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Las Vegas & Gresham OR Win Climate Protection Award

June 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The 82nd annual United States Conference of Mayors is underway in Dallas, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada (NV) Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Gresham, Oregon (OR) Mayor Shane Bemis were awarded the 2014 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. The climate protection award is an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart, and recognizes mayors for innovative programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.

“Mayor Goodman and Mayor Bemis are changing the energy future of their cities and the nation, showing how local innovation can offer solutions to our growing climate challenges,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Mayoral leadership and successful local initiatives are a crucial part of our nation’s arsenal in combating climate-harming emissions.”

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS LOGOCindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s vice president of U.S. Manufacturing and Sourcing, added, “We are proud to join with the Conference in honoring these cities and their mayors for their leadership in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life for their citizens,” said “These local initiatives cut energy use, clean the air, reduce emissions, and save money, all of which helps build stronger communities and a stronger economy.

Las Vegas, Nevada won for its net zero initiative in the Large City Category. The City of Las Vegas is challenging itself to become the nation’s first net-zero energy, water, and waste municipality. This net zero initiative has seen the construction of more than 1 million square feet of municipal green buildings. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the city’s 50,000 streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs. The city now has more than 5.25 Megawatts of solar photovoltaic at 30 facilities. These systems have reduced city energy consumption by approximately 15 percent, saving the city more than $1 million dollars annually. Comingled recycling at all city facilities has raised recycling rates to 55 percent, up from 20 percent five years ago. The city has reduced its municipal water consumption by 27 percent since 2008, through turf conversions, xeriscaping, and equipment installations throughout city facilities.

“We are proud of our net zero initiative and the progress we are making,” said Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman. “What is happening here in Las Vegas on energy innovation shouldn’t just stay here. All cities, as well as the nation, can benefit from net zero initiatives.”

Gresham, Oregon was honored for the city’s energy management program to reduce its top energy users in the Small City Category. The City of Gresham implemented an energy management program to aggressively reduce its top energy users as the fastest way to reach the City Council’s energy reduction goals. The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which was once the top electricity consumer, will produce 100 percent of its electricity need from onsite renewable power by the end of this year, making it very unique nationally. Electricity is generated through an on-site co-generator; a fats, oils, and grease (FOG) receiving station, and a solar array. All of the city’s 8000+ streetlights, the second highest consumer, are being converted to LED fixtures this year, dramatically reducing electricity use, GHG emissions, and lifecycle costs.

“Our city is honored to be recognized for its energy efforts,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “We have ambitious goals and will continue to make big strides to achieve them because, for Gresham, saving energy ultimately means saving money. This work has been a win-win for Gresham and I am excited to continue that trend both for our environment and for our ratepayers.”

In addition to the first place winners, Honorable Mentions were awarded to mayors in five large cities and four small cities for their exceptional achievements in efforts to promote climate protection.

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Lowe’s Patio Inspiration

June 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever since my husband and I bought our house last year, the back entrance has essentially been a dirt patch. Muddy in the rain, dusty when dry, and all-around drab- it was in desperate need of a makeover! We also lacked a space to entertain friends outdoors. I knew what we needed was a patio that could serve as both a welcoming entrance and a relaxing dining area for lazy summer meals. Where to begin? By gathering photos of inspiring patios, of course!

Patio Inspiration

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My house is an 1890s New England classic, so I didn’t want the patio to be too modern or sleek- more like the patio you’d find at a small countryside cottage. Once I had a vision for how I wanted the space to feel, it was time to come up with a plan. I measured the area we wanted to turn into a patio, and did a little window shopping at Lowe’s for all the necessary ingredients: classic teak furniture, gray cobblestone pavers, and plants to create a miniature English border garden.

Umbrella: Lowe’s | Dining Set: Lowe’s | Grill: Lowe’s | Outdoor Light: Lowe’s | Door Mat: Lowe’s | Hanging Basket: Lowe’s | Garden Images: Terrain | Planters: Ikea

Don’t miss my watercolor sketch of the plan for my patio- follow Lowe’s Instagram to check it out! Later this week I’ll be showing you exactly how we built our patio, landscaping tips I learned along the way, and of course, the finished product!


