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Spray-on Solar Cells – Go Paint Your Wagon

One of the hindrances of solar cells is their cost-to-power ratio where in most cases the cost of an effective solar panel simply is expensive compared to the power that is generated. While there are many efforts to increase the power generation of solar panels, other efforts are being made to reduce their overall costs.

One of the most interesting efforts is the development of spray-on solar cells that cost a fraction compared to solar panels, but cover a very wide area for maximum solar absorption. This new technology promises an incredible amount of potential for a relatively low cost.

Developed at the University of Sheffield by a team of scientists, this effort creates what’s known as perovskite solar cells which is a new material that holds a great deal of promise in the solar industry. This is because it overcomes one of the potential stumbling blocks of the otherwise high cost of creating solar panels.

How Perovskite Works in Harnessing the Sun

For years, scientists have been looking for a means of spray painting to create solar cells that use semiconductors of organic origins. Perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide mineral, represents a real breakthrough in creating a more efficient form that can be widely used.

First demonstrated in 2012, the perovskite proved to create efficient photovoltaics which are needed to capture and transmit solar power. The spray painting process works quite well because little of the material is actually wasted and it can be scaled for high volume manufacturing in a similar way to applying paints to graphic arts or to vehicles.

The interest in perovskite has been growing considerably since it was first demonstrated as it is very cheap to produce, yet it can be applied to a wide number of applications. This is because most solar cells use silicon which takes a great deal of energy to produce. Perovskites on the other hand take very little energy to create.

The Future of Spray-on Solar Cells

Where this form of spray-on solar cell will have its maximum impact is in the amount of energy that is created using a cheap form of materials. While perovskite is not quite as efficient in terms of energy conversion as silicon, the substantially lower cost of the materials has made it one that has generated a lot of interest from manufacturers.

Currently, perovskite generates about 19 percent conversion compared to silicon which is 25 percent in terms of absorbing and converting solar energy. Perovskite replaces the organic cells that were used as part of the light absorbing layer which previous versions were only about 10 percent in terms of absorption. Perovskite is not only more efficient, it is very cheap and will no doubt start replacing the organic light absorbing layers.

There is still work to be done in getting perovskite to becoming even more efficient, but the fact that it does cost significantly less than previous organic versions and is easy to apply is causing the solar industry to rethink how it creates panels for energy absorption. As a renewable energy source, perovskite is helping to overcome one of the main issues that have kept solar panels relegated to a supplemental source.

 

5 Amazing Eco-Friendly Technologies for the Future

It’s difficult to comprehend how quickly our world’s population is expanding. To put things into perspective, there were roughly half the number of people alive in the 1970’s compared to today. At this current rate, of roughly 80 million people being born per year, there will be 8 billion people living on our planet by Spring 2024.

This is a staggering influx and means that our natural resources are being stretched to breaking point. Throughout the world, from South-East England to South Korea, there is now an innumerate demand for clean water, affordable food, and sustainable energy.

As a result, one of the greatest challenges facing scientists and governments is finding clean and renewable energy resources. Money is being poured into research which can solve our eco problems, meaning that technology is now also developing at a phenomenal rate.

With that in mind, here is a guide to 5 of the most exciting and promising technological advances which could change the way to produce and consume energy in the future.

 

5. Microgrids

A microgrid is a small-scale version of the centralized electricity systems which are currently located throughout the UK. However, unlike their larger counterparts, these grids work on a local level and provide energy directly to a community. There’s no enormous startup costs and there’s no need to transport the energy over significant distances to reach consumers.

But how will microgrids change the way we produce energy in the future?

First of all, microgrids can help to reduce a community’s carbon footprint. Through harnessing solar energy, for example, a microgrid can produce only the amount of electricity needed by the community. Furthermore, it can capture any residual heat that is wasted and reuse the energy to fuel homes.

Most important of all, however, is that microgrids give communities the opportunity to produce their own energy; thus freeing them from dependence on large grid companies. This is a good example of ‘bottom-up’ consumerism and means that energy production will become an open market for all. Microgrids have already become popular in rural India, for instance.

In the future, microgrids could allow clusters of households across the world to produce their own clean and renewable energy.

 

4. Pelamis Wave Power

Pelamis is an Edinburgh-based company who have designed and manufactured an incredible piece of technology, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter.

