Category: Green Articles
A total of 24 different schools went up against one another in the 2015 Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Each school around the country was battling to see who could divert the most trash from their lunchrooms and who could make the biggest environmental change overall. Out of all the schools Oak Street Elementary School in Inglewood California managed to come out on top.
The Spoils of Victory
For coming out on top of the competition the children at Oaks elementary received a $1,000 prize and also got a chance to meet former Lakers player Steve Nash! He came out to their school to meet them all and spend the day there letting the children feel what it’s really like to work hard and come in first place.
Giving the Students the Tools for Success
At the beginning of the Contest Grades of Green provided the school with an educational assembly explaining sustainability and the goal of the competition. They also provided an eco-starter kit a personalized waste reduction plan and finally one-on-one mentoring to make sure that the students understood what they were doing.
Each of the children in the school was encouraged to bring in reusable lunch containers and slowly even the youngest among the school were taught how to recycle and properly take care of all their lunchtime waste.
The school won because it adopted the program so completely, and because it was taking other initiatives to improve the environment outside of lunch time. Second Grade teacher Claire Darsa is taking an opportunity to travel out to the edge of the Arctic in Northern Canada to study climate change and plans to bring back her discoveries and improved knowledge to the children of Oaks.
The most important part of the trash challenge isn’t teaching children about sustainability or the importance of saving the environment, it’s about teaching children the power that they have to make changes. Empowering all the children of the future generation is what Grades of Green is really offering and it will make some exciting changes possible in the future.
For Toyota, every day is Earth Day and the little things add up, especially when almost 43,000 team members across 14 North America manufacturing plants do them. Such efforts have saved nearly $600 million since benchmarking began in 2002.
They’ve also resulted in Toyota’s 11th consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.
Eleven consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards are the most by any automaker.
Examples of achieving energy efficiency at Toyota’s 14 North American manufacturing plants include:
- Reduced total energy use by 35 percent per vehicle produced or 14 billion kilowatt hours of energy.* That’s enough power to keep the city of Chicago up and running for nearly an entire year.
- Reduced CO2 emissions by 40 percent per vehicle produced by eliminating the use of electricity and natural gas when avoidable.**Since benchmarking began in 2002 “While there’s always room for improvement, achieving energy efficiency demonstrates that good ideas have helped us become environmentally responsible while making a significant impact to our bottom line,” said Robin Haugen general manager of Toyota’s plant and environmental group. “Through our team members’ efforts and outstanding collaboration, we
have minimized our environmental footprint in communities where we assemble vehicles, engines and parts. We’re so proud to receive our 11th consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA and we’ll strive to do better.”
Recent environmental improvement activities across some of Toyota’s 14 manufacturing plants include:
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama (Huntsville)
- Saved 300,000 gallons of water a year – enough to fill half of an Olympic-size swimming pool – by reusing compressor condensate water in the cooling tower. The tower accounts for nearly 50 percent of the facility’s water use.
- Switched to higher-efficiency motors and used compressed air more efficiently.
- Installed LED lighting, solar lights and daylighting to reduce purchased electricity.
- All environmental projects – part of a $1 million investment to make the plant more sustainable – result in annual saving of more than 3.3 million kilowatts hours, equal to 125 average U.S. homes and reducing more than 2,000 metric tons of CO2.Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Princeton)
Reduced the volume of air that has to be conditioned in the paint booths, a process that’s necessary for the paint to adhere to vehicles. The project reduced energy use by 125,000 MMBtus, enough to power 1,450 average U.S. homes for a year and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 8,900 metric tons.
In addition to the energy and greenhouse gas savings, the improved paint process reduced the amount of paint and emissions.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (Georgetown)
The plant has teamed up with Waste Services of the Bluegrass to generate power from local landfill waste that naturally creates methane gas, marking the region’s first business-to-business landfill gas to energy initiative. Toyota estimates the locally generated landfill gas will supply enough power each year for the production of 10,000 vehicles. Once operational later this spring, the system will generate one megawatt of electricity each hour the system is operating, or about what it takes to power nearly 800 average U.S. homes annually.
Plus landfill greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by as much as 90 percent, resulting in better air quality for the local community.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi (Blue Springs)
- Installed a geothermal heat exchanger that supplies chilled water to a compressed airdryer to eliminate the chiller load in the winter months when the plant’s HVAC systems are not using chilled water. This reduces electricity usage by 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year, equal to 56 average U.S. homes.
