Thursday, June 30, 2011

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views

Global Methane Initiative Moves Forward

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 07:09 PM PDT

Photo: Josh Sommers

Carbon dioxide isn't the sole contributor to global warming and climate change. An even larger and more dangerous chemical is methane, the abundant naturally occurring gas that can be found almost anywhere — from coal mines to cow farts and composting piles.

To this end, the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) reports that an enhanced global focus on methane is critical for furthering an international response to the real threats of climate change.  GMI gets right to the point: "Methane is a potent and short-lived greenhouse gas whose emissions currently account for over one-third of today's atmospheric warming."

The organization points out that numerous commercially proven technologies exist that can reduce or eliminate methane emissions while providing cost-effective clean energy.  The practices of Waste Management (WM) at some landfills in converting waste methane to electricity or liquid fuels provide two shining examples.

Making sound a solid economic platform part of managing methane has helped create market traction. Although actual numbers haven't been posted, WM at the Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site (DADS) launched the Denver program by producing enough electricity from landfill methane to fuel almost 3,000 homes – and that was over three years ago. The volume has no doubt increased by now – and the global climate has benefitted.

GMI says that its Methane to Markets Partnership, founded in 2004, has served as an important international initiative to focus global attention on the importance of reducing methane emissions. "But we can and must do more," GMI adds.

Among the key strategies in the Methane to Markets Partnership are efforts to initiate methane abatement and avoidance programs from sources like municipal wastewater, and encouraging all Partner countries to coordinate methane reduction efforts at home and abroad.

GMI reports that the Methane to Markets Partnership has successfully generated methane reduction projects in the agriculture, coal mining, landfill, and oil & natural gas industries. Accomplishments include:

  • Building international cooperation on methane mitigation among Partner Building international cooperation on methane mitigation among Partner countries, including all top 10 methane-emitting nations.
  • Supporting more than 300 projects that when fully implemented will reduce 60 MMTCO2E/year.
  • Leveraging the resources and expertise of over 1,000 Project Network members.
  • Complementing and facilitating national actions under the UNFCCC.

Why does methane happen to be so important? GMI provides these sobering facts:

  • Methane is the second most important GHG and is 25 times more potent than CO2 over a 100-year period. Methane emissions currently contribute to over one-third of today's anthropogenic warming.
  • Methane is a short-lived GHG and thus methane reduction plays a critical role in reducing the near term rate of warming and avoiding climatic tipping points.
  • Methane recovery and use delivers clean energy as well as improving local air and water quality.  Because methane is the primary component of natural gas, reducing emissions can be very cost-effective using available technologies and practices.  U.S. EPA estimates that by 2020, reductions of more than 1,500 MMtCO2E can be achieved at low cost.
  • Methane is an important tropospheric ozone precursor.  Studies have shown that reducing global methane emissions by 20% could avoid more than 300,000 ozone-related mortalities globally in 2030.  Reducing methane anywhere in the world helps air quality everywhere.

The significant challenge involves finding better ways of balancing methane emissions by creating sensible energy solutions.

Photo: Josh Sommers



New Racing Records Set by Electric Vehicles at Pikes Peak

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 07:00 AM PDT

Broken-Hearted Lawmakers Just Can’t Quit Incandescent Light Bulbs

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:13 AM PDT

state legislators try to preserve incandescent lightsAmerica’s love affair with the incandescent light bulb may still be smokin’ hot, but the affection appears to be somewhat one-sided according to a recent article by Rob Lever for AFP.  Lever details more than a dozen cases in which state lawmakers are trying desperately to ensure that the beloved bulbs stay on the market, despite new federal energy efficiency standards that effectively phase out the old technology. The real kicker comes at the tail end of the article, with a line from a spokesperson for the American Lighting Association. While certain legislators may carry a torch for incandescent tech, the bulb manufacturing industry has already “moved on down the road” to more attractive new technologies.