The Pelamis machine is made up of 5 large inflatable tube sections, each connected together by joints, which is then placed onto the ocean surface. As waves crash against the machine, the movement created within the Pelamis is converted into hydraulic power and then into electricity. This energy is then harnessed and sent back to shore using subsea cables.

The Pelamis machine generates green electricity which can be used for a variety of purposes. It can also be installed across the world, meaning that it’s not just useful in the North Sea.

This technology is still in its infancy, but the Pelamis has already demonstrated remarkable success and will potentially change the way we source our energy in the future.

 

3. Solar Cells

Everyone knows about solar panels, but it’s certain that this technology will see incredible advancements in the near future. Solar panels are being widely produced in China, allowing consumers in the East and West to purchase them incredibly cheaply compared to in the past. However, these panels are most commonly made from silicone cells. Silicone is cheap but it only absorbs a fraction of the sunshine which it’s intended to convert into electricity. That’s why solar panels are being revolutionized.

John Rodgers, a scientist from the University of Illinois, has devised a new kind of solar cell which is much more efficient at utilizing energy from the sun. Rather than using one cell, he has stacked four on top of another to create a ‘super’ cell. This might not seem terribly clever, but the results are staggering. His new cells are able to improve solar panel efficiency by 50% or more.

As more and more people embrace solar panels, it’s apparent that technology will continue to develop in a way that makes them much more efficient. This may include a gradual shift away from silicone cells to multi-layered cells.

 

2. Green Concrete

People have been producing and building with concrete ever since Roman emperors ruled the Mediterranean. However, concrete is one of the least environmentally-friendly products humans frequently use. Creating cement involves heating limestone to 1450 C and emitting a frightening amount of carbon dioxide in the process.

Our demand for concrete is unlikely to decrease, but scientists have discovered a way of making cement which actually absorbs carbon dioxide. The blocks are made from magnesium and are actually much stronger than their counterparts. However, during the hardening process, the concrete absorbs carbon dioxide; thus helping to improve our atmosphere.

 

1. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

Just as everyone is getting used to electric cars, it seems that hydrogen-fueled cars will become increasingly important in the future. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, so it only makes sense to utilize the element for our energy purposes. You can already lease hydrogen vehicles in California but they are not yet available for public purchase.

The great thing about hydrogen cars is that they run on hydrogen and oxygen from the air. As a result, they don’t send any dangerous pollutants into the atmosphere or consume finite fossil fuels. Some elite car manufacturers have already created hydrogen cars, such as Hyundai and Honda.

If you’re wondering where fuels cells come into this, then here is how the car works. The fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air and uses this to create electricity. The hydrogen and oxygen recombine and is released back into the atmosphere through steam. This means that we won’t ‘use up’ any hydrogen or oxygen.

Electric cars are fantastic, but they are dependent on electric outlets and some consumer report “range anxiety” with battery electric vehicles. Hydrogen cars, however, have a greater range, can be refueled in 5 minutes or less and also have zero emissions.

 

Final Thoughts

There are numerous challenges currently facing humanity, and there have been incredible efforts in recent years to solve our energy crisis. In the future, we will produce and consume our energy in an entirely different way. Hopefully some of the technology mentioned in this blog will go some way in contributing to this change.

 

About the Author

This blog was written by Jennifer Smith for the Green Deal Shop.com the premiere provider for all of your Green Deal assessment and installation needs.

 

Shipping Container Apartments – Constructive vs. Destructive

Australian National University Prefab Container Student Apartments

If you live in or around a major seaport, you have probably seen your fair share of massive ships loaded with containers that contain all sorts of different products. Shipping containers have long been used to transports goods from port to port, but it turns out that they are finding a new lease on life when their transport days are over.

You may know that used shipping containers are being repurposed to create living spaces, which is actually not as ridiculous as it may sound. They are spacious, durable, and easy to convert into a very functional living space. And besides single family housing, shipping container apartments are on the rise in some communities.

One place where this trend has really taken hold is in China, as the influx of migrant workers has had the country scrambling for ways to house all of them. The Chinese have been seeing a major boom in their economy, with the high levels of trade leading to a huge number of shipping containers making their way into the country.

Rather than just have the containers pile up unused, the Chinese government decided to put them to use as housing for the migrant workers. It does not take much to make the containers into a functional living space, and the workers are left with an affordable way to live.

I’m sure that many people will hear about the use of shipping containers as a living space and imagine that the conditions are quite horrid. This is in fact not the case, as the containers are cleaned and made livable before they are put into use.

