Posts tagged ‘energy’

California Science Teachers Event

Two weeks ago the Green Ninja Project hosted an evening event for about 100 K12 teachers attending the 2012 California Science Teachers Conference in San Jose. In addition to yummy kettle corn and a surprise visit from the Green Ninja, teachers were treated to a great selection of inspiring short films that promote climate and energy literacy. Of course, we also showed some of our best Green Ninja Films –  Photos of the event can be found here and a list of the films we showed are given below.

The Majestic Plastic Bags:

This is George:

Facebook: Unfriend Coal:

When the Krill is Gone (trailer only):

– GN Team

Shower shock

At my house this week we finally took advantage of the home water use efficiency evaluation service, offered free of charge by our county’s water district. It was an eye-opener!

Shower shock
We learned a lot about our water usage, and I was pretty amazed at how many gallons we use each day. Two people + 1 cat + small lawn = 250 gallons of water per day, on average. Wow. The biggest shock-eroo for me was that our shower head was pumping a whopping three gallons per minute. I had no idea. Apparently we are not alone. According to an article in Grist today, showers typically account for 17 percent of indoor household water use. The second biggest shock: our single greatest use of household energy by far was also the shower — the cost of hot water really adds up. Again, we’re not alone. According to the same article in Grist, indoor hot water use accounts for 15 percent of the average household’s energy budget. Holy cow.

Cost savings
Our friendly water-use evaluator gave us a new shower head for free. Just swapping to that new shower head has reduced the flow from 3 gallons per minute down to 1.5 gallons per minute. We were worried about whether less water meant a less enjoyable shower, but there was no detectable difference in our showering experience — great pressure, plenty of water, no problem. We’ll also experiment with turning the water temperature down a little bit. We are looking forward to checking next month’s water bill to see whether this change will translate into cost savings.

It got us to thinking about whether there are other simple changes we could do to save money on our utility bills. Hmmm…..

Teachers: try this with your students
What if you could make a science or math lesson out of a simple home resource use experiment like the one I’ve described above? Consider signing up for The Green Ninja Project’s  Smart Energy Contest.  It’s a fun and easy project kids can do at home themselves that will teach them a lot about the connection between their daily activities and the amount of energy they use. And, they might even end up saving their parents some money on their monthly utility bills. Your students can even win cool prizes like a pizza party for their class or having a tree planted in their name, among others. When you sign up, you also get some great gear to help you teach the lesson. If you try it, tell us! We’d love to hear about your experiences.

–Julie Noblitt, Green Ninja Team

Is asking Facebook to unfriend coal too much?

Sign on. Share a witty status update. Poke a friend. Pollute the air?

A new Greenpeace campaign is committed to drawing awareness to Facebook’s reliance on non-renewable sources.  The campaign is centered around the idea that the company’s data center in Prineville, Oregon will depend partially on energy derived from coal. The center has not yet been completed, but Facebook has already reacted to the Greenpeace campaign.

The company states that the location for their new facility was carefully chosen so that they could rely on the climate to keep the center cool, and not be forced to install energy-guzzling mechanical chillers. They claim the building will be LEED Gold certified, and will rely on recycled water to power an evaporative cooling system. In addressing the issue of coal, Facebook claims to be at the mercy of their power provider. They say that: “electrons powering that data center are produced by the various sources (e.g. hydro, natural gas, coal, geothermal, nuclear, etc.) the provider uses in proportions similar to the mix of sources used.”

The power provider for the Oregon facility,Pacific Power, has an energy mix that is weighted slightly more toward coal than the national average,” according to their official Greenpeace response. Facebook claims that Pacific Power’s long-term plan will move away from coal.

The company has long claimed to be a proud supporter of sustainability, but many are still not impressed with the measures they plan to take in Prineville.

The Greenpeace initiative is just one of many drawing attention to the energy usage of major companies, and is a good example of consumer awareness playing an important role in how businesses power up.  Increasingly, citizens are asking companies to consider the triple bottom line: people, profit, and the planet. By calling out to companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, we can ensure that they do their part to limit their negative impact on the environment.

Join the Greenpeace Facebook group.

Read the list of the Enivornmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Top 50 Green Power Partnership Businesses.


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