Category Archives: Wind Power

Boston is the Premier Destination for a Green Experience

When one thinks of taking a vacation, it is likely that the last thing on their mind is if the place they have chosen has a strong recycling program or if amenities are powered by solar or wind. Perhaps the time has come to shift our thinking to ensure that the Earth is around for all future generations and make an effort to locate such resources in our destinations of choice.

This is just what Boston, Massachusetts has done by installing solar powered, compacting trash cans throughout city limits in place of all open cans. City limits in Boston also extends to the Harbor Islands and on a recent trip to two of these islands, Spectacle and Georges, it was pleasing to see that not only were these new cans installed and being utilized but that additional efforts were being taken on Spectacle to reduce energy and water consumption.

Spectacle Island, just a ten minute ferry ride from Boston’s waterfront, has a long and sordid past. The island has been home to fishermen, served as a quarantine spot for smallpox victims, had two hotels shut down for illicit activity, housed a horse rendering plant, and ran a trash incinerator which was shut down in 1935. Upon the close of the incinerator the island continued to be used as a dump until 1959 and pollutants were able to leak into the water until the early 1990’s.

The city decided it was time to put a stop to centuries of mistreatment of this island and when The Big Dig began in 1992 the resulting Earth that was removed was strategically placed on and around Spectacle to contain the leaking and create an entirely new island full of trees and trails that opened to the public, as part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, in 2006.

When the island became a tourist destination for those looking to hike or to glimpse a wonderful city view it was clear that there could be a backlash in waste, as well as a demand on energy and resources, so strong efforts were put into place on and around this island to utilize renewable energy sources wherever possible.

Solar power is harnessed in multiple locations on the island such as self contained photovoltaic panels that power the emergency lights on the pier as well as thirty two large solar panels on the south face of the Visitor Center roof which are connected to the grid and feed back into the power supply. The photovoltaic panels on the Visitor Center roof are used to collect all the power needed to run the lights inside overnight as well as feed into a battery back up system.


In addition to the solar efforts, composting toilets were installed in all mens and womens stalls in the Visitor Center on Spectacle and in portable bathroom stalls (which also utilized solar to run the water to wash hands) on Georges. These toilets utilize waste as fertilizer and can cut water consumption but up to fifty percent. Additionally they are much quieter, reduce odor and can be used for more than just human waste — they will even compost dinner scraps and lawn clippings!

The final and all important area of any public park is the often overlooked maintenance needed. There are roads, the Visitor Center, the pier, docks, gazebos, benches, lawns and a myriad of other areas to maintain. On a daily basis a large amount of fossil based fuel would be needed to drive from place to place but the Solectria truck, named Flash, uses the energy created from the sun to run. Solar power is gathered by the roof panels and stored in batteries that are installed in the truck making Flash a zero emission vehicle.

The efforts on the islands do not stop at Spectacle and Georges as additional renewable resources are utilized on spots surrounding these two. A wind turbine in Hull creates enough power to run the town’s streetlights, plans are in place to install two additional turbines off the south coast of Spectacle, hydroturbines are used to feed energy back into the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority from the clean water pushed out of the plant on Deer Island (approximately ten percent of its electricity is powered in this way) and self generated steam heat (via steam turbine generator powered by the methane created during the treatment process) is used as the sole heat source for the MWRA plant for ten months of the year.
With so many ecologically responsible efforts, Boston is quickly becoming one of the greenest cities in the country and savvy, eco-conscious tourists are reaping the benefits of a cleaner, more breathable and progressive city.To support the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands and ensure efforts such as these will continue please visit their website.

To learn more about the islands or some of the environmental topics in this article please follow the links below.
Spectacle Island
Georges Island
Composting Toilets
Photovoltaic Solar Collectors
Wind turbines


Smart Energy Technology:

San Francisco & New York Demand Wind Turbines

The government officials of major U.S. cities such as San Francisco and New York are pushing for wind turbines as a solution to their city’s energy problems. During the National Clean Energy Summit Michael Bloomberg New York’s Mayor requested expressions of interest. He’s considering all forms of renewable power especially offshore wind, wind turbines positioned on skyscrapers, and various sources of hydropower. Bloomberg stated, “I think it would be a thing of beauty if, when Lady Liberty looks out of the horizon, and she not only welcomes new immigrants, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean wind farm.”