- Installed a single axis solar cell array in spring 2013, with a maximum output of 50 kilowatts. The power generated by the array is redirected back to New Albany Light,
Gas & Water, the local utility company, and ultimately is transferred back onto the grid for public use.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (San Antonio)
The plant uses about 1 million gallons of recycled water per production day, or about 250 million gallons each year. Since its opening in 2007, the plant has used nearly 2 billion gallons of recycled water. That’s nearly 2 billion gallons that wasn’t drawn from the local Edwards Aquifer.
Toyota’s accomplishments will be recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 20.
LAcarGUY and Toyota of Hollywood formed a connection with Lori Goldman of Friends of Hollywood Central Park to help aid the effort and bring this beautiful dream to fruition. Lori Goldman was interested in forming a relationship with Toyota of Hollywood because it’s been a mainstay in the local community for more than 50 years. If there’s any business interested in helping the local community one with such a long-standing history is it.
All of the added space provides room for countless playgrounds, baseball fields and even an amphitheater. It gives people an area they can go to connect with nature, and get outdoors a bit more. The local park would encourage active fitness and provide a place to run or walk dogs. It’s a cool project that helps bring nature to those who are in serious need of it. The community in this section of Hollywood currently have the lowest ratio of open space to population of any area in California, and if there’s anyone who could benefit from such a project, it’s them. Overall the project will bring 38 acres of lush green park land to the community.
There are countless benefits that come along with this massive one-mile length of proposed park. It would help provide clean air to the rest of the city while providing more than 40,000 jobs to the local community. The project offers a fun and natural place for more than 80,000 local kids to play. It also helps connect both sides of the community that were normally split in two because of the highway.
As the project develops it’s easy to see how beneficial the new park would be for the community. There are still some problems that need to be overcome before the project can actually begin, but with each passing meeting the project comes a little closer to being reality and that’s an exciting thing for the Hollywood community.
Electric vehicles are slowly becoming more popular and are sold to more people each year. Even with more people beginning to own EV’s there are still so many more that don’t know about most of the benefits that these vehicles come with. There’s a reason that so many people are picking up EV’s today, and why so many more will begin to in the near future, and it’s not just to save money on fuel. Electric vehicles are fun to drive, and much more affordable than gasoline vehicles are over the long term. When you consider all the benefits that cars like the VW e-Golf and Nissan Leaf have to offer they make sense to get.
Easier to Maintain
One of the biggest benefits of an all-electric vehicle is that it’s easy to maintain compared to a gasoline-powered one. EV’s have far fewer moving parts and they are less likely to fail or have costly repairs. This means you can do more of the maintenance on your own, and enjoy driving a vehicle that doesn’t have to be worked on all the time. Over time the lack of maintenance will help you save a great deal of time and money.
Save on Fuel Costs
I know, I know gas prices dropped down recently, but even at $2.00 a gallon, or whatever the price is near you, EV drivers are likely still saving on fuel costs. This is because electricity is cheaper than gasoline. When the prices eventually creep backup (and they will!) EV owners will really be reaping the benefits. At 15,000 miles a year it’s likely that an EV driver would save at least $1,000 a year and that figure goes up quite a bit of gas prices increase again.
A Calm and Soothing Ride
Electric vehicles are surprisingly quiet, and that’s not a bad thing. Some car enthusiasts will miss the rumble of a gasoline engine, but I didn’ the first time I took an EV out. Mostly I was amazed at how quiet the ride is, and I kept wondering if the vehicle was on at all. EV’s also smell better than gasoline engines and you don’t have the harmful fumes to worry about breathing in while driving around.
They are a Blast to Drive
Even without all the other benefits it would make sense to pick up an electric vehicle because they are so much fun to drive. If you haven’t experienced one yet you’re missing out and you don’t know the true value of an electric vehicle. Automakers love to go on and on about all the money that buyers will save, or about how the cars are good for the environment, but they never focus on how much fun the cars are to drive.