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Stunning Volkswagen TDI Vision GT Concept Revealed

June 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

VW Vision GT

Last year, Volkswagen unveiled its tasty Vision GTI Concept that took the automotive world by storm. Then Sony asked VW if they would like to collaborate on a roadster version of that car to be featured in Gran Turismo 6. Sony and Volkswagen worked together to create the TDI Vision GT Concept, and then decided to build a real world version of of their digital creation And what a stunning car it is!

A supercar should look like its in motion even when standing still, and the Vision GT Concept certainly does that. Based on last year’s coupe concept, VW sliced off the top, cut down the windshield and added slim side windows that mimic those found on speed boats. Then they dressed it in a red shade so vivid it would make any Ferrari envious. Powered by a twin turbo V-6 that cranks out 503 hp, the GT Concept rockets to 60 in 3.5 seconds and keeps on going until the needle on the speedometer is buried just short of 200 mph. Wow!

“The Vision GT project offered a wonderful opportunity to sketch out extreme ideas and design elements of the GTI that are portrayed as vibrantly, dynamically and emotionally as possible,” says Klaus Bischoff, VW head of design.

The car is downsized slightly from last year’s car. It measures 164 inches long and rides on a 89 inch wheelbase. Power to the 20″ wheels is fed through a 7 speed DSG transmission and 4Motion all wheel drive system. Curb weight is 3,133 lbs. Passengers enter the cockpit via doors that open forward and up. Once inside, they are cosseted  in form fitting racing seats within a carbon fiber monocoque inspired by Formula One technology.

Wouldn’t you love to sit behind the wheel of this one of a kind show car and take it for a ride? I know I would! Sadly there are no plans to build this lust inducing creation, although you can download the virtual version  for your PlayStation 3 later this month, along with other virtual concepts like the Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evolution.

Let us know what you think of this concept car in the comments section below.

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VW Vision GT
VW Vision GT

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Official: Ford, Samsung shack up to bring regen braking to non-hybrid models [w/video]

June 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Ford Samsung Lithium-ion battery

Ford must be desperate to get itself ready for the beach this summer because it is really trying to get into shape. Shortly after unveiling the Lightweight Concept that cut the weight of a Fusion down to that of a Fiesta, it’s now the rest of the line’s turn for improvement. The company is wrapping up a 10-year research project aimed at developing next-gen automotive batteries to improve efficiency.

Ford claims that 70 percent of its lineup will have stop/start tech by 2017. The key to this massive proliferation is its new dual-battery system that combines a lithium-ion battery with a lead-acid one and regenerative braking. The setup works by harvesting braking energy and converting it to electricity. When the vehicle stops, the engine shuts off, but the Li-ion battery has enough juice to keep the accessories running. The engine starts up again as drivers take their foot off the brake. The layout would mean less wasted gas while idling. It’s already available on Ford hybrids and is somewhat similar to the i-Eloop capacitor-based system from Mazda.

The bigger challenge is tuning the regenerative braking right. While hybrid drivers may be a little more adventurous, when it comes to getting a hang of regen braking, conventional buyers might not be so open-minded. The systems have a tendency to be a little grabby at first and then taper off at very low speeds. Ford needs to make sure it’s just right to avoid turning off buyers.

The other big breakthrough from the research is the possibility of replacing lead-acid batteries entirely with a Li-ion unit. Ford thinks it could save about 12 pounds over a standard battery, while being physically smaller. Scroll down to watch a video of Ford and Samsung showing off their new battery tech and to read the full release about it.

Continue reading Ford, Samsung shack up to bring regen braking to non-hybrid models [w/video]

Ford, Samsung shack up to bring regen braking to non-hybrid models [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Jun 2014 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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S&P Rates Tesla Stock As Junk

May 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Transportation News

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Toyota Hopes To Maintain Relationship With Tesla

May 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Tesla_Toyota

Though the three-year, $100 million battery deal between Tesla and Toyota is coming to an end, the Japanese automaker wants to keep its options open. For all the bravado Toyota has displayed in its push for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it isn’t ready to cut ties with Tesla entirely.

This isn’t exactly industry-rocking news, as Tesla still shares half of the NUMMI facility with Toyota, and the battery deal seemed to deliver a well-built, long-range compliance car that occupies a unique niche in the market. When the two first signed the deal to deliver 2,600 battery packs for the Toyota RAV4 EV in 2011, some saw it as the start of something bigger. Three years later though, and Tesla needs every battery it can build for its own products, while Toyota is making a play at hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The two companies obviously have differing visions for the future, but that doesn’t mean the two won’t cross paths again.