Although, his statement was quite poetic many homeowners in the west are against ocean wind farms. The most sought after western coastal property are the ones with magnificent ocean views. Residents who pay excessive amounts of money for their extravagant homes do not want to look out and see giant wind turbines. Offshore wind farms have been terminated and stonewalled due to wealthy homeowners who are determined to keep their oceanic views beautiful.

Is is fair for alternative energy projects to get placed on the back burner because of affluent homeowners?

Most likely New York which has massive amounts low income individuals as residents and a more industrial view will have no problem obtaining the green light for Bloomberg’s ocean generated wind farm dreams. The major flaws with wind turbines is the scenic change in the area, loud noise, and annoying vibration within the unit surroundings.

Companies like Quiet Revolution in the UK are working on correcting the defects current wind turbines posses. Their main objective is to create smaller more efficient turbines to be installed locally on a wider scale. Quiet Revolution’s QR5 wind turbine is specifically designed with one single mobile part reducing noise. It also utilized several S-shaped blades to produce 20-40% more energy than other standard turbines. The QR5 was initially created for local schools, energy developers, and governments. They even have versions of turbines with video screen features and LEDs lodged into the blade. Quiet Revolution has been very busy since the UK is the largest wind resource in Europe. An estimated 40% of UK’s energy can be generated through this method by the year 2050.

As fossil fuel prices increase other alternatives are being considered in America as well. Wind turbine is a hot topic among our government officials. T. Boone Pickens has brought more light to businesses and lawmakers about using wind as our alternative energy to fossil fuel. As the chairman of BP Capital Management Pickens has years of experience in the oil and gas industry. His plan for energy calls for utilization of wind as a major source of energy for the country. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom has a similar vision. Hopefully, companies like Quiet Revolution and others will continue to improve turbine abilities to a point where it is universally acceptable. As a nation we may start to see small wind turbines in our local communities by year 2010.

Smart Energy Technology:

Artist Spotlight: Victoria Case of Victoria Case Art Designs

Victoria Case is an Illustrator based in Las Vegas, but to say she is simply an Illustrator would grossly undervalue her work. I was more than excited to interview Victoria as I have personal experience with her creative hand, having bought a blank inside card, her new zine and a custom drawn 5×7 portrait. As an avid reader of her blog and frequent visitor to her online storefront I was thrilled to read she was championing an effort to go green through her use of materials and immediately requested an interview. Her concern for the planet has existed for many years and she was excited to share how she is making a difference through her efforts.

Can you tell us a little about what it is you do?

I create what would be considered “old school” artwork- I draw with an ink pen and color pencils on basic white paper.

What inspires you as an artist?

I love to illustrate the silliness of people and animals and life in general. My kids honestly are the best source for pure humor- they come up with the funniest things. Plus for a bonus- I live in Las Vegas- Sin City- so there is an array of inspiration here, as I’m sure you can imagine.

What is the creative process behind your art? How does an idea take shape?

I am a compulsive list maker and my daily activities are written out each morning so that I don’t get sidetracked. I am drawing by 7 am and don’t usually quit until 5 pm. Then it’s family time. After the kids have gone off to bed – back to drawing until the late hours of the night. I start with rough drafts of an idea in pencil and once I’m happy with the set-up and placement- I’ll ink, erase the pencils marks and do my most favorite part….color.

I carry paper and pen always, so whenever or wherever I have an idea I can quickly jot it down- whether it be a few words or a quick rough sketch. From those sketches- I’ll decide whether it should be an illustration or a note card.

If I could give everyone in the world a coloring book and crayons, I would. It’s amazing just how relaxing it is, your breathing becomes very rhythmic, your muscles relax and it’s I guess, spiritual- to create something. If you don’t believe me, grab a coloring book and crayons and sit by yourself at a table for awhile.

How long have you selling your art?

A little over 20 years. Although my online retail has only been for six of those years.

