Eco Living

5 Anti-Idling Videos We Love

Sep 30th, 2013 | By Amy Leibrock

You've seen our anti-idling video, right? It's part of our I Turn It Off campaign to end unnecessary idling. Well, It turns out that we're not the only ones working to end unnecessary idling. Local governments, school districts and air quality agencies all over the country (and Canada) have take up the cause — and some of them have made their own videos. Some are slick, others homemade and campy, but they all share a common message: Stop idling! Here are some of our favorites.
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Eco Living

10 Reasons to Turn Off an Idling Car

May 24th, 2013 | By Amy Leibrock

It happens, we know. You're picking up a friend, waiting for your fast food order or just trying to warm up your car on cold morning — and you leave it running for a little while. It's easy to let those minutes tick by, but getting into the habit of turning your car off when you'll be idle for more than 10 seconds can make a big difference. Here's why...
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Transportation

Iraq's Sisyphean Struggle

Dec 26th, 2012 | By Aubrey Yee

Increasing oil production in Iraq is an uphill battle with volatile economic and political realities impeding successful expansion efforts. Bernstein research breaks down some of the challenges that lie ahead.
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Eco Living

Opower

Jul 5th, 2012 | By Aubrey Yee

Information-based energy efficiency (IBEE) is the new buzz in large scale energy savings, and Opower is one of the companies leading the pack. Utilitizing the power of social media and the information gleaned from massive amounts of data, Opower is helping Americans save incredible amounts of energy (and plenty of money) each month.
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Eco Living

Exercise as Energy

May 20th, 2012 | By Nicole Rogers

Imagine going to your morning spinning class, getting a great workout, and producing clean energy, all before breakfast. This isn’t some dream of the future – it’s something you could do tomorrow at certain gyms across the country.

That’s right, all of that energy you expend in your workout can be converted into usable electricity. Several companies are already making it possible. Based in Seattle, PlugOut specializes in making cardio equipment that returns electricity to the gym’s electrical system by plugging the standard three prong power cord that is included with the unit directly into a standard outlet. If the building isn’t using any electricity it will be returned to the power grid, essentially spinning the building’s meter backwards.

For gyms with fleets of cardio equipment who may not want to invest in all new equipment there are companies like ReRev that retrofit existing equipment to do the same thing. According to ReRev’s website, a typical 30-minute workout produces 50 watt hours of clean, carbon-free electricity. That’s enough electricity to power a laptop for one hour. Though that may not sound like a huge amount, think of how much cumulative power is generated by the legions of people who go to the gym on any given day.

Using PlugOut equipment, Portland’s Green Microgym is focused on maximizing energy creation. According to their website, through energy creation and saving culture, in 2010 they generated 36% of their own electricity, and saved 37,000 Kilowatt hours or 85% (compared to traditional gyms per square foot). Those 37,000 Kilowatt hours saved are equal to 74,000 pounds of carbon emissions, 81,400 miles not driven, or 15 acres of trees planted.

PlugOut equipment can be found at fitness centers nationwide, and ReRev has an impressive roster of universities, private gyms and organizations (including the US Air Force) who use their equipment. With any luck, and maybe a nudge from customers in the right direction, your local gym will recognize the potential to save energy and money. With this new technology on your side you could be on the path to becoming a lean, green, alternative energy machine.


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