In green technology news this week, several countries in Europe are sharing river restoration project information online, a hybrid mobile medical unit was on-site in North Carolina to treat casualties at the DMC, mobile robots are on trial in an effort to improve solar power efficiency in California, and in New York, a pharmacy is putting a fleet of electric delivery vehicles on the street.
SFW, a digital agency, has created a River Wiki to facilitate the collection and sharing of river restoration project information around Europe. The wiki, a website that allows its users to add, modify or delete its content via a Web browser (think Wikipedia), is funded by Europe’s RESTORE partnership for river restoration, managed jointly by Italy, Romania, Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
While there are many political casualties during the U.S. election season, those were not the type of urgent-care situations that Carolinas MED-1, an innovative, hybrid mobile medical unit, was onsite to treat at the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC), September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The roving rescue unit is funded by the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and operated by the Carolinas Healthcare System.
At the DNC, the crew of MED-1 promised to fulfill one more key objective: They offered to display, monitor and measure smart grid technology – integrating solar with traditional power generation in an effort to move one step closer to the development of a clean, sustainable mobile medical microgrid.
QBotix, a company specializing in robotics, has introduced the QTS (News - Alert) (QBotix Tracking System), designed to increase the efficiency of energy output in solar power plants. The QTS system has revolutionized solar tracking systems by using primary and secondary autonomous mobile robots to control 300 kilowatts of solar panels. The QTS requires the installation of a mounting system designed by QBotix without any individual motors. This is one of the downsides of conventional tracking system as it has many motors that are inefficient and require regular maintenance.
The robots, on the other hand, travel on a track and are able to adjust each system to face the sun in succession at the optimum angle.
Appropriately enough, Duane Reade, the New York City-based pharmacy chain, has found a remedy for gas. Its new fleet of 14 electric delivery trucks doesn’t run on fossil fuels or belch fumes. To reduce the impact of air pollution originating from the tailpipes of its legacy diesel-powered delivery trucks, Duane Reade has purchased 14 zero-emission commercial electric vehicles from Kansas City, Missouri-based Smith Electric Vehicles – replacing nearly 25 percent of the company's fleet with vans that run on lithium ion battery cell technology. The purchase was made in cooperation with Mission Electric, a partnership among and the Mayor’s Offices of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City and not-for-profits, including the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Cities Coalition, dedicated to educating and engaging the public around electric vehicles.
A massive structure in Fort Wayne, Indiana that could hold 28 football fields is now the largest warehouse and distribution center in North America to achieve LEED Gold certification – and the third largest in the world.
The facility is racking up other accomplishments as well. The ribbon-cutting ceremony this week marked the opening of the fourth General Mills building to attain LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council – or the fifth, if you include the Cereal Partners Worldwide Innovation Center in Switzerland, which is part of the company’s joint venture with Nestlé. The building makes use of several environmentally friendly design elements, including ventilation that exceeds fresh air requirements by 30 percent , and energy-efficient light fixtures, occupant sensors, high efficient HVAC systems, roof mounted up-blast exhaust fans and wall louvers – which make the facility 45 percent more energy efficient than the baseline model for industrial buildings.
Finally, Frederick, Maryland, was nicknamed “The Emerald City” by State Governor Martin O'Malley during a recent ceremony honoring Nexus Energy Homes – the net-zero builder of the new North Pointe GeoSolar Community. Nexus, based in Stevensville, MD, has received the highest level of recognition – Emerald Certification – from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center for the North Pointe project. Each of the 55 homes in the North Pointe offers a number of features that reduces environmental impact and enable the resident(s) to save energy, water, and money – among them grid-tied solar panels for net metering, geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting, total-recovery ventilation, and a whole-house HEPA filtration system.
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