If you don’t believe that to be the case, you need to look at the shipping container apartment complex that is now being used in Le Havre, France. The boxy look of the apartments looks more like a cool architectural project than anything else, and you really have to get up close to see that it is shipping containers that were used to create the building. The big giveaway when you get close is the doors, as they have retained the original look of the shipping container.

The French version of the shipping container home is a whole lot more luxurious than what the Chinese have, but there is a reason for that. These units are being sold as high-priced apartments, with each of the containers made specifically for that project. The Chinese, on the other hand, wanted to make living spaces that anyone could afford, which is why they went the used container route.

The major benefit of putting shipping containers to use in this way is for the benefits that recycling has in regard to saving the environment. China could have had thousands of these containers just left to rot once their shipping days are over. So, why not do something constructive with them? Constructive versus destructive, you might say. What they have done is kill two birds with one stone, and the success of the project will likely mean that other countries will start to adopt this practice.

 

Ikea Goes Solar in a Big Way

With the global warming crisis, governments and businesses across the world are turning to alternative sources of energy to cut down on their carbon footprint. Solar power is an attractive option to many, due to its ready availability and the potential to generate a steady source of power. The only inhibiting factor is the one time set up and installation cost. Despite government subsidies, uptake of solar power is still slower than predicted. Recently, the Swedish furniture giant IKEA has become one of the first companies to contract a solar panel project without any form of public funding.

How IKEA Aims to Harness Solar Energy

IKEA installed a large solar panel system on one of the roofs of its largest Italian store in Pisa. Over 2700 solar panels were used in the project. These were hoisted onto special mounted frames and assembled on site. It is estimated that solar heat can generate 696.15 kWp of energy, powering all the electricity needs of the store. The amount of energy is estimated to be equivalent to the usage of 800 people, with the overall costs similar to that supplied from the power grid. It is also reported that solar O&M service from Martifer Solar would be part of this project. It is hoped that other businesses would follow in IKEA’s footsteps and set up similar units, especially in the developing world such as China or India.

IKEA has helped boost solar energy as a viable and cheap renewable energy source. Its stores are now selling affordable photovoltaic systems and helping individuals to build solar panels on their roofs. Harnessing power from the sun is likely going to be a popular option with rising energy costs and austerity measures. Significant savings can be made in electricity bills for ordinary homeowners. Technological advances have also meant a fall in the price of solar panels, making them more attractive than a decade ago. Though it takes a few years to recuperate the costs of the panel, this is outweighed by the benefits of long term energy savings.

And if this isn’t enough Ikea has also contracted for a 3.6-megawatt solar project in 7 stores in Australia to help reduce carbon in the atmosphere. When completed this will be one of the largest installations in the word. Ikea’s goal is to be energy independent by 2020.

Conclusion

The IKEA furniture store is investing in alternative energy in a big way by delving into the solar energy market. The company has showcased its commitment to sustainable energy with the installation of the new solar energy systems. The success of these projects will be a significant boost to the local industry and helps to set IKEA as an environmentally responsible business leader in the renewable energy market.

 

External Resources

http://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/article/martifer-solar-delivers-first-grid-parity-project-20140514

 

History of Earth Day – a Grassroots Effort

Earth Day 2014

Since tomorrow is Earth Day 2014, I thought it only fitting to write a short history of this special day. What’s the purpose of celebrating Earth Day on April 22 every year? How did it start? These are questions you might be interested in if you are a keen observer of the environment. This celebration is not to be confused with a similar event, the equinoctial Earth Day which is celebrated around March 20 every year.

Well, the idea of the April 22 Earth Day is said to have evolved over a period of 7 years, which began in 1962. For very many years, individuals had been going about the politics of the world while ignoring issues related to the environment they are living in. It was not until November 1962, when the issue was brought into focus, thanks to the founder of this special day, Democratic U. S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (from Wisconsin).

The idea was to convince President Kennedy (who was the United States President at the time), to go on a national environment conservation tour. At the time, Senator Nelson flew to Washington to discuss the tour with Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Both the President and the Attorney General liked the idea very much. So the President started his 5-day journey across 11 states, with the aim of recognizing Earth Day. This trip was dubbed ”Conservation Tour”, and it happened in the year 1963. However, the tour didn’t succeed in putting the issue onto the limelight of the national political agenda.

