Saturday, 21 March 2009

Ontarians Are Turning off Their Lights and More for Earth Hour 2009

TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - Ontarians are enthusiastic about Earth Hour
2009, and are planning to mark the hour by turning out more than just their lights, said the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in a survey released today.

The IESO's survey found that 55 per cent of all those who intended or
were willing to participate in this year's event will turn off TVs and
appliances, and 92 per cent will turn off at least three lights in their home. The online poll, conducted from March 3-5, showed that 51 per cent of survey participants intend to participate in the initiative this year. The survey results further indicate that those planning to participate in Earth Hour 2009 were more likely to already demonstrate better energy-saving habits at home.

"During last year's Earth Hour, the IESO observed a significant reduction in Ontario's electricity demand," said Paul Murphy, IESO President and CEO.

"The momentum for Earth Hour is building, and Ontarians are prepared to reduce their electricity use again this year. I am encouraged that Ontarians are finding ways to conserve electricity year-round, which will benefit consumers, the environment and the electricity system."

Earth Hour is an annual international "lights out" event led by WWF with the goal of having as many individuals and businesses as possible turn off their lights for one hour to support action on climate change. This year, the IESO is hosting a dedicated webpage at with tips, Earth Hour information, and a graph that will track Ontario's change in demand for the hour. On March 28, this site will show immediate results of the efforts of homeowners and businesses to reduce their electricity use between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

"Last year Earth Hour was a huge success! Millions of people in more than 30 countries participated. Here in Canada, almost half of all Canadians turned off the lights," said Christina Topp, VP Marketing and Communications, WWF-Canada. "This year we hope even more Canadians will participate and we're pleased to see that so many Ontarians plan to take part."

The IESO is responsible for managing Ontario's bulk electricity power
system and operating the wholesale market. For more information, please visit

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Number of the Day: More Than Half of All Vehicles' Trips to Work in US are 11 Miles or Less by Michael Graham Richard, Gatineau, Canada on March 5

11 Miles -- According to the 2001 US Nationwide Household Travel Survey (NHTS), 58% of all vehicle trips to work are less than 11 miles (17.7 kilometers).

37% -- Vehicle trips to work that are 5 miles (8 kilometers) and less represent 37%, according to the same survey.

21% -- Trips between 6 and 10 miles (9.6 to 16 kilometers) represent 21%.

10% -- Only 10% of vehicle trips to work are equal or more than 31 miles (50 kilometers). This is very promising since plug-in hybrids that are coming to market over the next few years, such as the GM Chevy Volt or the Fisker Karma, usually have an all-electric driving range of around 40-50 miles (65-80 kilometers). This would mean that most people could commute in these cars without burning fossil fuels (though the source of the electricity would need to be clean for the trips to really be green).

Monday, 2 March 2009

Green Roof Mashup: Golf Course, Filtration Plant, Park and Prison

The Bronx NIMBYs went nuts when it was proposed that a water filtration plant be built in a park. So the architects, Grimshaw, followed what is becoming a common strategy: put a green roof on it and show it from the air. Building? What building?

And in this case, it's BIG, nine acres big, and they are putting in putting.

“The distinction here is it’s not just a green roof, but a performative green roof that needs to provide all these functions,” [Landscape Architect] Smith said in an interview. “I think we’re pushing both the design of the green roof and the design of the golf course in new directions. We’re working to see how far we can push the diversity of the ecology and still adhere to the constraints of the golf course.”

The Architects Newspaper writes:

When this heavily secured compound is completed in 2012, it’s due to be topped by far more than just new turf. Grimshaw and landscape architect Ken Smith have designed one of the largest and most intensive green roofs to date, which is also a fully functioning driving range. And an irrigation system for the golf course. And an integrated security program for the facility below. Think Pebble Beach meets the Biosphere meets Rikers.

The engineering challenges are formidable. At nine acres, the $95 million driving range is the largest contiguous green roof in the country. So when it rains at the range, it pours, which creates a paradoxical hazard for the plant below. “It’s of paramount importance to the City of New York that this building stay dry, despite being full of water,” said David Burke, the project architect at Grimshaw. So to handle the millions of gallons that can accumulate on the green roof during a storm, the design team has devised a natural filtration system to collect, process, and store the runoff.