Light Bulb Industry Responds to New Efficiency Regulations

There is nothing in the new federal law that prohibits consumers from buying or using incandescent light bulbs. It simply establishes new efficiency standards, and manufacturers were not interested in investing in the R&D needed to improve the old technology. In particular, Philips has made the whole issue moot by coming out with a new energy efficient LED light that looks and acts just like the century-old incandescent bulb, but uses 28 percent less energy. Major retailers are also moving along. IKEA, for example, no longer carries incandescent bulbs even though the new energy efficiency standards aren’t phasing in until next year.

New Light Bulbs, New Green Jobs

Pushing U.S. manufacturers to continue churning out incandescent light bulbs doesn’t seem to make much sense when you consider that U.S. consumers are also ready to move along. According to a study commissioned by the lighting company Sylvania, the majority of U.S. consumers are “eager” to try more energy efficient lighting options. That makes the prospects look good for U.S. manufacturers to invest in new tech. Ironically, one of the states cited by Lever is Texas, where even as legislators try to keep the old flame alight, new lighting tech is creating new green jobs.

Light Bulbs and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

While there does not seem to be any statistical evidence of widespread incandescent light bulb hoarding, some federal legislators have also latched onto the light bulb issue and are pushing for a repeal of the new energy efficiency standards. Seems like a weird way to spend time – on the taxpayer’s dime – that could be put to better use creating jobs and such-all, but whatever. Love is blind.

[Update/correction: As a couple of alert readers have pointed out, I mixed up Philips's LED product with Ecovantage, which is an incandescent bulb modded out with halogen technology to achieve a 28 percent energy savings. Philips's AmbientLED bulbs save about 80 percent].

Image: Compact fluorescent light bulb by Dottie Mae on

Honda Hybrid Too Fast for Formula 1000, Asked to Leave

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:10 AM PDT

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Featured Desktop: Stef Gonzaga

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:00 PM PDT

This desktop belongs to Stephanie Gonzaga, a freelance copywriter who was interviewed by FreelanceSwitch some time ago. She has a highly customized Mac desktop that looks amazing. Click the image to check out a higher res version on Flickr.

Stef describes her desktop:

Hi Envato! Here’s my submission to Featured Desktops. :)

I change my Mac’s “theme” every month and I decided to go for a “happy” and “stickers” look for June 2011.

I’m not a big fan of icons on my desktop, so all you’ll see is the sunny wallpaper and the stickers dock. I only keep apps that I use everyday on my dock, so it’s pretty short and clean too.

I used IconFactory’s Stickers icon and dock set. It’s one of my favorites. Hope you guys like it! :)

I love it! What do you think of Stef’s desktop?

Would you like your desktop featured on Envato Notes? Upload your screenshot somewhere on the Web and let us know about it on our Write a Post page. Or upload it to Flickr and tag it with #envatonotesdesktops. Either way, add an interesting description. Each week we'll choose and publish a new screenshot.

25 Ways to Use a Facebook Page for Marketing

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 02:09 AM PDT

Facebook by Franco Bouly

Social networks are a great way to market your items. And many marketplace authors we have interviewed are using a Facebook page as part of their strategy.

So how are authors using Facebook? As a follow-up to our article on Twitter, I scoured through dozens of marketplace authors’ pages to find out. There is a lot of variety out there!

Here are 25 ways to use a Facebook page for marketing:

  1. Create a Facebook page rather than using your personal profile. Anyone can like your page, but people have to ask your permission to become your friend. And you may not always want to give that permission.
  2. Brand your Facebook page appropriately, including a high-quality profile picture. Reinforce your image. I love the branding of KemU-Studio‘s welcome page.
  3. Fill out your “Info” section with as much detail as you feel is appropriate. Keep your “About” section very short so your followers don’t have to click “…more” to find out.
  4. Remove any sections you are not using to save visitors clicking on things for no reason. Believe me, I’ve just visited dozens of authors Facebook pages, and it gets frustrating! And it gives the impression that your page is incomplete.
  5. Spice up your page with a Flash Facebook template. Are you using one? Let us know and link to it in the comments.
  6. Link to interesting and relevant posts on your blog, other blogs related to your field, and important industry-specific news. Add value with a comment that lets your “likers” know why to read the post. Neither empty walls, or walls that only advertise your stuff, are not very appealing! (OhmLab)
  7. Link to your YouTube videos. When you include the URL in your wall post, the video can be watched without leaving your page. (OhmLab)
  8. Leave comments on your wall about your creative process, including tips and software you find helpful. (OhmLab)
  9. Respond to everyone who writes on your wall. Show your visitors that you’re listening and appreciate them.
  10. Comment on other Facebook pages that are relevant, including other marketplace authors’ pages. Encourage them! All of those comments will make it easier for others to find you, give a positive impression, and show that you’re active in the community.
  11. Add a tab to profile some of your best work. Call it “Profile” or something similar. (Miks-Music and Sitebase have good ones.)
  12. Keep an eye on your wall for spam. Nothing will stop people visiting your page quicker than out-of-control spam – and it will look like you’re not serious about your page.
  13. Give free stuff to everyone who likes your page. This works best if it’s something you have created. These could be loops, wallpapers, icons, etc. (Miks-Music) Here’s an example from KemU-Studio‘s wall: “We proudly present You a FREE set of 700 (Yes! Seven hundred Icons!) called Kaito Icon Set, download and enjoy!”
  14. Link to your new items on the marketplace. Add a brief description that lets people know why they might be interested. (Ruven, Sitebase, SonicCube, Anderworks, Premium, Wattscreative, GljivecCreations)
  15. Let your “likers” know about any bundles they may be interested in – especially Envato bundles! Let them know about a good bargain, and they’ll thank you for it. (Ruven)
  16. Write about important milestones, like being featured or having the most popular item. (Ruven)
  17. Invite your Facebook followers to follow you on Twitter as well. (Ruven, Designcise) Consider using the Twitter app like DigitalScience and Anderworks to actually display your tweets on a tab of your page.
  18. Ask your followers for tips. Here’s an example from Sitebase: “Slightly modified computer setup for my new computer. Let me know if you have suggestion or tips to make it better:”
  19. Add other relevant Facebook pages to your page’s favorites. These will be displayed at the bottom of your left-hand pane. Include Envato, the relevant marketplaces, and any other industry-relevant pages. You may also want to include other marketplace authors. (DigitalScience, Pixelnourish, The-Graphic-Designer-Chris-Farina)
  20. Use the News app to give your page it’s own RSS feed. Use it to display items from your blog or other good sources of information. (DigitalScience)
  21. Use photo albums to display some of your items. Link to their marketplace URL in the image description. (DigitalScience, Anderworks, Pixelnourish, Mocarg)
  22. Show off your workspace or studio in a photo album. Let your followers get to know you. And your wall will look more interesting and inviting if there are some photos to display at the top. (SonicCube)
  23. AudioJungle authors may consider using a Band Profile like SonicCube.
  24. If you have a newsletter, add a sign-up form on your Facebook page. (Pixelnourish has one powered by MailChimp.)
  25. Use the Notes or Discussions section as a blog replacement or supplement. (Pixelnourish actually seems to copy or import them from her blog somehow. Mocarg uses a Discussion. DigitalZoomStudio uses the NetworkedBlogs app.)

Thanks for the great ideas, guys and girls. If we missed an idea you have, let us know about it in the comments. And feel free to show off anything that’s impressive on your Facebook page.

New Melbourne Office: Class of 2011

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 07:00 PM PDT

Here’s the 2011 Melbourne team checking out the new office.

From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Ryan, James, Collis, Mark, Jordan, Jason, John, Pete, Jacob, Vahid, April, Justine, Tim
  • Erin, Stu, Skellie, Jess, Fuad
  • Naysan, Chendo
  • Lady Clinton

Stay tuned for more photos of our new Melbourne office.