But Senator Nelson didn’t give up on the struggle. Instead, he went ahead and talked to 25 more states about the issue. It was evident that the environment was degrading at a fast pace. America’s citizens were noticing this but the political establishment had not. At this time, most politicians simply refused to recognize it.

After the President’s tour, Senator Nelson was even more determined. He still had hope that the issue would somehow find its way onto the National political agenda. Six years later, he set out on a national conservation tour, speaking to people about the idea on a hot summer.

Senator Nelson traveled to champion for environmental conservation while an anti-Vietnam war demonstration was actively being carried out. It was given the name ”teach-ins”, and it had spread in college campuses all across the states. But then Nelson thought this was a good opportunity to organize a huge grassroots protest over the issues that were facing the environment.

Though it was a big gamble because he was taking advantage of the situation to force issues onto the political agenda of the country, his idea was bound to succeed because he was channeling the energy of students to rightful use.

Nelson organized a conference in Seattle in 1969 to announce that there would be a countywide demonstration on behalf of the environment. That’s the time when the announcement started spreading like wild fire. The media was all over it, so the news about the conference was taken serious by the masses.

Because of the grassroots factor, the idea was able to take off successfully this time round. Millions of people showed up on college campuses, secondary schools and communities across the nation. Since that time it has spread to 192 different nations and is celebrated by over 1 billion people each year.

 

Advantages of Solar Chargers – You Got That Sun?

Technology such as computers, tablets and smart phones come with batteries that require charging. Due to their sophisticated functions such as phone calls, Internet access, photography and many others, the devices consume power fast and furious and require frequent charging.

The last thing you want to see when using your iPad is a low battery message. Having a handheld solar charger may come in handy at such a time. These photovoltaic chargers utilize energy from the sun to charge your device.

All modern electronic devices come with their own free battery chargers (USB or wall socket) so one might wonder why you need to go out and purchase an additional charger. After all, if you can buy a smart phone, you most definitely have electricity in your home or office.

First, using solar energy is environmental friendly because it is renewable. It is therefore the ultimate choice for the environmentally conscious individual. These chargers are not tied to the grid which uses mostly coal, natural gas and nuclear power for generating electricity.

Second, a solar charger is portable and can be carried anywhere. You can take it with you to a conference, a camping trip, on vacation or any place. It will work in any location where there is sunlight and it can come in handy when you find yourself far away from a socket. All you need is to expose it to sunlight, connect it to your device and voila, you are good to go.  You do not have to stop working or enjoying yourself even when you find yourself in the remotest of places.

The third advantage is that solar chargers are small and compact and are easy to carry with you wherever you go. You won’t have to lug a lot of extra luggage when you are out communing with nature.

In the long run, solar power will prove to be cheaper for you and the planet since it is a one off investment. If a large number of people were to use solar chargers for all their small devices, imagine the amount of energy and pollution we could save for our planet.

And, it you ever get the hankering to build your own DIY solar charger I’ve included a link on how you can go about doing this.

 

Solar Energy Breakthrough in Australia

Even though China thinks that their scientists are ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to developing solar energy, recent reports have proven otherwise. There is actually an expert team of scientists working hard at the University of New South Wales (NSW) located in Sydney, Australia that recently was able to gain one of the most prestigious awards, within the solar energy field.

A Major Discovery

Professor Wenham worked directly with his UNSW team in order to discover that hydrogen atoms that are capable of effectively countering defects located in silicon cells found within many types of solar panels. That discovery alone led to a vast number of improvements in the design of photovoltaic panels in general. This level of breakthrough was not expected to be discovered and developed for at least another ten years.

What is the Benefit?

The overall process that was defined and developed by Professor Wenham and his team makes it possible for cheap silicon to actually become much better at absorbing light than the very highest quality silicon. It was this discovery that led to this team being recognized publicly for their achievements and awarded an AF Harvey Engineering Research Prize worth $560,000 AU. They were also credited by the President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) as playing a major role in the overall development and implementation of revolutionary silicon solar cell technology.

Exploring the Actual Results

Thanks to the hydrogenation process that was developed by Professor Wenham’s team, traditional silicon is now able to achieve a high level of performance and efficiency that is equivalent to commercial-grade, high-purity silicon – something that was not possible before their hard work led to this major achievement in science and technology.


What Will Be Done with the Money?

After receiving such a major cash prize, the team has already decided exactly how it will be spent. According to an interview conducted with Professor Wenham, the money will be used to expand a major research area that made it possible for this successful team to win their prize in the first place and gaining 30-percent efficiency on their solar cells.