Do you remember the feeling of your first sale? How has that feeling changed after selling so many items?

Yes! My first sale was exhilarating and full of stomach butterflies. Each and every sale after that one feels exactly the same way. It is overwhelming to me when someone actually likes my work enough to purchase it. It’s the highest compliment someone can give. *smile*

What mediums have you changed over to become more Earth friendly?

I have been on the search for eco-friendly inks and pencils. I have always used recycled and/or earth friendly paper.

I also collect and re-use cardboard whenever I can find it for shipping my work. And I prefer working by natural sunlight.

How do you feel that recycled paper holds up in comparison to other papers you have used in the past?

I used to find working with recycled paper quite challenging. It always seemed to have a dingy quality to it and I would find specks and spots within the grain. Even more disheartening, it was the most expensive choice. The recycled paper that is sold today is very vibrant, smooth and although it may still have a higher price, it is always well worth the few pennies.

What does the Green Movement mean to you?

Standing up and taking responsibility for our environment/planet by educating ourselves and others and actively participating in it’s preservation. Most importantly, demanding LOUDLY to government officials and corporations for change.

When did you first become interested in living and working green?

I’d have to say that it really became a focus for me in the late 70’s early 80’s with the “Earth Day” movement. Recycling became mandatory where I lived and I bought a “compact” car. With time, I became more informed about the world around me and my impact on an every day basis- from what I purchased to what I threw away and my choices on how I live my life. Some decisions have come with no choice- for instance, due to allergies – I have to live mostly organic.

What inspires you to take care of our planet?

I could not state that I’m a loving and nurturing parent to my kids and not take care of the surroundings that will sustain them. When I look into my children’s eyes I see my grandchildren, and their children, and generations ahead. How could I not be inspired? It’s just the right thing to do.

Has any one green practice become second nature, something you personally do every day?

Recycling of our plastics, cans, glass and newspapers. It’s a habit to carry items out to the bins.

What green practice do you recommend readers try?

We all shop. So, I would highly recommend that everyone use cloth tote/grocery bags instead of paper or plastic.

Is there an eco-friendly product you use that you would recommend?

The Strathmore paper company has a wonderful selection of recycled papers and a new Wind Power Series paper that is eco-friendly.

As an independent artist what is your greatest challenge?

Time management.

What has been your greatest success to date?

I have had many fantastic opportunity’s over the years, but one that stands out in my mind, is an opportunity a few years back to work with Ted Bergman. He was the writer on Sanford & Son, Three’s Company, All in The Family (just to name a few). He had written a hilarious play called “Whoops”, and hired me to create the playbill artwork. Such a funny man and writer.

What is your advice to a fellow artisan who is new to their industry?

Be passionate about your work. Have patience. Practice every day.

Do you have an online presence where your work can be viewed?

I have a website
A little shop on Etsy
and I sell periodically on eBay: vcad001
My blog

Smart Energy Technology:

Where To Get Charged At Glastonbury

I spotted this the other day and thought that it was a simple, wonderful, solution … something we need more of.

From Ubergizmo:

Recharge Pod Tent at Glastonbury

For those making an effort to attend this year’s Glastonbury, you won’t have to panic when you realize that you have left you rcell phone charger back home. Orange will ensure you can get your devices juiced up by erecting a seven-meter high recharge Pod tent. This is a green initiative since it uses 500-watt solar panels as well as a 500-watt wind turbine to generate electricity for public use. Orange has the intention of keeping up to 100 devices powered up each hour. Why can’t such brilliant ideas be implemented elsewhere around the world?

Smart Energy Technology:

More Small Brilliance

This one comes from Next Nature. I’ve fallen in love with this wonderful statement: “It’s an Ivy-like covering of a building that generates power out of sun and wind.”

Cochran’s sustainable design group, SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) came up with a project called GROW. It’s an Ivy-like covering of a building that generates power out of sun and wind.

Read an interview with Teresita here.