Electric vehicles accelerate so uniformly and so immediately that it’s like controlling a jet on the road. You step down on the thruster and blast off from a standstill to high speeds nearly instantly. With 100 percent of the torque available right away even small engines feel potent and ready to strike. If you’ve always wanted an electric vehicle for the other benefits, but haven’t had the motivation to go through with the purchase, get yourself to a dealership and test drive one of these cars. Once you realize how fun they are you won’t have any trouble getting the motivation to make the purchase anymore. That’s how good electric vehicles are, and how confident I am in their capabilities.
With all the federal and state incentives, and battery prices dropping each year it makes sense to pick up an electric vehicle if you do a lot of local driving. Whether you get a car, truck or SUV. Your new EV will make driving more enjoyable and save you a bit of cash as well.
When most people think about electric vehicles one of those dinky little Prius models comes to mind, or even an under powered all-electric commuter. It’s vehicles like these that make it hard to imagine Porsche utilizing electric technology to enhance their own vehicles, but that’s just what the automaker intends to do.
Porsche believes that all-electric, and hybrid electric vehicles are the future of the premium segment. There are a few major benefits to using the technology, and one of them is something you might not have considered, added power!
Enhanced Torque and Power
In vehicles like the Cayenne hybrid, or the Tesla Roadster you can really feel all the power and torque available. That’s because electric motors provide a nearly instantaneous power source and ridiculous levels of torque. Even just adding in a small electric motor alongside a standard gasoline engine will add in a noticeable amount of torque to the equation. This makes cars feel more responsive and improves acceleration capabilities dramatically.
Reducing Turbo Lag
Today most automakers are switching over to smaller turbo-charged engines, Porsche included. With turbo’s being used more frequently it makes sense to try and come up with a good reliable fix for turbo lag. There are many advanced turbo systems that remedy lag pretty well, but one of the best solutions is to include an electric motor as well. The electric motor can provide that initial power burst while the turbo-charged engine gets up to speed, masking nearly all of the lag.
More Fuel Efficient Sports Cars
Consumers looking for top-level sports cars normally don’t care about fuel efficiency figures, but the EPA and other sources do. Porsche has to follow fuel efficiency and emissions regulations just like every other automaker in the industry, and electric technology can help them meet the requirements. As regulators become more strict about fuel efficient requirements Porsche will likely lean on electric power more and more to keep their dynamic cars from becoming sluggish when meeting efficiency demands.
All of these very real benefits pretty much guarantee that the Porsche lineup is going to become thick with electric models. Someday every vehicle may integrate some type of electric engine into the mix, but for now you’ll just see more electric and hybrid variations popping up.
Even though Toyota seems to be focusing on Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles as the transportation of the future, they are still working hard to develop their electrical technology, and they have quite a few developments up their sleeve. The automaker has two different powerful battery technologies in development that could both dramatically improve the performance capabilities of electric-driven vehicles, one of which is in the prototype stage already, solid-state batteries. Solid State Batteries Toyota is developing a technology known as solid state batteries and they have already produced a coin-sized prototype that manages an impressive level of energy density compared to current lithium-ion batteries. The battery manages an energy density of around 400 Watt-hours per liter, or 400 Wh/L. This is currently close to two times as dense as lithium batteries being used today, which could do great things for electronics in general outside of the automotive industry. On top of offering more energy storage capabilities, this battery can also put out a power stream about five times as powerful as lithium-ion batteries are capable of doing. That means more powerful motors can be driven using fewer batteries. This technology is expected to be released in 2020 and should be perfected enough to hit between 600 and 700 Wh/L by 2025. What Makes them Different Solid state batteries are known as such because they rely on a solid electrolyte in place of the liquid electrolyte that’s used in lithium ion batteries. Instead of nickel-metal hydride or a lithium ion, solid ceramic or a polymer is used instead. This packs more energy into a smaller area allowing for a greater storage capacity. What the Batteries Can Do With solid state batteries being at the current energy density of the prototype in development a family sedan would be able to drive for around 300 miles on a single charge. While this is quite a ways off from the 600 miles that many automakers are shooting for, this is still a huge step forward for the industry overall and something to get excited about. Lithium Air Batteries Toyota is also developing lithium air batteries, but they expect these to take about five to ten years longer to develop than solid state batteries. These batteries rely on a small cathode that interacts with oxygen and requires less materials overall. This makes it possible to squeeze even more energy into a tiny area and could allow up to 1,000 Wh/L of storage by 2030. These two advances represent major breakthroughs for the electronics industry and will make it possible to produce long-distance electric vehicles that are much more efficient than the ones we see today. It’s hard to say if they are simply hedging their bet on Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with this technology or if they plan to incorporate it into future vehicles to create something even more sophisticated for drivers to rely on.