 

External Resources

http://english.cntv.cn/20140129/103520.shtml

 

Biodiesel Production by Microalgae

By Guest Blogger Wilson Yeo

Biodiesel is fast emerging as a viable option in powering vehicles as reducing the impact of anthropogenic activities on the environment takes center stage.

Together with bioethanol and biogas, biodiesel form part of the biomass fuels that could form one of the array of replacements for fossil fuels as en energy source for powering vehicles.

Major producers of biodiesel like Brazil and United States, are promoting their usage by selling biodiesel/petroleum diesel blends and providing incentives in an effort to reduce the demand on diesel. Advocators also include celebrities like Willie Nelson and Daryl Hannah who have since jumped onto the bandwagon by producing biodiesel and more recently vehicles powered by biodiesel.

However in a bid to match this increasing demand of biodiesel in the world, some farmers have switched to growing bioenergy crops like soybeans and palm instead of food crops. These have led to a decrease in the supply of food and other related products causing problems like a spike in food prices, a drop in food aid and in general leading to global hunger.

One way to overcome this problem will be to utilise alternative sources of biodiesel production. One potential source worth considering will be microalgae. Algae have the potential to produce the feedstock for a number of other transportation fuels like gasoline and even jet fuel. Besides that, algae also possess advantages like a faster growth rate, can be harvested daily, not limited by land and water suitability and most importantly they do not disrupt the production of food crops. Some species of algae that have been worked on include Nannochloropsis sp, Spirulina sp and Chlorella sp.  Currently there is extensive research being carried out in NREL with guidelines provided to aid researchers in their analysis of their algal feedstock though studies have shown that one way to increase the proportion of oil for some algal species can be done via modification of their growth conditions.

All this ongoing research shows the potential in developing a microalgae-based technology for biodiesel production to improve the environment and help the world to gradually reduce its unhealthy dependency on petroleum and other fossil fuels.

 

About the author

Wilson Yeo is a marine researcher who does research on phytoplankton and plus an advocate of sustainable living and green energy from Green Energy Helps.

 

Innovations of Solar Panels Continue: Safer and Cleaner Energy

By Guest Blogger Liz Nelson

Contrary to the beliefs of many, the decrease in oil prices is not having as much of an impact as they thought when it comes to developments for solar power. In fact, the innovations and developments continue to progress in spite of the decrease in oil prices. Among these developments are those that pertain to efficiency and safety. As popularity grows for solar arrays, decreasing the overall costs of maintenance as well as improving features are what drives the sales for future products.

Increasing Efficiency

Overcoming Lost Energy – One obstacle that many scientists are trying to overcome is the efficiency in which light is captured by solar panels. Currently, only 20 to 30-percent of the light is actually absorbed by panels – which creates a great amount of wasted energy. If this manner of absorption can be increased, fewer solar panels could be used to generate greater amounts of power. As it is, scientists of the EU FP7 LaserNaMi project may have a method in which this efficiency can be increased.

Carving Patterns in Panels – The design of solar panels makes them reflective, which allows most of the light to be bounced off of the panel rather than being absorbed. Scientists of the LaserNaMi project believe that nanoscopic relief patterns can be essentially carved into the panel in order to trap the sunlight instead of it being reflected. These relief patterns decrease a panel’s reflective surface and allows it to absorb more of the light turning it into electricity.

Materials Other than Silicone – Developments for panels don’t merely stop at the reflective surface. The discovery of using perovskite in lieu of silicone has amazing promises for making solar panels cheaper and more efficient. Perovskite was discovered in the 1800s as having photovoltaic properties and has been experimented with since then. In 2013, it was found that there was a significant drop in lost electrons when using perovskite material in solar panels. As this material is in plentiful supply, the cost for manufacturing panels made of it would be greatly reduced as opposed to refining polycrystalline silicon – one of the main components in most solar panels.

Safety for Maintenance

Fire Hazards – Many stories are surfacing as of late about the hazards of solar panel fires. During a fire in a home or a business establishment, firefighters are having a hard time combating the blaze from above if roof top solar panels are present. Why is this such an issue? Because solar panels will continue to generate power even though the circuit breakers of the establishment are turned off. Thousands of watts and hundreds of volts are still being fed to the power lines of the array. If a firefighter hits an exposed power line, it could cause severe injuries and even death.

