Category Archives: Environment Conservation

LED Lighting Buying Guide – LED light bulb Manufacturers

LED lighting isn’t new. In fact, it has been around for decades. LED stands for light emitting diode and until recently, were only used for specialty purposes such as indicator lamps, traffic signals, and exit signs. Over the years, changes have been made to the technology, making it an efficient replacement to incandescent and fluorescent lighting in the residential arena as well.

Light output of an LED lamp is considerably smaller than an incandescent bulb, but can be grouped together to improve the output, and high power LEDs are now available to completely replace the use of incandescent and fluorescent. Since LED uses DC electric power instead of AC, the lamps are equipped with conversion circuits. LED lights also require a driver, which is like a ballast for fluorescent lighting. Most are built into the light. Unlike fluorescent ballasts, the driver for the LED light will not interfere with television or radio signals.

LED Bulbs

LED lights have many advantages over incandescent and fluorescent. The singular directional output of light from an LED lamp make them a good choice for strip lighting, reading light, ceiling light, artwork lighting, and path lighting. Durable LED lighting comes in a waterproof variety as well, making them a nice choice for outdoor use in gardens and on patios. LED doesn’t attract bugs either! They can handle more wear and tear than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs as they can deal with vibration and they don’t mind being turned off and on repeatedly.

LED lights are sturdy, but they are also sensitive to heat, so the lamps typically include heat sink or some type of cooling mechanism, so be mindful of where you will be using the LED bulbs to ensure they do not become overheated. Using LED in an excessively warm spot can decrease the bulb’s lifespan. On a positive note, they don’t emit heat as incandescent bulbs do. Incandescent bulbs emit about 98% of their energy as heat. Another benefit to LED lighting is that they do not contain any mercury, which means they are non-toxic.

Unlike fluorescent, LED lights do not flicker. LED lights last a long time and unlike other light bulbs, they do not burn out, but rather dim over time. In areas where it is difficult to change the bulb, LED makes sense, as you will not have to replace them nearly as often as their counterparts.

The cost of LED lighting is initially more expensive compared to other lighting options. As demand grows, manufacturers will produce more products and the price will decrease. In addition, there are not a lot of lighting fixtures made for LED lamps. There are retrofit LED bulbs for use in traditional light fixtures, but they are costly. Because LED lasts longer than other types of bulbs, the initial cost can eventually catch up with the cost and operation of incandescent and fluorescent.

The low energy use makes LED lighting an environmentally wise choice and the long life of somewhere between 25 to 30 years, or roughly 40,000 hours of typical operation. When used in warmer climates, LED lamps can reduce the cost of cooling since they do not emit any heat, but when used in cooler climates there is no noticeable change.

Many pilot projects around the world are using LED lighting in different types of applications to increase public knowledge and interest. There are studies that have shown LED bulb manufacturers sometimes overstate the efficiency of their products, but overall, LED technology is a viable replacement for incandescent and fluorescent lighting. In fact, LED lamps last so long and save so much energy, it’s hard to imagine how the manufacturers will get any repeat business!

Neighborhood Green Space: Guide to Urban Farms

How Cities Transform Dead Space into Urban Farms

Our conception of agriculture has changed radically in the past 50 or 60 years, and that shift has caused global upheaval in the industry. In America, as well as other countries, industrialization and urbanization have resulted in a diminishing percentage of the population being directly involved in food-growing. Concerns about the economic, social and environmental costs of big industrial agriculture have many people looking to smaller-scale, localized farming. In a sense, we’re seeing a turn back to the old model.

A case in point is urban farming. In some of the world’s biggest and liveliest cities, the concept is being touted as a hot, new sustainable trend, and a means of growing food for the planet’s largest and most densely packed populations, on a local level. As with so many cultural movements, however, there’s a great deal of precedent to refer to: City vegetable plots and livestock pastures used to be commonplace.

The initial decline in urban farming was due in part to exploding human populations, intensifying development pressure and transformations in the food-growing industry. For generations of American children, the idea of a “farm” became inextricably linked with a rural landscape.

This conception is beginning to reverse, courtesy of increasing concerns over the economic and environmental costs of industrial food production and long-distance food transport, as well as the poor dietary choices of a rising proportion of the world’s population. Today’s urban agriculture takes a cue from the past, while drawing on the special advantages of modern urban technology.

Technological Innovation and Sustainability

Many urban farms emphasize organic and sustainable methods, partly because these ventures are coming of age in an era where more and more people are skeptical of big agribusinesses, and partly because of the special demands of raising animals and produce amid the dense population of the city. The desire for self-sufficiency, and the realities of limited space, have encouraged creativity and technological innovation.

