EarthTechling

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EarthTechling is an online consumer publication focused on all things green technology. From clean energy and electric vehicles to green gadgets and green buildings, our passionate team and readers weigh in on the latest green news, services, and products. We cover advancements in green technology occurring around the world from our home base here in Portland, Oregon, and have been doing so since late summer of 2009.

It’s a slow turn, but the Obama administration seems to be steering the wind power industry toward killing fewer birds. The latest sign: For the first time, a wind power company is paying for neglecting to do what it could to protect birds, including golden eagles. (See related blog post: “Federal Study Highlights Spike in Eagle…

Our recent story on a net-zero town hall in Upstate New York prompted a question about what impact snow might have on the solar panels that are installed, at a slight angle, on the building’s flat roof. This is a darn good question – and it turns out the scientists at Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center…

What a difference three years can make. In 2010, First Wind tried to do an initial public offering, but never made it out of the gate. Last Friday, in a sign of wind power’s now-entrenched place on the U.S. energy landscape, Pattern Energy Group had a successful IPO, raising $352 million. Of course, there was more that was different about…

How does a utility increase the amount of wind energy powering homes without putting up more turbines? You make sure every watt generated – or close to it – makes its way onto the grid. (See related quiz: “What You Don’t Know About Wind Energy.”) That’s what Maui Electric Company said [PDF] it’s doing, announcing changes in…

Would you be more likely to buy a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) such as a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf if you knew the power which fueled it came from a more renewable source? If so, you wouldn’t be alone, according to a new study which took a look at the green car buying habits of American drivers. (See related post:…

Information technology managers take note: The cloud can be your friend. U.S. government researchers built a model to test the energy cost of running common business applications using centralized data centers instead of local systems. Turned out the cloud’s energy efficiency advantages on a nationwide basis were huge – up to 87 percent, or around 23 billion…

We’ve known for months that 2012 was a huge year for wind power in the United States, so the headline from the wind industry’s big annual report released last week – that wind power grew by 28 percent – was a little stale. But poring over the 108-page document – provided to us on a…

The Scottish government this week approved plans to build an 11-turbine testing ground a few kilometers off the northeast coast of Scotland, rebuffing American celebrity real estate developer Donald Trump, who railed that the array will spoil the views from his seaside golf resort.

If you’re active on social media, you may have noticed a viral video about U.S. wealth inequality making the rounds. In just a few short days this video was watched and shared by millions, raising awareness about the difference between our perception of how wealth is divided and the reality. According to a report from energy start-up Opower, however,…

There’s good news in the long-running controversy about wind power and birds. A study of the notorious wind turbines in California’s Altamont Pass suggests that efforts to reduce the number of bird deaths from the spinning blades are succeeding.

There’s probably no type of renewable energy more polarizing than biofuels. Many economists and other analysts believe that in their present incarnation – food-crop-based fuels – these alternatives to oil fail to deliver the economic or environmental benefits sought. All the more reason, perhaps, to put money into research that can deliver truly sustainable fuels – which…

Perhaps the first Little Pig was right all along. In a demonstration about how to build a simple structure made entirely of recyclable or reusable materials, a small Parisian architecture firm called Studio 1984 chose straw as the main building material, designing a cozy, 15-square-meter “nest” that even the Big Bad Wolf would have to admire. The tiny structure, built earlier this fall…

It’s 10 p.m.—do you know where your insulation gaps are? As the winter months descend and much of the country braces for icy weather, a startup company in the Boston area called Sagewell is taking it to the streets to let homeowners know exactly where their heating dollars are escaping, and provides suggestions about how to make their homes more energy…

After decades of getting electricity from faraway pollution-and-greenhouse-gas-spewing coal-fired power plants, Los Angeles is looking out of state for less toxic forms of energy. An example: The city council this week approved [PDF] a 25-year power purchase agreement with K Road Moapa Solar for up to 250 megawatts of power from a solar power plant on tribal land of…

Solar is getting its due from the Energy Information Administration, which is now reporting customer-sited photovoltaic capacity, in addition to the utility-scale PV total. Earlier this year we reported on research by Michael Mendelsohn, a market and policy impact analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado, that revealed that EIA reports on the state of U.S.…

Putting more in than it takes out – across the board, that’s a key aspect of the bold sustainability plan the furniture giant IKEA says it will pursue over the next several years. The company on Tuesday vowed that by 2020 it will produce more renewable energy than it consumes in its stores and buildings. But what…

Wooden Wind Tower Claims Green Edge

The tens of thousands of massive towers around the world that hold megawatt-plus turbines hundreds of feet high, where the wind blows unimpede,d are fashioned of multiple steel plates rolled into a cylinder or conical shape, welded into sections of tower, and then bolted together onsite. Except for one. In Germany, the company TimberTower announced it had…

When it comes to sustainability, there’s no denying that Starbucks has been taking some steps in recent years. Some of those steps are small: introducing compostable hot-cup sleeves, for example, and turning old baked goods into plastics at its store in Hong Kong. Some of those steps are bigger, such as mandating that all new stores be built…

Over two years later, the Gulf Coast is still struggling to recover from the 2010 BP oil spill. Perhaps the only silver lining to this deadly event was the fact that it revealed to the world just how unprepared oil companies are to prevent, contain, and clean up offshore spills. Faced with this ugly truth, scientists…

Oregon Eco-Winery Goes Beyond LEED

In 2002, more than a dozen structures and countless trees were scorched in the course of the Biscuit Fire, which took down roughly 500,000 acres in southern Oregon. Now a Dayton-area winery with a history of green innovation — Stoller Family Estate — has put a number of those trees to use in its new tasting room, along with…

The breezy ridges that are so attractive to wind-power developers are also, quite often, prime raptor nesting territory. That’s the case on Kevin Rim, sandstone cliffs in north central Montana where NaturEner is building a 189-megawatt wind farm that will generate power for San Diego Gas and Electric. If this sounds like a situation that could…

As the London Olympics have concluded, the world’s attention turns to Rio. The XXXI Games in 2016 will mark the first Olympics for the South American continent; the Olympic flag was officially handed off at this summer’s closing ceremony. And as the world follows the day-by-day progress as Rio moves toward the next installment in 2016, all that green scrutiny directed at this summer’s…

It didn’t go 1,170 miles (1,886 kilometers) in 24 hours without stopping, but for an electric car, it’s still a mighty impressive distance — the equivalent of a mad dash from Seattle to Orange County, Calif. The Aussie consortium that pulled it off saw this unofficial EV world record as confirmation of their homegrown vehicle’s capabilities.…

They may not be sexy in a Top Gun kind of way, but the U.S. Navy’s continued investments in clean technologies for use throughout its operations recently extended to Pearl Harbor via 36 new electric vehicles. These new two- and four-passenger trucks and cargo vans are from Vantage Vehicle International out of California, who get the chassis for the vehicles from China…

It was no easy task getting a thousand or so solar panels past preservationists PO’d at the idea of PV on the iconic Alcatraz penitentiary – and now that the modules are up and operating, there’s the challenge of keeping the bird poop off them. A National Renewable Energy Laboratory feature detailed the challenge of locating the…