Power Shutoff “Valve” – An Australian company has developed the means to combat fires safely for those establishments that support roof top solar arrays. This Remote Solar Isolator is a device that is installed that operates by detected power from the grid. If grid power is shut off, the isolator reduces the power of the panels to manageable limits if not shutting it off all together. This means that the solar panels can be rendered useless by turning the power to the establishment off allowing firefighters to combat the blaze even while the panels are mounted on the roof.

Keeping the Panels Clean

Obstructing Light – One of the most painstaking truths about roof top solar installations is the aspect of keeping them clean of debris. Dust, dirt, leaves and other objects could reduce the efficiency of the panel and requires the homeowner or maintenance professional to keep them clear. Even a thin layer of dirt and dust can be detrimental to the panel’s ability to turn light into electricity.

Non-stick Panels – As with the development mentioned above for efficiency, the same nanoscopic pattern technology makes the surface of a panel non-stick and nearly self-cleaning. The development of this pattern has the capacity to reduce the dirt, dust and other grime from forming a film over the panel.

The interest in solar power drives manufacturers and scientists to develop more efficient and cheaper methods of development. The more enhanced these items get, the more the consumer will want to buy them. As the years pass, the technology will continue to see improvements. It’s a fundamental truth in consumerism. As long as people are still willing to shell out the money, solar arrays will continue to become safer, cleaner and cheaper.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston.

 

General Services Administration Calls for Green-Tech Innovators

By Guest Blogger Ken Myers

The United States General Services Administration (GSA) released a statement last week calling for all green technology companies and innovators to submit a request for information under the Green Proving Ground initiative. This allows green technology companies to use the government entity as a test run for determining the efficiency and sustainability of their products.

Three years ago, the GSA, which owns and leases over 9,000 government buildings, re-dedicated itself to making its buildings more efficient and environmentally-friendly through the Green Proving Ground. Already the agency had shown its dedication to the environment by requiring each GSA building undergoing construction or renovation to conform to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED),and the Green Proving Ground encouraged GSA buildings to continue that push towards sustainability by interacting with green technology innovators. In a symbiotic relationship with green technology companies, the GSA provides independent evaluation of the product and reports on the durability and environmental friendliness through real world usage. This gains exposure for up-and-coming green technology companies and reduces energy usage in buildings around the country.

In prior years, the GSA has used the Green Proving Ground to install condensing boilers, which reduced natural gas consumption by 14%, set up advanced power strips to reduce electricity usage on idling machinery for a savings of up to 50% in some areas, and set up responsive lighting to prevent electricity waste in empty rooms. These innovations and more were rigorously tested and the total efficiency measured by GSA in its yearly report.

Some of the more interesting technologies that are being installed and researched in GSA buildings nationwide are chilled beams and integrated daylight systems. The chilled beams program was enacted in 2011. Rather than relying on bulky, loud air conditioning systems to circulate cold air during the summer months, chilled beams were installed in an office setting. These beams use pumps to move cold water rather than a fan to move air, which reduces energy usage by 10-30%. While the startup cost is high, it provides a more consistent indoor air quality and cuts down on noise pollution.

Integrated daylight systems are a light system that adjusts the lights in an office building to keep constant illumination throughout the day. This system of “daylight harvesting” leads to lower electricity use during the summer and mid-day when offices are oversaturated with light from overhead lighting and mid-day sun. This saved GSA buildings 35% in electricity costs and was supported by employees who no longer had to adjust to compensate for the glare during the sunniest hours of the day. These are only two of the dozens of green technology innovations being tested year-round in government buildings.

The GSA announcement for new companies to use the Green Testing Ground comes on the heels of the GSA decision to approve use of Green Globes in addition to the LEED certification for government buildings. While some considered the pro-industry Green Globes endorsement a step back for environmentally friendly government buildings, the GSA believes that having two certification processes will actually help construction and renovation in government buildings. Giving government contractors and architects two certifications to choose from when designing a green building can be beneficial considering the large range of buildings used by the government. From hospital laboratories to large office buildings, the option of two certifications ensures protection for the environment and flexibility in design.

Those interested in donating or providing their green technology to the GSA under testing agreements need to submit their request for information form by December 9th. The GSA is seeking green technologies that reduce water use, electricity and operating costs. The GSA Green Testing Ground program is a unique opportunity to generate independent research and marketing through the US government.

About the Author

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.