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Help Wanted: CGO

August 27, 2007 6:49 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Does your company have a chief green officer? They do at Sun Microsystems, as explained in this San Jose Mercury News article. Dave Douglas' job involves everything from auditing the green practices of the corporate cafeteria to participating in data center design.

Letters, We've Got Letters...

August 22, 2007 6:22 am | by Evan Koblentz | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed:  To quote Paul Shaffer, "we've got lots and lots of letters" about The Efficiency Zone and my recent editorial in our print edition of ECN. Here are some highlights, surnames edited

Man 2, Machine 0

August 20, 2007 7:44 am | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: Two years ago, while editing a non-ECN technology newsletter, I stumbled onto this headline: "CRM School: A ray of hope for mentally retarded children." I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be offended because it sounded so strange. The hyperlink went to an Indian domain, which gave it credibility, but was this a joke, or a tale of some slimy corporation, or what?


Zonbu Mini PC: Boom or Boo-Boo?

August 17, 2007 11:30 am | Blogs | Comments

Productive Product: It’s tough to say exactly what the word “Zonbu” implies. Is it: A., the name of a millionaire’s estate, B. an unpopular central-African republic, C. some kind of vegetarian dessert, or D., just a made-up word because all the good names for a high-tech company are taken?

Wozniak's New Goal is Efficient Housing

August 14, 2007 10:48 am | by Evan Koblentz, online editor | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: Apple Inc. co-founder and legendary hacker Steve Wozniak recently found a new passion in energy-efficient housing.  Last month he told PC World magazine, "I have a long dream to build my own house in a very energy-efficient approach," and here at ECN we thought you'd like to know more. So we interviewed Woz by email. Here is a transcript

Portable Power Does Yoga

August 14, 2007 9:33 am | Blogs | Comments

Productive Product: What happens when you combine carbon nanotubes and electrolytes, embedded in paper? You create a flexible battery which can be molded into any shape and even cut with scissors, according to faculty and students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Center for Biotechnology.

The Electric Stampede

August 10, 2007 6:56 am | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: Last week I wrote about energy harvesting; here is a new example. MIT researchers are studying ways to power anything from subway trains to rock concerts by capturing the power of simple movements -- in these two cases it's the movement of human feet -- and to borrow

Green U.

August 9, 2007 11:00 am | by Evan Koblentz, online editor | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: If the world’s industrial and information cultures are going Earth-friendly, then we’ll need a new generation of trained technical professionals to be leaders. Universities are catching on to this demand by offering a variety of courses devoted to clean technology. Here in ECN’s home state of New Jersey, three top-flight schools exemplify the trend – the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.


It's a Mass Job Market

August 9, 2007 7:16 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Massachusetts history is rich in technology, not just colonial times. Now its local companies are making new history in the clean-tech field -- it's the fastest growing job market, surveyors found. "Of the current 14,400 jobs attributed to the sector, 6,258 are in energy efficiency

Physics + Nanotech = No Friction

August 6, 2007 11:33 am | Blogs | Comments

Productive Product: What if physics research into levitation could lead to frictionless electromechanics? Levitation is cool, but think of all the power you'd save in new product designs. It may soon be possible because scientists at the University of St. Andrews figured

Hot Air Out, Low Taxes In

August 6, 2007 10:51 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Tomorrow's data centers may not need any help with air conditioning, due to new R&D in server and appliance cooling techniques, and that process may yeild tax breaks, eWeek magazine reports. For cooling, the major hardware companies are working on

Green Consultants Thriving

August 6, 2007 10:38 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: The number of construction consultants calling themselves "green" experts is skyrocketing. They have varied backgrounds, such as in business, engineering, or general contracting, and there may be some without real qualifications at all.

