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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : November/December 2006

Newslines
Actions and initiatives worth noting

2006
Compact fluorescent light bulbs saving big

Here’s a bright idea: Try using compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, as they can save the average person almost $100 a year if used in place of standard incandescent light bulbs. Although CFLs are more expensive initially—costing almost three times as much as incandescent bulbs—the fact that they use less energy to provide the same amount of light saves in the long run.

Additionally, CFLs last much longer than their counterparts: more than 10,000 hours rather than the 1,000 provided by incandescents.

Given that regular bulbs use .06 kilowatts an hour, while compact fluorescent bulbs use .015 kilowatts an hour, there is a tremendous savings in energy and greenhouse gas emissions when considering the fact that the average home has light bulbs burning for roughly 60 hours a day when individual bulbs' use is added together. With the national cost of energy averaging eight cents per kWh, the savings total 22 cents a day. Multiplied by 30 days, that is $7.50 a month. For a full year, the savings comes to at least $90.


Kyoto treaty-funded wind farm opens in China

A $300 million wind farm in China was officially opened recently by Environment Minister Ian Campbell, and is entirely funded under the Kyoto Protocol. The project is a joint venture between the Australian-based renewable energy company Roaring 40s and the China-based Datang Jilin Power Generation Company. Since Australia is not a Kyoto signatory, the project requires Datang Jilin to have a 51 percent stake in the project and the Australian company to have no more than a 49 percent stake.

Australian opposition environment spokesman Anthony Albanese is not too happy about the project. “This week we’re seeing our current environment minister (Ian Campbell) exposed as a fraud and a fool,” Albanese said.

The Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries to invest in emissions-reducing projects in developing countries as an alternative to more costly emission reductions in their own countries.


Biodiesel market growing with demand

The U.S. market for biodiesel experienced tremendous growth in 2005, about 50 percent over 2004. In the first half of 2006, the demand for biodiesel was so high that even the 50 existing biodiesel plants couldn’t keep up with the demand. To meet the growing need, more than 55 new plants are under construction and are anticipated to start production of the eco-friendly fuel between late 2006 through 2008.

Biodiesel fuels could significantly decrease the levels of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and small particulate matter in the atmosphere. Other advantages that come from using biodiesel fuel are better performance, high fuel lubricity and high oxygen level, including an increased cetane rating. The lubricating properties have proved to increase the life and cleanliness of the diesel engines.

Biodiesel is an environmentally friendly, renewable fuel made from new and used vegetable oils and animal fats. Although it possesses more advantages over petroleum-based fuels like tax reductions for producers and consumers, biodiesel has long been limited to a niche market only. The primary reason for this is its higher price.


Dark-colored shingles in the hot seat

Scientific studies reveal that different-colored shingles absorb and reflect varying amounts of heat. White shingles will conduct less and reflect more heat, whereas black shingles will contain and absorb the most heat. This is a fact on which 90 percent of American homeowners are failing to capitalize.

Roof heat transfer is the process of transferring the almost 200-degree roof temperatures into a home’s attic. As a result, attics can reach temperatures more than 140 degrees. This heat creates moisture that falls to the attic floor and onto the insulation. This moisture causes insulation to become less effective, and the heat then sinks into the home.

British bank offering green savings account

A new savings account designed to give you the chance to do your bit for the environment has been launched by Triodos Bank, one of the United Kingdom’s leading ethical banks. The Triodos Renewal Energy Bond is a two-year bond paying 4.5 percent that offers an opportunity to help combat global climate change. Investors can invest funds from £2,500 up to a maximum of a £10,000, to help support sustainable renewable energy projects.

According to Rachel Thrussell, head of savings at Moneyfacts.co.uk, “The new Triodos Bank account adopts a rather innovative approach to help a much-needed cause. Rather than paying a set donation, this account promises to use the funds to support sustainable renewable energy projects.”

Currently, there are more than 100 affinity savings accounts available in the UK, offering support to a favorite soccer team or charity.

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