The ECF (Efficient City Farming) Container Farm is a groundbreaking system founded on “aquaponics,” an integration of aquaculture and hydroponics. The container farm treats fish waste and uses it to supply nutrients to vegetables grown in the same facility. With plans to make these container farms available to any operation that wants one, ECF is also installing “the world’s largest rooftop aquaponic fish and vegetable farm” atop its Berlin headquarters in an old brewery malt house.

Aquaponics is also involved in another large-scale urban-agriculture initiative: Chicago’s The Plant. This off-the-grid venture, occupying a meat-packing building in the Back of the Yards section of the city, will strive to provide locally grown food, as well as a home for sustainable vendors. Food waste generated by The Plant and other nearby businesses will power an anaerobic digester, producing heat and electricity for the operations. The benefits of this system extend beyond food availability and energy efficiency.

“Such systems can also serve to create jobs in the inner city areas, as well to provide avenues for community engagement,” writer Akhila Vijayaraghavan notes on Triple Pundit.

Farms in the City

Urban farming initiatives are often centered on vast tracts of unused or under-used city infrastructure, such as abandoned factories and warehouses, parking lots and rooftops. Once thought of as wastelands, these forgotten corners of the city now yield healthful food for residents.

A recent overview of big-city farming on Cool Hunting suggests the ambition of these rejuvenations. For example, Lufa Farms is a Montreal-based operation that grows organic vegetables and fruits atop an office building. In Milwaukee, a one-time crane factory is now the four-acre farm of Sweet Water Organics, which sources everything from fish to vegetables for restaurants in the city. Bees raised on Brooklyn rooftops provide pollination services for the city’s vegetation, cultivated and otherwise, along with delicious honey.

Neighborhood Green Space

Urban farms don’t just provide healthy and delicious produce to city-dwellers; they also fundamentally alter the cityscape itself. Neighborhoods previously dominated by somber or decrepit industrial buildings and parking lots suddenly have a working green space that provides beauty and sustenance for the community.


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Clean Burning Coal technologies in the U.S – Prediction

In the United States, coal which is primarily used for electricity generation is the second largest contributor of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas contributing to environmental pollution, and sulfur dioxide responsible for causing acid rains.

Clean coal technology aims to reduce the environmental impact of coal energy generation by making the coal burn clean.

Clean Coal Burning CCS

The importance of clean coal technology is that it could greatly reduce the US dependence on the use of foreign oil thereby providing energy security, and making a positive environmental impact.

Clean Coal Technology

If clean burning coal were to become a primary and environmentally clean source for generating electricity, then this technology could be combined with energy storage materials such as high capacity batteries that could be used in the electric vehicles, and other industries.

Although, there is Vattenfall, a clean burning coal testing plant that was built in Germany in 2008 by the Swedish firm, it is not clear how economically feasible this technology is today. Another implication is that there is no clear way to dispose off carbon dioxide that is collected from the use of clean coal burning technology.

If the clean coal burning technology does not reach the level of economic feasibility, then there will be a potential for great disruptions due to the limited amounts of crude oil. There’s also a risk that many countries that have a lot of coal to burn will continue doing so without really addressing the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

Research and development to overcome CCS challenges

The biggest challenge in the clean coal burning technology lies in carbon dioxide capture and storage process (CCS). There are three principal ways to capture CO2 produced in power plants: Oxyfuel combustion, post-combustion and precombustion. There is currently a test plant in operation built by vattenfall in Germany. The tests are performed to evaluate the technology of Oxyfuel combustion before building a larger scale demonstration plant.

Prediction:

It seems likely that there will be more clean burning coal plants built and implemented throughout the world and potentially in the U.S through the governmental push, but it is hard to say if this technology will actually reach the level of economic feasibility, and if a solution can be found to dispose of the collected carbon dioxide gases.

My prediction is that clean burning coal technology may become more advanced, but I do not believe that that will be fully integrated as a viable source of clean electricity generation by 2025. Yet, I think that scientific advances made during this period will make this technology more feasible in the future. Further, just as the ongoing research and development can potentially make clean coal burning technology more feasible in the future, so will the advances in the wind farms, geothermal energy, solar technology, and nuclear power generation.

Other Alternatives to Hedge against potential Coal Technology Failure:

I think wind farms in particular have a strong potential to become a viable source of alternative energy. My belief is supported by the fact that wind power has become the second largest source of alternative energy after biomass derived energy in the United Kingdom. There is no reason why this technology could not become more integrated in the United States.

Also, I believe that nuclear power plants which accounted for 19.6% of the total electric energy consumption in the U.S in 2008, will become even more integrated thereby providing a solid hedge in case the clean coal technology never reaches the level of economic feasibility.

References:


http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/overview.html