To Make Energy, Just Be Yourself

August 3, 2007 7:02 am | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: I keep seeing articles about energy harvesting, which is the concept of generating electricity from life's daily movements. The latest reference is in this Associated Press story about environmentally friendly nightclubs -- a non-profit group called Enviu is working on a dance floor that captures


Congress Supports Energy RD

August 2, 2007 11:21 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: The U.S. Department of Defense's ARPA -- Advanced Research Projects Agency -- is a hugely successful organization, most famous in academic and civilian circles for funding the original Internet research (no, it wasn't made by Al Gore.)  Now Congress hopes to copy that

Photosynthesis Impacts Alternative Energy

July 27, 2007 12:05 pm | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Researchers found bacteria that can transform light into chemical energy -- a method of photosynthesis still not completely understood by science, but which could become an energy windfall if it's duplicatable by industry. The discovery happened at the famed Yellowstone National Park. The bacterium has "light-harvesting antennae known as chlorosomes

If You Can't Laugh At Yourself...

July 26, 2007 7:27 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Said the fictional Nick Sundin: "These 'eco' products are amazing -- they've totally changed my life Now, I just toss my used Seventh Generation-brand paper plates out the car window, knowing they'll soon be absorbed into the earth."

Sacramento's Regenerative Trains

July 25, 2007 11:13 am | Blogs | Comments

Productive Product: The city of Sacramento will soon test a system for regenerative braking on its light-rail trains. The idea is to capture the heat energy that exits trains when they're braking, and redirect that energy back into the grid. Similar technology is already used in hybrid cars, so this isn't too experimental, and therefore the prospects look good for taking it into production.

Approval Nears for Chicago Green Exchange

July 25, 2007 7:12 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Now this is innovative: a 93-year-old, 250,000 sq. ft. factory in Chicago is becoming a shopping, office, and housing complex exclusively for environmentally-friendly products and services. The local government is almost done with the permit approvals stage. There is a similar location in Oregon but not on this scale and not as diverse.

Power Saving Modes in External Hard Drive

July 24, 2007 11:30 am | Blogs | Comments

Productive Product: Kanguru Solutions announced the Eco Drive, an external hard drive with three power-saving modes. Its software automatically gauges drive usage to reduce power consumption and extends the life of the drive itself. In idle mode, the Eco Drive operates at 80 percent of normal consumption after 3 seconds of inactivity; in standby mode it

Progress in Energy Star for Servers Plan

July 24, 2007 10:35 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Britain's IT Week nicely summarizes the status of an expected Energy Star program for computer servers. A tiered system and various subcategories are likely, EPA and industry experts agree. (Desktops, laptops, and other computer products are already

Securing Fuel from Oil Shale

July 24, 2007 9:30 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: Oil shale and tar sands aren't exactly "alternative" energy sources in the non-fossil sense, but they are plentiful here in the United States. A new report from the Department of Energy explains the emerging technology used to harvest these

Are Biofuel Advocates Really Biofools?

July 23, 2007 7:56 am | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: It's crazy to think that American farms can supply enough corn biofuel to make any substantial dent into the energy crisis, columnist John Wasik says. Illinois is America's best place to grow corn, and even if you bulldozed the whole state (including Chicago), you'd only

Homemade Solar Panels, Cheap

July 20, 2007 11:37 am | Blogs | Comments

Productive Product: Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology are working on solar cells that can be painted or printed onto flexible plastic sheets. Head researcher Prof. Somenath Mitra predicts that someday, consumers will be able to make these cells using their computer printers

Portable Power Concerns Aren't New

July 18, 2007 12:04 pm | Blogs | Comments

Op-Ed: My hobby outside of life at ECN is collecting and restoring vintage computers. I write a blog about the hobby and, for my personal collection, I focus on portable systems. Last week I interviewed Henry Laxen who ran software development for a small company called Friends Amis in the early-to-mid 1980s.  Friends Amis designed the Hand Held Computer

Solar Science vs. Science Fiction

July 16, 2007 11:20 am | Blogs | Comments

Energy News: There's a good article in The New York Times about the promise vs. the realities of solar energy research. The best thing of solar energy is that it's infinite, at least for the next few billion years -- scientists agree on that much. But solar energy has an image problem. The new movie Sunshine

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