Smart Energy Technology:

Artist Spotlight — Jon Marro, Love Artist and Graphic Designer

Jon Marro is the owner and operator of Blend Apparel, a graphic T-shirt company unlike any other due to their strong environmentally friendly focus. All their shirts are made from bamboo or organic cotton. Not only is bamboo a renewable resource, it grows much faster than cotton, is breathable and soft. Even their servers are run using wind power. This is a company going above and beyond, truly displaying their love for this planet and Jon was eager to chat with us about their contributions.

Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

My professional life currently toggles between doing graphic design work and Blend Apparel. A typical personal day (which mind you, almost always involves some sort of professionalism) tries to incorporate at least one activity under the Mind, Body, Soul categories. Mind could be reading, writing, or meditating, body could involve working out, running, or doing yoga, and soul is something gratuitously creative, for myself or another.

Explain your art- what exactly is it you do? How do you describe it?

I create images which are my iconographic question marks aimed at the world. Some are meant solely to bring a smile or levity, others intend to raise awareness or self-love.

Do you find your imagery is a good conversation starter with people you have never met before?

Completely. And friends of mine who have worn the shirts have told me on their various travels around the world-the shirts always provoke questions. That’s ultimately what I’m trying to do, is snap people out of their world, if only for a second to smile or ponder the cleverness in the design. I see them as “coffee table shirts.” Eliciting interesting conversation, and in the best case scenario they will bring people/strangers together to talk about the bigger questions the shirts pose.

Who or what influences your work and why?

I’m pretty heavily influenced by cultural icons. Dylan, Marley, Lennon. Andy Warhol. The Dalai Lama, Gandhi, MLK. People who have been thrown into the public eye by just being who they are and standing behind their passions. I’m completely inspired by people following their dreams, being a bold stance for love and higher purposes, and people who try to make a difference with revolutionary compassion.

Is it your personal belief that creativity, and the ability to create art, is innate?

Funny, I’ve been asking myself the same question recently about true love. I really don’t know. I’ve heard of people just looking at an instrument and it makes sense to them. I guess it’s whether or not they apply that understanding, or actively follow their intuition or interest. Personally, I’ve always been insatiably curious. So my quest for deeper understanding of things (the universe in particular) and my own pathology, allow me to ever deepen my applied skills. I find the more I’m open to knowledge and new ways of seeing the word, the more I can grow as an artist. I don’t just have limited questions to ask, I can ask bigger and more diverse ones. SO… to answer your question: I feel the pursuit or free will to explore creativity, skill, or personal potential can meet and possibly overcome any innate talent.

When did you first discover your talent and artistic ability?

When other kids would go out and play-I just wanted to stay in and color. I LOVE to color. Even to this day. Coloring is such a cathartic process for me. So I guess that, but also I’ve been told that my first grade teacher told my mom that while other kids were drawing stick figures, I was rendering with advanced detail. Like form, and shape and minutia that other kids weren’t yet. I’ve always love details too. And I can see now in retrospect, that my youthful fascination with the microcosm has turned into an adult fascination with the macrocosm.

Who or what inspires your imagery?

The universe. The world. Humanity, and international icons. Not the celebrity kind, but the visual communication kind. I love international icons. They fascinate me. They have the power to communicate beyond any written or spoken language. They are like modern day hieroglyphs. Any of my designs that use only image (no words), you could take to Japan, Brazil, or Lithuania and people could make sense of them. They could construct a message or a question with it. They very much are art in that way.

Can you tell me about your creative process?

Usually it involves a problem that I want to try to make sense of or get others to join me in wonder about through the use of image. My images need to communicate. They need to provoke, and they need to ask bigger/deeper questions about humanity or it’s collective psychology. (side note: I’m writing two films right now, and they both do the same thing. Get the audience to look at their own humanity and how they could live a more fulfilled and connected life).

Where did your first inspiration come from?

I was designing a ton of merchandise for bands and musicians, and really enjoying it, but there were a few images that I wanted to put out there into the world without someone’s name attached to it. So, I initially started with four designs. The first of which was “Love Fuel.” Someone once referred to me as a full-service love station. I took it as a pretty great compliment and the image on the back of the shirt first came to mind, and then I added the front “Love Pump.” Pairing images and icons like that to give new meanings to banal objects is a fairly constant theme in my work.