Talking to Automotive News, CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing in North America Osamu Nagata said that Tesla;

“…has quite a clear business strategy for developing a better battery. [Automakers] as well as suppliers need to work on developing better batteries.”

Toyota’s CEO of North America Jim Lentz sees EVs as limited-use vehicles in short range, urban situations…you know, the kinds of places an increasing number of human beings are moving back to. But whereas Lentz is bullish on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Nagata seems a bit more cautious, saying;

“I hope we can show the very strong capabilities of fuel cell vehicles so we can convince more and more people of the potential and possibilities of the fuel cell vehicle.”

He’ll need more than hope to sell the idea that hydrogen is somehow cheaper and more convenient than filling up an electric car in your home garage with low-cost (or even free!) electricity. With the number of hydrogen fueling stations in America totaling a few dozen, Toyota had better keep Tesla’s number on speed dial.

Source: Automotive News

 

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Study: Men, women drive and enjoy their EVs differently

May 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Japan Earns Nissan

That bad habit some men have of seeing how far they can go when the “empty” fuel light is on? Many challenge their electric vehicles in the same way. Some things don’t change.

Men and women approach driving plug-in vehicles differently, according to a report by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Researchers interviewed early adopters of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S in 2011 and 2012. One of the findings in the 18-page study was that women appreciated the practicality of paying a fraction of the refueling costs compared to gasoline, while men were likely to approach the practice as a research and development opportunity. The study participants were all in California (Los Angeles and San Diego), which makes sense given the focus at the time.

The researchers found that the men involved in the study often explored just how far they could go on a charge before the plug-in conked out. Women, on the other hand, generally made sure that there was at least two to three times the necessary juice in the battery before embarking on their quiet voyage.

Last fall, multiple reports surfaced on gender habits in terms of buying plug-ins and suggested that women were about twice as likely to buy a Nissan Leaf as they were the year before, while the Tesla Model S remained almost exclusively a man’s car. Whatever the vehicle in question, the UC Davis report says that, “gender represents the learned behaviors associated with masculinity and femininity. Increased mobility among women is construed as a challenge to these traditional gender ideologies.”

You can find an abstract of and a link to the UC Davis study here, the details start on page 8.

Men, women drive and enjoy their EVs differently originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 27 May 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Behind the Blog with Glitter Inc.

May 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Truth be told, I could wax poetic about my dear friend Lexi of Glitter Inc. forever and a lifetime and never get sick of it. She is the true definition of light and radiates positivity every which way. And today she’s sharing a behind the scenes peek at her life, her love and the things that make her tick. With stunning photos from the talented  Harwell Photography, there is, of course, more right here!


SMP: I love that! You are such an inspiration. So tell us, do you have any guilty pleasures?
Diet Coke, bubble baths, a good book, and an excuse to bake … in no particular order.

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
I wanted to be a mermaid for the longest time. Eventually, when I realized that was maybe not the most practical of occupations, I decided on writing. And then I became a lawyer. I had always loved reading and writing and worked hard for years to follow that passion. But truth is, I can’t believe how much my career has evolved over the years! I went to law school first without a plan. When you graduate college with an English degree (and a Creative Writing minor), and you don’t want to teach, it’s hard to know what to do. My Dad is a lawyer, and I always overachieved, so I thought, “Why not law school?” (Very Elle Woods style.) Once I graduated law school, I started working for my family’s practice, but after focusing so much on writing (I ran the fashion column in our college magazine and was the Editor of our law school paper), I missed creative writing every day. So I started a blog. Best decision ever. And suddenly, I got to be a writer. Pretty cool. Now I’m just waiting for the whole mermaid thing to happen.

SMP: HA! Crossing my fingers for you! What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
Do more of what makes you happy.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
Gosh, I’ve learned SO many things over the years about blogging, law, life, myself, even love. I guess the best lessons I’ve learned are a combination of things: Smile often. Love with an open heart. Work hard (harder than you can imagine). Be your own biggest supporter and then surround yourself with a great support system. Try not to compare yourself to others, but if you do, use it as fuel to make your purpose that much better. Be kind. (See above.)

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
Not a chance.

