This week at TreeHugger: About 50% of the power that a computer draws from the wall is wasted, turned to heat and sound, but it doesn't have to be that way. We spend a day (or three) in the life of a solar photovoltaic panel installer, and if that weren't enough sun-loving, we take a peek at Sunslates, which integrate solar panels right into your roof.
While we tend to think of buoys as devices that float on the water and serve primarily as ship markers, AWS Ocean Energy, a British company, is busily building an underwater buoy that can harness wave energy from 50 meters below the surface; and, because two water power stories are better than one, a company called Marine Current Turbines will be installing a 1.2 megawatt tidal turbine in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough in August. Lastly, we think the new Lightning electric car looks pretty good; it has 700bhp and does 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, so will it give the Tesla a run for its money?
About 50% of the power that a computer draws from the wall is wasted, turned to heat and sound. When you take into account that computers often sit idle or on standby, then the situation appears even worse. Not all machines are like this, though. Google fellow Urs Hölzle, said, "This is not a technology problem. We have power supplies with 90 percent efficiency shipping today." However, the power supplies would add $20 to the price of a computer, and in today's competitive market place manufacturers won't willingly add the parts. Google, Intel and a few PC and component companies has announced the formation of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which will try to change this state of affairs and get manufacturers to ship more efficient power supplies with new machines. The group is aiming for a figure of 90% efficiency on new machines by 2010, which would save 54 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in that year alone.
TreeHugger Kristin has a pretty interesting job; when she isn't writing green goodness, she installs solar photovoltaic panels in Southern California. She took us through a day (or three) in the life of a solar installer, which includes getting up before the sun, wearing lots of sunscreen, and something called "the racking." Despite that, it turns out to be a pretty cool-sounding job, we think, and because two solar stories are better than one, we also soak up some rays with Sunslates, slick little solar panels that fit right in to the shingles you might already have on your roof, if whole panels aren't in the cards.
While we tend to think of buoys as devices that float on the water and serve primarily as ship markers, AWS Ocean Energy, a British company, is working on changing that. They're building an underwater buoy that can harness wave energy from 50 meters below the surface; it harnesses wave energy at a distance through the changes in pressure produced by waves increasing and decreasing the water column. When a wave passes over a buoy at the surface, the local water pressure rises and the upper half of the device sinks. In between waves, the water column decreases, returning the water pressure to its normal level and causing the upper half to go up again. This pressure change is converted into electricity which can be fed into a power grid. And if one wave power story doesn't float your boat, check this out: a company called Marine Current Turbines will be installing a 1.2 megawatt tidal turbine in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough in August. The SeaGen turbine will be the world's largest ever tidal current device by a significant margin. It will generate clean electricity for approximately 1,000 homes.
Lastly, although the Tesla Motors' roadster has garnered lots of (well-deserved) press to this point, the new Lightning Car Company's ride may give it a run for its money. With 700 bhp and a 0-60 time of about 4 seconds, it's got plenty of giddyup to go with its sexy exterior, and the company is building the versatility to appeal to lots of folks; they're taking orders on their three different models now, with production planned to start in 2008. There's a luxury model, a lightweight sporty model and an extended range model with a range of 250 miles, all on clean, green battery power.