Were you influenced by the Green Movement?

I grew up in Vermont, so I remember 1 day a year in school we’d always have Green-Up day, where we’d all go and clean up and pick up litter. So, growing up in nature, I’ve always been super sensitive to the environment. We knew we were going to go green with our shirts, and since we started the green movement has definitely sky-rocketed. Its everywhere now, and we’re so glad. We never were in it for the fad. We were in it (as you can tell by the designs) because it’s the lives we want to live, and the difference we want to make.

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

I have an eco-friendly toilet that has an up flush (you know, for those bigger flushes you need to make) and a down flush for the regular flushes. I have a compost and recycle every week. I’m a vegan. I only buy organic foods. And green products for house and business.

Do you try to discuss how to live a greener lifestyle at least once every day?

I don’t really preach it too much. That’s not my style. I just invite people into my world and lead by example. If I have friends or family come in from out of town-I’ll take them to my favorite vegan restaurant or my eco-friendly pharmacy. It all helps to open their eyes to how they could live a greener life if they chose too.

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

Well, I think most importantly this is what we have. We’re in an abusive relationship right now. We were born into this beautiful and divinely perfect situation: air to breathe, sunlight to keep us warm already abundantly provided. Soil to plant food, fresh water to drink. Without getting too biblical-earth was the Garden of Eden, and we’re completely taking it for granted. We can live such a life of harmony with it, if we use it in sustainable ways. But we need to think of the whole picture. Just pan back to space and see Earth from above. That’s what we’re dealing with. We’re all in this and on this together. It’s kinda that simple. Why not celebrate and share as opposed to separate and scorn? These questions are what I’m trying to ask.

What is your favorite project or work you’ve completed thus far?

My favorite two shirts are “Home To All” and “Worth The Weight.”

What challenges have you had in your work?

We’ve run into the what I would assume are pretty regular trial and error-ing of manufacturing. Some sizes a bit too small, production snags, website has gone down, international shipping has been tough to figure out, we had a complete manufacturing break-down with a huge client…We’ve had a little bit of it all, but we look at it as ALL learning. We’ve learned so much and it’s only strengthened our commitment and bettered our product. We are grateful for all the opportunities life throws at us to build a thriving company, and look for the lessons in all of them. “Failure” is only what you make it to be.

Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

We love the internet. It provides us international visibility and it’s a 24/7 convenient parlor. In terms of art…it certainly allows you to have your finger on the pulse of the culture. We see it as just another medium to express yourself with, and a way to connect to people you might not have been able to otherwise.

What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

To open up as many eyes, heads, and hearts as I can. And to become the Andy Warhol of the green movement.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

Um…world peace and lots more designs. We’ve got a great shirt going into production around the election and politics in general. I’m really excited about it.

What are your long term career goals?

To have a business that’s completely sustainable. A worker owned and operated, off the grid, organic farm that harvests bamboo, cotton, hemp, soy…and whatever else we’ll be making textiles out of. Having a storefront on every continent (though I’m not sure it’s ever t-shirt season in Antarctica). Providing scholarship opportunities and forming our own charity organization. And continuing to create love propaganda wearable and otherwise.

Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?
Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Phil Hale, Joel Sorren, Shepard Fairy, Ryan McGuiness, Banksy, The Imaginary Foundation, Jason Munn, Susan Waters-Eller, Eleanor Grosch, Christopher David Ryan, Me (I Really do love what I do!).

What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?
Create! Create! Create!

What “Green” Product would you recommend to our readers?
Aside from Blend Apparel??? I recommend buying your normal house wares, but the green versions. Whether it’s dish soap, toilet paper, garbage bags, or laundry detergent. Start with what you use passively and incorporate them into your livelihood.

What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?
Buy organic. Please, Please, Please. I would also say eating two vegan meals a week.

How would your friends describe you?
Funny you should ask, for an assignment recently I actually had to ask my friends. Here’s what they said: “Inspiring, fun, creative, a great listener, honest, enlightened, open, a social lubricant, passionate, easy-going, ever self-improving, and all anyone would ever need in that moment.”
Smart Energy Technology:

Smaller Really Is Better (Part 2)

I just came across this new example of micro (single building) wind turbines that are even more elegant and lovely that the ones I previously mentioned, so I just had to share.