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give a blogger just starting out?
Blog because you’re full of passion, share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with, but be very you.

SMP: Amazing advice! What is your favorite item in your home?
My big fluffy bed … or my KitchenAid Mixer.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
That’s a tough one! I really LOVE blogging, and balancing law right along with that has been interesting, so the lines get blurred a lot. Even when I’m out with friends or shopping or baking (a.k.a., a few of my favorite things), I’m still snapping away for instagram, e-mailing myself notes for future blog ideas, and checking in at the law office. Hubby and I are really into travel too, so we try to plan out big trips as often as we can sneak away (and you know I’m photographing our trips every step of the way!) But balance is hard, and probably the thing I am most worried about figuring out when our baby girl arrives this Summer.

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like your blog was going to thrive?
After about a year-and-a-half of blogging, I decided to get serious with it. It really just brought me so much joy. In the last two years, I signed on with a media company, began working with brands I had always adored, hosted events, expanded into consulting (offering blog and legal consulting to fellow creatives), wrote an e-book on Blogging and the Law for The B Bar, traveled to New York Fashion Week twice, was flown to cities (i.e., New York, London, Minneapolis, etc.) to sit down for meetings with people and brands I never imagined I could collaborate with, and have dreamed bigger than I ever thought possible. But I’m never satisfied, and I’m always hungry, so I still have plenty to learn and a long way to go.

Photography: Harwell Photography | Design: The Chic Pad | Blogger: Glitter Inc.

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Tesla Model S Coupe Conversions Offered For $35,000

May 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

 

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The Tesla Model S is an amazing, cutting-edge electric vehicle, and for some people the only problem is that it has two doors too many. Newport Convertible Engineering, the company building 100 Tesla Model S convertibles for an unnamed Chinese investor, is now offering Tesla Model S owners a two-door coupe conversion for the sum of $35,000…the projected cost of the Tesla Model E.

This new conversion follows another large order of customized Tesla Model S sedans from the same unnamed Chinese investor, and NCE is offering the conversion to other Model S owners as well. A total of 600 Tesla coupes and convertibles will be built, with 100 of each already spoken for. Want to go the next step and add a softtop convertible conversion? Tack on another $25,000, for a total of $60,000 (!!) Want a hardtop droptop? That will set you back $80,000, on top of the cost of your Tesla Model S.

Suffice to say, it might just be worth waiting for Tesla to come around and offer a coupe or convertible version from the factory. Then again, there’s no guarantee a two-door Tesla is in the works, and with just 600 units of each available, this is almost certainly a limited-time offer. Still, are two-fewer doors worth an extra $35,000?

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Source: Newport Convertible Engineering

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Official: EV Sociability Run returns to celebrate 100th anniversary

May 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Members of the 2012 EV Sociability Run

This year’s Electric Vehicle “Sociability Run,” will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original EV rally, about 65 miles northwest of the original site. This year, electric-vehicle enthusiasts will meet up in Charles Town, WV – and not Washington, DC – on June 7 to toast their slice of EV Nation and take to the roads. In fact, Ground Zero will be the American Public University System (APUS) Solar Parking Lot, which has 14 charging stations alone, all powered by the sun.

From there, participants can choose from one of three itineraries that will take the drivers across the Maryland border about seven miles away. One of the itineraries is especially designed for Tesla Model S owners who can recharge with the Supercharger in Hagerstown, MD. And then brag about it to the other drivers.

The tour marks the 100th Anniversary of the first Electric Sociability Run, which took place in 1914 and included 54 electric vehicle owners taking their vehicles on a 14-mile jaunt from Rock Creek Park to central Washington, DC. That trip took a leisurely 75 minutes. Last year, the 99th Anniversary version was based out of the nation’s capital.

Lanny Hartmann, one of the event’s organizers, said there was good reason to change the location of this year’s tour. “Since modern EV’s are speedier, we decided to make a run in about the same hour and 15 minutes it took them,” Hartmann wrote in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen. “Also, one of the goals of the organizers of the early Sociability Runs was to prove the ‘country-running ability’ of electrics to both prospective buyers and even to those who already had them.”

Check out the press release on the event below and link to the event page here.

Continue reading EV Sociability Run returns to celebrate 100th anniversary

EV Sociability Run returns to celebrate 100th anniversary originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 20 May 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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