Since the launch of the Porsche Macan critics and consumers have been going crazy for the pint-sized SUV. It offers a lot of the performance of a sports car, while offering a bit more room for comfortable riding. Now there’s word that Porsche is considering a Macan S E-Hybrid addition. That means in the future consumers could purchase a Macan SUV that’s equipped with an electric motor, that offers even more power and that plugs into a wall to improve efficiency while doing all this.
The Expected Power Train
Julian Baumann, the executive of sales and marketing at Porsche, has made it clear that they haven’t made up their mind on creating a plugin Macan yet. However, if they do choose to go that route, it’s expected that the vehicle will rely on the powertrain that the plug-in Cayenne, and the plug-in Panamera rely on. It would likely be equipped with a 3.0 liter V6 that’s tied to an electric motor offering around 416 HP of peak power. That would certainly pack a punch in the compact Macan and it’s an exciting prospect.
Porsche is Heading Toward More Plugins
Porsche already has three different plugin hybrids and it’s likely they will be heading toward more in the future. They have the 918 Spyder, the Cayenne and the Panamera S E-Hybrid. Each of these vehicles is quite popular and offers an impressive level of power for their efficiency levels. They appeal to Americans and if Porsche believes that future plugins will also appeal they’re likely to add them on over time.
About Porsche’s Intelligent Performance Philosophy
Porsche is all about improving their vehicles, but they want to do so intelligently. That is why they have their ‘Intelligent Performance Philosophy’. Essentially they shoot to make all performance improvements on their existing vehicles by using new and more advanced automotive technologies. You won’t see them upping the size of their engines much and decreasing fuel efficiency, because that isn’t their style.
This is why Porsche is likely to add the Porsche Macan S E-Hybrid Plugin. They want to offer even more high-performance versions of their vehicle, but they want to do it without hurting efficiency much.
If you think a plugin style Macan is as great of an idea as we do make sure that Porsche hears your voice. There are plenty of proponents for this type of SUV, and it could be the next new development coming to consumers from Porsche.
Toyota and Lexus are putting on the 2014 EMA Awards and by obtaining seats now you can make sure you’re there for the big night. Held in Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank California, this event takes time to honor stars and other media professionals putting together videos that make a difference to the environment.
October 18th is the date and the event is set to begin at 5PM in the Steven J. Ross theater. It starts with a reception, moves into a silent auction. After the auction the award ceremony begins at 6:30PM. When the awards are finished the night moves on to the luxurious gala dinner, put on by some of the area’s most talented chefs.
Throughout the night there will be live entertainment and plenty of chance for enjoyment while connecting with environmental proponents. The event’s a cocktail affair so make sure to dress up and get ready for some fun.
Each year the Environmental Media Awards honors a select group of people and 2014 will be no different. It’s set to honor James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Daniel Abasi , Joel Bach.
Members of the Pristine Seats Project, the Executive Producers of “Years of Living Dangerously” and the Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party are all being honored as well.
How to RSVP
If you’d like to be part of the 25th Environmental Media Awards RSVP here. Seats cost $500 a piece, but there are sponsor packages as well if you would like to give back more. Hurry and get your tickets now before the event fills up completely, and know that your money goes to a good cause.
How LAcarGUY is Involved?
Not only is Mike Sullivan a chairmember of the board at the Environmental Media Association and LAcarGUY a sponsor of the EMA’s, but the two organizations have come together to create a sustainable edible garden at Helen Bernstein High School. This lush garden setup is designed to provide fresh food and encourage children to learn more about gardening, sustainable living and healthy eating all at the same time.
Volkswagen is Helping to Improve Biking Conditions for People around the US By Supporting PeopleForBikes
Volkswagen supports bike riders and is helping to make the United States a more enjoyable place to bike by continuing their partnership with PeopleForBikes for at least two more years. Since they began working with the organization in 2012 they helped improve conditions for close to 5 million bike riders. They traveled around to a total of 165 different bike and lifestyle events and played a role in improving them and making a true impact on the biking community.