From Inhabitat:

Modular Architectural Wind Microturbines Take Off

Aerovironment, Aerovironment Architectural Wind, rooftop wind turbines, renewable wind energy, small wind turbines, building integrated wind turbines, small wind power, Aerovironment wind turbines, archturbines1.jpg

From costly installations to strict city ordinances, there’s a number of factors that have limited the growth of wind power in urban environments. Now, Aerovironment is ushering in an era of urban wind power with a sleek series of small, silent turbines that eschew the need for a tower. Dubbed ‘Architectural Wind’, the system seamlessly integrates into the parapets of buildings, taking advantage of aerodynamics to catch wind as its speed escalates up a structure’s side. The turbine’s innovative approach boasts up to a 30% increase in energy production, and their adaptable, modular assembly makes installation a snap.

Aerovironment, Aerovironment Architectural Wind, rooftop wind turbines, renewable wind energy, small wind turbines, building integrated wind turbines, small wind power, Aerovironment wind turbines, archwind2

Aerovironment’s website states: “Architectural Wind is designed to install easily onto the building parapet, operating in plain sight as an attractive complement to the building’s architecture. Additionally, based on its proprietary system design, Architectural Wind turbines rotate at low wind speeds, resulting in a form of ‘kinetic architecture’ that communicates clearly the generation of clean energy. Working alone or in tandem with other renewable energy technologies, Architectural Wind is designed to offer an attractive ROI and cost per kW of installed capacity.”

Installations have little or no structural impact upon existing buildings and are easily scalable starting at 6KW. Each module weighs approximately 200 pounds, measures 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide, and features a bird screen.

We’re excited to find more and more microturbines cropping up in the alternative energy world, since they offer a variety of advantages over traditional turbine towers, especially in urban applications.

Aerovironment, Aerovironment Architectural Wind, rooftop wind turbines, renewable wind energy, small wind turbines, building integrated wind turbines, small wind power, Aerovironment wind turbines, archwind1

Aerovironment, Aerovironment Architectural Wind, rooftop wind turbines, renewable wind energy, small wind turbines, building integrated wind turbines, small wind power, Aerovironment wind turbines, archwind3

Aerovironment, Aerovironment Architectural Wind, rooftop wind turbines, renewable wind energy, small wind turbines, building integrated wind turbines, small wind power, Aerovironment wind turbines, archturbines2.jpg

Smart Energy Technology:

Smaller Really Is Better

One of my favorite things about the whole ‘green engineering’ revolution we’re seeing is the idea of small, decentralized solutions. Instead of huge city-sized water treatment plants we could have neighborhood units or even just one in the basement; instead of huge wind farms we could also have … well, what this great student came up with:

Ben Storan’s Affordable Personal Wind Turbine (Images courtesy BSI)

An Industrial Design Engineering student in the UK has won the top prize in this year’s BSI (British Standards Institute) Sustainability Design Awards with his innovative take on the wind turbine. Not only is Ben Storan’s design particularly suited to urban environments where traditional windmills can be impractical but it’s also extremely easy to setup and take down when the weather gets nasty.

The result is a unique design which uses vertical, rather than traditional horizontal, rotation. This feature gives a slower rotational speed, which allows the turbine to capture more energy from turbulent air flow, common to urban environments. It also means quieter operation.

As a result, it is able to generate more energy than domestic models currently on the market. Similarly sized existing personal wind turbines claim to generate 1kW at a wind speed of 12 m/s, but typically produce just 40% of what is claimed. Ben’s design should realistically produce 3 times that (1.2kW) of those currently on the market.

The clever vertical rotation design uses lightweight materials, which means Ben’s turbine is more stable than other personal turbines leading to better energy capture and making it is easier to install.

Besides the £3,000 cash prize he took home Ben’s creation now has a much greater chance of actually being produced thanks to all the publicity its getting. Oh and I assume he’ll also get an ‘A’ in the course

(From OhGizmo)

Smart Energy Technology: