be the future of distributed energy?  If so, what are the impediments?

Who will maintain the wires or distribution between buildings?  That should be the job of the utility distribution company and can be competitively bid by cities or counties.  It can also be managed by the municipal utility as is currently done in many cities already.  But, for pricing to be truly transparent, they should not own any generation.  Energy supply should be on the open market and priced competitively with full effects priced into the product.  For example, many states have outlawed smoking in public places.  Power generation should not be exempted.  Any waste or emission should be the responsibility of the generator.  In other words, no smoking allowed…

When will renewable energy be as reliable as we have come to expect from fossil fuels?   In some cases it already is, even at the granular rooftop level.  In very sunny climates, solar is very consistent.  With automatic load management and limited storage, it’s sufficient enough to be off grid altogether.  Perhaps a better question is, “Does solar really need to be as reliable as fossil fuel power plants?”  As more and more devices become unplugged, like project FreeCharge is doing, communities are realizing that the in many ways, distributed solar power is more reliable and resilient than central station fossil-fueled power plants.  Just ask the residents of New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy.

Read more about peer-to-peer energy transactions.

 

Crown Estate rolls out smart street furniture in shopping parks

The Crown Estate invests in smartphone charging benches at two of its Lifestyle retail parks.  Customers at both the Banbury Gateway Shopping Park and the MK1 Shopping Park in Milton Keynes will be able to charge their phones using smart benches.  The Crown Estate has rolled out smart benches at two of its Lifestyle retail parks – one of 14 retail parks managed by the company. The benches are designed by Strawberry Energy and sold in the US, Canada and Mexico by 3fficient.com.  They can charge Android, iPhones and other devices with USB connections.  Read more…

Electric Car Drivers, “We’ll Never Go Back To Gasoline”

Fully nine out of 10 electric-car drivers say they won’t go back to cars with internal-combustion engines, according to a new Ford survey. More often than not, that specifically means a battery electric car, Stephanie Janczak–Ford’s Manager of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Technology–said in a recent interview with CleanTechnica. Janczak noted that most current all-electric drivers said they would stay with that type of car, while plug-in hybrid owners were more inclined to consider switching to an all-electric vehicle.

Workers rejoice.  3fficient’s PowerPost delivers free EV charging to commuters.  For pennies a day, employers can provide free workplace charging to lower their carbon footprint.   Contact us to get yours now.

Source: Electric Car Drivers Tell Ford: We’ll Never Go Back To Gasoline

Spur clean-tech for smart cities – vote here.

Coming soon to smart cities – Next generation clean technologies that will help make fossil fuels irrelevant.

By 2050, 90% of the population will be in cities, 75% of all energy use and 80% of CO2 emissions will start with the cities.  When US Mayors return from their annual conference this weekend, city staffs will be challenged to accelerate smart city clean tech.  That’s us!  We are helping incubate some of the most incredible startups and early stage companies to make sure the best clean tech solutions keep on coming and get better every year…  Supporting innovative small business is the only way to reach your goals.  Won’t you join us?  Do more with less.  Be 3fficient!

Make sure you follow us to see upcoming announcements on new urban infrastructure.  I can’t wait to show you the stuff in development!  But, don’t let that delay you from purchasing our innovative new products available now.

Sincerely,
3fficient incubator team

Vote for smart campus sustainability!

If you or your institution care about climate change, lowering energy bills or student safety, we ask you to vote for 3fficient to win a $100k grant, so we can bring you free solar power, improved student safety and education.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

3fficient is helping incubate some incredible startups and early stage companies.  Our FreeCharge™ initiative is to further develop and deploy brilliant, solar-powered urban furniture to public and campus spaces.  Our designs cleanly integrate solar power, device charging, brilliant lighting, WiFi, emergency 911, environmental sensing, wayfinding and more into beautiful self-powered smart urban furniture.  Our initial products have already proven to be extremely useful, educational and valuable.

Our only ask is that you vote now and tell others, so we can qualify to compete with traditional and fossil-based businesses for a $100,000 grant.  No strings! Applications are closed and we must now exceed 250 votes to qualify by the 6/19/15 deadline.  This Friday!  Once we get over this first hurdle, we feel very confident in winning. We will use the funds to refine and improve our newest designs for commercialization and deployment.  We just need your Facebook vote now.

Please share this with all your sustainable-minded friends, students and their parents.  Deadline is this Friday.  Thank you!

Sincerely,

Doug Poffinbarger, President, 3fficient

PS.  Please remember to “like us” and “follow us” so we can keep you posted on our journey.  Do more with less.  Be 3fficient!

My first year with an electric vehicle.

My first year with an electric vehicle has been very interesting.

Buying a vehicle is a major purchase.  So, like most married couples, my wife and I discuss and agree upon all major decisions before hand.  In this case, it was my idea, so I decided to “test the waters” first.  During casual conversations, I asked about her perceptions of electric vehicles.  For the most part it was neutral to positive.  Positive on the environment and probable cost savings.  By far, her biggest concern (and mine) was the range.  So, I quietly started logging daily miles and found both vehicles were under 40 miles each day.  Better than expected!  It dawned on me that since both cars spent most of their time in the garage, with the keys on hooks next to each other, they really didn’t need to be “his and her” vehicles – they could be pool cars.  One for short commutes, one for long range as needed.  If we both had a long trip, we would have to plan for it anyway and could rent a car if needed.   I was convinced.  Now I had to get her on board.

So, I asked her if she would try to plan her daily trips a little better to see if she could reduce the wear and tear on our aging SUV and reduce the huge gas costs.  She did and her daily mileage dropped about 25% which also saved her a lot of time.  So, I tried a little psychology and suggested we both switch to EVs.  After a few dinner discussions, she suggested we try one and see how it goes.  Bingo!

Next up, shopping.

Now that she was on board with the concept, we needed to decide on which one and how to pay for it.  We ultimately decided on the Nissan Leaf as the size, headroom and storage was optimal for our family.  I’m tall (6’5″), have two teenagers and we frequent the beach.  The Leaf was the most practical at the time.  So, when my wife took the kids to to take a look, they went to the dealer and walked right past the Leaf.  My daughter said, “I hope it’s not that ugly one over there”.  As it turns out, it was, which of course delayed the decision.  But, like any new design, you start noticing them around and it grows on you.  After a week or two, she recanted her perception and we had everyone on board.  (No, our kids don’t make our decisions for us, but we weren’t in a rush either).  After deciding on our personal preferences and financing, we drove off the lot in our shiny new EV.

While we were shopping, I diligently researched charging options and how we might handle trips beyond a single charge.  From prior experience, I already knew there were several companies developing competing charging networks.  Something akin to video tape wars of long ago that ended up being displaced by DVDs anyway.  Since most cars spend most of the time parked at home or at work, the charging “network” is irrelevant for a commuter car.  Since that was true for us, my focus was on just using the 110v outlets in the garage or adding a 220v (Level 2) outlet.   Luckily we have a gas dryer which frees up an outlet.  Even if I didn’t have that, the panel had enough capacity to run 220v to the garage – if needed.  Ultimately, I decided to try out the regular 110v outlet for awhile and see how it worked.

The experience.

A year later and we’re still using just the 110v outlet.  However, we may add the 220v outlet to speed up charging during utility “off peak” hours or during our own “peak solar hours” when we add solar to the house (another story).  Basically, we just plug it in every night (after peak utility rates) and it’s full or nearly full in the morning.  The manufacturer states that charging to 100% can degrade battery longevity, so just under full is quite alright.  On occasion we may forget to plug it in at night, but after the first time, we’ve gotten in the habit like checking the door locks before turning in.

I’ve only needed to “fill up” while driving a couple times over the last year.  Once or twice because we forgot to charge the night before and the other car was in use.  So, I ran low, but found plenty of options nearby via the PlugShare app on my phone.  Other times were on longer trips beyond the “single tank” range.  I have found that most EV dealers have a high speed (Level 3) charger on site for free “customer” use. Or, there are proprietary networks to choose from.  However, I can’t see why any vendor would limit access (sales) by requiring a membership vs convenient point of sale model like the gas stations have?  In all, we’ve only had “range anxiety” a couple times, but always found an option.  Sometimes the wait was longer than we’d like, but overall not a big deal.

The overall driving experience has been great.  Thanks mostly to the engine.  Not to diminish automotive engineering, the greatness of the EV is simply the propulsion choice.  Electric motors are far superior to a reciprocating engine in almost every facet.  They accelerate faster which means they are safer for driving.  They are quieter and smoother which means no loud noises annoying the neighbors or your family.  They don’t pollute so you don’t choke everyone behind you in traffic or the kids while waiting for pickup.  They don’t require gas so no more smog checks, constant tuneups or sending our kids to “fight foreign wars”.  Or as many generals have said, “die transporting or protecting oil interests”.  They have very few moving parts which means they are much more dependable, easier and a lot cheaper to maintain.  They are far more efficient.  An electric motor is 90% – 98% efficient while a gas engine is only 26% – 30% efficient.  With batteries mounted low in the vehicle, the center of gravity is lowered which means they inherently handle really well.  The only question I would have is, why weren’t they offered a long, long time ago?

While there are some features and improvements I would make for my car, the experience of owning an electric vehicle has been absolutely outstanding.  Since California has proven that EV’s work and are truly viable (in fact preferred), I hope that all other states follow suit and mandate zero emissions vehicles to spur mass adoption.  With high volume pricing and availability, demand will surely grow and gas engines will be relegated to backup sources like they are for buildings and manufacturing already.

Two years later and we still love our electric vehicle.  In fact, it’s had quite an impact on our family.  One of the fun perks for me has been at the starting line, er um traffic lights.  On occasion or three, a kid with a noisy “rice rocket” will end up at the light next to me and I have so much fun seeing the look on their faces (in the rear view mirror) when the family car leaves ’em in the dust.  As for my kids – absolute converts.  One of the statements heard while sitting in congested traffic, “Why would anyone choose to drive a noisy carcinogen-belching machine when a clean, quiet (and much quicker) digital device is available.  Even the stodgy car enthusiast at CNET is becoming a convert.  As for the gas burning SUV?  That’s now backup only and sits in the garage most of the time.  When my daughter heads off to college (BioSci/EnvSci major) in the fall, we’ll dump the SUV once and for all…

 

 

 

It’s time to cut loose!

Spring is here and along with it come all the amazing colors and festivities.  Enjoying the warm weather and the upcoming Earth Day celebrations reminds us of the fragile shrinking planet we all share.  Nobody is more keenly aware of that than our students.

Today’s students are highly social and engaged in environmental, social and fiscal sustainability.  In fact, most universities have student run sustainability councils and their own budgets for capital improvements.  Students today, demand that their schools, colleges and universities have environmental sustainability on top of their priority list.  As a result, some of the most progressive universities and colleges differentiate themselves by their assault on reducing carbon and waste.

This same enthusiasm has grown into the corporate world and city-scape.  Those same grads live an increasingly mobile lifestyle and are migrating to engaging, energized communities.  They know that climate change is not their children’s responsibility, it is theirs.  As city leaders and planners look for options to keep their cities relevant and digitally connected, they are seeking to energize there cities and metro centers.  Fortunately the word is getting out and universities and cities alike are integrating our growing portfolio of smart city and campus solutions into their plans.

The iconic Strawberry Trees are being designed into several new developments and park enhancements.  The cool Evodia tables are making their way into many campus budgets and dining areas.  Our newest product, the Arc locker-style charging station is already in several colleges and events.  The newest version starts coming off the production line next week.  All of these were designed and developed by college grads looking to make the world a better place.

Last year, we adopted Strawberry energy and SolGreen.  And this week, we announced adding WrightGrid as a partner.  We are rapidly developing an amazing portfolio of free solar-powered charging stations and beautiful urban furniture, available in one place – 3fficient.com.  We have more awesome stuff incubating and more great news coming as we shape an entirely new industry of resilient, smart charging for the masses that is truly zero carbon (not to be confused with net-zero energy). So, next time you’re outdoors on a campus, a park, a bike trail, an event or just about any venue, ask yourself, would this be a good place for a lot of people to charge their devices for free with zero carbon?

The sun is free.  Shouldn’t solar energy be free too?

Doug Poffinbarger, CEO 3fficient.

Do you support solar charging?

strawberryOur partner, Strawberry energy is competing to enter the Verge CleanTech Accelerator in Silicon Valley.  This is a great opportunity for a young startup to showcase in front of influential people from famous Silicon Valley.  They are just one step closer to it, but really need your vote! Just click on this linkselect Strawberry energy and click Vote!
No registration, no connection with social media, just one click.  Thank you and please share!

It all boils down to the next 15 years

US Congress has gotten really good at kicking the can down the road, especially when it comes to climate change.  Doesn’t matter what party is in power.  It’s really up to the city leaders to take action – now.  Here’s why.

A major new report finds that if infrastructure investments during the next 15 years follow the current path of high carbon dioxide emissions, the world will sail well past the threshold of what world leaders consider to be dangerous amounts of global warming.

But the report also argues that it’s possible to foster economic growth and tackle climate change at the same time, in nations both rich and poor.

“Yes, it is possible to have better growth and better climate,” said Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico, who co-chaired a commission of 24 leaders from government, business, finance and economics in 19 countries. “We need to make some fundamental changes and tough choices.”

To put it more bluntly, Calderón said Tuesday, the next 15 years of development decisions will “determine the future of the world.”   Read more here.  http://mashable.com/2014/09/16/global-warming-fate-15-years/