Their efforts have nearly doubled the number of protected bike lanes in the United States, while engaging more than 800,000 Americans about the benefits of biking and how to improve conditions for everyone.
The Ride on Chicago
The Ride on Chicago is a 5-day bike ride event started in 2011 by Tim Johnson with support from Volkswagen. The event is a fundraiser for PeopleForBikes and in 2013 it managed to exceed its fundraising goal by generating more than 100,000 for the organization. Tim Johnson has traveled more than 2,000 miles since beginning to work with this event, and it has singlehandedly generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for PeopleForBikes.
Bicycling conditions in the United States aren’t the greatest and take a backseat to driving conditions even though this type of transportation is good for the environment. PeopleForBikes strives to improve biking for everyone. They work to expand bicycling lanes, improve laws for bikers and just educate people about the benefits of this mode of transportation.
Giving to PeopleForBikes
PeopleForBikes president Tim Blumenthal stated that “VW’s exceptional support of PeopleForBikes is important to the future of bicycling,” and with the major impact that they’ve made on the movement there’s no wonder. On top of sponsoring events and supporting the organization, Volkswagen has given PeopleForBikes four different vehicles now two of which are Jetta Sportwagens that travel to events at either end of the country. They also offer cobranded gear for cyclists on their DriverGear website to help support the cause.
Whether you’re a fan of bicyclists or you think that biking lanes are a waste of space, it’s clear that Volkswagen supports improved biking conditions and that they see a benefit in it to the country. With continued efforts from VW everyone should notice an improvement in biking conditions around the country, and maybe one day people will start travelling by bike more extensively than they do today. Sure automobiles will remain the fastest and most convenient way to get around, but bikes are a great supplemental mode of transportation, and they cut down on fuel expenses while helping to improve the environment at the same time.
In 2013 LAcarGUY and Grades of Green through the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge and beckoned students from 16 different schools to try to reduce their waste while furthering education efforts. Since that challenge the winning school, Riviera Elementary, has been putting the prize money to good use making their school even more environmentally friendly. They also went on to have a contest of their own, which resulted in a very cool mural made from a unique material, that should be recycled far more often than it is. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Aw1Q99_lcc?start=2367&w=420&h=315]
About the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge In a partnership with Grades of Green, LAcarGUY started the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge to help reduce waste and teach students about eco-friendly habits. The contest was successful in educating students how to reduce their waste, reuse what they can, recycle everything else and finally to recover energy from unusable products. It also drastically reduced lunchtime waste, (by as much as 70% in some schools).
Riviera Elementary Efforts for a More Sustainable School After Allison Cohen, a parent of one of the children at Riviera Elementary, noticed just how much waste the school was producing at lunch time every day, she knew that something had to be done. She quickly formed “the Green Team” an organization of more than 35 different students to try and improve the health and sustainability of the school. Thanks to the Green Team as well as the prize money from the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge Riviera Elementary was able to pay to switch from Styrofoam trays to a compostable alternative at lunch time. They also setup permanent sorting stations for recyclables around the school collecting everything from typical recyclables, to compost, liquids and even unopened food. The simple sorting station was able to lower landfill trash from 12 bags a day down to two. Just these two actions should help Riviera remove a high amount of waste from their community and they set a good example for the rest of the community, and other schools to follow along with.
A Creative Reminder to Recycle The school also held a contest to see what classroom could collect the most bottle caps. By the end of the contest the school amassed more than 400 lbs. of material that would have ended up in a landfill. All of this was put to use to construct a mural to the school and to make a statement about recycling. Lexi Rampolla, a 5th grader at Riviera, came up with the design of the mural and students and adults came together to put the project together using paint, plywood, and hardware donated by a local Lowes. The finished product serves as an impressive reminder to avoid waste whenever possible. The mural was unveiled at a school-wide assembly and is now being displayed at the school to inspire students, staff members and visitors to be environmentally conscious, and should do so for years to come.
About Grades of Green Grades of Green is a non-profit focused on environmental education. Their mission is to teach students from kindergarten up through 12th grade about the importance of reducing waste and reusing materials whenever possible. Not only do they sponsor or put together competitions such as the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, but they also take their time to educate children whenever they can. Their work is helping to build more environmentally-conscious citizens and a brighter future for our country.